Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Rights and Responsibilities – A Birdie Story (Part 2)

Third encounter: In preparation for my call ceremony to the Bar, I had to sign the Bar Register. I went over to Lincoln's Inn to do this. As I walked on the terrace, I saw a few people on the stairs leading to the library and the stairs leading to the walkway. A little bird lay on the ground close to the stairs leading to the walkway. I made nothing of it as it is normal for people to watch a little bird learning to fly. I had ear buds in my ear with the music blazing so loudly. I was in my own world. As I got close to where this little bird lay I saw a white seagull flying towards me from the heights of the Lincoln's Inn building. Again I thought nothing of it. The girls on the stairs started waving frantically at me. I proceeded to remove one ear bud so I could hear them. Just as I did that, the seagull got closer and missed me narrowly. That's when I realised what was going on. The little bird who lay on the ground was the offspring of the seagull that attacked me and the little bird was learning to fly. As I was figuring this out, the seagull had turned around and was heading my way again. This time from behind. It missed me again but this time I felt its wings flap so hard. I ducked slightly and that was enough. But why me? There were other people in the open especially, those standing around the little bird. I hurried inside to do what I had to do. When I got out everyone had disappeared including the little bird. And they weren't eaten by the seagull.

I thought that was the end of the seagull attacks on me. Boy was I wrong. A couple of days later, I had to go to Lincoln's Inn again to sort out my seating and some payments. Again, I walked on the terrace. I honestly thought the attacks were over. The attack this day was worse than the one a couple of days earlier. I immediately realised I was under attack when I saw the bird dive straight at me making attacking noises. I ducked as hard as I could and it missed me. The seagull made the second attack whilst still mid-air instead of flying further and turning around. I ducked again and this time made for the door. I was shaking. It took me a while to catch my breath and explain to the receptionist why I was there. As I explained, a black man ran inside yelling "those seagulls have gone crazy". So then it wasn't just me. It wasn't a personal attack. Maybe it was a racial attack. Who knows? He had just reactivated my fear to return outside. I stood inside for another five minutes after I had been served. The receptionist asked whether there was anything else. To which I replied "oh no. It's raining outside". It was really raining. Lol. I went to the doorway aiming to make a dash for the stairs leading to the walkway instead of the terrace. Why? Because the walkway had trees providing shade and I knew there was no way the birds will attack that way. So immediately the rain calmed down I made a dash for the stairs and escaped.

As if I had not learned my lesson, I returned on Sunday for chapel service. When I got to the gate, I asked the porter what was wrong with the seagulls because I could hear the attack cries and he explained that they were brooding. It was brooding season. So I walked along the high wall to remain unseen until I got to the chapel. I didn't go for drinks with the benchers because that would require walking on the terrace and I might just be the unlucky one.

On my numerous trips to Brighton, I saw these seagulls again. Except this time they were bigger and it was not brooding season. I was told they are such a nuisance, in that, they swoop down and steal people's food. They are that brave. I attribute this bravery to all the rights they have. Yes they are a weaker species than we are but should we protect them to our own detriment? I mean what laws protects us from animals in the wild such as lions and tigers? Answer: the law of common sense. It is common sense that if a human being walks into lion pride he will be eaten without hesitation. Similarly, it is common sense that if an antelope fails to make a run for it if a pack of wild cats attack, it'll be the end of its life. Why shouldn't birds follow the same law of common sense all species follow in order to survive? I think the time has come for birds to know their natural place in this world. They have abused the rights we (humans) have given them by attacking us and defecating on our clothes and property. They need to face the consequences. At the moment, they enjoy rights without any responsibility whatsoever.

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Saturday, 24 October 2009

Rights and Responsibilities – A Birdie Story (Part 1)

Why would anyone dislike birds? They are graceful creatures that beautify the skies. Sorry, I don't view them in that regard. They seem to have a personal vendetta against me so it's only right that I have one against them. It's the laws of nature - to every action is a reaction. And that should be the way it is. Where I come from, birds are a delicacy. They are hunted down and are proper game. They are very aware of their surroundings and try to avoid situations which will bring an end to their already limited life in a man's world. Or at least it used to be - it's a woman's world these days. Where I come from, birds don't have rights, they still recognise men as the dominant species. I don't care so much about they having rights except they should mind their business and I'll mind mine. I mean I can't sue a bird for common assault yet, I can't kill it when it attacks me in public. Such bollocks. So, where from this resentment? I have had three encounters with birds which were not very pleasing.

