Thursday, 29 March 2012

Hot Cross Christians

I realise that I blogged just yesterday, but I read a story today that I simply HAD to comment on.   Woolworths is being attacked by a number of Christian South Africans for putting Halaal stickers on their hot cross buns.   The objectors argue that hot cross buns are symbolic of a Christian religious festival (Easter), and should therefore not be affiliated with another religious group.   Yes, you heard me right.   People are getting worked up over baked goods.   Please tell me that I am not the only one who finds this utterly ludicrous.

An article in the Cape Times this morning stated that Christian people voiced their disapproval via e-mails and through the use of sites such as Facebook.   One person actually wrote “I hate woolworths... How can you do that to the Christians, I hope that God will have mercy on you. And dnt be surprised if your shops run bankrupt.. I will pray to my living God and you will see what he is capable of!”   Wowee... overreact much?   

I am not even going to go into all of the reasons why this up-cry is beyond stupid, but the mere fact that people have taken this seriously makes me wonder about the world we live in.   Well, obviously it doesn’t matter what I think since Woolworths has agreed to sell separate hot cross buns this year – ones with Halaal stickers and ones without.   They had better be careful though, next thing you know they’ll get charged with racism against white people.   After all, why are the majority of their chocolate bunnies brown?

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

A Hairy Issue

I have officially been living in Cape Town for nearly a month now and, during my time here, there is something that I have noticed: a large majority of the men in this fair city are incredibly hairy (this statement may be viewed as somewhat of a generalisation, but hey, it’s my blog).   Never before have a hugged a 24 year old guy, and had my neck tickled by his protruding chest hair!   Now I’m not implying that all males should be as smooth and shiny as marbles, but in my opinion, there are definite limits to the amount of body hair that should be put on display.

Some of you may argue that it’s not the man’s fault; that he can’t help it if he is blessed with Samson-like genes, and I totally agree.   My issue isn’t so much about the hair itself, but I do find fault in the way in which it is presented to the unsuspecting public.   To put it bluntly: a woman with a fat belly shouldn’t wear a tank top, therefore a man with excessive back hair should resist the urge to don a teeny-tiny flimsy wife-beater ... especially if he is planning on rubbing up against innocent bystanders such as yours truly!

Maybe this is just a matter of preference?   Perhaps there are some women out there who actually enjoy having their mouths chafed by that furry dark thing that is living upon their boyfriends’ upper lips.   I mean, I am sure that there are some benefits to dating an excessively hairy man – not needing an extra blanket in winter being one of them - however I am not entirely convinced.   Oh well, I guess it’s just a matter of different strokes for different folks, but for me, I think I’ll stick to stroking my cat as opposed to a love interest’s chest hair.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Borat Fiasco

I know that everybody has probably heard about this by now, but I simply had to blog it!   At a shooting competition in Kuwait, organisers accidentally played the Borat version of the Kazakhstan national anthem.   It, of course, cause a great up-cry and the ceremony had to be redone, but it must've been pretty funny if you ask me!   The organisers say that they downloaded the wrong version from the internet, so maybe they should have actually listened to the words before playing it at the ceremony:
The Borat version of the Kazak anthem

Kazakhstan greatest country in the world.
All other countries are run by little girls.
Kazakhstan number one exporter of potassium.
Other countries have inferior potassium.

Kazakhstan home of Tinshein swimming pool.
It’s length thirty meter and width six meter.
Filtration system a marvel to behold.
It remove 80 percent of human solid waste.

Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan you very nice place.
From Plains of Tarashek to Norther fence of Jewtown.
Kazakhstan friend of all except Uzbekistan.
They very nosey people with bone in their brain.

Kazakhstan industry best in the world.
We incented toffee and trouser belt.
Kazakhstan’s prostitutes cleanest in the region.
Except of course Turkmenistan’s

Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan you very nice place.
From Plains of Tarashek to Norther fence of Jewtown.
Come grasp the might phenis of our leader.
From junction with the testes to tip of its face!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Why Give Hate A Chance?

I have been putting off writing this post for a while now, because I know that not many people will enjoy it.   But as more days go by, and the more I listen to the radio, I feel that I simply have to get this out of my system.   I am absolutely appalled with the state of the world at present, and I cannot believe some of the stories that have been on the news lately.

One story which really got under my skin, happened on Monday when a Jewish School in Toulouse, France, was attacked by a lone gunman on a motorbike.   The attacker pulled up to the school at around 08:00 that morning when children and parents were arriving, and let fire using multiple guns.   One teacher, his two sons, and the school principal’s daughter were shot and killed.   The children were only 3, 6, and 8 respectively.   A funeral for the victims was held in Jerusalem yesterday, where thousands of people gathered to pay their respects.   23 year old Frenchman, Mohammed Merah, was believed to be responsible for the shootings, however he died earlier on today after he resisted a raid by the police on his besieged home.   Merah allegedly jumped out of the window in an attempt to escape the police, and died on impact.

