Friday, October 06, 2006

UK Memoirs (stole the title, hehehe...)

I hate my school. I hate London. I hate the UK! And for a very simple reason too. Why should I love the place when God hates it? Now, answer this question: if God likes this place, then why did he install a freezer as the weather regulator? Jaizuz! It is terrible, and everyone says the same bullshit: wait until December before you start complaining! What the fuck! A month and half ago I was enjoying the blessed sun! Now I know that I will never in my life complain about Naija weather again. Yesterday, two undergraduate girls (pretty girls I have to add) were strutting around school half naked because the Sun was out! I looked up to the sky and saw one very bright thing (that is the annoying part) that was not giving off any heat whatsoever. There they were in virtual bikinis (until it started raining then they covered up), while there I was all wrapped up in 2 shirts and a cardigan, taking hot tea and pitying them. They've obviously never had the priviledge of seeing the Sun before. Now I understand why every Brit I ever worked with (starting from Flour Mills to Itex) was never too eager to return to this island. One thing I can guarantee you is that if Naija was repaired today and all the services were up and running smoothly, security assured, and all the gbo-gboe, Naija peeps here would flood back in their millions, while our embassy would close down because of the crowd that would beseige the place. Obj and Atiku, over to you...

Now that I've gotten that bit off my chest, lets talk something else...

I've been here for a while, and I still can't find my way around the bleeding buses. I prefer the trains because at least they take me close to where I'm going and then I can trek to my destination. People here dey trek sha. At least my guys in Abuja wey Uncle Nasiru don ban okada for una, make una take heart say I dey with una. Also if anyone in the British Transport Authority is reading this, I know a lot of agile and idle young men in Ajah who wouldn't mind being conductors here, you guys need 'em. I finally met C0dec a few days ago and we trekked about a mile because I was looking for a cheap place to buy winter clothes. The guy was like: 'let's enter a bus', while I was like: 'where are the conductors'. God, I never thought I'd miss Ojuelegba.

One of my funnest days here so far was the day some idiot parked in my uncle's parking space and we blocked the guy. It was so divine to see this guy all decked up, but no way to move his car (and there he had two negros speaking a funny language that he could not decipher). See, he had been parking in my uncle's space for 3 days without a care as to whose house it was, and my uncle trying to be civilized had said maybe he has a problem. I finally had to remind the man: o boy na Naija u from come o. Y u go dey let person dey oppress u like dat? Then my uncle saw the light. The guy never parked there again.

Speaking of trouble, I've had two chats with the police here (carry over from Naija? Looks like policemen love my face). The first one was one day I entered a surface train. See, I didn't know that Oyster cards don't go on surface trains, and they thought that I was trying to be smart. But eventually when they saw my passport and realised that I'm a newbie, they let me go. Who said that the Green kpali is worthless? One of them even took me home. The first clean police car I've ever been in, and I sat in the front seat! That is a real promotion from the back of a black maria back home. Anyways, that day I made up my mind: if I am ever to drive a car in Britain (their speed limits are too low for someone like me who loves 3rd Mainland Bridge on a Sunday), it would be a police car.

The second chat was when my former landlady (a Naija woman) tried to play a fast one on me. When she was advertising her wares (that is house for those of you with dirty minds) she had told me that the place was 15 minutes walk from school. I was like that's okay, and after inspection, I handed over a month's rent and a caution deposit that was equivalent of a month's rent. You see, I could see school at a bit of a distance from my window there. Imagine my disappointment when I found that it is not at all 15 minutes walk, but 62! You see, there are no koros here, so you have to walk along the road. All koro have been defined, so I couldn't just make a beeline through a designated park! Anyways, V (she works in my school, and we knew from UNIBEN) got me a place that though it is £15 a week more expansive, is actually 4 minutes away from school. I was contemplating the extra cost when my landlady Mrs.W, did something that made me decide to move. Maestro was coming over for the weekend from Abeerdeen, and being a well bred Naija boy, I did the polite thing and informed Mrs.W that my guy is coming over, and he will stay Friday, Saturday and Sunday. She calmly informed me that his visit would cost me £15 (£5 per day), and that we should not make noise, we should make sure we are home by 2100, we should... That day I called V and said:' can I move today?', and she was like: 'sure'. To avoid trouble, I told Mrs.W that I had gotten hostel accommodation as far back as January (she knows about my visa wahala), and that it had just been approved. She herself was like: 'my son, you can't abandon £4368' (that being the actual cost of hostel accommodation in my school for a year). 'No problems', I said. So I gave her my key, expecting to get my caution deposit back and half my rent since I stayed only two weeks. Na dere yawa gas. Gimme my bar, she come dey play me like say I be football for three days! Finally, I come gets call olopa dem, tell dem say if d madam no give me my rent, d stori no go funi. Well, I've gotten it back.

