Most Kenyans would admit that as a people we have some peculiar habits. A few keen observers in the entertainment and arts industry have even made money out of them. One of these beneficiaries was the late Wahome Mutahi who captured our national peculiarities in his book ‘How to be a Kenyan’. Another creative mind, Daniel Ndambuki, alias ‘Churchill’, scripted a stage play; ‘Let Kenyans Be Kenyans’ a hilarious production that sought to portray our idiosyncrasies and make us laugh at ourselves.
Some Kenyan habits are to our credit, some endearing, some amusing but some are in bad taste, if not down right annoying.
RUSHING TO THE SCENE
Take for instance the grenade attacks that have hit the country lately. At the sound of an explosion typical Kenyans scamper for “safety”, trampling on each other in the process. Well perhaps that is understandable in a moment of panic and amidst the chaos. However, as soon as the dust has settled and as soon as the sound of the explosion dies down, they will scramble back to the scene again so that they can get a clear view of what has happened, thereafter trying to outdo each other in giving witness accounts to journalists as to what they saw and heard (or didn’t).
HEAVY HANDED GOOD SAMARITANS
Still on the same occurrences, we have the “good Samaritans” who play the heroes by endangering their lives to rescue victims and have them taken to hospitals. A good gesture we must acknowledge, but what this correspondent finds maddening is the manner in which our “good Samaritans” handle the injured victims. Everyone wants to be seen in this endeavor, or better still be caught on camera, and that’s why you will see five large men carelessly carry a petite lady to a waiting car. If you watched news on the recent Moi Avenue blast, this scene could not have escaped your eye.
GHOULISH PHONE CAM VOYEURS
Then thanks to modern technology we have the “self appointed journalists”, whose objective is to get as many photos as they can through their phones and post them on social media. Many of these photos are not for the faint hearted and are often images that the professional media houses would censor in order to protect people’s emotions and feelings. It suggests a certain ghoulishness on the part of many Kenyans, both those that take the photographs and those that search the Internet to view them.
When the police helicopter crashed killing Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti and his Assistant Minister Joshua Orwa Ojode, the mainstream media description of the scene and the film footage that accompanied it seemed not to be enough for some Kenyans who went ahead and posted photos of the charred remains of the late ministers on social media sites.
A recent photo making the rounds on Facebook clearly portrays yet another disturbing scenario; it’s a picture of a man drowning in an ocean and in need of help. Rather than helping him people are busy on their phones on the shoreline, trying to get the best shot of him as he floundered. Seriously! At this rate we need prayers.
PS. On a lighter note the Kenya Forum could not resist this bit of reporting from the Daily Nation’s coverage of pilot Allan Root’s emergency landing in a helicopter (fortunately no one was injured) when he experienced bad weather and was forced to put down on a farm at a remote village in Mathira, about 15 kilometers off the Nyeri-Nairobi highway:
‘Gathaithini assistant chief, David Githui said he was brushing his teeth, when he suddenly saw a low flying aircraft. “The chopper soon moved to a different direction, and moments later the sound died down, so I thought it may have either crashed or landed safely,” he said adding that he soon took off towards the aircraft’s direction, hoping for the worst.’