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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Dissapointing

I look at how Dominica is governed and I have to shake my head. Dont get me wrong. The job isnt sexy. The country has irrational demands for itself considering where we fit into the world scheme of things.

But Caribbean people do not seem to be progressing in the ways we make our decisions.

The government in Dominica esp needs help. No matter what your political persuasion its difficult to see a good end to the current story. An easy way to define things is to observe what would happen if the government were to collapse and the individual players had to 'survive' of their own means. Unfortunately many of them would have to leave the country. You dont have to dig deep to be worried when your government is struggling for credible professionals.

But that in itself is not even the big deal. The PM is a driven person. That can go over any academics and professional experience. The big deal is the dumbing down of institutions and processes. Sometimes you can be so obssessed with holding sway you dont recognise that the whole structure may be crumbling around you.

But again, maybe we like it so.

Friday, November 24, 2006

No respect

Advertising in the Caribbean is filled with seriousness, cliches and information.

In fact in reviewing the market not one advertiser in the Caribbean uses humour.
The idea is sell product and sell it directly and it is purely client driven. The issue is that the more literate markets, like Jamaica, Trinidad and Barbados refuse to lead the way. And the smaller markets are even more focussed on the
campaigns which attack the wallet from start to finish.

Buy me, Discount, Promotion, Free. Sale. Those are the paradigms of this region and especially in places like Dominica.

Whats worse is the institutional adverts dispensed from larger affiliate marketers and agencies worldwide take a lead that it works. Well in the absence of a new way it seems to work, but noone can tell you because market research is like a dark art in the region.

Caribbean people in the region are like any first world market basing their purchases and brand perceptions on emotion, instinct and yes, things like price sensitivity and reliability.

And if they are calculating in their decision making, why arent we more creative and demanding with our clients that advertising even in small, poorer markets needs to talk to dreams and desires rather than a constant direct demand to buy product or a service.

After all take that same Caribbean person and put them in Europe or the US and they suddenly become a 'consumer'.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dem preachers botherin me

Since lil boy days I have been thinking about religion and the consequences of my ways. Sometimes I really push the envelope of wutlissness to see if I get the clap of thunder and searing flesh but intelligent minds suggest that I will suffer in more subtle ways. So if my son turns up goin to jail in 15 years time I guess it can be linked to the time I used to corrupt someones daughter. My actions to date suggests that I have hell to pay or that everyone down to my dog is in danger of getting licks for me. Though there is something really comforting about penance and forgiveness. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I can actually do the crime and not serve the time.

But those preachers really bother me. See I wonder whether really believe or if they actually spend time messin with the heads of their congregations because they recognise the power they have. Their must be something real good about watching otherwise uppity folk give you tithe and collection and at the same time use you as a conduit to another life you not even sure about.

And surely a pastor or priest sinning is like everyone else but he then has to turn up to work next day and get paid for not doing what he did the day before. Caribbean people are devoted to the afterlife. The usual thing that we say is that black people are spiritual, but in general, people living in the Caribbean are fatalistic. 'Thats how it is', ' I taking my blows', 'man what to do nuh but live well and pray'. And the more fatalistic we are, the more we defer the actions we are supposed to take in our communities, to the afterlife.

But the real reason they bother me is that unlike even the cornbread fed preachers in the US, very very few religious leaders in the Caribbean have stood for anything. Political amoebas, glory hunters in general, and silent on every single topic except in toeing the party line from their Grand Leader somewhere else. They almost like some regional company with the head office in the US or bahamas or something.

And lawd we have tings going on. Incest, Old fellas paying their way for young women, Political Corruption, man beatin up woman. But every sermon concentrating on where we goin to rather than dealing with the bare reality of life in the Caribbean. You'd think someone that goin to heaven no matter what would be able to speak their mind on any issue eh.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The flesh is weak

Are Caribbean men more wutliss than the average man ? I dont know why men have to walk a moral high ground anyway. We are dogs for real. Whether we run the genetics argument or simply follow the history of men in the world we are lucky to have our knuckles off the ground. Take war. Most people, especially women, seem to abhor war but very few civilisations and cultures which are expansive have been built without war. I mean no man goes to another man and says I want your land, your woman and your food and negotiates his way into that position. So therefore we have conflict. And actually we also have progress, as messed up as that position is to the morality of coexistence and to humanity.

Coming back to things, the society in the Caribbean needs a strong family base, and needs responsibility, but its way too much to assume that other societies are working off stronger bases. Matriarchal societies like Italy exist with constant crime, almost chaotic govt, and a culture of infidelity and yet progress occurs.

