Friday, 27 September 2013

ALLEN CHASTANET, THE MICHAEL JACKSON OF LUCIAN POLITICS

Except He Can’t Dance, I’ve Seen Him, He Can’t)

 

Allen Chastanet is everything that Michael Jackson wishes he was when he was born.

He’s black, at least partly so, but no one can tell and so he gets to live in the best of both worlds. He’s got that ‘good hair’ that pale skin that blushes in both heat and cold and he’s got that slightness of nose and lip that everyone secretly longs for – except for Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler and Natalie La Porte, whose very careers depend on their nasal and labial excesses.

Poor guy. If only he was Allen Chastanet instead....
 
Michael Jackson didn’t want to be an oreo – black on the outside and white on the inside. He wanted the exact opposite. He wanted to have the soul and substance of the black man, all nicely packaged in Allen Chastanet’s tall, Nordic genetically superior form. He wanted to look like Thor doing the moonwalk.

If Michael Jackson had been born looking like Allen Chastanet, he would be the absolute ruler of the world. All his insecurities would have disappeared in sheath of translucent skin that, to him, represented everything that was right with the world.

Allen Chastanet as a child. Not that we're saying he was over-privileged...
 
Allen Chastanet, meanwhile, has everything going for him that Michael Jackson didn’t. But our Golden Boy is scornful of his good fortune and deeply, deeply resentful of the proudest part of his heritage.  He is one of the few mixed breeds who could really have it both ways, not to mention THE ONLY ONE at present who NEEDS to have it both way. But deep down in his truest self, he can’t stomach the truth,(not even 25% of it) far less exploit it for necessary political gain.

Tell me it isn’t true, Gail. Deny that he hasn’t resisted bringing out his black grandmother, when everyone knows that she is his biggest unexploited political goldmine.  Tell me you’ve seen the heartical, black, rootscore 25% African chromosome that his grandmother from Bacara left to him for a great political inheritance. You can’t. Why? May I suggest the perhaps he just doesn’t want to be ALL the Allen Chastanet he can be.
Perhaps he only wants to be the lily white 75%. The rest of it offends his veined, blonde haired nostrils.

Perfect Example of 'White' St Lucian, Exhibit A
 
A Duboulay, a Devaux or a Peterkin running for office would not make this mistake. Of course, all these people already know how to speak like and be accepted as Lucians when it is appropriate and necessary. Even Fred Devaux is blacker than Allen Chastanet. (And while Fred Devaux has repeatedly asserted his St Lucian-ness, he has NEVER, EVER pretended to be black.)

Allen Chastanet doesn’t want to live in the best of both worlds. He never has. He never will. He never endeavored to be part of the real world of ordinary St Lucians outside of basketball and politics. He never learned how to speak English like a Lucian, much less Kweyol. He never even took a bus, so he could know firsthand what it’s really like for the average person from, for example, a place like Soufriere.

Chastanet is so deeply self-deceived, so totally overcome by the spirit of the self-hating Negro that he is,  in moments of candor, very plain and forthcoming about how  his self-hatred,  as a Negro, will result in disastrous policy. Even his vision of tourism and development, if such thing can be called vision, is not a balance of all good things, but a one track minded rejection of everything that is not big, Miami-style tourism and real estate development. He says over and over that St Lucia needs to make some choices about what it is and where it is heading, and his choice, over and over, is throw out the baby and the bathwater and sell the damned basin since there will be no need for bathing anyway.

Macro-economic self-loathing, so to speak.

With a $50,000 a month phone bill. Lol.

Don’t even ask for agricultural restoration. For Chastanet alone, ‘food security is bullshit.’ Building the agricultural basis of a nation is backward and wasteful, to him. What matters is….well, you know what he thinks matters. You know his history.  If you don’t, just ask Joe the water tours boat captain near Pigeon Island.  Joe Knows. Joe almost lost his little tour business with Sandals to Caribbean Sailing, a much bigger company that just happened to be owned by Allen’s dad.

And guess who happened to be tourism minister at the time.

But perhaps it is unfair to assign such deep psychological self-distortion to race alone. Both Michael and Allen show signs of insecurity that far outstrip any racial consciousness or self-loathing. Perhaps the issue with Allen is not that he can’t embrace his blackness, but that he does not, under any circumstances, choreographic, commercial or political, have the right moves.

