Listening for those Ever Haunting Messages in Dark Back Channels

Since common expressions such as : The Sky is the Limit and 

Que’ Sera, Sera (“Whatever will be, Will be”), have become of  such casual value, that they now slip off our tongues like bits of empty, meaningless debris fit only for the proverbial  dustbin.

That may be one of the reasons why our young people especially like to linger in the dark channel of the spoken word where new, daring meanings and intentions abide in the possibility of the most extreme outcomes.

Consider, for example,   Jamaican gangster songs such as   Daggerin, She Want a Gun Man in She Hole, and Catch Them and Light Them.

Offerings like these  are packed with violet intentions aimed at women, homosexuals,  and other who, in the eyes of the singers and  heir faithful followers, are the enemy.

They keep us hungry

And when you got

To get some food 

A brother’s got to be your enemy

Ambush in the night

All guns aiming at me

Ambush in the night

They’re  trying to capture me

Bob Marley

As these thought forms configure into  powerful emotional storm clouds hovering over the hearts and minds of our young people, the culture keeps changing in such  sneaky circumstances that we the elders – who are supposed to be leading – often do not notice.

That’s how I found old self daring to compliment the cashier on her new hair style with the comment: “That new hairdo means  you must be planning to go to a party tonight, ent?”

Tonight? The youngster replied in apparent shock. “I just came from a midnight madness party that’s still going on in the Stadium. I ran home and freshened up before coming to work!” 

Get with the time or be left behind, old man, I said to myself.

It may be out of  this unseen paradigm shift that new, emerging behaviours are taking us elders so unawares, that we never know what’s hitting us, although we are feeling pain, like:

  • The grocery meat packer who routinely takes off some of the best slices to carry home and sell at low prices in his community; 
  • The sexy bar girl who pours water for her drunken customers who  cannot tell the difference, and pockets the money;
  • The Lottery vendor who uses the company’s cash to secretly gamble big by placing big bets for herself; and
  • The mechanic who uses stolen parts to repair your car but charges you at the dealer’s retail price.

No wonder the society is crying from a hurt  which the people are unable to understand the cause of. As the Merchant sang:

Cause it makes me sad

It makes me mad

It brings Pain, Pain, Pain,

Down inside I feel Pain

Down inside I feel Pain

Deep inside I feel pain

Deep inside I feel pain

And yet  the very young people  who have been identified as agents of Pain, have been finding themselves at the sticky end of the road of correction and pushback on their own  success path.

How do you explain a young bar man with a seven-month pregnant wife, pushing his doors wide open for business, only to receive fatal shots from the bullets of a gunman who sped away in a waiting vehicle? Or the young woman who leaves her job and takes a PH taxi to the place where’s studying for an extra-mural degree but finds herself driven off to a dirt track road where she’s raped and murdered by a youth who cannot read and write after five years of free secondary education?

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While the experts wring their wrists in despair, the parents of victims weep, and the perpetrators plead Not Guilty, the society finds itself sagging from an unidentified virus – like a big man reeling from a Tabanca. 

Against this background therefore, the best advice we resilient citizens of Sweet T+T  can give ourselves is to do like the calypsonian who sang:

Take Dat and Cool It!

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