Sunday, October 30, 2011

Will it ever end?

So the commotion on the street outside my window caused me to look out. Apparently a strongly built man of African descent got into some sort of traffic altercation with a couple of youngish Indian boys. What saddens me is that after the loud voices had shouted at each other, the older,stronger guy lost his temper and started slapping the younger guys. From the snatches of conversation I gathered that the latter had other friends in a car who pulled out a gun to defend them but then backed off, as the guy driving an oversized Titan in the middle of the street seemed to be a policeman or so he claimed. He continued hitting the younger guys, one at a time and the rest were too scared to tackle him. Then a younger teenager who was with him/Mr Policeman got embolden and took over hitting the Indian guys . The police guy, presumabably then cut a branch from the tree and started lashing them-- they got into their two cars and drove off!
Sigh-- looks like everyone is wrong here, but where do you start to rectify the problem? Add Race and abuse of authority and the mix gets deadly-- like the Oakland police firing rubber bullets at peaceful protesters.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Calypso @ Dirty Jim's

Well done Trinidad- wonderful documentary about the history of calypso in the Island.
The film started with the first DJ on the Island, who 'stood-in' for an American on the Army Base's Radio Station and later got a token program - as the narrator tracing the history of the Calypso. They made sure to distinguish it from Kaiso which I think originated in West Africa (I stand to be corrected if necessary) - Guianese Bill Rogers becoming 'international' back in de day.
Interestingly, the very origin was the Chartwells from the Mardi Gras when the French ruled the Island and contrary to being displeased when the African slaves made mockery of their masters and their habits- it was encouraged by getting them to make mockery of their (plantation) neighbours. Calypso then really emerged in the 40's and 50's with Bomber, Kitchner and young Sparrow being the most famous and representing the women- Calypso Rose. It started with ex-tempo, when the performer had to make up his song on stage - during a competition, the subject being pulled from a hat just before a song. I sat there thinking, this must be the beginning of modern day Rap!
Then there was dissension between the new-comers of Soca and the older calypsonians: the former Calypso Rose dismissed the new-comers as having no lyrics and Bomber describing their lyrics as slutty-- this was just after a clip of his song about a woman complaining about Dr B's 'injection' being too big and having to take it out-- mmm!

Saturday, October 22, 2011


Another interesting film of part of Brazil’s history- the failed revolution to overthrown the Vargas Regime back in the late 1930’s
The actress was stunningly beautiful but like the Cuban film I saw earlier this week, the director seemed to think gratuitous sex and stripping an essential part of the script but for me dragged out the film and gave me a headache. Or it could be the annoying Brazilians who decided to move and sit next to me and yabber away to each other about 10 minutes into the Film, then the one to my immediate left decided to play with his Cell-phone and kept turning the screen towards me while waiting for a reply to his texts, the brightness began to get annoying and I tried putting my Handbag to block the screen, then told him to turn it the other way  -  he helpfully gestured that maybe I should move to the seats in front – I’m sorry I didn’t, as his attention span was so short he continued texting and turning the screen toward me after a few intervals – is that more annoying –intermittent nuisance rather than continuous nuisance? Actually he seemed to be some sort of Official as he rushed across to switch on the lights at the end of the movie- stups! How could these people be the 7th economy in the World??

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chupidness spreading...

... so I've noted in previous blogs I'm sure, the wisdom of the emancipated peoples gleefully tossing aside the City Planning and building rules of the British massa them, convinced that dey know best - having no aesthetic or common-sense background. But I am alarmed to find out that it has spread to the Amerindian community, hitherto protected from communicable ignorance by virtue of isolation. I should have known better in this day of 'improved' communication!
Visited Annai in January and visited their pride of place-- the Benab which they claimed was the largest in the country-- I didn't think so as I thought the Wai-Wais contructed the largest but didn't want to contradict the young trainee guide.

