I have said this before and I’m saying it again as I know many of you out there will relate to it. When I was a young child, my wonderful grandmother said to me: “Patrick, when you are young, a day seems like a year. As you get older, a year becomes a day.’ I didn’t have a clue what she was talking about then. I do now. It seems like only yesterday that we were dishing out Christmas presents and pulling those ‘˜fun’ Christmas cracker things apart.
It’s always amazed me how excited we adults get when we grab those crinkly colourful things scattered round the lunch table and then turn to a friend to help ‘˜crack’ it open. You pull like mad on both ends and then scramble frantically for the object that flies out of it when the cracker explodes. The excitement rises to fever pitch after you manage to grab it and then gaze down into your hand to see what you’ve got. The excitement subsides as you see a small yellow plastic blob with the words ‘˜Made in China’ etched into it. ‘˜What is it?’ you ask your mate. “I don’t know. It looks some kind of a whistle,’ he replies. That’s it. It’s a whistle.
A dog whistle and you immediately think of old Fido back home who never comes when you call. This will get him to notice. You then put it between your lips and give it a mighty blow. “Pheet,’ it squeaks pathetically as it falls apart into pieces. “Hey, my whistle is broken,’ you announce to all. “So is my thing,’ is the echo from all. “What did you get?’ you ask. “Well mine was a plastic pair of nail cutters which fell apart before it reached my nails,’ says one. “Mine was a plastic ring with a gem fitted which popped out when the ring split while putting it on my finger. And the waiter walked past and crushed my gem.’ And so it goes. You all decide that these stupid things are an absolute waste of money and never again will you buy them for your Christmas function. Thank goodness we’ve got short memories. I just can’t imagine a Christmas lunch without grabbing for a Made in China present that I know will break on first sight. We’ve already bought a few boxes for this year’s lunch.
So where am I going with this? To be totally honest with you, I haven’t a clue. I’m just writing away chatting to all my wonderful readers. Here’s where I am right now. I’m sitting in my office enjoying the slight breeze coming through the open windows. We’ve just finished putting together the main body of this, our final magazine for the 2010 and I’˜m feeling sort of laid back and pretty chilled. It’s a beautiful sunny day and when I look out my window, I can see a couple of ‘˜mossies’ , that’s birds for our overseas readers – pecking into the seeds we leave in the bird feeding thingie hanging from the tree outside. Something just struck me as I wrote that. It’s obvious that the thingie is hanging from a tree ‘˜outside’. Who would grow a tree inside their office? Of course it’s outside – silly. It’s all pretty kewl and as I sit here chatting to you, I feel a long way from the some of the harshness we’ve all had to face over the past two years. No, I’m not going there.
I’m not going to talk about the global economic meltdown which hit our shores in 2009 and which was caused by foul, greedy bankers who were more interested in lining their own pockets than being the trusted and honorable custodians of millions of people’s hard won bucks. I’m also not going to talk about some of our own foul, greedy politicians whose sole purpose in life is to enrich themselves at the expense of service delivery to the poor. Or those foul greedy businessmen who enrich themselves through politically connected contacts and then fail to deliver on their services. Nor am I going to talk about the lack of leadership and statesmanship in our country; and I am certainly not going to talk about the crime that continues to plague the lives of all the good citizens of South Africa and the fact that this crime is made worse by corrupt cops who should be garbed in prisoner’s clothes rather than the national policing uniforms of our country.
And I am certainly not going to talk about those many miscreant transport operators out there who don’t give two hoots about road safety and the lives of other users as they go about operating horrendously unroadworthy rigs in their quest to line their own pockets. And forget about me talking about that juvenile president of the ANC Youth League Julius Malema who is hugely responsible for the global warming threat facing the world as a result of the hot air he spews into the atmosphere on a daily basis. No. I’m not going to talk about any of this as I am in a relaxed mood. It’s been a tough two years , note two not just this one past , and I’m now taking time to just chill out with my readers.
Hey, I want to let you in on something. I love you guys and dolls out there. I love this industry and as I’ve said before, it’s the people out there who make this industry great. No-one outside of the industry ever fully appreciates what the trucking industry does for this country , how it keeps the wheels of the economy turning no matter what problems it faces. I recently met a senior manager who, during the national strikes, would leave his family in the middle of the night and sneak into his spares warehouse to personally pack orders for his customers so that they wouldn’t suffer the next day. I can’t mention his name unfortunately for fear of any retribution to him but he is out there.
Now that, Mr Politician, is what service delivery is all about , and there are many more just like him in our industry. The trucking industry is the cream on the surface of the coffee but unfortunately, most people who benefit from the work of this industry just see it as the foam. Well, I want you to know that at FleetWatch, we see you as a full cup of Cappuccino with a rich layer of cream on the top , and that is really a delight.
Hey guys and dolls, we’ve still got a lot of work to do on other issues , like our annual TruckWatch – before the year end comes but with this being our last magazine for 2010, I want to say thank you for being with us this year. And a special thanks to all those advertisers who placed their business with us during the year. At FleetWatch, we never ask for your support as that is not a win-win proposition. You support the SPCA and you don’t expect a return. Here we try capture your business and then go out of our way to try maximise your return. That’s win-win and is the basis of a sound, long term business relationship. And as for placing ‘˜advertorial’ to deceive our readers into thinking it’s independent rather than paid for journalism, we never have and never will. I would rather go mow lawns for Julius Malema than go that route.
Happy Festive Season everyone. It’s family time, so give them the time and enjoy that time. Remember, a year becomes a day. God Bless you all!