Wednesday, December 31, 2008

On iPods and Favourites

I plucked this from ExMi:

Instructions: Go to your music player of choice and put it on shuffle. Say the following questions aloud, and press play. Use the song title as the answer to the question. NO CHEATING.

How does the world see you?
Blur – Britney Spears (Circus)

Will I have a happy life?
Dare – Gorillaz (Demon Days)

What do my friends really think of me?
Miles Away – Madonna (Hard Candy)

What do people secretly think of me?
Candy from a stranger – Britney Spears (Circus)

How can I be happy?
Shake it like a pom pom – Missy Elliot (Ching-A-Ling)

What should I do with my life?
Dirty Dancing – New Kids on the Block (The Block 2008)

Will I ever have children?
I hate this part – PCD (Doll Domination)

What is some good advice for me?
What you waiting for? – Gwen Stefani (Love.Angel.Music.Baby)

How will I be remembered?
Breathless – Shane Ward (Breathless)

What is my signature dancing song?
Love on my mind – Freemasons ft Amanda Wilson (Clubland)

What do I think my current theme song is?
Rise Up - Yves Le Roc

What does everyone else think my current theme song is?
Blurry – Puddle of Mudd (Come Clean)

What song will play at my funeral?
No regrets – Robbie Williams (I’ve Been Expecting You)

What type of men/women do you like?
Break me down – Seether (Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces)

What is my day going to be like?
Sweetest Goodbye – Maroon 5 (Songs about Jane)

And this was plucked from Mubi's place, but with my answers of course:

4 Places I Go to Over and Over Again
4. KFC
3. Movies
2. The River
1. The corners of my mind

4 People Who Mail Me Regularly
4. Facebook Application notifications
3. Blogger
2. Me Couzins
1. Tweety

4 of My Favourite Places to Eat
4. Spur
3. Chicken Licken
2. Akhalwayas
1. Mochachos

4 Places I’d Rather be Now
4. On a beach in Santiago with FC the lucky cow.
3. Traipsing around Mexico.
2. Cruising the Mediterranean visiting each country (In the Summer).
1. Exploring Greece, Turkey… really anywhere!

4 Favourite TV Shows
4. Greys Anatomy and Desperate Housewives (It’s a tie)
3. Friends and Will and Grace (It’s a tie)
2. The George Lopez Show
1. Prison Break

4 Movies I Could Watch Again and Again
4. Under the Tuscan Sun and Chocolat (It’s a tie)
3. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
2. Rush Hour 1,2,3 and Money Talks (It’s a tie)
1. Pirates of the Caribbean

I'm tagging everyone who wants to be tagged.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I will try...

Theoretically, I don’t believe in making New Year resolutions; even though I always end up making one or two anyway, in the hope of achieving some or other moronic goal that I usually forget about by Valentines Day…I hate Valentines Day, but that’s a whole other story.

This year is no exception. I don’t want to make resolutions that mean nothing. I don’t want to set limits or restrictions on my already yucked up life. I don’t want to pressurize myself to achieve some unobtainable goal and then feel like a failure for not following through. So this year I’ve decided to tell myself to “try” even though I’ve always believed that some of us “try” and some of us “do”. I’d much rather prefer the “doing” because “trying” is for pathetic losers. But that’s all I can afford to do at the moment. “Trying” means being ambitious without commitment. It means giving it a shot, without beating yourself up if you fail. So, for now…I will try.

I will try to be more patient with those around me, even those who are morons and can’t think for themselves.

I will try to put more effort into my academic work because it’s now or never.

I will try to be a better Muslim that is deserving of The Almighty’s bounties.

I will try to let go of the past and that last piece of baggage I’ve been carrying around.

I will try to be more generous, especially to those in need.

I will try to be more obedient to my parents even when they’re driving me up the wall.

I will try to be less aggressive with people who piss me off and suppress the urge to bash their heads in with a baseball bat.

I will try not to brand all men with the same label just because a handful are assholes.

I will try to continue to be non-judgmental of people and their circumstances.

I will try to eat more healthily, keep up the gym routine and take better care of my health.

I will try to save more money for my future escapades.

I will try to be more open to good things that may come my way.

I will try to be less obsessive and stalker-ish when it comes to Wentworth Miller.

I will try to curb my penchant for all things made of Cocoa.

I will try to read more books and I will attempt to buy them too, since I’m all out at both Libraries.

I will try to manage my time more efficiently.

I will try to be a better person, whatever that means.

I will try to have a more objective outlook on life.

I will try to be less lazy in all aspects of my life.

I will try to be a better friend to all my friends.

I will try to travel more, even if it bankrupts me.

I will try to laugh more, although I don’t see how that is possible.

I will try to continue being my whacky crazy wonky self and may even step it up a notch.

The one thing I have resolved to “doing” is actual living. Time is fleeting and as I get older, I have a growing need to live it up regardless of the obstacles, trials and tribulations that stand in my way. I will do one thing every month that I’ve never done before and that makes me happy. I will push aside all the drama, fear, apprehension and uncertainty in my attempt to enjoy life. I will also take huge leaps to enhance the quality of my life and savour every second of it. For once, I will actually LIVE.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Parisian Dreams


Of all the places I’ve been to, Paris is one of three destinations that really stand out for me. I don’t know if it’s because of my French DNA, but I always miss Paris. Last year at this time, I spent my days and nights strolling through the cold Parisian streets, marveling at the small wonders hidden in the nooks and crannies of the place. I stood below the Arc de Triomphe and looked up at the names of wars and battles fought, some of which my own great-great-grandfather and great-granduncles were a part of. I’ve always wondered what on earth would make my ancestors want to leave a city so refined, beautiful and serene for searing, wild and untamed African shores. Paris definitely speaks to me. It whispers and tells tales of a country rich in history; a place once seeped in colonial wars; a place filled with hope, dreams and aspirations.


The first time I went to Paris, I was struck by how large the city really was because Paris, in fiction, is always illustrated as being made up of the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre and The Champs-Élysées. I don’t find the city to be romantic at all, not in the traditional sense, even though there are people all over the place who have no reservations when it comes to public displays of affection. Instead I think that the tranquility and serenity that is embedded in the very thread of the cultural fabric of French society is often mistaken for romance.


The French are very socially inclined and a family orientated nation. They are also very relaxed and laid back in their approach to life and this is evident in the subtle nuances of their everyday lives like, for instance, eating. The French eat quite leisurely, savouring every bite like it’s their last. They also only work for approximately 30 hours a week, which is a norm and a standard in most businesses across the country. Walks in the park are also common and a part of every day life; and so is socialising over coffee, which is a favourite past-time and is epitomised in the depiction of Paris as the “street-side café” capital of the world.


French culture is often perceived to be based on a sense of erudition and superiority, and immersed in pretentiousness, or so many believe. Even if this is true, one can’t help but want to revel in the allure of such refinement, grace and elegance; such sophistication, charm and finesse. The Parisians in particular, seem to not have a care in the world, nothing fazes them. The atmosphere is saturated with the stench of promises of placid, balmy, dreamy days followed by long, languid, consoling nights under the stars…filled with laughter and friends.



