March 30, 2011

‘Ethnic imbalance’ in Trinidadian Police Service?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 9:40 pm by potofcallaloo

The ongoing controversy on the so called ‘ethnic imbalance’ in the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service is continuing to show the gross shallowness of some people in our country.

It is well known that certain groups in our diverse society are more inclined to enter certain professions than others, and thus, if any of us were to take a look at various professions locally, we would see them dominated by one race or another.

Perhaps the fewer numbers of our Indo-Trinidadian brothers and sisters in the police service (as opposed to their Afro-Trinidadian counterparts) reflects their preferred career choices in the fields of medical sciences or entrepreneurship for instance, from pre independence onwards.

This is a true reflection of today’s Trinbagonian society. The medical fraternity is dominated by Indo Trinidadians, whereas the protective services are dominated by Afro-Trinidadians.

To suggest that this perceived ‘imbalance’ in the police service is due to anything more than various career choices among the races is undeniably racially inflammatory and would serve only to divide a sensitive nation that refuses to maturely discuss the many racial issues lying beneath the surface of everyday life.

Furthermore, to suggest that the cosmopolitan society could only trust or relate to the police service if it were 50-50 Indian-African Trini is illogical to say the least.

The respectable attorney Dana Seetahal SC fittingly posited that if this were true, it would mean the only one who would feel comfortable with our Caucasian Police Commissioner Dwayne Gibbs, was his deputy commission Jack Ewatski.

Sectors should hire people who are competent to do the job regardless of race, rather than try to find equal numbers of races to appease some people’s underlying racial intolerances and sensitivities.

If for a moment we adhered to (chairman of the Police Service Commission) Nizam Mohammed’s irrational idea of employing equal numbers of the two major races, where then would the representation of the minority races and growing mixed population be?

In a multi racial society as ours this isn’t feasible – just hire the people who are well able to the job and we will be happy with that, because at the end of the day, regardless of race, we’re all Trini!

The government has rightly condemned Mohammed’s statement as “divisive,” adding that it is intent on creating “a meritocracy based on people’s ability to do their jobs, race must not and will never be a consideration.”

February 28, 2011

History in the Making

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:53 am by potofcallaloo

Mohamed Bouazizi sparked protests in Tunisia when he lit himself afire

It is a dynamic thing to experience ‘history in the making’; to live in the moment when something meaningful is happening to catapult a lasting change.

Most of us have ancestors who have lived through or felt the impact of some of the most poignant history lessons taught in classrooms today – the Transatlantic Slavery, the East Indian Indentureship, the World Wars, the Holocaust, Apartheid, the Stolen Generations of Aborigines…the list is extensive.

Today our generation witnesses a powerful history lesson in the making – The People’s Revolution – the fight for freedom, equality, opportunity, for the chance to be heard, for fair rule… in the Middle East and Africa.

What began as a one man protest after Tunisian fruit vendor Mohamed Bouazizi self immolated has spiralled into a wildfire spreading rapidly across neighbouring nations fed up of despotic rule.

Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya and Yemen have exhibited a defiant stance of willingness to die for a better cause. The former two successfully forced their infamous political leaders out, taking their future into their own hands.

The lesson tells us we are the makers of our own destiny. There is power in numbers and where people will come together to fight for a cause, change is bound to happen. It is very possible.

Consequently, in the Middle East nations are rising up and in South Korea the army has been dropping leaflets on Tunisia and Egypt into tightly controlled North Korea. Who’s next? What’s next?
Any powerful lesson will transcend culture, race, language, creed… and this is what it is.

The Middle East is at a crossroads and the world is watching, watching closely as history writes itself.

Hopefully we will learn.

(What other lessons do you suppose the world can learn from these powerful People’s Revolutions?)

January 2, 2011

2010 in review

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 pm by potofcallaloo

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Fresher than ever.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 2,100 times in 2010. That’s about 5 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 11 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 24 posts. There were 5 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2mb.

The busiest day of the year was January 4th with 40 views. The most popular post that day was Deck the Halls with Boughs of Folly.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, amandavanwest.wordpress.com, en.wordpress.com, imphotopress.wordpress.com, and mail.live.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for alisha nurse, christmas in trinidad and tobago, trini christmas, trinidad christmas food, and christmas in trinidad.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Folly December 2009
1 comment

2

Ah Trini Christmas in London? You Reckon? December 2009
20 comments

3

Hidden Caribbeans August 2010
5 comments

4

The New Mephedrone June 2010

5

The Curse of Stereotyping February 2010
5 comments

October 11, 2010

Columbus: hero or villain?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 10:04 pm by potofcallaloo

In my native twin island country, the Karina community is dwindling in numbers.

They are descendents of the indigenous peoples who first inhabited Trinidad and Tobago.

They struggle to maintain whatever little history or culture they have left, afterall it’s so few of them around.

