Friday, February 26, 2016

Death of Knowledge and Social Conscience In The Time Of The Immortelles: For Irma, RIP My Friend

So you out out, jus so jus so, eh Irmes?
Just when the immortelles in their blaze of glory mock the raging bushfires which like the social un-conscience casts in its wake this monstrous - 'not at all like proper children' of Robert Louis Stevenson's Shadow over the land in this wild unconscionable rampage of slash-and-burn of forests, flora, fauna, wildlife, tree limbs, any limbs, any life of man, woman, children or whatever may be also good and natural, eh?
Irma's view of her Diego Martin Valley from the North Post
from her Facebook photos.

Just when the yellow and pink and lilac poui blossoms like Asami Nagasaki's Japanese cherry blossoms are beginning to peep out through their-green leaves on the plains, valleys, hills and mountain tops, shyly then defiantly daring the monstrous -not-at-all-like-proper, decent well-formed - fires of slash-and-burn to charge into them too, because they going down singing and dancing and clapping and celebrating – you, Irmes, ups and jus out out jus so jus so, eh?
You gone, eh? Jus when dem deadly - like Headley, or some other folks not to be here named – Zika mosquitoes take up positions over the land in the form of this monstrous shadow, queuing up to kill in execution of their singular terror-intent, attack with full force; aim to maim, to exterminate, or at least reduce the already too-bloated brains, heads, and egos of unconscionable power monsters and their birth parents - the rest will, shruggingly, only be collateral damage, to cut down to proportional size in the national hierarchy of things and the universal food chain of human beings, eh?

Cross Country Cross TV Channals hocus pocus

Photo from Irma Rambaran's Facebook Page.

Gyul, you gone, fuh true? Just when big big raucous hocus pocus gripping local TV that is also cable and world wide www.internet TV too, with what now passes for the highest rated shows that are not the views and opinion of the TV stations or the Parliament Channel – because our Andre Tankered footloose and fancy free Cross Country jus so jus so lose its national footing, although it hold the number one rating on prime time for the entire time of our run; although it grip the people’s imagination in awe and wonder and promise to expand the social conscience with real images, sounds and sound information and thoughts and actions of real people and places that form the diverse mosaic of our national tapestry and show that we rainbow fuh real, eh? Would our society have been the better for it if you were given a prime time TV spot to share your mind and knowledge and perspective - never seems to have crossed anyone's mind, except mine, eh?
Irma's profile Facebook photo: her dog

Irmes, remember when the height of public outrage at our media was over a mere 90-seconds, yes 90 seconds, feature on dead dogs on streets and highways that Ed insisted on running, distasteful graphics and all – well how else you could show a dead dog, eh? Dog lover that you are, nothing I could do or say could erase your upset as we had tried to change his mind, and then the public erupted that it is aired on prime time TV, on the number one rated show, how dare we just as they are sitting down to dinner and we show with their families, and Ralph who was there only in the studio narrating Ed’s script and layered on to an unsuspecting public through chroma-key so he was never really there but was always very gracious to accept all the credits for the fine insights we wrote and presented of our people, warded off taking credit for that one and poor Dale Kolasingh had to apologise ad nauseum on our behalf for the insensitivity, and in the end Ed maybe had the last laugh because the sanitation people get to work to clear away any dead dogs they could find, though they couldn’t get to the stench; and maybe people start putting their dogs on leashes too, so they wouldn’t wander out and get knock down by unconscionable monstrous drivers and their equally monstrous children-drivers, who now just knocking down people and other vehicles instead, jus so jus so and jus as they knock away yuh leg when you trying to cross the road hurrying back to work from some extra hours at the university, and still you crawl back up, heal and continue to stand tall, though we all know you shorter than me. 

AVM Special Report – of the real monsters, parents of monsters and criminal-minded
Who apologising now, eh Irmes, since we no longer could ask through an investigation by the AVM Special Report that Kolasingh would have surely put us on the track of the monsters and their parents to find the real roots and the real criminal monster killers of social conscience and springboard of the now heights of insensitivity in the parade of dead bodies, dead babies, dead school boys and school girls, dead men and women turning up in any nook and cranny, across the street, on the street, in the next bush, at the Savannah, on the corner, in the canefield, behind this wall and that building; and the women and girls with throats slit, or kicked in their stomachs – literally and metaphorically too - or for who missing and not turning up at all at all at all? Who apologising for dat, eh? 
If you were here, you would share my outrage but draw some satirical analogy from some great work of literature, or some anecdotal experience, idea or humorous incident in a shrug-that-belie-how-deeply-you-too-are-outraged with a deflection that that is the way of the world which would allow us to refocus and pour our creative energies on the task at hand to shape, through our media, our art and our craft the social conscience rather than waste it in a lament, but you gone, jus so jus so, Irmes, and I here, trying to find a counteractive quip quote or humour that would restore my equilibrium and sense of faith in people and focus on creating a fire track that would deflect these current ominous monstrous onward-charge of slash and burn fires burning up the forests, flora, fauna, wildlife, tree limbs, any limbs, any life of man, woman, children or whatever may be also good and natural, eh?

