Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm not African

I was chatting with someone a few weeks ago, when I made reference to the politics of various ethnic groups in Trinidad and Tobago. When I used the word "black" to describe the group to which I ostensibly belong, she stopped me and - ever so politely - corrected me to "African."

I paused for a second, but I gave in. I did this for two reasons:
  1. We were talking about something else and didn't want to get side-tracked in the little bit of time that we had.
  2. I didn't think an explanation of why I don't identify as "African" would be appropriate at the time and in that setting. 
I've noticed that people who do identify as African tend to become offended by that revelation. So, just this once, I went a long to get along. Always with the intention of correcting the misconception at a later date. I haven't had the chance to do so yet, though, and it's crossed my mind a few times since, so I figured I'd write it out.

So, here are the four reasons that I don't identify as African:

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tall Tales

After Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh announced his intention to go on a hunger strike, it became painfully clear how much nonsense was floating around in the public domain about the Mon Desir to Debe section of the San Fernando to Point Fortin highway.

It was only after watching the Prime Minister address the matter for the first time today, that I realized how much the People's Partnership Government is responsible for the fact that some of the most intense commentary on the issue is coming from people who have no clue what they're talking about.

In the spirit of the Communication Ministry's 12-point Fact Sheet aimed at refuting Kublalsingh's claims, please allow me to cut through just a bit of the b.s.:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Trini Commitment

There's a lot of debate about whether Highway Re-Route Movement leader Dr. Wayne Kublalsingh is really on a hunger strike, whether he's being childish, whether he's trying to prey on public sympathy to manipulate the government, etc.

I'm interested in none of it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

VAT Trap

Attorney General Anand Ramlogan
This VAT-removal gimmick that the People's Partnership Government is trying to use to distract us from the fact that Jack Warner is still a minister, Anand Ramlogan is Attorney General and the Prime Minister would rather parade the catwalk than address issues of national importance is creating a lot more problems than it's going to solve.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Immoral Authority

“Where were the citizens who want to protect our democracy when there was evidence of political manipulation in the arrest of our former chief justice?
 “That was a huge blow to democracy. How come political relics of the past are coming forward now when they had opportunities in the past to change the system and did not take the benefit of that opportunity?”
That's Prakash Ramadar, political leader of the COP and Legal Affairs Minister, questioning the moral authority of citizens of T&T to demand better of his government.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

At the Tipping Point

A tipping point is defined as "the critical point in a situation... beyond which a significant and often unstoppable ... change takes place".

I look around and I wonder when T&T will reach that point and what it's going to take to get there. Given the nation's history of generally mediocre (and often piss-poor) governance, the decade of sky-rocketing crime, pitifully crumbling infrastructure and an incumbent government that shows open disdain for its citizenry, I honestly wonder how much more people need to see before deciding that - whatever it takes - real change is imperative.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Another School in Poor Condition

This is how the experts at the Ministry of Works and Ministry of Education have collectively decided to deal with electrical problems at St. George's College.

The panel is overheating and the wiring is starting to burn, so they've just posted a fan there to keep things cool. Just for the while, I'm sure.

Political Patronage Continues

Stumbled across this this morning:
Prematee Ramnarine, mother of former Security Intelligence Agency (SSA) head Reshmi Ramnarine, has been promised a promotion to the post of Clerk IV at the National Agricultural Marketing and Development Corporation (Namdevco)—a position that does not exist in the establishment.
Ramnarine, who has more than 25 years’ service, approached the Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) last year, claiming she had been bypassed for a promotion. In a bid to bring a speedy resolution to the matter, former chairman Robert Ramsamooj agreed to enter into a voluntary conciliation mediation agreement between Namdevco and Ramnarine.
Yes, you read that right. The mother of the infamous Reshmi Ramnarine (who changed her name to Shashi Rehka last May) is now embroiled in her own employment scandal. Prematee Ramnarine was somehow promised a promotion to a Namdevco position that doesn't exist and is now in mediation to resolve the situation.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Parliamentary Race Baiting

