'Wi lickle but wi still tallawawah'

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

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The phenomenon that is called Jamaica never ceases to impress. Mr Dalton Harris is only the latest world beater to prove once again that “wi lickle but wi tallawah”, or in other words, we punch well above our actual weight.

The 24-year-old Jamaican on Sunday emerged victor over thousands who submitted entries and auditions; survived the intensity of the six-chair challenge, the drama of their coaches' homes, and the pressure of the seven live shows and performances in the 2018 X-Factor, the popular British televised talent show.

Mr Harris's win immediately brought back memories of Ms Tessanne Chin's phenomenal success in Season Five of The Voice, America's counterpart to the X-Factor, in another December to remember five years ago.

To be sure, Ms Chin's entrance and victory in The Voice engaged the nation with an intensity that surpassed Mr Harris's X-Factor journey. But both showed that Jamaica conquers, no matter which side of the Atlantic.

He, of course, had to survive personal turmoil involving utterances by his mother and negative public comments regarding a photograph which surfaced showing him sitting in the lap of fellow X Factor contestant Brendan Murray.

“But none of the above seemed to affect the young man, as he wowed audiences and judges alike with each performance throughout the multi-stage competition, and the final night was no different,” wrote Jamaica Observer Senior Reporter Richard Johnson.

Sunday's X-Factor win came on the heels of Jamaica's reggae music securing a coveted spot on the United Nations list of global cultural treasures by adding it to its collection of “intangible cultural heritage” deemed worthy of protection and promotion.

UNESCO noted that while reggae started out as “the voice of the marginalised”, it was “now played and embraced by a wide cross section of society, including various genders, ethnic and religious groups”.

“Its contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love, and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual,” Paris-based UNESCO added in a statement.

The news from UNESCO last Thursday would also have stirred memories of the inscription of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its natural and cultural heritage in 2015.

With the designation, Jamaica's national park joined the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids of Egypt as an area of universal value, deserving of special protection. The Blue and John Crow Mountains covers 41,198 hectares (101,313 acres) and includes Jamaica's highest point – the Blue Mountain Peak at 2,256 metres (7,401 feet).

With over 15 kilometres (9 miles) of hiking trails, the largest butterfly in the western hemisphere, hundreds of flowering plants and birds, as well as countless waterfalls, the park is a nature lover's paradise.

While all these achievements will “swell our heads”, their greater impact should be in providing the further impetus and inspiration to our people to soar to even greater heights, never doubting our abilities to conquer, despite our small size.

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