Friday, December 20, 2013

Awards

An award is something given to a person or group of people to recognise their excellence in a certain field.

There are different kinds of awards, which recognise individuals or groups for various reasons. Eg. there's the Nobel, Pulitzer, Academy Awards (Oscars), Grammy Awards, Excellence Awards (Ghana) etc. Some organisations also choose to award hardworking employees at the end of every month or end of every year.

What is the essence of awards? Well (this is just me thinking) I'd presume to recognise persons who have excelled in their field so they keep up with their good work, and possibly encourage others in that field to work harder and strive to be awarded the next time around (I guess).

What really happens? Persons are awarded, persons don't get awarded and there is sometimes dissatisfaction especially in situations where the same people are awarded over and over and over again and the selection criteria is not exactly clear cut.

If a body chooses to give any kind of award, is the body obligated to let anyone (especially those in that field) know what the selection criteria is (well, so maybe they will try to meet the criteria the next time if they don't get awarded this time) or is it really just the body's business (after all, it is the body's money that is sponsoring the awards) and whoever may have a problem should just go organise their own awards and award themselves?

Anyways, so I recently witnessed some people get awarded, and I also witnessed some people get upset about some of the individuals being awarded, and I also heard the organisers tell all those who had issues with it to go organise their own awards if they wanted. I witnessed the presentation of these awards have the opposite effect to what I stated earlier as the essence. People who did not get awarded were so upset (bitter) that they decided not to bother putting in their best. Why? Because in their opinion, they put in their best year after year and do not get recognised, while the same people get recognised year after year. In their opinion, if the body presenting the awards feels the same people put in their best year after year, then they too will sit back, not lift a finger and watch while these supposed hard workers do all the work (after all, they are going to get awarded for it anyways so they might as well do all the work because that seems to be the message being sent out).

Just makes me wonder. What's the point? Shouldn't some awards just be scrapped so everyone just does their work?

Creating enemies for some people. smh! Totally unnecessary.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Festival of Plays

Roverman Productions in partnership with Joy FM, National Theatre and Graphic Showbiz presents: "Festival of Plays".

In celebration of five (5) years of bringing to you original plays by Uncle Ebo Whyte, Roverman Productions brings to you five (5) plays this festive season.

Catch:
What's My Name on Saturday, December 28, 2013
The Last Flight on Sunday, December 29, 2013
"The Day Dad Came" on Wednesday, January 1, 2014
"Apartment N1" on Saturday, January 4, 2014
and,
Men Run Women Cry on Sunday, January 5, 2014

Venue: National Theatre
Time: 1st show 4pm, 2nd show 8pm (each day)
Rate: Single Ticket GH¢50.00, Festival Pack GH¢200.00

"The Day Dad Came" - Ama is in an abusive relationship and is hiding this secret from her father and the rest of the world. Things come to a head when her sister, Jane visits with a gift to wish her a happy birthday. The play explores the issue of domestic violence; why love relationships become abusive; why people stay in them; and how to turn an abusive relationship around.

"Apartment N1" - On the eve of the vetting of Mr. Ken Nti, a minister designate, he gets an urgent call that makes him rush to Apartment N1, an expensive dollar-rated apartment occupied by Serwa, a sexy student from a poor home. The play explores the issues of love, duty and fidelity.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Adventures in a Foreign Land - Robot

I was heading to a concert in a country other than mine (and so determined to not be late). Knowing the concert would be packed, I left the hotel so many hours before gates to the venue would open (I sensed there would be mad traffic).

I am close to the venue and some of the roads were closed depending on the ticket one had (I had VVIP tickets so, all roads were open to me :D). I showed my ticket to one of the security men, and he says "ok, first robot, second robot then take left". I am looking at him totally in awe because in my head, they got robots to direct people at the concert. Totally awesome if you ask me. My chauffeur goes like (he had to speak because my mouth was still open in awe) "ok, thank you", then drives off.

