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Don’t blame the media for your lack of knowledge

I tweeted about this post’s title this morning after reading an incredibly accurate and concise piece on blaming the media for our lack of knowledge.

I couldn’t have agreed with it more.

Since the awful terrorist attacks that shook Paris on Friday November 13th, I have read so many stories, comments, tweets etc about it that I didn’t feel I could contribute much further to the discussion. I didn’t particularly want to when comments about the attacks quickly turned into attacking anyone who showed any compassion for the lives that had been lost. If you added the French flag filter over your profile picture to show solidarity with French people then you acted on par with a corporate white supremacist. If you hadn’t tweeted about the Beirut suicide bombs the day before you tweeted about the Paris attacks then you were a hypocrite and a selective griever. God forbid you dared urge people to #PrayForParis…
I get it. There’s definitely a need to challenge the narrative presented to us by the media. The Delhi-based blogger Karuna Ezara Parikh beautifully reminded us to pray for the world and we should sympathise with innocent lives lost irrespective of their colour, ethnicity, beliefs or religion. Who should do all of this? The media? Ideally. But in the meantime, it’s our job to do so.

There is information everywhere but it’s up to us to decide how much of it we want to read and the measure in which we want to analyse it. I was amazed when I saw people on Facebook posting stories about the Kenya school massacre that took place in April. Apparently the story demonstrates that African lives don’t matter because of the lack of media coverage. This horrible attack happened while I was in Nigeria and was widely reported here but it was also widely covered by international news outlets at the time. If you just learned about what happened in Garissa University College don’t blame the media, blame yourself.

When I found out I was one of the Good Morning Nigeria anchors I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Eavesdrop on any heated discussion from a group of security people, bus commuters, television anchors or just about anyone in Nigeria with a heart-beat and you’ll likely hear them discussing a political issue. I’m tasked to be an expert in the field of politics. I may love politics but it’s not easy dissecting stories for people who already know the background of much of what I dissect. If I solely relied on the BBC, CNN or Facebook posts to tell me what was going on with the pro-Biafra protests in Abia State or the fuel scarcity crisis we are plagued with or how likely it is that APC’s promise of a N5,000 unemployment benefit for Nigerian youths would be fulfilled, I would be mute for most of our show. I find out about what’s happening in Nigeria not just because it’s my job to but because I want to know.

Likewise, with the Beirut bomb-blasts that took place a day before the Paris attacks, if you didn’t know about it, it’s because you didn’t watch/listen/read the news that day or you didn’t pay attention when you saw the headline or because you simply didn’t really care. I say this because of the tweet below and all the other similar tweets/comments/stories/poems I read — it’s untrue. What happened to fact-checking?

This was retweeted more than 50,000 times despite the fact major news outlets reported the Beirut bomb blasts.

This was retweeted more than 50,000 times despite the fact international news outlets did report on the Beirut bomb blasts.

There is another reason the bomb-blasts in Beirut may not have struck a chord as much as the Paris attacks and it’s the same reason I can at times skim through a story about a bomb-blast in Nigeria — we’ve become desensitised to suffering when it’s in places the media routinely reports on. I’d likely pay more attention to stories about bomb-blasts in Nigeria if I saw it happening in Lagos where I live rather than Maiduguri that is unfortunately frequently bombed…This is wrong but it’s true.

We no longer have to wait for the media to tell us what’s going on. There are citizen journalists out there that even influential media outlets rely on to know what’s going on in the world. If you want to know what’s going on in Africa or anywhere else outside of the West then look for the information. Ask a cab driver, follow analysts on twitter, download a history book for context and then share what you find out with the rest of us. The ball as they say is in your court.

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Pants on the Ground

A town in Florida recently banned people from wearing trousers like idiots. It’s extremely pathetic that adults have to be threatened with punishment to stop “sagging their pants,” but unfortunately we are all sharing the world with morons. I even feel ridiculous typing the words sagging and rileypants because they sound so American. It is however a global issue. In every country I’ve visited and lived in I’ve seen human forms of Riley Freeman — Men and women who just can’t stop wearing their trousers low enough for me to know how often they change their underwear.

