A Bust of Nelson Mandela

1. Representative democracy is as a candle which, from the first lighting following each election cycle, is continually wasting and burning down, and will by degrees burnout of itself, but may by a thousand accidents by extinguished. The fragility of representative democracy has been cruelly exposed in the last several years the world over thanks in no small degree to, among other things, the deliberate corruption of the electoral processes by disinformation, the rise of the xenophobic Right and the anti-capitalist Left; and now, the testing to breaking point of democratic processes by the continuing Covid-19 pandemic. Citizens and politicians…


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1. The penny dropped for me during a motoring trial. It was in plain sight. Anyone with eyes to see could see it clearly, namely, immigration is not the ugly truth everyone supposes it to be, but poverty is. And by poverty, I mean the poverty of leadership; it is the real culprit. As a trainee legal advisor in the Thames Valley Magistrate’s Court Service back in 2003, I remember being asked to take my first trial under the watchful eye of the very capable Mr. Philip Knowles, the then Chief Clerk to the Justices of…


1. “Judge not!” I said, “Deep sorrow, not bigotry, may be speaking. Remember: sinking deep into decrepitude in old age, abandoned by both friends and family, is not easy.” This was nearly 10 years ago. It was at the height of the Major Financial Crisis of 2008. I remember bumping into an African man in Milton Keynes, a refugee from an African country whose name I cannot remember and, I cannot for the life of me remember even the man’s name. But I do vividly recall his sudden outburst; it was full of rage and sorrow, every word that tripped…


1. If only my country men and women knew how horrific the consequences are for the want of a nail! Oh, that we fully understood what is at stake; for the want of humility we may lose a country, all because of Brexit. I have often heard it said that you can scarcely hear the great clock at St. Paul’s Cathedral strike in the middle of the day; for the cacophony of daily traffic, that is, cars, buses, delivery vans, scooters, pedestrians and foreign tourists is such that many a person have lived near and have not known when it…


1. “Don’t you see my friend, its hypocrisy and greed which are killing Africans?” Thus I countered, rather impatiently, in response to my Taiwanese friend’s searching question. Professor Chang and I were enjoying the marvels of Chinese antiquities in the National Palace Museum, the official home to some of the rarest Chinese ancient relics, dating some thousands of years — 3000 BC; when he took me to task about the advice I gave to the Ugandan pop music star turned politician in my October blogpost. He questioned: “The wisdom, namely, that a suffering people should be exhorted to endure their…


1. “Bah! Humbug! Only a sissy is fit to be a servant leader!” Thus blurted out rather loudly, a well-dressed, grey-headed gentleman as he eased himself into a seat next to me at Shilin Station in Taipei, Taiwan; I was riding on the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) on my way home in Danshui District, New Taipei City. I remember thinking: Phew! It is not every day one gets to see a seriously drunk Taiwanese; for the Taiwanese are not drinkers, as drinking is not an essential feature of the Taiwanese culture. And the next thing I knew, he was belching…


1. My dear Spanish inquisitor: It was a remarkably humid morning on the 10th of July when I thought of you. The heat was stifling, and the tension in the air was palpable. A ‘Super-typhoon’ Maria, with a maximum speed of 190 km/h near the centre, and with gusts of up to 235 km/h, was making her to our neck of the woods, the Northern part of Taiwan; we had spent the previous day preparing for her, and we were ready. Just as I settled down at my desk to put my thoughts on paper, in answer to a remark…


1. Rather than fall into decrepitude in old age, why not a dating agency for the greyheads — matching seniors with juniors! Tongue in cheek perhaps. But I am deadly serious. This crazy thought flashed across my mind as I devoured news of the dignified, but sad assisted suicide of the departed professor David Goodall. He died in a blaze of publicity; some commentators clearly in support of his decision to end his life, while others were mortified at the thought of ending one’s life regardless of circumstances. The Guardian, for example, painted a portrait of the seeming equanimity of…


1. “A worm, you say…!!! Would that we were all like tigers…!!! Well, we would most certainly make short work of life’s perplexing challenges. Indeed, there would be none to stop us. What a pity the real world is not that simple! Or is it? Listen: As odd as it may sound, though you are a lowly worm, O citizen, but you have teeth to thrash mountains, and beat them small.” Thus was my very forceful answer to Ms Chloe Chang, one of my adult students in Taipei, Taiwan; we were engaged in a heated debate on the implications of…


1. As Brexit negotiations near their climax, it is cold comfort in England to know that those in Brussels are probably facing a much greater challenge; for the lately concluded Italian general election is yet another reminder that the far-right in Europe is experiencing an unprecedented surge. This, along with the rise of populist politics in the Americas and elsewhere, is probably the clearest evidence we have to prove that this world is like the child’s butterfly game; it is a pretty sport to chase it, but bruise its wings by an over-earnest grasp, and it is nothing but a…

Stephen Kamugasa, thekamugasachallenge

Inspire others to turn challenges into coherent and meaningful solutions – focusing on humanity, leadership and citizenship. http://thekamugasachallenge.com

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