Queen Eleanor’s Foreign Affairs

So, I managed to pull my finger out and got myself to Hong Kong for the rugby (the promise of firm male flesh on abundant display being the main draw) and as an eager student, I learned many things in my short stay on the island:

– sex paraphernalia should not be sold on street corners. it takes all the fun out of furtively walking behind some see-through curtain and guiltily trying not to eye the size of other customers purchases.
– it’s a pity chickens only have 2 wings. I cannot believe that science has failed to effectively market a 6- or 8-winged chicken for the food industry. K-K-K-K-K-K-FC anyone?
– my mind has been cleared of the notion that all Asian women put fashion ahead of comfort. thank you All Stars for penetrating the market.
– the person who said that money can’t buy you happiness clearly had no experience in a corporate stand at a major sports event.
– turns out that ‘it’s a small world after all’ is not just a childish, simplistic Scripture Union song. it definitely is a small small world.
– do not use words like ‘itinerant’ to describe yourself to people you’ve just met. they won’t thank you for it.
– Americans do in fact believe that there is a language called American. and apparently there is another one called Argentinian.
– your bladder is only as weak as how many people you have to brush up against to get to the bathroom.
– Cindy Lauper should have sung the less PC version ‘White people just wanna have fun’ because there are some seriously crazy white folk out there.
– DJ Forbes is the most delicious pair of thighs out there. and I have seen the Richie McCaw and Dan Carter version of events.
– forget love or money, alcohol is the lubricant that keeps the world turning. it’s why those Muslims are always so angry, sit down, relax, have a drink mate.
– being black should be considered a handicap when travelling in Asia. you do realise that I can see you standing there staring and pointing. at least monkeys in the zoo get peanuts and bananas thrown at them.
– packing light is a seemingly alien concept if the Japanese airport security staff’s incredulity at my solitary backpack is anything to go by.
– home is where I lay my be-weaved head, just as long as there is a computer and internet access.
– people will laugh at anything, you just have to say it right.
– jungle fever produces some seriously good-looking offspring.
– Zimbabweans are floaters, there’s no keeping them down no matter the pressure.
– they say a fool is born every minute. a conman every 30 seconds. so there is a lot of money parting ways.
– 3 days is not as long as it seems when you have 46 games to cover.
– the Hong Kong Chinese are more interested in saving the planet than their Japanese counterparts. at 50c a plastic bag there is no horror on their faces when you  refuse one, instead often quipping ‘yes, planet long life!’
– the sexual revolution might have happened but it’s still too easy for women to be labelled sluts for committing the heinously unpardonable sin of enjoying sex.
– tree trunk thighs + little shorts + 46 games a very satisfied Eleanor makes. although it must be noted that I am also easily pleased.
– English must rank as the most mangleworthy language on the planet. anyone for some ‘fragrant prick meat’?

I didn’t get to do much touristy stuff. but photos will follow shortly.

Update: Photos, anyone?

An African tale

Once there was an esteemed leader in a small country in the south of the African continent. This leader loved his people so very much that it almost caused him physical pain (although that could just have been the old age arthritis). And he so badly wanted to protect his Africans from the nefarious influences and machinations of the Western world with its irresponsible talk of accountability, democracy, transparency and legitimacy (the profanities that these westerners indulge in). In this vein he often hurled toe-curling insults at the leaders of the west, whose donor funds were keeping his people in food and sustaining the hobbled economy.

This largesse on the part of the demon West, however, did not stop him from constantly biting at the hand that was feeding his subjects, seeing as he himself wasn’t all that hungry, the ports to China, Singapore and Malaysia still being open to him (his court jesters ministers in fact tended towards being rather corpulent, the sad consequence of diverting much of the food aid for their own personal consumption). The terrible pale-faced leaders had barred him from entering their cold, damp, muddy lumps of land, so looking east was the only way he could get his retail therapy fix. And keep the very very young Mrs Esteemed Leader off his back. She, so young in fact, that it was all he could do to prevent some simple monogamous minds from mistaking her for his rather pretty geriatric nurse (the term golddigger not existing in his vocabulary).

