Thursday, May 29, 2008

laspapi at his office on Democracy day, 29th May, hours before being a guest on the TV show, Moments with Mo (Abudu).

Elder Steve Rhodes died on Thursday the 29th of May at 3pm, in London. Steve Rhodes, founder of the Steve Rhodes Orchestra was one of the foremost musical artistes ever produced by the African continent.

In the first picture, Steve Rhodes tells laspapi his opinion of the play after the latter's direction of Ola Rotimi's 'The Gods Are Not To Blame' at the Muson Centre. Oct 2006.

2nd Pic- Wole Soyinka and Steve Rhodes at the Muson Centre 2006. laspapi had gone there for an appointment with Professor Soyinka over the first Soyinka Season Of Plays.

3rd Pic- Steve Rhodes and Professor Femi Osofisan at the National Arts Theatre

4th Pic- Steve Rhodes

By some coincidence, Steve Rhodes was with playwrights in every picture.
A great man, a kind man, I last met him at the National Arts Theatre showing of the V Monologues- The Nigerian story, which I directed in March this year, a performance which he attended in the company of another legend, the female actor, Taiwo Ajai-Lycett

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Way We Were

The comment below came from Rayo. I thought I'd post it on the front page.

hi laspapi, ur blog used to kip me company a wyl back but now i'm kinda gettin bored, pls spice things up a bit, i'll bet most of us get to read 'the girl whisperer' in 'life', but its almost like that's also the best part of ur blog now and dir isnt so much else. it is ur blog and u get to do what u want but i gues i mis the old laspapi kind of posts....

Point taken, Rayo. I think it has to do with a mix of things. Just writing the 'Girl Whisperer' for the Guardian means I have to write at least once a week, and it has to make a great deal of sense, whether I'm feeling blue or not. Having a page to myself means I must be careful, so I do the GW first and other things follow.

I have to produce a play weekly too, and it takes a toll on my time as well. That's outside the commissioned works I get. I rehearse daily and sometimes even when I know I want to write, I can't find the strength. I'm known as a playwright and I have to give serious attention to that kind of writing too.

Still, I see your angle, and I'll look to this matter (maybe I'll reduce my galleria attendance-I've seen every movie they've brought over the past three months, for instance, some 2ce, apart from the baby-ish ones)

You could go into the archives from time to time, though. A friend of mine, (she's a well-known radio presenter) wrote to tell me last month, she spent 4 hours going through stuff I'd written (and even I know there are gold nuggets there). I've been blogging more than two years now, I bet you haven't read all I've put down.

Thanks Rayo. laspapi salutes you.

ps. love your photo and do say hi when next you see me.

The Girl Whisperer

as published by the Guardian on Sunday

25th May


There are three basic rules when it comes to attraction between the sexes. These rules are so simple, even children intuitively know to abide by them, yet some adults sometimes seem to have problems comprehending the universal truths of these rules and even when they do, cannot apply them to their own lives.

The first rule is that you must love someone. Now, that sounds simple and I bet some are wondering where I’m going with this. However, many of us enter relationships for varying reasons and these reasons are not always about love. We start relationships because it is convenient to do so, because we are lonely, because all our friends are in relationships, because we are growing older, because we do not want to wake up to an empty house, because we need to hear a comforting voice talking to us when we sit on park benches. Entering or remaining in a relationship out of pity might sound like the noble thing and what Sir Galahad or Lady what’s-her-name might have done in the good old days but it doesn’t help for relationships that will go the distance. The first law of attraction is that you must love the other. Sometimes even that is not enough, but a lack of love is a sure guaranty for failure.

The second rule is that the person must love you. Many of us are in relationships with people who can barely condone us, who will not walk with us in public, (we are always three paces behind like Prince Philip to Queen Elizabeth), who think we are not educated enough, are ashamed of our dress sizes, of our love handles, of our lack of a monetary background, of our accents (or the lack of it). The person you love must love you, (not love your family or the car your father gave you as a graduation present). If the person just loves your status, your job, your family, the advantages that can be obtained from associating with you, you’re not obeying the laws of attraction. It’s that simple.

