Jan 3, 2014

What Kind of Day Has it Been? (The Big Two-Five)

25It's been twenty-five years since I've been around, a quarter century. I can barely believe it! Snowed-in on my birthday and sitting here in front of my computer, I can't help but reminisce and take a retrospective view on my life. What Kind of Day Has it Been? What kind of journey has it been?
This post is incredibly personal, more than anything public I've done before and well, this is the best chance to learn this much about me in one go around. It's organized in intervals of 5 years of age.

0 - 10: Class Initialization {}:

Obviously, I don't remember much from my early years. According to tales, I was not the best of kids. I was a handful, difficult and seemed to be almost always angry. There is no picture of me as a kid where I'm smiling, not one. I have a faint memory of family members unsuccessfully trying to get me to at least show my teeth for the huge group pictures we took at the end of each year.

Yes, I have a large family. I grew up in a relatively big house in which, at any given time, over a dozen relatives cohabited. What sounds like a chaotic environment, was actually pretty well organized: My dad and moms leading the pack, followed by my siblings, cousins, uncles/aunts and the occasional nanny/help. Everybody followed the same rules. In hindsight, it's probably the best thing that ever happened to me. No child gets full time loving from the parents; rather you get love from multiple people, all at the same time: No need to be an attention seeker. This is probably my childhood's biggest factor in my current way of life, in which the material does not hold that much of an importance and the spotlight always seems like a burden to me.
Also, there are just so many role models, people around you to look up to (mostly all the people that beat the crap out of you!). And the women of the house, oh the girls! It's impossible to not turn into a gentleman. Bliss!!!

The later years of my first decade on Earth were marked by the beginnings of my most intense relationship: I fell in love with... School (Ha!). I loved school. I loved going to school. The 20-minute walk that I had to do everyday to get there from the house was no deterrent. In Primary School, I got to meet with friends, eat "Pain Che-no" (a thin slice of white bread, covered with tomato sauce and one bean on top, that you ended up sharing with all your friends. It was sold for 10 FCFA - equivalent to around a tenth of a penny), play "kick the can" during the breaks and above all excel: I was a good student, a very good student. 
I was almost always among the top 3 of my class, alongside K.S., my biggest competitor. During all of primary school, KS was my rival. And more often than not, the girl (yes, a girl) would kick my ass, coming out first of the class, while I trailed in second place. I hated her for it... and loved her for it. 
Actually, in the last class we were in together, some teacher had the brilliant idea of making us seat together on the same bench for the rest of the year. All my idiot friends started calling her my "wife" and I would chase them around the school asking them to shut up! Ahhhh memories...

Under strong suggestions from my teachers and family friends, my parents made me take the end of primary school tests a year early. I passed them and skipped a grade. Given that I also skipped the first grade of primary school, I ended up always being younger than the people I associated with in school. From an achievement perspective, this was fantastic. The downside is that I obviously lost track of all my friends from primary school. For example, I did not seek or have any news concerning KS until much later in life...

10 - 15: The Wonder Kid?

"I mean really, who cares about clean clothes
or even clothes that fit"
Because of my strong showing in primary School, I could tell that my entourage started building high expectations on my account. No one ever said anything directly, but i could feel the pressure. And I worked, worked hard to confound these expectations. During my first 3 years in Secondary school (10-12 years old), I was fierce. I was determined to know everything about everything. My curiosity had no bounds and I made sure it showed on my report cards. In one word, I was a NERD. I used to sit alone in front of the TV on Saturday afternoons to watch reruns of the american show The West Wing (called A La Maison Blanche in french) on national TV. I did not understand much of anything, but it sounded really smart to me, so I just sat there and listened. I was pushing hard to be a wonder kid.

Not surprisingly, my social life took a toll: It did not exist. Well, not really... What I mean is that being raised in a town where everyone knows everyone, I barely knew anybody. I was bad at creating and keeping relationships. Most of my classmates were older than me and to be fair to them, I was pretty bad company. I was that nerdy kid that always did his homework and seemed to not be concerned with his appearance. I mean really, who cares about clean clothes or even clothes that fit? Ha!

But then there was soccer/football. I liked playing and I was in a youngsters team and we played local tournaments on occasion. I used that avenue to forget a little bit about school. Like in most things, I was highly committed. I used to train maybe 3 times a week, a couple of hours per session on average. I was not very good, so I was benched most of the time during games. I was a forward and a specialty scorer. You would not feel my presence during a game, unless I scored or was very closed to scoring. This stealthy way of playing earned me the nickname of Trezeguet, after the frail and very opportunistic french forward of the early 2000s. 

