Social Commentary

At what point should your relationship become social? (if at all)

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I used to be all over social media with my girlfriend. This was back then when I was young and foolish, I remember I’d write on her wall and she’d write on mine or make suggestive status updates with the intention of catching hers and my friends attention. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), we’re not together anymore, for varying reasons WHICH I WON’T GET INTO. However, I will admit to social media having an impact on that relationship; both negatively and positively, and it’s from that experience in particular that I learnt how to handle myself and my emotions on this new platform of expression (and the various platforms that followed Facebook). For me, in terms of positives it taught me the value of self respect, boundaries, privacy and really appreciating my partner in an unconditional way. On the flip-side, it highlighted a very dark irrational side to my psyche that only seems to surface in an emotionally pressuring environment and it took away my attention from where it should have been initially: on her; it distracted me. If you’re reading this, I’m sorry.

So from all of that right now where I am, I have learnt to gauge social media usage like a thermometer and use it for what it was originally intended to be: a channel. Just another channel of socializing with the aim of bringing us closer together as a world. I don’t believe posts, tweets and mentions should be the tool for keeping your partner happy; even if it is, it should be kept at an absolute minimum. Also, lest we forget that humans are innately bad-mind, vindictive and “red yiye” in nature and the same way they don’t want you to do anything personally or professionally progressive, is the same way they don’t wanna see you happy (subconsciously of course). So to avoid those energies coming my way and the hearts of so many good people in the world becoming filthy on accord of our human nature, I keep my thing on a level.

But I thought it would be interesting to hear the views of others on this; because it is a hurdle we all have to cross at some points in our relationships. At what point should the relationship become social? (if at all). Here are the views of some Jamaicans:

Makeda:

Ahhm depends on the person, I saw on an episode of Steve Harvey’s talk show that people give and receive love is 5 different ways.
Days gone by relationships on a whole were much more private but the world was smaller, overall it is an understanding of yourself and partner that determines how much you post
¬†So back in the day holding hands and kissing aka PDA was huge, now posting who your with on social media is the “new platform” to show love.
So if yahll are private it’ll play a minor role to your comfort, if unnuh have more public, bold personalities, possibly a bigger role but at the basis people need to understand the dangers of social media and use it to their liking accordingly.

Jaye:

“..personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with you know letting the world/ people know that you love someone.. but there shouldn’t be a ‘relationship’ made of it. If you get what I’m putting down ūü§Ē”

Nick:

“We live in the era where social media is more deeply rooted as a platform for expression, so understandably people feel the need to share their affairs with the world. I think it’s still okay to make your relationship status known on social media as you choose. However, the affairs of your relationship should not be over social media, that’s the part you keep private.

So to answer the question now, I think your relationship and social can share a connection within certain boundaries. Why boundaries? You simply don’t want your relationship to become everyone else relationship, so you keep those boundaries observed.”

Brodey:

“..social media should not have any integral parts in my relationship other than communication… itz merely a conduit for keeping the link with your significant other or loved ones or it is used to establish a link (look a girl to have a relationship with)… if social media is used more integrally, such as showing affection and so forth, it may lead to damaging repercussions. Posts that reflects affection towards another (girl in my case) may provide ammunition in times of turbulence, especially if you a deal with another girl( the other girl snooping and then may start page the wifey or vice versa). The other one is that once those affectionate posts and blogs are publicized, ¬†it can be saved and later used against somebody who don’t want to remember or have any evidence coming to the forefront of them ever dealing. Also the less ppl know about your business, the more you’re better off… so no post to explicitly show affection, for me..”

Fuju:

“Relationships shouldn’t be influenced by what we see on social media. Often times we just see stills/pictures,but we don’t see the bigger “picture”. We don’t see the sacrifices that it took to get to that place of love that we see displaying in front of or eyes. And on the flip side we don’t see beyond the facade, we can’t see the girl physically abusing her bf and him verbally abusing her. We can’t see the abortion that she did without consulting him on the matter.

