Sunday, September 26, 2010

South Africans Put on Brave Face at Commonwealth Games, Still Cry Racism

The only good news is that India's poor preparation for the Commonwealth Games stands in stark contrast to the excellent show South Africa put on for the far more popular FIFA World Cup this year.

Related: SA Off to the Games


NEW DELHI: South Africa led the charge of the African nations against the shoddy Commonwealth Games preparations on Sunday. As the Delhi government carried out frantic clean-up operations in the Games Village, South Africa set the cat among the pigeons by saying a snake had been found in an athlete's room.

South Africa's high commissioner to India Harris Majeke told reporters a snake had been found in the room of an athlete at the Games Village. "That was really a threat to the lives of our athletes," he said, complaining of filth in the living quarters including basements of the buildings. "When everything is done, then we will ask our teams to come," he added.

The South African criticism is part of a larger grouse of the African nations against organisers of the Commonwealth Games. While the OC has been overly sensitive to the wishes of countries like the UK, Australia and Canada, the African countries found that they had been virtually ignored by the organisers.

The first site visit for the African countries to Games venues was arranged only this week. For months, said sources, African countries have been asking for information from the government, but in vain. Last week was the first time they got any briefing from the ministry of external affairs.

MEA has itself been kept out of the Games preparations, and was brought in virtually at the last minute when the damage control exercise had to be rolled out. Since they are the most familiar point of contact for the African nations, it was particularly frustrating that nobody was telling them anything, least of all the organisers. The first briefing was, sources said, little more than a bare bones briefing, because the MEA itself was not kept on board.

In fact, privately, the word from many African countries is that India was practising the same kind of racism against the African countries that India itself has complained against.

Out of the 53 nations in the Commonwealth, there are 19 from the African continent, all of whom are participating in the Games. This week, India will also play host to the president of Mozambique, a member of the Commonwealth, though it used to be a Portuguese colony and not a British one.

On Saturday, a visibly upset high commissioner of Rwanda -- a former Belgian colony and one of the most recent additions to the Commonwealth -- was seen looking for the Indian quarters in the Games Village. "I want to see their quarters. The place they have given us for our accommodation is not clean and my athletes are arriving here tomorrow," was his explanation.

However, India got a vote of confidence from South Africa's Olympic boss. In a statement, Gideon Sam said he would himself clean toilets to ensure the success of the Games. "Our athletes will have no excuses if they do not perform at the Games," Sam, president of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), said ahead of the team's departure on Sunday.

"If they are unhappy with their rooms because they have not been swept, they must take off their jackets and sweep them themselves. We will not complain. South Africans do not do that," Sam added. "And when I get there on Friday, if a toilet is not clean, I will clean it myself."

It only adds to India's shame.

13 Opinion(s):

eduard said...

Wonder where is that so-called Asian Intelligence now that everybody brags about. They are supposed to have a higher IQ than the whites, and now all you see is chaos. Same with the miserable chinese. They are so intelligent that they still believe that dead hair of a rhino horn is a aphrodisiac.

The Rooster said...

Asian intelligence is pretty much a myth. While certain asian countries put their kids through 12 hours of school a day and force them through strict repetition to become quite adept at certain discliplines, the down side is their strict cultures of conformity allow very little room for the kids to develop their creative and critical thinking.

Also never ask an Asian country for any objective data relating to their country. These are extremely nationalistic pride obsessed people. They'll cherry pick and flat out lie to seem better than they are.

Japan, China, South Korea etc all produce the majority of the world electronics and half of the vehicles etc. But they certainly never invented any of these things or are hardly involved or far behind in the research and devlopment of new products. They're just good at what their education system and comformist cultures teach them. Mimickry.

Again I'm not saying any "race" is stupid, I'm saying the various assumed intellectual strengths and weaknesses regarding Asian culture can be easily attributed to their culture. You have to have lived in Asia to understand it.

