November 27, 2014

Forgive and forget

Satiricus had been taught as a boy, of John F Kennedy’s maxim – “Forgive your enemies, but don’t forget their names”. What could he say?? Satiricus’ Dad was an “eye for an eye kinda guy”. So Satiricus grew up admiring those who could “forgive and forget”.
While his Dad thought such folks were a bunch of “pussies” who were scared shitless about repercussions of “remembering”, Satiricus felt virtuous not being so “cynical”.
So when this case of GPA vs Mook Lall came up, which Satiricus had even been assigned by his Editor to cover, Satiricus was tense. Here it was, a man who caused other men to wet their buktas and pants when he even mentioned their names – being threatened by the Mook, Satiricus had been livid.
If you could threaten the Man who knew all your hanky-panky financial dealings, what the hell was next?? Bugging your reporters’ phones??
So Satiricus just knew that the full force of the law in all its majesty would come down on the Mook. Just to show him that there’s a line those who’ve sworn to uphold the law must draw. And it wasn’t in the sand!!
So Satiricus had schlepped over to that magnificent structure in which justice was dispensed on the East Coast and shoehorned himself into the mass of humanity to listen to the “unstrained” quality of mercy.
And mercy it was!! A new saint was created in Guyana. The GPA fella who’d made the charge against the Mook, now said that “all was forgiven”. Everybody in court gasped!! He didn’t actually say this himself – saints don’t just present themselves to fellas whom they’ve forgiven. He gave his benediction – it had to be that, since it allowed the Mook to walk off scotch free – through his begotten emissary.
Time, the great man pointed out, healed everything. And he had been healed. Satiricus could just imagine a halo floating over the newly beatified One.
Since this transformation must’ve come without any external promptings – such as further threats or gutless fears – Satiricus just knew that, like Saul on the way to Damascus, the GPA Bigwig was a changed man. This was an epiphany. This came from within!!
From now on, when citizens didn’t pay their taxes because their flesh was weak and they wanted to spend it on wine, women and song – Satiricus was certain they’d be forgiven. Being the big softie he was Satiricus’ eyes teared up at the magnificence of the GPA boss. Such fearlessness!!

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The Great Flood??

Satiricus was glum. “That’s right, chum,” he thought. “I know a Second Coming coming. But how come they never told we about a Second Great Flood at Sunday School??” He coulda start building an Ark.

He’d seen the movie Noah earlier in the year. When the real flood coming you could just throw seeds on the ground and forests would spring up to give you wood there and then. To build the Ark.

Satiricus had lived through the Guyana great flood of 2005 and had come out an even more educated man that he’d been. Not that he’d been any brain-box before, but he’d learnt about “lepto”. He’d never known about lepto before – even though he was told it wasn’t a new disease like Ebola or any of that.

As he wondered as to why he didn’t have any of those special seeds – or even the ones of Jack of his famous beanstalk – he realised that the water flooding the City wasn’t spouting from holes in the ground, like in the movie with Russell Crowe. Drats!! It wasn’t The Great Flood II. He worried if Lepto was around the corner.

Then he became angry at what had happened in the great City in which he lived. No! Satiricus wasn’t going to blame Mayor HamTon Greed, like what a lot of people would do. How could you blame a guy who was old like Methuselah and was probably around when Noah built HIS Ark!

And plus THEY had foisted a woman to watch over the City. That was an affront (and aback) to a fella from a time when women was so much “meat” that could be disposed of like ashes.

Nah!! Satiricus knew that all of this flooding was because of Wit-Take-Her. Satiricus knew it was too good to be true when THEY gave Wit-Take-Her $500 million to “clean up” the City. Now Satiricus knew how devious THEY could be. THEY knew all along these monsoon rains were coming. Weren’t THEY the ones always carrying on about climate change?? Weren’t THEY the ones getting all that Data from THEIR new Meteorological Tower??

Did THEY think Satiricus was soooo dumb he wouldn’t figure it out? “Ha!” snorted Satiricus in derision. What Wit-Take-Her WAS doing all the time, was to clean the drains during the day and using the muck to block the culverts at night!