Then one day a plague was visited upon the land. A plague so devastating that it laid waste to the land and decimated entire families within a few short weeks and threatened to deny him the ability to continue ruling. For who can continue ruling without subjects to hold dominion over (although one could argue it would be distinctly easier without the great unwashed making incessant unreasonable demands).The leader was at a loss as to how to combat the plague for the entire health service had somehow over time become about as useful as a one-legged horse at Ascot (personal responsibility not being on the cards, none of the successive sycophants in the health ministry would assume any blame).

But being a wise and astute leader he called his coterie of yes-men and brown-nosers to sit counsel with him. Many theories were expounded, ruminating on why that blighting scourge had been rained upon their heads. But the one which found most purchase centred on the fact that the gods must have been displeased by the esteemed leader allowing the unrevolutionary and untested johnny-come-latelies of the opposition to have a go at holding the reins of power. They argued that after all, the whining turncoats of the opposition had not been duly appointed by the gods as the esteemed leader himself had been. The esteemed leader felt in his octogenarian bones that he had been anointed to rule for life (one of the few things he could actually still feel, everything else from the neck down was gone).

To this end, the esteemed leader decided to grab the bull by its horns and its balls and come out guns blazing to eradicate this scourge. His plan, though simple and uncomplicated, was brilliant in the breathtaking depth of genius that it entailed. And his strategy was premised on three four-letter words: deny, deny, deny (its previous success for a president accused of lewd acts with a subordinate in a white-coloured house, a president who smoked but did not inhale and a subordinate who blew but did not swallow, had assured him of the efficacy of this strategy). Armed with only his bare-faced audacity and his geriatric undropped ball of steel (rumour having it that the war was not kind to his family jewels) the esteemed leader announced his new coping mechanism to a despairing outside world. And it is for this reason that a whole generation of orphans was spawned with names like Constantdenial, Plague, Nomedicine, Mortalityrate and Neverdie.

The moral of the story: don’t let no darkies be naming no babies in time of crisis or social upheaval. It’s difficult enough going through life as a Beauty, Pretty or Clever when you clearly are not, without adding the extra burden of being named Government of National Unity or Census Taker.

Forrest Gump had it wrong

Jimmy Choos - new, studded, costlyLife really isn’t like a box of chocolates at all. It’s more like a pair of shoes.

You spend the first part of your life sitting on display on a shelf, waiting for the constant parade of suitors to try you out for size. Most of whom will reject you after a brief twirl and a flutter. And then the cycle of rejection starts all over again.

Finally an enamoured paramour sweeps in to rescue you from a life of bargain bins and continuous knockoffs and invests in you as ‘a worthy purchase’. After that, it’s downhill all the way as they proceed to wear you down.

Leading to the ultimate rejection when after many years of battered and bruised loyal service, they trade you in for a newer, shinier, trendier version of what you used to be.

Even Jimmy Choo has a sell and wear-by date.

Japan, two years on

Today marks the official 2 year anniversary of my embarking on my Asian adventure. More highs and lows than a fat bird with a chocolate addiction (that would be moi). To be fair, the seriously underwhelming lows have overwhelmed the highs. It’s really hard to score narcotics to ensure any kind of meaningful high here. Jokes about getting high, but scoring anything milder than tobacco is notoriously difficult here. That said though, here it’s illegal to possess marijuana but perfectly legal to possess marijuana seeds. Now pray tell, what on earth do the authorities is going to happen to those seeds?

October 2007 saw me facing the prospect of homelessness as the company I worked for went belly-up, leaving thousands of employees scrounging around wondering where their next meal, or fix, was going to come from. There is a lot to be said for unemployment though which gets too much of a bum rap. What’s not to like about spending half your waking hours sleeping and the other half labouring in front of inane Japanese TV. Although the volume can never quite drown out the sound of wolves baying hungrily at your door as the prospect of homelessness looms large and ugly. I eventually found myself prostituting myself again on the corporate machinery and became yet just another number in a long line of lifeless faceless cogs. And I still get the same asinine remarks and questions in my ‘new’ job as I did in the previous one. A young Canadian colleague recently informed me that Africa was a country. I thought, foolish me, here all these years on this God-given earth I thought it was a continent with 53 countries. It must be my poor Third World education to blame.

March 2007 was a particularly dark period. My former housemate was found murdered by one of her private students.

