Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Maybe we not so bad after all...

... de people just jiving with we. Some APNU supporters decided to drive around the City letting off squibs and firecrackers-- thought those things were banned-- anyway after disrupting the early afternoon and testing the emergency reactions of Guyanese to avoid trouble - a storm of sorts- the actual weather broke out, cooled down the place and GECOM called a Press Conference to get all the Leaders of the four contesting parties to basically tell their followers to calm down and await results!
The duo from the fourth estate- current votes in the triple figures so far-- 554 -- seemed a bit dazed to be sitting at the Head Table and their incoherent Presidential Candidate stumbled through his impromptu speech-- releasing a spew of typical Guyanese comments on FB!
Glad to see some responsible actions-- maybe we might be turning a corner of sorts?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Awful Truth

So, today on the expected day of the announced results of the 2011 Elections the streets were empty. There was/is a surprising delay in getting together the final figures and announcing the winner.  As someone on FB mentioned-- it's not like the three major parties don't already know the results as they would have had Polling (Party) Agents at all the Polling Stations and/or failing that - after the count at the place of poll, the results would have been posted for the Public to see.
The immaturity and the reason why this country hasn't got off the starting line - both major Parties have announced that they 'won' the majority of the Geographical Votes-- ie the majority, deciding the prize of the Executive President. The third Party created by possible backing from extraneous forces conceded to not having won but content with making a dent into the Ruling Party's numbers - primarily as that Party's supporters have good reason not to trust the other major Party who after accusing them of voting 'race' - clearly a lot of them did not- preferred to give the third party their vote to signal their disapproval  of the ruling party.
Something MUST be wrong if notably reduced in number on the streets of Georgetown most of the members of half the population! This is not helped by so-called academics on an Opposition program making veiled threats the night before elections-- I didn't see the program but someone called me to advise me to move as much equipment as possible out of my office!
It is disingenuous that  an MP purporting to represent ALL the people of Guyana would get on a public program, post-elections and imply that they won after refusing a request for a recount from some of the boxes-- totally forgetting that they were accommodated in a like manner at the last Elections! This is followed up online -an email sent to my Old School's webpage Saying that there is a question of rigging.... it all feels so reminiscent of 2001 when there was major post-elections violence resulting in targeted murders of the Police and the rise in lawlessness -- THIS is why the majority of the population did not vote for you - people!!! And the blatant racism - but live in your deluded little world.
Please let me be proved wrong and let Mr Granger show his worth by refusing to go down the path of violence towards half of the population after all - lawfulness was one of his campaign biggies!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Politically-astute man in the Street

Contrary to the Ruling Party's claims - there is general dissatisfaction with the current administration. Throwing out hand-outs and staging concerts ain't going to work it baby - I may be proved wrong - no substitute for well laid out ground-work. Particular dissatisfaction with Jagdeo's cronies in Berbice may just prove their undoing.
Like the last election- their only saving grace is that the other two Parties also seem packed with dubious Power-hungry-but-lacking-any-ideas shady characters.
Pragmatic Guyanese have all come to the conclusion that the best solution would be that the Ruling Party loses its majority in parliament and take a more conciliatory and less arrogant stance - which maybe be forthcoming anyway with the change in President, but it remains to be seen whether this wouldn't just result in a stalemate as I have been on committees where the Opposition blocks any useful suggestion as it would mean the Ruling Party looks effective and never mind the benefit to the people!

Post-script: don't usually read KN but came across this which seems to confirm the above:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Campaign reviews

