Look at the sky scrapers everywhere you go. The city expanse illuminations are dimmed by the numbers of skyscrapers. Soberly mystique is imposed by unfamiliarity. Massive road and railroad network draw a jigsaw puzzle. Technology is in constant incubations. Its distillation throwing up wonders. Trucks and cars dominoes ignite a mental haze. School system does not slip to sleep by strike rituals. Law and order are carefully harnessed. Very powerful in silence yet poking on all. Many whisper perceived shortfalls, yet it is a bastion of reference. Systems that work with many imperfections, giving many within and outside some sense of succor in daily turbulence. The will to move!
Beyond these, what are other fascinating encounters when you travel? The greatest seems to be the people. Also, the way people, humans not spirits build their lands.
One recalls a school teacher cliché: “As you lay your bed so you lie on it.” This he repeats whenever he flogs pupils who perform woefully in mathematics. Mathematics hovers on the abstract. It requires thinking. It is analytical.
The teacher’s thought: “a stroke of the cane will shock your brain,” “It awakens it from slumber.”
This is old school. No one is looking at the use of the cane as critical in disciplining at schools. Discipline is not only about the use of the cane. Discipline adopts different methods to arrive at great results. This is only restating the teachers wish and necessity of putting a thinking cap. Especially so in dealing with issues others have dealt with. It does not require reinventing of the wheel. This is imaife.
No one is going to do it for you. This is the message. Start to do it right now for yourself.
Far from this, some will inundate you with talk of tech-policy and technology transfer. What have these strategically changed in this clime in the past fifty years? Have the people indigenized technology to attain the same spread and sustainability as countries from where they come?
It reminds one of the stories of a big man said to have visited Dubai 20 times. He saw the beauties of a desert turned beautiful cities. Watery, lush grounds and ocean in the desert! He spoke to some persons who will transfer the same technology and beauties to his country.
At the same time, policy at home was breeding illiterates who do not care about elementary hygiene of washing hands regularly after using the toilet. This people are on top among countries not looking with disapproval at open sewage and defecation. Even in dire situations of Ebola and haemorrhagic fever, empirical knowledge is lowered by many and taken as a joke in the face of superior evidence. Fatalism is a highly valued currency in this domain!
Tech transfer. Good idea. But who will start and sustain it? Twenty years later, fast forward and hear them out. “We wanted to create a Dubai in their domain.” They wanted to run. Who has stopped them? Development arguably is a marathon not a sprint. The worry is that many choose not start at all – at the elementary and basic education.
Think about spiral illiteracy running wild and harming many people after years of their freedom. Who will abolish illiteracy for them? If nothing is done to stop onward march of illiteracy in some societies, be sure marauding gangs of illiterates over time will swarm and make no sense of a literate society.
If you are 50 years, you can recall that in remote villages, hardly were families that did not bother about their children especially boys going to school. In such communities it was difficult to meet anybody in his 40s and early 50 who cannot read or write, even among dropouts.
But today you meet teenagers who cannot read “kpom” or write one – O nkan. Many of them arguably constitute a dangerous untrained army. The absence of good parental training, lack of knowledge even ethics of the dimmest type capture them as tools for dispersion of harm and evil on society.
Basic education taken for granted years ago in many places has lost its pride of place. It is no longer the rule across the span of a country! You ponder, wonder and ask: why is this society comfortable with a social carcinogen? You know the result is sure. Then, work not for a remission but a stop to a full-blown situation!
Reforming minds should work to provide basic education to the youths they claim the future belongs. Some leaders in the past could see beyond their nose. Such leaders worked hard to change some things for their people. Those things are pedestals to the ‘high status’ they stand today.
To build your land requires thinking. It is not a lollipop enterprise. The teachers quote is thought provoking. A look at nations and their wealth says a lot. The kind of mind that laid the foundation for development can easily be seen by their result. The big and small minds in different countries could signal different signposts for generations. But first let us examine their minds.
A scholar argues that the Protestant ethics was responsible for the rise of capitalism. This is only a perspective. Still, it is a thought pointing to a kind of mind. A mind arising from purity and purposeful pursuit of some ethics. Others give credit to competition. Yet, some see the winning spell in peace and space . There are reasons for success as there are arguments for failure. What is the reality?
What can you see as you travel to different parts of the world? It is the mind behind unique development. When you walk the streets of New York, the high rise buildings that spread all over and in other U.S. cities suggest the kind of mind their founders had. What succeeding generations thought are seen in their success story today.
Then start with the basic. Who are our children? Where are they now? Do they live in houses or on the street? Are parents providing care of various kinds. Do they go to school? Are those not in school learning something that can help them provide a meal in the future?
These are simple questions. Some countries have answered them, in some cases correctly.
In some countries you get the answer in a second. When a police man stops you. He runs a check. He does not need to go to a census board. Information about individuals are obtained in real time.
But for some countries they cannot answer this simple question for 40 or more years. Why are some nations in nightmares and unable to answer a simple question of how many they are?
In a life time here one is likely to face up to 12 or more biometrics. When the need arises, what transpires expose something – there are no records. These biometrics are outside those forced by telecom companies. But if your phone is missing you are asked to go to court and swear affidavit. These are companies that have taken your biometrics more than twice. Where are their records. Are there not simple information that can unearth the record? Are these companies wearing the same garb as the behemoth?
Remember, about 2000 years ago, without computers, proper identification of citizens was no issue for the Romans even in conquered territories of Palestine. Those who adopted their citizenship were known.
Wake up. It is possible to come off a hazy mind that leads to nothing special.
Before colonialism, villagers are all known in their locale. After wars, a count is taken. They know who lives where or does what? But in their modern society there is no correct record of permanent residents in many communities any more. But for electoral records that is short of detail and said to be abused, not much can be obtained in real time. How can crime be checked without proper records? How can there be a check on kidnapping that now rules the waves and crannies of once idyllic villages? How can sustainable systems be developed without numbers and records.?
One innovative leader once made spirited effort to initiate local records keeping. He tried to sustain it. What is the status and tempo today? This may aggregate questions related to population census and control. Then you will see why many things remain ad hoc, day after day even to ‘perpetuity’!
As you travel to other lands take note that your record is following you like your shadow. It remains alive as long as you live in the open or in the dark. It can help you or cause you some troubles. For the purpose of identification, order and progress, knowing your children is basic to progress.
If a father wants a responsible household, he should know his children. Where do they live? What do they do? It is a basic duty of a responsible parent.
Don’t ask what a responsible state should do.
Choose the answer that suits your fancy either for development or stagnancy. This is a lesson from travels. How will you organize your household or society? Give them basic education or live on excuse daily marshaled but end up in backwardness. Start basic education for the youths today. Give youths a break. Stop breeding illiterates. The future is today.
Thought: They build their lands with their hands