He has already proven that he can’t run a small sub-regional airline, that he can’t get any of his former bosses to speak in glowing terms of his career achievements, that he can’t win an election against a man that many people make fun of because of his accent and that he can’t tell that you shouldn’t try to sell a beach before an election.

In short, that nigga just can’t dance.

As messed up as Michael  was at the end, as bleached out and carved up and drugged out as he was, at least he still had moves. At least he could dance. At least he still had soul.

Kenny, are ok? Are you ok, Kenny? You been hit by, you been struck by...."
 

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A SELF HATING NEGRO

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

I know you always wanted to just 'white' your way through life.

I know that you wouldn't wish that black grandmother from Bacara on your worst enemy. Who wouldn't want excel in life and exceed all expectations as the white son of a multi-millionaire? No one would trade that in for the dubious privilege of having some black baker woman slaving away over an oven in the ghetto, lurking around your past, infesting your gene pool with her un-blonde-ness.

All  this is made so much more complicated by the fact that while your Daddy is the one with the Moolah, he is also the one with the Black Gene that could random pop up and destroy future generations of your offspring.

But there is no need to be ashamed. No need to wake in the night screaming and sweating because Black Boogie Grandmother is running you down in your nightmares. There are others like you. And they are not ashamed. They cool with it. Most of them. Let us share stories of the other quarter blacks with you.

Jennifer Beal. Flashdance. The L Word. Super hot. She has an Irish American mother and an African-American...what? Too black for you? Bad example? Ok. Let's try again.

Kris Humphries. Kim Kardashian's ex. Quarter black. For real. Kim is consistent. She wants the taste of chocolate. See? There are some advantages to being melanin enhanced. You are  never going to find some Nordic blonde sporting that self-aggrandizing trophy called Kim K. A dubious honor for men of African descent everywhere. But a great ass. The perfect Saturday night girl.

Michael Gladwell, successful author of The Outliers, Tipping Point and Blink. British father and Jamaican...hmmm, too black? The mother might be a shabine....you should keep your mind open...
 

Okay, before you write her off, she's half-black but her black in Latino Black so it doesn't really...fine. Too black, bad example.

Maya Rudolph. Saturday Night Live sensation and daughter of soul legend....nevermind. Too black. Bad example.

Pete Wentz. The good looking one from Fall Out Boy. Quarter black. Apparently, he uses a flat iron to get that emo boy look. Without it, he has a natural 'fro. Mother's family is mixed race Jamaican. Black grandfather served as US Ambassador to Sierra Leone. Cousin to Colin Powell.

Rashida Jones. So light skinned and Euro, she gets white roles easily. Accomplished actress. The Office. Parks & Recreations. Daughter of Quincy Jones. What's that? Too black? Sorry. Bad example. I'll try to keep it at less than half. Don't want to over extend you.

Slash. Legendary guitarist born in England to a Jamai...nevermind. Too black. Bad example.

Soledad O'Brien. CNN Anchor, daughter of an Afro-Cuban...too black, bad example.

Wentworth Miller. Played the young version of Anthony Hopkins in The Human Stain about a mixed race man who secreted his Negritude. Also starred in Prison Break and that Mariah Carey video where....oh they're all the same. Unlike Hopkins, Miller wasn't pretending to be mixed race. He has nof negritude, insisting that his mixed race father is Black. He ain't running from nothing. He's embracing it.
 
Too black, bad example.

Too black, bad example.

Too black, bad example.

Whoa! You must be joking? This guy considers himself a person of color? This guy has a black father? Whoa! I have to give those Vin Diesel movies a second chance. Because it's not that race changes anything. It's that truth improves everything.
 
So what do you say, bro? You want to give it a try? You don't have to be all black. Just an honest to good 25%. Don't feel like you're all alone. Your wife is a DuBoulay. The DuBoulay boys will help you. They are experts at being perfectly St Lucian. Which in our society is just as good as being black.
 
(Frankly, I don't know how some of it didn't rub off on you before.)

Friday, 20 September 2013

THE POWER & THE LEGACY OF ST MARY’S COLLEGE


Girls may run the world, but College boys rule St Lucia! Which is why it is so important that they are not trained to be backward, obedient little robots.
 