Having solved the mystery. Satiricus would tell HamTon Greed how to get rid of the floods. And he didn’t need an ARK. Satiricus was glum no more.

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Saving the day

Satiricus was very upset with how folks were lambasting Roop-Na-Rain. Why would they do that when all the man did was save the day for the outfit on which he’s hitched his star??
“How the heck can you have a demonstration at the Square of the Revolution, and not do something “outlandish”?” mumbled Satiricus. Even old man Hite had draped a Guyana Flag over the body of the bandit Blackie. “Jeez, you had to have a sense of time and place!” thought Roop-Na-Rain.
Here it was, people were droning on for hours when the joint shoulda been jumping. Imagine No-Gel Huge had carried on and on and on about what?? Constitutional change, for Chrissake!! Was he the professor, or was Roop-Na-Rain?? As No-Gel droned on Roop-Na-Rain thought long and hard about what he had to do.
When Rum Jhaat and Naga Man showed they didn’t have the guts to show up at the foot of the revolutionary hero Cuffy, he realised that he was going to be the only Chamaar on the stage.
That was the problem with Rum Jhaat and Naga Man. They only thought of themselves. They were probably in some backstreet rum shop knocking off a “large”. They didn’t realise that they had a duty to represent the Chamaars of Guyana??
They had showed good Chamaar behaviour when they had gone to Linden and provoked the people to burn down the place. Had they lost their Chamaar consciousness?? Roop-Na-Rain was proud that he had been picked by GrainJa to represent the Chamaar people in APANU.
Roop-Na-Rain puffed up his chest. “My father was a Chamaar, my mother was a Chamaar…and by God, I am a Chamaar!! I will keep up the Chamaar principles. I will do the most low-class and low-down thing I can think about!”
And so it was when Roop-Na-Rain’s turn to speak came, he came out against all the values he had been taught by the British at their top university. As a Chamaar, they’d taken pity on him and decided to civilise him.
“Burn their newspapers!!!” he screamed. “Boycott them, so they can’t print anything I disagree with!!! Bring them to ruination!!”
You can take the Chamaar out of the gutter, but you can’t take the gutter out of the Chamaar.

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Jumbie politics

Satiricus was so proud of GrainJa. Who said he was an old duffer who had no creativity? He might be old and he might be a duffer but on Friday he showed that he could move with the biggest brains of international politics. Wasn’t it Bush – an American President – who introduced the term “voodoo economics” into popular usage??

And here it was our very own septuagenarian Brigadier GrainJa had revived “jumbie politics” from the dead. Very soon, wherever political science was discussed – not to mention where high spirits were quaffed in abundance, like in rum shops – folks would be mentioning Guyana again when they discussed “jumbie politics”. Just like they talk about “voodoo economics”,

But Satiricus wasn’t surprised that GrainJa came up with “jumbie politics”. He’d been an upcoming young 2nd Lieutenant who’d just returned from England to serve his sponsor Burnt-Ham, when the sly fox invented “jumbie politics”. Only that Burnt-Ham didn’t have the creativity like GrainJa had to call it that.

Some called it “politics of rigging”, “crooked like barbed wire”, “fiddled arrangements”, or plain thuggism (think Hamilton Green and Rabbi Washington). But what it had in its first deployment in 1968, were jumbies. In the first election that year after the pesky British has decamped, the Great Burnt Ham indigenised our electoral practices and allowed jumbies to vote.

The British has given women in their country the franchise in 1928, freed slaves and bondsmen of Guiana the vote in 1950, and now Burnt Ham, who always wanted to better them, extended voting rights to jumbies in 1968!! He was the first world leader to take this bold step. All others waited for jumbies to rise up at the Second Coming – but Burnt-Ham was a leader not a follower. Guyana’s voting list almost doubled that year – and of course, he won the election handily.

The jumbles were not surprisingly very grateful to Burnt Ham for giving them full rights and all that. Those simpletons from the PPCEE had refused to practice jumbie politics. They were so superstitious and preached the British Colonial line that jumbies shouldn’t vote. And they called themselves “radicals”!!