So I have to say APNU has a better strategy compared to the PPP. The latter seemed to appeal to the shallow and intranssient by lavish concerts and loud music – this is vaguely insulting to those who have a bit of a brain – actually a surprising number of Joe-Averages - the non-engagement of actually finding out what the voters want but instead being fed a diet of what others think they should have.  Clearly those in power subscribe the Jean Piaget’s first grouping- bottom house meetings being limited due to lack of foot soldiers maybe?  APNU actually got some polite UG students who tried to engage people on a one-to-one basis in the form of a survey to ask people what they thought was important to move the country forward – it generally being irrelevant whether they use those statistics to do anything as they, like the ruling Party, have a complacent and useless set in Parliament who seem more concerned about maintaining the status quo than doing anything radical. APNU falling back on their usual bully-tactics and lawlessness if all else fails- thrice so far – at the Town Hall's Nomination Day, Buxton and Victoria’s PPP meetings and UG’s discourse—oops that’s four.
AFC looks to ‘mop-up’ with the disgruntled but they also are pulling dubious characters and touting them as people who will be telling the rest of us how to lead our lives! Along with desperate measures verging on the foolish –like bringing back overseas voting--?? Apparently the argument being that it is those overseas supporting the lame and lazy back here—I say—pick up your backsides, move back here and punish like the rest of us—sadly these Armchair Politicians are no different from the other Armchairs ones who expect to be sending instructions from their air-conditioned offices.
In the cut-and-thrust of dirty politicking, a foreigner noted sadly that all the good people shut up and stand back while the hardier ones stampede for the hustings but would not necessarily make good decisions for the rest of us.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sad Decline..

... of Guyana Stores and Forgarty's continues. The latter, has no reason to be looking so shabby as the family running it also has a transportation service from Miami and one would expect the shelves to be well stocked and competitive. Instead there is the same tired old look - the supermarket was re-opened today after about three weeks of empty shelves and one wonders what the difference is, as the stock looks the same - maybe they just cleaned out the bugs? Considering in a slowed down economy, food sales is the thing that goes up and the bustling in Nigel's and Survival seems to support that - you have to wonder why Forgarty's can't get it right.

But the biggest culprit in contributing to the decline of the Main Street would be the bungled sale of Bookers - the premier store during colonial times - to a sharp Liberty Avenue 'businessman' who immediately dragged the level of the store to cheap and nasty. One can argue, that contrary to the bright election campaigning assertions, money is not circulating but Guyanese have now got raised expectations but without the means to achieve it - resulting in wannabes, including the wannabe copies of quality goods. And yet... there exists some sort of market for ridiculously over-priced designer/branded (usually American) stuff.

So the Chinese just decided to open their own outlets and will kill off everybody. What industrialisation I ask myself- and how pathetic is it that the Indians and Chinese and virtually everybody else have to bring in their 'foot-soldiers' cos we seem not to have the work ethic-- mind you - reading the history of Guyana - the problem of Labour has been there since the French landed - does this make us 'smart' to resist exploitation or just shy of a 'work-ethic'?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Musings on Human Beings..

So this past week or so, it was revealed that we are living in a Time of least Human violence to each other.
Bell Hooks in her book 'All About Love' characterises Greed as lack of love towards fellow human beings - sort of not following The Golden Rule of loving your neighbour as yourself. In which case, I find it quite hard to believe the first statement.
It's quite sad that as noted in 'Guns, Germs and Steel', those conquering might be dimly aware that they are destroying something they themselves are incapable of producing-- the Monguls destroying years of collected Knowledge in the largest university located between Iraq and Syria, the Spanish deliberately destroying the Popol Vuh - the written collection of Mayan literature and  the English soldiers destroying the beautifully laid out Gardens in China to name a few. Or the destruction of a people's cultural and intellectual background might be a deliberately policy to 'clean the slate' and impose a new imperialist culture as stated in 'The Shock Doctrine'?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Why it's exhausting to live in Guyana...2

So a friend awoke to find his two 100lb Gas cylinders detached and removed from his yard overnight.  He's taking a philosophic view of it but when I hear things like that I feel crushed - like the two dustbins in succession removed  at work, resulting in keeping the rubbish in black bags and waiting to dash out when the Garbage truck passes.
The Berbice neighbours made a trip down to Splashmin's last weekend but noticeably missing in the photographs is the lone man of the House who most probably stayed back to keep an eye on the three/four houses in the area - well ok, maybe he may not have wanted to go but gone are the days when you would leave your gate and doors unlocked because you 'knew' everybody in the area - and/or everybody knew you!
It's like living your life in reserve, delaying gratification until your 'papers come through' and wary about putting down roots. I wonder if this will be another unreported crime?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Macario - Mexican Movie

