This may be a couple of weeks late, but all the same, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year; I hope you all had relaxing holidays and are thrilled to be back at work.
Actually, if you are glad to be back at whatever it is you do to pay the bills it isn’t really work. It’s like that quote that DSTV pops up on the screen every once in a while says, “Its only work if you would rather be doing something else.” Anyway, my wish for all of us for 2011 and beyond is that we find ways to be content with what we are doing while we are doing it and thereby avoid the need to work for a living.
I’m happy to say that I quite enjoy writing these pieces so I guess I’m not working at the moment, which is a good thing since I’m sending this from my new home in England where officially I’m not allowed to work. There are lots of rules and regulations here but nothing very clear about the residential and income earning rights of a non British father of two British citizens whose English wife is no longer alive.
I’m also not watching much TV nor am I connected to the internet as the recent snows here have created some serious media package connection delays. When we do get hooked up, however, I’m supposed to rush down to the local post office so I can fork out over P1500 before we turn on the boob tube.
Now I’m sure I will pay for that TV licence, even though we will also be paying Virgin Media for the broadcast service and we will be subjected to a steady flow of adverts on the commercial stations; and if I ever seek local employment I’m also sure I’ll sort out all the necessary permits first.
The reason I mentioned those bits of officialdom is that they highlight some of the rules that many other people who live here ignore all the time. The TV license dodge is seen as such a huge problem that the government has invested in a fleet of high-priced, high-tech television-detecting vehicles that can check-up on all non-license-holding households from out on the street and the home office spends a huge amount of taxpayer pounds each year trying to catch illegal workers.
The really disturbing thing for me, however, is that a lack of respect for regulations seems to be one of the lessons being taught in the local schools. It’s not intentional, but it is very real all the same.
Before my youngest daughter started attending classes at her new secondary school we were given a list of uniform requirement that we were told we needed to purchase and a list of rules pertaining to hairstyles, jewellery, hats, coats and shoes. After her first week, however, Maggie says her biggest problem at school is that she doesn’t know how to behave since the other kids don’t obey most of the rules and the teachers don’t try to do anything about it.
Hopefully one of the lessons she will learn is that it can be counter-productive to make rules that you can’t enforce.