Touria Prayag's Blog

L’express weekly,21 January 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 25, 2011

Weekly 20-01-2011

Of personality
disorders

A long time ago, someone you don’t know said, “Egotism is the
anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.” Can’t fi gure out why this
quotation kept obsessively rotating in my mind in the last couple of
weeks. Maybe because sometimes you just come across people who
are so amusingly arrogant that they will never get anywhere simply
because it is their intimate conviction that they are already there. People
for whom everything they come into contact with turns into a mirror.
If you have been listening to our radio stations recently, zapping
from one channel to another, you may have heard someone being
interviewed who was continuously talking about Johnson Roussety.
Throughout the interview, you may have wondered who the generous
person who has painted such a wonderful portrait of Roussety was. At
the end of the interview, you will have heard the radio presenter thanking…
Johnson Roussety! It was not a mistake. It was Johnson Roussety
talking about himself in the third person singular non-stop.
And who would blame the guy? This kind of insufferable arrogance
has become a way of life in our little island. A sort of fashion you might
say because if you listened to the discussion on the same radio about
the Bangladeshi workers, you would have realized, better late than never,
that the person who kept talking about a certain Mrs. Goinden
was actually Mrs. Goinden herself! “Mrs. Goinden is the one who will
be investigating the case. Everyone knows Mrs. Goinden.” If you felt
ignorant at this stage, please be reassured that Mrs. Prayag shares your
ignorance and fully sympathizes.
Previously, the only person who used to consistently refer to herself
in the third person singular was Indira Sidaya. And that is only after she
had started associating with the great and famous of Hollywood. Now
even people we had never heard of seem to have caught this highly
dangerous and infectious virus.
Mrs. Prayag is fl agging this problem simply because she feels that
we are in danger of becoming a nation of narcissists. So she has dug
this up for you from Uncylopedia, the content-free encyclopedia, “The
tendency to refer to oneself in the third person is often viewed by psychologists
as a symptom of narcissism… Children who fail to grow
out of the ‘monarchic’ phase of intellectual development and into the
‘dualistic’ phase may become narcissistic throughout their lives… Paradoxically,
the tendency of narcissists to refer to themselves in the third
person stems from precisely this failure.”
On the same site, free of charge, you also get advice on how to become
a narcissist. “In order to learn how to effectively refer to yourself
in the third person, it is often desirable to understand the narcissist
mentality and develop an ability to ‘role-play’ as an actual narcissist, but
there is danger, in that you may inadvertently develop strong narcissistic
tendencies in yourself without realizing it.” Considering the trend our
society is taking, the above advice may turn out to be very handy, even
after weighing up the dangers.
“We all know that Oscar Wilde would never refer to himself in the
third person,” Oscar Wilde said with his usual biting sarcasm. Bet you
some of our compatriots will take it at face value.

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Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 18, 2011

