What does Harvard, Stanford and some Indian schools have in common I ask. Cheating by students during examinations if the news reports are to be believed since every now and then we read x-amount of students is suspended. We are not saved from this public disgrace in this country either. We read of the same thing in our schools and it may even be true. Certainly I know of at least one practising attorney who got his LLB degree (called JD in America) by bribing a lecturer (still giving classes and still not exceedingly bright) with a pound or two biltong (in American knowns as beef jerky).
You have to wonder how far the world has gone to pieces when an educated man is willing to risk anything never mind his reputation for a few dollars' worth of biltong. It comes down to dishonesty and we find it everywhere and anywhere and in ways you may not have thought of before. For instance the men who just have to drive at top speed or far above the national speed limit because of what? I don't know really because every modern car which is not my mom's Chevrolet Spark is capable of reaching high speeds. It is really no big deal and it does not increase the size of your manhood to do so. Perhaps if you ate less and are less fat everything will work as God designed it to do and then you have no need to prove yourself with your right foot (I was tempted to say right hand, blah).
Speed kills. We all know that and have heard it so many times. Still, I guarantee you, in the coming Easter Weekend many will die because they are inherently dishonest as dishonest people will always break the law. They will not abide by the rules. They will drink and drive and they will tow their overloaded trailers at speeds the trailer tires were never designed to reach and they will be speeding recklessly past everyone else not even saying thank you when you let them go past just to get rid of them. And then when stopped by the few traffic policemen on duty they will lie and say they had to go to the airport or that they have to visit the toilet or whatever lie they can think out at the spur of the moment. It is never their fault.
Why are we so easy convinced we are entitled to paraphernalia which we have no real need for? Do you know what it the first thing a newly created millionaire buys? I read a study the other day which was insightful. They say the lucky idiot buys first a fancy car and then a big screen television and then designer clothes. Now fair enough in this place you need a car and you have to have one to transport the big screen television and designer clothes. How else must you get it home? I get that. Go and buy a car and drive in the speed limit and Bob is your uncle.
A big screen television set with full surround sound? Well debatable but fair enough, if you don't really go out and it gives you pleasure then why not. Of course, seeing our fat politicians that big is frightening. I am sure it will frighten the kids but then big screen television people seldom watches news on it so it will be sport, soccer, cricket and rugby with the nerds watching tennis. Since I never watch rugby if I can help it and tennis only at Wimbledon and then only women tennis as the smash & serve variety from the men is crap I suppose only cricket is left. But with cricket you always fear they will choke again and that spoils it for me. You know you are on to a hiding for nothing. Soccer doesn't even feature to me. It is a sport I have never understood and have zero interest in. I would not even be able to tell you single famous player though I have hear of Maradona because of drug issues he had but that is it. To me soccer is a bunch of crazed moms running up and down the field hurling insults at everyone and seems to be proud of that for reasons I don't get. Oh yes and then the soccer hooligans and racists getting drunk and trying to act tough. That I don't get either but then I am middle-aged and probably too set in my ways to be bothered. However, studies also shown most newly rich goes out to get drunk and laid and are seldom home to enjoy the television set. So why bother?
Ah the designer clothes. What a total waste of money to buy a brand name for no other reason than the brand name. How low must your self-esteem be if a pair of jeans from Pepstores does not do it for you? Do you think you fat ass is going to look better in a more expensive brand? It won't. What is the purpose of clothing? To cover your nakedness and give protection against the elements or to show the world you managed to steal a couple of million in a tender fraud? I don't get it and smiled cynically when I read an independent (it never is) test revealed that designer sunglasses are no better than the cheapies sold on the street. So imagine spending hundreds if not thousands on those brand name sunglasses and you benefited what? Nothing, you just proved to the dishonest salesman you are a fool easily parted with your money. It is funny.
