Expatriates who behave like spoilt brats when away from home
By Stephen Derwent Partington | August 3rd 2021
The expatriate gets bored very quickly, because as everyone knows, relative wealth gives you a sense that you must spend this often ill-gotten gain, that you must always be active and ‘doing or buying something’.
Many recent European expatriates in Kenya have arrived after over a year of almost total Covid-19 lockdown, during which they weren’t allowed out of their homes to do anything but wave at neighbours.
We should also remember that most Muthaiga-living expatriates in Kenya actually come from quite humble British housing estates, where they were packed by their thousands into tiny rooms.
Consequently, when they arrive in Kenya, they see a playground, a place where, in their arrogance, they either believe there are no rules, or that the rules may be broken because everyone else seems to. Expatriates are like that: a rule in the home country carries more weight than a rule abroad. This is presumably why expatriates sometimes commit crimes that they’d never commit in their own countries – again, a form of cultural arrogance.
And so, expatriates want to ‘get out and escape’ after months of sitting at home in the UK, eating awful takeaways and getting ridiculously fat.
You can see it on the news. The EUROs happened, and half of England – even people who loathe football – tried to wedge their bellies into Wembley Stadium. Nightclubs have rules restricted, and even the Great Grandmothers of England overpower bouncers at 2am. The Olympics begin, and half of the UK books tickets for Tokyo to watch adults swim in a synchronised fashion in pools.
Any chance, and the locked-down people of the West will get out and go.
Many Kenyan media commentators are saying that this will happen in Kenya, too: that when all COVID restrictions are lifted, Kenya will in effect ‘go nocturnal’ and begin partying all night after daylight hours of pretending to ‘work from home’, whatever that means.
As far as I’m concerned, working from home means that I call my bank manager to find that he still denies me any free money, but that he now does this with the sound of his baby crying in the background.
At least he’s learning how tricky it is to raise a child, and after he’s denied me an overdraft I like to think that he puts down his phone and has to change his baby’s nappy.
But it’s not entirely clear what will happen when COVID restrictions are fully lifted in Kenya, as it’s not as if life has really changed that much for many people, excepting that many have been sacked by cynical employers who claim that ‘COVID made me sack you’.
Perhaps school children will go on trips again. Perhaps we’ll be able to shake hands and pick our noses again. Perhaps our lives won’t smell of sanitiser every hour of every day.
Or perhaps we’ll stay as we are, going out less and spending less, nibbling away at consumer capitalism in the process. So, something good might come of it.
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