Thursday, April 26, 2018

A Jamaican Introverts Lessons on Stoicism



"it has always been easy to get to my heart. there is no other way of stating it. the best poets are lovers, are receptacles for pain, joy, injustice and the innocent smiles of children... we read potential in the countless faces of evil, we carry many, many wounds... to always be this way, to care too much can damage one's spirit yet... "
~ Haki R. Madhubuti, A Poet's Call

Do you know what the secret of every stoic is? Do you know root of why a person would want to remain as a statue or mannequin in anger and in happiness? Stoic people are introverts... well kind of. Stoics are cold mechanical robots or unfeeling egotist trapped in vain self adoration... no, nope, naah! I tell you the secret. They are ultra sensitive empaths, subject to all of the feelings and energies around them. As a consequence of not wanting to become overwhelmed with emotion and the vulnerability that comes with displaying emotion and letting people know too much about your feelings, psychological weaknesses and triggers. Yes the stoic is sensitive to emotion and his or her environment and very aware of the risks and opportunities for exploitation that portraying emotions and being betrayed by emotions can bring.

As a child... I had always admired Data and Mr. Spock for their stoicism but never knew what the word was to describe the trait, it wasn't I was reading a Captain America comic and as the Red Skull continuously confounding him but he remained un-irritated by his assault and onslaught and pressed on relentlessly in pursuit of the Red Skull. The Red Skull then asked how did he remain so stoic... he then went on to tell him his presence was ubiquitous. Both words were too much for a Grade 6 student at Mt. Alvernia prep, I consulted my Mother who then sent me to consult the dictionary. My mind was then forever emblazoned with the meaning of stoic and stoicism as a philosophy. I also learned Ubiquitous but we are talking about stoicism.

A stoic in philosophy is a proponent of a school of thought, from in 300 up to about the time of Marcus Aurelius, who holds that by cultivating an understanding of the logos, or natural law, one can be free of suffering. In ordinary terms it means a person indifferent to pleasure or pain... I wouldn't meet Marcus Aurelius until I was doing a philosophy degree and coincidentally met Xeno and Socrates... both said to be stoics. Before that Socrates has just been a learning game I played and a Brazilian footballer I admired in the 80s but I digress...

I adopted the concept of stoicism upon meeting it, but not known its name when I grafted it from Data and Mr. Spock. But as a student of stoicism I know why I thought I needed to adopt it... it was as a response to relentless teasing and assault on my psyche, by an aunt who told me I was ugly when I ate, who told me I was an underachiever, I would walk and sell newspaper on the roadside, who said I dig my nose constantly and I was ugly when I did it, an aunt who blamed me for even her own child's errors sometimes. I realized quickly in some way that she seemed to enjoy my sadness or unhappiness and when she reprimanded me it seemed to embolden her when I wilted. Stoicism the approach that Data and Spock seemed the only answer. To remained stone faced and unflinching in spite of emotions.It then seemed the only response to my problems with my father. For when it seemed to me like my ideas, my expression of honest thoughts, and expression of self was something that seemed to anger him, irritate him and annoy him. And so in the interest of avoiding conflict, to avoid confrontational situations I defaulted to stoicism around him, I feared my least opinion would offend him, I wouldn't say much or do much, simply to be compliant. I know now that maybe, that tactic may have done some harm, as my stoicism was interpreted as being, nonchalant, antipathy, apathy, egotism and maybe an attempt to put a rift between us, when my only intent was to avoid disagreement. I haven't figured out perfectly the nuisances of navigating that relationship and ones like it. For the women in my life with the exception of my daughter I think stoicism has probably subtracted some of the warmth that may have been injected into our relationship. For my wife stoicism and years of practicing it means I never let myself be fully lost in the feeling of being in love or high on love, for to love too much is to invite the greatest potential for pain... it means to be forever grounded in reality and never wholly lost in the clouds or the moment, to anticipate disaster even when it may never come.

For my mother it will mean in response to not wanting to pine for her as child as it was hard to have her at my disposal. She was the emotional reservoir for everyone in the family, it seemed she was either being my grandmothers pillar of strength, my aunts assistant, the family accountant, the shoulder to cry on for every child in the family and all my cousins. It led to me not wanting to lean on her and so never really employing her as my secret bearer or pillow. It meant that having to see her surround in bed by everyone and no room for me... meant practicing to not need that comfort of mother. For her it meant interpreting it as a he is strong enough to do without that much attention as everyone else. It meant maybe I wouldn't be as huggy and kissy as she would like... it meant that my emotions for her would be penned up in some cranial chamber and whenever they ran free they would appear as letters on her desk.

