Remember the good old days when the English dictionary still defined good as anything that had Schweppes, Vimto, Tip Top bread, Cool Cool bar, Bright Light petroleum jelly or Pepe Kale in it? Don’t you just miss those days?
I miss the days of UEB. That’s Uganda Electricity Board, for the babies and Chameleone. Dear old UEB.
If you got tired of the high electricity rates and, say, decided to take a stroll those ends behind your compound where your meter box was located, while reciting “Power to the people” with a wire in hand, then your neighbour ran up to you and shouted “UEB guys are coming!”, you’d most probably jump over your fence faster than you could remember that it’s actually your house you were running away from.
UEB was feared. Each syllable slid off the tongue with malicious intent like each letter was a volt straight from the great grandmother of all turbines in Jinja. U…E…by the time someone got to B, you were somewhere on the last chapter of Exodus, ready to know everything about religion.
But now we have UMEME. Sounds like a cooperative union that deals in exporting goats. How are we supposed to take them seriously?
Then there was UTV. Top Cops, 10 O’clock News, Another Life, those were real programmes with real people. Not gay Mexican horsemen whose lips disagreed with everything they said. And the news was raw; straight from the factory of all newses in Uganda.
If Bbaale Francis sat in his chair in Kampala and told you in Kaberamaido that the government had donated a certain amount of money to a certain village, you actually saw government getting out of bed, brushing his teeth, checking his wallet and getting into a taxi to take money to that certain village.
It wasn’t as diluted as today where every time you see a news jingle you could easily think it’s the intro to a General Mega Dee video. Then Agnes Nandutu screams at you just to make sure you understand that yes, she was on TV last night and you shouldn’t ignore her Facebook request. She’s a celeb.
Post Office. Whenever someone spared even a few minutes of their time to write something on a piece of paper, head to town to buy stamps and an envelope, insert the letter, then walk to the post office to send it, they actually had something very sensible to say.
Then they patiently waited for an answer and when it finally came, they smiled, put the letter back into the envelope, kept it safely under their bed, and waited another month or two before gathering enough information to write another very sensible thing. Communication was legit.
You did not slice information into equal bits and send it in nauseatingly regular intervals like “I need to talk to you” then “Remember that night?” then “I am pregnant” then “Why did you slap me?” then “I can’t do this alone” then “I won’t abort” then “It’s a baby boy” then “When are we getting married?” No. You aptly assembled all those tiny bits of info into one huge ball of information and hurled it at him: “I’ve given your baby to your mother. Bye.”
Then entered mobile phones and Facebook. Now we have useless and mostly incomprehensible information forced down our throats.
Even if you hide under your bed, someone will send so much information into your house so that even if you survive the information looking for you in the bathroom, the one checking under seats and beds will find you and just rape you.
“Am bored lol” and all its cousins including “i jst saw a hot luking dud 2de lmao”, “OMG i cnt wait 4da holidez lmfao”, “whr da prty @ lmmfao” and “man ur mob quiet deez dez rotflmmfao” will all gang up on you till you talk back.
You don’t even have to make sense or think about what you are going to say before you say it. You just say whatever comes to mind first and if it doesn’t make sense, don’t worry, your audience will always find a way of making it make sense. Attend an NRM rally. You’ll get the picture.
I miss those days. But that’s life mwattu.