Dear and faithful readers: I hope you are finding the two-part review more convenient and timely. I certainly find it much more manageable, from the writing point of view! As you will see, I still add a lot of links at the end of the post, so that you can do further reading on the various topics. My two-part news reviews now appear on Wednesdays and Sundays.
The PM and the press: The Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) met with Information Minister Sandrea Falconer on Thursday to discuss the issue of media access to the Prime Minister. How could this really be an issue? But there you go; it is. As the PAJ noted before, the Prime Minister has not done any “substantive” media interview since taking office fifteen months ago. Minister Falconer said this was not quite true. But sorry – I just don’t remember many “impromptu” interviews. The Prime Minister never does a press briefing alone. She is always flanked by several other protective ministers. I am also wondering about this “Support Unit” that the Prime Minister takes with her everywhere. How many are there and what do they do?
Blast from the past: The final sentence in the Jamaica Information Service press release (link below) caught my eye. “The (Information) Minister was accompanied by members of the Prime Minister’s Support Unit and Head of the Minister’s Taskforce [to keep press in line], Colin Campbell.” Slight raise of the eyebrows there. Mr. Campbell is a former Information Minister, People’s National Party general secretary and Member of Parliament, a man who is (or was) under a bit of a shadow in connection with the 2007 Trafigura scandal (alleged campaign donations to the party). He has been keeping a low profile for the past few years – apart from writing a newspaper article last December attacking the outgoing Contractor General (who, of course, investigates matters like Trafigura). Campbell called the CG “an abject failure.” Meanwhile, I understand the PAJ’s Vice President Arthur Hall says that the organization will not be part of any “protocol” to restrict access to Ms. Simpson Miller. This is, very definitely, the thin end of the wedge, and the PAJ recognizes it as such.
Paulwell announced some things: As I have noted before, I like Minister Phillip Paulwell because he seems to stay focused, generally restrains himself from scoring cheap political points, and actually seems to want to get things done. His contribution to the Budget Debate last week certainly contained much food to chew on. The government has decided not to sell its 45% stake in the hugely loss-making Clarendon Alumina Partners (the bauxite plant), Paulwell announced; although the Finance Minister had said something different. So this is a little confusing. The majority owners, Alcoa and Glencore, have written a report on the matter, that will be made public soon.
Venezuelan grey areas: The future of the long-delayed expansion of the Petrojam oil refinery now seems gravely in doubt, according to Minister Paulwell; the Venezuelan government has been a 49% shareholder since 2006. The death of Hugo Chavez and the election of the so far unimpressive Nicolas Maduro has also raised questions over the PetroCaribe agreement, on which Jamaica and other Caribbean nations are (too) heavily dependent. Minister Paulwell must be feeling very antsy about our socialist friends; Jamaica needs to know what’s happening, ASAP.
On and on and on: Opposition Leader Andrew Holness also made his contribution to the Budget Debate last week. It dragged on all afternoon (three hours). I would like to see all budget speeches shortened to twenty minutes or so. It’s more than possible – just boil down your announcements, package them neatly. There would be no more glazed eyes (and irritating side- conversations) in Parliament. Members would have to sit up and concentrate for a much shorter time. There would be no time for the heckling, aside jokes and guffaws from the other side of the room. Members of the public would be able to tune in and really listen, instead of just having the radio on as a kind of soporific background drawl. Generally, though, the Opposition Leader did quite well, by all accounts. His use of two baskets of groceries, to show how much less we can buy compared to December 2011, was effective and made for good television. He also made ten recommendations to the Government for digging itself out of the economic hole it finds itself in. The speech was remarkably lacking in rancor and political point-scoring. This must have surprised the Government side of the House, who were priming their weapons for battle. The usual insults and “banter” therefore stayed at a manageable level. Good, constructive stuff, Mr. Holness.
Yes, we have drugs: I’ve noticed a remarkable upsurge in major drug busts, lately. Two retirees from Florida have been arrested in connection with the discovery of 350 pounds of marijuana on Navy Island, a beautiful spot just off Port Antonio. 650 pounds of weed was found in West Kingston. 500 pounds of ganja was found in St. Elizabeth, always a productive area. On April 20, a security guard contractor was arrested with a huge amount of cocaine in Montego Bay. Hell, there was even a cocaine find on a Caribbean Airlines flight departing for Florida. Jamaicans are being arrested in the Bahamas and elsewhere on drug charges. One gets the feeling that the “war on drugs” has just been rekindled.