In the 15th Century their island was raped and pillaged; their people taken as slaves, beaten, held captive and murdered by a man praised the world over and hailed as a “discoverer” during the  European colonisation of our part of the world.

On October 12th, many countries around the world, including the United States of America and Spain will observe Columbus Day – A day in honor of the famous or infamous (depending on how you look at it) Christopher Columbus.

A Celebration of what?

Columbus Day. Just imagine that.

Many who attended primary school in my time or eras before were taught that Columbus “discovered” Trinidad or La Trinity as he called it.

Now I’m older and some of the brainwashing tactics have lost effect, I cringe at any mention of this explorer who “discovered” my island and so many others with people already living there.

People who had families like you and me. People with a culture and religion they celebrated. People with a sense of humanity and respect for nature.

But to Columbus, these were people who he felt needed to learn the western way. He had no respect for their families, culture, or beliefs. To him, they were pagans who lacked civility and needed to be converted to his Queen’s religion.To him they were people who needed to be colonised by Europe.

And this is what is being celebrated? What of all the entire generations of indigenous peoples lost? Gone, never to return?? This is how we show remorse for celebrating a tyrant.

Salute the indigenous

Kudos to nations like Venezuela who stopped the madness and instead commemorate the Day of Indigenous Resistance.

It’s time for all other nations who celebrate such madness to come to their senses and show some respect for the people who really deserve it.

These heinous crimes were committed centuries ago, yet today the indigenous peoples of the so called New World remain insulted.

Before turning a blind eye again or remaining mum, don’t let another ‘Columbus Day’ pass without knowing the real history behind this Columbus. The real hero in this story isn’t Columbus, it’s the people he stole from.

It’s time to set history right.

January 11, 2010

The Politricks of Marching

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:07 am by potofcallaloo

Just imagine the temerity of Anjem Choudary.

It’s offensive enough that he wants to parade empty coffins through Wootton Bassett’s streets.

But to add that he chose Wootton Bassett because anywhere else wouldn’t have gotten him the media attention?

How low.

The people of that community and mourning families reverently line those streets to pay respects to fallen British personnel.

To make a mockery of people’s grief and anguish could not be further from the Quran’s pronouncements on respecting humanity, I’m sure.

Peter pays for Paul

Yet, there are some things sadder than Choudary’s plans.

If that march is not banned, every good and law abiding Muslim will suffer the repercussions of his actions.

It would be a case of Peter paying for Paul and Paul paying for all.

But Choudary insisted in an interview with SkyNews that “we need to gain media attention in order to highlight the plight of the ordinary men, women and children mercilessly murdered in Afghanistan…we chose Wootton Bassett particularly because if we had this demonstration anywhere else it wouldn’t have gained the media attention it is now.”

His persistent pontificating has earned him nothing but Britain’s contempt.

Yet, despite calls from many quarters – bereaved families, politicians, Gordon Brown and even other Muslims, he persists.

Wait.

His plot thickens.

The Telegraph was among the media to report on his plans to send bereaved families open letters promising hellfire if they didn’t embrace Islam.

Islamic Opposition

Several Islamic organisations have distanced themselves from and spurned Choudary’s plans.

One such organisation is the Islamic Centre in Luton, where an official told me most local Muslims believed Choudary’s plans to be part of a “sick publicity stunt” aimed at promoting his extremist strand of Islam and causing disorder.

He pointed out that the consequence of a similar protest in Luton by Choudary’s Islam4UK against returning British troops was a rise in racial violence and a mosque being firebombed.

“The consequences would be dire for the Muslim community in the UK” he said.

The upset official told me opposing Muslims will rally together and counter-protest Islam4UK if the march isn’t banned.

“We are deeply opposed to the war in Afghanistan and other wars this country is involved in but it doesn’t give a person an excuse to be disrespectful to those who died in the war. What Anjem Choudary has actually done is deflect public anger away from the war and turn it on the Muslims.

“Anjem Choudary is totally unqualified to speak about any Islamic matters, he’s got no Islamic credentials, they shouldn’t call him a Cleric. He’s just a publicity junkie. The media need to ignore him.

“To the Muslims he is nobody and we’re surprised the media is giving him so much attention” the official complained.

I’m honestly surprised too.

November 8, 2009

Survival of the Jedward

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:45 pm by potofcallaloo

John and Edward have survived yet another dreaded week on the X-Factor. Now for the really sad news – Lucy Jones got voted off. Simon caused a deadlock in the judges’ votes and decided to leave it up to the public to decide. It seemed as if Lucy knew she was going home long before it was announced though. She seemed emotional soon after Simon said he would prefer to see the twins another week. Strange twist of events huh? It was the same Simon Cowell who said he’d jump on the next plane out of London if the twins won the talent show. But yesterday, after Jedward performed Ghostbusters Simon reluctantly admitted that they were “sort of” good. Yeah, ok the twins were entertaining and I actually liked their performance but I think this is really pushing it. Clearly they are becoming some kind of household name (although here in Britain Gordon Brown said they’re his least favourites to win). But since when do singing competitions kick out the real singers for the entertainers loved by audiences for their ability to prompt laughter?

