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Liberia's tragic 'dash' legacy.


Liberia's tragic 'dash' legacy might just be the single most important bad ingredient in all our ideological upbringing and way of life. The 'dash', a reverse form of tipping, is a Liberian custom that a seller gives the buyer a small token in appreciation for the purchase. 

All of us know and have individually used at least one of these common Liberian phases:
---'So where thing you way gammie for my dash now?'
---'where my dash?'
---'I won my dash o!'
---"Put day dash there!'
---'Da dash too small o?'
---'I coming back for my dash o!'
---'I taking tis won for my dash!'
---'You na putting dash there?'
Each of these phases carries a deep connotation that has shaped our collective thinking over the years, bringing us to our present day way of life. 

In the Bible, the complaint was made of the Tax Collectors that over-taxed the people. They would retain the rightful amount for the treasury and force additional payments from citizens for themselves. Liberians on the other hand do the opposite. We would reduce the rightful amount for the treasury for citizens to pay and then subtract additional amounts from that to keep for ourselves. The Tax Collectors were only overburdening the people, but we Liberians bring hardship to the Government (without remorse), thereby hurting all the people as well.

We do the very same thing to merchants by first bargaining their prices down, and in addition to paying a very low amount, we will request (require) a dash! We justify this long standing attitude by trying to suggest that the merchants overpriced their products in the first place. Where, in some cases that may be true, the question is: which comes first? 

We, Liberians seem not to have a clue regarding the terrible effects this mentally has had and continue to have on us as a people group. This is where the concept of 'small thing', 'cold water', 'what you ga for me today?', 'my 26 on you o' and 'my Christmas on you o' come from.

As a result:
1. We don't mind begging. In fact, we love to beg for anything without shame.
2. We always want to be on the receiving end. Simple put, we want things and services for free.
3. We take no pride in hard work. We want for others to do it for us.
4. We are not resourceful or just plain lazy and expect 'hand-me-downs'.

A grievous example of this ideology and one of the worst ideas that Liberia ever implemented was the company own and built housing for their employees. From B.F.Goodridge to Bong Mines, and from ELWA and Firestone to Lamco. Liberian ownership means Liberian wealth and sweat. Employees should have been made to pay for the planned development housing which would have been transferrable wealth and fully functioning Liberian owned communities. Let us not make the same mistake in Putu.

Today, we are comfortable with the brain-drain in Liberia. It is not because we are not Patriotic but we have the 'dash' gene attached to our DNA. A gene that must unlearn all aspects of 'freebe' and 'goodtime', not hardwork and sweat. Everyone wants to come to Monrovia and enjoy. And now, we want to stay in America and live while our beautiful Land of Liberty lay waste. We have not learned to sweat for her.

We ought to put the idea and practice of 'dash' to death. It has made us to distrust the merchants who may top-off his price because he knows he will be beaten down. 

This 'dash' practice must stop because it adds unnecessary funds to (Government) contracts simple to 'dash' Peter and Paul for giving the contract in the first place. And then we wonder why we are just about the poorest Country on Earth. It is what's in our DNA, our ideology. It must be put to death!!!

Kedrickw@gmail.com