Monday, December 2, 2013

Silencio = Muerte

I meant to post this yesterday in observance of World Aids Day. Its an art video showing the last addresses of some important artists who died of AIDS. Its beautiful.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

#poems #gay #trinivocies

(a fashion advisory from the Marike de Klerk Spring Collection)

"...Aries... My best friend's an Aries too. I really like Aries people.
So tell me? what's your antibody!"

Post the minus sign
mezuza on your doorway
Let it dangle golden
from your ankle
like a southern chain
Strap it to your forehead like a frontlet
pressing in the brain
Or wrap t round your wrist in bondage
like your name
Weave it into charms
and scratch it into crystals
Shop for buttons
Hang it
in a collar on your neck
Tattoo a tiny straight cicatrix
on your cheek or'
asshole skin back
display your modern cut
To overstate it shave a line into your bush

Wear it like I've worn my sexual choices
Parade it proudly
Flaunt it like a man
Put it in your Cv on your ID in the phone book
Don't forget to stamp it on your mail
Think negative
Be testy

Horizontal stripes are in

By Colin Robinson. Taken from The Road Before Us - 100 Gay Black Poets edited by Assoto Saint.

Monday, November 11, 2013



I don’t know where to start this story! Alright....I got a sky box recently, one of those U.S. addresses that allow you to shop online and have it delivered then brought to your door by a local service provider. Among my first online purchases, a pair of Ecco boots and a Nixon watch.

Now I first saw the Nixon brand while window shopping at Barney’s Loft in New York in 2010. I fell in love immediately and coveted one ever since. I was able to afford one last week and it arrived a few days later. I have been dying to share my excitement with someone as the brand isn't that popular yet in these parts.

The first day I wore the watch I walked in to the RED96.7 studio and host and man about town, Kwesi Hypa Hoppa Hopkinson, had on a Nixon cap. I was again immediately excited and bursting to share the news of my new acquisition.

Today I managed the nerve to say to him, hey I got a Nixon! In that way that Trinis do he say “you late…I have about five”. I went on to tell him, trying to save face, that I had known the brand since 2010 but was only now able to afford one. He said he’d been wearing the brand since about 2008 and went on to say he’d moved on to owning Breitling’s and has his eyes set on a Hublot and a Rolex! Lol!

You ain’t see I was fass and outta place to think that of all people Hoppa would have been the one to share in my joy?

All the same I like my watch and despite my bruised ego will continue to prize it as something to be proud of…I mean after three years my attraction to the brand didn't wane and that must mean love in some way.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Eyes Wide Shut

I love food and fashion. I have been, I would say, on the periphery of both worlds since my years in New York but never fully immersed – I worked at trendy restaurants that attracted the fashion crowds and most of my good friends worked directly in the fashion industry.

I used to know how to pronounce the designer’s names, what they were up to professionally, know who the models were and know some of the models. I have grown away from my loves in some ways. Now I eat as a matter of necessity and not so much as a foodie, too I make little effort to keep up with the world of fashion. It has been a growing estrangement.

The fact is that I am good friends with one of the best designers I know, Robert Young of The Cloth and we eat a lot and we enjoy what we eat. This is not to say that all that I said before is not true but it speaks to how we view ourselves here in Trinidad and Tobago. Too, how I view myself in relation to my own life.

Robert is a major talent but he doesn't get the respect he would if he operated in another space. His company has been around for 26 years, he has dressed the best of society and entertainment, his aesthetic is strong and unmistakable – these are among the markers of his success. He’s an ordinary man though even while being extraordinary and that may be why we don’t view him in the same way we’d view a foreign designer despite the similarities in the stories of their labels.

I sometimes write for The Cloth and so I write for one of the region's and yes the world’s best design houses. We don’t view it like that though, he’d call and say he needs me to do some writing for him, I’d go over, spend some time on it , run it by him and he usually approves it and sends it off, press releases, interviews, biographies, stuff like that.

If you’re not familiar with Robert’s work it’s not my fault though as I am not his publicist and maybe if he had one you would hear more about The Cloth. That’s the thing; few things operate like industries in Trinidad and Tobago – with the supporting players that get fame and mileage for the work that many do daily.

