Category Archives: dreams

What is democracy?

There was a big protest this weekend. People jumping up and down again about how we need another referendum because the people who voted for Brexit were obviously mistaken and have all changed their minds (according to the people protesting) and therefore the country deserves to have another shot at voting. Something about ‘the People’s Vote’.

Now whether or not you voted remain or Brexit I have an issue with these protests. A massive one. If they succeed and we have to vote again, you have undermined the whole point of democracy.

You get to have a referendum. You do a bit of research. You vote. You don’t necessarily like the consequences of that vote but THAT is the idea behind the people have spoken. If you didn’t vote then you don’t get to complain. If you did vote and you didn’t do your research you don’t get to complain. If you did vote and you did your research but you didn’t campaign your whole neighbourhood to take up arms and follow you BEFORE the vote you don’t get to complain. You move on and try work out how to make the result work.

I come from a country where for years a large portion of the population was denied the vote. When it was finally given, it was a gift worth standing in the sun for hours to use. A lot of people don’t like the party currently in power but the expectation is that this is something that may pass and in the meanwhile, you make your vote count or you get out and emigrate. Our history and the history of our neighbours has taught us that a FAIR democracy is supposed to involve accepting the results of a properly run election (where noone has cheated – okay this can get debatable) even if you don’t like it. If you don’t like the results and you keep redoing the election/referendum/whatever, it is no longer a democracy. It’s just a bunch of people or a person being autocratic and forcing everyone down the path you want them to follow. Just keep trying again til I get the result I want why don’t I?

A few countries succeed like this – like Singapore, where to all intents and purposes, one party has still resulted in a successfully run state. But that is the exception not the rule. Generally speaking when you have one party – or the illusion of other parties but everyone has to vote for that one ruling party who are destined to win anyways, it is NOT a democracy and moreover NOT  a nice place to live. I don’t see all of you moving to North Korea.

I’m not saying I’m pro Brexit at all. I’m not saying I’m against either. What I am against is people taking away a fundamental right I thought I was accessing in living in England. The idea that my vote meant something the first time. And yes, maybe this is bigger than one political party winning for a few years then getting voted out. But that’s just more proof that you should think more carefully before you put your sticky fingers on the ballot page next time. A wake up call because so many people here are complacent about their vote. And whatever the result of that ballot, that you find a positive way to move forward from it once it’s over.


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Filed under dreams, equality, politics, social, Uncategorized

If I won the lottery

About a week ago plus one bullied me into buying lottery tickets as they had to pay out due to a massive number of rollover weeks. All those useful lottery phrases, ‘tata ma millions, tata ma chance’, ‘you’ve got to be in it to win it’.


All I’m doing is GIVING my money away. I am just not a lucky person. I’m the type of person who goes out in fragile textile cloth shoes then gets rained on. And then gets a blister due to the shoes.

Needless to say, I did not win the lottery. I didn’t even win back enough to pay back the two tickets I bought.

I did start to think though, what would I have even done if I had won?

Truthfully, probably not much. I come from an upbringing with a parent who was psychotically obsessed with the fact that you had to ‘save something for the future’. And I’ve known a lottery winner who blew it all on a new husband, a new house, a load of plead poverty ‘friends’ who crept out the woodwork and then didn’t have money later for her children’s university educations.

I don’t think either I’m quite ready to retire, I always think I am but I’m pretty sure I’d get bored at some point.

But I’d leave work on time. All the time. I’d still try do a good job but I’d be less worried about my career and the consequences and being the best because there is no other option. I’d try be more entertained by work. Maybe I’d even try something new that paid less.

I’d pay off the flat and actually buy nice curtains for the windows that currently have NO curtains and will get cheap ones when I finally get them. I might even buy a bigger flat but I’m not even sure about that as that’s sort of flaunting your wealth and I hate moving.

I’d go on holiday more. And for longer, to more exotic locations. And stay in nicer places when I do and definitely eat in better places. Although I’d still eat in the worser ones too because I love nothing more than street food and scummy little dives of places filled with locals.

I’d be able to pick any fitness class I wanted. Maybe I’d even try get a personal trainer but I think that would get boring. Just me and some guy yelling at me to keep jogging. And it would have to be a guy because at the risk of sounding sexist, women are too easy as a rule on their clients.

