Still want to emigrate to Oz?

Here’s an excerpt from a piece written this week by Matt Barrie, the CEO of Freelancer.com. You can read the full rant here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/would-last-person-sydney-please-turn-lights-out-matt-barrie

 

“The total and utter destruction of Sydney’s nightlife is almost complete.

A succession of incompetent governments has systematically dismantled the entire night time economy through a constant barrage of rules, regulation and social tinkering.

And oh, how ridiculous these rules have become in Sydney. A special little person has decided that there is a certain time at night when we are all allowed to go out, and there is a certain time that we are allowed into an establishment and a certain time that we are all supposed to be tucked into bed. There is a certain time we are allowed to buy some drinks, and over the course of the night the amount of drinks we are allowed to buy will change. The drinks we buy must be in a special cup made of a special material, and that special material will change over the course of the night at certain times. The cup has to be a certain size. It cannot be too big, because someone might die. Over the course of the night, this special little person will tell you what you can and cannot put into your cup because someone might die.

It is now illegal to buy a bottle of wine after 10pm in the City of Sydney because not a single one of us is to be trusted with any level of personal responsibility. Apparently there is an epidemic of people being bashed to death over dinner with a bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc that we have all been blissfully unaware of.

Likewise it is now illegal to have a scotch on the rocks after midnight in the City of Sydney because someone might die. You can drink it if you put some Coca-cola in it, but you can’t drink it if the Coca-cola has been mixed previously with it and it’s been put in a can. Because that is an “alcopop” whatever the hell that means. The only person more confused than me is the bartender. The poor sod is only trying to scrape a few nickels to make it through university; not only are they struggling with their hours being drastically cut back with venues shutting, but the government is now threatening them personally with fines if they break any of the rules.

Most damaging of all a 1:30am curfew where you cannot enter a licensed premises, which deliberately aims to kill the trade of any business that operates at night. Everybody knows that the point of going out is usually to bar hop or visit several venues over the course of the night and that for decades Sydneysiders would be busy at work, dinner or someone’s house and wouldn’t even think to go out until after 11pm. The Sydneysider’s predilection to going out late is backed up by the City of Sydney’s own report from 2010 showed that foot traffic in Kings Cross continued to grow until 11pm. This brutal rule pointedly kills market liquidity in an industry that relies upon bar hopping from venue to venue.”

Happy St Patrick’s Day

Why is it that the Irish have all the fun? To be sure, there was that nasty business with the potatoes in 1845, but if it weren’t for the Great Hunger, Boston and New York wouldn’t be the same today.

Apart from the potato famine, the Irish have always had nothing but a rollicking good time. Well, apart from the potato famine and 200 years of sectarian violence.

St Patrick’s Day is full of fun traditions. The colour green plays a big part. After a day of eating green food and drinking green beer, many people go to bed with their faces suffused in many interesting shades of green. This happened to me after one particularly robust St Paddy’s Day with friends in Durban. My girlfriend at the time said it wouldn’t have happened if I had listened to her and had my stomach pumped. But where’s the fun in that?

On St Patrick’s Day, the Irish bring out the shamrock – the three-leafed clover that is said to attract good luck. On our public holidays, South Africans bring out the five-leafed cannabis that usually attracts the police and not such good luck.

The Irish kiss the Blarney Stone; South Africans get stoned, talk blarney and kiss anything that isn’t nailed to the floor.

In Dublin, the St. Patrick’s Day parade is part of a five-day festival attended by half a million people. We don’t have parades, we have protest marches. And although the attendance is nowhere near Irish levels, ours can go on for a lot longer than five days (depending on whether the festivities spill over into arbitration).

On St Patrick’s Day – or any other day – Ireland’s bars are full of happy people. The Irish are possibly the most self-deprecating nation on earth and they have no qualms about telling jokes about themselves. Like this one.

“O’Connell was staggering home with a pint of booze in his back pocket when he slipped and fell heavily. Struggling to his feet, he felt something wet running down his leg.
“Please,” he implored, “let it be blood!”

When South Africans have a few drinks and tell jokes, they usually end up having to explain themselves to the Human Rights Commission.

Ireland has Leprechauns. They are small, not particularly friendly and spend their time making shoes. We have Tokoloshes. They are extremely aggressive, have holes in their heads and resemble a cross between a zombie and a gremlin.