So the view from inside is the only picture I have... I noticed that the other buildings were a bit too close -considering the space available-- mind you - the village is atop a hill.
So unsurprisingly, a woman was cooking nearby, yesterday and a spark flew up and burnt the place down-- mmmm-- ya think they would be more careful with dry thatched roofs, right? Is it right to lay down rules about distances between buildings cos people ignore them anyway?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bound To Happen

There a strange sensation of 'Alice in Wonderland' quality about living in Guyana. Logically things that shouldn't happen, happen and you ponder about it for a while and resolve to go and queue up outside Barrack St.

So when our profession was beginning to be openly infiltrated by the unqualified we made representation to the Minister of Health who seemed glad for an select audience to blow his trumpet to - in assuring us that he was on top of the matter-- he was-- he introduced a limited program which would open the door to half-grasped ideas and the further unqualified who realised that the Government would do nothing, within that year-- he digressed to pat himself on the back for introducing legislation for cutting down the self-styled 'herbalists'.

So today's headline in the trashiest newspapers proclaims that a woman has died as a result of visiting one such clinic.
The Guyanese public, unwilling to trust a qualified doctor- the few that are around- second guess by seeking second opinions and herbalists, who themselves may be unaware of potentiating effects of their 'herbs' or that their 'patients' would so believe them that they would stop taking the conventional medicines!
Of course, there is always the danger that the patient was doomed to die anyway but at any rate lax enforcement has certainly encouraged the emergence of the quacks and it looks like Guyana will follow the way of medicine elsewhere--- a bifurication: free and dodgy or paying through your nose and dodgy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

ID Foolishness

Just saw in the newspapers that the ID card I was issued last Elections will now not be valid after the end of this month! Sigh-- I wonder if this means we get issued with a new card every five years-- who and why are the fools in charge of spending the Country's money so wastefully??
Surely it can't be THAT difficult to monitor under 1 million people AND while we're at it-- I would like to see some useful statistics -- apart from the usual men-female ratio, in this computer age I would like to know how many are 'recent' migrants and from which countries, a breakdown in ages and they really ought to include Educational Level so a useful Policy can be constructed if this country is to move forward and not be run on a cake-shop-I-know-he basis.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins

This is actually a book, but in the impatient 21st Century and the under-40's semi-illiterate Guyana, no-one it seems has time to read and need to be force-fed through the medium of Film.  Mr Dawkins obligingly turns his book into a TV mini-series and a group of primarily 20-yr olds formed themselves into The Atheists Society to organise a public viewing of the film and attendant discussion.

I found the first 45min documentary extremely biased and one-sided, Mr Dawkins going out of his way to find the most extreme, rabid I-am-right-everybody-else-is-wrong examples on all sides. Christianity appeared to be represented by the Catholic Church and nuthead American extremists, represented on film by Ted Haggard. In my Celestine Prophecy Blog I gave this link to the alternate Gospels that were suppressed after Jesus died-- if you believe that he actually lived:

As a presumable academic, I expected him to at least touch on what is/how religions started - it seems a logical starting point to begin instead of ridiculing people's blind beliefs.
Our next Bookclub book is 'When all you've ever wanted isn't enough' by Rabbi Harold Kushner, and in the first chapter pg 22 he says "The question of the whether Life has any meaning, of whether our individual lives make any difference, is a religious question not because it is about matters of belief or attendance at worship services but because it it is about ultimate values and ultimate concerns... Religion focuses on the difference between human beings and all other species, and on the search for a goal so significant that we make our lives significant by attaching ourselves to it."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Problem with Alternate-Funded Businesses

In the world outside of Guyana, the general idea is .. develop a product or service, create and develop your market, streamline your business so there is a Profit that you can live off comfortably and have enough to stash under the bed for a rainy day and plough back into the company to develop and grow further. If you’re lucky, you can eventually pay some BYT (Bright Young Thing) to do the same while you get to sit back and contemplate Life.

