5 Things Trinis Won’t Do
At 17, I never wanted to leave Trinidad; it was the best place in the world. Ten years later, I’ve travelled a little, read a lot and developed a different perspective. I still love T&T, don’t get me wrong. But it feels like when you reach that comfortable place in a relationship; you feeling the love, but you are also fully aware of ALL the person’s faults, down to the way they constantly change the lyrics to popular songs when they sing them in the shower. So annoying that, for a brief moment, you consider divorce.
I am for my country and its people, and want to work toward its betterment. But there are some things that we Trinis NEVER do that we need to start doing. And soon. Those divorce papers eh hard to draw up.
People, don’t lie. We REAL good at mauvaise langue, and whispering about someone’s faults behind their backs. But ask a Trini to step up, and confront someone who doing something wrong, nah.
“That’s not my business, hoss.” Bullsh*t.
You see somebody pelt a sweetie wrapper on the ground next to a dustbin, and eh say nothing. You’re sitting in your partner’s car and he run three red lights… and you eh say boo. You quick to say how your boss is a punk to friends, but you wouldn’t try to sit down with him and explain why you don’t appreciate his micro-managing the way you put files on your desk.
Yeah, you might face a little heat; your friend might steups and give you picong. You might get cuss from Ms. Litterbug (but at least you know she rubbish eh go cause flood outside YOUR house). Your boss might never change. But dear God, grow some testicular fortitude, and say something about it instead of whining into your juice box/beer.
2. Cut back on the liming for a greater good
I’m actually dead set against the SOE. But let me play devil’s advocate for a moment, and pretend I’m in favour of it. You mean to say you can’t endure a couple of months of no liming to abide by the rules of this arrangement that the Government put in place to protect us? You leaving Ariapita Avenue at 10.45 p.m. to get home to Arima or Chaguanas for 11 p.m. in serious? Really? You needed to lime THAT bad?
3. Appreciate our own history and achievements
Does anybody know why ANR Robinson walks with a limp? No? Our former PM and President got shot in the leg by the Muslimeen during the 1990 coup. It is reported that when the Muslimeen demanded that he order the army to stand down, he told them to do the complete opposite. I only found that out a few weeks ago; he is now my hero of the year.
But when I listen to the conversations around me, the new ish is Ian Alleyne, a vigilante famed for big talk, expensive suits and bringing a couple of car thieves and some small drug/arms caches to justice.
Do we take our real heroes seriously? Or do we wait around for the next silver-tongued charmer to get influence on his or her promises to give us something we could damn well work out for weself?
4. Really believe that every creed and race has an equal place
Race is a really touchy subject right about now. After the hastily called 2010 election, there were mutters everywhere about it. Mutters of “Is we time now”, “Patos fix his business and leave we to suffer”, and “The economy will go down; then what will happen to we big business?” And who are these groups of ‘we’? Certainly not persons who are thinking like they’re all citizens of one country.
Lemme set allyuh straight one time; most of us here come from difficult heritages. Whether your great-great-grandparents were dragged here in chains, or seduced here by promises of money and freedom they never got, none of us had silver spoons handed to us. And now that we are third, fourth, or right up to eight generations removed from that heritage, it’s about time to stop thinking like you come from a certain continent (that really doesn’t want to claim you either, unless you bringing mucho dinero), and start thinking about the greater good of the country in which you live now.
We should be past the stage of jumping up and down with glee when your cousin step-sister’s father’s nephew get some position, so that you and your family alone could ‘get something’. It’s unfair to those who are actually qualified for assistance or a job, and should have equal play in the benefits of this country.
Stop looking for a damn Government hand-out because of your difficult life. Stand up on your own two feet, done the pity party, and start contributing; the law of returns says that you WILL reap what you sow.
5. Take serious protest action
A strange breed are we, we Trinis. Liming – with or without alcohol – is practically our national pastime, but our economy (at least, up until this SOE) is one of the most stable in the region. Maybe that stability comes from the fact that whether rain or shine, we never get really angry about anything. It’s connected to our inability to confront. Unlike our Jamaican, Guyanese or Haitian counterparts, we would much rather leave a big pothole right where it is for years than throw up a roadblock and scream, “WE WAH JUUSTIIICCCCE!” at media personnel.
If you’re really upset about the price of bread or the attitude of an arrogant business owner, boycott. Not for two weeks. Avoid the stuff seriously for six months, and see how much influence you really have. If your boss is taking advantage of you, you don’t have to give yourself hypertension staying in the job, just ‘cause you ‘need’ a job. If you’re good at what you do, have integrity and are relatively easy to work with, there will always be a job for you. Or you could create your own job. Do something so that people will take you seriously. In the words of Bob Marley: “Get up, stand up. Stand up for your rights”.
6. Get over ourselves
You know I had to throw in an extra one. Trinis are well known for being the head cheerleader of the West Indies: beautiful, smart and hated by all. It’s because we are allegedly full of ourselves.
A Jamaican once told me that we all walk around as if we had oil wells pumping in our backyards. I find this one hard to swallow myself, but when I heard that even Grenadians were beginning to loathe us, I had to try to find the grain of truth. Could it be that we do act as though we’re better than everybody else, just by virtue of being Trinidadian?
Just because hurricanes don’t hit us doesn’t mean that we’re God’s spoil children. It means that we’ve been incredibly fortunate. And you should be thanking whatever deities you pray to that we’ve been spared so far; I do. And while you’re at it, pray that if something DOES happen, the rest of the West Indies would actually step into assist us. Nothing kills arrogance like having to ask for help.
I think that if we Trinis could work on these faults of ours, our already great nation could soar. It’s great to know your strengths, and be proud of them. But it’s when you know your weaknesses and work on them that you become truly remarkable. And that’s what I want for T&T.
Image credit: cafepress.com