Saturday, December 9, 2017

Ditch The Akamwesi Money Leech And Get A Robotic Doll

Dude thinks it’s time to get married. No, tell a lie, its Mum who thinks it’s time for him to get married. But, Dude isn’t interested because looking around at the would-be-suitable young single women, he’s bitterly disappointed.

“I don’t know what they want” he tells me one evening. “They want, want and want.” Citing an example, he talks of Friends Sister who was resident in Akamwesi Hostel, has been unemployed for almost two years and who is desperate for a job. “I will keep my ears open and if anything comes along, I’ll let you know” so he told her. Two weeks later, she sends him a WhatsApp message after seeing him in Kampala Sun at Brazilian Night at La Cabana having a blast. Her message read: “Now I see you in the papers having fun. You are not getting me a job like you promised. It’s like you don’t care and want me to starve.” WTF!

Akamwesi Hostel, MUBS, Where The Airhead Money Leech Chic Resides

He retorted: “I am not your dad and secondly, I didn’t promise to get you a job! I said I will keep my ears open and if anything came along, I’d let you know.” And her response? “Hmm!”

Trimming the story, a job opening did come along. He furnished her with all the niceties including the cell number of the person she had to call, to arrange when would be suitable for an interview. Before I carry on, lock up the cat and tell Housiee to take the dog for a stroll - you will know why after you read the next paragraph.

“But I thought you had got me a job and not an interview!?!” WTF, now had the dog been around would you not have kicked the living daylights out of it then thrown the cat down the pit latrine in a fit of frus and anger? Anyway, she did go for the interview and did get the job. But wait up, she didn’t have the courtesy to call him and tell him how it went. It he who called her and far from being grateful that she was now employed, she complained. “But the pay is not what I was expecting. Its little!” Dude barked at her: “Listen up Friends Sister, if you don’t like the pay, QUIT! There are people out there who are unemployed and who would happily take the job at that pay!” I can sympathise with Dude for not wanting to get married, but like I told him, all is not lost. There is plan B.
The dawn of the didigisexuals is upon us. The surging availability of Robotic Doll means it is easier than ever for men to rely on technology for female company. Through technology, Engineer can programme Robot Doll to have artificial intelligence and be 'warm to the touch'.
The Robotic Doll
Dr Neil Mccarthur, Director of the University of Manitoba's centre for professional and applied ethics said: “As these technologies advance, their adoption will grow and many people will come to identify themselves as didigisexuals - people whose primary identity comes through the use of technology. Many people will find that their experiences with this technology become integral to their identity and some will prefer them to direct interactions with humans.

This is just what Dude needs, for he can form an intense ‘cost effective’ connection with Robotic Doll. Furthermore, if he ordered Robotic Doll, it can be tailor-made to meet his desires and will do things that Akamwesi Airhead cannot or will not do.
The Robotic Doll - Very Cost Effective And Dosen't Ask for Money, Salon Money Or Airtime or Pizza 
It’s a brilliant idea, for why should men waste time on airheads who constantly harangue them to foot their bills even though they are gainfully employed, don’t know what they want and when you ask them to take care of your one single need, she feigns a headache? 

Pictures: Campus Bee, Daily Mail

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Forget Salads - Think Brazilian Churrasco Meat Experience!

I lunch with Meg Vora for the best part of the working week and Meg doesn’t eat meat. In the twilight of 2017, I find it very hard to believe, grasp and comprehend that there are people out there who don’t eat meat. For lunch, Meg makes do with an Indian vegetarian meal except, it doesn’t look like a meal, but some sort of Luzira prison slop which are left overs from days before and which is served on a metallic plate - the ones with the little small cubicles. Meg not eating meat so I found out, has nothing to do with him being Hindi or anything to do with his religious beliefs but, and wait for it - because he’s not ‘keen’ on it. Jeez Meg, are you for real?

