Sunday, March 21, 2021

Post the untimely death of Tanzania's popular president John P Magufuli

With due respect to all the mourners, I think the association of heart disease (vs Covid-19) with Dr Magufuli’s death will unfortunately encourage Tanzanians to continue sticking to the status quo and not follow WHO recommended guidance regarding masks, social distancing, vaccines, etc.

For the sake of saving potentially thousands of Tanzanian lives, it may be advisable for the new administration to associate Covid-19 (even if not true) with his death just to bring a healthy dose of reality/awareness in the public and have a better chance of controlling the spread of Covid-19 in Tanzania.

Along those lines, it is crucial that the new president and top associates will lead by example especially when addressing the public (wearing masks, social distancing, taking vaccines, etc). Likewise, science will have to be relied upon and off-the-cuff solutions to combat Covid-19 like nationwide 3-day prayers or steam baths will not be taken too seriously. After all, the rest of the world are not fools for relying on science and bending over backward to fight Covid-19.

Just my sincere observation/suggestion, trying to help – no offense intended.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Swahili version of my Nov 19, 2019 post "Long article sent in 2014 to Daily News Tanzania"

 

Mlengo wa serikali siyo sahihi


Nilizaliwa
Tanzania, na niliondoka kuja USA zaidi ya miaka thelathini iliyopita, wakati nilikuwa miaka ishirini. Tangu wakati huo, nimerudi Dare-es-salaam mara chache kuonana na jamaa and marafiki. Safari yangu ya karibuni ya kuenda huko ilitokea baada ya karibu miaka nane kutoka nilipoenda huko mwisho Juni 2006. Baada ya kusikia sifa nyingi kuhusu maendeleo za Dar-es-salaam siku hizi, nilikuwa natarajia kushangazwa kwa kizuri. Basi nilishangazwa kwa hakika, lakini siyo kwa kizuri. 

Uandishi huu umekusudiwa kuongeza ufahamu kuhusu mambo ambazo zinaelekea zinapuuzwa. Inatoa ukosoaji ya kizuri kuhusu, kwa maoni yangu, hali mbaya ya mambo huko Dar-es-salaam, ikifuatiwa na mapendekezo maalum. Ni njia yangu ya kufanya kitu kwa matumaini ya kuboresha hali hiyo.

Haichukui fikra kubwa kutambua kwamba miundombinu ya Dar-es-salaam hapo awali ilibuniwa kwa idadi ya watu ambayo ilikuwa chini
sana kuliko ilivyo sasa.  Sababu kuu ya kutokuelewana kati ya miundombinu na idadi ya watu, kwa maoni yangu, ni kwa sababu Dar-es-salaam inakua zaidi kwa wima badala ya usawa.

Kwa mfano, pahala pengi ambapo miaka thelathini iliyopita kulikuwa na nyumba zenye safu moja, sasa kuna miinuko mingi yenye viwango vingi - lawama zote ni kwa watengenezaji wa majengo ambao wanaonekana wanalenga faida ya muda mfupi dhidi ya gharama ya kuongeza mzigo wa maji, umeme, na maji taka juu ya miundombinu zinayohusiana nazo. Matokeo yake, kwa bahati mbaya lakini kwa kutarajiwa, ni matukio mengi ya maji taka kufurika barabarani. Hata mvua kidogo kwenye hali
kama hizo husababisha madimbwi makubwa ya maji machafu kote mjini.
 