First encounter: I was on my way to college early one morning and as I waited at the bus stop, I felt something fall on the cap I was wearing. It was a brand new suede adidas cap I had just gotten from the US. I looked up to see if it was raining. The sky was clear without a single drop of rain. I proceeded to take off the cap guessing what could have fallen on it. I was shocked and disgusted to find the substance on my cap was bird crap. I looked up again for the culprit but this time, staying very clear from another hit. A pigeon posed on a branch way above me. I could have sworn it had a smirk on its little pigeon face. If it were any closer to me, I would have brought its life to an end that morning but it wasn't. I could return home to clean the cap but I cleaned it immediately I got to college.

Second encounter: I was on my way to Nottingham another early morning. I hadn't had any breakfast as I waited at the coach station at Victoria. I decided to get something to eat since the journey to Nottingham was a good four hours. I didn't think putting my stomach through such an experience was a good idea. So I got something I could have on the bus. The seats in the seating area around the gate I was waiting at were all occupied so I sat on my bag which had wheels underneath. The snacks I had gotten were in both hands as I sat. The gates opened for a split second and in flew a few pigeons. One pigeon flew directly at me as if it had no flight chart or was simply blind. In an attempt to duck and not have the pigeon collide with my face, the wheels underneath the bag moved and I fell flat on my butt. I sat on the floor with my arms raised because I was protecting my food. It was embarrassing. Even worse, an old lady walked up to me and tried to help me up. I told her I was fine and she said sorry. There was a beautiful girl who sat in the seating area watching me with an apologetic look as I struggled to get to my feet. That was one of the most embarrassing moments in my life.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

God's Love Story

Before I go on to tell this wonderful story, I need to make a few disclaimers. The title and the entire story are not works of mine. I read this in "Our Daily Bread" today and thought I'd share it with everyone - whether Christian or not. I think it makes a good story and spells out the concept of love, jealousy and cheating I mentioned in earlier posts. If you're a Christian and/or interested in the Bible passage, have a look at Hosea 11. Finally, the author of the story is, Philip Yancey and it can be found on the October 21 page of the 2009 Annual Edition of Our Daily Bread.
Is there any feeling more powerful than that of betrayal? Ask a high school girl whose boyfriend has dumped her for a pretty cheerleader. Or tune your radio to a country-western station and listen to the lyrics of infidelity. Or check out the murders reported in the daily newspaper, an amazing number of which trace back to a quarrel with an estranged lover.
In the Old Testament, God through Hosea's marriage demonstrates in living color exactly what it is like to love someone desperately and get nothing in return. Not even God, with all His power, will force a human being to love Him.
Many people think of God as an impersonal force, something akin to the law of gravity. The book Hosea portrays almost the opposite: a God of passion and fury and tears and love. A God in mourning Israel's rejection of Him (11:8).
God the lover does not desire to share his bride with anyone else. Yet, amazingly, when Israel turned her back on God, He stuck with her. He was willing to suffer, in hope that someday she would return to Him.
Hosea, and later Jesus, prove that God longs not to punish but to love. In fact, He loved us so much that He sent His Son to die for us!

Monday, 19 October 2009

The Joy of Education

I'm sitting on the bus taking my little cousin to school. Amongst my thoughts include what to blog about after taking a one week break. I like to take my blogging breaks right, lol. I really intended to blog all last week but certain issues kept me away from my keyboard lest I let out thoughts and feelings I couldn't later explain. Before my cousin and I got on the bus, I noticed a mother with a push chair or is it a pram. You know that moving thing they put those little things called babies in. And I am not talking about women either. There were also three young ones with the mother: two boys and a girl and a pizza place. Lol. No pizza place though. Initially, I thought the little ones and their mother were of Spanish descent. More Latino than from Spain, maybe Mexico or another country in Central or South America.

On the bus, the mother stays downstairs whilst the little ones come upstairs and sit right behind my cousin and me. They begin talking but I choose not to listen them. Then I think to myself. Sort of a personal observation. You can almost tell who goes to a public school and who doesn't. And you can also almost tell where public school pupils will end. How messed up could the system be? I drift out of my thoughts into the three little ones conversation. An interesting one I must say. They were talking about knowing their times table. I listened as each child said a number of times tables and also compare the times tables to find out the easiest and the most difficult. Their passion and dedication got me smiling.