The third rule deals with the unity of time, place and event. The two things, you loving the person and the person loving you, must be happening at the same time. It doesn’t show clear thinking when we believe the person we are ‘madly’ in love with will love us in future. “I’ll make him love me”, the girls say. If he’s not loving you at the beginning, it’ll be a miracle if he starts somewhere in between. What you have in this case is an aeroplane that’s propelled by only one engine. Chances are high that the plane will stall and drop out of the sky before your engineer can open the door in mid-air, climb on the wing of the plane and attempt to repair an engine that never worked in the first place. Plane, engineers, passengers....everyone will be dropping out of the skies. There might be nothing left to salvage after the crash.

I had a girlfriend in my later teen years (oh, for the days of innocent love again) but she left me for a young man who was already in university. I pleaded (not a very pretty picture, anyone who has to resort to pleading to hold on to a relationship is in the wrong one) but she told me she was sorry. One night, as I walked away from her home after the final dismissal, I looked up into the skies and had a moment of epiphany. I would rule my world, I thought, my horizons would be vast. The point here? She wasn’t loving me anymore and no amount of grovelling could make her change her mind. I went on with my own life but learnt a very valuable lesson. It’s not who you love, it’s who loves you. Years later, after several degrees (with hind sight, she might have been the reason I studied law, obtained a qualifying certificate from the law school as well as two masters’ degrees), I met her again. I’d become a man sure of himself and had discovered ‘the Whisperer’ in me. She flirted, showed herself available but I wasn’t having any of it. The loving and being loved must be happening at the same time. Unrequited love is a no-no. Waking up to pain, cold sweats and misery because another human refuses to love you is the road to permanent depression. And don’t tell me I don’t understand. I do, and perfectly. You’re branding yourself a loser and your brand will be visible once people see you.

There’s the fable about the fox that saw grapes on a tree and for hours, jumped, skipped and hopped in an attempt to reach them. He could not and after a while, walked away, thinking to himself that the grapes must have been sour anyway, giving rise to the ‘sour grapes’ complex. I’m an adherent of the sour grapes school of thought. If the target is unattainable, press delete, re-set your mind and cease being a nuisance to all the parties concerned. Salvage your pride (or whatever might be left of it) and walk away with as much dignity as you can muster even if the tears are streaming down your eyes as you do so. You will earn a great deal of respect from this. Rolling on the floor and threatening to commit suicide won’t help matters.

Look around, see how beautiful life is and tell yourself, ‘what a wonderful world’. And your time will come, when you will find someone who loves you at the same time as you love the person and as much. Trust the Whisperer; dreams come true; you may ask Kanu Nwankwo.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Another Season Of Soyinka








and many others








TIME- 3pm and 6pm


For tickets and enquiries, please call 0702 836 7228, 0808 123 9477 or e-mail

Friday, May 23, 2008

I met Harry in Lagos before he relocated to England. My friend is now a musician based in England and has been so for a while.

His latest song, is 'no more yahoozee', an answer to the glorification of hedonism as preached by Olu Maintain.

See the video here

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Girl Whisperer

as published by

the Sunday Guardian of 18th May

Primal Fear

There are many things that cause the average heart to falter, the fear of failure, the fear of rejection, of being misinterpreted... However, the sum of all fears for a person in a relationship is the very idea of being entangled forever in a web with the wrong person. It keeps men awake all night; and it prevents women from finding peace of mind. This, for many people, is a nightmare scenario, and they break out in cold sweat even imagining such an eventuality.

Every human, whether man or woman, has a natural reflex, an intuition that no detective school can teach; it is a hunch about people we meet, a situation, an event. Often, from childhood, we have no idea why we just do not take to someone we are meeting for the first time. We search our minds, look for logic, and rack the memory banks in the hope that we can find justification for the wariness we feel for another. And then, very often, we press the ‘over-ride’ button, forcing ourselves to care for people whom we feel a natural aversion for. The shield that would have protected us from the wiles of this person is removed because it is...well...unreasonable.

This is the singular advantage children have over adults. Not having reached an age when the ‘limitations’ of logic can fetter the sixth sense that is a warning signal, they listen to the in-built alarm and steer clear off a situation they distrust.