Book Talk of inclusive kaleidoscopic shades and colours

You gone girl! Is it to a place that is A Whiter Shade of Pale or is it a paler shade of white, girl, now that you there, that some knew as Procol  Harum’s 1967 song which we didn’t know then but has recently been rated number 57 among the 500 greatest songs of all times, and which in our also narrated and chromakeyed through Ralph – BookTalk, also then highly-rated series, we presented as a poem because poem or song, a Chaucerian Miller’s Tale or a Naipaulian Mystic tale; a Walcottian Homeric epic, Lovelace-calypso-novel, Sammy (Selvon) migrant island-world or Michael (Anthony) history-story we wanted to tell we people that neither shape nor form nor colour nor texture of a thought or expression, nor its origins nor orientation detracts from appreciation and respect for the creative impulse and imagination?
Like that die too, girl? We reach anybody? You think? All those years all dem words and images and ideas? All dem people we hold up as public pillars...whey dem be?
As in the enthusiastic hours shared bouncing off ways of meeting challenges, especially the mandate of low cost yet high quality productions which was AVM’s hallmark, I am replaying the piles and piles of words and images and sounds I have presented since then, and considering now the piles and piles you too churned out from that quick wit and unbridled imagination and wry humour that made such amazing and always refreshing connection between thoughts of one instance, one age with another, embracing, appreciating, savouring knowledge for itself and itself alone, and hoping in the process of sharing it that it would also put food in your dog’s plate, and on your table – in that order, because your dogs always came first, even in your social media profile but how often both your dog's and your plate was left empty in this place that intent on making strays, homeless and vagrants of as many as it could.

Survival – where the mind is without fear
Irmes,  I am replaying how we travelled with heads held high to Tagore’s Gitanjali where knowledge is free and we searched out and assigned, mixed and matched images to ideas – from stills or artistic representations and allusions where moving images were not available, often times stretching our imaginations so we might pull at the imaginations of others and transport their minds through connections they did not think possible; mixing and matching images and ideas to lyrics and sounds that made and remade a thought and a politician, or two, and maybe made some of them cringe too; that profiled a corporation or two and helped their profit line too; that focused on a sector or two and maybe helped it grow; that championed survivalism through our agriculture series, Survival; that championed the culture, the heritage, the sportsmen and women, the people. Remember the hours I remained glued to the screen in the kiosk, playing over and over Pat Bishop’s words in preparation for the first CARIFESTA we hosted for my special report on culture – so full of optimism she was at the potential of our arts and culture that she inspired me since then to the day she just drop dead, jus so, in front of me in a meeting room where I joined her struggle for space for we culture? And the time spent with Prof Julien Kenny trying to save the same environment now and still fighting for survival from predators rapists and plunderers and of course the monstrous slash and burn man machine.
Remember the raving mad woman, Bachac, who, on meh way with crew to Manzanilla I just held a mike to she hanging out she lil board house window – no questions asked - and she tell all ah dem and dey modder what to fix in the country, and everybody chuckle and keep asking for reruns after reruns so they could chuckle some more, but you think they fix anything she tell them to fix, just like they look on we yes, providing show and song and music and dance and idea and thought and words for chuckle after chuckle but all they see is that we just as mad as she, Bachac.