National Security Minister
Jack Warner
After a week spent neck deep in news, I don't generally bother with the local happenings much on a weekend. But, once I stumbled across this, I couldn't let it pass:
In defending Ramlogan, Warner charged that Rowley had signaled him out for "persecution" because of his ethnicity.
"It's because you have a problem with the individual," he said.
Warner questioned how come Rowley did not have "one" like him sitting on the PNM benches or going up for elections in the PNM convention which takes place today.
"They don't count. You are attacking the Attorney General because the AG represents the things you dislike," said Warner. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

B.S. in Communications

In the wake of the controversy over his ill-advised email to the Head of News for CCN, Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed has issued an apology:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Political Fatigue

National Security Minister
Jack Warner
Looks like Jack Warner really has bitten off more than he can chew...
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has instructed National Security Minister Jack Warner to get some rest.
Persad-Bissessar, speaking at a lavish fund-raising dinner by the Tobago Organisation of the People (TOP) on Sunday at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya, said Warner had not slept in 48 hours and ordered that he not work on Monday.
"Jack Warner, you are grounded after you leave here tonight, you will go home tomorrow, I will ask other ministers to take up all your meetings, and Maureen Warner, ground him tomorrow, let him sleep because he hasn't slept in 24 to 48 hours," said Persad-Bissessar.
Sleep well Jack, because you've got lots of questions to answer when you get back.

This is not a fete

Lawrence Duprey
I imagine that the reason that Lawrence Duprey, former executive chairman of CL Financial (a company so poorly-managed and well-connected that its collapse nearly destabilized the national economy and has cost the taxpayers $21 billion) can boldly declare (in a 50 page witness statement, naturally) that he did nothing wrong while Auditor Chanka Seeterram freely admits that he cooked the HCU books to hide a $31 million loss is because this country has never prosecuted anyone for white collar crime.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Latest PP Misstep?

Communications Minister
Jamal Mohammed

Just in case you thought that the last line of my last post was a throwaway, here are the details, courtesy of TV6's Facebook page:

PP Government: Worst administration ever or evil geniuses?

So, the protests continued in East Port of Spain for the second day in a row today. For those keeping track, it was also the second day of the spectacular failure that is the People and Projects for Progress Programme - a venture that has succeeded only in being the most alliterative gimmick/make-work program that this Government has been able to come up with so far.

Few are surprised at this turn, as it would seem that one half of the population saw right through Jack Warner's attempt to buy peace in Laventille and the other half figured that it was just a matter of time before the savages flipped out again.

At the very least, most folks had to admit that Jack totally screwed up by getting involved in Laventille. He's in way over his head.

But ... What if - for a second - we give the People's Partnership Government more credit than they've ever shown the potential for deserving?

Corruption? What corruption?

"They talk of corruption in my Government and up to today they cannot give me one specific instance of corruption. They call names, they blame people, there's nothing I've seen evidence of and I promise you this—the day any evidence of corruption comes in my face I will deal with it.
"No minister will stand, no councillor will stand and no board member will stand. I've already demonstrated my commitment to transparency and accountability."
That's Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, speaking at at THA election fundraiser.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Blame Game

Health Minister Dr. Fuad Khan
Read this Express article and cringe as the people in charge of this nation's healthcare system frantically pass the buck after a patient dies because no one at the Health Ministry, North West Regional Health Authority, or Port of Spain General Hospital could figure out how to get their hands on a cranial drill in time to save him.

I'd ask if anyone would be held responsible for such a gross failure in the public health system, but - alas - I know better.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Say what?

So the Hoop of Life program has officially been launched (to the tune of $300,000, but that's another blog post) and the Government got another chance to tout its ingenious Shaq-approved/crime-fighting measure. Of course, as Jack Warner and Anil Roberts were the ones doing the talking, you know it had to be good:

Conflict of Interest?

So... the drama with the Chaguaramas Development Authority continues as the board waits to hear who will be staying and who will be going after Planning Minister Dr Bhoe Tewarie's Cabinet note. But that's not why I'm sharing this Guardian article.

I'm sharing it because it says that TSTT Chairman Everald Snaggs is also the CDA's head of security.

PoS Flooding: A Thing of the Past?

