Swimming with Blue Whales

One of these days, I am going to start taking swimming lessons.

First of all, I am not a fan of water; in fact, I hate it. I shower once or twice everyday but I stay away from bathtubs, swimming pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, waterlogged potholes, seas, oceans and all other water places that may come to mind. Psychologists and medical experts with fancy titles often refer to people of my kind as suffering from Aquaphobia – a persistent and abnormal fear of water. It is therefore likely that I will not be auditioning for the role of Aquaman for DC Comics.

Whey then do I need swimming lessons?

Keep up – this is what I am explaining.

Arrival of an email                

Early last week, I received an email informing me of my nomination for the Social Media Awards. The email explained that I had been nominated in the category of ‘Most Influential Personality’ on social media in Uganda. I was euphoric and nearly screamed out loud but because I was in a taxi with a whole lot of clearly disinterested people, I figured I’d keep it in till I got to the office. When I got to the office, I re-read the email and then the euphoria turned to something akin to panic.

baby-met-laptop

I had to re-read the email several times to be sure

You see, I had been nominated alongside names that would ordinarily make anyone shriek and squeal uncontrollably because of extreme fear and twitchiness.

I will tell you a bit about these people later on.

Twist of Events

Having previously been a winner in the Bloggers’ category of the Social Media Awards, I figured that if any nomination was to come my way, it would be in the same category. Therefore seeing my name in a different category somewhat shook me to the core. However, knowing that there are many awesome bloggers out there, I imagined this time I did not cut it and I swallowed that with a gulp. I know most (if not all) the nominated bloggers and I can attest to the fact that they are all deserving nominees. And this is partly how I was able to wrap my mind around the fact that I had failed to make it to the list.

Now about the Whales

When I eventually settled in the office to look at the list of who else had been nominated in the various categories, I found myself drifting back to the ‘Most influential Personality’ category. This was not just because it was the category in which I am nominated but because of the names therein. The whole time I was looking at the nominees, I had to pinch myself over and over – to remind myself that my nomination was/is real.

The ocean is filled with various types of water creatures but none is as big as the Blue Whale (Balaenoptera physalus). The list of nominees was a pod of huge, superfast, legendary and out-of-this world Blue whales along with a little happy dolphin – myself.

Blue Whale

The blue whale is the largest mammal

How so?

Well, I shall shed a little light on the other nominees.

Amama Mbabazi is the proverbial Blue Whale that is the head of the pod. As a former Prime Minister, Minister for Security, Secretary General of the NRM and current MP for Kinkiizi West constituency in Kanungu District, it is likely that more Ugandans know him than all my friends and relatives combined. Experts from NASA have often wondered why aliens know him even though they have never made official contact with human beings.

The second Blue Whale, Qataha Raymond, is actually a close friend. Raymond, is one of the finest journalists I have come across in East Africa. He has worked with several media houses and prides himself in having contacts that go from here to mars. Anyone who is anyone knows this guy. Raymond and I have played foosball together, watched games where Arsenal loses to Man United, been to house parties together and done a lot of charity together and I can safely say he is a big wig. He knows the phone numbers of wealthy people, army men, beautiful girls and powerful lawyers off the top of his head.

The third Blue Whale is Esther Kalenzi, the brain, heart and soul of 40 Days Over 40 Smiles. Also a personal friend, a big dreamer and achiever, she is one of the most passionate people I have ever met. Humble, down to earth and abnormally compassionate, this girl is the definition of a winning woman. She loves and cares with no limits. I know a bunch of people who have confessed to joining charity because of her – I am one of those people.

The fourth Blue Whale is Andrew Mwenda – the old man of the Clan. This guy has epitomized the struggle for freedom of speech in Uganda and is part of the reason why many people can comfortably hurl insults at the regime. Mwenda is one of the most accomplished Ugandan journalists, he is a founder and owner of The Independent and a celebrated Community activist against Aid to Africa.