Now to my litany of complaints on what I have come to loathe about this place, and I say this in the nicest and least profane way possible. My patience is sorely tested every time I leave the house and walk up and down the streets. To put a stereotype to it, Japanese people as a rule don’t seem to walk with any sense of purpose, less so the women. They amble along at a pace even the snail would be most discomfited by. I’m hardly a hard-faced, hardened Londoner barreling my way through the great unwashed, but the speed at which people here drag their lifeless carcasses around is enough to make me want to pull out the remaining thinning curly black hairs on my head. The moniker ‘Louis Vuitton dinosaur’ is often bandied about to describe the bow-legged lurching high-heel shorn walk of the Japanese woman and her penchant for all things designer. Incidentally LV is the label of choice for upstart women with designs above their station in this country. A lot of which they purchase by either selling their bodies or their used underwear to dirty old men. I kid you not, it’s a whole burgeoning industry: young girls sell their used underwear to men for resale for anything ranging for ten to fifty dollars. The woman’s movement is very, very strong here.

Getting back to my original complaint about the pace of people on the pavements, the travesty is compounded by an evident inability to walk in a straight line, a certain innate crab-like instinct. No one seems to be able to stick to one side of the road with each person making it their personal mission to cover as much of the pavement as possible. Or trot in front of you and then proceed to slow down. I mean, like WTF? If there is road rage, I frequently suffer from pavement rage and have found myself shoulder-tackling the occasional errant fool who has the temerity to walk into my path.

The less said about my students the better. It would take more time than I have been guaranteed on the planet to detail my complaints. Not to put too fine a point on it, the question is not so much ‘What is wrong with them?’ but ‘What’s right with them?’. The one thing that I love about Japan is that it has brought out the misanthrope in me and helped pare some of my misconceptions about myself: I am not a ‘nice’ person, I am too bitter, twisted and cynical for that. I may be a ‘friendly’ person, but definitely not ‘nice’. The chip on my shoulder could replace the rainforests being depleted elsewhere.

A Japanese woman recently complimented me on my teeth. In any other country, she would definitely have been taking the piss. But man! Does dentistry need some major help in this country. This stunning girl steps up, beautiful face, lithe body, gorgeous rippling hair. Then she opens her mouth to speak. And the rest as they say, is history. Think Dracula with several rows of teeth growing over each other and the teeth an interesting stomach-churning shade of caffeine-nicotine heavy hint of beige. And just when you thought it could not possibly get any worse, some twinkling silver and gold flashed at you in the midst of all that rot and decay. Delicious I tell you. Myopia may have its drawbacks, but when it dulls the full impact of such sights, more power to myopia’s elbow.

So, in my 2 years of being trapped in Japan (more about the bane of that green bomber Zim passport later), I have lived in 5 different places. In house number 2 I had the misfortune of living with one of the 7 deadly sins made man, or woman in this case. Her name was Alia, an American lass. Now, for the most part, I have a death-defying affinity to filth but this girl put paid to my claims. She TKO’ed me from my perch in a move that would have had Muhammad Ali firmly on his feet. The one day she did a rather large number 2 which left skid marks so significant the whole F1 race track could have passed through, which she conveniently forgot to clean on the excuse that she did not have her glasses on. I am thinking, this shit is literally bludgeoning you around the head, this stuff is even talking in tongues it has such presence. My misery did not end there, used sanitary towels all over the apartment were my next gift from her, dishes left in the sink for weeks till they were almost moulding were another of her legacy. Granted this may all smack of kettles and black pots, but I am antique silverware to her blackened and charred three-legged cast iron pot.

What account would be complete without examples of people’s idiocy to foreigners, especially a Black African Female. So the first time I went to church, I went to one of these happy clappy ones. After the service, some Japanese guy comes up to me and says ‘Oh, you should have been here last year, we did Quincy Jones. I know you would have liked it’. I looked at him blankly for a few seconds, blinked, and then replied ‘Oh’. The assumption here being that all darkies sing and dance, a question unfortunately I have had to field rather too often, the annoying thing being that I do do both, and rather well, so it’s like fcuk! Here I am fulfilling the stereotype and there is nought I can do about it.

Then there is the issue of personal hygiene. It’s perfectly acceptable to pick your nose in public unashamedly, but God forbid you ever think about BLOWING your nose in public. And it’s also quite ok to sniff and sniff and sniff and sniff until you’ve sniffed your brains into your intestines but God forbid you ever think about BLOWING your nose. ‘Urgh’ do I hear anyone say?