Citizens of Ocala, Florida are no longer to wear trousers that sag two inches below their waist on city property. First-time offenders will receive a warning; multiple-offenders could face up to six months in prison and a $500 fine. I’m sure lots of people think of young black boys like Riley being the main culprits but what about all the builders, maintenance workers and everyone else that seem to always bend over while working? For the love of God, can we not just throw them all in jail as well?

As much as I don’t regard myself a member of the fashion police, is it Bums up 31outrageous that I’m disgusted when someone’s butt is hanging out in my face?

I understand that saggy pants bring up more important issues than personal taste. For instance, the American Civil Liberties Union have pointed to the potential for racial profiling. Well, if everyone pulls their damn trousers up, no one will face a fine or prison if they don’t. Simple.

The power to legislate dress code is already used across America to ban public nudity, so is it really that big of a deal to ban the display of underwear?

So what will be banned next? Perhaps cleavage? What about 4 inch heels? I’ve heard these kind of arguments before relating to this issue and I’ve asked myself the same thing.

But what if sagging your pants was bad for your health? Would that make some of you reading that are against the ban change your mind?

Watch family physician and sex specialist Dr. Rachael Ross (the pretty doctor on The Doctors) explain the dangers behind sagging pants:

Abegi, (as we say here in Nigeria), do you need any more convincing?! Sagging your pants can lead to you struggling to have an erection and can damage nerves in your legs. Ladies and gentlemen, please pull up your trousers — for your own good.

Do you know what you’ll look like if you don’t? Watch my hero of the day explain below.

How to Make New Friends

A few days before I relocated to Nigeria, I wrote a blog post about the fears I had about moving to a new country. I focused more on my fear of demons, (blame Nollywood), but another fear I didn’t really discuss deeply was my disastrous ability of making new friends.

Yes, for as long as I can remember, I’ve always had this issue. Despite my choice of career, I am naturally shy and a terribly, annoying, complicated, introvert. First-days are always dreaded days as I picture having to introduce myself and maintain eye-contact, an acceptable level of laughter, witty comments…blah, blah, blah — nightmare. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t like meeting new people, I just find it quite tasking trying to impress people with my being. That’s in essence what you’re doing when you meet new people — convincing them that you’re worth their time.

simpson

Acting as my own personal sales person has made me go through life dreading every new school and job I move to. I’m sure most of you have as well but you probably don’t feel as nervous as I do during these moments. Some of you may even enjoy the idea of making new friends/associates. Unlike any other time in my life, moving first to New York and then to Nigeria, meant that I didn’t have my old friends as a safety-net if making new friends proved too challenging. Now that I have moved to Nigeria, got my dream-job and apartment, it seems I am here to stay. Its recently become incredibly clear to me that despite my amazing boyfriend and the time, shoulder, ears and arms he lends me with ease, I need friends.

There’s no shame in it. Making friends after university is a female dog. Making friends when you’ve moved to a new country….well, it’s not for the faint hearted.

I’ve had amazing conversations in the past few days that inspired me to put this post together. The conversations were all so insightful that I decided I should share them here.

Conversation 1 — I was told after complaining it was so hard to make friends in Nigeria, that I was in fact to blame for my lack of pals. Apparently, my tolerance level for new people is rather low and not compliant with the amount of tolerance needed when meeting new people. I got defensive about that critique but soon realised there was truth in what I was told. When I meet new people and we have misunderstandings or the person does something that really grinds my gears, I easily tell myself, “ergh — to the left, to the left.” I’m too quick to forget that the friends I have back at home in London didn’t become my friends overnight. We’ve spent years getting to know each other, annoy each other, forgive each other and most importantly, love each other. The new people I’m meeting and being so quick to write-off haven’t had the chance to really know who Eno is. I haven’t had the chance to know them either…

Conversation 2 — A bible was brought out folks. There’s no bigger killer while lloyd_christmastrying to defend yourself than a person armed with this holy book. The topic of discussion was forgiveness. Apparently, another cause of my friend deficit in Nigeria is the fact that I have harboured grudges against people I class as having the same mindset as Lloyd Christmas. It’s not that I’m easily offended, it’s just that I have pet-hates — rudeness and ignorance. Once I’ve marked you mentally as offenders of my pet-hates, it becomes apparent that the marker I used was permanent.