Water, water everywhere: The seaside resort of Negril is parched. During an edition of the call-in radio show “Justice” this week, there was a somewhat futile discussion on what happened to all the water in Negril, how it was being managed, etc. Local residents are upset that water is being diverted to the hotels, and the hotels are upset at having to give refunds to guests who leave because there is no water. Basically, there is not enough to go around. When Negril began developing rapidly some 15-20 years ago (and the Spanish have subsequently moved in with their monstrous hotels) there was concern among some that water, sewage systems etc. might be inadequate. The Powers that Were more or less dismissed these fears in the name of the mighty god of Investment, and we seem to have an insatiable appetite for more tourism rooms. Well, so it has come to pass: no water. Then, of course, there is the disappearing “world famous seven-mile beach” – which can no longer be called seven miles long by any stretch of the imagination. What is the Member of Parliament (also Tourism Minister) doing about all this? He seems to be preoccupied with arguing with his Opposition counterpart about tourism money, at the moment.
Could the Ministry of Foreign Affairs please tell me…? What does the Association of Caribbean States (ACS) do, apart from talk of course? What are its achievements? It has been meeting in Haiti this week. And why do we need to have an Embassy in Ecuador, as Minister of Foreign Affairs AJ Nicholson is suggesting? I thought that diplomatic missions abroad were very costly. What do Jamaica and Ecuador have to offer each other? Is Julian Assange going to be palmed off on us?
More details, please? Of the 4,000 online jobs that the World Bank says it has created for Jamaicans. Wasn’t aware…
Jamaica is slipping: And talking of IT, Jamaica has slipped down the rankings again in the World Economic Forum’s Global Information Technology Report – for the seventh consecutive year. With all that Minister Paulwell and IT entrepreneurs are doing (Ingrid Riley is doing a superb job to stimulate start-ups with her Kingston Beta) we are steadily slipping behind – for example, in network readiness, broadband subscribers, e-commerce, venture capital availability, and (depressingly) math and science education. Can we have some more discussion on this? What has gone wrong? Are we just dragging our feet? What do we need to be doing that we are not doing now?
Maybe the Member of Parliament can pay a visit with her Support Team: I hear the deprived and desolate inner-city community of Majesty Gardens (such a tragic misnomer), in the Prime Minister’s constituency, is “tense.” Perhaps their Member of Parliament can pay them a visit soon, and re-ignite the love.
Tears for Dr. Lewin: I was moved by former Prime Minister Edward Seaga’s very emotional farewell to Dr. Olive Lewin at her funeral yesterday. Dr. Lewin was founder of the Jamaican Folk Singers, cultural explorer and invigorator. She was also, as Mr. Seaga pointed out, an incredibly kind and humanitarian woman who cared deeply about our marginalized and poor children and quietly did much good work on their behalf. Mr. Seaga said, in a voice thick with tears, “I wish I could feel it in my heart that she was fully recognized in her own land.” I agree with him – she was not. No pretty speech from the Culture Minister or hugs from the Prime Minister can make up for that.
Phrases I don’t want to hear for a while: “Divine intervention” and “The relevant authorities.”
Tweet-grabbing: The Jamaica Observer is now reprinting Jamaicans’ tweets, with names and Twitter handles – especially the political ones. I am just wondering what the purpose is. If you look at page 27 of today’s Sunday newspaper you will see tweeters clearly identified alongside their tweets on the issue of the Prime Minister and the press. I suppose the newspaper doesn’t have to ask permission, but… They also have an address where you can “email your views” but must include your Twitter handle. Why?
The Energy God doth protest: A dancehall figure called Elephant Man is protesting against wild rumors that he is gay. This is the worst thing you can say to a macho dancehall man, in a sphere where homophobia still reigns supreme. The orange-haired Elephant Man claims to have “thirty-five pickney” [children] so how could he be gay? The last figure bandied about was apparently 22 pickney. Well, he has lived up to his name of “Energy God” it seems, and got busy. Keeping the population levels up there. So long as none of the pickney have orange hair.
I am very sad to report that the following Jamaicans have lost their lives in the past three days, since my last bulletin. My deepest condolences to all their families. Ms. Ricketts’ other son is also hospitalized. I cannot imagine how the father is feeling. I have noticed how often the names of Jamaicans killed by the police are not reported – or, as below, their nicknames are given. I suppose they are not so important?
