Psssst! Hi Sexy!

65277It sounds just like the hiss of a poisonous snake. And many women immediately sense danger when a strange man on the street calls out to them in this way. I don’t think Jamaican men even think about what they’re doing when they psssst women on the street. It’s a reflex action. A man sees an attractive women and he instinctively knows he must proposition her. That’s just the way it is. That’s our culture.

But this culture can be very oppressive for women. You want to go about your business unmolested. Instead, you are forced to listen to a whole lot of foolishness: “Hi, sexy! Hi, fatty! Wa a gwaan? Mi can come home wid yu?” No man in his right mind expects the woman to say, “Yes, baby, yu can come.” He’s just practising his lines.

Even though the man knows full well that he’s only trying a ting, he can still get quite offended and very offensive if you make the mistake of not acknowledging him. You’re in for a whole lot of abuse. All of a sudden, you become a completely undesirable demon who must be verbally attacked. Even worse, you may be physically assaulted.

For a peaceful life, it sometimes makes sense to just say ‘hi’ and keep moving. But if you do say ‘hi’ this is seen as an invitation to prolong the interaction. And if you keep moving, your refusal to stop and engage in conversation is then interpreted as an insult. So, either way, is pure abuse.


Some time ago, I was on my morning walk dressed appropriately in exercise wear. I was greeted by a very ‘friendly’ man: “Morning, Miss! I like your shape this morning. Can I be your friend?” I couldn’t help it. I had to laugh. Then I said, “No sir, mi not looking no friend this morning.”

And I put it to him. How would he feel if a woman stopped him and said, “Morning, Sir! I like your shape this morning. Can I be your friend?” It was his turn to laugh. He said the woman would have too much pride to admit that she found him attractive. So then I asked him if men don’t have pride.

He said is not that men don’t have pride. But when you see certain women, you can’t help yourself. The attraction just bubbles up and you have to say something. As far as he was concerned, the woman should just know he was paying her a compliment.

thBut what if the tables are turned? While I was on my walk another morning, a man on a bicycle called out to me in passing, “Hi, sexy!” My immediate response was, “Hi, sexy!” He almost fell off his bicycle. He certainly hadn’t expected me to return the compliment, such as it was.

I suppose he felt entitled to call out to me. After all, im a man. And he probably assumed I would be pleased with his view of me as a sex object out on the road purely for his entertainment. I wasn’t exactly telling the truth when I called him ‘sexy’. I had no way of measuring his sexiness. I was simply serving him back his sour sauce. And it was most effective.


Michael Thelwell wrote a brilliant novel based on the movie The Harder They Come. He cleverly fleshes out the story. There’s a powerful scene in which a domestic worker comprehensively puts in his place a gardener who was trying to friend her up:

“‘Since when me and you is frien’?’ she demanded. ‘Me is you love? What I would want wid all like you? What you have dat I want? You have money? You have looks? You have colour? You have education? No! You doan have nothing in you favour. You ugly, you poor, you ignorant and you black. When you see me a street, don’t talk to me, y’hear’? She sucked her teeth, tossed her head, and started off, her proud b*tty rolling with indignation.

‘After you is nothing but a damn garden bwai,’ she called over her shoulder. ‘You think garden bwai money can get me?'” That is a very hot piece of tracing. But if the man hadn’t called out to the woman, she wouldn’t have had the chance to list what she considered to be all his limitations. Proverbial wisdom warns, “Trouble deh a bush, yu bring it a yard.” This man certainly brought down trouble on himself. All the same, his fellow gardeners felt it was their duty to help him to take revenge on the woman.

alllogHow do we change this culture of male entitlement? On a recent ‘All Angles’ programme on TVJ, I half-seriously suggested that we pass a law making it illegal for men to call out to woman on the street. And it would have to be an equal-opportunity law. Women shouldn’t be allowed to call out to men either.

This law wouldn’t work. Men and women should be able to compliment each other courteously. We have to start with the children, teaching them how to treat each other with affection and respect. Sex education isn’t just about biology. It must include emotional intelligence. Otherwise, snakes will keep crawling in the streets, hunting for prey.


Dem Think Obama Easy!

UnknownTwo spelling systems are used for the Jamaican language below. The first, which I call ‘chaka-chaka’, is based on English spelling. The second, ‘prapa-prapa’, is the specialist system designed by the Jamaican linguist Frederic Cassidy. It has been updated by the Jamaican Language Unit at the University of the West Indies, Mona. After the two Jamaican versions, there’s an English translation.


Mi no know wa di Republican dem a go do wid Obama. Dem meet dem match. Look how long dem a nyam up demself over im. Obama a president fi more an six year. An it burn dem. Dem can’t mek up dem mind fi dis cease an seckle. Di mad one dem a stick out seh Obama no born a Merica. Dem force im fi ha fi show dem im birth cerfiticket. An all now, some a dem still no satisfy.

Unknown-4Obama naa pay dem bad mind. Im dis a gwaan do weh im ha fi do. One a di big ting im do a fi gi poor people health insurance! White, black, brown. An di bad breed Republican dem a fight im down. Dem just no waan spend no money pon health insurance fi everybody. All when it work out cheaper than fi pay fi poor people go a emergency room. It look like dem Republican never hear seh prevent better than cure.

Not fi mention wa Obama a do fi di whole heap a people dem weh no got no paper fi gi dem leave an licence fi tan eena Merica! Bout 11 million a dem dis a bob an weave. Ascorden to Obama plan, dem deh people can turn citizen ef dem prove seh dem a no criminal. Dem ha fi pay tax, dem ha fi wait an go a di back a di line, an dem ha fi learn English. Di Republican dem waan run dem outa di country. No matter seh some a dem a pikni weh di deh fi di whole a dem life.

An no figet how Obama did sort out di car company dem when autoclaps tek dem! Obama know seh im couldn’t mek dem deh company crash. Too much smaddy woulda no a no work. Im put nuff govament money in a GM an Chrysler. Sixty-two billion dollar! An a so di company dem ketch up back demself. An a di said same way Obama deal wid di bank dem weh did out fi shut down. But im never spend no govament money pon dat. Im get private company fi put een fi dem owna money.


One a di biggest ting Obama do a fi mek Merika gree back wid Cuba. Wat no happen eena 53 year happen eena one day. Obama dis seh a time fi done di foolishness. It no serve no purpose fi cut off Cuba. Berlin Wall bruck down an Soviet Union mash up. Di Cold War done, done, done. Mi know seh dat a no di whole a di story. Plenty politics di deh. Merica still a defend democracy an a fight down communism.

But Obama know seh yu ha fi think bout people, no so-so politics. Tings well hard fi poor people eena Cuba. From Soviet Union bruck up, Cuba a struggle. Venezuela did help dem out plenty-plenty. But all Venezuela eena trouble. Oil price a drop. An a di oil money Venezuela a depend pon fi run di country. So dem no have no money fi a gi Cuba.

A now money a go run eena Cuba! Politics or no politics. Nuff Merican tourist a go go deh. An nuff business a go open up. Di Republican dem must a swell up, ready fi buss. Mek dem gweh! Johncrow nyam out dem conscience. An Obama no done wid dem. Im a go gi dem nuff more headache before im time done. Im a go lef one hell of a legacy. Rispek due!


Unknown-2Mi no nuo wa di Ripoblikan dem a go du wid Obama. Dem miit dem mach. Luk ou lang dem a nyam op demself uova im. Obama a prezident fi muor an siks ier. An it bon dem. Dem kyaahn mek op dem main fi dis siis an sekl. Di mad wan dem a stik out se Obama no baan a Merika. Dem fuors im fi ha fi shuo dem im bort sorfitikit. An aal nou, som a dem stil no satisfai.

Obama naa pie dem bad main. Im dis a gwaan du we im ha fi du. Wan a di big ting im du a fi gi puor piipl elt inshuorans! Wait, blak, broun. An di bad briid Ripoblikan dem a fait im dong. Dem jos no waahn spen no moni pan elt inshuorans fi evribadi. Aal wen it wok out chiipa dan fi pie fi puor piipl go a imorjensi ruum. It luk laik dem Ripoblikan neva ier se privent beta dan kyuur.

Nat fi menshan wa Obama a du fi di uol iip a piiipl dem we no gat no piepa fi gi dem liiv an laisn fi tan iina Merika! Bout 11 milyan a dem dis a bab an wiiv. Azkaadn tu Obama plan, dem de piipl kyan ton sitizn ef dem pruuv se dem a no kriminal. Dem a fi pie taks, dem a fi wiet an go a di bak a di lain, an dem a fi go laan Ingglish. Di Ripoblikan dem waan ron dem outa di konchri. No mata se som a dem a pikni we di de fi di uol a dem laif.

