The need to make hard choices

Consider yourself fortunate if you are right 51% of the time. Listen to the old Galician Jew, settled at last in his old age in a little house in an Israeli kibbutz after a hard lifetime including a brush with the unimaginable horror of Auschwitz.

If the world were to end next week

When I was young, and benefited not only from a fresh and eagerly absorptive mind but also from a strong belief that an eternity of life stretched in front of me, I loved to read big books, books of immense length.

Do not tell me what I want to hear

Sveinsson Knut, Canute the Great, King of England from 1016, King of Denmark from 1018 and King of Norway from 1030 until he died in 1035, was perhaps the most successful and effective of the early rulers of England.

What matters most

In my 84th year the time for ambition is long past. Nobody gets a return match between himself and his destiny.

How Donald Trump succeeds

I find it hard to believe that Donald Trump – whose candidacy was declared a year ago seemed a bad joke – is the Republican nominee for the presidency of the United States.

Licket no longer

I have changed my mind about limited over cricket. When this slash and burn form of the game began to emerge prominently I was accustomed to dismiss it as a superficial and corrupt version of the great game.

Despair

Elie Wiesel, Auschwitz survivor, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, died recently at the age of 87.

Reading makes you think

Age has slowed me down but at least no day goes by without reading bringing me the fascinating and penetrating insights of other minds.

Governing for the best

One of the things I enjoy the most is to browse in good bookstores and buy a stock of books to read and add to my library.

Life

I like to tell the story of Tony Judt. Tony Judt was a writer on recent world history whom I greatly admire.

Hummingbird

My wife’s garden is as much a work of art as a painting by a master spirit or a poet’s inspired sonnet or a perfectly composed piece of music.

A desperate plea to preserve old records

Concern is constantly expressed about break-downs in the nation’s infrastructure. Previous long-term economic malaise led to wide-spread structural deterioration which is with us still.

Intimations of immortality

When I was young I was ready and eager to follow the advice given by Terence, the Roman poet, a long, long time ago: “I am a man,” he wrote, “and therefore anything that any man does should interest me.” Then life stretched infinitely before me and it seemed there would be time for everything: time to visit every land and sail every sea, time to try every sport, time to read every book, time to love all the girls, to investigate all the mysteries, time indeed to check out the entire universe.

Stupid melons

I know from our newspapers, and from many a conversation, that our political masters and mistresses are going at each other in Parliament and elsewhere as they always have and, apparently, always will, except for Sam Hinds who I find maintains a calm dignity even in his  most adversarial communications which no one else seems able to achieve.

The children

The saddest sight in Guyana is the children you see on the pavements begging, idling, cursing, selling cigarettes and sweets, most of them on their way to perdition of one sort or another.

Should one believe in hell?

When I was a boy there was an old, tall, craggy-faced priest from Scotland who used to preach on Sundays at the parish church in Tunapuna in Trinidad.

Why the arts matter very much

I was reading the magazine Planet the other day and came across an article in it by the Welsh poet and playwright Damian Gorman which made an impression on me.

The very best are never satisfied

I wish I could convey in particular to young people, whose mental appetites seem whetted so easily these days by the transitory and the trashy, the quiet depths, the delights, the leaping excitements of great poetry.

Loss

At eighty-two years of age one must expect to factor attendance at funerals into one’s monthly (weekly?) schedule.

Managing for the best results

Running anything – whether it is a national government, vast state industry, world-circling multi-national, small family business, or private club – involves making choices.

The commonplace beauty of home

When I was a young and bursting with energy and exuberant life-force I was eager to travel far and wide, more than ready to range around the world discovering new places and meeting people of every kind, outlook and temper.

Let us rescue them from the shadows

Not long ago, in one of his endlessly interesting and instructive ‘So It Go’ columns, Dave Martins lamented the lack of recognition given to our heroes and heroines.

Our children

It makes no sense trying to measure the joy which our grandchildren Jacob and Zoey give to my wife and I.

Festive season

I regret I write with grimness in this festive season. Perhaps it is good to remember that for countless millions in the world this is, as T S Eliot reminded us in the greatest poem ever written about the birth of Christ, “Just the worst time of the year.” So this column records an event which I vividly remember once cast a shadow for me over the festival of goodwill and love and peace.

Beauty at home and abroad

Nothing can compare with the beauty and warmth of life at home. Bred into bone, steeped into blood, is the everyday sweetness of living in Guyana with its river-light and forest green and soft air and garden quiet in the sun and rain.

The sun parrots are late this year

A great part of Brazil has been in the grip of one of the worst droughts in its history: reservoirs running dry, water strictly rationed, particularly in Sao Paulo.

The individual and state power

We should beware the over-mighty state. A state that gathers all powers to itself drains initiative away from where it does most good ‒ at the local level, at the level of the small group, the family, the individual.

Give women their true value

For God’s sake, what is going on? Remember: A young Pakistani girl is shot in the head for trying to educate herself and others like her.

What will survive of us is love

Reading is a good friend, whether the wind blows good or ill. There is not a single day it does not yield knowledge of interest, insights of value, moments of surprise, shocks of recognition and even visions of splendour.

Scraps of useless information

Do you find, as I do, that as time passes you accommodate a vast sludge of useless information which remains stored in the brain for no purpose whatsoever?

Anger management

Many companies in Japan have a special room for their employees which is called, in free translation from the Japanese, a “letting off steam and bile” room.

My father

I have been thinking of my father. Since he died in 1995 at the age of 89 I have not written very much about him.