Tue | Mar 26, 2019

Don't be a bystander to slackness

Published:Saturday | July 4, 2015 | 12:00 AM

On Tuesday, June 30, I got so mad, and rightfully so. I was on a bus heading to Cross Roads in Kingston. I sat quietly observing as the bus conductors (two young men) loaded people on to the bus. School-age children, young adults, senior citizens, everyone entered the bus, filling both sides of the seating. The two conductors bellowed at prospective passengers as they approached, shouting the destination of the bus.

When the bus was full, both conductors stood by the door. The driver turned up the music and began driving. As I listened to the first song, I felt so disgusted. I made a sound - to suggest, "A wah kind a music dem yah!" - but as I looked around to see others' reaction to the song, I was shocked to see everyone sitting still.

I thought, well, maybe the driver played the song accidentally and will switch shortly. To my dismay, the song was played to the end. I was sitting between a little girl who is probably no more than 14 years old and a woman who was about 40 years old. Both must have observed my discomfort.

My uncle behind told me, "Nuh worry yourself." But how could I not? I have never listened to anything so degrading. I have never seen such utter disrespect for customers whose business they are dependent on to make a profit. I was mad!




As I sat there in utter dismay, I thought, what can I do? Immediately, I pulled out my phone and recorded the song. The little girl next to me noticed, as I was not trying to hide it. I saved it on my phone as 'Slackness - JA'.

I conjectured what else to do. I could have said something to one of the conductors, but I didn't have much time when the bus stopped, and somehow I didn't do anything.

Throughout the day, I would bring up the topic in conversations with people, including family, to which I got the frequent reply: "A so deh tan ... ," which is to say, "That's the way it is." But I say, "Hell, no!" That should not be the way it is!

Now, the bus I was on Tuesday was a privately owned Coaster, and while I cannot say that all Coaster operators exhibit this type of behaviour, it was very apparent that what I saw was somewhat the norm on most of these types of bus.

Families and friends with whom I talked suggested driving on other buses owned by the Government. While I see this as a pleasant alternative, I am still mad that these buses are allowed to operate and carry our children to and from school.

If we do not step up as individuals to stop this type of behaviour on public buses and in other public spaces, how far will it go? The song I heard today used the F-word several times and phrases like 'suck the co**y," (the word means 'penis') several times. there was not one decent line in the song.

As a woman, I felt disgusted! How far is too far, Jamaica? As a nation, we need to realise that the things we accept today will become the standards for tomorrow.

"All it takes for evil to persist is for a few good people to do nothing."

Do not be a bystander!