I’m always interested in those parts of a city or country that is very rarely portrayed by travel channels, brochures and catalogues. In Paris, that has to be La Défense…or the real city of Paris as I call it. It is France’s main commercial and business hub and houses most of the country’s financial and corporate institutions. It’s an interesting spectacle because people don’t ever expect to see skyscrapers when they visit Paris.


As I get lost in my reverie, I can envision myself walking down a tiny cobbled street, on my way to have a café au lait and a fresh butter croissant from the Patisserie around the corner. I love Paris. I love the air, the atmosphere, the subtle innuendos, the street-side cafés, the crusty baguettes and warm brioche, the dingy hotels, the laid-back-care-free lifestyle, the art, the history and the views from the Eiffel Tower. I love the accent, the language, the pretty boys in Yves St. Laurent shirts, the men donning French-inspired cologne on the Métro de Paris, the under-ground highways, the chaotic traffic, the little souvenoirs sold in tourist shops, the viaducts, the Seine and the McDonald’s fish burgers.

I miss Paris.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Vincent


Starry, starry night,
Paint your pallet blue and grey,
Look out on a summer's day,
With eyes that know the darkness in my soul.

Shadows on the hills,
Sketch the trees and the daffodils,
Catch the breeze and the winter chills,
In colours on the snowy linen land.


Now I understand,
What you tried to say to me,
And how you suffered for your sanity,
And how you tried to set them free,
They would not listen they did not know how,
Perhaps they'll listen now.


Starry, starry night,
Flaming flowers that brightly blaze,
Swirling clouds in violet haze,
Reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue,
Colours changing hue,
Morning fields of amber grain,
Weathered faces lined in pain,
Are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand.


Now I understand,
What you tried to say to me,
And how you suffered for your sanity,
And how you tried to set them free,
They would not listen they did not know how,
Perhaps they'll listen now.


For they could not love you,
But still your love was true.
And when no hope was left insight,
On that starry, starry night,
You took your life as lover's often do.
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.


Starry, starry night,
Portraits hung in empty halls,
Frameless heads on nameless walls,
With eyes that watch the world and can't forget,
Like the strangers that you've met.
The ragged men in ragged clothes,
A silver thorn, a bloody rose,
Lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow.


Now I think I know,
What you tried to say to me,
And how you suffered for your sanity,
And how you tried to set them free.
They would not listen,
They're not listening still,
Perhaps they never will…

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mother Xmas: Gifts For All

Following in the footsteps and elaborating on OH’s Post yesterday, I have to say that I hate this time of the year. Hot, scorching days followed by humid, sticky nights are not my thing. I particularly loathe hot air.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t like Summer. In fact it’s my second favourite season behind Spring, the Season of Promise. I just don’t like the 38° blistering-desert-like-flesh-roasting-dry-ass type of summers. I love the 26° balmy-but-cool-breeze-sitting-by-the-ocean-or-river-or-even-pool-with-ice-cold-drink-in-hand kind of summers. But I detest this time of year not only because of the weather, but because everything seems to take twice as much effort to accomplish and in double the time. For instance, Work...no one wants to be working and if you’re not on holiday enduring the hordes of people in your face or driving at 0.2km/hour, you’re stuck in an office where simple tasks like photocopying a report is akin to climbing Everest.

I just came from the Mall, actually KFC; went to get a late lunch but it was like a Lara Croft Tomb Raider expedition. There were about a million little rude retards that are usually let out their cages at this time of the year, set free in the school holidays. They infest public places like fleas and lice. Forget going to watch a movie, not without someone kicking the back of your chair, giving a “Special Features” director’s commentary on the movie with their friends, sitting on Mxit or chatting on a phone that doesn’t seem to stop ringing. If you’re slightly claustrophobic, there’s no point in going anywhere really; not without the stifling and suffocating sea of bodies and faces on what seems to be every available inch of earth.

I avoid all kinds of shopping during this period (unless I really have to) and prefer to sit at home because I don’t want to be killed off by some cock-eyed drunk moron either. I'm also usually in the northern hemisphere this time of the year where it is freezing and no one steps out of their homes. I wear clothes that resemble my mother’s curtains, prance around in empty streets like Mary Poppins and enjoy the few weeks of cold weather, which is a relief after soaking up sweltering temperatures in JHB.

I miss some of my friends during this time and I’m usually posting Holiday Cards to all my Christian and Jewish friends locally and internationally. I usually receive tons of cards too, even though I don’t celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah. What I do like about this season is the idea of giving presents. Now I advocate gift-giving throughout the year, and not for any specific reason or occasion but because I generally love giving gifts. I especially love giving whacky, quirky and totally useless gifts. Which got me thinking…if I was a Squa-jillionaire what would I buy for everyone? Well Mother Xmas is in Cyber-Space, dressed to kill with her red fishnet stockings and stiletto “boots with the fur”…let me see what I would have in my little baggie while I look at my blogroll (and in no particular order):

Prixie – A lifetime supply of Godiva chocolates, a private tour of Willy Wonka’s factory (be careful of those Oompa Loompas though) and 25 boxes of blue food colouring.

Edge – Four tickets to every game at the World Cup in 2010 including the Final and dinner with the winning team afterwards, a Spatula and pancake mix.

Dew – Two unlimited passes to all the art museums in Europe and Asia complete with transport, food and accommodation and a Stapler with 200 boxes of staples.

NK – A brand new black Toyota Auris, latest edition, all the accessories, free petrol for six months and a garden gnome.

Saaleha.com – A state of the art fitted kitchen complete with Ambient technologies, granite table tops, marble floors, LG plasma-internet refrigerator, microwave, stove/hub, finest China and porcelain crockery, cutlery, AMC pots etc. and a pair of roller-skates.

Princess – An in depth tour of the Middle East including accommodation, flights, transfers, breakfast daily and a truck load of PVC.

OH – The latest Sony home theatre system, a lifetime of unlimited DVD’s from Musica, HMV, Virgin and Look and Listen stores, a yearly visit to Waterstones’s in the UK and a clown suit.

Seher – A 3G iPhone, up-gradable to newer future models with a lifetime of unlimited minutes and text messages and 30 boxes of paper clips.

Emmy – A lifetime of free flights to SA, car hire, Southern Sun hotel accommodation and a cow.

Aasia – A loft apartment in Sandton, completely furnished to your liking and a lawn mower.

Sofi – The entire UK Woolworths chain, unlimited Pic’n Mix sweets at your disposal and a skate-board.

Tazeen – The latest and most sophisticated camera equipment, your own studio, a photography course, a world tour and a Colgate toothbrush.

Isheeta – A state of the art personal gym, complete with gyming equipment, trainer, nutritionist and 6 tins of Heinz baked beans.

MJ – A Coca-Cola machine with a lifetime supply of Coke, your own public mosque, an exclusive ticket on a lengthy worldwide all expenses paid tour on the KAJEE EXPRESS (check it out before they delete it) and a pink bunny suit.

BB-Aisha – A voucher for the latest designer bags and shoes in an array of colours, valid for the next 20 years, and 2kg of apricot seeds.