Ireland has St Patrick. We had Nelson Mandela. Both were arrested and incarcerated. Legend has it that St Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland. Mandela drove all the racists out of South Africa. Well, maybe not all.

It was on St. Patrick’s Day that Ireland’s cricket team eliminated Pakistan from the 2007 World Cup. South Africa, on the other hand, lost to Bangladesh and then went on to score a magnificent 27 for five against Australia.

Want to be lucky today?

If you’re Irish:

  1. Find a four-leaf clover. 2. Wear green. 3. Catch a Leprechaun.

If you’re South African:

  1. Find a job. 2. Wear a bulletproof vest. 3. Catch a roadworthy taxi.

 

Patently not inventors

Our government is worried that not enough people are applying for patents. In other words, South Africans are useless when it comes to coming up with stuff that nobody else has thought of.

And it’s not just democracy that has made us stupid. We were stupid long before then. Let us take a look at some of the things that South Africans have invented.

The CAT scan. Personally, I think this is a misprint. Either that, or something got lost in translation. What physicist Allan Cormack did in the 1960s was invent the cat scam. I am not going into detail because this has the potential to make buckets of money and I want it all for myself. Besides, there are only two people in this country capable of training cats to perform this scam and I am not about to give you their names.

The oil-from-coal refinery. Given the current hoo-ha about global warming, putting this on your boasting list is a bit like a German property developer from Camps Bay listing acceptance to the Hitler Youth as one of his achievements. Eventually we will all be byproducts of Sasol, anyway.

Heart transplant. Not strictly an invention, but we’ll take what we can get. Dr Chris Barnard was a philandering playboy who barely recognised his own kids. But he was good with a knife and he knew his way around the chest cavity. Just like most middle-ranking members of the 28s today.

Speed gun. Invented in 1992 by Henri Johnson, this could have been the final solution to crime. Just imagine. A gun that fired at the speed of light. A gun that shot bolts of pure white energy into the black hearts of the yellow-eyed varmints, instantly vapourising their bodies. A gun that fired by itself whenever it sensed the presence of evil. But, no. Henri’s invention measures the speed and angle of rubbish like cricket and tennis balls. You can see the results at the bottom of the screen when Morné Morkel bowls. 138km/h, says the speed gun. And nobody dies. I really can’t see the point.

Kreepy Krauly. Easily the most dangerous thing ever invented. I doubt I am the only person to have come close to cardiac arrest while running between the pump and the inlet, backwashing, circulating, pushing, shoving and shouting, “suck, motherfucker, suck!” Only someone who stumbled out of the Belgian Congo in 1951 could have come up with such a monstrosity. Colonel Kurtz was an aid worker compared to Ferdinand Chauvier.

APS therapy. The Action Potential Stimulation device was invented by Gervan Lubbe, whose name alone should have seen him incarcerated in a home for the criminally insane. At first glance the gizmo sounds like something really useful. Something that might enable women to take care of their own orgasms while giving men time to focus on their golf game, for example. But it’s not. The only thing it does is relieve arthritic pain, which counts for nothing if you don’t have arthritis. Anyway, all you have to do these days is wince in a doctor’s direction and he happily hands over a giant bag of super-addictive painkillers.

Pratley Putty. This ridiculous sounding substance held Apollo XI mission’s Eagle landing craft together, making it the first South African invention to go to the moon. Or, more likely, to a secret film studio in the Nevada desert. Hundreds of tons of the stuff are exported around the world each year. I have never used it because I have other ways of keeping my shit together.

Dolosse. Not only one of the most lyrical words in the English language, but also the best way to keep the ocean from crashing into the street and drowning you and your loved ones. Designed by Eric Merrifield, a man built like a large, oddly shaped concrete block, dolosse weigh up to 20 tons. Eric, slightly less. The Coega Project near Port Elizabeth recently made history with the casting of the biggest, ugliest dolosse the world has ever seen. Foreigners visiting PE often have trouble telling the dolosse from the locals.

Appletiser. Undrinkable when mixed with whisky, brandy, vodka or anything else. Completely pointless.

Fire. First used at Swartkrans cave 1.5 million years ago. Used mainly as a reason to file insurance claims and activate deadly carcinogens in boerewors. An increasingly viable alternative to Eskom.

