Sunday, February 25, 2007

Voyage of the genes, Feb 25th

I asked a question today that can be perceived as very stupid and naïve and yet not so stupid and naïve at the same time… but I drew some conclusions from the discussions that followed that I am very “chaffed” (satisfied) with, and that I assume (haha) can be nothing but 100% true. We were having lunch with Sammy (worked and lived many years in Switzerland) and another Indian couple. We discussed how my wife was perceived in the Norwegian workplace and in Norway in general, and automatically how the stereotypical Norwegian and Swiss person is compared to a South African (Indian South African first and foremost). They are quiet, shy and “blond”! Another view was that all the Indians in India were much quieter than the South African Indians. So my question was thus: “… is that a general thing for Indians in South Africa, are they more loud, aggressive and outspoken”?

Dangerous topic when you’re sitting among the presumably aggressive ones… but once in a while you just have to take a chance, right? Anyway, the Norwegians and the Swiss (cold parts of Europe) were already labelled shy and quiet, and the Indians in India more so than the South African Indians. So I easily derived… the Indians her in SA are descendants of the Indians that was brought by the colonial Brit’s from India to SA to grow sugarcane (indentured laborours). That’s a fact, no question about that! None of the Indians were forced to go though. And that’s a very important point. They had a choice! The Brit’s offered them to grow sugarcane in SA for five years with pay. After the five years of duty they could go back home (shipped for free), or they could get their own piece of land, where they could grow their own stuff to mix their masalas.

For a lot of people change is a scary thing. Crossing borders and oceans to get to an unknown and unexplored country definitely so! For those people SA was never considered. But a lot of people lived a very hard life in India… imagine starving and having to feed the cow first?! That’s when some people got fed up and weighed the opportunity heavier than the “alternative”. So they took the plunge, and went! Thousands of Indians went in the 1860’s (will try to find an approximate number in the history books). Out of the Indian population, these were of course the crazy ones, the brave, the adventurous, the loud and the aggressive ones from the lot. They jumped off the ship in Port Natal (Now Etekwini, changed from Durban) on the South African Coast and started breeding more of the same kind. Mixing brave with aggressive and a dash of lunacy to let the strong genes carry the new generations. The shy and quiet ones stayed behind and carried on with the inbreeding and mixing shy with scared and careful. It’s a simple explanation, really!
And then the ultimate example of course to confirm this theory… my own (but probably washed out Viking genes). Pretty much at the same time, people emigrated from Scandinavia to the promise land in America. What was most probably left of the aggressive Viking gene, all went “over there”. Now they are shouting and bellowing over there, pillaging and bossing around with other countries and making everybody scared and hate them to cause jihad and other funny things.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sir Jonny of Africa

It’s like the manager of the crocodile farm in Tongaat, who went to Norway some time in the late sixties and found it totally surreal to sit in a car together with a black man that was not the driver… imagine! He was a big white Boer guy with all the apartheid attitudes intact. But the worst thing of all for our “crocodile friend” was watching the road workers up there in the north… coz they were white like him!! Must have been a depressing place to go for him.

Flip the coin… and now Jonny comes to South Africa! Everywhere I go, I’m Sir??!!! Suddenly Jonny Stensby, from a farm in Vang the size that wouldn’t even make half a livelihood, is put in the same league as Paul McCartney, Richard Branson and other important guys that did something great?! In the shop, at the parking lot, from your own maid… everywhere! Flattering, weird, polite… or maybe just “polite” without meaning it? But that would be sarcasm, right?

Wherever or whoever it comes from, there is one common denominator though – it all comes from blacks or coloureds.. or the people from the bottom of the extinct apartheid pyramid. They seem to have the world’s biggest inferiority complex… even now, 10 years after Nelson Mandela was released together with millions of blacks to mingle freely with whites.

In the beginning I found it very weird to be called Sir! I even told our maid on several occasions that she could just call me Jonny, or dude or give me a Zulu nickname or something. The answer would always be: “yes Sir”. Some times it can be a bit cool to be called Sir, but afterwards I feel almost guilty for even feeling that. I realize that it’s because I’m from the ass end of the world (my wife’s favourite expression about Norway), with my rude Viking genes, that I can’t deal with politeness and flattery like that.

Still – guilty! It would be cool if Sindi (our maid) was in a position to issue an official paper stating that I am hereby to be called Sir Jonny! Who is in charge of giving out titles like that anyway? If Sindi were in such a position… I guess that would make her… not a maid. Damn!