THE EDITOR, Sir:
My family decided to spend a couple hours at the Hope Botanic Gardens and Zoo on Monday, National Heroes Day, and found the visit, in many respects, quite pleasant and relaxing. There was, however, one aspect that afterwards left my wife and I a bit puzzled, and feeling strangely unsettled.
First, the pleasant. The Gardens itself is as lush as ever with its wide open spaces being great for adults to take a leisurely stroll while children can play and enjoy themselves in close-enough proximity for supervision.
The more pleasant surprise was the zoo, which is undergoing quite a bit of renovation with the building of new cages, some still under construction, and even some finished ones with new, exotic birds and animals. Some needed labels to identify the animals and birds inside.
Even though unfinished, this is a big improvement on the dry, run-down conditions of half a decade or so ago.
What bothered us was the multiplicity of Buddha statues all around the zoo. There were perhaps nearly a dozen or more in a relatively small space. This area in the zoo, I believe, is separate from the site for a planned Traditional Chinese Garden near the Lily Pond.
beware of invasion
Many people will see no harm in this, and nothing more than a reflection of the fact that the Chinese, who are underwriting much of the renovation, also want to stamp their 'culture' on the place.
I wonder, however, about this dominant cultural theme which seems to be slowly transforming a real Jamaican treasure into a Chinese theme park.
Also, from a Christian perspective, this surge in the importation of Buddha statues and replicas requires prayerful vigilance on the part of those who understand the crosscurrents of negative spiritual forces.
By the way, we are not insular ignoramuses who cannot appreciate other people's cultures. But we have learnt that there is much wisdom in the
A WARY JAMAICAN