Sunday, December 20, 2009

Consume less and share more

We live in a materialistic world....we're a people that unfortunately have to consume a number of goods & services in order to survive and exist, we're consumers....

Now why is it from since our childhood days, we've been brainwashed into thinking that buying more toys, or at least convincing our parents to buy more toys for us, will make us happier and the most popular kid on the block?

Why is everything about consumption of goods?

Why this chronic need to buy more, always more. It's a hunger that is never satisfied. Some people can control it, others let it control themselves. Some people hoard what they have and deprive others from having it. Why? because there's not enough to go around, at least not enough so that few people can stay filthy rich.

What's 'it'? - goods and services, material wealth, a decent standard of living?

So we consume. We feed the machine. We're brainwashed to consume by companies, the media, ad agencies, the government.

Advertisements fill our brain with one thing - BUY! Because when we buy, the economy turns.

Now why are advertisements aimed at one thing: Making us consume more? Why can't we have more ads that teach us to conserve, use wisely, repair if broken, do not upgrade, use to last drop and spend only if necessary.

Why can't we be taught to give more to charity, preserve our earth, use less of our limited resources, turn off unused lights, power bars, cell phones. Why can't we car pool? why can't we all install gas converters in our cars so we can use cooking oil instead of diesel? Why can't we all eat less meat.

Why can't our respective governments sign a deal that would save our planet, why was Copenhagen a shame, why was it such a betrayal of the people of this world? Because of greed. Because the simple fact is: it would take more to fix the problem than it would to just have everyone keep on consuming; as the rulers of this world would have us consume, to fatten their pockets.

And shame, shame, shame on the rulers and governments who attended that meeting, shame on them for failing to pass anything of value that would save our planet, because if the environment was a bank, it would've been save a long time ago (to borrow a slogan said at that summit).

Why can't we just consume less and share more with our brothers and sisters around us.

Our world is dying and those killing it have names and addresses....

We can all do our part, seeing as our elected leaders have failed us....consume less and save our dying world.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What can get accomplished on any given day

It's amazing what can accomplished in a day, any given day. We can either do something really productive or waste the entire day.

Nothing is wrong per se with lazing around once in a while, but when that is the norm, well then, thats just wrong. Life is meant to be lived on the frontlines, not sitting on the fence watching events go by. If we do that, then we're just a spectator, giving unnecessary comments on opinions on things that may not concern us.

I'm no expect on how to live but a day well spent is a great day, one that may never be repeated so better make the best of it while the day is young.

There's no better time to do anything, than right now.

Carpe Diem!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Giving the benefit of the doubt

I've come to realize that I give people way too much benefit of the doubt, and in most cases nowadays, you give anyone an inch and they take almost five football fields in length.

Time to stop giving the wrong people chances and give my own self a chance, time to start giving me the benefit of the doubt, and forgiving myself a lil more.

If we all forgave ourselves and tried to do things better after we sorted ourselves out; I think this world would be a much more honest, loving and caring place. Because we would be honest with ourselves and compassionate to one another as a result of this honesty.

Being honest doesn't mean being harsh or unnecessarily cruel, but acknowledging everything, both good and bad and sorting things out for the better. At least, that's my definition of honesty. From being honest with ourselves,we gain more understanding and insight into our lives and thus, the lives of those around us. From understanding we derive compassion.

Compassion and understanding are two things we could never have enough of in this life.

Time to listen to less opinions and more gut feelings. Time to be honest and compassionate.

Time to live less and doubt more I think.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Grateful

In everything in life, I have to remember to be always grateful. It's easy to forget what I have and how lucky and blessed I am. I have to remind myself that whenever things look bad, it could always be worse. It could always be so much worse.

So many things I have no control over, and the hardest thing to do is to be humble and grateful even when situations are not pleasant.

So the trick is, when things are bad, be patient, pray and be humble. When things get better, be grateful and thank God. Because nothing is owed to me in this life, and everything is a gift that I am grateful for receiving.

Thank you God.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Right and wrong and knowing the difference

There's something I don't get. Why are so many people in this world, in this little country of ours, hell-bent on doing the wrong thing. Maybe 'hell' is the key word.

Whether it be giving someone a 'bad-drive', cussing someone, assaulting, breaking and entering, theft, kidnapping, and all the other heinous crimes that exist in society today; there's one thing I don't get.

The perpetrators of all these acts don't seem to know what they're doing is wrong. Or, even if they did know that it was terribly wrong, they don't care that it affects everyone negatively.

