I wanna be just like mom

Do we all think that our moms can do everything, or is it just me? Mine can cook, bake, sew, paint, knit, move heavy furniture, laugh till the tears roll, work a full-time or a part-time job, raise kids, make a home, get two completely different degrees, wash a car and do her own taxes.  That’s just the start of it.  She also professes to have eyes in the back of her head, and is so convincing that some young boys believe her.

How did one person learn to do all of these things in the space of half a lifetime, while I can barely sew on a button and have trouble using a rolling pin, not to mention my aversion for invoices and organisation?

I guess we can all just try to live up to our mothers, and hope that some day we can do half the things they do with such ease.  I am not grateful enough most of the time, but when I stop to think about it, my mom is really a superwoman and my life would be quite a shambles without her periodic spring cleaning, food-dropping-off, kitchen-explaining antics.

It’s weird to be so different from a mother who is an extrovert and loves to be around people, when all I ever want to do is sit in a corner with my book or a pillow.  I was trying to explain to mom the other day about introverts and extroverts.  I used to think that introverts were just shy people and extroverts were just rambunctious and outgoing.  Turns out, that’s not accurate.

An introvert is actually just someone who gets their energy from solitude and quiet time.  An extrovert recharges by being around other people.  So while a group of people drains me of all energy and good humour, that is the perfect setting for mom to sparkle with energy and happiness.  No matter what my intentions, I don’t like visiting people, or going out in large groups.  I’d rather have tea with one or two close friends, or just sit on the couch with my sister as we rant at the reality tv stars that flood the media.

How do we find a balance in a family mixed with both introverts and extroverts?  That’s something I’m still trying to figure out.  I’m sure mom already has the answer though.


Tipping irritations


Why do we need to tip?  It’s always been an irritation and was put into words in the movie Reservoir Dogs where Steve Buscemi’s character says that he does not tip.

He says he doesn’t believe in it and “if she don’t make enough money she can quit. … I don’t tip because society says I have to. All right, I mean I’ll tip if someone really deserves a tipping, if they really put forth the effort, I’ll give them something extra, but I mean this tipping automatically, it’s for the birds. I mean as far as I’m concerned they’re just doing their job. … She was okay. She wasn’t anything special. … Look I ordered coffee all right? Now we’ve been here a long … time, she’s only filled my cup three times. When I order coffee I want it filled six times …  They make minimum wage. I used to work minimum wage and when I did I wasn’t lucky enough to have a job that society deemed tip worthy. … You know what this is? It’s the world’s smallest violin playing just for the waitresses. … So is working at McDonald’s but you don’t feel the need to tip them do you? Well why not? They’re serving you food. But no, society says don’t tip these guys over here, but tip these guys over here….” etc

That’s part of my point.  If restaurants paid their staff properly and didn’t expect the customers (who are already paying for the food) to make up the shortfall, we wouldn’t need to tip.  Why must we pay the staff salary?

And that makes it difficult for the waitors and waitresses too, who don’t have a steady income and rely on unreliable tips.  But then, when they see university students or other kids coming in, do they give poor service because they know it’s unlikely that they’ll get a decent tip?

Can we save that money and give it to the poor or other people who don’t have jobs and aren’t supposed to be getting a salary?

Some restaurants are presumptuous enough to add the tip on to the bill – sometimes you may not even notice it and may give a tip on top of that.  Seems like shady hidden costs.

This irks me.  Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? I do always tip, but in my heart I always do it grudgingly.

Do you guys tip, and do you do it willingly?

This generation isn’t so apathetic after all


After the tumult of all of the #MustFall issues last year, it’s becoming obvious that people are fed up and that youngsters are starting to wake up and get active (does using the word “youngsters” make me old??)

University students in South Africa recently protested across the country, under the hashtag #FeesMustFall.

The poor quality of education afforded to black students has left a lasting legacy.  Students now at university trying to make their way through the system are plagued by the fact that their parents had very few opportunities and are often unable to help financially, and competition for bursaries are stiff.