So here was GrainJa following in the leaders footsteps. He’s already introduced the practice of jumbie politics in the Pee-N-See internal elections when he defeated first Green Bridge and then North Ton.

Satiricus was happy that Guyana would see the innovation come back if GrainJa got into power!! But with a name, now!! What a guy!!

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Satiricus was so proud of the Naga Man. Here it was this man was singlehandedly proving that life begins at 70. He’d already hit 65 when he entered law school, with his youngest daughter two years ahead of him. The older one, of course, had already been admitted to the Bar and was practising.

Satiricus would give those folks any credence who said Naga Man used to cog from his daughter back in Constitutional Law class when they both ended up in the same class.

Yes, sir!! The Naga Man never let age hold him back. In fact, his motto was, “Doah hold me back, Doah hold me back!!” Which always sounded better when you’re clinking glasses. Anyhow, the Naga Man was waxing righteous about the dastardly deed Prezzie had done.

The folks who’d been bussed in from far and wide had been waiting for lunchtime so that they could be fed. Finally, Naga Man ended his peroration by announcing dramatically, that the PPEE had “dissed” the Parliament and the people of Guyana!!

At first Satiricus was aghast: he thought he’d heard “the PPEE has pissed the Parliament…” But then his media Budday listening in said it was actually “dissed”, Satiricus’ esteem for the Naga Man shot up into the stratosphere.

Here it was, he was at least 40 years younger than the Naga Man and he couldn’t keep up with all the new slang. And Naga Man could so easily talk about “dissing” and all that. When did Naga Man become such a hood rat??

So he leaned forward to listen to the rest of Naga Man’s rant on the PPEE.

“Yeah, blood!! The PPEE be dissing us, man. We can’t take it no mo’. We ain’t gonna be nobody’s bitch! Yeah dawg, we gotta get real hardcore and get down on them n****!!”

That’s when the crowd got all silent and all. Very silent. Naga Man slunk back into Parliament. Once again he didn’t know when to stop.

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Satiricus was both pleased and taken aback. In the “correction” of his comments on Burnham’s Police enforcement squad, the former Attorney General explained he’d called them “hunky” and not “monkey”. Now Satiricus’ blood had boiled in righteous indignation when he’d first read the report in the Stabber News. He’s rushed over to his own Editor and demanded an explanation as to why he hadn’t reported this slight on our nations guardians of the peace and defenders of justice??

The Editor said he’d look into it. That was his standard response. But before Satiricus could say “Monkey Mountain”, there it was – the G-TUCE had penned a missive to the self-same Stabber News to protest the denigration of our men in Khaki and Black. Satiricus could see the pen of Lincoln the Loud in the letter – and no wonder. The TUC unions existed only on paper – and Lincoln had lots of time on his hands. But he didn’t put his name. Such a modest fella.

Lincoln the Loud admitted he hadn’t listened to the testimony, but by golly he didn’t need to!! Just by looking at the former AG, he knew that man was a racist! Lincoln had a ra-dar for ra-cists! And that’s why he was always writing this interminable letters to the press. Satiricus had become quite agitated. He could just see pickets in the streets – well “one-man pickets such as were “supporting” Mook Lall’s quest for justice. He prayed that race riots wouldn’t break out in the City!!

And so it was the AG when made his “hunky” comment and the Stabber had apologised. (Not as abjectly as Satiricus thought necessary – since they’d brought Guyana to the edge of a race war – and more importantly had upset Lincoln the Loud.) Satiricus was pleased. But also taken aback since, he wouldn’t have associated Burnham’s goon squad with the word “hunky”. So were they like, say, Kayne West or P Diddy??

His Editor, who was around the same age as the former AG told Satiricus that back in those days, “hunky” meant “hulking”. Like “hulking big brutes”. Ah!!

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Case of the purloined mace

As a kid in short pants, Satiricus had been a great fan of the Hardy Boys mysteries. If the truth be told – even if he never told – he also devoured the Nancy Drew mysteries. Ahhh… He still got a tingle up his spine when he remembered such classics as, “The Yellow Feather Mystery”. He’d always dreamt about solving one of these mysteries himself, but sadly, the occasion never arose.

Somehow, mysterious goings on in old, creaky houses never took place in his dull and dreary Guyana. Until now, that is! So what if he was now a grizzled fella in his 40s?? He couldn’t have possibly forgotten all the detective skills he’d picked up after getting himself almost blind with all that late-night reading, could he??

Satiricus had even bought the “Hardy Boys Detective Handbook”!! He’d told his irate father – carrying on about the light bill – that the Hardy Boys would come in useful one day!!

What galvanised Satiricus into action was an item in his own newspaper. The Speaker of Parliament had issued a Press Statement that the Mace had disappeared!! “The Mystery of the Purloined Mace” immediately flashed into Satiricus’ mind – small as it was. Satiricus immediately felt that “Hardy Boys’ tingle”. The Mace couldn’t just disappear, could it?? And it wasn’t as if someone could just saunter off with it. There were all those Police fellas marching around Parliament.

Satiricus remembered the Handbook had advised that once you figured out the MOTIVE for the crime, you had the case cracked. Why the heck would anyone filch a Mace?? It’s not as if you could swat those pesky Chikungunya mosquitoes with it. The darn thing was too unwieldy. And unlike the Maces in England which it imitated – that was the key word – IMITATED, it didn’t have any rubies or diamonds or such stuff. It wasn’t valuable.

Then a stroke of genius hit Satiricus, who was very modest. He remembered that a CrackPot named Tiny Veera had advised the Opposition to “call Parliament” under some bottom house so that they could throw out the Government with their one-seat majority. But Satiricus realised that Parliament wasn’t Parliament if there were no Mace!! Tiny Veera had to have snucked out with the Mace to carry out his dastardly plan!!!

But just as Satiricus was ready to swoop down on Tiny Veera’s shack where he’d been holed up, he heard the news. The Clerk of Parliament had been cleaning the Mace!

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Mook on the run

Satiricus was filled with admiration. While some people liked to look up to saints like Gandhi and such fellas, Satiricus’ take was that it took all types to make the world go around, no?

Some of them might be do-gooders like the “Naked Fakir”. But while the Gandhi type was on one end of the spectrum…how the heck you could you even HAVE a spectrum if there wasn’t another end?? Never thought of that, eh??

In Guyana, the Mook was that other end…and Satiricus figured the fella deserved recognition. If you didn’t have the Mook, how the heck could you tell your kids what they shouldn’t be when they grow up?? If you had heroes you had to have anti-heroes. Satiricus was just informed by his Editor, that the Mook was on the run.

What was it this time?? When Satiricus was younger, it was fellas like the Mook who’d created the “back-track” routes to America. People had their relatives in NY pay up half of the going rate then – which was US$5000 or so – and if they couldn’t cough up the next US$5,000, it was licks like peas – up in NY and down in Guyana. When everyone knew people would leave their villages, they didn’t expect some would disappear forever. The Mook.

So if your kids “played bad”, parents would tell them in ominous tones, “Me guh bring the Mook pon yuh!” That pulled them straight, all right. Satiricus knew this to his cost!! So wasn’t the Mook responsible for Satiricus’ success? Didn’t he deserve some credit??

Then there was the time when Guyana was looking for some “non-traditional” exports to bring in money. The Government spent a whole lot of money on fishing,

But our fishes were to “dear”. No foreign markets. What to do?? The Mook saved the day. He hooked up with his friend Tiny in NY and stuffed the fish with some stuff that people in New York liked. Paid a lot of money for it. Didn’t matter what the fisherman charged for the fish – the Mook and a Tiny would buy it all.

Even bought some trawlers. Saved the fishing industry?? So some fishermen also disappeared who talked too much. But now you could make kids behave by telling them you’d send them on a fishing boat, owned by the Mook!

So what was the Mook on the run for this time? Satiricus heard it was for saving the free press. He didn’t know much about that. But he knew he’d have a new way to bring HIS kids into line!

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Satiricus was agog whenever he read about the exploits of the Mook. The crusader for peace, justice and the Guyanese way – not to mention duty-free cars – was not a man to be trifled with. But here it was he was sobbing like a baby into his dirty little face rag as he told his tale of being persecuted and threatened. Oh, who could have done this to this man of peace?? O more!! O tempora!! What has the world come to?