This is Trinidad and Tobago, though, and it’s more problematic than I have made it out to be. It can be very vicious, perhaps in ways we only see playing out in the world of politics. I mean to be fair there is sport and it’s silent politics, silent in the sense that the back room race and class considerations that determine who makes National Teams rarely if ever makes it to the Sport pages of our free press. Similarly, the dirt of many industries is never part of our public discourse, we accept things as they are and rarely ask why...perhaps in Soca Monarch we hear of a certain amount of discontent and in Calypso about the politics of association and how that affects the success of bards.

The First World is not immune from these issues but there is more it seems, room for dissenting voices, the Black Girls Coalition being an example, the Super Model amalgam often speaks out about the color bias of many designers. Recently, too, I have heard individuals venting about race and fashion, yet those who complain still worship at the altar of this seductive industry. Perhaps they too don’t realize that they represent that black element they seem to think is missing. Much like me I guess, who misses good food and fashion despite having access to the best of both.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dye Dye

I asked a friend recently if a friend of our's dyed his hair and she said his response is usually that he was "born black and he would dye black". Haha! I recently dyed my hair after relaxing it. I was going to a 20's themed party on the night of my birthday and wanted to get that "fried, dyed and flipped to the side" look that was popular among black men in eras gone.

After a couple days I could take it no longer, it just looked and felt unnatural. The reality is, though, that not a day passes without me seeing men and women, countless, with dyed hair. It begs the question what's wrong with the truth? Why can't we face our ageing selves and accept our greys?

To me it's part of a wider problem, that we rather hide the truth and that goes for more than just about our appearance. I have blogged recently about the truth, the inconvenient truth but as I live each day it seems to me that more of us rather dye dye, than live in the truth.


#poems #plug

Check out my poetry at Pubic Space...its not the fully monty.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


A journalist as opposed to a columnist is not encouraged to express political views, we report facts and don't express opinions, that is what I was taught and what I practise. I have in this space, though, ventured the closest to taking sides as it were. It's because this is me as a citizen, using my professional skills and insight but not in my professional mode.

I'm not voting come Monday. That is an even further delve into the political abstinence that is considered ethical for journalists. The world will know as my finger will not be stained red, that in itself seems like a "vote". I may even have to answer things like "aa yuh aint vote or what", some would note it silently.

This campaign season has been too much and still not enough. We have heard of what Central Government has done, the platforms have been dominated by MP's and it was only today that I figured out why. I want to believe that Local Government officials lack the power to sway voters and so the parties have been using star power to reach their constituents.

I also feel that the vote on Monday is for parties and not individuals and there is no masking of that. We seem to me set to vote on a governance style. The Independent Liberal Party with no track record is a hit, the People's Partnership is the incumbent and the People's National Movement is well established as a party. It seems to matter even less this LGE who your candidate is as no platform gave them much time to introduce themselves beyond those who already know them. Too, the media did not highlight the candidates or their positions, it was all big name politicians and parties that I heard. I can't say that I can conscientiously make a decision with the information I have received about what will happen at the Local Government level after Monday and so I'm not voting.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

being true

A drag queen was once asked in the question segment of a pageant, "what is the best advice you have ever received?" Her answer has stuck with me and plays on my mind in various iterations. She said "to thine own self be true". I don't know the actual source of that quote and I can google it but it doesn't matter. When I hear it I most times think of it as saying be who you are, be true to that person you believe your self to be. Some people interpret it it to mean that you owe no one but yourself the truth and so they lie to others, I think. Im not even sure what she meant when she said it as the answer wasn't  popular with the crowd who felt that she too wasn't sure of its meaning. Im sure it has a meaning and as I said it can possibly be found on the Net but I really don't care. I just want to live today being true to myself in the knowledge that He who created me was certain of what He was doing. In the knowledge that He who created me loves me despite what others may feel. That I have the power and knowledge to be me. I want to live today without fear of being me. I want to live today as miss thing said in a silent truth that my own self understands.