Incomparable above and beyond Cazabon’s North Post view

Irma Rambaran's photo with our exchange on July 3, 2015
Irma: North Post, Last Night, Lucky Me
Me: Still among my most spectacular places , Irma Rambaran

Yes girl, like you, mind wandering above them there North Post hills and seas and d valley, captured by Cazabon in one of the just-repurchased masterpieces for our museum itself raped and plundered by some, trying to just hold its skirt seams together so that its crumbling walls wouldn’t expose its private parts and decayed bones as at the Red House and once seat of Parliament, my memory drifts through those years, to the image of you huddled over your typewriter as I am being escorted past the writer’s booth and editing kiosks and around to the office of media magnate Kolasingh for my interview. It was you who so openly welcomed me into the ‘writer’s pool’, gently mentoring as you did all who joined, openly embracing new fresh minds, not a thought of territorialism but seeing us all as an opportunity to warm and expand your own world, never once forcing or imposing an opinion, appreciating and understanding dialogue, debate and the embrace of ideas and opinions and the value of their open flow to take shape and form that freedom of thought allows.
It was you who later - over hurriedly gulped lunch, or late hours pounding out on our typewriters the words and lines that would be mouthed and voiced, after the office had emptied out, or sharing a taxi from the hills back to town - told me that ‘the Boss’ had already decided he would hire me even prior to the interview; that the advertisement placed in the newspaper for which I worked was perhaps placed there to deliberately draw my attention - and in the process, hopefully others’ too; that that interview had been only a formality; that the newly begun Cross Country programme which you would generously hand over to me, as with others, to conceive, to craft, to create, had already been feeding off my newspaper still fledgling, I thought, column Discover Trinidad and Tobago; that when I accepted the position the Boss had received a call from Len Chong Sing, the very unassuming, shy and reserved then Editor-in-Chief who had hired me without once looking me in the eye call admonishing Kolasingh in what we would here euphemistically call very ‘strong’ language for poaching on his newspaper’s most promising staff, which the Boss later confirmed to me with his infectious chuckle.
It was only you who knew that it was the Boss, unlike some others who had tried to smother opportunities, who encouraged me to use the prize-trip from the BWIA Media Awards I had won on my first year on the newspaper job for an article in that same newspaper ‘Discover’ series, and had arranged my first visit to the #UnitedNations in #NewYork where he had previously served, so it could feed the vision of the world that inspired his and, little did he know, given his premature and truncated life, like yours - inspired me on the life path and turns that has brought me to this day.
Well, pragmatist that he is, as he was not going to give me a salary increase nor an advance, it was perhaps the only choice, because not then and not now, neither you nor I could think of a using a prize trip to go shopping - not with the nil value knowledge has here, only recyclable if it is to wrap fish as I shared with you that real experience of discovery of the knowledge recycling system that were among the reasons that I took flight from the frightening prospects of seeing my freshly churned out Mondays' Discover Trinidad and Tobago and Tuesdays' Teenlife columns and other articles and features become fresh wrapping for Sundays' freshly caught fish at the Port of Spain, San Fernando, Tunapuna, Arima and Debe markets.
It was you who heard and empathised and shared and countered my railing with your wit and humour at the disjoint between the ought and is, and strengthened my resolve when the time came to move on, and since, cheering me on, reaching out in the most unassuming ways to help straighten out a kink, remove a spec of dust and steer me back on course when the course itself was so overgrown, like the paths we walked on the North Post trail; to stretch my arms out to perfection, painting in our minds’ eye what Cazabon did on canvas and Tagore did in his garlanded song-poem, Gitanjali, with ever-widening thought and action, a heaven of freedom.
Irmes, I am looking at all that, just as you must be looking down from that high perch above your’s and mine favourite spot at the North Post hill now, and wondering when did the social conscience die? Who kill it? Was it when the 1990 attempted coup also attempted to invade we archives at AVM? Because is true all hell break lose then, it seems, people still scrambling to find out who’s their leader to this day; and wondering too, when will be the awakening.