The fifth Blue Whale is Simon Kaheru. Now if you are on social media and you don’t know Simon – you need to repent because you are a sinner. He is a professional communicator with the ability to communicate anything to anyone with extreme ease, finesse and profound results. Tales are told of how he once gave a speech in bold italics with a strangely large font size. He doesn’t just think outside the box; he often throws the box out of the window just so he can think better.

Challenge Accepted

As a dolphin being ushered into the swimming game, I have decided to do the honourable thing and accept the challenge to swim with the Whales. I may not be the biggest fan of water but at this moment in time, I will be the dolphin that simply enjoys the ride alongside the Blue Whales.

humpbackwhaleanddolphin

Whales and Dolphins can be good friends too

Ladies, and Gentlemen, let the swimming games begin.

Click the link below to vote for the sea creatures that you think deserve the nod.

www.socialmediaawards.ug

 The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man, it is to know that and to wonder at it – Jacques Yves Cousteau

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter

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Spicing it Up

If you have played video games before, you know that a cheat code is something that gives you an upper hand against either the computer or the other player. It makes you powerful, untouchable and nearly unbeatable.

You probably aren’t that much into video games and are wondering where I am going with this, right?

You see, in the world of employment, there are certain situations when someone has been working at a job for a period of time and then they begin to feel like they are suddenly stuck in some kind of stagnation. One of the reasons why this is happening is because you are bored by the job. You sign into work at 9am, stare at your desktop, get your work done, sign out, go home, come back the next day and the sucky routine continues.

How about spicing up your work and elevating the game? If you have a job that seems to be boring, I am here to help you with some crack codes that will not only spice up your job but also make you love your job more than ever before.

Allow me to share some of them with you.

Whatsapp Groups

Everyone knows that whatsapp is the new frontier for gossip and exchange of data and time consuming videos and audios. Start up a whatsapp group for the office. Make sure you are the admin of this group so that you can add and remove people at will. When you have set up this group, let the members share all nonsense and rubbish and encourage them to post compromising and probably unwise things when they are drunk. It is likely some of them will make confessions that you can then laugh at during the lunch break at work. You can be sure that after a night of wild partying where your line manager has posted pictures of himself in a compromising position with a side chic everyone will look forward to turning up for work the next day. With an office whatsapp group, it is easy to spread around rumours without having to leave your desk. What a relief!

WhatsappThose office whatsapp groups can be fun

Temple Run Gaming Challenge

If you have ever owned a smart phone, you are likely to have heard about a game known as Temple Run. It is a game where some random dude runs around jumping over and uder things in an attempt to collect coins and basically stay alive. Start a Temple Run challenge at work and make sure all your workmates are involved. Take turns to play the game and compare notes during the lunch break. You can be sure that the competition will trigger off some kind of euphoria that will have individuals clamouring to beat the high score every other day. It may not be Temple Run; it could be the Descipable Minions game – the one that consumes quite a lot of your phone memory. Then there is Matatu – the official game for Ugandan gamblers. Basically there are a whole lot of games you can embark on to get the office riled up about competition. Create some kind of score board where you keep tabs on who is top and who is bottom. It is likely that this will motivate everyone to up their game and improve their high score on a daily basis.

Notice boardPut the high scores on the noticeboard

Be A Hero or a Villain

Every work place has got its heroes and villains. The heroes are the guys who everyone wants to be around. They are the ones who everyone wants to be seen with and they are often the ones who have the most groundbreaking ideas. They are usually the smartest, and their opinions weigh quite a lot. Then there are the villains; they are the other end of the equation. They will say and do anything unbothered by whatever ripple effects it may have. They have been summoned in the Manager’s office a few times already and are currently on the list of those likely to be laid off. Make the decision to be one of these individuals. Depending on what your proficiency really is, you will find your life at the office more interesting and a little spicier if you are either a hero or a villain. As a hero, you will have people hoping you check in early and wanting to be on your team at all times. You will have management trying to appease you so that they can get you on their side too – this is bound to make your job awesome. Obviously as the villain your life will always be on the edge – never sure that you have the job for the long haul, always boldly and loudly questioning management decisions thus being refered to as a rebel, putting yourself in harm’s way and basically living life to the fullest. Either way, you are on the right path to spicing up your job.

heroRise up to the challenge!