Now all the above can still be good but not when you repeat the cycle all the time to a degree, if you want to play with words, where it becomes a stupid habit. It is proven time and time again that we have too much clothes, too many shoes and way too much crap. Half the women in Pommyland, that is the UK for you, will not even wear some of the clothes they bought. You don't need to be newly created millionaire to waste you money. Most people will live in debt and be slaves of the banksters for the rest of their lives. I wanted to say miserable lives because I don't want that kind of stress where you have to bully your clients for money every month so that your habit can be serviced. Nope, rather have less and be happy is my motto.
I will not pay a professor to obtain a degree either, not even a pound of biltong. Why not? I don't need to. I am smart enough to get the degree on my own and I did. I just had to use my brain which my Lord gave me for free. I don't need to drive at 150 miles per hour either. Why not? I have done so many times in Flying Squad to save lives. Now I own a decent wristwatch and the ability to plan my appointments. I leave early enough and do not have self-esteem problems to compensate for. Everything works well on me, no need to compensate with my right foot or hand for that matter. And the lack of designer clothes in my cupboard? Well, they don't come in my size and I would rather have money in the bank where the banksters owe me money. Hence I am in control and they beg me for investments and to make debt. I like my way more. Their constant begging is vastly amusing and entertaining, it makes up for the lack of the big screen television too. Enjoy your week.
Every day we read of spouse abuse in the newspapers. I say spouse because these days it may be men also and not only the poor woman slaving away barefoot in the kitchen. In my time I have often dealt with it, first as a policeman and then as an attorney. Through the years I noted a few things which I want to share with you.
Firstly such action, abuse, cannot be done out of love or ever be condoned. Love plays no part in this and it is plain old cruelty between people who do not love each other anymore. It is logical to everyone except the parties involved that whatever love they once had is now gone forever. I say to you that probably the worst insult a woman can give to her man is to say "she is scared of him." You also have to wonder how they reached the stage where abuse take place and there are many types of abuse...it is not only physical. It may be money (withheld), snotty remarks, a lack of respect, drunk & loutish behaviour etc.
Some smart Alecs will tell you, seriously, that physical abuse is deserved at times. It is not. You are an idiot to say so. Oh yes, and it is easier to recover from as mental abuse. They are ridiculously wrong. Abuse is abuse and so it is. It does not matter really which form it takes. We live in a world where no one cares. You probably know about the shouts and arguments next door but you keep quiet. You probably noticed something wrong with the kid playing with yours and you keep quiet. I think that one day, when you stand in final judgement, you will regret that silence. And then you enjoy or associate by watching movies which portray violence against women and think it is cool. Hear my words, it is not. Fifty Shades of Filth for instance is not cool and not a normal life style either. It is crap which does not belong in a happy marriage.
It is thought-provoking to me how perceptions have changed for the worst in the last five years. These days you can open any respectable (as far as newspapers can be) website and guess what you find under the "health" section? Yes, borderline pornographic articles on what sex position is the best and a long discussion on things which really don't need to be discussed in public. If you have a problem with such things you are "old fashioned" and "prude" and obviously a "sour middle aged fellow." Well you know what, I am sorry but I will never agree that a casual sexual encounter is the way to go. As far as I am concerned that type of thing belongs inside a marriage or serous relationship leading up to marriage. And I am right as I have seen the consequences of casual sex so many times.
I wonder how many times I dealt with divorces where the couple had to get married because of the casual encounter. This is another myth by the way. There is no need to get married just because a child is on the way and the law does not prescribe to such action anyway. You will have the same rights as a divorced couple regarding the child and these days there are no more "red letters" for pregnant single women. Still, your reputation as an "easy girl" will now be established and you will find it very hard to get another man to accept you and your child. You may even lower your standards in the end (don't) to get a man.
It is sad but even the law admits that a woman with children is much less a proposition than one without "baggage." Why? Some men like the idea of an instant family but most don't if they are honest and alone. They don't really get it that the woman comes with her kids and they will always be important to her. On the other hand, most men know that the path to a woman's heart is via her kids. If you get them to like you, bribery may be used; she will like you a lot more than normal. So they abuse this in relationships. Yes, they do. We may be devious but we are not necessarily stupid in the short run.