As much as I had watched Star Trek, I realized I had been seeing the stoicism, but as I had needed it as an tool to filter my constant emotional sensitivity and an empathy that would allow me to feel for everyone. A weakness that could be exploited. However after years of re-watching Star Trek I realized Data was made emotionless and was on an eternal quest to become emotional and understand emotions, which filled him with a child like wander and awe at humanity. Mr. Spock was half human and half Vulcan which was a logical race averse to emotions yet they had the mind meld which was meant as a mechanism to facilitate greater and deeper communication with each other. Also in one of the major Star Trek movies Spock gave his life to save his ship in some radiation chamber etc... but his justification for the act was the utilitarian concept "the good of the many out weighs the good of the few" and went on to commit what he logically saw as necessary, yet to me it was a selfless act no matter how masked as logic it was, it had been driven by the emotion of love or and care.

This concept took me into something I read by another philosopher and Poet... I will close with Khalil Gibran who posited... "But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night. To know the pain of too much tenderness. To be wounded by your own understanding of love; And to bleed willingly and joyfully."

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

FREE PALESTINE

The history of Jamaica is littered with the legends of a pioneering people, hence it ought to be no surprise Jamaica has had a groundbreaking part in the fight to dismantle the evil regime of apartheid. Yep, this little island was the first country in the western hemisphere and second in the world to India which officially banned trade and travel with the fascist apartheid Government which practiced a brutal form of racism in South Africa. Former Premier Norman Manley officially banned trade and travel with South Africa in 1956 when Jamaica was still a colony of Britain. Our involvement began in 1901 when Pan-African committees were set up in various parishes by Robert Lowe and began to hit out against the trials of the South African people and educated Jamaicans about the Boer war. Our leadership was of such a bold and daring caliber at one time we drew the ire of then American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for our refusal to condemn Angola's independence which was won in January 1975 when the Portuguese Government, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola, and the National Liberation Front of Angola signed the Alvor Agreement. So then when I see a similar crisis not the same crisis but similar one, unfolding in the Middle East, in Palestine, and I can hear not even one voice of descent in our media today, I wonder where our revolutionary vim and vigour has gone.

The Jewish and Black communities have long danced around one another, at times feeling solidarity and at others, opposition. Both groups have developed a self-understanding rooted in a history of oppression and struggle, often in solidarity with others in need. Jamaica has a history with Jews starting not more than three decades after Columbus’ arrival here. As a matter of fact Jamaica was sanctuary for Jews fleeing Spain and Portugal because of the Spanish inquisitions.Jamaican Jews include the Matalon family, Gleaner co-founders, Jacob and Joshua de Cordova. Jacob went on to found the city of Waco, Texas. Common Jewish surnames in Jamaica are: Abrahams, Alexander, Isaacs, Levy, Marish, Lindo, Sangster, Da Silva, De souza, DeCohen, De Leon, Barrett, Babb, Magnus, Marley, Messado, Pessoa, DeLisser, Codner, Decosta, Henriques, Tavares and Rodriques.

A recent study has now estimated that nearly 424,000 Jamaicans are descendants of Jewish (Sephardic) immigrants to Jamaica from Portugal and Spain from 1494 to the present, either by birth or ancestry. Then there are theorists who contend that West Africans are a tribe of Israel that fled west and if Jamaica’s African population came from West Africa, then we have a possible double connection. Consider now that Haile Selassie is said to be the 225th descendant of King David, and Ethiopia is home to Jews sometimes called Falashas… it seems we are more bound to the Jewish story than we knew. Now imagine the other day when I went to the Kosher Restaurant on Gloucester Avenue, there was a picture of Andrew Holness praying at the Wailing wall in a Jewish cap.

Now with all that has been said above, throw this next but of info into the mix. The origins to the conflict can be traced back to Jewish immigration, and sectarian conflict in Mandatory Palestine between Jews and Arabs. It has been referred to as the world's "most intractable conflict", with the ongoing Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip reaching 51 years.No wonder there are as many positions on Israel within the Jewish community as there are Jews, including many who adamantly oppose the country’s treatment of Palestinians or its erection of the security barrier. On Tuesday 6 June 2017 edition of the Independent a UK publication, in an article title “The Israeli Occupation is a Jewish tragedy – it's our responsibility to make sure it comes to an end” a Jewish writer penned the following: “The Occupation is systematic. It necessitates daily indignity and violence towards Palestinians in order to maintain a status quo that prioritises Israeli sovereignty. It’s numbingly bureaucratic, overwhelmed by permits, checkpoints and court orders. It’s a 99.75 percent conviction rate of Palestinians who are tried in the military courts. It’s Israeli teenagers in uniforms with rifles, roughing up elderly men who just want to live on their land. This is not the Israel I learnt about as a child; these are not supposed to be the actions of ‘the most moral army in the world.’ But it is the reality.”