Richard Aiken, 19, Beckford Town, St. Mary
Shawn Magnus, 31, Parry Town/Ocho Rios, St. Ann
Patrick Shakes, 51, Catadupa, St. James
Kereisha Ricketts, 34, Newtown, Westmoreland
Jafe Francis, 9, Newtown, Westmoreland
Killed by police:
“Piggy Deer,” Gregory Park, St. Catherine
Related articles (local posts in purple):
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130425/cleisure/cleisure2.html Poverty has little bearing on students: Jaevion Nelson column/Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130425/lead/lead1.html Change a coming: Energy minister says positive move to reduce electricity rates on the horizon: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Four-bidders-for-power-plant_14144802 Four bidders for new power plant: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130426/business/business4.html Paulwell pins final hopes for Petrojam on Maduro: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130426/lead/lead6.html Bauxite revival: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130426/business/business2.html Jamalco to press ahead with coal plant: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130426/cleisure/cleisure1.html Will CAP decision undermine IMF deal? Gleaner editorial
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Phillips-says-public-sector-agencies-to-be-merged_14152187 Phillips says public sector agencies to be merged: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130426/news/news1.html Paulwell gives tablets to parliamentarians: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Students–teachers-at-30-schools-to-get-free-tablets_14151109 Students, teachers at 30 schools to get free tablets: Jamaica Observer
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cost-of-living–tun-up-_14143444 Holness blames government for people’s hardships: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130426/lead/lead1.html ”We’ve been butchered”: Holness tells government to backtrack on taxes, pitches 10-point formula: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130426/lead/lead3.html Charting a different course: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/latest/article.php?id=44370 4,000 jobs created for young Jamaicans in virtual economy: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130424/business/business8.html Jamaica dips in new IT rankings: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/New-customs-tax-presents-nightmare-for-small-businesses_14137839 New customs tax presents nightmare for small businesses: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130425/cleisure/cleisure1.html Give details for the June IMF test: Gleaner editorial
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/in-caribbean-gridlocked-courts-hit-by-crime-wave-block-justice-and-stall-lives/2013/04/26/ff6984b0-ae9c-11e2-b240-9ef3a72c67cc_story.html In Caribbean, gridlocked courts hit by crime wave block justice and stall lives: AP/Washington Post
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Mayhem-on-Waltham-Avenue-in-Kingston_14152374 Mayhem on Waltham Avenue in Kingston: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130425/lead/lead2.html ”Let’s go get these bad guys”: U.S. sets eyes on scammers: Gleaner
http://ht.ly/kv5ld ”Dem call it scam, me call it a reparation”: Mark Wilson op-ed/Trinidad Guardian
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130427/lead/lead1.html Rolex probe widens: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121209/cleisure/cleisure3.html Greg Christie was an abject failure: Colin Campbell op-ed/Gleaner, December 2012
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Shock-arrest_14159903 JPS contractors accused of stealing utility wires, street lamps: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130425/lead/lead91.html American nabbed in Portland drug operation, another on the run: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Cops-keeping-an-eye-on-tense-Majesty-Gardens_14131169 Cops keeping an eye on tense Majesty Gardens: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130425/lead/lead3.html Tivoli residents call on PM to “have a heart”: Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130427/cleisure/cleisure1.html Tyranny in the ghetto: Gleaner editorial
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130425/news/news2.html UNICEF donates vehicle to Eve for Life: Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/-Show-love-to-our-children-in-entire-month-of-May-_14153267 ”Show love to our children in entire month of May”: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130425/lead/lead8.html Media Association joins PAJ’s call for greater access to public officials: Gleaner
http://www.jis.gov.jm/news/leads/33683 Minister Falconer and PAJ meet on proposed protocol: Jamaica Information Service
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/719-children-missing-since-the-start-of-the-year 719 children missing since the start of the year: Jamaica Observer
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130426/letters/letters1.html Gender-based quotas wrong: Letter of the Day/Gleaner
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Anglican-bishops-reject-same-sex-marriage_14150775 Anglican bishops reject same sex marriage: Jamaica Observer
http://jamlink.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=50:ghastly-pit-latrines-at-st-marys&Itemid=191 Ghastly pit latrines at St. Mary’s:
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/CDA-head-says-child-care-facilities-audit-almost-complete_14152607 CDA head says child care facilities audit almost complete: Jamaica Observer
http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/2013/04/usain-bolt-foundation-announces-samsung-camera-workshop-in-jamaica/ Usain Bolt Foundation announces Samsung camera workshop in Jamaica: Arc Magazine
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130425/cleisure/cleisure3.html Divine intervention is the Church promoting peace in the society: Bernard Headley op-ed/Gleaner
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20130426/news/news4.html Port Maria Hospital gets well-needed lifeline: Gleaner
It’s an odd time of year. I often feel confused, but the predominant feeling is sheer, unadulterated laziness. I ought to be doing something constructive, I don’t know what. But I don’t feel like doing it. I want to continue slumped on the sofa, watching DVDs and finishing off the amazing box of dark chocolates (Christmas presents). Preferably with husband (who is never as lazy as me).