Academia versus where knowledge is free as fresh tea leaves
From the Section NORTTHWEST in LiTTscapes
 Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago 
Already then only just having moved out of that production studio to find my own space and to find some knowledge at the university – ah still looking - yuh know I hear some order went down to ban me books there - so I hear eh girl well dats what power wielders at universities in banana republics do when they not slash and burning books, people and the hills as you found out painfully when you decided to follow me for your degree, later, and I could only guide you through manoeuvring the machinations of pseudo academia trying to augment CVs by appropriating the intelligence of students, especially those with such pure original imagination like yours; as I could only guide those other students who in my transitional and temporary status there sought some advice and guidance too – wanting to stretch their imaginations to take flight, but meeting only solid obstructionist walls. Meh head still bleeding and pounding from dat. 
All I know, girl, is that social conscience dead dead, and as you well know, sacrificed at the altar of egos intent on protecting turf even if it mean starving to death people who dare to think they could live off knowledge by packaging and sharing it, by trying to create opportunities for others to share theirs as would perhaps be par for the course - or the appetizer, the main course and the dessert in mature countries, small islands or large island-continents, not in leafy force ripe banana republics like we sometimes find weself contemplating and writing about and aligning images to like swaying laden-with-force-ripe banana palms sometimes mistaken for sohari leaves. They watch d empty leaves and say starve, frustrate talent and energies when all one wants to do as a lifelong learner to share learnings to teach through media or any other forms or place even under the mango tree if they would only give us a chance. Frustrated talent. You not the only one.
I try, eh girl, to stop you reaching for that next drink, as that life-line from A Whiter Shade of Pale, to get you, instead, addicted to my freshly brewed teas made from imagination and the leaves I pluck from meh now dying-from-drought too back yard garden – lemon grass tea and tulsi leaf tea and mint and bay leaf and mango leaf and guava leaf tea – must have some guava leaf because it is guava season and like you I planting some tomatoes and bodi, melongene and ochro, mango and pommecythere too, to tide me through these thoughtful but incomeless times. I tried, but your addiction was already running too deep as the watering hole down in the Diego Martin Valley into which abyss you disappeared to re-emerge. How many know, eh, or care, what it takes to keep the wit and the humour and the optimism and the faith, buoying up others, drifting into our own darkness while warding off the debtors, eh? Who knows what it takes when the bullets target bullseye on our efforts to share knowledge, stop dead in its tracks your search for opportunities to package and disseminate it, so it instead builds up like bile inside you till it poison your liver and end your life while you smile with wit and humour and generous faith and optimism, eh?  
Yet even now, looking and searching for that last clue that I know you must have left for me, to hang on to the hope and the optimism and the dream and the wit and the humour, sure enough, you did, girl and I find it, and I’ll share and reshare it. You leave it there, right before my eyes,  right before all of us with eyes to see, right on your last public quip. There it is in full view of all: all of your wit and humour and wry commentary and connection between the past and the present, you have shared it and left it, without comment, for all of us to hold on to in that other element you also cultivated appreciation in me – for steelpan and the hours we spent at panorama prelims, semis and finals, backing our own favourites and trying not to create our own pan fan wars.  
You found your last vision of the state we are in, in Kitchener, whose Rain O’ Rama calypso tent itself has fallen fate to its own domestic turmoils, in his 1972 calypso of that name and the debates that inspired it, to cancel the Carnival in the wake of the then polio threat, cheekily detailing the public outrage, public defence and public display of perceived indecency, and as it was written then, it is written now, that the forces that stop the Carnival were those that are beyond our voiced, or unvoiced, protests or rage or outrage, indignation, anger, hurt or despair.
Your last post - amidst your photos of the ravished landscape, its bountiful offerings of fruits and vegetables shared just after the one in which I endorsed our favourite North Post spot as still among my rated most spectacular spaces - characteristically leaves us Kitchener’s quintessential piece reverberating through time with the unchanging truth and faith of que sera sera and the simple message to trust in nature, and true enough, amidst the suffocating heat, here it is pouring down now, at this midmorning in this dry-drought season, Rain.
Irmes, I may not be able to scatter your ashes to the north wind over the North Post as you requested and watch the whirl and twirl and then the encapsulation in an immortelle blossom of ethereal conscience, but from me, and all those who asked and authorised and delegated that I write this on their behalf in your memory, Rest In Peace, my friend, and, as the last words from Tagore's Gitanjali:

Like a rain-cloud of July hung low with its burden of unshed showers let all my mind bend down at thy door in one salutation to thee.
Let all my songs gather together their diverse strains into a single current and flow to a sea of silence in one salutation to thee.
Like a flock of homesick cranes flying night and day back to their mountain nests let all my life take its voyage to its eternal home in one salutation to thee.