YouTube Addictions

If your workplace is one of those awesome places where YouTube and other social networking sites are not blocked then you are in business. If you are a regular on Comedy Central, you probably know about Key and Peele. Yes – those two hilarious guys are the reason many work places have banned YouTube because once you start on their videos, it is likely you will waste away several hours of your otherwise busy day. Open a link and have it hidden away somewhere on your PC then feast your eyes and ears to the stupidity and madness that these guys exude. Just make sure management does not realise you are spending more time on Key and Peele than you are on your actually office work. There are a few other addictive YouTube accounts you can check out for good measure. Look for those Epic Fail videos and enjoy some non-stop rib cracking laughter.

addictionLoad up on the addiction

Other Crazy Things  

In my Arsenal of crazy things there are so many things one can do to make their job a little more interesting. Apart from the ones already mentioned, one can send out strange and scary emails to workmates, they can make threats about possibly quitting and they can even flirt with superiors. At the end of the day it is imperative that you do not leave your job to become boring or else you risk becoming a boring person yourself.

quitTry out a few pranks

I hope you don’t get fired.

“Always be smarter than the people who hire you.” ― Lena Horne

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter

Unfunny Comedy

Usually when people tell you they are watching comedy, the assumption is that they are clutching at their tummies, laughing their behinds off, and cracking up at hilarious jokes and funny stories. Most of the time, this is actually the truth. I am notorious for spending hours on end on Comedy Central and BBC Entertainment because I consume humour in unbelievable chunks. I know many people like me who will even skip meals, work and sex for some old school humour.

With this in mind, it goes without saying therefore that when someone mentions comedy, I am usually keen to find out how much rib hurting I should brace myself for. With extreme sadness and untold disappointment, I have had to sit out so many shows and acts because they fall short of what comedy is about. Now, while I appreciate that the Ugandan Entertainment industry is growing in leaps and bounds, I am somewhat taken aback by the nature of our comedy.

Before anyone can start any unfunny jokes about this, allow me to explain myself.

Stand Up Comedy

Recently a friend volunteered to take me to a local stand up comedy show so I could be able to enjoy a few laughs at the cost of few thousand shillings. Anybody who knows me well knows that I am one to generously spend on anything as long as it has humour or music. And if someone else is paying for the ticket, heck Yeah! When we got to the comedy show I was of the impression that no matter how little my sense of humour was, I would still get in a few laughs here and there. And Yes – I did get in a few laughs here and there. However, along the way I noticed that a good number of our local comedians survive on jokes that border on talking down other people. Tribal jokes seem to be a very vital part of the acts of many comedians in Uganda – which is a bit unfortunate. It can be understood that certain tribes are a definite soft target with all the stereotypes going around. However, this is no reason for anyone to build their career on the apparent misgivings, failures or insufficiencies of other people. Now I know some of the funniest jokes involve stepping on a toe here or bruising an ego there but if all one ever does is talk down other people, don’t they cease to be funny?

TV Shows

TV Shows in Uganda are pathetic; ok not all of them, some. True, we have a fairly young industry that is still working its way up and trying to establish itself as a formidable force in the Entertainment industry. However, we do not do ourselves any justice by continuously churning out bogus, uninteresting and over recycled shows on TV. Without necessarily naming any names, anyone can flip through the various TV Station channels in Uganda and get infuriated by the quality (or lack of quality) of the shows we are airing. While we do not have too much local content to go around on the TV stations, it makes sense for us to make sure that the little we have is of sound and legitimate quality. One of the reasons why our stuff seems to suck is because we are not so keen on little finer details. The other day I was watching a supposedly funny show that got me wondering why we even bother with these shows to begin with. The person hosting was too plastic, the comedy was too flat, the sound was over the top and the entire show seemed too artificial. And maybe it is just me who only looks for negatives but I’d like to think that we can do better – much better.