Having the reminder that unforgiveness is poisonous was definitely an unwelcome reminder. Here are the verses I was shown:

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31, 32 KJV).

I know all of this though. I’ve heard it a million times but knowledge of something as opposed to putting it into practice is two very different things. Forgiveness takes humility and although I consider myself to be rather humble in most situations, having enough humility to forgive someone after they have offended me seems to be something I’m struggling with. When I meet someone and they annoy me, I find it easy to decide that the person and I are just two very different people that probably won’t be able to get along. This way of thinking will leave you without friends not only in a new country but wherever you find yourself. Patience is essential when meeting new people. You have to decide to forgive and forget if you’re really serious about adding to your friend bank. If however the person is just a douche-bag then it’s still possible to forgive the person but obviously avoid making friends with someone who will add no value to your life.

This is what I find most difficult — forgiving and still being able to say hello to the person in question when I see them. The person I had the second conversation with that I mentioned earlier has instructed me to greet a person I no longer relate with at all. I seriously shudder at the thought of saying hello to the person — I’m likely to choke with all the humble pie I’ll have to force down my throat to be able to do this. I will eventually say hello and I’m sure this will help me in my new quest to become a more forgiving person. For now, I’m just trying not to roll my eyes when I see the twit lady.

Conversation 3 — I was told by someone about a friend of his that is having a hard time making friends in her new office because in her opinion she is being misunderstood. People at work have begun murmuring about her attitude and have concluded she is a snob. She has decided that the best way to sort out this misconception about her character is to further seclude herself from people who are in her opinion too judgmental and too difficult to be friends with. I feel her pain because I’ve had the same things said and thought about me for much of my adult life.

A few months ago I went out to cover a story with a colleague. After an awesome day, she told me that she used to not like me. Surprised, since I had never really spoken much to her, I asked why and she told me that she thought I just kept to myself and wasn’t interested in getting to know people. It was good to hear because I’ve always resolved to do just what the lady I have talked about wants to do. I pull further away from people who misunderstand me instead of opening up my heart and allowing them to get to know who the real Eno is. The result of distancing yourself from people who misunderstand your character is the same people further misunderstanding you…duh!

So, my three conversations have made me conclude that in order for me to make new friends in Nigeria, I need to:

1. Increase my tolerance level
2. Be more forgiving
3. Stop secluding myself from new folk

I’ve been putting all three of these points into practice at work and I’ve been taken aback by the difference its made. My life feels less stressful – I say life because let’s face it, most of our lives are spent at work so if we’re not happy at work, it’s likely we’re generally not happy at all wherever we are. I’m opening up and enjoying the changes. Give it a go if you’re an annoying introvert like I am and I guarantee you’ll be a happier person.

Disclaimer

There is no guarantee these steps will work for you.

I’ve missed you!

Wow, it has been so long since I last shared anything with you here! I haven’t been sitting around twiddling my thumbs — I’ve been very busy getting another blog up and running for you folks. I’ve teamed up with an old classmate from the London School of Economics to create Yveno and I’m so excited about it.

Although I will not be closing this blog down, I will not be posting regularly as I will be focusing most of my attention to Yveno.com. I’ve loved all of your comments and feedback so I would hate to see you stop communicating with me, but you don’t have to! Please subscribe to Yveno.com and keep the comments coming.

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*Screams*

I am so excited to welcome you to Isee.Iwrite.Ishare. I hope I’ll be able to get to know you all as I share my thoughts and opinions about topics that are most likely to be related to politics, business, christianity, pop culture and a bit of everything else on the side!

If you’re reading this, no doubt you received an email/tweet/fbk message from me asking you to do so. *Big hug* Tell a friend to tell a friend if you begin to like what you see….

Until I share again….*kisses*