A reminder of the time

A tenuous churchy theme running through today, I note.

From the letters page of the Southern Suburbs Tatler, the local freebie that they continue to insist on delivering, despite my many threats of violence. Perhaps I’m threatening the wrong people.
The subject being discussed is the rights and wrongs of church bells being rung early in the morning in a residential area. I didn’t see the original story, but this correspondence leapt out at me.

I read with some concern that the church bells were causing annoyance.
I was so thrilled to hear the beautiful clarion calls and bells at Christmas, and also hoped they would continue.

It is lovely to hear the bells at 5:45am, at six in the morning and the evening and at noon – nice to have a reminder of the time.

Joan Wurr, Claremont

Yes, at 5:45am, Joan likes to have a reminder of the time. And not just for her, but for the thousands of others who live in the area, too. Heaven forbid (npi) that she and they should sleep through that most important of times: a quarter to six in the morning. Although, it’s nice to know that if you somehow manage to continue your slumbers undisturbed past 5:45, then the local clergy have instituted something akin to a snooze function 15 minutes later.

Joan – if it’s “nice to have a reminder of the time” how about buying a clock with an alarm function? They’re all the rage these days, you know?

For the record, I have nothing against church bells ringing at noon or six in the evening. Not even at a reasonable hour in the morning like 9 o’clock.
But no, there’s no such thing as a nice reminder of the time at quarter to six in the morning.
If people want to know when it’s 5:45am, then they should do what I did and have kids.

Extra marks to me for getting all the way through this post without using the word “ungodly”.

Good Old God!

I’m an atheist. A very happy one at that. You won’t sway me, so please don’t even try. Equally, I won’t try to tell you who or who not to worship. Other than me, obviously: but that’s a given, anyway.

What I don’t understand (and probably never will) is reactions such as those of “Bruinman” to the deaths of three children (since updated to five) in a horrific car accident near Pretoria.

It is always sad to read news like this, especially when there are children involved. My condolences to the family and friends of the children.
May the Lord be with you and give you strength in this time of bereavement. God Bless.

Look, I’m completely with him about the “sad news” bit. And, for what it’s worth, perhaps even the condolences bit, too. But then it goes horribly wrong, because I’d actually have liked the Lord to have been with the kids in the back of the car, looking after them and maybe preventing them from plunging 15 metres (45ft) off a road bridge and onto the freeway below; not turning up a day later with a bashful apology and a pat on the back for the grieving parents, like the murderer bringing flowers to the funeral.

Perhaps someone can explain to myself and my readers as to why the “loving”, “omnipresent” God wasn’t there to stop these five innocent kids dying in such a horrible way.
While you’re at it, help me out with the rape stats in South Africa (52,000 pa) – can “He” not  do something to sort that out at all?
Cholera in Zimbabwe? 80,000 infected, 3,500 dead. Why would “He” let that suffering occur? And while we’re there, why do “He” and his followers tolerate Robert Mugabe swearing himself in (again) on the Bible “in the sight of God”? Not the sort of message I’d want to be sending out, but “He” allowed it to happen (again) this week. 

I could go on and on, you know. I often do.

It’s unfathomable to me as to how Christians (and those of other religions) can so easily turn a blind eye or make excuses for those things which don’t fit conveniently into their religious demographic.
If you think you’re different and you can tell us how and why these things happen with such regularity and apparent impunity right under “His” beard, please leave a comment.  

Note well: The first person to use the phrase “God works in mysterious ways” will be banned. Immediately.

Amanda on 567 Cape Talk

Hello all!

Just a quick heads up that Amanda Power – who is walking the Great Wall of China later this year raising money and awareness for cancer charities in Cape Town – is being interviewed on local radio station 567 Cape Talk today at 1530 CAT (1330 GMT).

If you’re in Cape Town, 567 Cape Talk can be found on… er… 567 AM.
Alternatively – you can listen live using the link below.

Please tune in, tweet, blog and publicise this endeavour in any way you can. Thanks.

LISTEN LIVE to 567 Cape Talk: http://www.capetalk.co.za/onair/tunein/tunein.asp

Other China Challenge stuff on 6000 miles…

George Bush is Dead

Well – not really.
But if you were watching the pisspoor South African Sky-wannabe eTV News (or more especially, their annoying little rolling banner thing across the bottom of the screen) then you would have seen those exact words on your TV.

The “misbroadcast” happened when a technician pressed the “broadcast live for transmission” button instead of the one for a test-run.

“The technical director pressed the wrong button, it took a second for the words to appear and then the words were on screen for only three seconds before they were taken off,” said spokesman Vasili Vass.

The station said test banners would now be done in “gobbledegook”.

Given the general standard spelling on their rolling banner, quite how they are going to separate the gobbledegook from the real stuff is a complete mystery to me and their other viewer.

The mistake was first reported on by the Afrikaans language newspaper Beeld, and on the media group’s website, News24.com.
“Its unfortunate, because we never comment on their mistakes,” said Mr Vass.  

Well, of course not. You’re only a 24 hour news channel.
Take on that sort of onerous responsibility and you’d never have time to tell us about ex-world leaders popping their clogs. Or not.

Visa woes

Between them, the UK Government, the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa and the British Consulate in Pretoria have conspired against me.
I’m not sure in what proportions the blame should be meted out, but I’m going to have a go. In more ways than one. 

First off, the UK Government. For once, I think they are pretty blameless in this one. All they have done is to extend the list of countries whose citizens need a visa to enter the UK. Unfortunately, South Africa is now on that list (along with 75% of the world’s countries). This is to help prevent terrorists and smugglers from entering the country, probably as part of their “Jobs for Brits” policy: after all, why import terrorists when you have a roaring trade going producing your own?

Secondly, the Department of Home Affairs. This Department has a terrible reputation, which is almost entirely justified. Of all the Government Departments, Home Affairs is the one which elicits the most laughter, anger and sheer disbelief as to how bad an organisation can be. And they must take their share of the blame in this sorry tale. Their security and systems areso bad that anyone can get a South African passport – hence the UK’s concern over who is getting a South African passport.
Of course – if you go the legal route to getting a South African passport, you end up buried under an avalanche of red tape from which it will take you a good few months to escape.
The UK, of course doesn’t have this issue: passports there are completely safe and secure. Right.

But, I’m putting 0.5% of the blame of the UK Government and about 2% on Home Affairs. Why? Because I’m saving it all for the real culprits.
The extra R3,000 that it’s going to cost to take my family across to the UK in July is solely down to the utterly useless ****s at the British Consulate in Pretoria.
Thanks to them losing our (original) documents when we applied for a passport for the boy, we can no longer proceed with that application, nor one for the girl. Getting replacement documents means going through the Department of Home Affairs – and you may have heard what a reputation they have in South Africa.
And thus, because we can’t get the documents which they lost from the Department of Home Affairs, we have had to apply for South African passports for the kids through – the Department of Home Affairs.

A brief pause while I bang my head against a brick wall. Ah – such sweet relief.

The worst bit is that despite the fact that the British Consulate have prevented us from obtaining passports for the kids by being useless, they are rewarded by us paying them some more money for the privilege of taking my (half-British) kids to Britain. And this despite the fact that they will have a combined age of just less than 4 when we go over. And very limited bomb-making expertise. Probably.
It’s insult to injury, it’s salt in the wound, it’s a kick in the balls. None of which are particularly pleasant.
One could draw some interesting parallels to the bunch of merchant bankers in the UK getting bonuses for being rubbish at the jobs.