Friday, June 26, 2009

A Musical Legend--Michael Jackson--Waves Goodbye to the World

So dominated has the news of the demise of Michael Jackson on 25 June in the media that I am not quite sure what to write. Listening to BBC World service's News Hour this afternoon at its regular midday slot, Claire Boulderson anchored the show with the news of his death, spending an inordinate amount of time examining his style and his iconic status. That's when it really struck me.

Actually, I lie: it struck me this morning, when I found myself with teardrops rolling down my face. I looked at myself in the mirror to see whether it was really true. After I washed my face, the tears came even more!

Small wonder: the African culture tells us that we don't speak ill of the dead--and I am not about to do so anytime soon, but what I will do is to categorically state how much of a bad decision it was to become a white man.

Black is beautiful--and it will forever be so. As a Black Man, Michael Jackson had the looks, the voice; the talent. Oh what a shame.

Was it the price of vanity, or the price of a lack of self-esteem brought about by
a lack of self-esteem produced by a childhood of occasional "abuse".


I've never quite understood what the West meant about abuse. [as I write this, BBC World Service's Africa service on "Focus on Africa" has dedicated a whole programme on his demise, ending the special with Billie Jean.] I don't know which average African has not endured beatings as a child.

I have certainly been at the butt of quite a few beatings myself, but it's a staple of the average Ghanaian (let's be specific here!) who grew up in the eighties. Nothing really to write home about.

That said, was it this kind of abuse that the West likes to call abuse on his part? It is true that his childhood was lost singing and whatnot at such an early age, but I cannot help but wonder whether the delectable and very personable Drew Barrymore who was also a child star underwent that degree of lack of self-esteem? Reports indicate that she went through drugs and re-hab at an early age, but she snapped out of it--like many of them eventually do.

Jackson's was a bit extreme: I am still unsure whether the skin-changing was because he could or because of low self-esteem. He might have been a lonely kid and perpetuated his Peter-Pan life-style by surrounding himself with things of the youth--rather than as the Desiderata admonishes--"...gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Still, his greatness preceded him, and he will go down in history, in my view, as a legend.

My tears this morning came down, I suspect, because at the end of the day, Jackson was a human being with frailties and foibles. He might have made serious mistakes and over-spent and been profligate with his money. He might have pulled the rug under Paul Macartney as wikipedia maintains. He might have been foolish in transforming his fine, Black features to a white mass that was not him.

But he was human.

If you and I were in his shoes, would we have done the same thing?

Tell me this isn't human nature...

Rest in perfect Peace, Mr.Jackson.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ghanablogging Here I come!

To my phalanx of ghanabloggers, you've been doing brilliant stuff, and I profoundly apologise for not coming by often. We're all piled with work, but clearly, some more than others!

Next week, I do a mid-yr resolution to change the bad habit of not blogging as much, or visiting my fellow ghanabloggers.

Whilst I'm at it, I want to remember that Ghana is a truly blessed country: let's keep it Ghanaian; let's keep blogging!

Monday, June 15, 2009

What, Am I a Magnet for Job-Hunting, or What? (So You STILL wanna work for the UN?)

There I was walking Fenix this morning when someone I rarely remember approached me reluctantly, asking whether I remember him. I feigned doing so, and he went on, sayingv that he heard I was a Fante, and he's from Elmina. Point is he was looking for a job. Ok, so he asked rather deferentially, as if he was afraid my ever-so-good-natured pet dog would bite him.

I wasn't amused, shaking my head at him that what has being a Fante got to do with anything? Did he honestly think that because I was allegedly a Fante, I would get him a job?

Let's be clear: I am not fully Fante, but that's another story; the real story is that I am not a coastal native in full, and even if that were the case, that would not be the basis for getting him a job. Finally, I don't do jobs!

So, I'm okay with assisting the average colleague-intern with their cover letter (as I did last week) for an application [it took some two days working on it!], but I suffer being approached because I look like I could be a "director" or "manager".

