- Published on Saturday, 30 June 2012 02:44
- Written by Lusuga Kironde
- Hits: 634
The last time we communicated in these columns, we were in the city of Philadelphia in the state of Pennsylvania in the United States. The journey back home was uneventful but it provided an opportunity to reflect on a number of things.
This huge plane, an Airbus, carrying 500 people, is certainly a wonder. How can this heavy machine and its load of human beings and cargo fly so smoothly for over 12 hours non-stop from New York to Dubai? Shouldn’t human beings feel great for such inventions? Shouldn’t the huge developments in science and technology be a rallying point to unite all of us?
Yet it is the opposite that is happening. Human beings find it sensible to fight each other, harm each other and indeed kill each other, on trivialities instead of feeling proud of all the achievements they have realised - like in air travel. Long live science!We have developed a belief that our young generation are “aping” the Americans. This is possibly exaggerated. In terms of dressing, almost every young woman puts on the shortest of the shortest of shorts and nobody is excited about it. Everybody is used to it. There is no longer the excitement one would expect. Nobody turns heads, gaping, which is illegal anyway.
On the other hand city orderliness and cleanliness makes one wonder whether we, who live in cities like Dar es Salaam where chaos reigns great, have the same grey matter, as those who run the cities like Philadelphia. The City is planned into blocks, bounded by grid-patterned street. Streets in one direction are numbered, from 1st street to nth street (was this copied from Tanga?). Streets in the other directions are named. At the intersection of major streets is a bus stop. So it is relatively easy to give one, directions, by giving the number and name of the streets.
Public transport is exciting. The buses are clean and keep time and passengers board in an orderly manner, paying willingly to a machine under the watchful eye of the driver. If only we could “ape” this! The open spaces are there, well kept and open to the public to enjoy themselves. There is nobody however big, eyeing public open spaces for private construction. Nobody feels entitled to take over open spaces for petty trading or for blasting the public with noise. You are impressed by seeing people from all corners of the world going about their living, peacefully. This is a truly international society.
Because the city is well planned there are many areas where one can engage in physical exercise. Hundreds of people can be seen jogging in one direction or the other. Really enjoyable. Nevertheless, obesity is a problem. A good number of Americans are huge, really huge. Public authorities are trying to fight obesity which is suspected to be a result of the kind of food that people eat.
We can write a lot about quick impressions of the American society, but let us turn to our mandate in this column: language. Americans have a way of speaking that needs getting used two. There many cases where “o” is pronounced “a”, such as “lobby” (pronounced “laabi”); stock (“stak”); “bond” (“band”), and so on.
Many times too, “ty” is pronounced “lly”. Examples include “annuity” (pronounced “annuilly); “eighty” (“eilly”); “later” (“leila”); “Haiti” (“heili”); “pattern” (“paarren”); “internet” (“innaneh”); “obesity” (“obesilly”); “collateral” (“collarreral”), “bottom” (baarram); “fundamental” (“fannamenno”); “facility” (“facililli”); and so on.
In advertising you find or hear a lot of the figure “99.99 only” (pronounced: “neini naini neini naini”). This is supposed to make you believe that you are not paying $100 dollars, which you are for practical purposes doing, by paying $99.99. The one dollar bill is valuable in this society and you still have one cent currency denominations.
Football lovers may need to realise that “football” in the American sense is not “football” in the Tanzanian sense. It means “American Football”. Instead, our “football” is referred to as “soccer” (pronounced “saka” of course). If you order for food be careful. Should you require “chips”, you will not get our “chips”. Instead you will get “crisps”. If you seriously want “chips” (“dume” or otherwise”) you should order for “fries” (not “flies” please), or, better still: “french fries”.
Back in Dar and back to business, that is, land issues. The government wants to attract businessmen to invest in agriculture, so here I am reading as many documents on land and agribusiness as possible. This sentence, in one of these documents made my day: “Investors are eyeing “idol” land, which they see as a valuable “assert”. There is belief that there is land that is not being used. It is not “idol” land, but “idle” land. Land is an “asset” not an “assert”. Bye for now.