Sun | Jan 23, 2022

Gordon Robinson | The essence of empathy

Published:Tuesday | January 11, 2022 | 12:06 AM
We’ve continuously picked apart PM’s emotional outburst regarding brutal slayings of children, instead of being thankful we have an empathetic PM who cares deeply about citizens’ welfare. There’s nothing wrong with becoming overwhelmed from time to
We’ve continuously picked apart PM’s emotional outburst regarding brutal slayings of children, instead of being thankful we have an empathetic PM who cares deeply about citizens’ welfare. There’s nothing wrong with becoming overwhelmed from time to time. It focuses your response to crisis.

So, we are firmly into 2022.

Btw, that’s ‘Twenty-twenty-two’, NOT ‘Two thousand and twenty-two’ as many have foisted upon an unsuspecting public since Nineteen-ninety-nine became Twenty-hundred (or Two thousand, if you must). But 2001 was definitely Twenty-oh-one (like 1901), NOT Two thousand and one.

Lookie here, naming centuries comes from tradition, NOT math. One hundred years ago, the world lived in Nineteen-twenty-two, NOT One thousand nine hundred and twenty-two. Every schooler knows William the Conqueror invaded England in Ten-sixty-six, NOT One thousand and sixty-six. Why have we surrendered to this sudden mathematical obsession?

Please stop it. Y’all are getting on my last nerve.

So, what’s new in Jamaica in Twenty-twenty-two? Songwriters Johnny Burke and Bob Haggart (as recorded by Linda Ronstadt) might say:

“What’s new?

How is the world treating you?

You haven’t changed a bit

Handsome as ever I must admit.”

It’s true COVID still a keep and murderous evil runs unchecked, especially through inter- and intra-gang rivalry. But, in these stressful times, we must realise that Jamaica, with its flaws and adversities, remains a beautiful country and one of the best in the world to live, work and speak freely without censorship or peril. Jamaicans who yearn for the illusion of milk and honey up North soon discover, after arrival, these countries are unhappy, unwelcoming, and freezing-cold places.

In Jamaica, we’ve the privilege of relatively stable weather; (dwindling) green spaces for personal or commercial agriculture or beautiful gardens; indefatigable community spirit, even in communities without green spaces; and extended families who help to nurture the next generation. It’s true, these come with challenges, but they are surmountable if we work together while interacting empathetically and with vision, instead of constantly carping at or abusing each other based on political affiliation.

EMPATHY WINS EVERY TIME

Education/constitutional reform are keys to achieving this aspiration because, as long as we keep winner-take-all Westminster, political hacks will always put their party ahead of Jamaica’s interests.

Over in favourite fantasyland, Apocrypha, Education Minister Robot Mout-a-Massie was forced to hire political Consultant Oma D’unn after his public announcement that a surcharge letter was delivered to a former permanent secretary was contradicted by formal Finance Ministry statement.

Regular readers remember Oma D’unn, a PhD in logic but, like a moon, bright only in the dark. His in-demand skill was to solve political problems by parable. Oma told Robot he should buy a mail-order bride half his age.

“WHAT?” Robot exclaimed. “Why would that help?”

So Oma told him the story of the billionaire named Sitonmylap.

Sitonmylap, a 60-year-old self-made billionaire, had a speech impediment that made the shortening of his name to ‘sit’ sound naughty. It created a dilemma because, when he introduced himself formally, it sounded worse. So he decided to find a trophy wife whose very presence would dispel all teasing or sordid jokes about his name.

Soon enough, he was married to a gorgeous 25-year-old former Miss World with long, flowing hair and an amazing figure. They were out together one night when a friend couldn’t resist asking Sit, ‘how’d you get such a beauty to marry you?’

‘I lied about my age,’ replied Sit.

‘Aaah,’ said the friend knowingly, ‘you told her you were 40?’

‘No, of course not,’ said Sit, ‘I told her I was 90!’

Robot still didn’t get it, so Oma explained that when communicating, your message should be empathetic instead of academic. Empathy wins every time. Cold-hearted announcements attract backlash.

Jamaica is still di bess. We’ve continuously picked apart PM’s emotional outburst regarding brutal slayings of children, instead of being thankful we have an empathetic PM who cares deeply about citizens’ welfare. There’s nothing wrong with becoming overwhelmed from time to time. It focuses your response to crisis. Don’t believe me? Ask Peter Bunting.

Adieu

Pardon my asking what’s new

Of course you couldn’t know

I haven’t changed

I still love you so

Peace and Love!

Gordon Robinson is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.