Thursday, September 9, 2010

The State of the Address

Suz, my next door neighbor is a young woman like me. About 68kg, well proportioned. Her designer outfits sit tight on her. Throw in a haughty expression and you have a gal who attracts ‘Madam’ like flies to honey. The same Security man who pays obeisance to her with a ‘Good morning Madam’ ‘Welcome Madam’ each day has the audaciousness to say ‘Baby what’s up’ to me cause I greet him with a smile and ask after his day.
I convinced myself that he was only being a tad over familiar (for lack of a better word). ‘Just overlook it. He's a neighbor after all’. But after 7 days of it I read him the riot act and he sulkingly stopped greeting or responding to mine altogether.
Can you beat that?!
Please don’t call me Baby.
Except we’ve locked lips, you’re nursing me, changing my diapers, you are performing other nurturing activities and/or Except you call me baby cause you love me (and I love you too).
In Nigeria, depending on the state of your attire, assumed income, or body size, or the absence or presence of a band on your left hand, you may be addressed by Coworkers, Clients, Strangers, Customers as:
Sister- Not necessarily blood relation but female who could be his Sis – age-wise, same hood or breathing same air.
Sisi - young chit- acceptable only if called by an older person, if younger rude. kindly bring out the glare.
Madam – Haughty demeanor, Attire, moneyed accessories, with or without a wedding band.
Baby – Young Pretty Thing, a recognition of your Baby-tude
There's also an ethnic slant to the address. A male from the North(predominantly Moslem) would rarely utter those words; unless he’s lived in Lagos for long and imbibed its rude culture. The random male from the West(Yoruba) would rarely do so too. Except he's in your social circle or he erroneously feels there are grounds due to some prior contact.
The male from the East (Ibo) fueled by testosterone, religion and centuries of male-centric tradition feels he has a God given right to ‘Baby’ any woman who doesn't have a ring on her 4th left finger.
You give him an ‘I wish you could just turn to a lump of dog poo glare or an icy ‘Excuse me’ and he loudly admonishes you. Reminding you that he has a woman like you at home (ie. Laying his bed). Translation - So long as you're unmarried don’t turn your snooty nose at me. I might just be your answer to marriage. WTH? Ha.
So when I came across this article in which the Author complained, ‘
There are other reasons to dislike the term ma’am — for its whiff of class distinctions, for being dismissive, stiff and drab. “If someone calls me ma’am, it’s superficially a sign of respect, but it’s also creating distance,” Dr. Kroll said. “It’s saying, I’m not going to have a serious conversation with you; I’m not going to engage with you.”
 ….I thought if only she knew what side her bread was buttered. I want that distance so very much!

What’s your favourite or un-favourite form of Address?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Remembering 'Coming to America'

22 years after and I still find these quotes as funny and silly as the first time I saw it!

Rev. Brown: If lovin' the Lord is wrong, I don't want to be right.

Prince Akeem: Listen, I know what I like, and I know you know what I like, because you were trained to know what I like, but I would like to know, what do you like?

Rev. Brown: [at Black Awareness Rally] But you know, when I look at these contestants! For the Miss Black Awareness Pageant, I feel good! I feel good, because I know there's a God somewhere! There's a God somewhere! Turn around ladies for me please! You know there's a God who sits on high and looks down low! Man cannot make it like this! Larry Flynt! Hugh Hefner! They can take the picture, but you can't make it! Only God above, the Hugh Hefner on high, can make it for ya!

Prince Akeem: But when I marry, I want the woman to love me for who I am, not because of what I am.
King Jaffe Joffer: And who are you?
Prince Akeem: I am a man who has never tied his own shoes before!
King Jaffe Joffer: Wrong. You are a PRINCE who has never tied his shoes. Believe me. I tied my own shoes once. It is an overrated experience.

Oha: [singing] She's your Queen-to-be. A Queen-to-be forever. A Queen who'll do whatever his highness desires. She's your Queen-to-be. A vision of perfection. An object of affection to quench your royal fire. Completely free from infection. To be used at your discretion. Waiting only for your direction. Your Queen-to-be. 

Cleo: And, baby, when I tell ya the boy has got his own money, I mean the boy has got his own MONEY!