Lakini kuna uwezekano kwamba watengenezaji wa majengo (na yeyote ambaye walilazimika kuhonga ili wapate vibali vya ujenzi, mikataba, nk) wamecheka njia nzima mpaka benki. Na kuhakikisha kicheko chao ni ngumu
sana, watengenezaji hao mara nyingi wanasisitiza kwamba malipo zao ziwe kwa dola ya Amerika. Majaribio zao za kujitumikia, kwa maoni yangu, sio mazuri kwa mji. Vivyo hivyo, wauzaji wa vifaa kama mapampu za maji, matangi ya kuhifadhia maji juu ya paa, na majenereta za umeme pia wamecheka njia nzima hadi benki - ingawa vifaa hivyo vinatoa suluhisho la muda mfupi tu kwa uhaba wa maji na umeme. Mbaya zaidi, vifaa kama hivyo haswa huzidisha shida ya maji taka kwa kusababisha uengezeko wa matumizi ya maji. Inatubidi tukumbuke kwamba kusukuma maji safi juu kufika sakafu au eneo iliopo mbali ni kazi rahisi. Changamoto ya kweli ipo kwenye kutafuta njia ya kutupa maji baada ya kutumiwa na kuchafuliwa - yaani zaidi ya kuyaacha tu yaunde dimbwi na polepole kuingia ndani ya ardhi.

Inaeleweka, miinuko nyingi mpya zilizojengwa zimesababisha uongezeko kubwa za idadi ya watu mjini. Hiyo nayo imesababisha msongamano wa trafiki wa kutisha kwenye barabara nyingi (mengi ambazo hazina alama za njia) karibu wakati wowote wa kazi. Hiyo haishangazi kwani hizo barabara zinazohusika zilibuniwa kushughulikia sehemu ndogo tu ya magari ambayo kwa sasa zinashughulikiwa. Matumizi mabaya hayo ya barabara husababisha kutokea kwa mashimo makubwa ambayo yanazidisha msongamano wa magari - haswa yanapojazwa na maji ya mvua yaliyochanganywa na maji taka.

Watu wanaonekana kuwa na wakati zaidi huko, lakini hawaonekani kuwa na uwezo wa kufanikiwa
sana - lawama zaidi iende kwa msongamano wa trafiki ya kutisha. Ilinichukua masaa mawili na nusu kufika uwanja wa ndege kutoka Kariakoo tu. Hiyo pamoja na kuongezeka kwa idadi ya watu na gharama kubwa ya maisha ikilinganishwa na mapato zimefanya maisha kuwa ya dhiki na ya kutatanisha kwa wanaoishi wengi huko. Hufanya mtu kushangaa ni vipi wauzaji wengi wa matunda na mboga wanaishi kwa mapato yao ambayo yanaonekana chache bila kufanya shughuli haramu. Hali mbaya kama hiyo huko labda inaelezea kwanini, wakati huu, marafiki na jamaa wengi wanaoishi huko walionekana kuwa na wasiwasi na wasio na urafiki.

Inadhaniwa, serikali inafanya kitu kukabiliana na hali hiyo ngumu ya kuishi. Lakini kwa maoni yangu, mlengo wa serikali siyo sahihi  kwa maana kwamba rasilimali zinatumika katika shughuli ambazo zinaweza kufanya hali kuwa mbaya zaidi - wakati wachache (kama watengenezaji wa mali na wauzaji wa vifaa waliotajwa hapo awali) wanaendelea kujitajirisha na kuwaacha raia wakilala nyuma.

Kwa mfano, sioni vipi ujenzi wa Bus Rapid Transit, uwanja wa ndege mpya wa kimataifa, na daraja huko Kigamboni zimepewa kipaumbele taratibu katika juhudi hizi, wakati miundombinu za maji, umeme, na maji taka zinahitajika kuboreshwa. Bila shaka, juhudi zilizotajwa zitaongeza mtiririko wa watu kupitia mjini na zitazidisha matumizi za miundombinu ambazo ni dhaifu hata sasa.

Fedha za serikali pia zimetumika kukusanya wauzaji wadogo wa barabarani na kutowaruhusu kufanya biashara. Hoja, inaonekana, ni kuboresha hisia ya mji. Kwa kukosekana na njia zingine za kujitafutia riziki, kuna uwezekano juhudi
kama hizo potofu za serikali zitaongeza uwizi na ujambazi.

