You can never choose your country of birth

Things work in their own way in my country. The tales here are a some of my wtf moments -clashes with the status quo.

On scammers, average people, and bettors.

A. I played Parifoot exactly three times. I won the first time. I bet 500frs and got 35,000Frs. I still feel the dopamine rush when I think of that memory. I told the lady who gave my prize money:

” Remember this face, you’ll be seeing it often”

She never saw me again. Three years ago.

If you can predict anything , successively, for many days in a row, you are probably not a human being. Go back to your mothership.

Why would I, or anyone , think I can know whether Messi would score within the first half of a match? Because of statistics? Because of previous match results.

Wait.

I don’t know if we ever think of how stupid it really is to bet on the likelihood of ANYTHING, happening. The only thing I am certain of (apart from the fact that I am certain that I am not certain of anything), is that one day, I will die. That’s it.

Betting, should be a sin. (Thank heaven I did’t write the book ( now that I mention that, it probably IS in the big book. And that last statement expresses my lack of religious education. Sheesh. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot))

Solution: The passion we have for football could be directed towards-

1. Writing critical football blogs that could generate revenue for their owners while exposing the loopholes of our “national” sport and providing a transparent arena for leadership, checks and balances.

2. Organising interurban football games sponsored by “multinationals” like MTN ( and why not FIFA?) that would see the next Eto’o come to light.

3. Make a TV show or movie showcasing the struggle of a rising football star. Employ screen writers who are passionate and know the game.

4. Make a quarterly magazine covering national and local football that would encourage Sports writing and constructive fanship.

5. Garner resources to build outdoor viewing ( and even Cinemas) for shared viewing among fans.

6. You get my point.

B. I’ve never known how scamming works. I have heard rumours and whispers. I have but one simple image of the idea: fool someone into giving you money for something you don’t have a.k.a theft. Period.

I’m a big believer in Karma. And that we get what we deserve. My conscience is a biatch. Seriously. I can’t owe you and sleep. I can’t steal. I can’t lie.

I mean…I try…but the pain I feel. Bro, I just can’t keep it. Plus, when you lie, you need to remember the lie.

(Note: I think that is why I love poetry and fiction. I get to write things you will never understand in the name of art. But if you did, you’d see it’s just perfumed truths. I suppose you’ll now go through all my blog posts huh? See ya face.)

Here are a couple of traits I think could be repurposed ( or is it rehabilitated?) from Scammers:

1. Salesmanship: it takes a load of skill to sell anything. Do you know the skill it takes to sell something you don’t have? AND GET PAID FOR IT? Kudos bro! Kudos Sis! Seriously. You could sell anything ANYTHING! if you so chose to.

2. Negotiation: If you’ve read any entrepreneurship listicle, you must have come across this one. Talking on the phone, changing intonation to suit the audience, verbal skills…a scammer is a born negotiator. Give him/her a deal and watch the clients wet themselves.

3. Persistence: If scammers got rich on the first few takes, I don’t think we’ll be hearing about them anymore. It must mean they try and fail. Try, and fail. Until they win. Then try again. Can’t you see the entrepreneur staring at you in them?

4. Again, I’ll stop here.

Note: I was scammed a couple of months ago. And it sucked. It was one of the worse points of my life. Don’t think for one second I am in love with scammers. Karma is a bitch. And she will get what she wants. Or not. Who cares? You’re making my day by reading this. Screw scammers. Right?

C. I strongly believe that everyone is born with a gift. That the Lord sends each of us with a purpose. It is now the job of our parents to guide us to it, and soon, very soon, it becomes our job to identify and nurture it to perfection.

Most people spend their lives being the best average person at a talent they might have. Not why they were sent here in the first place.

I know this too well. One year in Biochemistry. Three in Medical Lab Sciences. You know my story drill. Until recently, I have fought with my real nature. What I wanted. Who I was. And what I was good at.

And especially, what I wasn’t good at. Here’s my illustration of the pain we go through trying to be who can never be:

Let’s imagine we are in a race. All of us. We are racers. Some of us are born with the lungs that permit us last longer. Some with longer strides. Others, with better muscles for springing.

Now, if you were born to jump, why would you bother to race? Why would you, because your dad was a professional racer, practice every day in order to be an average racer?

If only you put half of your practice into the the talent you came to this earth for- jumping- do you have any idea how high you could get?

Stop wasting time. Stop racing. Start.