Sometimes it seems in the mass media that to critique Israel or to disagrees with Israel is to court allegations of anti-Semitism. To be clear, this is not about hating Israelis, or hating Palestinians. It isn’t down to individuals, though often this conflict feels deeply personal to some of us as most of Jamaica’s major religions are Abrahamic in origin. But at the end of the day, this is about systems. Systems that create a dual state of the powerful and the powerless. Again, it is a structural problem. So know that you and I are part of that broken system when we fail at moral courage, when we just shut up and keep our head down; especially when we do not speak truth to power, and worse we don’t get power to acknowledge the truth.

I was surprised by the amount of Jamaicans who thought Israel was in heaven or thought so when they were small. Israel was always a place on Earth in my understanding at all times. Maybe that is why Israel seems so surreal or ethereal in the Jamaican psyche. When I was born 1981, I came into a world where it seemed war was eternal. Jamaica was n political and tribal wars. JBC used to have a news intro that would whisper names like Yitzhak Rabin, Saddam Hussein, other names that quickly occupied my world were, Qaddafi, Anwar Sadat, Idi Amin, Yasser Arafat, Ariel Sharon, Mikhail Gorbachev, Boris Yeltsin and others. So for the better part of 4 decades, I have been watching wars and hearing rumors of wars. I say this to say one simple truth thing. The conflicts in the middle east have run long passed  a reasonable length of time. It is time to simply FREE PALESTINE!

Guntego Bay 2017 The Economics of Violence Guns and Murder

"Yuh nuh have no weh fi run, when mi rise up mi demons and shoot dung di sun"
~Tommy Lee Sparta
Welcome to Guntego Bay; city of luxury killings... We pull up in criss cars and slippers and shorts with criss guns, nonchalant and with blatant disregard for those around, we pull up at gas stations and execute, at Moscino or at the court house, or simply leaving a funeral... we are the murderous legends. Monsters unleashed!

In a crime climate like this I wonder how is it the police or government expect to end crime in Jamaica with a NEW LAW and rushed bills and special zones. They shrink away from their political responsibility to fix the economy the heart of our social lives. It takes cash to care and the people have no mney anywhere. Haven’t felt the increasing beg-xtortion in the communities. If the political leaders don’t fix the economy there will continue to be a void or zone or habitat where there is an economic imperative that says money at all costs (get rich or die trying) and a system that fostered a thinking that worked out this logic: I can buy rifles and the biggest and hottest guns in foreign fresh and crisp in a plastic for below $500 US as the real US Market prices are actually very cheap! An AK, Glock or Berretta, can all be bought for less than $500 US, yep that cheap for that much firepower. After which I can send this gun down to Jamaica disassembled and packed in hair gel, in computers, appliances etc and when they get to Jamaica I assemble the guns and sell them for upwards of $1200 US. With super profits on death dealing and selling and warmongering, what economic imperative or logic do people and the profiteers have to stop this new deathly economics? Fear and economics rule the day and the death dealer is now the economic master.

The arithmetics of criminal commerce is a better bet than Cashpot and Just Bet… Guns for drugs and Haiti are the least! Do you really think a man in Montego Bay is going to try to peddle guns for drugs everyday down in Clarendon and Vere and Portland for rusty gun from Haiti, when his filthy scamming lucor can buy him a visa and a ticket to fly out, buy guns throuh Scamazon and E-bay, or some dispossessed and down on his luck US citizen, then finally ship the weapons to Jamaica, then keep some and sell the rest. After that it’s just $$$$$$$$$$$$$$!

What I am trying to get you to understand is that crime can't be solved by a new law or bill to fix crime and our social circumstance we must fix the economy and reinvigorate our authentic Montegonian and Jamaican culture.