Nadhani rasilimali za serikali zingetumika vizuri zaidi ikiwa zingetumika kuboresha mifumo ya umeme na maji taka. Au kuongeza ufahamu kwa umma juu ya kutotupa takataka kwenye mifereji ya maji ya mvua. Au kuweka mapipa mengi ya takataka kote mjini na kuweka ratiba thabiti ya kuchukua taka. Vivyo hivyo, rasilimali za serikali zingetumika vizuri zaidi ikiwa zingetumika kukuza ufahamisho wa madereva haswa wakati wapo kwenye msongamano wa magari. Nakumbuka haswa dereva aliyesimamisha gari
lake na hakuturuhusu kugeuka kulia (hata ingawa kulikuwa na nafasi nyingi nyuma ya gari lake) ili tuweze kuharakisha mtiririko wa trafiki upande wote. Kwa kukosekana kwa adabu ya kawaida ya kuendesha magari, hata ujenzi wa njia za kupita kwa juu pale palipokwepo trafiki nyingi haitaweza kupunguza msongamano wa magari.

Mara nyingi, niliona wafanyakazi wengi wakifagia kwa mikono mitaa ziliyojaa na trafiki ili waondoe mchanga na vipande za ardhi - wakati huo huo, kulikuwa na eneo la ardhi tupu na uchafu siyo mbali kutoka hapo. Natarajia mwajiri wao alishinda zabuni ya kufanya shughuli
kama hizo (zisizo na maana, kwa maoni yangu) na alikuwa analipwa vyema kwa kutumia fedha za serikali.

Ni kweli, hata wafanyikazi wa nyumbani na wauzaji wa mitaani Dar-es-salaam siku hizi wana simu za mkononi, na waishi wa pale wengi wana iPads za hivi karibuni, wanamiliki gari za bei ghali, na wanajua mambo mengi kuhusu mitandao ya kijamii. Hoteli zingine hata zina helipad kuwezesha usafirishaji wa wateja wenye shuguli nyingi kwa helikopta hadi uwanja wa ndege. Lakini, kwa maoni yangu, hiyo haifanyi mji kusemeka imesonga mbele. Badala yake, hiyo inaimanisha kwamba watengenezaji wengine (wa kigeni) wamejipatia soko kubwa la kuuza bidhaa zao. Ningependa kuona rasilimali za serikali zikitumika kuendeleza fikra na mitazamo ya wananchi, badala ya kuwapa tu ufikiaji wa vifaa vya kisasa.
  
Rasilimali za serikali pia zingetumika vyema zaidi ikiwa zitatumika kukuza mawazo ya kufanya kazi kwa haki, kwa mfano, kutii ishara za trafiki, kufuata maagizo ya askari wa trafiki, na sio kutupa taka taka hovyo hovyo. Vivyo hivyo, pesa hizo zingetumika vizuri zaidi ikiwa zingetumika kuunda mazingira ambayo polisi na polisi wa trafiki wanaonekana
kama marafiki kuliko maadui. Mwagizo kubwa, najua - lakini sio lazima iwe haiwezekani kufanyika.
 
Pamoja na mafikirio hayo, siwezi kuona jinsi mtu anavyoweza kuita mji umeendelea ikiwa mawazo kawaida ya watu ni kwamba wezi, wakikamatwa, hupigwa au huchomwa moto hadi wanakufa. Fedha za serikali zingetumika vizuri zaidi ikiwa zingetumika kuleta uelewaji kwa umma kwamba mazoea hayo ni ya kinyama na hayakubaliki kabisa katika karne ya 21. Ni jambo la kushangaza kwamba mawazo
kama haya za kishenzi yanaendelea kushamiri Dar-es-salaam ingawa, ikilinganishwa na miaka thelathini iliopita, kumekuwa na ongezeko kubwa la idadi ya majumba za kidini na ibada. 

Mwishowe, fedha za serikali zingetumika vyema zaidi ikiwa zingetumika kukuza utumiaji wa hundi (na hata kadi za mkopo) badala ya pesa taslimu, kwani matumizi zao zitaunda mazingira bora za kibiashara.
 
