Hooray for Eskom!

January 31, 2008 at 1:18 pm (electricity crisis, Uncategorized) (, , )

Eskom-bashing seems to be SA’s national sport these days but I think our collective pessism stops us from seeing the bigger picture.

Let’s see the light (whether it’s by candlelight or not) and say a little thanks to those incompetents who earn so much money. There are several reasons why we should appreciate the current crisis. Current, geddit?

    • Now we’re forced to do something about energy conservation and do our bit for the environment. We’re now seriously looking to alternative energy sources and consumers are wising up to the fact that our resources are limited and if we don’t do something about it we’re screwed. Those who are used to saying “If I can pay for electricity then I’ll use it” now have to face up to the fact that you can’t pay for something that doesn’t exist.
    • It’s united South Africans as much as winning the Rugby World Cup did. Who’d have thought that would happen in the space of two years? Doesn’t matter who you are and where you come from – everyone is having a jolly old time bitching about Erwin and co.
    • It’s increased communication. Although I’m the greatest proponent of technology sometimes a little quiet time sitting around a candle just having a chat is the best thing to do. When last did you really speak to your parents/siblings/friends/etc (and chats on Google Chat, MSN, Facebook and the like simply don’t count)?
    • People have to walk around because their cars are a) locked behind electric gates (b) there’s no petrol because the pumps are down (c) you can’t face the traffic because of outages. . . etc, etc. So that’s exercise and appreciating the things around you. Ok, if it’s safe, that is.
    • People are learning to play games that don’t require a screen, mouse, console or TV. Isn’t that great – Scrabble anyone?
    • Writing a letter by hand is so outdated it’s novel when you do it now. Try it, you’ll see.
    • Candlelight is very romantic. Enough said.

        These are just some of the things I could think of. Can you think of more? Come on, lighten up, will ya.

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        The sound of silence

        January 29, 2008 at 9:10 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

        I was half watching TV last night and for some reason watched a few of the ads in between TV shows. One was about hair dye, the other about anti-wrinkle cream and some kind of collagen thing.

        I assume they think only women watch these shows because not a single ad dealt with men ageing. Am I the only one who is bothered by this?

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        January 25, 2008 at 8:58 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

        Can you believe these people? They want to protest outside any memorial service for Heath Ledger because he portrayed the role of a gay man in Brokeback Mountain.

        I swear, organised religion is the work of the devil …

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        The wheels go around

        January 23, 2008 at 1:59 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

        I like people on bikes. Actually, wait, I don’t. These menaces on the road are second only to drunk drivers. Not even cellphone-wielding motorists infuriate me as much as people on bikes – motorbike and BMX types – are dangerous.

        I know I shouldn’t generalise but I have never had a person on a bike drive next to or in front of me without doing something that puts his (and it’s always been a he) life in danger.

        I’ve always felt sorry for people on bikes because motorists always seemed so mean. But now I know why people in cars are like that – people on bikes simply don’t give a damn for the rules of the road.

        They cut in, driving between cars without indicating where they’re going, then become angry when you try to point out what they did wrong. They speed and weave between vehicles so you never know when overtaking whether you’re going to hit them or not. And they put their hands on cars without regard for whether the driver feels comfortable with them being so close to the car.

        In short, they’re hazardous and I am starting to fear them – they’re simply too much for me.

        I’m sure there are people who are not like that. Sadly I wished they were the ones who came my way. Maybe then I wouldn’t dislike the ones I see now so much.

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        January 22, 2008 at 11:44 am (electricity crisis) (, , , , , )

        Just hours after I wrote on Louisa’s blog about how I hadn’t suffered any power cuts my lights went off. Not cool – especially as I was just about to warm my dinner.  Fortunatly I’m not that fussy and cold chicken isn’t that bad. . .

        What did freak me out was hearing people were stuck in the cable car. As I have Table Mountain in my backyard it wasn’t surprising to hear the power had gone out there but it was a bit of a shocker to hear the generators weren’t working.

        Imagine how frightened those people were. Imagine hanging halfway between the top of Table Mountain and the ground. And imagine knowing this is all Eskom’s fault and that your fate lies in their hands. Oh hell, that I could not imagine.

        Seriously, they should give people warning. It was obvious this wasn’t a planned shutdown. If it was then the cable car managers have a lot to answer for. But somehow I don’t think it was them. Eskom just didn’t let anyone know and that is what infuriates people.

        I didn’t mind the power being out – I consider myself lucky that it happened for the first time and that it only lasted one and a half hours. But I am pissed off about the suddeness of it all. If I’d known it was going off I’d have made myself some coffee, warmed my food, etc, etc.

        But perhaps that’s too much to ask. I mean Eskom’s dudes don’t even know when it’s going off. . .

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        All in a name

        January 21, 2008 at 2:26 pm (feminism, love, sexist) (, , , )

        Should a woman take her husband’s name when she marries?

        This is one of those questions that can evoke so many emotions – irritations, anger, despair, amusement. . . it all depends on which side you’re on.

        It’s fine for women who want it but I won’t take someone else’s surname. I know many of my married friends have taken their husband’s surnames and they’re all independent, intelligent women so it doesn’t mean that if you do take his name that you suddenly become braindead.

