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Social media craze has swept across our minds like bush fire, breathing life to introverts, tumbling on the extroverts and on the flip side killing our century old socialization aspects. Our reference point has to be on the social media. We compete to report first, to show off, to stalk, to break unverified news, to parade our imaginary wealth and to explain to god-knows-who, of what we are up to, travelling to, or where we are savoring sumptuous lunch with whom.

More annoying, we share images of our hours-old kids, never minding that kids are not to be displayed to anybody who cares to see them. Kids are sacred and sensitive and not everybody in social media is happy for you who got blessed with a one. Sorceress and humans who don’t mean well for you are on social media too or at least their agents. In fact they make part of your three thousand friends on Facebook and follow your every move on IG (Instagram). But why would one share a pic of her kid on social media even before she steps out of the maternity room?

We even go ahead to create social media accounts for them. Is that not encroaching on their rights? Whose consent do parents have when they create these accounts? You see, not every kid would be comfortable to learn later in life that virtually all their life was shared widely on social media. A parental expert will tell you this violates a kid’s privacy. Ultimately, we will go down in history as a generation that has not only over-photographed our kids but also over-scheduled for them. We have to come to the realisation that our children are separate human beings with perhaps different tastes, beliefs and personalities from us which ostensibly, should be respected as well. In a nutshell their autonomy and privacy should be accorded the necessary respect. A research done in UK recently revealed that contemporary parents will have shared about 1,000 photos of their kids online before they turn five. Is this fair?

I’m sure you’ve followed on the story of the famous – Kim Kardashian after she was tied up in her luxury bathroom in Paris and her hotel room ransacked and robbed off 9 million pounds worth of jewelleries. Of course no robbery should be justified however; some school of thought would refer Kim as a publicity junkie. In fact one columnist put matters into perspective as far as this American reality television personality is considered, in this form;

For when you live your life as a shop window mannequin, parading the spoils of your success, you cannot be surprised when one day someone smashes down the shop window and lunges at your baubles and bling. Kim Kardashian has built her global fame – and gargantuan fortune – on exposing her life to the public.

Seemingly, Kim is a victim just like many of us who belong to the millennial generation that hovers on approvals, showing off syndrome and rogue competition. To a large extent, social media platform mirrors our inadequacies, insecurities and the gaping emptiness in our lives. That unless we get those staggering likes and double taps, we seem not useful to the world.  Interestingly, we have to let the world know what is taking place around us. There is nothing wrong about it, however, when we overdo it, then it begs a lot. When total strangers get to know all in your wardrobe, or where you can be usually spotted, or how you kitchen layout looks like, then there is trouble.

Speaking of which; you and I know of these IG bigwigs who literally go on the spree, over sharing about their hoods, their family and all the pettiness in between that you can imagine of. In fact, some of you can go round their digs with much ease based on the hundreds on pics uploaded daily about their high end mansions. Just why should we parade all our possessions online?

I was taken aback the other day when I happened to find a photo uploaded by a dude who is supposedly my friend on Facebook, regarding a dowry invitation (read financial help). So the photo had the image of the couple, inviting (soliciting money) Facebook friends to their dowry ceremony. My thinking was; this was an act of desperation. I mean, who shares dowry invites on Facebook? It appeared like soliciting. Please don’t invite people to your dowry or wedding by uploading invites on Facebook for all who care to read them. It somehow dilutes these ceremonies. In fact one appears, ridiculous, laughable, selfish and full of shortcuts. Kindly invite specific people to these ceremonies, not a mammoth of complete strangers on social media who perhaps have never and will never meet you in person.

Further, don’t flaunt your air tickets to Coast on social media; the world is not safe anymore. You never know who might break into your house. And if you have to share them, please let it be after the trip is wrapped up. You just never know. You recall when the infamous Ezekiel Mutua vaunted about his diplomatic passport only to emerge he shouldn’t have been issued with one, in the first place. At his age, was this appropriate? Cut the slack people. Genuine success doesn’t announce itself. You simply can’t have your cake and eat it!

There is an untold rule or is it a memo that should be passed around; That social media is a double edged knife. It is an incredible platform for networking and reaching up to your friends. On the other hand, if a line is not drawn between sharing and oversharing; one can antagonize family and friends, breach on privacy, expose loved ones to unnecessary attention and possibly attract fraudsters.

And by the way, let’s drop this hullabaloo of ‘checking in’ here and there. Who said you should report to social media on every corner you dart at! While at it, stop selfies at funerals. It’s rude and unbecoming. Come to think of it, do we need to be briefed on how your honeymoon is coming along?



You recall Austin of Peptic Ulcers? When he went for a post treatment check up, Doctor Martin, seemingly in his mid-thirties, donning the typical white coat, ordinary specs and showing a tendency to tolerate beards all over his cheeks, looked straight at him and had this to say;

Please forget alcohol. 