Ingawa ni rahisi kusema lakini ni ngumu kutekeleza kwa vitendo, rasilimali za serikali zinabidi kupewa kipaumbele ipasavyo kwa nia ya kukuza mazoea na mitazamo ambayo mwishowe zitawanufaisha wakaazi wote, sio wachache tu. Kwa maneno mengine, kufanya jambo sahihi na kuwa na mawazo ya wote kushinda lazima iwe msingi kuu ya kuendesha matumizi ya serikali. Ni matumaini yangu kwamba aina ya ufahamu ambayo nakala hii imejaribu kukuza itakuwa na athari nzuri kwa wote wanaohusika.

Ninatarajia kupata mshangazo wa kiwema wakati mwingine nitakapotembelea Dar-es-salaam. 

Nash Khatri

Julai 11, 2014



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Pet ownership is not my thing

Historically, humans have had pets for possibly tens of thousands of years. Not surprisingly then, pet ownership is quite common in the world. And for whatever reason, it is especially popular here in the US. But I have never owned a pet, not even in the form of a house plant – and I am not planning to get one, whether a dog, a cat, or any other animal.

While some people can’t imagine their lives without pets, I think of pets as not only unnatural, but also mostly burdensome and unnecessary. Notably, the status quo with respect to pet ownership seems to be functioning just fine. So there really isn’t anything that needs to be changed in that regard, though my preference is to care for and to spend time, energy, and effort with people rather than with animals that happen to be pets. In the backdrop of that, I’d like to share my lukewarm view on pet ownership, while being careful not to alienate or offend readers, many of whom are likely to be pet owners. After all, a typical American household, for example, has about 1.6 dogs and 1.8 cats.

 

Generally speaking, pets help their owners manage loneliness or depression, by giving them companionship. Some dogs, for example, also offer protection for their owners. As such, many pet owners often treat their pets better than humans. Essentially, they consider pets, especially cats and dogs, as part of their family. Bumper stickers with messages along the lines of “My dog is my best friend”, “Dogs are better than people”, or “I love my cat” abound in the US.

 

Many dog owners feel so close to their dog that they don’t hesitate to put their face right next to its mouth and even kiss it as a sign of affection. I have even seen strangers do the same to other people’s dogs that they consider to be cute or lovely. As such, many pet owners snuggle and even share their bed with their pets. It’s common to see news story about how a dog alerted and thereby saved a family from their burning house in the middle of the night. A wealthy lady onboard the doomed Titanic ship refused to get on a life boat because she was not allowed to bring along her big dog – her dead body, apparently with arms wrapped around the dog that also perished, was later found by a recovery ship.

 

Numerous parents are often fully convinced that their pets, especially dogs, will not harm them or others, including young children. While dog and other pet attacks are quite rare, the unexpected unfortunately happens and the result can be devastating. We have all seen news reports about biting and even mauling by an otherwise friendly dog. While such attacks may be very infrequent, they should not be merely shrugged off. It is important for pet owners and even strangers to not get complacent with pets to the point of totally dropping their guard down and becoming vulnerable to unexpected attacks. After all, pets are mere animals and have an inherent tendency to act on their animal instincts when we least expect them to. Often, such unexpected and often unprovoked aggressive behavior by pet dogs can be attributed to fear, pain, anxiety, hunger, insecurity, or even territorial issues.

 

Studies may conclude that pet owners have better physical and mental health than people who do not live with a pet. But in reality, other factors (like marital status, gender, age, race, living arrangements, income, employment status, etc.), rather than pet ownership, may be the real cause of better health for pet owners. Likewise, studies may indicate that rich married non-smoking religious white women that are in their sixties typically live to be at least 100 years old. If such women are, however, also inclined to own a pet, we could wrongly conclude that it was pet ownership that allowed them to become centenaries. Therefore, when comparing attributes of  pet owners with those of non pet owners, we have to be careful about the validity of our conclusions. In a very general sense, I think pet owners and non pet owners are simply wired differently. While the former may be drawn to pets for companionship or protection, the latter aren’t. Notably, different is just that – not better or worse, just different.

