Friday, November 25, 2005

Polite Friday

The weekend is upon us and it’s about bloody time. Looking forward to spending 48 hours without having to deal with the boss.

However, on a sad note a close relative passed away yesterday. Since I won’t be able to attend his funeral I will have to go for the church service tomorrow.

Speaking of churches, I only seem to enter them when someone has passed away. I cannot remember the last time I went for a regular Sunday church service on my own volition. Weddings are the only other reason I would step in church but I generally avoid them and even then I am more likely to attend only the reception.

There will be no hellraising tonight partly out of respect for the dearly departed and also because I wouldn’t want to be steaming Club Pilsner for the guys in church. It’s going to be a polite Friday, I think.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

In need of happy hour soothing

That proverbial space between the rock and the hard place or the devil and the deep blue sea, is probably a lot more comfy than the situation I am in right, now caught between a client who has every right to be pissed off, his language leaves no doubt as to whether or not he is, and an uncompromising boss (who doesn’t want to talk to the client directly).

Without going into details, both are acting like jerks and I have to be the one in the middle making and receiving the calls, just wasting my ears . I wish they would all stop acting pre-pubescent, especially the boss. Feel like going upside his head with my notebook.

On a day like this a lager wouldn’t be unwelcome (as if it has ever been) unfortunately the month has turned into that nasty home stretch and I am keeping tabs on each dime I spend. Even whole night happy hour at Steakout is out of the question. Somebody somewhere owes me a tenner but the chap is being elusive.

Beyond misery is that fact that its my neighbourhood’s turn to be graced by the darkness courtesy Umeme (Jay lets loose that saliva-through-teeth sound that doesn’t seem to have a name in English).

This state of affairs shall not prevail. Time to conceal ID and give slippery debtor a holler. A chap needs to have his nerves soothed by a happy hour lager.

I thinks I found me some bloggers

Ok so Uganda is not quite the blogger desert I had earlier said it was. I stumbled across a few other bloggers some of whose links I have added to the page.

My faith thus restored, I keep on roaming the blogosphere for a few more.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ugandan bloggers where art thou?

In the past few weeks I have been prowling all over the blogosphere looking for Ugandan bloggers and I must say I have been very disappointed. There are hardly any Ugandan blogs and the few that I have found are not really my cup of tea.

Most Ugandan blogs I have come across are heavily political. They are all about Kony, poverty, democracy (usually the lack of it) e.t.c, you catch my drift. In this group are ugandawatch. These topics are not bad but it all paints a grim picture of Uganda. The funny thing is that many of these bloggers are actually foreigners with a keen interest in Uganda’s politics. The rest are mostly opposition types, and self proclaimed anarchists. The other type are tourists going through Uganda.

I would like to find bloggers that are talking about their ordinary lives, what they get up to everyday. These are the kind of blogs I find interesting. The Kenyans are light-years ahead on this they even have a webring of Kenyan blogs. So far I have found only one Ugandan blogger, called mataachi, I would like to follow.

I hope to find more blogs, because I feel blogging is the latest means of open self expression and a great opportunity for budding writers to practice. Lets not miss out on this fun. My fellow Ugandans where art thou.

Older, yes. Wiser, I don't think so

Today I grow one year older and as is always the case I only remembered it was my birthday after receiving an sms from an old friend early this morning, the first of many. It is kind of strange that everybody seems to remember my birthday except me. The good thing about it is that it shows that people are thinking about me. I should remember to pay closer attention to other people’s birthdays.

I am 1 year older. Do I feel any different? The unfortunate answer is that I don’t. Today might as well be 17th November 2004. I can’t say much has changed since my last B-day. Still same routine job, same vices, and the same unfulfilled resolutions. But then again its not that there was any reason to change anything. I was beginning to get comfortable with all the routine, which I have been told is dangerous at my age, considering I am nowhere near what you could call successful.

Enough of that. I might start depressing myself and that can’t be good on a day like this. Hopefully one of my caring friends and relatives will be so happy for me and buy me a drink or 2 (or 3) this evening, seeing how the pocket is doing badly.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Uneasy Calm After Kampala Riots

The city centre is a virtually deserted save for the Red Tops (Military Police) and their less formidable, but quite scary cousins, the anti riot-police. The scenario reminds me of images of Baghdad presently or of Belfast a few years ago. Its like there is an armed person for every five civilians moving about.

Besigye is now at Buganda road court and the whole place around there is a no-go area.

