Binne in die mooiste huisies

Sondag oggend is die straat leeg. ‘n Ou stuk koerant waai wispelturig oor die verlate straat. Die briesie van die see stoot die papier nog so paar tree verder voordat dit tot stilstand kom teen ‘n ou Melkhoutboom. Die Goukou rivier lê stil en bak in die oggend son.

Die weerkaatsing van die huisies maak mens kalm en rustig. So rustig dat jy vergeet dat daar mense is wat daar woon. Die huisies is kleurvol en die tuine netjies. Die spieëlbeelde op die water rimpel so nou en dan. Die enigste beweging. Stilte.

Ek hoor die kerk orrel. Die stemme bereik my ore so sekonde later. Dof, eentonig. Die gemeente sing nou seker ‘n Psalm. Ek luister. Ek ken die liedjie. Psalm 15. Ek onthou hoe ons dit op Sondagskool gesing het 45 jaar gelde. Ek kon nooit die woorde onthou nie, maar ons moes agterbly om dit te leer. Elke woord.

Wie het die reg om in u woonplek te kom, Here?
Wie mag op u heilige berg vertoef?

Hy wat onberispelik wandel
en doen wat reg is,
wat met sy hele hart die waarheid praat,

nie kwaad praat nie,
sy medemens nie kwaad aandoen nie
en niemand beledig nie;

hy wat dié verag wat deur God verwerp is,
maar almal eer wat die Here dien;
wat sy woord hou, selfs tot sy eie skade,

sy geld nie op rente uitleen nie
en hom nie laat omkoop om die onskuldige te kort te doen nie.

Ek kyk weer na die huisies aan die oorkant van die rivier. Die son tref die mure. Dit maak die kleure nog helderder uitstaan. Idillies. Beeldskoon. Die stemme word harder soos wat hulle die noot soek.

nie kwaad praat nie,
sy medemens nie kwaad aandoen nie
en niemand beledig nie;

Ek wonder by myself; Wat dink hulle as hulle in die kerk staan, met die Psalm boekie oop voor hulle. Die dominee agter die preekstoel. Die kinders aan albei kante van pa en ma. Wat dink hulle as hulle die woorde sing?

Ek hoor “Amen!”, en ek stap aan. Verby die ou skuit wat al vir jare daar lê. Ek tel die koerant papier op wat vassit teen die Melkhoutboom. Ek frommel dit op en gooi dit in die asblik op die hoek van die straat.

Die motors kom nader, soos ‘n begrafnis stoet. Een vir een ry hulle verby. Pa agter die stuurwiel met ‘n ernstige kyk op sy gesig. Ma kyk anderkant toe. Die kinders is tjoepstil. Nog ‘n motor kom verby. En nog een. Huistoe.

My foon maak “piiiing”. Ek kyk na die skermpie. Dis ‘n “notification”. Iemand het ‘n foto gelaai op een van die Facebook groepe. Een van die baie Facebook groepe in die dorp. Die Facebook was stil vanoggend. Want almal was in die kerk. Nou is hulle by die huis.

Ek behoort aan omtrent al die Facebook groepe, want dit is my werk. Hierdie foto is by “Opsitkers” geplaas. ‘n Vrou met baie groot bates in ‘n rooi baaibroek wat net vir ‘n walvis sal pas. Die opskrif is “Stamp my soos ‘n Isuzu, PAPPA!”.

“Piiing” maak my foon weer. Dit raak nou besig. Hulle is seker nou almal by die huis. Sit nou op die stoep en drink die eerste brannas en coke. Nog nie die suit uitgetrek nie. Die das is darem af.

Ek kyk na my my foon. Dis ‘n Whatsapp van ‘n vriend. Nog ‘n foto. Dit is van ‘n groep genaamd “Stoepstories”. Die foto se opskrif is “Found an old pic of my uncle joe. He was a fucking legend. That’s me playing in the background.” In die agtergrond van die foto is ‘n kind besig om te speel met ‘n ander kind op die strand maar dit lyk asof hulle seks het. Die kind is seker nie ouer as 5 jaar nie.

My foon hou aan “piiing”. Ek wil nie meer kyk nie.

Ek kom by die huis. Koffie eerste en dan voor my rekenaar. Ek gaan sit. Maar vandag voel ek vuil. Ek het nie so ver gestap nie, maar ek voel klammerig. Vuil. Ek gaan stort. Ek sukkel om die vuil afgewas te kry. Hierdie tipe vuil kan mens nie met seep en water afkry nie.

Ek skuif voor my rekenaar in. Wie behoort aan hierdie groepe? wonder ek. Ek vra my vriend om vir my die ledelys te stuur. Ek ken die name. Omtrent almal van hulle. Die sogenaamde pilare van die gemeenskap is ook daar. Trotse burgers van ons klein dorpie. Van kassiere tot raadslede behoort aan die groepe. Besigheid eienaars, eiendomsagente, bankiers en skoonmakers. Almal. Ek kyk weer na die boodskappe. Nog ‘n vriend stuur vir my iets. Ek skud my kop.

Die huisies is mooi. Die kleure helder, daar oorkant die rivier. Die kerk is uit. Die groepe is besig. Foto’s word gelaai en kommentaar gelewer. Die Psalm is vinnig vergete. Geen tyd vir moraliteit nou nie. Dit was vroeër. Voor die brannas en coke.

