The new culture

Dear Editor,

A citizen commented recently on the growing Guyanese disease called lateness. It is one of the more visible aspects of the casual disregard and embedded disrespect prevalent at the individual and societal levels. Here are a few more.

The phone rings at home, and the very first words from the undeniably dumb caller is, “Who is speaking?” No courtesy greeting, no self-identification, just the assault of “Who is speaking?” Somebody calls your home, and asks – demands – you identify yourself first. If this is not the height of ignorance and abysmal stupidity, then nothing else is. I leave my usual response to the imagination.

Next, there is the technology of email. It is a wonderful channel, not well used by some citizens. Messages sent are frequently not acknowledged; the professional etiquette required is either unknown or just not there. As for the tough confrontational messages, or the probing and questioning ones, there is only routine silence. Fear leads to shrinkage, absence, silence. To be sure, chatter can be expected on the mundane, but the hard and pointed issues send recipients into early hibernation. They disappear. They refuse to commit conscience or courage of convictions.

Then, there is this whole business of time and place; the demands of the moment, and the sacrosanct nature of hearth and certain occasions. Some things are simply not done; nowhere, no time.

End of story. Yet men who get paid to do absolutely nothing stir themselves to rise up and defend such conduct and succeed in sullying themselves even further. It is their right. I think commentator Chris Ram had it partially right when he connected “feral” with wild animals, but he was excruciatingly polite. The word also conjures images and associations with mad dogs and severely infected creatures, which is even more apropos. Editor, we can resort to “yuh muddah so and so….” and all the rest for the visceral value that such brings. But then where are we? What do we have left? How much better it is to skin a cat skilfully using its own weapons and strengths, and have it meow its admiration, if not gratitude. Message delivered. Incidentally, I saw the thoughts shared on proofreading; there is need for

improvement. Now those who are so equipped should, as a matter of standard and pride, submit

finished products, products of quality that need minimal, if any, work. That task of reviewing and editing should not be subject to delegation by escalation. That is, from contributor to editor.

In the interim, listen and absorb our conversations – uttered or documented – and they are transcendent examples of works caked in oozing pungent mud and the ever-expanding detritus of individual and collective degeneration. Listen to the children; hear the adults; read the streets.

Many times I wish that I have it all terribly wrong, and the trouble lies with me. Then all would be well. But we do not know that it is not so. People just don’t care; they aspire to no standard. This is the new culture, the new way embraced.


Yours faithfully,
GHK Lall

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