 Environment and Water Resources
Minister Ganga Singh
In between yesterday's race baiting, Environment and Water Resources Minister Ganga Singh found time to express his plans for the end of flooding in Port of Spain:

Race Talk

On the off chance that you need more evidence of why T&T's politicians aren't worthy of their citizenry... check out what this country's leaders had to say in Senate yesterday:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Government minister declares himself "stupid"

Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed
Wait, a government minister speaking in the Senate admitted to stupidity and I missed it?

Officers under investigation after prisoner escapes for the FOURTH time

So...  a prisoner being held on murder charges manages to skip police custody for the fourth time in three years, and the T&T Police Service has finally decided that an investigation is in order...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

CDA Board Members say 'It wasn't us!'

On the off chance that you (like me) have been closely following the developments of the alleged leaking of a reporter's phone records to the Chaguaramas Development Authority:

When we last left this story, TSTT had quickly declared its intention to investigate the report and the Media Association of T&T had swiftly lamented the attack on the anonymity of whistleblowers (not to mention the invasion of the reporter's privacy).

Today, we learned that two statements had also emerged from the CDA: one from the Authority and the other from seven out of its nine board members.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Fed up with spin

Another incredibly apt column, this time by former Independent Senator Dana Seetahal, addressing the constant (and incredibly transparent) spin of the People's Partnership.

TSTT Responds to Allegations of a Leak

In response to yesterday's Guardian article alleging that TSTT leaked the phone records to the Chaguaramas Development Authority so that they could track down a Guardian reporter's sources, the telecommunications company had this to say:

The undoing of Jack

National Security Minister Jack Warner
(photo courtesy T&T Newsday)
This Express column by Sunity Maharaj hit the nail on the head:

Addressing the fact that Jack Warner's appointment to Cabinet is another one of this Government's biggest mistakes, Maharaj points out that he was a bad fit for public office from day one:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Private donors rescue Warriors; Sport Ministry abandons team again

The Warriors train in St Kitts & Nevis.
I am not even remotely a football fan. As a girl raised on basketball and American football, I have little patience for a game that can run 90 minutes without a single goal.

That said, I remember frenzy that the Warriors whipped T&T into in 2006 when they invaded Germany. I had only been  here about a year, and I was at work when everything stopped to listen to the game against Bahrain on the radio.

I remember heading to the window to watch Trinis flood the streets in red as they celebrated the 1-nil victory.

I remember the lavish promises made to the players who had made T&T so proud.

I remember what those promises came to.

Reporter’s phone records leaked to CDA

CDA chairman Danny Solomon

The media, flawed as it is, remains T&T's only means of discovering the shenanigans going on behind closed political doors and the People's Partnership Government, despite frequent vows to support the media, continues to try to undermine them at every turn.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Name Games

(L-R) LATT chairman Kuarlal Rampersad, CEO Leary Hosein and LATT Corporate Communicatins Coordinator Marsha Marchan

Am I to understand that the chairman and CEO of Lake Asphalt of Trinidad and Tobago called a media conference to dispel rumors about nepotism relating to a multi-million-dollar contract and they did not know the names of the people who owned Fastec, the company that received the multi-million-dollar contract?

Monday, July 16, 2012

No Means No ... Doesn't It?

As a relative outsider to T&T, I find myself in the unique position of observer to Trinbagonian customs that may seem normal to other nationals. Some of these customs have become relatively normal to me over the years, while others remain baffling and infuriating to my New York sensibilities. When I find myself confronted with one of the latter, I generally take to Facebook and/or Twitter to vent my frustration and seek explanation from other Trinis who, with the benefit of local upbringing, might be able to explain things to me in a way that I can understand. This time, I figured I'd blog it. Because I doubt that I know anyone to whom the following story will make a lick of sense:

Friday, June 22, 2012

June 22nd is WHAT day now?

So I hear that today was International "No Panty Day" (on Twitter and Facebook at least) and if that isn't enough to get me to dust off my blog then nothing is.

If, like me, you awoke this morning to discover your Facebook and/or Twitter feed plastered with images of women in various states of undress, like this popular one:

then you may have wondered what the hell was going on.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

In the Eye of the Beholder

What could she possibly be looking at?
Knowing my fondness for anything related to the female perspective, friends recently pointed me in the direction of  an article in The Telegraph which paints a depressing picture of female self-esteem. According to a survey conducted by Dove Skincare, only one in every eight women (just 13%) are confident enough to call themselves attractive.

