The behaviour at the Miss Guyana World Pageant reflects what we live daily

Dear Editor,

The report done by Desilon Daniels on the recently concluded Miss Guyana World Pageant (‘The Scene,’ SN, May 31) has yet again shown us in a bad light exhibiting rotten behaviour at shows and concerts in fine style. ‘Don’t kay and bradaar,’ are hallmarks we have long perfected, and are definitely not an uplifting scenario. For those who didn’t read it there is need to repeat a portion of what was said in order to appreciate what follows: “Though the entire show was a disappointment with its poor organisation the audience was even more disappointing; the pageant managed to show largely what is wrong with the Guyanese mentality. Throughout the night the audience members heckled and threw rude comments towards the dancers, the host and especially the contestants. Numerous arguments broke out between patrons who yelled rudely back and forth to each other, much to the enjoyment of others. It was disheartening to hear Guyanese hurl comments such as, “Her body just look wrong,” and laugh loudly and cruelly as the contestants walked around the stage, though some contestants tried to keep it together although at some point their smiles faltered; [however] the unpleasantness towards them was overwhelming.” Quite a mouthful about being uncouth.

Uncouth behaviour exhibited at concerts/shows as stated above is now a hallmark, but you know what, the influx of those now popular dancehall show artistes has set the standard somewhat, and the benchmark is not that morally high – anything goes, the smuttier the merrier. Most of the shows now are far distant from those that used to be held in almost every respect, and while it’s understood that nothing is static, shows these days are super hyped up, electrifying, exploiting the advantage of radical and rapid technological advancement, and are cut to the taste of the patrons. Still, I’m not saying that they are pleasantly uplifting.

What’s wrong with being civil, tolerant, decent and respectful to performers/artistes who would have worked assiduously on their act, but still do not meet our taste? And I’m not saying we ought to settle for the mediocre; after all, these shows are not free and patrons do desire their money’s worth and not be taken for a ride. But they should register their discontent, and let the comments and wit flow without scraping the gutter or getting into the cesspool. How does it help anyway to become excessively nasty and cruelly rude, directing vulgar and personal abuse towards the artiste with the sole intention of making them feel small, insulted and unwelcome? As Daniels so rightly informed us, “Pageants are supposed to be empowering and not an opportunity for insecure persons to hit out at those confident enough to embrace and showcase their beauty…               Guyanese have yet to master the art of clapping or not, and simply being quiet.”

And one does get fed up and disgusted repeating the very same thing ad nauseam, but in our state of affairs it’s kind of unavoidable; there is a kind of nauseous insensitiveness that persists, and is displayed relentlessly by both young and grown adults, no matter what the show, paid for or free. They spew nasty comments without batting an eyelid as if they are doing an act, and the sound of the first scene is the cue for others to join in.

The scene at the recent pageant is nothing new; for those who can remember it is reminiscent of one that took place some years ago. Of course, beauty pageants are never without their loyal, passionate rambunctious supporters. I recall the year of Nicole Moore and Tracy De Abreu that almost occasioned a war. There was a feud, the Cultural Centre almost became a battleground, the army of Nicole Moore versus the army of Tracy De Abreu; mean insults were flung back and forth and if my memory serves me correctly, I think arts critic, Mr A1 Creighton was drawn into it with his: “The face that launched a thousand ships,” a column I have long wanted to read once more.

But these behaviours, Editor, are not isolated; they are reflective of what we live daily, the rude and vulgar everyday conduct, the lack of decency and respect, the violence, the immoral goings on all in broad daylight. There are the foul mouthed schoolchildren in casual conversation, rogue cops, crooked government officials and a multiplicity of reprobate happenings. Then how could they not spill off and manifest themselves at public shows? Remember what we constantly do is what we become. The truth is, what occurred at the pageant and at other shows is just a microcosm of our wider society and it’s a fairly accurate barometer by which to judge just how well or badly we are doing. Many of our young taxi/minibus drivers and conductors are dreadfully uncouth, frighteningly hostile and foul mouthed – Good Friday or otherwise notwithstanding, and this for them is seen as being macho, and makes them feel great. So sad.

The story reported in SN some two weeks ago about a man who was killed in a shop at Moblissa, his head bashed in by another and who was left lying on the floor bleeding for hours in the company of the shop-owner who remained lying on a bench about five feet from him without paying any mind is a story of the way we have become – cold and heartless. Yet when this kind of brutal, callous and inhuman behaviour is highlighted there are some who get upset saying that we ought to seek out the good things that are taking place and spotlight them. I do agree, but why make drawing attention to terrible things look so wrong? Must we not see them, pretend it never happened, can’t we see that ignoring them threatens the good things we have? And it just occurred to me that the people guilty of the kind of obnoxious behaviour mentioned above hardly ever read the papers or listen to the radio, in which case we might as well be baying at the moon.

Yours faithfully,

Frank Fyffe