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Bedroom matters are private

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Frank opinion is the core of the ethos of the columnist, and it should be executed in such a manner that it addresses the issue in stark terms without bias or favour to anyone. The issue at hand should be one that benefits the masses to a certain extent, based on logical premises and not momentary impulse. The lead reason in this approach is that one as a columnist must avoid being patronising at all costs, for then the issue is lost to favour and affiliation, at the end of the day declaring it a biased discussion.

We live in an age that is largely feudal though it claims to be different and defines itself in patronising terms like democratic freedom and human rights. The fact of the matter is that people these days pledge allegiance to some new age lord. This lord comes in many forms, political, religious, private, and sometimes even personal. It is a reality we are getting used to where one side so worships itself that they hold the notion that their opinions must be accepted as religion. There are more instances of agreeing to disagree at this point in time than anywhere else in the history of time and the question is: are the real concerns ever addressed, or, are we forced to participate in matters that should rightly be discussed in private conference?

Sexuality is a private affair, no matter how many arguments may be put forward as to the definition of the issue of one’s sexual inclination, orientation, or, tendency. It frankly does not serve the general public any benefit in terms of advancing the basic concerns society needs to advance. Discussing what one does in their private space on a public platform merely misses the gist of the real concerns affecting our society: there are more pressing issues to discuss such as rampant disease, unemployment, crime, poverty eradication, social development and related issues.

It is hard for one to understand how individuals reveal how the act of coitus is performed on national TV and how they get to do it in their private space. It is in essence plain irritation to those that are wondering, begging with a  bowl in hand to listen to someone speak in stilted terms how we should understand their bedroom habits. There are more pressing issues at hand to discuss, and the serious problems they pose to the harmonious running of the entire society are of more importance than sexual identity.

How the issues raised by LGBTI communities found their way into the public sphere is an issue that is quite hard to understand, for the simple reality in fact is that they are private affairs limited in their breadth to the affected individuals. It simply is no one’s business whether one is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or straight. It serves no one except the individual concerned what gender they choose to follow, and going public about defining homosexuality or heterosexuality is being noisome about what should best be kept in private.

Gender classification is as old as humanity, in fact, it predates humanity for except those few and scattered cases of androgyny, the world is either male or female, the rest that is now in fashion is simply a severe case of sexual confusion whose base can be traced to specific sources such as abuse, orientation, or choice as is the case in most instances where individuals display sexual qualities different from what the public presumes. The massive tantrums thrown by gay rights groups are to me just attention-seeking displays that in most cases endanger the harmony of society if they are not seen for what they really are.

What one does in their bedrooms should not be allowed to confuse the poor children whose conception of the world is limited to growing in a manner that is beneficial to the society as a whole. That one is a man engaging in sexual intercourse with other men, or, that one is a woman that dates other women is in frank terms not beneficial to anyone else but the parties concerned, not the entire society. It should not be imposed on disinterested parties in the form of the carnivals and street parades, for doing so merely alienates the one who wants their voice to be heard. We have never seen heterosexuals walk the streets to tell of their sexual orientation. It is perhaps because they know that sexual orientation is at best a non-issue.

The old as time human make-up of the ideal environment in which a child must grow up includes a father and a mother, and the question is: how does the child deal with the new and increasing number of sexualities sex rights groups’ coin with every passing season? How do they get to identify adequately as individuals when presented with this kaleidoscope of sexual identities?
There should be calls for rights, but they should be done in a manner that is appropriate because for now, the noise is too loud on the part of the rights groups that impose their rights on ‘normal’ people who are innocently not interested in these bedroom politics. A slot on national television that should be reserved for some economic development activity is usurped by individuals who with the fervour of a Pentecostal preacher want to convince everyone listening that their sexual orientation is the most right thing to do.

Why should we accept one’s gender orientation when everything about it is wrong?
Invasive tendencies of rights groups are not often subtle, from the feminist rights groups of the 50’s and 60’s to the present day, the general unconcerned public is often subjected to rhetoric that has no consideration whatsoever for the rights of others. Everyone has a right to their religious beliefs, personal beliefs, and other beliefs that are not necessarily less important than the rights of an individual or group of individuals that believe in a given issue.

For governments to agree with the views of groups just on the basis that individuals in such groups seem human may at the end of the day lead to the destruction of entire societies by the cabalistic tendencies of individuals whose goal is to impose their beliefs on the rest of society. I have never been one to believe in noise as a means to getting people to listen to and understand my opinion or to support my point of view.