Not so, the discerning adult. She (or he) must justify a natural aversion or shrug off the advance-warning system as paranoia. This attempt to be ‘reasonable’ has caused many to fall into the wrong hands. The human mind itself is a space-age computer with capabilities far, far beyond what any one person can use in his or her life-time. It appropriates data obtained of the situation, of the person and crunches numbers at a level just below consciousness, and often, we are not even aware that we are analysing what is at hand, until a conclusion is reached. That conclusion, not reached with any process or formula that can be translated to paper and taught by any known process, is what we often mistrust in a world that insists on empirical evidence. We call it a ‘gut-feeling’ not realizing that even a lie detector-test is not as trustworthy as that feeling and many of us, unfortunately, do not heed it.

However, the Whisperer has learnt to trust that ‘gut-feeling’, that ‘hunch’, the instinct that says ‘this is, fundamentally, a good person’ or is the exact opposite. The times he has ignored that ‘irrational’ conclusion have been times he has lived to regret. So at the risk of unpopularity and infamy, it is better to learn to listen to one-self, preventing the dangers of ending up with the wrong person. How many times have we told ourselves after a situation that ‘something just told me not to take that road’,’ board that bus’, ‘sleep over at that friend’s house’? If we can trust a feeling we cannot explain at that moment and implement what it is telling us, why not trust it when the stakes are much higher?

The Whisperer has learnt when he feels a natural aversion to someone, to avoid that person as much as is in his power to do so. Trees tend to grow towards the sunlight and it is the same for the Whisperer, who has a natural propensity to go towards ‘sunny’ people. Some people love to live in a shadow-world, where the trees are gnarled and twisted, not so this man. ‘Light, light’, his instincts scream and it has worked well for him over the years.

There are many warning signals I have ignored to my own detriment in times past; an unguarded moment by someone I am just starting to know, sometimes just a sense of continuous unease and suddenly, I know as sure as night will become day that it would be unwise to have anything further to do with that person. The gathering of the ‘evidence’ in this case is done without one even realising it, and the conclusion reached without knowing ‘the jury’ has returned with a verdict. The rejection of our natural instincts, the final frontier, is not a wise thing to do. Take this advice from one who has ignored these and paid for it. It is best not to start what you cannot finish.

In a world where we are continually bombarded with information, the radio, the internet and the television, pouring forth a stream of information, we must sometimes pause, find a quiet place and listen to ourselves. We search for validity from others, craving to hear from people who will ‘confirm’ what we need to hear- ‘he has a good job’, ‘he lives in a good apartment’, ‘drives a mean vehicle’, without listening to the most important person in the equation, ourselves.
Trust the Whisperer on this one; it is not all that is gold that glitters, and vice-versa. Learn to listen to yourself in a world where there are many voices and all are talking at the same time. Often, you are your own best friend in these situations.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My friend, Kate Henshaw is a great woman.

Kate who just played a major part in the V Monologues-The Nigerian Story directed by laspapi, won the prestigious Actress of the Year title at the 2008 edition of the African Movie Academy Awards in Abuja, Nigeria.

She was presented the award on the 27th of April 2008.

Kate was nominated alongside Jackie Apea, Genevie Nnaji, Stella Damasus- Aboderin and Rekiya Attah.

Nkem Owoh a.k.a Osofia won Best Actor of the Year.

See laspapi's March 30 2007 interview with Kate, below

The Bold, The Cool & The Beautiful

I cornered Kate Henshaw, Actor and TV presenter, at a rehearsal for my last stage presentation. Kate, always full of life and a personal favourite of mine, sat to answer a few questions.

laspapi: What's your middle name, Kate?
Kate: Offiong

laspapi: Whas tha' mean?
Kate: It means the moon, usually used for first-born children

laspapi: You were born in July, your zodiac sign's Cancer, governed by the moon. Was the moon-name deliberate?
Kate: Nah! It's co-incidental.

laspapi: Which state are you from?
Kate: (with a disdainful look) Cross River. Where'd you think?

laspapi: It could've been Akwa Ibom
Kate: Please.

laspapi: Where in Cross River?
Kate: Henshaw Town. The name came from slave masters.

