Let’s talk about sex baby, let’s talk about you and me… Let’s talk about.. all the good things and the bad things that maybe … Let’s talk about.. sex… Let’s talk about…..

It’s been an exciting week, literally.  The whole country is finally talking about sex. For Kenya that’s a first. HIV/Aids, STDs, Sex Education, broken marriages, rape, incest, sodomy… nothing has ever been able to make Kenyans talk about sex openly and freely and with so much passion. Nothing.

Refreshing

Then Ka-boom!!! Women leaders —– who else —- got the country so excited…. it must have been a moment of pure ecstasy for sex therapists (yes we do have them!!!) marriage counsellors, pro-sex educationists, mistresses, commercial sex workers. Their pet subject was on everyone’s lips (ahem).

All it took was a simple declaration from the women leaders. No real leadership from the men, no sex.

Nothing new in that. Apparently it has been done in ancient Greece, and in modern day Denmark.

So why has it caused such an uproar in Kenya? A society where everything — life included—- is taken casually? Is sex that important?

There is only one reason. That Kenyan women chose to politicise what Kenyan men think is their reason for being on earth. Sex has been used in Kenya as a political tool (cases of rape by security forces and criminals during civil unrest abound in this country).

Liar liar

I dare one Kenyan man to say in public that he has NEVER been denied sex by his partner/spouse at any one point in his life for whatever reason. Just one man.

Sex boycott happens everyday.

Women of all ages, at all times, everywhere around the world have used sex to punish, coerce, humiliate, blackmail and cajole men to do stuff. And the men get completely flaccid.

Generally women deny men sex because they know it will get them attention. And in Kenya attention it did get and will get for the next so many days.

Hypocrisy

Kenyans for once are talking about sex outside the scope of rape, incest and sodomy. Oh yes, that’s the kind of sex we are comfortable with. We splash it on our papers, broadcast it on tv and radio, seek photo ops in hospitals with victims of this type of sex. We would rather talk about the criminal aspects of sex than the pure, sensual, sweaty, humping and grinding type that makes big men cry. What hypocrisy!! But cying they are now. Crying foul.

So, many Kenyans out there are laughing at the expense of the G10, calling them names, and twisting the ideals behind the sex boycott… but look again behind the loud laughs and high voices. They understand the power behind it. Because they have suffered its consequences on a personal level.

The sex boycott got tongues wagging. It got men for ONCE to talk about the sanctity of the marriage bed!! Unbelieveable! In a society where the latest popular radio and TV advert is chasting men for violating this same sanctity even in the face of death!!! And all of a sudden Kenyan men are all about marriage bed this and marriage bed that!! PLEASE, my brothers. Cut the crap. Kenyan men know on a personal level that a sex boycott is real, it is alive and at work, and that given a political context it’s a whole new game!

We all could be laughing and cracking bad jokes about the call by the G10, but it got us to look at politics with a passionate eye. And passion with a political eye.

The G10 has certainly refreshed our boring politics.

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I dont know about your part of the world, but here in Nairobi I have been sitting infront of my laptop the whole morning, waiting for the Internet to come alive…… Yes.. it is slow and erratic… maybe its just my neighbourhood or my network provider. But that is neither here nor there. The real annoying bit is that I pay alot to get connected and then it dies out on me!!! Not funny.

I have wasted a whole morning working offline and doing stuff that I could do tomorrow!

What happened to all those promises by all those companies? Teams, Eassy and Seacom,where the hell are you when you are needed?

Thuy, right: One wonders whether she is explaining or criticising!

Thuy, right: One wonders whether she is explaining or criticising!

Journalists are the most opinionated people. They know how to label others this and that. They criticise, chastise and find fault with almost everything on earth.

The only people they find perfect are themselves! For example, what do journalists think of Accountants? Oh, those are the guys who would rather die than give you information. They would not even tell if they have approved monies legally due to you! Not even if its your wages. Its common for journalists to ask: Are they taught this in Book Keeping class?

IT: The guys you call when you computer plays up. The first thing they ask is: what did you do wrong? Duh! Its a machine, it can breakdown on its own, can’t it? Why do these guys think other people are so stupid?

HR: Ha, don’t even get me started! The people with no deadlines. They sit around all day long sipping endless cups of tea and coming up with policies to make other people’s lives difficult — always!! Is there a course actually called Human Resource (s) Management? And just what do they teach? With HR its always about policy on this and policy on that! Get a life!

No pressure.... but just mention deadlines they will scurry...

No pressure.... but just mention deadlines they will scurry...

The one thing I know about journalists is that they have to work with IT and HR because these are the only guys who  issue threats and exert pressure.  I need not explain. But it is a lesson in patience.

There is no journalist who would ever finish their work on time if they is no pressure to do so! But mention “deadline” and they will all will bury their heads typing away!

It's a demanding job!

It's a demanding job!

The life of a journalist is one fast roller coaster on stilts. I have no idea why other people think it’s glamorous. It’s hard work. A lot of hard work. Working from inside other people’s heads, fears, emotions and a host of many other things.

And they are the same the world over. From Jarkarta to Accra, Nairobi to Hanoi. They all think the same.

Yes, they are the same, the world over!

