October, 2011 | Suck the Marrow out of Life
Browsing the blog archives for October, 2011.

A touch of greatness: Mr John Cleese

Just plane funny :)

I don’t like to throw around words like genius, legend and greatness very often. I don’t believe that those words should be tarnished by being used on ordinary events or people. They should be saved for those who have accomplished dreams, changed the world and reached the pinnacle of success.

In fact I think I’ve only used those words to describe a handful of things in the past few years – Steve Jobs after his death, Amy Winehouse after hers, Lance Armstrong after his doping scandal, U2 after coming to SA and the Springbok rugby team after winning the world cup (Lions series, tri nations and so on) – NOT BAD COMPANY TO KEEP!

Last night I got as close as most people ever get to true greatness. I got to watch the legend, John Cleese, who basically paved the way for British (the only funny kind of) comedy!

I got to listen to him narrate his own life and the turns it took through boring English schooling, onto a fluke start into ‘show business’ and then morphing into perhaps one of the greatest comedy pioneering careers of all time with Monty Python, Faulty Towers and then movies, A fish called Wanda and Fierce Creatures and most recently (which he didn’t go into) the brilliant portrayal of Q in James Bond, to name but a few.

I cannot express to you the comedy greatness and ‘balls’ for lack of a better word, it must have taken in those days to create something as daring and outrageous as this (seriously has to be one of the finniest things I’ve ever seen) . . .

His story goes that he and his wife at the time, Connie Booth were staying at a small hotel by the British seaside and got the inspiration from the hotel and its owners to write a series. The audience quickly asked the question, why they didn’t write anything else together, to which Cleese quickly responded “We didn’t think we could write anything funnier!”

Too true sir!

Finally into the movie world and what I suppose the kids know him best for (or rather know him at all for, sadly enough) the epically funny Fish Called Wanda or Fierce creatures.

I think though, one of the moments that best expresses the man, his ability and the bonds he formed through comedy is perhaps his speech at Graham Chapman’s funeral. A man he had been best friends, colleagues and writers with for decades, and this was his eulogy . . .

The man is comedy greatness, from start to finish and what you may not deem as daring and brave because your brain has been so diluted by over exposure to porn, murder and violence

 

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Hold fast to small victories South Africa . . .

Local is / is not lekker, The arts

South Africa is a tough place to live, if you are honest.

Don’t get me wrong, we love it and the lifestyles great but the truth is there are so many problems in this place that unless you try and block it out you tend to want to slash your wrists most of the time. I mean as I type this there are 10 000 unemployed youths following a dictator in training, down the streets of Joburg for a cause most of them can’t even spell (it’s for ‘economic freedom’) let alone try implement.

Now, if there are that many problems in that ONE sentence imagine the rest of it all.

I’m not writing this to make you cry in the fetal position in the shower but I find as a South African you need to cling to small victories because they give us hope, they make us feel happy even if just for a fleeting moment. Most of all they turn us into, a word that’s seldom used in this part of the world, PATRIOTS!

That’s why we smile when they mention our country in a random TV series, or the fact that the bad guy in the movie is from Joburg. That’s why we need Charlize to take over Hollywood . . .

. . . and when we see moments like this our hearts jump and our eyes fill with tears!

That’s why we hold onto victories for generations . . .

. . . because sadly we don’t get to be proud of our nation as often as we want!

Last night I had one of these small victories.

In the finale of SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE, two of the finalist got, what we affectionately refer to, as a gumboot dance (they seem to think it’s called STEPPIN – damn yanks!)

I thought for a moment we would get screwed as we normally do (cue Bryce Lawrence / target=”_blank”>Alan Donald run-out / target=”_blank”> Stephen Larkam drop goal etc) but the intro from the choreographer was absolutely spot on crediting the South African gold miners for inventing this style of dance!

You may think it’s silly or small minded but for the two minutes that these guys danced on a stage watched by millions of people, all over the world, it made me remember that feeling of pride, that feeling of the world’s eyes on us as their mouths start to crinkle up in a smile. It’s one of the greatest feelings you can have, so hold onto small victories South Africa, enjoy the moments of pride when we get them because sadly they come far more seldom than we would wish!

