To The Minister of Technology, The Hon Étienne Sinatambou

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When you’re sitting astride a mountain top, surrounded by nature, it seems strange that folk today, surrounded by all their advanced technology, seem unable to see the wood for the trees. They don’t seem to find time to think, probably because they’re always scuttling around in weird boxes, which seem just as accident-prone as horse-drawn chariots although admittedly a trifle faster – in theory at least, if not in rush hours.

There have been remarkable discoveries to fuel modern lifestyles but people seem unaware that Gaea might not be all that keen on her gifts of oil and gas – not to mention lithium and the like – being eaten up in one foul swoop. What’s even funnier is they’re now turning to natural resources like the sun, the waves and the wind, even if they’re using somewhat bizarre machinery to harness them. Why, you’d think they might ask, do they need to rely on so many devices to function at all? Some even find it a problem to walk anywhere and start protesting if the local omnibus passes more than a few yards from their front doors.

If that wasn’t enough, it seems they have to have a new smartphone every month, no doubt because they explode, while household appliances are apparently designed to fall apart after a few years – at best. And it’s all necessary to keep companies going so that there’s economic growth. The gods may have lost some of the finer details up on Olympos but they can’t help wondering if it isn’t all a trifle ridiculous. Everything’s being mechanised – and machines all use energy. A machine for sucking up leaves, another for on-line shopping and banking – and sometimes bonking. It all seems surreal.

Of course, there are rather more humans around than the earth was designed for, which is no doubt why people are so busy killing each other to try and get their numbers back under control – instead of leaving mosquitoes to get on with a job they do so well. It looks as if there’s going to be a never-ending spiral of advancement until it’s not just phones that conflagrate but the galaxy blows up in people’s faces.

So what are you doing about it with your IT chaps – and all the economists and business people? A few rather eccentric individuals may be muttering about a return to nature but they all wear beards and odd clothing. Still, to be positive, which you’ll appreciate, there are those talking about building areas where people work, live and play – as in olden times.

Equally surreal is the way ministers, whatever their persuasion, are regularly affected by the banzournalispabon bacterium, apparently related to the narnienpabon virus detected in newspapers. Viruses, affreux or otherwise, are hard enough to eradicate, especially when contaminated meat is sold to avoid upsetting voters whose sensitivities are more important than common sense, but bacteria, whether in ministers or chickens, are often impossible to eradicate – although few maladies are as bad as mad-cow disease. The newspaper virus is the easiest affliction to deal with. All that’s required is that ministers, mad or otherwise, do their jobs impeccably so no-one can sensibly criticise them. That won’t stop our Pote declaring every few months that elections are just around the corner, but presumably that’s incurable as there’s a suspicion he’s a tad round the bend himself. Sad that Beloved Arvind seems to be moving in the same direction.

Yours sincerely,

Epi PHRON

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