Lyrics of A Whiter Shade of Pale

We skipped the light fandango
turned cartwheels 'cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
but the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
as the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
the waiter brought a tray
And so it was that later
as the miller told his tale
that her face, at first just ghostly,
turned a whiter shade of pale
She said, 'There is no reason
and the truth is plain to see.'
But I wandered through my playing cards
and would not let her be
one of sixteen vestal virgins
who were leaving for the coast
and although my eyes were open
they might have just as well've been closed
She said, 'I'm home on shore leave,'
though in truth we were at sea
so I took her by the looking glass
and forced her to agree
saying, 'You must be the mermaid
who took Neptune for a ride.'
But she smiled at me so sadly
that my anger straightway died

If music be the food of love
then laughter is its queen
and likewise if behind is in front
then dirt in truth is clean
My mouth by then like cardboard
seemed to slip straight through my head
So we crash-dived straightway quickly
and attacked the ocean bed

Played by British Rock Band: English rock band Procol Harum
Written by: co-authors Gary Brooker, Keith Reid and Matthew Fisher

Lines from Gitanjali(1912, Vs 96)
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

Focus-resources on real crime
The-ghost-of journalism past
Ask About LiTTscapes,

Reviews of this Blog:
Kris Rampersad writes of Irma's talent for ‘draw[ing] some satirical analogy from some great work of literature, or some anecdotal experience, idea or humorous incident. . . which would allow us to refocus and pour our creative energies on the task at hand to shape . . . rather than waste it in a lament.’ Two of pieces on the program do have the ring of narratives inspired by current events, but not so much ripped as lifted carefully from the headlines and re-imagined with those from the periphery in the center as protagonists.
Irma wasn’t uncomplicated (what good writer is?): Rhoma Spencer in the prologue to her reading of “Rum Shop” hinted at a drinking problem, as did Kris Rampersad in her essay. But shining through all of the stories read that evening was a deep humanity. “Even though the plots she inserts them in might be difficult or cruel,” 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Breezes of a tropical Arab Spring: Open Letter to His Worship, the Honourable Mayor of Port of Spain on your resignation