Now we hear of civic pride and social fabrics... Only when the killings get absurd! We mourn the death of community groups and civic activism... Only when there is an execution in front of the court house. Now Jamaica looks at us with the 9 day memory and  microscope, will zoom and then soon forget the disasterous epidemic of crime in Montego Bay. Where was the media while Zuggy died last year rifle shots middle road in Paradise by youth carrying rifles in umbrellas... After years of the efforts people put in Youth club, Residents Association, Senior citizens association, etc. The government puts honest everyday heroes and trying citizen them have to jump thru hurdle and loops to get anything done due to bureaucratic red tape, policies unfriendly to small business, to citizens cooperatives, community cooperatives.

Look at all that... Then consider the struggles of black businesses; extortion, taxes, thieves etc.. then we wonder about crime and scamming. The weakness of the black business community and crime are directly related. In MoBay it’s about a Freezone for foreigners, a Duty Free area for Indians, Chinese businesses get tax free breaks hence the out break of supermarkets, but what of black business… No Free Business Space for the Black community with robust support and help. Vendors are criminalized, bureaucracy and red tape stifle the poor man in business. When one considers the prospect that we are bound to slim incomes in MontegoBay FreeZone, in Supermarkets, in Inbond stores and Hotels in a world of inflating billls and expense. The rumour that crime doesn’t pay seems a myth as flashy scammers or gun traders and drug dealers pass you in flashy cars and captivate the women, and throw up impressive concrete castles. What is the resut we see today… a nation in chaos and havoc. A city beseiged by crime. How do we escape the economic algebra of crime with its lucrative commercial dimensions???

About the author: Yannick Nesta Pessoa B.A. is Jamaica’s first blogger, a Community Activist and Law Student at Utech Western Jamaica. Follow Yannick on Twitter at @yahnyk | yannickpessoa@yahoo.com


Pot Holes: Filling in the Gaps



Infrastructure investments lead to jobs. And quality of life starts with a good job.
John Hickenlooper 
When I am driving my car down the street, I try not to go down the potholes.
Philip Green

The potholes in the roads are a problem, the political ones, the metaphorical ones, but I'm talking about the literal ones now… they are one of if not the biggest headache we have right now on the road. It seems like every year we complain that potholes seem worse than they have ever been. But this year, they really do seem worse than they ever have been. I haven't seen any part of the city, or peripheral town or village that is immune to pothole pox, and the rains of the last few months has really made for brutal rides on many many roads. It seems that the busier they are, the worse they are, particularly because the city has been cheap with their paving budgets. Even though Jamaicans depend on this infrastructure to go about their daily lives in safety, our mayor has been relatively quiet on the need to revitalize the city’s roads, bridges, sewers, dams, and water treatment plants.

I am not saying we need an ambitious and expensive plan to modernize their city’s infrastructure, however, a competitive city simply cannot have sewers backing-up into basements and streets flooding every time it rains. The savvy voters and taxpayers in Jamaica today are looking to get the biggest bang for their buck when it comes to the cost of government. That includes the cost of building and repairing streets. For that reason alone, our municipality should require bids for both asphalt and concrete pavements. And those bids should include a life cycle cost analysis for road construction or repair projects. Doing so helps them determine whether using asphalt or concrete materials is the more cost-effective, sustainable investment.

Alternatives 

A possible solution could be, using old vehicle tires as a long term solution for patching the number of potholes on roads across the city and possibly the country could easily be piloted in Montego Bay. The process of using rubberized asphalt to pave roads has been working well in the US and Canada. This process can fix both the stress and damages caused by the poor quality of the roads and cut down on the large quantities of old tires. Rubberized asphalt is made from asphalt concrete and mixed with crumb rubber from recycled tires. The city can look into at taking our old tires, which is another headache to us, and turn them into rubber the steel and the fluff from the tire itself it can pave the roads. The roads become softer and you wouldn’t skid or slide on the roads. Maintenance solution waste removal solution, safety solution, financial solution… all rolled into one. It can work. We can take our tires and turn them into crumb rubber and pave the roads with them. There is so much more use for old tires. It is for our municipality, our city to decide the way forward, not follow the tides of time as usual and get left behind.