Desert Demons – An all expenses paid six-month tour of Northern Africa and the Middle East, a job as a UN Ambassador and a surf board.

Shoaib – A two-bedroom place in London around the corner from Oxford Street, a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts every month for 3 years and 2 pairs of knitting needles with orange wool.

KS – A lifetime of unlimited books from any Exclusive Books store, latest Sony Vaio 120MB, 16G Sony Flash Drive and a parachute.

Mubi – A holiday to Belgium with all-you-can-eat chocolate tours, a voucher to import your favourite Belgian chocolate to your home town for the next 10 years and a screwdriver.

Killa – PS4 on pre-order, unlimited Big Macs for 10 years, Brad Pitt’s shield in Troy and 100 boxes of tampons.

EMCT – A free baby-sitter on call 24 hours day for the next 10 years, regular weekend all expenses paid breaks away to the coast and US$7 in change.

Qdee – A Nine-West voucher valid for the next 15 years, a DVD recorder and a tent.

Kay – A European, Asian and Middle Eastern all expenses paid tour of old and contemporary bookshops, unlimited baggage allowance and an electric saw.

Sameerah – An all expenses paid visit to New York City USA, an all-you-can-buy scrapbook shopping spree at Borders, unlimited baggage allowance and 40 meters of steel piping.

TCQ – A 4 bedroom, fully furnished house in Constantia Kloof, a year long supply of fruit and vegetables from Fruit and Veg City, and 50 little army men toy figurines.

Waseem – A six week tour with any Soccer team of your choice, unlimited paintball for the rest of your life and the story of Cinderella in 12 different languages.

Nooj – A luxury yacht with all the amenities, an exclusive ticket on a lengthy worldwide all expenses paid tour on the KAJEE EXPRESS and 30 floral print chiffon dresses.

Parasputin – A fully furnished house in the Swiss Alps, unlimited rail passes and a flute.

Afrocentric Saaleha – An unlimited all expenses paid pass to all photographic museums and exhibitions around the world, a free book of your choice every month for the next 10 years and a Nissen Almera engine.

Safiyya – An unlimited pass to Fashion week in New York, London, Paris, Milan and Tokyo, VIP backstage passes and a baby bottle.

Hasina – An all expenses paid shopping trip to Dubai, unlimited baggage allowance and 12 Geese.

Zesty – A custom made Ferrari Adonai especially imported from Italy, a car-seat for the baby and a baseball glove.

Fatima – A two bedroom fully furnished apartment in the overseas destination of your choice, free tickets to SA twice a year for the next 10 years and 20 green light bulbs.

Trinity – A tall glass of Moosa :D and a lifetime supply of earbuds.

Blue – A Slush Puppy Machine, free unlimited Levi Jeans for the next 20 years and a yellow tutu.

UJ – An all expenses paid 10 month tour with the Formula 1 guys, Halaal food in every country and a plastic tiara.

Lone Writer – A fully furnished lodge in the Drakensberg mountains, an X5 to get there, a stable housing 5 horses and a pair of ballet shoes.

WIP – An all expenses paid sabbatical for the length of time and destination of your choice complete with Spa treatments and retail therapy, new tyres for your car and stone statue of Julius Caesar.

SG – An all expenses paid trip for two to the Auto Expo in Germany every year for the next 10 years, free test drives and 12 Barbie dolls.

Stunna – A month in the life of a high roller including first class flights to any destination, 5 star accommodation, Armani suits and P Diddy’s bling and 17000 matchsticks.

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen. Your wishful-thinking Xmas presents from moi for 2008. Feel free to barter or exchange gifts with other bloggers if you want to. I have some more blogger gifts for anyone I may have left out in this tiny bag of mine, just send a shout out.

PS. There are some places left on the KAJEE EXPRESS…make your bookings now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Resilient Soul

Despite being bombarded with negative reviews, I decided to watch “Swept Away” yesterday, a Guy Ritchie film starring his now ex-wife Madonna. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t half as bad as all the critics penned it to be and I found it to be quite funny actually and a little sad.

Ok so I admit the only reason I was enticed to watch it in the first place was because I knew the Protagonist was going to be stranded on an Island and I was promised great Island footage. I’m a sucker for Islands. I will watch anything if I can look at what can be described as the closest thing to heaven on earth…or any aesthetically pleasing scenery for that matter…while I make mental notes to go and check the place out myself.

What struck me about the movie was how adaptable we humans are. In the movie, we see a woman who is degrading, spoilt, arrogant, aristocratic and condescending. She happens to fall in love with a poor Italian fisherman after they get stranded on an Island but it’s no ordinary love affair. They are the most unlikely pair and despise each other from the beginning, because her bourgeois and patronising tendencies provoke him and incite hatred for her.

After they are stranded, and because he is the sole (Get it? Fish? LOL) provider and has a significant advantage with his survival skills he gets his revenge by making her perform the most demeaning tasks like washing his clothes and calling him “Master”. It was hilarious…Azra loves justice.
But the main point of the story is that they fall in love, adapt to their environment and live comfortably and happily for a while, so much so that she hides away when she spots a ship on the horizon because she doesn’t want to be seen and rescued or have to return to her old life.

People are faced with adaptation on a regular basis…it’s called Change and it is not exclusive to the rich or the poor. It occurs in all sectors of one’s life including family, career, personal and while most of us don’t like it, it happens and we learn to live with it.

Human nature is astounding in this way. We are remarkably resilient creatures and can unconsciously adapt to almost any environment we’re in. So when we say that we won’t be able to survive alone in the world if our parents had to depart; or that we’d die if that special someone ever left to build a life with someone else; or that we cannot live without Double Cheese Burgers and Pizza’s; or that we could never live in other countries because they’re just too different from what we’re accustomed to…essentially, it is not true. Of course, very few would actually WANT any of the above to happen. But we’d manage just fine if they ever did because human nature is adaptable, resilient, tough, durable and unyielding. The need to survive almost always reveals a true strength that is often hidden, tucked away in the crevices of the soul, only to be unleashed when primal instincts take over and one’s spirit is tested. And it is only when we’re tested and forced to utilise these untapped sources of strength and power that we can learn our life lessons and grow spiritually. We learn what we are made of, what we can endure and what we can overcome.

They say that the only constant in life is change…I say, there is no such thing as weakness…only fear and inexperience.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Walking The Line

I can remember the day Birdy was born. Being almost a decade older than her has afforded me the privilege of witnessing almost every minute detail of her life. Of course, all the information gathered is used as ammunition when I need something done and she refuses to comply. And being the only teenager in the house means that she’s broke half the time…so simple things like making my bed, doing the dishes, washing the car and cleaning the house can be bought at an affordable rate of R10…which is approximately US$1. But Birdy is not a victim of child labour. Like most in her generation, she is somewhat spoiled so as her family we take it upon ourselves to rectify that and make sure that she has to work for what she wants, like the rest of the world. However, it has become more apparent throughout the years that Birdy’s entire generation has somehow slipped through the cracks.