It's funny you know that a cross dresser would have answered in such a way, I find it a powerful statement coming from one like herself. Its so bold to be able to gender bend, to go to a shop as a man and shop for women's clothing. It even says a lot about shop girls in town who many may disregard as not being smart enough to hold down another job, retail hardly being the prestigious post that it is in high end stores across the world. These shop girls though accept these men shopping for women's clothes and probably enjoy the spunk that cross dressers bring to the world, more can be said on that last point but not now, maybe at another point. But yes, these brave men who have to be true to themselves even if it seems like an abominable lie to others, walk into boutiques around Port of Spain and shop for dresses and heels and weaves and make up. There is something comforting to me about that and too, funny and yes too, bizarre. There is a belief that this is a hostile territory for people who live alternative lifestyles and yet they manage to survive.

Some of us live what can be best summed up as inconvenient truths (thanks Al Gore). My family immediate and extended never acknowledge my sexuality, I have been asked by family, when am I getting married. One aunt asked my cousin to speak to me about changing my lifestyle. The irony is that it isn't much of  a lifestyle, that would require activities that are woefully missing from my experience and I'm not lying, you know how some people say they are non-practising Catholics but still identify with the faith, well similarly I'm pretty much close to being a non-practising homosexual, as harsh as a word as that can be.

I cant help but think of you who would say why make such an admission publicly, what you do in your private life is exactly that private. Well not when it has to be legislated upon and not when people hold seminars to warn of the dangers of encouraging people like me to be who we believe ourselves to be. The fact is, though, that many refuse to acknowledge my lifestyle as worthy of respect, endorsement or even concern. This is to say that a single heterosexual forty-something would have all sorts of support to remedy their condition, their loneliness. The reality to me is that the marginalization of gays and lesbians has led to a pathology that plays out socially. Some people conquer it but many don't and even those sure of themselves find this to be a place where coupling is difficult. Patterns have developed that reduce interactions to socially accepted norms like conversation, dancing and congregation but there is not an enabling environment to allow for intimacy. It's pushed into unsafe spaces, reduced to quick fixes and leads to guilt and shame for many of us. I also believe that that contributes to the increasing spread of HIV as there is less control over sexual relations and less self-respect perhaps leading to high-risk activities. It seems to me that the result of society not valuing the lives of people like me leads to people like me not valuing their own lives.

Seeking asylum seems a popular choice these days but more so for transgenders. Godfrey Sealey was successful in getting asylum as an HIV + man and returned to Trinidad and Tobago where he eventually died. I want to believe though that I can live my best life here. I don't, however, expect my joy to be my family's joy but maybe I just lack imagination and am cynical. But I can't see my family being happy for me living the life I wish I didn't have to migrate, again, to live. It may be that I end up living here for eternity and never realising my dream or that I do, only time will tell but for now I have to be true to myself if only to be sure that when the day comes that I am living my dream it would be consistent with what I always wanted and always wished was possible.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Daddy I love you.

Sylvan Henderson was or is my father's name. He died in 1989 of Cancer. I carry his middle name, Vincent. I'm still trying to make sense of our relationship and by that I mean coming to terms with love for my father. He was in some ways inaccessible and I never thought he had the patience for children. Not that he ever flew off the handle with us but in my eyes he was an adult with little tolerance for playful childishness.

He was what we call bright in Trinidad. He went to St Mary's College and was adamant that I wouldn't, that's how I ended up at Hillview College, I remember that much - when I said I wanted to put Saint's as my first choice he said no. I can only guess why. Being from the working class community of Belmont I imagine he saw first hand the privilege afforded the middle class at that school and wanted to spare me that, that's what I think.

My brother and I never called him daddy or dad, those affectionate terms, always Da, yes just Da.

I'd say he died before we got to know each other and in some ways I regret that. I feel as if there is a lingering resentment in my mind for my father who always seemed inaccessible.

A former police officer he never left the ways of the service behind and tended to be very official with us. He was also a teacher at some point, an insurance sales man and even managed an Ansa Mcal warehouse before becoming an Estate Police officer on campus. He would never realise his dream of being a lawyer.

I think of him as a man of the Classics. I still have some of his Bach and Beethoven records - they lay warped by the heat in our store room. At his bedside always lay The Complete Works of Shakespeare, DH Lawrence's Apocalypse and Somerset Maughm's The Moon and Sixpence. Those titles I remember along with his Rosicrucian magazines and texts.