Sing-off

Lucy sung “One Moment in Time” and seemed to lack confidence. She was a bit shy while performing but sounded quite good anyway. But who wouldn’t be lacking confidence if they ended in the bottom two with John and Edward? She has quite strong vocals and I dare say, is more versatile than the twins. The twins were their usual vocal disaster performing “I Don’t Wanna Rock Dj.” They were entertaining somewhat. But I keep bringing myself back…it’s a singing competition!!!! Sighs… the utter sadness of this X-Factor calamity led to judge Dannii Minogue (Lucy’s mentor) commenting that she wished all the good singers in the competition the best. Even Louis admitted that Lucy shouldn’t have been in the bottom two but said he had to vote for the twins since he mentored them. Cheryl and Dannii said the twins should go home. But there you go British public! You’ve voted for the twins to stay and a potential (real) singing star has gone home before even being given a chance.

 

 

October 25, 2009

To sing or not to sing…X-Factor Results

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:10 pm by potofcallaloo

The biggest shocker of the night for me in X Factor’s Results show was the announcement that the twins made it through to the second round. I was thinking that the audience has had its fair share of laughs from the Britney and Spears duo and would now move to real singing acts after all it’s a singing competition! Not entirely about singing apparently :S Although I have to admit, like everyone else I find them quite entertaining but after I laugh a couple times, I’m ready to see another act.  Lloyd made it through, leaving behind Danyl Johnson and Miss Frank to battle it out for a last seat on the next X Factor train. In the end Miss Frank was voted out and Danyl remained to sing for another week.

Here were my impressions and reflections about the “big band” performances on Saturday night:

OLLY MURS

Olly sung Steve Lawrence’s “Bewitched” and it was an apt song that brought out the timbre of his voice. Accompanied by two dancing damsels, Olly managed to sneak in some decent dance moves as well. Simon applauded him and looked somewhat pleased. I’d give him 6 out of 10. He was good but I don’t know if he has lasting power as a performer.

LLOYD DANIELS

Lloyd performed a 60’s song – ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ and had Simon looking at him ‘cut eyed’…a word used in my native Trinidad and Tobago to describe a look of disgust or some other ill feeling. I think he felt it was a bad song choice. Lloyd sounded quite well singing that song but I felt it got too monotonous with the ‘curls’ at the end of every line in the song. Then, he did a back flip! In the middle of a 1954 song! Simon commented that it was like “eating a sandwich while you’re swimming.” Cheryl argued that it added some fun to the song and overall Lloyd got mixed reviews from the judges who felt he was good at some times but without confidence at others.

MISS FRANK

Miss Frank, never one of my favourite acts, sung the old classic “That’s Life” and modernised the song with a rap in the middle of it! I was surprised! They finally started blending their voices and they earned Simon’s nod for the first time in the competition.  But I figured their progress came at too much of a late point in the competition to give them any leverage over the other competitors. And, well..they’ve been sent home.

RACHEL ADEDEJI

Rachel belted out “Rolling on a River (Proud Mary) in a colourfully, shiny dress and her usual bright pink lipstick. Simon rated hers as a “superb” performance and said it was like seeing a brand new competitor. Simon said Rachel’s former stage persona had been too serious but he was happy that she had lost the “silly” haircut. I agree except for the part with describing Rachel as a brand new competitor. I think she had set the bar quite high previously but for some reason was unlucky with getting public votes. Maybe it was the hair style? Or it could be the one thing that’s annoying about her. There’s just too much hype and exaggeration after every performance or about it. I remembered her drowning herself in self pity on camera as she sulked over how much effort she put into her performances still to get insufficient votes… or there was the contrast last night when she finally got some praises from Simon. Rachel then did the extreme opposite and sucked up to the good feedback. Arrrghhh… I think she needs to take it down a bit… but that’s just me. What do you think? Otherwise, the girl’s a star already…she looks the part and sounds it too.

JAMIE ARCHER

This Afro wielding dude is quite good I think. He performed U2’s ‘Angel of Harlem’ rather excellently. I like that he adds a different flavour or sound to whatever he sings. But Louis said it was unfair that Jamie performed a song that didn’t fall into the category of ‘big band’ and blamed Simon on picking the wrong song. I think Jamie has staying power as a performer, because he is different from the everyday artiste. He is entertaining and has a unique stage presence. He could win this season’s show but I’m not sure just yet.

