Lifestyle

My Kingston - Major General Antony Anderson

Sunday, July 08, 2012    

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As Jamaica's top soldier, Major General Antony Anderson commands more than 4000 men and women. To do so he has to be tough, but thankfully he takes it a step further — he's also the thinking man's soldier, demonstrating that brains and brawn share equal time in the modern military.

What are your earliest memories of Kingston?

Seeing the lights in the hills surrounding the city. When I was growing up there were far fewer lights than what you see now, but it has always been a beautiful sight at night.

What do you miss most when you are not in Kingston?

There is a unique energy about Kingston that I've felt nowhere else in my travels. There is a rhythm of life here that cannot be replicated.

What's your advice for first-time visitors to Kingston?

Check out the live music spots and don't miss the National Gallery. And best of all, take a trip up to Newcastle where the views of the city are breathtaking.

Why did you join the JDF?

I joined for the adventure — you know, "join the army; see the world". I was 20, just out of CAST, and like any young man, I wanted to do extraordinary things and visit unusual places. Most of us join for those reasons, but once in, we come to know that it is about training, being ready at all times, and of course, sacrifice.

How do you characterise life in the military?

Always challenging and always rewarding.

Which living person do you most admire and why?

I admire the quiet heroes among us, the people who make a positive impact on the lives of others, and do so without yearning for accolades. Miss Cunningham, my grade six teacher at St Richard's Primary is one such person. She didn't just teach, she ignited her students with an appreciation of learning that went beyond the limits of the classroom. She was a devout Catholic, but she ensured that we were exposed to the religions of the world. Her legacy lives in the tremendous success of many of her students.

Share with us the title of the last book you read.

I am currently reading two: Colin Powell's It Worked for Me in Life and Leadership and The Unlikely Secret Agent by Ronnie Kasrils, a former South African Minister of Intelligence who writes about his wife Eleanor's courage against the apartheid regime.

And the last bit of music that stirred your soul?

R Kelly's A Soldier's Heart.

What is the single most important quality an officer should possess?

It's not about a single quality; it's all of our core values — Courage, Commitment, Honesty, Integrity, Loyalty and Discipline.

What are your current projects?

There are several military projects all designed to improve our efficiency and effectiveness. There is also a project with the Citizens Security and Justice Programme for the JDF to offer apprenticeships to a few hundred young people who will learn practical construction skills in a disciplined environment.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

To really accept that happiness does not come from without but from within, regardless of the circumstances.

What is your present state of mind?

Focused.

What is your favourite journey?

Travelling to Thailand to live and train at a Thai boxing camp.

What bothers you?

Negativity.

Who or what inspires you?

Anyone who pursues their dreams.

Who are your heroes in fiction?

Those that possess an iron will and sense of purpose like Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird, and Katsumoto in The Last Samurai.

What is your philosophy?

The difficult can be done instantly and the impossible only takes a moment longer.

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