An no figet ou Obama did saat out di kyaar kompini dem wen aataklaps tek dem! Obama nuo se im kudn mek dem de kompini krash. Tu moch smadi wuda no a no wok. Im put nof govament moni iin a GM an Chrysler. Siksti tuu bilyan dala! An a so di kompini dem kech op bak demself. An a di sed siem wie Obama diil wid di bank dem we did out fi shet dong. Bot im neva spen no govament moni pan dat. Im get praivit kompini fi put iin fi dem uona moni.


Unknown-3Wan a di bigis ting Obama du a fi mek Merika grii bak wid Kyuuba. Wat no apn iina fifti-chrii ier apn iina wan die. Obama dis se a taim fi don di fuulishnis. It no sorv no porpos fi kot aaf Kyuuba. Borlin Waal brok dong an Suoviyet Yuuniyan mash op. Di Kuol Waar don, don, don. Mi nuo se dat a no di uol a di tuori. Plenti palitiks di de. Merika stil a difen demokrasi an a fait dong komyunizm.

Bot Obama nuo se yu a fi tink bout piipl, no suoso palitiks. Tingz wel aad fi puor piipl iina Kyuuba. Fram Suoviyet Yuuniyan brok op, Kyuuba a chrogl. Venizwiela did elp dem out plenti-plenti. Bot aal Venizwiela iina chrobl. Ail prais a jrap. An a di ail moni Venizwiela a dipan pan fi ron di konchri. So dem no av no moni fi a gi Kyuuba.

A nou moni a go ron iina Kyuuba! Palitiks ar no palitiks. Nof Merikan tuuris a go go de. An nof bizniz a go opn op. Di Ripoblikan dem mos a swel op, redi fi bos. Mek dem gwe! Jangkro nyam out dem kanshens. An Obama no don wid dem. Im a go gi dem nof muor ediek bifuor im taim don. Im a go lef wan el af a legisi. Rispek juu!


I don’t know what the Republicans are going to do about Obama. They’ve met their match. They just can’t get over it. Obama has been president for more than six years. And they’re so angry. They just can’t come to terms with it. The crazy ones insist that Obama wasn’t born in America. They’ve forced him to release his birth certificate. And even now, some of them still aren’t satisfied.

Unknown-1Obama isn’t taking them on. He’s just going along, doing what he has to do. One of the big things he’s done is to give poor people health insurance! White, black, brown. And the elitist Republicans are on the attack. They simply don’t want to pay for  universal health insurance.  Even when it’s cheaper, in the long run, than covering the high cost of emergency room treatment for the uninsured. It seem as if these Republican don’t know that to prevent is better than cure.

As for what Obama is doing for all those illegal immigrants!  About 11 million a them are just bobbing and weaving. According to Obama’s plan, these people can an become citizens if they can prove that they’re not criminals. They have to pay tax, they have to wait and go to the  back of the line, and they have to learn English. The Republicans want to herd them out of the country. It doesn’t matter that some of them are juveniles who have lived in the U.S. all their lives.

And don’t forget how Obama sorted out the crisis in the automobile industry! Obama knew he couldn’t allow the industry to crash. Too many jobs would be lost. He injected lots of federal funding in GM and Chrysler. Sixty-two billion dollars! And that’s how those companies recovered. And that’s exactly how Obama dealt with the collapse of the banking sector. But he didn’t use federal money for that.  It was private  investment.


ap89111001348_slide-73c82e0f3c6e88fb9ce68991028afa61120c5144-s6-c30One of the biggest things Obama has done is to start lifting the US embargo on Cuba. What didn’t happen in 53 years has happened in one day. Obama just decided it was time to end the folly.  It makes no sense to cut off Cuba. Berlin Wall has come down and Soviet Union has collapsed. The Cold War is over.  Finished.  Done.   I know that’s not the whole story.  There’s a lot of political intrigue.  The U.S. is still  defending democracy and denouncing communism.

But Obama knows that you have to think about people, not just politics. Things have been extremely difficult for poor people in Cuba. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Cuba started to  struggle. Venezuela did give Cuba lots of financial assistance. But even Venezuela is in trouble. The price of oil has been falling and the Venezuelan economy is dependent on oil revenues. So the country can no longer support Cuba.

But now money will flow freely in Cuba! Politics or no politics. Lots of American tourists will visit. And many businesses will open up. The Republicans must be fit to be tied. Too bad for them! They have no conscience. And Obama isn’t done with them. He’s going to give them even more headaches before his term is up.  He’s going to leave a hell of a legacy. Respect due!