A collection of random thoughts

a boat visible through some metal eyelets

Tonight is a treat of random thoughts that float to the surface during every day, rather than a specific story or topic. These are things that occur to me, from my perspective, and obviously coloured with my life experience and world view. Some you might agree with, others you might not.

When you clean your home, you start at the top and work your way down, cobwebs, dust, surfaces, and down to the floor. If you did the floor first, then anything wiped off the higher areas would land up on the ground and you’d have to clean that floor a second time.

Ask anyone who cleans anywhere at all will tell you this is the right order. Why is it then that companies and governments clean from the bottom up? If a company goes astray and suffers economically, it isn’t the workers who made the bad decisions, it is management – who are affected last, and least. Where government corruption grows, it is the government suppliers and people in the supply chain who are targeted, not the decisionmakers or politicians.

If someone chooses to support an animal charity, they are often the target of statements such as “are animals more important than people?”. Support the elderly and be targeted for excluding children, support children and be targeted for not supporting the disabled.

With more than 7,000,000,000 people in the world, if everyone supported the causes closest to their heart or interests, would this not ensure that all of them get a piece of the available funds? It must be more productive to encourage people to support whatever cause they want, rather than attacking them for supporting one over the other.

There is a universal need for good healthcare, every human being needs medical attention at some point in their lives. Why then is it universally accepted that governments have vast military budgets, spending money on weapons and other forms of destruction but there’s such a strong push-back on healthcare budgets.

Who are we scared will invade, why are we paying millions annually in military funding to keep a fighting force “on standby” when we are at peace with all of our neighbours and we can’t hope to put on any kind of resistance to any real military force from one of the major powers? Our lives would be infinitely better served retraining all the military personnel for a role in crime prevention and spending the rest on health services. It would likely also be dramatically cheaper.

Did you know that between March 2019 and April 2020 there were zero bank robberies and a 10.4% decrease in cash-in-transit robberies? During the same period murders went up to their highest point in the last decade and 58.4 murders take place daily?

The previous 12 months (2018-2019), the Eastern Cape had the highest number of murders in the country per 100,000 people and there were 21,022 murders countrywide. Of these, 2,771 victims were women and a further 1,014 were children, for a total of 3,785. This means 17,237 men were murdered during this single year – yet the focus is on violence against women and children. Does that mean men do not count, somehow?

South Africa achieved democracy in 1994, when Apartheid was overturned and the country became a place “free and fair to all”. At the time the white population of the country was around 20% and as of the last census it had more than halved and is currently hovering somewhere around the 7% mark. If democracy brought freedom and fairness, why is affirmative action used as an employment policy against anyone born after 1994? These people are actively discriminated against by a government policy instituted by a democratic government to redress a wrong that has never existed in their lifetime – and in which they did not partake.

In national elections, South Africans go out and vote for whichever party they consider is most likely to provide them the representation they require. Despite this they have no say in the election of the president – and the majority party always chooses the leader of the country. Why can the citizens not decide who the leader should be – and why is an opposition politician not an option in order to maintain balance and keep the ruling party, who get their way in parliament by majority vote anyway, on their toes?

Speaking of voting, there are more people with cellphones in SA than have access to a refrigerator. Thanks to the RICA requirement for every sim card sold, every single one of these can be tied to a person and ID number. Why then must South Africans queue at a voting station when they could very easily cast their ballot by phone and any halfway decent technology company would be able to create an anonymous system to keep the votes secret while making accurate auditing possible.

In fact, many of the decisions made by politicians could be far more quickly and honestly made by the South African people who could simply vote yes or no – or abstain by not choosing either. Technology exists that can have a significant positive impact on the lives of citizens but the government seems either unable, or loathe, to use it.

Also, politicians are not engineers, doctors of medicine, pilots, teachers, accountants and the like. Certainly not in South Africa, in the main. Here and there you might find an isolated exception but largely our politicians are politickers with some form of struggle credential. Why do we defer to them and leave them in charge of making decisions we would never consider appropriate outside of politics? It must, by now, be time that we send them on their way and make use of qualified and responsible people capable of making rational choices – the current system hasn’t worked for us in a long, long time.

Why do some straight men react so badly (and violently) to homosexual males? I don’t understand this, because surely gay men take themselves out of the “pool of competition” vying for the affections of women? Every gay couple means two fewer competitors (men compete in everything so this seems an apt description). Beyond an awakening of repressed gay tendencies, causing some uncomfortable and unwelcome personal introspection, what exactly is the cause here?

This is some of what floats around in my head. The merit of these thoughts is always open for debate, but I have thoughts and some have them have been thoroughly thought through and considered and others are still largely unthunk.

On a final note, this one is for my photo and film friends. Roger Deakins is perhaps not a household name outside of cinema circles, but if you remember Mountains of the Moon, The Shawshank Redemption, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men, True Grit, Skyfall, Sicario or Blade Runner 2049 (he won an Oscar for that one) then you know his work as a cinematographer. If the subject of photography and film interests you, then you might well enjoy this video where he offers insights into “Learning to Light”.

Author: Morné Condon

Automotive journalist in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, following new models, old cars, car clubs and motorsport. My interests are not restricted to the automotive environment, although this is where I am mostly to be found.

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