On the New Planet the nights are drawing in, darkness descends in the late afternoon and the air is frosty. And in the gloom, when shopping is manic with present-hunters pushing and shoving and jostling to get the best deal, traffic building up making easy travel nigh impossible, the only retreat for a sane traveller is the couch, in front of the picture box...well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. But I'm not going to ramble on about the endless repeats, no, I have something much more important to mutter about.
To my disgust and not a little shame, I have found myself enthralled with the latest 'reality show', which as any ex-Southernmost Colony dweller realises instantly, is actually Celebrity Veldschool. For those travellers too young to remember such rites of passage, ask an older sibling or friend that grew up in the dark days 'before', as they will surely remember the delights of such compulsory excursions during their undeveloped years.
Aah yes, veldschool - an entire week of hikes in the rain, leaky shelters constructed out of twigs, runs up a mountain at dawn before breakfast, melkkos, cold showers and the constant, daily, incessant and vehement indoctrination and propaganda designed to make us all aware (and terrified for that is surely a terrorist's aim) of the red terror that lurked behind every khaki-bush, rock and eucalyptus tree. That that very same red terror is presently the governing body on the Southernmost Colony, causes me to smile and wonder what the 'oom' that was in charge of the drip-feeding would think of it all now.
And let us not forget the games we were forced to engage in...'terroriste en soldate' - dropped in the middle of nowhere with a compass and a torch and an instruction to leopard crawl towards the pool of light in the clearing far away, all the while keeping our eyes peeled for the 'soldate' who might stumble across our little band of 'terroriste' as we lay in the damp pine needles, faces daubed with mud like a primitive tribe preparing for war - which in essence we actually were.
Oh, the joy of avoiding capture and the thrill of swimming through crocodile infested rivers, negotiating the twists and turns of bat-riddled caves and muddy swamps as we made for home, in the rain and the pitch dark with the 'oom' yelling at us in a foreign tongue, the language of governance, which we were all expected to speak fluently. Would that I had remained a 'terroris', as I would now be living in splendour with inestimable amounts of treasure at my disposal (even though it should actually be used to govern the colony and not be used for trips to other planets and the building of immense mansions with a sea-view).
So my point is this, as undeveloped beings on a far off planet, we survived the tortures of sleepless nights in a cave, on the muddy ground, in a windswept cabin, bugs, spiders and the occasional serpent, didn't complain (much) and were not paid vast quantities of treasure to endure these deprivations. We were even forced to ablute in full view of the other undeveloped beings, many of whom did not even have the manners to turn away as we perched on the small bucket in the middle of the woods, and all this in the name of 'education'. I can only imagine how well such experiences would be viewed by the safety-obsessed bureaucrats on this planet - why, nary a helmet or knee pad or harness or hoist was seen - we did it all ourselves and if we fell down a ravine or lopped off a limb while using an axe unsupervised, tough, we simply climbed back up and continued on our merry way...and no one was sued.
Tantrums and pouting were not allowed, food was scarce and might well have been cockroach pate and lion testicle for all we knew. Did we mutter and moan and storm off in a huff, no we did not! I'm not comparing us all to the opinionated and puffed up seekers of fame that are presently sequestered in a jungle, I'm only pointing out that we survived veldschool, and so will you...