Monday, 19 July 2010

I Write, You Write, We Write

I never really gave thought to the reason why I write. Some of you say you do because it is therapeutical so you string a few words, or more, and tell us a story or two, true or not, express your pain or hurt, laughs and joy, deeds and intents, desires and sexcapades. Some of us only rant and wish life was not the way it was.

It may not get better right now but the words given vent to could lighten the writer.

I used to write because it was beautiful to create something out of nothing. More than not likely, it would start with a blank page & then out pours essence from your heart & mind and it turns from letters to words, from words to sentences, from sentences to paragraphs, from paragraphs to chapters, from chapters to books.

And some authors are borne.

It is beautiful, and sounds easy on the ear too, the way the words fall in steady rhythm and charming rhymes. A few lines carrying so much meaning expressed from the heart of the writer to the mind of the reader.

There’s no better meaning to the word poetry.

Words fall out of spaces, into more decipherable characters than hieroglyphics, although not necessarily in English Language. A language so deep, yet so illogical. My honest opinion.

I love the way it doesn’t follow most of the times; as stubborn like a mule.

I am heavy hearted, & I wish my words would cheer me up but I find them not thus my rage. I am bereft of the verbal skill to lay hold of and partake of the healing milk they say writing gives. This amateur writer is blocked.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Domestically Official

It was a regular Thursday morning at the office, and we had congregated in one office chatting rowdily about nothing in particular, from the lack of electricity in the country to the hawkers on bootlegged porn DVDs on the streets to nonsensically high costs of primary school fees.

The air was alive with everyone anticipating the weekend and the public holiday slated for the following Monday.

We all heard the noise coming from my boss’s office so we went silent in a moment and turned in the direction of the secretariat. She was bawling loudly and talking at the same time and he was trying to pacify her.

I didn’t think a contractor would be in our office this early or would be over-the-top as such so I guessed my boss’s wife had brought their domestic misdemeanours to his office because it was something that she could do.

At this time, Ify, his assistant secretary was heading to us as we looked on towards the source of the commotion.

“Where is Mr.Ebi, his wife is in oga’s office” she said

Ebitari was at his desk relishing his breakfast of fried yam, akara and fried eggs when Tam tells him to report immediately to the manager’s office.

“Ebi, e don happen oh. E be like say you don commit. Your madame dey oga office”

“My wife?” Mr.Ebi asked with surprise

“She’s relaying all your transgressions to the manager” Tam added

“What? This woman is cruising for another bruising” he said smiling but obviously enraged

Then he stormed off towards the secretariat. We all followed.

We pulled the door to shut it as Ebi entered the office but left it slightly open, so we stood around silently trying to listen to the conversation going on inside before my boss’s secretary, Doris, filled us in on what she had heard so far.

Ebitari had beaten his wife and she seemed like she was hit by a runaway train seeing that he was a very physically strong man. Apparently this was not the first time, in the past she had been almost hospitalised after a good pounding from him. All this was news to me, Mr.Ebitari Peters who wore a smile most of the time, was one of the happier people we had in the department. Unlike me, most of the office folk had never seen him express anger, least of violence.

We could hear her talk to her husband insolently in front of the boss when he refused to answer the queries thrown at him, insisting that she should leave the premises and go home. This was before the door got kicked shut to our faces and eavesdropping ears so we moved away to resume our analysis of this brand new suspenseful episode.

I had met Mrs. Peters at a colleague’s child’s birthday bash and she gave off a certain vibe though there was hearsay about her undying belligerence. Now, it was to be confirmed.

I only hoped the boss was not going to fan the flames of by trying to be a judge. I am far from being impressed by his judgement of quarrels between us subordinates least of all a staff’s domestic issue that has not business in our office.

Tam who was Ebi’s closest friend in the department gave us a sneak peek into the private life of Mr.Ebi, telling us how she had been the most insecure, aggressive and disrespectful wife to her husband and how he had borne it for years.

However, she had brought their issues to his manager, knowing that Ebitari held him in high regard.

Besides my feeling for Mrs.Peters as regards what will happen to her at home for attempting to make a public spectacle of her husband, I sincerely refuse to bother with the consequences of this performance; nonetheless, I am concerned with why this issue should be brought to the office.