STACEY SOLOMON

Stacey…Stacey…. She’s a favourite of mine because she can sing, she’s humble and has a personality that makes many smile. She looked stunning in a shimmering mermaid cut dress, singing the 50’s classic “When You Wish Upon a Star.” Her rendition was quite disappointing because we all know Stacey can do much better. Perhaps it was that same stunning dress to blame. When questioned on how she was coping in the dress, Stacey sent the audience in stitches saying that she could hardly breathe and move because it was so tight! You just got to love her! Lol…. Simon told her she looked better than she sounded but we can always count on her to bounce back next week. There is some possibility of her winning.

DANYL JOHNSON

Danyl got a rare standing ovation from Simon. He’s good and has his own style but not one of my favourites. A clear favourite of Simon’s though! I could see the disgust in Simon’s face when Danyl landed in the bottom two with Miss Frank. But he’s made it for another week. Danyl can make it as a performing artiste I think, but I’m not sure if his style of singing has a wide reach and universal appeal.

JOE MCELDERRY

Joe sounded mellow singing the groovy Michael Buble ‘Sway’. Joe got good feedback overall with Louis saying he’s got the “likeability” and reckoned that Joe would be in the competition until the very end. Simon agreed adding that Joe rose to every challenge but said that Joe’s performance wasn’t authentic because he had “as much Latin flare as a dolphin.” Like everyone else including Cheryl, Dannii praised Joe but said he looked like a little boy among the dancers. I thought he sounded rather good singing that selection and I liked his act overall. His chances of winning are probably great?…hmmmm

LUCIE JONES

I will admit I had managed to miss Lucie perform every week as I’d be flicking channels between X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing. But this week when I watched Lucy perform I was dumfounded. I hadn’t heard much talk of her but by far I felt she was the best performer for the night! She sung a 40’s classic “My Funny Valentine.” High praises came from Louis  and Cheryl said Lucie proved her wrong with her “effortless” performance. Simon thought she had “great vocals” but said she sung it “like an actress” which I did not get at all. Did he mean she was emotionally detached? Come on!!! Dannii said Lucie’s act was sensational and I think she was right on!

JOHN AND EDWARD

The Britney and Spears Goofs! Don’t get me wrong…I like them, but the performances are a lot to stand sometimes.  And it’s two of them! : S Usually it’s double the pain on the ear bells but the incredulous thing is that everyone is pushing them on! The judges (mainly Cheryl and Louis) keep saying the vocals are not up to par but that they want to see more of them as they are entertaining. It’s a singing competition for goodness sake! I know the entertainment factor is important too but at least be able to sing at competition standards! The twins croaked…err I mean sung Ricky Martin’s ‘She Bangs.’ So they’re on for yet another week to entertain 12 million viewers. Now it’s a given that the twins won’t win but I won’t be surprised if at the end of this I see them on reality TV or hosting their own show.

What did you think of this week’s performances? Who do you think will win? Post your comments!!:)

October 22, 2009

Can I afford it…? Yes, yes and for the umpteenth time, yes!

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 8:50 pm by potofcallaloo

I was rushing with a friend to have some semblance of a lunch break. My radio class had just been given an assignment due in about two and a half hours. On the way out of university, I opted to stop at our convenient in house Costa. I decided from quite early that I’d have a tuna sandwich and for my sweet craving taste buds – a yummy sponge cake slice sandwiched with jam and topped with shredded coconut. Having stood in the line behind five people, I had well sufficient time to decide on what I’d purchase but for some reason when I got the counter, there was a problem.

I thought that I was quite clear and succinct when I placed my order. But then the lone sales clerk pointed to my cake and engaged me in a conversation that went like this:

“Did you see the price?” (sales clerk)

“Yes I did”

“It’s quite expensive” (sales clerk)

(silence…me looking on)

“It’s £1.20” (sales clerk)

“It’s fine”

“The tuna sandwich is £2.60. Ok?” (sales clerk)

(me staring in disbelief)

“Ok” I muttered coldly.

After she finally handed me my order and I paid, I realised I had lost my appetite. No one else in the line before me had been drilled as I had been.

I cannot recall in all my travels ever having to reassure any salesperson that I could pay for something I ordered, which is what I felt I was doing. Why, if as everyone else, I placed an order I should be embarrassed by questioning that implies I cannot afford what I am ordering. Why? Now, obviously from this disconcerting experience I can draw several conclusions – some, all or none of which may be correct. (A) Perhaps the salesclerk was having a bad day and decided to pick on me (b) Perhaps she assumed that I could not afford my purchase on the basis of who I am – a mixed ethnic brown coloured Caribbean girl who looks very different from her or (c) No one buys what I purchased and she felt impassioned to warn me repeatedly or (d) I misread the entire scenario. Whatever the reason, my point is I ordered it and I will pay for it just give me my order and stop with the nonsensical behaviour.  I can afford it!