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johnkweber
Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
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Monday, June 4, 2007

Jealousy makes you nasty

This article was written and published in the Gansbaai Herald after one of my friends got picked up for smuggling Perlemoen. I was obviously quite shocked to hear of this as I knew him rather well. What he did or not do is not what I am writing about. It is the fact that neighbours and family got so jealous of him that they would ruin a lovely place like Gansbaai just to see him and other friends go down.

Jealousy makes you nasty!

Having lived in the Netherlands for a few years, I never really got used to the effects of living in a fishbowl type of neighbourhood where everyone watched everyone else to see whether they may be able to trap their unsuspecting neighbours in an act of wrongdoing. It seemed that civil servants did not need to do their job as the neighbours would routinely inform on the wrongdoers in any case. Their bad habit has been nurtured so long now that it has become a natural talent. It is at this advanced stage where watching and telling becomes spying and informing. It really can start doing harm to a whole community. Gansbaai beware!

I have recently visited Gansbaai a number of times in quick succession and for varying number of days on each visit, and I noticed the same sort of begrudging tendencies of some of the inhabitants of Gansbaai whom actually deserve compliments for taking this irritating and extremely childish bad habit to new heights. Remember if you can’t raise the standards of your environment (by keeping up with the Jones’s), please don’t try to drag everyone around you down as well.

It seems that every article in any local newspaper you read has something to say about an alleged syndicate which somehow seems to be linked to the words “Dis waar ja!” What strikes me as being really weird though is that some articles say alleged and others seem to take it as fact.

In my opinion, all articles of this subject should maybe start with words like
“Dis beweer ja!” or “Dis gemeen ja!” I suppose that it is not really as sensational as “Dis waar ja!” but it certainly is more representative of the whole situation and doesn’t condemn them for a crime that still has to be proven in court where a jury and judge presides.

To get back to the main topic though, jealousy makes you nasty and it is plain to see in a small town like Gansbaai. In bars one has to just ask someone their name and all backs get turned away from you as they suspect you are out to nail them.

More than once I have even been accused of being in the police force or one of the task forces assigned to crime on the coast. It is sad that our usual South African politeness is now our worst asset. Imagine being shunned in a bar of all places because you may be the one that has come to change their lives in a drastic way with your all inquiring questions of “Hoezit en wat is jou naam.”

I feel that this is mostly due to the fact that you have so many neighbourly spies around you tending to your downfall that you never know who is friend or foe. If you are genuinely concerned as to the safety of your environment set up a neighbourhood watch and stop watching the neighbours. It is childish and will not do your community any good. Besides which, has nobody ever told you as a child not to tell stories.

One of the sad factors in the ill gotten gossip that actually makes it to print, is that nobody seems to have the guts to actually put their name next to the senseless drivel that they write, at least that way one could see who the well meaning benefactor is and one can judge for yourself whether it comes from someone who wants to change things for the better or just malicious gossip. In turn one should also remember that that which comes around goes around. So keep it up and in your turn one day you too may be flamed down in a blaze of glory just so that others may watch you burn. If your neighbour does not have a high enough fence, try to abstain from looking over it so often.

John Weber
johnkweber@yahoo.com
All email I get that offends me gets treated as spam anyway.

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