Our carefree holiday manners are a desperate cry for help

The holidays are here with us. What a good excuse for indulging with no guilt, and no judgment! You can throw all caution to the wind as well as money at things. Let us relish in the great pretense.

Even with the sorry state of the economy, Kenyans don’t seem set back and are going about the merry-making business as usual. One could say that the state of the economy is rather felt and not displayed. The future will take care of itself.

It is as if we are protesting against those responsible for the meltdown. But to what end and at whose expense? This is a dangerous and suicidal mission. We are behaving like people who have nothing to lose.

To those holding the reins of our existential parameters always remember this, ‘The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.’ - Franklin D Roosevelt.

What, with most of the public service vehicles responsible for ferrying people upcountry overbooked despite the hiked fares. The highways and byways are lined with Kenyans in their personal vehicles heading every which way to celebrate. The hotels are fully booked. The trains and airlines cannot cope. It beats all logic. The carelessness abounds.

Pray tell, what magic is at play here? If the monthly earnings and per-capita income has been gobbled up by inflation, no subsidies on anything and not just fuel, some employers relocated to so-called friendlier neighbouring countries, cost of commodity items at an all-time high and all manner of hardships stacked against the citizenry, how come we are still breathing and in a holidaying mood? There is latently more than meets the eye and its not pleasant.

But behavioural economics suggests that people can make decisions influenced by immediate gratification rather than long-term planning. Factors such as desire for happiness, catching up with the Jonesses, and a near psychotic belief that experiences hold enduring value can lead individuals to allocate scarce resources to leisure even in dire financial times.

You need not be a psychologist to discern and diagnose that this is not a mystery but a desperate national cry for help. It is careless and childish. Only that the players are adults - in size alone. One shudders at the sayings of great philosophers, "Poverty is the parent of revolution and Crime" – Aristotle.

No doubt, we are famous for heavy shock absorbers and a good dose of optimism. But is optimism the same as hope? Are we at the brink of the teether’s end of the threshold of hope? Is our positive plodding into the future merely delusional or is there substance to it? I reckon it would be most tragic if this carefree attitude were a mere survival and desperate gimmick; a pain killer for our rudderlessness.

May every holiday count for what it represents and let Kenyans afford the luxury to glory in its substance and meaning.

Let Christmas, New year, etc., be real for Kenyans and not an excuse to unwittingly protest against their misery by self-mortification.

The writer is a Professional Engineering Technologist and a life enthusiast