Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Bubbles Of Hope & Dreams Of Luck

A couple of days ago I was in my room and overheard Oprah talking to Simon Cowell on TV in the lounge, on one of her many repeated shows on SABC 3. There was one particular thing that she said that caught my attention. She said that she doesn’t believe in luck and that she believes that "luck" is simply preparation meeting the moment of "opportunity".

I immediately thought to myself that only someone living in the first-world could say something like that. That’s the difference between first-world and third-world living. See in the third-world, everyone knows that most of the time, that "opportunity" is in itself pure luck. And in countries like Zimbabwe, those "opportunities" are damn near-miracles.

And I think that’s why I loved London so much. I always felt like I could achieve anything I wanted to. There were always ample "opportunities" and options to fulfill whatever dream or aspiration I had. There was always the luxury of choice… a means. I always felt like I could accomplish anything… I had the world at my feet… I could be whoever I wanted to be.

But the unfortunate third-world truth is that the luxury of "opportunity" and choice is absent for most people around the world. For instance, for those living in rural villages in abject poverty, without running water and electricity, there is no recourse for them… for most there are no "opportunities" or choices to change their circumstances. Compared to their lives, the average person lives the life of a king.

And sometimes in the third-world, for the average and slightly more fortunate like myself, we can prepare all we like… we can be the embodiment of prepared-ness… but if that "opportunity" doesn’t come, it means nothing.

So I want to know from Oprah, while she’s sitting in her mansion and munching on her 5 course meal, or fueling her private jet, or flying Anastasia to Chicago to do her eyebrows for a couple grand every week… where are their "opportunities"?

There are no community colleges in the area… heck for most there aren’t even schools in their districts. And then there are those that are more concerned with erm, y'know pesky little things like surviving and finding ways to feed their families just once a day with a few potatoes or some maize meal sans any condiments (grits, I believe, is what you call it). They don’t even have salt or sugar to enhance the flavour of their paltry rations.

So where are their choices and opportunities Miss Oprah? And while the UK and US compete in their food wastage numbers (an average of 6.7 million tonnes of food is wasted every year in the UK & the US throws away a staggering $43 Billion Dollars worth of food annually) I get the feeling that your experiences as a child, your version of impoverished (along with most of us average or privileged folk) cannot even begin grasp the real concept of what it means to be poor. So while you lounge and ponder on  all the "opportunities" you've had over the years here...
... spare a thought for those who live on hope and the dream of "luck", that they may eat tomorrow as well...
I will never negate the fact that anything worth having in life comes with a lot of hard work. But for most in the third-world, the chances of the "opportunity" arriving is 50/50. It’s a gamble and there are no guarantees. So for most, we rely a great deal on "luck" and hope and prayer because The Almighty always takes care of that which belongs to Him… and that's how we survive through our realities.


  1. For most of us, the range of opportunities we have at hand are the result of generations of sacrifice that we can't see.

  2. Chantal - Thanks hun ;)

    LL - I think most of us are guilty of this and tend to live in our own self-consumed bubbles *sigh*

  3. I completely agree with LL's comment.

    In my line of work (Commercial Property Renovations & Maintenance), I find the average property owner to be anything but average. The old money still holds the balance of power, but the number of new kids on the block is staggering. None having had their wealth arrive suddenly... most if not all having been blessed to be born into wealth, and have it passed down to them at an early age.

    It's the sacrifices made by the generations before them that have allowed them to start on the uppermost rung on the ladder of success, with really nothing more to aspire to other than its mere preservation.

  4. Kaloo - And while most sit back and "preserve" their fortunes they think of no one but themselves. It's a sad state of affairs really.

  5. 'the luxury of "opportunity" and choice is absent for most people around the world...' You can say that again. My Angie was in India a couple of weeks ago and what she saw there made her cry. As in little children doing THIS with a hammer on their bare knees, inhaling poisonous dust in the sweltering heat. Of course Oprah doesn't merely live in a first-world country. She single-handedly makes first-world countries feel poor. She can buy opportunities, so it's easy to say what she said. People often think they KNOW when they really don't. Especially people living in first-world countries. You know, the donating kind.