 

Many people, it seems, like to feel important and have a subconscious void in that respect. Perhaps to fill that void, some folks resort to getting a dog as a pet. That way, for instance when they return home at the end of a long day from work, at least the dog will welcome them back, often enthusiastically. Moreover, chances are, the dog will follow instructions and look up to them as their authoritative boss. In that regard, a dog provides an ego boost to its owner – which is likely to be especially rejuvenating to those who have an innate desire to feel significant. Likewise, some pet owners seem to like the attention they get because of the pet, for instance, while walking in the park with a dog or while driving with it. A cute, cuddly, or impressive looking pet can often be a good attention getter or conversation starter for the pet owner.

 

It often amazes me how countless dog owners make time out of their busy schedules to tend to their dogs. They don’t seem to mind taking the dogs out for daily walks, cleaning up after them, and even putting up with or neutralizing the mess and smell they leave behind in yards, vehicles, and houses. And let’s not overlook the potential damage to carpet, furniture, door, etc due to chewing, drooling, and scratching, especially if the dog is not well trained.

 

Understandably, it is in the best interest of the pet and veterinary industries to ensure that pet ownership thrives indefinitely. One way of doing that is by ingraining into the psych of the populace phrases like “Pets are part of the family” and “Dogs are better than people”. Likewise, businesses that cater to pet owners routinely advertise by using phrases like “Your pet will thank you” and “Doesn’t your dog deserve it?” to humanize pets and to subtly reinforce or manipulate pet owners’ emotions.

 

The pet and veterinary industries combined are worth almost $150 billion in the US.  In light of that huge figure, my view is it would be na├»ve of us to think that money doesn’t have much to do with the popularity of pets in the US. And thanks perhaps to pet industry lobbyists, a vast majority of US presidents (refreshingly, not including our current president Trump) have had pets while in office. The normalization of having pets at the White House has certainly helped to further embed into the American mindset the acceptability of pet ownership. All that, for better or for worse, and in a business sense, has propelled pet ownership to become as much of the American fabric as, for instance, beer, pizza, hotdogs, organized sports, guns, and religion.

  

In many other countries, and especially in developing nations, dogs are not quite regarded as part of the family as they are in the US. Cats and dogs in many other countries, for instance, are often fed leftovers, rather than pet food bought specifically for them. Notably, service dogs are not considered to be pets because their main purpose is other than to offer companionship or protection. They are instead trained for specific purposes like, detect drugs, sniff out bombs, neutralize criminals, hunt, guide the blind, etc.  

 

In light of my preference to care for and to spend time, energy, and effort with humans rather than with animals, I have shared my sort of negative opinion on pet ownership, without necessarily trying to change anyone else’s view of the same. After all, as mentioned before, the status quo regarding pet ownership seems to be functioning just fine. Alternatively, while acknowledging that pet ownership is not my cup of tea, I have shared my view on it from an unconventional perspective, without meaning to be insensitive or offensive. Hopefully, you will see some grain of truth in my perspective that pet ownership, at its core, is not only unnatural, but also mostly burdensome and unnecessary.

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Difference between Biggest number and Infinity

Let’s say we are trying to determine what a person is thinking in real time by attaching wireless miniature  probes to various parts of their brain and having a computer interpret the electrical (or magnetic, electromagnetic, etc) signals thus generated.

Computer interpretation of those signals will be based on a previously compiled and stored database that mapped various signals from different sections of a subject’s brain to specific thoughts (per interrogations of that subject).

All else being equal, the higher the number of such signal-thought data pairs in a database, the more likely a subject’s real time signal interpretation by a computer will approach the subject’s actual thought at that time.

In that sense, a database with a billion (vs. a million) signal-thought data pairs will enable a computer to provide a more accurate interpretation of a person’s real time thoughts – but there will be some room for improvement. Along those lines, a database with ten trillion such data pairs will enable an even more accurate interpretation of a person’s real time thoughts – but once again, there will still be some room for improvement. By extension, there will still be some room for improvement even if a database were to contain “biggest number” of such data pairs.