We go forward for a bit then my chauffeur takes a left. "Ah! Why did he do that? The robots haven't even come yet", - that was me thinking in my head. Aloud, I go like, "I think you've made a mistake. The security man said we should take a left after the second robot".
Chauffeur: "But that's what I did".
Me: "No, the robots haven't come yet".
Chauffeur: "hahahahahahahaha... (I'm sure if he could have, he would have been rotflhao).
Me: "Did this guy just lose his marbles" - that was in my head. Aloud, "Why? What's wrong".
Chauffeur: "Robot is the traffic light. What the security man said meant, I take left after second traffic light".
Me: Looking very foolish, "Eh! Traffic light is robot? Eish! I didn't know ooo... In my country, traffic light is just that, traffic light".

Moral: unless your name is Google, you don't know everything!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mightier than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History

Roger Streitmatter

Mightier than the Sword
How the News Media Have Shaped American History

Illustrations, Notes, Bibliography, Index
xii + 287pp. $34.27

Colorado: Westview Press, 1997

0-8113-3210-9

“Burke said that there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters' Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate, more important far than they all” – Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881). In his trailblazing book, “Mightier than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History”, Roger Streitmatter recounts how important this Fourth Estate is. From the 1700’s through to the 1900’s, he gives a gripping account of fourteen distinct occasions when the news media not just reported, but played an active role in events that made history in America.

Between 1830 and 1850, the abolitionist press – both black and white achieved the thorny feat of disseminating throughout America the evils of slavery thus resulting in the Civil War. In due course, this dark aspect of American history was relegated into near oblivion and slavery abolished in 1865 as a direct result of the Civil War.

A journey through Roger Streitmatter’s “Mightier than the Sword” takes you through a string of comparable incidents when American journalism had a part to play in the shaping of this nation’s history. The cases of the abolitionist movement as well as that of the struggle for women’s rights, the civil rights movement and Watergate all depict instances when the American press had a positive impact on the history of that country.

Streitmatter however does not concentrate just on the gallant roles the media played in shaping American history but also touches on a couple of instances when the press abused the mighty power it wields. On these occasions, the media did have an influence on society and brought about a change – not necessarily appealing to the best in human nature. The warmongering efforts of some journalists contributing to the Spanish-American War, the press slowing the pace of women’s rights and the Anti-Semitism fomentation of one man via radio illustrate such instances. Spanish Commander Valeriano Weyler captured the manner in which the press abused its power when he said of the Spanish-American War – “The American newspapers are responsible. They poisoned everything with falsehood.”

Roger Streitmatter also gives an account of one occasion where the positive and the negative role the media played in American history came out. This was the story of Joe McCarthy and his use of the media to terrorize Americans. Ironically, the media also caused the exposé of McCarthy as well as his downfall.

A trip through Roger Streitmatter’s “Mightier than the Sword” brings to light the gradual evolution of journalism from just the use of the print media to the use of radio and television as well. The author utilises a systematic approach in doing this by telling his story in a sequential manner. He focuses on a particular period and the form of media available and then moves on to the next while bringing out the transition from the use of print to the use of both print and electronic media.

Streitmatter spares his readers from the wearisome task of reading through countless names, dates and newspaper headlines that characterise most books on history. He is however able to tell his story accurately by bringing out the facts. Looking at Roger Steitmatter’s account of Watergate in comparison to that of Katherine Graham in her autobiography, Streitmatter brings out the essential details of the case and the important personalities directly involved thus making it easy to follow and understand. Graham on the other hand, having had a direct involvement in Watergate, made mention of every single person involved as well as all the dates on which events took place. In “Mightier than the Sword”, Streitmatter succeeds in summarising this incident without leaving out any vital information.

In his final chapter, Roger Streitmatter tells of how the news media influenced various incidents in the past. According to him, “The news media have shaped American history. Absolutely. Boldly. Proudly. Fervently. Profoundly.” Streitmatter gives a synopsis of the various chapters while bringing out elements the news media employed in shaping the history of America. The author signs off making suggestions to “the citizens of the Fourth Estate” on how to develop themselves and utilise effectively the powerful tool they have.