Then I thought to myself, these children clearly attend a public school and if they can be this passionate about their education, who are we not to encourage them? In fact who am I to think I almost know where they will end up. As they got off the bus, I realised they were probably from Vietnam or around that area. Anyway, I continued to think - we should invest in education, make sacrifices for these young ones for I felt very happy hearing them speak about their times tables. And if these kids can be this passionate at this age then it is a good sign for many good things to come.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Relationships and the Level of Jealousy

As I sat on the train yesterday on my way to Brighton, a story in the Evening Standard caught my attention besides the breakthrough in the health care plan in the US and the proposal to increase tuition at university. The story was about a wealthy city banker who killed his wife and was being asked by the court to pay the cost of prosecution. I then thought to myself: how jealous are we allowed to get in relationships? Was this man's jealousy extreme? If so, what is the level of jealousy one should expect and/or give in a relationship? Perhaps, a summary of the story should help.

The city banker found out his wife was cheating on him. He had recorded conversations between his wife and his wife's lover. A divorce was pending and he wanted to make sure the wife didn't get away with much so he hid most of his assets outside the jurisdiction of the courts. Why would he do this when his wife was equally rich? In fact, she was also a banker in the city. But that was not the source of her wealth. She inherited a wealthy legacy from her father. She was richer than her husband so why would he want to keep his assets from her? For starters, he was estimated to be worth over £800,000, he was earning at least £300,000 and his equity share in their home was worth at least £600,000. Also, in one of the recorded conversations, the wife told her lover that the divorce would be over soon and her husband would be responsible for the mortgage, child support and maintenance which will be 20% of his income. The husband was acquitted on the murder charge but convicted on the manslaughter charge because he did not intend to kill his wife. It then followed that he had to pay the prosecution costs of at least £300,000.

So was this banker's jealousy level justified? He went behind his wife's back and recorded conversations between his wife and his wife's lawyers. I know many girls or guys who would view that as a serious invasion of privacy. But would he had known what he knew if he didn't do that? There was a time when it was attractive for guys to be jealous when other guys were simply smiling at their women or their women passing comments about how handsome another guy looked. But with this, I think the banker took it too far when he strangled his wife during the argument. This could be a one a million case scenario. How about a couple scenarios?

First scenario: there is a couple who are so much in love. They've been through a lot to make sure their relationship works and it has so far because of the very strong foundation of trust they managed to build between them. However, the guy gets all worked up over the littlest things like when another guy calls his girlfriend at very odd hours and they talk for a long time. And in a tone the guy doesn't appreciate. He also gets worked up when she stays online talking to all these other guys and they say suggestive things to her. Because of the level of trust between them, his girlfriend always assures him not to worry because all the late night conversations, whether on telephone or internet, mean nothing. My question is: is it alright for the guy to get worked up and/or even jealous? Now imagine the girl begins to like another guy at her school/workplace and because of the trust between her boyfriend and her, she tells him about this guy she likes. Now is it alright for the boyfriend to get worked up and/or jealous?

Second scenario: there are three people involved. There is a couple who like each other a lot. The girl then likes this other guy. The first guy knows about the second guy and the fact that the girl he likes very much also likes the second guy. That is the level of honesty in this relationship. In fact it goes beyond that because anytime the girl visits the second guy he tells the first guy about the visit. Now should the first guy be jealous even though he knows all this about the second guy? Let's add a little twist to this scenario. Assuming the girl visited the second guy over the weekend and spent the night there. As always, prior to going there, she told the first guy about it and he didn't seem to have a problem. He then got curious a couple of days later and asked the girl about the weekend. In her defence, she accused the first guy of not trusting her. Again, I ask was the first guy being jealous when he asked questions about the weekend and if so, was he justified in doing so?

Like I always say, I am no relationship expert but to make a relationship work, both parties have to be willing to work very hard at it by making several sacrifices. I don't think jealousy should be absolutely kicked out of relationships. On the contrary, I think it is necessary for jealousy to exist in a relationship because it is only when your partner gets jealous, that you realise how important you are to him or her. What we can do to ensure that jealousy does not end up like the story I read in the Evening Standard is to make sure that we reassure our partners of our genuine commitment to them in every way possible. For instance in the first scenario, we can reassure our partners by limiting the conversations particularly at those odd times; severing the attraction to the other guy/girl by informing them of the inappropriateness of their comments and actions; and reminding them of your genuine commitment to your partner. Similarly, in the second scenario, we can reassure our partners of our genuine commitment to them by severing the attraction to the other guy/girl and ending the visitations to their place.

Love is one mystery of life I believe in and it should not be taken for granted if you're lucky to experience it.

Friday, 2 October 2009

The Standard of Cheating in Relationships

"Please don't leave me", "I don't want to be with you", "but I love you" were the words that woke me up this morning. No, I didn't leave the television on when I went to bed and no, I wasn't having a bad dream that she was leaving me. Those were the words I heard above shouts and screams around 10:30am from my third floor window. I hurried to the window to catch a bit of the action, only to find a white couple hugging under a tree. Had they made up already? I doubted it. For a split second I thought a movie was being shot beneath my window so I quickly made sure there was no way the inside of my room could be seen knowing full well that I was only in tight boxer briefs and God knows I wouldn't want my business out like that.

I watched this couple for a little longer and in fact, that was all I needed to figure out why they were staging this wonderful romantic drama beneath my window to purposely wake me up. Lol, I do feel that important. The shouts and screams started again and this time the man added, "I'm going to call that man". "I didn't mean to do it", the woman said. That was all I needed folks. The woman had slept with a man and her boyfriend/fiancĂ©/husband had found out and was leaving her. And she was crying after him beseeching him not to leave her for she loved him. How Shakespeare would have loved to witness this act. Or perhaps one of the movie directors in Hollywood or Nollywood and not Bollywood for we all know how their romance ends like – singing and dancing.

I think the man managed to get the other man on the phone and words were exchanged but I couldn't care any less. I just shut my windows, hopped back into bed and tried to crawl to sleep under the covers. Oh what a perfect way to start my day after a 5 hour sleep. I began to wonder whether this was worth blogging about because after yesterday's post, I had come up with other topics I intended to share with my readers. It got me thinking and my thoughts ventured – without a map and/or compass – into the realm of "cheating in relationships". A topic I'm sure everyone has thought about and talked about so I would expect the opinions and comments to flow like water.

When I ask many girls what they would do if their partners kissed or slept with someone else, they reply "I will leave him". And then I ask, but why, to which they reply "because he was cheating on me or he cheated on me". But did he really? I mean if at the end of the day he came back to you and decided you were the one he loved before he had the affair or he was a victim of circumstances, will that be cheating? Let it be clear that I am no relationship expert. So I looked up the word cheat and came up with two relevant definitions: to deceive someone and to be unfaithful i.e. to have a sexual relationship with somebody other than a spouse or regular sexual partner.

Let's try and break this down. I fail to see how having an affair is deceiving your partner. I guess it could be if they asked and you lied about it. But then again, what are you deceiving them about? The fact that you love them or the fact that you're having something to do with someone else? Call me old school but I am of the traditional view that relationships are based on love. So then if love is the basis of your relationship, how is it deception when your partner tells you they love you and they really do? I am sure you'll respond by saying if they love you, they wouldn't do what they did. Really? Love's based on that?

The second definition which speaks of having a sexual relationship with somebody other than a spouse or regular sexual partner is the reason most people tend to give. Again, call me old school but I am of the traditional view that relationships are based on love. If this definition had said having a relationship with another person other than your spouse, I would readily agree that that is cheating because of love as a basis for relationships. You can't fully love two people at the same time. There is the argument of loving two people at once – that is cheating too. But in this case, it doesn't say the basis of the relationship is love. The relationship outside the one with their spouse or sexual partner is a sexual relationship. Emphasis on sexual. That is all it is – sex. If that is what it is, how is that cheating?

The couple under tree made amends, I am sure, because even amidst the shouts and screams, they were hugging under a tree when I first saw them. Would I get back together with a girl who had an affair and I found out? Sure! Why not? As long as I am the one she's in love with and not the person she had the affair with. I've done so in the past so why wouldn't I? How about this, if it happened once and they told you about it before you found out, would you still leave? One thing I will agree to without hesitation is that the trust underlying the relationship will be deeply affected. It will be up to the defaulting partner to try and raise it back beyond the pre-existing level. This is when the non-defaulting partner may decide to take advantage of the situation. But if you really love each other you will work at it and it will only make your relationship stronger.

I feel it necessary and convenient to leave a disclaimer. Lol. If anyone who reads this hooks up with me and thinks because of what I said they can enjoy a non exclusive relationship solely on their part, don't be misled for I shall leave your ass quicker than passengers at a train station fleeing a bomb scare.

Just a few observations … Happy 49th Independence Day to all Nigerians

So I get out of the shower and get on my laptop; spending time with my newly found love. I receive a text from a friend inviting me to attend a service with her at Temple Church. I reluctantly agree. I say reluctantly because it saddens me to leave my newly found love and not because I don't enjoy church. After all, I owed God a whole lot of gratitude after all he did for me in the past week. So I grabbed a blazer and pants (still in an empire state of mind) or trousers and made my way towards Temple Church.