After hearing about this story, I then read an article in a magazine about children in Afghanistan who are sold to the Taliban to be trained as suicide bombers.   I had no idea what kind of indoctrination, abuse, and drugging these children are put through, and I got chills down my spine as I continued to read.   Not only are some boys sold to the Taliban by their own parents, but many choose to enlist themselves in an attempt to better their situations.   A suicide bomber is viewed with utmost respect, and these poor children are lead to believe that they will be greatly rewarded in the after-life if they sacrifice their lives for the cause.   What is even worse is that some children were molested and raped by the Taliban officers, and they believe that the only way they can rid themselves of this "sin" is by becoming a suicide bomber.

These stories, coupled with the latest prediction that the Rhino population will be extinct by the year 2015, have made me really stop and appreciate what I have.   These horrific things are happening at this very moment, and yet we still find it necessary to complain about the small things like petrol prices and the weather.   I don’t think that many people realise how truly blessed we are to be living the kind of lives that we do.   Yesterday, I spent my Human Rights day on Muizenberg beach with friends, completely at peace with the world.   And I was truly thankful.   Having said that, my heart breaks when I hear more and more about the horrors that are occurring every day, and I just wish that people could show a little more compassion to one another.   We can truly heal this world if we choose to love rather than hate.   Think about it.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Salesman Saga

I think that I must seem like a very approachable person.   Either that or I have the word “easy-target” tattooed across my forehead.   Whatever the reason, it means that I am constantly harassed by people wanting money or trying to sell me stuff that I absolutely do not need.   If it isn’t a car-guard telling me to give him more cash, then it’s a random woman asking if she can have my bracelet... yes, the one that was around my wrist at the time!

Today, I was in a shopping centre, innocently minding my own business, when a salesperson grabs me by the hand and starts inspecting my finger nails.   After a moment or two, he concludes that I simply cannot live with fingers in this dreadful state, and then starts rubbing my right thumb with some kind of loofah-buffer contraption.   Now as you can imagine, it is very difficult to get away from someone when they have a steadfast grip on one of your hand!   So I had to stand there and hear all about the wonders of this nail thingy – “Ooh, look how your nail shines... Aah, feel how smooth it is” – all the while wondering how long I’m going to have to hold hands with this stranger.   After some time, the man obviously decides that my thumb is now sufficiently smooth/shiny and then proceeds to thrust a nail-kit box into my hands.   “For you, it is only R800”, he tells me with a grin... a grin which rapidly fades when I tell him that I am a student and that I have absolutely no intention of spending nearly all of my grocery money on my nails!

After making a not-so-quick getaway, I scurry out of the shopping centre and head for a garage to fill up my car with some petrol.   One would think that it would be safe to sit in your car and not be disturbed, but oh no, not in my case.   As I am waiting for my tank to fill, and watching my bank-balance empty into my tank, a man comes up to my window and starts enthusiastically spraying my wing mirror with some kind of wax.   The can of wax then gets thrust into my hand, as he vigorously rubs down my mirror, all the while telling me about the wonders of this product.   As I was in the car at the time, it was impossible for me to get away, and so I had to sit through not only a mirror-wipe, but a back door and front wheel rub-down too.   After quite some time and much sales pitching, I get told that I can buy this can of wonder spray for only R400.   But wait, that’s not all!   If you act now, you will get another can ABSOLUTELY FREE!   No jokes.  

After making many excuses, and receiving a withering look from my previously very-friendly salesman, I decide to cut my losses and come home before I could get cornered by yet another sales person.   So now I have a shiny and smooth right thumb nail, and a very clean wing mirror, right wheel, and back door.   All WITHOUT spending R1200 on stuff that I really can live without!    

Friday, 9 March 2012

Along for the Ride

Today is the last day of my first week of studying in Cape Town.   It’s crazy how quickly time passes, and yet how new everything still feels.   I’m like a kid in a candy store at this point, taking in all of the experiences that Cape Town has to offer.   This weekend marks one of the biggest events in the Cape Town calendar – The Cape Argus Cycle Tour.

Now although I want to experience Cape Town to its full, please do not think that I am actually going to attempt to cycle on Sunday!   For the past 12 years or so, my father has come up every year to ride the 109kms around this fair city.   And I always think, “There is hell no way am I ever going to do that!”   Although I am fairly familiar with this particular cycling event, last year was the first time that I had come to Cape Town to witness the Argus for myself.   And I had no idea what I was in for...

When my dad and I arrived in Cape Town on the Friday, I remember thinking that since the Argus was only on the Sunday, I wouldn’t have to hear about or see anything to do with cycling until then.   Right?   Wrong.   No matter where you looked, there were bicycles EVERYWHERE!   People were riding bikes, cars were transporting bikes, car-guards were watching over bikes.   And I’m not just talking about your run of the mill bicycle that you’ve had since you were 12.   Oh no, some of these babies probably cost more than my car!