So, we have started intensive lectures, and about all my classmates have arrived, so I now know that there are 4 Nigerians in my class: A used to work with LNG, but decided that he wanted to finish his education, S is a Hausa boy who intends to get back to Naija in time for the 2007 election, while O is a UNIBEN product like me, who still behaves like he is in UNIBEN. He has attended only one lecture this week, and told me to sign attendance for him. Na wa o!

The Kenyan guy, F is the oldest fellow in the class, while B the Ghanaboy is still running his mouth. One thing that makes me laugh is that the Indians have imported their caste system here, and it seems to be based on skin colour, the fairer ones being of a higher caste (correct me if I'm wrong). VJ and C (guy and girl) are of a higher caste than all the other guys y'all saw in that picture I put up some time back, and they hardly say a word to them. Irony's that VJ seems to like F (Kenyan) and me (Naija). He always comes to hail us. But our skins are darker than S, J, R and S. The Polish guy, I has been in Britain for years now (not surprising, their weather there is worse than here), and speaks English like a Brit. Hell, today is Friday, so he will get drunk like they do every Friday. That drink thing is a topic for another day, but I know Larry from my days in UNIBEN would love it here. B is a Cypriot, and he is a cool, quiet fellow. As for the Chinese guys (four guys and a girl), they keep to themselves and all I hear when they are together is: 'kai hi chang kia shek', or something along those lines...

Something is bothering me though. The Western Europeans (or lack of) doing Masters programmes (and even Bachelors at that!). There aren't many, and Maestro tells me it is the same at RGU, Ij said it is the same at Nottingham, while Fide said same at Oxford. The question is this: if they are beginning to skenk school like Igbo boys in favour of making money (football and entertainment over here, spare parts for my people :D), what happens in 20 years. We can already see the effects beginning to appear, the 'plum' jobs are being taken over by Asians (dem plenty sha) and to a lesser extent Africans, and East Europeans. Effect: xenophobia is on the rise. That brings me to my next rant, racism.

Jeremy has an excellent post about white fear of blacks in their countries, and how it is funny that when same white is in Naija, he mixes freely with blacks. Well. that is their problem, the whites. My own rant is about black on black 'racism', specifically the Jamaicans (Jamos) and Africans, especially Naija people. E be like day dem dey fear us well well.

My first experience with racism was 20 years ago in Karolinska Institut in Stockholm when my dad was a visiting professor there. See, the white kids would come to our door and knock all day that they wanted to play with my sister and I, but the moment we came out, they'd all disappear. The one day I met one, he called me a wog. I didn't understand what that meant for another 4 years. Since then, I have been very concious of it especially whenever I was chanced to leave Naija for a holiday. The ugly thing reared itself up again when I got here: I enter a train, and I notice that the whiteys would hold their bags tighter like I'm about to snatch 'em. I always laugh. Anyways the first time I reacted to a racial slur was when it was directed at me from a Jamo.

One of those few occasions that I ventured to enter a bus, was from Norbury to Brixton. The driver was black. During the bus ride, my phone rang. It was my uncle, and naturally the conversation was in Igbo. You see, in the one month plus that I've been here, I've spoken more Igbo than in the last 3 years. Anyways, as I was getting to my busstop, I did what everyone does, I rang the bell (God I miss conductors). As I was preparing to alight, I heard from the front of the bus, the driver that is, with his Jamaican patwa in all its glory: 'Is that how you ring the bell in Africa?' Jaizuz! What rubbish. This can't go unpunished. So I responded: 'We don't have bells on buses in Nigeria, and it is that stupid ignorance that made my grandfather to sell your grandfather.'

My uncle says that having done that 'stupidity' in Brixton of all places, I am lucky to be alive...

Juve watch in the next edition, for now I'm off to class. Vayan con Dios...

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

chxta i read your experience,its quite interesting
but i strongly advise, the fear of BRIXTON,is the
beginning of wisdom
TRUE TALK:brixton is more rugged than AJ in
nigeria,its the only place in london,there is no rule
of law,gunns druggs,name it.

lordimpaq said...

hello cheta,

nice one, your uncle rightly said, u are lucky to be alive in brixton for that matter.

no be dere person enter mcdonalds shoot two people for queue, and a day later a polish girl stabbed and dumped in a church...guy na britain u dey but don't behave like them they r sick..

i can't wait to get home, two days ago at elephant and castle two guys were kissing in front me, it was disgusting...i felt like slappin both of em, but i had to mellow, this is not my town...

you r right this weather sucks..!! it rains intermittently and it is so unpredictable, i don't even know, like i was supposed to go out today but its raining....nothing sha..

Omon said...

Great read Chxta, like always couldnt help but go thru all your lines but will like to comment on only a few due to my horrible schedule.... .

