Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 4th 2014 Contents Steups! The silly season over
today and the number of ste-
upses said during that selfsame
season could suck a chennette
tree down the NCC s throat.
A steups, according to Lise
Winer s wonderful Dictionary of
the English/Creole of T&T, is
"the sound made by sucking air
and saliva through the teeth,
indicating annoyance or derision."
It s said to be of West African
origin but peculiar to Trinidadi-
ans and Tobagonians and if you
hear it, you can bet there s a
Once, in a long, long lineup to
get into the Empire State build-
ing, I was about to leave when a
fellow behind me let out a loud
steups and said, "This is dotish-
ness, I gone!"
I steupsed back. He was from
Cedros, we joined forces, limed a
bit and stayed on.
Some people say "Cheups!"
but I prefer the S sound to the
Cher. The S brings out all the
sauciness, the rudiness that the
word is meant to convey. Think
of a woman looking down at you
and saying "Steups!"
"Cheups!" is harsher, carrying
the conation of "yuh chupid!" as
in "chupidee" or "chupidness!"
It s occasionally spelt "choops"
by simple people. Or "stupes" by
the sort of people who now say
they are from "Cobortin" and
not "Cobo Town." It s an inter-
esting word because the more
you prolong the inspiration,
"Steeeuuups!", the more mean-
ingful the word becomes. That is
So here are the Steups! Awards
for the most chupidee comments
made this Carnival season.
At the top of the class with a
long, long "steeeeeuuuuups!" is
David Abdulah s fatuous com-
ment that the Socadrome plan
was "a return to olden times
when slaves and plantation own-
ers played separate mas." Accord-
ing to the good gentleman this
was a plan by the "planter class."
What planter class? Mr Abdu-
lah could have defined what he
meant by "planter class." The
original white, wealthy planter
class has not existed for genera-
tions. The people playing in the
five bands that will go to the
Socadrome are middle-class
young Trinis, average age late
20s, and like all Trinis, their skin
colour ranges from blonde white
to ebony black, with a predomi-
nance of smooth mahogany. Is
this the new "planter class"?
It seems to me that some very
pertinent comments re bikinis,
beads, flesh and vulgar wining
were spoiled by this insistence on
seeing everything through old-
fashioned Marxist glasses.
Not nearly as remarkable was
the comment by "a Socadrome
official" that, in case of an emer-
gency in Woodbrook as the huge
bands passed through, ambulance
access would be no problem
since "masqueraders are trained
(my italics) to pay attention when
the music stops and to let vehi-
cles pass through..."
Trained Trinis! That s an oxy-
moron if I ever saw one! And to
think this gentleman is a road
marshal. Well, that sort of
explains the mess the Parade of
Bands always turns out to be.
Near the top was my fellow
columnist Debbie Jacob s remark
that she believed "in wining as a
form of rebellion that has always
Steeeuuups! I don t quite
understand whose authority is
being challenged? It may have
been so once, but the type of
wining we are seeing today in the
street did not exist 50 years ago.
It did not exist 20 years ago.
There may have been the occa-
sional female flagbearer wining---
the Despers flag woman at
Panorama immediately springs to
mind. Her wining was a thing of
art, an effortless swiveling of
hips, pelvis and bumsie (a softer,
rounder and much more descrip-
tive Trini word than "bottom" or
the harsh Americanism "butt") in
time to the music, not this
pelvis-thrusting simulation of the
sexual act with no relation to the
Without music, wining
becomes a tasteless masquerade
of bedroom behaviour. Who
wants to see that repeated ad
nauseam on the road, with
everyone doing it believing they
are something special? Wining is
a smartman s wet dream made
public that local women have
bought into. Trying to give it a
philosophy fools nobody.
Some comments have nothing
to do with Carnival, they simply
happened during the season.
LeRoy Clarke s claim that homo-
sexuality is linked to criminal
behaviour because "somebody tell
him is so." Steeeeuuuups!
The statement by the chairman
of the Integrity Commission that
Justice Ventour s resignation had
not had any negative effect on
the image of the commission.
Talk about out of touch with
There were a couple sensible
comments. Re the change in Sat-
urday s Republic Bank Junior
Parade of Bands route, Rosalind
Gabriel asked the question, "Who
really cares about the children?"
Rosalind, yuh talk! The mayor
rightly questioned whether the
three changes of mas route were
not part of some concerted effort
to stifle mas in downtown Port-
"There seems to be a clear and
deliberate attempt to move Car-
nival out of the city centre." Yuh
Perhaps the Minister of Arts
and Multiculturalism, Dr Lincoln
Douglas, came up with the best
when he promised "financial
incentives to encourage young
people to have more creative
input into the various Carnival
competitions." Incentives for chil-
dren who design and make their
own costumes! Incentives for
young steelband arrangers! Incen-
tives for young calypsonians who
come up with their own songs
and music! Kaiso! Kaiso!
That plan could make up for a
lot of the nonsense we have been
Tuesday, March 4, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
DAVID E BRATT, MD
THINGS TO MAKE YOU GO STEUPS!
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