Thursday, February 16, 2006

Too busy to blog,flexiworking, well-heeled begging and The State(or fate) of Africa

I can't believe it's been nearly a week since I was on here. It's been a whirlwind of a week- so much to do at work- many new challenges but most of them met on schedule and with a lot of positive feedback so it's been worth it. Today I actually asked my colleague who said "Have a good weekend"( She doesn't work Fridays) if tomorrow was really Friday....

Which brings me to the subject of flexible working and how it's changing the way people work- I have met people who work three days a week or four days a week, or no fixed number of days a week, but have a specified number of hours a week and it's up to them how they deliver. I had to do a lot of working on the move this last week and my memory stick and laptop were invaluable in letting me do it.....to think that only a few years ago, I'd never even been on the internet. I look back at Nigeria and realize some civil servants back then had already pioneered the art of flexible working- I mean what else do you call signing in in the morning and disappearing to your other businesses for the rest of the day?

Last weekend, at a train station, an elderly woman who looked Nigerian ( funny how you can often tell, isn't it?) stopped me to ask "Are you Nigerian?" Once I replied in the affirmative, she explained that she had lost her purse and needed fare back to where she lived. Having once, at Yaba busstop been the victim of pickpockets and having had to beg the fare home off a generous passerby, I'm quite susceptible to helping out in this sort of predicament. Plus she looked like your typical Nigerian aunt of a certain kind- with her slightly tatty hair and stolid shoes- the epitome of a kind of respectability. It was only after I'd handed over the amount she said would pay her fare and she shuffled off, that it struck me why she had been so familiar- I'd gone through the same charade with her at a different train station about a year ago. I did feel sad that someone of that age would need to resort to this sort of trick and wondered what her real story was......

It's been as busy a week for the British MPs as it has been for me ;-)- with votes on everything from a ban on smoking in public places (which went through) to a vote on ID cards (not quite yet ) and a vote on tightening terror laws to make "glorification of terrorism a crime" The problem with such vagueness is of course around the term "glorification" and how it is interpreted. As a member of a visible minority, and conscious of the potential for miscarriages of justice, I can't help but worry when loopholes are left in laws which can be exploited by the unscrupulous........

I finally finished The State of Africa by Martin Meredith and was intrigued by the two different titles and covers. In the US, it's marketed as The Fate of Africa with a cover picture of a map of Africa with a picture of the stereotypical sorrowful African mother and child http://snipurl.com/mmxa . In the UK, it's marketed as The State of Africa and has a map of Africa as well but as a parched land with a red flower (of hope?) sprouting in one corner http://snipurl.com/mmxc. I must say that I found the latter part of the book less well written than the earlier chapters which dwelt with the pre-independence era. By the time I got to the bits that addressed the time I was familiar with, I began to be less convinced and indeed spotted some errors- such as the author's assertion that Sani Abacha had killed his second in command following a trial for treason. While Diya, the said second in command had indeed been sentenced to death, he was released on the death of Abacha, before the sentence was executed...

2 comments:

TRAE said...

I look back at Nigeria and realize some civil servants back then had already pioneered the art of flexible working- I mean what else do you call signing in in the morning and disappearing to your other businesses for the rest of the day?

ha, ha. true word! you're mixing up two or more ideas in one post like me. carry go, i'm enjoying it.

Ore said...

LOL! Well, you can only call it "working" if they are actually getting things done.