Friday, September 11, 2009

In the silence...

What is it about being in the silence of their own thoughts that makes people uncomfortable and uneasy??

Yesterday I was traveling on a bus. The driver had the radio on, and some loud dancehall music was playing...
*Enter annoyed Rb*
Rb: Driver, yuh can't find something else to listen to? Find some news or something nuh!
Driver keeps driving. Rb feels ignored.
Rb (raising voice): Hey driver!! You nah hear me?? Me say find some news or something fi wi listen to!!
Driver turns off radio. Enter annoyed 'other passengers'.
Other passenger 1: So wait, driver, a one person you a carry? Turn on back the radio man!
Other passenger 2: Driver, a more than one a we in here, enuh. You ago make one woman make the rest a we vex? Tun on back di radio. Me nah drive go St. Mary inna silence.
Other passenger 3: Yow driver, majority rule. Run di music.
Driver continues driving. The radio remains off. Other passenger 3 beside Rb turns on her cell-phone and starts to play some music.Rb sighs, starts to silently chant and petition heavenly intervention. Other passenger 3 puts phone close to Rb's ear. Rb starts to chant and request divine intervention under her breath. Other passenger 3 starts to flip aimlessly through her songs, then with a loud hiss-teeth, turns off her phone.
*Enter PERFECT SILENCE for the rest of the journey home, and a happy Rb.*

What is it about being in the silence of their own thoughts that makes people uncomfortable and uneasy??

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Yay Me!

It’s official, blogland. I’m employed. For one of the biggest, oldest and finest companies in Jamaica. Full time. On a full-time contract. For full-time salary (and that’s the clincher). Ecstatic? You bet. I’m so excited I can hardly type. I’ve had this big, stupid grin plastered on my face all day – like someone cut it out of a kid’s book and tacked it over my mouth.

You know how it was that first time you got that real job (the one you actually wanted, or something close enough,) for real pay, and were about to have your first real taste of the real working world (in a place and space you wanted to work instead of some obscure ‘filler’... not that you don't appreciate the stepping stones that got you where you are)?

Remember the butterflies in your stomach? The dry mouth in the interview? The anticipation when you realised that you didn’t handle yourself so badly after all, and that NONE of your worst fears were realised that day (you made it in early; you didn’t say anything stupid or dry up like a well in a desert; your feet didn’t wobble too much in those high heels; your body didn’t betray your uneasiness with any embarrassing sounds, and -hurray- you got the job!!).

I know I must sound like a rookie, but well, I kinda am!! And don’t you remember how you felt when you knew you got that first job – for sure? Be honest – you had a ‘yay me’ moment too. You wondered at yourself in awe of all your new-found responsibilities... ah! The word suddenly comes alive: riss-pon-see-bill-i-teez! I feel like the proud five-year-old who gets to wear her mother’s precious pearls, except I’m not wearing anything for anybody. This stuff I’m wearing? It’s all mine! And now, (*whispers*) I can pay for it!

So, yeah, I have a job. The kind that comes with health benefits, allowances, vacation leaves, pay stubs and taxes (yikes). The kind that requires real dedication and real performance or else a real job won’t get done. It's great. Especially in this economic climate. It feels so... real!

And I’m sure you’ve it figured out by now: I’m REAL excited!


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Gutless Caribbean Scum (Pt.1)

Modern society loves 'uniformity'... it irks me. My special grouse has always been with the education system. The transformation of our classrooms into factories that manufacture little dicta-regurgitating ibots upsets and concerns me to no ends!

I'm always cussing that they put limits on our creativity and self-expression: word limits, time limits, page limits... thought limits!! And oh how they love to throw up the almighty past to us as superior; and urge us to be like long-dead and well-gone people, (or some unimaginative classmate who happened to master imitation of aforementioned deceased), instead of encouraging us to delve deeper to unearth the individual diamonds of potential we all possess.

In some ways, the quest for 'one world' seems similar to this mass de-individualising of our children and youth. This mad obsession with 'one world'... this obsessive compulsive need that some nations seem to feel to ensure that everybody else conforms to one standard (usually theirs)... where is it leading?? Where is it going??

It often seems to me that the human race lacks the ability to look at its history, look at its present and answer one simple question: where are we going?? And as if that question is not elusive enough, you can't imagine the quizzical, blank stares you'll get for the second most crucial question: who is leading us??

The Caribbean has trouble answering these questions as well... maybe because we're spineless wimps who would rather merely exist than face the answers to these hard questions: Where are we going and who is at the helm?? Who is our Commander-in-Chief? Whose orders are we following? What orders are we following?

The Caribbean is, according to Rex Nettleford, the ideal model of what the world is trying to achieve through globalisation: different people and cultures and races melted into one big pot, sharing the same geographical space. CARICOM is supposed to epitomise this union of cultures and people.

But I often wonder if we ever stopped to think that maybe our social constructs and standards not so similar that we can throw everybody into one pot and just melt away the differences. And even then, after everybody conforms to one standard, then what?? A big, beautiful, boring world?? Is that really the aim of all these efforts at unions and uniformity?

If the aim is to make everybody equal, then why are we preaching our idea of governance as superior to everybody else's, instead of accepting that it is possible for us to be different -very, very different- but still equal?

I'm probably missing something essential in the equation, but it seems to me that this quest for one region, for one world - is accompanied by a great evil: the crucifixion of our human/national individualities...

Of course, that leads to the question of whether or not these lines of demarcation aren't all farcical creations in one man's attempt to laud himself as superior to his neighbour. Are our 'cultural differences' myths? Or are they realities that help to fuel our fear of facing our truths??