Social Media

Let’s face it – everyone on social media has a sense of humour. Some have the original slapstick, everyone-is-wowed, take-me-to-bed-when-you’re-done humour while others have the occasional drops here and there; everyone has the capacity to wow the crowd. The problem comes when someone gets a raving review on one or two posts and then suddenly they feel like they are the comedian sent by the Lord Jesus to save the rest of humanity from boredom. I have no problem with people churning out hilarious statements back and forth, matter of fact, I love it. I do have a problem however with people passing themselves off as owners of the niche of online comedy so much that they will go to strange lengths just to earn a few more Facebook Likes and Twitter Retweets. Listen guys, I am no Doctor and therefore you will not find ‘Doctor’ anywhere in my bio. As such, I am sure it would pass off as false advertising or worse still, impersonation, if someone added ‘comedian’ to their bio yet the best jokes they have are, well, themselves. There is no crime in being modest and down to earth, let alone honest about one’s talent (or lack of it for that matter).

Radio Presenters

I have always held radio presenters in very high esteem not just because I am one of them but because really, they (we) are cool people. A few Blog posts ago, I mentioned that Radio Presenters are some of the happiest people on earth. Today, it hurts me to reveal and to admit that a few radio presenters are disgracing the trade. Many of us have this strange assumption that we are funny and so we often shove unfunny jokes down people’s throats without as much as a bother. As already mentioned, I love humour, I live for it. You will however not catch me putting myself out as a funny man or an interesting radio personality. Never have, never will. I am not the funniest person out there, matter of fact, I am as funny as a little child is knowledgeable about Rocket Science. So it is safe to say that I cannot create even half a joke. However, I can tell a funny person when I see one. And equally, I can smell an unfunny joke from miles away. That said, I still maintain that after  and Writers, Radio Presenters are the next best thing on this earth. Guys, we shouldn’t disgrace our trade by pretending to be funny when we clearly are not. Okay? Good.

That being said, I have met several Ugandans whose lives are just humour in itself. We are one naturally gifted lot of people so much that humour can be seen in our everyday life. The problem is when we decide to go commercial with it, we lose the plot.

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” ― Erma Bombeck

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter

Leftover Questions

On 23rd August 2014 Uganda was blessed to have his Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta who after being hosted to a sumptuous dinner at State House Nakasero by Mr. 1986 addressed 3000 Youths. He then went ahead to offer himself for a live-bullets-no-bullet-proof Q&A under the hashtag #AskUhuru. The entire event was part of the 4th Edition of the Pakasa Forum organized by Vision Group of Companies under the party-givership of selfie King Robert Kabushenga. If for some strange reason one did not follow the proceedings on the day, there is reason to believe that one was away on holiday from planet earth because the conversation was pretty much everywhere; on TV, in the papers and online.

I was lucky to be among the guys who attended the Pakasa Forum not as an unemployed and frustrated youth (like a few I knew) but as a Digital Expert keen to follow and share the conversation online. Now, while most of my work involved sharing the conversation on Social Media, I was also keen to engage in a few other things like dashing back and forth from the bathrooms because of the excessive water I consumed, looking around to try and understand why the youths were dressed the way they were dressed, constantly reminding a friend of mine in Texas, USA, that Uhuru Kenyatta is not the president of Africa and re-connecting my laptop to the wifi that seemed to be wonky the whole time. I therefore didn’t quite get the time to ask the questions I needed to ask the big man.

