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Facing the new year truths

Barbara GLOUDON

Friday, December 27, 2013    

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FRIENDS and family, here we go, the annual word from home. The new year is just around the corner — not the corner where you ask for directions and are advised into oblivion. There is no equivocation about this kind of corner. Like it or not, what's ahead is not too far away.

Facing a new year is no easy matter. That is why some people treat New Year's Eve as if there will never be another. Spare no expenses. Get dressed up in costly gear — wear now, pay later — and hit the town, slurping up the champagne and dancing like there's no tomorrow. Some choose to stay at home, eyes glued to the TV set, watching the ball drop in Times Square. Why this should be so absorbing I will never fathom. The only reason I could offer is, since it is there and it doesn't cost anything, why not?

In recent times, we have had another way of celebrating. Gather round for a public event, like the free concert on Kingston's waterfront which brings hundreds together. Then, there are the members of the family who don't go the whole way of the big spenders, but settle instead for the pleasures of home. So, it is some drinks and good home-cooking, accompanied by favourite tunes downloaded, then it is party until everything done. I've been told that, over in Farrin, you have taken to choosing that route of celebration, too.

Well, whatever is your choice, "tek time mek merry". It is the same old but necessary story, the seasonal message to drive with care. It cannot be repeated often enough. Some of the Farrin cousins tell me they've begun to appreciate it more, because winter this year is kinda strange. The weather in some areas is downright scary. Only dimwits would ignore warnings about dangerous road conditions. We mightn't have snow and ice to contend with here, but we too are challenged to protect not only our lives, but the lives of others.

With all the fun and frolic, what does the new year hold? The logical answer is "Who knows?" However, a collection of "prophets" and "prophetesses" — they have identified themselves thus — have pooled their wisdom to make known what the year is supposed to bring. If it is to be believed, we can expect nothing but troubles ahead. The list of "woes unspeakable" is enough to make you try to find another planet on which to take refuge.

As is to be expected, politicians will come in for all kinds of judgement. Unlike the prophets and prophetesses who end their proclamation with a disclaimer, much like the "conditions apply" clause which accompany marketing of merchandise, the electorate will not let anyone off the hook. Disclaimers usually can be referred to if predictions do not turn out as expected. Politics is more unforgiving.

Prophecy or not, it cannot be denied that we are facing rough times. We've faced such times before, some even rougher than this, but yesterday is gone. We can't use it for excuses now. We can't avoid the hard truth: What is gone, is gone. We cannot hide in the past. We will have to face today's question: What are we going to do to cope with the demands of the economy? How do we deal with the scourge of crime? That is the biggest obstacle, as far as I can see. For what it is worth, we are not the only ones struggling with such a monster. It is everywhere, but such knowledge will not lessen the pain that we are already feeling. There's no quick fix waiting to take us off the hook.

A few days ago, someone known to me suffered terribly at the hands of criminals who had convinced themselves that her hard-earned wages belonged to them. They broke into her house and demanded money. When they could not get what they wanted, because it wasn't there, they became savages, inflicting terrible pain and suffering on a victim who had done them no wrong except not to have money to give them. It's that kind of evil which has people frightened and hurt.

The solution offered by most of us is that it is the responsibility of the politicians. The current view is that they and they alone are to be blamed, hence they must fix it. The saying of the day is: "Right now, dem naw say nuttin." A regularly asked question is "Why dem nah talk to wi?"

Until believable communication is established, we will face another year of anxiety and anguish, bemoaning the loss of innocent lives. It is not negotiable. We have to find a way to staunch the blood flow. It is not negotiable.

Social intervention is the popular buzzword for what must be done. How much intervention will it take to accomplish the reformation of youths who account for much of the criminal population? We know what they want, but what are they prepared to give back?

It is said that if we could find a way to give everyone a job, that would be the immediate answer. We are still hearing the call for Government to build factories and put everyone to work. Producing what? We don't know. Just build the factories. Our leaders should know by now that the expectation of a quick fix is running high.

As to when it comes to prophecy, we will have to watch the results of the forecast. It cannot only be brimstone and fire which the Higher Authority has in store for us. There are still good people here. They do not deserve brimstone and fire.

There is nothing we like as much as winning. Why can't we translate it into positive action in our daily lives? We know of the effort and discipline which winning requires, but seem reluctant to do it in our day-to-day lives. The fixation with "Govament" to provide everything and be responsible for "nuff and plenty fi all a wi" is another myth to be dispelled. But who will set the example? It would be good to believe that one day we could all sit down together and talk it out. I'm not holding my breath. How about you?

Facing the new year, pretending that we don't know what's ahead, a word to the wise: Do your best no matter what's to come. All the best for 2014.

gloudonb@yahoo.com

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