Only when such signal-thought data pairs in a database are infinity will there be no room for improvement, and the computer’s interpretation will then match exactly with what a subject was actually thinking in real time. That’s the subtle difference between the concepts of Biggest number and Infinity.

Aside: In mathematical sense, Infinity – Biggest number = Smallest number (not Zero)

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Long article sent in 2014 to Daily News Tanzania shortly after my visit there (not sure if it was published)


Government’s Misguided Focus

I was born in Tanzania, and left for the USA over thirty years ago, when I was about twenty. Over the years, I have been to Dar-es-salaam several times to visit relatives and friends. My latest visit there happened after about eight years this past June. Having heard lots of hype about how advanced Dar-es-salaam has become lately, I was especially looking forward to the visit, hoping to get pleasantly surprised. Well, I was certainly surprised, but not pleasantly.

This article is meant to raise awareness about matters that may be getting overlooked. It provides constructive criticism about, in my opinion, the seemingly dismal state of affairs in Dar-es-salaam, followed by specific recommendations. It is my way of doing something to, hopefully, improve the situation.  

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that the infrastructure of Dar-es-salaam was originally designed for a population that was far less than what it is right now. The key reason behind alarming mismatch between the infrastructure and the population, in my view, is because Dar-es-salaam is growing mostly vertically rather than horizontally.  

On many streets, for instance, where there used to be single-storied row houses thirty years ago, there now stand multi-storied high rises – thanks to aggressive property developers, who seem focused on short-term profits at the cost of overburdening the grossly inadequate water, electricity, and sewage related existing infrastructure. The result, unfortunately but expectedly, is numerous occurrences of sewer water overflows onto streets and sidewalks. Even a mild rain shower under such circumstances causes sizeable puddles of dirty water all over the city.

But chances are, property developers (and, in light of rampant corruption, whoever they may have had to bribe to get building permits, contracts, etc) have already laughed all the way to the bank. By the way, to ensure their laughter is really hard, those developers often charge in terms of the USA dollar. Their self-serving endeavors, in my view, are not necessarily beneficial to the city. Likewise, vendors of equipment like water pumps, rooftop water storage tanks, and standby electric generators too have likely laughed all the way to the bank – though such equipment only provide a temporary solution to water and electric shortages. Even worse, such equipment actually exacerbate the sewer water problem since they effectively lead to increased usage of water. It is fitting to note that pumping clean water to the top floor or the farthest corner is a relatively simple task. The real challenge is in properly disposing that water after it has been used and gotten dirty – other than by merely letting it form a puddle and slowly seep into the ground, that is.

Understandably, abundance of newly built multi-storied high rises has resulted in substantial localized spikes in the city population growth. That, in turn, has resulted in nightmarish traffic jams on numerous roads (most of which, by the way, have no lane markings) at almost any time during work hours. That’s not surprising since the roads in question were originally designed to handle only a fraction of automobiles that they are currently subjected to handle. Such overuse of the roads leads to widespread occurrences of sizeable potholes which, in turn, worsens the traffic jams – especially when they fill up with rain water mixed with sewer water overflows.

Notably, people apparently have more time over there, but they hardly seem able to get much accomplished, thanks mostly to the nightmarish traffic jams. It took me two-and-a-half hours just to get to the airport from Kariakoo. That along with significantly increased population and substantially high cost of living compared to income have made life quite stressful and hectic for the majority of city residents. Makes one wonder how the countless fruit and vegetable street vendors survive on their seemingly meager earnings without resorting to illegal activities. Such a dire local state of affairs perhaps explains why, this time around, many friends and relatives living there seemed particularly apprehensive and aloof.

Supposedly, the government is doing something to tackle the challenging situation. In my view, however, the government’s focus is misguided and poorly prioritized in the sense that resources are being spent on undertakings that may be worsening the situation – while a select few (like the property developers and equipment vendors mentioned earlier) continue to enrich themselves and leave the masses languishing behind.