 
College Boy. Probably thinks boys should cut their hair. But probably doesn't think boys should be kept out of class. Broke the rules by daring to be something everyone said was impossible.
 
College Boy. Insisted that progressive (not backward) education is the most important thing for poor people.
 

You cannot understate the importance, the influence and the power of the Samarians in St Lucia.

It’s a wonder that conspiracy theory never fingered that institution as a secret lodge for indoctrinating young boys into the power and money circles of St Lucian society. In effect, that’s what it is.



Think about this:

Out of seven St Lucian prime ministers, only two did not attend St Mary’s. One was an accident and the other was a  genius who later elected to go to UWI instead of Oxford. There have been more parliamentarians who attended SMC than any other two schools on the island. Both political leaders of the two major parties are Samarians. In every single election that has ever taken place in St Lucia, a Samarian has been named prime minister, regardless of which party won. Except of  course for that one Vieux  Fort Comprehensive School boy who is  still the only person at UWI to do a double major and get first class honors for both.

College boy. Broke the rules to liberate the peasant workers  from oppression.

College Boy. Broke the rules by abandoning Flambeau for Labour just before the became the worst government in the small islands for the 21st century.
 
Samarians run the banks, the government and the biggest businesses and they dominate the legal fraternity, the magistracy and the judicial benches.

You cannot understate the importance and the power of St Mary’s College. It is the single most effective breeding ground for power in the Eastern Caribbean. SMC probably has  the highest number of Nobel Laureates per capita of any school in the world apart from Harvard and Oxford.

To be the Principal of St Mary’s College is like being the Dean and the President of Harvard at the same time. It is a unique and rare honor reserved for the very, very few. In hindsight, I can see that every single Principal of St Mary’s College whom I knew personally was, at his core, a truly great man. Mr Mondesir, Father Clovis and yes, Mr Seon. They were all exemplary citizens, shining examples of St Lucian greatness in one way or another. I can’t speak for the reign of the Presentation Brothers, but for my generation, the black St Lucians who were the Commanders of Samaria have,  without exception, been great men and gentlemen.

It is only fitting. For there can only be one Commander of Samaria at a time.  He HAS to be a great citizen. He HAS  to be historic in his own right.

My own Principal, the Great Michael ‘Kyak’ Mondesir,  I judged rather harshly during my time as a quiet, young rebel at the College. I thought he was an old wacko who had nothing better to  do than obsess about long tails at the backs of our heads, when our eyes were red and our thoughts well toasted, right before his na├»ve eyes.

With hindsight, I can see that Mr Mondesir was a progressive for his time.

He probably  knew better than to ruin good boys for predictable acts of rebellion.  He knew he couldn’t stop us from smoking ganja. He also knew he couldn’t give it the most tacit approval. And so, he held us by our little pony tails and ‘negotiated’ with us on several different fronts.  He made us understand that we were not  to take our stolen liberties for granted.

But I was never kept out of class for failing to cut off the stupid, vain piece of hair at the back of my head. None of us were. In fact, when we were caught making beast from class, the first thing he would do is send us back to class. Punishments would come later. Not getting an education was not an option.

College Boy. Broke the rules by challenging an extremely bad leader instead of being a loyal little follower like he was expected to be.
 
For years after not being allowed to graduate, I held Mr Mondesir in high esteem because in spite of our last great battle, I realize what he was one of the few people holding me back from the brink of a rebellion I had started too early. He held on until it  was time to let go and he gave me a hard lesson on the way out.

But he never kept me from class.  He never kept us waiting on the bench for hours. It was cane now or cane after school, but it didn’t take ten minutes for him to dispatch a student back to class. Much less to exile a form one from class for two weeks!

College Boy. And living proof  the Walcott is no fluke or aberration. Breaks the rules by continuing to grow hair that Seon is convinced will open the door to hell and damnation.
 
The Principal of St Mary’s College and Commander of All Samarians carries  a great weight. The future of a government, banks, the education system, the courts, business and commerce starts under his wing. In a way, everything depends on him. He can create a climate that perpetuates nonsensical, conservative values that cling to the past. He can foster an environment that embraces the future and cultivates true excellence. He can decide the balance of style over substance that will rule society for decades after he, himself, is dead.

