The feeling of joy is a strange emotion. It can derive from momentous events – winning the great championship, realising a long-nourished ambition, owning one’s own home at last. The safe birth of a child is a supreme example of joy unconfined. But joy can also derive from the most inconsequential of discoveries – the moon, for example, suddenly appearing from behind clouds to flood the great Essequibo with shimmering light.

I remember with what delight, to give one odd instance, I read about the South African dung beetle which navigates by the Milky Way – somehow it opened in me a joyful realisation of the infinite and marvellous variety of life to know that there are these insects which use not only the sun and moon to find their way but even on pitch-black moonless nights can use the Milky Way galaxy to go in the right direction. It simply gave me great pleasure to learn that these splendid beetles which, observant scientists have revealed, perform wonderfully intricate orientation dances on the dung balls they extrude, are enabled to go straight guided by that great God-glitter in the night sky.

I guarantee when you look back on any single day in your life, especially if you are in reasonably good health, and deliberately count them you will find many more blessings and delights than you fully appreciated at the time before they disappeared into the past.

ian on sundayYet there is one occupation where there seems to be no joy. I have to wonder if our politicians are ever happy. Of course, in their incarnations as human beings, in the bosom of their families and in the embrace of their friends, they must be happy a lot of the time. But as politicians, are they ever really happy? They seem to expect us to think of them as always disgruntled. They forever seem to be accusing and complaining and finding fault and belittling others and rowing and metaphorically gnashing their teeth. They always seem so unpleasant and embittered and morose. But I have met many politicians in their private lives and the very great majority are not unpleasant, embittered and morose. Not at all. What is it? Does the vaccine which has to be administered to all politicians immunise them – except for the very rare Mandela – against forbearance and the happiness which comes with forbearance?

Perhaps our political leaders should lighten things up and take a leaf out of a laughter consultant’s playbook. I am pleased to find that such a career exists. The particular man I have in mind is Albert Nerenberg from Montreal, a laughologist and documentary film maker (Laughology).

Nerenberg was a principal participant in the Great Canadian Laughing Championships last November when I got to know about him. That splendid event dovetailed with the Canadian Laughter Yoga Conference designed to explore the inner and outer limits of relaxation. Perfect for politicians.

Nerenberg explains that laughter releases dopamine in the brain which creates a sense of well-being. He explains further as follows, “Just the exhalation with ha-ha-ha while making eye contact will provoke laughter. In front of a crowd, it always generates real laughter.” Nerenberg has been to laughter events in 12 countries and the formula works every time. “That ha-ha sound is very primordial. That trigger can work on just about anybody.” I do not think even politicians will be immune.

Laughing Championships started three years ago in Montreal and have spread around the world, from Australia and Japan to the US and Slovenia. Laughers engage in one-on-one challenges in various categories, including the Alabama Knee-Slapper, the Diabolical Laugh, the Transatlantic Chuckle and a very new category the Sexiest Laugh. There are also team contests but I can’t understand exactly how that works.

I think the time is ripe for such a competition to be staged in Guyana. Perhaps President Ramotar, David Granger and the Speaker might jointly sponsor the event. Until then we will have to be content with what is, thank goodness, a very good substitute – the Link Show which opens this week and in doing so celebrates 30 years of delighting, provoking, entertaining and bringing laughter and joy to us all.


Latest in Features, Sunday

LUCAS STOCK INDEXThe Lucas Stock Index (LSI) rose 0.54 per cent during the third period of trading in June 2016. The stocks of six companies were traded with 79,573 shares changing hands. There were three Climbers and one Tumbler. The stocks of Banks DIH (DIH) rose 1.98 per cent on the sale of 18,757 while the stocks of Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) rose 5.26 per cent on the sale of 41,667 shares. In addition, the stocks of Demerara Tobacco Company (DTC) rose 1.51 per cent on the sale of 13,603 shares. In contrast, the stocks of Demerara Bank Limited (DBL) fell 5.26 per cent on the sale of 4,324 shares.  In the meanwhile, the stocks of Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (BTI) and Republic Bank Limited (RBL) remained unchanged on the sale of 222 and 1,000 shares respectively.

Massy and Guyana (Part 1)

Steadfast Last year, this writer looked at the Massy Group of Companies formerly Neal and Massy to gain an understanding of the operations of this company which has been doing business in Guyana for the past 48 years. 


Value-added performance of the forest sub-sector: Erratic, weak, declining

Erratic Last week’s column highlighted what I consider to be a most distinctive feature of the extractive forest sub-sector’s performance in Guyana’s economy, during the past decade.

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The UK bids Europe farewell

On June 23 by a small majority, the British people voted to remove themselves from the European Union (EU). The decision has consequences for the Caribbean.

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What would life be without sport?

I wonder what it would be like to exclude sport completely from one’s life for, say, one year? No playing sport, no watching it, no reading it no discussing it no thinking about it even.

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Brexit: Lessons for Caricom

The results of the referendum held in Britain to determine whether or not it should remain in or leave the European Union (EU), has been won by voters who supported the leave option.

Director of Sport Christopher Jones and President of the Guyana Chess Federation Irshad Mohammed (centre) stand with some members of the 2016 Guyana Olympiad chess team. The team travels to Baku, Azerbaijan, for participation at the Olympiad in September. A signature qualifying tournament was not held to determine the members of Guyana’s Olympiad chess team.

Federation picks chess Olympiad team without holding qualifier

The Guyana Chess Federation (GCF) has decided upon a 2016 Guyana Olympiad chess team without hosting a qualification competition to determine the competence of its participants.

Quamina Farrier

Heavy on historic significance, Journey to Freedom failed as a musical

Several Guyanese plays of historic significance were recently staged at the Theatre Guild and National Cultural Centre as part of a Jubilee festival.

Pawpaw Fruit Soup with Passion Fruit Photo by Cynthia Nelson

Fruit soup

If you’re looking for an easy dessert that uses mostly fruit, then you’ve hit the jackpot when you make a fruit soup.


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