Meet Me At Our Woodford Square Bench

Your Worship, the Mayor,
Peace: A drawing done for me by an ancient Japanese calligrapher
while I was on a Fellowship with the Foreign Press Centre, Japan 
I may still call you that, may I not, Honourable Sir, at least for this last day when you may hold that title? But who knows, eh? Twenty-four hours is a long time - as the last several hours must have proven for you  - on our political stage which never fails to put on a greater show than the greatest show on earth, don't care who we shame, once there is a stage and all the better if there are some flashing local and foreign media lights, ent?
The train of events following the murder and discovery of the strangled body of this Japanese pannist Asami Nagayaki who bring the joy of Japanese springtime cherry blossoms to we Carnival 2016 just have we all contemplating the Human Race with the Lord Pretender, and, too, the Qualifications Of a Politician, teacher Chalkie say.
Some, like Sparrow, say I am a prophet/ess of doom and gloom ‘cause it seems for the past 30 years or so I have been wildly waving me own individual flag in me own Flag Party that we on some merry go round and round - lots of false starts and stops, and political comings and goings, and sinking ships and even an attempted coup, and Stalin's better days are coming but the same spinning-top-in-mud, waiting, like Dorothy for the next Bally Party Time and all ah we still laughing and asking ‘Who’s Yuh Leader’ like when that MP Joseph Toney was in the Parliament Red House get stalled in midsentence with cross talk, ducking bullets from the insurrectionists, just like them little little children in Laventille getting their life stop dead dead in their literal life tracks by flying bullets.
Honourable Worship, Sir, Mr Mayor, like you, humming Kitchener's beautiful lyrics The Carnival Is Over I too wake up Ash Wednesday, and jus’ like dat, ask Paul Keen’s Douglas, in one blink, woman strangled, you talk yuh talk, with no information nor knowledge because some people dont need advisers, although Pan in Danger, like Gypsy, Carnival getting Toilet Paper you find out What Sweet in Goat Mouth Go Sour in the BamBam.
It sad, here in Trinidad, 'cause everybody watching you, and saying Look the Devil Dey. They doing that to a decent and Honourable Gentleman - Boy, I know that feeling yes.
Whoa Donkey.
Letter signalling intention to resign from His Worship,
 the Mayor of Portof Spain, Honourable Tim Kee,
issued February 13, 2016...who knows what mark
would play on February 15, 2016
Mr Mayor, Your Worship, Sir, suddenly I feel this breeze, whipping up and in no time at all it like a hurricane - although the hurricane season, like the Party, Done! But them there breezes blowing stronger and harder than the, Mighty Sparrow in Phillip, My Dear! Them there breezes, loaded like guns with Sahara Dust from them there Arabian Desert, carrying something else too, Mr Mayor, Sir, are you feeling the feeling, like The Mghty Shadow, are you getting the symptoms, because it feels very much, Sir, like the Arab Spring.
Imagine that! Arab Spring in we tropical clime, oui! The thought makes me feel like laughing ‘til meh belly bust, but I suspect Sir, that for you, it is no laughing matter, like them there people wine-ing up their almost naked sugar bum-bum like they have Kitchener's kaka roach in they petticoats!
Your Worship Sir, is true, I only met you twice, and both times you were gentlemanly, polite, attentive, and open to dialogue, much unlike some other not so very good company you keep, so I am sure, as you read this - because I believe you, Honourable Worship Sir, are a reading man who have no time for all that kindda stupidness, that you are as sceptical as the sceptics were when some similar pronouncement about Sahara Dust settling over we land was made to the meteorological scientific world by we very own native weatherman, Robin Maharaj. I am not sure if he is any relative to that other lewd-lyricked and lusty-prancing-up-she-big-big-some-say-fake-behind Nikki Minaj-cum-Maharaj born and bread Trinbagonian via St James, and proud migrant from the Burgesses of the Illustrious City of Port-of-Spain, who Pound the Alarm (rated 'explicit' so what they goin rate Carnival itself, or other such wajank actions, eh?) for the way we just like to chase every Tom, Dick  and Harrilal outta town.
Let me tell you about this Arabian Sahara Dust and Arab Spring ting, if you didn’t know, and I know that some politicians are pretty limited in knowledge, or willingness to learn, of national history, or as little as Dan Is the Man In The Van and - who could blame them with so much other things to deal with like wrecking people’s car, snooping on citizen bloggers and media, and chasing scrunting-like-Scrunter vendors off the streets who shouting no no dey not going home like the kaiso-man-turn-gospel-singer, because Poverty Is Hell, Shadow knows, and Singing Sandra’s Voices from the Ghetto too.
Maharaj - the one named for a bird, not the one who sings like a maco macaw bird, shaking up she some say fake bumsie - had posited to the tickled-pink-like-Nikki-Minaj-scientific-world that the clouds over the South Americas was Sahara Dust and they laugh him outta here, oui! And then they get dust in they face, if I might steal a phrase from our beloved bard, David Rudder, like some of them there lewd dancers on the streets tief a wine from Kes The Band who like all ah we, Wotless, but we is one famale people yet if anyone ask you, some of them just asking for it, which is why they end up with no Valentine, bus’ head, or dead, oui, like young Asami, maybe, who knows. Who say A Little Wine Never Hurt Nobody, Patrice? The heavy T bumper or  wining queen know better. 
With all that spotlight on you Honourabe Sir, the authorities bazodee, they don’t know if they going to catch criminal stranglers or if they coming to catch woman, an man too, wine-ing on City Hall, because them woman know they cyar fight City Hall with guns and thing gabbing like that Bajan man Gabby's Boots, so the bacchanalists just wine-ing dong the place, like the Queen of bacchanal Destra's Lucy.
If you ask me, I prefer more diplomatic and refined  means of exporting the culture and would like to bottle the Carnival wine, like the French bottle their wines, and submit it to UNESCO for both for outstanding universal value as an element of tangible cultural heritage, and for the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity, but they say who is me, I get chase outta town too because I aint no expert winer gyul, and only a closet country-bookie unauthorised flag woman - so they say - and everybody and Kitchener know you have no band without an experienced flag woman
Mr Mayor, I sympathise. I see how puzzled, baffled and conflofougated you and not you alone, plenty plenty more mayors and leaders and some men and some women too are, because on the one hand they saying this is about what you say about woman, and woman is boss, as if you didn't know that; and then they say it is about International diplomacy - well if the Priest Could Play Who is Me?
You know, Mr Mayor, nobody tell you yet, so I would tell you here, it is all of that and more. It is about the people and we culture and every Trini to the Bone person or politician worth a two cents, or a dollar wine  know dont mess with we culture, because How We Vote Is Not How We Party!