Maurice: Hey, I started out mopping the floor just like you guys. But now... now I'm washing lettuce. Soon I'll be on fries; then the grill. And pretty soon, I'll make assistant manager, and that's when the big bucks start rolling in.

Cleo McDowell: Look... me and the McDonald's people got this little misunderstanding. See, they're McDonald's... I'm McDowell's. They got the Golden Arches, mine is the Golden Arcs. They got the Big Mac, I got the Big Mick. We both got two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles and onions, but their buns have sesame seeds. My buns have no seeds.

Prince Akeem: I am Akeem.
Lisa McDowell: It's nice to meet you, Akeem.
Prince Akeem: I have recently been placed in charge of garbage. Do you have any that requires disposal?
Lisa McDowell: No. It's totally empty.
Prince Akeem: When it fills up, call me. I will take it out most urgently.
Lisa McDowell: That's good to know.
Prince Akeem: When you think of garbage, think of Akeem.

Telegraph Lady: You actually want to send this?
Semmi: Why? What is wrong? Read it to me.
Telegraph Lady: To His Majesty, King Jaffe Joffer, The Royal Palace, Zamunda. Sire, Akeem and I have depleted our funds. Kindly send 300, 000 American dollars immediately, as we are in dire straits. Your humble servant, Semmi.
[mispronounces "Semmi"]
Semmi: Semmi
[corrects her]
Telegraph Lady: Semmi
[pronounces it correctly]
Semmi: Should I make it 400,000?
Telegraph Lady: You think that'd be enough?
Semmi: You are right. 500,000.
Telegraph Lady: As long as you're asking, why not go for a cool million?
Semmi: You do not think that would be too much?
Telegraph Lady: Naah.

Prince Akeem: Good morning, my neighbors!
Voice: Hey, fuck you!
Prince Akeem: [genuinely happy] Yes, yes! Fuck you too!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Chaz B of Inspiration Fm 92.3 and Caller X

I hitched a ride home with dear gf PeeJay yester-evening. As we caught up on gossip she asked her hubby to tune into Inspiration FM 92.3, a popular local radio station. Aside she told me they had a new programme called ‘Sharing Life Issues’ wherein callers unburdened their guilt and secrets. A sort of public confession without the benefit of absolution. We wondered at people's audacity in revealing secrets to the public. Albeit anonymously. ‘Isn't there a risk of somebody out there recognizing your voice? Your Wife, Husband, Lover, Sibling, Friend?

I digress. So we listened on expectantly. The first call came in; coincidentally that was also the only confession for the day. This transcript is not exact. But it captures the main gist.
Caller X - Hello.
Chaz B -  Hi Caller X. What do you have to tell us?.
And she goes- I am a tall, fair, pretty lady. When people see me, they think oh what a pretty girl. Everything is okay for her. But they don’t know I'm HIV positive.
Chaz B- Oh that’s so sad. But you know there's nothing God can’t do right.
Caller X goes like huh huh
Chaz B - Do you really doubt that AIDS is incurable? People have been healed of cancer etc etc. Don’t you believe you can be healed?
Caller X – mumbles I don’t know. I’m not sure.
Presenter continues the umbrage trying to convert her into believing in healing
Then Caller X says - I just had unprotected sex with a married man.
Chaz B – What? You just had unprotected sex with a married man? Why? Do you know you have committed a crime? How could you? That was wicked. Didn’t you think of his innocent family blah blah
And Caller X goes- All I know is men are going to pay for what happened to me after all they are the cause.
Chaz B - Why would you say that?
Caller X - I was raped by two men. One of them had it and has now infected me.
Chaz B - Two wrongs don’t make a right, Caller X. Do you know in some Countries you'll be facing jail time?
Caller X - Why should I be the one facing jail time when my rapists who happen to be upstanding members of society, known to my family in fact my uncle and his friend, and you dare to tell me I am to go to jail? How could you? What about me? What about what I have gone through?.......
Presenter was clueless to this girl's pain and waxed on sanctimonious. Caller X was getting hysterical. Chaz B then asked her if she could call him back after the show. She didn’t answer and she cut the call.
My mouth was agape. For me this Presenter Chaz B had failed on all fronts. Victim blaming, Slut shaming, judgmental, stigmatization. I don’t doubt that if Caller X had said she was raped at a party he would have started preaching to her about why night parties are evil.