A charming Mexican movie, screened by the Mexican Embassy that I almost missed - thankfully the meeting finished early and I made it on time.
I loved the simplicity of the peasants' life portrayed - in 'Maria Candelaria' - the heroine's attachment to a piglet and in this film the down-to-earth fantasy of eating a whole turkey by yourself without having to share with five pesky children permanently starved and unrepentantly fighting over the depressed father's left food.
Nice touches of humour.
You think the protagonist is a simpleton but he smartly identifies the Devil and God and doesn't share the aforementioned turkey, albeit stolen, with them but sympathizes with Death and cunningly figures if he shares then he would have time to eat his half of the longed-for turkey- very practical I thought! I also thought it was quite touching - the simple hospitality- offering your guests to take/choose the first/best piece, even though you haven't eaten for a day or so, and offering him the first sip from the flask - it reminded me of how things used to be in Guyana's recent past.
It used the technique of telling the story then finding out it was all someone's dream--maybe a forerunner of those american Soaps where the characters keep coming back after being killed off in previous episodes?

Elections in Guyana so far...

The alarming statistic that only 400,000+ people are eligible to vote in 2011's elections (but still up from 289,939 in 1953 - number of actual voters 338,839 in the last election representing about 68% participation) of which many are planning to stay away does not  bode well for this rich but poorly managed country.
The only Party so far to ask my opinion was a group of young people identifying themselves as UG students doing a survey on behalf of APNU to see how people feel about a joint arrangement like in Trinidad. Sigh-- power sharing by any means eh?  I asked them where was APNU and the other oppositions' mouth when the topical President's Pension Plan went through Parliament? Granted that they are still a minority - if they had had the Balls then - then maybe some sort of useful debate and a more acceptable plan following a Parliamentary Committee investigation might have ensued. I think at the same time, their leader, Mr Corbin fell sick and got the full Royal Treatment being flown out and all...wonder if that had anything to do with it?  And if so, would a coalition of sorts really be the best thing for Guyana -- sort of the elites of both Parties carving up the spoils- don't think that's what meant by fairer distribution of Wealth?
The questions of the survey were basically asking what would make APNU acceptable to the voters -- smiles-- I said if they eschewed violence! Mmm, wonder what I'll say to the rest if they ask me?

Post-script-- I stand corrected-- apparently the Opposition tried to raise an objection:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Maria Candelaria - Mexican Film

A classic Mexican Film but to my modern, untrained eye it seemed a bit dated - although it was meant to be a portrayal of the turn-of-the last-century in rural Mexico. The reason it seemed dated was that the heroine got stoned over a portrait of herself allegedly naked. At times the acting seemed a bit exaggerated and the raising of the Eyebrow, like in OLGA (;postID=8398002714402943806 )  seemed to be a tad bit overused..  How times have changed- when I left Guyana to study overseas, there was an equal Public disapproval over overexposure of too much skin in spite of the country being located close to the Equator ... by the time I returned it was open flaunting of flesh on local TV.. all thanks to the pervasive influence of the outside media-- got to love Globalisation for eroding Values!!

Mind you - back to the Film - the locals all shunned her because she was the daughter of a prostitute but more-or-less made it difficult to for her to do anything else since they would not support and positively barred her efforts to raise money any other way. She was also very beautiful although the actress portraying her had distinct Caucasian features and very much more polished compared to the other actors who had more Indigenous features. It was a good portrayal of grinding poverty with no end in sight but I was impressed by the  lines spoken by the actress when being urged to leave by her lover - that they belonged to the region like the rich dark soil and she picks up a handful of dirt and lets it crumble through her fingers -- sigh -- how could the director have known that less than two Centuries later that will be a resource the world will be fighting over!

Mention in other reviews has been made about the irony of Maria Candelaria's story being narrated by the artist who brought about her downfall, being obviously a Mexican of the Conquistadores blood and lauding the values of simplicity and virtue of the Native peoples while inadvertently bringing about their downfall - must be the moral of the story there?

