India hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2010

And this is what I wrote at the time …

 

Well, it all seems to be working out just fine so far. Nobody has died of dysentery, been eaten by a tiger or shot in the head by Naxalite rebels. Sati has been put on the back-burner and all those charming mutilated urchins are off the streets. New Delhi could be mistaken for New York, were it not for 15 million Indians all going potty in the street at the same time.

Having said that, I do think it damnably unfair that just a few days ago everyone was ganging up on the Indians for not being altogether ready for the Commonwealth Games. So a bridge collapsed. Big deal. Was anyone killed? No, they weren’t. Maybe twenty people were injured. Were any of them athletes? No, they weren’t. They were labourers. India has an estimated 280 million labourers hanging about on street corners. I expect their places were filled fairly quickly.

Besides, India was given just seven years to ensure that everything would be ready for the Games. In a country where people resign themselves to a cycle of rebirth lasting thousands of years, seven is nothing. I grew up in Durban. I know Indian time. It’s like African time but goes half the speed for double the price.

I find it ironic that third world countries like Rwanda and Scotland were complaining that facilities were not up to standard. What a nerve. The living conditions in these two countries alone are shocking. But never mind that. Listen to this. Rwanda, the country that was outraged to find a bit of poo lying around the Athlete’s Village, went on bended knee to the Queen last year and begged to become a member of the Commonwealth. She clearly felt sorry for them because it was only the second time that the rules had ever been bent. I suppose if I were Rwanda, I would also want to hide my Germanic roots.

How embarrassing that our very own high commissioner to India complained that a snake had been found in one of our athlete’s rooms. This is India, for heaven’s sake. It would be rude of the hosts not to leave a snake in the room. Complain if the snake charmer and his family move into the room, by all means, but a snake on its own? Please. Harris Majeke should consider the team fortunate not to have herds of holy cows roaming the corridors.

These people are athletes, not pop stars. What gives them the idea that they should be treated as if they were genuine deities like Lady Gaga? Those who take part in this sort of competition make their living from running in circles, jumping over stuff, shooting at things that aren’t people, punching each other, picking up heavy stuff and batting or throwing balls around. Not exactly endoscopic brain surgery, is it? They are lucky to even be given hot meals and a chance to sleep inside. In my day, they would have been beaten with hot metal rods and made to compete naked.

Never mind that today’s athletes expect to be pampered like hyperglycemic ballerinas, I find the entire notion of the Commonwealth being associated with such frivolity to be a most distasteful one. Imagine if, every four years, Germany staged the Invasion Games, perhaps on a rotational basis, kicking off in Poland and ending (badly) in the Soviet Union.

There are 54 members of the British Commonwealth. That’s at least 40 more countries than Hitler invaded. The Queen ought to be ashamed of herself. Instead of prancing about on horseback shooting foxes and dishing out royal favours on condition we all behave like civilised white folk, she should be down on her hands and knees begging our forgiveness.

When all this unseemly colonial malarkey began, it was known as the British Empire Games. They had sports like pig-sticking and wench-molesting and most of the time they got the servants to run for them.

At the 1930 games, women were allowed to compete in the swimming events only. Then they were banned altogether. Probably for weeing in the pool. Then, in 1950, everything began going to hell in a handbasket. Women were invited to compete in almost every event and today they are allowed to do pretty much as they please. It’s all rather appalling.

While India’s president wallah, Pratibha Patil, will be given his own chair at the opening ceremony, it will be Prince Charles who has the honour of declaring the Games open. That’s fine. Let him have his fun. But then arrest him. Britain has never been punished for cocking up the whole of South Asia in the days of the Raj. Well, perhaps they have in a way.

London looks more and more like Lahore by the day.

Not much wealth, but certainly common

Something I wrote a few months back.

 

Parties exploded across Durban when Edmonton withdrew its bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, leaving this glittering jewel of the east coast the sole bidder.

It should be said, though, that Durban people have a reputation for partying first and asking questions later. Often there is no time to even ask questions because we have to move on to the next party or risk falling behind. Nobody wants to be the Arsenal of the party circuit.

But as I raced like a degenerate white Lewis Hamilton from braai to soiree to crack house partying my ass off, I began wondering if Edmonton’s wussing out was more of a curse than a blessing. Had these Canadians just handed us a poisoned chalice? Was I onto something? I had been smoking poison and drinking from chalices all night. Did any of this really matter? Why was I having these thoughts? Why was I having any thoughts at all?

I shook my head violently. It fell off and rolled under a table. A woman dressed like Peter Pan – it might have been Peter Pan dressed as a woman – retrieved it and screwed it back on.

“Thank you,” I said. I was going to make a cheap joke about giving me head but she said her darling Wendy was waiting for her and disappeared through an open window. Might have been Tinkerbell, but that wouldn’t explain the … forget it. For the record, I don’t have a problem with fairies or lesbians.

I might, however, have a problem with Canadians. The ones from Edmonton, in particular. So why did you withdraw your bid for the Games, eh? What was tha’ all aboot, eh? You wanted ’em bad enough when you tossed yer hat into the ring back in whenever it was, diddencha, eh?