What is wrong Inspiration FM? Let me tell you. If you want to have this kind of show, do invest in someone with some training or professional experience in counseling. Someone who can handle troubled callers with the delicacy and kindness they deserve. What she did was wrong and I'm almost sure it was remorse for her action that inspired this call. Caller X needed empathy. There was a past she needed to deal with. She needed to be asked if she was on ART (Anti Retroviral Therapy). She needed to be told that there was life beyond AIDS and Rape. She needed to be directed to a Nonprofit which specializes in rape or Domestic Violence; maybe her rapists could still be brought to book. She needed to know that having unprotected status with men whose status she doesn’t know can lead to a re-infection with a different HIV strain which will upset her therapy and cause resistance. She needed to be gently asked, cajoled to inform the man she slept with to go and receive Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). What she didnt need was to be told by Chaz B that SHE WAS A CRIMINAL WHO DESERVED JAIL.
Sadly other callers called in some telling Chaz B he didn’t handle the call right but HE INSISTED he was doing the public a service and would do it the same way all over again.
Shame on you Chaz B. Think of all the other men and women out there who would never tell anyone about their status or what they have done wrong. And the cycle of stigmatization and revenge continues.
Why no-one remembered to talk about the husband who was foolishly endangering his wife by having sex without condoms I don’t know. 
Anyway this post is about Beautiful Caller X.  
Caller X, If you ever come across this post just know me and my friends do not judge you. Even if your body harbors HIV, your Soul harbors someone purer, someone nurturing, someone kinder, someone stronger than the sum total of her past. You go girl!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Some interesting Sean Connery facts

I had fun doing this..
  1. His first bed was the bottom drawer of the family wardrobe. What an ingenious Mom Mrs Connery was.
  2. He got his first job at nine, delivering milk via horse and cart.
  3. He left school at the age of 12 – three years after taking up smoking. He started smoking at 9? And he is still going strong at 80. Wow new face of BAT!
  4. As an oversized teenager he acquired the nickname "Big Tam". How very Scottish! Imagine ‘Tam O’Connery
  5. His first name is Thomas. Okay that’s where the Tam came from right?
  6. He once worked as a nude model for art students. Look and drool….
  7. In 1953 he entered Mr. Universe, coming third in the tall men category. Deserved I think.
  8. His brief spell in the Navy ended in two tattoos, one saying "Scotland Forever" and the other "Mum and Dad".
  9. Sean's silky soccer skills got him a trial with Manchester United. Luckily he stuck with acting. Luckily? He might have been the Beckham of his time!
  10. James Bond casters initially wanted a well-established British actor for the role, but with the coffers empty they plumped for the little-known Connery. Ian Fleming did not approve of Sean in the role of Bond at first. United Artists was so skeptical of his Bond that it premiered Dr No in the Midwest to avoid attracting scorn. And the rest is now history.
  11. He writes poetry (but won't let anyone see it). I don’t want to see it too
  12. He passed on the role of Gandalf in Lord of the Rings allegedly because he had difficulty understanding the novels. Yes Sean . Me too.
  13. After befriending actress Lana Turner – then girlfriend of American gangster Johnny Stompanato – he had to go into hiding from the mob – The never released 007 movie ‘Dangerous Liaisons’…
  14. He was considered for the part of Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music (1965). But dumped cause he couldn’t sing?
  15. His first wife, Diane Cilento, alleged he beat her during their marriage. He agreed in a 1987 interview that it was acceptable to "shlap" women. Sean!! Not you too!!
  16. The role of the ill-fated Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables finally won him an Oscar.
  17. His "Oirish" accent in The Untouchables won him Empire magazine's accolade of the Worst Accent in Film History. But he won an Oscar too. So there..*tongue*
  18. He was voted Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine. Well deserved. Did you see that pix above?
  19. He started losing his hair at 21. As 007, his hair was always a wig. What??
  20. His star sign is Virgo. Not like that matters to anyone…
  21. The renowned ladies' man cannot recall who he lost his virginity to. At your age, I wouldn’t remember too.
  22. Sean once claimed he hated the character of Bond. Really….and the sky is not blue.
  23. He turned down $5.5m to play 007 in Live and Let Die. Why?? Were you that rich? Before or after the above #22?
  24. After receiving £250,000 for two days' work on Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, he gave it to charity. Thank you my second name is Charity!!
  25. His knighthood in July 2000 was reportedly delayed because of his staunch nationalism. Yep, the Queen would not let him wear Skirts.
  26. In 1999 he implored the Scottish Parliament to enact a total ban on handguns. What a lark. From a guy famous for fighting with guns.
  27. Empire magazine voted him 14th in its "Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time".
  28. He believes he should have won an Oscar for The Man Who Would Be King. Need to see this before I can agree/disagree.
  29. He is bored of Bond films and thinks Quentin Tarantino should direct them. I think so too.
  30. Sean Connery turned 80 a fortnight ago. Belated Birthday wishes Sir Connery! You’ve come a long way Dude!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My diversity of experience - my greatest asset