The Principal of St Mary’s College, by being the common father and absolute general of these brightest little boy soldiers, has a responsibility to the future. The past may inform the way he deals with his responsibilities, but he has no responsibilities to the past, only gratitude.

The Principal of St Mary’s College has more of a duty to prepare the boys for the world of tomorrow. He has to be living tomorrow before they are so that he is prepared for the true dangers they face. He absolutely CANNOT be caught up in the past, rehashing values that have been shown to be irrelevant at best and flat out racist, at worst. He must be the one teaching the boys that what you are inside is what matters.

College Boy. Broke the rules by painting Mother Mary and the Christ Child, not just as Black, but as Lucians.
 
He cannot be the one who is standing up for an archaic policy of shaming black boys into covering their nappy heads, because it is not presentable. He cannot be the one encouraging them to negotiate with the stupidity of the status quo. He cannot be the one advising them to go only halfway into the future.

He ought to be the one telling them that these values are false and were meant to denigrate Africans down to their very soul and make them think they are ugly for life. He ought to be the one telling them that they are strong, handsome black men and they only have to make their inner light exceed their outer light and the kingdoms of heaven and earth will be theirs.

As for being the one who restrains them from the edge, as Mr Mondesir restrained me – Mr Rohan Seon ought to spend a lot more time focusing on alcohol and marijuana use by students than on the length of their hair and whether they cover it up or not. St Lucia has the highest lifetime prevalence of alcohol use among teens in the entire Caribbean and boys are most at risk.

Seek out those kids. They’re the ones who actually need your attention.

These kids with the hair and the braids and the plaits, they just need you to leave them the hell alone while they try to get some work done and finish off their youth without feeling like damned prisoners of conscience.
El Commandante - learning the hard way that you can't fight the future and escape unscathed. Finding it hard to accept that he is fighting for the future, not defending the past.
 

THE LEGEND OF LUTHER FRANCOIS’ HAIR


Bibiana Williams's son is not the first victim of hair discrimination at SMC. Hopefully, he's just the last in a long line of Afro-St Lucians unnecessarily persecuted for pride in their hair-itage.
 

It was the late 1960s.

Revolution was not quite in the air yet,  but the sticks were beginning to rub together. Luther Francois, the greatest St Lucian composer/musician of all time,  was a teenager at St Mary’s College. Luther, like many free thinkers, did not quite understand the society’s obsession with short haired men and like many progressive youth, allowed his Afro-mane to flourish past the point of politeness.

Hunter's lucky Seon wasn't his Principal, otherwise he would also be deprived of an education for the crime of Growing Hair While Black and Male.
 
Of course, he attracted the attention of the Presentation Brothers, themselves legends in the lore of St Mary’s. The Brother who was the Principal tumbled down in Luther’s skin for his long hair, an Afro so big that it was sensitive to the wind and had scary political, spiritual and ideological overtones.

Luther was sent home until such time as his Chaos-inducing revolutionary hairstyle was nothing more than a few piles of black woolly garbage. The teenager who would grow up to be his island’s greatest musician accepted.

Luther’s father, Hunter found him not long afterward.

“Why,” the good father asked, “are you not at school where you are supposed to be?”

Luther explained in the same quiet, matter of fact, fearless, gentle way he still speaks.

Luther's friend, the celebrated poet Kendel Hippolyte would probably have to sit on the bench in Seon's world too, for his Chaos-creating locks
Hunter Francois was livid. But he didn’t let his son see. He didn’t let his son know what he was going to do next. He simply instructed him to make sure that he went to school the next day. And then, he had a conversation, the actual facts of which shall never be known to anyone but Hunter Francois and the Presentation Brother who was  the Principal at the time.

The next day, Luther Francois went to school as though everything was perfectly normal. When he arrived, he found his Principal red and puffy with rage and or embarrassment. It’s hard to tell the difference with white people sometimes, especially when they are in positions of authority.

“How could you do that?” the Principal screamed.

Luther must have thought, “I didn’t do anything to you, you did it to yourself.”