On Europeans, yes there is a dearth, they are shrinking in population at alarming rates and thats the reason why all hand are on deck to improve birth rates. Also the lucky families that have children are faced with children dat dont want alota school work. Oah can explain better, its become a fierce source of agruements in Germany.... the free tuition in their universities. Currently the statistitcs show that there are more foreigners in the German universities than indigienes (some stats are as bad as 80:20 divide). German can figure out why they work, pay tax for foreigners to have free education and run to other parts of europe. Thats the simple truth why more multinationals are focusing on building talents in Africa, eastern europe and asia. the manpower shortage in Europe is inevitable. So keep on equiping urself

On Racism, believe me its a two-way street. Firstly check yourself, we in this part of the world are building up the racist tendency too for the whites. Yes it stems from our hatred of their racism. But remember " nothing justifies evil and two wrongs can never be right". Just becos ur neighbour is racist dont permit you to be one. You replied that way to the Jamo cos you already had a premonition that this guy can be racist and you didnt want to slip up on an opportunity to show that you couldnt be looked down upon. Hate always begets more hate!!! and thats why the world is in the shit we are now with huge levels of violence happening everyday.... ...Lets try and sow the LOVE seed always.

Hope you continue having a great stay, believe me man, the cold hasnt started..... ..europe is worse than a freezer

Anonymous said...

o boy u dey type o.

larry wey u yarn is it not ekpudu?

nosa101 said...

Never go to Brixton,please. And Jamaicans feel they are closer to white than we are. And finally dude, i could do with some of your weather here. Can't wait till I leave this bitch. And rocking 2 sweaters in fall is NOT cool.

nosa101 said...

And a friend of mine experienced that black on black thing in America. He was talking with a girl in school and some homeboys said she should watch her purse 'cause "he African"

Endi said...

Chxta, this is quite an epistle...but i read to the end sha.Interesting read.If only Baba Iyabo and Turaki would get to read this..i would be thrilled.Well, manage your life there, the weather is not all there is to life.Doubt that? Visit Port Harcourt at the height of a cult war.then you will know...U are on my blogroll.

easibor said...

Chxta,

The fact that I dont comment to every post that you make should not be misconstrued that i dont read and savour every single line...every single grammatical construction you write...!!! Smile one more time, cos i know you are right now ( every normal person,
naturally go smile..)... But I guess I will like to make one remark...

In one of your footnotes, you wrote, " Fight crime, shoot back"...while it is sometimes necessary to "shoot" back, remember that sometimes cowards go home after the war, everybody celeberates thier return, but
what they actually did at the war front was to lie down and feign death in the heat of the war, hoping that some hand grenade does not explode somewhere between that double lane road every man tries to
protect instinctively. ... and nobody is any more wiser than them of thier actions. Even the bible states categorically. .,"Wisdom is a defense"

Chxta, you be typical naija boy, try they use your church mind decide when to duck and when to rear your head and "shoot"...i guess we dont say it much but we
love u...

oah333 said...

Although it's almost 25 years after he returned from the UK, my dad still has dark stories to tell of how some Afro-Carribeans can be like when they are going crazy. In summary, when in Brixton, don't toy with your life because the body-bags aren't too far away.

Once again, even though it has become over-used, quit whining about the weather: summer is just ending. November cometh!

Anonymous said...

You're lucky to be in London because it doesn't get that cold up there. Come to Canada and experience winter temperatures of -14c, then you will not be able to complain. You'll be happy to be in London during winter. Well, hope you adjust in your new environment.

Onada said...

I love london! i guess i cant feel your pain cos i dont live there...but i've heard that brixton gist men....

Anonymous said...

u have issues. read o.

kululu said...

cheta nice read, just wanted to to say i enjoyed it...., but be careful you are not in nija.......

TRAE said...

You met C0dec...black on black violence...i mean meeting...nice.

As Omon said two wrongs don't make a right (i'll add mine: silence is golden). you loose nothing by always being polite and friendly.

we love you, get that knowledge in one piece.

c0dec said...

as per life in UK, dont worry, u'll get used to all the shit.
as per the job, those guys never decide yet.

ijebuman said...

LOL, you're gradually turning into a brit, moaning about the weather is a national pastime

nkechi said...

chetachukwu nwanze u will kill me

Dami said...

ol boy nice blog
u sure say u no get pneumonia*, how u go talk say this place cold? im still wear polo shirt guy man, just wear singlet under
as for brixton, nothing dey kpa, i wonder why people fear o
school is not for everybody thats why they all of them are not eager to go and furthermore if everyone got a degree like naija who will do the "minor jobs"- they still want to control their borders oh

Dami said...

cold ke? for this town we still dey summer o
every country have their own saga
if everybody get degree like naija who will do the "minor job"lover