Experts claim the road requires less maintenance and still allows for drainage, while tyre recyclers claim the technique will also save money because the new material is thinner than standard roads. Rubber roads were first built in the 1960s in the US, where today there are 20,000 miles of road made of recycled tyres. Rubber roads are also popular in China, Brazil, Spain and Germany.
Another solution that came to me is tied to social enterprise. Wikipedia defines social enterprise as an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in financial, social and environmental well-being—this may include maximizing social impact alongside profits for external shareholders. So what do potholes have to do with social enterprise? Well I have been thinking… why doesn’t the municipality hire the men who already go around patching the roads informally as a side hustle to officially operate as road maintenance personnel. I think it ought to be fairly easy for the municipality to employ them give them a minimum wage stipend, negotiate with the chamber of commerce or the hardware businesses directly to provide them with propatch asphalt and cement to help alleviate a road crisis, at the same time encouraging motorists to donate to the cause by tipping the road patchers. The social benefit is the road patchers receive official pay and employ, the road is not as bad for motorists and commuters, improved safety, a good public relations look for the municipality. Maybe the plan could be tweaked in some places but you get the picture we need to be more innovative about the road that lies ahead, it is filled with ruts and potholes, to fix them and navigate them require a new outlook.

Future Change 

Our city needs an intensified island-wide road works programme. You would think that with all of the technological advancements we have seen in our lifetime, someone would have figured out a better way to fix damaged roads. There is a ton of money to be made, and I'm sure the insurance companies and municipalities that pay out claims for damaged vehicles would be happy to see it. Of course, the municipal corporation could spend more money on routine maintenance and paving that would prevent a lot of these problems, but that ship has obviously sailed. I can only hope that one day someone in public office might begin to take responsibility for genuinely solving this problem, as they say nowadays “own it”. If not and we continue to dither, delay and propose inadequate measures , we will leave a bigger problem for Montego Bay’s children.

About the author: Yannick Nesta Pessoa B.A. is Jamaica’s first blogger, a Social/Community Activist and Law Student at Utech Western Jamaica. Follow on Twitter at @yahnyk. Reply to yannickpessoa@gmail.com

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Crying for the Nation

"Weeping is but a cleansing of the soul"
Rev. Donovan Myers 


"Battles of kings, and of fools, And changes in ways he once knew, As pages of days fade away, He's lost in time...Cry for the nations."
Michael Schenker Group



I have a confession to make… many times I am up writing, thinking, meditating, crafting, drawing, studying… something happens. I become overwhelmed with thoughts on the state of things as they are and tears stream down my face. My heartaches for the world and sometimes it make me bitter because I think it is the Prime Ministers, members of parliament and councillors who should be crying in the night, weighted by the ills of this world and the injustice in which they have had a hand in. Crying because of their lack of imagination. Crying for their spinelessness in the face of world leaders. Crying because they can only cry when it’s PR time or when they are forced to resign or lose an election. Do you cry? Not for your own personal suffering, but out of empathy and sympathy for your fellow human being, DO YOU?

I remember a situation a few years back, there was  a power cut in Norwood. Norwood being Norwood, I was following my mind and jamming at the shop I was at, because I wasn’t feeling the energy to navigate the dark to my yard. It so happens a little girl, no more than eight years old passes heading up Top Road, then turns back, and comes to the shop. I assume she scans the crowd there and then says to me “Sir, can you follow me up the road, I am afraid something might happen to me if I walk home alone.” Now I wonder to myself “Why me?” Anyway I take false bravado and say “Of course, sure”. Anyway we set off up the road, it turns out the child is a chatterbox, but I am paying her very little mind as “mi eye a peel out the dark” in case of any possible trouble. It then dawns on me life is wretched, what is a child doing going to shop after 8 pm and why does she need an escort and all the evils that could befall her suddenly become my greatest concern, then I became moved and honored that she would sense absolutely no danger in me as a stranger, and ask me to walk her home.

In the dark of that night walking this child and stranger, I was moved to tears. Honestly, enuh! And I am glad it was dark so the child ‘wouldn’t see seh mi so big and fool fool.” Anyway, when we reach close enough, the child stops me and says “Sir, mi go haffi ask you fi stop here, caah if mi mother see me a walk wid big man or stranger she go kill me!” So I ask her if she is certain to which she says “Yes, and if you come no further she go see you.” So I comply and bid her goodnight and she said thanks. I lingered and watched her turn a corner, wait to hear anything funny, and made my way home. However on my way home it struck me again that her mother could really possibly think something negative of me walking a child home in the dark. It stung on a personal level, but rationality lets me know on some level a parent would and should be truly worried about such a scenario. And I had to wonder was the child wise, was she silly to have risked a stranger as escort? Should she have walked alone in the dark? Should she have waited indefinitely at a shop full of unfamiliar folk?

