Psst! Wanna make a fast buck whilst doing next to nothing? Read these instructions carefully and if you follow them to the letter, you too can become a millionaire many times over, and simultaneously add a thin veneer of intelligence to what is essentially a dull and insipid personality.

The instructions are very easy to follow, so easy in fact that government advisers who, as we all know are not blessed with the greatest intelligence or wit, have no problems at all to implement them fully whenever the need for personal advancement that is not based on merit or qualifications becomes necessary.

First of all, physical looks do not seem to matter at all, as it is generally assumed that even the ugliest person will somehow compensate for his shortcomings in the appearance department by projecting the aura of authority and commanding physical presence that he believes automatically follows any job provided by his political master. Some people will venture the rather cruel opinion that personal advancement based entirely on political patronage is inversely proportional to physical looks and intelligence, and the uglier and dimmer you are, the higher the chances of finding yourself parachuted into a position that provides no great benefits to the country but which is guaranteed to enrich you immensely. I do not subscribe to this uncharitable view as I am sure there must be some rare exceptions (oh, all right then, some very, very rare exceptions)that somehow struggle to be the exception to the rule...

So, armed with a face that only a mother could love and an intelligence level that consistently fails to register anything of note on numerous I.Q. tests, the next step on the road to riches and faux grandeur is to embark on a symbiotic relationship with a politician who seems destined for high office after a general election. Here again, you must choose a politician who matches you in the looks and intelligence department, i.e. as ugly and as stupid as you are. One note of caution though : never, ever allow your monstrously huge ego to overshadow that of your political partner in crime. This is an absolute no no, as apparently no Mauritian politician will ever tolerate the possibility that there are numerous people out there who are far more intelligent than the mediocre specimens we regularly send out to servi nou pei. The cardinal principle that you must never deviate from is simply this: THE POLITICIAN IS NEVER WRONG, and any pronouncement by your master, irrespective of the new depths of inanity that are reached with every successive statement, must always be met with an innocent look of astonishment at the sheer genius of the man; if, for example, he tells you that he has a son who is a medecin and a daughter who is a medicine, you must suspend disbelief and marvel at the stupendous procreative abilities of such a stupid man.

Now that the basic qualifications of intelligence and good looks (or lack of, in both areas...) have been met, you must learn to match bullshit with bullshit. That is not as difficult as it seems. You must always assume that the politician will voice rubbish of the bovine variety every time he opens his mouth, and therefore all you have to do is have a small number of made to measure replies to anything that he says; as long as you remember to say 'Yes, minister, that is such an intelligent move on your part' to any crackpot ideas that emanate from a febrile head soaked in last night's booze at the almost daily manzé boire event that is a must for anyone proclaiming to serve the nation, you will be ok; and that may even add another 10% to the mandatory 25% annual salary gratuity that is given to any lick spittle irrespective of actual performance.

The only other qualification that is most prized apart from arse licking is the ability to stab friend and foe in the back; this usually manifests itself in telling blatant lies to your ministerial godfather about the political affiliations of friends, rivals, and enemies. The minister is, of course, too stupid to differentiate between a bare faced lie told solely to deal with deep, personal, psychological problems of the gainsayer, and genuine information that will help the minister to do his job with a modicum of efficiency. So, if your friend, relative, acquaintance seems to be too intelligent for his/her own good and could become a threat to your newly acquired position of adviser of sweet fuck all, develop a natural ability to tell the minister, " Ayo Zom Ramgoolam sa!" or "Berenger so dimoune sa!" or '" Li al manzer La Caverne sa!" or "Li fer tam tam r Zaza sa!"; an innate inferiority complex will permit you to do anything to worm your way into any position that you believe should serve your purposes exclusively, and it does not matter if in the process, you forego any of the notions of loyalty, friendship, and faithfulness. After all, if you started off with no principles to begin with, you are not going to lose any along the way, are you?

Of course, you must make the potential minister believe that you 'carry' a large number of votes, and this is best achieved by appealing to the nasty, casteeist,communalist, fanatical religious instincts that unfortunately still afflict so many of our citizens in this apparently civilised democracy. If, for example, you happen to be a Rajput, you convince the minister that you can guarantee him the votes of all the Rajputs at election time; it does not matter that everyone apart from the putative minister know that this Rajput represents only himself and nobody else. If you happen to be a Moslem, then claim complete allegiance to the Holy Quran and vociferously condemn any proposed legislation on anything to do with the private sex lives of our citizens, whilst spending every Friday and Saturday evening getting blind drunk in the distinctly ungodly atmosphere of our nightclubs. If you are a Christian, find the latest incarnation of King Creole and talk about esclavage all day long in order to project your own shortcomings on the rest of us. If you claim to respect all religions, then don't forget to sing the most popular mantra of these islands: " Gouvernman bizin donner!", even if la caisse national has been empty for years...The crucial tactic to maintain here is to feed the ministerial delusion that his political future lies in your hands which contains the votes of all those who happen to share the identity conferred on them entirely by the accident of birth.

Finally, when the votes are counted, make sure you are there when your man is hoisted on the shoulders of his supporters to welcome his victory; it will help if you have one or two nephews shouting your name within his earshot so that he is now convinced that his good fortune is entirely due to your hard work and your influence within his constituency. When he hugs you in public to show his gratitude for your so called hard work, whisper gently the magic names of any of the numerous parastatal organisations that litter Paradise Island, and look forward to an astronomical salary and expenses package that has no bearing whatsoever to your qualifications, experience, or aptitude for the job; and you will also get a 25% gratuity of annual salary irrespective of your performance, and which is paid whether you work well, or to the abysmally low standards that have characterised your work record so far. This should guarantee you a salary of around Rs1 million for the month of December alone and a total annual salary package of between Rs 3 and Rs 4 millions a year, including all those juicy per diem for missions that bring nothing to this country. Not bad for someone who could barely write his name before polling day, eh?...

But if you want to be really clever, you should afterwards engineer an atmosphere of friction between yourself and the Board of directors; if you are really lucky, you will be invited to resign and you will be able to go home with a cheque for a few million rupees which astonishingly contains a gratuity payment for a performance that cannot be evaluated as you no longer work for that organisation! If your name is Dan Maraye, because he indeed got that sort of fantastic package, you must look at yourself in the mirror every day and thank your lucky stars that you live in Paradise Island where your political masters are experts at creating paradise for the chosen few.

Of course, if you had a conscience, or if you really loved your country, you would not follow the route planned above, and you will instead do whatever you can to create the wealth that this country desperately needs. But how many of us are willing to take that road?

Paul Lismore


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