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As normal as can be

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The other day, my friends really remonstrated hysterically against my modest opinion of cars. My raw take has been, and will always be, that the toy cars we drive around town are a symbol of our pathetic economic state. I am talking of the likes of Vitz, Starlet, Cube, March, Probox, Opa, Alto and any other box car that comes to your mind.

The argument my friends presented were so shallow. Most of them believed it was a direct insult to their grand achievement of finally owning something to take them from one point to the other. The rawest even thought I do not have any right to talk about vehicles simply because I do not own one. Boy, you should have read the religious defence people gave about their owning these small cars.

Sadly, most people do not want to accept that their ownership of these small cars is a matter of economy. Those who are honest enough will tell you that before buying their car, they had to enquire about fuel consumption and what have you. Finances allowing, all of us would love to drive flashy vehicles and live in the most expensive houses. But our bank accounts just can’t allow it. Instead we are forced to accept that Vitz and other toy cars are the best we can have.

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Talk of accepting less then I will tell you about our psychological makeup as a nation. Most of us Malawians are satisfied with very basic things. We do not hunger for more. Our standards are far too low such that you are regarded as a troublemaker if you ask for more.

Let me give you an example. Four weeks ago, the Malawi National Football

Team played against an out-of-sorts Swaziland National Team. Being an affair of idiots as it were, I was not surprised that the Flames chocked out a 1-0 victory. Reading through most analyses, you can easily believe that the Flames played some decent football. But it was the same old kick and rush, hoof and miss. Just after the match, everyone was up and noisy that we should employ Nsazurwimo Ramadham as coach for the Flames. Just because the Flames beat a jittery Swaziland team in that academic match everyone thinks Ramadhan is the best for the job. Well, I don’t mind him taking up the job. But what I am shocked with is the belief that a victory against Swaziland is enough qualification for the top most football job on the land.

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All this speaks so much about our national mindset. For us everything goes. The other day I got some flak from people when I opined that we have had cartoons stumbling onto the presidency. Most, if not all, have been bumblebees that have brought us nothing to be proud of. But you will be shocked that they are still revered like some demigods.

As a nation, we need to stand up and honestly call things by their names. We will not move an inch if we still refuse to be told the truth. That we are such a damned nation is the ugly truth we must be told unequivocally. Think of this, we manage to go all day without electricity and nobody gives a hoot about it. We can go five days without water and still nobody complains. We are, as someone rightly put it, a nation of clowns that are generously willing to parade their folly and accept their status of lawlessness.

If we were a serious country we should be very ashamed of ourselves. We should start looking at ourselves and accept that we are the very reason this country is the poorest in the world. We just do not want to be serious. We get unnecessarily angry when we are reminded that we are very backward as a country.

I often ask myself if we are good at anything else. We fail in sports, our universities are lowly ranked, our economy is in tatters, our politicians are a bunch of lousy jokers and the list is too long to finish.

The other day, one barman told me seriously that we need to auction this country because we have all failed to manage it. I agreed fully. According to his thinking, everything about us is misplaced. Only a saviour from elsewhere will bail us out of this misery. Raw as this statement can be, the truth remains that we are a pathetic nation that does not demand anything better. We accept even the most basic of things.

Now, I am sure you have read up to this level and for the sharpest they have noticed the inconsistencies in some of the things I have said. But for the rest it is just as normal.

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