The position of the kids too is interesting. If you listen to my favourite preacher, Angus Buchan, or read his books, you will note he places God, his wife, his children and then whatever else in ranking order. Yes, above the children comes the husband. Unfortunately this seldom happens in real life. I have seen this many times during divorce cases. The husband is left out because boetie (Afrikaans, son) has to go to this or that and at the end of the day mom and dad grows apart because the kid is first. The husband feels so neglected that he responds to the pretty secretary (she may be anything, just an example) who actually notices when he says something. And then I find him in my office wanting a divorce.
I often say no man is worth any tears but perhaps I should say that tears don't belong in a loving relationship. I often speak about the two rules of love as set out in my short book Better Men. That is, (1) never do anything to hurt the other one and (2) always do what is needed to keep the other one happy. In every single divorce or abuse (they often go hand in hand) we see they broke one or both rules regularly. It is sad because it shows selfishness and a lack of understanding what love is. It cannot be love, because once you love your soul you cannot hurt her, it is not possible and unthinkable. It cannot happen and if both feel like that you have a great marriage. Love is much more than sex, another point often forgotten.
People call me a romantic. Perhaps I am though I would deny it up to a point. But when it comes to divorce I used to say "this is serious, go home, kiss and make up and come back later." I am sure this cost me many clients but these days I don't say that. I say "you are grownups, if it does not work, make an end and get divorced. Do not stay together for the sake of the children...that will damage them even more and something the older generations tried without success. Once alone, it is a new beginning. Go and find your soul, don't be bitter because that what you had was not your soul as your soul cannot hurt you. Hence, let us sign here and here and pay the money so you live again."
I say the above with a heavy heart. I would give anything and everything to have my wife with me. To honour and love her for the wonderful woman she was in life, to comply fully with our two rules of love and to enjoy her company and superb brain at all times and to see the love and respect in her green eyes. It is only when you lose a soul to death that you realise the sanctity of a good marriage or deep relationship (leading to marriage or it is a waste of time and shows a lack of commitment). Truly, your wife is a gift from God. Do not waste such a gift with abuse. And one last word of advice, once an abuser is always an abuser. He will not change, leave him. Such a man is not worth a single tear.
There is an old song, back in the eighties when I had hair and was much thinner (thank you to all the PT Instructors in the Police College and later at the Maleoskop Counter Insurgency Training Base) called It's Raining Again. Yeah by Supertramp and I am sure, have we known what they looked like in real life, the song would have been banned for that alone. Nevertheless, we liked the old song and it is stuck in my head now.
Quite a lot of songs were banned then as well as movies. The Beatles for instance came very very close being banned for saying they are more popular than God (they were not, not even close). The movie "Black Beauty" was banned since nothing black could ever be beautiful - the idiotic sensors apparently did not know it was based on a book about a horse. This became one of the most popular deriding jokes of the era though I am not sure it actually happened. But a lot of things were strange then. For instance, any relationship across the colour line was strictly forbidden by law and to be caught with a black girl was as much a disgrace as being gay. There are, after all, no such things in the animal world and the Bible very clear on gays in any case. Hence, millions of hours were spent chasing such "criminals" down.
Luckily, since 1994, the gays and mixed relationship individuals are left alone (sort off, corrective female rape still happens all the time) though it must be said, it is not common and frowned upon. Why I would not know. They don't bother me and I really don't believe my ass is pretty enough for any man to want to look at. I have no gay tendencies anyway and never will. Therefore I was astonished when a reader wrote to say my latest fiction book is almost a chick book with the two main characters hugging and crying quite often. Of course, this is said tongue in cheek before someone accuses me of stating that straight, middle age men cannot write love stories if they wish to do so.
