"Pillay's Perspective" began as a leader page column in theSaturdayPaper in Durban. The paper was then known as Natal on Saturday and editor George Parker offered me the spot in a moment of lunacy for which I am eternally indebted to him. George coined the name, "Pillay's Perspective". "Editor's prerogative," he said.

The column appeared every week after July 15, 1995 through October 29, 1999 with two exceptions. (In December of 1995, George took early retirement to live on the beach and contemplate the nature of the universe and I gave up the slot for him to write a farewell piece. On October 22, 1999, I decided — on deadline — that the quality was not up to its usual chaotic standard.) From October of 1997, the column also began to appear in the Cape Times in Cape Town where I was Managing Editor for the following two years.

theSaturday Paper closed in April of 1998. For a several months after that, I published reprints of earlier columns that Cape Times readers had not seen, hence the gap in publication dates. (That in itself was an interesting exercise showing that some subjects, if appropriately written, never go stale.)

I'm at a loss to describe these pieces. They are a jigsaw puzzle of things that I find interesting (which is just about everything). The writing wanders between agony and ecstasy, between brilliance and idiocy, and is sometimes just plain tedious. I am almost never completely satisfied with the way they turn out. But they provide a diary of my life over that period — stepping stones to thought processes over the past years.

Noble art or just barbaric battering?

21 October 1995

When two men get into a ring and deliberately and systematically pummel each other for 12 rounds, why are we surprised when they kill each other?

I FLEW into the UK on a magnificent unseasonably warm autumn Sunday at around the time that they finally disconnected Scottish

Fine minds forced to render service abroad

28 October 1995

My mother has a copper covered elephant statuette with a broken trunk. It's the only souvenir of my trip into Zimbabwe of January 1984, when I shared petrol costs with a friend to drive up from Johannesburg.

I was 22 years old, drinking in the wonders of a country that

When is it justifiable to take another's life?

4 November 1995

The gunning down of a 70-year-old Hillcrest grandmother has touched a chord even among the crime-inured residents of this province.

When Mrs. Greener was shot in cold blood in Hillcrest on October 11, most of us were outraged. Many of us still are. A

There should be no exception under the law

18 November 1995

The Nigerian junta raised an interesting question this week...

When suspected drug dealers were summarily executed under the same tribunal system that condemned Ken Saro-Wiwa, why, they asked, did the world remain silent?

On oysters, smart worms and 'gosh' numbers

25 November 1995

Even Durban's Battery Beach offers opportunity to relax and contemplate the wonders of the universe...

ONE is not normally able to do this on Battery Beach because of the crowds. This day, the beach was all but deserted after the

The case for a common national language

2 December 1995

The SABC's new language policy for TV may be the best thing the corporation has done so far...

I WAS overtaking a truck on the R610 near Margate on Sunday evening when I came across a signboard advertising 10177 as the emergency number for police and ambulances. Our national language