Sunday, November 18, 2018

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Had I but served my God

With half the zeal I served my king,

He would not in my age have left me

Naked to mine enemies.

In thy face I see the map of hunger, truth and loyalty.

Master go on, and I will follow thee to the last gasp,

With truth and loyalty.

— Shakespeare, As You Like It


That quote above is really heavy and shows extreme loyalty by that guy to his king. So much so that he lamented the fact that he never served God with even half the zeal that he served his king. That is also reminiscent of the samurai warriors of ancient Japan.

They were loyal unto death to their masters, and in fact, often laid down their lives willingly in their defence, without hesitation. A samurai whose master died and left him a virtual 'orphan' was known as a ronin. He was destined to wander aimlessly ever after, with no one to be loyal to, a sword for hire.

Loyalty is to be taken seriously, and I wonder how many people show that attribute anymore. Even butlers of old showed extreme loyalty to their employers. Nowadays it's every man for himself and devil take the hindmost.

Has loyalty gone the same way as chivalry, honour, integrity, honesty? We'll find out what loyalty really is, and who or what people are loyal to in these modern times. All this, of course, right after these responses to my take on 'Victim'.


Hi Tony,

In many cases victims aren't even aware that they are victims until it's way too late. This reminds me of the story of the frog in the pot of water on the stove. As the water gets slowly hotter, the frog isn't even aware that the temperature is rising until it's too late. Then he's boiled alive. The same applies to people who tolerate the rising temperature of emotional and physical abuse until they get so used to it, they aren't even aware that it's at the boiling point. In some cases not even the perpetrator is aware that he or she has turned that person into a victim. Well said, son.

Grandma G


Hey Tony,

You covered the issue pretty well from every angle and I can't add anything to it. As usual, well done. Regarding your footnote, I am not familiar with the Mary Lynch case, but if, while she was found guilty of killing her husband, there was also evidence presented in court of his abuse, then I feel her side of the story should be told, either by way of the play or a book. She should be denied any monetary gain from this play, etc, as per the law. At least that's what applies here in the USA.


I'm exploring the topic of loyalty because one of my Kingston College (KC) bredrin suggested I examine schoolboy loyalty, or lack thereof. There was a time when wearing the school colours was the ultimate achievement and people, men mostly, would proudly speak of their loyalty and devotion to their school.

I need not get into the fierce loyalty that's displayed by the old boys of KC as that's legendary and unequalled by no other. But the old boys of other schools such as STGC, JC, Calabar, Wolmer's, Cornwall, Munroe, also display loyalty to their alma mater.

If you notice, I used the words 'old boys' and not past students, for this loyalty is displayed more by the older past students than by the younger or even present day generation. This can be seen by the relatively low numbers of present boys at football matches nowadays. Back in the day, if KC, STGC, JC or Wolmer's were playing a match, the stadium would be almost full. Now, the old boys often outnumber the current students or younger past students.

Still on football, back in the day when a boy represented KC or STGC, that was it he played for the purples or the light blues and no other school. Maybe you might have seen one or two boys transferring for academic reasons, but their hearts belonged to their original school. They were loyal.

Nowadays you have boys jumpng from one school to another with no loyalty to anyone but themselves. Some football teams are made up of students from myriad schools who have no allegiance to their current school and don't even know its rich history. Of course, it's all justified as it offers opportunities that those boys would never have if they remained in their original no-name-brand schools.

That may very well be true, and I'm not here to argue that issue. My question is more about loyalty. What loyalty does that boy have to his old school where he spent five or more years, and what loyalty does he have to his new school where he's now kicking ball?

Even now, my heart flutters, my pulse races, my breath quickens when I attend football matches or watch my school in Schools' Challenge Quiz. That is loyalty. Now I see where four or five boys will leave one name-brand school and play football for another school the following year. What loyalty do they feel? Do they discard the memories of their old school as they embrace the trappings of the new?

Have we become so fickle, so capricious, that all emotions of loyalty fly through the window? There are even cases where some students play football for three different schools over a three-year period. And there have been examples of boys playing for one school, transferring to another school, then coming back to play for their original school. Prodigal loyalty I call it.

I'm not questioning the reasons or rationale of players who will represent different schools; all I'm asking is if there is any true loyalty involved. I can understand professional football clubs that lure away players with the promise of more money. People are loyal to cash. But loyalty to a school is supposed to be different.

But guess what, as singer Bob Dylan said, 'The times they are a changing.' It goes beyond schools and also applies to the workplace. There was a time when people worked for one organisation for life. They were proud to be associated with that company and took that loyalty to their grave. The past employees of the now defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation ( JBC) are prime examples. Even now I remember friends of my parents who worked for companies like Singer and Stanley Motta for their entire working lives.

Not any more; no longer are people tied to one organisation. Now they move on to the highest bidder and greater opportunity with not even a backward glance to where they once worked. Again, the reasons may vary, as the organisations themselves often show no respect or loyalty to the employees who, having felt this disconnect, move on.

“You can stay deh hang on to that job when dem don't respect you. As you quint dem let you go.” Gone are the days of the 'company man' who devoted his life to the workplace. With the new world order, the only loyalty is to money.

Even in politics of old, there used to be loyalty, extreme loyalty, blind loyalty. I know old people in St Thomas who are still loyal to Robert Lightbourne, and come hell or high water they will still vote for his party. The same goes for Sir Alexander Bustamante who still has loyal followers long after he has passed away.

Norman Manley also still has his loyal base among some older folks who are unwavering with their loyalty. Nowadays in the new political arena, people will switch party allegiance faster than you can ask which 'P' — PN or JL? It's all about what's in it for them. “Listen man, that party let off five grand and T-shirt, so dem get my vote.” Are these the signs of the times, is loyalty passé?

I remember when boxing promoter Don King came here many years ago with his boxer Joe Frazier, slated to fight George Foreman at the National Stadium. Well, after Foreman demolished Frazier, Don King quickly switched camps and was reputed to have said, “I came here with Frazier and left with Foreman.”

Is loyalty dead? Are friends still loyal to each other anymore, or is it simply a matter of expediency, what you can do for them? Even among families many people aren't loyal anymore. Very often they'll throw each other under the bus for less than thirty pieces of silver.

Maybe I'm a dreamer, perhaps I'm old school, but I value loyalty greatly. But perhaps those of us who have those values are dinosaurs, fossils, relics of a past era. I guess we'll just have to go with the new world order, where loyalty is a thing of the past and it's every man for himself — or woman as the case may be.

More time.



Footnote: I must comment on the changes that ISSA has made regarding the once prestigious football Walker Cup and Ben Francis Cup. Let me hasten to say that ISSA has been doing a fantastic job managing the numerous football competitions every year. The Manning, DaCosta, Olivier Shield, All Island Knockout Cup, Colts, Under 14, etc all require great organisation. But they dropped the ball with the Walker and Ben Francis cups. What they've done is taken the losing eight teams out of the last 16 and let them play for those cups, effectively making them losers' cups. How can you reward failure? It would be better if they took the eight quarter-finalists and make them play for those cups. Let's hope they resolve it next year.

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