(laspapi- I think we should go give london and philadelphia our own names)

laspapi: Who do you look up to?
Kate: (Strongly) My mother. She's forgiving, prayerful, supportive and humble.

laspapi: You look like an extrovert...
Kate: EXTROVERT with capital letters. (If you're out with Kate, you'll understand. She's like a live wire, humming, vibrating all the time. One can see Kate is glad to be alive and its beautiful to watch)

laspapi: Your kind of Man?
Kate: I like outgoing types. He must be generous and caring, and a sense of humour is essential.

laspapi: What is love, Kate?
Kate: (pauses) Love is gentle, selfless. It's a warm, warm feeling that should be reciprocal. Love should give more than it receives.

laspapi: perfume?
Kate: I have no favourites. I mix Gucci, Armani, Channel... (I know Kate loves perfumes. She never fails to remark on them when I'm with her)

laspapi: If you had only 5 minutes to make a great escape, what would you take?
Kate: My phones and my bag containing money. I can use money to buy whatever I leave behind.

laspapi: Clothes designer?
Kate: I'm not a designer freak but my Jeans are always from NEXT

laspapi: Shoes?
Kate: Good ones.

(laspapi and Kate freestyled with Words and Associations. Stella Damasus had warned Kate about my 'Free Association')

laspapi: love
Kate: (With a beautiful smile) Nice!

laspapi: Marriage
Kate: Good

laspapi: Money
Kate: Fantastic!

laspapi: Sex
Kate: Fun! Fun! Fun! Fun!

laspapi: Nigeria
Kate: Stressful

laspapi: America
Kate: Wow!

laspapi: Nollywood
Kate: Teething

laspapi: Hollywood
Kate: (long pause) The world standard (Kate is the P.R.O. of Nollywood's actors' guild which might account for her pondering how long it'll take us to reach the Hollywood heights)

laspapi: A word for people who want to become like you
Kate: Make sure you finish school. Don't come into it looking for fame or money. You must have a love of the craft because there will be dry seasons.

laspapi: (my favourite question) Can you see your unborn children in my eyes?
Kate: (startled) What? Are you serious, Wole? That can't be part of the questions. It is? No, you're joking. I can't see them there. No, no, no. You're not well.

laspapi: (reluctantly moving on) A word for posterity?
Kate: I want to be remembered as someone who smiled, who made people very happy. It takes more muscles to frown than to smile. I'll be smiling all the way.

This interview was first published on this blog on the 30th of March last year and then in the Sunday Guardian Newspaper.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I slept and dreamed that life was JOY.
I awoke and saw that life was SERVICE.
I acted and behold SERVICE was JOY.

-Rabindranath Tagore
(Anwuli of farafina's e-signature)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Girl Whisperer

as published by the Sunday Guardian

of May 11

When Lightning Strikes Twice

It’s an impossibility they say, for lightning to strike in the same place twice. The chances are almost impossible and beyond ordinary odds. It’s also the same, apparently, with a relationship that illuminates your entire life like a flash of lightning, that one great love that you thought would last the rest of your life, and then dies out, or is extinguished for some reason, beyond your ability to repair.

Conventional wisdom tells us never to go back to a former love no matter how beautiful the memories are, no matter how wonderful that person made us feel. They say those who think of it, view the past through rose-tinted glasses and if the relationship was really that beautiful, there would have been no separation in the first instance.

There is no human alive, the Whisperer dares submit however, who has not wondered what it would be like if he or she was to go back to some long-lost love. Through some chance meeting, the mention of a name, eyes locking across a crowded room with that of the person who is now a stranger, some strain of music heard as we flip channels on the radio, we remember the good times we had with that person and briefly, for an instant, and maybe for even longer, we wonder how it would have been and whether it is possible to fold time back on itself, and re-awaken what is now lost... fanning dying embers back to life.

Many reasons could have been responsible for the break-up; a relationship that couldn’t stand the strain of distance, parents deciding to move cities, move countries, move worlds and in the process smashing the relationships of their respective children to smithereens. In this case, when people who loved as late teens meet as adults, what happens? What if the spark remains? Is it advisable to follow the natural reflex since all the memories are good? There might be dangers inherent in this. As adults, you have grown up through different experiences and as Robert Frost wrote, the road you have taken might have led you through a very separate route from that of your ‘true love’. I met up with a girl I ‘loved’ when I was sixteen and she was fourteen. Even now, I still have her letters (that’s weird, I know, but I kept letters from a certain era, that kind of innocence is a beautiful thing). I met her as an adult living in another country and even though she was still as beautiful as I remembered her, she had grown...away from me, and I from her. We spoke, great memories of childhood, but the spark was gone and the lightning had left only scorched earth behind.