I however stopped playing rather early (decision I actually made myself), for.... wait for it.... school. Again, following strong recommendations, I took the national test that allows to move from the equivalent of middle school into high school, a year early and passed, thereby skipping another grade. Again disconnecting with friends and getting into circles wherein I'm younger and younger, still with the same drive to confound expectations.
It took a combination of very distinct events, in high school, to bring me back to Earth. First, puberty kicked in really hard. I suddenly seemed to care about what people said and how I looked. I did not do much about it for a while, but I was bothered. Also, I needed to redefine a me, I was looking for hobbies that will change from the usual hard working guy; I wanted to fit in. This need was actually aggravated by a national faculty strike that lasted many months and completely disrupted the learning experience. My first year in high school was not looking so good.

The "Pray hard, play hard" dichotomy.
I still can't smile properly on pictures.
And then I discovered Basketball. It was clear that football was no more an option, I was not in shape anymore. Bball was the new cool and hip thing that my classmates were into. I was short and knew nothing of the sport, it did not seem like a suitable choice. After taking a chance a few times, it turned out into a very exhilarating adventure. I started to play more and more and kept getting better. Slowly, I was picked up to play with the cool kids. This was something new for me and I loved it. I made very good friends through Bball. Who knew that these guys were actually the nicest? I started moving into that culture: expensive sneakers, baggy shorts and hardcore hip hop music (See the picture on the left, what the hell was I thinking?)... The ladies loved the Basketball players! Winning! Of course, I never learned how to speak to girls or how to speak to people, I was still totally awkward. Oh well, I had way more fun on the basketball court than on the soccer pitch (look at this recent recording of me ditching a alley-oop here - Still got some skills under my belt).
At the same time, in my quest to understand myself and the world around me, I strengthened my faith. I was raised catholic and went to church on sundays with the family, but it is not until this period that I got really serious with religion. This culminated into my reception of sacraments at age 14.

The "pray hard, play hard" dichotomy seemed to work well for me, but my grades were suffering, and some of the basics from all the skipped grades started piling on. I was not an exceptional student anymore, I had failing grades in important subjects. I kept working hard enough, to remain just below the top-tier and avoid mediocrity. When national end of year exams arrived, my intensity rushed back and I was always confident that failure would not befall onto me. At 14, I graduated high school, being among the youngest in my class with a concentration in mathematical sciences (maths, physics, chemistry...). The college doors were wide open, just as I started doubting my self proclaimed wonder kid destiny.

15 - 20: La Universidad:

These were the years I had the time of my life so far. 3 years at the University of Buea and one year at University of Yaounde. The learning experience and the people encountered during the college journey are the barometer to my current state of mind. Even though I'm still terrible at keeping contact, I created some of my best relationships during this period. The beauty of it all is that I compromised neither my studies, nor my commitment to the faith, while having the "best fun". Indeed, the dichotomy turned into a trifecta (pray hard, play hard and work hard).

This time with friends, and i seem to smile a lil'
There was no sign it could turn out this way, when looking at the beginnings. To the contrary, everything seemed to go downhill. I was 14, fresh out of Secondary school with no idea what I wanted out of life, never lived away from my parents house for more that 3 months at the time. I was to chose a major and a school to attend in another city, knowing that I would have to live all alone. Every decision made at this point would ultimately determine what my life would turn out to be. The challenges seemed unsurmountable to the young mind that I was: I had never seen much of the real world, thanks to my somewhat secluded choice of lifestyle.

Thankfully, one of my cousin was in the same situation and I had some company in the struggle. Lucky me, my cousin was a lot more experienced that I was. Without her I would have messed up all the potential that I once displayed. We opted to apply to the only public anglo-saxon school of the country. I originally applied for the Business school (Bamilekes are all about business), but Ubuea refused me and rather sent me to the Math department. This is a prime example of those situations when you hate the heavens for dealing you a certain card that later turns out to be an absolute blessing. The math department had a minor in Computer Science. That's all I needed to reboot that drive that I almost lost. After getting my BS degree. I went to the capital for a one year post-graduate degree, this time in CS. I got reacquainted with lost friends from my hometown and there was fun to be had. 

