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02/25/10

Permalink 10:22:21 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Politics, Education

The problems of the Jamaican Education system

In the Sunday Gleaner a very interesting article was printed on the front page which stated simply “too many teachers in schools”. Now I'm pretty sure the second anybody of any reasonable intelligence who reads this article would instantly laugh out loud. Why? Because simply put the government is complaining about something it should be happy about. However the chances of the government being happy because of the existence of a large group of highly valued, qualified, and skilled educators is close to slim, this is obvious because the government is always taking steps not to improve education in Jamaica, but to slow it down and educate less people in the country.

Before I continue to speak about what the government has been doing, let's look at what are the most highly valued things to every person in the current age we are living in: Health, and Education. These are things which (as established in numerous international conventions) are the most basic Human Rights. Yes there are actually written human rights documents which say that Health and Education are things that every human being should have. Check the ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), and the American Convention on Human Rights, its right up there, right beside the right to life. So now that we have cleared that up lets look at what the government has been doing.

The first thing they did is said that they are gonna give free health-care and education. This seems to be along the right path right, I mean its a basic human right so if we are gonna be getting it for free then praise be the lord! However what wasn't stated is that the free health-care means free care as long as you somehow know somebody that can get you looked at in the hospitals before 2015, it'll be free. Then the free education is only up to high school level, and this is matched by the fact that the government isn't exactly providing all the necessary money to the high schools so they (high schools) can cover all their costs... So the high schools have to pass some of this cost on to the parents which means that free education isn't that free at all (see the problem here?).

Of course being a 3rd world poor country its completely understandable that we cant do something that not even the richer 1st world countries can afford to do... successfully. Look at Canada's numerous health care problems, its free but it still has its problems (link). As a matter of fact the only country that has done the free health-care and education bit successfully is Cuba, and they had to take really extreme measures to make it possible. Measures that the Jamaican government, and even Jamaicans as a whole are definitely not willing to make at the moment. So how exactly did the government plan to foot this bill?

Knowing all of this the government has the cojones to make the statement that there are too many teachers, and then in the same breath complain that the pass rates of our students is too low, while forgetting that our schools are badly overpopulated with teacher student ratio's in the range of 40 and 50 students to 1 teacher. Shouldn't the focus be on lowering the ratio to greater standards such as the internationally accepted 15:1 ratio? Oh and also the education minister tonight in the local news made an even bolder statement that the government might have to look OVERSEAS to hire more TEACHERS, because apparently of all the lot of the teachers available, none of them are qualified to teach (of course that last statement is false). 

So how exactly is it that this government had planned to make the education system better if they want to get rid of our more than competent teachers and go as far as to take up some foreign teachers?

(to be continued in part 2)

02/24/10

Permalink 09:19:06 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Sports

From Skiing to Cricket

With complete honesty I can say that Jamaicans really dont care about the Winter Olympics. We dont. Sorry. It's not that the events are necessarily boring, I believe  instead that it's just that Jamaicans cannot associate themselves with the particular sports. I would make a guess (which would probably be correct) that the total population of Jamaicans that have actually seen snow in real life is less than 10% and of that 10% the total amount that can do any snow related activities (ice skate, bobsleigh, ski, snowboard etc) is probably less than 2%, we just dont do snow. This is completely understandable based on the fact that we dont have snow, we have had hail sure but snow is a definite nono. However seeing Errol Kerr competing in the winter olympics made one thing happen, and that was that for those 2 or so hours when people eagerly anticipated seeing Kerr's name appear on the TV, Jamaicans were eagerly watching the Winter Olympics.

errol kerr

While Kerr didn't bring home the medal we had all hoped for, he really performed to the standards I think every Jamaica would be happy for. When he placed 1st in his 2nd heat, I instantly saw people's facebook profiles update with "Goo Errol", "Kerr is the man", "who knew a Jamaican can ski so good?" and I actually found myself giggling at all the excitement that went on in our house. I would speak on all the various badwords that started to shoot off after he placed 3rd in his quarter final but I prefer to try to keep my writings pg so i'll just go pass that. However congratulations are in order to Mr. Kerr, you represented us well and we hope you will continue to represent us until you get that elusive medal. I also hope that the recent complaint you made wasn't just sour grapes and you tryign to redeem for your loss and is instead a general concern... Because if it is, expect an instant fall in ratings from Jamaicans