Here you go :)

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Does Israel have a hidden agenda for the Gilad Shalit release deal?

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There are no problems more entangled and seemingly unfixable than the Arab – Israeli conflict. It is a story that goes back as long as time and is a perpetual cycle of parents teaching children to hate and so the loathing gets passed from generation to generation, from war to war and from prisoner to prisoner.

A few days ago Gilad Shalit was released from captivity for the exchange of the 1027 Palestinian prisoners. This is not the first time this has happened in fact Israel have a history of releasing large numbers of prisoners to free their own soldiers

The most notable of all was the Jibril Deal of 1985. The Israeli government headed by then-Prime Minister Shimon Peres (the current president) agreed to release 1,150 prisoners in exchange for three Israeli soldiers captured in Lebanon by the Palestinian Militant Front led by Ahmed Jibril.

The question I keep asking myself is what is the long term effect of a decision like this, does this encourage the kidnapping of more and more Israeli soldiers in an effort to broker deals of freedom for hundreds of Palestinians held captive for acts of terrorism (this is what most of them were found guilty of)

While saying no to a deal like this must be one of the hardest decisions to make, to tell parents that their child may never be free because the cost of one life is far less than that of thousands of prisoners and millions of Israelis, is not a fair thing to pass onto any person but does that make it wrong.  Leaving the future consequences of these actions for a moment, what about the victims of these terrorists (before you get all angry I’m not saying all of the prisoners are but certainly a lot were). Their families have suffered loss and injustice and when they finally have seen these people behind bars serving a sentence, for whatever crime was committed, now have to face the truth that these people are free – is this really justice?

Is it fair, as a leader of a nation, to put the entire population at risk to save the life of one or two, perhaps its humane but is it the best RATIONAL decision? The answer is not clear like so many tough decisions, there is no right or wrong, there’s just a choice that people have to live with. For me the American quote ‘we do not negotiate with terrorists’ has always resonated. I think it strikes me so hard because if it wasn’t a hard and fast rule that has been drummed into leaders it wouldn’t work, emotion would get in the way and people would die, attacks would escalate and more people would be in danger.

On a human level, Israel saved a young man who probably survived the most horrific of ordeals in captivity and tonight he is at home with his family and for that I am happy and relieved but has his release has perhaps put more soldiers in danger of being kidnapped and used as bargaining chips?

I truly hope that the root cause for this decision by the Israeli government is to use this event as a stepping stone to peace. If this peace is possible or at least a chance of it is then its worth ten deals or perhaps hundreds of deals like this. If long term harmony between nations is the eventual goal here then it has to be the right decision and whatever injustice forms part of it is miniscule in comparison to the long term joy that peace would bring.

IF, and it’s a big if, this is the case then, it certainly is the epitome of the saying ‘the end justify s the means!

AS always though only time will tell!

To watch the VIDEOS – GO HERE!

 

How do you make opera interesting?

The arts

I don’t like Opera, well to be fair, I haven’t really given it a chance but the fact that my most vivid opera memory is waking up in the middle of Aida and looking left to see my father and two brother fast asleep (I remember this but don’t remember the story line?)

The reason I guess is I’m part of a generation that needs to be entertained – don’t blame us – the world made us into this! So when we go to a show, a movie, a play or even watch TV we need to be entertained! This doesn’t mean it needs sex, violence or mad action scenes (although these help) it means that we need to be encompassed by what we are watching. We need effort to be put into costumes, set, creativity in characters and plot. We need it to poke and prod at our senses, our minds and our subconscious all at the same time!

I digress slightly.

The reason I fear that I’ve hardly started to appreciate live opera is that it generally, in this country, is a little half ass. I don’t mean to mock but when I see things like this it makes me realize just how powerful shows out there are and I wonder if I were confronted with design and creativity like these – would I be engaged and would I be enthralled enough to grow to love it?

