Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Creole and proverbs

According to Wolfgang Meider a proverb is a short, generally known sentence of the folk which contains wisdom, truth, morals, and traditional views in a metaphorical, fixed and memorizable(sic) form and which is handed down from generation to generation. Proverbs date back to Biblical times with the book of Solomon being a prime example.

As can be expected they are often a mixture of diverse languages and cultures. Creole proverbs are colourful and rich with their own distinctive features mixed with British, European or African origin. They are a rich part of our oral cultural heritage handed down by our elders who seemed to have a saying for every occasion. West Indian proverbs differ from those of other societies in that they seem to have a strong negative element i.e in form, meaning or context. In contrast to English proverbs many of ours seem to have a strong emphasis on bodily harm. Some examples that come to mind are:

What sweet in gout mouth sour in he bambam( Too much of a good thing can be bad)

Chicken merry,hawk deh near (In the midst of merriment danger is lurking)

Fowl that doh hear shoo will hear bap (Who don;t hear will feel)

Crab walk too much,im lose im claw(Overdoing things will cause breakage)

Across the region there are several different proverbs which convey similar meanings but are linguistically different. Hence the Guyanese saying “one one dutty mek dam" and the Vincentian "one one does fill basket" are both saying slowly but surely you will get the job done. Other examples are the Grenadian "Yuh evah see monkey on top gru gru tree" which is the variation of "Monkey know which tree to climb" used in other Caribbean islands.I can still hear my grandmother saying "little donkey got big ears" when our presence prevented her from sharing a juicy story with her friends or other family members. Another favorite was "sea don't have back door"(be careful) which was drummed into our ears every time we went to the beach. Many of them I never understood then but for some reason they stuck with me.I am glad they did because I consider them to be expressive and beautiful in a way that is so Caribbean

Sunday, January 15, 2012


No! Sister G

Every now and again politicians make comments that are mind numbingly stupid. In that respect they are not unlike "regular" people but given their visibility and responsibility the comments attract greater attention. The latest in a long line of silliness came from the female Deputy Prime Minister who exhorted Vincentian females not to dress in a manner that tempts men. All of this against a back drop where violence against Vincentian women is quite alarming.

Yet, her strongest words of admonishment were reserved for the victims. I wish I could be surprised but sadly she is not alone with that archaic thinking. Far too many of us(females included)look at a scantily dressed female and wonder aloud if she's begging to get raped. Many times I've felt like screaming when seemingly intelligent persons look me in the eye and link rape with mode of dress when nothing could be further from the truth.
Rape is an act of dominance and power that has absolutely nothing to do with what the victim was wearing.
Rape is the responsibility of the rapist alone.
Women, children and men of every age, physical type and demeanor are raped.
Opportunity is the most important factor determining when a given rapist will rape.

These are truths that need to be constantly repeated until everyone gets it. Therefore, the goodly Deputy PM would be better off by telling would be perpetrators that a scantily dressed woman is not issuing a rape invitation. She cannot and should not be held responsible for the actions of men who disregard the whole notion of consent. Anything else is plain and simple BS

Sunday, January 08, 2012


Yes to SVG

There is a St Vincent we love. The one of the breathtaking scenery, verdant mountains,fertile soil and that warmth that sets us apart. And to our delight CNN, New York Times Travel and Travel and leisure have placed our island paradise on their top spots to visit in 2012. These billings are bright spots for a nation desperately in need of a lift following a damning Toronto Star report which examined violence against Vincentian women.

So, I'll take any positive news that comes our way. However, the challenge is to prepare ourselves should there be increased tourist arrivals. Kingstown at best is a cluttered town which at times is hard to navigate. Many days I feel as if I'm in an obstacle race as I dodge vendors who seem to pop up in every imaginable area. I'm not sure how the authorities plan to correct this as previous efforts were strongly opposed. To borrow a phrase from the Prime Minister "we have to get the little things right" if we are to benefit from this welcomed publicity. After all,the Tourism folks have told us over and over that repeat visits and personal testimonies that encourage others to visit are the ideal. The ball is firmly in our court to create a favorable impression since we'd only have once chance to get it right.

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