Rain, no play?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

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Dear Editor,

The recently concluded World Cup in Russia provided an important lesson from which all Jamaicans can learn.

During the presentation ceremony after the final game there was a heavy downpour. Despite this, the presentation went on like clockwork, as if the rain did not matter. The presidents of Russia, France and Croatia, along with other officials and dignitaries, remained in place, presented medals and trophies while being soaked with rain until umbrellas were brought to them.

Could this have happened in Jamaica? How many times has the threat of rain or even a drizzle caused major panic and postponement of important events and appointments?

The fear of rain in our culture in Jamaica goes back to the days of slavery. At that time, when it rained in the day the enslaved Africans were usually allowed to go back to their huts to rest, sleep, eat, or whatever suited them. This culture is present even now as when it rains here; students want to sleep, workers start dreaming of soup (or some other meal) or stay home, worshippers stay home, and many appointments get cancelled or delayed.

It is not quite so in other parts of the world noted for high levels productivity.

A few years ago I was in Canada and in the company of a Canadian woman and her one-year-old child. We went for a walk in the neighbourhood when it began to rain heavily. I panicked and asked her to stop and get shelter for us and the baby. She calmly said, “It's only water,” and continued in the rain until we reached home, after which she simply dressed the baby in dry clothes. How many Jamaican mothers would ever do that?

As a people we need to realise that rain is simply water and, like the officials at the World Cup presentation ceremony, get on with whatever task that is set before us. This has to be tempered with common sense, of course. But if we are going to be more productive as a people we need to put aside cultural habits and practices which were spawned in times and conditions that inhibit production and adopt new ones in keeping with the new times and to our benefit.

Duane Harris

doharris@hotmail.com

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