L’express Weekly, 24 December 2010

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 11, 2011

Weekly 24.12.10

Thinking outside
the gift box

To you this night is born a child of Mary,
this little child of lowly birth shall be the joy of
all the earth.
It is that time of year again where Mauritius
is caught up in the Christmas and New Year Frenzy.
‘Frenzy’ because the spirit of love and kindness which characterizes
Christmas will be put on the back burner in favour
of materialism. This year, the fun is complete as shopping
centres have made the ‘bouchées doubles’ to be able to be
ready for Christmas. And they fulfi lled their promise. Who
could afford to miss the mass consumption month? Who
could ignore that if there is one festival which unites all
Mauritians, irrespective of their religion, creed or colour, it
is Christmas and New Year?
Advertising has, therefore, become more and more
aggressive as malls and store keepers fall short of putting
their hands into our pockets, and the blaring music has no
other aim than to drive consumers into the mindset euphemistically
called the “Christmas spirit”. Of course, the
temptations have been there for a couple of months now.
The Christmas spirit, whipped up by businesses, starts earlier
and earlier every year. However, Marketing experts know
they have to increase the dose towards the end of December,
targeting the hard-fought for end of year bonus.
There is naturally nothing wrong with getting into the
spirit of treating oneself and those around one. After all,
this is what one has worked so hard for and gift-exchange
has always contributed to social cohesion as it makes both
the giver and the receiver happy. The problem arises when
the stores take control of the consumers with an arsenal of
marketing techniques and a psychologically designed shopping
atmosphere that push them to buy beyond their means.
This is how we all get so caught in the Christmas machine.
And the stress has been mounting as the season has
been approaching. A list checked and double-checked. A
series of useless gifts which are not worth the paper they
are wrapped in: a mousse cake sampler, a message dish, a
personalised self-inking stamper or a luggage tag give more
satisfaction to the person who has sold them than to the
one who has received them. And the frenzy reaches a point
where most of us end up thinking of Christmas with dread
rather than happy anticipation. We all get carried away by
the stress and commotion of the season and pressure of the
exchange of useless nicely wrapped gifts that we tend to
forget that Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love
and goodwill to all.
I think we should all try to alleviate the pressure by thinking
of Christmas outside the gift box. Yes, it will always be
a time to be merry and treat oneself and one’s close ones.
But it is not about hunting around the shopping centres
to fi nd useless gifts to give to people who have spent
their time looking for useless ones to give you back, all
parties feeling more like Mr. Scrooge than like Santa
Claus. Nothing takes away the Christmas spirit more
quickly than that.
Merry Christmas all the same.

 

L’express Weekly, 7 January 2010

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 10, 2011

The robber state                    7 Jan Weekly

If you are not one of those motorists who have been fined lately for ‘speeding’ in what are the most unlikely places on our roads, you must be very lucky indeed. And it is not so much the fine that hurts. It is rather the feeling that the sole purpose of many speed limits and the associated carefully selected speed traps is to ambush otherwise law-abiding citizens and to rake in millions into state coffers.

When the authorities decided to install fixed speeding radars and cameras on the dual carriageway M1 at Pailles for Port Louis bound traffic and at Camp Chapelon for traffic going in the opposite direction, they decided to limit speed to 70 km/hr on these stretches of road. In the first two days, unsurprisingly, thousands of motorists received fines of Rs 2000 each! Hats off to Mauritius Inc for its sharp entrepreneurial sense! It certainly knows how to make a quick few million bucks by digging deeply and oppressively in the pockets of its own citizens. Two things are noteworthy in this experiment, for that’s what it turned out to be. Firstly, as expected, limiting speed to only 70 km/hr on such a vital stretch of the national dual carriageway caused snarling tailbacks and traffic jams at peak times. The road traffic management experts in the responsible government offices and the police force were compelled to eat humble pie and to increase the speed limit to 80 km/hr. Road safety was patently no longer the paramount consideration and expediency prevailed! The second ‘incident’ is worthy of an entry in the Guinness Book of Records for its sheer dilettantism and inanity. It’s too embarrassing to report, but nonetheless we’ll have a go at it, if you promise not to burst into guffaws – the signage indicating that a speed limit was in force on the Camp Chapelon stretch was placed after the speed camera!!! You might prefer to think that this was in fact intentional rather than to try to find the explanation in someone’s IQ.

If you persist in thinking that the reason the authorities dig in your pocket is because they have public safety at heart, here is what will make you change your mind: speed limitations are arbitrarily fixed at places defying all logic. On the St. Jean Link Road, which takes you from the exit of Quatre Bornes to join the dual carriage way M1, by the new MCB elliptical building, towards Réduit and Port Louis, there is a speed limit of…50 km/hr! This zone is completely uninhabited, unless the authorities’ concern is the safety of the souls laid to rest in the nearby St. Jean cemetery. Similarly, a few hundred yards further, the speed limit on the slipway into Ebène is 40 km/hr. Predictably, these are favourite spots for the police to ambush motorists for speeding, as they very well know that it is well nigh impossible in a modern motorcar to stay within these speed limits on these roads.

The authorities should rather look into the chaos and total lack of discipline on our roads. Speed alone does not cause accidents. What speed limits are there in countries like Germany where there is a very low accident rate?

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