Japan does have its redeeming features, alcohol is cheap, like one US dollar for a beer, its safe for the most part and the common person is quite honest. It’s not unheard of to leave your wallet on the train and have it returned to you within a few days, contents intact. The trains for the most part run on time except for when it rains, or snows, or its windy or there is a typhoon, or an earthquake or an accident (read suicide, the method of choice for people wishing to take their own lives and inconvenience thousands of others) or some idiot train driver has overshot the platform or some sexually repressed man has groped a woman on the train and needs to be ejected from the train, or some drunk fool has fallen onto the train tracks and needs to be hauled off, or that there are many people on the train taking too long to get on and get off.

I have met some good people while I have been here, who have all helped me cling on to the knife-edge of sanity. A sanity which I dare say is threatened by my continued presence here. However, the joy of having that green bomber Zim passport makes if difficult to get a working visa to many other countries. I really wasn’t aware that there were that many doors in this world. That could be slammed so hard in my face as to leave wood carving shaped marks on my face. Anyway,  it will make my own return to my home country that much sweeter when it eventually does happen. So here’s to wishing that there will definitely NOT be another 2 years of this place. And if through all this I have given the impression that I am not enjoying myself, whatever on earth gave you that idea?

The spirit is willing …

An important lesson was cemented for me this week: never pass judgement on ‘clear and shut cases’ because there are always material facts that have been omitted. So Pius has finally come out and admitted to his shenanigans and getting down with some OPP.

Now this blows on two fronts; not only did he break his vow of celibacy (which really is too tall a command for some of our brothers because zvinhu zvinotapira, I cannot tell a lie) but to then compound it by borrowing someone else’s wife in the process? I guess his reasoning was if you are going to commit a crime you might as well go the whole nine yards, in for a penny in for a pound as some would say. Why do things in half measures?

Still though, I really think that the Catholic Church needs to give up on this celibacy fallacy because it does them no favours, especially when no other denomination makes such heavy demands on its clergy. Are they surprised then that numbers of new recruits are falling? Hell, there is only so far that Palm-ela can take you, and all those little boys who are then inadvertently put on the firing line, all those altar boys who have to dodge those bullets.

So I say bring on the skanky hoes, ngatidyei tese because abstinence is one thing, self-delusion another.

On a personal note, I have made the symbolic gesture of cutting up my credit card to break the cycle of debt. I am tired of the credit card having me by the figurative balls every month and of being beholden to greedy egotistical malingering little paper pushing parasites.

It’s gonna be a lovely day

SunflowersGiven that I am always complaining, I decided to give myself a break and think of 10 things I am actually happy about and give thanks for:

  1. My family, the good, the bad and the extremely ugly leeching ones too. They are a fantastic support network and my mother is the coolest bank in the world.
  2. Being able to talk to people, see them, listen to them, smell what fragrance they are wearing and have a cold drink and taste it all at the same time: my 5 senses
  3. That despite taking up 2 or 3 seats on the kombi that I do have my health. There will be no ‘garisanayi five five here’.
  4. I have really good hair, which I am not too attached to, evidenced by my shaving it all off 3 times.
  5. Sunlight. I can’t get enough of the stuff. Especially winter sun, turning your face up to meet its warm rays and that feel good feeling it gives you.
  6. The cut price supermarket which permits my survival in those key countdown days before payday when the cupboard is well and truly bare.
  7. I have really good taste in clothes. Since we are not being negative I won’t mention how that good taste doesn’t apply to the men in my life.
  8. Making the most of my early 20s. I was beautiful, I knew it and goddamn the rest of the world knew it too.
  9. Being able to laugh at myself and trying not to take myself too seriously. When it’s all said and done, it ain’t a thing.
  10. Just being alive. Many comrades in arms have I lost.

Forgive them Father

Starvation - not coolYou gird your loins and take a deep breath as you prepare to answer “I’m from Zimbabwe”. You see your inquisitor’s eyes dart around in consternation or fear. Consternation as they have no idea where that is, but know that it’s somewhere dark and uncivilised. Fear that any moment now the African in you is going to bring out the begging bowl. A view supported by decades of media misrepresentation.

You mentally roll your eyes as nothing about your physical bearing implies any kind of starving or constrained circumstances, nor does your smooth delivery of the Queen’s language belie any inferior under-a-tree-with-no-textbook education, but all that is in vain as you are condemned to being Just Another African. Forget the fact that Africa is 53 different countries, each with their own distinctive flavour.

