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It is gratifying that British Prime Minister David Cameron is able to correctly pronounce the name of the Afghanistan capital.
He pronounces it Kabul, with the emphasis on the second syllable, the way it’s always been. TV newsreaders and others have, for some strange reason, been pronouncing it Car-bull, with the emphasis on the first syllable.
This goes with Beijing for Peking (where they don’t use our alphabet or characters anyway), Mumbai for Bombay (even though the local inhabitants still call it Bombay), Kolkotta for Calcutta and Kampuchea for Cambodia. I’m not sure whether it’s a weird form of political correctness or sheer affectation.
But, as he announced the successful rescue of a British aid worker by special forces after she had been held captive by the Taliban, Cameron, several times, spoke of Kabul – the way it ought to be pronounced.
There’s a lot to be said for an Eton and Oxford background.
IT WAS desperate stuff at the Umgeni Road-N2 interchange the other evening. It was pitch dark. The traffic lights were not functioning. The metro police were nowhere to be seen.
It was 6pm rush-hour. Traffic heading for the airport and elsewhere on the North Coast, heading off the N2 to Durban and in all other directions was chaotically piled up. It took me 45 minutes to get through the interchange.
I would probably still be there were it not for the astonishing effort of a group of what looked like security guards or car guards, with their fluorescently X-marked jackets.
Where they came from, who can tell? But they were directing the traffic. Four or five of them would rush out into the road and halt two or three lanes of approaching traffic, their fluorescent markings picked up in the headlights. Then other groups would wave waiting traffic across the gap created.
They whistled and yelled to get the attention of the drivers. It looked hair-raisingly dangerous. But they kept the traffic slowly moving.
Who are these fellows? Where do they materialise from? Do they get any kind of reward for this very dangerous work? Such public-spiritedness is astonishing. Should they not be recruited to the metro police?
ALONG the N2, the signposting to King Shaka International is appallingly skimpy. It is very easy to miss the turn-off, especially in the dark. The authorities have not yet painted on the road surface the aircraft logos which every other airport seems to have.
Turn off too early and you find yourself at the fruit machines of Sibaya casino. If you find yourself at the Kosi border post into Mozambique, you have gone too far.
MENTION last week of the folly of feeding dolphins or monkeys reminds reader Val Johnson, of Kloof, of the monkey she found eating grapes in her kitchen. He was sorting green ones from red in a box.
Then he was off with a large, green bunch. He sat on the courtyard wall, picking off one grape at a time, popping it in his mouth and carefully taking out the pips with his fingers and placing them in a neat line on the wall.
“A well brought-up monkey,” says Val.
Yes, he obviously went to Glenwood.
A GOLFER is behind by a couple of strokes. “Boy, I’d give anything to sink this putt,” he mumbles to himself.
Just then a stranger walks up beside him and whispers: “Would you be willing to give up one-fourth of your sex life?”
“Sure,” he says and sinks the putt.
Two holes later, he mumbles to himself again: “I sure would like to get an eagle on this one.”
The same stranger is at his side again and whispers: “Would it be worth giving up another fourth of your sex life?”
“Okay.” He makes an eagle.
On the final hole, he needs another eagle to win. The stranger quickly moves to his side and says: “Would winning this match be worth giving up the rest of your sex life?”
“Definitely.” He makes the eagle.
The stranger: “I haven’t really been fair with you because you don’t know I’m the Devil. From this day forward you will have no sex life.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m Father O’Malley.”
I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered. – George Best