A more creative style of writing for me, let me know what you think in comments below!
The train pulled into the station at 10:15pm. The journey had taken me through the arid Moroccan hills from the ancient ninth century medina walls of Fes to the big city lights of Casablanca. My cabin was already crowded with life when two young Moroccans arrived carrying with them a small puppy who defiantly poked her head out of their backpack. She brought an innocence to the cabin; the mood became light and smiles abounded. We began chatting, in French, and by the time we had reached Casablanca, we were ‘frères’. They insisted on walking me to my youth hostel and offered food, accommodation and company if I ever returned to Morocco. The authenticity of their offer surprised me – in the “West”, such displays of generosity were to be met with suspicion – but here it was customary.
It was 11pm now, I found my dormitory and set down my pack. Exhausted and famished. I needed food but unfortunately not any food, vegan food. Restaurants had closed for the night but the equivalent of corner shops remained open, their offering limited to cookies, dairy snacks and bread. Late-night sandwich and deep-fry shops appeared but were only serving animal flesh. A cubby-hole shack wafted smells of something sizzling but my plea of “Végétarien?” was quickly dismissed. This was not hopeful.
Continue reading An Evening in Casablanca
When Einstein wrote “failure is success in progress”, he was (probably) hoping to diminish the stigma around failing and emphasising that failure is inevitable and should be accepted. Today, failures are indeed accepted. We fail, embellish them with a positive spin and move on to try again: ‘Don’t dwell on and regret your failures in the past, look forward’. My blog posts have echoed this by complementing a brief recognition of my failures at self-discipline with a redeeming justification that, hey, at least I tried!
I now regret this. One’s own failures should be exposed, dwelled upon and be painful. For without the pain, we will not regret and without the regret, we will not change from the mindset that led us to fail in the first place. Continue reading Don’t Embellish your failures, Regret them
Humans are obsessed with simplicity. You see it in the straightness that shapes our roads, country borders and thought. Simplicity serves a purpose in some human creations, providing a functionality which is often necessary. However, human creatures and nature are complex and imposing simplicity on such complexity rarely fits well. Continue reading The Hidden Cost of Simplicity
A year ago I decided on a new rule: no more Television, Netflix or Film and limited news. I have (imperfectly) applied it since and been delighted with the result but why? It has taken me a year to work to find it: Entertainment was my form of escapism from the real world. I mis-used some technology as an escape from my surroundings and a distraction from thinking, accepting and challenging who I was.
Continue reading Chaining myself to reality
Many lament the loss of Chivalry in our society. They decry that knights of our realm have lost interest in honourable deeds for women: things like holding a door, carrying a suitcase and pulling a chair out for a woman (although not like I did when I was a child, pulling it far out enough that my mother fell…..sorry again Mama!). The amazing writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who wrote Americanah, just challenged chivalry and to my surprise it received a huge backlash. It is clear, chivalry is not dead.
In this post I argue that we should let chivalry die and instead resurrect common courtesy: a sign of more, not less, respect for women. However, this may also come at a cost…
Continue reading Chivalry isn’t dead but it should be
The world of polemics has been set ablaze by the rise of Identity Politics from the ‘Radical Left’. Prominent academic voices, like Jordan Peterson or Sam Harris, argue that Identity Politics is a force for evil; a movement of ‘social justice warriors’ who have created unnecessary divisions and, through political correctness, impinged upon the sanctity of free speech. They point to the de-platforming and rejection of speakers from liberal colleges in the US with aggressive incidents like at Middlebury College with Charles Murray (more here). These academics have now gained a cult-following from the ‘alt-right’ and ironically from those who not too long ago had ‘had enough of experts’.
I contend that whilst it can be detrimental, the Identity Politics of today is a facet of natural human tribalism, has always existed, is a sign of progress and can be a force for good. Continue reading Identity Politics as a force for good, not evil
For the last two months, I have been living in a holding-pattern in Amsterdam, Netherlands, as I await my Kenyan Work visa. (For actual flights in a holding pattern above you, go here!). Thanks to a Kenyan immigration process so forward-thinking that it jumped to online-only applications before a functioning online system, this is set to last another two months.
During these months, I have had the pleasure of working at my company’s HQ and grown accustomed to a Dutch lifestyle, with the clear expectation this was a temporary stop-over. This was until last week when an opportunity arose at work to stay in the Amsterdam HQ indefinitely. Which got me thinking, in the eternal words of the Clash, ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go?’
Continue reading Should I Stay or Should I Go? Searching for real unknowns