When I think of the Trinidadian pedophile who video himself with a 5 year old and I cry. I think of all the young girls and boys in Paradise before 20, I cry. I think of the elders and innocents that died in Paradise as collateral damage in the battles of boys, I cry. When I think of my community in decay and the councillor is my cousin, I cry. When I think of Africa and a continent being exploited, I cry. When I think of India with the most poor people in the world, I cry. When I think of the U.S.A. and that on average the police there kill one black male roughly every 28 hours, I cry. When I think of the Earth that my daughter will inherit, I cry. When I think of a people slaved for 500 years without pay, I cry. When  When I think of the regime of apartheid that Israel has wrought on Palestine, I cry. When I think of how long I have despised the way Israel operates in Palestine only to learn Yannick is a Hebrew name and Pessoa is a Spanish/Portuguese Jewish name, the irony makes me cry.

I see my nation wracked with sickness from its head to its feet and in need of healing. I won’t put the headlines in front of you at this time. You read the news and already know the great social, economic, moral and spiritual issues facing Jamaica. “How will we continue to live?” Will you be overwhelmed by social change and sin and give in what the majority feel is acceptable? Or will you continue to stand firm in your convictions and try to live by a logic or your spiritual belief?

The world is changing. Jamaica is not the same nation it once was. I can only present the case to you.


About the author: Yannick Nesta Pessoa B.A. is Jamaica’s first blogger, a Social/Community Activist and Law Student at Utech Western Jamaica. Follow on Twitter at @yahnyk. Reply to yannickpessoa@gmail.com

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Struggles of Being Jamaica's First Blogger!

Preamble


Way back in 2004, not too long after hurricane Ivan, the word blog had just begun really floating around the Internet a mere four years before, not reaching buzz level till maybe 2003, I was a young Carimac student who had switched to Philosophy and about to soon finish with academia and step into the world. Look how the years roll by... back then people in Jamaica and the Caribbean were like... "What's a blog?" "What's a Blogspot?" "What does one do with a philosophy degree?" What can that do?"

The trials a young Philosopher and Jamaican blogger face are monstrous things. One has to face them with few resources, struggling with confidence and a preponderance of haters, scouring for that rare gem of genuine good commentary or criticism as we make unique contribution to the ethereal or even surreal realm of cyber space...

In the early days I didn't have my mind wrapped around a solid idea as to what blogging was and could do. It was just a way to vent, rant, store ideas for later re-use... post musings, etc... It also played a role in being an alternate platform for my readers when I was a columnist for The Western Mirror... for covering the diverse facets of the second city... my city Montego Bay... but as time ebbed on and readership, following, feedback and vibes waned... I increasingly questioned the validity of this blog, my blogs, blogs in general. Was I even the first blog... was Afflicted Yard the first blog, even though he never endorsed the word till after 2004, was his inspirational website the first blog? Nope... Worse with the limited finances related to blogs, blogging and writing... my disenchantment and quasi-depression worsened. I had tried 'ad words', 'ad-sense', and a myriad of advertising systems. MONETIZE MONETIZE MONETIZE... Up until this day I am yet to receive a Google cheque. I followed Silicone Caribe, stayed abreast of Ingrid Riley, yet nothing seemed to spark beyond maybe a rare and small newspaper feature. Wrote a few article for international papers, did some cartoons for papers, was a finalist in the Gleaner/Star cartooning competition.

The progression and regression is cataloged here in the archives. The years, the trips, the jobs, the highs, the lows. Try and bare with me as I recant for the sake of remembering, for the redolence in me these days... for the history of me, the history of Mobay, for the history of Jamaican blogging. Or simply recording the world swirling in my head.

The Early Days! 


Life back then huh... aaah I was dreaming... dreaming of my ideal life, I've never ever wanted to work in an office if it wasn't my own, the cubicled life is not for me... I like to think I am or was outside the box. I’d wanted to do all of my work from my own laboratory like office in a cozy domicile... a hobbit like future tech earth-ship. I would always think about which Montegonian or Western Jamaican, neighborhood I’d like to live in once I starved and saved enough money (note this is before the harsh realities of the 2007 economic crisis...not that I didn't see it coming) as well as got my entrepreneurial groove in full swing, I lived then as I do now in constant coveting for culture, consciousness, content, creativity and calmness.

