It Never Rains but it. . . Nope, it NEVER Rains

It is day #WholeHeap of a drought here on Mary Seacole Hall at UWI Mona, Kingston. The drought is actually Kingston wide, but I am allowing myself a bit of self-centredness in the first paragraph because this post is all about doing away with my first-world third-world problems mindset. Bigger things are happening than my lack of water. Like . . .

1. Gabriel Garcia Marquez passed away.
Image not my own.
He looks like such a nice old grandpa.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez (author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, and whole lot of other books but those are the two that spring readily to mind) died two days ago and was honoured in this piece by Esquire. One of the quotes I loved from that article has so much punch:

Courage did not come from the need to survive, or from a brute indifference inherited from someone else, but from a driving need for love which no obstacle in this world or the next world will break.
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez

And then I was especially moved to read One Hundred Years of Solitude before my next birthday because the writer started off his piece by saying this:

I wish I could re-create the sensation that surged through me when I first opened One Hundred Years of Solitude at the age of 22. It was like looking at stars for the first time from an untouched spot in the middle of The Amazon or The Sahara. You realize in moments like those that the world offers a much deeper and more vivid experience than you could’ve possibly imagined. You’re in God’s mind.

Which is exactly what I hope for every time I pick up a new book. I don’t always get it, but it doesn’t stop me from searching.

2. Jamaicans continue to make fun of masculine rape (and Lisa Hannah continues to be oblivious).

This cartoon in the Jamaica Observer was printed in relation to the closure of the Alpha Boys Home and based largely on some inflammatory statements from Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hannah.

Clovis; Jamaica Observer

Red for Gender published this online article in relation to the cartoon and Minister’s Hannah’s unjust words (featuring full-length quotes from her speech), but I fear the Jamaican society is just going to continue being blindly stubborn when it comes to anything concerning sex or sexuality.

Minister Hannah effectively declared that the Home was being shut down because boys are raping boys and the Jamaican public effectively responded by laughing at the idea of boys being raped.

This discussion might not be bun-and-cheese worthy, but it is so, so necessary. The Sisters of Mercy who run the Boys’ Home are understandably aggrieved, as are the past students of the Home.

My country, my country, why do you forsake me?

3. The eternally brilliant Peter Philips is taxing bank transactions.

Minister of Finance Peter “Fish-Face” Philips is charging us to access our money so he can cover Jamaica’s growing debt problems. It was bad enough that we had bank fees (did you know First Caribbean charges $160JMD for each withdrawal?) but now we are forced to cover the government’s illegitimate spending habits. I try so hard to love my country and then they pull something like this.

Image not my own.
Jamaican politics at its finest.

There’s an online petition going around calling for Minister Phillips resignation, demanding that Prime Minister Simpson-Miller sack him, actually. I can’t say it will be very effective. Our government has a remarkable ability to ignore the problems of the people (except our curry goat and beer fixes come election time).

This is the same woman who recently refused to review Jamaica’s anti-buggery laws because “they don’t affect the majority of Jamaican people”. Nope. Just the poor, uneducated, at-risk young men who can’t be legally raped under our current justice system. But of course they don’t matter. (I have ranted about this before).

It’s usually easy to forget my own (relatively trivial) problems by turning to the Internet for news but I always need cheering up after.

fangirling | new follows: Kathryn L Christopher & Chris Paul Lai

A good reader never stops looking for material.

Image not mine.
Disclaimer: I have only actually read one of these books. Guess which.

I’m making a concentrated effort to expand my reading to include more Jamaican and Caribbean authors. Sometimes I get lucky and the universe pushes these writers ever so easily into my path. Sometimes I get luckier and I find that I’m genuinely interested in their content.

Most recently I have fallen in love with Kathryn L Christopher‘s poetry. She is a self-styled Afro-Trinidadian woman writer whose themes broach topics about navigating womanhood and the disapora. Her lines and words are poignant, soul-stirring. They have an easy, familiar rhythm, like stepping down the path to the first house you ever lived in.

She reads like an older sister, giving advice to every young woman in the world. And there is of course the rhythm-and-blues vibration of a coloured voice, a Caribbean flavour. It’s a little bit jazz, a little bit rocksteady.

I am utterly envious of the fluency with which she speaks her culture. And I am utterly convinced that no one deals with the issues of sex and love and social pressure like black women. Or women in general. We have a way of carrying these experiences like women of old carried buckets of water atop their heads. We make it look easy. We make it look good.

Speaking of love and sex, my other new follow is author and economist Christopher Lai (of Living the Lai) whose content at first did little to earn my respect. I’m always so sceptical of bloggers who discuss man-an-ooman ‘tory as the main feature of their blog because it’s so easy to get people interested in that topic. Plus, hasn’t everything been said already?

But Lai’s voice offers a fresh perspective on the more common material in male-female relationships with inventive (if sometimes predictable) posts. His surprise slant of being in a committed relationship soothes stings that would otherwise smack of bitterness and gives credence to advice that would otherwise sound like empty words. I find myself (surprisingly) looking forward to reading his blog.

Of course adding more people to my ever-expanding reading list is perhaps not the wisest choice as I transition into my final year of medical school. But I am nothing if not defiant.