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08/15/05

Permalink 10:33:40 pm, by Melba
Categories: Commentary

Jamaican Television

Most Jamaicans today have cable or dish television and watch the Jamaican stations TVJ, CVM and Love TV mostly for the news. Recently I have been feeling quite patriotic (maybe it’s the independence fever) and have been watching a lot of Jamaican television. I must admit I’ve been very disappointed as it would seem that we have totally lost our identity. We have become such copycats of the Americans that it is very sad.
For example, they have Good Morning America, we have Smile Jamaica. They have American Idol we have Rising Star. They have Fear Factor we have Golden Nugget. They have Americas Top Model we have Faces of Summer. They have Dinner and a Movie we have Dinner and a Movie, we didn’t even bother to change that name.
The latest one now being advertised is Court TV, ‘Give me a break’. Have we not one original idea in our heads. To compound the situation we don’t even try to change the script. The personalities of the American personnel in most of these reality shows are copied to a tee. Some even have the same name.
Jamaica hasn’t had much of its own television shows in the pass but what shows we did (or do) have were well appreciated. Take Ring Ding. I remember being glued to the television every Saturday morning. Not to mention how much we learnt form Miss Lou and Mas Ran on our Jamaican culture. Lime Tree Lane was an all Jamaican drama not to be missed. Even now Royal Palm has quite a few Jamaicans hooked.
Come on Jamaica, we are more creative than that. Surely we can have our own reality shows with a bit more of us in it. In the mean time, I guest its back to cable.
Nuff Love.

08/11/05

Permalink 03:43:56 pm, by TONI
Categories: Commentary

THIS SUMMER WHEN HURRICANES DENNIS, EMILY AND THE GRAND-KID CAME TO VISIT

In the early months of 2005, my 4 year old grand-daughter Nyasia who lives in Miami was told by her parents that she would be spending her Summer break with me ( paternal grand-mother ) in Jamaica.
I looked forward to this as we had not spent any meaningful time together and this would be a “getting to know you” experience.
The eagerly anticipated time came and I went to Miami for her. On departure to Kingston we are seated on the aircraft waiting for take-off and every few seconds Nyasia asks: “Are we flying yet?” After a few of these I told her I would let her know, however when we were finally airborne there was no need as she lets out: “Wheee – now this is flying!”
We arrived in Kingston and 5 minutes after we got home she says: “Ok, I’m ready to go back to Miami now!”
At this point I’m beginning to think that this is going to be a long summer.
The next morning she wakes up and announces: I want pizza for breakfast!”
Well of course she had porridge!
Our first week was hectic; we went to the beach, took a picnic up to Hollywell, and went to Dunn’s River Falls.
The following week she made friends with our neighbor’s children and played various games, which she told me she enjoyed.
Then came hurricane Dennis. When I told her that a hurricane was coming, she looked a little scared and said: “I told you I want to go back to Miami.”
We went to Montego Bay that weekend to visit friends. The following week hurricane Emily came calling with a little more force than Dennis but we were ok.
On her last weekend I decided to take her to the circus along with her friends. The acts were excellent, and Nyasia was on her feet most of the show, clapping and dancing to the music.
Afterwards, when we got home my brother asked her if she had a good time to which she responded with a solemn “No”. I could not believe my ears!
Anyway departure day to Miami rolls around and we are checked in and proceed to Immigration. After checking our documents the immigration officer points to me, smile at Nyasia and asked her: “What do you call this lady?”
She looks up at him and smiles but she doesn’t answer. He tries again: “is she your sister or your aunt?” Finally she pipes up: “Grandma!” I breathe a sigh of relief as for a moment I saw myself being carted off to be interrogated!
Well we arrived in Miami and she was happy to be home and to be with her parents.
Back in Jamaica I find myself missing her sometimes although she told me that she’s not coming back to Jamaica, as we don’t have any Chuck -E- Cheese’s but we’ll see what next year brings.

08/10/05

Permalink 02:48:05 pm, by TONI
Categories: Business

HOW I MISS MY OLD TYME JAMAICA

Jamaican’s just celebrated 43 years of an independent Jamaica and while we have achieved much as a nation,
there are so many negatives in our society today that I long for a pre-independent Jamaica when the scariest thing on our land was the “Jonkunnu Man”.
On independence day Saturday the 6th August, one of our local television stations aired clips of festivities of our first Independence celebration, and while watching the joyous expressions on the faces caught on film, I couldn’t help wishing for the days:
- When bottles of fresh milk was delivered daily to your gate.
- When bread was brought to our homes by a horse-drawn buggy.
- For Christmases when neighbors would get together and cook gungo rice and peas and chicken, and the children would take turns “turning” the ice-cream for a delicious treat afterwards.
- When neighbors would watch over each other’s children like they were their own.
- When the elderly were respected and revered by the youth.