Regardless of the act, the blatant lawlessness and wickedness of these acts take a great deal of planning and preparation. So you mean to say, so many people plan to do criminal acts? Can't they stop for a minute and see what they're doing is wrong on so many levels. Shame on them, shame, shame on their parents for not doing a good job of raising their children - now criminals.

I just can't conceive how someone can plot to do evil, or how someone can think that living a lawless lifestyle is a good thing. All who think like this obviously don't have a conscious and certainly don't believe in a hell, or an afterlife and judgement day.

I don't mean to be sounding over-religious here, but surely we don't think that this life is all there is? Surely not.

It could be as simple as throwing litter out your car window, it could be stepping (out of turn) in front of a line at a fast food counter, harassing women as they pass-by, the creating and selling of pornography, whatever it is, it's ALL wrong.

All of it. We're creating an absolute lawless country. And we are to blame. Shame on us all.

I just have one question to all the criminals: Would it hurt you to plan to do good for someone, a stranger possible and maybe even your family and by extension, this country of yours? Something good that would result in more positive happenings and perhaps a change for the better in all our mindsets? I'm just in shock that people, rather than thinking of doing good, think to do wrong. Why? Is it that you get a kick out of it? Is it that you see nothing wrong with it?

If so, then God have mercy on your soul.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The earth is not dying, she is being murdered

I saw that on a T-shirt in Vancouver, July 2008 while on tour.

It said, the earth is not dying, she is being murdered and those who are doing it have names and addresses. It was powerful, sad and brilliant. It brought home the point.

Corporations through their wild greed are killing the planet, making it their own, taking from her and not giving back. Every natural resource is there to destroy. What are we leaving for the next generation.

Many miles away, Coal River Mountain is being blasted by Massey Energy, for what? for profit? No matter how they spin it, people's lives will change and the environment will suffer in long run.

Here in Trinidad we are fighting against the building of not one, but three aluminium smelters. Sanctioned by our government. This will wreck our country.

Iceland is fighting their own battle over the destruction of their land, again for smelter use.

The list of environmental violations goes on and on. And what really gets me is that these corporate personnel that make decisions with the aid of governments actually feel that the population is stupid enough to believe what they say.

They only win if we give up the fight for truth, justice and a healthy balanced environment.

I hope Coal River Mountain can survive the blasting that is taking place, I hope it stops very soon, I hope the people win the case. I hope our smelters don't get built. And I hope everywhere, ordinary citizens fight for their environmental right to live a clean, healthy life, one not destroyed and created by corporate and government shady dealings behind closed doors.

The earth belongs to us all, not a handful of greedy companies and dishonest government officials.

This earth is OURS!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Idle vs. Busy

It's weird how when we have too much time on our hands we get less done. Why is that? When we have just enough time we manage pretty ok and are able to get through most of what we plan to do.

When we try to fit too much into a day and get frustrated not accomplishing much then we waste the day in anger.

The trick is knowing how to plan and balance any day and any given time.

Balance is a real trick that requires discipline and practice. Funny sometimes when you try to focus on balance in a yoga class, it is then you fall over. Well, at least that happens to me.

Better to be busy that be idle, but still, it's always good to stop once in a while and see what's truly important. There'll always be chores and projects to do. But if we get them out of the way, then we can enjoy the rest of the time we have.

Time is a gift, one that never returns if wasted, it is better to be busy with positive actions than to be idle with wicked ones.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Nothing is better than Anti-pop

So a night at the Anti-pop entails:

(1) 5 old friends spinning the most unreal, underground, Indie, Brit-pop, alternative, you-name-it-they-got-it music

(2) A band or two (in this case the almighty JOINT POP)

(3) A crowded pub filled with friends who've known each other for decades, all dancing, singing and at times screaming at all the great music that's going down.

(4)Alcohol and Rock 'n roll

(5)Open-mindedness

The papers won't write about it, the radio stations in Trinidad will not even speak of it and believe you me, it's better this way. It's better to have something so real and innocent stay pure, rather than to have it be 'marketed' to everyone else who only listens to 'pop' or dance music.

If it wasn't for a night like Anti-pop put on by the Imaginary Boys and if it wasn't for bands like JOINT POP that fly the indie rock 'n roll flag high here on our lil isle, then Trinidad would really be lost to the flaky radio stations and the soca mafia intent on bludgeoning our ears with formulaic, mediocre crap. And believe you me, it is crap what's being sold as music these days.

Thank God for Anti-pop and a night to remember singing at the top of my lungs with old friends, singing along to good songs.

Thank God for good music.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Thank God for rain

The best things in life really are free, doesn't matter who we are or what we own, or what titles we have. The best things in life are those intangible moments that make living memorable.

