September 4, 2015

All awee a waan

Satiricus was shocked that he – an ordinary duffer – could understand what the Government was up to – bringing together the people – and the fellas just couldn’t get it. And it wasn’t that he’d suddenly become a brainiac. All he had done was to remember his favourite line from his favourite movie – the Lion King. When Rafiki advised Timon when you want to find something that wasn’t too clear “Look beyond the horizon”.

“What de arse yuh mean, Sato?” Said Cappo bemusedly. “De guvment a knock off all kinda Amerindian and Indian people and you tell me dis gon bring we together?”

“Yes Sato! Is me sister lose she job, because deh tink she PPEE!” screamed Suresh. “And now me got fuh mind she!” Suresh didn’t usually speak in the vernacular…but then, Satiricus realised that Suresh and his sister never got along. And now they had to live together?!

“Budday!! Listen to me. Is reverse psychology the Government using,” Satiricus tried to explain as they quaffed their beer at the Back Street Bar.

“Reverse who?” asked Cappo, who usually stuck to the basics as a card-carrying cane cutter.

“Eh! Eh! Like you son teaching you big words, boy!” chuckled Mukesh.

“Don’t worry about that fellas,” Satiricus said patiently with a smirk. “I looking beyond what you can see. Reverse psychology is when you push one line but you really want people to do the opposite.”

“Like when yuh does seh you gon buy beers and me does seh …Naaaah man!?”‘ Asked Cappo.

“That’s right budday!” said Satiricus as he quaffed his beer. “And the reverse psychology didn’t start with all the firing of workers.”

“Is what you mean?” growled Suresh.

“Well, is GrainJa who learn about this reverse physiology business.” explained Satiricus. “And he first try it out on Naga Man.”

“Really?” Asked Mukesh.

“Was just after the elections,” continued Satiricus. “GrainJa tell Naga Man he would give him all kinds of powers like chairing the cabinet and so on, since he was the PRIME Moocher.”

“And??” Mukesh said as he leaned forward.

“Naga Man said, ‘Naaaaah Man!!” Satiricus said. “And GrainJa replied, ‘Well OK, then!”

“And Sato, you think Naga Man na bin shi**ing bricks?” Asked Cappo.

“Naaah… He didn’t want the big job and big salary after GrainJa use reverse psychology.” And Satiricus concluded, “Just wait till the APANU/KFC government fire another five thousand Indians and Amerindians, you’ll see how it will bring this country together!!”

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Fertile ears

Satiricus was a fan of Naga Man. And why not? Here was a man who was “no man” and so “every man”. Satiricus was sick and tired of all those people who insisted to be “hyphenated” – like the Hines fella who Naga Man surprisingly hired for the Chronic and who insisted he was “African Guyanese”. Naga Man, on the other hand, was just “human”. He was not Indian, or Indian-Guyanese or even Guyanese. Why set boundaries, asked Naga Man. He was Human.

So when Naga Man spoke, Satiricus listened. He couldn’t listen as close as Naga Man, who’d heard Chedy Hagan anoint him leader, when the hundreds around heard nothing. No… He could never match Naga Man in the hearing department.

However, he listened even though sometimes he couldn’t understand what Naga Man would be saying. But then, what did Satiricus, a known dunce, know? Naga Man was a LAWYER!! Satiricus was suitably impressed.

Anyhow Ex-President Jagdesh, who Naga Man hated because the fella used to always slap him behind the head when Naga Man made a mistake at meetings, spoke before Naga Man in the Budget Debate. And sadly Naga Man made a lot of mistakes and so received a lot of slaps. So after Jagdesh spoke and walked out, Naga Man made a cryptic observation, “Jaddesh harangue did not fall of fertile ears.”
“Fertile ears?” What the heck was that, wondered Satiricus. He’s heard about the “Fertile Crescent” and crescents were like ears, no? But the Fertile Crescent was in the Middle East and Jagdeo certainly wasn’t speaking in Baghdad! So when he went home, he asked his wife, who knew ever so much more than Satiricus. She was his better half. She told him Naga Man must be thinking of the new device made by YoNo labs that women place in their ears to know when they’re “fertile”.

Satiricus knew that there weren’t too many women to begin with on the APANU/KFC benches. How many would have “fertile ears”?

But Satiricus was puzzled even more. Why would Naga Man be pleased that Jagdesh words didn’t fall on APANU/KFC women’s “fertile ears”? He asked his wife.

