Everyone's talking about the Holiday season; getting all your shopping done, buying presents, handing in your leave papers. In South Africa, we also have to watch out for extra criminal activity in that time period; how else will criminals get their jollies in this season?
SABC2's Morning Live had another round of interesting discussions about the extreme crime scene in SA and how it affects our daily lives. It started out as a preparatory session for the happy holiday session and just encompassed everyday events.
Here's a breakdown of what they talked about.
The show was about the effects of crime on businesses. First, there is a loss of capital, obviously because of robberies and break-ins. Secondly, increased cost incurred by hiring of security guards and equipment (e.g. CCTV) also have negative effects. Well, the good news is foreign investors are not scared of crime level; apparently there is international confidence in gov't framework and democracy. How? Why?
With the holiday season around the corner, banks are going to have an awareness campaign(?) of sorts for holiday season, talking about precautions clients should take, etc. There was also a bit about zero tolerance policy of banks - about inside jobs that help criminal elements. That's a scary thought, that someone working in the bank might be tipping off some dodgy guys with a he's left the bank with R_____.00.
There was a discussion about the significance placed on material possessions; basically, your self worth is measured by what you have, what you own, the place you live, branded items you buy, etc. This culture of materialism has gripped South Africa and the commentators on the show, particularly the speakers from University of Pretoria, emphasized the socialization process by which materialism is projected as the ultimate goal. To this effect, the vast gap between the rich and poor in SA was noted where poorer communities aspire to be or what the super rich have. On this note, it was pointed out that the middle class is slowly diminishing due to emigration or as victims of crime. Thus the disparity between the rich and poor is further widened where the value of rich can be seen as super rich while the poor live in extreme poverty. It should also be noted that commentators pointed out that while poverty is not the direct result of crime, inequality within society created by great disparity in wealth leads to crime.
This leads to the next point. Groups like Khulisa ( a group dedicated to welfare of children) pointed out that a vast majority of children were exposed to crime where violent crime is integrated into the socialization process as the norm. Plus, they emphasized the responsibility of parents within this process of socialization; parents no longer spend quality time with their children and hence cannot talk to them about right and wrong. Hence, the children learn social norms from other sources, incorporating it into their values. The commentators elaborated by saying that violence at home, school, news and media encourage violence as a norm. Regarding this point, when media mentions violent crimes, more oft than not it is noted that the criminals got away with crime / large sums or money / murder. Thus violent crime is equated with success, portraying it, unintentionally, as an attractive prospect. Add to this the fact that due to the high value given to materialistic culture within SA, the children would be desiring material goods in order to increase their self worth.
While on the topic of violence, the commentators also noted that the liberal legislation in South Africa does not provide a rehabilitation system. The criminals are taught vocations and sent back to society where the social conditions that created the wave of crime still exists and thus, they get back into the cycle of crime.
As always there was a call for community involvement. Some notable facts:
* SAPS commentator pointed out that a new tracking system would locate a distress call to it's area and also locate and dispatch police officers in that area. * Talk about community forums. He also pointed out that police needed community involvement in that a) they must call police about criminals in their region b) Info on where stolen goods do, choose where you buy your goods c) Note crime waves and be careful. For instance, take care when entering home because most hijacking take place when you are entering house.
Commendable point from Lee Ann, SABC 2 presenter at this last point; as a victim of recent hijacking, she pointed out that those procedures did not work since she herself had followed them throw and yet was attacked. Even more interesting was the awkward silence that followed this interruption.
There were no way to hope for a better future or expect a turn around. At the most, as a solution, it was suggested that children should be taught to develop their skills and talents, create projects that harness energy and creativity and thus developing self esteem and worth separate from a materialistic basis.
M. Night Shyamalan's new movie - THE HAPPENINGis scheduled for a summer release next year. So far I've loved his movies; he's original, his characters have depth ( no skanky women, no over zealous macho men, no religious messages) and they are off beat.
So far he's made great choices. and the cast for the movie is impressive - Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo. However, I'm not so sure about his main character.
Mark Wahlberg is gonna be playing the lead character. He's done some excellent stuff so I don't think he's a bad actor. Ah, but if you asked whether it was the smartest choice, then... we'll have to see. Here's an extract from his interview about the flick.
"I play a kind of nerdy science teacher from Philadelphia," said Wahlberg. "I'm very kind of intimidated by my wife and I can't connect outside of the classroom. I'm the best teacher you've ever seen. I'm like one of my students. My students love me. We have this great connection. I'm extremely passionate about what I do but I have some difficulty in other departments: being a man, certainly being the man she wants me to be. I am extremely positive and upbeat and she's the opposite. It's really about their relationship."