When we were kids, people would advertise toys and video games like Mario Bros. Just yesterday I saw and advert, Simba showing kids how to play with a ball and be more active in their backyards...like WTF? How did we come to that? Did Technology kill what it meant to be a kid?

But the issue I'm really grappeling with is the rude, uncouth, foul and offensive youth of today. Now I can understand naughty children…naughty is normal. I can tolerate a hyperactive child or a child with ADHD, because it is beyond their control. But RUDE…there is no excuse for rude other than their parents are assholes who have neglected to teach them basic manners in the hope that paying their pre-school or first grade teachers will save them the effort of having to do so. Other parents just love their kids too much and put them on pedestals, often forgetting that their children are just people with their own personalities and traits and that they are bound to fuck-up at some or other point in their lives. Then there are those parents who are too scared to discipline their kids so they handle them with care, like a box marked "Fragile", and their kids eventually grow up and kick them in their backsides and they sit around wondering "Why?".

I’m sure my generation can attest to the discipline we were brought up with. In fact, I have never met anyone born before 1986 that wasn’t disciplined in some way or form. There are things that kids do today that we would have never even dreamt of doing, never-mind in front of our parents too.
We were brought up with very strict parents. Mother was the General in the house, and any protestation from us as kids, even the slightest moan was met by stern look that could send shivers down Hannibal Lectors spine. If I had even dared to speak to my mother the way I wanted to…the way Birdy’s generation communicate with their parents…I would have been thrown out of a window on the second floor.

My aunts were equally stern and we were all terrified of our parents. There was one day, in our early adolescence, that my cousins Zan, Zigs and Raz were nagging Mother’s sister, Aunty D, for some chocolate. My aunt had bought a box but refused to give them some until after supper. They continued to nag until she lost her temper, opened the entire box and forced them to eat everything. Then Aunty D went out, bought more boxes of chocolate, and forced them to eat those too. Zan can still recall how sick she was; how they were trying to hide some of the chocolate under their mattresses and how their mother caught them, took out every single hidden bar and made them eat the whole lot. She then gave each of them a table spoon of Castor Oil so that they could make their chocolate deposits in the toilet later that evening. Needless to say, they will NEVER EVER ask their mother for a Chocolate again.
Then there was Aunty M, Mother’s eldest sister, who made cousins Mimi and Naz smoke and eat several packets of cigarettes when they were caught smoking in Naz’s bedroom. They had to first smoke a few packets, all in one go, and put them out on the carpet in the bedroom. They were later instructed to eat the rest, until they were sick and Mimi threw up all over the place.

We were naughty little buggers, but we were disciplined and we had that rare quality called Respect instilled in us from a young age.

Birdy’s generation however were not afforded any kind of morals and values. They prance around with that air of entitlement and an unwarranted arrogance because their parents lied to them and made them believe that they are descendants of Greek Gods or Arabian Kings. And who has to pay the price for these self-involved narcissistic asses? Society and the rest of the world of course. The rest of the world has to endure their selfish, condescending, egotistical, supercilious and superior attitudes and that false sense of authority that they carry so well. They are unnaturally rude and don’t know what it means to have respect let alone manners in general. They don’t respect their elders, their peers, their environment or even themselves. That’s why they can talk to everyone any way they wish; verbally, mentally and emotionally abuse their peers; violate every environment they are exposed to by vandalising everything they come into contact with; and engage in sinister and de-moralising activities like substance abuse and promiscuity.

I ABHOR rude children with the venom of a thousand rattle snakes. One day, when Birdy was around 6 or 7 years old, she and a few of her friends were playing in our house. There were two in particular, a brother and sister – twins, who were causing a ruckus by jumping on our beds and on the couch/sofa in the lounge. When I reprimanded them, the little bastard told me to “Fuck Off”. So I bitch-slapped the little mofo on the back of his head with enough force to send him lurching two steps forward. I told him “I am not your mother or your friend so you will NOT talk to me the way you want to”. I then pulled the little bitch’s ear and told her that they will not do as they please in my house. She told me “I’m going to call my Mommy”…to which I replied “Please do so that I can kick her stupid ass for bringing up such rude children”.

I place the blame squarely on the Parents, especially those who neglect to teach their children basic manners. Children are not born rude and they’re not genetically programmed to be rude either. The children are supposed to be our future…now what kind of fucked up future are we to have with a bunch of spoiled, demanding ingrates that don’t even have a clue about what it means to have morals, values and respect?
Your kids are not going to learn the basics of life from their 2 or 3 year old peers. It is the responsibility of every parent to teach their children, from the BEGINNING, on how to act and behave in their respective environments.
Parent’s who find their child’s rudeness “cute” grate my fucking nerves. I have a cousin-in-law that finds it hysterical every time her 3 year old son assaults another adult by scratching, biting or throwing one of his toys in their faces. I bitch-slapped that scowling mofo too. If she can’t control her child and do her job as a parent, then I’ll have to step in and show her how it’s done.

Instilling morals, values, respect and discipline in your child is not Rocket Science and does not require a Lobotomy. A few years ago, I met a gentleman called Nick at a famous accounting firm in Johannesburg. I was working as a contractor, editing all their documentation as they introduced and adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards into their existing policies. I can remember the day he breezed into the open-plan office and in the most polite manner asked me to assist him with the new template. He was so gentle, courteous and gracious that upon his departure, everyone in the office exclaimed “OMW, Where did he come from?!?!”. I have NEVER met anyone with such impeccable manners and awe-inspiring etiquette in my entire life! I was stunned, astounded, amazed, speechless and breathless. I’m sure if I was a Christian I would have fallen in love with him right there. After a few hours it had occurred to me that we are so accustomed to and numbed by vulgarity and rude behaviour, that when someone is being respectful and courteous we are shocked to the core because we don’t expect that. The next time I saw Nick, I was sure to tell him that I commend his Mother on a job well done. I don’t even know her but she had inspired me to instill the same etiquette, morals and values in my own kids one day.

People want to know what’s wrong with the world today. They don’t have to look far…they should look at their parental skills because a little boy who watches his Dad beat his Mom will grow up thinking its OK to treat women that way. And similarly, a little girl who witnesses such an injustice will grow up thinking that it’s OK if her boyfriend/husband hits her. Children are like sponges; they absorb everything in their surroundings and take their cue from their parents. Parents essentially mold their children’s personalities, behaviour, future beliefs and ideas about the world. So as a parent it is your JOB to be an example to your kid, to be someone he/she can aspire to be.

We all know and are witness of the extent to which morality has decayed in our society. One of the problems people have is that they are afraid to verbalise their opinions when it comes to witnessing the debauchery of the youth, because parents tend to become emotional and defensive when it comes to their rude children. But that kind of response is exactly what is responsible for leading to the ethical deterioration of society. When I was much younger, adults would reprimand children who were out of hand, regardless of whether they knew them or not…and parents were supportive of this kind of discipline by echoing the disciplinarian’s sentiments. In today’s times…you cannot offer your opinion or chastise a child caught red-handed in some or other kind of devious or wicked act without the fear of the onslaught that might be brought on by his/her parents. And parents are too willing to stick up for their iniquitous children, even if they are guilty…and so the juvenile delinquent is born.