I love my daddy and I think apart from his good looks I share his taste for the Classics. Sometimes I wish he were here still so that we could have really got to know each other.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Ism Schism

Ageing we say comes with increased responsibilities. This may be true but for the sake of argument not entirely. On the one hand children have a lot of responsibilities, among them, to be children. Children must maintain respect for their elders even as they seem as a separate species to be pushing that boundary more and more with each generation. They have homework even though for some that one seems optional, ahem. But the fact is that apart from the responsibilities of childhood adults have autonomy and in some ways that allows them to eschew responsibility under the protection of knowing what is best and with the authority to decide such.

Many of my friends as we have aged have children, mortgages and the likes, I chose to further my education by doing both undergrad and postgrad in my later years. I also decide to be more responsible by letting go of some of my younger ways, at least to some extent.

Today we celebrate Republic Day. Simply put it means the Queen of England is no longer Head of State. We went through the Governor General state that many Commonwealth nations are still in, including some of our regional neighbours and partners and we went a step further by becoming a republic with the role of the President being established and accepted as a replacement for the Crown. We celebrate this annually on September 24th.

I wake up today, though, and being the troubled soul that I am I say that we cant be totally Republican until we let go of the Privy Council. Forgive my bad manners as I bluntly ask can we truly say we are a Republican state when our highest court of appeal is still based in London? I am always wary of being the cockroach in fowl party, lest I run afoul of the ruling party, and I’m sure there may be legal and other justifications that allow us to celebrate the cutting of ties with Mother England but the fact is that we haven’t, not entirely.

The Caribbean Court of Justice is proudly headquartered right here in The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago yet we don’t take it on. This is laugh out loud funny and dead serious at the same time. The other joke is that we want to make as if yeah, we have much to celebrate on this day.

The rejection of the CCJ in argument is based on us being a small state and the challenges of maintaining fairness in such a judicial environment. I mean maybe with due reason after a Judge walked away from the bench one day and found himself on the back bench of Parliament some time later. Yes, maybe it is true that justice is hard to find when politicians and judges often find themselves sharing alma maters and hors d’oeuvres. That’s real and must be considered but it speaks to a mistrust of each other.

As I age it is less the responsibilities of civil arrangements that occupy my mind and its because I first have to know myself and I also have to trust myself, it’s just the responsible thing for me to do.  Happy Republic Day!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

This is not a fete

I am in a strange place. No I am not sitting in a jail cell or riding a taxi through a new city but it remains true that I am in a strange place. I am in the mental equivalent of a geopolitical no man’s land, or even like being a refugee or someone granted asylum at an embassy having been exiled from my home for crimes unintended.

I don’t want to lay blame anywhere and there is no one to blame. It’s a mental space that I am in and it feels strange. Viola Davis writes in her 1983 thesis cum publication The Creative Use Of Schizophrenia In Caribbean Writing: Caribbean writing might be viewed as the way in which writers deal with their experience of the Caribbean world. The writers themselves were compromisers in the society; they quite often shared the assumptions of the society. Thus some Caribbean writers have been ambivalent about their status. On the one hand their experience of themselves as educated, cultured and sensitive West Indians, contradicted the assumptions of the societies they themselves shared – a society of people of inferior status as colonials and descendants of African slave or indentured labor.

Davis’ text looks at how schizophrenia manifests in the writing of some of the regions best writers: Derek Walcott, VS Naipaul, Wilson Harris and Kamau Brathwaithe. She uses a definition of schizophrenia as posited by psychiatrist R.D. Laing: Laing she says “believes that the schizophrenic must be seen in relation to his social context, he felt that the schizophrenic was reacting to the conflicts and stresses in his society, and had to adopt special strategies to live in what he perceived as an unlivable situation.” Her assumption is that the writers she covers are schizophrenic without providing any clinical support for that while analyzing their work from this assumption.

She, however, admits that it was Walcott’s statement on the condition that inspired her thesis. He is quoted as saying “…the only way (for the West Indian writer) to recreate this language was to share in the tortures of the articulation. This did not mean the jettisoning of ‘culture’ but, by the writer’s making creative use of his schizophrenia, an electric fusion of the old and the new.”

