The World Is F***ed

The World Is F***ed #7: Woolworths: A Follow Up

Just over a month back, I blogged about the Woolworths racism saga and how I felt that we can’t blame Woolworths for the BEE policies they need to follow.

Yesterday a Facebook group, which I happen to follow, shared my blogpost on their page and I happened to come across it this morning. There were also some comments on the original post, which I replied to, but there are some comments from the facebook post that I wish to address.

Before I begin, let me just state three things:

  • I think Woolworths are wrong in what they are doing, still doing, but the “boycott of Woolies” has been pretty ineffective as far as I’m concerned. Not that it has been much of a boycott, people involved could have spent the energy on more relevant & important things, but it’s easy to basically do nothing else but avoid one particular shop and call it “taking action”
  • I don’t think BEE is an effective means of redressing the mistakes of the past. Any policy which is related to giving preference to one race over another will always be met with criticism and even fear. Almost 20 years on and BEE has done anything that wouldn’t have naturally happened anyway in my opinion. If anything BEE has only made a very small minority of the African population much richer and the majority even worse off.
  • At no stage did I say I like agree with Woolies, the ANC or BEE. But laying the blame on one company is never going to solve the problem. So Woolies close their doors, then what, do you think that is going to change things? If anything it’s just more ammunition for the ANC to use against white people.

Now as for the comments, Let me address each one individually:

Comment 1:

I don’t even know where to start with this comment. The grammar and punctuation alone get me tingling, and not in a good way.

Well Richard, I am definitely not saying you should sit back and eat it up, if it something you feel strongly about, by all means do what you feel that you need to do about something you feel strongly about.

We are not the only country in the world where discrimination occurs, that isn’t to say it doesn’t happen, yes racial discrimination is happening, but that isn’t the only type of discrimination. What about gender and caste discrimination in India, Saudi Arabia and other countries? What about religious discrimination all around the world. Even when it comes to race, I really doubt we are the worst.

You want to protest, fine, but a quiet boycott by maybe a few thousand white people is barely a start, it’s almost insignificant.

Comment 2:

Dear Melanie, thank you for your condolences, but they are however unnecessary and unwanted. From your comment I could assume that you are a narrow-minded fascist bigot, but I cannot know that, so I won’t call you that. The Moral? Don’t make assumptions, simple. In response: If I were brainless, I would not have an opinion, even if it is different to yours. Pinko? I am hardly sympathetic to our socialist government, apathetic maybe, but not sympathetic. My time is spent better on other things. As for Liberal, yes possibly, I consider myself very open minded, so I’ll give you that one…

Comment 3:

Hardly… From the end of August, after an initial drop of R400 which was at its lowest on the 10th of September, it has now gone R200 beyond what it was at the end of August (http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/WHL:SJ)

Comment 4:

No-one ever said that life was easy. I don’t agree with what Woolworths did, and never will, but I do think peoples reactions and consequent reactions are misdirected.

Comment 5:

I agreed with you until your last sentence. “Whities” are definitely too lazy when it comes to standing up for what is right. And when they do something it is generally something insignificant. Like saying you’ll never shop at Woolies…

Comment 6:

Don’t hold you breathe…

Comment 7:

Oh Lord, again with grammar and punctuation… Asskissing, uncomfortable? Hardly, and as for liberal, like I said, possibly, because I do consider myself open minded.

Comment 8-10

I thought I’d group these together, since they’re the only comments I agree with.

The majority definitely love the victim mentality and until everyone stops blaming one another, there is no hope for us as a country.

Mockracy is definitely the right description.

Comment 11:

I have no comment…


The World Is F***ed #6: I Blame Woolworths, No Wait…

ww_logoAs a South African, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you have probably heard about the Woolworths “racist” scandal earlier this week bought to light by internet marketer, Justin Harrison, who followed up a  few days later with another post. No surprise it made news, after all didn’t SAA just go through the same saga?