However in other news as far as cricket goes, the West Indies seemed to have forgot how to win... or how to play cricket for that matter, after having their rear ends handed to them in a manner similar to how a bunch of 12 year olds would compete against the Brazilian national football team. While it can be argued that the sound beating was due to the lack of prime players such as Chanderpaul, Sarwan, Taylor, Edwards, and Bravo... There is still an important issue of just how they lost. They had not won a single game, nor had they even challenged the Austrailians at all really. Yes there were a few streaks of brilliance from people like Nikita Miller (who needs to start getting first string selection now), but really and truly it was a poor overall performance.

poor west indian catch

They even lost in the 2 twenty/20 games the game that is supposed to be W.I.'s surefire victory seeing as they have been so solid in the quick version of the sport. I dont know personally I would be ashamed to be associated with W.I. cricket at the moment as the only words used to describe their performance have been Wretched, embarassing, miserable, haphazard and beleaguered. I really do hope that they find someway to recover and I also really do hope that the only reason for this defeat is really the lack of the key players because otherwise... West Indies cricket is over.

02/23/10

Permalink 04:46:22 pm, by Melba
Categories: Education, Commentary

Our Teachers and our School Leavers Illiteracy Problems

It was only September last year, 2009 that many Jamaicans were in shock at the revelation (like it was news) that many of our school leavers are in fact leaving school illiterate. It was reported that as many as a quarter of the students leaving primary schools are illiterate or reading below their grade level. Last Sundays, February 21, 2010 I was surprised to read the Gleaner’s headline, “Teacher overload - 1,500 extra educators in public schools”. The article went on to explain that the Ministry of Education is reporting that approximately 1,500 extra teachers are in the nation's schools. According to the article the established pupil-teacher ratio for a primary school is 35:1 and for a secondary school it is 25:1.

 

First of all let me establish that I’m not saying that over crowded class rooms is the only factor for our high school leavers illiteracy problems, I acknowledge that the problem goes much deeper. However I do believe that it contributes greatly. A teacher has the responsibility to motivate, teach, assist, control and correct several children at the same time. The younger the children the more individual attention is needed. The more pupils in a class the more likely it is that one or more will be overlooked. 

 

Children learn at different pace. An effective teacher must find that balance that will keep all the students learning. At the same time the teacher needs to find time for individual stimulation for the quick as well as the slow learners. During all of this, discipline must be maintained and the well being of those students must also be taken care of by the same teacher. Personally I do not think that a 35: 1 pupil-teacher ratio is satisfactory for a primary school. 

 

Like everything else in Jamaica at present, our education system is in crises. For one reason or the other many students go through the school system unnoticed. By the time reality sets in it’s too late. We have some very dedicated teachers however we also have some who have given up because of the inability to cope. Then there are those who just don’t care. We need more accountability being placed on our teachers. Lesson plans must be set and completed within specific time frames. We need realistic pupil-teacher ratio throughout the system so that teachers can adequately manage. Teachers also need to be provided with the tools with which to carry out their duties.

 

As I said earlier there are other factors that contribute to the nation’s literacy problems, one being the responsibility of parents, but that’s for another post. One thing is for certain education or rather the lack there of is at the root of a lot of our problems. Our teachers play a key role in molding our nation’s future. We need to nurture them in an effort to increase the success rate among our children. As the Prime Minister pointed out in his budget presentation, of the 39,000 students who graduate from high school, only 14,000 will access tertiary education and approximately 25,000 of them will have no employment options and no other constructive engagement.

 

Jamaica is about to enter into a loan agreement with the IMF. It is common knowledge that the IMF usually imposes very stringent measures on countries that they lend money to. Is cutting back on the number of teachers in the public sector one of the IMF stipulations? Can we afford to sacrifice our children’s education in order to access this money? Already the national adult literacy rate stands at 80 per cent and from all reports is in jeopardy of getting worst. 

