Of The Baron And The Lady Boys of South East Asia

 

I arrived in Vientiane the Capital city of Laos on bike from the northern Thailand town of Nong Khai. I was on an ambitious “off the beaten track” journey through parts of South East Asia along the Mekong. The Mekong river forms a natural border between the Northern Thailand and Laos.

The customs officer on the Thai side of the border kept me waiting for a long time. It seemed he had never seen a Kenyan passport. Unable to find anything wrong with the validity of the travel document, he resorted to interrogation, flanked by two mean faced colleagues. ‘Mister! which country you from?”aka must be somewhere poor! I found them more amusing than annoying and an hour later I got my departure stamp. If one is Black and not carrying an American passport Thai Immigration who do not know much about Africa assume they are Nigerian (therefore crooks).

What Happened To All The Serious Jokers?

I grew up at a time when it was impossible to go through life without picking up a nickname. The name was never a compliment. It served only as a reminder that no one was above a good roasting.

There was a guy in my high school called MC, short for MC Hammer. Not because he was a good dancer, a fashionista or had a way with the ladies. The back of his head protruded outward like a hammer.

One day someone observed, “This guy’s head is shaped like a hammer, he should be called MC Hammer”, the boys laughed and MC became one of the most popular guys in school because he did not take it personally.

Why Kenyan Men Need Anger Management Therapy

There are too many angry men in this country. I won’t mention names but President Uhuru has been throwing tirades in public and the heat generated by the spurts of anger has had a ripple effect across the land. Anything said in anger will be remembered. In the movies the warning line is, “What did you just say?” and then things get really ugly. A quote attributed to American humorist Evan Esar might be apt for the moment, “Anger is the feeling that makes your mouth move faster than your mind”. But this isn’t about the President. It is about the watus.

Of Bullying In Schools and The Alpha Complex

A long time ago, there was a student called “Keep Left”. Three years after Keep Left completed high school, his younger brother joined form one, in a different school. One afternoon, footballers from Keep Left’s former school who were the national champions, arrived for a friendly match. The visiting side was dominant and after the game, the young lad joined the queue to greet the champs and introduced himself. “Do you guys know Keep Left?” The mere mention of the name, caught the captain’s attention and when they realized that he was indeed, Keep Left’s younger brother, the visiting team fawned over him.

Keep Left was a real life character. He made his name as the fist of fury in his school years in the late 70s, a boxing champ and the kind of brother they said could rearrange your dental formula. All the juniors followed the laid down protocol and avoided his right side. That was his good side, the hand that he used to eat or punch anyone who gave him lip.  Even in the mid-80s, almost a decade after he had left the school, his rep only grew bigger. The new arrivals who came swaggering in, desperately tried to live up to Keep Left’s larger-than-life image.

The Chapati Movement

In 2016, Dennis Itumbi, the chief Jubilee online spin doctor, also known as the director of Digital communication, brought to our attention, the chapati movement when he joined a group of volunteers, to distribute hot chapos off the pan to feed tens of street kids in Nairobi. With Itumbi in the mix, it came across as a publicity stunt lording the idea of his charitable side on his birthday. Kenyans On Twitter (KOT) were not impressed. However, the chapati movement is more than another of those annoying Jubilee publicity stunts.