“Silly Sato!” Satiricus’ wife giggled and she tickled his chin. “Don’t you know that a powerful voice like Jagdesh’s can influence even the unfertilised APANU/KFC eggs?”

Satiricus now knew why Naga Man was sh***ing bricks.

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Double role

Satiricus was amused at all the commotion made because Naga Man showed up in Parliament in the night as the “Prime Minister” when in the day, he had been sworn in as “President”. It was clear that all these stuffy types in Parliament didn’t know about that staple of Bollywood called the “double role”. Some say it was because Bollywood operated on the cheap – so they’d hire one fellas to play two roles. Mostly of two fellas who were supposed to be related.

Now Naga Man, even though he didn’t like people to call him “Indian”, used to haunt the Roopmahal Cinema at Albion Front when he was a boy. His childhood friend from Whimsey, GrainJa used to go with him so he also knew about “double role”. Naga Man was really taken by two fellas, one invariably the “bad guy” named Praan and the other “good guy” who could look so similar. It took him a long while to figure out they were really one fella playing two roles.

And once Naga Man caught on, he started to play “double role” in real life. Like when he used be with Hagan, he would condemn all those to drank alcohol. But with his buddies, Naga Man drank like a fish. Or like when Rum Jhaat was carrying news to the Embassy, he used to cuss the fella out something fierce to the X-CO. But when they went to Sita’s bar at night, he would make sure the Jhaat told the Embassy people he, Naga Man, was in with the scheme.

So when Naga Man went to Parliament while he was the “President”, he was really the Prime Minister, who was the President who was playing a double role as the Prime Minister. Get it? Why couldn’t people understand that? If his favourite Bollywood movie star Praan, who he resembles to the “T” could play “double role” why couldn’t he?

Trouble is, Naga Man sighed, these young people were too culturally ignorant to appreciate that at the moment he was the Prime Minister even though he was the President, everyone was supposed to go along. No one had ever pointed out to Praan that he was really another (good) guy.
Jeez, sighed Naga Man, he’ll have to get GrainJa play the Prime Minister double role sometimes. He doesn’t appreciated how mush strain a double role can be – especially when you look like Praan. And that’s why GrainJa was always on his case about taking relief in his new house, and new car and new road in his new clothes.

It’s not easy looking like Praan.

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The Closer

Satricus admired professionals. They made whatever they did so effortless. Satiricus knew he could never be a professional. At best he’d become a journeyman hack. All this was brought to the fore as Satiricus watched the Naga Man in action in Parliament during the Budget Debate. Satiricus was speechless in admiration. Naga Man was a professional.
The Government had moved mountains – and broken all sense of propriety, not to mention decency – to have Naga Man speak AFTER Jag Desh, the new Opposition Leader. Even though Jag Desh was a trained economist and had been Finance Minister, and Naga Man’s closest encounter with economics was when he tried to “economise” on his drinking before coming to Parliament – he insisted he could take on Jag Desh.
And as the words flowed from Naga Man’s mouth, Satiricus knew why Naga Man had insisted on following Jag Desh. He was a “closer” – the bowler who could mow down the tail end; the businessman who could “seal the deal” and the speaker who could break down whatever came before to its bare essentials and throw light on it. He would show that Jag Desh!!
Naga Man didn’t refer to a single item, number or quantity from the Budget. As a closer, Naga Man knew that the Budget numbers were all “fluff and stuff” – pulled out from a hat to make it seem the Government look like they knew what it was doing. Naga Man went into his professional role: to shut up his old nemesis Jag Desh, by “throwing talk”.
He revealed that back when he was in the PPP, he was literally Jag Desh’s water boy. Jag Desh, being busy with matters of State, would have Naga Man type up his speeches. Not knowing a single thing about economics, Naga Man would invariably mix up the numbers. He couldn’t understand why Jag Desh yelled at him about numbers. “Numbers were numbers,” reasoned Naga Man, “once you seen one, you’ve seen them all.”
Satiricus gasped when Naga Man revealed why Jag Desh now had to shut up. He explained that the APANU/KFC MP’s all had “fertile ears” that Jag Desh couldn’t “penetrate”.
“That’ll throw Jag Desh for a loop!!” thought Satiricus. “Knowing only about numbers, Jag Desh never realised Naga Man knew the fertility of his people’s ears would produce so much wax, they wouldn’t even hear Jag Desh!”
“Was Naga Man a closer, or what?” chortled Satiricus. “That’ll show Jag!Desh!”