In a 2012 contribution to the UWIToday publication Professor Gerard Hutchinson writes, “A mental health problem is no longer labeled as madness and no longer defines the person who experiences it. In fact, it defines all of us. It is an inevitable function and consequence of life. As an experience, it enriches the world because it forces everyone to seek a greater understanding of themselves.”

If we look at things like skin bleaching for example its easy to fault those who do it as hating their black selves but it is the society that has long shown preference to lighter skin. News anchors, models and actors have long been the face of the world and have historically been lighter so can we say that bleachers are alone in the belief that being lighter is a preferred way to be? It doesn’t end there; it can be extended to persons seeking larger breasts and lips too.  I agree with the professor when he says, “A world without prejudice, mindless discrimination and feelings of superiority is fundamental for the development of the mind. Development that would be open and even, mindful and joyful. Development that would truly embody the best of being human.”

Davis in her work almost assumes schizophrenia not to be a psychiatric condition but a psychological or even psycho-social condition and one that has not escaped some of the most brilliant minds of the region. Even though Hutchinson says “One of the greatest challenges is to diminish the associations between mental illness and sexual perversion on one hand and mental illness and violence on the other.” It is worth noting that at least two of Davis’ subjects, Naipaul and Walcott have had very public allegations and admissions of exhibiting both these behaviors and have suffered personally as a result. Naipaul’s biographer chronicles his philandering and abusive past while just a few years ago Walcott was the target of allegations that saw him lose out on a prestigious academic appointment at a leading institution.

It seems though that not only artists are prone to these conditions as especially today I hear repeatedly about politicians who are at worst both promiscuous despite being married and even violent suggesting that while many may not carry the burden of being labeled mentally ill they do exhibit the symptoms. I even one day heard a politician say in parliamentary cross-talk “at least I doh beat my wife”.

Hutchinson says “The real message here is that untreated mental health problems can lead to both of these (sexual perversion and violence), but more open and accessible mental health treatment would likely improve the social fabric in a way that would naturally lead to a reduction in these socially inappropriate behaviors. Restoration and maintenance of personhood in all its dimensions with respect of the right of every other to be, must remain our goal as we seek to improve ourselves individually and socially.”

The premise of Professor Hutchinson’s article is for a reduction of the stigma associated with mental illness and Davis’ thesis suggests that it is more prevalent than is acknowledged but can be used productively. It may be said that while we all relish our difference from the other and value that we are unique none of us wants to be treated as if we are mad. Rudder sang that “we mad we mad we more than mad”. I have a friend that usually rationalizes the sometimes-crazy goings on of the day by quoting the Lewis Carroll line from Alice in Wonderland “we’re all mad here”. 

My mistake may be to try and make sense of the strange place I find myself in and my challenge may be in making sense of my own identity. It's not enough maybe to say that all is not well but I write in the hope that things can get better and that so can I and if applicable so can you.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Better than that...please.

Today the comment was made that things were expected to change under the People's Partnership administration. It was in the context of the expectation that they would solve our problems. I wasn't that hopeful in that regard. The change I had hoped for is being tested in what Im about to say.

The lasting legacy of People's National Movement founding father Dr. Eric Willams was that "no dog dare bark", he was a leader that didn't take kindly to being challenged. In my adult years when reason set in, I lived under former PNM Leader Patrick Manning. Things were so bad at one point that persons were reprimanded for referring to him publicly without the nomenclature, Mr., It was Mr Manning or you're being disrespectful. Along with that came the observation that it was a lack of respect for him that would make you refer to him as 'Manning'. My favourite personality, however, was Patos Manning, a clever and accessible alter ego to the starchy figure that ruled in the style his party fashioned.

The young people have a saying "jump out yuhself", it refers to an act that is out of character or out of the expected behaviour that we accept as a society. Well I'm about to "jump out" myself and even that is an admission of the fear that still grips many of us when commenting on the actions of politicians. Particularly as media, I have been trained to reserve public comment that may lead to my neutrality being questioned.

Today the Government hosted a meeting in East Port of Spain. It follows the brutal killing of two teenagers in recent weeks, one of them a pregnant girl.