Nothing can beat waking up to the sound of rain, (which began falling at 4AM) and having breakfast in the dark as a family, joking about how cold the day is. Cold on a tropical island is 22 degrees! Having lived through -42 winters, 22 degrees is a welcomed change.

Having breakfast while relaxing and talking about the trials of life and having a good laugh about some aspects of it is something not many people do.

If we don't appreciate the small intangible details of life and spend time with those who truly matter, how can we give of ourself to anyone else?

As much as I hope it's sunny this weekend, a good rainy day is a treasure, minus all the flooding of course. If I was a motorist in the middle of that flood, well then, I'd hate the rain.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Artsy Fartsy

I think sometimes we people in the arts take ourselves way too seriously...sometimes we think way too highly of ourselves. Yes we're creating something, yes we can do great things with God's guidance and help. And always with his help. Some of us leave out God altogether, some of us think we're smarter than God, heck some of us even say we created God and not the other way around. Whatever, but anyway.

And yes, the world is a better place because of art. But that doesn't mean everyone is gonna like what we do, what we profess to be art. That doesn't mean that we should expect everyone to applaud our efforts. Sometimes a fair amount of crap passes as art, because it is different, because it challenges industry standards and in some way disturbs the mind. But there should always be a standard, there must always be form and substance. If not, then it's just a lifeless disaster, a blob of mess, not art, be it in whatever format.

And it certainly doesn't mean that we are better than anyone else because we are artistically inclined. It just means we see things differently....and different isn't necessarily good or bad, it's just different.

If the people who call themselves artists wish to be accepted and respected for who they are and what they produce, then they must humble themselves and think like the average citizen. Because we all NEED each other, each one of us.

If not, then an artist is nothing more than a snob and what good is that to anyone?

Art is made for all to enjoy. Not just a few. And understanding art doesn't make you smarter than anyone else.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Celebrity abuse

Given the fact that in one week Michael Jordan gives a tirade of a speech at his induction into the basketball hall of fame, bashing all those people whom he figured were out to get him.

And in light of Serena's uncalled for behaviour on the court at the US open, and let us not forget that great display of humility by Kanye West; can it be fair to say that a good many celebrities lack humility and all that goes with it? (forgiveness, compassion, understanding, etc)

Not saying don't lose your cool, but it sure looks childish and ugly when you behave a certain way.

Glad I'm not a celebrity of some sort. Then I'd lose myself.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Manners

So...one thing I have noticed among various cultures is the use (or misuse) of manners.

I was born and grew up on what the rest of this planet considers a 'third world country' in the Caribbean, what most would consider a simple life.

Now it can be debated till the cows give milk that we aren't a third world nation anymore, and that we as a country are making strides to 'first world' status. And at the opposite end there are those who would argue for dear life that we will never leave our 'world rating'.

But there is one thing I hope to never see change on our little twin isle republic. It's our manners. Not everyone has it, but most citizens regardless of race, creed and religion say 'Good Morning', 'Good Evening', 'Excuse me', 'Thank you', 'Take Care', etc.

Not all, but most. Complete strangers pass by my street everyday and tell me hello. Isn't that the 'normal' thing to do? Shouldn't that be the standard world-wide? You see someone passing you by, you look them in the eye and say 'Good Morning'.

That's what I grew up knowing - telling people hello. If this country is so backward by international financial and social standards, then how come we West Indians know our manners?

Like I said, not all of us have manners, there are many hooligans running around in this place. But what's wrong with telling a stranger hello, it's a matter of acknowledgement and respect. Or at least so I thought.

Over time I have met genuine, decent people from all walks of life, from various countries. Now I don't know if it's a cultural thing, or if it's the fast pace of life in a big city or what. But I do know that the rest of the world can afford to learn a thing or two from the Caribbean.

Telling a stranger hello doesn't mean you want anything from them, it's just that; saying 'Hello'.

I hope we never lose that here in Trinidad, I actually enjoy telling strangers 'Good Morning', it makes me feel like I'm human. Aren't we all still human?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A & E: Arts & Expression

I'm not a fan of that word 'entertainment'. It always seems as if that word implies that people are boring creatures that need to constantly stimulated visually or otherwise they lose interest and wither away. So people need to be entertained and stimulated by the TV, the radio, the cinema screen and by artists.

I must admit at times when I'm out having a good time I enjoy myself to the point where I can say that from a consumers' view I was 'entertained'. I understand what it means for a host to entertain guests. But still, I just hate that word from the point of being an artist myself. I don't feel I have any responsibility to 'entertain' anyone.

