Sunday, August 31, 2014

6 Facts I learnt from my Grandma’s Burial Ceremony

My beloved grandma died last month. It was a deeply felt pain for me and other members of our family. I and tens of her grandsons attended the burial which took place at our family compound in Otulu village. From the day I stepped my foot in the village at Otulu, on Wednesday, the 27th of August, to the night of the burial, I have been learning lots of things about customs, traditions and the legacy of grayheadedness.

1. A family is composed of different individuals with different point of views.

A family cannot be controlled by one single person, no matter how rich or influential. A family moves towards a singular direction as if controlled by a single head, as if with a singular purpose but is ready to derail from that direction at every moment – even a second’s notice. If you fail to recognize the rights and responsibilities of even one member in the family, the direction, no matter how noble, how grandiose, can be scuttled and scuttled without interference from any quarter in the world.

2. Your home can be a warzone or a refuge of peace.

Your home can be a bed of roses. A place that is filled with love; peace its lifeblood. Also, your home can be a warzone with historical wounds and fighting. It depends on how you turn the screws. The father, mother, children and extended family members each have their rights and responsibilities which each one of them is jealous of; neglect any and you’ll be creating a home of rancor and bitterness.

3. Customs and traditions are fallible.

True, we cherish our African customs and traditions, but they are fallible. It will be against my conscience to sacrifice cows or goats to bury my grandma. We cannot throw all of them overboard without scrutinizing each and every one of them. These customs were what preserved our Africanhood before the dawn of civilization; they helped our people to survive before education came. I believe we can cherish the joyfulness of understanding these customs and rejecting the ones that are against our humanity; those that were created in the age of ignorance. But the ones that make us unique and great, that bring out the best in us, should never be trampled with.

4. Advanced preparation is a key to safety.

Preparing for an event weeks or months before they come is cheaper and can save lives. Making ad hoc arrangements because you are trying to cut corners or because you are harboring sentiments against other members in the family could be costly and unwise.

5. Marriage is a sacred institution that ensures human survival.

Have you been to an event and realized that singleness is a disadvantage? I discovered this during the burial of my grandma. Singleness is not only a curse, it is the greatest disadvantage a man can give to himself.

6. Money makes things happen.

Money can make things happen but left on its own, money is a useless commodity. With people driven with purpose who are ready to make things possible, money becomes a vehicle that has unprecedented reach. If you have people who are behind you and no money, you’ll all be sitting ducks. If you have money without people behind you, your money is just useless commodity. Join both together, and you can move mountains.

Are there any realities you have discovered from a burial, wedding etcetera that is related to our African customs? Share them on the comment box below.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Crowd support matters more when playing at home in football matches.

The tendency of the home team to win more often than the visiting team is termed home advantage. It is widely believed that home advantage is a significant factor in football matches, but the factors at play are not yet conclusive. Three factors, though, have been well acknowledged: a sizable crowd support for the home team, familiarity of the home team to the stadium environment and thirdly, travel fatigue and disruptions in travel arrangements of the visiting team.

Better adjustment to the turf and lower levels of stress are some of the reasons Niels van de Ven suggests gives home teams better advantage than the visiting team. Jet lag and traveling long distances are also significant. In a recent discussion paper, Michela Ponzo and Vincenzo Scoppa believe that crowd support matters more, providing about 60 percentage points while the other two factors contribute 40 percentage points to home advantage.

Ponzo and Scoppa evaluated data from the Italian “Serie A” both for same-stadium derbies and normal matches. You should recall that same-stadium derbies are matches that involve teams that share the same stadium. A good example is Milan and Inter Milan in the “Serie A”. Using data from same-stadium derbies would make travel fatigue and familiarity with the stadium environment neutral factors.

They discovered that home advantage contributes significantly to team performance. Playing at home both for same-stadium derbies and normal matches increases a team’s probability of winning by 23 percentage points (23%). The points earned in the league by the two teams before the match along with their ranking in the league table are also contributory. Taking into consideration points earned by the two teams, the probability of the home team’s winning was found to be twenty-six percentage points (26%) higher than when playing at away.

Also, playing at home and enjoying crowd support tends to make the home team score more goals. This result could probably be traced to either the fact that the players are more encouraged when playing before their home crowd or the crowd support at home tends to influence the referees’ decisions.

Home teams seem to be receiving more favorable treatment in referees’ decisions. Granted, referees try their best to be impartial, but they can be subconsciously influenced by a large crowd in the stadium and they might then react by favoring the home team, thereby awarding more penalties and less disciplinary sanctions to the home team. It was found that referees tend to give more red cards to visiting teams.

When they tried to neutralize the subjective influence of the referees’ decisions on the home team, it could be observed that home crowd support plays a large role in encouraging and motivating the players.

So, when next your favorite team is playing at the local stadium, your support could contribute about 60 percentage points (60%) to its securing a win.


Monday, August 18, 2014

What to do? - A poem on a POW on deathrow

I wrote this poem after watching a documentary on prisoners-of-war (POW)s and genocide. It was some years ago. I found the slip of paper somewhere in my room last week and decided to post it on the Net because I’ve stopped writing poems.

The POW is in anguish, mentally and physically, over the fact that today is the day he has been decreed to die. To be shot at the back of the neck with a pistol. He shares a cell with other POWs which is a dark room but the nails are not in the room, only on his body and his psyche. He knows he’s surely going to die today and there is nothing anybody can do about that. Very sad!

I titled the poem: “What to do.” There is nothing you can do if you are a prisoner awaiting your death. Nothing at all.

What to do.

Ghouls assail me left and right Moaning I beg the heavens to open To accept me after my sudden death For I can bear this burden no longer. Like a walking old man with a sac Defeated by time, war weary, hungry. His legs hairy, forlorn thoughts aplenty. I ask them, comrades avoiding my gaze Smiling like yesterday’s green lawn: “Do you know what it is, this assailing Clubbing my every being with nails?” With long sighs, speaking to the wind Surely earless though with much to say Words that only the gods can hear. The pain, the pain – the scale is rising On the weight where depression sleeps Waiting in vain for an answer that Will never come – this anguish, my secret. The chamber of nails and bars, darkness! With roaches running about like slaves, to A scroll written by two vermin who decreed That I die by a shot of the pistol. Do I break the laws of transport Fight a battle only the heavens can plot? The roaches will know nothing but the chant: “What to do – What to do?” By 12, midnight, the pistol will come silently The roaches before; the scroll read to my death. ---- Nnaemeka David


Sunday, August 3, 2014

OLD SOLDIERS NEVER DIE…

Old soldiers never die, they just fade away. - Gen. Douglas MacArthur
The above quote is attributed to Gen. MacArthur. I want to apply it to this blog.

For several months, there has been no activity here. It doesn’t translate to the death of this blog, rather to a state of hiatus of the author. I’m slowly fading away, from blogging and writing. My other blog, make the market your income, is also in the same state as this.

Yet, I believe I’ll fade back to activity soon. I’m reorganizing my schedules and times.

Please, wish me all the best as I continue to feed you relevant and entertaining information in business, living and other trivial I find interesting in solving problems to the ups and downs of this problematic world.


LOST MY GRANDMOTHER OF 91

Last week Thursday, I lost my grandmother. She had lived a life well spent; died at 91.

I have been pensive, reflecting on what it means to die after seeing even your great-grandchildren? I think it is a tribute to a life well lived.

I believe we’ll see again after the resurrection; in paradise.