One Choc’late with courage, please

By Raffique Shah
January 07, 2007

Choc'late AllenFirst, the positive sides to Choc’late Allen’s foray into the public limelight as she sought to highlight the many problems that bedevil the nation. Choc’late herself embodies the biggest positive. Here’s a girl (I’m tempted to use “child”, but she is mature way past her age) who is brimming with self-confidence, very articulate (she puts many a politician, including would-be prime ministers, to shame), and very informed. She also disabuses our minds of the notion that most people her age are destined to the problems we face, not the solutions to them. And to top off her “positives”, she is not even a product of our education system, but home educated.

Clearly she is a prodigy of sorts. She exemplifies what we’d want to see in every child, every teen, and every adult. Of course full credit must go to her for having achieved all she has at such a tender age. But credit must also go to her father, entertainer Kurt Allen, and to her mother and whoever else guided her from childhood to attain the heights she has. Here, in the midst of a sea of irresponsible and delinquent parents, are people who not only educated their daughter at home, but taught her values that we long to see in persons way older than her. In fact, I should add that many of those who masquerade as the creme de la creme of society lack the “couth” and common decency that this child (there, I said it!) has displayed.

She also has immense courage. To dare to take the stand she did, sitting in a public place to register her disgust with the way society has betrayed her generation, takes more than guts. It’s one thing to protest or demonstrate with scores or thousands of people around you. It’s quite another to do it on your own.

Even more laudable is the fact that Choc’late did not do it for publicity. But that was bound to come as people’s consciences will have pricked them seeing a child doing what they, hard-back men and women, ought to have done long before she was born.

And she has handled the mas-in-the-media well. She is no braggadocio, lays no individual claim to what she has done and achieved. Indeed, she exudes humility. Which is what makes her “sweet”, as her grandmother might have said. Choc’late has also dispelled the racist notion that young Afros cannot achieve. Or that their only contribution is in the killing fields of crime. I should add she’s not the only young person I have seen, met, heard of, or read about, who has restored my faith in the future. They remain a minority, sadly so. But every long, arduous journey starts with but one step. And this little Allen is a rung on that ladder that will hopefully help us climb out of the pit into which the nation has sunk.

Now for the negatives: I need advise her that the issues she has sought to highlight by her public posture will not be easily resolved. Crime, for example, committed in the main by young people, continued unabated even as she fasted. There is out there a breed of animals-I make no apology for using such strong language-who are heartless, greedy, merciless . Need I continue?

And just beyond them are their parents and elders who are worse. Last week I referred to adults, among them the seemingly respectable in society, who fuel lawlessness by their boorish behaviour and criminal conspiracy in receiving stolen goods. This, Choc’late, was once a crime on our statute books. It no longer is well, it can’t be. Not with the large number of people who have stolen items in their possession, but also among lawmen who fail to lock up their backsides. When last have we heard of anyone being charged with “receiving”?

Still, Choc’late (I like that name, Kurt) must not be deterred when she sees evil overwhelming good. She, and the many young people like her who have the best interests of their country at heart, who are struggling to carve out a better world for future generations, must stay focussed.

How I wish I could point them to adults who would lend their experience to guide them. There are few, too few such individuals in the society. Those who are not busy grabbing every dollar they can, by legal or semi-legal means, are immersed in narcissism, in planning for how good, how sexy they would look on carnival days.

As for the politicians and charlatans who attempted to ride the child’s back to some media publicity, they should be ashamed. They are part of the problems she was highlighting, not the solutions. If they had any shame, which they don’t, they would have stayed far from this courageous child. If they had any interest in what she was doing, it was to gain personal or political mileage. But the young, be they Choc’lates or bandits, will continue to ignore them, and recognise them for the evil they represent.

4 thoughts on “One Choc’late with courage, please”

  1. Here’s a child whose parents got it right. She is aware of current issues and has a strong moral conviction. I like the fact that she is home schooled. With the current state of the educational system in Trinidad, home schooling seems to be a far better alternative.

    If more parents in Trinidad were like Choc’late’s then the society would not be in the state it is today. The don’t need to home school their children but take an interest in their homework and instill good values in them. Don’t go to every fete in the build up to Carnival but stay home and sit with your children and help them study.

    Maybe Kurt Allen and/or his wife could write a book or article giving advice on bringing up children. People would listen to Kurt.
    It’s be a good service to the community, and be an extention of what Choc’late has alreat started.

    I wonder (and don’t have the answer yet) how many parents would take their children seriously if they approached them as Choc’late did her parents.

  2. It is Thursday August 12 2008 and Allen is no where in the media to be found… Where is she? I’m sure we will all like to hear what she has to say.
    Parents have different ways of parenting different children. I’d most likely kill myself if I am in a world with only Choc’late Allens.
    If we all were like her… the world would be one heck of a boring place. If we were to drag on, study study study STUDY! To our children all day…just study, no exercise no friends no fun… our children need to be different! Their parents have different ways of teaching them!
    I would LOVE to hear what Allen has to say…Or has she just given up?

  3. I am impressed with the results of homeschooling. i had a distasteful experience with the school my children now attends. One of the teachers was abusive to one of my children, i made a complaint to the principal with no avail. i was told if i did not like the way things were run in the school i could find somewhere else, even though i pay a hugh school fee. yes, its a private school. can you believe this? I would like to homeschool my children but i dont know where to start. I would appreciate some advise

  4. No Susan, we are not going to do anything that would foster elitism in our country.
    Resorting to home schools ,like running for the suburbs, and sometimes private schools by the growing middle class and privileged is a cop out by faulty thinkers that enjoys ‘burying their heads into sands,’ like ostriches in the misguided hope that they can become immune from the devastation , and ever encroaching surrounding social maladies that prevails.
    It is one of the unfortunate types of behaviors favored by great Northern, industrialized ,and often closet racist Yankees , and class oriented Europeans ,that elites in the less developed global South mistakingly emulate ,unquestioningly .
    Your kids must be taught to work through issues -within reason of course , and so your reverting to this practice sends a wrong message to their impressionable minds.
    Your children hopefully one day would have to grow up and work as a team in the environment with others , so by isolating them you pass on no tangible advantage, as they become incapable to function without resorting to snotty condescensions towards others they feel are not their equal.
    Finally, you are not prepared to change your job every time you experience an unpalatable situation do you? This as you know is a reality whether you work in the private , public or self employed sphere. Get proactive and more involve in your PTA board , and fellow parents , as well as engage your child’s teacher to effect change and action. Continue to blog and ask questions and share insights so as to ascertain feedback reactions from others – never knows when a sound idea from an astute blogger may evolve. I do it every day.
    Make prudent choices , my friend.
    I wish you well.

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