The sad truth was that the Mook had been betrayed by his own trusted man to his arch-enemy. Now Satiricus knew that all heroes must have arch-enemies and the Mook, in fact, had several. Like his bukta, the Mook changed his arch-enemy every month. This month the arch-enemy was the man the Mook had baptised as De Hana Rebel.

De Hana Rebel fought the Mook something fierce. Not just about peace, justice and the Guyanese way…but about the thing the Mook held dearest to his heart – duty-free cars. Satiricus gnashed his teeth violently, when he thought of how low de Hana Rebel could sink! Throughout his life, while the rest of the people had fought for things like “freedom” and “free and fair” elections, the Mook had fought singlehandedly for “duty-free cars”.

What was the matter with De Hanna Rebel?? He must be jealous that the old couple have spent their last cent to bring in duty-free cars and had given them to the Mook. De Hanna Rebel didn’t understand that he, the Mook, was like a God when it came to duty-free cars. And people liked to make offerings to him.

But what exactly had De Hanna Rebel done to the Mook to make him cry so?! The Mook had it all down on a bugged tape. And when the tape was played…the tears just gushed down his chubby cheeks. Not like when the Mook’s Muckraker had shown Amaila Falls all dried up, but like the Kaieteur Falls in full flow. Who wouldn’t cry?? Satiricus discretely wiped away a tear from his own cheek.

The bugged tape revealed that De Hanna Rebel had been speaking to the Mook’s house slave all the time about the Mook – behind the Mook’s back!! No wonder the Mook was crying a river of tears. Here it was he had fed his house slave the scraps from his own table and given him all his old clothes – for years and years. And now the house slave was talking to his arch-enemy De Hanna Rebel??

It was too much for the Mook to bear. No more old clothes for the house slave.

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Baring flesh

Satiricus was titillated. Satiricus wasn’t too proud to deny that he liked his share of eye candy. So he had no quarrel with the new dispensation in which the fairer sex had dumped the Victorian mores in which it was a scandal if an ankle was revealed!

While he wasn’t old enough to remember when the revolution had begun, he’d read of the “bra-burning” demonstrations back in the 1960s.

Satiricus was happy the revolution had eventually spread to Guyana. Even though sometimes he wondered about that when he attended events at the National Cultural Centre. No pants for women?? Please!! Would the revelation of the contours of the derrière throw the performers off their lines?? “Hey!” thought Satiricus, “They’re sitting on their buns, aren’t they?”

Now Satiricus had always figured if the new “letting it all hang out” ethos in clothes had spread geographically, sooner or later, it had to spread socially. Meaning the upper crust would have to “get with it” and reveal some skin.

No one batted an eye when the French and Italian PMs’ wives and girlfriends (they’re allowed simultaneously over there) bared it all on the beaches of Monaco. They never had their “Victorian” era, after all. But when Michelle Obama bared those arms and made sleeveless dresses all the rage in Washington, that caused some comments, remember?

What’s next? Was the Queen over in old Blighty going to throw off those hats at Ascot?? Let’s not go as to whether she’ll be more revealing in other areas. But her young’uns like Princess Di did give folks more than a peek, didn’t they??

So Satiricus was more than a wee bit surprised when a storm erupted over the Trinidadian President’s wife’s bared mid-riff. Seems she took a pic standing next to the wife of the UN head honcho and wore an outfit that bared her belly. And some (female) radio host took her to task. Now Satiricus had a position on this midriff exposure.

He absolutely would forbid those Indian women with their saris who routinely bared their naked midriffs – if they had more than two rolls of fat hanging out. Three rolls was too gross even for the stolid Satiricus. But Jeez, the TT President’s wife had a very sculpted midriff, thank you. Not as sculpted as Michelle Obama’s arms…but good enough.

“And,” thought Satiricus, “this is Trinidad, for goodness sake!!” Did the radio host want their country’s top lady to be wrapped in a burqa?? Hey, the lady was only selling TT’s top product – Carnival!

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