This is about India though who have an extremely rich history of exporting cultural practices. From hinduism, to buddhist to their cuisine, dance and arts. They're a highly creative and diverse people. But it's a dirt poor country. There are over 300 million indians living on less than 2$ a day. Until you've been to India or even China you haven't yet understood human poverty. Poor South Africans have it good comparitively.

The Rooster said...

In South Korea people tie dogs down so they can't stand up as to not develop their muscle fibres (more tender to eat). You see this literally everywhere in people yards. They also farm them in rows of cages like a chicken coup. Often times the dog is tied up by it's hind legs and beaten to death with sticks to get adrenalin into its body. They believe that enhances the medicinal source of virility that dog is believed to have (hence why they eat it). 6 million dogs a year are eaten by our friends from samsung, lg, hyundai and kia. I certainly have seen enough to know whose products I won't be buying.

Viking said...

See, Rooster does talk sense at times. Just got to keep that ratio up, man!

"Asian" as a category generally doesn't include Indians, Eduard, who were considered caucasian in American until the 70s and are called East Indians in North America (as opposed to red Indians).

(East) Asians overperform in Western countries according to the mean but only by country, so Chinese and Japanese do well but Laotians and Vietnamese do less well. Their work ethic - as Rooster says - is largely responsible for this, and their tolerance for hardship is far higher than Westerners. Having said that, their work ethic has, here in Canada, pushed entry requirements for a lot of university courses very high in recent years.

They do tend to have higher IQs though, which busts the myth that IQ testing is irredeemably "white". However, they majorly suffer on the creative side, so while I don't think their intelligence is a 'myth' per se, just that it's a different kind of intelligence.

There's also the matter of their downright weird customs and practices, particularly regarding animals and their parts ....

Exzanian said...

I work in a company that has an offshore Team in India doing basic admin processing (cheap labour really) Two Indian B.Coms are worth 1 SA Matric of 25 years ago. But they are a lovely people and fiercely proud of their culture.

Jim Beam said...

Rooster,

You summed it up very well. I have always come to the conclusion that they have the inability to think in 3D. Abstract thinking is not their forte hence very little real research and development.

Also the loss of face is a big thing in Asia. They never question the managers ability or choice when it comes to getting something done. It is as if in their culture the boss is always right.

They are good at one thing though - they will do the crappy work without complaining, the most repetative shit you can come up with they will do.

South Koreans are not that bad to work with, it is the Filipino's and Thai's which do my head in. They are just strange and some of the customs are even stranger.

You are correct, you have to live amoungst them to understand them - most times.

Rooster have you ever come across the thought that most of Asia still runs on a sort of feudalist system?

The Rooster said...

Rooster have you ever come across the thought that most of Asia still runs on a sort of feudalist system?

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To me the main thing "wrong" with asia is that they have all the content of the west, without any of the context. But certainly there's a lot of unquestioning disclipline in Asia.

As Far as Thais go, it's a buddhist thing where the funamental philosophy deeply ingrained in most people's minds is that your life is predetermined. Not only can't you change your unpriveledge status in society, but it's virtuos just to suck it up and suffer so you'll come back in a better form in your next life. I can't express how literally most Thai people actually believe this. Everyone goes on about how friendly Thai people are, but the truth is they're just culturally for the most part extremely insincere and histrionic. Lol. Look at me and the racial stereotypes today ?

Filiponos/nas are lovely people. Decades of corruption etc have left their country in a terrible mess of poverty, violence, over population etc. I've lived in South Africa all my life and never felt scared, but I crapped myself in Manila.

The Japanese are the exception of Asia (in a sense). They create their own unique genres of movies, cartoons and music etc. They do a lot of research and development in certain area. The South Koreans are the champions of copying. They seem the least creative of any country you will find. They copy everything from their movies to their music almost directly from the source. Again not the peoples fault just they seem terribly scared to ever appear to be slightly different, where as in Japan there are so many sub cultures so it's more accepted. China is probably as bad as South Korea. Better luck getting blood from a stone that an orriginal or unique "opinion" from most Mainland Chinese.

