Variety, they say is the spice of life. Others say too much of one thing is good for nothing. Some of our young ladies say One man nor dae full box…their Nigerian actresses will add, Different boy friends for different purposes. Well as life becomes more challenging so values drop even with the most principled person. I think man’s first law is self preservation…staying alive…catering for family and friends first. Never mind your religious stance this remains the reality. Watch some of our brothers and sisters who pose as holier than Thou! Like 2 Face sings you nor holly pass.
People have very different views on life and approach it from those perspectives. Sometimes I wonder if there is anything in the world without opposites. This is something to really ponder about. In school I loved studying antonyms more than synonyms. Antonyms fascinated me since they gave me what I may call a creative alternative. Over the week-end the BBC ran a program where people gave their opinions on the use of mobile phones. It was very interesting to learn that in some countries they buy a gadget that jams mobile phones and they install it in churches and mosques. Here in Sierra Leone many churches and mosques put a notice for all mobile phones to be switched off. Some people still forget and when the little machine releases its sharp shrill sound you see everybody looking in its owner’s direction with so much disapproval painted on their faces. To a large extent our mobile phones can be a nuisance in some circumstances. Imagine the discomfort it causes when it interrupts the tranquility of a meeting, a religious service and other public gatherings.
What beats my imagination is why people keep their phones on high volume. You see in life even people who are very noisy sometimes need some solemnity. There seems a constant fight between solemnity and hilarity. In church everyone is expected to be quiet and very attentive. In market places you have to virtually shout in order to be heard.
This reminds me of music played in public transports. Sometimes it is so loud that you hardly hear yourself speak. Well sometimes the noise of the phone actually competes with that of the music in the public transport. At times even when you plead with the drivers to reduce the volume of the music they seem reluctant. One solemn place is the graveyard but of late we hear of people actually living there and call themselves Friends of the Dead. How can you be a friend of the dead in the cemetery? If there was
ever anything like that then there could have been no need to have a special place for the dead. Every family would have just buried their dead in their backyards. Of course with recent talks of the dead getting up and others actually flogging the living one, cannot risk burying the dead near the living.
Life appears to be an unending struggle as we go along we adopt different strategies to go round the never ending problems. One major thing that is certain is that no one recycles wasted time. It is so interesting that although the 24 hours is divided equally among work, leisure and sleep, for some people it is actually all work… They grab the eight hours for work, grab the eight hours for leisure and also the eight hours for sleep and bundle all into work. The pursuance of happiness is the chase of a lifetime. It is never too late to become what one might have been. Some times we are so caught up in who is right and who is wrong that we forget what is right and wrong. Solemnity and hilarity can co- exist profitably depending on how they are handled. If you have ever witnessed a vehicle accident then I’m sure you know what I am talking about. First there is the big bang and then a deep silence before you start hearing cries of pain. When I was a lad I was forbidden to sing about God while running. I was told I will fall and get injured.
Can we actually avoid noise in our daily lives? When solemnity is interspersed with some hilarity life stays balanced. In fact people who make other people laugh actually cure them of too many worries. Do you know the difference between talking and smiling? I will tell you. When you talk you do so in a particular language but we all smile in the same language.
I really think that too much concentration without some fun renders life very spiceless. The most seriously studious are not necessarily the most successful at exams. Some people postpone a little bit of fun until when they start working. Most likely these are the ones who end up overdoing things and make spectacular blunders. The point is, there is hardly a blueprint on how life should be lived. Reciprocity moves life to it’s logically goal. Even leaders operating from different perspectives have their individual convictions, some of which takes them to their destination.
This is why President George W. Bush waged a war on the premises that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction which were never found. He coined the expression Axis of Evil… that is those countries aiding and abetting terrorism. He fought a war that proved very illusive as the abstractness of the very term terrorism. On the other hand President Obama seems to be undoing Bush’s belligerence by ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention and trying to discontinue the trials. The two of them are Americans indeed. Remember the recent bashing of the Talibans? In this electronic age it is actually good to have the necessary might to kowtow perceived enemies. One Afghanistan has been showing a captured American soldier on TV. Is there actually a winner in a war?
