«

»

Dec
28

AN END-OF-YEAR FIRESIDE CHAT WITH MY FRIENDS

AN END-OF-YEAR FIRESIDE CHAT WITH MY “FRIENDS” by CAMERON DUODU

The Daily Graphic 28 Dec  2013

  • Guys, do you know what frightens me most about the future of our country?
  • Oh oh?! It’s not like what it was in the good old days, right?
  • No! The good old days, whether they were good or bad, are gone. Dead. I am talking about YOUR future, man. You gathered around me have at least another half a century to enjoy – or endure – life, allowing for the non-performance or otherwise of our health services. And that IS a long time, buddy!
  • So what are you saying?
  • I find that you guys are excellent at analysing the ills in our society. Judgement debt?
  • We don’t call it that any longer. Its new name is Ghana 419!
  • Loot and share!
  • Haha! Invent the scam and then sell it to the lawyers? Or vice versa: let the lawyers tell you how to do it and go and get it done!
  • It” being how to legally commit larcenous illegality!
    (EVERYONE LAUGHS. UPROARIOUSLY)
  • What is in a name?”, asked Shakespeare. “That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet!”
  • Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene 2!
  • (EVERYBODY CHEERS: YEEEEEEEEEEE!)
  • Hmm, I could match that once! Now, even the words of the quotation are difficult to summon in full, let alone the exact passage in which it occurs!
  • Don’t worry – these days, you can Google quotations on your smart phone!
  • Hahahahaha! Assuming one knows how to get the app!
  • Hahahahaha! The other day, a young guy, having taken a photo of me and his pretty mum, asked me whether I’d got “whatsapp”. I thought he was asking me about my plans. You know, what’s up with me! When he realised I didn’t even know about the app, let alone have it on my phone, he downloaded it for me immediately. So I could mail his mum a selfie of me and her gazing into each other’s eyes!! You know, like Obama and that Danish blonde Prime Minister did at Nelson Mandela’s funera1l!
  • Hahaha! Do you think the NSA captured that?
  • Hahahaha! They will at least have a meta-data trace of it! I mean, the NSA sweeps up everything. Definitely, Michelle has got her grounds for divorce on file!!
  • That would be the day! Obama hung by his own petard. At least, Clinton got something out of his indiscretion!
  • Hahahahahahaha!
  • Hey chaps, you’re making me lose my thread….
  • Good for you. Have you noticed that these days, it is almost impossible to follow a thread on an internet forum hosted by Yahoo? For some reason, every old

    message sent on the thread scrolls up before you come to the new messages… !

  • The internet techies keep changing things so that they can accommodate more advertisements. You can’t use your mouse these days without unintentionally calling up an advert!
  • Ha, they want you to switch to Facebook!
  • But I thought Yahoo and FB were competitors?
  • No-one really knows who owns want any longer, do they? I mean Google has just acquired a company that manufactures robot soldiers and most probably, even drones! Before you know it, Twitter will have acquired The New York Times. Brevity and Verbosity sleeping together!
  • And Google claims it does not do “evil”?
  • Yep! When you go to a Ghanaian funeral and you see women wailing loudly: “I want to go with you! I want to go with you!”, and gesturing towards the corpse, don’t take them literally. You just wait until the casket is taken to the open grave. The wailers will be nowhere to be found then!
  • Hmmm! I believe it is not done only by the bereaved relatives, but also by professional wailers who are hired to do that at funerals? Some pros can even weep real tears for you, as long as your fee is fat enough!
  • We take funerals to ridiculous levels, don’t we?
  • Now, look, I was saying that you guys are good at criticising what is going on in the society. You know how to skin politicians alive – with your razor-sharp tongues! But some of you are in the managerial class and you are just as irresponsible as the Ministers and MPs.
  • Irresponsible? If we were, we would get the sack!
  • If your irresponsibility was known to the higher-ups. You – how many of the emails in your Inbox have you answered?
  • Well, one has to think carefully before answering an email, you know? One doesn’t want to commit the company to any action without authority?
  • Of course, one doesn’t. But managing means taking decisions. YOU have to suggest action that is within your competence to your bosses so that the company can go forward! If you sit on decisions because you are afraid that making a suggestion may be a mistake and you will be held responsible for it, then you are not fulfilling one of the key functions in your job description.
  • But suppose the company is doing well already?
  • That is where I find you guys are behind the times. You hear of how people like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs took risky decisions and benefited themselves and society greatly. You employ the results of their acumen with great delight. But you don’t want to bring any innovation to your own work areas…
  • But over here, people like to slap others down whereas in the US, innovators are courted and rewarded!
  • You’ve got to start somewhere, haven’t you? Begin by answering emails. By picking up your telephone calls. Of course, no-one can notice if you shirk such responsibilities. But if you are going to be critical of Ministers and chief executives and company directors, you’ve got to remember that as you point one finger at them, you are pointing four at your` own self.
  • Actually, I agree with you!
  • You do?
  • Yes I do. Too many promises are made by some of us without the slightest intention of carrying them out. If you answer an email, it may mean you are fulfilling a promise or undertaking, so don’t! That makes us a nation of liars! You don’t only lie when you tell a fib; you also lie when you ask someone to send you a proposal (for example) and you refuse to respond to it after he has done so!
  • Pretending that the email did not arrive…
  • Or that the telephone call was swallowed by the usual suspects – the awful phone companies.
  • Do you know how much creativity is lost to the society because people won’t take decisions that they are paid to take? The other day, someone asked me to attend a very interesting meeting. I asked him what role I would be expected to play at the meeting, since it was going to have a structured agenda. I asked him not once but three times. He didn’t answer any of the emails I sent. So I didn’t go to the meeting. When he met me somewhere after the meeting, he expressed regret that I hadn’t shown up. I just looked at him and kept my own counsel. Had I told him what was really in my mind, we would never talk to each other again!
  • Oh, Chief, we’re not all like that oh!
  • Oh shut up! Look, every time I send an article to a newspaper, I ask that they should acknowledge receipt of it because sometimes, emails actually do not arrive at their destinations! But very few bother to reply with a mere 3 words saying: article safely received! Three words – and they won’t do it! And do you expect newspapers with staff of this sort to be able to write with conviction, editorials urging public bodies to take action to provide the services the public yearns for?
  • Ei Chief, you are laying into us today oh!
  • Not at all. It’s just that we opinion leaders are the “salt of the earth”! As Jesus said. If we, are to keep our rulers on their toes; if we are to shame companies into actually providing the services they charge us the earth for; we must be seen to be zealous ourselves.
  • Chief, can I leave please? The traffic, you know?
  • Ahaaaaah! Blame the traffic too! Because of the heavy traffic, you can’t schedule face-to-face meetings. And because the phones don’t work, you can’t discuss anything on ‘the phone. And no-one can verify whether you have received an email or not, for only you know your password. You are what the erudite Ajoa Yeboah-Afari would call “a communicator who doesn’t communicate!”
  • Ei Chief, you like that woman!
  • Of course, I do. Did you read what she wrote about the Mandela funeral? It was as if she was there herself – at Qunu. Such people don’t grow on trees, you know?
  • Chief, I am jealous!
  • Don’t be jealous. Just go and exchange ideas with her. She has loads of experience. Do you know that she and the late Sam Arthur former editor of The Pioneer, are the only two Ghanaian journalists who, through their reading, were able to introduce me to English words I had never come across before? Sam Arthur taught me the word “misogyny”. Ajoa’s word was “termagant”!
  • Hmm! I shall look up those two words.
  • Our pleasure!
Share