02/21/10

Permalink 10:06:03 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: News, Weekly Rap-Up

This weeks news wrap

There is one thing about Jamaica and its that there is almost always something to write about. What can I say we dont live in a society that can be in anyway regarded as boring, its all a matter of what interests you. Personally I have a wide array of interests but not that many that I am actually willing to write about. I could take the political stance and speak about the recent findings on  where the government has been spending the recently doubled gas tax. Oh wait you didn't know about that?

Well essentially what has happened is that earlier this week some news came about as to where the revenue from the gas tax has been going. There is no surprise (to me anyway) that  it hasn't been going where Jamaicans were told it would go. So no the road maintenance fund is not in fact the direct beneficiary of the tax, instead it is being used to pay off some loans to the chinese government. Yet again it seems to be another showing of just how much respect the current government gives to Jamaicans... none.

In fact according to a Gleaner Article published earlier this week, not only is the government going to spend money to take out another loan, but it is also ignoring more important loans such as the petro caribe loan from venezuela. An exerpt from the article states that:

Government had committed to pay 20 per cent of the fuel tax into the RMF in the first year of the tax and thereafter increase the amount to 35 per cent. Pickersgill said the Golding administration should explain how it intends to meet its loan-repayment obligations to the Chinese government while servicing the PetroCaribe loan of US$12 million.

But thats just one news article that happens this week. My more avid readers will remember that I spoke about a major ammunitions find that took place a few weeks ago.  Well at the time I didn't have alot of information but it seems that the  weapons were in fact being stolen from the police warehouse by... you guessed it, a police officer. Sargeant Russell Robinson has been charged with 24 different offences. 18 Counts of Illegal Possession of firearms, 4 counts of breaching the Corruption Prevention Act, 1 count of Illegal possession of ammunition, and 1 count of storehouse break-in and larceny. Two civilians who also worked with the policeman were also charged for numerous offences as well. Ironically this policeman was also supposed to become the posterboy for anti corruption in the police force and also was to be a model for the new uniforms policemen would soon be sporting. Personally if/when he is found guilty I hope he rots in prison,  two or three life sentences should be flung at him without any chance of parole, you can only begin to imagine how many people he has caused to be killed due to his dirty work and he should be given a life sentence for each death.

But yet again that is sad news, I could also look at more happier news such as the fact that Usain Bolt the posterboy for Jamaica has signed a 2 million pound 2 book deal to produce an autobiography of himself which is to be forthcoming after the London 2012 games. Usain bolt has and will continue to make Jamaica proud and I hope he gets this book written by somebody with excellent writing skills, or even himself if he feels he is up to it.

bolt

I didn't want to really carry up back the topic but I think it is interesting to speak on what the pilots have said they would do if the government gave them Air Jamaica to run and stopped being the dimwits they are and pawn it off to Trinidad. No surprise here however these moves actually seem pretty smart but as this is outside of the thought capabilities of our leaders I will not even cuss or quarrel about it. Some of the things that JALPA said they would do is:

Right size the fleet (Estimated to give a complete turnaround as far as profits go)

Right-sizing the fleet, Eyre said, would mean using smaller planes that more closely match the load factors (the number of passengers on a given flight) on particular routes. He noted that the "small profit" made in 2009 by the Havana route, for example, which had a load factor of 55 per cent, could skyrocket if the 150-seater aircraft now used were changed to a 98-seater Embrear 190. As such, Eyre said the group would bring in three 98-seaters within the first six months of taking over Air Jamaica.

Change flight routes

We intend to develop strategic partnerships with airlines in the key markets and with those strategic partners, develop Montego Bay as a hub so that within five years, 30 per cent of the traffic that gets on Air Jamaica, will not originate in or be destined for Jamaica, he said. So a passenger boarding in New York might come to Montego Bay and connect to somewhere else and a passenger boarding in Curacao would see that Air Jamaica is the best option for him to get to Fort Lauderdale or to Denver or to Chicago.

