Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Lesson in courage

On a couple of occasions I've run into this woman. She's just a regular woman save for the fact that she obviously has one breast. It's not that I don't know women with mastectomies but never have I seen a woman in public minus a prosthesis. No doubt she has seen the stares(mine included) of curious persons unaccustomed to a woman boldly telling the world she has one breast.

Since then, I've been thinking about her and the mindset that allows her to go about her business unfazed. In my mind that speaks of courage and a woman comfortable enough in her skin to not be defined by breasts or the absence thereof. It could not have been an easy thing given the obsession with breasts-big breasts as a sexual object. That makes me offer up so much applause for a woman who has battled a terrible disease and knows the essence of a woman is not her physical appearance but something much deeper. Something called confidence that says this is who I am world. Something I wish had a lot more of.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Poor Semenya

Long before she was thrust into the spotlight in Berlin her looks would have created a stir of the unfavourable type. In fact, the President of the SAA has admitted that she not only underwent a gender test prior to Berlin but the team's doctor had recommended her omission from the team.

It could hardly have come as a shock to the SAA that the IAAFF ordered same after Semenya's heroics in Berlin coupled with her physical appearance. Yet, they reacted as if they never had a thought there was anything about her to warrant concern. This is not to absolve the IAAF for it's shoddy handling of the whole affair but I can't help but feel Semenya was poorly handled by all concerned.

Unfortunately women, driven by the media's definition of beauty and the images we are fed are judged by their appearance despite their achievements. How many times have you heard Condoleeza Rice described as ugly? In my opinion her looks should be secondary to her amazing achievements but such is life. I won't even get started on the hoopla over Princess Di's death while Mother Theresa's was just a footnote.

I feel for Semenya whose world has been thrust upside down and made to pose for a magazine looking like a caricature of womanhood. At 18 and having lived all her life as a female she now has to deal with the knowledge(if the reports are true) that she is intersex. It's a situation I can't even begin to fathom and she didn't know it before she now knows that being different can be almost unbearable.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Swine flu is back in town

Swine flu has hit close to home-very close. One student at the St Mary's a section of the RC is confirmed as having contracted the virus with several others complaining of feeling unwell. As a precaution a section of the school will be closed until September 21st. However, I suspect that pretty soon the entire school will be closed.

Somehow in recent time swine flu/H1N1 was not a subject that I paid any attention to. Sure I knew SVG had recorded one case but that was just a blip on the radar. Life, after a few panicky moments quickly went back to normal. With children now involved it's a whole other dimension given their contact with other classmates, teachers and the general public.

I should be worried about exposure but I'm not. I am more worried about the children's well being and the public's obsession with having the child's identity revealed. I fail to see why the child's identity is such a huge issue when the concerns should be measures the school and the Ministry of Health have put in place to reduce further transmission of the virus. In my humble opinion exposing the child serves no real purpose unless we want to place the child in a fishbowl for all to stare.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009


Vincy funerals

Every Wednesday on local television news there is a segment called "This is who we are". With all the funerals I've attended in the past five days the evolution of the Vincy funeral is foremost in my mind.

With death came the third night, ninth night and forty days wakes and buns and hot chocolate. As a child I recall accompanying various relatives to wakes and being admonished for mimicking the movements of the Spiritual Baptists. It's been a long time since I've heard of any wakes being held so I want to believe they are no longer a prominent part of the funeral culture. These days apart from listening the death announcement on radio you can also view it on television which I find a little offsetting.

Funerals were always a social event which saw persons rekindling old friendships. This was more pronounced when persons who had migrated came back for the funeral. No funeral was complete without the obligatory gathering at the rum shop where the men would down their grief in one, two, three or four drinks. I am not sure when things changed but these days funerals are synonymous with a big feast rivalling those at weddings.

It is not uncommon for the "after party" to be held at a community centre or some other place that can comfortably accommodate the guests. On hand will be lots of food such as sandwiches, curried goat, baked chicken, callaloo and whatever else the relatives choose to put on the menu. It goes without saying that a well stocked bar is a common feature of the celebrations. Despite the obvious cost to this activity it seems as if it is here to say. As one friend said the funeral budget has to incorporate the "after party" or it's just not a budget or a funeral.

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