After you’ve seen a few of these you start to realize why I love, and write about, So you think you can dance. The reason is it combines music, song, setting, the body’s movement as well as storyline to give us a most entertaining chunk of creativity – mind blowingly so most of the time, tantalizing and delighting every part of our brains!. I think if I were to be confronted with a set and costumes like these I would be able to get into live opera a bit better!

 

 From HERE!

 

Champagne and the festive season are just around the corner THANKFULLY . . .

Perfect products

When I think of Champagne I find the best way to describe it is not my own but rather great words from Madame Bollinger which goes like this . . .

So as you can imagine when the festive season rolls around I get more than a little excited, mostly because it is an excuse to be sipping on the stuff by lunchtime most days but also because this is the time of  year all the great houses bring out their gifting ranges!

Now while I truly believe no one can complete with Veuve in this regard as you can see by their past brilliance . . .

However this year Moet is the one who kicks us off introducing THE GIFT, it shines, it sparkles and it’s insulated. I don’t think it really does anything else other than make it harder to get to the divine nectar inside but never-the-less it does add some sort of respectability to arriving at someone’s door with it in arm!

There’s the gift . . . but there have been some other good creations!

This is the ICE IMPERIAL and this is the JEWEL JEROBOAM!

 

Just to show you where STM is hanging out this week!

High Flying!

STM needed a little fun in the sun to relax and revitalize before the summer rush – so . . .

If you wanna come visit for a bit - HERE YOU GO!

In defense of P Divvy!

Sport

If you are not sure who I’m referring to, it would be the abused and mocked newly unemployed Springbok Rugby coach Peter De Villiers (PDV)

Now if you cast your mind back quickly to 2007, the following is what we recall. The Springboks won the world cup and Jake White became a national hero FULL STOP

What we don’t remember are the Tri Nations disasters, the 65% win ratio, the mind numbingly boring game plan of kick chase, the arrogance etc and WE SHOULDN’T. Jake took the Boks to the world cup final and all but destroyed England both mentally and physically. He spent four years building what I have written to be the GREATEST Springbok side I have ever known and he exited a well-deserved hero!

Enter P DIVVY! Massive moustaches, first non-white coach of the Springboks, team already cemented in place, team captain and vice-captain in firm control and let’s not forget PDVs voice! He was on a hiding to nothing before he even walked in the door.

I sometimes think this country is rather ironic because if you listen to 90% of government ministers speaking English you will wet your pants but we look past this because it’s not their first language (rightly so), yet the first time P Divvy opened his mouth at a press conference we tore him apart like a pride of lions on a kill!

I’m not saying the PDV is a great rugby coach, I’m not saying I’m unhappy he’s gone but what I am saying is he was never really given the chance. In fact he had pretty much the same win / loss ratio as Jake White did (around 65%) for his career and the last hurdle he couldn’t clear because Bryce ‘ F@CKWIT’ Lawrence reffed us out of the world cup and him out of a job!

I don’t claim to know the inner workings of the Springbok camp. I don’t know what actually goes on and who is right or wrong but from what I have picked up through people who have met with PDV, know the senior players and really are close to the team and the management is the following.

PDV was very well liked and respected by the team and the players, there have been contradictory reports but from what I’ve heard they really did like the guy. The senior players made pretty much every decision even on team selection (this can kill any team). Gary Gold and Dick Muir were absolute shockers (Muir almost lost us the Lions tour when he decided to replace half the team in the Durban test – thankfully there was a blood injury and John Smit cam e back on to restore faith)

There is a simple saying in sport (it’s mostly used for football but it applies well here) that say “Players win & Coaches lose”. What it means is when the team wins like say the Lions tour series, the players are credited with being outstanding and winning. When the team loses a Tri Nations series the coach is not up to standard and must be fired. It’s a fickle world coaching a national team and everyone knows this so I’m not saying let’s give the man a ticker tape parade but I think if we are really fair we would have to say that he was never given the chance to be judged.

The facts are he inherited a winning team and he was credited with turning them into a losing one – you have to ask yourself if this is a fair assessment of the mans Springbok coaching career? I would like to think it’s a little harsh (and believe me I’m the first to want to lynch a losing coach). PDV has been mocked, laughed at and abused by every rugby playing nation on earth for four years and as South Africans we sit idly by and agree – I’m a little disappointed in us all!