Relationships on social media should not be taken as “gospel” or instructions on how to live your life, or the type of relationship you should have. It should only serve as an example that love exists.”

Melzetta:

“Being that im a private person i keep most of my intimate moments private. I use my SM accounts to talk about issues that affect me or people around me. You wont find me posting relationship arguments etc. However its a good spying tool lol but im also not that person to lurk on my significant others page loool I dont think SM should play a major role in the relationship as it can be considered private space – my partner still has the right to being his own individual. “

What stands out from these responses for me is this notion that social media is a spying tool, and for those reasons I guess some don’t believe their relationship should get social any at all. And I don’t blame them, cause both men and women are guilty of this; guilty of blowing something small and innocent into epic proportions of nonsense. Why is that me mentioning or retweeting a certain person more than I do my other followers should suggest unfaithfulness? Why can’t I post a picture with a friend of the opposite sex without the usual comment “A she that mi boss? *cool face emoji*”? Why can’t I make a random, emotional paragraph post without that awkward “is there something we need to talk about?” conversation before bed? when since we get so petty ¬†and dependent on social media for assurance? My God.

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Social Commentary

My two cents: Andrew Holness, the “Champion bwoy”

 

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Now, I had my doubts about Andrew’s leadership capabilities at first, just like everyone else did I would imagine. I mean, those undated resignation letters last year highlighted a very impulsive and arrogant opposition leader that I couldn’t picture as my Prime Minister. Then the general elections came along, and a transformation was made that I dare say is probably unprecedented in our political history.¬†¬†Andrew’s image moved from being this stiff, impulsive, emotion-less juvenile politician to a very calculated, controlled, fervent and mature-looking leader whom consequently won the hearts of the Jamaican people.Upon victory, he proclaimed himself the champion boy, a direct reference the Dancehall artiste Alkaline’s hit single “Champion bwoy” which the electorate gobbled up cravenly.

He seemingly has also won over the respect and approval of his naysayers within the Jamaica Labour party, as challenges to his leadership these days seem to be a thing of the past. It’s still early, so we can’t say anything too conclusive about his leadership as yet, but the bangarang unfolding within the Peoples National Party (PNP) in recent months has definitely made him more favorable in the eyes of the electorate; a fact which his publicists exploit every chance they get.

He has made some good moves recently, I’ll agree; especially in delivering on some of his promises that we were anticipating; particularly his $1.5 million tax break. But there’ still a lot more that needs to be done before he gets assigned a passing grade. Public relations are on point yes, but that alone won’t translate into votes 3 and a half years from now. I’m still waiting to see how he will address unemployment (especially among youth) with more sustainable fixes and not another call center. I’m very interested to see how he and his economic council will handle the IMF programme which I might add was under excellent management by the former Minister of Finance, Dr Peter Phillips. Crime and violence in our country is climbing like a wildfire, and I’m eager to see the plans he has up his sleeve to remedy this problem. You see, being young, likable and good with communicating to the people is only 40% of the job. The other 60% is governing the country. Let’s watch how he governs.

 

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Lifestyle

Who dives first (if at all)? He or She

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Is oral sex still a taboo in Jamaica? is it slowly becoming a norm? or is it a normative practice already but still facing resistance from a few¬†stubborn traditionalists? Well, to me in any society, culture is the driver of norms and value systems and I think it’s safe to say our culture has accepted oral sex as a part of conventional intercourse, but to an extent. Unfortunately for our trying culture, this acceptance is embraced on the heels of a double standard hell-bent on standing firm, “’cause badman nu bow”. So maybe¬†it’s the men, some of them at least,¬†whom are holding back culture from fully leveling the playing field. But¬†have you ever stopped to think that maybe the women, some of them at least, have something to do with this as well? I think some of¬†the women actually encourage this double standard and here’s why I say it.

When Dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel, whom I would credit for being the instigator of this cultural revolution, came out with the hit single “freaky gyal”, at first it was met with mixed reviews. Of course the men praised him for coming out so bold and machismo with it, but most women were either quiet about their opinions¬†or vaguely rejected the song.¬† After a time now, when the song started to climb the radio waves and dominate the radios of every taxi and coaster bus, women sneakingly started to change their minds; this started with quiet nods of their heads¬†to the song when it was being played in the party, taxi, bus, anywhere; to now where women gyrating with conviction to this anthem¬†of ¬†sexual liberation.

The way the woman is portrayed in these song lyrics,¬†seems to be¬†very¬†empowering to some¬†(though submissive) and I beg to argue that the female community have actually come to appreciate this (subconsciously). But, let’s bring the discussion back to where it was intended to go, which is to have some discourse on the aforementioned title: who dives first? Maybe next time we can explore this double standard more in length.

For all my intelligent readers out there, by “dive” in the title of this piece I am inferring oral sex; and based on the social context I have just set, I am also assuming both parties are comfortable, capable and willing to perform such practice on each other. I decided to take this one¬†to¬†the streets of social media and whatsapp, and asked a few people the question, Who dives first (if at all)? He or She? Here were their responses:

Lee-Ann*, 22 y.o, stage actor:

“..Isn’t that a part of foreplay? That question makes me think there’s hesitation on both parties part. I guess whoever enjoys giving oral.”

Thanto*, 25 y.o, recording artiste:

“..Dependent on the dynamics. The aggressor should initiate OS then the other, based on the understanding, return or get into penetration mode. But sex is very complex because the aggressor might not be a bowaz and would want the other to get it going. Its weird caz sex varies from person to person.

David*, 19 y.o, CARIMAC student:

“Hardly think it matters. I’d hope two adults having sex are doing so because they want to both enjoy themselves and please each other. Similarly, I assume anyone giving oral sex wants to do it so I doubt it is as calculated as “who goes first” in most instances. Whoever wants to go first should I suppose. A part of the beauty of sex is the element of surprise/spontaneity.”

Felix*, 30 y.o, teacher:

“I don’t think the responsibility to initiate oral sex should be that of one partner. Both parties should initiate whenever they please. Speaking from the heterosexual framework which I think this question was posed from, the culture of some Jamaican male is to not engage in oral sex and as such the notion is that females should initiate and be the only ones who do it. A power play dynamic is always present…. The lens is broader tho and I stick to my first point, the responsibility to initiate is not the job of only one party”

Janice*, 30 y.0, accountant:

“it depends on the feeling, and it depends on the persons and what each person is feeling for at that time. caz sometimes yuh have a man who just wants to eat! and the woman doesn’t want to return the favor then if that case he wud initiate. But what if the girl has been thinking about sucking his dick all day and he’s not thinking along those lines then she would be the one to initiate.”

Rodney*, 25 y.o, herbalist:

“gyal dem fi start it off bredda, cause without a proper erection sex will not be sex; but just two people fooling around. I think it should be the duty of the woman fi clean the rifle and kick off the game, cause a wet front from me giving her head won’t get my dick hard. there can be moments though when the man step up to the plate and kick it off; me personally like fi deal with it when me see seh she come home tired and moody; and mi deeven ask fi nuh sex after. But you see anytime mi do that G, next morning under the sheets me wake up with it inna her mouth; a just how the thing set. Cause my¬†girl good like that. is a¬†give and take sometimes, but by right woman fi kick it off under normal circumstances.”

