Jude: Being human beings, we sometimes subject ourselves to all sorts of rules. There are unwritten rules about not splashing funny stickers on luxurious cars such as Mercedes Benz, Porsche or BMW. What is your take on unwritten car rules?
Mustafa: Who decides on these unwritten car rules, I suppose it is society or the community we live in.
Jude: I agree because we police ourselves.
Mustafa: I would not expect an elderly person to be driving a Mercedes Benz C-Class or A-Class for that matter. For me, it is a personal thing to some level.
Jude: Just imagine a plus size man driving a Vitz, a pink one at that.
Paul: Sometimes these so-called unwritten rules are distorted. And my problem with them is that some don’t qualify to be called rules. In fact they should be renamed unwritten distortions.
Jude: When manufacturers set out to make cars, they have certain ages of people or classes of people they target. That is why society frowns upon a man in car they perceive as female leaning.
Mustafa: Yes, but what is considered as a high class target in one country may be lower in another. For instance, the latest C-Class is targeted towards a middle class family earning about £80,000 (about Shs340m) a year. How many people in Uganda can afford that, even those who we think are rich? But going back to the topic, it is more of a personal thing.
Jude: Like I said at the beginning, it is all about society and how we relate with each other and there is nothing we can do about it. It is society that despises a big man in a tiny car.
Mustafa: Personally, I have a problem with the sight of a Range Rover with faulty lights. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Jude: Like putting a big funny sticker on your Range Rover Sport, I would think twice about you especially if the message on the sticker is wacky. Or if you put an unusually large mud flap of your Range Rover Sport, it just doesn’t cut it for me. Granted, it is your car but cars also need respect.
Paul: What kind of sticker?
Mustafa: Like one screaming “I had sex last night.”
Paul: Don’t give us an excuse about what you were up to at night!
Mustafa: It is like moving into an affluent neighbourhood and not behaving like them. I have heard of neighbourhoods were everyone is expected to roof with clay tiles-but it is again an unwritten rule. Yes, if you own a car there are certain things that come with it just like a house. For a house, someone may tell you what needs to be changed unlike for a car where it is the public doing the judging.
Jude: It is like when you join a group of well to do people, they expect you to carry yourself in a certain way and dress in a particular way. Maybe do more of tuxedos than t-shirts, that kind of thing.
Mustafa: The problem with Uganda is our interpretation of things. What we may define as being luxurious may not even be so in the real sense of the word. It is skewed.
Paul: I will give you an example. The Mercedes Benz E-Class W212, which the Bank of Uganda deputy governor has, is used as taxis in Germany. I saw them in Hamburg and it is even immigrants driving them. They are painted cream. But coming back here, it is treated as luxurious car.
Mustafa: Are you saying we should treat it as such?
Jude: Because that is what the public expects of us.
Paul: There is a client who came to me and requested that we spray his Mercedes Benz S-Class black and yellow and in mind I was like is he thinking right. I thought he was joking and I told him there is something wrong with our machine but guess what? After about two weeks, I saw it with a yellow band and a grey colour. It was yellow from the bonnet to the top and grey on the sides.
Mustafa: You know what is funny, my first car was a Mark II, GX81, 1989 model, supercharged. I wanted to put a black sports band in the middle of the bonnet, you know that one used on sports cars? I first created the image on the computer to see what it would look like. But of course, then I was a young man struggling and fueling the car was a problem. So when I was hit with the bill, I gave up on the idea of repainting it. But you see, it is a two way street. Some people want to be unique.
Paul: I don’t know if you have seen a Land Rover that is usually parked somewhere on seventh street. It has a picture of Rambo, with spades and all sorts of things on it.
Jude: Yes, I have seen it before. But unlike others, this one actually is a field vehicle, that is why it has shovels and other utility items labelled on it.
Paul: But having worked with Land Rover, I would still have my reservations maybe I would put it in the Camel Trophy category. Jude: There is a car site in China that usually sends me car news there and overtime I have realised that the Chinese are crazy about colours. You know Lamborghini usually comes in yellow or red from the factory but in China they spray them pink, lemon green and other colours and they boast about it.
Mustafa: That is like what we said earlier, it is society that determines what passes and what doesn’t. If I went to that country, I would spray it black and red and whatever colour the society there perceives as the in-thing. Paul: Have you seen cars driving around town these days in matte black?
Mustafa: Oh yes.
Paul: Maybe it is the in-thing.
Mustafa: In fact there is a friend who was telling me to spray my Aristo matt black especially the bonnet.
Paul: But these people spray the whole car matt black. So would yours look cool?
Mustafa: I don’t know how society would perceive that.
Paul: But there are cars that come from the factory with the bonnet already in matt black and they look good. But what some people don’t know is sometimes it is done on purpose for technical reasons. For instance when you drive on highways and the sunshine reflects on the bonnet and it glares on your eyes, matt black can be used. Therefore, some people opt to have the bonnet sprayed black, then it becomes like an accessory to absorb that extra light. That is how it probably started.
Jude: But in summary, what should we do with these so called unwritten rules?
Mustafa: Ignore them and mind your business.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor