WINNING LETTER From corrupt to clean
In the August issue, Suzy writes about the wonderful time she had in Portugal. We worked at the SA embassy some years ago so this brought back fond memories.
There are many parallels between Portugal and SA. Their national pastimes are also food and sport. Every region also has its specialities – the clams and pork Suzy raves about are from the Alentejo area, which is similar to the Karoo. Every feast has its signature dishes. For instance, at Christmas we had Bolo Rei, a cake filled with lucky trinkets.
Other ‘pastimes’ we have in common are politics and roadworks. What we can learn from them is that being involved in all matters of state counts. You are entitled to fight for clean governance. As Suzy says, they went from corrupt to clean and are flourishing now. Getting rid of the rot was the secret; restoring trust revives the economy, which creates jobs. In a working democracy all should be involved. Albie Sachs said we are all branches of the same tree and should grow together to flourish.
Ed: Getting rid of the rot is definitely the secret to Portugal’s success, and it requires everyone to get involved. It can be done!
Jobs on the line
You’ve never given retrenchment a thought – until you become its next victim. As you leave your ship and take the walk of shame into a sea of uncertainty, you don’t realise what the long, tiring journey will bring.
You start treading water and feel you can make it; you just need to find another vessel to get back to security. But your confidence is short-lived as the waves of fear start knocking you: fear of rejection, of not being good enough, of change. Just when you think you won’t make it, the waves retreat and you can catch your breath.
There must be a ship somewhere, maybe a boat, something to take you to safety. But the more you tread water, the more your energy levels wane. Your emotions are as unstable as the waves... hope, belief, despair.
Then, out of nowhere, a boat! You scramble aboard. You can breathe again. And with this, comes a new lease of life: I will make it to safety. Maybe not as fast, but I’ll make it.
Sometimes you have to travel backwards to learn what you failed to learn in your secure complacency: like not taking anything for granted, humility – there’s nothing like financial insecurity to humble you. We’re all travelling this journey, some in a cruise ship, others in a tugboat.
Ed: You’re so right – thank you for putting it into perspective.
(Don’t) mind the gap
Unlike the women in the article on relationships between older women and younger men (July 2017), I am much younger than my spouse, and we aren’t bothered by societal norms and views on this. We are taught to believe we should associate only with our own age group, but we need to see the bigger picture: it’s about two people finding a middle way and growing with each other. Let’s choose our partners, whether older or younger, according to what works best for us.
Magda Ann Liedeman-Vaas
Ed: Relationships can be tricky – if it works for you both, there should be no reason to question it.