I’d get taxis sometimes instead of public transport. And travel in business class maybe on the plane and first class on the train.

I’d worry less about international roaming charges when travelling.

I’d get better travel insurance full stop.

I’d be in a better position to make anonymous charitable donations/gifts direct to the source. (I’m not a fan of how much gets lost in administration but you can’t often give enough to make a substantial realistic purchase for what someone needs.)

I’d get a better umbrella that doesn’t turn inside out at the first wind and that still folds down compactly.

I’d be able to throw my friends and family a big party when I went to see them without worrying about the credit card. (Probably easily explained on ‘exchange rates’)

I’d go to the spa more. Have more massages/facials, feel pampered and delusional that I’ll be able to hold back the processes of ageing in the process.

I’d ignore plus one’s desire to have all the lights on at the same time and run all the appliances like dishwashers and washing machines half empty. At least, I’d try. I suspect I’d still get annoyed about this.

I’d probably become thinner. Because, as my mom once said, it’s easier to be thin when you are rich because you have better access to good nutrition and people who can help you keep fit.

At least, I THINK that’s what I’d do.

Just a pity I’m not generally that lucky.


Filed under dreams, social, Uncategorized

The stuff nightmares are made of

In the last few days I have heard personal anecdotes from people of a spate of burglaries and robberies at a very personal level all across South Africa. It seems a result of load shedding and desperation.

Only last year my mother was attacked in her home, the robbers lying in wait in order to get through a security gate. The man who was specifically assigned to deal with this poor fragile woman carried her through the house while they demanded she show them items of value or they would cut/burn/beat her up.

He somewhat apologetically explained that they had no work, they had tried, they lived in a squatter camp and they needed to eat. He made sure he tied her up tight but not so tight that she couldn’t escape once they left and although they shut her in a cupboard on leaving, ensuring that that too could open from inside. On the one side one thinks one should be grateful because beyond being scared to death, she was essentially unharmed. I am grateful to this burglar no harm came to her. But I cannot excuse what he did, breaking into a house and threatening harm.

The other night I dreamed a dream. I am often people who are not me in my dreams. I was a middle aged white couple in a lower middle class neighbourhood, new, devoid of many trees and fences, almost like an Edward Scissorhands landscape without the sculpted shrubbery.

These little dark children belonging to staff in the neighbourhood played in the front garden. They wanted to come into the house. They were desperate to see in it and just play in it they said, not one in the ten or so of them above the age of eight. My middle class white self in my dream shrank at the thought of the mess they would make, that I did not know these children and I feared they would break or steal small items. I tried to tell them that it was my house, to placate them. Even as I let a slightly older group of many nationalities into my kitchen. These children, I tried to explain, were my domestic helper’s child and his friends, white and black, I knew them.

Then I felt guilt, historic guilt, me and my imaginary husband and we let the rabble in too. They rushed up the stairs in the house in joyous delight. In my dream I floated above them but I could feel their thoughts. Today they would see privilege, they would play amongst the wealthy and the great. Bottles of cleaning product sat on every stair going up to the bedrooms of this house. There was a massive walk in closet – in actual fact a bedroom for this childless couple had more space than they needed. But there were barely any clothes in the cupboards. There was no television. There was nothing special or extravagant in this house. My dream self felt this couple had all they needed, it was basic and sufficient but actually they could not really afford much more. The house echoed emptiness in terms of belongings.

The children felt disappointment, they felt cheated. Where were the riches they thought they had been promised they could see outside? They wanted to see this, they demanded it. All these white people in their white houses with red roofs must have more. They grabbed what little they could find. A ragged book, a bottle of perfume. The lady of the house in frustration tried to retrieve her belongings as each child tried to leave with something, if anything, egged on by the others. She felt shame that she had and they did not but the more she conceded a belonging, the larger the object the next child demanded.

I awoke to a feeling of sadness. That these dream children were future children born in ignorant belief that it is a birthright that wealth be shared, that it existed even when it didn’t through some delusion of what the white walls hid. That one day they would grow up angry and insistent for what they had not been allowed to take immediately on request. I felt the same sadness I’d felt when I read Alan Paton’s Cry the Beloved Country and Rian Malan’s My Traitors Heart for the first time. I cried a few tears for my beautiful country and prayed a silent prayer this was just a dream as sleep eluded me in the wee hours of the morning.


Filed under book review, dreams