Cut to topsy-turvy Guyana. You have this large wodge of cash that you obtained illegally, so you open a business, employ the BYT giving then a position and salary way beyond their capability—come to think of it—the business itself is way beyond YOUR capability but what the heck – as there’s no incentive to turn a profit everything crumbles. There exists Facades where people like to to sit in Air-conditioned offices turning out useless bits of paper.  I notice the kids of these ‘business-owners’ are now being sent abroad to get ‘degrees’ but really they are just learning to be mere cogs in wheels!  And so we’re reduced to reselling stuff and in some instances- repackaging, then reselling. Production bottoms out and people turn on each other out of sheer frustration! So the majority becomes poorer and predatory foreigners can buy out anything – certain parts of Georgetown now under siege and fast losing its identity.
As a customer, you’re left with the horrible realization that you don’t matter – that your business with them is totally irrelevant and that THEY are doing YOU a favour. You stand mouthing meaningless words, taking refuge in your sugar addiction and its probably diabetic outcome. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

VS Naipaul's - A Handful of Dust- Return to Guyana

Sorry - have no idea how to post the link - so copied:

10-April-2013. What a difference a couple of yearS make-- seems like I may be breaking copyright laws by cutting and pasting. Well worth a read and glad he ended with the wise musings of Janet Jagan.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Reinventing the Wheel

So a lecturer in Environment Matters set an exercise for her students to work out the cost per month of buying bottled water and presumably alternate ways of supplying the same. I was quite astonished to learn how much people spend on water, being blessed by being in an area with its own well- and merely sloshing through a Jug Filter and following my mother's habit of boiling the water before putting into the 'fridge to cool. Apparently this is not the case for lots of people who can spend up to $5000 a month, along with the other $5000 for cell phone charges, and with the lack of good Public Transport - everyone and his wife NEED their own Air-Conditioned vehicle.
I also notice the average person not carrying lunch and in some instances Breakfast to work/school generating excessive use of those dreadful white polystyrene boxes, and was a bit amused that it took an exercise in Class to drive home the generation of waste and unnecessary cost to work that out-- and these are students interested in the environment - where has common sense gone I wonder? The Government proudly touts this as Progress, the Champion of the Earth oblivious to the growing piles of garbage and waste around his country - I have noted instances of Energy-Saving in Government Buildings but wonder if we have to wait for the White People to teach us the obvious about caring for the Environment - sigh to paraphrase VS Naipaul - nothing good can come out of the Caribbean!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Year My Parents Took a Vacation

In a place starved of good entertainment it constantly surprises me that whenever there is something ‘good/different’ there is poor attendance. The Brazilians resumed their film festival and there seemed a marked drop in numbers- maybe because GuyExpo is running concurrently and another pseudo-political party markedly anti-Government, mysteriously springing up out of the blue as Elections are nearing, had their first meeting—but I digress..
This charming little film reminded me a bit of one of my favourite film – Cabaret – where the ongoing lives of the protagonists mask the darker political goings-on. The year is 1970 and 12-yr old football Mauro is suddenly dumped on his Grandfather’s doorstep as his parents, involved in anti-government/dictatorship activities are forced to go into hiding. I thought the director handled that part rather well—showing the parents turning up and leaving hurriedly while an ambulance whines by, unbeknowning to them, taking the said grandfather who collapsed from a presumed heart-attack. The other surprise, and it really shouldn’t have been- is that Sao Paulo had a large Jewish community post the World Wars.  Again it was a nice touch that the neighbor – an elderly Polish Jew who would have been fairly used to people disappearing and taken in for brutal questioning- assumes a loose responsibility for the child.
The children in the film acted quite well and there are a few bitter-sweet moments of growing up—like spying on attractive females taking their clothes off!  I was quite fascinated with the assumption that the newly-arrived whites were socially automatically ‘higher’ that the lone Black whose ancestors would have been there since the 1800’s and who was only ‘allowed in’ due to his athletic ability- ironically mirrored by Pele scoring a few winning goals to lead Brazil to win its third World Cup.
Interesting way to learn Brazil's history.