Oh, I see. Financial reasons and a global fall in oil prices. Well, that makes it even cheaper to hold oil-based events like women’s wrestling and … that’s about it. As for financial reasons, are you saying you had the money but now you don’t? Where the hell did it go? Do you have a South African in charge of the treasury?

Durban also doesn’t have the money but, unlike you, we don’t put the selfish needs of our own people ahead of something as important as the Commonwealth Games.

Studies have shown that the underclass is less likely to rob and murder others if one of their countrymen wins a gold medal. Our people might have no work or food but they do have civic pride. And that’s what important here.

I think you’ve played us, Edmonton. I think you’re like the cash-strapped drunk who sits at the back of an auction raising his hand on every bet, forcing the serious bidders to pay more than they would otherwise have done. Sure, it’s fun. But you’re older than I am and you should know better.

Glasgow hosted the games last year and it cost them 575-million quid. Or, as our president would say, seventy-eleven trillion, nine hundred and thousand billion rand.

So what you’ve done is effectively bankrupted Durban. Where the hell are we going to get that kind of money from? We were bargaining heavily on you winning the bid. We can’t pull out now. That would leave nobody at all wanting to host the 2022 games. Queen Elizabeth would have a conniption, Charles would become king and we’d all have to burn our cars and travel everywhere by camel.

Be honest, Canada. You don’t really want to be in the Commonwealth, do you? Half your country speaks French and the other barely speak at all because if they open their mouths their tongues freeze solid and their teeth crack and fall out of their heads.

So it is left to us to hold high the flag of the Commonwealth. And let me tell you something, Edmonton. The opening ceremony of the first-ever African games, performed by torchlight, gas lamps and shards of burning pool cues, will be the best ever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

No wealth and common as dirt – Durban takes the lead

Parties exploded across Durban last week when Edmonton withdrew its bid to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games, leaving this glittering jewel of the east coast the sole bidder.

It should be said, though, that Durban people have a reputation for partying first and asking questions later. Often there is no time to even ask questions because we have to move on to the next party or risk falling behind. Nobody wants to be the Arsenal of the party circuit.

But on Wednesday, as I raced like a degenerate white Lewis Hamilton from braai to soiree to crack house, partying my ass off, I began wondering if Edmonton’s wussing out was more of a curse than a blessing. Had these Canadians just handed us a poisoned chalice? Was I onto something? I had been smoking poison and drinking from chalices all night. Did any of this really matter? Why was I having these thoughts? Why was I having any thoughts at all?

I shook my head violently. It fell off and rolled under a table. A woman dressed like Peter Pan – it might have been Peter Pan dressed as a woman – retrieved it and screwed it back on.

“Thank you,” I said. I was going to make a cheap joke about giving me head but she said her darling Wendy was waiting for her and disappeared through an open window. Might have been Tinkerbell, but that wouldn’t explain the … forget it. For the record, I don’t have a problem with fairies or lesbians.

I might, however, have a problem with Canadians. The ones from Edmonton, in particular. So why did you withdraw your bid for the Games? What was tha’ all aboot, eh? You wanted ’em bad enough when you tossed yer hat into the ring back in whenever it was, diddencha?

Oh, I see. Financial reasons and a global fall in oil prices. Well, that makes it even cheaper to hold oil-based events like women’s wrestling and … that’s about it. As for financial reasons, are you saying you had the money but now you don’t? Where the hell did it go? Do you have a South African in charge of the treasury?

Durban also doesn’t have the money but, unlike you, we don’t put the selfish needs of our own people above something as important as the Commonwealth Games.

Studies have shown that the underclass is less likely to rob and murder others if one of their countrymen wins a gold medal. Our people might have no work or food but they do have civic pride. And that’s what important here.

This seems to be turning into a letter. Well, it’s too late to stop now.

I think you’ve played us, Edmonton. I think you’re like the cash-strapped drunk who sits at the back of an auction raising his hand on every bet, forcing the serious bidders to pay more than they would otherwise have done. Sure, it’s fun. But you’re older than I am and you should know better.

Glasgow hosted the games last year and it cost them 575-million quid. Or, as our president would say, seventy-eleven trillion, nine hundred and thousand billion rand.

So what you’ve done is effectively bankrupted Durban. Where the hell are we going to get that kind of money from? We were bargaining heavily on you winning the bid. We can’t pull out now. That would leave nobody wanting to host the 2022 games. Queen Elizabeth would have a conniption, Charles would become king and we’d all have to burn our cars and travel everywhere by camel.

Be honest, Canada. You don’t really want to be in the Commonwealth, do you? Half your country speaks French and the other half hardly speak at all because if they open their mouths their tongues freeze solid and their teeth crack and fall out of their heads.

So it is left to us to hold high the flag of the Commonwealth. And let me tell you something, Edmonton. The opening ceremony of the first-ever African games, performed by torchlight, gas lamps and bits of burning wood, will be the best ever.