Roger Streitmatter’s “Mightier than the Sword” succeeds in taking readers on a whirlwind expedition through American history while bringing to the forefront the various roles the media played in shaping this history. As a journalist cum cultural historian it is evident Streitmatter has more than a fair idea of this subject matter. This is noticeable in his other works, which include “Sex Sells! The Media’s Journey from Obsession to Repression”, “Voices of Revolution: The Dissident Press in America” and “Raising Her Voice: African-American Women Journalists Who Changed History”. In all these books, he documents how the media have had an impact on American culture, as we know it today. Streitmatter does this remarkably in “Mightier than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History”. Here, he is able to accomplish the grueling task of summarising fourteen major and discrete events in American history without leaving out vital details and at the same time avoiding the clutter of too many names and dates.

Not all is perfect, of course. In his introduction, Streitmatter identifies one of his target audiences as journalism students. A journalism student myself, I found it a bit difficult understanding some of the words he used as they were unfamiliar to me. Some may argue that this probably serves as an opportunity for students to enhance their vocabulary but I found it a bit tedious shuffling between the book and my dictionary.


Roger Streitmatter set out to increase our understanding of both American journalism and American history in “Mightier than the Sword: How the News Media Have Shaped American History”. This he did beyond reasonable doubt. To portray just how influential the media is, Canovas del Castillo, the Spanish Prime Minister at the time of the Spanish-American War summed it all when he said to an American reporter “The newspapers of your country seem to be more powerful than the government”.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Mightier Than The Sword II

A foreign retail and fast food company in Ghana was as at three weeks ago infested with cockroaches.

Three weeks ago because I haven't been to the shop in three weeks and I am trying to make this report as accurate as possible (just in case the situation has been contained).

A couple of months ago, I went into this shop (I shop there a lot. makes sense after all their tagline does boast of them having the lowest prices) to buy drinks. On the drinks aisle, I saw a couple of cockroaches on the shelves. For some reason I wrote this off. I guess mainly because I felt all the drinks are sealed (as if the Berlin Wall separates the drinks aisle from the cooked food).

A couple of weeks after that, again in the drinks aisle, I saw some cockroaches and wrote that off as well. The only thought I had in my head was "ewwwwww... yuck!". Then a week later, I'm buying apples in this shop and there, on the floor, I see some cockroaches. For some reason I think that's okay since the cockroaches weren't on the apples. Besides, in my head, apples can be washed before eating. Sad thing is the apples are not too far from the cooked food.

Three weeks ago, I walk into this same shop with a friend and he wants to check out the pastries. We move to the baked food section and my friend taps me on the shoulder and points at something. I look, and there, on what I'd like to call a doughnut (not sure exactly what it is) with chocolate topping was a cockroach frolicking in the chocolate. My first instinct was to scream "Cockroach! Cockroach!", but I didn't give in to my first instinct. Last thing I wanted was to start a panic and possibly a stampede (I could get hurt in that). So, I calmly call one of the attendants in the baked food section and I draw her attention to what I'd just seen. She takes the tray on which the cockroach was on out of the display case and I walk away. Too disgusted to get any pastries, my friend and I make our way to the drinks aisle where I tell another shop attendant what I'd just seen. He then goes like "Hmmmmm... These cockroaches. We sprayed the shop not too long ago too".
"What? You sprayed the shop with all the food in it? You sprayed the shop with everything still in it? What stopped the cockroaches from going to hide behind some appliance or inside some suitcase?" - that was me thinking inside my head.

My friend and I get our drinks and leave the shop. Outside the shop, we bump into another friend, tell her what we'd just seen, and she tells us how she bought two glass jars from this shop, gets home, takes them out of their packaging only for one to fall apart. Apparently it was so cracked and the only thing holding it together was its packaging. Then she tells us of how she once went into this same shop to buy cheese only for her to realise the type of cheese she wanted was mouldy (and this was early in the morning). She asks if I got pictures, and me of all people who likes to drive and take pictures had none.

