JaRistotle’s Jottings| Jamaica nice nuh rahtid
Despite the negativity appurtenant to crime, jackass politics, environmental neglect, lunacy on the roads and challenging socio-economic realities, we Jamaicans never seem to bury ourselves in gloom and despair for too long, putting aside our worries and focusing on the many positives that life has to offer us on 'the Rock'. That said, I have to take stock of what really makes our little island tick.
We just witnessed another spectacular staging of 'Champs', still the premier schoolboy/schoolgirl athletics display in the world. It just goes to show that when we put our hearts and minds into achieving excellence, the world is ours.
We are the sprint factory of the world! We have reggae music, coffee a la Blue Mountain, rum par excellence, beaches galore and some of the most potent mineral spas in the world. Jamaicans are among some of the brightest, most innovative and creative people.
Unique cultural perspective
Our motto 'Out of Many, One People' is a very powerful representation of who we are as a people. Anywhere in the world you go, a Jamaican is a Jamaican, and is proud of it. You don't hear us describing ourselves as 'African-Jamaican', 'Indian-Jamaican', 'English-Jamaican' or any other ancestral cocktail blend. We are Jamaicans, plain and simple.
Here in Jamaica we call Indians 'Coolie', we call Caucasians 'Whitey, Redibooh, Brownman or Backra pickney', every Chineyman is 'Missah Lee or Missah Chin', and the darkest folks often get nicknamed 'Blacka, Blacks or Midnight'. We are not bothered by these names, we are Jamaicans, and we answer, laugh and cherish the sense of oneness. One love.
I have been to many other countries, including our neighbours in the English-speaking Caribbean where you would think we share common perspectives on race. Not so. Jamaica: no problem.
The first time I visited England, I thought winter would be a walkover, having spent many years in the hilltops of St Elizabeth where cold breeze at night was easily countered with a steaming mug of chocolate tea. Bwoy, when mi reach, ah four layer ah clothes mi haffi put on. It was like a blooming cold storage. I did not sweat for two weeks. Getting back to sun, sand and sea were my only objectives in life at that time.
Mek it worse, I could not turn on the pipe and drink to my heart's content; lead poisoning or buy bottled water. There is something about Jamaican piped water as a thirst quencher; only a cold Red Stripe beat it. When I said I wanted fresh fruits, my friends directed me to the grocery store. No going outside, climbing a mango tree or a star-apple tree, nyam till yuh belly waan bus, get two wasp sting and drop out ah di tree. No sah, not even leaf did deh pon di tree dem.
I guess it would have been asking a lot, even in the summer, to go to the beach in those Northern climes, ketch two fish, knead some flour and run a boat. First, dem woulda seh mi have fi have a fishing permit, and den pon top of dat, mi couldn't run no boat if mi never have a captain's licence.
People, we have paradise here in Jamaica, and while we should enjoy it, we also need to do our part to protect and preserve this paradise. It is so easy to take these blessings for granted.
We welcomed some four million visitors to the island last year, many of them repeat visitors. We obviously have what they are interested in, those things that are commonplace to us, and I personally believe that we have a lot more to offer.
Notwithstanding these positives, the biggest positive remains our people. If our visitors were not happy with us, they would go elsewhere. Big up, y'all.
So, people, the next time you are feeling down and want to exit the 'Rock', just think of what you will be giving up. Jamaica nice nuh rahtid.