Revv22's Blog

September 29, 2011

Individuality: still going strong or is it a thing of the past?

I follow Chris Brown on twitter. This is because I admire his inspirational rise from the ashes like the phoenix after his career went up in smoke. His fall from grace followed what has up till this moment remained his worst mistake both as a public figure and an individual; his battering of Rihana… Even the recent report of Chris Breeze being kicked to the curb by his house mates couldn’t do anything to this newly humbled individual. I, like many other CB fans, still believe that the fire he lit himself, was being fanned by the conglomerate of musicians he once belonged to. But that is just a belief.

An assessment of the songs he has done since then reveals two things..
1.He is not giving up no matter what the opposition(best shown in his contribution in ‘Champion’ by Chipmunk), and
2.he still has people he can count on, seeing as to how they are not fully controlled by the conglomerate that he previously belonged to(as shown in the ‘Beautiful People’ ft. Benny Benassi video).

Recently on his twitter account, CB asked this question ” Is there such thing as individuality anymore?”. I don’t know where his mind was at when he posted this but it certainly had me scratching my head for an answer..
I couldn’t tell whether he was speaking of individuality in societal terms where it would mean the interests of the individual as distinguished from the interests of the community; or if he was speaking in terms of identity where it would refer to sole and personal nature with regard to character and quality.

If he was refering to the first meaning, then I would assume it is because he has personal experiences of how groupings can make or break you. He is in an industry where many people work together to build a brand and keep it alive. From the artist scouts to the A&R executives that he has worked with in his rollercoaster of a career, you wouldn’t blame CB for believing on collective effort even if it may be shunned as “dependency syndrome” in american socio-psychology.

On the other hand, if Breeze was talking of the latter meaning of individuality which pertains to identity, then it must be the way people have been known to acquire and emulate tastes in image projection and character copying. He understands it too well as his dance inspiration, by his own admission, comes from the King of Pop, Micheal Jackson(god rest his soul). CB has seen his attempted industrial replacement by Jason Derullo, either by accident or design.

To mimic mannerisms successfully, one needs fingertip information on the personality they want to emulate. In this day and age access to information has been made easier than before. Wikipedia is just an example of a website where you can type a name and the persons entire recorded history is at your disposal. There are sites that even post rumours about a particular person of interest which gives you the nature of ones environment at that particular time. You get to know how popular or unpopular they were. Even more interesting is the social networking sites that give you insight into momentary temperament of an individual. CB, or any other person of influence may air out his personal opinion on an issue and it will end up affecting the “independent” views his admirers have on the same.

So to Chris Browns question I respond yes and no..

Yes, individuality still exists. People work together as conglomerates in a particular industry with diverse needs where each individual inputs his specialised skills but their place in the group is only guaranteed as long as they can deliver. Collective community interests are shunned and tagged as Socialist or Communist are only ever tolerated in the case of disaster, since disaster and natural calamities remain the only things that people feel vulnerable against.

No, there is no such thing as individuality any more. It is the least protected “intellectual property” if I may call it that. With every facebook update and tweeter post, we advertise our mentality and disposition. We show how and what can influence our opinion, how we individually choose to air our views, what our personal preferences are. It is all out there for every one to see and copy. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying there is anything wrong with sharing information, but the very thing that maintains the integrity of an individuals identity is the inability of the next person to predict his actions and yet remain un surprised by what ever he does.

Thanks again Chris Brown for your Music, your struggle and your question.

September 21, 2011

1/3rd is the least representation for women that would ensure gender equity

Kenya is a country that lacks many things. However intellectual and academic knowledge on its internal political and socio-economic dynamics is not one of those things.
Huge amounts of research have been carried out and we are fairly well versed in the areas that we need improvement. Gender equity and equality is certainly one of the areas. The nexus between gender and development is well known to us. Sociological research has been able to give us figures depicting how women have been and still are disenfranchised on all fronts of life.
In Kenya, the gross ratio for girl to boy child enrolment in primary and secondary schools is somewhat encouraging. The UN puts it at 85.0/88.7 (w/m per 100). However, of the total number of students enrolled at third-level education (colleges, university, polytechnics ), only 36% are female. In 2009, seats held by women in the national assembly were at 9.6%. That was before legislation made it mandatory to be credited with at least a university degree to be eligible to run for a parliamentary seat.
The two thirds gender rule is an idea whose time has come, no doubt. The question that remains however, is if we have done enough in preparation for its implementation. For the members of parliament who are grandstanding in view of the opinion that it is impossible to implement the gender rule I can only say one thing; you are displaying your ignorance and narrow mindedness in public. It is no easy feat I agree but to say its impossible; that’s ludacris.