Camille*, 22 y.o, writer:

“Listen, I don’t care who does it first all I know is I love sucking my man’s dick; and I think other girls would once they give it a shot. My man used to be one of those dudes acting all tough like him don’t waah do it too, but after I did it once and told him he wouldn’t get it again unless he did it to me, nigga wake me up one night and sucked me dry lol. And best believe, my man is a gangsta according to society’s standards. But I guess when you’re in a relationship compromises can be made, and this business about who dives first becomes trivial. I still love giving it to him though, first or second it don’t matter”

Well, there you have it. Ordinary Jamaicans young and old¬†giving their views on who should dive first. Some believe it doesn’t matter, and that sex should be allowed to flow in the direction it wants to go; others are adamant that someone has to start¬†the oral¬†for the¬†sex to actually happen. Personally, I say before getting into that position with someone try to have some¬†constructive dialogue with them¬†about it; play devil’s advocate and test your partner’s tolerance level before getting into the sheets with them. That way when you guys go to bed, there are less uncertainties because you know what turns to take on your way to the promise land. Oh, and practice safe sex everyone. Peace.

*Disclaimer: identities of respondents were changed for security reasons.

-GB

 

 

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Lifestyle

My Two cents: for the Broke, Unemployed and Ambitious young Jamaican

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Student loans to payback, work experience, first car, first apartment, first million….do these terms look familiar to you? I mean there are others but these seem to stand out in the minds of most millennials. These are the terms that haunt us every day in the shower, on the treadmill, while driving, while cooking, having sex (sometimes lol) and while doing just about anything these days. It’s nerve wrecking isn’t it? Especially when you’re based in Jamaica where all¬†you see on the news is incremental increases in unemployment and promises of more jobs which for some reason all seem to be linked to the opening of a new¬†call center. Hmm.

Well here’s my two cents: if opportunities are lacking in Jamaica, try maths up a visa and get out.¬†No, I’m not encouraging you to¬†emigrate, but do it more so personal and professional development; especially if the options locally seem nil for you. It’s nonsensical to spend thousands/millions in school to settle for opportunities that only offer a fraction of that investment. The fact that our politicians have royally flushed the country down the drain over the years with their ¬†corrupted politicking should not be your burden to bear. Go into the world and claim better for yourself.

-GB

 

 

 

 

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Politics, Leadership and Governance

