Ah Suh Me See It, Ah Suh Me Say It - A social commentary par excellence
I wish I had had the opportunity to reading Esther Tyson's Ah Suh Me See It, Ah Suh Me Say It before serving as a minister of government. Yes, I would read her columns in The Sunday Gleaner as they appeared, but the impact of her commentary on the social and educational issues in Jamaica is only experienced fully in the compendium now published.
This book is a veritable primer on certain values and attitudes that should undergird the formation and execution of public policy and the ordering of private lives in Jamaica.
No, it is not a philosophical or theological tome, just the down-to-earth observation of national mores gleaned from a career in the classroom and in educational administration.
Nor is the writing another elegantly composed litany of all that is wrong in our social and educational landscape. Here, we have mature prescriptions as to how we can improve our family life, our respect and gratitude for one another, and our educational outcomes.
Esther Tyson, veteran teacher of English and highly regarded past principal of Ardenne and Tarrant high schools, offers joyous and effective alternatives to the hedonism of contemporary social habits, as well as the well-intentioned but fundamentally unjust educational structures.
FIRM IN PRINCIPLES
You see, she writes from the perspective of a Christian servant-leader, not in shrill, dogmatic terms, but with the clarity (and charity) of vision and expression of someone firm in her principles, yet gentle in her strength.
The commentaries cover the whole spectrum of education, the state of family life in Jamaica, societal values, including sensitive subjects like self-control, abortion, and the impact of the dancehall culture of popular behaviour and then go on to reflections of politics and governance.
My greedy wish list, even after an ample 450 pages, would be for more on the choice, training and responsibility of teachers, as well as the author's thoughts on the adequacy of our political culture to lead and inspire us towards national goals.
Thank goodness, Tyson's writing is neither preachy nor shrill just analytical and principled. It would be great if this contribution would inspire more persons of religious conviction to engage the marketplace, the temple courtyard of the Jamaican kingdom.
A Suh Me See It, A Suh Me Say It is a wholesome and worthwhile read for senior students and all who are committed to a nation that works for all.
- Ronald Thwaites is member of parliament for Kingston Central and opposition spokesman on education and training.