Thoughts: Unconscious Induction

I remember as a child, looking up to certain people, from MJ, to uncles and family friends. I learnt a wide variety from them, envied them, and couldn’t wait to do the things they did. I remember excitedly watching people drive cars as it was something I realised I’d have to wait for over a decade before I was legally allowed to. I watched both sexes wear trendy clothes that seemed outrageous and yet I couldn’t wait for the chance to make a choice of what I’d wear.

Sometime last year I was in a bus and beside me was a little boy, I felt him looking at me and looking over I saw a look of admiration and a little anxiety. I smiled back hoping he would lighten up. I realised this was how it must have been as a young child looking at older ones, admiring and learning their attitudes and differences.

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Now the tables have turned and I find myself in the position where whatever I do or appear to do would have an effect on the younger ones around me. I realise my words and actions would either bring something new to them for good or bad, or reaffirm whatever they have learnt so far.

I remember advising the kids I taught to take each stage of life as it came and to never act younger or older than they were as they would certainly pass through each phase when it was due. Why live 18 at 15? 23 at 18? 30 at 20? 50 at 30? What happens when you’re 80? You’d live 112?

It was a challenge, I found myself as a teacher whose duty it was to guide and guard these kids in specific subjects as well as about life generally. It was difficult as I had my fair share of stiff teachers and had had my streaks of rebellion. I was caught in between. I wanted to be the young one who’d understand them and what they’re all about and indulge their excesses. At the same time, I wanted to be the older one who had experiences to share so that they wouldn’t make the same mistakes I had and to lay as good a foundation of discipline as I could.

How well did I do in the end?

Very well I dare say!

Only because however tough I was on them, they still were comfortable enough to open up to me and nearly 2 years after, I’m still in touch with a few of them.

My point?

The more we grow, the more liberty we gain, religiously, economically and socially, tend to use as we please, which is just great. But however much we’d like to tell the younger ones what to and what to not do, they still see what we do, and will re-enact what they fancy immediately or at some time in the future.

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I find I’m still learning so much from the older generation ahead and that it’s my duty to filter through what I learn so that whatever I imbibe is of a positive benefit to not just myself but the younger ones whom I unconsciously inspire. The future depends on how we inspire those who will take over from us, just as much as it is inspired by what we chose to keep from what we learnt every day. So choose wisely cos the younger ones would question our choices just as much as we question the older one.

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The little things that do matter

Certain things amaze me, like how Terry keeps his bat suit in his school bag in the batman of the future series, or how Tony Starks keeps that magnificent suit with all its special effects in a “simple” suitcase. It’s fascinating seeing big things coming out of “small” people, actions, events and what have you. It gives hope and courage to a lot of people who often end up achieving more things than they ever thought they could. Ask any successful person and they would tell you how a little step led to a lot or a little persistence paid off big time.

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On the counter, it’s frightening how something so small could command a lot more than it should. Our beloved country is full of such and these are a constant source of frustration for the social and economical growth of the society.

Let me start from a recent event where in a friend attended a wedding in what should be a regularly occupied event centre. Of course due to the poor urban planning of Lagos, finding adequate parking space in a city where social events like weddings are usually “packed” was out of the question and hence people resorted to parking at the side of what could be called a busy street. My friend had parked at a spot where some FRSC officials told her was “safe”. Allegedly the host of the event hadn’t “settled” the local LASTMA operatives and as such they decided to assert their authority and seize some “illegally” parked vehicles. As expected the fine was ridiculous in relation to the “crime” and the circumstance surrounding it. But what also caught my attention is the fact that the car tires were deflated immediately upon arrival by a vulcanizer within the premises. He would have to be paid for the tires to be inflated before one leaves. Why should the tires of impounded vehicles be deflated at all and why is inflation to be paid for by the “victim”? These could be at low as N40 on the streets but could be up to N100 per tire.

Another case of interest is that of university hostels. These hostels unfortunately cannot accommodate everyone and as such should ideally be prioritised for the new students, final year students and then students who live outside the state or at distant locations. In reality this is not the case. We find that most times, the final year and new students get hostels but the allocation of the remaining space is left unaccounted for. People eventually have to use backdoor means which are more expensive than the “moderate” fees one pays for hostel accommodation. They get the impression that the spaces have all been fully allocated and it’s apparent the spaces can’t be gotten through the legal channels. What they then resort to is finding “agents” who help process hostel spaces for them. Of course this is usually after several weeks of resumption where they have had to attend school from distant locations on a daily basis or had to squat with someone fortunate to have a space. Of course outside school accommodation is an option but not everyone can afford them. Consequently the moderate price tag attached to hostel accommodation rises in multiples. Why apply for a hostel one doesn’t want when they can leave it for those who NEED it?