Coming out of the meeting Prime MInister Kamla Persad Bissesssar said she would reserve her response to the people but say that their most pressing concerns were a need for housing and jobs. As many times as I turn it over in my head I end up perplexed. Im like really? You have two dead teenagers and not one person in that community could have said what actually lead to their deaths, what they want is jobs and houses? Isn't there a bigger problem at hand here?

I wouldn't go so far as to say that low cost government housing schemes have failed but they do remain among this most violent communities in the country outside of the hot spots that border the capital. The figures will speak for themselves.

We have some housing projects, among the first built in the Capital by the State, two teenagers are gunned down within their walls in essence and what comes out of a meeting stemming from that is a call for houses and jobs - a bloody red herring if you ask me.

Now policing is the police job but was that the purpose of the meeting today? How different and revolutionary it would have been if we all now had a reason behind the killings of two teenagers, one of them pregnant? One teenager, Trayvon Martin was killed in the U.S. and the whole world took an interest in the circumstances that lead to his death. The repercussions of that incident still ripple through the shallow yet conscientious world of pop culture with statements being made to this day, weeks after the end of the trial that acquitted George Zimmerman. Or am I being naive, was that case really America's race obsession and nothing more?

It is scant courtesy on the part of the authorities to not demand answers from the residents of East Port of Spain. To quote my good friend Gillian Moor what kind of P.R. pappy show did we experience today. To compound that description there was a supposed media black out of the meeting, yet Government Information Services Limited had full access to the whole thing! So now it might be that the goings ons would be edited and packaged and presented by himself when the commentary was on himself, you get me?

I don't know who to ask but I want to know why those two teenagers were killed. It brings to mind the Tecia Henry killing. A ten year old girl is sent on an "errand" by her mother, her body is found buried beneath a house some days later. I mean I may be concerned if only because I fear for my own life as I seem to be living among a breed of savage not of the same making. The then prime minister was criticised for saying at his party's annual convention that it was an internal affair, or something to that effect, that it was a matter that that community understood and not something that the rest of us should really concern ourselves with. Today's action amount to the same thing in that the lives have been lost and moving forward we forget that and work to give the people what they want. Well some of us want more and more than answers, we want a world where we don't have savages pumping bullets into teenagers and we may even want a world where girls are not only not pregnant at 16, but murdered.

Its like we're all acting with impunity - criminals, politicians, citizens and media. It was so glaring a side step of the real issue that lead to the meeting that the prime minister was proud to say that Housing Development Corporation officials were on hand to address the concerns of the residents who called for housing assistance. I understand them being there given that the HDC acts like a nanny to its clients so much so that it assumes a part of all that affects them but was it that it was known that there would be a call for housing? This blog is like the proverbial tree that falls in the forest with no one to tell if it made a sound and to a degree I like it like that, its just for my readers to consider my perspective but the more I think about it the more vexing it all becomes.

I accept that governing is like managing in that you make the best of even the worst that can and will happen. What then prompts this piece? Some might say an opposition to the ruling party in that I may not have commented if another party was in power. Who is to say? The change I had hoped for was that I would live in less fear of our leaders. It may be hard to convince those who have an interest in seeing it otherwise that that is the case but its more true than its alternative.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Of Hope

I enjoyed Iron Man but truth is it didn’t give me as much to think about as Man of Steel

After seeing Dave Williams' Press Play dance show recently I thought that art’s truth is sometimes in its shadows. Press Play for a dance show had stronger text than movement at times and in one piece in particular despite the balance struck, the text stood out, the ending line suggested that the Index Finger or voting finger or finger to detonate a world-ending bomb or pull a trigger was the only thing to get us out of the “hell” we live in. It was a particularly political ending to a piece that seemed more about how much the index finger is used in our lives, how prominently it features in our communication and our actions. Seems as if he went through all of it to say that life was in fact not pleasant and that that was related to politics. The truth to me lay in the shadow.

And shadowy the cinematography of both Iron Man and Man of Steel – the lingering imagery is to me a lot of shaded area and more so in Man of Steel, the subtext is what interested me in this regard.

How much has changed for me now that the “S” on Superman’s chest is a Kryptonian symbol for Hope and not for “Superman”? I mean I never knew that and it may be because I never really read the comics. I wasn’t a super hero kind of comic book reader, Richie Rich and Archie were more my scene. It's no small detail though! I mean how many of us knew that that "S" symbolised Hope?

