Agony Uncle Sunny is back…
As we all know, we live in a peculiar country. A very peculiar country. There are so many confusing questions that bedevil us every day, and precious few answers. So I have decided to occasionally become an “agony uncle” in this column, to tackle some of your more thorny conundrums. Here’s the latest instalment.
Q: I have recently arrived in Nairobi to work as a watchman. It is my first time in the city, and I find myself confused by many of its customs. For example, many of the ‘big people’ that pass through the door I guard often address me as “Chief” or “Boss.” Why do they do that, when they are the bosses?
Vigilant Chonjo, CBD
I’m afraid they are not being unusually polite. City bosses call the small people “Chief” and “Boss.” It is just reverse psychology used on askaris, hawkers, vendors and cleaners . They do it to emphasize that you are obviously NOT the boss in the remotest sense; however, they call you that to make you feel good about your lowly work. But please don’t ever return the favour and say “Jambo Soldier” to your boss…
Q: I am concerned by the chaos caused by the death of many a prominent Kenyan. It used to be just multiple wives emerging from the woodwork to claim the estate of the dead man, but now I note even new and previously unknown fathers can emerge. I am a Kenyan with some wealth to my name, and am not keeping well of late. What do you advise?
You are indeed a wise man to be thinking about this before you are required to step through the eye of the needle and rise up to glory (or descend into hellfire, as the case may be). It would be a very good idea to leave a will and a certified list with your lawyer, detailing your: official and unofficial wives, concubines, fathers, mothers, legitimate and illegitimate offspring, siblings, varied business interests, properties, debtors, bank accounts, preferred burial site and disposal method. This will spare the country from observing many unseemly claims and prolonged wrangles and court battles. It may also force editors to report real stories for a change.
Q: I am the CEO of a leading company, and I have been told I should be on something called TWEETER where I can interact with other TWITS like me and we can exchange TWADDLE. Is this a productive use of my time? Your advice, please.
Parkinson Laws, Nairobi
Take my earnest counsel and stay very far away from Twitter. Firstly, as a chief executive you don’t need it at all. You get enough futile interaction with strangers and make enough trivial small-talk just doing your day job, which involves endless functions, events, cocktail parties and awards ceremonies. Secondly, many CEOs are undone by Twitter. They usually end up revealing their lack of wit and depth to an astonished public. Really, most bosses should stay away from social media. It wasn’t invented for them. Spontaneity is the arch-enemy of that carefully fabricated public image.
Q: I was all set for the end of the world last week, but it didn’t happen. I had packed and everything. What now?
Oops…you’re still down on Earth? I had heard some people got left behind. Pole sana – the rapture party is in full swing up here, so I can’t talk for long. The traffic situation down there must be better, though? I understand there is still a late bus to heaven that you can catch via Loliondo. Good luck – must rush.
Sunny Bindra’s new book, ‘The Peculiar Kenyan’ is now on sale