Despite all this, I was careful to have jotted down most, if not all my questions. And even if Mr. Uhuru does not see them, I shall go ahead and share my leftover questions with you, my people. Maybe, just maybe, someone will read them and forward them for answering. Thank you in advance kind but still anonymous person.

Question 1 – Is it really necessary to be married while in power?  

This is probably the furthest one can get from the theme of the day ‘Creating Opportunities for Youth in East Africa’ but I’d like to think that the Q&A was not restricted to issues within the theme – or was it? I shared this question with one or two other people who promised to forward it but clearly it appears the little investment I made of 2 beers prior to the event were not bribe enough for my question to make it through to you. Mr. Uhuru, do presidents also have hearts? Do they have emotions and things like that? I always imagined that they only have wives as a matter of constitutional requirement but if they had their way, wives would probably be the last item on the ‘things-to-have’ list while in power. Have you heard of our friend Mr. Olara Otunnu? He continues to enjoy his single life even though he has (had) designs on the presidency. Do you think he has any hopes or should he go and hunt for a potential wife before hitting the campaign trail again?

Question 2 – Who picks out your wardrobe?

I’m no fashion expert and I’m no guru when it comes to style but I am just curious about the wardrobe thing. Do you wake up in the morning, tell your wife what schedule you have and then allow her to pick out what you will wear? Or is there some Government entity that is tasked with the President’s wardrobe? If there is an entity, is it possible that this entity can work for the whole East Africa? Our president, your friend, His Excellency Mr. 1986 has a good sense of fashion and so does the Rwandan President, the Tanzanian President, the Burundian President and the South Sudan president. However, I imagine if we are to fast track this whole East African integration, it may be pertinent that we have one central place where the fashion for presidents will be decided. If your dress code on Saturday was anything to go by, it is safe to assert that your wardrobe manager is doing a fine job. Any chance you can give him / her a raise and a promotion to handle East Africa? However, in case it is your wife who picks them out for you, just look into her eyes, smile and tell her – I love you honey. I am sure she will get the message.

Question 3 – How do you do this Social Media thing?

Mr. President, I have noticed with extreme approval that your presence on Social Media is quite commendable. For a president whose schedule seems to be packed 24/7 it is impressive that you have time to Tweet, Facebook and visit a few other sites here and there. Have you heard of instagram? My user name is Beewol over there and I have a few not-so- bad-looking pictures you can scroll through. Don’t hesitate to LIKE them because as you may already know, success in today’s world is measured by LIKES and RETWEETS. Speaking of Twitter, have you ever had your account hacked into? How is your DM set up by the way? How many DMs do you receive per day anyway? I assume you receive many from single ladies, unemployed youth, disgruntled politicians, crazy Alshabaab goons and old school mates looking to touch base. The hustle is real.

Question 4 – Have you heard of Hurricane Jennifer?

We have a whirlwind in Kampala that has taken over the city in the recent past. When you came here on Saturday, you might have noticed that most of the areas you passed were neat, tidy and quite clean. Most of this is because of Hurricane Jennifer. This hurricane has been sweeping over Kampala for a while now and several heads have rolled while others have been chopped off their bodies for refusal to comply and adhere to certain standards. Do you have such a whirlwind in Nairobi? I hear that in Nairobi the cops do not tolerate any nonsense in the big beautiful city. I assume it is because you too have a hurricane of sorts that side. Back here, hurricane Jennifer has recently made people have sleepless nights and I wonder if you have such instances in your country. Once again, since we are talking about going East African, can we adopt this Hurricane to take over all our Cities in East Africa? I have a feeling we will grow with ruthless momentum.

Finally, I usually share a quote at the end of every Blog Post. Will you then allow me to share one that has been excerpted from your keynote speech on Saturday? I am sharing it because I felt like it was so deep and full of power. Thank you in advance.

 “East Africa will not be built by anybody other than us.” – Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, C.G.H., President of Kenya and commander in chief of the Defence Forces of Kenya

 

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter