There’s talk of emigration in the air

Remember when we used to hear that at all the dinner parties, the braais, on the television and in the papers?
The ZumaRumas™. The dangers of another ANC government. Chasing the whites out of the country. Murdered in our beds. How South Africa was going to become “another Zimbabwe”.
I never did get a firm date for any of those unfounded scare-mongering stories.
When I asked, I usually just got a hard stare over my wors and some mumbled excuse about needing another Castle Lite.

Sure, South Africa does have its problems. Many of them, in fact. Which is surely all the more reason for not adding more silly ones that you made up on the way to the party.
But why the exceptionalism? Because nowhere is perfect and everywhere you go, you’re going to face challenges. The grass is not necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. And if it is, it’s probably because of all the s**t that’s around over there.

So – back to the talk of emigration in the air:

There’s talk of emigration in the air. It’s everywhere I go. Parties. Work. In the supermarket.

That’s Jeremy Clarkson in this week’s Sunday Times. He’s fed up with the UK – particularly the way it’s being run – and he wants out:

It’s a lovely idea, to get out of this stupid, Fairtrade, Brown-stained, Mandelson-skewed, equal-opportunities, multicultural, carbon-neutral, trendily left, regionally assembled, big-government, trilingual, mosque-drenched, all-the-pigs-are-equal, property-is-theft hellhole and set up shop somewhere else.

The rest of the piece is a wonderful rant about the amount of control and red tape that is exerted over those in the developed world. And a highly amusing list of the problems with each individual country that he considers emigrating to. And – while it is, of course, written with tongue firmly in cheek – at least Clarkson acknowledges that it doesn’t matter where you go, things won’t ever be perfect. Because that’s really not how life works.

I often think that immigrants to a country are better at seeing the good in it. I certainly think that I have a much more positive opinion of South Africa than many of those who have lived here all their lives. And that goes for a lot of the other ex-pats I’ve met here, too.
I’ve done my best to educate myself on the substance behind the stories, taking opinion from all sides – like The Political Analyst and The Guru amongst others – and I’m finding it easier and easier to recognise nonsense emails and stories earlier and earlier, because – like all lies – they really don’t stand up to any degree of scrutiny. I now regularly have friends emailing me with stories of crime and politics and the ANC, with online petitions and the like, asking me if they are true.
And they never are.

And while I’m happy to set records straight, I find it sad that people still willingly believe all that they read in their inboxes and in the newspapers. And sadder still that there are individuals who will prey on this gullibility to push their agenda across. Thabo Mbeki did some things right and he did some things wrong (and this really isn’t a post about that), but he hit the nail on the head with this line:

It seems to me that the unacceptable practice of propagation of deliberate falsehoods to attain various objectives is becoming entrenched in our country.

Ironically, it now seems that he was behind some of the propagation of those deliberate falsehoods, no matter how unacceptable he found the practice. But it’s still a great quote.

What I’m saying here is that you can’t allow yourself to be dragged down by only seeing the negative side of things and you have to make the best of what you’ve got.
Because you’re never going to have it all.
A lot of people in South Africa fall into that negativity trap and their lives, their outlook and the mood of whole country in general are detrimentally affected because of it.
Positivity costs nothing and it makes you feel a whole lot better.

As for Clarkson – his column has now been removed from the Sunday Times website – probably something to do with his plan to strap Peter Mandelson “to the front of a van and drive round the country until he isn’t alive any more”.
Fortunately, I got there first and have a nice small (35kb) PDF of it for you to read. Enjoy!

Photo fuss

A couple of my photos from the “Wet Weekend” set seem to have caused a bit of a stir, which is nice.

I’m referring to Patio Splashes:

and his singular brother, Patio Splash.

They were the result of some playing around with various settings (Exposure 0.001sec (1/1300), Aperture f/5.0, Focal length 26.7mm), while lying on my stomach in wet sand. In the rain.
I’m not claiming that they’re brilliant, but they certainly mark a step forward for me, if not a huge leap for my t-shirt.

I’m really enjoying my “new” camera, even if I am still only able to use about 10% of its functions. However, since my dad has now also bought himself one (on my recommendation), there is added impetus to learn. Because obviously, there will be no competition to see who can get the better photographs. Obviously.

Sweet smell of success

After a good deal of fun, some out of date Jack Black Beer and no small amount of success (R1,500 worth of prizeware for us) at Cafe Roux’s JDI Charity Pub Quiz evening last night, many of the male attendees crowded around the bar and the small, yet perfectly formed flatscreen TV therein to watch the worst Bok pack ever being taken to the cleaners by Leicester Tigers.
The results of the quiz evening and the score at Welford Road may have come as a surprise to many, but I don’t count myself amongst that number.

I accurately predicted our overall second place as soon as I saw the Garth the tall quiz genius walk in (ducking slightly) and take his place with another team. Damn nice guy, but absolutely devastating to be quizzing against.
Either he has a photographic memory or he reads stuff 24/7. Or more likely, both.
There’s a marked difference between defeatism and realism, and thinking that you’re going to win a quiz when he is around is like thinking you might just sneak in ahead of Nelson Mandela in a list of Greatest South Africans. Seriously, only Julius Malema would think that he could defeat the might of Garth and Madiba. (Although he may have been let down by the surprisingly testing Woodwork round last night).

It seemed that I was the only one even mildly happy about the rugby result that followed. That was because, having predicted that Leicester would win by 5 points in my SuperBru league, I was virtually assured of taking maximum points when Leicester actually did win by 5 points.

Player: Flo
Pool(s): Pool 176

Game 3: Leicester Tigers v South Africa: Leicester Tigers by 5

And like hitting a four off the first ball of the over, that takes the pressure off predicting the big crunch game between Portugal and Namibia this afternoon. Which was a toughie.

Tonight – rest and recuperation as we head into yet another cold, grey Cape Town winter. Which I know we’re not, but the weather doesn’t appear to know that. It’s dark grey and it’s blowing a gale out there. Believe me, the rain is but minutes away.
And you know how good my powers of prediction are right now.

Bring forth a warm TV and that 2002 Nelson Estate Cab Sauv/Merlot blend.
As you do.

Every day…

Every day, I am blown away by the beauty of the mountain.
(When it’s visible and not hidden behind shedloads of dark grey cloud, obviously.)

This was from my drive home tonight.

Full size with option of spankingly large desktop background size here.

Pedants (you know who you are):
This doesn’t count as a quota photo because I’ve already posted today.

When I go…

When I go, I don’t want a big fuss. I fully intend to be around for a long time yet and then I’ll just quietly slip off if that’s OK.
No lying in state for a week (especially if it’s summer) for people to come and pay their last respects and comment on how I’m looking so much better than I did last week (when I was, at least, alive).
No fancy horse-drawn carriage parade through the street while crowds of wailing locals throw flowers and rocks as I pass by. I don’t need that.

All I really ask is a few close friends and family, Morten Harket’s Spanish Steps and some decent tuna and cucumber sandwiches at the wake.

Oh – and not to be stuck in the back of a Medi-Sprint bakkie next to some TB specimens and a box of flat-bottomed 96-well assay plates.
If that’s not too demanding.

People ask why I’m always carrying my camera around with me. Well, it’s because if I didn’t, I’d miss stuff like this.

I have no idea where Medi-Sprint were delivering it to, but I guess there probably wasn’t actually any real need to sprint, when you think about it.

Medi-Sprint’s tagline is: We Deliver – You Relax.