The Days of Plain Old Blogging

I usually blogged at night... that's when the energy comes, or in twilight hours of the wee morning, then I cackled with grand ideas of Rastafari in the 21st Century, things like what it would mean to be the new Caribbean citizen, the cultural mixing pot of all the promise and stuffed that fluffed up my dreams at UWI, reconciling Noam Chomsky, Walter Rodney and Arundhati Roy with Selassie, Marcus Garvey, Leonard Howell, Planno, Communism, Ujaama, science, spirituality, technology, ecology, sustainability and all my other cosmologies, theologies, philosophies into a comprehensive world-view, then retiring in Hanover overlooking my city Montego Bay, in my bush bungalow, with solar power and a little windmill, making art, sipping fine wines, drinking teas and roots, smoking herb... writing poetry, drawing painting, and finish my opus magnum... and all the grand literature burning in my soul. Yep... those were the good old days when I was a tech savvy but naive newby who wasn't keen on SEO and just wrote to my hearts content. The days when people huddled at my blog or stumbled upon it simply because I had something to say, it was an era before the spell check Nazi and acolytes of Grammarly arrived to rip blogs and bloggers apart because of bad grammar, no 'pinnable' pictures, no keywords, no tags and hashtags and bad SEO. Sigh*

In that time the ideal bungalow locales of my mind-scape were only based on location, aesthetics, and environment and not practical reasons like if I can actually afford it. Ideally, I’d like to work from home, play with my daughter, make more children, and be able to spend more time on this blog shtick - sharing and musing, poetry and politics, digital parlance and palaver with y'all, cleverly constructing intellectual highs, chock full of pretty and mellifluous words, packed and layered with meaning, keep it consistent and watch my growing an audience... that my dear friends and readers, is easier said than done in the second city in Jamrock on a thin budget...

The Imminent and Eminent Now!


As a world-weary academic, disillusioned by the failed promises of the ivory tower and its pretensions to inevitable success, especially if you buy into the image promulgated by KGN, the hype of entrepreneurial success and small business mega stories. Theses days after so many moons in the digital trenches... after the rise of the rest of Jamaica's digerati and technocracy... after the hype of Jamaican social media and all the buzz worthy folk... after days in Montego Bay trying to find all kinds of angles to make it and coming up short I am more than a little burnt out. I always have topics on hand, ideas a plenty to blog about, but I don’t have time to blog as often as I would like... the rigors of evolving into a parent... an ever more active community activist... amongst all the various dilemma and vagaries that plague the human condition. There are days when I pray the ideas and musings will come back to me when I don’t have the baby in my lap or hounding me with a million questions as I write or work...

I try to stay abreast of the latest blogging tips etc and the notions of 'Eye-Catching Titles', Call Outs, Shout Outs, Stock Imagery, Infographics! I get it and I try not to get caught up, but it happens. I find myself leaning that way. As I sit here typing this I constantly glance at the bottom left corner at the “Word Count”. Why do I continue to look at it? Because the Western Mirror and Google likes 700-1000 words for articles and posts. I miss the good old days of blogging I really do. No pressures, just networking, making friends, and writing about our lives (even to my family’s chagrin). The good old days... As I realize my position as a pioneer in Caribbean blogging,I wonder are there new bloggers out there that are doing just what I did back in the day? Are my experiences of any value to them???

I've been writing this post for more than a year now... Watched Novembers rolls into Decembers, observed weather changes, the days still have that blaring sun, but you feel the temperature in the tradewind. What I can do, however, is ruminate frothily on the rigors of the present, which is exactly what I’ll do now. See, things are different for this writer these days. It’s a brave new world full of great reward and buzzsaw peril — trod upful and you’ll have laurels heaped upon your head, but step like a fool and you’ll find your testicles cut off with a 3 star ratchet knife.



Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bag Juice Debacle: A sweet argument

Jamaica land of the bag juice debates and debacles... sugar is an issue since JLP botching healthcare on a whole so they push the burden to the patients who now must contend with taxes and government nagging you about your lifestyle eating choices and depreciating fluffy self esteem by interpreting fat people as an economic burden and expense on our health budget. If you can't smell the fumes... then no one notices that not one health food store at any hospital in JA and hospital serves starches to diabetics... bag juice local and dem can't chump up big money to lobby to be left alone like the Pepsi distributers etc...  Murder bag juice entrepreneurs... same so dem make cigarette cost more than weed at 70 dollar a cigarette and den act like is a good thing an spin doctor it like the weed fifty bag nah shrink since the price of fifty bag fixed due nature of the name... dem gi Jamaica inna one hand and tek it back wid the next! 6 for a 9... ScAmdrew Whole-Mess

Wah some a dem hot girl weh live pon bag juice and cheese trix a go do, wah go cool dem dung after cup soup and tin sausage breakfast?