I don't think I was expecting anything special on my journey to church except I was hoping to run into a barrister who would offer me a pupillage or a solicitor who would offer me a training contract or a judge who would offer a marshalling opportunity or perhaps, clerkship. A bad reason to go to church? Oh yes but I'm certain God understands. I was also interested in the theme of the service – An Annual Service Dedicating the Legal Year to God. I arrived at Lewisham station to find out the DLR was down. I got the national rail to London Bridge and then tried to figure out the rest of the journey from there. What happens to those mini tube maps when you need them the most?

I had to rely on my intuition and memory. Well many lines run through Bank so it was a safe choice. I got to Bank and got on the Circle Line. There is always a story to tell on the tube. Sorry to disappoint this time. Lol. But I tried out an observation. A week ago a friend of mine made an observation and I was curious to find the truth in that. Friend's observation - why do people on the bus and tube try to prevent you from reading the Metro and London Lite when they are clearly free newspapers. I mean you didn't pay for it so you're really not losing anything if someone reads it with you. With this in mind I was busily starring into the London Lite being read by fellow commuters. I was waiting for someone to turn away or shut the newspaper but they never did. It was like they were reading my mind. Oh I read attentively and with interest too. Lol. At one point, I nearly asked a fellow commuter to hold on as I wasn't done with that page until something else caught my eye.

I thought emails were meant to be personal messages. Oh yes my thoughts are justified alright otherwise what's the fuss with all the email protection software. I found myself looking over the shoulder of another commuter who was busily sending an email on her Blackberry. I could read the entire email. It said "…". You didn't think I read it. Come on, I'm a Lincoln's Inn gentleman. But seriously I realized how vulnerable we are with the influx of these Blackberrys and other smart phones. I don't even answer my phone on the bus or train because I assume someone is listening; whether actively or passively.

I got off the tube and out of the train station to wait on this friend of mine. Like every other girl she chose to arrive fashionably late. In the mean time, I obtained my own copy of the London Lite. I didn't even ask the vendor, I just picked it off the pile. Remember, free. Lol. I am sure most of you have seen the new Cadbury commercial (still in an empire state of mind) or advert. If not here is the link: new Cadbury advert. There was a full page dedicated to it in the London Lite. Well done Cadbury for choosing Ghana. She finally arrives and we head off to Temple Church. She observed one thing I am quite used to now – why are all these barristers and judges stuck up? I tried unsuccessfully to explain.

The address was very refreshing. It was based on Romans 3:10-26. I learned the bad news and the good news in that passage. Bad news – "there is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God (Romans 3:10-11) … there is no fear of God before their eyes (Romans 3:18)" and the good news is – "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23-24)". I did pay attention and I encourage you to apply this in your life. Temple Church looked marvellous. There were refreshments in the round church which is where they acted part of the "Da Vinci Code". So if you think about it, I was actually standing on set where Tom Hanks and that old guy were fighting.

Well, I had to leave so I said my goodbyes and left. We ended up getting the DLR from Tower Gateway. I got off at Poplar and changed at Canary Wharf to get the direct one to Lewisham. As I waited, I noticed two gay men kissing and touching. I looked away and never looked that way again. I can't judge them though because like the passage said we all have sinned and fall short of God's glory. I got on the train, started writing this piece until I finally arrived at Lewisham and had to dash for the bus. Running across Lewisham centre, I came across a dance group practising in front of the Lewisham shopping centre. I paused to enjoy it a bit and to catch my breath. I got the bus anyway. What an eventful evening though I nearly walked into a lamp post as I walked home from the bus stop. If I had the opportunity, I would do it all over again. Well, except seeing the gay men kiss and touch in public.

On another note, it is Nigeria's 49th Independence Day today. I wished them a happy one on facebook and encouraged them to be rid of all the socio-political evils before they hit 50. I knew I was in for an attack but I didn't think it would come from someone so dear to me; who is not even Nigerian. Lol. I ended up removing the status and replacing it with Happy 49th Independence Day to all Nigerians. So as Nigerians enjoyed this day it is my hope that they will take a firm stance in reducing corruption, bank scandals, 419s and violence. We need them to stand tall in the Region as Ghana cannot achieve the objective alone. Well it can but it'll take longer. I hope to say Happy 50th Independence Day to all Nigerians next year with fewer faults to point out.

Finally, I read a piece from Ato Kwamena Dadzie today which was the highlight of my day. Here is the link: Mabey & Johnson: NDC porous defence. Do enjoy.