If you are still not sure what I am going on about here are some links to what is happening:

Woolworth refutes accusations of racism, disables wall

Woolworths denies racism claim

Viva Woolworths! Viva!

Questions over Woolworths whistleblower

Whites against Woolworths: doth they protest too much?

There are probably many more but these should give you an idea

While as a white South African male, my initial reaction was to throw my arms in the air and scream bloody murder, as many did, after reading some alternative views and letting the dust settle, I find that I can’t really blame them at all.

So who do we blame? The ANC? Aren’t they are just trying to correct the imbalances of the apartheid era, the imbalance which has still not been corrected, despite close to 20 years of being free of apartheid? Well that is debatable since their policies have only seemed to benefit a very small majority of their followers, but that is something else altogether.

So do we blame white people? Can we blame the children of the post-apartheid era, like myself, who were too young to know what was happening? So do we blame our parents? After all they did nothing while the National Party ruled the country and implemented apartheid policies. They should have put their lives on the line, they should have done more, right? While it went on for far too long, the entire world also did nothing really, so can we blame them?

Maybe we should blame the Germans and countless other supremist goverments for giving our apartheid government ideas? Or maybe we should blame the Dutch and/or British settlers for coming to this country and taking it away from the indigenous people, the Zulus, the Xhosa, the San, et al? Not really, much like the Romans did for them, they bought a little bit of civilisation to the region.

Maybe we should blame the Romans for bringing the first hints of civilisation to what is now Britain & Netherlands or the Celtic or Germanic tribes for settling there in the first place? No?

What I’m trying to say is that history is exactly that, history. If we are going to just try to point fingers and play the blame game, nothing constructive will come of it, people will get angry and say stupid things which will piss off other people who will say more stupid things.

Lets say, hypothetically, as a white male in SA, you were looking through a newspaper for a job and you saw a job that you wanted to apply for. At the end it tells you, preference is given to BEE candidates or to disabled black women. Of course you think to yourself, “Fuck I hate this BEE crap!” or whatever else you may think, but is your next step to now launch a boycott against this company, or do you move on and try again?

The only thing that Woolworths did wrong was the way that they worded their job post really, and of course the way they handled the PR nightmare they bought on themselves, but I think after initially going into a flat spin, they have managed to correct their mistake, and isn’t that what we wanted?

Personally, I went to Woolies yesterday and bought some chicken they had on special. And next time I feel like some smoked snoek pate, I will go again.


The World is F***ed #5: A Comparison of Food & Petrol Price Increases in South Africa

5 year trends

Yesterday I read an article on the BBC website that got my mind spinning. The article is about how the UK Office of Fair Trade (OFT) has decided to launch a study into the high price of fuel. In the UK the price for petrol and diesel went up 38% & 43% respectively from June 2007 to June 2012. There are other factors they are investigating, but the bit that got me thinking was their citizens being upset about the 38-43% increase (Read the article here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-19489908)

This past month our petrol prices went up to their highest ever levels. A litre of 95 octane petrol now costs R11.97 inland and R11.62 along the coast.

Since June 2007, our petrol prices locally have gone up by a massive 59% for 95 octane unleaded and 65% for diesel! The chart below shows us in a bit more detail how the prices have risen and fallen over the past 5 years. In 2008 you may recall that oil prices rose dramatically, reaching a record $147 during July and then dropping to around $40 in December. However despite the oil price being lower than at it’s peak, we are paying R2 more a litre.

Fuel Price

Fuel vs Oil prices (June 2007 – Sept 2012)

Looking at food prices isn’t much better. I chose six random food products that I felt were quite common among all income groups, being: 1l Full cream milk sachet, loaf brown bread, 1kg whole fresh chicken, 1kg beef chuck, sunflower oil & 1kg carrots.

The increases ranged from 30% (chicken) to a massive 104% (Sunflower oil).