The article (posted on Facebook, naturally) led to an interesting discussion in which we mulled over the pressures women face in attempting to conform to the images presented by society (and the beauty industry) as "the feminine ideal" while trying to maintain a modicum of self-esteem.

It was while discussing my own inner-directed sense of self-esteem that something occurred to me: 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Blogging Reshuffling

Morning everyone :)

My experiment in blogging is going pretty well thus far, thanks in large part to your support (and willingness to read my semi-frequent ramblings).

I'd like to try something a little different, so bear with me here. I'd like to try backing off of the scheduled Monday, Wednesday and Friday posts. It's a little rigid and it makes it difficult to do what you all seem to enjoy the most, which is more current-events-centered (hopefully humorous) posts.

My plan is to continue daily current events posting on my Tumblr and, when I come across something particularly interesting, to post my extended commentary here (instead of the rambling Tumblr posts I've been doing recently - I don't think it's quite the right venue for that). This means that I might be posting here more frequently than thrice-weekly (it also means it might be less, depending on what I find and the demands on my time, but I promise I'll work hard to avoid that).

So what do you think? Feel free to give me your feedback in the comments, it's always much appreciated. Otherwise, look out for more from me very soon.

Thanks again for your support and encouragement (it really means the world),


Friday, April 20, 2012

The Hunt is Off ... Again

Courtesy of "The Eternal Pantomime"

This morning's Special Early Edition blog post has been hijacked by Ian Alleyne.

Locals: bear with me here.

For non-Trinbagonians out there: Ian Alleyne is the local version of Batman. Or, if you prefer, Captain America

I'm only being half-facetious here. In a country which was only able to arrest the spiraling crime rate with a sudden (and poorly reasoned) State of Emergency, in which corruption is so endemic as to become an actual part of the way the society functions, and in which the police service is widely viewed as ineffective and corrupt itself, he and his TV show have become the only hope for justice for crime victims without enough influence to galvanize their neighborhood police force:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

You want me to put WHAT ... WHERE? (Pt 2)

So, after wrapping my mind around the concept of Clean and Dry Intimate Wash (a product meant to bleach your vadge to an irresistible sparkling shine), I began to wonder whether something like that could ever take hold here in T&T.

My first instinct (said in the most Trinbagonian way possible) was: NAH! 

Not in the land of oil and music, a place with more beautiful women per square foot than most countries have for miles. Not in a place that manages to embrace women of every shape, size and color with special names for them all (darkie, brownin', reds, tallest, lil bits, rasta, empress, famalay, etc, etc, etc). No way anyone's convincing these women that their vaginas aren't good enough just the way they are.

But then I stopped to think. Beauty insecurities exist everywhere (even, alas, in sweet T&T) and, world-wide, many things previously thought to be extreme are now commonplace, particularly with our neighbors to the north. We all know what happens when America catches a cold. That's right: vajazzling.

So is it possible? Could a product like Clean and Dry Intimate Wash, with all of its insidious implications, take root here? I aimed to find out. After all, inquiring vaginas want to know.

Monday, April 16, 2012

You want me to put WHAT ... WHERE? (Pt 1)


That (quickly followed by "UGH") was my reaction to coming across a recent Jezebel article titled "Your Vagina Isn't Just Too Big, Too Floppy, and Too Hairy - It's also Too Brown".

After witnessing the disgusting attacks that provoked Ashley Judd into a well-articulated shutdown of the American media and surviving weeks of bigoted Hunger Games Tweets, I had possibly reached my threshold on world-wide ignorance and discrimination. Even when it's being presented by way of the kind of hilarious satirical attack that can only be found on Jezebel.

Still, when the link popped up again a day later in my Facebook newsfeed, I realized that a self-proclaimed news junkie like myself wouldn't be able to avoid it forever.

I was not at all disappointed by what I found.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Interested in a little fiction?

And I do mean a little fiction.

The back-story on this could easily end up being longer than the piece itself.

Many moons ago, a friend invited me along to a Writers Union of T&T meeting. I had a great time and ended up joining, although my crazy work schedule got in the way and I haven't been back in quite some time.