I know I can’t go on like this. But I want to.
There are resolutions to ponder, plans to make. OK, I know. The heart is willing, but the mind is very weak. And the body…even weaker. Especially after a decadent Christmas Day Brunch at Kingston’s Terra Nova Hotel. I ate about six different kinds of meat (and not a chicken in sight), and haven’t quite recovered. Maybe not such a great idea, but too late now.
Resolutions: Basically my resolutions all fall into one category: finish off all the projects I should have completed this year, but didn’t. This includes several short stories – more to be added; try to get my novel published (that was last year’s resolution by the way); get the front of the house painted a decent color (at the moment it is a hybrid - an underlying pinkish color half-covered with white primer. Not very fetching). Promise to myself that I will remember all relatives’ birthdays and at least send them an e-card (thank God for the e-card). Call my sister in the UK once a week. Skype/email my brother in Australia at least once every two weeks (Skype is a struggle with Oz; for some reason my dearest brother and sister-in-law usually appear upside-down. Well, they are Down Under, after all). Most of all, be a more “engaged” mother to our son in London. Don’t know how to do this. Working on it. Try to laugh more at my husband’s simply dreadful jokes.
All of the above is pretty hard to achieve. Any one of these items is, in fact, much harder than it looks…Herculean. But, at least I am keeping them in mind. If I achieve even one of them, I will feel quite pleased with myself.
OK, that’s enough of resolutions. How to spend these doldrum times, as New Year crawls slowly up to the horizon? Well, Jamaicans know how to spend these days. Whether they have any money left or not, there is always partying, or some entertainment event to attend. And Jamaicans know how to have a good time, as Singapore’s prime minister Lee Kuan Yew wryly observed after visiting Jamaica in 1975: “Theirs was a relaxed culture. The people were full of song and dance, spoke eloquently, danced vigorously, and drank copiously. Hard work they had left behind with slavery.”
For example, there is the annual celebration of dancehall culture known as Sting (no, not the middle-aged, pretentious British pop star-cum-folk-singer). Weird things tend to happen at this show, which is probably why many people go – to see what sparks will fly. It surely could not be for the “music,” ninety per cent of which is of very poor quality (I make exception for singers like Etana, who are actually trying to sing, write songs, play musical instruments etc). For dancehall is not about musicality; it is about “culture.” As such, it is studied very seriously at the University of the West Indies.
Anyway, Sting is all about “clashes.” There used to be sound system clashes; now it is deejays etc. The idea is to “diss” your opponent musically (or with lyrics) until he/she runs for cover. The audience, of course, have their favorites. If there is no clash, it is most disappointing. One female deejay turned up (with a donkey in tow) all ready to dish out some unpleasantness; but her rival did not turn up. Such a let-down, when the aggressor was all steamed up and ready for it…
Other highlights of this annual ritual (which begins around midnight and ends well past sun-up) included the latest dancehall fad, a man called Tommy Lee Sparta. If you have the stomach for it (I don’t) you can read some of his “lyrics” at the link below. Then there was the evergreen, turbaned Sizzla, who could not help but resort to spouting his usual offensive, homophobic lyrics (he also did not have anything nice to say about the police, or child molesters). And don’t forget Busy Signal, who spent some time in a U.S. jail but has bounced back!! Another regular at this event is a strange figure called Ninja Man, one of the original deejays, a tall skinny man with hollow eyes who has also done time in a Jamaican jail and is (I think?) now out on bail with his son, on a murder charge. Another dancehall fave, a bleached and tattoed man called Vybz Kartel, is currently behind bars awaiting trial for not one, but two murders, along with members of his gang… sorry, “crew.” So Vybz couldn’t make it this year… maybe next.