Hunter Francois, you see, was the current Minister of Education. The Principal’s principles were not strong enough to override his own addiction to the chain of command and his subservience to authority. He could not stand up to authority and he was trying to teach the boys to be just like him. Hunter Francois would have none of it. Good Neg had to be free from unreasonable rules. And good teachers had to be focused on what was in children’s heads not  what was on it.
Walter  Rodney - yet another troublemaker whose uncovered hair would end the world of discipline and order as we know it. People like that have to be stopped. right Mr Seon?
 

And so, for the duration of the seventies, College Boys wore Afros, unhindered by school authorities, in spite of all the negative Black Power, socialist, communist and anti-establishment connotations of the hair styles. Some of the better, more exalted citizens of today wore the offensive hair styles back them – among them none other than a certain Prime Minister Kenny D Anthony.

“So the moral of the story is that Luther was lucky his father was the Minister of Education?” you say.

If you think  that Hunter Francois had  that effect because he was the Minister of Education, you are sorely mistaken. Hunter Francois had that effect because HE WAS HUNTER FRANCOIS. He was not domesticated,  he was not toeing the line, he was not where he was because he played along and played the game. He was a St Lucian legend already,  back then, in his late 30s, early 40s, a giant among men. More importantly, he was not a coward.  And he was not willing to negotiate politely with stupidity and backwardness.
You better cover up them, dreads, Bob, otherwise, no class for you at SMC!

As for you, Dwight Venner, you better not even come up  Vigie, because you are just  not SMC material with that nasty salt and pepper thing you have manifesting on your head.

So Mr Seon, should I cover my hair before you pray to Me? Does my long hair also lead down the road the Chaos, Rowan? Is that what my long hair  means to you, son?
 

Thursday, 19 September 2013

BRIGHT BOY KICKED OUT OF CLASS FOR NOT COVERING HAIR

NO, NO, NO, NO! NOT MR SEON! PLEASE TELL ME MR SEON IS NOT PART OF THE STUPIDITY AND SENSELESSNESS OF THE STATUS QUO!

by Old Samarian (Hanging His Head In Shame)


There was a time when poor boys had zero chance of attending St Mary's College. I know. My grandfather placed top five in the Eleven Plus exams in 1938, but he had to come back to school the next year as a teacher's assistant because a fisherman's son couldn't afford the prestigious, classist college.

But those days are over, aren't they?

Even Ras Tafarians have attended St Mary's College, no? SMC is a bastion of advancement, progressive thinking and rewarded for excellent substance over convention and style, isn't it? Especially under the intelligent and thoughtful Mr Rowan Seon who is propelling the school out of its backward ways into the 21st century.

Prinipal Seon says this little Neg Marron can't go to class at St Mary's College unless he conforms to the System, bends to the shape that Society wants him to and submits to Authority in every single way. Seon doesn't care if you're bright or well behaved. What matters right now is that Neg must chop down and be a good likkle Baldhead if he wants to be a College Boy. Principal Seon used to be so cool.  What happened to that guy?
 
 
So what  is this bright little black boy who scored over 93% on the Common Entrance Exam, ranked 23rd in the island overall and has no behavioural problems doing sitting on the bench outside the Principal's office, prevented from going to class as though he was a terrorist or a health risk to all the other children?

As unbelievable as it sounds, the enlightened Principal Mr Rowan Seon, he who has lashed out at the status quo and general stupidity in some of the greatest calypsos in St Lucia, is the one responsible. It is his opinion that the bright little black boy who just passed for SMC should not be allowed to go to class until he obeys one of SMC's most archaic and senseless rules.

The little Neg Marron soldiers on, studying the few notes that he has, trying to get homework assignments from others and trying to keep up, even though his Principal and teachers are at war with him and are denying him his Right to An Education, as set down in the Universal Rights of The Child. Because the fight for freedom is never over and the Adversary comes in forms that the Strugglers never expect.
 
Basically, Seon has ruled that the boy cannot go to class until he has covered his plaits. Days are turning into weeks. Seon does not alleviate the suffering. He is ruthless and merciless. He cannot see what it is cruel and wrong with what he is doing. He cannot see the thousand other ways to achieve his objective. He has the power. And he is using it to keep the boy out of class.