'Experience is the product you are selling as a potential employee'
I came across that phrase in this post by Rebecca Thorman about smart workers building their careers in the same way innovators build businesses - You don’t produce marketing plans, you create connections. You don’t create paintings, you evoke emotion. You don’t deliver newspapers, you spread information.
She said it’s time to stop looking at your career as a set of skills applicable to a single position.
-         You probably won’t use the major listed on your college degree.
-         You’ll change jobs six to eight times before you are thirty.
If you can’t talk about how your waitressing job applies to architecture, how teaching kindergarten makes you great for customer service or how your blog has prepared you to be a circus manager, you lose. Instead, look at your career as a set of experiences in which there exist core ideas that can be widely applied across disciplines.

This post was surely talking to me. I used to be embarrassed at my multiple widely varying work experience: Vet doctor cum Banker cum Nonprofit program coordinator.
I felt it made me seem namby pamby. Like a Jill of all trades. Well, early this year while applying for a post graduate Masters course, I had to write a personal statement. The course I was applying for differed from my undergraduate and it wasn’t an MBA. The only link was the term medical.
I looked at my resume, and felt butterflies caterwauling in my stomach. What is positive or purposeful about all this? It was hard to convince myself that the past 6 yrs heck 12 yrs if you add 6 yrs of undergraduate education was not in vain. 
So I wrote down my responsibilities in each position and the skills I had acquired. It was interesting to discover that my strengths in each job were tied to common denominators which I varied to suit each new job then some.... 
Organisation and Attention to detail: be it in giving medication, writing financial reports, writing a budget for a grant. Dotting my I’s and crossing my T’s. I am not excellent yet. But almost there.
Excellent Interpersonal skills: This was needed to interact with overwrought pet owners, with irate account holders, to liaise with hot heads in community forums, to write winsome grant letters.
Perseverance: Perseverance/thick skins/are requisite virtues for any marketer(aka Sales person) in a Nigerian bank. Go ask. You learn that No only means no. Nothing personal. My nonprofit boss doesn’t understand that so has happily left fundraising to thick skinned me. I don’t mind. Asking for money for a good cause beats asking someone to move his money from bank A to bank B just because I have a target to meet. lol
Initiative: In my personal life I am slow at taking decisions – relationships, family etc. But when it comes to work. I don’t prevaricate. I act. Sometimes without asking questions. Sometimes bypassing immediate supervisors. It’s the Doctor in me I guess. When a patient is presented before you needing urgent medical attention. You don’t wait for all the bureaucratic form filling. Sometimes you just need to act. Then fill forms after. That’s me.
 Understanding financial matters credit and lending: I have always loved numbers infact Maths was my best subject in high school. So when I got to the bank, my love for numbers made my understanding of transactions and cash flow etc a lot easier. What I have learnt from the bank made me a better negotiator for my Org with our present bankers. It has also made me a better assessor of my Org’s financial flow.
 Proficiency in the use of Internet/Microsoft Office/Social media: I think I can add Website design to the list (after all I am the designer and author of three blogs - this and my organizations’). Yeah, what I learnt from blogging.

So, everything we do is interconnected. HR people call this transferable skill sets, theorists describe it as systems thinking, and poets recognize these ideas in the words of Walt Whitman in Leaves of Grass - 'they became part of him'.
In my essay, I concluded with the statement ‘My diversity of experience is my greatest asset….’.

I am finally beginning to believe that.

A Happy Month of September Everyone! 

p.s. I got the offer from the School – Durham University, UK! Now to get my Visa....Amen.


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