I know people figure most musicians/artists' sole purpose is to entertain them, that most people get irritated by art they can't understand, that the average citizen instantly gets annoyed by music he/she dislikes or is unfamiliar with, when out at a pub/club/live music venue.

But if I may suggest something, it would be this: Most musicians/artists/dancers/film-makers write/create pieces of work that we, ourselves believe in. We create because we want to leave marks of our craft around, long after we're gone, so that people can appreciate it for what it is - art, expressions of opinion, thought, something that will challenge the average person to think differently.

Thats all we really want, not to entertain you, but to express our opinion on some subject matter so that you - the average person, the viewer/listener/consumer can be enlightened in some form or fashion by our work. If you 'get it', then great. If you don't get what we're trying to say, well thats great too. But we never signed any agreement to entertain you, certainly not for any price you paid at the door. We signed a mental agreement with ourselves to work and create a subject of work that we would be proud to call our own, because we love what we do.

And we publish our work - be it in live performances, recordings, drawings, films, theatre, dance so that we can share what we do with you - the world. We hope you understand what we aim to express through our art. But please don't expect us to entertain you.

There's a huge difference between an artist (in all its' fashions) and an entertainer

I humbly hope one day that A&E will change from Arts & Entertainment to 'Arts & Expression'

Monday, August 31, 2009

Can we be truly Independent here in Trinidad & Tobago?

Today is our 47th Anniversary as an independent nation. We're independent on paper, but in reality we are still a plantation economy. We are owned by multinational corporations, by the almighty oil dollar and by the banks. We are a slave to what they want. Our government is a slave, a puppet, a joke.

I'm grateful to live on a supposedly independent island, where I can do relatively within safe reason, what I want. But we are far from independent.

We were bought and sold by the corporate man, who fooled those who wanted to be rich, enslaved others and made the majority bitter that they didn't have what he has. We all want to be rich, now we fight for the useless scraps that are left. But why can't we be independent from the North American philosophy?

Why can't we enrich our people so we become self-sufficient? We have such a great country and we're pissing it away. I blame our government for just kissing the asses of the North and for not teaching and leading us in being really independent and more importantly Inter-dependent on each other here in Trinidad and Tobago.

Happy Independence my country. May we renew our oath to our home and make here a better place.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Accountability

In light of all the tragic accidents that happened last weekend on our roads and in our waters here in Trinidad & Tobago, I just have one question: Will those people who committed these acts of known negligence be prosecuted by the law? They should be, to the fullest extent.

And if not, then why? They should be held accountable for what they did, whether or not they were fully aware of what was happening at the time, their actions have left five people dead and two seriously injured.

I know the circumstances surrounded each case is different, but one thing is certain in both instances. Neither the driver of the truck nor the boat should've been doing what they did. They should've been prevented from getting behind the wheel.

So now, in light of all this tragedy, I want to know will they be held accountable? They should be.

We all need to be more aware and courteous to our neighbours around us, because by our actions/inactions we may cause serious harm to innocent bystanders.

We have way too many accidents on our roads and now we have it on our seas. We need to be more careful. We drive way too wrecklessly.

God help the families of those victims heal in time.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Not getting lost in Berlin

So I didn't get lost in Berlin. I wondered around a bit, things turned a bit different. In every situation there's three sides to every story, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The band played 3 great shows in Berlin and Nuremberg. I think playing in St. Katharina's bombed out church was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I only wished I had gotten better pictures to document this.

I only saw Germany for a few days and France for less than a week. I didn't get much sleep and that's the only way to see a new place - wide eyed, dazed and confused and in awe; like that of an innocent child. I walked, I swam, I drank and I had the time of my life.

We should always be open to seeing a new place as it is, just taking it all in; kinda like updating new files to our own hard drive of memory. I only hope now for more opportunities to avail themselves so I can visit Europe next year - preferably playing music along the way.

I pray for time to fly quickly.

I want to thank everyone - family and friends who put me up for 6 & 1/2 weeks while I travelled through Canada and Europe. It's strange to be without a permanent home for that length of time. I am grateful and humble for all the hospitality extended to me by all. I can never repay you.

I saw some amazing sights, experienced some cool things, some not so cool things and played some great music with my comrades. I am forever in-debt to God for giving me the grace to do this.

I am graciously trading in my back-pack for my own bed. I now plot my voyage home. It'll be good to be home.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Roam

In the middle of Berlin, I find myself in a strange situation.

I can either go out with a few people who are doing me a patronizing favour almost by taking me out, or I can stay home and write, or I can go out and explore and get lost in this city with an unfamiliar language; all by myself.