Before I was pulled away, I was challenged to write a short story that included the titles or characters of five other works-in-progress that members had brought along to the meeting. In under 100 words. I didn't make the hundred, but I got pretty close (187, to be exact).

They liked it well enough that they've decided to publish this slightly edited version (and another equally short one) in their next journal.

I'd love to hear your thoughts (extra points to anyone who can guess what the titles/characters were):


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Smile. (A cure for the Hump Day Blues)

Is it Wednesday already? Goodness, Hump Day kind of snuck up on me there. I guess three short weeks in a row will do that to you. Not that I'm complaining, Lord knows I love nothing more than a long weekend.

Except maybe for Edy's cookies 'n cream, which sort of makes everything better. Everything, that is, except for the funk I've found myself wrapped in for the past few days. Monday's blog post was a bit on the chastising side, I'll admit. I was wallowing knee-deep in news reports of racism, violence and an all-encompassing lack of respect for human life which left me feeling overwhelmed and discouraged. I think I lost faith in the human race for a little while there, as I tend to do once in a while.

Luckily, just when I'm at my lowest, wondering if humankind is more a virus than a race of sentient beings, the internet always seems to throw a little encouragement my way.

I present to you the two hilarious Tumblrs that have restored my faith in the human race:

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Golden Rule

A friend of mine posted this on Facebook the other day.
It's incredibly simple and too often forgotten.

"Do unto others as you'd like them to do unto you"; also known as the Golden Rule. It's the simplest moral code, found in every major religion in one form or another.

It's easy to understand and even easier to do, with a little self-awareness. And yet, sometimes it seems as if almost no one is willing to follow it. When I look around, I see lots of people doing lots of despicable things to each other with only the flimsiest of self-serving justifications. The worst excuse of all - and the one I seem to hear most often - is that other people are doing worse. I cannot imagine how that could justify anything although I can definitely see how it can be used as an attempt to justify everything.

People. Stop what you're doing and just listen for a moment:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Leap of Faith

Like this, but with more clothes and less ... jumping off of stuff.
I'm pretty much your typical type-A female control freak. The only difference between my madness and that of other typical type-A female control freaks is that I do not seek to control others. Only myself. It'd be kind of Zen, if I wasn't talking about being so tightly wound that the idea of being 5 minutes late to work actually makes my skin crawl.

I'm not exaggerating, either. Barring an unforeseen catastrophe, I'm always at least 15 minutes early. I maintain a detailed day planner (or two) in which I write down everything that needs to be done, I'm pretty much a neat freak, and I generally live my life according to a self-imposed schedule. I always have a plan. For everything. And a back-up plan in case the plan fails. And (occasionally, under very special circumstances) a back-up back-up, just in case. I've never had to have a back-up back-up back-up because ... well, I'm just that good.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Movie Misadventure

After weeks of anticipation, I finally got around to seeing The Hunger Games this past weekend. 

Well, I didn't so much "see" it as manage to be in a theater while it was playing. In what has to be the most absurd set of movie-going circumstances ever, I managed to find myself seated next to a loudly snoring individual and in front of  a group of the biggest morons this country has to offer. Between the two, I managed to see/hear very little of the movie and, as such, I have absolutely nothing to report. Nothing. I can't comment on disappointing costumes (CGI fire? Really?), the poignant or wooden acting (Amandla was très sweet but Kravitz should probably stick to music) or the extra scenes (Seneca got his just deserts but I will forever mourn the loss of that awesome beard). Instead, most of what I remember consists of loudly resonating snores and obnoxious comments from the peanut gallery.

Monday, April 2, 2012

I'm Dancing Alone

Back off, buddy.

Is it weird that I refuse to dance with guys when I go to a club? 

It's not that I can't dance. I can and I do (boy, do I). In fact, despite the fact that I go so rarely, clubbing's pretty much the only exercise I get. I go with the aim of dancing until I can't feel my feet, leaving sweaty and satisfied. I just dance alone.

That's weird, right?

It seemed plenty strange to the guys I encountered this weekend at a local club, none of whom could understand why I insisted on dancing alone. Or maybe they just couldn't comprehend why I refused to dance with them

Friday, March 30, 2012

Happy Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day!

