Almost daily the backdrop of life in T&T is being redesigned and morphed into something else. Subtle changes are taking place at a pace, biting off whole chunks of who we are and spitting it into the sea even as the new and flashy replacements are being off loaded, unpacked and installed.
This expanse of Globalization at the expense of our culture is wreaking havoc on family and community life, and is contributing to an increase in delinquent behavior, drug abuse, crime and a break down in law and order.
Without culture the fabric of a people falls apart and its highest self perishes.
Culture is a living expression of a people, it binds them to their history as well as their ambition, it gives them a sense of belonging, and it gives them something to return to.
The rampant 'Westernization' of the Globe is pushing cultures everywhere into the fringes and remaking all people into corporate drones and consumers.
This needs to be resisted at all costs; we have to mount a challenge before all is lost.
Languages, dialects, dress, traditions, these are all things to celebrate as they are the essence of our community. If the whole is greater than the some of its parts, do the parts cease to matter?
We must celebrate our differences, they make the world an exciting place full of new discoveries and wonder.
What's my rant about?
Coca-Cola, Pepsi-Cola, Burger King and McDonald's are not culture, they're food, and in my opinion barely food at that.
In the ideal world that resides in my head I want India to look like India, and Paris to look like Paris as much as I want Port of Spain to reflect the spirit of our people.
Give me roti and pelau over Subway and KFC any day. Isn't one America enough for the world?
I am tired of our national events, our heritages and our festivals being hijacked, sponsored and brought to you by crass commercialism.
Some things have to be preserved for the future as a guide from the past, and not everything needs to be replaced by plastic disposables. When we hear tassa and steelband beating out the rhythms of our parents and grandparents it should not be brought to us by some faceless, soul-less telecommunications giant bent only on hijacking the built in goodwill to sell us more of what we don't need.
Our food is rich, highly seasoned and spicy, made by hand and passed down from generation to generation and from neighbor to friend. It expresses the diversity of our people, the pain and pleasures of our collective histories, and even as I type it is losing ground to the deep fried and bland salted fat being successfully pushed on our fad-conscious people, even though it requires a free toy to seal the deal.
Our architecture was born out of the collision of cultures that had to survive in the tropics. Raised off the floor and elevated to allow for natural air exchange, our architects are looking to foreign for an identity that is already here. This steel and glass sterile skyline in our city makes a mockery of who we are and blocks our view of the sea. Canned air has replaced fresh air to the residents of this new world insistent on turning us into them.
Our festivals are loud and messy, and is supposed to include 'ALL' people, not only those who could afford to pay. Now all of a sudden the culture of mas design, wire benders and costume makers is lost to the pre-paid, pre-packaged and shipped in a shoe box version of 'We' Carnival gyrating like Rio front lines, minus our traditional mas.
We need to be careful of what we are giving up for what we are getting.
Multiculturalism is an insult to the people with rich history and a sop to those without.
Somewhere deep inside us there is a national sense of self that is being hoodwinked by slick advertising. We are being lied to three thousand times a day by a profit margin and bottom line that cares less about your ancestry than it does about your health. It is not too late for us to say 'pull up selecta, if it doh cook on a tawa or in a iron pot we go hadda take a pass.' There is a culture still being formed in this melting pot that is already spawning imitators all over the world. We need to preserve it for generations to come, so they have something to come back to when the coldness outside sets in.
Something to think about....