I'm choosing option C and will probably write about it in my next post.

I would like to thank my father who always told me to never kiss anyone's ass. And I would like to thank my mother who always told me to never accept a last-minute invitation. It's a form of patronizing that the world can do without.

Thanks folks.

Next post: getting lost in Berlin.

Europe and other things

I'm in Europe for the first time in my life. I've seen Berlin, Germany and Annecy, France. I've explored certain historical areas and I've spent a good few days and nights in the French Alps swimming in a lake where the water was clear and absolutely rejuvenating.

Next I'll be in Nuremburg, but only for a few days.

I am in-love with Europe, what a difference from North America. Everything has a history to it. Everything! There's so much to see and do that I've hardly slept and now I'm suffering with insomnia, but I'm sure I'll catch up on sleep sometime.

In the midst of all this I am homesick and I look forward to returning to Trinidad.

I've been on the road off and on for 6 weeks now and I miss having my own bed. Silly isn't it? But be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.

I look forward to the plane ride back to Trinidad.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The air is electric

I'm writing this at 3.49AM. I'm writing before I forget to mention this again. This is gonna sound weird, but....

Sometimes while on stage, (it hasn't happened that often, maybe about 5 times in total in my entire live musical career of 19 years) a strange thing will happen, the band will be playing and all of a sudden, the entire vibe on stage just elevates.

We're all still there, but there's almost an invisible chain reaction and reciprocation between us and the crowd and I'm pretty sure we can all feel it. It's like this this amazing rush of energy and the sound just gets 100 times fuller, almost as if we're hearing ourselves in surround sound.

The crowd jut seems that much more alive, and we in turn play 10 times better. It's very hard to describe, but it's almost as if an energy wave is passing between us and the crowd. We're feeding off each other and the energy field is growing.

I can't quantify it, all I know is that my hair stands on my head, I am totally aware of everything around me, my pores raise and I swear I'm standing off the ground. I have never felt anything like this in my entire life. It is a rush, but only lasts for a few minutes at best.

It is a rare gift, but a treasured one. It is the miracle of music. That's all I can sum it up as - a miracle.

Can a feeling die?

Since I'm still up and since I'm still in a writing mood, I have a question that has been on my mind recently.

Here goes: If over a period of time a certain experience or situation is absent from one's life, does that mean that any feelings associated with that situation becomes so foreign to that said person that the feelings die?

I'm just curious? And perhaps maybe just a lil bit worried.

2.39AM on a Friday morning

We fly to Yellowknife at 6.30AM. So I've decided to not sleep, surely a brilliant idea I tell you.

Now my eyes are popping out of my head and my typing is terrible.

What am I writing to say? This summer's music traveling experiences have been going great, it's the days off that I find hard to cope with. Music is a drug and when it is all over, there are withdrawal symptoms. I rack my brain most days with what to do. And in the end the fear of wasting a day drives me to get out and about and see this city like I never did before.

I'm not burning down the city exploring every nook and cranny, but I sure am looking at everything with a renewed sense of awe. I'm in awe that I actually lived here, it was only last year that I was living here.

I don't think I could live here again, the city's solitude still screams at me. But in the background I hear the ocean waves of home, and it gives me a sense of peace knowing I'll be back there soon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Trying to keep busy while on tour/road tripping

Things have a way of not turning out how we expect and it is hard in the face of adversity to make the most of things.

I am faced with a certain reality here, that while everyone else is working, I am here on a sort-of work/vacation. I have gigs on the weekend but a good many days off during the week....so what do I do?

I have to occupy my mind and pretend to be a tourist in a city I once lived, because the devil really does find use for idle hands by making us MORE IDLE.

It is strange, but it is as if I'm seeing this city for the first time, maybe all the years I lived here I was just merely existing and not living with the city. I don't know, it is hard to qualify.

But is it possible for the same place to be viewed a number of different ways over a certain indefinite period of time?

If so, then what an experience this is.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

On the other side of the world

Well I'm on tour with Kobo Town. We're in Iqaluit, Nunavut - Canada's artic. It's still cold and and there's sun throughout the day. We've had tragedy struck us, our leader's father has died from what appears to be a heart attack. It's weird to know this and to be playing shows.

The gigs are over and after the funeral the tour will continue. But it is so strange to be here, knowing that we must go on, even in the face of this sudden loss.

I am also amazed at the people here, mostly Inuit, they look at us knowing fully well we're not from here and it is strange. The ground is still frozen and houses have very unusual shapes as they are all built on stilts. Still the people here are warm and inquisitive.

This is definitely an experience.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Forwarding emails - the road to hell is paved with...