Like physiognomy or looks have got anything to do with procuring a job, you know?!

Getting back to my response to the guy on the Estates, I explained that I am a mere worker--no manager or anything, and that the staff is small, so I couldn't help him.

This might be--and is--in sharp contrast to my approach last week--and rightly so. Last week's encounter was soft and accommodating; this guy was walking with a colleague, speaking in twi, who kept on praising loudly how nice my dog was!

I really was far from amused!

Bottom line: I love to assist people with tips and ideas to enhance job prospects, but out-of-the-blue questions about whether I can get someone a job on the basis of my ethnicity are definitely a no-no.

All that said...

So You Wanna Work for the United Nations?

A British Journalist-blogger, whom I made acquaintance with two years ago--and who visited Ghana in 2003-- has already written me believing that I am working for the UN! Adam, if you're reading this, not quite! I will get back to you. My twitter feeds are deliberately cryptic!

Seriously speaking, I have met very few people who want to work for the UN, so it's difficult to hear of experiences of people trying to get in. What I can tell you is that tells me that some people have been trying for as long as Seven years!!

That's rather scary!

If you are really interested, you will have to do a lot of trawling online. Two good places to start are: UN, and the the official UN job portal.

Looking for a job is far from ever being easy, but a combination of humility and dedication, coupled with belief in your skills can get you there.

With alarming reports about unemployment in West Africa, and how that will have adverse consequences for the development of West Africa, I think it behooves all of us to facilitate the transition from the state of being unemployed to employment--for our own security!!

Few people are ever capable of saving the world, and you don't need to get to the UN before you make a difference, but for other West african nationals checking online, there are peace missions all over the sub-region, which might require your services to make this sub-region one of the more peaceful on the continent!

If you're ever tempted to think the argument above is tenuous, you might remember this poem, which I referred to earlier in the year on this blog:

First they came for the Jews

and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists

and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists

and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me

and there was no one left to speak out for me.

If you might ever doubt it, your (job) security is also mine!

Friday, June 12, 2009

As the Week Draws to a Close in Accra:Of Milk of Human Kindness, and So You Wanna Work for the UN?

This picture of yours truly is only to illustrate how lovely an experience it was two days ago when I went into town for an appointment (in the service of the nation!) before getting back to work. I travelled in the trusted tro-tro, and found it was great to have the back of the seat all to myself! This must have been around 9.30/9.45am. Sales are so low that time for the mates and the drivers that it's small wonder in the evening, they want everyone and anyone to join--and as quickly as possible!.

In any event, on my way back to the office (again, I took the tro-tro), I stopped by the block factory located at SHiashi, and walked some ten minutes to the office. Passing by a banana, I couldn't resist and returned to buy myself GH0.50p worth.

The young man suddenly asked where I work; I explained just opposite "East Gate Hotel", and then some. "I'm looking for a job, o! I'm an SS graduate. Been home all this time."

He said this in good English.

I felt so bad, sighing a huge one.

"Look", I explained, "I'm merely a worker--not a manager or anything", so I cannot really help you--except to give you this paper called "Weekly Donkomi. I explained it was a recent one.

He thanked me profusely.

As I offered him the money, he refused categorically adding that he wouldn't take the money as I paid for the paper.

"Oh, no, massa!", I exclaimed, "it was free, o!".

"It's okay, sir!" he went on. "Thank you very much!"

I was so touched by the gesture it was not funny. I know many people who, despite all the explanations, would have taken the money and the paper--no matter how ostensibly negligible.

It's at times like these that I realise that the milk of human kindess is still rife. And I'm proud to know that I made a small difference. God bless that guy; he's clearly someone humble--and possibly magnanimous--enough to appreciate a small gesture. He will most likely take it to his job and career.

Good luck to him!!

So You Wanna Work for the UN? be continued!!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Footer Fancies

eXTReMe Tracker Who Links Here
Brochure Design - Small Business Bible
Brochure Design


BlogCatalog / StumbleUpon

My Photo Gallery

BlogCatalog Stuff!