Bernard Allen

Celebrating the Consumer Act

It’s taken me a little while, but I’m truly starting to understand and revel in the full implications of the Consumer Protection Act brought into effect in March this year. The introduction of the CPA, along with some personal experiences in the first half of this year have certainly fuelled the fire of my desire…

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A lecture on conjecture

Wow. South Africa is at it again. Apparently our beloved country of soothsayers has refined its general problem-solving skills for solving criminal investigations from their armchairs without any real facts or perspective to such a degree that our courts should just pack up shop and ask Judge Judy for a job. Granted, it’s hardly a…

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Competitive sport will never be fair

It’s often been said that competitive sport is an arena for the world to indulge their war-mongering urges without an inordinate fear of dying. And barring certain events such as the Isle of Man TT, it is mostly true. Just like war, competitive sport allows the masses to work themselves into a frenzy and feel…

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Sometimes culture is a load of bull

There are two main points that really get my goat about the current Ukweshwama debacle (Ukweshwama, for those who don’t know, is a traditional Zulu ceremony involving the ritualistic slaying of a bull). The first is the unbridled cruelty to the animal involved, and the second is the most widely used justification for the ritual’s…

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Can poets and clowns save the world?

People studying and working in the social sciences or arts are often called upon to justify the importance of their field in the world of academia. Which is quite normal — if anybody is going to devote huge amounts of time and brainpower to any pursuit it makes sense that others will question the usefulness…

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Feminists shoot themselves in the foot

We live in a world where marketing your message is critical, whether you’re selling a commercial product or sanctuary. Even the most inherently good messages can be lost when shrouded with layers of extremism and contrast. The idealist in me hates that fact. The realist in me doesn’t like it much more, but works with…

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How much would you pay to be disrespected for an evening?

There are some serious self-abusers walking our city streets at night. I’m not referring to criminals and junkies, though granted some of the fashion choices (the scarring of my retinas is only fading now after seeing a young man wearing bottle-green skinny jeans again the other night) and the insatiable thirst for the vile agave-flavoured…

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Gyms don’t have to be the exclusive domain of Neanderthals

I worked as a training instructor in a gym for a couple of years once. I was studying at the time and it was a convenient way for me to do something I knew and enjoyed for some living money, while side-stepping the usual waitering jobs that students usually have to settle for. Or is…

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What if Hillary was the bomb?

On hearing about the journalist who was banned from attending Hillary Clinton’s SA visit the other day because of a quip about his bag containing an “explosive notebook” when asked whether it contained anything at a security checkpoint, I both giggled (yes, men do that too, it was a very strong manly giggle, I promise)…

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‘What about all the good things Hitler did?’

Well, apart from giving us a good dose of sadness, the VW Beetle “people’s car” and leaving us promising each other “never again”, I can’t think of anything else. And if grossly inflated vehicle prices and the ongoing massacres around the world are anything to go by, only one of those has really lasted anyway….

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