Hippo drum water roller. This device makes it possible for rural girls as young as three to transport drinking water over vast distances. Many of them will go on to become world-class athletes in the hippo drum water roller event, only for their dreams to be shattered when it turns out that the water they drank as kids caused bunches of testicles to grow in their armpits.

Apartheid. A political system similar to democracy except that only white people get to vote. Many South Africans living in Perth, New Jersey, London and Wellington proudly claim apartheid as a uniquely South African invention. However, this is strongly disputed by the few remaining Australian aboriginals, North American Indians and Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party.

 

No woman, no slaai

The loss of life today is going to be quite spectacular, even by South African standards.

senatortrovato2

Thousands of pigs, sheep, goats, cows and chickens are right now fighting among themselves for the honour of being the first to lay down their lives so that South Africans can celebrate Heritage Day in true style.

Gutters are running red with blood, dogs are running wild with bones and paramedics are running themselves ragged tending to the usual braai-related assaults, rapes and homicides.

Brenda wanted to do something different. Quite frankly, I couldn’t see the point.

“We’re white,” I said. “We don’t have any heritage.” We did, on the other hand, have plenty of meat. It made more sense to celebrate Braai Day.

We arranged to meet Ted and Mary down at the beach where we could fall down without worrying about splitting our skulls open. This is always one of the biggest hazards facing those who choose to celebrate Braai Day instead of Heritage Day.

We passed a lot of families braaiing along the way. Many of them had taken over entire parking lots. Brenda wondered if arguments had broken out in homes across the Cape Flats this morning.

“I want to braai in the parking lot in Muizenberg!”

“Forget it. We’re going to the one in Camps Bay.”

“There’s a new lot opened near the Waterfront. Can we go there? Please, daddy!”

I told Brenda there was a very simple explanation.

“A lot of coloured people regard their cars as members of the family. We wouldn’t leave our child in a parking lot and go off and have fun without him, would we?”

Actually, I would, but I couldn’t tell Brenda that.

Both Heritage Day and Braai Day are reportedly aimed at bringing South Africans closer together.

In our case, it brought us a little too close. Encamped on the beach, we had just finished our first case of Tafel and were wrestling a second kudu haunch onto the grid when we were forced to take up braai forks and fend off a pack of hungry darkies.

Look, I’m all for unifying the nation and whatnot, but there are limits.

Engorged with dead animal and thoroughly beerlogged, we returned home to celebrate Heritage Day like the decent god-fearing patriots that we are.

Panda braai

Heritage Day is a relatively new addition to the public holiday calendar. Prior to 1994, it was known as Right of Admission Reserved Day.

Our country has a fascinating array of indigenous fauna, all of which go well with one or other of the many indigenous sauces available in supermarkets everywhere.

Our flora, too, is not to be sneezed at. Unless, of course, you suffer from seasonal allergic rhinitis, in which case you have no business living here.

Look at our national flower, the giant protea. Actually, I can’t look at it for too long because I find it hostile and ugly. To be honest, I would rather look at roadkill.

Fynbos is unique to the Cape Floral Kingdom and you will be fined if you pick it. Cannabis sativa is unique to KwaZulu-Natal and you will be arrested if you smoke it. That’s diversity for you.

The central image on our coat of arms is a secretary bird, a graceful creature known for launching random attacks on unsuspecting tourists. It specialises in pinning people to the ground and pecking their eyes out.

Canada’s national bird is the Common Loon. It reminds me of Julius Malema.

The motto on our coat of arms is !ke e:/xarra//ke. Nobody outside of the /Xam tribe knows what it means. Most South Africans think it’s computer code.

When it comes to the national animal, we have the springbok. France has some sort of chicken. Our rugby team is also called the Springboks. The French once accused us of playing like animals. This made us feel tremendously proud.

Our national fish is the galjoen. Like most hard-drinking South Africans, the galjoen is regarded as a creature that will fight to the death. Cooked over an open fire, however, galjoen tastes a lot better than the national drunk.

I am particularly proud of my heritage because South Africa is the cradle of humankind. So what if modern man migrated to Australia as soon he could walk upright? We’re still the cradle.

Our scientists have found blue-green algae dating back nearly four million years. Ted speculated that the slime was one of Radovan Krejcir’s earliest relatives. Let’s see if he’s still laughing with two broken legs.