A charming and attractive bunch, you will agree. Then, at the other end of the spectrum, there are the uptown parties, where everyone who is anyone is seen, and hopefully photographed – to appear in the social pages of our revered national newspapers. The women wear skirts as short as possible, and unfortunately among older women, the one-shouldered look is still de rigueur. There was a party called “A-List,” another called… OK, you’re bored, I can tell. So am I…
Well, the fun season isn’t quite over until the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2013 is done. This annual event takes place in Montego Bay in mid-January every year. For Kingstonians, this normally necessitates taking at least one or two days off work, to get the full benefit. Although it is/was intended to attract foreign visitors to Jamaican shores with its all-star lineup, it has morphed over the years into yet another party opportunity for the well-heeled, who flock there in their hundreds in their SUVs, causing traffic jams for miles. Although the festival is named “jazz and blues,” any jazz or blues fan would be disappointed at the musical fare that is dished up – a mish-mash of local reggae acts and ageing pop/R&B singers looking to escape to a tropical island in mid-winter.
I don’t think Michael Bolton could be called a jazz or blues singer, could he? At a stretch? Errrrrr… No!
When I (and others) complain about this complete misnomer, I am told rather forcefully that the Festival (which, like Sting, has been around for many years) is a “brand” and therefore the name cannot be changed. All the local firms have booths there, where the uptowners imbibe local drinks and – again – make sure they get themselves photographed for the local papers. The resulting photos keep the social pages going for at least a couple of weeks, afterwards. And the local firms get their publicity in, while the true fans of the old pop singers get to swoon over their old hits.
Well, this year, at least they’ve got Mary J. Blige, too. She could sing jazz, if she tried.
So, you see, the time is usefully spent here on the island of Jamaica. By the end of January, perhaps, we will all be let gently down to earth as the crime rate starts to bite again, and the latest bad economic news starts to trickle in… I guess, after all, we will still be talking about the International Monetary Fund in 2013.
And me? I think I will just do mentally what I used to do when I was a kid: freewheel along, bike pedals spinning, legs stuck out on either side. At some point, I will take control again. But…not just yet.
Happy in-between times! And Happy 2013 when it finally heaves into view!
Related articles for your reading pleasure:
http://www.stingjamaica.com.jm (Sting website)
http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20121228/ent/ent2.html (Varied, successful Sting 2012: Gleaner)
http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/Sting-2012–the-best-in-years_13281271 (Sting 2012: The best in years: Observer)
http://www.dancehallreggaeworld.com/tommy-lee-psycho-lyrics.html (Tommy Lee Psycho lyrics)
http://jamaicajazzandblues.com (Jamaica Jazz and Blues 2013 website)
Yesterday I sat down to share my thoughts about the celebrations for Jamaica’s 50th year of independence. Despite saving throughout, Word crashed as I was about to print for a final edit. When I restarted Word and opened the file the ready-for-editing version wasn’t there and Auto Recovery couldn’t open its last saved version. So I was annoyed and decided to step away from the computer and restart today; I still had my notes and the framework in mind.
Ah, that’s a nice provocative title, isn’t it! It’s also the title of a tedious little film that has been repeating ad nauseam on cable, in which a nice family man is (almost) lured into an extra-marital affair by a rapacious blonde, who then turns very nasty. It’s a feeble attempt to replicate that lurid movie “Fatal Attraction,” in which Glenn Close overcomes her frizzy eighties hairdo to boil rabbits and listen to “Madam Butterfly” while turning lights on and off…and the not-very-attractive Michael Douglas looks agonized and at the same time, lustful. It caused a sensation at the time, but now it seems good for a laugh.
What is Jamaica’s obsession? Well, there are several, but I want to talk about a really outstanding one. And that is sex.
Before I go any further, I’d like to say that I have nothing against sex. It’s wonderful (and sometimes awful, in varying degrees) – but hey, overall, it’s nice. So I am not being prudish or miserable or anything but please – does it have to creep into everything we say and do? Jamaican “family entertainment” shows are not immune – someone, we know, is going to drop in a titillating little item, somewhere. Afterwards there may be some mutterings about how “unsuitable” it was, but the same thing will happen again next time. We Jamaicans just can’t help it. We are A) sexy and we know it and B) irresistible to the opposite sex – and of course, to ourselves.