I mourn the loss of all these things, however I will continue to live and love my island and seek to enjoy the pleasures that still exist in a land that is still Beautiful in spite of the negatives.

08/09/05

Permalink 04:34:27 pm, by Melba
Categories: Sports

Jamaicans Shine In Helsinki

“Chat bout, wi lickle but wi talawa’. Day three and already Jamaica has won three medals at the World Athletics Championships in Helsinki, Finland.
Jamaica’s Trecia Smith was first up on the winner’s block with gold in the triple jump event with a leap of 15.11metres. This is actually very historic for Jamaica as it marks the first ever that Jamaica has landed a gold medal in a field event. In fact it’s the first medal of any kind in a major international championship. ‘You go girl’.
Next up was Michael Frater who took the silver in the men’s 100metres. ‘Man, mi did want him fi beat that show aff Justin Gatlin’. However I’m not complaining. Frater did us very proud. Even without Asafa Powell ‘the fastest man in the world’ who is suffering from a groin injury, Jamaica stood firm.
Veronica Campbell was the third Jamaican on the winner’s block with silver in the women’s 100metres with a time of 10.95. Talk about a close race. The time different between Veronica and Lauryn Williams of the United States who came first was .02 seconds. The second Jamaican in the finals, Sherone Simpson also did us proud, for although she placed sixth she was not far behind with a time of 11.09.
Apart from the three medals so far the Jamaicans have maintained a strong presence in other events. Korene Hinds finished fourth in the 3000metres steeplechase with a time of 9:33.30. This represents a national record for Jamaica and a personal best for Hinds. What more could we ask for.
We were a bit disappointed not to have had a finalist in the women’s 400metres for the first time in 12 years. Our girls Shericka Williams and Lorraine Fenton were eliminated in the semi finals. Anyway, not to worry there is still ‘nuff more’ to come and the Jamaican’s are looking good. Keep watching.
Nuff Love

08/08/05

Permalink 08:58:54 pm, by Melba
Categories: Culture

Preserving our Jamaican Folklore

Most of us over 35 years of age grew up hearing of creatures of horror in Jamaican Folklore such as ‘Rolling Calf’, ‘Duppies’, ‘Jonkunnu Devil’ and fictitious characters such as Anancy. Our parents, aunts, uncles, grand parents and family friends took great joy in driving fear into us with the mere mention on any of these supernatural beings. Especially on a stormy night when the lights went, the adults would tell ‘duppy stories’. Better still when you visited the country (or for those who grew up in the country) where there was no electricity. Everyone would gather on the veranda with a kerosene lamp or just ‘peeny wally’ for light and the children would huddle together wide eyes as the adults took turn telling chilling stories of one or more of these horrific beast..
Now that we are the parents and grand parents how many of us take the time to delight our children with these fascinating stories. Sure we were afraid then, for we truly believed. But wasn’t it great fun. Not to mention the bond it created between adult and child and the precious memories that were created. (I can see that smile on some of your faces as you read this that says, I remember). Now that we are the adults we know that these things are not real but I don’t think any of us would trade those cherished times.
These ‘duppies’ were handed down to us by our fore fathers. They have helped to form who we are as a people; they are our heritage. Jamaica is slowly loosing its culture. We have become copy cats of the Americans in many ways.
Growing up, along with our families there were persons such as Louise Bennett “Miss Lou” and Ranny Williams, “Mass Ran”, who contributed greatly to preserving our Jamaican culture. Let us not allow that part of us to die. Every now and then turn the televisions off, gather the children together and spend time with the young ones sharing our heritage.
Nuff Love