As parents, you don’t raise your kids for yourself. You raise them for the world that they have to live in. There is something called tough love…it doesn’t mean that you don’t love them…it means that you actually do. My message to all the parents and future parents out there is that if you actually DO your job as a parent, then I won’t have to help you. If you discipline your child regularly and consistently…or every time that he/she crosses the line, then I won’t have to do it for you. I have no qualms about offering my help to those who are less capable and anyone who has a problem with that is more than welcome to meet me outside where I will be waiting with guns blazing, because apparently some kids are not the only ones who need to be disciplined. I’ll be offering my services free-of-charge, and doing society a favour in the process because we need to get rid of the hooligans that tread around recklessly, for the greater good of mankind.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

The Good: When I’m good, I’m fucking great…seriously, I’m not just tooting my own horn.
The Bad: I always see the good and the bad in people's characters...and I rarely trust them.
The Ugly: Hell Hath No Fury Like Azra Scorned.

The Good: I love my parents.
The Bad: They drive me insane.
The Ugly: I can’t afford to move out on my own so will probably have to endure their quirks for the rest of my life or until I get married...will then have to deal with the husband's quirks.

The Good: I want to travel the world.
The Bad: The current economic crisis is not going to make that any easier.
The Ugly: Being mistaken for a terrorist at every airport isn’t going to make that any easier either.

The Good: I’m currently being relentlessly pursued by a guy on Facebook.
The Bad: The only reason I entertain his conversations is because he hasn’t used the dreaded “S” (sweety) word yet and uses proper English…none of that mobile talk i.e. “u r so nyc, id lyk 2 c u”
The Ugly: He is 20 years old making me 6 years his Senior! I’m a lot of things, but a child molester isn’t one of them.

The Good: I’m going to pursue my MBA next year, iA.
The Bad: I have to choose between applying at NWU or for a scholarship at Amsterdam University.
The Ugly: Both application deadlines are in January, all personnel are on leave for Christmas so no one can process the application, both cost a fortune and there’s no guarantee that I’ll be successful.

The Good: I’m glad that I’ve had the opportunity to meet some very interesting, charming and intelligent people in the past year.
The Bad: I miss those friends that live in yonder…they were in my life for a brief time…but live on in my heart and on Facebook.
The Ugly: It will never be the same again for some of us. You get to a point where your friendship has reached the end of its life cycle and then its time to move on.

The Good: I managed to get rid of any toxic relationships/friendships that I had at a very early age.
The Bad: I somehow lament my wasted youth and often feel like I lost out in a lot of things.
The Ugly: “Regrets are a waste of time…they’re the past crippling you in the present” so there’s not much I can do about some things now.

The Good: I have a feeling that I will eventually get married,
The Bad: even though it doesn’t seem that way most of the time.
The Ugly: I feel sorry for the poor soul that has to endure my personality.

The Good: I want at least 4 kids…maybe 6 if I can afford it.
The Bad: Even though I’d love my kids to death, I’m a disciplinarian by nature.
The Ugly: My kids are eventually going to need therapy because their mother will try to be less controlling but won’t succeed because she loves them too much.

The Good: I’ll be a fantastic wife…devoted, honest, loyal, kind, compromising, accommodating, loving, nurturing, not materialistic or demanding, no nagging or tantrums etc. I’d climb mountains for him, walk through deserts, swim the deepest seas, move planets, cut my heart out…that kind of thing.
The Bad: I won’t tolerate substance abuse of any kind i.e. drugs and alcohol; Abuse of any kind i.e. physical, mental, emotional and MOST of all…Infidelity.
The Ugly: I don’t take too kindly to men who beat their women. In fact, if future hubby ever tried that shit with me, he’d probably land up in the ICU at Garden City Medi-Clinic because his wife tried to extract his spine from his rectum.

Azra becomes a demon at the mention of infidelity. She wouldn’t kill him; that would be too easy. But judging from what she would have in mind, he would be begging for death to envelope him. She would pretend that nothing happened for a full month…everything would be hunky dory while she gathers her ammunition and tools. She’d cancel any insurance that they had, especially on the house and household items and then one day, when everything has been bolted and the trap has been set, she would get him off-guard. She would begin his torture session by binding his hands to his feet, from the back with 2 sets of handcuffs…not the old ones with the chain in the middle…the ones with the steel shaft because there’d be no room for him to maneuver. Then she would peel the skin from his face with a carving knife and rub salt and lemon in the wounds. The scars on his face would serve as a reminder of his cheating ass every time he looked in the mirror. Then she’d clip 2 of those little clamps attached to 50 000 volts of electricity to his balls and proceed to shock the shit out of him at the exact times of the day or night that he engaged in his adulterous trysts. Then she’d dip his electrocuted shriveled winky in some crushed glass…like decorating a biscuit. Then she’d wash his body with petroleum and set him on fire…just long enough to suffer damaging burns. He would suffer a week for every day he was unfaithful…a week of fun and games for every day he pranced around arrogantly thinking that he could do as he pleases and that he would get away with it. Of course she’d stop occasionally to feed him and give him water…she wants him alive and well enough to remember everything. When the time is up…anywhere between one week and 10 months later…or longer…depending on how guilty he felt during his rendezvous’ to bring it to an end…she would take his battered body in a wheelbarrow and place him in a strategic location so that he can watch his house burn down with 2 tons of Hydrogen…the most volatile gas around that emits a colourless flame. There’d be no insurance pay-out since the insurance was cancelled a few weeks earlier and all his possessions would perish in the fire. She would of course plead temporary insanity, but then there would be no need because she knows all the right people :D

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Top 20 Minor and Major Signs of Eid

You know its Eid (in Johannesburg) when:
- You hear everyone rushing to go to mosque after Fajr Salaah (pre-dawn prayers).
- The smell of food comes from every house at 07:00am in the morning.
- Someone has to shower in cold water.
- The dining room table is decked out to resemble a wedding.
- You eat things for breakfast that you’d only ever eat at a party, wedding or when you break your fast.
- You spent an unusual amount of time getting dressed and doing your hair.
- You eat way too much, there's always Chicken, Mutton, Beef or some kind of seafood involved and you continue eating wherever you may go for the rest of the day.
- The weatherman said 27 degrees celcius but you're sure he meant 40 degrees celcius judging from the way your flesh is slowly braising in the heat.
- You’ve visited a minimum of 5 houses.
- You’ve greeted everyone and their aunty in a 5km radius.
- You’ve sampled at least 5 desserts for the day.
- Your stomach feels like it’s going to explode by 2pm.
- Your clothes feel too tight or uncomfortable at some point in the day.
- The sweltering heat makes you lethargic, irritable or sleepy.
- You have to run away from some or other kind of dog on your visiting rounds.
- You get accosted by some salivating member of the opposite sex, hoping to wish you a blessed day.
- You have to take off those shoes and walk around bare-foot before the end of the day.
- You have never seen so many stylishly dressed kids in one place at one time.
- Your carefully styled hair goes home from either the sweat on your brow in the scorching heat or from the afternoon’s thunder showers.
- You have to take a power nap after having rice for lunch, to make it through the rest of the day.