Cost reduction measures

We also believe that we have to outsource certain functions because we just don't have the economies of scale to make them viable at Air Jamaica. We need to look at the cost of maintaining the aircraft and our passenger handling costs. Our first priority will be to bring our overheads down by minimising our aircraft lease costs, ensuring that we keep the number of facilities to a minimum by using the virtual office concept.

I'll just leave it there, but I urge you all to read the article and make a plea to our government to keep our airline as ours! We dont want to yet again become dependent on some body else for something which we have the capability and the know how to run.

Well so ends my wrap up of things that happened this week. I know I left out many things that happened but I dont want to give you too much information so I only looked at the immediately important stuff.

02/20/10

Permalink 06:55:38 pm, by Melba
Categories: Commentary, Health

Depression – The number one cause of suicide

Growing up in the church we are taught that if one commits suicide there is only one place for them, hell. The fear of an eternity in hell keeps many ‘God fearing’ in line. In fact many develop an attitude of intolerance towards those who would even entertain the thought of suicide let alone those who actually commit the act. I remember many, many years ago sitting in church for the funeral of a family friend’s husband who had committed suicide and thinking what a waste of my time, ‘him done gone to hell’. I remember also thinking that it ‘serve him right’ as he was very selfish as he had left his wife with the responsibility of raising their children on her own.

 

But what would cause someone to take their own life; after all we have no guarantees as to what happens after death. Not to mention that if you grew up in the church then you would have been taught that committing suicide excludes you from a happy ‘here after’.  It leaves me to believe that what ever would drive someone to suicide must be very powerful and real.

 

According to what I have heard and read, the number one cause of suicide is depression. But what is depression? All of us at some time or other in our lives experience sadness, disappointments, disillusionment, loneliness, hopelessness, low self esteem and all the other things that we associate with depression. These are all normal reactions to life’s ups and downs.  During these times we are not able to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ so to speak. In fact it is easier the think, why bother. We use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but ‘real depression’ is much more.

 

 According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; Major depressive disorder (also known as clinical depression, major depression, unipolar depression, or unipolar disorder) is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities’.

It is when these feelings become overwhelming, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun and last for long periods of time, that they can keep you from leading a normal, active life.

 

It is not always easy to tell when someone is depressed, everyone is different and act differently.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:

·         difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions

·         fatigue and decreased energy

·         feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness

·         feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism

·         insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping

·         irritability, restlessness

·         loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex

·         overeating or appetite loss

·         persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

·         persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings

·         thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

There are many reasons that would cause someone to be depressed. The lost of a loved one, the lost of a job, the failure of an exam, body weight, sickness, inability to cope; the list is endless. Understanding the underlying cause of depression may help overcome the problem. Some depressions can be helped by positive lifetime chances. For example, if you are feeling lonely and sad, finding new friends at work or through a hobby will probably give you more of a mood boost than going to therapy. For someone experiencing depression the support of loved ones can make a difference. The way you are treated by family and friends can help you to snap out of it or it can cause you to sink even further.

With all the depression caused from the recession; job lost, increased prices, and the inability to cope, suicide is sure to be on the rise. We all need to be our brother’s keepers. Let’s not wait until it’s too late to help our brothers and sisters. There are many effective treatments for ‘real depression’, including therapy, medication, and alternative treatments. If positive lifestyle changes and support from family and friends aren’t enough, that’s when it's time to seek medical help.

02/18/10

Permalink 08:21:31 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Politics, Education, Culture, Commentary

Harry Belafonte's work

Some time ago I had to write a paper on various black people and their influence on the racial equality movement. After my rant yesterday regarding the lack of respect for black history month I decided to search out my papers until I finally found it. Now this isn't the full paper, this is just a few excerpts and summaries from it but it will at least help to educate somebody (I hope). I chose Belafonte because he is part Jamaican and being a Jamaican Journal of course it matches up. Of course for anything that you believe needs citation I do have them available.