Many bursaries assist previously disadvantaged people, but if over 70% of the population can be classified as previously disadvantaged, this means that only the best of the best black students have a shot at financial assistance.  But white students, and also privileged Indian students and others, with assistance from their families, their inherited privilege or easier access to other forms of funding, need not reach these academic highs to get a degree.

We can be mediocre if our dads pay for our education, but not if we rely on bursaries (plus many students also have to work a part-time job to cover the cost of rent and food etc).

Lamenting the apathy of the youth post-apartheid, it seems that each generation just needs to find its own struggle.  Seen as obsessed with social media and inward looking, this 2015 group of students managed to unite, mobilising around the #FeesMustFall slogan and rising up to fight for a cause they could finally identify with.

Being “born free” we are not only free of the apartheid government and its racist laws, but also unshackled from the blind faith and loyalty that our elders seem to have for the ruling party, who are seen as the liberators by many who lived through the struggle against Apartheid.

The surprisingly uncaring attitude that our democratic government took was pathetic.  It was only when the movement became a big enough threat and the elders started feeling scared that the issues were partially addressed.

The hashtag #FeesMustFall became so ubiquitous that one clueless opponent actually filed court papers to have the hashtag interdicted.  How can you try to take a hashtag to court?

Many political parties tried to hijack the movement, but were rebutted by students who couldn’t care less which political party you come from.

Students united across different universities and also against the employment policies for staff at universities.  Workers (like the cleaners) at many universities stood in solidarity with students, while students took up the cause of outsourced workers (who have less protections and benefits than they would have if they were treated as employees).

But this is not just a story about South African students.  Why are US students, who supposedly grew up in a different world to South Africans, protesting these same issues?  These are not just third world problems.

Black students in the USA were protesting against racism too, but unlike in South Africa, they are not the majority.  The USA has been non-racial for not much longer than South Africa.  The civil rights movement of the 1960s may have succeeded in creating formal equality, but people are still prejudiced.

The three issues of racism, fees and outsourcing of university workers, issues that were protested against by South African students, are the same issues that were being taken up by students in the USA barely a month later.  It seems that our majority still lives like a minority, facing the issues that minorities in other countries face even though they should have more power.

When your father was a garden boy, and his father a garden boy, how can you expect to compete with the sons of the CEOs of big corporations, even 20 years later when everything is supposedly rosy?

The legacy of apartheid has not yet been overcome.  Just this past week there’s been more reports of clueless racists talking about “monkeys” on the beach.  Life sometimes seems too ridiculous to believe.

Matric results are out – the usual good news that is a little suspicious.  Like the Daily Vox says, “the battle for education starts long before University.

Expecting to reverse the history of…forever (or at least since the first day white people stepped foot on South African land, so many decades ago) is ambitious.  It will probably take a few more generations to overcome.  Let’s not trash affirmative action etc yet…I’m excited to see what the youth will do in 2016.  But also scared to see what other crap will emerge from lame racists all over the internet and elsewhere.


Baby clothesline

New year, new life.

2014 was filled with weddings, and 2015 was kinda dry, but 2016 is set to be the year of the baby with 7 new ones coming to our family!

Trying to be a good “sacred vessel”, I did a search online and found some good advice in an article by Seekers Hub on duaas and surahs to read during pregnancy.

Briefly, Surah Luqman for the 1st trimester – it deals with advice to children, and Luqman (AS) was also very wise.  This is probably why this surah is recommended for when the baby’s brain is developing.  Next up, when the baby’s facial features are forming, Surah Yusuf for the second trimester.  Lastly, Surah Maryam for the last trimester, as labour approaches. It is also recommended that Surah Inshiqaq be read daily throughout pregnancy, plus Ya Lateef 129 times morning and evening.

Also, think happy thoughts, listen to good sounds, read a lot of Durood and Qur’aan and eat melon for a beautiful baby.  That’s the bare minimum that I’ll try to stick to.

There’s so much other advice out there about good and bad and everything in between, I guess just do what you can to stay cool and happy.  Something I found worth a smile was that someone recommended just looking at a picture of the Kaabah when you are too tired to be actively engaged in Ibaadat 🙂