11/28/2005 06:17:00 PM
Jamaica, a place of extremes
We're a small Island out in the Caribbean, yet we're able to produce world class athletes. And we're also able to produce world class criminal stats. Throw in the fact that we have the most churches per square mile in the region. Oh, and being small and insignificant didnt stop the CIA from being interested in us in the 70s. We have Jamaican rhodes scholars and we have grown men who cant read. To tourists we are know as some of the friendliest people around. Ive heard the same from many expatriates we work with that have been all over the world. Yet, even so police can beat a fellow officer at the drop of a hat. Ok fine, the details of the actual incident are sketchy, but the fact remains the corporal was attacked for doing something trivial. And trust me, for a small place we can CHAT. If the rumours are true sooner or later we'll all get cancer from all the mobile phone usage.
One of my major problems with our society is that we dont do enough to big up ourselves. If its not track and field or football or something widely accepted like that, you dont hear about it. And thats sad. The trainer is from Toronto, he's telling us that there is a 70+ year old Jamaican man there that sells Jerk chicken. Now get this. His restaurant is in one of the most high priced, posh areas. He sells his dishes at $20+ and $30+ dollars. How does he prepare his chicken? He has a cut out drum and uses an open coal flame. In other words, he prepares his chicken EXACTLY the same way any pan chicken man does it. And he's making a killing. Why? Cause ppl there love the chicken and are willing to pay those high prices for it. But do you hear anything like that? Nooo.
I also found out that Ting has been the 1st place winner of some International Soft Drink competition. More than once, Ting has claimed the title of the best soft drink in the world. I was like "WHAT? How come I dont know that? Why isnt that general knowledge??" Apparently a comment about it is there on the label of the glass bottle Ting, not the plastic bottle. Next time I buy a bottle of Ting im going to make sure look.
Ey, you know how much visitors to our Island dont know what a patty is? You know how much of them LOVE it? Why arent we using this to our advantage? Why some man cyaa go open a likkle patty shop in Cuba or something like that? Ok, granted, I heard Island Grill opened a store in Florida, but it didnt do well because they used chicken not from Jamaica, hence things tasted different. I wonder if they tried opening stores in the Caribbean though...
The "Riddim Girls" (or is it "Sunshine Girls?"), the women's netball team, have apparently been a force to be reckoned with for a good while now, placing high in world championships if not winning. But it has only been in maybe the last 2 or so years notice has been taken of this. I guess netball isnt as big a sport as say football or cricket, so its not worthy of mention.
And even us, Panoridim. Third place in an International SteelBand competition. Isnt that an achievement worth knowing about??
Granted, the achievement of a Veronica Campbell or an 'Afasa' Powell is something that we Jamaicans can look on and feel proud. But I feel the great achievements of those in 'not-so-prestigious' ways should still be noticed and 'bigged-up' just the same. I suppose to some of us less fortunate, a Veronica Campbell is someone that has achieved a status they cant relate to because it looks too dreamlike for them to imagine that they could ever be that successful, but a Jodi-Ann Maxwell, or that pan chicken man in Canada I mentioned earlier, seeing someone as 'normal' as they can certainly give some of those same 'less fortunate' Jamaicans some hope, that the way of the gun is not the only way to be a successful 'big man' in this country.
Jamaica, a place of extremes....so hopeful, yet so hopeless....
Rae did sey...
That last line is such powerful truth.
For the first time ever I happened to have a bottle of ting in my fridge and there is nothing on it about the prize. I know it's loved though. I mentioned to a coworker who lives in NY and LOVES Jamaica that I got Ting on Thanksgiving. Needless to say, I am now one bottle short as his excitement earned him one. My pleasure anyway. He went on so much that everyone in the office wants to taste it now.
I'm also the resident jerk chicken tester. He and his officemates buy jerk sauce and they basically compete to see who can make the most authentic tasting, and spiciest jerk chicken. Free food for me, I aint complaining. But it goes to show how much of JA is loved by others.
bassChocolate did sey...
I don't think the success of Ja's netball team is as downplayed as you alluded to; I've known for many many years that Ja girls were within the world top 5. Perhaps the real problem is how unpopular the sport is an a global level. They don't play around the clock either.
But that aside, I have nothing to add really. You've hit many nails on many heads. (I too was shocked when I heard about Ting.) We like to boast about how different we are, but we don't use our uniqueness to our advantage quite enough.
Bashmentbasses did sey...
There is a patty shop franchise spreading over the states. Tower Isle or one of those that sell only in the states. I saw one in NY. Jamaican owned.
Thinkbass did sey...
Perhaps Yallo, you could start a website that showcases al these positives of Jamaica. Just a little story about each wonderful thing or person. You could arrange to get the Jamaica Tourist Board in on it and it could bloom into something truly great.
(Knew about the Ting - they have it on all their glass bottle [as you said] and I like to read everything.)