The PNP of today – the People’s National Poppy-show

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The People’s National Party of today, has become the People’s National Poppy-show; and everybody from green to orange to neutral can see it for themselves. Just a small disclaimer for your preconceived notions, I am not a die-hard Labourite or a newly recruited member of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) who is attacking the People’s National Party (PNP) for political points. No. I’m just a young person, who is concerned about what once was the leadership of our country. Now, from readings on our Jamaican political history, it was quite evident that this was once a movement meant for the upliftment and progression of Jamaica land we love; putting all petty things aside to achieve this overarching mission. But the recent happenings over the last two years have left me in a state of bewilderment; and it leads me to wonder if these people really know what they are doing. The JLP ¬†being the underdogs for the last 2 decades have actually proved themselves over the last 7 months, and they must be credited for their style of politicking.
The current leadership of the PNP is the worst I have seen in years, and there is evidence to support my harsh words. Madam Portia Simpson Miller (PSM) and her senior counterparts have significantly  dissolved the trust and respect comrades and Jamaicans alike once had for the party, with effortless grace and style. Values of integrity, accountability, transparency, unity and decency have been demoted to mere talking points to get the crowd going at a political rally; but we seldom see these values being put into practice.
As a young and neutral enthusiast of Jamaican politics I have to question Madam PSM’s integrity when I see last year during the pre-election period, her Health Minister Dr Fenton Ferguson and fellow comrade almost run the Health Ministry into the ground and escape any sort of retribution fitting for ¬†failed ministers. In fact, because they are such good comrades she gave the boss another Ministry to do a wonderful job with; presuming the Jamaican people would return them to government. Her arrogance as well during the political race, and the immaturity and mediocre political strategies employed by her team leads me to wonder again if this is a group of people who know what they are doing! All predictions from political pundits suggested beyond reasonable doubt that PNP had that election in the bag, but it was the wit and decisiveness of the JLP that gave them the extra inches in the race to clinch it.
Now, fast forward a few months post-election, and they seemed to be humbled and in a state of reflection and planning. But no one could avoid the bangarang caused by the former MP and State Minister of Entertainment and Tourism the Honorable Damion Crawford and two seniors in the party, General Secretary Paul Burke and especially Senator Dr. Angela Brown-Burke. What a hot mess! Husband and wife attacking the adopted son of the PNP, who was and still is arguably one of Jamaica’s most beloved young politicians. It was distasteful and eye-opening to see the bitterness and tension that existed between the young and old of the party. That is probably when the Poppyshow begun, and I think we’re in for a few many more episodes because this story line doesn’t seem to be climaxing any time soon.
And then there is now, this campaign finance scandal that the PNP seniors are actually trying to justify. It is corruption, CO-RRUP-TION; and I think they are still so caught up in their arrogance that they can’t seem to realize their wrongs. Norman Horne, the former PNP Treasurer, is a hero of democracy for releasing those reports, because wrong is wrong and right is right; despite the color it is dipped in. This is why our governance is so slow and retrogressive compared to other nations with even limited resources than us. This thinking that there is a place for corruption and dictator- style politics is how you erode a democracy, not preserve it. And the JLP is not innocent of corruption either; in fact they are probably worse.
So, here’s my advice to the PNP: fix ¬†your leadership if you want to move forward. Madam Portia Simpson Miller has been an incredible stateswoman and her contribution to Jamaica’s politics and development is unprecedented, and we appreciate her for that. But the fact is, her time has passed. The “Mama P” superwoman appeal she once had with the electorate has now been replaced by an old, stubborn grandma afraid to pass on the baton to the next generation. Dr Karl Blythe needs to have several seats also, because by no means am I implying he is the alternative. Youth, in the party like Lisa Hanna, Julian Robinson, Raymond Pryce, Damion Crawford and Dayton Campbell to name a few are the fixers the party needs and I can almost guarantee that if they are given a chance to make magic happen, it will. I’m not suggesting however that all the seniors be packed into a coaster bus and sent to retirement, but there needs to be a more equal blend between the young and the old. With that sort of structure, it invites new ideas and perspectives to contend the traditional ones and this is how they will create the contemporary solutions their party needs. Lastly, the bangarang and passa passa between old and new generations needs to end; indefinitely. Michael Manley must be begging Jesus to send him back after seeing the Poppyshow his PNP has turned into. Come on comrades, you all know and can do better than this.
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Lifestyle