I didn't know there were different "kinds"of nerdy teachers. Nerdy type who loves books as opposed to hectic trekkie? On that note, nice to know Wahlberg has no problem assigning social labels to people. He must put a lot of thought into portraying a non-stereotypical science teacher.
I'm the best teacher you've ever seen. I'm like one of my students. My students love me. That says something about American schools, doesn't it?
It's been four days and the Rugby Euphoria continues. It is a moment for celebration, joy and togetherness; the Christmas of the sports world. Now that everyone's joined in the fun, it's not surprising to see media propaganda encompassing Rugby to voice their bizarre ideas.
Take for instance the interview this morning. Sabc 2, as usual. I caught the interview towards the end so I'm not sure as to the identity of the lucky participant in this blatant rip off of a glorious moment. It was a woman colorfully adorned, all her accessories screaming I love South Africa. Her words were interesting, to say the least.
Here is the gist of her Care Bear-ish, happy thoughts. Basically, South Africans need to think positively; this event is something wondrous and is a step in the right direction. Hence, everyone must stop tainting their minds with negative thoughts and usher in happy clappy thoughts, According to her, this was the way to welcome the future, to welcome a new South Africa. And it was along these merry lines that she said "Stop Acting against Crime, Act for a Safe and Secure South Africa". According to her wisely dispensed words, every individual has a role to play in making South Africa a safe and secure place.
Did she honestly think thousands traumatized and severely hurt by crime is going to be miraculously cured by this single event? If they stop thinking about it, would it stop affecting their daily lives? I suppose all the expats who left due to crime are hurriedly packing their backs and catching the first flight back to the new South Africa. Hey wait, a more thoughtful one might say, what about the incredibly high crime rate? Who cares, we won, it will all work out. The homes and streets are safe from robbers, hijackers, rapists and murderers. We have the cup of hope.
And pray tell, how are we as individuals supposed to make a difference in crime? Perhaps it would help if everyone joined forces and went out to circle the block. No wait, that's call mob rule. So, are you honestly encouraging the public to form their own militia? The prospect of assigning the maintenance of law and order to a special group (i.e. police) is there for a very valid reason.
1. If police brutality is a serious crime, what about a civilian accidentally or intentionally causing harm to a criminal. Is there a guarantee that all civilians on doing their bit is aware of it? And because they were unaware and yet accidentally hurt a criminal can they go to jail or court for causing harm to another civilian?
2. America has the Miranda Rights. Is there something similar to that here? What powers are given to a police for arresting criminal as opposed to the conditions necessary for making a civilian arrest? Is there such a thing as civilian arrest here? Police as a group are trained to know these laws and rights aren't they? So civilians should go to night classes to learn all this and then jump into car to scoop out their area?
3. Cops have weapons as do criminals. What do civilians have? Do you honestly want innocent civilians to keep watch against armed and dangerous criminals? And if you are saying let's give more guns to civilians, please take a good look at the situation of gun control in America.
4. Gathering evidence is a tedious process which also has it's own rules and regulations which has to be followed to be applicable in court. What if a civilian botches up a crime scene in their eagerness to help? Or catches a criminal and gets the evidence (i.e, maybe gun the hijacker was carrying) but it is not applicable in court because he muddled up due procedure. Surely the police are trained in this method and yet we are going to go through process of informing civilians individually making a difference? And if so, who if any is doing the informing?
And when is it ever alright to say stop complaining, you need to make a difference? So if Eskom has power problems we don't have a right to complain? We must do our bit and get giant hamsters to run on wheels to generate our power for us? And if we don't get water? Big deal, go dig your own well. How about having no hospital? No worries, teach your kids how to sew in case you have a ghastly cut.
Whenever people stand up for their rights, why do South African authorities call them whiners?
Life would be so much easier if we left you alone with your tiaras and gowns, wouldn't it?
South Africa has gone mad with the recent World Cup victory. Almost everyone is wearing a springbok jersey, a huge crowd gathered, cheering and screaming, to welcome the returning team at the airport, people are still driving around with South African flags.
The Telegraph, a British news site, commented on this move, tactfully pointing out that "Players of colour who want to play rugby in South Africa...now have every opportunity to play at all levels". So what more does the Minister want?
In relation to that, there was an intriguing interview of Sports Minister Stofile on Sabc 2 this morning. Note: the quotes I am writing are roughly what they said, almost the exact words and not absolute quotations.
Following the discrete question of Sabc 2 Sports presenter i.e. something along the lines of You would like to see a team that represents South Africa, thus how is this team not represent South Africa?