Meg And His Veggie Burger
How can he not be keen on meat? In fact, how can anybody not be keen on meat? How can them people - vegetarians that is, be allowed to go onto social media and post pictures of themselves looking bored and dejected over a bowl of bland lettuce and broccoli? And in the picture of Meg above, he hardly looks thrilled about his veggie burger - doesn't he? In my immediate and greater family, thankfully we are all avid meat eaters save for two of my nieces and a cousin -  Tamara, Yvonne and Sara. Hmm, I wonder what went wrong them.

Getting back, last week, Christmas came early when two invitations landed - not to go and drink free beer as I had hoped, but something even better - to go to a meat fest and eat as much meat as possible. Obviously, I didn’t invite Meg along.

Come Thursday and after skipping breakfast and lunch, I found myself at the swanky new restaurant, La Cabana at Speke Apartments on Wampewo Avenue to indulge in whats called the Brazilian Churrasco Meat Experience and from the moment I walked in, the air was consuming if not, arresting. It smelt meat. It smelt meat that had slowly been basking over on the spit for hours on end.
A Grand Meat Fest At La Cabana, Speke Apartments
But wait up. At the self-service counter, there was something else - a salad bar! But what does salad have to do with meat? Anyway, after seeking permission from Maitre D’Hotel, I was in the kitchen and at the source and to be honest, it was a dream come true and a sight that two weeks later is firmly etched in my head. Rack upon rack of succulent salt pork cubes, lamb leg, top sirloin steak – the list is endless. I was like a 5-year-old boy who had just gotten his first Lego set.

At my table, it was comforting to find that there were other serious like-minded men like James Odomel who live and dream meat 24/7 as much as I do. As we dined on the lamb leg, we had an in-depth discussion about why Ugandans don’t eat lamb, why it’s the most luscious meat out there and how suicidal we would be if there was a meat scarcity. On the next table, Salad Eater showed his his disgust and gawped at us. His listening to our conversation, it must have been as complex for him to grasp as it is for me to grasp what 'quantum' means in quantum physics.

Real Men Like James Odomel Eat Meat And Nothing Else
Two days later, we were off to Gaucho Grill on Entebbe Road. The usual suspects – J. Bagaire, Kayos K, Julio M, Oscar M and Vinta N flushed me, so it was down to Bayego K, P. Lukwago and I to represent. But wait. The brief I gave them, was explicitly clear – ‘we were going to eat meat, and lots of it!’ To my utter dismay, when we got there what did they go and do? They made a beeline for the salad bar. Why would anybody drive from Kampala, fighting through all that traffic to Bwebajja to go and eat salads?!? Does that not defy rational thinking? It so does!

Paulo Lukwago At Graucho Grill, Bwebajja
Of course, I had no contract with the salad bar and settled back for the meat. Like had happened at La Cabana, I had half expected Gaucho Server to dump the whole leg of lamb onto my plate and scuttle away but as he politely informed me, “there are other guests who also need to eat…” I let him be. When he returned with the pork, I harangued him into serving me more than he should have. While all this was going on, Bayego and Lukwago were still on salads and pretending to have a blast. Hmm.

And Finally, Bayego Went Carnivorous - With Some Cajoling... 
Like was said at the start, I like my meat – but not byenda (offals) and if a day passes and I have not eaten meat, I become agitated. But it’s really a sad and mortifying tale that there are people who don’t eat meat and who will never know what an orgasm it is, to sit at La Cabana and Gaucho Grill surrounded by nothing but meat! 

But let's try and finish this tale on a 'positive note'. I honestly feel NO sympathy for them. 

Pictures: Meg Vora, La Cabana, Gaucho Grill


Saturday, November 25, 2017

'5-Year-Old-Boys Should Wear High Heels, Bras to School!' - Church of England

I am, a very disturbed man this Sunday. Very disturbed because there is a need to reign in the world order but, there is not one person out there to take charge.

I am no fan of the church and the frock wearing men who preside over the institution. I am also no enthusiast of the pervy slick suit wearing and smooth-talking pastors or of Street Pastor perched at Wandegeya and Shell Jinja road traffic lights who, are merely noise irritants.
Church of England Supremo, Justin Welby
Out there, there are young men and women who have issues with their gender. Not just young men and women who have come of age, but kids who have literally just crawled into primary school. Transgenders they call themselves. For the record, ‘Transgenders have a gender identity or gender expression that differs from their assigned sex. In addition to including people whose gender identity is the opposite of their assigned sex, it may include people who are not exclusively masculine or feminine.’