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Little Hut in Heaven by Kumar Doobay

A tedious read as suggested by a new member of the Bookclub, who found the rendition of the inter-racial relationships interesting.
Like Fred D'Aguiar, I suppose the political events of the 60's and 70's must have etched themselves in the  minds of Guyanese 'writers' of a certain age as being the biggest thing in their reality to write about. He did record the 'we dey pon top' attitude of the 'supporters' of the winning party.  Mr Doobay gives an embittered view of events and a wholly unbelievable - to me- version of two women living next door to each other sharing their husbands knowingly. I can never imagine why men choose to write about sex, and badly, from a woman's perspective - must be some arrogance on their part and it seems to be  fairly common among mediocre Guyanese writers like Mr Doobay, Dabydeen and Roopnandan Singh to name a few that I have tortured myself to wade through.  The title refers to what a virtuous wife is entitled to in heaven - a little hut, not grand palace or anything- in keeping with the misogynistic view of a dated and backward sort of man from some past era.
The Libel Laws state 'that if even without stating the person's name, it can be surmised from the description as to who it is by a reasonable person'  and in spite of the disclaimer in the front of the book, Chapter 6 is nauseating in the attempt to put words and meanings to the imagined actions of characters in real life known to me; that foolish people would actually think happened and not just from the imagination and the limited 'small-mindedness' of the writer. 
I stopped reading at that point, much as I want Guyanese literature to have a foothold and start reflecting local reality - if this is the sort of crap that we churn out then I'll be sticking to Old,Dead,White Men.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


So having no Yoga class and the prospect of a 'free day' in sight-- I decided to turn on the TV,
 I was surprised to learn that depression is set to become the second wide-spread illness (after HIV??) in the future!
Drs Sanjay Gupta and Andrew Weil sat there discussing the non-effectiveness of some common medicines and  came to the conclusion that the most effective things were: physical exercise and increased human interaction and I thought of my friend who blogs about his depression but has been quietly downsizing from involvement in organisations supporting his 'causes'.
I agreed with the subtitle of the piece - the modern world is out of whack-- or something to that effect!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Diva- Brazilian Film

Last in the round of Brazilian films shown by the Brazilian Cultural centre. They decided to go for a light-hearted comedy whose jokes were pretty adult in content such as two women discussing female masturbation being overheard by the waiter, older woman trying to be 'hip' with younger guy etc. I felt a bit embarrassed for the 6yr old who came with her mother and enjoyed the earlier slap-stick jokes about the husband and sons not liking the mom's cooking but felt it was inappropriate for her to be there for the 'older' jokes. Sigh-- children are forced to grow up so fast these days!

Although described as a comedy, it was actually a sad film of a woman who suppressed her emotions on the death of her mother when she was eight years old and adopted a pragmatic attitude to her philandering husband's affairs -- the rock in her life being her best girlfriend whose main ambition was to be a wife and mother and whose unease with ageing took the opposite form of trying to guard her philandering husband zealously. The best friend unsurprisingly dies from Cancer, no doubt brought on by all that stress, but leaves the protagonist of the film pretty devastated and looking back on the happier times with her now care-free and in a new relationship with a younger woman ex-husband, hinting that she would take him back when/if he got kicked to the ground-- hello-- what happened with the feminist line??

Some jokes were funny - like trying to get out of her Spanx for a 'quickie' and failing miserably-- but the director had a tendency of dragging out the punch-lines a bit too much.  It was interesting that when she tried to copy the husband and go out with a younger but matured man-- in his 40's, intially just for sex she couldn't help but get emotionally attached  and when he called it off-- it released all the tears that had been pent-up since the death of her mother. Later on she has sex with someone her son's age but clearly doesn't get the same thrill as a man her age would with a 19yr old girl. Still very much a man's world!

It's Not Cricket

Ironically, in the wake of the phone-tapping fiasco by the News of The World newspapers in London was that  one of the 'discoveries' was the case of 'no-balls' at pre-arranged times by one of a few Pakistani match-fixing syndicates. Another being nude photos of a certain actress, who unashamedly said there was nothing wrong with wandering around naked - a sentiment I fully agree with providing you are as aesthetically pleasing as she!

After imposition of fines earlier in the week, wherein they begged for leniency to avoid jail sentences - they were duly sentenced to 30months - 24months in jail yesterday.  This must highlight the growing problem of primarily Third World countries who are unable or unwilling to convict their wrong-doers at home -- one of our own druggies got so bold as to even appear on TV call-in programs run by an emerging Dr Ruth type - discussing  sexual matters - huh- sadly I'm sure the druggie would have only have to say-- show a wad of money to improverished, TV-fuelled consumer-ish fed young girls with little education and no respect for their bodies and that's your problem solved! He was renditioned to a jail in New York!