A female friend of mine from one of the war-torn countries in West Africa relocated to England but one day decided she was off to find her true love. When war broke out, her father being a diplomat, managed to spirit her to Europe, but her boyfriend was not so lucky and was trapped in their country for a long while. After some time, she heard he was in a refugee camp somewhere and made up her mind to find him. It was amazing because she hadn’t seen him in more than fifteen years. She had married, had two kids, divorced but she got up, told her employers she was going on vacation, left England and tracked him through several refugee camps, one of them being in Nigeria. She eventually found him, her great love, and somewhere in my drawers, I have a photograph of the couple at their wedding in England (my mother and sister were in attendance)

So for her, lightning struck twice...or did it? That wedding was about four years ago and even though I do not know how things stand between them now, I am sure that story would make a great movie someday. She decided he was her great love and she went to reclaim someone who once brought great beauty to her life.
Can we all be this fortunate? The chances are slim because memory has a way of playing tricks on us but magic can happen. The most important factor here is not to be self-deluded. If this was not the Richard Burton to your Liz Taylor, there is no use lying to yourself.

The only reason you should attempt to re-start a relationship that didn’t last once is because you are certain it will work for you. Longing after a person just because of his good looks or her high cheekbones will make your boat crash like the Titanic, and unlike that boat, there will be no survivors this time. I read in a play, the line that many people fall in love with a dimple and make the mistake of marrying the whole person. That rarely works, believe me.

So you may ask the Whisperer, can lightning strike twice? Can it be like the romantic comedies we love to watch, where they finally meet up again after a long while and the years all seem to fall away? The odds are long ones but if I said it was impossible, I would be going against my very nature. Make certain first, be sure that it’s true, true love; that he’s the one that once heard the voice of your heart and still does, then go for it. To see new horizons, we must leave the shore behind.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

THEATRE@TERRA continues in the month of May with four plays by Tyrone Terrence.

Sunday May 4
Private Lies
directed by Wole Oguntokun

Sunday May 11
A Husband's Wife
directed by Kenneth Uphopho

Sunday May 18
The Devil is a Woman
performed by Renegade Theatre

Sunday May 25
A Pound Of Flesh
directed by Wole Oguntokun

Venue- Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage St, Victoria Island

Times- 3pm and 6pm

Tickets- N2000/Students with I.D. N1500

For enquiries, call 0808 123 9477, 0702 836 7228

A Day in 'Gidi

I was driving to the Starcomms phone company's Surulere offices yesterday when a large female sailed by as a passenger on a motor bike. I gave her a fleeting look and then looked again because she was waving furiously, at me. So I waved back, not sure where I knew her from. I forgot about her and drove on for another minute before I got to my destination and there she was again, the bike somehow having gotten behind me. She flagged her 'pilot' to stop as I sought parking space. As I parked, I noticed (with some alarm) that she was trying to open my locked front door (passenger-side). I told her as I got out of the car, 'I'm going to the Starcomms Office.'

This squat female with be-jewelled fingers (at least 8 rings on those fingers) greeted me fervently, asked how I'd been (all in Yoruba). I scanned my memory, but couldn't place her. She said she wanted to give me her phone number (Her pilot still sat patiently on his aeroplane across the road). I searched for a pen, now uneasy around this woman, unwilling to even show my phone but falling into that politeness-trap that doesn't allow us be outrightly rude even when it would save our lives. The fates were against me, I usually have 10 or so pens on or around my person at any given time, but none were at hand. I gave her my phone and she typed in her digits and then said her name, 'Alhaja Yinka'.

'Call me, brother' she said, as she turned to go and somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought, 'she's probably a distant relative who's met me a few times and since I am notorious for spurning family ties, it was a good thing I had behaved myself.'