This is West Africa (Nigeria) and the society thinks and acts indifferently towards domestic violence than if it was Europe or America. Do our work ethics (if any) allow the use of company time and space for the settlement of such domestic issues?

Monday, 5 July 2010

So Much For Holidays - More Reasons Why I Dislike Dubai

A British DJ was sentenced to four years in prison by a Dubai court this week after tests revealed traces of cannabis in his blood. Sure, it's not exactly legal at home, but FOUR years?!

Of course he's not the first Brit to wind up behind bars or deported because they're not clued up about the strict United Arab Emirates laws.

According to the Foreign Office, 1.1 million Britons visited the UAE last year and 294 of them were arrested or detained by police - making it more likely to happen there than in any other country in the world.

So if getting banged up abroad is on your 'to do' list of life experiences, here are some easy ways to break the law in Dubai...

Do some dirty dancing
Ever thought your dance moves ought to be illegal? Then head to Dubai, where they just very well might be. Unless you're at a licensed club or in the privacy of your hotel room then dancing is considered indecent and provocative and could get you arrested. During Ramadan you won't even find a dancefloor to throw some shapes on risk-free - dancing, loud music and live music are forbidden during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, so nightclubs usually close and all the bands go on holiday.

Give someone the finger
Back home it's just a bit rude but making insulting gestures in Dubai is regarded as obscene and totally unacceptable – as 56-year-old Brit Simon Andrew discovered in March this year when he was accused of showing an aviation student his middle finger during a row and was arrested. He denies flipping the bird but has had his passport confiscated while awaiting trial. It has been known for offenders to get a 6-month sentence for such an act and some have been deported.

Have sex on the beach
For a surefire way to wind up behind bars, break a couple of laws at once. Because of their strict laws about indecency, public sex is beyond unacceptable and do it with someone you're not married to – a crime that entails prosecution, imprisonment and/or a fine and deportation – and you're firing on all cylinders. Michelle Palmer, 36, of Oakham, Rutland, and Vince Acors, 34, of Bromley, SE London, did just that last year and were banged up for three months before being deported, as well as fined 1,000 dirhams (about £180).

Snog in a restaurant
Don't assume you have to go all the way to infringe on their decency regulations – the law extends to kissing and even holding hands, unless you're married. British marketing executive Ayman Najafi and Charlotte Adams – both in their 20s - were arrested and accused of public indecency after an Emirati woman claimed they exchanged a passionate kiss in a restaurant. They were given a one-month jail sentence for public indecency and illegal drinking, fined 1,000 dirhams, then deported. The pair maintain it was merely a peck on the cheek.

Drink Sex on the Beach
If you thought we were talking about the vodka-based cocktail before, that could work too. Buying drinks in licensed hotels or bars is allowed but drinking – or being drunk – is illegal in public. You'll stand out particularly well in the resort of Sharjah where booze is banned full stop, apart from for residents with a licence to drink at home. It is also an offence in the UAE to drink and drive, no matter how tiny the amount. If you're arrested on alcohol-related offences you'll likely be jailed while you await trial and penalties entail hefty jail sentences and large fines.

Smoke some wacky baccy
Drugs are almost always a law breaker, but Dubai is about as far from Amsterdam as you can get. Possession and consumption is treated very seriously in the UAE and – as the British DJ who had no drugs on him recently discovered – possession includes anything in your system, so even if you have a cheeky joint before you get on the Dubai-bound plane and you could end up falling foul of their regulations, and wind up with their mandatory minimum of four years in jail.

Other laws you should know about
Shopping in shorts could attract attention from the authorities - unless you're on the beach or by the pool, then anything tight, transparent, short or displaying your stomach, shoulders or back if you're a woman, is considered indecent. Same if you're a man in shorts or displaying a bare chest. Photography of certain government buildings is also illegal, as is perusing any form of pornographic material. If all else fails, smuggle in a bacon sandwich – pork is banned – and a poppy seed roll will add to the criminality of the action, as poppy seeds are also on the UAE's forbidden list.

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