UWI Mona Demystified: 7 pieces of advice to help you in your first year

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Woi! Big up yourself and welcome to the Pelican family. The University of the West Indies Mona is arguably the flagship tertiary institution of all tertiary institutions in Jamaica, and now that you’re a UWI fresher that makes you a pretty big deal *pops collar*. But don’t get too jumpy, as UWI is no bed of roses. From the struggle with Monadisconnect to Beehive tough gravel rice, there are so many hurdles you will have to jump on your daily commute to and from or on the campus. But rest assured, I have compiled a list of 7 pieces of solid advice, based on personal experience and the experiences of others before me, that could make your life way easier if you try them out:
1. Get your Foundation courses buried from now. 
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You’ll be required to do 3 mandatory foundation courses during your stay at the UWI Mona. These are Critical Reading and Writing, Science and Technology and Caribbean Civilization. Now, according to UWI, the order in which you do them is up to you since you’re an adult and have your life all figured out. Most of you would’ve done Caribbean studies in sixth form, so it makes sense to use that faculty of knowledge while it’s still fresh and bury these courses. Don’t wait until your third year, when your final year courses are at their hardest and then run the risk of failing and having to go summer school or spend an extra semester/year. ¬†Save your pocket the stress, and bury them from now
2. Use your Thursdays wisely and Join a club/society
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Clubs and societies are the foundation blocks of UWI Mona, and second to the halls of residences are significant drivers of culture on campus. They are also excellent spaces to build your social and professional network, in and outside of the UWI. Visit the Office of Student Services and Development to collect a free booklet and in this you’ll find the most comprehensive directory of all registered clubs and societies currently active on campus. Through clubs and societies the possibilities are really endless, and with this recent interest from Corporate Jamaica in these entities over the last 5 years, the benefits are bound to double up. Some great clubs to check out this year are the UWI Marketing Association (UMA), UWI Banking League, CARIMAC Students’ society and the UWI Young Investors Club
3. You can leave campus and buy food, detention-free
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When it comes to food choices on campus, unfortunately there is where the UWI Mona has fallen short. Choices for a while now have been limited to fast food, “snackables” and traditional Jamaican cooked food. To those of you with a wild appetite, I know this feels like a punch in the stomach but don’t worry, the options are actually quite bountiful. A simple walk over UTECH will present Burger King and Island Grill at your disposal, and further down the road Wendy’s, Pizzahut and the infamous Sovereign food court awaits you. Also, use up the free bus; it’s your miscellaneous fees at work.
4. Don’t skull tutorials¬†
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Better you neglect on your lectures than your tutorials in all honesty, because you can pretty much lecture yourself from reading the slides. Tutorials now, are supplementary learning that serve to reinforce the lesson delivered in a lecture. So you see, lectures pretty much touch on the surface but tutorials dig into the flesh. For that deeper understanding (that you’ll be tested on) about the course, go to your tutorials.
5. Make friends with people in higher years than you
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It might seem a little intimidating at first, but older students are not as mean as they usually look. That look we have is sometimes a result of the stress of 2nd and 3rd year courses, but for the most part you can get help if you ask the right way. I’m not saying you should be weird and go up to a group of seniors asking them to be your friend. No. Try to go through a friend of a friend, link with them through a club/society/sport or start a conversation if you see them one away. UWI people are actually nice…….sometimes. Having friends who have been there and done that will undoubtedly help you better navigate through the darkness of your first year.
6. Treat this year as if it counted towards your degree 
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The determination of your degree class actually starts in your second year, a fact often not adequately emphasized upon in orientation activities. I would like to believe the UWI Mona does this because they don’t want students to deliberately under-perform, and while I agree with them to this extent, I still think this is information you guys should know from the start. Try your best to break your own academic expectations in first year and get a high GPA. Going into 2nd year with a good GPA is easier to maintain than if you had a bad one, for obvious reasons.
7. Don’t fall in love
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The only thing you should be loving during your 3-5 years of study is OURVLE, your respective syllabi and YOURSELF. Ladies especially, he could be the most “perfectest” guy you’ve ever met, don’t drop the catch. Most guys at UWI and college in general, only have one thing in mind for their experience: Up the number from high school and experience everything (well, not every EVERY THING but you know what I mean). Manz dem, a serious relationship can be expensive and physically strenuous and with the pressures that UWI will already advance on you, you may very well crash and burn. Leave love for after your first degree, in fact, after your masters when you money up and you’re wise enough to see through the fakers. But of course, there are exceptions to this piece of advice and if you happen to find such an exception then work with it. Just don’t get too lost in the grandeur that is love.
-GB
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Art and Poetry

Together

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The energy between them was like nothing they’d ever felt before.

A force undiscovered by man, but very present between them. It was a strange, unexpected phenomenon that neither could control. All he knew was that when she looked into his eyes she could see him whole and naked, skin desecrated with insecurities of his past. A man, tainted by his mistakes but made stronger by his triumphs. Defeated so many times, he started to accept it as his destiny

Until he met her..
She was the light that brought his world back from a point of no return. She was the strength that he needed to balance the expectations of the world on his shoulders.
She was his fix, and he was hers. He helped her to love again, with her heart first and not the altar of her womb
To hug again with kindness and not senseless obligation
To kiss again, eyes closed while her imagination leads her to somewhere magical
Wounds of heartbreak and misfortune, he healed with his love
He kept her alive, carried her on his back when she was too weak to continue
He supported her
They were partners in this lifetime, and whatever awaited them beyond
They were wine to each’s tongue and a crown to each’s temple
They became one heart, one soul and one reason to exist
They were… Together
-G.B
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