Even ZAPRIO who I follow religiously got this one a  little wrong!

Probably the harshest thing of all is that all failures need a scapegoat and he is the easiest one of all – he checks every box and he is the easiest to laugh off and blame on.

Advertising excellence from home!

Advertising Genius!

So by know you should have worked out we LOVE creativity in pretty much any shape or form but mostly in ADVERTISING.

We get bombarded with so much ad crap nowadays everywhere we look that to get sent a piece of work like this is like finally seeing a slight hint of light in an otherwise very dark tunnel!

It’s even more inspiring when the credit goes to a South African agency, in this case Y&R! We are generally particularly critical on South African agencies, sometimes or probably mostly we are a bit unfair but that’s why when they exceed expectations like this they deserve serious credit!

This campaign takes the creativity of placement and adds to it the ingenious activation of the players inclusion to drive home a message and a product! This won a Gold Loerie and could not be more well deserved!

Watch and enjoy!

Thursday’s Threesome . . .

Beauty Beauty Everywhere . . .

It’s not often that a Thursday’s Threesome features the same person three times over. Technically that would make it a onesome, and Thursday’s Onesome doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. But, sometimes we come across beauty that deserves replication.

The Top Gear trio aren’t the most beautiful things to behold but it was on their show that we were reminded of the hotness that is Amber Heard. So click on the picture above and then do yourself a favour and watch episode 5 of Top Gear season 16

When spare time and creativity overlap (plus a few Post-its)

Design delight!

When creative people have spare time magic can happen. Boring useless crap can happen too but mostly it’s the former.

You see if you were to say to me here’s a crap load of POST-ITs and a few hours off go play I’d probably be at a bar post-it-ing the number of bottles of wine I’ve drink for the next day or so but fortunately that’s not the norm!

First it starts out simple . . .

Then a little healthy competition . . .

And before you know it there is a full out creative war with only stupid coloured little pieces of paper and man’s ingenuity!

Gotta love the commitment!

From HERE!

The passion runs deep here!

Sometimes life is sad..., Sport

You need to understand two things about my family, firstly we hate to lose! Plain and simple we battle to accept defeat in any form (in fact I’ve failed to write anything on the Boks because the anger wells up too fast and strong) and second we hate being ‘cheated’ out of a win even more!

This is the note I got from my brother who lives on an island in Thailand after the loss with the simple words as a subject I’m STILL ANGRY!

I thought it was a dream this morning, when I woke up, still hazy. This was not some ‘run of the mill,’ petty unfairness, the trickery of school children, a parking ticket, or a passing over; this was a travesty, a mythical deception, a monumental injustice – Brutus slaying Caesar, Jacob deceiving Esau, another Bush being elected to the White House; it was as if Dolos the Greek God of craftiness, treachery and guile was honing his skills at Wellington Regional Stadium in New Zealand yesterday, and his target was the Springboks; just because. I thought as much when I woke up; an impossible fairy tale.

It was the same as my dream in the reports, when I checked the Internet. Australia 11 South Africa 9 – a perverse reversed distress call.

Reality bites, sure, okay, we all know that – but NOT that HARD!

Denial turned to anger. It’s hard to swallow, losing to Australia anytime, never mind LIKE THAT, in a World Cup Quarter Final. This loss covers like an unrepentant fog; it lingers like a fart in a closed, hot, and stuck elevator; it hurts like a kick, with a lead boot, in the balls.

