Sunday, 30 October 2011

Kuchi Kuchi (Oh Baby)

Now I'm not really one for sappy sentimental songs but this one slyly got me. Needless to say the endless calls of 'Oh Baby, Oh Baby' make it annoyingly catchy and if you're like me you'll find yourself harmonising the melody subconsciously. I'm feeling this.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Pride in Perception

They say first impressions count and appearance is the salesman to perception, so why do I look so darn trampish?

I intended to blend into Lagos life by looking like a pauper and boy I'm doing a good job. Several people have made reference to my dreary style, lack of branded apparel and unwillingness to splash cash. One even doubted my oversea credentials. Take my hair for example. Back in London I dare not go three weeks without getting a trim or at least a shape-up. Now that brazen Lil Wayne lyric regarding Nigerian hair couldn't be more precise as a Wahl has failed to stroke my scalp for 11-weeks now! My follicles are looking lock-like (salute the Rasta's still, JAH!).

Guess in London we're engrossed in keeping up with the Jones' by regurgitating recycled fashion trends to make statements to our scrutinizing peers. Trying to keep hair trim and garms fresh to avoid that 'Oh shit' moment where you decide to pop to the store with pepper-grains and no shape-up only to bump into that female from college who went from anyting to peng ting – yeah that!

Realisation

I really couldn't be asked with all the palaver over here until something my uncle said to my cousin resounded with me. She was in that natural hair-to-weave transitional state and wanted to branch to the shops quickly. On departure, my uncle caught a glimpse of her unflattering appearance and commented: "Why are you going out like you don’t know where you come from?". She paused to think briefly before scuttling back to her room to make the necessary adjustments. I thought about it and his words held weight. By dressing like a pauper I'm misrepresenting my family, friends, upbringing and ultimately God.

All the grafting my parents did to shelter and provide for me is being undone by sub-standard attempts to reflect the educated, sort of well-groomed man I've become (I hope anyway). Evidence of western upbringing unfounded. Perceptions of friends misconstrued. The glory of God concealed. So with that no more pauperish behaviour – I'll leave that to the pros (and trust me there's plenty out here) and start revealing the London in me AWRIGHT MATE!

Naija Quotables

Due to all the mad lines I hear coming out of the mouths of some people, I've included this section to pay homage to their truly unique use of the English language.

Scene:

My driver enters the room watching me speak to a friend on my Laptop via Skype and exclaims:

"So you nah speak to screen and screen dey talk back? Kai, Oyinbo nah Witch!"

Sunday, 16 October 2011

25

1 individual

Born of 2 people

The first of 4 children

In the space of 9 months

on the 16th day of October

25 long years ago.

The law can no longer square me up - I'm at that fully legitimate age - I should be given a licence or something!

Truly grateful to GOD for sparing my life. Friends and fam that have dipped in and out and dipped in and stuck with me - I appreciate you all.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Day 100


So it's been 100 days since I left the sunny shores of England (it was actually hot that day) and I'm feeling apathetic whilst slumped in a pensive frame of mind. In this century of days, my mentality has changed, perceptions transformed and opinions reverted.

On arrival, I recall failing to understand why the people around me could overlook the limbless beggar crying out for a little change - now I do!

As ashamed as I am to admit it, I've become accustomed to the endless pleas for money so much so I'm fully desensitized to it. The other day a blind woman was giving a pitch in the bus garage as to why she needed money and I didn't even flinch. Seeing it every day slowly kills the Samaritan in you until you snap at one for being overzealous in their approach. At that point you know sympathy is well and truly dead; I need forgiveness boy.

On a brighter note I have acquired some favourable attributes and made some telling observations in my maiden 100:


  • My pidgin's improving as in locals need to strain really hard to tell I'm not from round here.

  • My immune system has strengthened with all the mosquito bites I've endured and questionable foods I’ve consumed. I strongly believe I could back a mouldy, raw meat sandwich and salmonella wouldn't touch me.

  • That tale about Calabar women is untrue – it really applies to Igbo ladies!

  • I can confirm Yoruba's are the reason foreigners associate Nigerians with the terms loud and obnoxious – you lots mouths are too big!

