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Sierra Leone News: Africa Notebook

Just like in many other cities at this time of the year, Washington DC is ablaze with signs and neon lights on the fronts of shops each trying to outwit each other in merchandise for Christmas. The songs of Christmas with “Joy to the World” and the “Three Wise Men” alert you to the compelling message that Christmas is just a stone’s throw away. In a bid to extol democracy, one banner read, “socialism is when people work for the government and democracy is when the government works for the people.” One is at a loss to link the relevance of the message to the tidings of the season. However, another banner strewed on a toy shop said, “the early bird catches the fattest worm,” obviously to entice shoppers to pick up their goodies early. At a nearby biblical shop on Constitution Avenue was this message, “Failure is God’s way of saying, excuse me, you’re moving in the wrong direction.” As if to reinforce the message, another banner extols, “God gives every bird his worm but he does not throw it into the nest.” The festive season may bring its share of fun, excitement and enjoyment, but it can also be a somewhat stressful time. A new report, “what stresses people the most” has just been issued – possibly to remind us about the realities of living in tough times. It is no surprise… money tops the list as the number 1 source of stress in 10/16 countries… and “is likely to remain dominant throughout 2019 as people grapple with money issues.” Ten countries, including Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Canada, India and the Netherlands, consider money as the number 1 stressor while Brasil and Spain said it is the state of the world that causes the most stress. “The chances of what we now know as the middle class risk being wiped out forcing the developed countries to be reduced to the rich and poor class”. One American pensioner said, “living with today’s economy and wondering if my retirement funds will last long enough – that’s stressful to think about.” A French single parent nurse noted, “I worry my son won’t have the same opportunities I had because money is scarce.” The state of the world stresses many Germans as it has the potential to affect everyone. In Italy, the state of health poses the most stress as older folks bother about check ups more than younger ones do. A high profile executive was speeding down a Florida highway while talking on his mobile phone. The police pulled him over. After finishing his call, the executive looked at the officer and asked, “Can I help you?” “I bet you don’t even know why I stopped you,” the officer replied. “You want to use my phone, isn’t it?” suggested the executive. Thought for the Week: The world can’t end today because it’s already tomorrow in Australia.

By Rod Mac-Johnson

Monday December 17, 2018.

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