I haven’t observed Eid-Ul-Adhaa at home in the last 5 years. In 2004 I spent the morning of Eid-Ul-Adhaa talking to a few of my Arab neighbours in Maida Vale, London, where there's a large Arab population. I spent the rest of the day in Cricklewood, eating Dougie’s version of his mother’s Briyani with spices especially imported for the occasion, hidden away in his hand luggage and smuggled into the UK at Heathrow Airport. The entire day was bitter-sweet…with all the South African’s sitting in the massive lounge they called Mo’s bedroom and telling stories of “home”. A good portion of the day was spent on the phone calling home too. But there was camaraderie in the sadness and the melancholy of that day…and we all enjoyed it regardless.

In 2005 we found ourselves trekking through the Middle East. The day began in Amman, Jordan in the morning and arriving in Damascus, Syria later that evening. I remember driving through many towns and villages, stopping for short periods of time and meeting lots of interesting and fascinating people. Slaughtered sheep, goats and cows were displayed outside butchers across the land, testament to the day’s activities. Eid lunch consisted of a generic version of Lays plain salted potato chips and a drink that closely resembled Pepsi. We imagined all of delicious food that would be served back home in South Africa. Uncle Z even went as far as to graphically describe his liaison with a chicken burger from Mochachos, the vivid imagery coming to life in our salivating mouths with each bite and crunch of wanna-be Lays. It was a long day…but the journey and the people made it all worth it.

In 2006 we found ourselves in Cape Town with old family friends and had a traditional Cape-Malay Eid that included waking up early, going to the mosque, returning and getting ready for the days activities. Lunch consisted of roast chicken and cockroach curry (i.e. prawn, crab etc.). And cakes, there were cakes everywhere…in every house we visited. I particularly enjoyed a Kiwi Cheesecake that my friends Fadz & Shana made, even though it took them hours to prepare the previous night because of forgotten ingredients. We fought for the best sweets and chocolates and over-indulged in a variety of desserts that were on display. We watched the mountain in all its glory and strained to hear the ocean while a fresh sea breeze wafted in the air. We lazed about on the wooden floor-boards and smoked Hookah for most of the evening while we told tales of Eid days gone by and people we have yet to meet.

In 2007, we found ourselves in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, celebrating the day with a massive Turkish Muslim population as well as other Muslims from South Africa, Surinam and Morocco. We dined on a buffet of roast leg of lamb and burnt chicken Briyani, once again with spices especially imported for the occasion. We spent most of the freezing cold -6 degree day and evening holed up in the warmth of an apartment, making embarrassing home videos and laughed until we cried. There wasn’t much in terms of dessert, other than chocolate brownies that were to die for and Fanta Orange that tasted a lot like cough syrup. We reminisced about childhood days and got caught in a whirl of memories. We still enjoyed every minute of it and stood by the large window frames on the first floor in anticipation of the first snowfall.

It was initially thought that this year, 2008, would see all of us at home, together, for Eid-Ul-Adhaa for the first time in years. A last minute invitation changed that. We responded in favour to having lunch with extended members of the family, the first of such in our history of Eid. We always have lunch at home and then proceed with the ritual of visiting everyone we know in the afternoon and evening. But this year, it was different. We all gathered at the aunt and uncle’s place and had lunch together for once…there was no wedding…there was no funeral…just because it was Eid. We sat for hours afterwards, talking about how Eid has changed. The day of Eid-Ul-Adhaa is just not quite the same anymore. Maybe it’s because we’re all grown up and the magic has been lost in the passage of time.

I’d like to think that we can re-capture some of that magic by holding on to older traditions as well as creating traditions of our own. Maybe I could do themed Eid days…next years will be the Army, with green and khaki being the colour scheme and little toy guns or water-pistols for gifts. Everyone will be expected to suit up after lunch and the slaughtering has been done for a round of Paintball. We could also do a Pirate theme, with chests of chocolate gold coins, a true feast and a treasure hunt as a family afternoon activity. After all, Eid is not only about remembering our Creator, it is about the people too…friends, family and fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. So it doesn’t really matter where you are in the world and what you’re doing, as long as there is cohesion and a sense of kinship in celebrating our religion. I quite enjoy spending my Eid with other Muslims, in different lands, countries and continents. I may even make it a tradition. To see the Muslim community come together in such solidarity and unity is magnetic and magical…there’s nothing like it.

Scattergories

I was tagged by Seher.

Rules: IT'S HARDER THAN IT LOOKS!

TAG 10 PEOPLE INCLUDING THE ONE THAT SENT THIS TO YOU.

- USE THE 1ST LETTER OF YOUR NAME TO ANSWER EACH OF THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS.
- THEY HAVE TO BE REAL PLACES, NAMES,THINGS. NOTHING MADE UP!
- TRY TO USE DIFFERENT ANSWERS IF THE PERSON WHO TAGGED YOU HAD THE SAME 1ST INITIAL.
- YOU CAN'T USE YOUR NAME FOR THE BOY/GIRL NAME QUESTION.

- SCATTERGORIES

1. What is your name: Azra

2. A 4 Letter word: Arse

3. A Boys Name: Ahmed

4. A Girls Name: Asma

5. An Occupation: Anesthetist

6. A Color: Aqua

7. Something you wear: Alice-band

8. A Beverage: Applejuice

9. A Food: Akni

10. Something found in the bathroom: A-Toilet

11. A place: Austria

12. A Reason for being late: Aversion-to-work

13. Something you shout: Asshole!

The hardest part is finding 10 people that will play with you!!!

Hmm lets see: (and I don't want to hear your long sad stories)

Trinity
Nooj
MJ
KS
SaalehaBM
Emmy
OH
Edge
TCQ
WIP
Safiyya

Friday, December 5, 2008

Serenity

Azra is physically, emotionally, mentally, psychologically and spiritually exhausted. Azra needs a holiday like the earth needs the rain. Azra longs to immerse herself in calming, turquoise and aqua waters and feel the sand beneath her feet give way as she walks through the gentle waves lapping to the shore with the cool breeze caressing her face. Azra wants to feel the grains of soft, white sand slipping through her fingers while she basks in the warmth of the sun. Azra wants to smile up at the sapphire and cerulean sky and taste the wisps of fresh salty ocean on her lips...to feel the moisture glaze her skin. Azra longs to lounge about langourously on a white hammock amidst the rustling leaves of palm trees and to dine on fresh tropical fruit displayed in vivacious colours. Azra wants to smell the promise of long warm nights beneath the stars in the sultry air, filled with the laughter and joys of days gone by spent with good company. Azra needs to feel the world dissipating around her whilst watching the sun dissolve languidly on the horizon, her legs slowly swinging back and forth off the hammock to graze the cool sand below. Azra yearns for freedom, peace and serenity.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Post-Traumatic Education Disorder

You know those people you meet that have like 4 degrees and exude intelligence, charm and have a natural flair and inclination to every academic endeavour under the sun? Those people who really enjoy studying, and are continually involved with their Universities as part of the Alumni…the ones who revel in education and find a sense of pride and fulfillment in their academic achievements?