Food Price

Food Prices from June 2007 to Jun 2012

Separately, however, these didn’t make much sense, so I went to a bit of effort and created a weighted average between fuel, food and oil prices and compared them to the trend over the years and this is when it made more sense

If you look at the below chart, you will see red, green and blue solid lines indicating the movement of fuel, food and oil over the 5 year period, while the dotted lines indicate the trend created by this movement.

The purple line (X) is based on year on year inflation over this period, in other words what price increases should look like.

5 year trends

Trend of price increases over 5 years

But what do you notice if you compare the 3 trends and the solid purple line? This clearly indicates that fuel, and by comparison food, since SA relies on transport via our road networks, follow the trend of oil prices rather than the actual inflation rates given by government, which granted takes into account much more than I have: house prices, car prices, etc.

I’m no expert in matters like this so if anyone out there can give me a better explanation I will gladly accept it, but as if climate change wasn’t reason enough for us as a species to move away from oil and fossil fuels as a source of fuel and energy, then surely this should be  even more reason?

EDIT:

The sources for all the above prices and rates are:

Petrol Prices: http://www.aa.co.za/

Food Prices: http://www.namc.co.za/

Oil Prices: http://www.investis.com/

Inflation Rate: http://www.liberta.co.za


The World Is F***ed #4: MTV Movie Awards

MTV LogoI used to love MTV, back when Beavis and Butthead, Migraine Boy, Daria, and more recently Celebrity Deathmatch, had me laughing my ass off. Back when there were still nights dedicated to rock music, not just one night or show either. They also didn’t have 12 hours of ads per day…

Okay I’ll admit, I don’t watch much TV at all these days, let alone MTV. I watch the movies and series that I like and that’s it. Once in a while at a friends house I might jump across to MTV, but I hardly ever stay there more than 15-20 minutes before I get frustrated.

As if my apathetic view of MTV wasn’t bad enough, at the MTV Movie awards last night (5 June 2011), I was shocked to find that the best movie, according to them, was “Twilight: Eclipse” and along with that they got Best Male and Female Performance (for Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart). Oh and Best Kiss & Best Fight. WTF? Really… Twilight was their “best” movie? What the hell happened to all the other way better movies, never mind the best performance awards? Sorry MTV, but you now just plain suck…

So I guess this is my goodbye to MTV. As a final remembrance of the MTV I used to love, here’s a video I found of  a whole bunch of Beavis and Butthead.


The World Is F***ed #3: Spam

Screenshot of website in the sms

Yesterday I had my moment of fame. I was quoted in a local newspaper regarding an sms scam that went around Port Elizabeth last week Thursday. During the night on Thurday, I received an sms which read:

Hi Charles you have 1 new message from Cindy in Richmond hill click here to view your message (link to site – screenshot on the right)

Once you went to the page it recognises your cellphone number from the message itself, as the link is unique to your number. So as soon as you click on any of the links you would immediately be subscribed to the service for R9.99 a day.

According to the article, some people had problems with their partners thinking they were cheating or whatever. What pisses me off about this is the fact that there are people who or still dumb enough to think this is real. I wish people would learn to recognise spam.

It makes me think of the people who click on the fake Osama Bin Laden death videos or those fake stalker apps on Facebook and spam everyone’s newsfeed. That is besides getting a virus or whatever else, which they deserve if you ask me. I don’t feel sorry for people who get viruses through their own stupidity. A while back I formatted an acquaintance’s PC after having removed a virus and within two days he had completely screwed it up again. I think he still has the virus since I refuse to fix his stupidity. I actually hope he reads this *grin*.

I guess my point is that in this day and age when spam counts for such a large percentage of all communication, be it sms, email or whatever, we should really know how to differentiate between what is real and what is spam. Spam only works because of people’s stupidity (and to a lesser degree curiosity).


The World Is F***ed #2: Ayobaaaaargh

Recently I find myself listening to 5fm, a national radio station, and as with any commercial station, they have lots of adverts. Generally I can handle the severe lack of creativity in advertising, but when they start taking me for an idiot, it pisses me off to no end.

