What goes around, comes around

I was motivated to write this piece by a friend who recently said that when town predators looking for cheap meals are out to destroy the unique innovations of geniuses by resulting to blackmail and petty arguments emanating from poor and bankrupt ideas, such ill and defective expositions must not go encountered.

Probably because I am an occasional visitor, I enjoy riding the London subway but it certainly isn’t the most elegant of places. It sometimes reeks of very unpleasant smell and there is little courtesy from the multitude of passengers. The tube is London’s version of our ‘molue‘. But it is a highly sophisticated version.

I once had cause to sit next to a smelly passenger on the tube and it wasn’t a pleasant experience at all. There is also the difficulty of shoving far too many people into a confined space and hoping that in some very British way, they would all get along.

The first time I found myself at Victoria train station, I simply could not believe my eyes at the hordes of people trooping in and out. Oshodi is child’s play compared to Victoria. The only other place I saw a crowd that size was in Manhattan, New York.

I stood in awe and transfixed for several minutes as I watched the crowd at UK’s second-busiest terminus. Victoria Station services nearly 80 million passengers per year. This is an average of about 220,000 passengers daily. It is an organized chaos.

The station was not built for this number of passengers, which results in severe overcrowding. To prevent any dangerous situations like crowds pushing people off the platforms onto the track, crowd control measures are typically in place at the busiest times. This effectively means closing all the entrances to the underground platforms and operating as an exit-only station until the overcrowding is relieved. These measures can last anywhere between a couple of minutes up to several hours.

I read the story of one man who got on the subway train recently and wasn’t in the mood for politeness or pleasantries. As another man stood in his way, he shoved him and, so that there was no doubt as to his intent, told him to “Go f*** yourself.”

Perhaps the curser thought nothing more of it. He went about his day. He even had a job interview later in the afternoon.

He walked in and, within seconds, began to curse himself. For his interviewer turned out to be the very man he had cursed on the subway. This curser is a system developer – they call them Python developers. I’m sure in the split second; he would have wished he could reverse the hand of time.

However, as Matt Buckland told the BBC: “It was totally awkward.”

Buckland was the interviewer. He is the head of talent and recruiting for Forward Partners – a venture capital company that offers money to fledgling entities. You’d imagine he might have been tempted, in this job interview, to reciprocate the developer’s morning greeting.

Instead, he admitted to the BBC: “I approached it by asking him if he’d had a good commute that morning. We laughed it off and in a very British way I somehow ended up apologizing.”

Millions got to know of the story when Buckland twitted: “Karma – the guy who pushed past me on the tube and then suggested I go F myself just arrived for his interview…with me…”

The developer didn’t get the job because he wasn’t, according to Buckland, quite right for it. Might his predilection for ill temper have contributed to him not being right for it? Buckland didn’t say.

Back home, my observation is that many Nigerians lack courtesy. And by courtesy I mean the use of polite manners. A courteous person is respectful and considerate of others. Courteous behaviour basically requires a selfless attitude and can give perspective on others’ situations.

I have read and observed that people who lack courtesy may have trouble with their family relationships, friendships and in their occupation. Showing unconcern for the feelings of others, a critical attitude and inconsiderate behaviour creates an atmosphere of tension and frustration, according to a leading psychologist, Carl Pickhardt.

One cannot but note the utterly rude behaviour of so-called ‘maritime experts’ and ‘stakeholders’ who mostly speak out of tune. Their relevance is in the noise they make and the darts they throw at others. They know ‘everything’! They are so-called shipping expertsmaritime expertsport expertsfinancial analystsadministrative expertsand what have you all rolled in one. Never mind that they never had any training or held any position of responsibility in any of the areas they claim expertise. And they can be uncouth in their utterances. No courtesy, no decorum; only pecuniary and mundane interests. They forget that being outspoken is not the sum total of wisdom.

The starting point for government and serious minded businesses in the shipping sector is to ignore these predators for whatever it is worth.

And again, as it happened with the Python developer at the London subway, it is a matter of time before they are trapped in their own devices.

Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.