I went back into the shop determined to get some pictures, and fortunately, I didn't have to make it all the way to the baked food section (I was still traumatised from the first time). I got on camera a cockroach snacking (I guess) on a bruised apple. Just to show the cockroach was not dead, I took a video, which shows the antennae of the cockroach moving periodically. I looked for and showed the pictures to a manager on duty in the shop at the time.

To anyone who thinks I'm making a big fuss about nothing, well...,
"Cockroaches are nocturnal insects. They prefer to live and feed in the dark, so a cockroach seen during the day is a possible sign of infestation". Mind you, this shop is very brightly lit and it even has air conditioning on all the time it's open.
"Aside the disgust felt at encountering cockroaches, they can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks in humans. Cockroaches are capable of mechanically transmitting disease organisms such as the bacteria that cause food poisoning, and are known to spread 33 different kinds of bacteria, six parasitic worms and at least seven other kinds of human pathogens." "Cockroaches carry diseases such as salmonella and diphtheria and cause symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Cockroaches pose a risk to health as a matter of hygiene." - picked this from some websites.

This retail and fast food company sells cooked food, baked food, processed and packaged foods, kitchen ware, hardware, appliances, cosmetics, toiletry, toys and a variety of other things. The company does not originate from Ghana and I recently had the opportunity to visit the country this company originated from (this was after my discovery of the cockroach infestation). My curiosity (because I didn't buy anything there during my visit) had me visiting one of the shops in this originating country and I saw not a single cockroach (maybe cockroaches don't exist in that country).

The company I believe has three of its shops in Accra with the latest one barely a month old. I discovered the infestation in its very first shop set up in Ghana. I have since my last visit there three weeks ago not been to this particular shop. For love of my life, I chose last week to try out its less than a month old shop in Accra. I would much rather shop there until cockroaches discover there, then I'll move elsewhere. Hopefully, they don't transfer stuff from their first shop to this new one.

P.S. I left out the pictures. The story alone disgusts me enough without having to see the pictures. I deliberately left out the name of the company, but I'm sure anyone who knows it will get it from my description. The pictures will be too clear a giveaway of which company it is. I'm still thinking about whether or not to use them. For now, the pictures together with the video are in a safe place (almost sounds like I'm hiding something from the mafia :D).

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Mightier Than The Sword I

"Burke said that there were Three Estates in Parliament; but in the Reporter's Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate, more important far than they all" - Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881).

When I was in school, as a class assignment, I was to do a book report. Assignment was by Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo (totally love her. she's just awesome) and students were to select from a list of books. I chose the book "Mightier than the Sword: How the News Media have Shaped American History" by Roger Streitmatter. Good read. Look the book up if you can. I will do well to post the report I did up in here in another post. But now, to the issue at hand. Ghanaians do not seem to be very aware of the statement "Mightier than the Sword". Hearing it for the first time, someone might think, let's say, the gun probably is mightier than the sword (totally makes sense), but it's not the gun the statement refers to. The statement refers to the PEN (well, nowadays the keyboard I guess) being mightier than the sword. How? Read up on the Watergate Scandal (Google it. wikipedia gives an understandable account of the events) and see how two reporters broke a story that contributed to the downfall of arguably the most powerful person in the world (that's if you believe the President of the US of A is the most powerful person in the world). The book gives an account of fourteen distinct occasions when the news media not just reported, but played an active role in events that made history in America. The Watergate Scandal is just one example.

Where am I going with this? All around me, I see injustices being committed against people and they plus everyone else sit back, fold their arms and do absolutely nothing. I actually wanted to talk about another incident, but looking at how long this post has already got and will get, I'll stick to just this and get to that incident in another post.

