Today’s technology, music and ladies’ hair

Our kleptocracy and corruptocracy - all-pervasive

-The Spirit to exist, to survive

What’s with my lead issue today? Well, it’s my escapist persona kicking in. Though below I comment on the rampant behavioural negative now being manifested as a virtual national characteristic and sub-culture today, I leave the weightier issues such as local elections conclusions, oil and gas issues, politics, crime and cricket administration to others better qualified.

Occasionally, it is really best to leave serious commentary to Peeping Toms, eyewitnesses and daily letter-writers. I willingly, gladly defer.

By “technology” in the caption, I mean – specifically – Information and Communication Technology (ICT). And on Sunday Dave Martins’ friendly, professional, studied advice to veteran journalist Hubert Williams about the reality of today’s type of generational music motivated the following ramblings.

Today’s communication devices

Those of us who are members of the 70/80-plus generation must open our minds to the relative “wonders” of those numerous communication devices now commonplace. Unfortunately, my lazy brain has surrendered. I accept and admire the technology – smart-phones, I-pads, I-pods (?) laptops, tablets, drone cameras et al, – but prefer to avoid them even as I appreciate the positives they offer modern society.

Much has been written about the negative influences of the cellular telephones and television of all kinds, for example. And although today’s generation should be very, very smart thanks to their devices, too many of them can actually became social and intellectual retards because of the very devices. (Poor Dr McDonald laments that reading as oldsters know it, is endangered).

Today’s, teenager hardly knows to calculate arithmetical problems without a calculator. (They marvel at my ability with 13 – to – 18 – times multiplication tables!). Cell phones and tablets kill actual conversation in person. Images and information via the internet can obviously be used to teach any subject. Platforms and “apps” abound. Yet too many youngsters are not articulate and cannot absorb or explain much of what’s available. Then, from pornography to bomb-making to fraud, information via today’s technology can corrupt the youth and produce miscreants.

Discuss how the balance and positive outcomes may be achieved to benefit all citizens.

Modern music prevails, however…

Okay. Dave Martins has to be right: generations create, sing and dance to music which reflect the environment, characteristics, even the muses of their respective eras.

European, but especially American jazz, beebop (?), hip-hop, rock-and-roll overcame the earlier favourites like waltzing, ballads, western/country. Great marketing and just global liking for new musical genres ensure foreign musical art-forms enveloped colonial preferences.

But in the West Indies, the wider Caribbean and Guyana the Jamaicans and Trinidadians soon vied successfully – beginning in the sixties – for our collective attention, music-wise. Rock- Steady, Ska, Reggae, Soca, Chutney supplemented earlier calypso and folk music. Reggae even “infiltrated” welcoming societies across the globe. Frankly Speaking, I’ve long personalized two regrets: that recent generations of Guyanese are lazy copycats and that we were reluctant to embrace our continental Latin American beats.

So because Dave is from my 70-plus era, but professionally/creatively easily able to adapt to today’s rhythm-and-drums party/dance-hall and break-dancing, he appreciates that today’s “dance-hall”, rock/metal music must be accommodated, tolerated for what it is, by us the oldsters – music that reflects this generation’s preferences and styles – stress-relief, exercise-oriented, drum-and-bass–line party rhythms. Sensible lyrics – secondary!

So as I move to today’s beat but still cling to my “ole-time” calypso and ballad–rich songs, I ask Dave: why is it that many younger ones embrace our older-folks’ “oldies”?

Ladies’ hair – to stay!

Look folks, I know that females from the earlier recorded times utilized all types of additives and techniques to enhance their natural beauty. But I wonder: was competition to look superbly attractive, amongst women, also meant to seduce males and those men’s resources?

The face and hair have attracted the most attention by females – along with care of their weight and shape. But oh! The false, artificial hair and hair-styles! Wigs, hair pieces, extensions, curls, interlocking, weaves – my Lord! Fake? From the paid-for hair to eye-lashes? But we love them still. Even with the added hair.

Guyana: Kleptocracy, emerging corruptocracy

This layman’s man-in-the-street column is now more than 25 years in existence. I know that I described our society as an emerging kleptocracy years ago. Before other eminent, qualified commentators did. But what’s that?

My own layman’s definition of the Guyana kleptocracy: “A government’s impulse to steal national assets and resources when it is not necessary to do so but the impulse becomes a selfish compulsion.”

Evidently a cancerous legacy of the recent past I now declare what is not “news” to most of us: corrupt irregular practices have now become the new normal, manifested by a “moral degeneracy” which pervades the minds of public servants, other professionals, tradesmen, big businessmen and even the normally upright.

Those who are greedy, civil criminals and fraudsters/shysters as well as others who are just well placed to supplement normal incentives – – all have fashioned our corruptocracy. Check the news. No area of communal, national life is untouched. Corruption in church, educational institutions, courts-of-law, bidding procedures, government/regional contracts, fuel scams, hiding expiry dates, commercializing fake consumer items, procurement, scheming for land/property. I’m exhausted!

And I have not mentioned the Auditor-General’s Report or the MCC Inquiry revelations. Discuss…

Lots to ponder…

 Guyanese find ways – however artificial or temporary – to beat stress to survive hardship and keep spirit alive.

A few techniques: national, religious observances, ethnic–specific celebrations, sport, partying, alcohol and karaoke (where we become our singing stars), graduations and yes, watching foreign news and movies.

American fires and floods reveal how a super-power can be vulnerable too; fragile!

American election: Early voting, late ballots, mailed-in ballots, absentee ballots, provisional ballots, military ballots, overserved ballots, underserved ballots, election-day ballots; recount!

Two interesting U.G. 2018 graduation quotes: “Too often we live our lives as though we were intransit here …” And “work hard in silence and let success be your noise”.

Now hail Doctors Shadow, Chanderpaul and Glen Lall! Doctorates like Peas!!

’Til next week!


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