It becomes more important for me when the nation-saving agenda of his nemesis General Zod enters my mind. It was in fact a coup that he led against the ruling council in the name of saving his people, the Kryptonians. We accepted that those who held power were right and that Zod like all insurrectionists was the evil one, it should also be said that like many, if not all insurrectionists, he was acting in the interest of his people, the nation of Krypton.

Like a messiah comes Kal El, Superman, bearing hope on his chest. At one point in trying to convince a military official that he was trustworthy he declared that he was an American, from Kansas. Kal El came from the ruling class and General Zod, who was his political opponent in essence, did not trust him. You see Kal El was entrusted with the DNA of the species and so the fight was for control of the future of a near extinct nation, Kal El being its sole survivor after Zod’s destruction. Yes, the just guardian of Hope is now without an Opposition.

Zod or his minions may be revived in a future production as they came back from the point of no return in this movie and so can do so again but for now as long as Clark Kent, Kal El, Superman is around we can say that hope is alive, but too, will be forever under threat.

Monday, August 5, 2013

ah lil parang

On Emancipation Day, at dawn, Calvary Hill, Arima. Burton Sankeralli and Melan Garcia.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

MATT Matters

I am a former Secretary of the Media Association of Trinidad and Tobago, MATT. I served under Marlan Hopkinson and he is in huge part responsible for me having agreed to run for the post when I did. It was tumultuous and interesting.

On Saturday MATT is hosting a General Meeting at which an Executive is to be elected. It is beyond obvious that commitment to the organisation, even if gauged just by meeting attendance is low. The executive at any given time I believe does its best but still hardly seems able to do what is necessary to engender more than a passing interest in its goings ons.

MATT fell prey to its own personality last week. You see it has become no more than a source of sound bytes and so when an internal matter involving executive members erupted at the Trinidad Guardian himself seemed to speak for himself. Personally I have no problem with how the events unfurled as I believe you really can only work with the information at hand at the time in responding to a matter.

This is not its biggest concern at the time, though, as I see it. Under our executive the question of inclusion came up. I was never comfortable with it because my view was in the minority, that MATT remains as an organisation open primarily to journalists with Associate membership open to others including new media and radio disc jockeys and announcers.

My feeling is that journalists are governed by different and established ethics while those other areas of media are not. How with one broad stroke would an association with a history of agenda and principles now serve to represent a more inclusive set?

At the beginning of our term the fire storm raged over the comments by an announcer at a media house that prompted a visit by the then prime minister. In fact it was the same day our team was elected and just some meters away on Abercromby Street that Mr Manning and his detail "stormed" into the media house. Yes MATT had to have a position. We subsequently, much to the disapproval of many commentators, met with Mr Manning about the state of the media in the country. At that meeting I asked the Prime Minister if it were a positive comment made about the proposed CNG conversion if he would have "visited" the media house to which he answered yes.

Many saw our visit to the Prime Minister as weak and pandering. It was the wish of the President and while as an executive we were guided by consensus suffice it to say we were never sure we agreed with our critics. This is how MATT operates as an executive that is charged with responsibilities and with the power to determine its course.

In our time we held less than well attended but valuable workshops and powerful luncheons that saw better attendance and more interest. We were prudent with spending and responsive as necessary.

Im not sure I'm attending Saturday's meeting: I haven't paid dues and I'm not sure where I stand on the matters now before field.

The issue of membership is thorny. It seems the organisation is poised to sell its soul in the pursuit of fresh blood that may again make it relevant beyond providing sound bytes. There are the matters of MATT Awards, fund raising and scholarships, all hallmarks of successful executives. MATT can't be all things to all people. It must remember its moorings while growing and defining its course. My fears may be unfounded in this regard in that new members may also provide the manpower and energy needed to achieve anything. They must first make their presence felt though and I guard against banking on the promise of support that is so lacking from the current body the organisation serves.

There is a question though about if MATT can survive without expanding its membership. The question will also arise what does MATT offer members. Its a quagmire and a daunting and sometimes seemingly thankless role, working to sort it out.

Its not easy serving on a MATT executive and its not easy not serving either but it may be because for whatever reason, to me, MATT matters.