In Western culture individual rights are painstakingly observed… nobody wants to disturb another person. I always say that one has to be a variety of kinds in order to survive this cunning world. As the economic downturn down streams to poorer countries it appears people are getting angrier by the day. The kind of reasons for which people quarrel are sometimes too ludicrous to believe. The other day a well-dressed lady and a taxi driver fought over Le 500 right in the center of good old Freetown. Those of us who live in the east end of Freetown city are used to the different types of deafening sounds from bars and clubs, passengers fighting to get into poda-podas, kids struggling to fetch water at stand pipes, power saws upsetting nature from the forests, welding banging and various promotional nuisances on the streets. The latest noisy madness is the mobile phones some people put them on high volume and cause all sorts of inconvenience. But can we actually do without noise and boistrousity? Sometimes the solemness of quietness drives one to near madness.
You might be wondering how a chatter box can cause so much trouble for you. One of the things you can never recover is word that is spoken… once spoken it is gone and that is it. There is nothing like withdrawing words! A sharp tongue can cut its own throat. Of all the things we wear, our expression is the most important. Most times the quality of our life depends on the quality of our thought. One thing people should give and still keep is ones word. But oh yaa Salone man says word Nar mot nor to load Nar hade. No Sir ee for be load nar hade. Whether you like noise or not or whether you do not smile at all life needs some spice. We should open up our minds because like parachutes the mind functions only when open. It is normally people who are open that get along in life much more than introverts. A nice company is never possible with nitwits and simpletons that hardly have anything to talk about let alone analyze issues. Every generation comes with it certain peculiarities that remain pervasive among them. It is now quite clear that survival is becoming too much of a challenge for many people. Can this be part of the reasons for so much violence emanating from hot tempers exhibited over very trivial issues?
Why is it that comedians are cherished? A little laughter is actually good in this cruel world. In fact babies who smile and laugh are actually said to come off brilliant as opposed to those who carry screwed faces. Even the dog and the pussy cat are now very tight friends. Ten fifteen years ago they were sworn enemies. It seems they have realized that as domestic animals they need to cooperate since they have a common destiny. Now if you give these two pets food they share and don’t fight over it. One way the cat and the dog have ensured their survival is increasing their food options. Formerly they did not eat most of the food that people ate. When I was growing up dogs never ate bread for example. Indeed the world has changed a lot and equally so people need to change along with it. The madness of this 21st century is too pervasive to resist. The more difficult things become the more individualistic people become. Some recoil into themselves and shut out company. These are the ones that die fast.
If you move around Freetown today within thirty minutes, if you do not have cause to quarrel with someone on the way then you must be just too lucky. Some people hit you and do not even seem to know or care. Is it that they are too strong to feel the impact or that they are too callous to notice anything? The younger folk are so energetic that they exert their energies in a very misguided way not profitable at all. I am waiting for the time when the immense energy of our youth could be harnessed to lift this country from its current near moribund inertia. Thank god African religious fanatics have not yet got to that level. And thank God we were never counted in George Bush’s Axis of Evil.
One thing happening in our agricultural productivity sector looks good for our food security drive. The work initiated with farmer based organizations is a step in the right direction. This will empower farmers at the micro level while the tractorization moves continue. We need to reduce tensions related to hunger. A hungry man will not listen to anything else except solution to the hunger problem.
This reminds me of the kind of solemnity that seems to have visited the most celebrated single issue recently… the youth situation in our security. The current Youth Policy has very salient pronouncements. Statements like President Kabbah which says…” Youth empowerment is a country’s best investment for a prosperous future” This is corroborated by President Koroma as contained in his party manifesto. In fact he goes beyond to opine that the youth problem is a time bomb waiting to explode if not addressed.
The policy itself has a beautiful vision. It says-“The National youth policy is anchored on the twin notion of youth empowerment and the creation of a responsible citizenry… privileging and mainstreaming youth related activities. They need adequate education, participation in decision making and gainful employment.” We find ourselves in a very precarious situation. We have too many challenges to contend with. How do we prioritize? Look at the issues in the Millennium development Goals… we are hit by every one of them. Take poverty reduction, hunger, education, gender, mortality, health and environment. All these cannot be addressed in a hurry with the limited resources. But one thing is certain no one will go out of this world alive. We will die and go and stop worrying about problems.
Only suicide bombers volunteer to die. The vibrant hilarity during the dry season indeed helps to increase hunger solemnity. Even a chatter box is loath to talk on hungry stomach. The farmer remains the most important citizen in terms of survival. The Sierra Leonean is certainly easy to please. Make sure rice is available, transportation affordable and a little energy here and there to provide entertainment. Current efforts to open up the country through the making of the highways have already started yielding good dividends. Life in the countryside can be made more interesting if people are able to travel with their produce to the markets.
By S. Beny SAM