Poem: Legend of the Pan Africanist

Legend of the Pan Africanist

I am sure...
You know of Jesus, 12 men and 2 fish,
Mi sure you may know something of Greeks and their myths,
The best of Rihanna and Ed Sheeran hits,
But tell me do you know of Bogle when the temperature reach 96,
Do you know whose eyes the crows in Sam Sharpe square circled to pick,
Do you know inna 63 when Rasta get trim, box and kicks,
Do you Maroons and of Cockpit logistics,
I am sure you probably know Nanny and where those bullets hit,
Did you know how she cried for the ones she couldn't save and souls she couldn't fix,
Do you the know history is coded into Rasta's locks and wisps,
Do you know the Panama Canal and how many Jamaican bodies are in the mortar and it's bricks,
Do you know Marcus Garvey was there and would later light the beacon globally for the Pan Africanist,
Do you know our ancestors are alive in moments like this????????????

Copyright © 2017 by Yannick Pessoa, All Rights Reserved.
© MMXVII YANNICK PESSOA

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ode to Lost Elders and Careless I-thiopians

Now elders like to think themselves wise,
Which is no surprise,
But he says to me boy open your eyes,
The well behaved son never receives the prize,
Don't you realize?
No I said in my heart then,
And no I say again,
Even if I have to say it to an army of ten thousand men,
No again and again and again!
What of sons like Absolom and Solomon,
Power handed to which one,
Let the story then carry on,
Selassie is descended from which one,
And today elder I ask,
Why do you look like the children that sing the Ethiopian King's song,
And was he which son,
Akin to such one...
This is not my epistle,
But rather my Ecclesiastes,
A cosmological opus magnum...
A belief I use like an intellectual handgun,
Here am I, send me...
They will know I am which one!

Copyright © 2017 by Yannick Pessoa, All Rights Reserved. 
© MMXVII YANNICK PESSOA

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Threnody of Angels

Sometime mi bumbo'ole,
More time mi a eediat,
If mi never have yute,
Mi gi miself gunshot,
😱Huh, no, don't say that!
A how mi feel an a fimi pain dat,
Come in like you love chat chat,
U know how life hot...
Mi nah talk suffer hungry or none a dat,
It's to feel your heartbreaking,
Caah some day yuh pickney heart will be aching,
To know you try self improvement and everything,
Never to be the King of Kings,
To give to the poor and never yet get of someone's offerings,
To give her your heart for safekeeping,
She take it tun play play ting,
To look like a saint,
When a demon is inside seething,
To lose teeth as a 35year old teething,
To sit amongst fraud as the realest thing,
To feel like half alien and angel born of a human being,
To have your shoulder blades flap phantom wings,
To hear the Cacophony of the Kakistocrasy in every meeting,
To seek the future and find possible sorrow,
As you see the scope of horror in the truth of tarot,
To have your messages of now only understood in tomorrow,
To sense the surrender to the nothing,
The hurt of practicing to lose loved ones as we all must,
The sick psycho rehearsal for tragedy and pain of losing family.


No this is not the pain of being deprived,
Its the pain of living in the pain of those who went through pain to let you survive,
It's the pain of knowing Grandmothers can never be revived,
It's the pain of waiting for her to visit in dreams and not have it happen,
It's the pain of having to steer at children's innocence and naivety,
To remember your own innocence to harken your own naivety,
To look at everything that is and know all is vanity,
To know that modernity is absurdity and utter insanity,
It's the pain of having to see yourself in the youth,
The pain of watching them flail to find truth,
The ache of endless rejection and fatherly rebuke,
The pain of holding it in but still having to puke,
The sadness in being in a crowd and lonely,
The dull boredom of going out when you are homely,
The pain to see her beauty and realize she is not comely,
Pain of having to wait for those who will not appreciate the patient,
To swallow words because mama thinks them too potent...
To have moments splinter like fractals,
Scattered in the eternity of seconds,
The pain of not being her first choice,
Of not being her virgin breaker,
The sorrow when she loves you less each tomorrow,
The pain of knowing your imperfections,
The trauma in loving her flaws,
The drama in her corners and mental drawers,
To be a narcissist full of self hate,
To constantly self deprecate,
Even when your gut says I am great...


Copyright © 2017 by Yannick Pessoa, All Rights Reserved. 
© MMXVII YANNICK PESSOA