I often wondered what that statement meant. I always thought it meant that sometimes with the best of intentions we do something only to realize it caused more harm that good.

I am in the midst of this harmful outcome, albeit on a small scale. After sending a number of email Fwds to 'friends', I am at the receiving end of a few rebuttals from those same friends for sending wrong information.

The manner in which the rebuke took place was embarrassing to say the least, seeing as everyone who was on the email chain was also informed of my mistake, and my only hope is to never be so arrogant to people whom I consider friends. The information in the email was wrong, that I admit. But to be admonished like that, was also wrong.

A genuine friend is rare indeed.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Three types of trinis

There's three types of Trinidadians:

1)Those who have no problem with the way the country is going, who have a plaster for every sore. Those who have no problem with rising crime, soaring inflation, continued unemployment, corrupt politicians, hooligan drivers. Those who have no problem with the HIV/AIDS problem in TNT. Those who don't see it as a problem that most marriages end with one or both partners being unfaithful. Those who don't have a problem with 3 Smelter plants going up in La Brea. Those who for want of a better word are clueless.

2) Those who used to live here and have moved away, be it North America, Canada, England, Europe or Australia. In some cases only for a few years, in other cases for decades. These trinis return home from time to time and state openly that they could never live here again - 'This place is too backward' they say. Their accent is now a foreign 'fresh water' one. 

If they want to forget their heritage that's fine with me.

My only question to them is 'Wasn't it always this way when you lived here? And if not did your leaving make it so - a backward country?' Didn't you grow up in this land that we all called home. And yes it has changed. But one should never criticise where one comes from, for be it ever so humble, there's no place like home. And no matter how long you live away, you will always be an immigrant to that land.

3) Trini # 3 is accepting the reality of life here, living with it on a daily basis and is trying his/her best to live through it/with it and adapt accordingly while still fighting the good fight of decency and brotherly love. It is not an easy battle. But Trini # 3 is certainly much more aware of things than Trini #1 & 2 ever will be. Trini #3 holds onto the memory of a beautiful Trinidad from years gone and believes that with hard work, an honest heart, faith and love that this land may one day return to being a paradise.

There is still no place like home

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The moral of the war in Trinidad

I have returned home to my Trinidad, after being away almost 6 years. I returned home to be with my family, and because North America didn't feel like home, just one big shopping mall with many shiny objects to buy and keep me enslaved to work harder so I could con myself into buying more and more shiny toys.

I visited home annually and sometimes twice in one year; checking up on family and friends, going to the new hot spots and hitting a beach or two. And it always felt as if home was the place to be, that I would one day return home. So I decided to do so in 2008.

I am glad I left the hellish rat race, because as nice and clean and orderly the first world is, outside in their world you're just an immigrant.

But now that I'm back here for good, it's as if I see the place for what it really is – a country in turmoil. We're in utter conflict. Most don't really seem to notice, almost as if they're in a daze or something. 'Yeah prices going up, so what? It going up all over d world', 'yeah crime bad, but other countries have bad crime too, so where really safe?'

And as much as there is some truth to what people are saying, my real beef is - 'Who are we holding accountable here in Trinidad when things do go wrong?' For all this talk from our great visionary Prime Minister and his tout of 'Vision 2020', there's still so many things that are wrong and getting gradually worse here. So if things are decaying right now, right in front of us, how can we build a better Trinidad by 2020? Surely this is a joke.

One need only to step outside their neighbourhood to see dilapidated roads, sinking pavements, poor drainage, terrible waste management, poor handling of garbage disposal, a rising and threatening vagrancy problem, continuing inflation, a terrifyingly escalating crime rate, ongoing road rage that in most cases results in violence daily on our roadways, terminally-linked environmental hazards and the list goes on and on.

Our murder rate is almost double what it was this time last year, we are building 3 smelters which will surely kill our water table and most certainly annihilate the residents of La Brea, not to mention the air pollution that will follow, and the effect it will have on our beaches.

 And if that wasn't crazy enough we are having a construction boom as if the entire Caribbean is moving to Trinidad. We are spinning way out of control.

I've realized that most people have become powerless to these thing and just accept it as given,and fair enough. If the powers that be at the top aren't doing one bloody thing about why should we care?

Because of the fact that we're making the place worse for our kids. And I don't have kids, but I shudder to think what kind of country they'll inherit.

If the government has no regard as to what they tell us, and if they continue to show utter contempt for the law and its citizens by assuming we're all stupid (one just has to look at what nonsense Hon. Karen Nunes did with the CLICO/CIB fiasco to see where government's honour really lies), then my next question is whose example are we to follow if we're rotten from the top down?