For starters, Austin was never an active drinker. He popped in these stuffy and noisy places say once in three months and it had to be out of influence from friends. In other times it was out of those family gatherings events where men are compelled to drink to appease the so called imaginary ancestors. Speaking of family, it’s important to appreciate Austin comes from a family background stemming from the slopes of Mount Kenya. That’s said, I’m sure you’ve come across these breed of kuyus in social functions struggling to shed off a stereotype of harboring unusual appetite for alcohol. These chaps (and a considerable number of women) drink even when they meet for burial preparation activities.

By the way, I have attended several fundraisers in downtown Nairobi, in joints owned by kuyus usually with funny names like Magomano Hotel, Giathiniwa Cafe, Njogu-Ini Inn, organised by these lads where people literally drink heavily while the ceremony runs. Occasionally, your name will be randomly mentioned by the MC to escort a friend to the basket normally placed at the high table as he takes his contribution. Escorting in this aspect means chipping in to his contribution. You will rise with your beer firmly in hand, while adjusting your symbolic godfather hat whose colour will be complementing your pair of Safari boots and join the queue as you dance to a popular mugithi song.

For Austin’s case, he was not that type of a drinker you would find fixed alone at the bar counter, seemingly in deep thoughts, occasionally teasing the bar lady and having one those uncultivated pep talks with her. You know of these chaps, who walk to the bar formally dressed, straight from the office clinging to the Business Daily newspaper? They never sit at any other place apart from the counter. And if it is fully occupied, they’d rather hang around there for hours holding on their brown bottle, keeping tabs with their phones and sporadically engaging the guy seated next to them, in those tall seats.

For Austin, it was a different ball game altogether. He would never walk to a club alone. He had to be in the pack of other thirsty cubs eager and excited to catch up and kill the night courtesy of drinks. He savored the thrill that comes with drinking in the company of his boys, so to speak and the drama that makes the night wilder. Be it because of the guys seated next to them who would hide some bills much to the frustration of the waitress to the weirdness that comes with all types of drinkers. This was best captured in an article I wrote not so long ago; What Type of A Bar Patron Do You Make .

The good think about alcohol (not that I’m advocating for it) makes one more human if you take it responsibly. You see, these days we rarely say hello to strangers be it in matatus, not in the barber shop queue nor in the ATM line. We hold and keep it to ourselves. This never occurs in the bar. Chaps who have a cordial relationship with the bar counter are normally taken to be lone drinkers but that never deters them from bonding with the rest, with similar ethos. In fact as the hours speed off so does the silence. The more litres ones imbibe the more talkative one becomes, thanks to alcohol. Even when you walk to the washrooms and bump on this stranger as you do your thing, alcohol compels one to warmly acknowledge him, be it through a nod or a smile. This toxic stuff has a way of exuding the human touch.

From what I gathered from Austin, he is keen on ensuring he faithfully stays away from alcohol and its dens for as long as he lives. Of course to the much delight of his girlfriend who was openly against him taking alcohol. Well, she seems to have had the last laugh. But what would happen if he gets invited to one of those bridal parties, birthday bashes and dowry events. Will he survive the jabs and indirect ridicules from friends and relatives? Will his body have conformed to the tough laws passed without much consultation or notice courtesy of Doctor Martin? Martin should have prepaid him for this hehe and be like; well, you have two more months to drink and from then forget if alcohol ever existed in the first place. But that would still be tough for him especially on Fridays when he will be driving past his formerly usual joints and have them unrelentingly throw tempts at him. The familiar music, and mood will take toll on him too.

Being a teetotaler is tough, he quips. Nowadays everybody drinks. How does one manoeuvre life with this kind of stigma? To add on, the doctor also advised him to avoid coffee and lemon and any acidic foods. Meaning, Austin will not be in a position to even take an intern for coffee. Or rather he will take her and drink tea. How do you walk in to Java House – Nanyuki and order for tea? The intern will be taken aback! Tea should be taken at home or in the office not in Java or any other high end place that you could take your girlfriend hehe. She will indulge him;

Why kienyeji tea?

Blame the doctor. Coffee triggers heartburn.

Oooooh woisheeeee. Poor thing.

Meanwhile, he will have to take cues from renowned Kenya public figures who are established teetotalers to name a few; the celebrated radio presenter – Willi M.Tuva, Hip hop artiste – Octopizzo, the flashy – Jaguar, the high rolling – Victor Wanyama, Top Dj – Dj Joe Mfalme, local dancehall guru – Wyre  and Ladies favourite – Jeff Mote. I saw Larry Madowo in the list but wasn’t too sure if he is a strict teetotaler. I’m told Dhoty Family’s Dj Kriss Darlin’ doesn’t drink as well. As it seems, Austin is in a safe company of brave gentlemen who have arguably solid careers at their grip, taking the battle of teetotalling right at the doorstep of the drinking hearth. That’s pure audacity at best.

On the flipside he will have to cut links with his drinking buddies. This has everything to do with friends who never have any other agenda apart from always urging him to go drinking. It will be difficult for him but important, at least to save his health.

All the best Bro Austin! It’s time you did this!

Photo courtesy of Standard Digital Entertainment – SDE 

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