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In the Pen Dunce

Published: 
Friday, August 28, 2015

If is true that the surest sign of genius is the ability to entertain contradictory propositions simultaneously, Y’Boy telling he-self that T&T have to be jam-packed with genius on this Independence weekend, becaw, until Monday night, the whole population celebrating the 53rd anniversary of what we call our Independence—and, out of the whole one-point-five million ooohing-and-aahing at the fireworks, it have must be a few thousand who could really make it on their own; most of us still selling our vote once every five years for a box drain or a standpipe.

Is make Y’Boy catch a glad, like a man who just get select for a safe seat in a Trini election—but then it does remind Y’Boy of one of Trinidad greatest sayings: “Laugh and Cry does live in the same house”; and, the longer he live, the clearer Y’Boy understand that Laugh renting and Cry is the landlord.

Go anywhere in Trinidad—or even Tobago, which uses to feed itself not so long ago, but where the only thing they does grow nowadays is more firetrucking idle—and see if you find any real independence; you’d quicker find a poor Cabinet Minister, a woman-respecting Muslim (or Christian) or a Rasta with a crew cut. 

From Chief Justice to cocaine-spranger, from chamber of commerce president to coup-maker, everybody making mas with a foreign product or concept, whether is rule of law or Sharia law; and the one local product that does make money, we can’t make that money for we-self: multinational corporations find oil and gas, mine it, refine it, store it, sell it and move it away; all we does is charge them a coward tax to cross the road to go into work or to the port to take ’way the major profits. 

T&T oil and gas industry come like gamblers in a casino on a winning streak: we could call for rib-eye and Johnny Blue for the moment but, no matter long the streak run, the most expert or most luckiest gambler bound to lose and the casa bound to win; James Bond coulda win on baccarat; Trini could only win on bacchanal.

We have three sectors producing anything we could sell for real money in the real world economy, which Y’Boy does think of as the Four Ems of Economics: manufacturing; marijuana; and Machel Montano. Trinidad always-struggling manufacturing sector, does somehow stay alive, like Ti-Marie in football field. The ganja planters—who could give us Weed Boom like we had Oil Boom—are by definition criminals, so we arrest them when we should be encouraging them.

As for the soca, the biggest legal moneymaker we have, even as he recognise how good Machel is—and he real firetrucking good at what he does—on Independence weekend, Y’Boy does get nostalgic for the good calypso music he grow up on and will go out to (becaw is “Calypso Music”-self will play when Y’Boy coffin leaving the rumshop). 

All his life, until now, when computers, not composers, making it, Trinidad music coulda hold it own against all other music anyone pelt at it in any party they throw. 

And, yes, it still have the David Rudders and Shadows soldiering on, and you could see the Ataklans and the jointpops passing baton to a Mak It Hapn here, a Malo Jones there—but soca music nowadays come like what people uses to call “novelty songs” in the Seventies, childish tunes like “Disco Duck” and “My Ding-a-Ling.” Y’Boy does wince when he recognise the nursery rhyme and Sesame Street melodies in soca.

So even the soca not really independent.

But Y’Boy done know, before he even set finger to keyboard, that he will collect his usual fake-Independence boof for lacking the patriotism to pretend T&T is the world’s greatest nation, whereby it invent the wheel, land on the moon and design the iPad; it extra hard for Y’Boy becaw his problem with that false-national pride is one of, and by, definition: T&T is not a country; is a place. 

If we were a country, at least the country Y’Boy like to think he come from, it would be a place where the individual would be taken seriously, would not have to play himself, to get a bligh. In a real country, people wouldn’t still be treating the government as if it was the Great House of Parliament.

From the LGBT community through the community centre-community to the community-community, it really don’t have no community in Trinidad and neither Tobago. 

Y’Boy tired point out that we still aping the jacket-and-tie, like the proud monkeys we is: we can’t even dress we firetrucking selves.

And Y’Boy start to grin as he realise that, in the Land of the Trinity, it only have three forms of real independence: first, that of the savage, to ignore every rule we doesn’t think should apply to us, phrased succinctly by one fella in Y’Boy’ Trini to the Bone feature, two Mondays ago, who say we free to go in the river and drink and make as much noise as we want and nobody go stop we; second, the independence of the mega-rich, who buy their way out of the worst effects of our complete dependence on people and forces greater than us.

And, third and last, the self-reliance that must arise, becaw it have nobody else willing to help, and the only place genuine independence could possibly germinate in our otherwise intellectually-barren societies.

Whereby Y’Boy always there.

In the haram community.

n BC Pires is a maverick and, as the long-time TV show theme does sing, “Maverick didn’t come here to lose.” You can email your one-eyed Jacks to him at [email protected]

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