Even though there are plenty of candidates, such as annoying old lady trying to tell me to use some ripoff premium rate cell service, when google would get me more useful info, or the one with the lame “gamer” guy reading off a whole bunch of geeky terms, which only tend to highlight how clueless they are, but those don’t make me want to commit murder.

That honour goes to MTN‘s Ayoba campaign and their advertising team deserve a special corner in hell for it. I can’t even remember how long it has been around, but it has always just pissed me off. Not that I hated the word itself, it was a perfectly valid slang word before MTN raped it, chained it up and made it their bitch!

It started getting to me during the World Cup, when they blasted it at us from every angle, at every opportunity. I thought that would be the end of it, but no, they decided to see how much they could milk it. Now they have the two cricket ads on radio, where they have this whole shpiel between Ayobaman and Randomcricketguy. Ayobaman is asking Randomcricketguy what you call it when something happens and then proceeds to call it Ayoba, see below for examples:

  1. Ayobaman asks what you call it when a batsmen hits a ball over the boundary without bouncing in the field. According to cricket rules, this is a “six”, but Ayobaman and MTN want us to call it “Ayoba”.
  2. Next up, Ayobaman asks us why cricketers say “howzat” and then goes on to suggest that we shout “ayoba” instead.
  3. There was one a while back asking what its called when a guy gets hit in the nutsack or something and this time it was “not ayoba”

If we carry on with MTN’s plans to substitute every single cricket term with ayoba or not ayoba, I would hate to see what would happen. I could carry on moaning about the shit campaign they are running, but that would just be cruelty to myself…


The World Is F***ed #1: Censorship

600px-Cee_Lo_Green_-_Fuck_you!

Image by mUAr_cHEe via Flickr

Since when has everyone in the world become a bunch of moaning, bitching, easily offended, idiotic, spoon fed, (insert adjective of choice here) pansies?

Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention when the memo went out, but I first noticed it when when Cee Lo Green‘s awesome song, ‘Fuck You’, became ‘Forget You’ on radio. Seriously? Forget is a legitimate substitute for Fuck? Most of you probably are wondering what the hell I’m talking about. And this is my problem: Most people know the song as ‘Forget You’, but the song is called ‘FUCK You’, not ‘Forget You’. I played the proper version for a friend, kingtyrone and even he agreed the song was suddenly completely different. The only way to understand is to watch the video below and compare it with the bullshit radio-friendly version.

Then I started paying attention. You know those annoying customer care centers? You ever notice that the amount of disclaimers and legal crap that they have to read to you and that you have to agree to before they actually help you has increased. What used to take 5 minutes to do over the phone, now takes twice as long. You can’t even buy a data bundle from MTN for your 3G modem now without having to listen to 10 minutes of explanations and indemnity clauses, before you can get your bundle. A little while back it was as simple as loading a voucher and then clicking on the bundle you wanted in the MTN F@stlink software.

Even those stupid sales calls for insurance and cellphone contracts we don’t need have got them now. Soon you’ll have to sign a 20 page contract to load airtime on your phone.

We’re making it worse and honestly, I’d hate to see what this generation of children are going to be like. I was listening to a friend talking about his kids and the school they’re at. When I was a kid and I didn’t do my homework, the teacher would call me up to the front of class and I’d get my ass beaten. The other kids would go “Ooh!” and “Aah!” each time the (bat/stick/plank/any blunt wooden instrument and even a broken golf club) hit you ass. Next time you would make sure you did your homework. What happens now? The school informs the parent ,who must then deal with it. Huh? What the hell is that? Isn’t that what I pay you to do? Even as parents you are not allowed to punish your child like that anymore.

What we need is one big global bitch-slap. Everyone in the world needs to stop whatever the fuck they are doing and just bitch-slap whoever is next to them at the same time. Young, old, big, small, male, female, it doesn’t matter who you are. You just give the person next to you the hardest, baddest, guilt-free bitch-slap ever. No regrets, no retaliation, we just carry on as normal. A guy can dream…

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