Now Harold Belafonte is a Jamaican-American who's artistic talents were spread across song, dance, and acting. Born on March 1, 1927 in Harlem, New York, up until he was 9 Harry had spent his youth in Harlem where he bore the pressures of poverty and racism by both the whites living in the neighbourhood and even at home with his father who preferred Harry's brother because of his lighter skin tone. He then moved with his mother to Jamaica, where he experienced similar discrimination due to the hue of his skin. However it was in Jamaica where Harry experienced the bright and rhythmic sounds of the calypso music that later became a major part of his career.

harry belafonte

Upon returning to Harlem where he again faced racial pressure Belafonte constantly was found to be getting into fights due to the discrimination he felt. Belafonte also participated in the second world war and upon returning to america began to gain many major roles in films and also his musical career began to soar. By the middle of the 1950's he had taken part in the box office smash Carmen Jones and his RCA albums outsold even Elvis Prelsey's albums and he became the first solo artist to sell over a million copies of an album. It was therefore astonishing to believe that Belafonte was willing to gamble his newly attained wealth and status to support the civil rights movement and by extension lose the majority of his white audience. However under the influence of Paul Robeson he began to intentionally use his influence to denounce racial injustice and began to actively fund and take part in the civil rights movement.

Following his first meeting with Martin Luther King, Belafonte began to admire King's nonviolent method of protesting and he then became a close friend and confidanté of King. Belafonte supported King so much that he even began to contribute money to the then cash-strapped King's family. He used his wealth to feed, clothe, hired secretaries, and nannies and even took out a life insurance policy on King, which upon his death would be all payable to Coretta (King's wife). Belafonte was also instrumental in forming the CDMLK (Committe for the Defence of Martin Luther King) alongside A. Philip Randolph, Gardner Tayulor, Sidney Poitier and Nat King Cole. The CDMLK was created with the goal of defending King of any charges that the state may lay upon him and also it amassed a large amount of money which may be called upon at any time to defend King.

belafonte and king

Belafonte's contributions also came in the form of his fundraising activities. Other than the large donations which he made to the CDMLK, Belafonte also held or was a part of many events, the proceeds of which went back into the Civil Rights organizations. Belafonte's contributions also helped the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Along with Sidney Potier he had managed to donate $60,000 to the SNCC which aided in the organization of the freedom rides to Mississippi. The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) also used Belafonte's clout in order to gather more members in its organization. CORE sent out 200,000 letters (implanted with Belafonte's signature) appealing for membership or funding and its membership grew by 40% to become more than 20,000.

Furthermore Belafonte also assisted civil rights organizations by housing alot of its members and in some cases he became a chief advisor to them. Stanley Wise – a member of the SNCC – has stated that “Whenever SNCC workers were in New York, they would routinely stay in Belafonte's apartment”. His advisory role comes to light through the aid which he gave to the SNCC in its Voter Education Project – a project to get more black people to vote – where Belafonte advised them to secure money through the “freedom singers” tours.

SNCC

Belafonte's participation in the civil rights movement began to affect him both monetarily and physically, though he continued to take an active role in the movement. Because of his public actions he was blacklisted and ignored by hollywood studios, so much so that he never appeared in another film until 1970. In addition Most tv shows would not feature him because of the threat of sponsors withdrawing their support. Belafonte was also subject to physical punishment because of his involvement and was subject to “Klan pursuits, and a tear-gas assault through the air conditioning system at a houston benefit”. However Harry Belafonte continued to participate and played a major role in the civil rights movement stating that “There was just no other choice. There was no other army to join. There was no other country to go to. There was no other head of state to appeal to. It was it. It was the day, i felt that there was no place else in the world to be other than here.”

harry belafonte**had to include a colour photo

I hope I managed to teach you something new today... Yes its boring history but if you read it you will see the importance of Belafonte. Without people like him it would be a different world today. Now go tell people about what I taught you, it makes me feel better.

 

02/17/10

Permalink 07:03:02 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Education, Culture

Whatever happened to black history month?

I'm extremely passionate about history, anybody who has known me for any period of time greater than a few months will have probably come to that conlusion a long time ago. So yes I am a member of the select few who watched the History Channel (well before it started showing all the rubbish it currently shows), and you can normally find me engrossed in any program which speaks about some area of history that I am interested in. So to me February has always been a special month, not just because I am a black person and it is of course black history month, but because it was a month where you were guaranteed to be buffeted with so much knowledge that by the 2nd week of february most people turn off their TV's and radio's in the hope that they will be able to escape from the constant flow of information and tidbits.

