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New Year’s dazed and confused
First day of the year and Y’Boy remembering when he did first go away to the Cold and find out that white people’ country doesn’t have Old Year’s Night, them does have New Year’s Eve. That-self is one of the answers Y’Boy would give, if he ever had was to ask himself, like he does ask other people every week, “What is a Trini?”: “A Trini is somebody who celebrates Old Year’s Night, not New Year’s Eve.” Some people wouldn’t see no difference, but Y’Boy—and, Y’Boy suspect, most Trinis—would nod they head, and chuckle to theyself, and winks at one another: Y’Boy done know he never had as good a time at the best New Year’s Eve party in Foreign than he had at the worst Old Year’s Night in Trinidad.
Given the option of looking forward to undamaged, unformed time ahead, it does just make a Trini happy to deliberately choose to focus, instead, on the time he already bite off, and chew up, and about to spit out; everywhere else in the world, perhaps, they thinks about what they might do in the future; here, in their heart of hearts, and in the heart of the homeland they watching disintegrate before they very eyes, Trinis look back at what they had.
And dance. And make a joyful noise.
And the same thought that run through Y’Boy head this time last year walk through slow and steady again: what it is about we people that make we stay so? Is like the Trini cannot extricate himself from a situation that he could plainly see bound to harm him; look a next definition of a Trini right there.
But the thing that make him doesn’t can make up his mind if Old Year’s Night better than New Year’s Eve, is that Y’Boy can’t figure out if the Trini better off looking back than looking forward.
In all these old slave societies, it have a muck of history and a mire of pain dragging down every step anybody try to take forward. In barely three months, eg, the PNM done make it clear that, five years from now, we will be as relieved to toss them out as we was to be rid of the UNC. Y’Boy want to bawl, no lie, when he study that. Ask yourself how many opportunity to correct ourselves we, as a people, totally firetrucking squander and, if you honest, you have to say, “Every one of them.” To write down the names of our past prime ministers is to make a chain of disappointment as well as of causation: is we put them there; is them put we here.
Is not a boast—if anything, is more of a embarrassment—but Y’Boy have real friends, not Facebook or cocktails party one, in the present government, just like in past ones, UNC and NAR alike, and Y’Boy well know that, no matter how smart you was when you went een, you does end up or come out dunce. You does do, or allow to be done, the same thing you cry down the government you replace for, whether is hire somebody you shouldn’t hire or fire somebody you shouldn’t fire, or fly with somebody you shouldn’t fly with, whether is Cabinet brother or flesh-and-blood sister; and the thing that does make the whole tragicomedy more jokey-sad is that, eef you out of government, you could see the mistakes plain-plain-plain but, eef you in government, you feels everything you do is the right thing to do, or you wouldn’t be doing it; no matter if all on Sunday could see you doing tata.
First day of the year and, through this self-same New Year’s public holiday, Y’Boy deadline fall before the PM address to the nation two days ago that might already have brought distress to the nation. Y’Boy asking he-self what the Pee Em would say, or woulda say—but then Y’Boy realise it really don’t matter: oil price could rise or stabilisation fund could collapse, it make no difference what the challenge is, we wouldn’t rise to it. The test could be temporary and trifling and our capitulation would still be spectacular and total.
Y’Boy tired saying West Indies cricket is not a barometer for, but a thermometer of, the West Indies nation—to the extent that it have a West Indian nation; or, for that matter, a West Indies cricket team. West Indies cricket doesn’t show where the nation heading in the immediate future, but where the nation is at right now; and we in trouble.
And now Y’Boy studying that he really doesn’t know if, in Jamaica and Antigua, they does have Old Year’s Night; but Y’Boy don’t need a Aussie to tell him is New Year’s Eve them does celebrate New Year’s Eve. All them what beat us so bad in the past and will beat us even more efficiently, all them cultures and countries we would like to be better than, them all looks forward; and we looks back.
And, under that level of manners, Y’Boy would deny himself and say to firetruck with Old Year’s Night, excepting Y’Boy understand that the problem is not that we looks back, but that we doesn’t look back far enough. All our problems lie in an unacknowledged past and a pretend present, complete with false African pride (and French Creole one) and a shipload of Brahmin by boat instead of birth.
We has the instinct to look at ourselves; we just doesn’t have the stones.
Happy New Year, yes, but is the same old, same old.
BC Pires is stuck in the
Seventies, where at least the music was good
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