        But I can’t see why I should do it to if I ever decide to take that step.

        Usually any discussion about this ends in an argument. My dad (with whom I had this argument yesterday) believes your marriage will never be a union if you don’t take your husband’s name. I of course think that’s crap.

        Why should your bond be defined by whose name you have? Why does not having your husband’s surname make your marriage any less solid? And why should you be the one who has to change your name?

        My argument is that I am not the property of any man so why should I take his name? I know many women don’t see it that way (and that’s fine) but I already have a name and don’t need another, thank you very much.

        If the whole ‘sharing one life’ thing is so important why can’t he take your surname? Because we’re still a patriarchal, male-dominated society and that kind of thing would never happen, that’s why. And in my mind that’s just another reason to not do it – the sheer sexism in this way of thinking is simply too much for me.

        My partner, fortunately, understands. But my dad and others like him just don’t get it. It’s not just about a name; it’s about a way of thinking and an attitude towards your life.

        What do you think?

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        Show me the light

        January 16, 2008 at 5:09 pm (Eskom) (, , , , )

        Oh puhleeze. Does anyone really think the Public Protector’s questions are going to give Eskom the much-needed kick under the bum?

        I certainly don’t. As with Telkom, Eskom will simply be allowed to continue with their crap service. They don’t seem to care, they don’t seem to know how to fix whatever it is that plagues them (I could go into reasons but should perhaps not) and they don’t know how useless they really are.

        I doubt a man who isn’t really known for getting things done will suddenly get them to clean up their act. Or maybe I’m just too cynical.

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        Chuck the rotten apples if you’re down South

        January 15, 2008 at 11:17 am (education, injustice) (, )

        Sorry, you’re not smart enough – go away.

        That seems to be the bottom-line message of a principal at a school in Cape Town. South Peninsula High principal Brian Isaacs finds himself on the defensive after a mom revealed her kid was told not to return because she wasn’t achieving the A’s the school wants.

        I must confess I thought something else must be behind it all because what educator in their right mind would chase away a child simply because she’s not getting top-level grades?


        Just a quick look at readers’ letters in local newspapers reveal the rot is deeper than I thought. Parents and ex-pupils have been penning their stories – it seems this is not the first time the principal has turned a child away for this reason.

        But more shocking are the letters and smses who say what he did was right. Parents and ex-pupils write in to say it’s good if the school gets rid of “bad apples”, as they call them.

        Excuse me? Since when is a child who struggles at school a bad apple?

        To be fair, we haven’t really heard much from the school’s principal and perhaps he does have a valid reason (although, at this point, it seems unlikely). But it’s clear others encourage him to think this way and would gladly kick a struggling kid to the curb.

        I’m so glad I went to an average Cape Flats school – at least I have some self-respect. The people who want the principal to do this clearly don’t.

        I wonder how often it happens and at how many other schools it’s happening. . .

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        Catch your breath

        January 11, 2008 at 3:41 pm (Uncategorized)

        Oh my soul – this has been an impossibly busy week.

        I’ve barely had time to eat much less post but here I am twiddling my thumbs, wondering what to do next. I have to got to learn this pace yourself thing.

        Anyway, it’s been lots of fun subbing. Oh, I may have forgotten to mention that. I’m not writing for the next three months. I’m doing a bit of comma killing and so far it’s fun. It certainly appeals to a certain OCD side of my personality.

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        Thanks for generous donations

        January 7, 2008 at 10:43 am (Uncategorized) (, , )

        By the end of last year I was pretty disillusioned with this world. Too many people hurt, too many bad things happening.

        Although I had a pretty good-ish year there was too much pain, sorrow and selfishness for me to be at my bubbly best when the festive season rolled around.

        But then something happened that restored my faith in humanity somewhat. People gave. They gave generously. They gave wholeheartedly.

        A friend and I decided to gather some goodies for those less fortunate and Project Santa Cause was soon underway.

        I figured a few people might donate some cans and packs of rice but the response was overwhelming and I was completely blown away.

        To say I was surprised would be an understatement – even though I know there are good people in the world I didn’t know there were so many of them around me.

        We managed to fill two cars with groceries for two places – Colleen’s Place of Hope and Ons Plek (Our Place) – both shelters for young kids.

        At both places the kids were wary and regarded us with suspicion but when they saw we were simply giving stuff just for the sake of giving their smiles could’ve lit up the entire Mother City it was so bright.

        At Colleen’s Place they’d been wondering what they would have for supper but when they saw the bread and cheese we’d brought they knew they had something to eat. So on Christmas Eve the 30 children at Colleen’s Place had bread and cheese for supper. Yes, on Christmas Eve. (Usually I wouldn’t admit it but there were more than just kids with tears in their eyes that night.)

        I really didn’t know the project would be so successful. I even doubted whether we’d get any response but we did and I don’t know how to thank those who gave so much in a time when interest rates are rising faster than global warming-induced temperatures.

        The only thing I can do is say thank you. Thank you for the children. Thank you for making me realise the world has good people and that sometimes you just have to look a bit to find them. Thank you for helping me end 2007 on a very positive note.

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