Saturday, 28 May 2011

A Poem For The New South Africa

Imagine if
large scale corruption was only an allegation
and not the truth

Imagine if
People voted according to their conscience
and not their skin colour

Imagine if
We were obsessed with ideals
and not ideology

Imagine if
Blacks would be the “bigger man”
and stop playing the race card

Imagine if
Crime was a crime no matter who
and not a racial aspersion

Imagine if
Sincerity had motivated us in the 1992 referendum
and not fear of the future

Imagine if
violent murder shocked not only us
but the politicians too

Imagine if
Meritocracy was the path to promotion
and not “struggle credentials”

Imagine if
I was a real poet and this whole post was a load of total BULLSHIT cooked up without any real talent, forethought or intelligence just like the revamped and thoroughly improved NEW REAL South Africa with rainbows on the edges, silver linings and frilly bits that nobody believes in anymore, we're stuck with the damn thing, lets just get on with it...

Friday, 27 May 2011

When the Locusts Feed

I often go swimming with my wife and daughter at the local public swimming pool (pic above) in the rural Essex town where I live here in the UK and it always reminds me so much of the days in my youth when kids used to spend endless summer days at the public pool in one of the towns in the East Rand, Gauteng, South Africa, where I grew up in, in the 70's and 80's.

These are gorgeous memories I have, but spoiled so much by the decay and degradation happening in South Africa. I remember after the elections in 1994 how all public amenities and services were opened to all races in South Africa. Of course, that included the public swimming pool.

Yet there was no problem. For many years old Brakkies Olympic size swimming pool was a great place to chill out and have fun in the sun, both black and white kids. It was cheap, it was accessible and it was there for everyone! We did not mind sharing at all, it was great.

When I was back in ZA last November (2010) for a week attending a funeral, I decided to visit my old swimming pool and boy, was I in for a shock!

Brakpan’s only claim to fame: It’s Olympic size swimming pool reduced to shit. I could not believe it when I saw it. After 1994 nobody minded sharing this pool. Now look at it…This is the “locust” effect….Now, nobody can enjoy the pool, not even blacks…. It is ruined.

Probably some ANC councillor was faced with a choice: Either a BMW 525i or a BMW 745i and took the latter….

Confirmation here

Hang on, is that a fucking crocodile I see there?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Living in UK is Cheap

I thought I would do a quick post about the cost of living in the UK to show that cost of living is pretty good here. To start off, it's important to remember a few things which we pretty much take for granted in the First World but which may seem foreign for someone living in a developing country:

1) There is National Health Service which is absolutely free for emergencies should you have the misfortune to need it. The hospitals are top class, matching and exceeding private health care in ZA. Most wards will not only provide top notch medical attention, but also frills such as TV and Internet access at your bedside. The NHS is also pretty good for other day to day medical cares.

2) You are entitled to work. If you want to work, there will be a job for you, even at minimum wage of £5.94 per hour

3) If you cannot work or are made redundant, you have the right to social benefits. This guarantees that you will be able to claim around 60% to 70% of what you have previously been earning if you should need it...

4) If you have children under sixteen you are automatically favoured for housing benefits and everything is free for them (as examples my daughter obtained 100% cover for orthodontic treatment that would have cost me £2100 and also prescription spectacles that would have cost me over £250)

5) Public schooling is free and of a good standard.

So here is a simple budget, which I have based on an average income for a mid thirties couple with two kids. The couple do not have degrees but are hard working and upwardly mobile:

Husband monthly income - £1800 (TAKE HOME - £1350)
Wife monthly income - £1350 (TAKE HOME - £1000)

Combined take home salary - £2350

Now the expenses:

Rent - £700
Council tax - £130
Gas - £30
Electricity - £30
Water £25
Food & Groceries - £250
TV Licence - £10
Telephone/ Broadband/ Sky Box - £50
Car Instalment £120
Petrol - £180
Insurance £45

Expenses £1570

So there you have it. Plenty of disposable income for all the goodies: XBox, Wi, I-phone, laptop, Flat Screen telly, you name it, we buy it!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Frinton-On-Sea is The Place To Be

The myth that it rains in the UK ALL the time is easily dispelled by two things 1) Living here for a period of time and 2) Living in the South East for that period of time.

Another good thing if you live here (even in the drear Midlands or perish the thought in the even drearer North) is that you are never far away from the sea! At most, a couple of hundred miles of travel is all that is required to spend a day at the sea.

However, for many, such as myself, the sea is only thirty miles away, and in summer, we make the most of it by visiting the local beaches.

One that has become my favourite, is Frinton-On-Sea on the South Eastern Coast. A sleepy, traditional coastal village with a vibrant sea front, fantastic beaches and warm water in July and August. Just a few miles away is another great spot called Clacton-On-Sea. Sometimes we have to flip a coin to decide which one to go to!

The beaches are in fact, far larger than Durban Beach, and there is plenty of space for all and sundry to have a splendid day. From the fun fair to the pub, to the beach...That's the way to do it!

Below are a few pics from last June that I took. Plenty of everything a sun lover could or would ever ask for. As I say, MUCH bigger than Durban beach, as you can plainly see in comparison to the last two pics of Durban beach which I pinched off the Internet....Now why would I want to ever go to Durban again?


Kinda makes my point I think.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Isn't it Funny?

The Queen arrived in Dublin on May 17th (now this is the funny-as-in-peculiar-not-lolz-sense part) as the first British Monarch in a Century to visit Ireland! And what's more, a bomb was diffused in Dublin after a tip off!

Here She is, the Queen, out to pay respect to a very close neighbour, and she is subjected to attitudes and threats such as this by the "true Irish"

Makes you sick, but the even funnier bit is the makes-you-sick-if-you-think-about-it bit....

Had this been Nelson Mandela visiting Ireland, would he have had the same reception?

Would he have faced the same threats or would there have been a carpet of red roses waiting for him?

Think about it....

Anyways, I love my Queen!

Source: The Financial Express

BBQ Summer Set to Sizzle the UK

Just how hot and dry has it been in the UK lately?

The hottest, driest March and April since records began

Ban on washing cars this summer as
new hosepipe bans come in

Here in the South East we are getting the best of it as the following graphs from the Met Office clearly reveal. The first shows the average temperature trend in the UK since 1997. The 2nd shows the lack of rainfall. Note that in the South East that it has hardly rained at all for two solid months! So much for a wet, soggy England.

The third image shows the temperature anomaly per region. Again the S.E. has been blessed.


Images and data Courtesy of the Met Office and are up to date

Friday, 20 May 2011

A New Blog Celebrating My Success!

Not too long ago I climbed on a plane and left ZA. I arrived in the U.K on 04.08.2006 to start a new life here at age 40....This blog will reflect the successes I have achieved in just five years....and counting!

Please make a point to come back as I reveal the possibilities, challenges and joys of making a life changing decision such as immigration, grounded in reality and personal experience.