So Let We Get Back To Basics, nah, We fight hard hard for them freedoms, as if you and them so called historians dont remember Canboulay Riots, and Hosay Riots and Slavery and Indentureship and the licks and the kicks and the abuse and the dominance over we minds and bodies. We fight Mr Mayor, we already pay with we blood and sweat and tears and plenty plenty of we children life, and the life of plenty brothers and sisters and mothers and fathers for them rights and freedoms so what respectful right, Mr Mayor Sir, you or anybody have to read we the riot act about rights and responsibilities. Somebody have to say it Mr Mayor, you understand, it is bout de culture - and I hear nuff respect about respect the culture from Ras Kommanda and Respect de Calypso from Gypsy and plenty more!
Already trying hard enough to not see the drugs and guns slipping through we borders in this borderless world, like we try hard to not see the Sahara dust, now we have to pretend that the Arab Spring thing too will pass, but we have to be careful, Mr Mayor, because if at least we could learn from history, though some historians can't and we should send them back to school, to get a real education, and school days are happy happy days, not with all this headache and bacchanal beause if we doh learn we goin feel and no one will be left unscathed if what they saying about the Arab Spring fever is true. 
Them things have no passport saying ‘I is a Trini’, like you, me and Benjai, yet it seems no Rottweiler nor Doberman, nor Pitbull could ban them and chase them away, so they bulldoze their way through we borders, Machel-like Like a Boss, blowing over from the Arabian desert and across them there Gulf seas and onto we oceans and look them now hanging over we own Gulf – of Paria, and over the skyscapes and settling on the landscapes like if they are home with their Jahaji Bhai and nah leaving, and only prepared to just wine to the side like plenty TriniBagonians no matter how hard they trying to push we out.
Watered by the Ganges and the Nile, it look just like an Arab Spring, you don’t think, Mr Mayor Sir? Is Lent. Time to Repent, and it is not just because Sparrow and Capitalism Gone Mad. Time to join Sandra Voices From the Ghetto and Rudder for High Mas.
It aint nice, this Arab Spring fever; it could be too late, Mr Mayor Sir, mark meh prophesying words, it could be too late when the clouds clear, check the Economist
 Mr Honourable Mayor, Sir, the prognosis is this thing as deadly as Zika because it could cause everybody henceforth to be born with small heads, and smaller brains and other parts too, if you know what I mean – if that is possible, for some.
It may be, Honourable Worship, Sir, that this is the climate change that the world has been tra-la-la-ing ‘bout – tout bagai. It’s been coming, coming like a the Burrokeets Carnival band descending down Laventille Calvary Hill, coming for the last 30 years, springing from all the failed dreams and hopes of the people since Independence, from One Love, jumping over the split-ups and the mash-ups, the attempted coup of 1990 that still hauntng us, the deadlock, and re--wedlocks and woman time and them time and we time. Chaguanas West wiggle its finger, warning and still no one listen and then we vote in and we vote out and it still seem nobody listening and now it here, and it on we doorstep, chanting a Womantra but is really an eternal and age old chant for freedom and for the world we want, the world we the people want, a free world to sng with Ras Shoty I Om Shanti Om
Your Worship, it going to need plenty plenty prayers and it going to need plenty plenty inspiring and forward looking and thinking leadership if we going to avoid the mess that the Economist say the rest of them Arab Spring timers in. As respectable and honourable a gentleman as I am sure you are Sir, who loves and cares for women just as much as the other guy and as an honoured and respected leader of men, as you have proven since you already take the lead in resigning - or is it just a dirty dirty teaser resignation Sir? Et Tu Brute? cause we hope some of them others will follow the leader and do the same too and admit that they need some education in civics and gender sensitivity, not to mention in diplomacy, and culture sensitivity.
 But more about that for when we meet nah. You know, we still have that meeting pending. I don’t care that come tomorrow you don’t have office nor title. Boy, believe me, I know the feeling as you well know they trying that thing with me too – they say I have no office nor either, so they say. But Your Worship, Sir, I could show you how you don’t need either to serve the people, serve the people, serve the people.
Join me, let we start the education nah – gender, culture, diplomacy, civics, rights, responsibilities and respect, yes, respect – that’s what the people want because the people ent takng dat so, check 3Canal, they always welcoming people, ordinary people, everyday people, fighting to see we way, with no office or title or power, join we, nah, and leh we give the people what the people want – truth, rights, bread and justice, respect.
I will be the first to admit, all this must sound to you like literary fiction, like it does to plenty others, or like one of them crazy, loony vagrants in some madman rant Rudder-style who take shelter right under the eye and office of the Mayor – no respect for the office, if not the man, nah, all day, all night sprawling under the spreading samaan trees brought from India like me foreparents, and pouting poui trees planted in Woodford Square – to cover up what – you cyar tell meh, ent? Well, I bet you, neither can them who call themselves historians.
Mr Mayor, all I ask, humble bared naked and shorn off costume, decorations, office and title, join me leh we boom up the history of betrayal and violence in we blood-soaked soil - domestic violence, verbal violence, gun violence, violence against women and children, tourists and ordinary people too who are just collateral damage. We would start by educating the educators who responsible for educating others, eh, what yuh say? We could talk some more  more about that when we meet, you name the date, I named the place - on that bench in Woodford Square – you know the one I mean.
And Happy Valentines, since I know you probably not feeling too much love right now, I sending you its kin, some Peace - by the song in that link, Peace, and the image in this page with a message for this civic agreement to sign both that was given to me three decades ago when I left my home for the first time for a foreign land on the trust that the host country will keep me safe and return me safely home. It did. That was Japan, and the image, the ancient Caligrapher who only signed his name as you see it there, told me it means Peace. I am sharing that with you, as well as the photo of that monument that preserves the horrendous ravishes of war, which we hope, we can save our country from, and from the Arab wasteland, create our own Spring of the Happiest People Alive singing with David Rudder ....
Kris Rampersad,
of no fixed place of abode

