Weddings, marriage and love (?) in June

-Guyanese fatherhood – and PPP/C Football

Another Friday of my trying to be more light-hearted than intense or profound. (Yet with some provocative insights into today’s issues.)

A wedding is “a marriage ceremony usually with festivities” and rituals according to various cultures and/or religions. The marriage however, is the union between two persons, usually based on some form of contract according to law, religion or cultural custom.

To be really flippant about an institution – marriage – seemingly under stress and even attack, let’s look at the weddings in today’s Guyana. Just a few communities are still fortunate to have the bride-and-groom-to-be participate in pre-wedding ceremonies these days. The “Indian” ceremony is the matticore; the African version is an elaborate event wherein the emphasis seems to be preparing “the girl” for wifely duties after ascertaining that “the boy” is capable of “functioning” as a virile, productive husband. The ribaldry here is not for the faint-hearted, the innocent or the pride.

Frankly Speaking, many, if not most, of today’s weddings are affairs attended (still) by both families of the principals, but overseas relatives are now a must. After all, the funding, some garments, even the husband – or wife-to-be come from abroad. The Guyana-based partner then awaits the overseas embassy’s call.

World-wide, I hear that the institution of marriage seems to be challenged by various forms of erosion. Not the modern characteristic of same-sex marriage; not because of immigrant-separation or the wife as senior earner or breadwinner; but because, in part, couples who are “professional” now choose “living home” to avoid the “bureaucracy” of a legal union. No pre-nuptials, for example, make for freer separation, even though there will still be legal obligations upon parting.

A few years ago, whilst vacationing in the US a talk-show panel purported to show divorces either keeping apace with, or outstripping marriages. Wonder what the statistics are in good old Guyana. You see, even though I have been errant, I still fancy and value the institution that is marriage. The old-fashioned versions. Where children actually know, touch and hug a daddy. (I can accept the criticisms, even ire, of the same-sex, live-home protagonists on this one.)

No matter how strong mommy alone can be, whether she is economically-challenged or financially-comfortable, I feel we’re seeing the consequences of today’s “single-parent” syndrome. But I’ll spare you the lecture.

Love – in June and beyond

Love. Is this emotion in fatalistic short supply these days? Or has it drastically changed its characteristics? The dictionaries, therapists and psychologists will tell of love’s traditional meanings: strong affection and attachment; sexual attraction; unselfish devotion, even passionate concern.

Frankly Speaking, I feel that even if today’s teenagers and young adults somehow decide that what they feel for partners is this thing called love, they never learnt how to show or demonstrate the expression over sustained periods.

Most of today’s music, songs and television, I’m contending, no longer prepare the young for long-term emotion. Economic challenges, intolerant partners and “the new morality” all don’t help these days.

And why June for “Western” weddings? I’m not sure. But will bet it is another European “doing” foisted upon us. (Again, the overseas partner and his/her job, standing and preference determine many “wedding days” here nowadays.)

You’ll discover, however, that June is derived from Junius (Latin) but that the month itself might be named after the Roman Goddess Juno reputedly the Goddess of Marriage. Cool?

I know about a dozen folkloric/creole proverbs addressing weddings and marriage. I give just three: “Watch De Dance Befo Yuh Choose Yuh Partnuh”, “Marriage Nah Got Backdoor”, “If she good fuh bed, she good fuh wed!” Keep marriage alive, young Guyanese.

Fatherhood, World Cup 14, PPP-C

Fatherhood: this too, like marriage, seems under serious threat; at least the concept – and practice – in today’s Guyana. Why?

Because today’s young male Guyanese “parent” did not benefit from training, counselling in the noble, but demanding love-task of parenting. What does he know of fatherhood? Where was/is his father? Grandfather? Did the teacher or pastor prepare him?

A few years ago I was so disappointed to discover that our own GRPA – Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association – carried no specific programmes for fathers-to-be or for young fathers. The mommies were catered for. In Jamaica they teach “challenged” fathers. Let’s bring that one import here! Besides one Church’s Family Forum, establish Parenting Centres throughout. Government and Private Sector, please provide employment to sustain young Daddy’s Dignity.

See? This year, I’ve avoided `busing young fathers of being mere Sperm Donors? So reflect on Sunday: Who can help me to be a responsible, supportive dad? So that my child will be actually proud of me?

Promise, goals not scored

The “PPP/C” attention-getter in the sub-caption means prestige, but poverty persists, continuously – PPP/C.

This is what the poor working-class South Africans discovered after the World Cup football tournament of 2010. There was the prestige for Africa as the world saw the grand stadia, the peaceful matches. Today, outside those venues, there still are no housing projects for the poor. Their infrastructure of inequality and need is as shaky as ever.

Poor Brazilians have noted that as their hosting of the World Cup begins. This 2014 tournament is to cost billions!

Thousands felt it was better to spend that on improving life in the favela/slums, in schools and for Brazil’s poor, no matter how much they are fanatical about the game. Hence the on-going protests and threats of escalation during the beautiful month to come.

When President Jagdeo rushed in to host Carifesta in 2006, when Bahamas gave it up for a more global event, we were told of all the benefits the tenth Caribbean Festival would bring us during and after 2008. Frankly Speaking, that festival’s legacy is quite dubious. Just what did Carifesta 10 bring to us after 2008? What did it cost us? Which few really made money off that event? Have our arts, craft, music and cultural industries taken off, six years later? More to come. As we never-the-less enjoy Brazil’s FIFA World Cup.

Imagine…

*1) Two reactions from the Rodney inquiry: Former House of Israel witness Joe Hamilton (after 1980) did lead PNC protesters down City Streets in 1997/98.

*2) Caught Elder Kwayana on Sunday discussing aspects of Donald Ramotar’s presidential oath. “Honouring and upholding the Constitution”? Conveniently!

‘Til next week.

(Comments? allanafenty@yahoo.com)