For instance, I don’t see how the building of Bus Rapid Transit, new international airport, and bridge at Kigamboni are properly prioritized endeavors at this juncture, when the grossly inadequate water, electricity, and sewage related infrastructure is so desperately in need of upgrade. Chances are, the mentioned endeavors will increase the flow of people through the city and will worsen the situation by further overburdening the grossly inadequate infrastructure.

Government funds have also been used to roundup petty street vendors and not allow them to do business. The reasoning, apparently, is to improve the image of the city. In absence of other viable alternate ways of making a living, chances are, such government misguided efforts will lead to increased incidences of thefts and robberies.

I think the government resources would be better spent if used instead to upgrade the electric generation and sewer water systems. Or to raise awareness in public about not dumping trash into rainwater drainage ditches. Or to place ample trash bins all over the city and establish a firm trash pickup schedule. Similarly, government resources would be better spent if used to promote win-win attitudes in drivers especially when at intersections during traffic jams. I particularly remember a stopped driver in the oncoming lane who wouldn’t back up (even though there was plenty of room behind her car) to allow us to make a right turn onto a cross street and at the same time hasten the traffic that was backing up behind us. In the absence of common driving courtesy, even the building of overpasses at busy intersections will likely not be of much help in terms of easing traffic jams.

On many occasions, I noted several uniformed laborers manually sweeping the traffic-jammed streets to rid them of loose dirt – while at the same time, there were chunks of bare land and loose dirt just down the street from there. Chances are, their employer had won a bid from the city to conduct such (practically useless, in my view) endeavors and was likely getting paid heftily from government funds.

Granted, even housemaids and street vendors in Dar-es-salaam these days have cell phones, and many residents have the latest iPads, own expensive fancy cars, and are well-tuned to social networks. Some hotels even have helipads to facilitate rapid transport of busy patrons to the airport via helicopters. However, in my view, that per se does not necessarily make the city advanced. Instead, all that means is that some (foreign) manufacturers have created for themselves a bigger market share to sell their products to. I would rather see government resources being used to advance the mentality and attitudes of the residents, than to merely grant them access to modern gadgets. 

Government resources would also be better utilized if used to promote do-the-right-thing mentality with respect to, for instance, obeying traffic signals, following traffic cop instructions, and not littering. Likewise, those funds would be better utilized if used to create an atmosphere in which police and traffic cops are perceived more like friends than foes. A tall order, I know – but it doesn’t necessarily have to be unachievable.

Along those lines, I can’t see how one can call a city advanced if the mentality of the masses is such that thieves, if caught, routinely get beaten or burned to death. Government funds would be better spent if used to bring awareness to the public that such practice is, simply put, barbaric and totally unacceptable in the 21st century. It is somewhat odd that such barbaric mentality continues to thrive in Dar-es-salaam even though, compared to thirty years ago, there have been big increases in the number of places of worships.

Lastly, government funds would be better utilized if used to promote widespread use of checks (and even credit cards) instead of hard cash, since the former are more conducive to creating a better, efficient, and elegant commercial environment.

Though easily said but, admittedly, difficult to implement in practice, government resources should be properly prioritized with the intention of developing practices and attitudes that will, in the long term, benefit all the residents, not just a select few. In other words, doing the right thing and having a win-win mentality should be the key driving force behind government expenditures. Hopefully, the kind of awareness this article has attempted to promote will have a positive impact for all concerned.

I am looking forward to getting pleasantly surprised the next time I visit Dar-es-salaam.

Nash Khatri
July 11, 2014


Sunday, January 13, 2019

Ingenious marketing

Common sense tells me that male birth control pills, and the equally intrusive female birth control pills, have to have adverse effects on the user's body in the long term. Likewise, it is alarming to note that chemotherapy drugs are themselves cancer-causing in the long term.

Yet, thanks to ingenious marketing, such pills and drugs prevail in practice because while they may not make sense, they make cents for many.