08/04/05

Permalink 10:41:51 pm, by Melba
Categories: Sports

IAAF World Championships

All Jamaicans anxiously await the IAAF World Championships scheduled to take place in Helsinki, Finland August 6 – 14, 2005. After the excellent performances by the Jamaicans last year at the Olympics in Athens, Greece the expectation for medals is extremely high.
With athletes such as Veronica Campbell, Brigitte Foster-Hylton, Aleen Bailey, Sherone Simpson, Trecia Smith, Danny Mclarlane, Usain Bolt, Kemel Thompson, James Beckford, Dwight Thomas, Michael Frater and many others Jamaica’s chances to medal are very strong in several events.
It was a huge disappointment to hear of Asafa Powell’s injury at this time. After gaining the title of the worlds fastest man Jamaicans were eager to witness Asafa beat the likes of Americas Justin Gatlin in the 100m dash.
Alas that is not to be, however, I hear talk that he might still run in the men’s 4 x 100m relay. I think most Jamaicans would be just as happy with a win in that event, especially over the Americans.
Again all eyes will be on Veronica Campbell who has not stopped shining since Athens last year. The girls on a whole seem to have their act more together. We will miss Tayna Lawrence in the 4 x 100m relay however; hopefully 35 year old Beverly McDonald will use experience to keep us in the medals.
Over the years Jamaicans have proven to be superior sports men and women. ‘We lickle but we talawa’. Most of the present athletes are experienced and have youth on their side. Barring injuries, we have great expectations for ‘nuff’ medals at the IAAF World Championships.
Things kick off on Saturday August 06, 2005, 2:05am Jamaica time with qualifications for the triple jump. Trecia Smith who is presently ranked in the top three will be first up for Jamaica. So, set your alarms and don’t miss any of the action.
Nuff Love.

08/03/05

Permalink 10:36:12 pm, by Melba
Categories: Business

Inflation Rates

The government is constantly publishing inflation rates which are suppose to represent the countries economic position. Personally I’m confused. I would love to know exactly what is used to measure inflation or where the people who come up with these figures shop.
I’m no financial wiz but I’ve been managing my family’s finances for the past twenty five years. Over the years I’ve learnt to cut, carve and balance all the expenses and we have been surviving. Lately however I must say it’s getting harder and harder. The bottom line is that cost of living has increased at a much faster rate than salaries have.
I consider my family an average Jamaican family. My husband and I both work and contribute to the family’s expenses. Recently however, even with two incomes and much ‘belt tightening’ each month we keep coming up very short.
All the basics, light, water, food, transportation and telephone increases on a monthly basis. The price of oil has more than doubled over the last year and every thing seems to be tied to the price of oil. Not to mention that everything is quoted in US dollars and then converted. The bankers selling rate is presently JMD62.20 to USD1.00.
According to the finance minister Dr. Omar Davis the inflation rate for the first three months of the current fiscal year April 01 to June 30, 2005 is 5.7 percent. The expected inflation for the fiscal year is 11 to 13 percent.
As I said before, I need to know where he shops so I can shop there too. I can’t even begin to imagine how families with only one income manages. Maybe we need to make one of those persons finance minister. Then they might do more for the country with less.Who knows.
Keep sane and make every penny count.
Nuff love

08/02/05

Permalink 10:10:34 pm, by Melba
Categories: Sports

World Youth Netball Championships

After a brilliant start at the World Youth Championships in Florida the young Sunshine Girls netball team placed fourth at the tournament. The Jamaicans opened with the biggest victory at the tournament, winning Bermuda 98 – 6. The Sunshine girls then went on to win all seven matches in rounds one and two gaining a place in the semifinals.
All hope of winning the tournament went when the British team proved too much for the Jamaicans who fell 52-48. They then faced the Australians who had been dethroned by New Zealand, for third and fourth place. The ‘Aussies’ defeated the Jamaicans 61 – 44.
Jamaica fell two places in the rankings and returned home without a medal, but hey, the girls did us proud and we are satisfied. The other top teams had up to five players who had played in former World Championships; none of our girls had any such experience. According to the Gleaner, their coach Joan Cargill is reported to have said, “Nothing went wrong. A lack of experience got the better of us but the girls tried hard and they did well”. What more can we ask.
So it’s back to the drawing board (or netball court) for our girls. Next year we’ll be looking for bigger and better things.
Nuff Love