The past 20 years have seen the southern part of Africa and the world deal with groups of people that impose their views on others, stigmatising those that do not agree with the given point of view.
I do not agree with my children being exposed to the sexual behaviours of adults that do not agree with whatever sex nature panned out to them. If they feel they are men in women’s bodies, or women in men’s bodies, it is their private concern; what I am is my private concern and I do not have to go around telling everyone that I am a hetero-metro-sexual male that believes that male and female were designed for the specific purpose of procreation.

What counts is that the human race should thrive well enough to avoid extinction. There is no way that we can achieve historical continuity as the human race if we allow ourselves to be splintered into groups that have self-interest as the basis for their private behaviours.

Minding one’s business means that there is no thin line one has to tread, but it is hard to mind one’s business when there is a woodpecker at one’s door, when there is a siren in the kitchen, and when there is a strange human standing in one’s yard. These strange humans are of the sort that looks like they are of a certain sex but in ‘actual’ terms of a different kind, leading to one being utterly confused when it comes to defining what they are in terms of sexual orientation (which too is none of my business but which may help when I have to describe the identity of the individual when the cops come knocking after the commitment of a crime).

We have to be specific in terms of defining the gender of an individual, for under normal circumstances, there is no in-between (there is only the ‘other’ and that ‘other’ has now transformed into more than five different forms from the original two that ‘other’ had) to avoid confusion.

Focusing on the real concerns (health, employment, safety: welfare) of society shall save the day from the marauding armies of individuals that have chosen to get out of their closets to parade their sex in the streets in the name of rights and expression. If this was done in the halls like the pious do theirs in tents, chapels and cathedrals then I would not be bothered. I am only bothered because the carnivals of the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah go past my house and confuse me and my children with their calls to be heard and accepted as ‘normal’ when they are in fact not displaying normal behaviour.

Being blunt is never wrong, and to be obtuse, there is nothing ‘normal’ about being multi-gender. Face the truth: there is a reason why there is male and female (or androgynous or hermaphrodite) and anything that seeks to define itself otherwise is abnormal. Procreation is an act all creatures in nature perform, and ‘science’ says only human beings and dolphins actually do it for something other than procreation, ‘science’ states both these mammalian species actually engage in copulation for fun.
It could be true or it could be that other species are private about their sexual encounters. This quality I ignored in the modern world where the bedroom has somehow found its way into the arena and all compliant and reluctant viewers are subjected to the whims of the new class of the human species.

This new class cares not whether you care, what they care about is to be heard.
I think science is not a conclusive subject and I am also aware that its Darwinian perspectives are often hinged on weak premises. There is the issue of natural selection, there is the issue of procreation and the question remains: why would this Jack and Jack think they are doing everyday despite the fact that both have no capacity to procreate? Maybe they are lonely seeing that there are no females willing to advance the human race with them.

The other reason may be that the two guys are too short and small to mount the only females available out here in their neighbourhood. The two are left with the only option/s available for any male who wants to plant the seeds of their progeny, each other. The males that deny their sexuality could have somehow acknowledged their lack and they are making up for it by loving each other, if in a sort of obtuse Brokeback Mountain kind of way. And in the middle of all this little same-sex brouhaha by the new-age type of male that finds it fit to be seen as a woman. Gay dogs, mad lawyers, strange musings…
I was reading through the 2008 edition of The Faith of Barack Obama, whilst munching on strips of biltong (dried meat is quite good as a pastime, if none of it was there, then I could get busy).

I came across the name of his controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright and realised that perhaps it is right to question the way that religion has somehow managed to convert us into a religion different from our indigenous religious systems (Christianity included… I mean, the Black Jesus sort and not the Jewish blond-haired, blue-eyed Jesus of Nazareth type of religion that served as the pathfinder that led to most countries submitting into the arms of colonialism and perpetual mental slavery) without question.

I am not being homophobic here, and well I am being homophobic by questioning why the image of God is being given the colour and credo it was not from the onset.
Only one side of the human spectrum pretends they can just give their definition of God and in their deeds encourage that His children should act contrary to his law, it is perhaps right that the ignored side (the human majority) actually enforces terms that stamp the fact that they came before the newly-acknowledged side. The escapist tendency to evade reality for personal aggrandisement when it comes to the issues pertaining to sexuality is ‘exactly’ that which taught men to evade doing the honourable act of ‘acknowledging’ wrongs when they are occurring.

It is wrong to think that we can just hold the belief that things are right as they are, that every issue is right to be discussed on any platform. There is an age restriction that should be observed, not at as a convenience, but as a fact. Sexuality issues could lead to total social decay if they are not given heed that is due to them. The bedroom should stay in the bedroom.