However similarly to the problem I had posted previously on Heroes Day, I have realized that yet another thing I am used to has somehow disappeared from the lives of Jamaicans. What ever happened to those shows about the impact of black people on the world? Those TV shows that speak about Dr. Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks Malcolm X, Harry Belafonte, Sidney Poitier, Marcus Garvey and the list goes on and on. Is it that we believe that everybody now knows and is able to recite important information about these people so we dont need to be continuously speaking about them anymore? Or is it that the problems that these people have fought for (Racial Equality, Freedom from slavery (both physical and mental), Recognition of black contributions in the world, among many other things) have all been solved and we therefore dont need to be continuing the fight anymore? Or is it that the problems have been solved for such a long time now that celebrating the contributions of these black men and women has become pointless.

sidney poitier

I hope that as you readers take in that second paragraph you realize just how much none of the questions I have posed make any sense whatsoever as we as black people are still very much stuck with alot of the same issues that thse people aimed to solve so many years ago. How can we say there is black equality when people are still being denied jobs thanks to race (yea nobody wants to say it but we all know it happens), or what about the fact that few people know that black people invented things like resistors (electronic components that literally everything needs) and even Air Conditioning systems. I wont even bother going on the topic of mental slavery.

mental slavery

Which is why I'm really glad for people like Mutabaruka, yes Muta the same person I have heard so many people refer to as the mad rastafarian. However what people aren't aware of is that Muta is quite a well read and is very intelligent, however what turns many people off of him is the fact that he speaks fluent patois (like every Jamaican) and is proud of it, and personally I believe that if this is a reason to disregard all the things he has said then I personally am ashamed of all the academics I have heard with the opinion. However this isn't just about Muta, but his show "Simply Muta" which I happened to catch on monday covering an in depth look on Marcus Garvey and his UNIA movement and the Black Star Liner. The thing about this show is that in a segment Muta went to his Alma Mater and then asked some kids questions about Garvey and barely any of them could answer some of the questions he posed. While I will agree that some of them were a little challenging the really simple ones still left many of the students with blank stares on their faces. This to me is a serious problem as high school kids should know these things... I did so why cant they?

And so this comes back to the problem I stated in the beginning, what are we doing to educate these children so they understand the importance of the contributions of these powerful black figures. How do you let them know that without the work of Garvey, Poitier, Malcolm, and Parks, we would still be stuck in the back of the bus, with second rate jobs, no freedom of speech, and probably be the taxi, instead of calling a taxi (thats an old chris rock joke).

I say it's time to educate and not... stupefy. Bring back black history month... please.

02/15/10

Permalink 01:47:03 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Commentary

Valentines Day in Jamaica

Yesterday is February 14, a day when men the world over cringe as they realize that they have to live up the expectations that come with Valentines day wherein they have to wine and dine their lady friends who they have chosen to be their Valentine. Wining and dining includes of course the typical chocolates, flowers, jewellery, dinner, or whatever it is you choose. Essentially this is a day to spend some money on your special someone to show them just how much you love them. Well... thats a half truth, as I said before men are the one doing the cringing, its really a day for women, that's the reasons why all the typical V-Day gifts are all things that women want and men end up with the empty pockets. But no this is not coming from somebody who has been repeatedly bitten in the rear by V-day celebrations (I really dont celebrate v-day), its just coming from my observations of society.

Vday gifts

alentines day as far as I've seen in Jamaica seems to be celebrated roughly the same way it is throughout the countries in the world that also celebrate V-day. Restaurants are all packed and booked out as men seek to show their love, chocolates seem to disappear from the supermarket shelves as fast as they appear, people begin to sell roses even on the streets to anybody who wants that final touch to their gift or make it their gift, the radio stations have been playing soft music all day and people everywhere start wearing red... no wait I wasn't all that clear on what I meant by everybody wearing red, I have seen people wearing some designs of clothing that were nothing short of exorbitant. I saw a guy in a 3 piece suit (with felt hat and white feather) that was red with white pinstripes and the shoes matched as well. I would love to know who designed that suit for him and why he felt he needed to be standing in the middle of downtown Montego Bay with that suit on.

red suit**This suit tries, but it isn't as cool.