Church of England seemingly has no issues with Transgender. Rather, it’s so apprehensive about the way society perceives them, that two weeks ago, it remitted guidance to teachers at the 4,700 schools under its control. As part of its anti-bullying rules, the church recommends that: “Boys as young as five, should be able to wear tiaras, high heel shoes and a tutu at school without criticism.”

Hold up a minute while I leg it to Butabika Hospital and check myself in. That boys as young as 5-years-old should be permitted to go to school wearing high heels, a tiara and dressed in a tutu to minimise the risk of them being bullied?!? In case you didn’t know what, a tutu is, it’s a GIRLS BALLET DRESS!
Simply Not Acceptable - A Man In A Girls Tutu 
Let me weave the tutu into a personal perspective for you. If as a 5-year-old, I walked out of my room in a tutu and stilettos, Mr Bukumunhe – my dad that is, would have taken off his shoes and flung them at me, removed his belt and lashed the living daylights out of me before calling for some elders meeting under the mango tree in a quest to unearth if somewhere in the family lineage, one of our ancestors had lost the plot.

I am not yet done with the personal perspectives. If as an 18-year-old and on my first day at campus, I wore high heels, a tiara and dressed in a tutu, I would go back home to find all my stuff discarded outside by the gate with a letter from Lawyer informing me that I was no longer a Bukumunhe, no longer welcome home and have been banished from the clan.  

Getting back, the reason why the Church of England advocates for 5-year-old's to wear high heels is that some months ago, a Christian teacher was suspended from a school in Oxfordshire, after calling a transgender pupil ‘girl’ instead of ‘boy’. The teacher, Joshua Sutcliffe, 27, now faces a disciplinary hearing this week in which he could lose his job, after the parents complained.
The Church of England in its defence acknowledges that: “Children should be free to follow their own inclinations when they dress without judgment or derision. For example, a boy may choose the tutu, princess’s tiara and heels without expectation or comment.”

A Man In His Sister's Bra
 Nedda, nedda, nedda! While I agree that boys and girls to a certain degree should be allowed to wear what they want from an early age, it undoubtedly does not mean that its permissible - even with the consecration of the church, for boys to in delve into their sisters’ closets looking for bras, knickers, tiaras and high heels to wear to school, family gatherings or whatever!

Now, do you see why the church and I don’t see eye-to-eye?

Pictures: Church of England, Agencies

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Expert Says People Choking Because They 'Forgotten How To Chew Food!'

Chipper Adams is a humble man. During his heyday as a rally ace, fame didn’t gyrate to his head. He took it in his stride and ‘got on’. Apart from his given title of ‘Mr’ which, he got from birth because he was born male, his career afforded him another title - that of ‘corner specialist’.

I am no rally fan because I don’t click the all the fuss of driving down to the depths of Mpigi or wherever to watch rally cars scuttle past. What excitement does one derive out of being covered in a dust bowl as the cars hurtle by and then having to pay a visit to Otolaryngologist to have your ears syringed? Getting back, I guess Adams earned the corner specialist title because of the way he drove round the corners. I think.  

I’m no expert at anything and do yearn to be one, because other synonyms for expert are; maestro, virtuoso, genius, connoisseur, aficionado, cognoscente, and being described as one of those, would tremendously boost my ego.

The only problem about being an expert is that you eventually go cuckoos and the alumni list of experts who lost the plot is impressive enough. Nobel Prize winner, the novelist Earnest Hemingway was a paranoid who believed that FBI was spying on him. Vincent Van Gogh suffered from psychotic episodes and delusions and at one point in a rage, he severed part of his own left ear and later began to alternate between fits of madness and lucidity. Isaac Newton, while famous, laden with honours and internationally acclaimed as one of the world’s foremost thinkers, he was deeply insecure, given to fits of depression and outbursts of violent temper.