I’m hoping to get one of the national orders that President Zuma hands out each year around this time. I keep getting passed over. Apparently you have to either be dead or Afrikaans to get any kind of recognition in this country.

As an English-speaker, I am doomed. Even though my forefathers invented gin and tonic, lap dancing, airbags, the cat flap and the rubber band, nobody around here seems to care.

Oh, now I get it. Of course. It’s far more important to reward a people who came up with jukskei, witblits, the Voortrekker Monument, the G6 artillery gun and a racial superiority complex so twisted that it makes their koeksisters look straight.

 

Knee-deep in whackos and nutjobs

The first time I heard the term “cray cray” I was in Paternoster, the West Coast centre of operations for petty pilferers, tik monsters and venal property owners. The person shouting “cray cray” at me was a kid of about nine. He had a plastic bag full of undersized crayfish. I bartered him down to almost nothing, then went to the beach and threw them back into the sea.

The next time I heard the term “cray-cray” it had a hyphen in it and was clearly meant to indicate that a couple of buttons in my brain were missing. Not because of what I did with the crayfish, if that’s what you’re thinking. In Paternoster, the bar for insanity is so low that sausage dogs step over it.

Watching the political phantasmagoria of the last few days, I began wondering if the likes of Helen Zille and Mamphela Ramphele had not, perhaps, gone completely bonkers. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility.

According to the department of health, one out of four South Africans has been or is affected by mental illness. That means around 500 employees at Addington Hospital alone are not well in the head. Going by what I can remember from my stay there a few years ago, they all work in the kitchen. With the possible exception of two, who might still be working in the orthopedic ward.

It also means that six or seven cabinet ministers are barking mad, but this comes as something of less than a shock to us.

More worrying is that thirteen million South Africans are on nodding terms with mental illness. This includes around a million white people, most of whom I expect live in Pretoria.

Oddly enough, the statistic of one in four doesn’t apply to ex-girlfriends. Certainly when it comes to women with whom I have dallied, that figure jumps to three in four. The deranged have always been drawn to me. Or perhaps it’s the other way around.

What this country needs more than anything, apart from state-subsidised beer, is a method of mass diagnosis. Forget the census. It would be far more helpful to have psychologists going from house to house identifying the nutjobs and dishing out useful drugs. Of course, you’re going to get a lot of people pretending to be unhinged just to get their hands on a bag of free pharmaceuticals, but psychologists are trained to weed out the imposters.

October is Mental Health Awareness Month. We can’t wait that long. By October, we might all be wearing straitjackets. We need to act now.

It’s important to remember that mental illness manifests itself in many forms. It can range from voting for Agang to putting an ad on Gumtree for someone to sever, cook and eat your willy free of charge. That’s more of a German thing, though.

There are certain illnesses common to all South African. If, for instance, you regularly read the newspapers, watch SABC or saw the photograph of Lindiwe Sisulu kissing Blade Nzimande, you almost certainly suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Millions of us also suffer from depression. But, thanks to the government, there are treatment centres in every city, town and village. The only link I can find between alcohol and depression is when you drive to one of these centres on a Saturday afternoon and find it shut. Luckily, the townships are full of informal treatment centres that stay open until the early hours of the morning.

We need to start diagnosing our politicians because the combination of power and insanity is a dangerous one. Once we know what they are suffering from, we can treat them by spiking their food with the relevant medication. On second thoughts, voting them out is probably easier. And cheaper than meds, too.

Here are some snap diagnoses based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (fourth edition).

Jacob Zuma – Narcissistic personality disorder with hyperactive sexual desire disorder.

Kgalema Motlanthe – Catatonia.

Helen Zille – Dementia with delusions.

Mamphela Ramphela – Dependent personality disorder with delusions.

Fikile Mbalula – Tourette’s with hallucinations.

Tina Joemat-Pettersson – Histrionic personality disorder.

ANC backbenchers – Narcolepsy.

Civil service – Factitious disorder.

Julius Malema – Disruptive behaviour disorder.

Gatsha Buthelezi – Paranoid personality disorder with delusions.

Boeremag leader Tom Vorster – Intermittent explosive disorder with delusions.

Dr Wouter Basson – Dissociative amnesia.