Some of the hurdles that we face include cultural attitudes. Despite the liberation of the minds of the urbanised, most of the rural folk still hold on to patriarchal structures of society that give men right of leadership; from the primary political unit(the family), to regional representation. In some communities it is considered sacrilege for a woman to seek nomination for any position of leadership a traditionally male domain.
Girl child education, as shown above has only showed success in making sure women can read. That’s is if we are to judge by the numbers who go the whole stretch.
There are more and more women in business now than ever. Small and medium sized enterprises that feed a majority of lower and middle class families are mostly run by women. This wouldn’t be a hurdle if the men in most of those families didn’t eventually come in to control and have veto power over family finances. It is like the mans money is his, while the wife’s money is theirs.
So there is no problem with the gender law as it is. It represents the spirit of what we should work towards. Its implementation should have a more holistic approach; meaning that it should not only strive to instantaneously achieve the numbers (3 women out of every 9 parliamentarians), but also seek to make theses numbers acceptable and sustainable. The only feasible way to do so is to address the hurdles mentioned above which are embedded cultural attitudes and value systems.
Attitude change is a prerequisite for the success of any project that aims at effecting a change from cultural norms. Doing so would require the expert input of behavioural scientists; Anthropologists in particular who are concerned with the science of culture as a key area of interest. It is unfortunate that this is the same country that a minister for higher education would dare declared that such social science disciplines are useless and are a wast of resources.
That sort of attitude based on misguided value systems is the problem. It is the reason implementation is processes are given such narrow minded approaches.


September 15, 2011

Genuine Beneficiaries

It is sad and disturbing that we continue to loose our brothers and sisters in tragedies such as Sinai slum fires. It is embarrassing even, that those who are caught in such mishaps are the very vulnerable members of our society who need the most protection. When they say poverty is a crime, it is hard not to agree; but the question remains, who is the criminal?
Following the fire, the government committed to helping the affected families get back on their feet. I, like many other Kenyans, welcome the gesture but I won’t congratulate neither the government nor kenya pipeline for doing so. When the fire was put out, authorities in their reactionary characteristic came out in a press conference declaring their intention to resettle affected families.
Didn’t they learn anything from the whole IDP and Mau forest evictees resettlement fiascos.. Was it so impossible for them to pre-empt the possibility of false claims. This lack of foresight only goes to show that they were more concerned with the PR side of their intentions. I however appreciated the urgency shown, since it is not very interesting being hurled up together in Tom Mboya Hall Buruburu or any emergency centre, even if you come from the slum. East or west, home is always best.
Red Cross is making a tremendous effort to try and create a list of “genuine beneficiaries” for whatever resettlement or form of compensation will be offered. Given the fact that there is no existing data on the affected population, they have to rely heavily on what they are told by the survivors and neighbours . If they don’t vouch for a stranger, then he/she is not a genuine beneficiary, and is automatically disqualified.
It is a smart move; hundreds are being turned away by the hour. They come in all shapes and sizes like the 17 year old Wambua who almost duped a journalist too eager to do the ultimate story. Thanks to the Red Cross he was found out. Wambua’s story was perhaps a clear con, but there are other people, who live nowhere near the Sinai area but are desperate enough to come and lie about it. Just like the Politicians on their PR ventures, the NGOs who thrive on misfortune and Media out to get award winning stories, they are also trying to get a piece of the proverbial silver lining that comes with the every dark cloud.
It has been established that you not only have to be poor but also a victim of a major disaster for the authorities to pay attention to your suffering. If the flag wasn’t hoisted at half mast after your tragedy, don’t even bother expecting welfare relief from government. No NGO will come to asses the life in informal settlements since the “slum tourism” fad is no longer in vogue and there is no donor interest. To the media its a “dog bites man” kind of story.
That’s why I don’t congratulate these reactionary efforts to chip in after tragedy. Every on in the slums live with two thing constantly above their heads, the sky and tragedy. Society isn’t blind to this fact, as long as they are living and breathing, its OK., right?
The way I see it,just as every starving person was a beneficiary of the Kenyans for Kenya Initiative, so is every slum dweller a genuine beneficiary of the efforts being put in. Sooner or later tragedy is gonna befall them. It could be petroleum, electricity, floods, trains, gangs, poison alcohol, police raids, cholera outbreaks… The list could go on and on. So why wait till it happens?


September 8, 2011

Where did those women go to

Filed under: Uncategorized — revv22 @ 12:02 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

When they say women mature faster than men.. I don’t think its just a matter of age.. I think it also has to do with their ability to reach a level of understanding at a faster rate than men; especially on matters social and psychological. I’d equate it to emotional intelligence. Women are better equipped to analyse certain scenarios in the domestic sphere and tell with more accuracy what is going on. They do not suffer the androgenic ego that defeats the same purpose in men. A woman is more intuitive and can detect when something is off with her spouse; be it infidelity, work related stress, pressure from in-laws etc. This is because, I tend to believe, they can suppress their egos when making observations. The result is a higher level of objectivity. And most women realize this. They know when they need to intervene on an issue, and when to let time work its magic. They are experts at knowing when to manipulate events and when to ride the wave of decisions made by the family head.
It therefore follows that patience is one virtue that a woman should definitely have if she is to spend the rest of her life with any man..

In this generation, most people are caught up in the quest for vertical social mobility(economical), so much so that horizontal growth in terms of social relations seems to take a back step. In as much as people still feel the need to find love and make a family, not many people would do it at the perceived expense of building their careers. Many modern women would take crap from their bosses and lick the asses of people who can recommend them to exclusive social clubs, for longer periods than they would tolerate a non-supportive husband. While some men would only engage women who they see as enterprising or from a well connected family. Psychologists have argued that women tend to associate in groups that would offer support, while men select team players that offer a variety of expertise.

Where exactly did this “uvumilivu” disappear to? Is it that most young women are the products of a generation of parents who were caught up in the perils of a capitalist economy that contrasted their traditional collective socialist backgrounds; that they forgot to teach the importance of a woman’s contribution in home making?


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