It's not about partisan lines or anything like that, but if anyone can tell me one good thing this current administration has done for 'sweet' TNT in the last 8 years, then please tell me because I can't find one thing. I have seen change in this land and it is only for the worst.

I have seen hope, in the hands of a few communities that are changing things in their own way and for the better, and in one activist group called 'Drummit 2 Summit' – a group protesting our staging of the 5th Summit of the Americas (which we all know was a farce and a waste of our money).

And after only being back 6 months, I'm glad to be back to fight this fight on the home-front, because now is the time when we have to be accountable to ourselves and hold our government officials accountable, because they are doing rubbish.

And by their poor example, we have the by-product of that - hooligans who are running wild doing what they want, driving how they want, saying what they want, stealing, raping, kidnapping and murdering. We can say this is not the government's fault, but if their lead is a poor one, then whom do we follow?

Our actions start off as thought, and thoughts are formed by our environment and personal experiences. And if our environment is corrupt, then we become twisted and perverse. This correlation should be clear to all, as none of us live in a bubble.

I do believe in the decency of human beings, and that most Trinbagonians are decent people, I meet good people everyday, but we cannot feel justice if our entire system is corrupt and those who know how to manipulate it do so very well. And this goes for the big crook as well as the petty criminal. It's all the same to me.

Maybe if we learnt how to take care of our fellow neighbour as we would ourselves and then pass this ideology of brotherhood and honest consideration to others, then maybe we can rebuild this nation, street by street and town by town. All it takes is one group or neighbourhood starting to do something positive and progressive for all concerned and great things will surely happen.

But now is the time for war, and our morality is at stake. And though we may be losing the battle, I do hope we – the decent, law-abiding patriots of Trinidad and Tobago win this war, because it is a noble fight, and we all have to do our part to do what's right.





Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Trying to think freely

So I'm turning off my TV (the zombie tube) and I'm reading more, because there's way too much rubbish on TV and I can spend my time much better than being mindlessly 'entertained' by some terrible programming that was decided by some media mogul who's fattening his pocket at my expense.

I'm trying to think for myself and un-learn and re-learn everything that I ever was taught and it is hard.

I'm starting to wonder more and more if what I'm doing is my own thoughts or what was programmed into me. I'm almost about ready to become unplugged. It's scary but it's totally worth it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

We were all taught the wrong things from small

When we were in school, we were taught: study hard, stay in school, get a good tertiary education and join the work force. We were never taught to follow our dreams, no matter how small they are, for they could lead to bigger and brighter things. But more importantly, by pursuing our dreams, we become happier people, contributing more positively to our community. And by extension, we would help others on their path to achieving their dreams, because the ultimate goal i for all to achieve their dreams. 

But instead, society's ultimate goal is wealth accumulation, and avoid risk if it means sacrificing personal comfort. We are scared, we are a slave to our belongings.

We have one life to life but we're doing wrong you see (thank you Sam Roberts)

We're doing it wrong.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The speed-bumps of life...

I keep on hitting myself against an invisible wall. A ceiling that is placed by people who only seek to further their own agenda.

I'm certain now that it is not life that is hard or unfair, but people make life difficult by their selfishness and unwillingness to help. Why is it so hard to do the right thing that would make someone's day a little easier, to make a person smile. To do a good deed whether it be help someone in need, point a stranger in the right direction, or show random acts of kindness.

No. Instead we must hold on to what we have, share no information, offer no helping hand, because somehow what we have might be lost if we help. Were we always this wicked and selfish? Is everyone just thinking about themselves? My God!

I know that sometimes, in the midst of pushing for our dreams we stumble and fall, but when our fate is affected by other people and their absolute stupidity and cruelty, that is just wrong, and in that case we are not the ones who fall, in this case we are pushed down.

Why is it so hard to help others? We are so greedy and small-minded it's not funny. Some days I'm so sick of people I wish I could stand on the tallest building and scream my lungs out. But I'm sure no one would hear me from that height.

We're all numb with our own tunnel vision view of materialism and what is supposedly right that we lost all human kindness.

My God we're in trouble. And the worst part is a genuine person is becoming more like an endangered species.

What ever happened to truth, respect, love and honour?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Do we need governments anymore?

Is this government helping or hurting us? Do they care? I'm convinced they don't. The various public services by extension don't help the citizens of this land.

Maybe it's time we just took care of ourselves and our communities, maybe after we do that on a small level, maybe then we can reach out to other communities and rebuild our land, neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

I am tired of lies by our government. But what scares me more, are those blind supporters who don't smell the bullshit that's being shovelled down their throat. That scares me.

