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trinidad – Page 3 – deonandia

CATEGORY / trinidad

Freedom… Terrible Terrifying Freedom!

The big news I alluded to some weeks ago has manifested. No, I’m not a Bollywood star (yet). The image to the left is a slide from my going-away roast, courtesy of Jane Tallim and Denise Lynch-LaCroix, as I departed employment with the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child & Youth Mental Health.


The new plan is a career in independent research/epidemiology/stats consulting and international programme evaluation. So if any of you have any business to throw me, do so! Stay tuned for a new website, etc.

It’s all rather scary, but exciting. Something you have to try once in your life. I’m going to give it a few months to work before crawling back to the traditional work world again. So if you see me begging for change on the street, be generous! Perhaps I should make up a sign:

To celebrate my new freedom, I’m off to Trinidad first thing in the morning, to participate in the Caribbean arts and culture festival called Carifesta. Due to my suddenly renewed status of singledom, I will be accompanied by my good buddy Andrew.

(And before any of you thieving types gets any criminal ideas, my apartment is always occupied by relatives, guests, ex-girlfriends and drooling rottweilers.)

Stay tuned to this space for live blogging updates from Trinidad!

Brown Dudes With Guns and PDAs

So I was on a plane some time ago, a flight from Ottawa to Toronto. In typical dweebish fashion, I had my headphones on and was tip-tapping away on my PDA. I paused and considered myself. “What a doofus I must look like,” I said to myself. “A silly brown dude with headphones and a PDA. Gakkkk.” Then I looked to my left, and there was another silly brown dude with headphones and a PDA. Yes, this is his picture. Seems we’re taking over the world. Or at least Air Canada.

Congratulations to an old friend in DC, Ms. Dawn Logan, for her recent marriage. Further congratulations to resident Deonandia villain Darth Vadum, for his impending 40th birthday tomorrow night in DC. Sorry I can’t be there to have a cigar with you, bud.

Sad news from Montreal yesterday as yet another gunman shot and killed innocent student types. As this CBC photo shows, the bugger was a brown dude. And a Goth. As I wrote in this article about the Columbine shootings, there is a tendency for society to marginalise the wrong group in the aftermath of such tragedies. I expect the regular vocal set to be criticising Goth culture again, without basis. After all, Goths are just a bunch of fashion-challenged kids doing what all kids do: act weird and depressed and selfish. Nothing abnormal or dangerous about them.

What’s truly weird about this story, though, is that the dude was a brown Goth! Come on! Brown dudes don’t get pale enough!

Of course, speaking of targetting the wrong marginalised groups, I’m just counting the seconds until some wingnut blames this event on “Islamofascist” terrorism.

Courtesy of SM (apt initials), and in lieu of the Daily Perv Link, I give you The Sinulator.

And courtesy of RVE, I leave you with this excellent collection of sidewalk art.

Indian Arrival Day Speech


Due to popular demand (both of them), I include below the text (as best I remember it, and based on my sketchy notes) of my speech at the Indian Arrival Day Celebrations in Port Of Spain, Trinidad, May 30, 2006.


To The Waist In Bodily Waste

One of the singular joys of swimming in the ocean is that one is socially and hygienically allowed to urinate with one’s pants still on. Yeah, you read that right. There’s nothing quite like that liberating, naughty sensation of letting a stream go while floating in warm salt water.

So there was I was, yesterday afternoon, treading water in an isolated portion of one of Tobago’s paradisical beaches when I decided to indulge in this particular guilty pleasure. So I shut my eyes and concentrated for a few long moments, because it takes an effort of will to overcome the social conditioning that prevents one from urinating in the open. And then I revelled in that particular form of bodily anarchy.

I was awakened from my closed-eyed reveried by the words, “Have you seen a Spider-man?” I opened my eyes to find, inches from my nose, a very attractive young woman who was searching for her child’s lost Spider-man figurine.

“Err, no,” I said, loathe to tell her that she was now floating in my warm bodily waste. Then again, for all I know, I was also floating in hers!

We humans can be strange beasts.

Greetings from Toronto airport at 5:AM as I await my flight to Ottawa, having just arrived on an all-nighter from Trinidad & Tobago. My last couple of days in that country were quite the whirlwind, ending pleasurably with a sojourn to the tropical paradise of Tobago, land of pristine beaches, Afro-Caribbean culture and thick Napoleanic Era history.

But it was Tuesday that was really interesting. That day began with an 8:AM interview on “Radio Shakti”, where I was in way over my head, trying to discuss political issues in a country where I don’t fully understand the politics, and historical details in the presence of two men who were clearly better versed than I was. But I survived.

Next, I returned to my medical scientist persona, and gave my presentation on children’s mental health at the Caribbean Studies Association’s conference. Not much to say about that, except that it is curious that while I have no problem making improptu media appearances to discuss topics I’m only casually briefed on, the idea of presenting on topics which are actually within my professional field of scientific expertise continues to fill me with some dread. Probably has something to do with higher stakes, greater potential repercussions and a more judgemental forum.

But Tuesday night was the real kicker. I was quite honoured to be the featured speaker at the official Indian Arrival Day celebrations, hosted by Trinidad’s National Council on Indian Culture, which was televised live nationally. The event was jam-packed and was attended by a series of dignitaries, including representatives from the government, the Indian High Commissioner and a parliamentary contingent from the UK.

Ordinarily, none of that would be sufficient to make me nervous, since my love for the sound of my own voice usually overpowers any fear of ostensible authority figures. But my uncertainty about the nature of the Trinidadian audience, the appropriateness of my language and of the topics I’d be touching upon, made me quite uneasy about my impending speech.

But it went well, and I ended up improvising about a quarter of it. Now that some people have requested a transcript, however, I have to now struggle to recall exactly what I said. In the interests of establishing an archive, I will post its text in this space once I transcribe it from the illegible hand-written point-form notes I have on crumpled hotel notepaper.

Many many thanks to my hostess I. for having arranged every last detail of my trip, and for the generosity of both her and her family, all of whom opened their homes and hearts to me in true Caribbean style.

[Posted with hblogger 2.0 http://www.normsoft.com/hblogger/]

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