(photo courtesy the Trinidad Express)

It's a holiday in sweet T&T! Have I told you why I love this place? Oh, that's right. I have.

Today is Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day, a holiday celebrated only in T&T which commemorates the day that those of the faith were finally allowed to worship in peace (61 years ago). As with most of my discoveries about local history, I was surprised to learn how recently such a freedom had been granted. Not to mention how recently it was recognized as a significant historical event (just 16 years ago). These occasional reminders of the nation's relative youth help to temper my impatience with the place - for a while, anyway. Still, the contrasts between the development of a society intended for long-term colonization and one meant strictly for the production of resources is sometimes jarring. There's a lot of make-it-up-as-we-go-along going on here and I suspect that it's at the root of the much of the ad hoc nature of things.

On the bright side, today also marks the first of 3 consecutive short weeks, so YAY! I intend to celebrate this holiday like I do most others; reading, writing and maybe I'll find a movie to mock- I mean, watch. There isn't much else to do since everything except KFC shuts all the way down on a holiday. No worries, though, I started Catching Fire last night and - just as with The Hunger Games - any time spent not reading the novel is occupied with ruminations of what's going to happen next. Yes, I'm obsessed with a novel meant for Young Adults. No, I'm not the least bit bothered by that. Still hoping to catch the movie this weekend; with all of the buzz, I'm hoping I'll be lucky enough to grab tickets.

Well, I'm off. Happy Spiritual Shouter Baptist Liberation Day to my local readers and to those based abroad: I'll do an extra special bit of lazing about for you. :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's Worse Than a Fight to the Death in an Outdoor Arena?

Because it’s no secret that the internet loves nothing more than to crush the spirits of fangirls like myself, I knew it was only a matter of time before something attempted to tarnish my pristine new love affair with The Hunger Games.

Then a friend linked me to the Hunger Games Tweets Tumblr, a compendium of the bigoted perspectives of those shocked by the black actors playing Rue and Thresh in the recently released movie.

I was not prepared.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lost in "The Hunger Games"

I’ve been living in Panem for the past two days; catching up on the latest YA literary craze to sweep the globe and daydreaming about running through the woods during those unavoidable moments when I was forced to tear myself away from the page. In fact, my brand-new obsession with Suzanne Collins’ gripping dystopian coming-of-age tale is why today’s post is late. Mea culpa, I was completely unprepared to be so charmed.

I’d originally intended to let this one pass me by. The end of the Harry Potter saga and the sparkly juggernaut that is Twilight seemed to signal an end to my love affair with well-written young adult fiction (though, at 26 years old, that might be for the best). So when I heard about The Hunger Games trilogy and the subsequent movie, I naturally figured that more overwrought teen angst was on the way. The merchandising blitz didn't help matters, either. I did plan to eventually give the movie a chance, but only because the Twilight movies have turned out to be such comedic gems.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Once Upon A Time ... A T&T Fairy Tale (Part III)

And so we come to the conclusion of our story.

When last we met, I was inching ever closer to home... the little yellow light on my BlackBerry had just started blinking and I was praying for enough battery power and inspiration to conclude our tale.

When we last saw M, she was in exile; sent away as a result of her big mouth and her know-it-all attitude. Seems like a little distance and perspective was just what she needed, though. That last letter of hers was a doozy.

Act Three: And So it Ends (Wait for it ...)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Once Upon A Time ... A T&T Fairy Tale (Part II)

When we left off with our tale, your humble narrator was beginning to worry about the sudden off-route turn the taxi had taken (was he trying to avoid the traffic or should I tweet an S.O.S.?). Meanwhile, back in the fictional Kingdom of Port of Spain, the plebs were languishing, the elite were living lavishly and there was a potential heroine on the horizon:

Act Two: Out of the Frying Pan and into the Fracas

Monday, March 19, 2012

Once Upon a Time ... A T&T Fairy Tale (Part I)

Once upon a time I wrote a fairy tale on Twitter.

Let me set the scene:

It was the end of a very long Friday a couple of months ago. I had survived a harrowing journey filled with twists and turns, successfully battled fierce (if dimwitted) opponents and was looking forward to the peace of the weekend (even though I had to work that Sunday). There was just one hurdle left to cross. 

Travelling home. 