I was startled though. Before my late wife burst on the scene I did not consider myself to be someone with much sensitivity or even emotions. For instance I don't even close my eyes when kissing and don't make animal noises at other times either. Why should I? I want to see what is happening behind her and in the dark, who cares? She is not wearing night vision to see what I my eyes are doing and if she asks I have to wonder how she knows. It is a rather brilliant system if you think about it (not according to her but anyway). Emotions are weaknesses in my world and to be ignored. I was wrong but then I am often wrong. Just ask my ex-wife. She will tell you in great detail about my failures in life but that is also expected. I am not perfect. No first attempt can be.
Someone asked me the other day if I would have a problem if my lad, now 11 years old, has gay tendencies (he does not, just saying). The answer is yes. I will have a problem from a religious viewpoint on gays but not as a man or legal scholar. In the end it is his life and not mine and for him to make his own choices and live with it. The same with a mixed relationship, if the girl is his soul and good for him, I don't care. That is the problem with souls by the way. You have no idea where she might be, what colour or what nationality. And believe me when I say this...there is nothing in this world able to keep souls apart. They will find each other and then there will be sparks. It is written.
As I sit here it is raining outside which a big deal in Africa. We don't have enough water, pure and simple. The water we have we often waste but that is another story. Fact remains, rain is a big deal and even poems are written of the raindrops dancing in the dust. I have experience on that subject. At school we learned poetry by heart to recite in front of the class much to our disgust and the delight of our enemies. And I remember when I lived in the Caprivi Zipveldt, you would see the rainstorms approaching from Zambia (another country) and then across the mighty Zambezi River which was at times, more than one mile across. You could actually see the water turn white as the raindrops hit it and then when halfway across you would run like hell for cover.
It was a strange place, the Caprivi. There were no stones in that area (still nothing today). No stones, just sand, wild snakes, wild crocodiles and wild hippopotamus. At school we could touch a stone one enterprising teacher had in his office. That is if you were under the top three students in the class which I obviously was. It was as big as a golf ball. I do remember the bastard (all teachers are sincerely disliked by me) would not allow us to throw it around or shoot it with our ketties (African, sling shot) at each other. No, we had to use marbles bought at great expense at the Portuguese oom (Afrikaans, uncle) who had the only shop in town until one night the terrorists blew it up. Because marbles were so expensive we never missed and soon upgraded to powerful pellet guns (we pumped them many times more than recommended) which we used with terrifying accuracy.
The place was an armed camp with many soldiers and policemen around hunting terrorists. Of the two we feared the policemen far more. They were older, harder and each had a vicious looking moustache (me too, later years when I enlisted). We knew they were the ones who had the kills and the most experience having served in the Rhodesian Bush War for a decade before the Army woke up. Not that the Army lads were not dangerous. Their driving skills (top speed) in Unimogs and Bedford trucks made my dad swore many times that they should never ever appear in his court as he has a legal presumption against them which would bode very ill for them. It took me another nine years to understand what he meant and I have to agree, they would have been found guilty without even hearing their story. But then, there was a strong conviction, wrongly, that speed will enable a vehicle to miss a landmine. Unless you are going at the speed of sound that may not work out but these lads tried their best. Strangely the policemen drove much more sedately with their old Hyena Armoured vehicles which were built on a Ford F250 chassis. They knew it would tip over if driven faster causing them much paperwork. This was before the Casspirs came on the scene and then nothing could stop them from upholding their nickname of a "Kalahari Ferrari." A name I intensely dislike by the way.
So my friends take the time to listen to the rain falling and take a sip of your coffee and be grateful for memories. That is what life is about, memories, either to make them or to remember them. Life is too short for nonsense.
Koos Kotze is a former member of the South African Police Force. He served between 1985 and 1991 primarily as a sergeant in the Pretoria Flying Squad. During his police years, he was awarded the South African Police Medal for Combating Terrorism twice besides lesser awards. After leaving the Police Force he obtained the law degrees B Iuris & LLB at the University of the Free State (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and was a commercial law attorney for eight years. These days he is the owner of JKLS Africa and Associates, a specialist legal consultancy which specializes in reducing legal risk in sub Saharan Africa. He wrote several books on business, law, counter-terrorism and security issues. At times he is asked to participate on the Voice of America regarding legal forensic matters.