Our Chinese partridge in a pear tree

Our Chinese partridge in a pear tree

Thursday, December 05, 2019

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Dear Editor,

Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States of America, commented that a person's vote is as good as that person's character. If we were to juxtapose this principle in assessing any gesture then we would scarcely be deceived.

The legacy of the People's Republic of China is rich with character, which has enriched them economically. Although we are most grateful for the developmental projects which the China-based and nationalised companies continue to undertake, we, the Jamaicans, would do much better with the Chinese enlightening us with the gift of “character”.

As the adage goes, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach him how to fish and he'll eat forever.” It is on tenets such as these that growth emerges. What we need to experience, rather than the pleasures that money can buy (and build), is how to work hard.

The Confucius Institute, which is slated to be constructed on the grounds of The University of the West Indies, Mona, as a gift from China, is a good direction to be heading on the 'character compass', but Confucianism still is too cosmetic compared to what Jamaica really needs.

Furthermore, it was disappointing that a coupled 'Institute of Louise Bennett' and/or Marcus M Garvey was not proposed as well. Understandably, it is the Chinese's money which will be building this remarkable intellectual structure, but even with that considered, we would have benefited more from an 'Institute of Martial Arts', which takes the Chinese temperament, spiritualism, culture, and awareness of nature and one's physical body and creates a pseudo-science item out of them.

Yes, we have knowledge at our fingertips, bigger brains than our evolutionary ancestors, technology, and the coming of a Chinese-built hospital and smoother roads, but all these merely serve to facilitate “the hustle”; a hustle which distracts us from the greater and meditative focus of practice and perfecting, and from the fact that our bodies are our greatest asset, and weapon.

If we are not careful, then we might end up as a “broken man”, calling China a “dutty Jezebel” for unconscionably being really too kind to us, as the 1996 comedic song, Countdown to Christmas, by the Irishman Frank Kelly.

Andre O Sheppy
Norwood, St James

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