Start jumping bro.

P.S: Or sis. 🙂

…And I am Culturally Incorrect.

I’ve been thinking about the responsibility that comes with being at the receiving end of a gift, a favor or a service. One that doesn’t require an exchange of any sort other than the traditional “ Thank you” or “ I am grateful”.

How far do the impacts of such acts of kindness go? For example, someone buys you a birthday present, do you have to in return, purchase the said friend a gift as well?
Now, if you do, is it because you received a present as well, or is it because you actually wish her well?

Or siblings, when you do something for your brother- that white lie( we both know lies aren’t ever white), does she have to lie for you back?

How far does this “reciprocation” reach? How long does it take to eventually pay a debt?

Actually, my question is more of: is there a debt?

Does a child owe the parents his/her life?

Because you are on this earth only because two people made it possible by the heavenly guided meeting of a sperm and an egg( never thought I would ever use a variant of “heaven” and “sperm” in the same sentence in my lifetime), does this mean all your actions, your dreams, your desires, your goals must be approved by your parents.

Is that it?

I have a feeling that I will be called out as trying to copy the West. You know what? Spare no expense. I am copying the West. But keep in mind that I am very mindful of my context. I know where I come from- a Christian family, with catholic married parents. I went to boarding school for seven years and I have a degree from one of the best Universities in the country. So far, I haven’t been convicted and I am not a father. I neither drink nor smoke for sport.

If that doesn’t establish my “uprightedness”, I don’t know what will.

( Then again, worse crimes have been committed by people with a “saner” profile. But…just bear with me)

There is a term I have been fascinated with recently-“Cultural correctness”. I define it as :

“ deliberately avoiding cultural offense;relating to or supporting the use of language or conduct that deliberately avoids giving offense when it comes to what is acceptable by a community.

Yes, you’re right, I stole the term from political correctness.

Now, my “special” definition limits to the behaviors governing those of children towards elders. In the Cameroonian African environment.

Case in point: You’re 16. You love biology. You watch discovery channel in the morning afternoon and evening. When asked why you don’t watch cartoons, you don’t even get the point of the question.
Duh!
Now, you pass the GCE advanced level. You have 5 papers. Awesome grades. You’re going to the Uni.
Yay!
Not so fast.

Mom thinks you’ll make a great doctor. Dad agrees. One of your Aunts is a medical practioner. Both parents call her name with so much respect.

You would love to study biology. Probably get a Phd. Even have your TV show. You try to argue.
Mom isn’t happy. Dad broods. You consider their option.
“It’s not so bad..” you tell yourself.
You’re smart. So you write the the entrance exam. You make it. Every one is ecstatic! The new family doctor is born!

The family biologist just died. You just became a victim of what I call: emotional blackmail ( note to self: write blog post on this. You’ve been a victim way too many times).

How often do we not stand up for what we really want?

How many times do we sit silent and just do what we are told even when we know that we don’t want to. When we can feel our stomach and every nerve in your body telling you this is a bad idea.

Here are some of the verbal cues of emotional blackmail:
This is Cameroon. Not Europe.
You need experience.
You’re in the virtual world. Reality doesn’t work like that.
Who will pay for this??
Where do you think you are?
You’re going to give me a heart attack.
What about your brothers?
What kind of example are you showing.

OR my favourite…

You’ve changed. I don’t recognize you anymore.

You see, I know all too well all (or a lot) about emotional blackmail and cultural correctness. I have suffered from it for a while. But, recently, I have fought my biggest battle ever.

The battle against the voice in my head. I haven’t won the war. But this post, is part of the battle. The war never ends.

And here are ways to recognize people like me- us- who wage this battle everyday.
We are labelled: stubborn, reckless, selfish, rebels, inconsiderate, bad examples, {Insert other derogatory term to describe someone who does what he or she knows to be what is true to his or her DNA.

( Ok, there is a fine line between someone who knows exactly what he or she wants, and someone who is plain confused. Both seem as confident, only time will tell the difference.)

There are others who can stay culturally correct and live a truly decent and happy life. Many who follow what their parents and elders tell them and find true happiness. I have a friend who wrote the entrance exam even though he didn’t want to be a medical doctor. Today, he’s one of the happiest people I know.

There is no harm in listening to counsel and doing as you’re told.

But if you’re not one of those people, if you’re not built to follow orders, if your heart knows what you’re good at, if your DNA tells you the path to follow…if you’re like me…

Then by all means, I urge you to be culturally incorrect! Please!