She took a step, two steps and turned back. 'Egbon mi, e ma fun mi l'owo moto'. (Older brother, you'll give me transport fare). The Con. I smiled to myself. She was good. This was a blitzkrieg. Shock and Awe. She was really good. I know all the cons, but a female on a bike was a new one to me. I mentally acknowledged her brilliance and offered her N200 (applauding a brilliant performance) but she wasn't having it. 'No', she screeched in Yoruba. She wanted more and I felt I detected menace in her voice. Calmly, in my buba and sokoto, (traditional top and trousers) I told her I had to pay some money to Starcomms. Without warning her hand delved into the loose pockets of my buba by my side, saying, 'it's here, it's here'. It was done half-jokingly but with real intent. I felt the strength of her fingers as I forced her fingers out of the empty pocket and again her hand flashed towards the breast pocket, where indeed the money was. By this time, even though she was laughing, I knew war had been declared on me. I grabbed her fingers and held them as hard as they held the money. I saw her calculate. An old trick is for a female to proclaim loudly that she had not been paid for 'services rendered'. Public shame has made many an innocent man pay for these phantom services. But she saw something in my eyes that made her pause and then let go, settling for the N200. I can be very ungentlemanly when it comes to anyone attempting to take undue advantage of me as those who have ...ehr... 'disturbed' me, can testify. I mentally prepared myself.

She turned away as if nothing had happened and crossed the road saying over her shoulders, 'broda, please call me'.

A barber just a few metres away sat in shock.

This reminded me of a galleria incident last year so I delved into the files.

Posted July 4 2007

I had that kind of day today, so I thought I'd go unwind at the Silverbird galleria. I like to watch movies by myself, sometimes. When the movie finally started, I looked for a place where I could absorb the plot and lines of "Premonition" with Sandra Bullock. You know how it is with drama on the screen, one has to concentrate.

So the movie started with about 20 people scattered around the hall. After a short while, this guy came in with a girl and for some reason, chose to sit next to me, his girl, beside him. It didn't take long before his phone rang and he began a lengthy conversation on it. When he finished, he commenced another lengthy dialogue with the girl by his side.

When I couldn't take anymore, I clambered over a row of seats with my bottle of water, so as to get away from him and sat at the end of the row just in front. Then I felt popcorn thrown at me. I looked and there were two girls to my left side, looking at me. One had thrown the popcorn and she signalled me over. The seats between me and them were empty and even though I tried, I couldn't make out the face of the thrower. I felt it might be my friend, Deola, who's a maniac about movies. So I moved closer. Complete strangers. They stared back at me. The thrower asked me to stay where I was, right beside her, and I did. I felt she was some movie buff commiserating over the talkative I had fled from so I turned back to the screen.

Then I felt her hand on my arm. A caress. She did it again... and again. Asked me questions about the movie while pressed against my arm. When I sat forward in my chair, leaning away from her, she asked belligerently, "what's the matter with you?" I explained diffidently that "I had stuff I was thinking about". After that, there were no more caresses. I felt fleeing to another row of seats might cause other people in the hall to wonder about me. Then she looked at Sandra Bullock's eyes and said to the screen in a loud voice, "She(Bullock) knows this woman is "skrulling" her husband", cackled and repeated the line again for everone to hear. Then she asked me softly, "does she know that woman is skrulling her husband?" After trying to decipher for a few seconds, it struck me that she meant "screwing".

And then came the climax of the film and as people in the audience gasped repeatedly, she began to shriek in ibo (I could tell she was yoruba, so her expletives were ghastly in rendition). This time, I found the courage to flee towards Frank, the anchor of the Nigerian version of "Who wants to be a millionaire" who had come in sometime after the movie started. I spent the last few minutes with Frank and his friend, while my caressing friend sneaked glances at me, then I walked out with Frank. Frank, like his programme, had thrown me a "life-line". I didn't see her again.

You might meet the girl of your dreams in a dark hall at the theatre but I can bet she won't start carressing your arm 3 minutes after meeting her. I don't do tramps and I reckon I'm beyond sex for sex' sake now, or even worse, paying for it.

Maybe she's found someone else to skrull.
The Girl Whisperer

as published by the Sunday Guardian

May 4

A Rich Man’s World

Money is a defence, so the good book says. I’ve been doing a study of monetary matters across all fields and it’s interesting the views held by religious and secular circles. Basically, they all say the same thing and which is why there are so many self-help/how to be a millionaire in 10 days/who moved my cheese sandwich?/rich dad, dumb dad books (and why so many people buy them).