Now, the journey from St. Clair to Chaguanas is harrowing on a good day. This, however, happened to be a rainy day. Those who work in Port of Spain know what happens to the evening commute when it rains. Those who don't should imagine what it would be like to travel home in a place where 15 minutes of continuous rain causes moderate flooding - which in turn causes all commuters to panic - and there's no reliable public transportation system to save you. Oh, and it's rush hour. Sound hopeless? No? Then you're not imagining it right.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Greener Grass

Just one of many pieces of Trinidad-themed merchandise I'd been known to (proudly) wear on Labor Day.

In the last 6 years, I've found myself on the receiving end of all sorts of interesting questions from a wide range of people who are honestly curious about me, my upbringing and – most importantly – the fabled land of opportunity in which I was raised.

The curiosity is usually genuine, so I try to ignore the fact that I sometimes feel like a Martian when folks ask if I’d ever had roti before I came here (of course) or a psychic when they ask if I know some random person who also happened to live in Flatbush once upon a time (of course not). The fact that most of the questions range from the amusing to the absurd keeps me in good spirits while I explain that driving on the left is not a problem for me because I never learned to drive on the right and that I am never ever going to learn the metric system, no matter who says it’s better. (The Queen can kiss my 10-inch foot)

The question that bugs me, though, is the one I seem to get most frequently (and usually from those who don’t know me well enough to know why they shouldn’t ask): “Why would you EVER come back here?” This question is usually followed by a declaration along the lines of “If I lived abroad, I’d NEVER come back” and a list of all the reasons why America (or any other country, really) is a million times better than T&T.

Leaving aside the fact that most of these folks get their impressions of the US from episodes of the “Real Housewives” series and “Kim and Khloe Take NY”, there are several reasons why this makes me want to grind my teeth:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I am clumsy. Not in a cute, Zooey Deschanel kind of way, but in an I-trip-over-anything-and-everything kind of way. Combine that with the fact that I bruise like a leukemia patient and you’ve got the makings of great comedy, which also happens to be my real life.

This predisposition towards self-injury and the resulting evidence is a great conversation starter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the pleasure of explaining that, no, that’s not a hickey or no, I am not a victim of domestic assault.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fear of Failure

I read recently that one of the many ways that New Year’s resolutions fail is when we announce them to everyone and then promptly fail to follow through. The rationale is that we declare them in the hopes that the specter of public humiliation will motivate us, feel fulfilled in the announcement (as if it was a step in the right direction) and then do nothing. I’ve been doing that for more than a year.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Daring to be different (like everyone else)

I was the most boring teenager ever. No exaggeration there. I had friends and we’d do the regular teenaged things like hanging out at the mall and watching movies, but my real passion in life was reading. I spent hours alone in my bedroom curled up with books. I also got good grades, rarely went out after dark, held a part-time job and gave absolutely no trouble when it came to guys. That last part wasn’t really by choice; before I grew breasts I couldn’t get a guy to look at me and afterwards all I wanted was for them to look away. I was awkward. (<--- recurring theme)

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

“Secrets are things we give to others to keep for us” ~ Elbert Hubbard

I am bad at secrets. Always have been.

I remember, when I was a little girl, getting a talking to about private versus public things. You know the talk your parents give you when you’re 4 or 5, right after you tell the neighbor about daddy’s special magazine collection (the one he keeps under the mattress). Your parents sit you down and explain that some things, while true, are only to be discussed with family. Or, in the case of Daddy’s girlie mags, not at all. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Marching to the beat of my own drummer

I’ve always been a little bit different. Even “back home”.

If it wasn’t the fact that I wore my hair natural until the age of 14 (unheard of in my generation), it was the fact that I was six feet tall and a high school freshman, or the fact that I was still playing with Barbies when other girls were discovering fun new games like “Seven Minutes in Heaven”. I never did anything when or how anyone else did.

The earliest memory I have of just being strange was back in elementary school. It had to be first grade, because I remember the teacher involved very vividly. Let’s call her Mrs. R. (because her name began with “R”). Mrs. R was my favorite teacher for many years. She was kind and encouraging and she had the most innovative ways of teaching every day subjects. She was also relatively laid back, so long as you weren’t disrupting the class. (I think you see where this is going.)