Tsépiso Mothibi

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Insight

The Joker Returns: Conclusion

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Last week I was talking about how jokes, or humour generally, can help get one through the most desperate situations (although it’s like taking a paracetamol for a headache; a much, much stronger resort is faith). I used the example of how Polish Jews, trapped and dying in the Warsaw ghetto, used humour to get them through day by day.

A similar, though less nightmarish, situation obtains in today’s Nigeria. Conditions there are less hellish than those of the Warsaw ghetto, but still pretty awful. There are massive redundancies, so millions of people are jobless. Inflation is at about 30% and the cost of living is sky-rocketing, with the most basic foodstuffs often unavailable. There is the breakdown of basic social services.

And endemic violence, with widespread armed robbery (to travel by road from one city to another you take your life in your hands) and the frequent kidnapping for ransom of schoolchildren and teachers. In a recent issue of the Punch newspaper (Lagos) Taiwo Obindo, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Jos, writes of the effects of economic hardship and insecurity on his people’s mental health.

He concludes: “We should see the funny side of things. We can use humour to handle some things. Don’t take things to heart; laugh it off.”

Professor Obindo doesn’t, regrettably, give examples of the humour he prescribes, but I remember two from a period when things were less grim. Power-cuts happened all the time — a big problem if you’re trying to work at night and can’t afford a generator.

And so the National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) was universally referred to as Never Expect Power Always. And second, for inter-city travel there was a company called Luxurious Buses. Believe me, the average Lesotho kombi is a great deal more luxurious (I can’t remember ever having to sit on the floor of one of those).

And because of the dreadful state of Nigerian roads and the frequent fatal crashes, Luxurious Buses were referred to as Luxurious Hearses.

Lesotho’s newspaper thepost, for which I slave away tirelessly, doesn’t use humour very much. But there is Muckraker. I’ve always wondered whether Muckraker is the pen-name of a single person or a group who alternate writing the column.

Whatever, I’d love to have a drink with him / her/ them and chew things over. I like the ironic pen-name of the author(s). Traditionally speaking, a muckraker is a gossip, someone who scrabbles around for titbits (usually sexual) on the personal life of a celebrity — not exactly a noble thing to do.

But thepost’s Muckraker exposes big problems, deep demerits, conducted by those who should know and do better — problems that the powerful would like to be swept under the carpet, and the intention of Muckraker’s exposure is corrective.

And I always join in the closing exasperated “Ichuuuu!” (as I do this rather loudly, my housemates probably think I’m going bonkers).

Finally I want to mention television satire. The Brits are renowned for this, an achievement dating back to the early 1960s and the weekly satirical programme “TW3” (That Was The Week That Was). More recently we have had “Mock the Week”, though, despite its popularity, the BBC has cancelled this.

The cancellation wasn’t for political reasons. For decades the UK has been encumbered with a foul Conservative government, though this year’s election may be won by Labour (not such very good news, as the Labour leadership is only pseudo-socialist). “Mock the Week” was pretty even-handed in deriding politicians; the BBC’s problem was, I imagine, with the programme’s frequent obscenity.

As an example of their political jokes, I quote a discussion on the less than inspiring leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer. One member of the panel said: “Labour may well have a huge lead in the polls at present, but the day before election day Starmer will destroy it by doing something like accidentally infecting David Attenborough with chicken-pox.”

And a favourite, basically non-political interchange on “Mock the Week” had to do with our former monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Whatever one thinks about the British monarchy as an institution, the Queen was much loved, but the following interchange between two panellists (A and B) was fun:

A: Is the Queen’s nickname really Lilibet?
B: Yes, it is.
A: I thought her nickname was Her Majesty.
B: That’s her gang name.

OK, dear readers, that’s enough humour from me for a while. Next week I’m turning dead serious — and more than a little controversial — responding to a recent Insight piece by Mokhosi Mohapi titled “A reversal of our traditions and culture.” To be forewarned is to be prepared.

Chris Dunton

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Insight

Reading, writing and the art of reflection

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There is a close thread that runs through what you reflect on, what you read and what sticks in your mind. It’s almost a cyclic process with regards to how all these processes unfold. Today, in this installment we focus on the thread between reading, reflection and writing.

This appears a bit cumbersome to explain. But let’s simplify it. Let’s begin with a beautiful poem which encompasses what we have so far spoken about. Here we are! The poem is penned by “Tachibama Akemi.” It goes:

It is a pleasure
When, rising in the morning,
I go outside and
Find that a flower has blossomed
That was not there yesterday.

Seemingly, the poem is simple. But, on close analysis, it reflects very deep reflection and thoughtfulness.

The persona, in an existential fashion, reflects all about the purpose and meaning of life and his place in the overall matrix of life.