Earlier this morning, I tried to walk down towards Pioneer Mall from the City Square but I soon changed my mind after witnessing a bunch of mean looking Red Tops prodding the ribs of anybody who was stationery or looked to be up to no good (according to them) and urging them to move on. They don't want anybody idling around today. I wonder where all those to whom the city square is a day-time address, office and siesta venue have relocated to.

It’s a pity how these riots have turned Kampala’s CBD from a vibrant, if somewhat chaotic place, into a near ghost town. Everybody is on edge, a backfiring car would probably send everybody diving for cover.

Thankfully there are no riots today-yet. I will only feel safe after Besigye has left the courthouse and he is out of town. I get the feeling that the rioters are just waiting in the shadows for the slightest to wreck further havoc on the city.

Monday, November 14, 2005

And now the whole town is on fire

The city centre has just turned cloudy on us. No it is not going to rain, its just the good old anti-riot police doing its bit to send people scampering for cover (noses running and eyes tearing) generally keeping the order after yet another riot.

This time it’s Dr. Besigye at the centre of it all. He has gotten himself arrested. There is nothing new in that, I just wish they had taken him to another police station miles away from where I am pretending to be busy at work. He has been thrown in CPS, so the whole area around City Square, Grand Imperial and Rwenzori Courts is just one cloudy mess as the police are lobbing teargas canisters at the good doctor’s supporters quite zealously.

The gas has wafted in to the building and there is general discomfort all over. On any given day I would now be looking forward to bidding this claustrophobic cubical farewell for the evening, but right now I am dreading the streets outside. However, I am not quite sure who I am dreading most- the guys in the flak jackets and helmets or those crazy FDC guys who seem to thrive on inhaling teargas.

Let me wait and see how this unfolds.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Campus is burning

The campusers are at it again. Torching vehicles, breaking windows, setting up roadblocks all over the place and terrorising hapless motorists- and yes, getting shot at by the riot cops. And what is the problem this time you might ask. Those administrators have gone and raised the examination fees.

It is very unfortunate the way these university officials go about increasing fees all the time. This time they have increased the retake fee (fee paid to redo an exam one has failed) from 6k to 180k. Jesus Christ, a whooping 3,000%. Now I can understand why these lads (and lasses) are pissed off. Apparently this was announced without any warnings given.

This university thing is getting so damn expensive. It seems I was lucky to get out before it became to hot. Tuition going through the roof every year, all manner of extra payments conjured up by the admin whenever they feel like, its terrible.

Having said that why do these chaps have to go and wreck stuff every time they are not amused. This is part of the reason they are always paying more. You torch a building; the university has to rebuild it. Where is the money to rebuild coming from? Your tuition, stupid. The next semester they will need more money to rebuild the students will get pissed off again and its is one needless vicious cycle.

To be fair to the nice boys and girls of Makerere, most of the time these riots start out as peaceful, but loud, demonstrations until some lumpens throw a spanner in the works by hurling projectiles at the Vice-Chancellor’s home, office, the senate building or whatever takes their fancy. Then the riot cops are called in and the party begins in earnest, running battles, teargas canisters and all.

What surprises me is why these riots have become so frequent in the last 5 years. I recall in the 90’s there were only about 3 riots (I may be corrected since I joined Makerere at the tail end of that decade) and I dare say with the exception of the one that resulted in the clearing and renaming of Northcote, they were based on serious grievances. These days a year does not go by without one serious riot.

The upside to all this (fee hike not the riot) is that, hopefully, the campusers are going to get a bit more serious with their studies so as not to retake any exams. You don’t want to piss dad off anymore by demanding for dimes to resit the exam. This should result in less campusers at Steakout on Super Tuesday so that the rest of us can enjoy the night long happy hour in less crowded environs.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Uganda's bit in WW2

I learn something new everyday. Today I just learned that there was a major warship doing major business all over the world during WWII. The was ship was called.....drumroll please.....HMS Uganda.

Commissioned in 1942, HMS Uganda did its bit for the war effort. It did escort duty for Winston Churchill in '43, participated in the invasion of Sicily and whole lot of other stuff until it was hit by a German bomb.

After repair,Uganda ended being the top Canadian ship for a while, but then it was eventually rechristened HMCS Quebec and finally scrapped in Japan in 1961.

Why the interest in this ship? I Guess I find it somewhat amusing that HM King George (or whoever was the overlord of the British empire at that time) named a ship after the country in which sunny Kampala basks.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Sporadic Postings

I have just noticed that since I started this blog I have only been posting once a month almost exactly a month after the previous post. I think I should style up.

Though I am sure nobody visits this blog yet, I owe it to myself to make more active- If only only so that the blog can appear lively.

Watch this space. More frequent rambling thoughts from this sunny city.