Friday, 22 June 2007

A Fable for Modern Times

Once upon a time there was a little city nestled on the hills around a
lovely blue habour. The city was in a country called Kiwiland. The
people of Kiwiland loved to play sport and their favorite sport was
Thugbe. The people of Kiwiland especially enjoyed a good Thugbe
competition with other countries. If they won they were very happy,
but if they lost they were sad and drank too much beer. Each city in
Kiwiland had their own special arena to play Thugbe in.

One day the people in the little city got a nasty shock. Someone
visiting the city said that its Thugbe arena was no good! The changing
rooms were smelly and there weren't enough comfortable seats for
people to watch the games. The Thugbe organizers were very upset and
they went to see the Mayor. They told the Mayor that he was the boss
of the little city so he had to sort out the problem.

The Mayor panicked and said, "We must form a committee, the committee
will tell us what to do". The committee went away and wrote lots of
numbers on bits of paper and drew some interesting pictures. Then they
came back to see the Mayor and said, " The old arena is no good, we
need a beautiful new arena with a roof and the people of the little
city must pay for it". They told the Mayor that the new arena was a
"Vision" and that the wealth and the well-being of the city and all
its people depended on it. The Mayor thought that the people on the
committee were clever and influential so he agreed with them; he said,
"Yes this is a "Vision" and the wealth and well being of our city
depends on it".

The Mayor told the councilors about the new arena, he showed them the
plans and some of the numbers written on bits of paper. They agreed
that it was a "Vision" and that the wealth and well being of the city
depended on it. One Councillor didn't quite see the vision, but that
was because he obviously needed new glasses.

The committee went to see the important business people in the town
and the ones who ran the place of learning. When they were told about
the "Vision" they nodded their heads had a quick look at the plans and
the numbers written on bits of paper and said, "Yes, we see the
Vision, the future wealth and well-being of our city depends on it".

The committee went to see the people who produce the Daily News. They
said "our city needs a new arena, you must tell the people about the
"Vision". So they printed lots of pictures of the new arena and one or
two of the numbers written on bits of paper, and they called it a
"Vision" and told the people that the wealth and well being of the
city and all its people depended on it.

At the same time the Mayor and Councillors did some sums on the back
of a used bus ticket and figured out if they borrowed lots of money
and increased taxes they could offer to pay for at least half the new
arena. Although they were completely sure that they knew what was best
for the city and it's people, they decided that they should ask the
people of the little city if that was ok. So they sent out a form to
the people in the city (well to the ones who owned houses), most of
these were addressed to men, because men aren't silly and love a good
game of Thugbe.

Mean while something strange was happening in the little city. One or
two people were having trouble seeing the "Vision". They looked at the
plans and added up the numbers on the bits of paper, something wasn't
quite right. They met secretly in coffee bars, they whispered at work
and they wrote letters to the Daily News.

When the Committee and the business people and the Mayor and
Councillors found out about these people who couldn't see the
"Vision", they got cross and called them names like "bad" and
"selfish" and "minority" and said they had no idea what was good for
the city and it's people.

The people who couldn't see the "Vision" checked their numbers and
looked at the plans upside down incase they had missed something. Some
of them tried to talk to the Mayor and Councillors, to say perhaps the
new arena was not a good idea because it was going to cost too much
for the city. But the Mayor and Councillors put their fingers in their
ears and turned their backs because they knew the new arena was a
"Vision", the committee had told them so.

The people who couldn't see the vision organised meetings and a
protest march; something that people in the little city didn't do very
often. They hoped to break the spell on the Mayor and Councillors so
that they would realise they had made a mistake. That there was no
"Vision" and the well being of the city and all it's people didn't
depend on building a new expensive arena with a roof on. But the Mayor
and Councillors were too stubborn or too scared to admit they were
wrong. A few months passed and it was time again to choose who would
be the Mayor and Councillors, and some of the people said "We need
councillors who can read numbers on bits of paper and realize when
they were far to big for a little city like our one".

by GeraldineTait

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