At half time it was Australia 8 South Africa 3, inconceivably if you watched, and had your eyes open. Australia’s points were scored with disdain to conventional rugby wisdom and logic; they were nothing less than miracle points, a try from a mistaken turn over, and a penalty for South African hands supposedly in at the breakdown; fate has nothing if not a sense of irony. It was a tough ask to come back from there. I never gave the Springboks much hope of answering. They did in the second half; they came out like fire and burnt their way back. It was ball in the hand charge the bulkhead type stuff. We won lineouts, and scrums, and attacked, and ran, and scrapped; no respite, no rest, no little grubber kicks to the corner, just wave upon wave of green and gold thunder, hearts on sleeves. This is the Australian team that recently won the Tri Nations. For most of the the second half, they looked exactly the children they are, standing like Goo Goo Dolls, throwing themselves wherever they could, punch drunk, distressed – almost imbecilic. No doubt, they were up against it, that was some of the finest, and most exciting rugby I have ever seen a Springbok team play. It ought to have been, it’s the most capped side in World Cup history. It’s a team full of warriors. It’s a team full of Legends. It showed. They did not let up, not for one second.

We went ahead, deservedly I thought: South Africa 9 Australia 8.

Yes…Now…Score. I’m not sure what kept us out after that, I’m not really sure what kept us out before that; a little knock, a fifty fifty not to hand, an illegal pilfer at the breakdown, a gust of wind, some dark magic sorcery, GOD?

Then ‘another dubious decision’, as a New Zealand writer put it, and a penalty. It’s almost the only time the Aussies touched the ball in the second half, that penalty. ‘Not like this,’ I said, when that little blond faced kid kicked it over. Australia 11 South Africa 9, and that’s how it ended, I don’t know how.

‘Sometimes shit happens that doesn’t make sense,’ said Edward, an Englishman and regular at the Green Man Pub in Phuket where I was watching, as the Aussies celebrated, ‘that’s sports.’ Not gravity defying shit, I wanted to say, but I couldn’t talk, I was too gutted. I can imagine what it must be like for the Springboks. They were there, on that field; they played what we all watched – an annihilation, and now they are coming home. Australia played rugby from minute 11 to minute 17, the rest of the time they just tried to get in the way; tenaciously, I’ll admit. They survived at the breakdown, like rats, cockroaches, and small infestations of some stinking thing; a disease…I go too far, sorry, the bile rose again. It’s just a game, but anyone who loves South Africa, and rugby knows it is more than that.

There is no moral victory over Australia. We lost, and that is it, better to accept, and move on. ‘Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve,’ my mother always says.

The Coach has resigned. It was his only move, the last World Cup, when the team won the whole thing, SARFU or SARU, whatever the paper shufflers are now called, fired him. Must be nice for the Coach to go out on the same day as John Smit, and Victor Matfield; that’s got to make one feel powerful. Man I’m going to miss those guys standing in the tunnel, they’re not irreplaceable, no one is, but it’s close.

Over the next couple of days, the papers might point some fingers, allude to some nonsense, talk about youth, and age, wonder about game plans, some of our own (ego’s, past players, those not a part of it) might take a couple of cheap shots at the players of this team.

Don’t you do it!

Don’t you forget!

In this team were the winners of one Rugby World Cup; two out of South Africa’s three Tri Nations Championships; and all three of South Africa’s Super Rugby Championships. This team has three times been named the IRB World Team of the year. There was nothing old, or tired, or derelict about this team. On the day they were ferocious, they were consistent, they were warriors, they were as good as I’ve ever seen them play,as good as I’ve ever seen any Springbok team play. They were almost perfect. Since early 2004 this team has taken South Africa to the top of world rugby, a place we always laid claim, but never before belonged. For me it’s the greatest rugby team South Africa has ever had. It’s possibly the greatest the rugby world has ever seen. It’s a team full of names we will all remember for a long time. I never thought there was honour in losing, today I think differently.

Hail to all of you, Springboks of Rugby World Cup 2011 from the Beautiful South. I can always find fault, but I can’t fault you. You were magnificent.

PS: I wish I could be there to greet this team when they get home. I hope those who can be there turn up. I think the team might like that. I think after all the good times, they deserve it.

Thanks Paul

Where you should be tonight

Drink cool be cool!

If you aren’t going to Symphonics Rocks tonight, don’t despair, there’s another place you really should be. It may be on the other side of the shooter curtain but I’d make an exception for this one.

