Don’t die for Christmas

Frankly Speaking

-Sealandia’s Pots and Kettles

Again eschewing the more profound, the cerebral and analytical, I caution instead those citizens willing to be reasonable, or conservative, for this “Season”.

And it’s because on this past Monday morning I saw a grown male cyclist nearly killed on Mandela Avenue in the capital. From my taxi I saw the fellow swerve out of Norton onto the busy Mandela. The trouble was that he was negotiating his turn with two long planks on his bicycle handles! Mandela’s north-south vehicular traffic was heavy around 9.00am.  The seemingly-reckless road-user did not become a statistic before my eyes, thankfully.  I hope he changes – for his life’s sake.

This background is relevant to my advisory in the caption. The taxi-driver observed that he knew the cyclist as a carpenter. And obviously the carpenter was on a hurried hustle, to get a Christmas job done quickly. Yes, this is the season for more small jobs, increased spending, splurging, gift-giving, refurbishing and such. All in the name of that Christ-Child Baby Christians – and all others – are celebrating once again.  But I say again, in terms of celebrating, I’m pretty sure the Baby Jesus would not want you to die needlessly, in His Name.

So I continue my theme of moderation at this time. Restrain yourself from overdoing it in these stringent times. If you are the type of Christian quite obliged to believe in the Virgin Birth, that Immaculate Conception, emphasise the religious and the spiritual, even as you (moderately) spend on yourselves and others.  Explain to the children that Christmas consumerism is tough on the pockets these days. Remind them that the government never bothers with trade unions these days and gives only a measly five percent increase in salaries to its own employees.  Tell them too, that overseas relatives have their own financial/employment challenges in their Caribbean islands or Winter Wonderlands.

Going for the kill …
The captains of industry, the commercial gunners have their right to go for the kill – of profits and great gain, in this season of renewal and “giving”.
Our business-people understandably (?) use the November-December preparations to make the money which probably they couldn’t do earlier in a challenging year. Hence their promotions, sales, give-aways, even their advertising hypes and hypocrisy. It’s for the enthusiastic working-class to remember January and beyond, in the midst of a festival which has assumed a cultural character. It permeates, pervades even the behavior of non-Christians at this time.

Indeed a female letter-writer in another newspaper has just opined that “commercialization gives more recognition to Christmas, in that it alerts that this is the time when the world celebrates the birth of Christ”. She has no problem with the (crass) commercialization if people place “God in Christmas”. A fine issue for reflection and friendly debate this December.

No need to overdo!
I won’t “overdo” my concern and caution to you on the issue.  However, I can’t resist recycling for the final time, the harsh conclusions of an Amar Panday, published a few years ago.

Wrote he: “Christmas in Guyana has been the grandest instrument of an excessive consumerism, where our people are psychologically cajoled and lured into unfettered spending, spending; that is, in the context of a poor country, a drainage of scarce resources. Spending that breaches the inclination to frugality that is supposed to be the foundation of our economic life. Spending that in no small way contributes towards the perpetuation of that vicious cycle of poverty in our country. To tangibly demonstrate the reality of this is not very difficult. Savings that could have been put to entrepreneurial use with long-lasting economic reward are frittered away with religious fervour. Parents who deprived their children of text books and additional reading material suddenly plunge into a spending spree. I have often wondered why so much has been historically expended in the strange ritualistic importation of ‘ice’ apples, grapes, Christmas trees and the whole assortment of Santa Claus paraphernalia. What part of Christmas stipulates this?” Strong views huh? But consider.
Pot and kettlesall black

We return to the island-state of faraway Sealandia where, besides the Ruling Cabal utilizing donor-funding for their election campaign, the scourge of cancerous corruption now throws up no one who can accuse another of evil-doing without the poor Sealandians remarking on the accuser’s own tainted character.

Consider a few examples: If a repentant innocent Commissioner upbraids his subordinates, a constable can ask the commissioner familiar questions. If a judge rebukes a prosecutor, the Sealandians know of the judge’s indiscretions. When a newspaper publisher condemns crime through his media, rivals remind him of how he got his money. If the politicians try to cast blame, the noveau riche remind them of the handouts they asked for – and received.  Even Sealandia’s football administrators rival one another and compete for dubious reasons other than sport.

Working-class Sealandians love the expression “All Sealandia pats an kettles black-black-black”.
Reflect …

*1)  I see my Canada-based friend Carl Veecock has struck a note, now long familiar with me. Whilst I don’t yet hold the view, completely that Black Guyanese Professionals are endangered, this government’s appointments try hard to make it seem so.

Can’t they ever come out of their box when appointing diplomats? CEO’s? Ministers? Commission Heads? Etal? No non-Indian with the skills or credentials? The integrity to be trusted? Shame! Selfish. Pity I’m not voting.

*2)  That airline ticket. My annual reminder about how good international airports get better. Check your ticket to NY, Canada, UK – or Norway.

Your ticket pays A T and T Concourse Fee; a U.S customs inspection fee; a US Dept of Agriculture animal and plant health inspection fee; a US immigration user fee; a US airport passenger facility charge; a US international departure/arrival tax; A US federal security tax; an airline fuel surcharge/security fee. (We have our Timehri CJIA travel voucher tax added on too.)
For just going to – or passing through the good old USA!
*2b)  Fuh real? The old-time but full group of the Chi-lites and the Manhattans will be here over the week-ends?
*3)  Catch Uncle Allan’s Creole Christmas on VOG Radio – Monday, Wednesday, Friday – 8.30am.
‘Til next week!

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