At my place of work for example, I see injustices being committed by the big wigs against the common floor members all the time (watch any one of Roverman Productions plays and I bet you will see a sample of that), but they and everyone else (including me) do nothing about it. I guess those to whom the injustices are being committed against feel there really is nothing they can do and really, who wants to go up against the big wigs? Everybody else feels, it's really none of their business, and that's the category I put myself in until an injustice was committed against me. That's when I sat up and realised the big wigs can target anyone they want to, and it had just got to my turn. I'll not go into the details, but I will say this, I strongly believe the pen (aka keyboard in modern times) is mightier than the sword, I have a pen, I love using it and thank God I am good at using it too. I also believe in second chances and I believe in letting go. Reason I won't go into details is my belief in letting go and a bit of my belief in second chances, because even though an injustice was committed against me, the big wigs stepped up and redeemed themselves (at least in my eyes).

A few months ago, I went on leave for a couple of days (less than one week). On my last day of leave, I received a phone call instructing me not to come back to work but to proceed on leave for a whole lot more of additional days. Meaning I ended up on leave for a couple of months. Now, yes, I get that I had a whole lot of accumulated leave days, which had to be exhausted, but seriously, how is it that I go on leave for less than one week and then you call me on the last day telling me not to come back? For a second I really was at a loss because when a person goes on such a really long leave of absence from work, at least they know it and plan ahead. If it's a trip out of the country or some vacation time within the country, or something, it has to be planned and preparations made. Here I was, no plans made, because this thing was just sprang on me. Well, I complied (did I really have a choice) but resolved to make the most out of the couple of months I wouldn't be at work. I went to school (IPR organised a course, which I participated in) to upgrade myself, watched a bunch of movies and some series and then I, for the first time in my life took part in a text and win promo, which saw me winning and travelling out of the country for a few days. Anyone who really follows my blog will remember the very first post I did on the text and win promo. Yes, I had some grievances, which I aired in that post. I was not the original winner (for those who are wondering) but due to some circumstances, I was chosen as winner by default and interestingly enough the second winner (two winners were selected for that competition) shocked both me and the organisers (I presume). For me, I was mostly shocked because the competition rules suddenly changed somewhere along the line (necessitating my writing the post about it), which I voiced out in my post, so based on the new rules, the second person really should never have won. But this person did, and I had a blast with this person outside Ghana, and I was too busy having a blast to be too concerned about the further injustice committed by my workplace against me, because the injustice was committed the day I was leaving the country. Fortunately (for everyone involved) the injustice was corrected before I came back to Ghana and way before I had finished having a blast to have the time to think about it. So, I totally enjoyed the unplanned long leave I was obligated to go on, I watched movies, upgraded myself and took a trip outside Ghana. Before I get off the subject, I should add that I took the first post off because I wanted to. No one asked me to take it off (it is after all my space). I chose to take it off myself. Like I said earlier, I believe in second chances and letting go.

What I really don't get and find terribly strange is I'm sure the big wigs had their reasons for the decision they took. Sad thing is they forget that when they go for their big wigs meetings, all those present (though they are the big wigs) are human, and humans like to talk. These human big wigs leave their big wigs meeting, and some of them talk to other humans who talk to other humans and then eventually, whatever it is gets back to the person (in this case me). Mine is, if you feel I have done something wrong to necessitate any injustice (as I would call it) against me, why not call me to order? Why not make it known? Why not give me the chance to accept or deny and then you take your action against me? Sad thing is something I was supposed to have said (heard this from one of the humans who spoke to a human that was spoken to by one of the big wigs) in a so called open forum was used against me. Why then do big wigs in companies try to blind the eyes of common floor members by organising open forums so common floor members can air their views and share their concerns, only to use what they say against them? What really is the point?