I read that a person that has a servant (and is despised) is better than he that honours himself and has none. That would mean the despised employer of labour is better than the self-righteous person. It also says a poor man’s wisdom is despised. My interpretation of that nugget was that in a gathering of regular, everyday people, the wisdom of the unwealthy would be the least appreciated. That’s sad but true. How many of us have looked down and discountenanced the opinion of the not-so-rich uncle when more affluent relatives were giving suggestions? We are impatient with them, can barely control our contempt for their contributions. It’s the way the world is, and it takes a really big person not to act in this manner.

Human beings are influenced by the packaging, no matter how vehemently they deny this. It is not a conscious thing, this preference for the guy with the air-conditioned car, the well-cut suit, the perfume that doesn’t smell cheap. Costume jewellery isn’t the same as gold. Those who know, know. There is a natural gravitation towards the fellow with the comfortable apartment, the clean sheets in his laundry, not some grease stained cover cloth that could pass for a dirty restaurant’s table cloth, with the amount of food droppings on it.

Are we naturally programmed to be more favourably disposed towards the comfortable, the same way we are wired to be nicer to good looking people? (The latter’s been scientifically proven so don’t even take me up on that). For some reason, really ‘comfortable’ people are usually only completely comfortable with people like themselves. Remember Julius Caeser saying, “Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look; I want fat men around me”. His failure to implement that decision cost him his life a short while later.

The chap with the nice car, with the shoes that tell of Italian leather gets a second look and therefore, because we all know this, there is a drive to excel, to win, to become better people. Well, mostly, but some can’t be bothered. “Take me as I am”, they say, showing the remnants of three meals before still stuck between their teeth. For this person who feels no need to join the rat race, he is blessed because his worries are minimal. In this case, there is no compulsion to buy a bigger and better car, get a new house, and buy new clothes all the time. Unfortunately, not many of us can be like that.
We are disciples of the philosopher, Horace, who said, ‘get money. Legitimately if you can but get money anyhow.’

Why is it so important to have money? True, the finest things in life are free, but that car with doors that slide instead of opening like the regular car, isn’t free. Most people would prefer to sit in an air-conditioned room than in one with just a fan recycling hot, stifling air. A child sweating while poring over his books might not do as well as one reading in a cool room. I watched an African- American comedian (yes, another, I love comedy) mimic Africans. He said the reason there are so many wars in Africa is because the land is hot. In a guttural African voice, he played an African just waking up- “This weather is too hot. I swear I will kill somebody today”. The guys who display road rage on the streets of Lagos usually have had their brains singed by the afternoon sun of the tropics. Little wonder our public transport drivers all seem to drive like lunatics. An air conditioner is not a luxury in Africa, no matter what anyone tells you. It’s a basic need, as essential as food.

So back to the money. Is it a rich man’s world? You bet it is. Money is not the root of all evil; it’s the inordinate desire to get rich at all costs that causes evil. Now just being comfortable would amount to riches for some and there really is no yardstick in this matter but you should have the ability or driving desire to meet your basic needs. Wear clothes, eat good food, have a roof over your head. When those things are sorted, you can strive to better yourself, upgrade the shoes, etc. The undoing of Africa is that we find it hard to take orders from people younger than we are even if they are our bosses at work. A word for those who are like this- You’ll be sacked, and deservedly if you continue like that.

The Whisperer’s advice to those aspiring to be comfortable? Save money, invest in stocks, speak to responsible established brokers, don’t spend it all on fleeting things. But above all, don’t make the mistake of measuring yourself against the next man, it’s a fool’s way, for there will always be people greater than you and lesser than you.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Was tagged by flygirl

The rules:

1. Link the person who tagged you -
2. Mention the rules in your blog –
3. Tell 6 unspectacular quirks of yours –
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them -
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged

Six Unspectacular Quirks

1. I love movies. I go to the movies at least 2ce a week. I can go alone. I've been there with 15 members of my cast.

2. I do not like being woken just after falling asleep.

3. I do not drink tea or coffee.

4. I'm not a muslim but love to listen to their call to prayer as it cuts through the dark skies and mingles with the smell of the morning.

5. I love video games

6. I love comics

I tag Woomie, Chude, ibiluv, rethots, In my head & around me, sherri

I'll activate the links soon.