Where they have been smarter than the west is that they practice protenctionism. We sign into free trade contracts with Asia and they sell us all their cheap crap. In return blind nationalism makes them all buy their own products. We'd all benefit from doing the same here in supporting buying proudly South Africans brands for example.

Jim Beam said...

@Rooster,

Well said again. Yes, Manila is a shit hole far worst than what South Africa could ever go.

Dachshund said...

Malaysia is not much better. Try getting service in a Kuala Lumpur shopping mall, you are invisible, least helpful people I've come across.

China is pretty cool. You can buy the most stunning, handmade gold jewellery in Shanghai (only if you go to a reputable centre, otherwise you will get Shanghaai'd), at a fraction of what you'd pay in South Africa, and their gold comes from SA. Ever noticed what the general attitude is of SA jewellers when you go there with your own gold and design? And then you see all these unemployed blacks selling wire stuff at traffic lights. Where are our SA jewellery designers and manufacturers?

The Rooster said...

China is pretty cool. You can buy the most stunning, handmade gold jewellery in Shanghai (only if you go to a reputable centre, otherwise you will get Shanghaai'd), at a fraction of what you'd pay in South Africa, and their gold comes from SA. Ever noticed what the general attitude is of SA jewellers when you go there with your own gold and design? And then you see all these unemployed blacks selling wire stuff at traffic lights. Where are our SA jewellery designers and manufacturers?

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Ha ha. Yes , you got to be very careful and really know what you doing to buy gold etc in Asia. You might think you know something about corruption or dishonesty living in Africa, but these people will take you to school working on your false assumptions that "Oh come on, nobody could be that elaborately and manipulative dishonest."

Seriously lack of ethics or scruples in Asia compared to South Africa. "Being sly" and "cunning" to the detriment of others there is more than often seen as a virtue. None of this "Christian guilt" we often use to reel ourselves in from getting wealthy at the expense of others. Cut throat.

Where are the S.A jewellers ? That's a pretty good point. Almost any China town world over is packed with Chinese jewellers. But then it's a big part of their culture to save their wealth in gold. Which makes less sense to us given how the gold price is pretty much in correlation with the strength of the rand still. IOW when the gold price gets stronger so does the rand and you lose some of the benefits of having much tied up with gold unless you're in the import game etc.

Dachshund said...

"You might think you know something about corruption or dishonesty living in Africa, but these people will take you to school working on your false assumptions that "Oh come on, nobody could be that elaborately and manipulative dishonest.""

Ha ha! I bought some jewellery from China on ebay, it wasn't what I expected so I returned it via registered mail. The seller slunk out of it by not going to the post office in Shanghai to collect the parcel. So ebay refunded my money. But what the Chinese seller did was wait until I'd been refunded by ebay and only then go and fetch the item from the post office. They're all in cahoots together, the Chinese at the post office and the con artists. Sure keeps need for inventory down. I wonder how many times the same item had been "sold" and returned with ebay having to cough up.

Viking said...

"the gold price is pretty much in correlation with the strength of the rand still"

That's true, even if it's more about perception than reality. The Rand has been fairly stable over the last three years, while the gold price has skyrocketed - which makes you wonder what the real rate of inflation must be.

Dachshund said...

There is no causal connection between the strength of the rand and the gold price. I think gold is overpriced, the price may increase in the short term, but there are better investments to be found by now.

Apart from upfront dealer costs, there are tax disadvantages involved in selling typical gold investments such as Krugerrands. You'll pay income tax at full marginal tax rate on any profit you make because there is no dividend or income stream attached to gold. If you buy bonds or shares, when you sell you only pay capital gains tax which is up to 75% less than income tax.

I occasionally buy pure gold in 10g or 20g bars if I have a design plan, but not at these prices. Gold is just an inert yellow metal after all. I like a diversified investment portfolio.