Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.







**You may contact me by e-mail at livinginbarbados[at]gmail[dot]com**

Monday, August 25, 2008

Time for reflection.

I have hit the road again, this time, New York City, for another tennis love fest at the US Open. Time and opportunity will not be on my side for blogging, as I will not be hauling my laptop around with me, even though I have teaching assignments to complete. So, I will do my best to post thoughts periodically, looking at life in and from New York.

My first set of thoughts, reflections on how Jamaica at least can build strongly from the boost given by its success in the Beijing Olympics, have already been touched upon by some Jamaican leaders. It's interesting that one of the first points was to point the finger at criminals for the true crimes they have committed in wasting an abundance of talent, but thankfully not all. This plea cannot be meaningful as mere words, but there will be a long debate about correct actions. Crime prevention is really a state of mind, and means asserting that crime will not go on. That puts a real and heavy burden on those who permit crimes, both politicians and citizens alike. The criminal is the actor, but others are the facilitators. The breeding grounds and accommodating conditions need to be removed.

My other set of thoughts will be about whether we had the kind of leaders we need now and if our citizens are ready to stand up for their rights.

As noted above, I will have to hold and develop later those thoughts.

Already, however, I can see and be pleased to see that Jamaica is a good "brand" again, as people want to be associated with it--such as the two English-sounding white tourists I met in the hotel elevator: "Can you tell us who won the 200 metres?" I was asked as I complimented one of them on his choice of Jamaica tee-shirt. "Yes. Bolt, and he got a new world record" I added. "Great" one of them said. Great, I felt. Beforehand, I had met some French tourists in a Starbucks, and was speaking to them in French, and they too were glad to be able to put on gallic versions of Bolten stances, and say "Oooosayn, he great". My eldest daughter told me that the jerk chicken that she prepared for her college friends--planned before the Games--was an fantastic success. Why am I not surprised?

My last word today goes back to the furore produced by IOC President, Rogge. I loved the irony of his countrywoman, Tia Hellebaut (see image above), winning the women's high jump. (I won't go into whether or not she is from the same linguistic group as Rogge, or if they are opposing each other in that small country of Belgium.) She showed in her performances before, as and after, she won, how a champion should act. She pumped her fist and pointed her fingers to the sky after she cleared a good height. Not a Bolten stance, but equally clear that she had dominated her rivals. In the limited area of the high jump pit, she showed all the animal aggression behaviour that is normal for someone who is on top (see link to The Economist article this week, "Victory is mine", for a report on this characteristic), to quote:

"...the signs of victory are obvious for all to see: the chest inflates, the head is thrown back and the victor displays a strutting and confident air. Shame at being defeated is equally recognisable: the head bows, and sometimes the shoulders slump and the chest narrows too—something that is not a million miles away from the cringing postures associated with submission in animals..."

I will for a long time think about how someone who has been an athlete could so wildly misunderstand how a champion can and often does react to a phenomenal performance--those rare flights into fantasy that turn out to be reality--such as a great Olympic win AND a world record--and that each will have his or her own style. Now, I will leave the man alone to "Tek weh hi' self" as PM Bruce Golding proposed, and for him and others like him to stop the "red eye" and "grudgeful". (I could not help but smile to hear Bruce revert to Patois as his chosen mode of communicating his ideas and sentiments. "Wha'ppen to standard English, Bruce?")

So, I will continue to ride on with those feel-good-to-be-Jamaican feelings, ready for any and every challenge, and watch to see if Jamaicans start to take on more the posture of victors than of the defeated.

1 comment:

syl said...

Dennis, cut the man a little slack (Rogge). The 100 M is the and I mean the Olympic event for most. Feel fuh he neh!