Hogs Head is opening tonight in the Douglasdale Shopping Centre and is set to be one of the coolest pubs in Joburg. “Why?” you may ask – the answers quite simple:

CRAFT BEER ON TAP:

Mitchell’s Foresters Draught
Mitchell’s 90 Shilling Ale
Mitchell’s Raven Stout
Mitchell’s Cider
Nottingham’s Pale Ale
Nottingham’s Pilsner
Gilroy’s Serious
Boston Weiss

STM will be at Symphonic Rocks, which funnily enough is sponsored by our other favourite beer, Heineken, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be hitting Hogs Head on a Friday afternoon quite soon.

Steve Jobs: The world has no idea how much it will miss you sir!

Sometimes life is sad..., Technology is fun!

This post is not about readers or comment, its about being able to offer some thanks and some praise in my own personal way to a man i have the highest admiration for and who’s life has tragically ended.

It’s strange to have formed such a complete opinion of another person without ever having met them. This is (I can’t bring myself to say ‘was’ yet) the case with Steve Jobs. I’ve come to realize this in the past daywhile reading the tributes, the letters and the well wishes for Steve and his family.

I’m no Apple junkie, not that I don’t buy every new toy that they make purely because I feel cooler just playing with it, but generally they end up lying around the house after a while (all of em except the iPod – they either live on or get lost cause every time I get a new one it’s like a tenth of the size of the last one!)

THE IPOD EVOLUTION

So, I didn’t ‘drink the cool aid’ and I wouldn’t follow the man off a cliff HOWEVER I have probably listened to every talk he ever gave, read anything he ever wrote or was written about him and sat like a spell bound kid for every hour I sat doing so! Steve was just special like that. He could create things that people hadn’t even thought of yet. He was the absolute epitome of a man who didn’t exist to win, but rather to win by such a margin that the opposition felt insulted for taking part in the same race. He was the Michael Jordan, the Tiger Woods, and the Lionel Messi of whatever he put his mind to and while most people know and love him for his contributions through Apple, the most impressive stuff was before.

BOY GENIUS about to change the world!

In May 1985, Steve was essentially ousted from the company he helped create, to be blunt. Most people would have been devastated, spending the rest of their lives seeking some sort of retribution. He merely dusted himself off, picked up his bike, got back on and started racing a new race, as if all along he knew this was part of the plan. He started a company called NeXT developing technologies (most of which are used in Apple products today). From NeXT to Pixar where he gave the world a new (well not new but basically revolutionized) medium for animated full length movies. What I’ve summed up in two sentences most men would not come close to accomplishing in 10 lifetimes, Steve did it in a matter of years.

When the Apple board basically came crawling back, Steve regained his rightful place at the head of the company he once fashioned but this time he was not in it to compete with the world, he was in it to obliterate them. Consumers like me and you were merely the beneficiaries of the bi-products we know as Macs, iPhones, iPod’s & iPad’s. Steve managed to make us all feel like kids on xmas morning when he got up onto stage and he knew exactly how to work it, he was perhaps one of the greatest communicators of ideas (while actually removing your credit card to purchase them simultaneously) I’ve ever had the privilege of seeing and like any legend of his time he will not be replaced easily if at all.

It was almost as if Steve held on to see one last launch, one last glint of excitement in everyone’s eyes before he passed away – hopefully he felt at ease with who he had left his magnificent legacy to.

The world has no idea what it loses when it loses a true visionary. The graph of human progression angles ever so slightly lower now, we may still get there but certainly not as fast as if we had Steve steering the ship. The world is a poorer place without a man like Steve Jobs, but unlike most, he left us a legacy that’s in almost every man woman and child’s hands, ears and desks. So often he gave us a gift of the future but without him the portal seems to be closed and we will have to be content with mere mortals and average progression for a while.

I will leave you with a clip you have probably seen, if you haven’t however, I assure you, listening to this man tell his ‘simple’ story to a graduating Harvard class will make you truly understand why today, the whole world should mourn the loss of a modern day legend!

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Thursday’s Threesome

Beauty Beauty Everywhere . . .

This week we bring you half a six pack. Sure, some people appreciate the full pack but it’s a fine line between this and looking like a ripped dude that’s tucked his bits between his legs.