The local job outlook was not the best in the world. Therefore a huge number of youngsters fly out to other horizons, looking for better opportunities. I myself sought for a better life by taking the big leap into the unknown, 3 weeks from my 20th birthday. The american adventure was calling. With Barack Obama just elected, I was filled with hope. It was a big change, taking my first plane ride for over 4000 miles across the Atlantic to Washington DC, by way of Europe, with nothing but dreams, a rather thin plan and a support system.
The american age (my 20's) is still ongoing and I may talk about my struggles and successes one day, maybe when I reach the big 30. So far it can be reduced in one word: fulfillment. Old dreams are getting accomplished or fading away to open the door to new and exciting challenges. The hard work, focus and drive from my first two decades are once again put to the test. My most important wish for the starting quarter century is to not let it disappear, but strengthen and channel it into cruising though this new journey.

What kind of day has it been? One full of blessings: My big fat family to which I will be forever grateful; All the friends I made along the way and whose contact I probably lost and/or whom i failed to communicate with. Thanks for enduring the dork with a big stick up his butt! That guy still exists and shows up from time to time, but I try hard to hide him away from others.

I have had a great life so far and I'm excited to see what the future has in store for me. I will try my best to reach for the stars. It won't be easy, it might take some time, but just like my picture-smiling problem, it will eventually happen.

Jul 23, 2013

A Guide to "LonelyHood".

I am Socially Awkward! Nothing new there... So how do you live a life with just a tolerable amount of interaction with other Humans? This post is a quick look at how one could engage into "LonelyHood".

Notice that I did not say loneliness, which is known as a psychological condition of constantly feeling alone and sad, even when hanging out with others. 

No! I define "LonelyHood" as a way of life, fulfilled and complete without dealing with Hell (you know, other people! Check out J.P. Sartre's No Exit): Forever Happy, Forever Alone!

Now that I hope we understand each other on the terminology, let's get to it.

1. Entertainment: Contrary to popular belief, going to the movie theater by yourself is not a sacrilege. Actually, if the reason is really to watch a movie, the only difference when with company, is that you get to comment about it at the end. The silence during the actual showing is the same. I do not understand the outrage over watching a movie alone! It was pretty common in past decades, but is considered anti-social now. This also applies to the stage theater. Obviously if you are into books, there is nothing like sitting on a couch and devouring a few pages; unless you watch a lot of TV like I do. Museums and public landmarks are also good friends for a "LoneAttitude".

2. Food and Well-being: You shall eat, with people or not... So why not alone? Home-cooked meals are probably the best way to do it! If not your thing, you can always get a delivery or pick-up. However if you feel like experiencing the ambiance of an actual restaurant, a restaurant-bar is definitely the way to go. Sit at the bar area, get some food and top that with your favorite beer or wine, and Voila! As long as you run away from fast and/or pre-processed food, there shouldn't be a problem. After all that food, go for a walk, a run, at the gym or whatever physical activity you can tolerate.

3. Travel: I personally never attempted this, but it's on my list and I've heard wonders about this experience. Travel all by yourself; Pack a bag, choose a destination with the items above, with a touristic outlook geared towards your interests (museums, parks, famous locations, broadway, etc...). Granted, it involves a little more spending and planning, but I'm convinced it will be well worth it.  

4. Do Nothing: This is my favorite. Sit or lay somewhere, outside if the weather permits and stare at the void for an hour. Add some music that you like if you are so inclined. It's bliss!

There are a lot more things like the above that can be applied. There are some obvious limitations. Do not do the following, in any circumstances:

    -  Get Drunk Alone: That's how you become an alcoholic!
    -  Bar, Club, Parties Alone: By design, these are meant for socializing. You will feel miserable!
    -  Indoor Concerts or live band (unless its outdoor lawn type of event, or you are REALLy a big fan).
    -  Stay indoors and Not communicate to people: A minimum of human interaction is required, just for your sanity and good measure. Don't stay for weeks in the basement watching movies and browsing the Internet. Go shoot some ball, run or sunbathe.

In Hindsight, this post is just Sad! Stay Alone my friends!

Mar 27, 2013

I Thank Thee

I have been meaning to post this for some time now. This was the dedication page of my Master Thesis.

To Thee for every drop— 
The bitter and the sweet. 

To Thee for the desert road, 
And for the riverside; 
For all Thy goodness hath bestowed, 
And all Thy grace denied. 

To Thee for both smile and frown, 
And for the gain and loss; 
To Thee for the future crown 
And for the present cross. 

To Thee for both wings of love 
Which stirred my worldly nest; 
And for the stormy clouds which drove 
Me, trembling, to Thy breast. 