At some point you think about making a pre-recorded statement to counter the barrage of inanity that you know will follow shortly:

No, not all parts of Africa are sweltering cauldrons of heat;

No, we are not all dying from AIDS;

Yes, we live in houses and go to schools and drive cars and have planes at the airport;

No, we don’t all break into spontaneous song and dance, this is not the Lion King;

Yes, we grow up speaking English, thanks to British colonial avarice.

You seriously contemplate taking the path of least resistance by claiming to be American or English or anything that will save you from the onslaught of unadulterated ignorance; if you have to explain one more time that Africa is a continent not a country you are going to gouge your own eyes out with a blunt spoon. But part of you relishes the fact that you don’t fall to type and that people are forced to re-evaluate their misconceptions.

That maybe if you can alter just one person’s prejudices, your work on earth is done.

Claiming back my 20 acres.

Cotton - white; pickers - not so muchI finally did it. Deactivated my Facebook account. And you know what? Nothing. I do’t feel anything. Not because I am numb with grief for all those lost hours spent contorting my grammar into weird (but witty) third person statements preceded by ‘is’.Not because I won’t be able to voyeuristically poke into and trawl anonymously through other people’s lives.

I feel nothing because at some point, I stopped caring. Being randomly and repeatedly poked by people too lazy to actually make time to write an email, or even just post on my wall, got tired pretty quickly.

As for the cretin who created that Funwall application, may his bottom be covered in painful pus-filled boils and may his scrotum disappear into the farthest regions of his intestines. And if the creator was a chick, may the batteries in her vibrator always die prematurely like the men in her life and may her breasts be covered in fish-like scales.

Part of me thought the vacuum left by this decision would be hard to fill. But really, what vacuum? Like that McPhee chick sang – “I’m so over it”.

Normal service has resumed.

P.S. Bet you are all singing ‘heard it all before’ but I promise ‘I can change’.

A beginner’s guide to racism: 5 myths about black people

Niggers - clueless

1: All black people do in fact look the same, those thick lips and the coarse nappy hair that no amount of straightening / relaxing / perming / gerry curling / weaving will ever cure. And they certainly don’t mind when you call them all by the same name, they are just happy to be acknowledged.

2: Of course they smell different, all those years of picking cotton in the masser’s fields and the open fires over which they cook their ‘soul’ food has become genetically ingrained.

3: Three key professions: all negroes are born able to sing and with a sense of rhythm, that’s why so many of them are in the gospel choirs and/or are video hoe-fessionals. Also, all the years of running away from lions in the deepest darkest African jungles have trained them to be prime athletes.

4: There is truth in the assertion that black people are less intelligent. Look around, how many black CEOs of major corporations do you see, now look again, how many of those same black people do you see languishing in prisons?

5: Wealth will never get to the black communities because they spend far too much money on bling and rims and too much time watching MTV and having illegitimate children, while smoking crack cocaine.

Disclaimer: The ironic views expressed in this column reflect only those of the 51% minority and in no way, shape, form, race, colour or creed reflect the views of the editor or this column. The editorial team encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of this site. (just covering some legal asses)

Doubting Thomas(ina)

Negroes - smileyYou embark on what you believe to be a life-altering experience in the Orient, untainted by hallucinogens or any other mind-altering substances. Landing on the hot humid shores, you find the climes to be nothing less than frosty from the natives. Eventually you get used to people moving away when you sit next to them on the trains, unsure whether it’s because you are fat. Or black. As one South African eloquently phrased it – ‘Our blacks smell different’.

Looking around you realise the term ‘token’ has never been more apt. Darkies are hardly a dime a dozen this far east, even the Nigerians have failed to penetrate the market in their rapidly-spreading-fungus kind of way.

When eventually you do meet fellow people of colour, your heart bounds with unbridled joy, a certain kindred flame kindled. But accompanied with any hints of intimacy comes the disturbing realisation that colour, like the world, is not enough.

An odd hollowness rings around this bizarre coupling of people who have nothing more in common than the levels of melanin in their skin. This has you doubting the entire value system that you have been operating on for the last 20 odd years.

If this is wrong, what other misguided conceptions and fatal fallacies have you been operating on?