Having said that, the pic on the other side is actually six of something, but you’ll need to click to see what I mean – I’m sure I’m confusing the f#@K out of you.

Apparently a lot of people didn’t realise that the random pictures shown in Thursday’s Threesome are a window to something beautiful. If you’re one of them, make sure to click on the picture to see that beauty. And then go back and do the same for all the previous ones – it’s well worth it.

Thanks Brian

Sometimes you choose between right & right: The Dalai Lama was the wrong right!

Local is / is not lekker, The Soap Opera of Politics

I don’t often defend the South African government, in fact I think this is the first time I can remember (I did a search on the blog and found THESE – none of them positive) and so now I find myself in unfamiliar territory (and I’m pretty sure I’m going to seriously anger a few people) so here goes!

When I was young my dad gave me a book called “Defining Moments: When managers must choose between right and right”, although at the time I didn’t quite understand the concept but over the next 10 years I have made many painful decisions where both choices would have been the correct one, therefor they fall into this category.

South Africa’s decision regarding the Dalai Lamas visit was no different!

This was a defining moment and without doubt a choice between letting one of the greatest spiritual leaders of our time come for another’s birthday, and to appease a global giant for our own economic salvation.

If you are confused here’s a quick summary. This is the Dalai Lama, he is essentially the spiritual leader of Tibet and the political leader in exile, if you will, with massive influence – he is HATED by the People’s Republic of China’s government. Overall he is an amazingly wise spiritual man who does nothing worse than promote peace, humanity and equality (although he is opposed to oral or anal sex – minus one point for that!) and his name is Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso

He was invited by The Arch Desmond Tutu to speak at a number of university’s and attend the Arch’s 80th birthday. A simple enough request although travelling to SA the DL needed a VISA – eish, problem!

The SA’n government basically delayed this request indefinitely until yesterday when the DL decided to cancel his trip as it was clear he was not welcome! He posted this statement on his website.

Why you ask, was the government so hell bent on keeping him out? Quite simply the Chinese Government told us to. Jacob Zuma said he wasnt sure why there was a problem, Kgalema Motlanthe said he would have gotten his VISA eventually (he said this after the trip had already been cancelled). That was a little like saying we would have won the cricket world cup if target=”_blank”>Allan Donald hadn’t f#@ked up that last run (the saying ‘no comments on the scoreboard’ comes to mind!).

The truth is the South African government had to make a call. Do we allow someone into the country who, if we are completely honest, can do nothing TANGIBLE for us as a nation at the risk of severely pissing off our biggest global customer, China? The answer ladies and gentlemen is simply NO. We cannot afford to lose ANY business let alone the world’s most dominant economic superpower (well they will be shortly) especially when they can buy what we are selling somewhere else.

If China were to turn its back on South Africa the economic ramifications would be catastrophic for an emerging nation with the problems we have, in fact it may be crippling. The answer here was as simple as inviting a street child to sleep in your local Woolworths at the risk of chasing off the rest of your customers (I’m not saying the DL is a street child before any of you get pissy!) but in that instance anyone of you would side with the retailer without a moment’s hesitation – so why when YOUR economic destiny falls in the balance do you all of a sudden climb onto your high horse?

I’m proud that, for once, our government made a tough, public decision for the benefit of us as a nation and if you think that this wasn’t the case – GROW UP! Sometimes in life we have to make tough calls, we can’t make everyone happy and we certainly can’t just make decisions that have massive consequences just because The Arch and the DL are nice people. A government is elected to make the best decisions of behalf of the people and this is, WITHOUT DOUBT, what they did!

I have profound respect for the Dalai Lama and I mean no disrespect to him in any way but unfortunately we as a country sometimes need to play the political game not for gain but sometimes just to survive. Was it handled wrong, absolutely! All the silence and bungling of government officials for months was pathetic and for that I am ashamed. Do I think it’s right to try criticize the DL like the article by Simon Allison in the Daily Maverick, absolutely not – the man is practically the Tibetan Nelson Mandela, but at the end of the day I’ll stand behind their decision in this defining moment, because it was the RIGHT RIGHT!

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