But alas stranger things have happened.

But there is a surprisingly large amount of Jamaicans who like me dont really see the point of the whole valentines day thing. Maybe it is the whole fact that we are broke and spending money on such a frivolous thing seems silly to us, or maybe it can be summed up in something I have realized for myself and that a friend of mine put so beautifully when he said:

"Some may disagree with me, but this whole V Day thing seems to be a little ridiculous to me, and honestly has always seemed that way. I have 365 days to show my woman how I feel about her, and for some unfathomable reason on this specific day I should what? love you more... Or show you that I care more on that day as opposed to every other day. When you really think about it, I'm surprised that women aren't pissed at this whole V Day Thing."

To me he put what I've been thinking quite beautifully and its something I think all women should think about, If you only feel special once per year is that really the relationship you want to be in?

However its something that will probably be with us for many years, after all business men thrive on this day and why would they make such a brilliant business venture end?

02/11/10

Permalink 10:12:02 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Sports, Commentary

Jamaica vs Argentina

I will not lie to you... I found it hard to find something to write about, like this week has been a relatively boring week in Jamaica. The most that has happened so far has been the Jamaica vs Argentina Match and I thought well news of Jamaica's triumph should be enough to get people excited. Well sadly there was no triumph... But there nearly was though, as a matter of fact there was a collective groan across Jamaica towards the end of the game when our fates changed.

Ok I might've just confused a few readers with what I've stated so I'll have to set this straight. Well of course I'm talking about football first of all and Jamaica, ranked 78th in the world football rankings had a friendly match against Argentina ranked roughly 8th in the world rankings. This is like David vs Goliath of epic proportions, if you check i'm pretty sure that at at least 3 or 4 members of the Jamaica squad would say that Argentina is their favourite football team. Also the number of members of the squad who look up to players like Lionel Messi or Juan Riquelme and probably think they're the greatest thing ever to touch a football probably doubles the Argentina fans... and theres also the whole 2 time world cup champions(Argentina) vs barely won a game in the world cup(Jamaica). Thats the gap between Jamaica and Argentina.

Lionel Messi

We have played Argentina before in the 1998 World Cup of football, and everybody who saw that match will agree that it was the perfect example of Goliath simply stepping on David before nonchalantly wiping the remnants off his foot on to the nearest grass patch he could find. Jamaica was held to an embarrassing 5-0 Defeat where goals were only scored by only 2 members of the squad in Gabriel Batistuta scoring a hat trick (3 goals) and Ariel Ortega scoring the other 2. Yes Jamaica were forced to leave with their tails between their legs as they simply bowed to the kings that are Argentina.

However yet again we decided to test our mettle against a second string but quite possibly superior Argentine team, we fared bettter than our previous attempt as for the majority of the game Jamaica had led 1-0 after a goal from Ryan Johnson. It seemed like we were almost about to win the match when just 7 minutes before the final whistle Argentina equalized, and 1 minute from the whistle Argentina then scored again leaving Jamaica in shambles.

falling reggae boyz

However while the expected result did happen, there was a glimmer of hope for Jamaica, the mere fact that we almost beat them gives us a bit of cockiness, adding to that the fact that Argentina had to dig deep to defeat us kind of makes us feel similar to the time when we qualified for the world cup. A few more top level matches like this and we are sure to learn a number of things which could help Jamaica to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Congratulations to Argentina but I say good game Boyz, just keep on the same path and we will stamp our class as the best Caribbean team!