A couple of weeks ago, Expert at the Office for National Statistics in the UK, revealed that – and wait for it, wait for it, ‘adults have forgotten how to chew their properly which, has resulted in a 17% rise of people who have died from choking in England, Scotland and Wales in 2016.’

Let’s wait once more while I try to get my head round this and also throw in a WTF for good measure. I read the article as I was waited for lunch to be served and it just didn’t make any sense so I put it to the test and no matter how hard I tried to blank the brain, I still remembered how to chew because chewing is a spontaneous action.

1. Put food in mouth.
2. Move jaw up and down.
3. Chew until food is liquefied or lost all of its texture.
4. Swallow and repeat process.

However, in his report, Expert does not reveal exactly how people forgot to chew. 1. Did people put food in mouth and just couldn’t remember what to do next? 2. Perhaps they were asleep during the biology class? While I am no medical expert, I conclude there are some pretty stupid people living in the UK.

On the flip, I used to like writing – having a Parker fountain pen in my fingers and watching it glide over paper with relative ease. Today, all my writing isn’t written, but typed out on the laptop or tablet and thinking about it, I can go a month without picking up a pen until some weeks back when filling in some forms. Almost as hard as it is to believe there are people out there who have forgotten how to chew food, there are people who have forgotten how to write. I essentially had to sit back and think for a while how the letters Q and G were written in lower casing. 

Hmm, perhaps there are also some pretty stupid people living in Uganda?

Pictures: Daily Monitor, Agencies         

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Ministry Seeks Consultant To Show People How To Wash Hands

‘You don’t work full time, but only when needed. The rest of your time is spent idle by the pool quaffing decorative named drinks that come with tiny umbrellas while, whoever hired you struggles to find the stacks of money to pay you’. That’s my definition of a consultant. 

On the flip, Business Directory defines it as: “An experienced professional who provides expert knowledge for a fee. Consultant works in an advisory capacity and is usually not accountable for the outcome of a consulting exercise.” The key words to note are “…not accountable for...”

I met IMF Consultant who was attached to Ministry of Finance just before the millennium broke and who was consulting on stuff way beyond my level of education I think he was in town for face-to-face meetings in case, he 'took away the blanket at the end of the month.' The consultations ‘necessitated’ him having a grand five bed-roomed crib in Muyenga along with Driver, car and many other perks befitting of IMF Consultant from outside countries.

If he did go to MoF to consult along with drinking coffee and nibbling on House of Manji biscuits, it was for a few hours in the mornings and was usually done by 11:00am - to sojourn for the rest of the day in a pub which, is now occupied by Barclays Bank at Tank Hill Shopping Parade in Muyenga.  

In the eleven months he consulted, he was on a hefty US dollar stipend that by the time his contract came to a demise, he told us how he had earned enough to buy a small boat to sail to the South of France to ‘idle away the rest of his life chasing skirt and drinking beer’. 

My calling as a consultant came in the days of yore with the defunct Air Uganda. But wait, why would they want me as a consultant? The only thing I know about airlines is listening out for the clinking of bottles and cans which, is the all-important indication that the booze trolley has left the ‘depot’ at the back of the plane and would shortly land by my side.

When I eventually met Zungu CEO, he was to the point. “TB, we are one of the sponsors of Miss Uganda and we need you to advise us and look after our interests.” I wanted to ask “to advise on what exactly – how to leer at Contestant during the swim wear category”, but thought twice about biting the hand that’s going to feed me on day one of the contract.

Once the contest was over, we didn’t part company. They kept me on almost up until the airline closed. In the three years with them, I consulted on err, nothing really but, still got paid. When I did have to work, it was flying to Zanzibar, Dar-es-saalam and Mombasa on fact finding missions which, were always conducted from a sun lounger by the pool along with an ice-cold beer in hand. Hmm, the things I had to do to get paid.

Recently, the Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Water and Environment – let’s call him Okot Okidi for arguments sake, placed an ad in New Vision looking for Consultant to spearhead the activities of the National Hand Washing Initiative – ‘to manage the National Hand washing secretariat including capacity building of stakeholders, coordination of the hand washing campaign…’

Let me do away with the civil servant mumbo jumbo language and say it in plain black and white. Permanent Secretary wants somebody to travel the country showing people how to wash hands. I didn’t waste time in applying even though, they want someone with a Bachelor’s degree in marketing, environmental health, mass communication, social sciences plus a Master’s degree in public health – all qualifications that I don’t have.

