Saturday, April 19, 2008

Where the Nanny State doesn't exist

I spend my time living between two very different cultures.  The so-called developed world and the so-called undeveloped world.  In some ways it is hard to believe in those labels.  True, we have few power failures in the UK (though more than we used to, I think) while in Africa they are so common most offices and hotels have a back up generator.  But in terms of modern issues like health and safety and the so-called nanny state that "knows best", I think the values in the developing world are far more commendable.

A simple example.  In the UK I swim whenever I can in a heated outdoor pool in Exeter - all year long and it's great.  However the number of signs plastered around the pool that tell us what we can't, mustn't do is quite amazing.  I would love to show you a photograph of the place but, naturally I am not allowed to do so, this being nanny state country.  [Edit April 20th:  The pool is privately owned - see dp's comment]

In Africa I swim in an outdoor hotel pool.  There is not one sign around the pool.  But guess what, I don't actually need a sign to tell me which end is deep and which is shallow!  And as I am a responsible person I know that I should only dive in to the deep end.  Back in the UK, of course, I am not allowed to dive at all!

And, naturally, I can show you a photo of the pool:
Villa Madiba, Pointe Noire