02/08/10

Permalink 11:02:01 pm, by Skillachi
Categories: Sports, Commentary

Superbowl Fever hits Jamaica

Yesterday (February 7, 2010) was the superbowl the pinnacle of the NFL season, this is where it all ends at, this is what all the training, all the weight lifting, all the sprinting and strategising is supposed to lead to. The funny thing is up until a few (call it 5 years) ago, Jamaica really didn't care much about the superbowl. No really I'm telling the truth, American Football is quite possibly one of the most unpopular sports in Jamaica, the only major American sport Jamaicans watch less of than American football, is probably Ice Hockey and Baseball. We just dont take to those sports very well... I dunno, maybe there is some underlying reason somewhere, but I dont know it. Fact is if it wasn't football (soccer), Basketball, cricket or track and field, we just didnt know/care about it

Well actually I shouldn't say we, because I (and a few members of my family) are the exception in that we LOVE the NFL and have been watching it for as far back as I can remember. So far back as a matter of fact that I can remember clearly the Cowboys (my team of choice) winning the 3 superbowls in the 1990s with Troy Aikman and Emmit Smith and Deion Sanders forming a team that was more or less unstoppable and easily took the championship (also I can remember the decade and a half of suffering after the 1996 championship where we were absolute rubbish).

troy aikman

But there was one thing which remained constant throughout that entire period of me watching NFL... I was the only person who was really and truly interested in what was happening. All the way up to University level whenever I brought up the topic it would be met with groans of anger/frustration/annoyance or just general negative feelings and I would eventually have to go back to whatever we were talking about before. Eventually I learned to just stick to the 3 or so people outside of my family who actually know a bit about the sport and I'd be ok. But recently a strange thing started to happen, people started talking about the NFL in public.

To me, it started with a program called "Full House Fridays" which close to the end of the program during the NFL season, a guy named Tony Scott would come on and he and the host would make their weekly picks and discuss their reasons.  The thing that surprised me most about this program was not just the fact that they were discussing the NFL, but the fact that they were actually making pretty good predictions based on good facts, and did jobs comparable to what the ESPN, Showtime, and HBO guys did. While this was surprising to me, it still wasn't anything significant as the topic was still a taboo.

But over the years I started to realize something happening, more and more people started having superbowl parties and superbowl specials at sportsbars throughout the place. People started to talk about the NFL more often and people started speaking about the teams which they believed were the best. This was when I realized, that something had changed, something drastic had happened and people started to realize just how brilliant a sport the NFL was... or, maybe people just needed a reason to celebrate in these hard times and the superbowl provided just the right sort of celebration.

Whatever the reason I hope it continues into next year's season and superbowl because I really enjoyed having an actual conversation regarding the superbowl and somebody actually understanding me to some extent, and that made this superbowl the one of the best for me.

saints superbowl win**taken from mailonline

Oh and congratulations to the Saints on their superbowl victory. I had predicted that the saints would be victorious from earlier in the season and it seems that yet another of my predictions came through (I'm very good at this I should add).  Hopefully the Cowboys will do me as proud as the Saints did the city of New Orleans next season.

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Reasons why I love my Jamaican Mom

1. My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait till we get home."

2. My Mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You going get a ass'n when we get home!"

3. My Mother taught me to MEET A CHALLENGE.
"What di backside yu thinkin'? Answer me when me talk to you...Don't talk back to me!"

4. My Mother taught me CONSEQUENCES.
"If yu run cross de road an' cyar lick yu dung, a goin' kill yu wid lick."

5. My Mother taught me THE VALUE OF EDUCATION.
"If yu no go a school, yu a go tun tief or walk an' pick up bottle."

6. My Mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If yu tun over yu eye lid an fly pitch pan it, it a go stay so fi evva."

7. My Mother taught me to THINK AHEAD.
"Is not one time monkey goin' wan' wife"

8. My Mother taught me ESP.
"Yu tink a don't know what yu up to nuh?"

9. My Mother taught me HUMOR.
"If yu don' eat food, breeze goin' blow yu 'way."

10. My Mother taught me how to BECOME AN ADULT.
"Come an' tek yu beatin' like man."

11. My Mother taught me about SEX.
"Yu tink say yu drop from sky?"

12. My Mother taught me about GENETICS.
"Yu jus' like yu faada."

13. My Mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Yu tink mi come from "Back A Wall?"

14. My Mother taught me about WISDOM OF AGE.
"When yu get to be as ol' as me, yu wi understan'."

15. And my all time favorite... JUSTICE.
"One day wen yu have pickney, a hope dem treat yu same way."

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