I can take care of myself, better than any government can take care of me. I wish we could do away with this false version of reality they impose on us. It's all a lie. We've been lied to for far too long.

I hope we all wake up before it's too late.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What is the recipe for a perfect day? One version of it...

What's in a perfect day? well...the sun must be out, the breeze must be blowing and filling the entire house. Minimal clouds in the sky and the birds must be singing.

Next must be a trip to the beach, pack early and hit the road. Avoid sunburn, watch the sunset and take the long drive home. Reach home after dark, wash off the sand, eat a full meal and go straight to sleep.

Now thats the perfect day. Well version one at least....version two to follow shortly....

Monday, March 23, 2009

Being true, even when it's hard

I've realised that the hardest thing in my life is to be true to me. What is that? being true to oneself? Is it doing what one loves to do the most? Is it about letting only a select few in and keeping others at bay?

I think, I'm not totally certain, but I think this means doing what is best for me whilst not hurting others in the process. Sometimes we have to tell others how we feel even when we know the outcome will change things, maybe for good. But we must do it, how else can we improve ourselves. Not everyone we meet deserves a spot in our lives and sometimes we face the same test over and over till we get it right. 

All my life, I've done what I thought was the right thing, what others expected of me, or even worse, what I thought would make others like me. I fooled myself into thinking it was the right thing to do. 

All my life I felt a fool when the outcome went awry. All my life, I've been waiting for this moment to be free. I hope to live in this moment for the rest of my life.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friends are really the salt of the earth

I read it somewhere that Mother Teresa once said that the worst sickness in the world is lonliness. I believe that to be true. More than anything in this world, I believe that to be true.

No matter what comes our way, we can almost weather any storm, once we have family and friends around us to show us support. 

There are times when we need to be alone, but having a friend who truly gets you, is a gift.

Thank God for true friends.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Life chooses us, but we decide what to do next

There's certain things in life that we just have a knack with. Certain talents, gifts; call it what you want. Sometimes it just comes easily, other times we work hard at it. Whatever the reason,  life finds us wanting to progress to great heights, with these gifts in the forms of dreams and passion. 

We always have a choice, we can pursue this path, or we can ignore it, we can call it a waste and we can let it slip away, whatever we don't use is taken away and given to someone else.

The trap is pursuing money instead of this gift, the rules are bent when we have to pay rent, just to live on earth (thanks to Bela Fleck and the Flecktones for that line). We throw away what was handed to us, with no strings attached, the only condition that we make the best use of it without abuse.

It's time we threw off the scales from our eyes, and do what we're good at, pursue our dreams, because it was never about the money to begin with.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

The only thing is music

Well, it's been a week since Silver Stars Steel Orchestra won Panorama. I'm still in a state of shock...we really did it? we beat the big shots? an unsponsored steel pan side, beat the 'creme De la creme?' How is this possible?

Looking back on it, we had people from all over the world, we had a few blokes from St. Croix, four Japanese and six Americans. All learnt pan in their own different way, and yet, as an orchestra we clicked. It wasn't easy, and many a time I thought we weren't ready, but we pulled it off. Across language and cultural barriers we were able to create a sonic masterpiece.

The only thing that can cross all frontiers is music

well a few thoughts on a sunday nite

I've come to the conclusion that having returned home to Trinidad to live, that here is still and always will be a paradise. That nothing will beat a Caribbean sunset, or a great beach lime.

 Nonetheless, I am also convinced that it's the people that are destroying this place, with our total disregard for law and order. We all say that this is a beautiful country, but so many of us throw litter out our window. I am no saint. But we all make our environment, and we all can change it.
We've only got one world, and right now...we can all do much better than the way we treat her sometimes.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Firstly...sometimes

Sometimes, in the middle of life, with no warning...I'll find myself just wanting to get away from people. Today was such a day, in the midst of Carnival celebrations in Trinidad, with thousands of people around me, all I wanted to be was home, taking a nap and playing guitar.

I was playing pan on a truck with Silver Stars, we were on a high - having just won Panorama on Saturday nite (Large Band category), and it just started happening; my mood changed from excitement to one of isolation. It happened for a number of reasons. Maybe it's just me, but it's weird to see people having a good time, and while a vagrant rumbled through open bags of garbage the revellers just moved around him. I know thats life generally, we all do it - we avoid the things around us that we have no time for, but today in the midst of 'celebrations'; I felt like a hypocrite and inhuman.

I guess it's hard to dictate when a mood will arise, but not impossible to decide what to do with that said mood.

God help us all to be better people
I need sleep