Tuesday, November 01, 2005

London freebie

In London, my favourite city, courtesy of BUPA (I have a hernia operation coming up). Arriving yesterday felt very weird. Not only did I feel un peut fragile, it was odd seeing all these people and cars busying about. It was like entering a huge machine where every part functions unconsciously. I think the slow and lazy dysfunctionality Nigeria is sinking into my bones: the slow charm of greeting people, linking smiles and all the playful interchanges that are a necessary part of the day. A couple of people have commented that my accent has acquired a Nigerian undertone to it. Can one avoid going native in such a powerful culture as naija? Nigeria is so complex it takes a long while for it to get under the skin, but when it does...

Its nice being here when the leaves on the plane trees are about to turn, and see at last the new-look Guardian in the flesh, and to eat chips and mushy peas, and to watch Jon Snow and Paxman holding forth and to shop a bit. But living here again? I'm not sure I want to fit in again to a machine that works so smoothly..


the flying monkeys 5:59 pm  

Is that really true? Sometimes I wish Nigerians/Africans were not as gullible or ill-informed about the UK.

It’s about time Nigerian film producers made films about inner city poverty in the UK (I mean forget central London, and go up country), from the dull and the lifeless to the ugly and the depressing, the failings of its politicians and miserable local authorities and the ugliness and snobbery that surrounds all that.

Britain isn't just the place of warm beer, cosy bed and breakfasts and amiable old gits that the movies and some travel books would have the world believe. With the tattooed illiterate in south bank Middlesbrough to burnt out cars, shell suits, cheap shoe shops and housing estates patrolled by rabid dogs and feral kids, Britain can be every bit as challenging a destination as the places gap year students and "serious" travellers' usually go for their poverty and misery kick.

The country’s identity is covered up with the national institutions – the monarchy, Parliament, and the courts of law. The front is what is presented to the world. Nigerians need to be made aware of the back side of this so called great country known as UK.

I am not talking about the fact that recently Gordon Brown the UK chancellor of the exchequer (equivalent of Nigeria’s minister of finance), was accused of "dressing up the public finances" and "fiddling figures" in the run up to the 2005 General Election so he could avoid telling the voters of future rises in tax levies timid and limited.

Or the fact that Cherie Blair, came under fire after admitting she bought two flats with the help of convicted fraudster Peter Foster.

Or the fact that the Right Reverend Michael Turnbull, the erstwhile Bishop of Durham (The bishop of Durham ranks fourth in the Anglican Church hierarchy and by virtue of that is a member of the house of Lords, the uk’s equivalent to the Nigerian supreme court) failed to disclose the fact that he had been arrested in a toilet 26 years ago while having sex with a male farmer. He
later spoke against the ordination of gays. http://www.qrd.org/qrd/world/wockner/news.briefs/026-10.27.94

Katharine 7:03 pm  

I wish the human race in general would wise up to the fact that all countries have their good and bad points and that there is no promised land where you will be handed on a plate a 'better life'.

The UK, for what its worth, has learnt to hide its failings for the sake of its travel industry. It has problems a plenty like everywhere else.

Unfortunately Nigerians have a tendency to rant about how bad their country is despite it having many beautiful facets that people would love to visit - and yes I have set foot inside the country! Set about convincing one person you know to visit Nigeria and see for themselves and you never know you may start a trend of others visiting. How else do you think new travel destinations arrive?

Chippla Vandu 7:42 pm  

"...a machine that works so smoothly." London a machine that works so smoothly? Are we talking about London capital of the United Kingdom or London a small village in the United States?

Nkem 9:57 pm  

The House of Lords isn't the equivalent of the Supreme Court in Nigeria in that it isn't all the members of the chamber that perform judicial funtions. It is only the "Law Lords" who have legal experience that act as a Supreme Court, which is actually soon to be separated from the Lords.

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