A few years ago when A levels were still necessary for some of us to obtain some modicum of higher education, I was lucky to have an old wise Tobago / Valsayn Teachers Training College lecturer in Tranquility , that taught us Political Science. His name was Mr. Elder, and growing up as a kid in Roxborough Tobago , he usually reminded us that although he was an extremely intelligent child , he was too poor to even take up a scholarship to go to a school in Scarborough. What a tragedy, for that island is 116 square miles altogether. He still made it through , as a result of grit and determination, for that is the spirit of the perennially neglected great grandkids of former slaves in my country.
Nevertheless ,a few poignant words he frequently uttered between analysis of Westminster System 101, remained . His comments were, “something is good if it works.”
Those of us without much to do , can still strut around and frequently demonize Manning , and occasionally his arch nemesis Panday , in the misguided belief that these and other neo- colonial experts are loosing much sleep over us when it comes to stewardship of our country. If we are stupid to not see the need to circumvent the politics of fear and division that prevents us from forming meaningful alliances, and coalitions , not for the purpose of overthrowing the PNM , but as the first step towards nudging our nation forward to sustainable social , political , and economic development. One voice , one people , one destiny , for it is the only way, when over 80% I am certain of our population is under the poverty line. Bet your bottom dollar that they aren’t any Chinese, Caucasians, Syrians, and Lebanese in that lot
As the Prophets of doom and gloom still preach on about how absolutely terrible it is in Sweet T&T aka Rainbow Country, and are destroying any sense of hope in what today can best be described as Hell, the lines outside the Canadian and USA Embassy still remains lengthy as good and desperate folks sell their children and collective soul to get to the lands that many assume might just be heaven.
I am therefore reminded of a folk tale that was repeated in a book by a Sri Lankan Buddhist Monk Bahante Walpola Paysandú . In it he described a powerful ascetic with the ability to perform magic , being challenged by one of his pupils to perform a miracle and show him Heaven and Hell. The ascetic pointed to a large table filled with sumptuous foods from a banquet, that was surrounded by a group of people that wore sad , mournful faces .The problem was that they could not eat, as they could not bend their arms at the elbow. Angry , frustrated , and hungry , they made a mess as they scattered the food all over the place, and left hungry. “That’s hell,” exclaimed the ascetic.
He then pointed to another similar table that was laden with delicious - looking foods , when a group of smiling people appeared and took their seats at the table. They too had the same maladies, and could not bend their elbows. Without much fanfare or deliberations we were told, they found a way to put the food on their respective spoons ,and reach across the table and feed the person on the other side.- thus enjoying the banquet and they in turn eventually left satisfied. “That is Heaven,” said the teacher smiling.
The lessons was not lost on the student. It is that in the latter case , sharing with others can bring about happiness and satisfaction. In contrast, Hell as depicted by selfishness, and thinking only of oneself, can eventually lead to “ separation, unhappiness, and misery. The ascetic ended with a wonderful point that can be also useful for us the 1.3 million Trinbagonians , almost ready to cut our wrist it seem. It’s worth repeating. “ Compassion is the complete reflection of overall harmony. It contains the essential ingredients of care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge. It is vital to feel caring for others and to feel concern for what may happen to them.”
The ball is in your courts fellow nationals. Eradicate what I like to sometimes refer to as “The Dog with the bone Syndrome.”
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