There was a fuss at work this week because the front office had been requested to do various things and had not done them. Fairly straightforward things – getting chairs put out for a function, printing some documents, organizing replacements while people were away etc. While neglecting to do these things, it is unclear what they were doing as this is the main part of their job.
Some of my colleagues got quite irate about this. Me, not so much.
‘TIA’: This Is Africa. A similar phrase is, ‘Africa wins again’.
Here, many people don’t do their jobs properly. They either don’t know how to or don’t care. At my place of employment there is a distinction between the locals and foreigners – we all know who will be where they are supposed to be and who tends to be MIA. We know who has to be rounded up for meetings and who will obediently be there as instructed.
There are various reasons for this. The foreigners get paid more. We have more education and training. We come from a background of higher professional expectations. Our culture attaches a lot of shame to shirking tasks and letting others pick up the slack. I don’t think average differences in intelligence are relevant in this case as the locals we hire are a bright, educated elite.
The people who get most angry about locals failing to do what they’re supposed to are ‘baizuo’, the white lefties who think everyone in the world is also a white leftie underneath that dark skin and penis gourd. They think that dispossessed Laotian villagers are just as opposed to binary gender stereotypes as they are. They presume that desert-dwelling Aborigines will vote in favour of gay marriage. They think that Iranian illegal migrants and Papuan islanders cannot possibly be racist and will really get along once they get to know each other.
People are not the same. There are many individual and group differences caused by a complex combination of genes and environment, and we will be happier and more satisfied if we adjust our expectations accordingly.
To some extent, the baizuo already do this. They only expect white countries to take refugees and huge waves of dissimilar migrants. They don’t expect Arab countries to have trannie toilets. They complain far more about first-world manspreading and microaggressions than they do about female circumcision in backward parts of the world like here.
Looking at my own company, we foreigners all know who the hard working and reliable locals are. I think the locals do, too. But if we were to tally up the number of jobs done properly according to who did it, the results would be lopsided, divisive and rather embarrassing.
I like the locals in this country, by and large. They are friendly, polite and take great pride in their civility. Many are very intelligent and knowledgeable, and have explained all sorts of cultural phenomena to me. Some I’ll need to consult for their professional expertise in upcoming projects. Certainly some are brighter and better at their jobs than I am.
In general, however, expecting locals to adhere to Western professional standards will end in disappointment and frustration. Viva la difference and chill the fuck out.