issues

SOMEONE WANTS YOU TO CREATE SOMETHING

Top BoyHave you met some folks who seem to have no drive to do anything? I knew a guy like that. He used to live across my grandma’s house in Lagos. Every morning, he stood bare-bodied on the exit corridor of the multi-room compound and stared at people going to work and traders jostling the streets. At this time I was  home taking care of my grandma and working at my dad’s Law Chambers, which was also in the same building where grandma lived. In the evenings, this 30-something year old guy would dress up and go hang out with friends at adjoining streets, doing nothing but having loud conversations.

Lagos Island was littered with such young men, guys coming from somewhere but seemingly not going anywhere. From Campbell street to parallel streets like Igbosere, Bamgbose, Tokunbo, to sides streets like Ricca, Odunlami, Joseph, etc with a fearsome population, these were the boys of the area (I use that because the term Area Boys have become quite derogatory. These boys however were not all illiterate and dangerous). I spoke with a lot of them, and we interacted on the make-shift football pitches all around the corners of the Brazilian Campos Square.

These were disillusioned young men with raging hormones, freelance street politics and sports commentators, football/table-tennis/snooker playing, Ewa Agoyin and Agege Bread eating, boys tired or bored with school work. They constantly searched for the slightest and easiest opportunity to make money, then run to Mandilas corner off Broad street to buy the latest Italian baffs and prey on gullible feminines of their kind. Some of them ended up popsie-ing five kids from five different women.
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LEAVE YOUR KIDS ALONE!

I once lived in a part of New Jersey called North Bergen. It was quite European by design in most parts and was obviously an escape for all who had a phobia for the clutter of New York City. Most people, including me, worked in the City and the morning and evening commute was a social phenomenon to be observed. I liked it though. I was constantly drawn to the evening and weekends of the North Bergen life, which I have come to appreciate as a microcosm of big City conurbations.

Some evenings and weekends, I go jogging or biking in the park and derive my motivation from the older populations who display such pleasure at keeping fit than a fledgling male such as this writer. After combusting the calories I will usually sit on one of the park benches, earphones in place to pump some good low notes, and begin my careful observation on one of the highways of human activity. In doing this, I was particularly drawn to kids who were at the park training at one sport or the other, in particular Baseball and Soccer. Standing and sitting at the sidelines were several parents watching carefully over their wards.

During my many evening trips home from work, I had passively noticed that the parks were always bubbling with people exercising and parents who had brought their kids for after school training in their chosen sport. These are the baseball moms and soccer moms that wield so much influence in typical American sociocultural and political life. I recalled this from my park observatory and moved my attention to the several parents who were screaming and cheering from the sidelines and I thought how beautiful it was to see parents who are so involved in the lives of their children, something we scarcely see in this part of the world.
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THE POWER OF ILLUSTRATIONS

This video is to show how powerful illustrations are. I had previously heard this talk given by the famous Ken Robinson and applauded it. But when I saw RSA’s rendition of it through illustrations it created a different impression on my mind. I now understand in more detail, aided by graphical concepts, what Ken was trying to communicate. A great speech isn’t exactly communicated until you can build mental models of what the speaker is sending across. I just felt like sharing the video here and letting you into this. What I would say is that you first listen to the speech without watching the video. Probably just play the video and open another tab in your browser so you take your attention away from the video. The play it again, this time watching the video itself and see if your understanding improves. Try it.

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Sir Ken Robinson and the Mis-Education of Calabarboy.

For a long time I have been reconsidering the way I have been educated (or mis-educated) over time and have to come to realize at what point of this process I lost some of my childhood dreams to what I call the practicalities of reality. This of course was the painful pill my parents and teachers gave me to swallow and for which I was pretty rebellious about, but felt good as it gave me a place among the “literate folks”. But I lost something in the process and I am still trying to get it back and that is ‘the innocence of childhood faith in everything’. Ken Robinson so masterfully reminds me of my current struggle and I want to share his video directly on my blog. So watch and think along with me if you are one of the unlucky ones to have been wrongly educated. After I digest some more issues on the matter I will be back to share my thoughts on the it.

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