If I thought that the streets were bad on Friday, I was not prepared for the Expo on Saturday.   Now I’m not an idiot.   I expected to see bicycles and cyclists at a cycling expo.   But what amazed me was how many people (mainly men) were running around in full cycling kit.   I don’t know if this is some pre-Argus ritual, that you need to test out your gear before you race, but I could not fathom why lycra and cleats are necessary when registering for a race.   I felt like a fish out of water wandering around this massive hall that was packed with every bit of cycling paraphernalia imaginable.   A salesman even tried to sell me a motorized bicycle, but quickly got annoyed with me when I told him that I thought that a motor on a bike is cheating.   Raising his eyes to the heavens, he changed tact by ignoring me (when just ten seconds ago I was his best friend) and turned to tell some other poor schmuck about the benefits of this poor excuse for a bicycle.

After a full day of carbo-loading, I woke up on Sunday morning and got ready to meet my dad at the finish.   Thankfully Cape Town, being the organised city that it is, had arranged for a shuttle to transport us spectators from the Civic Centre to the finish at Green Point Stadium.   As I walked into the main area, I realised that it would be nearly impossible to find my father in amongst the throngs of finished cyclists.   Never before have I seen so much lycra and so many men strutting around with bulging packages for all the world to see.   I didn’t know where to look, and found myself being jostled by crowds of people – most of whom were (in my opinion) in sever need of some covering up!  

Eventually I received a call, and found out that my dad was in the beer tent – I really should have guessed – and so I start following a parade of very tight bottoms who were heading that way.   I was feeling good about things when all of a sudden, a very energetic man dressed in a luminous orange vest, literally leaps out in front of me, arms out-stretched, and yells “STOP!”   It takes me a while to register what is happening, so I just stand there staring at the little orange man before me with a blank look on my face.   Clearly my insubordination infuriated him and he started enthusiastically waving his arms and burbling about how only cyclists are allowed this way.   When I asked him why, I was greeted with a stare that seemed to say “How dare you question ME!? I have a luminous orange vest and am therefore very important!!!   You are nothing but lowly spectator SCUM!”   After a brief moment of silence, I get told that it is a security measure to ensure that none of the bicycles get stolen.   Yes, because it wouldn’t be at all conspicuous to see a 5 foot something girl (not dressed in lycra) lugging some massive bicycle home with her.   To cut a long story short, I was redirected around the LONG way (just in case me, being the kleptomaniac that I am, has any urges to steal something else) and finally made it to the beer tent and was greeted by my awesome father and some very much appreciated alcohol!

Thus concludes my first ever Argus experience.   I like to think that this year will be different as I at least have some idea of what awaits me this weekend.   At least I’ll be ready for the intense traffic and excessive amount of bicycles, but I’m not entirely sure if one can ever be prepared for all of the lycra-clad men who I will inevitably be shoved up against.   Maybe I should buy myself a luminous orange vest and try and steal a bicycle?   Or maybe I’ll just do the same thing as last year, and get drunk in the beer tent!

Friday, 2 March 2012

Positive Power

Why is it, that no matter how much you want to, there are some nights that you simply cannot get a decent night’s sleep?   I must have done something to anger the Gods because last night it was clear that the powers that be had deemed that I would get no sleep. Whatsoever.  

My night went as follows:
21:30   I climb into bed and switch off the light.
22:30   I am still in bed unable to sleep.
23:30   I start drifting off to sleep, only to be woken by the urgent call of an uncooperative bladder.
01:15   I wake up with a start, convinced that there is someone in my flat.
01:17   I hesitantly walk through my flat with my can of pepper spray, ready to let fly on the unwanted intruder.
01:25   Realising that the flat is empty (including the cupboards, which I also checked) I get back into bed, feeling like an idiot.
03:00   I jolt awake to a ringing cellphone.
03:03   Due to poor cellphone reception, the caller decides to sms me instead.
03:45   I finally manage to end the stream of smses and try to get back to sleep. Again.
07:00   My alarm clock (which I forgot to switch off the night before) starts beeping insistently.
07:30   I get out of bed as I cannot ignore my bladder any longer.
08:30   A car alarm goes off outside my bedroom window and I give up on sleep altogether.

Those of you who know me are probably thinking "Uh oh, sleep-deprived Karen = angry and moody Karen!"   And yet, despite my awful night, I had the most awesome day today!   Maybe it’s because I am in Cape Town, one of the most beautiful places in the world.   Or maybe it’s because I spent the day feeling inspired at The Design Indaba – which was incredibly by the way!   Whatever the reason, it made me realise that making the most of life and feeling positive far outweighs being grumpy because of something as stupid as a bad night’s sleep.   So that’s my thought for the day, I hope you enjoy it ... now I’m off to bed!