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Parliamentary wit

Satiricus just loved the Budget Debates. As a newspaper hack, this was an annual ritual that he always looked forward to with bated breath. Satiricus couldn’t give a hoot about the numbers that were bandied about during these encounters. Satiricus became giddy with anything that had to do with math. Satiricus readily conceded that he suffered from Maths-o-Phobia.

What Satiricus went for was the rapier-like wit that was displayed by some of the more seasoned veterans of the House. Like Rum Jhaat. In the House and out of the House, you could count on Rum Jhaat to keep you gasping in amazement. Satiricus remembered fondly the times he would call Rum Jhaat for a comment on this or that matter, and Rum Jhaat would give him his patented legal answer: “Haul yuh Ass!”

“So Mr Jhaat, what do you say about Dr Rum Aya complaining you drawing a million dollar salary, while he getting Larwah?” Satiricus had asked the other day.

And quick as lightning came Rum Jhaat’s answer, “Haul yuh ass!”
“He say that you gon become dead meat.”
“Haul yuh ass!”

As a highly trained legal mind, Rum Jhaat couldn’t help spouting these Latin turn of phrases like “sine qua non”, “habeas corpus” and its related term “haul yuh ass”.

Fellas who didn’t know better might think Rum Jhaat was saying the same thing over and over again…but those people didn’t know Latin. Latin was all about inflexion…which part of the phrase you stressed. Like if Rum Jhaat said “Haul yuh ASS!” with his voice rising into a scream, this meant he was getting to the BOTTOM of the matter.

So here was Satiricus in the Parliament Buildings ready to be entertained.

One young fella named Rum Son from the Opposition benches said, “We think young schoolchildren should get bigger school vouchers.”
And just like that Rum Jhaat, came back, “Haul yuh ass! Alyuh teef!!”

Wow! Satiricus was amazed. A new Latin phrase! What a legal mind! What training! This man was a living testament to the imperative of supporting the Hugh Wooding Law School. He’d combined that Medieval Latin phrase with a Late Classical one!! A legal first!
“We think Feel Ix harassing Brazilians!” Piped up another backbencher.
“Haul yuh ass! Alyuh teef!!”

“We think there should be a stimulus to the economy”
“Haul yuh ass! Alyuh teef!!” Rum Jhaat was on a roll.

“Why are you giving Public Servants 5% and yourself 100% raise?”
“Haul yuh ass!! Ah gun jail yuh!!”

Another Latin phrase! Satiricus couldn’t take this rapier-like wit any more. He was overwhelmed. He walked out of Parliament shaking his head at the wit and wisdom of Rum Jhaat.

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Satiricus wasn’t surprised at the accusations of “witchhunting” being hurled about in Guyana following the elections. Satiricus was a real Guyanese and had grown up hearing about witches. Only thing in Guyana, people called them “Old Higues”. But since nowadays, everyone used American lingo, like “summer holidays” and “halloween” and so on, why not call these Old Higues, “witches”?
All day long, these witches would move around like ordinary people – you’d never know they could do all the evil things witches do. Like waking up at night and peeling off their skin to fly through windows and enter houses where they would suck the blood of fat, suckling babies.
When he was a boy, Satiricus believed these stories and in fact was firmly convinced that one fair skinned lady neighbour was a witch or Old Higue. He used to wake up at at nights and stare at her house hoping to catch her flying out of her window in a “skinless” state. He never did. But he wasn’t dissuaded from his conviction: after all, he invariably fell asleep before 12…which was the “witching hour”.
But as Satiricus grew up he, realised that “witches” were very powerful tools for politicians. It was not for nothing that politicians were regularly denounced as “blood suckers”. They were even more horrible than the regular Old Higue/witches: they actually preferred to suck the blood of grown folks. Preferably grown people who worked. As a boy, Satiricus’ father would regularly cuss out “blood sucking politicians” whenever he collected his pay check.
Because only some politicians were actually witches who could suck blood for themselves, some not born with the ability would have to hire witches to do their blood sucking for them. So when a government was in place, everything was hunky dory. The population would be told to work hard, eat well, take care of their bodies, etc… all to make sure that they were fat and plump – and chock full of suckable blood.
The problem was when the government changed and the new politicians couldn’t trust the old hired witches to turn over the blood they sucked, to them. They wanted to hire their own blood suckers – more efficient witches – to do their blood sucking for them. Problem was – like the young Satiricus – they never could be sure who which of the old employees who were blood sucking witches and who were ordinary folks. Hence the “witch hunting” presently going on.
The trick was to sprinkle salt in front of the suspected witch. They couldn’t cross the salt and you’d uncover them. So what new governments, like the new APANU/KFC, do is to hire some insiders to do the salt sprinkling and fire the witches.
Satiricus wondered if this was what was going on at GeePeeEl.