Apparently, Seon believes that if he allows this rebellious, reticent, long haired boy, who never did anything wrong at the school, to enter the classroom, then chaos will prevail. No lie fellas. Our Mr Seon actually said that to me. Long hair in the classroom will lead to chaos. CHAOS. That was his word.

Mr Seon, in spite of being known as a highly intelligent person, is acting as though his ass was so close to the back of his head that it was making him do shit with himself and the reputation of the entire school.

Imagine, a student at St Mary's College prevented from going to class for long hair, when Jesus' hair was way longer than that. Perhaps Mr Seon should force Jesus to cut his hair to, before allowing the good College boys to pray to him?
 
 
The boy's mother, unable to comprehend how a school that survives on public funding can possibly have any say in how her bright little boy wears his hair has refused to submit to the reason-less stupidity. In court, it is a no brainer that any institution accepting public funds will not be able to get away with unconstitutional bullshit by claiming any special private or non-governmental status. Unfortunately, things have gotten to the point where lawyers must get involved and Mr Seon still can't see the sense of letting the boy go to class until such time as the issue is resolved.

Mr Seon also can't see that when he loses this case on unconstitutionality, he will have opened the flood gates, instead of letting one eccentric little borderline genius to have his plaits as though it was no big deal. By resisting the simple, inevitable change, HE is falling into the trap of the being the agent of Chaos.

With the statue of the Virgin Mary standing outside the school. Seon can't see that Jesus himself had long hair. He can't ask himself, "What would Jesus do in this situation?"

And to make things absolutely worse, he couldn't answer the question, "What is the beneficial purpose of the rule that says College Boys must cover their hair?" The best he could come up with is that "The rules are the rules and must be obeyed." Yeah, like the rules that said slaves shouldn't run away from the plantations and that black people should use a different toilet and that women shouldn't get certain jobs, right? Remember those, Mr Seon?

In fact, the rules do not say anything about cutting or covering hair or  the length that hair should be cut to. They say that hair must be properly groomed. The boy's hair is meticulously clean and not a hair was out of place on his head.

So why are you making such an unnecessarily big deal out of this, Sir? Why are you making our beloved SMC look like the last bastion of British colonialistic bullshit? Why are you making this kid suffer, when he is just a symptom of the changing times?

He's a bright kid. The rule is stupid and your interpretation of the rule is regressive. And you can be the bigger person here. Please. Be the bigger man here. I don't want to have to write these stories about my alma mater. I don't want to have to treat my teachers the way I treat politicians.

I beg you.

Look at his  eyes. This is not a boy who will be beaten. He's to bright. In the long run, he will win the game of life. And all this bullshit will just be one of the obstacles in life that made him stronger. Is that how you want to be remembered Mr Seon? After all you have achieved, do you want to be remembered only as the bad guy in this guy's success story? Because make no mistake, HE IS THE HERO HERE. And he will win. Look at his eyes. He can't be broken. His ancestor broke that whip 160 years ago.

THE PUNISHMENT FOR DOING THINGS RIGHT

So last week, we reported on (by which we mean 'mercilessly blasted' WLBL) for allowing minors to enter Green Synergy events and then have the audacity to tell them they weren't allowed to purchase or drink alcohol. As if that constituted social  conscience.

This week, for those at WLBL who may be interested in how to hold a party for the youth, we present good example. Apparently, it was not clear to you that Green Synergy was an adult affair and it  may still not be clear to you why it was not cool to let minors in.
Swan


Wolan
Wolan and Swan are two Indonesian masseuses who are finishing off their contract at one of the north's better hotels. To celebrate the end of their days in St Lucia, they invited a bunch of kids from the Ciceron Home and the Boys Training Center to a party. They called a couple of friends for support. Their humble friends provided transport, food, drink and even horses for the the special fun day at Cas en Bas beach.

They didn't want to be cast as heroes. In fact, they avoided all questions, refusing to give  their last names ("Indonesians don't have last names," she lied,  gracefully). They wanted to do their good  deed in secret - just between them and the kids. It's the first  rule of good  deeds. (Matthew 6)

But because  no good  deed must go unpunished, they will be publicized against their will, as  an example to all those who think the media's presence must be bought for every little laptop they give away.

The day was full of the kind of surprises you couldn't plan.

