Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Give and Take

Give and Take

'We are gathered here today,' intoned Bishop Bundu, 'for the funeral
service of our departed leader. Here was a man so loved by the people
that they gave him the name Givewell Milile, meaning a man who gives
himself for the wellbeing of others. Although Givewell retired from
his position as Minister of Public Works more than twenty years ago,
the government has generously granted this simple and humble man a
State Funeral. Let us now bow our heads in a prayer of remembrance.
Our Givewell, who lies in coffin,
hallowed be thy name,
thy day has come,
to leave this Earth and go to Heaven.
You gave us each day our daily bread,
and coupons for our breakfast,
and even forgave us for voting against you.
We were led into temptation,
and delivered into evil.
But we'll always remember,
the goodness of Givewell,
for ever and ever.
'And now,' said the bishop, 'I call upon the Minister for Propaganda,
the Honourable General Reverend Rotten Shikashiwa, to say a few words
about the departed.'
A huge rhinoceros of a man now rose up from the crowd of assembled
dignitaries and ambled to the lectern. 'Your Excellency Sir, and
distinguished members of the congregation,' began the General, 'I hope
we have all put the bishop's prayer in its proper context, to ensure
that it's not wrongly interpreted as yet another inflammatory
statement by the church which could cause public unrest and anarchy.
'We must remember that, although the late honourable minister was
undoubtedly extraordinarily generous, all this happened just after
independence. This was a time when the lower classes had the mistaken
notion that they should be given free bread as one of the fruits of
'We must also remember that there was no ruling class in
those days, and even the late honourable Givewell Milile had the
mistaken working class notion that the job of government was to
provide free services to the people.
'We should therefore understand that the bishop's prayer was trying to
highlight the evil of providing free services, due to a wrong
conception of Christianity which is still being spread, even to this
day, by a few rogue Catholic priests.

'We therefore thank the Lord for the life of our departed brother
Givewell Milile, because it was his example that taught us about the
dangers of excessive generosity. By his emphasis on giving instead of
taking, he failed to use his position in parliament to increase his
own salary, or to give himself a pension. He was so concerned with
giving to others that he quite forgot to take anything for himself.
Consequently he failed to give himself a car loan, or per diem, or
travel allowance, or even a sitting allowance. The poor man, out of
mistaken generosity, used to sit down entirely free of charge. We
thank the Lord for giving us this example of his poverty, so that we
were able to see the need to change our ways to ensure that leaders
are now properly remunerated. '
'Hallelujah!' chanted the congregation. 'Thank the Lord!'
'And now,' said the bishop, 'I call upon the Minister for Private
Works to say a few words.'
The diminutive figure of the Honourable Mouth Mulufyanya now stepped
up to the lectern. 'I just want to say a few words about the
arrangements we have made for this State Funeral. Our Great Leader has
generously made a donation of twenty billion of taxpayers' money for…'
'Hallelujah!' chanted the congregation in a passionate display of
Christian ecstasy. 'Manna from Heaven!'
'Part of this will go to the late departed, to compensate for what he
missed in life. Five billion has been allocated for building him a
large comfortable retirement mansion in Heaven. A further two billion
has been allocated for the presidential jet to take him there. Another
two billion has been put in a brown envelope for St Peter, to ensure
easy passage through the Pearly Gates.'
'May his soul rest in luxury,' chanted the congregation.
'In terms of funeral provisions, four billion has been used for the
refurbishment of the Leader's Palace, to ensure a suitably comfortable
venue for the reception which follows the burial. One billion has been
used for the red carpet from this church to the Leopards Hill
Cemetery, so that all potholes are properly covered. A further billion
will be made available for printing the extra pages which we expect
will be needed in next year's Auditor General's Report.
'The remainder of the allocation will cover the expenses of all the
distinguished members of the government who have generously given
their valuable time to attend this important national event. To cover
your sitting allowance, standing allowance, per diem, travel allowance
and miscellaneous expenses, each dignitary is respectfully invited to
collect their brown envelope at the door as they leave…'
On hearing these words, the entire congregation began an unseemly
scramble for the door at the back, as pews were upturned, and bibles
and hymn books strewn all over the floor. The bishop was left alone at
the front, together with the eight soldiers in ceremonial uniform who
were trying to lift the coffin. But they dropped it.
'What's the problem?' cried the bishop.
'Somebody's stolen the brass handles,' one of the soldiers replied.
The bishop solemnly gave the sign of the cross. 'That's the way of the
world. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.'

1 comment:

  1. Kalaki never ceases to amaze me with his ripe imagination....and word creativity (Maryjane???)