Learn the rules, break them- but don’t break the law. Give the world an authentic, true, original version of yourself.

By all means- do not listen to me , your parents or anyone. Find yourself. Shine your light.

Am I asking you to be disobedient? To leave home and be stranded because some idiot on the internet said so?
Nah. I won’t take responsibility for what you do. That’s the whole point of being culturally incorrect.

You make your choices. And you deal with the consequences. No pain, no gain.

But, before you chicken out , let me give you a list:

Steve Jobs, The Beatles, Ev William, Bongajum Leslie, Spielberg, Cameron, Bekolo, Francoise Elong.

These may all be artists. But I want to believe that if these people (and many like them) who have changed the face of music, movies, the internet – if they had listened to those who loved them and wanted them to be safe, we would not be benefiting from their true art.

My name is Tchassa Kamga. And I am culturally incorrect.

What about you?

How to Irritate #Douala Cab Drivers (#Satire #Humor)

At the Deido Roundabout (Rond Point)- the Reunification Monument..

If someone would have told me I’d be spending life after graduation in the economic Capital of my Nation Cameroon, the hurt on my face would have been a perfect reflection of the heat, sandy earth and outright chaos that Douala is.
However, given the nature of my career choice( media content) Douala, is definitely the place to be. There is more to this place than I could ever put in text. In the meantime, enjoy this taxi cab modus operandi satire- a product of my daily commute.
( I take four cabs to work everyday. Except Sundays. Two to go and two to return home. Let me not even start on the traffic. That, is another story. Enjoy)


A. Don’t tell them how much you have.

Don’t propose. When you get to your destination, stretch your hand like you do into the offering box on Sundays and give what you have. Make sure you ‘sound’ and ‘look’ entitled. After all, you’re paying. And that’s just his job. When he tells you “you should have said it earlier”, neither be calm nor apologetic. Make sure he knows he’s not your father. Even if he looks older than your father.


B. If your money requires change, ensure you notify just as soon as you alight.

If he’s not pleased…well…no big deal; you’ve given him his money anyway. Now, it’s part of his job description to find your change. And oh, don’t forget to strut impatiently about. Throw in a comment or two about incompetence. You have things to do. And as usual, look and sound entitled.

C. Don’t tell him you don’t know your location.
In Cameroon, we have 4G ( or do we?) So, by my meager understanding of technology, GPS should work. Or Siri. Or something. Anything.
I just need to give my driver the location and he should gleefully announce when we get there. That’s his job. He has a super brain. I don’t still get why he’s not an engineer or something… If by any chance he asks you whether you WERE supposed to drop at a zone you’ve apparently skipped, if by any chance he raises his voice in anger and disapproval at your lack of initiative, tact and base communication…you know what to do, right?
Hint: you’re impatient, entitled and you have a life. No time for basic human kindness.

D. Be very, very quiet. The whole time. Even if he asks whether you’d have preferred Ronald or Messi to win the most coveted Football award, don’t tell him that when you heard Messi’s name you cried for Ronaldo. That you’re not a football fan but you still know that what Yaya Toure did was not cool. Don’t smile. Even though it’s free. Remember that the driver can read minds and doesn’t need human conversation like other…you know…humans. Your life his better than his. He’s not your level. Why bother?


E. Change your location multiple times.

Especially if it’s just a regular fare and not a depot*. It doesn’t matter if the stops are not in the same neighborhood . In fact, the farther and more intertwined the stops are, the better. They might say Douala is a huge town and that no one really knows it well. Who cares? Of course you don’t. You’re paying, that’s your job. He’s driving, and should know the town end to end. That’s his job.

Bonus:
F. Stand on the wrong side of the road. Of you can, stand at a junction where it’s difficult for the driver to stop. Whisper your location such that only another passenger will have to repeat it to him.
And remember: you’re entitled. You’re busy. You have a life.

If well carried out, the disdain cab drivers would go a long way to ensure that you always get to work late, always pay more than required, and eventually have to switch to bike riders.
And I’m very confident we can find a way to piss them off too.

Did I miss out on ways to get drivers angry? What’s your experience like with cab drivers? Do you like how they get treated sometimes?

I’ll be glad to know what you think.

*depot: Rent a cab to drop at a particular location and you ( single human passenger) pay the fare for the other four empty seats just so the cab gets to your stop without interruption.