Adapted from “I Thank Thee” – Jane Crewdson (1850)

Feb 24, 2013

The Burden of Humility

I don't like when people sing my praises. I would hate being nominated for an academy award or being recognized in front of a large crowd (or any crowd for that matter). To avoid these situations, I tend to under perform, under appreciate my own strengths while heightening my weaknesses. Some people call this being humble, I say its what an insecure and scared little brat with psychological issues would do (wow, went a little strong there...).

Anyway, my concern with humility is the fact that the subject is more often than not, aware that he is skilled and deserves recognition. Although taking humble stances seem noble, I recently learned that there is an inherent desire/ need (at least for me), for other parties to be aware of the skill. In some cases, it can turn into an obsession. The result is not pretty, borderline nightmarish: illusions of grandeur coupled with "humility".

Solution: "Redde Caesari quae sunt Caesaris.". When truly deserved, no humility at all. Advertise your successes and insist on getting credit for  your efforts. However, failures should be treated the same way: acknowledgement and honesty. 

Well, this post doesn't make much sense... Lesson of the day: Don't blog when you have been abruptly taken off of your pedestal and brought back to Earth! Unless you are Mark Zuckerberg :).

Jan 21, 2013

Fighting Temptations

Taking resolutions when a new year comes or at specific moments in our lives (such as the end of fasting seasons or a wedding anniversary) is common practice these days. We say and hear people say things like "I am going to lose weight", "I will be more friendly", "I will call my mom regularly", "No more cigarettes/liquor/drugs for me". However, in most of these cases, results are short-lived or nonexistent and more and more we seem to be expecting less and less of ourselves: The temptations are just too great!

The concept of temptation itself might shed a light into what is going on here.  It is a little bit of an oxymoron, since succumbing to a temptation generally results in both a quick but intense satisfaction and a long-lived more permanent inconvenience, be it moral, physical or cognitive. For the fans of Conditioning in Psychology, it can be compared to using a strong positive reinforcement and a mild negative reinforcement to teach the same behavior.

Fighting the desire that a temptation brings therefore depends on how strong the instant gratification is, compared to how drastic the negative consequences can be, coupled with the subject's "will power". You probably already realized that the use of the term temptation to describe a desire implies awareness to some degree of the existence of the inconvenience, otherwise nothing would stop you. The problem lies in the fact that the risk associated with the negative consequence is generally underestimated, often misunderstood and constantly taken lightly until the moment the feeling of regret kicks in. 

The most common way of dealing with temptation is to reduce the frequency/importance of the desired behavior: "Common, it's just one doughnut, It won't kill me", "I will only drink socially". This method induces a constant struggle and "will power" here is key. Where it fails is in the fact that, like all addictions, the instant gratification becomes more acute when restarting a behavior after letting it go momentarily, meanwhile awareness of the negative consequence gets repressed.  

One way of dealing with temptations is complete abstinence! Abstaining from the behavior, thus abandoning pleasure, to effectively eliminate any possibility of pain. This is  very improbable, actually closer to the impossible, as the world we live in today is more hedonistic/epicurean than ever (philosophies based on the premise that pleasure is the only intrinsic good and that if something is good, it outta be pleasurable. This can be illustrated by this line from the Epic of Gilgamesh "Fill your belly. Day and night make merry. Let days be full of joy. Dance and make music day and night" - Gotta love Wikipedia).

I will live you with these thought-provoking words from St Augustine: 

"Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation".

Is it better though? That is my question. All I know for sure is that being tempted is not the best situation in the world and at least Jesus seem to corroborate this since in the Lord's Prayer he proposed, you can read the following: "[...] And lead us not into Temptation, but deliver us from evil [...]".

Jul 25, 2012

Justice and Black

Apartheid, segregation, racism, affirmative action, civil rights movement, "sans-papiers" in France, etc... Strong phrases and expressions linked in a way or another to the (just or unjust ??) treatment some people receive because of certain physical traits. What course of action to take to eradicate these? Why can't we all just get along?

After following the long and tiring Health Care a.k.a. Obamacare feud over the past year or so and following the recent US supreme court decision to uphold the controversial law, I have been looking a little bit into this not so public branch of the US government: The Judiciary.  
My investigation led me straight to one of the 9 most powerful people of that branch: Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the USA. He is the second black man in that position after the beloved Thurgood Marshall, and because of his very strong conservative beliefs and rulings, he is portrayed by many in the African-American community as a traitor or at least a hypocrite because he is in favor of striking down many of the laws that create governmental programs to help minorities, some of which he might have profited himself to get to the top of the chain.