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Bud Get

Satiricus’ favourite subject in school was sport. Any sport… especially sneaking away with the fellas to play “ball”. And when he was able to read newspapers his favourite section was “Sport”. Anyhow, even though he started to read the paper from the back – and his friends thought he was Muslim – he’d sometimes eventually reach the front pages.
And every year, he’d glance at the headlines that went on and on for weeks about “Bud Get”. Satiricus used to think this fella Bud had to be very important to be getting all this attention in the newspapers about how much money the Government would give him. “What did Bud do to get all this dough?” the young Satiricus used to wonder. But now that he was a grown man and had learnt a thing or two about “Budgets” he still thought he hadn’t been too far off in his youthful mistake.
Budgets were still about what ordinary fellas – who could be called “Bud” – would “get”. And as he listened to the latest Budget by the new financial whiz, Jor Dan, his heart was filled with joy and wonder at how generous the Government was to all the “Buds” out there. Jor Dan explained as to how he couldn’t reduce VAT as they’d vowed – but he sure as heck would take off VAT from Mayonnaise.
Satiricus eyes were filled with tears. Didn’t Jor Dan say the Budget was to let ordinary folks live “the good life”? And how could you live “the good life” without mayonnaise? A fella could survive a week or two without rice…but a day without Mayonnaise? The thought was too much for Satiricus to bear. The PPCEE had been so cruel and heartless.
They’d taken off VAT from hundreds of food stuffs since 2005…but kept it on Mayonnaise!! Imagine being forced to eat a ham and Swiss sandwich without Mayo. Satiricus heard that the wife of a big one from the PPCEE had said, “Let them eat sandwiches with mustard!” What? Did they want to convert Guyanese to Judaism? Only Jews put mustard on sandwiches. This was a violation of the Constitutional right of the people to eat whatever they wanted to eat.
“What next?” thought Satiricus. “The PPCEE would have told us to eat rice flour.”
So Satiricus gave praise to Jor Dan to let Bud Get back his constitutional right to mayonnaise.
Let the good times roll!!!

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Media flip-flops

Satiricus is convinced that the Kranacle is a perfect paper – even though he works at the paper you’re reading now. Satiricus was a back-bencher all through his school years – and didn’t pick up many (if any) pearls of wisdom from that vantage point. But he still remembered the quote from Churchill, pasted on the wall behind him. “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”
“Look how the Kranacle change,” he exclaimed to his friend, Cappo the canecutter. “You remember when we were lil boys, how they used to praise everything the Pee-an-See do?”
“An’ cuss down de PeePeeCee!!” Cappo exclaimed. “Deh use to cuss down de PeePeeCee real stink, Budday!”
“And that went on for 28 years, chap!” exclaimed Satiricus. “That is a whole lotta cussin!”
“A rememba de referendum when de Pee-an-See put a “house” fuh yes…an a “mouse” fuh no!” reminisced Cappo.
“And the Kranicle had a big headline, “Vote for the House and Kill the Mouse!” said Satiricus.
“But as soon as government change in 1992 de Kranacle change!” chuckled Cappo. “Man, me had fuh rub me eye fuh see if me a see prapa!!”
“And look what happened now,” said Satiricus, “PeePeeCee get throw out, and the Kranacle change immediately. Pee-an-See good…PeePeeCee bad!”
“But tell me, Sato, old friend,” said Cappo leaning forward, “is de same set a fellas at the Chranacle. How deh could change like dat? Wat was right yesterday…now wraang today?”
“Bai, Cappo, those journalists at Kranicle are a special breed,” confided Satiricus. “They are the real professionals.”
“Ah wha yuh mean, Sato?” asked a quizzical Cappo.
“Well some people think that professional journalists have principles,” explained Satiricus, “but that is wrong. A real professional journalist like the ones at Kranacle, will write what their new bosses tell them to write.”
“But dat is just like dem fellas who sell dem services by de Cathedral!” pointed out Cappo.
“Well, they are professionals too, you know,” concluded Satiricus with a smirk. “Kranicle reporters will change with the tide! They are perfect journalists.”

