Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 27th 2014 Contents A35
Thursday, February 27, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Carnival used to be one of
the great social equalisers.
A time when we all experi-
enced the same joys and suf-
fered the same inconveniences
for the sake of the art form
loved by the majority of us.
As someone born and bred
in The City That Never Sleeps
I remember the excitement of
having bands pass along our
street. For those who were
unable to go out and fully
participate in the festivities
this gave them the opportunity
to still feel a part of the
One could view the parade
from her gallery and enjoy a
"wine to de side" in the safety
and comfort of her own home,
or, if the music and the
atmosphere were particularly
infectious, one could also opt
to join in and jump with the
band for a while.
Of course after the band
passed, especially the J Ouvert
bands, there was Operation
Clean Up to follow. We didn t
object too strongly as it was
all a part of the mas. The
bands would leave behind
traces of Carnival DNA. The
paint, the mud, bits of cos-
tuming shed during the revel-
ry, empty cups and food boxes
rested on our walls, and cars
that had been left on the
roadway were similarly tainted.
In addition, wee wee trucks or
not, there was always urine to
be washed off the walls and
This scenario is common to
residents of all the communi-
ties within close proximity to
the Savannah stage or any of
the other judging points for
Carnival. How or why then are
residents of St Clair singled
out for special considerations?
Wouldn t it be more beneficial
to all the affected communities
if masqueraders were increas-
ingly sensitised to be more
mindful of the damage that
can be caused to property as
they enjoy themselves? Maybe
there could even be incentives
for bandleaders and masquer-
aders who keep a clean scene.
We must remember that
people from St Clair also con-
stitute membership in many of
the bands that leave their trail
of Carnival DNA in other sur-
Just as we all play mas
together on Carnival Monday
and Tuesday we should also
jointly participate in Operation
Clean Up on Ash Wednesday.
WE SHOULD ALL BE PART
OF 'OPERATION CLEAN-UP'
Tell me I'm wrong, but doesn't it
seem that almost every other soca
song asks us to "mash up" some-
thing or "mash up de place?" Is our
Carnival culture just bent on pro-
moting bad behaviour? Why do
our soca artistes encourage people
to get on bad and misbehave?
What effect do these lyrics have
on our national psyche?
No wonder we live in a "mash
up" country with our perpetually
"holey" roads and "mash up" infra-
structure. We live and breathe a
"mash up" culture.
Soca scholars, however, may
argue that they are not singing
about literally mashing up the
place but are advocating liberation
of the mind, body and soul and the
breaking down of social barriers.
Really Destra? Really Fay-Ann?
Is that what you all are really
singing about? Somehow, I don't
think that's the case since many of
our popular soca songwriters write
plain lyrics with the usual "figura-
tive language" ie sexual innu-
But there is a flipside to the
term "mash up." It can also mean
taking two or more
elements/pieces/genres of music
and "mashing" or combining them
to create an innovative new sound.
Think Bunji Garlin's Differentology.
Why aren't there more creative
sounds like Differentology on the
market? Because we the masses
like it so. We will wine and jam to
anything, poor, questionable lyrics
aside, "once it have a good beat."
Case in point: Machel/Timaya's
Shake up your bum bum. And don't
get me started on Ravi B's Bread.
Come on, soca artistes and
songwriters, step up your game!
Time to mash up the 'mash up' culture T&T should adopt a Beyond
Scared Straight programme
I turned on my television Sunday
evening and Beyond Scared Straight was
on. This programme involves parents en-
rolling their children who are in gangs, vio-
lence, drugs and any other activity that
may result in a negative unproductive life,
with the expectation that these children
would return to the straight and righteous
Children had the experience of a "jail
tour" in jump suit and cuffs. They met in-
mates who were tough, mean and rough.
There was no physical interaction but it
was up-close and personal, in-your-face.
Those children heard a different lan-
guage in there. They were left in cells so
they were able to observe the toilet facili-
ties in the cell and the bathroom area
where "anything" can happen. They also
had a "taste" of the food.
Well, those children went in tough but
came out new people. They cried like ba-
bies. They changed their lives around and
the officers followed up on their progress.
Shock therapy! It was impressive.
Such a drastic programme would deal
with gang activity in schools. As fighting
crime should be done on all fronts this will
allow the problem to be tackled at an early
stage in the lives of these children. Hope-
fully they will become more productive
young people which should follow through
These young ones do not fully under-
stand the consequence of their illegal activ-
ities. They think jail is just being behind
bars; just sitting there and receiving free
Given that the criminals and gang mem-
bers in T&T are now extremely young,
shouldn't a programme like this be intro-
duced? The United States found it neces-
sary to implement this drastic measure.
Sure looks like we may need it also.
Food for thought.
A driver is given a breathalyser test by Corporal Ramsumir during road block
manoeuvres conducted on the eastbound lane of the Churchill Roosevelt
Highway, San Juan, in the vicinity of a bar, around 7 am Saturday. The
manoeuvres were carried out by the North Eastern Traffic Staff, under Sgt
Ramjohn. Drivers are reminded to act responsibly this Carnival weekend and to
designate a driver. PHOTO: DAVID WEARS
Letters via post should be sent to the Editor-in-chief, 22-24 St Vincent Street, Port-of-Spain. Faxes: 625-7211.
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