Personally, I disagree with him on many issues, but I can't help acquiescing to his idea that minorities (Black, Hispanic, Women, etc...) cannot possibly keep fighting for their God-given right to be considered at the exact same level as the corresponding majority and then insist on having special treatment policies based on the fact that they are different. 
For example, Justice Thomas argues that preferential treatment under the pretense of affirmative action or equal opportunity employment/admission will build "a cult of victimization", i.e. it implies that minorities REQUIRE special treatment to succeed. I feel uneasy every time I hear the argument that affirmative action should be in place to repay for the historical discrimination. Do not get me wrong, I am not against it, I just believe a better argument could be presented, such as the fact that statistics have demonstrated that individuals from minority groups tend to excel when given the opportunity, especially those from a more or less poor background, it's a fact.

We could probably debate some of these ideas, but it doesn't underplay the fact that Justice Thomas is one of the most important figures of contemporary history and definitely a man worth knowing. Check out his interview on 60 minutes.

The (Not so) Normal Heart

OK! So, it looks like I might be falling in love with staged theater (thanks Fauna! #Sarcasm), who knew? Well a few days ago I went to watch my first professional Broadway play, at the gorgeous Arena Stage: The Normal Heart

The Tony award winning show written by Larry Kramer is a passion-filled count of the experiences, mostly horrific, of a few gay activists in New York City, during the early days of the HIV pandemic.
It would have been cool if Jim Parsons (Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory) was actually playing; he was in the original Broadway crew, but was not available for the DC tour. 

At any rate, I had no background info on the play until I got there: I was mostly in an artistic mission, looking not at the depicted story, but all the other external aspects of such a production, i.e. anything that would convince me to abandon my TV (acting, clothing, stage props, decoration, lighting, etc...), and from my front row seat (a man can brag!!) my eyes were right where they needed to be.

Verdict: I was mesmerized! The level of production is phenomenal. The fast-paced dialogue and change in between scenes, the details in the clothing, the choice of lighting sequence and the acting, etc... It's amazing what they can achieve with a hospital bed, a table and 3 chairs. I think I understand why I love Aaron Sorkin so much, as he was first a playwright before migrating to television.

Because I was so captivated by the production, I had to listen to the story which although has brought a third of the crowd to tears, lacked perspective in my opinion. The author chose to make his points almost only from a unique view, that of the modern LGBT: open, proud and loud, not afraid to get out not only from the closet but also from the house and their comfort zones to challenge the system, not hesitating to use questionable political maneuvers. The lead character Ned and his doctor Emma are prime examples and their monologue is very touching. The obvious goal from the playwright and director was to get to the heart of the crowd, but they somewhat failed to get to me.
I feel like some of the other characters could have been used a little more to bring other viewpoints: The other two activists, for example, who preferred to make back-room deals and concessions without trying the issue front and center, maybe because they were afraid to lose their job (I am thinking about the guy from the city's Health Services who had been fighting for gay rights even before the HIV issue) or other consequences to their actions.

No matter what I think of this, I feel very strongly about the quality of the show presented on that stage, and well now theater is definitely on my list of sources of entertainment.

P.S: Oh and yeah, the Jewish jokes were on point ;)

Jun 25, 2012

Aaron Sorkin "Reaching for the Stars"

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce to you the future hottest show on TV: "The Newroom". I just watched the premiere of this a few hours ago, and I am already hooked. I can't wait for my Sunday dose!

The HBO show is a fiction showing the backdrops of news TV shows. In this day and age where the role of the media is central to shaping the future of nations, numerous news organizations around the world are prone to political bias and misinformation campaigns for profit (ahem, Fair and Balanced ;). The Newsroom attempts at an ideal news show where the listener is not considered dumb, and accurate facts are presented without a spin, letting the viewers derive their own conclusions (watch trailer below).

To be fair though I have been looking forward to this for the longest time. Indeed, this show is written by my favorite screenplay writer of all time (he co-created and wrote half of my favorite TV show of all time The West Wing): Aaron Sorkin. He simply is a genius and his dialogues are like music to my ears: a pure joy!

The title of this post is inspired by a recurring theme in Sorkin's work. In a couple of President Bartlet's speeches in the show the West Wing, you can hear the following phrase "This is a time for american heroes. We will do what is great, we will do what is hard. This is a time for american heroes and We Reach For The Stars!!". In the premiere of The Newsroom, again, one of the characters (pretty girl with a British accent), also talked about "Reaching for the stars", when convincing the main character that they could do a worthy news show together, no matter their history (just watch the show!!).