Come on Permanent Secretary, do I really need all those qualifications just to show people in kyalo how to lather up their hands with soap, rub together, place under borehole, dip in Lake Victoria or River Nile, rinse and dry?!? Jeez, I have been washing my hands since I was a toddler and trust me, I certainly don’t need a Master’s degree in public health to do the job so, just give it to me.

By the way, I selfishly wrote this column after the closing date for applications which, was on November 1st because I don’t have a ‘godfather or godmother’ at the ministry to pull strings for me if you get my drift and I didn’t want competition from peeps who might actually have the qualifications Permanent Secretary is looking for.

Pictures: New Vision, Agencies

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Just How Stupid Are You?

So, Dude barged past me with more than just an air of arrogance from somewhere in western Uganda and into the shop just below Grand Imperial Hotel. Normally, I would have made noise, unleashed a "WTF", glared and reeled off a dozen tumbavu's at him, but that day – Monday it was, was my trying to ‘keep calm’ day – which regular readers of my Sunday tales know is more than a tall order. The centre piece of the shop was a glass cabinet that also doubled up as the counter with a sign that read: “Fragile – Please DO NOT Lean On The Glass”. I clearly saw Dude reading it and after his brain had digested said information, he pressed his fingers down hard on it. As if to give it a feel for strength.

Satisfied that the ‘Fragile – Please DO NOT Lean On The Glass’ notice didn’t make any sense, he promptly goes ahead and leans on it. There is no need to tell you what happened next, but I will. The glass didn’t merely crack as I thought it would. Rather it spectacularly shattered into a million+ fragments that I guess for the next four months, Shop Attendant had to pick them out using tweezers.      

I probably wouldn’t have told you that tale except whilst doing some reading – The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson, he talks of something called the Dunning-Kruger Effect which, is named after two academics at Cornell University in New York State who first described it. The Dunning-Kruger Effect is basically 'being too stupid to know how stupid you are' which sounds pretty much like a good description of most people in Uganda. I also include myself because coming up next is the account of my act of stupidity many years ago.

I was out on a Friday night with Doc, Julio, Willo, Nodin, Vinta and company having a drink and as time wore on, I was all too aware of the likely hood of a police breathalyser road block being strewn across the road heading home. But the beer was on form and the five simultaneous and incoherent conversations going on were hilarious to say the least even though I can't recall what they were about. So, I stayed longer than I should have.

To get home, I had four options at my disposal - using the main road and risk running into the road block or playing it safe by using one of three back routes. When it was time to go, I hit the main road but for some reason that defies logic or any form of rational thinking, I missed the first back road –  and err, the second and the third.

By the time rational thought returned, I was literally on top of the road block and these were my possibilities.

1. Jump out of the ride, abandon it and flee into the nearest thicket like many people tend to do.

2. Hope for the best.

3. Do a suicidal U-turn and risk getting shot at.

As I weighed the three choices I had a moment of brilliance - my eureka(!) moment. The plan was so outrageously simply and intense, I actually sniggered at Cop ahead and gave myself a pat on the back!

This, is was the plan. As the road block was right outside the police station, I would drive into carpark, go in and see OC and claim that I’ve come to look for Friend who I heard had been arrested. OC would look in the ‘admissions log’ and not find Friend after which, I would get into the car, drive out and be on my way home. After all Cop is not bound to stop anybody driving out of police station.

But there was a problem because the eureka (!) plan didn’t go according to script. Just before Cop came to the car with the breathalyser machine, I pulled out of the que and drove into the police station with a smiling Quarter Guard pulling back the spikes to let me in. OC looked through the admissions log and obviously couldn’t find Friends name.

TB: “Might they have taken him to Katwe Police?”

OC: “You could check with them.”