Well I’m NOT one of them.

I hate studying…I mean I really HATE it. I hate going to lectures…even when I find the subject matter interesting. I hate writing exams, doing assignments or mini-dissertations…I just don’t like it period.

But I’ve been conflicted over these past few days. This is the story:

I wanted to do my Masters next year…but then this opportunity arose. I’ve been seriously contemplating doing my MBA instead. What does this mean? This means using the last two brains cells I have over the next three years…because it would have to be part-time…since I would be paying for it from my own pocket.

The good news is that classes are literally a kilometer from where I work, so there’s convenience. But the real question is: Can I handle being broke, working my ass off, and using my last two brain cells for the next three years? These years will be my 7th, 8th and 9th years at Varsity respectively…that makes me feel like a failure. In that time I managed to get a degree in Psychology and English…another Honours degree in Information Science and Business Management…and now this. Like why couldn’t I become a Chiropractor, a Doctor, a Journalist or an Accountant like all the normal people out there huh? Why must everything always be the long way around with me?

When I announced it to Tweety, her response was: “What the hell is wrong with you…When are you going to stop torturing yourself?” (I’m still LMAO for that one).
The thing is I feel compelled to do it…every time…I can’t explain it. I feel like I’m being instructed to do it by a higher power. And even though I’m fighting it internally…the higher power says “YOU WILL DO IT”.

I could get the company to pay for it, but they have a clause that states that the beneficiary (which would be me) will have to work for one month for every R500 the company contributes towards any tertiary institution on behalf of the student. That translates into over 12 years people!!!

I can’t work here for the next 12 years…I’ll die. What about growth? And moving on up?

Maybe I should just stick with the Masters plan…

This is yet another reason why I should just get married and become a housewife!

So whats your Verdict?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Snail Mail

Boredom is a terrible thing. It takes ordinary, average people and makes them dangerous. I spent most of my adolescence revelling in boredom, mostly because I was short of opportunities. In my days entertainment didn’t come in the form of driving your father’s car and cranking up the music so loud that you’re two decibels from being deaf…or engaging in any form of promiscuity...ah the debauched youth of today. Aside from Karate, there wasn’t much to do which inadvertently led to numerous ahem “activities”, some of which the legality and legitimacy can be disputed.

So when we weren’t walking to the Airport wrapped in our duvets, coffee in hand at 4am in the morning to watch the sun rise by the sitting in the middle of the runway; or swimming in strange uninhabited pools when no one was home; or ordering copious amounts of Pizza to be delivered to that chick we despised on 3rd Avenue; or repeatedly making prank phone calls to another distant relative we weren’t too fond of; or playing hop scotch, engaging in monopoly marathons, movie marathons, ogling and stalking the cute guys; I read a lot, at least two or three books a week. And when I wasn’t reading, I engaged in other more productive forms of entertainment in the form of constructive criticism.

There was a stage in my life where I became quite closely acquainted with the complaints department at MNET and SABC, so much so that we were on a first name basis. I use to call them and make requests or complain about their shitty programming almost daily. When I wasn’t making Telkom rich, I use to write letters:

To whom it may Concern (at the SABC)
(Yeah you, the one who authorises all the programming schedules)
Firstly, thank you for playing my request, “This one’s for the children” by New Kids on the Block. I LOVE them…please play more songs from them in the future ok? Secondly, when is “My So-Called Life” returning to our screens? I can’t wait to see if Angela and Jordan Catalano actually make it…I think he is SOOOO cute, the lucky bitch.
Thirdly, do we really HAVE to watch the news on ALL the channels at the same time? Can’t you re-schedule or something? And what is up with the Devil and Marlena on Days? What shit is that?
PS. Can you play some re-runs of the New Kids on the Block cartoon? Thanx.


To whom it may Concern (at MNET)
Thank you for playing those re-runs of the Looney Tunes…they are so cool. But what the Hell is up with all the sport? Man seriously, you’re killing me. Can’t you make another channel for all that crap? Some of us like good entertainment…like the Torkelsons, now that is one great show. I wish I was Dorothy Jane, she’s pretty. I use to watch Loving, but that Tricia just irritates me, so I’ve quit soapies.
PS. I still like Nick and Soenet in Egoli, what a great couple they make.

My opinions were not exclusive to those in the media or communications industry…on a trip to Cape Town, I went to a very nice Caltex Garage:

Dear Caltex
I must say that I’ve had one of the best experiences visiting one of your branches near Bloemfontein. Five stars for those guys on service and cleanliness. Now if only ALL the Caltex Garages could follow suit, that would be great. Thanks again.


As I got older, my interests varied…

Dear Cadbury
I bought the most delicious whole-nut chocolate from Pick ‘n Pay yesterday. The hazel nuts were roasted to perfection…I think they were slightly crunchier than usual. But man…it was divine. Please roast all your nuts that way, thank you.
A chocolate lover for life.

My most notable and consistent contributions were to Nestlé:

Dear Nestlé
I recently bought an Aero from one of the local shops in Auckland Park and it was all white inside…why is that? Some people tell me it’s because of the heat…well I hope so because I don’t want to be eating vrot (rotten) chocolate.

(Three weeks later I received a voucher for three slabs of Aero chocolate)

But it didn’t end there:

Dear Nestlé
I like most of your products, but that hot chocolate could do with some tweaking…it tastes horrible. Your coffee still rocks though...

Dear Nestlé
So I tried that new instant Cappuccino and well it’s ok, but there’s room for improvement. There’s a slight after-taste you might want to get rid of. Well good luck with that!

I didn't have to wait too long for Nestlé put me on their research panel :D

These days I only write letters when necessary:

Dear E-TV
Ten points for securing the “How I met your mother” series…its fantastic and gives me something to look forward to on an otherwise dreary Sunday night. But I have to say, minus 25 000 points for every 80’s inspired B-rated movie that you have ever screened. As a regular viewer, it’s insulting. I implore you, if I have to watch Anaconda or Streetfighter one more time, or any  other Jean Claude van Damme movie for that matter, I’m going to dig my fucking eyes out and feed them to the birds. I may just report you to the Broadcasting Complaints Commission for visual abuse and you will have to pay for my psychotherapy over the next three years.


Dear SABC
Your Monday night schedules are unrivalled. Kudo’s for that. But what the fuck is up with screening all the new series’ after 10pm? That’s my precious internet time when I devote a good hour to YouTube to watch EVERYTHING that you DON’T broadcast. And those pesky hours in the middle? I thought 7pm to 10pm was Prime Time viewing…so enough with the seven variations of “Top Billing”…I like the show, but come on, to watch it three days out of the week...and then to catch the Afrikaans version “Pasella” when I try to switch channels? Is this the kind of entertainment what you beg us to pay TV Licenses for? Then lock me up please, I’d rather be in prison with Wentworth Miller…he’s delicious, kudos for that too.