The Petchary recently joined a Facebook group called “Women’s Health.” Fair enough, I thought it would offer an interesting variety of topics. After a day or two came the first sex post, I think about your vagina drying up (pardon me, ladies). Then, inevitably, there came the first “relationship” post, about older women and younger men, with the usual flood of comments about how hard it is being the “other woman” (in many cases I would say being one of several “other women”) etc. I am expecting one very soon on “what to wear in bed to tempt your man” (married or otherwise), or “how to tell if he’s being unfaithful.” Because if there is one thing Jamaican women love to discuss even more than actual sex, it’s “relationships.” I wonder how many miles of blog posts and Facebook chats have been written about it. Sly confessions are made; slightly unwashed linen is tentatively hung out on the line to dry; pearls of wisdom are exchanged. It’s all great fun.
The so-called “women’s supplements” in our daily newspapers are liberally sprinkled with articles on topics such as (to quote a recent one) “Are black women less attractive than other women?” (I gulped when I saw that headline, and wondered if I would see it anywhere else but in Jamaica). And the Sunday papers are not immune. There is one weekly column which focuses on sex, examined from every angle (and some angles one would prefer not to be examined from) and in mind-boggling detail. Recently I came across one such column about “sex with animals.” Can’t Jamaica have a sex-free Sunday, at least? And is bestiality really a great topic in a “family” newspaper?
Of course, we all know that Sex Sells. And it does. It always has done – it’s just a little more, er, prominent these days. Every pop star has to progressively shed more and more clothing, especially for magazine covers; Rihanna started her career reasonably well dressed, but now we are all familiar with certain parts of her anatomy. It’s fashionable to dress like a street-walker. In fact, the real ladies of the night I see on a certain street in Kingston can’t hold a candle to Lady Gaga and Co (plus they are not as skinny). Not half as raunchy.
And of course, there is the ultimate sex parade: dancehall, where women’s legs seem to be permanently open and men’s hips are constantly gyrating and thrusting. That’s called self-expression.
(But the Petchary must confess to being rather intrigued by an ad for a tattoo company, in which a man wearing only his beautiful tattoes perches on a parapet above the New York skyline. Darn it, I wish I could find that image. Someone please email it to me).
Yes, but that is advertising and pop music and fashion models – a strange make-believe world where nothing is as it seems, and the airbrush is brought out to make starlets look sexier. I’m talking about the “But can tattoos make me more sexy and improve my performance in bed?” kind of thing. That’s the kind of obsession that I’m talking about. When I mildly complained about the sudden detour the women’s health forum had taken, some members agreed with me. But one was at pains to point out that sex in all its permutations (and some we haven’t even dreamed up yet) is the most important health issue for women. Forget heart disease, or breast cancer, or osteoporosis, or diabetes or all the other things one might actually die of. No, sex is the thing. Sex, the lack of it, the quality of it, whom it is done with (whether man, woman or beast), how often, where (under the table or on top of the wardrobe) etc etc etc.
And if it comes to advertising, Jamaicans have taken the “sex sells” motto really seriously. Even a harmless health drink is marketed as an “energy” booster (and we know what kind of energy they are talking about). And of course, almost any alcoholic drink makes you sexy. I don’t know if the manufacturers haven’t heard of the not-so-sexy side effects of drinking too much…
And going back to Facebook, some of the profile pictures people post – men with their shirts off (of course!) showing bulging muscles, shots up women’s skirts and down their plunging cleavages… Lord have mercy! Can I see just a smiling face please?
And never mind about children going to school hungry in the mornings, teenage girls being pimped by ambitious mothers for monetary gain, child abuse, police killings, over-crowded prisons, violent “garrison” constituencies, illiteracy, corrupt politicians, chronic unemployment, neglected rural areas, decrepit infrastructure, and the myriad of other real issues we have to contend with on this island. We are a seething mass of social problems. A lack of sexual “relationships” is not one of them.
We’ve got to have our sex, and we’ve got to have it now, and let’s discuss it some more! And let’s try harder to be sexier!
Me? I’m just plain bored.