Among the special stars of the party were St Lucia's only Capoeira crew, a former prime minister, a major hotelier, an up and coming dance troupe....the list is too long. The story is too much. The energy created when good people do good things for no good reason is magical. The small heroism of people who think about the forgotten is unforgettable. It's not enough to say thank you to Wolan and Swan and friends for inventing a special day just for the kids everyone else forgets. It's important to remember and remind others of priceless rewards of reaching out to the forgotten and neglected.

Check out the evidence:

Triple back flip for anything that gets us out of the Massade Boys Training Center. Thank God for beach days, field trips  and excursions. Anyone who has seen conditions at Camp BTC would understand the need to get those boys out of there and into the normal world of kids as often as possible.

Joy is infectitious. Little children catch it easily and spread it even faster.

Rule Number One of kids beach parties - serve lunch at lunchtime.  It makes everyone a lot happier for a lot longer. Rule Number Two: Take embarrassing pics of people eating.

See? We've eaten, we're happy and it's not even one in the afternoon. There's a whole day ahead of us - six hours of splendid daylight and some special  surprises, even though we've already had so much fun.

Now that we've eaten, it's time to kick some butt.  Capoeira style. "You want a piece of me,  Big Black Ninja Man? I'll  massage you into submission."

Or cricket. You know how popular Sammy is these days.  Not even Lebron James and Kobe Bryant can get Lucians kids to stop playing cricket  these days.

Of course,  the mermaids can't stay out of the water no matter what is happening on shore.

I mean, the beach is the really the water, not the sand. Splash!

Scene hot on the Capoeira front. Swan is learning to be a  black Brazilian ninja  style and the boys of BTC  are learning that they  have serious skills that the Capoeira  master respects.
Circles. In Capoeira, there are no straight lines, just like in nature. There are merely forces in balance moving in circles.

The black ninja  style  was developed by runaway Blacks in Brazil who  built their own kingdom called Palmares in the 16th and 17th century. They were very hard to defeat. Their last great warrior king was called  Zumbi. He gave the Portuguese and the Dutch hell. His fighting style was so effective it  survives today and is  a  great influence on mixed martial arts.

Maybe one day, more Lucian kids will want to be like Zumbi.  But  for now,  Darren Sammy is the hot thing. Check out this three-year-old's  form.

He's coming down the pitch...

Pow! It's gone to the boundary! Run, boy! Run!

Co-ed keep-it-up...hmmm, sounds sexy.

And who is this guy? "I'm just the cook," he lies. Sure. And the chicken just dropped out of the sky onto the grill,  the juice and malt,  the water,  soft drinks and beer all just miraculously appeared in coolers on the beach. You had nothing to do with that.  I believe it. I'm totally buying it.

"No, really,  I'm just  the  cook. Does this look like a face  that would lie to you?" No, it doesn't.  Here's your Academy Award.

And who are you? "We're the dancers. Can't you tell?" No.  I don't believe you. "Fine, we'll prove it."

"Satisfied?"
 

Wow, I thought co-ed keep-it-up was cool.  Now, there's Capoeira Co-ed Keep-It-Up.  Stylish.
 
Is that....? Did you have something to do with this, Frenchie? Frenchie? Why  are you avoiding me like I'm the media or something?
 
Mr Prime Minister, thanks for coming.  Now  when you are getting back in the political game. We nee some financial good sense around here.  Plus the Che Guevara beret would probably still look good on you.
 
No way! Horses!

Someone paid for the horsemen to  give  rides to every kid the place.

Twice.

Even grown ups rode.

Kids who never rode before sampled  the ancient  art of mastering a beast that is  bigger and stronger than oneself. It's something our grandparents and great-grandparents took for granted.  But for most kids in this generation (not just the under-privileged) it is  a rare and special treat.

Some, of course,  were already masters on horseback and needed no assistance or supervision.


A few had to overcome their little fears. But that only  made it more  fun.

And some people, could barely get off  the horses.

It was a great day.  It was  a pure day. And though Wolan and Swan will soon be gone, it won't be long before someone else in this same crew thinks of these children again. Because in spite of the culture of selfishness and corporate greed, exploitation and ruthlessness, there will always be people pure enough of heart to be possessed by angels.

See you around.