You may not like the politically driven type of shows, but just for the art, give it a try!

Jun 22, 2012

Breaking the Rules for a better Tomorrow

Society: a bunch of entities interconnected and related through geography,physiognomy,  "culture", "beliefs" and/or institutions. The human version of this is quite fascinating: multicultural yet global, chaotic yet organized in its own way.That's where the Rules come in: laws derived from common sense, approved by the commoners and enforced for the common Good! 
These rules are however more tested and contested than not, more bypassed and purposely misinterpreted than not.Just think about the percentage of the world's population in jail, the number of crimes, the number of activists, the amount of law enforcement and military personnel out there. 

Rules are meant to be broken and often are, or to the least misused and abused for personal gain. My argument is simple: breaking the rules is not a nemesis to progress, on the contrary, it induces it. Indeed, because of infractions and through the complaints of activists and revolutionists, laws are repealed, modified and created; i.e. "mistakes themselves are often the best teachers of all".

Lets now look at all this from the computing technology perspective. The Society here is the Internet (diverse, interconnected, global) and other communication channels. Hackers play the roles of rule breakers, eager to test the system in place and show/fix weaknesses. Unfortunately, very few global rules exist, leaving the society at the mercy of wrongdoers.

Anonymous, Cyberwarfare, Viruses, Trojan horses, Malware, Stuxnet, Flame, stolen Linkedin passwords hashes, botnets, cell-phone hijacking, software key generators, illegal music and video download, Web vulnerabilities (SQL Injections, Cross-Site Scripting), privacy policies on websites, etc... These infinite avenues to abuse the system for fun and profit have got governments and cyber-security experts on high alert. What can we do to stop or at least reduce this?

White-hat hackers of the world, this is a calling: Learn how to break the rules, and use that knowledge to the make the Interweb a better place.

Also, check out this interesting conversation between Gary Mc Graw and Bruce Schneier, two big names in cyber-security: click here.

Mar 1, 2012

So You Think You Can....... Run For Office?

While at  a birthday celebration, some pictures of me were taken in a questionable state (you know C2H5OH) and I asked not to be shot again, just like I always do (not very photogenic), justifying my request by saying that I did not want these pictures to pop out years from now when I am campaigning for a public office . The joke flirted with my brain probably because I have been following the ongoing US presidential republican primary elections and I am shocked by how the most meaningless controversies are used to bring down adversaries.
I would have probably forgotten about this stuff if it wasn't for one sentence that one of my good friends, who was also in a happy place, said as a rebuttal to my comment: "Yeah, I could see you run for office". On the spot, I did not react to it, but its been bogging my mind since then. What in the world is there about me that shouts trustworthy or acclaimed leader and public servant, I have no idea... Heck I'm not sure I would vote for myself, I don't think I have seen enough of the world to be a leader of men.With that said, let's assume I actually do have the necessary predispositions. On what grounds, where, how and for what kind of office could I possibly seek election? (Notice that I said election and not nomination by an elected official).

In the US first of all, there is very little chance of that happening, I would probably need to start at a very local position in a county and maybe work my way up to congress or gubernatorial positions and besides these usually require the subject to have the U.S. citizenship (for at least 7 years to seek the House of Representatives), which is not a possibility for me right now. However, if I had a choice, I would definitely be registered independent as I am not from around here and i am already fed up by all the partisans woes.
My best bet is then in my beloved Cameroon, even though the current regulations in place do not encourage a young mind to come and serve and the environment is not really prone to people with a strict sense of duty and morality (not that I have any). If I manage to overcome these big walls that cloud the political spectrum, there is still the challenge of the message I would pass to the constituents I hope to represent. In the specific case of Cameroon, there is this concept (actually true or not) that the only way the country is gonna get better is by killing everybody that is older than 10 as they are already corrupted. My personal belief is that development is not happening majorly (not the only reason but i think the most important one) because the population does not love their country anymore.. I mean they wish they could (just looking at how patriotic we get when our soccer team is playing), but the condition in which their family live is a civic deal breaker. My campaign platform will then be based on restoring the pride and patriotism (Paix-Travail-Patrie n'est ce pas?). A tentative slogan would then be:

Fier d'etre Camerounais!
Proud to be Cameroonian!               

So would you vote for me if you had a chance? Why or why not?

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