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The 11% Man

Satiricus rubbed his eyes in disbelief. How could people be bad-minded so? Look how much flack they were giving the Naga Man about every little, petty thing. OK… they tarred and pitched the road all the way to his private residence? So what! Aren’t government’s supposed to fix roads for citizens to use? Even though he’d been made the PM (Prime Moocher) he was still a citizen, no? How could HE be blamed if the contractor forgot to tar and pitch beyond his house Or also all the other streets in the village? People forget things!

Then there was the granny sugar business at the official PM residence. With GuySuCo in trouble producing sugar, why would people want the PM (Prime Moocher) to compete by producing Granny Sugar? “Naga Man should be given a medal (OR?) for being so patriotic,” thought Satiricus as he wiped a tear discreetly from his eye. Deep emotions were stirred at the thought of Naga Man’s altruism.

And look what a stink they made about the PM (Prime Moocher) when he ordered that the entire official residence be rewired and air conditioned. The fella who came before Naga Man claimed he liked the breeze blowing though the jalousies of the old colonial structure. What piffle!! It was obvious that that old dodderer wasn’t a writer like Naga Man! With the PM being a published writer and a man of letters and all that…he was always writing down the profound thoughts that flowed into his mind all the time. Couldn’t have the breeze blowing away those thoughts on paper, could he? “What good are profound thoughts if they are just blowin’ in the wind?” though Satiricus as a gust of wind blew past him.

And now the final straw. They’re accusing the Prime Moocher of getting a big salary increase.”What a croc of sh***!” Satiricus almost burst out. All the poor man was getting was a small piece – a freck – of $200,000 on top of his salary and perks of $2 million. This was just 11%!! Wasn’t he the 11% man? What was $2.2 million to a man like Naga Man. Why…when he’d just come out of law school at the age of 70, he’d collected a cool $7million to fill out a few forms for NICIL on the Berbice Bridge!!

The people of Guyana were lucky to have a man like Naga Man as Prime Moocher. They should be happy to spend $79 million to refurbish the Prime Moocher’s Residence, $$15 million for two Land Cruisers (sirens free), and as much booze as he can drink!!

“What a guy is our Prime Moocher!!!” exclaimed Satiricus aloud. “And he doesn’t have to even stop drinking at 2am!!”

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The Cummerbund Accord

Satiricus was amused. Folks could be unreasonable. Look at all the fuss some people were making about only a couple of Indian Guyanese being appointed to Government Boards. What a bunch of ignoramuses! Even Satiricus, who had left algebra to the other kids in First Form, knew why this was so. It was just that people just insisted on seeing what they want to see.

It was right there in Black and White in the Cummerbund Accord signed by APANU and KFC. Didn’t people realize why the agreement was called the “Cummerbund Accord”?? Did they even know what a “cummerbund” was? Satiricus was lucky to come from the countryside and have cane cutter friends like his buddy Cappo.

Cappo always wore a Cummerbund after he cut the cane and then had to load it into the punts. In their simple broken language Cappo and his friends simply said they had to “band their belly” so wouldn’t strain themselves. The cloth band rightly strapped over the belly would help them to “bear strain”.

So Satiricus was surprised when he went to a wedding at the Georgetown Club in town as a reporter and saw the groom wearing a cloth band around his waist. Satiricus learnt that the proper name was “Cummerbund”. Satiricus understood. As a married man with ten years under his belt, he knew that marriage could be a strain. Sometimes more strain than fetching cane to load punts.

So when Satiricus saw Naga Man signing the Cummerbund Accord, he understood. The great leader was agreeing that the people he led – the fabled 11% Indian Guyanese – would have to bear strain to reach the promised land of love and unity. They would deliver victory for the good of the entire country. Naga Man’s strain would to be named “Prime Muenster” (the Big Cheese), force himself to have sirens announce his arrival, live in a house that only recently had no air conditioning and had been infested by rats and have his salary doubled.

His Indian Guyanese supporters would bear strain to not have the strain of becoming Ministers and Members of Boards. Once their leaders Naga Man and Rum Jhaat were bearing the strain of holding office, there was unity. And love.

Just look how the Guyana Human Lights Association (GHLA) didn’t utter a word about hardly any Indian Guyanese being appointed to Boards. They always spoke up for the underdogs – like criminals – while everyone else carried on about victims. Indian Guyanese weren’t underdogs. They wore Cummerbunds. They could bear strain for the good of the country.

Not like Naga Man and Rum Jhaat maybe. But every man had to bear strain in his own way. To each his own Cummerbund.

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