Saturday, February 13, 2016

In war and peace from Hiroshima to Home - a memory for Asami Nagayaki

One of my most cherished experiences - my first foreign travel venture outsdie of Trinidad and Tobago - was to Japan through a Fellowship from the Foreign Press Centre of Japan courtesy the Government of Japan. It was a fellowship for journalists from the developing World and I was the only woman and the only person from the Caribbean or from this Hemisphere inCrime was at zero level and the city and streets of Tokyo were absolutely safe for a woman, or for anyone for that matter.
the group  that included journalists from South East Asia and Africa as well.
Preliminary Police notice on discovery with description 
 I pull out this memory with sadness at the fate of young Japanese Pannist  ‪#‎AsamiNagayika‬ who came to ‪#‎TrinidadandTobago‬ for love of our country and the ‪#‎Steelpan‬ recalling that ‪#‎Japan‬ was the first country to invite me in, and open my life up to other journeys ‪#‎LenBoogsieSharpe‬ may remember. The ‪#‎JapaneseGovernment has been an active sponsor of developing many dimensions of our culture and heritage apart from cultural exchanges like these in the spirit of cultural diplomacy and cultural cooperation. It also sponsored our ‪#‎UNESCO‬ workshops for strengthening Trinidad and Tobago's and the ‪#‎Caribbean‬'s ‪#‎CulturalHeritage‬ see my photo album. My heart goes out to your family and country that opened its doors and its heart to me and so many other of our nationals - a couple of whom I met while I was there, as well. Oceans apart, yet Small World. It was not only our oceans that connect us but our culture and our basic existence as human beings in a universal chain of being.
 While there, apart from the theories and insights into the mechan
isms and the operations of Japanese media and society, I also learnt the crafts of origami, the Japanese art of flower arranging and the Japanese Tea Ceremony all of which I practice in some form or the other today. I shared the Japanese reference for nature and the Shinto and Buddhism sense of the oneness in the creation of all of us, whether as small or large island communities as we are.
When I saw the police bulletin announcing that your body was found with a description I shared it with my friends, saying the description would almost fit a description of me. As someone who has often been engaged in foreign communities, there is always the possibility that one may be at some time void of identity because no one recognises you. Anonymity could be a remarkable creative space, or it could be the tragic sphere in which you found yourself.
Post from Asami on returning home to Japan after Carnival 2014
As travellers, we do take a certain degree of risk of being away from home and community and family - if those even in our times and our place could be considered safe harbours - but we also so much rely on the friendliness and goodwill of the country and people to whom, as visitors, as strangers, we entrust our lives. We also take as a given that our country will be there for us as anchors, whether near or in the distance, in case of any storm we may encounter, as yours have been for you.
I am happy that you have met many Trinidadians and Tobagonians and Caribbean people who have bared their souls to you and made you feel, not a stranger, but as a member of our family. If only you can see the outpouring of love from my countryfolks and from yours, despite your brutal and violent death, you will Rest In Peace.

More coming soon GlocalKnowledgePot - global-local connections
 Stay tuned to ‪#‎LiTTscapes‬ ‪#‎Demokrissy‬‪#‎LeavesOfLife‬ ‪#‎GlocalKnowledgePot‬ @krisramp JapanEmbassy Trinidad@lolleaves
Coming Up: In War and Peace From Hiroshima to Home: My 30 year journey through the landscapes of global cultural diplomacy  
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