07/28/05

Permalink 04:57:55 pm, by Melba
Categories: Culture

Independence Weekend

Its Independence time again in Jamaica and this weekend promises to be quite exciting. Here is an opportunity for all Jamaicans to share with their children a bit of our culture at its best.
The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) presents, ‘The Best of Festival Concert Series’. There will be displays at the highest level in music, drama, speech, and dance.
The Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) will also be staging the annual Denbigh Agricultural and Industrial Show.
Last year 2004, I attended Denbigh for the first time as an adult. I had a ball. My husband is always teasing me about being born under the clock in Kingston and as a result I’m not very knowledgeable about country life. Well now I believe him. I learnt so much at Denbigh.
I had the opportunity to sample all kinds of fruits and food that I’d only heard of before. Jamaican treats such as ‘blue drawers’ and ‘dukunu’ to name a few. I learnt the good of certain herbs and roots, chaney roots, and red water grass, etc. Then were cows and pigs there as big as a house. (So I exaggerate a little). I witnessed vegetables being grown without soil. (That was truly interesting).
All in all the day was full of music, laughter and education, a must for everyone.
We don’t have this level of cultural display as often as we should. Make sure you take advantage of this opportunity, and be sure to take the children.
Nuff love.

07/27/05

Permalink 12:11:09 am, by Skillachi
Categories: Business

Sumfest... The Aftermath

Well now, the votes are in and the people have spoken (alright maybe just my opinion) but sumfest was hyype!!!!
Sorry if i seem a little excited but it was good really enjoyed myself. I can honestly say that i didnt really miss the Warlord or the Gyal Dem suga, as excellent performances by Sizzla, Capleton, Ele and every other performer simple rocked the place. I could go on and talk about International Nights, but then i would be posting something like a report and you can get that from the observer....... ok ive been convinced ill tell you all how sumfest really was.

Starting off With Roots Rockers Night (or whatever it was called), this night was definately one for the, older people in Jamaica. The artists came on stage and did their best exciting the crowd with some old hits that most havent heard in 20+ years. The best performance for this night would have to go to Josey Wales in Collaboration with Charley Chaplain the two dancehall veterans who came on the stage and simply showed their class. The had the crowd going for the full half hour that they performed for.

Next Dancehall Night was up, clearly a night for the younger generation (me) Catherine Hall was jam packed with spectators who came to get a great show, and i think most would agree with me when i say a show they did get. The early artists came and got the crowd started, they managed to keep the crowd in the venue with great performances... but the excitement really started when chuck fendah came on stage and gave a really energetic performance that prepared the crowd for turbulence who managed to keep the flow going. Macka Diamond and Lady saw (known for raunchy performances) got the the women started up in the crowd but made sure never to leave out the men. The next performer on stage was Assassin who came and left people anticipating the next string of performers. Sizzla came on stage and gave an award winning performance, every song that was performed showed why sizzla is possibly the best dj that jamaica has to offer right now. After his performance Elephant man came on stage and kept the hype going with his various dancing songs, ending his performance on a rendition of We are the World. Capleton closed the show with what was an energetic performance but most of the people were too tired to build a hype after the performances before. Performance of the night, as a matter of fact performance of the entire weekend goes to Sizzla Kalonge

International Night Number 1 had a somewhat weak lineup with only 12 artists. But Ciara, Richie Spice, Sanchez and Akon made sure that the lineup still was a crowd pleaser. Their performances were energetic and most people did not leave dissapointed (I did have a problem with Ciara lip synching though). Akon would win performance of the night as he got the crowd going especially when he came off stage and joined his adoring fans.

International Night Number 2 was just as good as number one. Fantasia gave a wonderful performance and made people realize that she did deserve to win the American Idol competition as her voice is powerful and clean. Great performances also came from Luciano Toots and the Maytals and Jr. Gong (who also brought up Ziggy Marley). Performance of this night would be too hard to tell as every performer sounded excellent.

So all in all sumfest wasnt all that bad, although most people thought it wouldve been lame, the performers and the organizers made sure that this wasnt so

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Three Ministers

Three ministers - a Presbyterian, a Methodist, and a Southern Baptist and their wives were all on a cruise together. A tidal wave came up and swamped the ship, and they all drowned. The next thing you know, they're standing before St.Peter.

As fate would have it, the first in line was the Presbyterian and his wife. St. Peter shook his head sadly and said, "I can't let you in. You were moral and upright, but you loved money too much. You loved it so much, you even married a woman named Penny."

St.Peter waved sadly, and poof! Down the chute to the 'Other Place' they went. Then came the Methodist. "Sorry, can't let you in either," said Saint Peter "You abstained from liquor and dancing and cards, but you loved food too much.

You loved food so much, you even married a woman named Candy!" Sadly, St. Peter waved again, and whang! Down the chute went the Methodists.

The Southern Baptist turned to his wife and whispered nervously, "It ain't looking good, Fanny."

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