Daar, binne in die mooi huisies, met die mooi geverfde mure en die netjies tuintjies, sit die burgers. Hulle oë stokstyf gefokus op die skermpie terwyl hulle met ‘n dik vinger deur die plasings blaai, opsoek na nog ‘n vulgêre prentjie. Nog ‘n rassistiese grappie. Nog ‘n persoonlike aanval. Hulle rol rond in die varkhok en skater van die lag terwyl hulle mekaar met vark mis besmeer. Selfs die wat nie deelneem nie, maar lede is, word ook bedek met die vark mis. Die stank is ondraaglik.

Ek wil weer gaan stort, maar ek weet dit sal nie help nie. Ek sit die rekenaar af. Ek nodig om asem te skep. Ek nodig vars lug. Die seebries laat my beter voel en ek kyk oor die see. Die dorpie lê in die afstand.

Mis kom stadig aangerol oor die diepsee. Ek kyk weer maar die dorpie is weg.

Weg in die mis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tripadvisor epitomises new age arrogance

New age arrogance is a really horrid thing. It’s a cancer that started about 10 years ago and it has been growing rapidly.

New age arrogance is when a company such as Tripadvisor resorts to complex forums and other techniques to avoid speaking to their customers. Customers that have problems with their property or business listing on Tripadvisor has no way of resolving their issues or problems and Tripadvisor has become so big that they don’t give a shit. They can lose thousands of customers and it won’t make the slightest difference.

Instead of providing proper customer service, they create support forums that are , you guessed it, managed by their clients! And the incredible thing is that the average customer is such an idiot that he does it gladly, spending hours answering support questions for the “community” for no reward.

Tripadvisor has not one email address listed. No way to contact anyone at the Tripadvisor Empire. It’s actually really pathetic. What makes it worse is that their systems are really poor. They are great at raking in the money by enticing customers to join due to their size, but when it comes to after sales support, they must be in the Top 10 worst customer service organisations on the planet. Google of course takes the number one spot for being über assholes.

Now, other companies are also following suit, the suits and pony tails doing the Macarena in the hallways because they managed to find a way to avoid employing decent support staff – milking their stupid customers for more, whilst actually doing less.

This model will backfire. The Tripadvisor’s and Google’s will perish one day to be replaced by companies that are truly customer centric and service orientated.

I don’t need their crap service and you don’t either. The less people support these parasitic organisations the sooner we will create the space for quality companies to thrive. Companies that appreciate their customers.

Best South African Banks for Airport Lounge Access

Best South African Banks for Airport Lounge Access

We like to to travel but we definitely don’t like sitting at the departure gate on uncomfortable chairs with screaming children playing hide-and-seek.  Although some travellers love the hustle and bustle of airports, chances are that if you’re a frequent traveller the one thing you’d love before your flight departs is an hour or two of peace and quiet.

Access to airport lounges used to be a privilege only a few – with a business-class ticket in hand, of course – enjoyed.  Certain banks and financial institutions provide access to the lounges for free and some require you to jump a number of hurdles (or in bank parlance, ‘qualifying criteria’) before you can gain access.

Here are the best banks and accounts for airport lounge access – and the worst.

FNB and RMB

RMB and FNB Private Clients

RMB and FNB are both connected to the awful eBucks program which means you have to earn rewards in order to gain access to the lounges. Even as a RMB Private Bank client you don’t get free access to the airport lounges. The real annoying part of their rewards system is that you never know what level you are on. The airport lounges are not connected to the bank so when you swipe your card at the lounge they can’t tell you if you have earned enough rewards points to gain free access. They just swipe your card and you go in. It’s when you get home when you get the shock, because they then charge you for the access. You thought it was free. Nope. Neither FNB or RMB offer a credit card that offers free local or international lounge access.

Verdict: Terrible (change your bank)

Standard Bank

World Citizen Credit Card

The top Standard Bank credit card is called the World Citizen Credit Card.  You need to spend R15,000 per quarter to get complimentary access to over 500 airport lounges within SA and abroad, through their chosen partner, LoungeKey

Verdict: Bad

Diners Club

With Diners you need to spend R15,000 per quarter to get free access and the same rules/benefits as the Standard Bank World Citizen Credit Card.

Verdict: Bad

ABSA

Platinum Cheque Account

The ABSA Platinum cheque account offers an optional DragonPass membership, offering five free airport lounge visits per 12-month cycle at R59 per month.

Verdict: Terrible

ABSA Private Clients

6 visits (Only 6? Really?) per year to more than 800 airport lounges in over 300 cities across 100 countries affiliated to the DragonPass program.

Verdict: Bad

Nedbank

Platinum Card

Nedbank’s Platinum Card provides free access to the Bidvest Premier airport lounges for domestic flights only.

Verdict: Nothing to write home about

American Express Gold Charge Card

8 visits per year to the Bidvest Premier airport lounges for domestic flights only.

Verdict: Very average for Amex

American Express Platinum Charge Card

Amex Platinum Charge Card provides free access to over 900 local and international airport lounges in over 100 countries, with Priority Pass.

Verdict: Good (Because there are no other benefits to the Amex Platinum Card that’s comparable to a Private Banking offering.)

Investec

Investec Credit Card

Every Investec card holder has complimentary, unlimited access to SAA-owned Lounges and Bidvest Premier Lounges.

Verdict: Very Good

Investec Enigma Card

The Investec Enigma Card (SA’s own Black AMEX card) offers unlimited and free access to over 900 local and international airport lounges in over 100 countries, with Priority Pass.

Verdict: Excellent

Conclusion

Investec is the only bank that provides a really good airport lounge benefit to it’s card holders. Investec also offers a wide range of other benefits to card holders, which makes it a better choice than American Express. The great disappointment is RMB who have lost serious ground to Investec due to their complicated and terrible eBucks rewards program.

Private banking is definitely not what it used to be. There is very little special about it.