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SUNDAY SAUCE:Of chinks and graduations

Published:Sunday | May 20, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Oxy Moron, Contributor

Ladies and gentlemen, invited guests, parents, friends, well-wishers, boys and girls in their expensive suits and dresses. Those corsages must have cost a fortune. Principal and teachers of Tiny Ones Early Childhood Institution, good afternoon.

I am standing here full of nostalgia. Memories of my own graduation from Miss Green Basic School are flooding my mind. Back then, it was called 'breaking-up', to which we wore the one good suit of clothes we had. There was a lot of excitement and merrymaking, ice cream and cake, syrup, buss-mi-jaw sweeties, and other home-made delights.

Our parents were there with us, beaming with pride. We could read and write, and recite our two times table. They were not pressured by Miss Green to find a whole heap of money to buy gowns and caps, suits and frocks, horse dead and cow fat. The minster of education did not have to intervene into the shameless practice of basic-school principals turning parents upside down trying to shake money out of their pockets, and the Jamaica Asinine Association (JAA) did not have to make statements that betray who they really are. But that was long ago. I am not as young as I look.

Therefore, today, I want to say that graduation, to me, is not about fancy suits and dresses, mohawks and false hair and lashes. And what are these little ones graduating from, by the way? Graduation is from college and university.

At this stage in their lives, it is about whether they know their ABCs and 123s. It's about whether they can spell 'rat', 'bat', 'cat', and 'bedbugs', the other name for chinks. They also need to be able to recognise these vermin when they land once again, on our beautiful island.

Yes, the news is that chinks are now making a triumphant return. Those blood-sucking, 'renking' insects that are not afraid to make your bed theirs are now making travelling plans. In my days, we, the little children, would shun our classmates who smelled like chinks, and we were warned not to go to houses where chinks resided, lest we take some back home. Yet, for whatever reasons, they disappeared, and have been away for quite a while. Now, to this land of plenty where people ride in the JEEP, they are coming back.

more eradication to come

The exorbitant amount of money then, that basic school and primary schools are charging for graduation packages, we are going to need for the chink recognition and eradication programmes. Because by the time they have arrived, the money for the rat eradication programme will be long done, and the rats will still be parading through streets and lanes. And better yet, it might come in handy for remedial summer schools for those who can't read or write.

I see some uncomfortable faces on the platform, but don't blame me. Blame Miss Green, may her soul rest in peace. I am living by that lovely gem that she taught me, the same one that you tell these children to recite every day.

Come children, say it with me: "Speak the truth and speak it ever, cost it what it will, for he who hides the wrong he does will do the wrong thing still." Very good! Clap yourself. I know you are in my corner.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, in your unnecessary suits and fancy frocks, I thank you for extending the invitation to me. It was indeed a pleasure, and if, by chance, you want to invite me back next year, I will be more than happy to come.

I wish I could stay for the rest of the programme, but I have to run. There's a primary school graduation that I have to address at 3 p.m. I really cannot miss it for the world. I wish you all the best in your endeavours, walk good. And oh, by the way, in light of the fact that you held this ceremony long before school goes on holiday in anticipation of more hardship to come, may I please get my courtesy gift basket and the vote of thanks before I go?

oxydmoron@gmail.com