Maybe we concentrate too much on our weakness and not on our strengths. And I am talking about Caribbean man here.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The tourist

I feel sorry for the poor tourist when they get here. today I watched as a man and his wife, lobster red from the sun, walked their way through a minefield of vagrants, would be tour guides and merchandise sellers to walk about 100 yards.

Of course no doubt they must have pitied me too, in a reverse form of I feel sorry for that local guy who has to go through this shit everyday.

I worked and lived in the US once. Lived in the Old Colonial Inn in Concord, Massachusetts for about 6 months. Very nice old world type living and just 10 minutes drive from where I worked in Maynard.

it was nice. I was treated like some kind of exotic bird that was nesting for a finite period. The suite which I had courtesy of good ole Breakaway in those days, was not cheap and that kind of couched the behavior to me. But a tourist I always was and I never really got to see the real face of the people except for one evening when I stayed at the bar and talked with all the staff after the 'guests' were gone. Then the smiles turned practical and you heard the real stories about how stupid it was to pay 18 bucks for a clam chowder or why people couldnt shower without getting the whole bathroom wet.

And you realise, so thats what its like.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Business as usual

I will develop this thought sequence again and again.

Initially i toyed with the Cable & Wireless vs Digicel example but lets make it more general. Is there any chance that the Caribbean will develop while personal interests and patronage is more important than doing things right ? Not on occasion. But 'everytime'.

Forget the fact that all corporates are there to make money and dont really care about the average person. Thats a given worldwide. In fact dig deep and the life of making a buck is selfish fullstop. Sell the cancerous soft drink to the little old lady or increase your night deposit....bzzzt, old lady loses out again.

But the personal thing hovers over Caribbean development. Yes we smile at each other alot, but the routine backstabbing in business life in the islands gives a clue as to why the Governments polarise the people so easily during elections.

Plenty Caribbean people have beef to settle.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Special

Mirandas. A little bar and restaurant in the hills of Roger on the way to the airport. Miranda is a friend. She can also humble the most dirty mouthed trucker with her own range of cuss words that could make you hide under a table. Miranda has her garden behind the house and runs the business on a 'how I feel today' basis.

Many times people will be broke and Miranda will feed and water them and send them on their way to pay or not another day. She also cooks for some of our parties, usually on short notice and with much cussing if you are late. But she is a good woman. Her black pudding on Fridays is hot and peppery and full of taste. Her chicken just tastes different. And her bull foot soup or goat water (she has goats behind her property) are real nice.

She calls me doudou when she is happy with me. She calls me a f...... m......when she isnt. well and about twenty other things. But it all adds to the ambience. if you know what I mean.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Maco

Thats a term thats both a reference to a homosexual man or someone minding your biz. I havent got any thoughts on our non existent non active religious gay community so lemme get to the peeps who peeping.

Small country, not much going on, rumours abound where knowledge is absent. When I first moved to the Caribbean one person had a good story that i'd divorced, sold all my belongings and just about afforded to buy my vehicle and return to the Caribbean. I actually met him just as he was asking a mutual friend who was the lady that drove my car :-). Of course, seeing that I was a confirmed divorcee he took the fact that it was my wife a bit hard.

Anyway, the probem with a country of so much rumours is that some of them are very true. And that makes the whole Macoing scene very tricky. You cant exactly throw them all out of the window, so you have to listen to them, no matter how ridiculous.

So the merry go round of rumours keep on going.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The God Squad

Dominicans are religious. Not in the stop enjoying life kind of way of course. 'God' knows promiscuity is at an alltime high in our psuedo Catholic, Evengelist culture. Everyone and their pastor is doing it. The rest of the Caribbean is no different. As the reggae tune goes, "sitting in the church on sunday, planning who you gonna screw on monday".

the politicians play to it all the time. from elections to troubled times they go straight for the God button and it works. I am in a strange place with all of this. Believing in God is pretty uncomplicated. Its like a club. Noone asks questions once they know you are part of it. But I dont really. The french philospher Blaise Pascal was right when he spoke about believing in God as a nobrainer. If you are wrong you'd at least have lived a good life. But if you dont and you are wrong, hellfire aint a nice thought.

I'll risk it. I believe in something but I havent placed it yet. in the meantime I gain comfort from the fact that those that believe are sinning so much more than me that one day the rules must get bent to allow even the heretics in.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Stop the Bobol

I was wrong. Its even sadder than i thought.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Vex

Client changes budget 20 times, has creative and is delaying approval, and is shifting dates for an event which two heads of state are supposed to attend and endorse.

The biggest problem for creative work is trying to get people to understand that this is not just a canned exercise where you pull a couple pics together and get it all singing and dancing.

Dyam.