  • 404 (in reference to people that eat wild Dog) is a term that applies to ALL Nigerians not just Akwa-Ibomites. The Igbo's and Yoruba's enjoy choping the doggy delicacy as much as my people do (I'm still a 404 virgin – RSCPA and all that).

  • I'm convinced I have Bat vision with all the improvising I do when NEPA takes light

  • Roadside service are sure to cater for practically anything from shoe repairs to toe-clipping services

  • There's a stigma attached to eating and drinking whilst on road. DON'T DO IT! Someone said it's to avoid dust mingling with whatever you're consuming but I'm sure there's some other spiritual ramification somewhere in that theory. Oh and if you hold bread in your hand on road without Nylon (or just a bag), it's assumed you're a mad man/woman.

  • I'm yet to find anything Lagosians hate more than 'hold up' (that's traffic to you Westerners). It's like a curse to them.

  • Haggling is a way of life – accepting the initial price is for suckers from jumping on Okada to getting a set of keys cut – NEVER accept the first price (except on public transportation or restaurants – they don't budge but you can specify your portion i.e. Jollof N50 or N100 portion).

  • The old adage 'patience is a virtue' clearly never reached these parts – waiting your turn is a myth! Push-in where you can, only mugu's wait to be served. That conservative Brit malarkey won't work out here. Etiquette and patience get no ratings so you have no other option but to emulate such behaviour to get by.

  • Ignorance (especially about Nigerian's from overseas) is rife. Non-exposed locals tend to believe we’re all stinking rich bastards being fed fish and chips by our Caucasian spouses.

  • UK-bred Nigerians are the stingiest, apparently.

  • In Lagos you can't move around for more than five minutes without seeing someone sporting football merchandise be it a jersey, window sticker or belt buckle.

  • Poverty has a short-term memory

  • Everyone's a suspect (including family members)

  • ALWAYS count your change

  • We have an unerring obsession with acronymic titles

  • The belief that Sachet water informally (and ironically) known as pure water is dangerous and anything but pure is a misnomer. It isn't that bad and with NAFDAC ensuring produce passes basic safety checks, the extra N45 you pay for 'safer' bottle water is to cover packaging costs.

  • Someone said Akwa-Ibom and Chinese people are related citing our similar intonation (i.e. The 'pong') and the fact most Akwa-Ibom men are vertically challenged – just like their Oriental counterparts. I’m slyly starting to see it *sigh*

Sure there's more but that's all I can think of at present - hopefully I'll grasp even more about Nigerian culture as time progresses. God spearing my life my double centenary will be on Thursday 19 January 2012. Let's go deya!

R.A.T.N (that's Relax And Take Note if you don't know): Just a big shout out to Aunty B and my Singing Soul Sistah who came over for hols. Good to see my peeps again even if it was only for a mere 14mins. Safe journey back!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Nigeria @ 51


Nigeria we hail thee!

51 years after breaking the chains of foreign occupation, we stand as a nation that still needs to make drastic changes to reach the heights we're fully capable of reaching. Some have even gone as far as saying they'd prefer if we weren't an independent nation - that foreign rule would've placed us in better stead. A questionable yet weighty perspective I'm in no position to treat at the present time. I simply want to experience Naija independence without being given a flyer for a rave at Rex or Coronet.

Well, ironically I broke my raving virginity (in Naija) yesterday night (30 Sept 2011) after being dragged out to AutoLounge. I was quietly impressed. Not as if it was anything special in terms of entertainment - same old jazz - secular music with females in seductive 'look but don't touch' apparel and dudes trying to find a cool slouching position on the wall whilst speculating on what they can or cannot touch.

It's the neatness of the place that took me by surprise; the decor, the service, the clientele - all very Mayfair-esque even though I'm not a fan of the upper class facade. What Donaeo and Egypt (someone do research on if she has Nigerian blood somewhere in her lineage) were doing there was beyond me but it contributed to a rather enjoyable evening. Also saw Mr Jay-Jay Okocha - The Super Eagles legendary #10, once of Bolton Wanderers. A midget of a man but still one of my favourite players to ever grace the pitch!

Anyway this Rice and mixed-meat stew is getting cold - Happy Independence.