The Time to be Cynical

Living in the rural north of Japan can lend a certain air of idealism. With virtually zero crime and an almost utopian village society that I thought only existed in Disney movies, I often catch myself thinking about just how awesome life is here, and indeed how even better it would be if I were able to speak fluent Japanese. The quality of life here is pretty high for virtually everyone, including myself, who would never be able to come straight out of university and expect a lekker 4WD car, snowboard trips every weekend and Sushi for dinner! Indeed even Sapporo, Hokkaido’s principle city, is inhabited by a mere 3 million citizens, yet spans the size of Johannesburg easily, replete with a functioning subway and rail system. It’s a city populated by mostly middle class folks. People who are thus relatively well-off. And the atmosphere of the city oozes this out of every pore. So why on earth should I live in South Africa?

I should probably explain that this post stems from a hectic week at the other blog that I write for, where pessimism towards SA has advanced into active cynicism by many of the site’s contributors, not the least of which includes me. To be certain up until now I’ve held what I thought to be a relatively upbeat view of SA. I could shrug off the rampant crime and corruption in government, together with the suffocating monopolies of Eskom and Telkom collectively, because I had always hoped that after the transitional birthing pains of a newly-liberated country, these things would start to fall away. Instead, they’ve only compounded upon themselves… exponentially. And it’s depressing, especially when reading from abroad, to have become so disenchanted with the country I’ve lived in my entire life up until now. It has given me everything that has contributed to my current well-being. My education, upbringing, friends and family as well as many other less-obvious factors have all resulted from the experience of living in South Africa. But what now?

It’s easy to assault the many educated elite who are streaming out of SA for their lack of patriotism, as well as their ungrateful attitudes at the country and government that has raised them from sniveling toddlers to educated professionals, but the brain drain is not the heart of the problem. I don’t think anyone chooses to leave SA lightly. Nobody wants to hate their country, and indeed only the most ardent of verkrampte old-school Afrikaner would leave simply because of the race of their president. But when you look at the antics going on now (that is, if you can. Often the power cuts out and the TV/Computer is inaccessible), the crippling forces in SA is becoming endemic, rather than temporary. So I no longer frown upon the many friends and acquaintances leaving SA right out of university for London, Australia or Canada, because I believe that SA has eroded to the point where even the most patient of optimists has to draw the line and start thinking about their futures.

But I shall not follow suit. I could theoretically prolong my stay in the JET programme for another three years if I so choose, but that would only erode the positively glowing impression I have of Japan as well as make me watch my country decline from afar, as well as stagnate intellectually and socially from all the remote isolation from my voluntary braai embargo. But like some friends of mine, I have decided to give it five years. Five years of living in SA to see if things will turn around. That’s enough time to begin a noticeable turnaround from the dark precipice towards which our faithful comrades are steadfastly hurtling us at. It’s enough time for me to finish my university education and perhaps get some field-related work experience, but most importantly, it’ll allow me to become a nuisance to the hordes of apologists rooting for JZ and his ilk to dismantle the very freedoms they fought so hard to attain.

I am in the rather unique position, as a post-graduate in the political field, to actually do something about my country’s decline. I’m not, of course, talking about reaching for the AK47 and going underground, but rather I am capable of helping wage the intellectual war against the bafoonery we witness on a daily basis in SA. Through the blogosphere and other mediums it is possible to write a convincing commentary against the forces that wish to self-destruct SA. I’m not talking about mere propaganda here, as that would simply be a matter of lowering myself to the idiocy as the same people who believe Zuma is a great choice for president, but rather helping other like-minded individuals write substantiated and rational argument to stand up against the torrent of drivel issued from the ANC and government’s collective mouthpieces in the foreseeable future.

Sounds grandiose, as I am wont to posturing at the best of times, but the reality is that what little I am able to do about the situation will likely never amount to a hill of beans, but at least it’s something. So I shall try for five years, and then perhaps think about making another country my new home. I’ve recently fallen in love with snow, so perhaps Alaska has need for my extensive talents and skillset! Anywhere that lets me snowboard can have me! What can I say, I’m cheap!

So other than a creeping pessimism, what’s news? Not much! It snows a crapload now, and a blizzard came through Hokkaido last week which made it particularly frigid. Otherwise I have spent most of my time on the weekend either snowboarding or recovering from snowboarding! I don’t fall over nearly as much now and it’s become seriously enjoyable. I expect most of my time this winter will be spent on a board in the snow, enjoying the winter while I can, as it’ll be quite sometime before I can experience a comparable winter again. Tiffendale is a tad expensive to consider in SA!

For those non-South Africans wondering what on earth a braai is, observe the following instruction video on braai etiquette for an introduction.

Written by admin in: Things Japanese |

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