Stofile: Let's get this straight. This team is a representative of South Africa. It did not reflect number of people in South Africa who play rugby. ( this is a strange comment given The Telegraph's claim that all rugby is accessible to all levels )
[Bristling, squirming and a few more questions later]
Stofle:It should be non-racial, we talked about this in 1992 ... ( he mentions merit but I cannot remember, as I am jotting this interview down, if he wanted merit or was against it. Nevertheless his later comments seem to be against it).
Stofle (continues): Merit is the most misused word in South Africa and in the world.
Then he goes on a passionate speech about how you cannot pit a child who eats pap in ______ ( didn't catch name ) and pit them against a boy in Cape Town who has a gym and talk about merit... Here he is interrupted by presenter -
Presenter: Are you talking about resources?
Stofile:Yes, It is about resources, you can't talk about merit if you can't fix resources.
Then there is the happy claim that he was confident the team would win although Thabo Mbeki was nervous that the game could flip either way.
The Telegraph voiced the views of sports fans when they pointed out that respect of your team mates is earned when you are hired on your skill as a good player and not for your color. Plus, as they pointed out, "the opposition who have a right to play the strongest South African side available". After all, isn't there a chance of sports going horribly wrong when you don't pick the best? Would you let a less qualified doctor operate on you; wouldn't you like to make sure he did go through the training and knows what he is doing? Same goes here.
Springboks captain John Smit unwittingly says it all when he states "We still have such a mountain to climb in South Africa, things are so complex. This must be a beginning, not an end."
If I see one more movie about wild animals adjusting to urban settings, I'll go nuts. Well, the good news is this movie is nothing like that. Bad news? It's about a 'domesticated' bear adjusting to the wilds. Did some super creative movie executive say "The urban jungle creature is over rated, let's twist it around, we can still squeeze a few pennies outta this theme."?
Well, Open Season is just that and so little else.
It did have some funny moments. Billy Conolly as the squirrel and the weird Beavers. Not to forget the spoofs on LoTR. Yea, that's about it really. Other than that, I am glad I waited for it to come out on DVD.
Honestly, if animated movies are resorting to a set formula just to rake in money, might as well boycott all animated movies. How many cute fuzzy animal surviving wild and finding love animated junk have come out so far? The only decent one I can remember is Finding Nemo; it's all downhill after that. Whatever happened to writing a decent story?
And the jokes, my god, those awful jokes! Anyone else notice how these made-mostly-for-kids movies have somewhat grownup humor in it? It's not pornographic or foul language but the implication of grownup lifestyle which is somewhat beyond comprehension of the snotty toddlers. Think of the scene where Boog gets 'drunk' in the candy store and, for use of a better word, ride the broom and slaps his rump suggestively. How about the inevitable hangover next morn? It's somewhat disconcerting that the adults making funny cute movies for children don't seem to understand presenting a topic on a children's level.
Oh and if they argue that some bits of it were subtly aimed at adults, think again! In the case of adults and children, it would be more appropriate to create a movie containing a bit more dignity and intelligence. In this case, more than a tad. I still cringe when I recall Elliot pooping wherever he pleases.
If you want to watch a decent animated movie, watch DNAngel. Appropriate for both children and adults.
Yest morn I was catching up with the news on TV. Nothing major happened - the usual thing in sunny SA, people getting killed, cars hijacked, politicians creating scandals. What a way to start your day!
Well, it was not quite as depressing as all that. I came across this interview between a news presenter and the CEO of SA Human Rights Committee ... or was it Commission? Anyway, he obviously wanted to talk about an upcoming event or rally or something. I was just having coffee and wandering aimlessly thru the news. Until the customary small talk happened!
Presenter: How are you ( etc. etc. other casual talk)? CEO: (mumbles a reply I didn't bother listening to)
Presenter: How are you guys recovering from the unfortunate incident? This gets my attention - tragedy? Something bad happened? This is not just about another petition doing the rounds? Presenter (continues before CEO answers): I mean, around 15 computers were stolen from the office, right? CEO ( this is what you call a pregnant pause): Yea.
Presenter:Have you guys recovered the data, you know the stuff that was on the computers? CEO: (squirms a bit in his seat): Yea, most of it.
Presenter:How about the staff? Are they back at work, did they get counselling? CEO ( pause, I wouldn't call it a thoughtful pause): Yea.
This was followed by the topic at hand. It was something serious. Not groundbreaking enough for me to start listening again. But I must say, it was quite disconcerting to see the CEO of the Human Rights Group falter under casual candid questions. Granted, people can be caught off guard but come on! It's something happening in your own work place, there had to be a better reply than a half hearted "Yea". And considering he had a nice speech ready for his actual topic, he didn't come across as the tongue-tied type either. I would hazard a guess that he had no clue what was happening at his own work place. Seemed like it, didn't it? Boss of the Year award, anyone?