Do I hear it’s simply simple economics of supply and demand? Do I hear inflation?

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What of the case whereby people ask for incentives just to do their jobs? Like the cleaners or guards in public and private establishments? Places where certain privileges ordinarily expected come with a price. We pay taxes and then pay for the people who live off our taxes, and apparently might not be performing up to par on the job, to still do their jobs. There are those as well who just expect a more fortunate individual to hand them money just because they are more fortunate.

Do I hear corporate begging?

It’s funny how ingenious people feel when they devise a means, legal or illegal, to get money they didn’t morally work for. But who is deceiving who really? Just as a friend put it, “Its exploitation and not exploration”. The issue is that where there is illegitimate gain, there simply is a loss somewhere else. Is the economy growing? Is money being made where value is offered? Or are we just accelerating the movement of money where money is “made” with no apparent value created?

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But these are small issues that sum up to a large deficit. Of course an even larger example of this sort of instance is one where less than 500 people serving a country are paid about 25% of its budget for a job that’s horribly done. Where is the value for which they are paid?

We need to stop praising mediocrity, we all have to work for what we deserve and do our best to increase Nigeria’s income as opposed to creating a false sense of value. Remember what is of excessive value is of no value at the end of the day (context).

Do share any similar experiences or views. Thanks.

Act now or wait till they are at your doorstep

This morning my brother sent me a link:

http://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/159995-jonathan-faults-world-banks-classification-nigeria-poor.html

I was sad; because this is the umpteenth time the president had made a statement that made me ask “Is this the sort of mentality Nigeria needs at this time from its leader?”

“Is this the type of mentality that would lead a conclusive effort against the accurate and effective organisation of boko haram?”

I did mention in my note, the red pill or the blue pill, that if we keep ignoring it and acting like it doesn’t concern us they would make their way down south and a friend happened to send me this just this morning:

http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/05/us-warns-possible-boko-haram-attack-lagos

Why do we let our comfort, freedom and seeming safety dumb us down as we underestimate the very thing that will take away those very things we hold so dearly?

Do we really need them to attack and cause grieving families here in the south before we act? Do we as collective Nigerians not feel the pain and loss of several families in the last 5 years?

5 years!!!

Yes it’s been 5 sad years and we still haven’t learnt, we still haven’t washed our eyes clean to see all the blood and tears that’s been flowing. We still don’t know the severity, wickedness and future implications of the past and present happenings in this country.

One of our problems in this country is that we run from our grim history which we should have learnt from and don’t bother about the future which we think our “hope” will sort out. E go better! Yimz! Sure, the present is a present but what happens when all that chocolate leaves no teeth left to eat with tomorrow? Our spur of the moment decision making without a consideration for the apparent consequences is what has brought us so far!

So you are learned right? Have had some form of education right? So why don’t you learn? Your job, phone, car and “life” would be “over” if places in the south started going up in flames!

You are smart right? So what’s the solution?

From a broad perspective we have two options, we separate from the north so the “new owners” can do what they want with it, which is unlikely or we fight for Nigeria which was foisted on us from the start. The unlikely combination of the parts that make up Nigeria along with our reluctance to address the errors in our history is STILL the foundation of this problem.

From all indications our leadership and military, those who readily oppress civilians, are not going to help us out here. They just will help our taxes get spent and protect their own families. What else would people who oppress those who pay for their lively hood do? Unlike the police and military in some foreign countries that are educated enough to know when not to choose between the leaders they are sworn to and the people they have sworn to protect, our security agencies are sworn to themselves.

What if it isn’t just political? What if after the elections the activities continue? What then? It does look like the crescendo we all expect to precede a calm. But it’s been 5 years and it seems to be moving up, what’s the assurance there would be calm after? The fact is we are shrouded in ignorance and we aren’t doing anything to reduce that. No wonder it is said that ignorance is bliss.

So what solution do you propose and what would be the form of cohesion? Or would you rather live your life of comfort till they are at your doorstep?

Kindly share your thoughts and this post as well. Thanks.