 

Douglas Daft Denies Doctoring Dindar’s Drink

Doctor Haroon Dindar of Mpumalanga was outraged when he discovered there was alcohol in a bottle of Coca-Cola he bought from the Coke depot in Ermelo.

The company admitted liability, saying the alcohol was caused by “a specific and unique set of environmental conditions” that were conducive to fermentation.

I, too, had the misfortune of drinking large amounts of Coca-Cola on Saturday night, every glass of which was heavily contaminated by some sort of brandy-flavoured alcohol.

In this case the unique set of environmental conditions occurred in Bob’s Bar, a tavern conducive to intoxication.

This is not the first time I have had trouble with Coke.

Some years ago I was compelled to write to Coca-Cola’s chief executive officer, Douglas Daft, at his offices in Atlanta, Georgia:

 

Dear Mr Daft, the British must have a good giggle about your name. But anyone who makes it to the top of the Coca-Cola empire cannot be all that daft. My advice is to stop selling Coke in Britain. That will teach the swine.

I am sure you are a busy man so I will come straight to the point. I had my neighbours, Ted and Mary, around the other evening for a braai. This is similar to your barbecue except South Africans generally use the occasion to drink enormous amounts of alcohol before attacking one another over some irrelevant political or religious issue.

The evening was progressing well until I noticed that Brenda, my wife, had begun to smile a lot. This alone is aberrant behaviour. Mary had also begun giggling and by the end of the evening the two of them were staggering about the garden holding on to one another and shouting like a couple of adolescents on drugs.

The next day they both swore they had not touched anything apart from a dozen or so glasses of Coke each.

Ted’s theory is that your company is still lacing the product with cocaine. I understand this is how your people got the rest of the world addicted in the first place. I told him it was very unlikely you would still be pursuing the practice today. Not with cocaine costing $50 a gram. Or so I hear. Ted said you could be using a generic.

Please let me know if twelve glasses of Coca-Cola could make a smallish woman lose all control and misbehave to such an extent that she needs to be strapped to a lemon tree.

Yours truly,

Ben Trovato.”

 

Since Brenda and Mary had drained the house of every last drop of Coke, there was nothing I could send off for analysis.

Getting a urine sample from Brenda proved more difficult that you might imagine, particularly after I tried to ambush her in the bathroom.

She called me a degenerate urophiliac and turned on me with a short-handled wooden Ovambo war club that she keeps strapped to her thigh.

The argument was short but brutal and in the end I had to settle for a blood sample instead. The analysis picked up something altogether unexpected, which made me suspect that the blood might have been my own.

The, in a flash, Coca-Cola replied to my letter 47 days later. Steven Ivey, consumer affairs specialist, said: “On behalf of Doug Daft, thank you for contacting our consumer information centre. Please be assured, our products do not contain cocaine or any other harmful substance, and cocaine has never been an added ingredient for Coca-Cola.”

Along with his assurances, he sent me a pamphlet titled “Soft Drink Nutrition”.

You have to love the American sense of humour. Coke and reality have never had much in common.

Take, for example, the lyrics to one of the company’s first advertising jingles: “I’d like to build the world a home and furnish it with love, grow apple trees and honey bees and snow white turtle doves. I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony. I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company.” *

Whenever I read those words my head is filled with images of burnt-out cars and tattered war orphans. Maybe some kind of fuse has blown in my brain.

Coca-Cola has an advertisement running on television at the moment. It involves an apparently unemployed, possibly homeless black woman wandering through city streets singing to herself and giving complete strangers already-opened bottles of Coke from a bag over her shoulder.

A normal reaction might be to put the bottle down and find somewhere to wash your hands as soon as possible. Or maybe even attempt a citizen’s arrest. People who behave like this have usually escaped from an institution of some sort.

Unless it happens in South Africa, of course. In this country you could set up a stand with a bunch of glass jars clearly marked, “Klebsiella Virus – Free!” and an unruly queue would form within minutes. We love free stuff. So do the people in the advert, apparently.

Ecstatic at receiving an open container from a visibly disturbed person, they react as if they had just been handed the elixir of life instead of a liquid capable of burning the corrosion off old car batteries.

 

  • You may prefer my version of the Coke jingle:

I’d like to buy the world a gram and garnish it with thrills; Grow dagga trees and jail keys, and snow white Mandrax pills.”