Yes, they are the same, the world over!

Party like its 1989!!
Balkanbeats Party at Lido

Eager to have our first drink of the evening, we all filed into the first bar that looked like it had sitting space for a group. Everything looked normal, the bartender was friendly, he took our order, a few of us found seats next to a group of guys. They looked like ordinary blokes on a Saturday night out with friend. Yes , and there were a a few women too in almost all the groups of people sitting around in the bar.

As we engaged in small talk, all of a sudden Julia our “guide” for the night went, “Oh my God, have you guys noticed anything?” Of course we stared at her blankly, and she said, ” I think we are in a gay bar.” We for the first time took a serious look at our sorroundings and yes, the walls were pink!

We decided so long as we were not in any way harassed of felt out of place,  it was just another bar. We had a good laugh and enjoyed ourselves. And of course no one in our group was “approached” and it seems like everyone else in the bar had only one mission: to have a drink. And that is what we did.

Chilling out

Chilling out

Our next stop was Club Lido, just across the road. It was Balkans Beat party, and what a party it turned out to be. The music was soulful and were  it not for the abrupt beginning and ending of the songs, it was very easy to go into a trance! As Mahadi commented, it was more of jumping around than dancing. The music, just like the place it comes from, has traces of Asiatic and Arabic influence in the arrangement, of course spiced up with typical European techno beat. And the result is amazing.

The club itself was nothing to write home about, but the people were full of energy, the music refreshing and there was a buzz typical of a crowd that was getting exactly what they came for.

Zohaiab I must say is a dance maniac. He was on the dance floor for almost 4 consecutive hours! Later Enaiat asked him if he got to talk to at least one girl, with all that dancing!

Berlinale afterparty

Berlinale afterparty

The club itself is for the free spirited. Young and old, skimply dressed and the overdressed, gays and straight, drunk and sober. They had one thing in common. Love for music. Balkan music.

Hanging out with friends

Hanging out with friends

Hanging out with friends

I understood why many people braved the winter cold queueing for almost half an hour to get into the club. It was worth it.

And for that we decided were going to make the most out of it and dance till we had our fill… at least for one night. We left the club at 4am with no apologies.

Of course the downside was that trains and buses run at longer intervals at night (or is it early morning!!!). We had half an hour wait between our two train changes, and had to wait for 18 minutes in freezing temperatures for the bus back to the hostel.

It was 5.45am as I crawled into bed after a warm shower and hot breakfast.

Kreuzberg rocks!

All weather tourist. At the Brandenburg Gate

All weather tourist. At the Brandenburg Gate

The weekend was super, with clouds but eventually clear skies. Then come Monday it was rain in the morning and a bit of wind. Tuesday was not good… or so I thought, until I woke up at 3.38am on Wednesday and there was nothing but sleet and strong winds. I went to bed hoping the morning will bring a brighter sky. 7.45am, ready to leave for class and it was worse — if that is possible.

But guess what, I choose to enjoy all the weather, it is not going to dampen my spirits. I will dress warm and keep warm all the times. Mother nature may have its way but there is always a way around it!

I promised Tra I will accompany her to the Zoo after class today. I have to keep my promise… so come 5pm, it will be heavy coats, maps and umbrellas off to the Zoo. She’s going to Praha this weekend and I hope she gets good pictures. Summer could be bright and clear for good pictures but sometimes the gray weather brings out the best of a city’s characteristics. I remember being in Brussels in November and Zurich in February. It was cold and gray but we had a ball and all the pictures I took represented the time then and depicted the mood of the cities as they were then. They have a depth.

So whatever the weather wherever you are, make the most out of it!

Ririn at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

Ririn at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

Ririn is her name. Cheerful. Happy go lucky and always talking. When you meet her for the first time, you feel like you have known her forever. She always has something funny to say. It is no wonder that she is a journalist.

(more…)

Considering this is my third visit to Berlin, I was looking forward to the short training, but nothing prepared me for the cold!! I had been following the weather in Europe on CNN, and I knew it was one of the worst winters in years, but being here is a shock to my system. Oh how I miss the Berlin Summer – despite the freak rain!

When I arrived on February 1, temperatures outside the airport were lower than my freezer in Kenya. But as a German friend once told me, there is no bad weather, just bad dressing! So I was armed with the warmest clothes from my tropical country.

Berlin in winter is different from Berlin in Summer. No throngs of tourists talking in all sorts of European tongues imaginable, no beer drinking extended on the streets, no music in the air, no leaves on the trees. It is grey, grey, grey and everyone wrapped up in dull coloured overcoats.

But of course every cloud has a silver lining…. my hostel this time round is a 40 minutes commute from the Institute, by bus and train, so it means I get to see a different part of the city, but I must add nothing beats living near Ku’damm Strasse!!!

The course so far is interesting…coming from a print background I always considered anything beyond Facebook geeky!! Well I guess I am on my way to being a geek too! I must say in the one week of the training I have learnt a lot, but I miss my laptop and Internet from the comfort of my warm bed.

The biggest shortcoming of the course is that, being an Online and multimedia course, we dont have W-Lan in the hostel!!! It is kind of depressing because we are all Internet addicts. And it also means we cannot practise in the evenings what we learnt in class.