Dear Oprah
Thank you for highlighting the plight of most Africans with your frequent visits to our country. However, I have to ask, are you out of topics to discuss that you have to turn your talk show into a cheap reality series with the “Give Big” campaign? I must say, I don’t find Poverty or Charity very entertaining and since I’m from your brand of “Africa”, you’ll understand why. I feel these issues should be dealt with on ground level, there’s nothing funny or entertaining about the seriousness of this matter. I also don’t appreciate how you’ve managed to turn “Africa” into one of your commodities, like we are some kind of alien nation that the West can poke and prod to see if we’re human…that we breathe and feel too.
I’ve noticed that throughout your years on television all your shows reflect and coincide with what you’re experiencing in your personal life. There was the self-help phase where every shrink on earth – including Dr. Phil – jumped on the bandwagon to help people “find and be true to themselves” when in reality, it was just therapy for you…so that you could learn to love yourself after years of abuse, torment and abject self-loathing had left you emotionally crippled. 


Then there's the continual "healthy-living" phase where you preach one thing but practice another…every reputable doctor, dietician and physical fitness instructor has made their debut on these shows too. You religiously advocate the adoption of healthy lifestyles…in other words “lose weight or die”…it is all a farce to cover your life-long need to be a size 0. You send out messages that people have to be comfortable in their own skin, but then you applaud them for losing 50 pounds…because being comfortable in your own skin does not mean being fat. You guys wouldn't even have these problems if it wasn't for the American culture of consumerism. Everything in the American way of life has to be "super-sized", and if you can't get what you want for whatever reason, you have to resort to stealing from other nations under various guises like "weapons of mass destruction".

Now lately, after having gained a few pounds yourself, I find it amazing how your thyroid gland has started acting up…keeping up with the Joneses is never easy even if you do earn $100 million+ a year. For all your money and wisdom though, I do believe that at the core, you have good intentions. But I must point out to you that you have issues…and every now and then, it filters through the cracks of that perfectly made up façade that is your life.
Another thing…your opinion in this world is not the only one that counts. I wish you could conduct some of your shows with that in mind.
PS. Your friend Gail rocks though…you should be more like her.

Kind Regards,

Azra

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sensory Pleasures

It’s no secret that I’m a cheap-skate…but not in the traditional sense. If Nooj, KS or MJ or anyone else for that matter (Non-Stalker/Non-Paedophile types) had to proposition a 3 week bloggers back-packing holiday to Greece or Mexico, I’d be the first one on that plane, no questions asked. I wouldn’t even care if it costs R20k to get there and would even take un-paid leave from my job. But I will never, I repeat NEVER buy something for R700 when I can get it for R50.

I’m not particularly brand conscious either. As far as I’m concerned, the “brand” is one of the biggest lies told to mankind. The premise of a brand is that you are only worth something if you own it. It’s absolute rubbish because they’re all produced in the same factories in Taiwan anyway, and I have seen proof of this. But this doesn’t mean that I don’t like that turquoise Adidas tracksuit that has been on sale at the Adidas Factory shop since like January this year, even though it still costs a fortune after being marked down thrice. I like it because it’s pretty, not because its a resident in the House of Adidas. I still won’t buy it on principle though…because I see no sense in paying R800 for a label and stripes. And I’m sure if I really wanted to, I could get the knock-off that was made in the same factory for R120. My philosophy behind my attire is that I wear my clothes and my Eau de Toilette…they don’t wear me. My clothes and my possessions do NOT define who I am as a person. I'm sure my personality carries enough weight so I don’t need names to enhance who I already am.

I do have standards though. I don’t buy pirated DVD’s…especially if I like the movie and since I only ever buy movies that I have already watched and really love, I NEVER buy pirated DVD’s. I’d rather wait for 3 months when the retail price of the original DVD goes from R150 to R80. And if all else fails, I will fly to London and go to HMV on Oxford Street or Virgin in Piccadilly Circus and buy 6 DVD’s for £30-00…on principle, just because I won’t pay R150 for a DVD.

That said, we were invited to the ASCO perfume sale recently. The VIP pass didn’t prevent us from rushing to get there after work before they closed for the evening, and because the place was packed, we had to park around the corner which meant that Azra had to run up a street that resembled Kilimanjaro and could rival Everest…and in record time…and in stiletto heels. I wouldn’t have worn the stiletto’s had I known that an unscheduled installment of Wrestle Mania was waiting for me, but we had planned to go out later that night and home is not exactly around the corner. Now I like perfume as much as the next person…it entices my senses and is delicious and refreshing and all that but again, I have principles. Needless to say, I was astonished when I saw how over-zealous and ballistic some consumers can become.

I’m a Davidoff girl, so naturally I was drawn to the counter housing “Echo Summer Fizz” and “Cool Water Wave” but on my way there I was knocked out of the way by some Speedy Gonzalez who thought that she was the only one entitled to buy anything there. Regaining my balance, and taking one step at a time I found it amusing that most of the men and women there had luggage…huge bags brimming with everything from Escada to Lacoste. I walked past a woman who was harbouring two huge carbon boxes (intended for purchasing) like they were fugitives…her eyes never leaving the coveted merchandise. I wanted to grab the bottle of Givenchy “Very Irresistible” on the top of the pile just for kicks, to see her reaction, but I got distracted by the lady behind the counter thrusting a bottle of Hugo Boss “Deep Red” into my hands. I put the bottle down and moved on to the next counter.

An olfactory sensory overload and what seemed to be hours later, I selected my purchases for the evening…just two bottles…waited for Tweety to get her two bottles and headed for the checkout counter. As we waited in the queue to pay, I looked at the carnage around us. Tweety informed me that the perfume and cologne industries are fast becoming the most profitable in the retail sector. Celebrities who endorse a scent are likely to make more money with their endorsements then they would make from their movie or music sales. I looked around and there were people strewn everywhere, counting their gems…guarding them like little cubs in the wild…it was hilarious. What is it about a scent that can make even the most civilized people act like animals? The perfume/cologne industry is the second biggest farce in the world…being a subsidiary of the farce known as the “brand”.

We were discussing it and came to the realisation that most people derive a sense of self-worth from the names and labels they acquire on their clothes and bottles of fragrances. Sure the smell is enticing and adds to or enhances their personal value, but the names and labels they purchase validates their existence in some odd way. A few squirts of Aqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani on the nape of the neck is as good as 6 months of therapy for some. Self-esteem in a bottle. It can make one feel beautiful, special, worthy, elegant and a whole list of other adjectives that only a shrink can prescribe for you in the form of Prozac or some other related drug. I feel like a million bucks every time Davidoff’s “Cool Water” touches my skin…I’m a sucker too.

The concept of the brand even extends to what we eat. Look at MacDonald’s for example. Any person with regular healthy taste buds (that are still alive) will tell you that MickyD’s is shite…glorified cardboard…tasteless…
And I can hear the onslaught of dedicated customers who swear by their Big Macs but I have to pose this question…is it really the burger made from soya products, or is it the novelty of the brand working it’s consumer psychology by making you believe that it has to be good because it’s “MacDonalds” and comes all the way from America and that it’s one of the most popular brands on earth? You decide.

I still prefer some original products over their generic counter-parts though…not because of the name but because some things just taste, look, feel or smell better than the knock-off…and I’ll take quality over quantity any day. But I still won’t pay through my backside for things…because I have principles :D