The persona carefully reflects on nature. This is what makes all this poem rustic and romantic.

The persona thinks deeply about the blossoming flowers and how the process of the growth of flowers appears almost inadvertently.

It is a poem about change, healing, the lapse of time and the changes or vissiccitudes in the life of a person are reflected creatively through imagery and poetry. We all go through that, isn’t it? We all react and respond to love, truth and beauty.

So far everything appears very interesting. Let’s just put to the fore some good and appealing thoughts. Let’s enlarge on reading, writing and reflection.

Kindly keep in mind that thoughts must be captured, told, expressed and shared through the magical power of the written word.

As a person, obviously through keeping entries in a journal, there is no doubt that you have toyed about thoughts and ideas and experiences you wish you could put across.

Here is an example you can peek from Anthony. Anthony likes writing. He tells us that in his spare time he likes exploring a lot. And, more often than not he tells us,

“I stop, and think, and then when I find something, I just keep on writing.”

So crisp, but how beautiful. Notice something interesting here; you need to stop, to take life effortlessly and ponderously, as it were; observe, be attentive to your environment; formulate thought patterns and then write.

To some extent, this article builds on our previous experiences when we spoke at length about the reading process.

But how can you do it? It’s not pretty much different. I can help you from my previous life as a teacher of English Languge.

The most important skill you must cultivate is that of listening, close listening. Look at how people and events mingle.

What makes both of you happy; enjoy it. I am sure you still keep that journal in which you enter very beautiful entries. Reflect about Maseru, the so-called affluent city. So majestic!

How can you picture it in writing!

I am glad you learnt to reflect deep and write. Thank you very much. Kindly learn and perfect the craft of observing, reflecting and writing. Learn that connection. Let’s meet for another class.

Vuso Mhlanga

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Insight

The Joker Returns: Part One

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Don’t be put off by the title, esteemed readers; what follows has nothing to do with the Batman films. As you will be happily (or unhappily) aware, I am a big fan of jokes. There’s a common understanding that a joke is ruined if you have to explain it, and this is true, but some jokes do need a bit of background explanation. Anyway. I like jokes and I like thinking about how they work.

Many of my favourite jokes have to do with language and the way we use it. For example: “I just bought myself a thesaurus. I similar it very much.”

Other jokes have to do with human behaviour and here it is important, out of respect for others, to avoid jokes that perpetuate stereotypical ideas about gender, race, nationality, and so on. I’m afraid the following joke does depend upon a stereotype (I’ll come back to that), but here goes, after a bit of background information.

In Lesotho you have an insect called a praying mantis — stick-like, bright green, and with great bulging eyes. They are rather lovable, despite the off-putting fact that the female practices insect cannibalism; after mating, she consumes the male. So, now you’ve had your zoological primer, here goes.

Two praying mantises are getting up close and personal. The female says to the male: “before we have sex and I bite your head off, could you help me put up some shelves?”

Apologies to female readers, because, as I said, that joke perpetuates a gender stereotype, namely, that women are good with a vacuum cleaner or a dustpan and brush, but hopeless with a hammer and nails.

There are many jokes that are, as it were, much more serious than that. As I rattled on about in a couple of earlier columns, many of these are satirical — jokes that are designed to point a finger at human folly or even wickedness. In another column, titled “Should we laugh?”, I explored the question “is there any subject that should be kept out of the range of humour?”

Well, apparently not, if we take on board the following account of the Warsaw ghetto.

Historical preface first.

The Warsaw ghetto represents one of the worst atrocities in modern history. In November 1940 the genocidal Nazis rounded up all the Jews in Poland’s capital and herded them into a small sector of the city, which they euphemistically, cynically, dubbed the “Jewish Residential District in Warsaw.”

Here nearly half a million Jews were in effect imprisoned, barely subsisting on tiny food rations. An estimated quarter of a million were sent off to the death camps. An uprising against the Nazi captors was brutally crushed. Around 100 000 died of starvation or disease.

Not much to laugh about there, you might say. But then consider the following, which I’ve taken from the New York Review of Books of February 29th this year:

“In the Warsaw Ghetto in October 1941 Mary Berg, then a teenager, wrote in her diary about the improbable persistence of laughter in that hellish place: ‘Every day at the Art Café on Leszno Street one can hear songs and satire on the police, the ambulance service, the rickshaws, and even the Gestapo, [on the latter] in a veiled fashion. The typhoid epidemic itself is the subject of jokes. It is laughter through tears, but it is laughter. This is not our only weapon in the ghetto — our people laugh at death and at the Nazi decrees. Humour is the only thing the Nazis cannot understand.’”

To be concluded

Chris Dunton

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