With that, I sniggered once again all the way back to the ride and tried to drive out except, this time, Quarter Guard wasn’t smiling and didn’t pull back the spikes.

Rather, he shouted: “Affande, come and see this one.” When Affande turned up, he took one whiff at my breath and said: “Eh you man! You have made our job much easier. Just reverse and park the car.”

Ten minutes later I was back before a baffled OC who recorded my name in the admissions log and the rest as they say, is history.    

Now you know why Dunning and Kruger have a point. 

Pictures: Internet

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Filling URAs TIN Number Form Is Like Doing An Exam in Quantum Physics

There is something about being a civil servant. Civil Servant is a breed unto their own, with their own rules of ethics, sense of dress and approach to work.

Civil Servant can be spotted a mile away. If he is male, he’s likely to wear a white shirt - a short sleeved one at that with a tie and beneath it, a fishing net vest. Who on earth still wears short sleeved shirts with a tie? Surely, it must be against the laws of fashion? Going on, he also has three to four sets of Bic or Nice House of Plastic pens – blue, black, red and green in his shirt pocket. Why he needs a multitude of different coloured pens I don’t know, but I suspect when they are neatly lined up in his shirt pocket it makes him look all important, like he is the final signatory on the ministry cheque or some important document. Lastly, he has a laptop bag with him except, there is no laptop in it, but a Bukedde or New Vision newspaper from last December and more pens just in case the ones lined up in his pocket die on him.

Recently I found myself in need of something called a tax identification number or TIN to complete a business transaction for without it so I was advised, said transaction could not be completed. It was news I didn’t want to hear because it would necessitate dealing with Civil Servant and going to a cramped URA office that has no air conditioning and where I guess they still use wooden furniture that was constructed when Sir Andrew Cohen was still Governor General of Uganda in the 50s.

URA Commissioner General, Doris Akol 
The first step to getting a TIN number is to go online and fill in the application form. It should have been easy enough except, that I don’t have a PhD in the Comprehension Civil Service Speak and thus was unable to understand the form the first time I read through it. And the second time too, the third and the fourth.

The first question was easy enough. “Title (optional)”. Question 7 which was mandatory because it had a red * is: “Mothers maiden name?” Jeez, but what on earth does my mother’s maiden have to do with getting a TIN number?    

Section C, isn’t really a question but asks you what two identification documents you intend to produce to support the application. It could be anything from employment ID, voter’s card, passport, national ID, NSSF card and so on.  On me, I had an employment ID. That’s it. But I do know my NSSF number off head and duly etched it in the box and made way to the URA office.

Upon arrival, it was more than a pleasant surprise to find they had modern furniture and even air-conditioning but, Fat Woman who bore all the hallmarks of being a staunch civil servant was still there. She had this DO NOT MESS WITH ME look on her face and when I slapped my papers on her desk, she didn’t look up. So I proffered a meek ‘good afternoon’ and still no response.

HER: “I need your NSSF card” she suddenly sprung.

ME: “But the card has no value. Surely it’s the number that you need and I wrote it in the box.”

HER: “I need your NSSF card” then turned back to her PC.

The Finger and Pout of Assuring
So what did I do next? I hurled four tumbavu’s at her, knocked her PC off her desk and gave her two hot slaps before security sprung to action and arrested me. Okay so I am lying. I needed her more than she needed me so I meekly trudged off round the corner to NSSF headquarters and half-an-hour later, I was back with a gleaming new NSSF card.

Do you sense a ‘BUT’ coming on? There was indeed a ‘BUT’. “But it has to be approved. Come back tomorrow or Friday” so she blurted out.

ME: “You mean somebody has to approve which TIN number to allocate me?”

Of course, there was a deftly silence so I upped my game. “Listen, I am not applying for a bank loan. I am sure getting a TIN number is a five-minute job. Just find a number which is free and put my name next to it.

For that suggestion, I was directed round the corner to see Supervisor who had no inclination of helping me until he spied my surname. There is no need to bore you with the details but to say, ten minutes later I was on my way home with a TIN number.  

What surprised though, was that they didn’t ask for 10k as ‘administrative fees’. 

Pictures:  New Vision, Agencies