Monday, 23 February 2009

The Death of the Gentleman....

I believe it is prudent to begin today's entry by acknowledging the seven day gap created by my lack of blogging activity. Basically, I was on enforced leave, to celebrate the fact that I had successfully completed another year on earth. Friday the 20th was my birthday and unlike during other years, I was compelled to say my thanks and reluctantly take a, there we are.

Of course, even though my keyboard was on sabbatical, my brain wasn't and at least 10% of my celebral activity has been quietly spent trying to understand a phenomenon I have repeatedly witnessed in modern-day Nigeria. Unfortunately, I couldn't comment on whether this trend afflicts other countries within our challenged continent, as my travel from the Cape to Cairo is shamefully limited! But as someone who grew up in the continent's most populous country, I can rant all day and all night, when I observe any aberrations in our social fabric.

So people, tell me, am I the only one who has witnessed the lack of etiquette amongst the so called middle-class in Nigeria? I isolate this group because like in most countries around the world, they are responsible for guiding the masses in social nuance and ultimately occupy the jobs in the civil service, which in Nigeria's case, is the Banking industry. It is really eye-opening going to the average financial institution in our major cities and coming across the suited and booted custodians of our monetary systems, who on their best day cannot muster the necessary decorum to conduct a sinple transaction over the counter. In some cases, it even gets worse when you have an issue which has to be attended to by senior management! And as you would expect when the centre fails, the whole society begins to replicate low standards.

An abiding memory of mine, was at one of the many eateries that decorate the surburb called Victoria Island. I had just finished some arduous negotiations with some business partners from Namibia, when we had the unfortunate experience of wanting to exit the establishment at the same time as some well dressed bank officials(their ties gave them away!) wanted to gain entry. Of course, the obligatory security personnel opened the door for us (the ladies in our entourage led), but it seemed the bankers had different ideas! Without trying to earn the irk of the whole industry, shall we just say; a scene developed where a lot of shoulder-barging and shoving took up the next minute or so. In the end, the ladies wisely stepped aside for the marauding band of five executives(?).

This, for the observing eye, is not an isolated incident. The general social behaviour along with our moral compass, has unfortunately spun out of control and all you have left are a skeletal minority, who deem it fit to acknowledge the necessity of simple manners. Correct me if you believe I am wrong, but isn't it still the case that we all men still came out of a woman? Granted we have our traditional beliefs and our agreed place for the fairer sex, but as long as we embrace Western systems and attire, we might as well stretch to certain values and convince the world that we know 'what time it is'.

I could go on and on, giving you a legion examples to justify the topic of my latest moan, but I feel a word is always enough for the wise....this is my story....what is yours?

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