Monday, June 18, 2012

State of Flux

:A state of uncertainty about what should be done.

  • I came upon a debate taking place on the messaging board of a popular Jamaican online news site in which one set of Jamaicans was correcting the spelling of another set of Jamaicans. The first set declared that the correct spelling of the word in question was the American English way and the second set was defending the Jamaican/Queens English way of spelling the word. I understand that different people have different versions of software on their computers and that the region and language settings may be different, so normally I am not too concerned with spelling but I have a problem with Jamaicans who turn their backs on the Jamaican way of life and then try to push their adopted way of life on their homeland.
  • On that same news site a Jamaican wrote to the site reporters declaring that he was correcting a particular news item, he stated that Labour Day was not on May 23rd but in September, even though Jamaica’s Labour Day have always been celebrated on May 23rd.

    If I am on an American site and they reported about Labour Day, I would assume they were talking about Labour Day in America, the one in September. I know enough about the world to understand that things are done differently in different parts of the world and I respect that. I would expect the same outlook when someone is on a Jamaican site, even more so from a Jamaican, you enter the Jamaican mode. I just cannot imagine writing to the editors of the Huffington Post telling them to use the date for Jamaica’s Labour Day instead.
  • This all goes hand in hand with the lady who wrote the Jamaica Gleaner complaining that the 911 emergency services were not working and a waste of time (in mid 90s when no such service existed)when in fact the number for Jamaica’s Emergency Service is 119, so no wonder it was not working.

As we get ready to celebrate Jamaica 50, it has become clear that the Jamaican society is truly in a state of uncertainty as we are being pulled every which way by various members of our society. There is no clear cut definition of what it means to be a Jamaican, no preservation of shared history and value system and as such we have become a chameleon like society as we disregard our "Jamaicanness" to adopt all things foreign.

The fabric of our society is being unravelled before our very eyes, the “Ja-Mericans” wants us to be more like America, to adopt American values complete with East Coast/West Coast gang signs and the Anglophile wants us to embrace “Britishness” while both sees no value in preserving our shared rich culture and history. One of the main problem is no one really knows what “Jamaicanness” is anymore, how it is defined, like a Croaking Lizard we change colour depending on colour of the surface or the country we adopt.

Anything that was truly Jamaican has been devalued and diluted as we have become a net importer of culture. Historically we are missing that big bang, that moment in time that seals in the flavour of “Jamaicanness”, that brings everyone together and on the same path and make us Jamaicans now and forever.

The United States of America have had their big bangs, moments in time that made them uniquely Americans. The United Kingdom of Great Britain has had centuries of big bangs from Brutus landing at Totnes (History of the Kings of Britain), to the events of 1066, to Winston Churchill rallying the British people during the Second World War. All these historical events is what gives the British people that Keep Calm and Carry on mentality, what don't kill you make you stronger and define you.

We have also had Big bangs in our history but the difference between our big bangs and that of other countries is that they preserve their history, they are proud of their history; they respect their history and value their achievements. It is used as a driving force to create a nation state they can be proud of. Their history is used to define who they are as a people while we are ashamed of ours.

Most Jamaicans devalue their history and belittle our big bangs, the things we are supposed to be proud of, we brush them aside as meaningless rubbish, when you hear a Jamaican proclaim that “anything too black, no too good”, then you are listening to a people who have devalued themselves, I have never heard whites declaring that "anything too white, no too good”. It is a saying that must have had its origin from slavery, I can imagine it being said for the first time on the plantation by the slave master just before the whip cuts across the slave’s back and picked up by both field and house slaves alike, they now started using it against each other.

Our failure to define our “Jamaicanness” is made even worst by the migration of Jamaicans overseas and the resultant importation of other countries culture and value system. This migration have lead to the destruction of the family unit and the creation of generations of abandoned orphaned barrel children left to find their own way in life.

It is so easy for other countries culture to infiltrate our society because most of us are looking for an alternate realm of existence, anywhere else but here. Before 1970 it was Britain, everyone wanted to be British and everyone wanted to go to the mother country, after 1970 everyone wanted to be Americans. With such poor perception of ourselves it is no wonder that we live in a deteriorating society.

In almost all other societies and cultures the people try to preserve certain historical buildings and structures. They stand the test of time and survived against all odds, these buildings reflect a certain historical architectural beauty of the past. Both the Government and the people see no value in anything old, these great structures are left to rot. The government has never set out to educate the people on the value of these historical artifacts. I am convinced the Government does not want an educated society with values preferring instead the “Just-Eat-A-Food” mentality. Since they are much easier to control and are the first to say “Afta dat can nyam!” (it is of no value because it cannot be eaten).

Jamaica 50 should not be about parades, costumes, fireworks, street dances and various merriment. We have been doing that every year for as long as I can remember and that is about the only thing we are good at, that and spending money we have not earned for a good merriment.

Sick to my Stomach of these two circus clowns
I am amazed when ever I hear members of our political class go on and on about celebrating Jamaica 50. Our political class has not invested in the development of Jamaica as a Nation State. They are asking us to celebrate something they have not promoted and have destroyed for their own selfish, greedy lust for political power and wealth. There are people right now who are members of our political class who have armed Jamaicans and send them out to kill other Jamaicans. There are people right now who are members of our political class who have and continue to dip their greedy hands into the public purse stealing from the very people they are supposed to be serving. They are not guided by strength of character and moral devotion to duty nor are they there to build a Nation State for the good of the people and future generations.

What are we celebrating, years since independence or achievements since independence?

Jamaica 50 is suppose to be something more, something special, a result of 50 years of hard work, achievements and Nation Building that highlights to the world our maturity and strength as a people to over come adversity. Our ability to make the right decisions and build a nation state every Jamaican and the world can be proud of, but sadly I am not feeling it.

From slavery to emancipation, to workers rights, to universal adult suffrage and independence, our entire history should have been leading us to this point in space and time when we can look back on our achievements and bask in our own glory BUT we have failed as a people and as a society. Both myself and all my fellow Jamaicans regardless of geographic location have failed.


  1. Solid points on the destruction of the family unit, and the failure to preserve our history. I sigh each time I drive through Spanish Town, as I drive through ruins.

    I don't agree with the whole language debate though. I've always thought that British English wasted letters :) However, I still maintain English spelling and grammar (to the extent to which I can), but only because that's what I learned in school. Don't know if it's being taught as well anymore. I believe that in the end, as long as we can communicate clearly, it doesn't matter if we use "American English" or "British English". Hey, one day the global language may be Mandarin!

    Also, I'm not sure if you're still in Jamaica, but 911 was implemented as a local emergency number in November of last year. It's a part of an effort by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) to harmonize emergency numbers worldwide. More here:

  2. Thank you for responding…
    The lady who wrote the Gleaner complaining about the 911 did so in the mid 90s when no such service existed at the time.

    I am also not bothered too much about spelling however I would never enter into a debate defending only one way to spell certain words because I understand the differences between countries. It is their attempt to push foreign, their one dimensional adopted concepts and idea on a local population that offends me.

  3. I totally agree regarding Spanish Town, it hurts my heart to see it.