I'm back at work, the injustice was corrected before I resumed and all seems to be right with this world I find myself living in. Right now, I find myself almost doing what I went to school to study (which really would make sense since I was just about the best in my class). Now, I was going to continue on that train of thought, but before I go on, I should add that, I first should have started by thanking God. I did start off with a little rant, but I do know and accept that all that I am, all that I have is by the grace of God and I know that God would never have let me go through anything that His grace would not have seen me through. Thank you Almighty Father. For those that do not believe in God, well, you got no idea what you are missing out on. I am one of the living testimonies of what God can do. I repeat, I am just one (believe you me, there are many of us). Now, I will continue boasting (as someone put it). I know I was one of the best in my class because I was the only one selected (by merit) to go study abroad by none other than Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo (she was the Ag. Director of the School of Communication Studies when I was a student there). I say boast because after my post When I Was A Celebrity, someone pointed out to me on BBM that I was boasting in that whole piece because not once did I mention God and that He made it possible for all that to happen. Trust me, no one knows better than I do just how much God made it possible. I did not say everything in that post and I haven't even said half of it here. Granted, I did not thank God in the post so after this person drew my attention to it, I edited the post and I did. Now, in drawing my attention to this erroneous error, this person goes on to send me a nice text about what God did to the Babylonians who believed in themselves too much and how people of today are no different from the ancient Babylonians because most of us worship idols (our selves). I really am not sure just how my posts come across. Mostly, I try to be funny and look at the lighter side of things. It really has never been my intention to self worship over here and if I have given anyone that impression, I sincerely apologise because I have so misled you. I am not an idol worshiper and I do not worship myself. But, for more on my idolatry (self worship) see My Big Day and Yipee! It's My Birthday! Look at Me...

I should add that this person who feels I was worshiping myself in my blog post sent me this nice text via WhatsApp. Anyone who knows how this application works knows to send a message to someone on WhatsApp, you'll need that person's phone number. I never gave my phone number to this person, I usually just chat with them on BBM. This person I should add is male and I (if you haven't already figured it out) am female. This person obviously dubiously obtained my phone number and prior to this Babylonian message had said "hi" to me without identifying himself. Dubiously because this person refuses to say how he got my number. Now, this person turns around trying to appear, I repeat trying to appear all Godly, SMH! Why do people try to make being a Christian so difficult and unappealing to others? Because I am a Christian I shouldn't write funny blog posts? Because I am a Christian I guess I should dress and walk differently too, right? I'm sure if this person saw me all dressed up walking down the street they would pull me into one corner in the name of exorcising demons out of me, and only God knows what they really would do. People, let's stop being pretenders. If you just found Jesus, praise the Lord for you (I have had Him all my life). But really, condemning others just so you can feel better about yourself?
While on the subject, to be clear on one thing, there are so many different kinds of blogs. People have Christian blogs, celebrity news (gossip) blogs and I'm sure there are some on Islam (not seen any yet). If you, Mr. Person, feel so strongly about the subject, feel free to start a blog on modern day idolatry (self worship) and ancient Babylonians.

Like I was saying, I'm back at work, doing what I know I've been trained to do and am extremely good at, and I thank God.

To all my haters, I say IN YOUR FACE! and GOD BLESS YOU! but change your life (phrase borrowed from Ms Naa of YFM). To those of you haters that don't believe in God, well, aside you not knowing what you missing out on (look what you tried to do to me and see what happened), still IN YOUR FACE! and GOD BLESS YOU! change your life and just maybe I might mess up myself (you know that will never happen, right. God won't allow it) and then the bad stuff you been planning will happen to me without you lifting a finger.

Interesting thing is since I got back to work, no one has said anything to me (y'all could have at least attempted an apology) neither have I said anything to anyone. Like I said, I like to let go. Someone asked me at work two weeks ago why I'm always smiling especially at the people that were trying to bring me down, and I was like, well, I don't want to end up all wrinkled and shriveled up like them. Besides, anyone who knows me knows I've always loved to smile, regardless.

I did want to get to my next post today, but I'm doubting it. Speaking my mind has resulted in me writing a semi demi PhD thesis (was trying to so totally avoid that). So, I will get to the injustice that is (or was depending on how things are going right now) being meted out to Ghanaians (and other foreign nationals in Ghana) by a department store (I'm guessing that's what it is) in Accra.

I know I'm totally getting some backlash for this lengthy post, but let me end with some food for thought. "If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner" - Nelson Mandela (1918-2013).

I Am Because We Are - Ubuntu

The story is told of an anthropologist who proposed a game to some South African tribal children. He placed a basket of sweets near a tree...