I don’t have much time for blogging these days because I am very busy with house repairs and hard-to-avoid cousins vacationing in Trinidad. However, those who keep track of mayarobeach.com must have noticed two Trinidad Carnival 2012 photo albums. Taking photographs during Carnival Monday and Tuesday has always been fun and difficult with the biggest challenges being thick crowds, midday sun and the price of beer. Because of a reduction in my Carnival inspiration this year and being followed by irritating cousins, I took less photos. Nevertheless, here are the links to the two Trinidad Carnival 2012 photo albums. One is iPad friendly and one is not.
I suppose it is only the well trained observer who can see how much Carnival has changed over the years.
- Hungarians go crazy over T&T Carnival (repeatingislands.com)
- Carnival in Trinidad: A Spectator’s Report with Photo Gallery (repeatingislands.com)
It seems that the country is getting ready for Carnival 2011 with many taking advantage of the 20% off sale on books at RIK while others are flying out with precious foreign exchange to have a foreign holiday that is used to create an impression they have wealth in the minds of all those they could tell. Our beaches and bars are already flocked with real visitors, returning foreign-accent Trinis and disgruntled public servants. The climax of Trinidad Carnival is mas on the streets of mainly Port of Spain on Carnival Monday and Tuesday with the foreplay being the various competitions and fetes starting weeks before the actual event. When anybody ask me what I will be doing for Carnival this year, I say backing up. I will spend some time backing up my hard drives which is the curse of the digital torrent age. As for photographs, I say “hopefully” as the motivation is getting less and less every year but I will be in Port of Spain on Tuesday. However, I did include some never-before-seen photos for Carnival 2010 at mayarobeach.com in a new album. Click here to see.
The old saying was “Carnival is colour and colour is Kodak” but all that has changed. Now, the new saying in Trinidad and Tobago is “Carnival is pleasure and pleasure is expensive.” Yes, pleasure has a price and sometimes it’s $1,000 per person in Maraval. To be fair, it is an all inclusive event meaning it’s all you can eat, all you can drink and all you can wine between the hours of 2 and 9. But the question is how much can one man or woman eat, drink and wine without getting sick or creating a bad impression in the minds of the ones who did not get too drunk to forget. Yesterday was the first time I had the opportunity to actually see expensive Carnival fete tickets so I had to take a photo and blog for the world to see. At these prices I was expecting the tickets to be the size of on iPad but unfortunately they were regulation size tickets or even smaller, probably in an attempt so as to maximize profits. I wonder if fete promoters pay taxes or if the police will be waiting for those fete-intoxicated drivers? On the positive side, these fetes do bring in foreign exchange as these two tickets were bought with a foreign credit card by a foreigner as I am sure many tickets to Carnival fetes were.
The culture of a country is not only found in the country’s song, dance and shark and bake but also in the full-page ads in the newspapers. In studying the culture of a country most anthropologists and space aliens listen to the drums but miss the real beat drummed out by ad agencies via full-page ads. Some say the newspaper headlines tell the story of a country but as this task of headline creation is usually given to the accountant or janitor at most daily newspapers, headlines can be misleading. Since the cost of one full-page color ad is almost equal to or more than the yearly salary of many workers and public servants in Trinidad and Tobago, it must never be taken lightly. These ads sometimes show, in a subtle way, who are the real power brokers in a country thus who are pulling the strings.
Since there is much to learn from full-page ads this blog decided to take some photos of some of these ads appearing in the daily newspapers over the last few days to document the Carnival season for 2011 and by extension, the mindset of our happy country.
The Bands for this year Carnival are returning to the Savannah causing happiness in some who were previously unhappy. This move back is seen as so important that the theme for Carnival 2K11 is “Back to D’ Savannah” aka “Forget Manning.” The National Carnival Commission, which is the body responsible for organizing Carnival celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago, has a budget of TT$130 million of which TT$45 million is for prizes. The Soca Monach and Chutney Soca Monarch competitions carries the biggest prizes with a first prize of TT$2 million each. These huge prizes caused a reinvigorated Machel Montano to not only enter the Soca Monarch competition after a long absence, but to also to declare on February 4th to a group of adoring fans that included Attorney General Anand Ramlogan, he will lose 20 pounds for the Competition so that he can fly off the stage easier. No doubt, Machel will be on the extremely effective and easy to follow diet by Timothy Ferriss which guarantees followers will lose at least 20 pounds in four weeks without breaking a sweat or eating a chicken roti.
The first prize for Band of the Year is however only TT$1 million which might have something to do with the alleged huge profits band leaders make selling Mas Players bikinis and beads that are used to entertain locally while generating employment overseas. Minister of Arts and Culture and former US Marine, Winston “Gypsy” Peters, has threatened band leaders, and by extension all mas players, with a 1,000 to 2,000 percent increase in taxes on readymade costumes in an effort to create local, glue-gun jobs and show band leaders who is boss.
After years of procrastination, I finally went to The Savannah early one Sunday morning to take photos of the area as my Pentax K-7 begged to be used. I managed to get the typical tourist shots plus some that were not in my mind before. The aim was to take advantage of what some photographers call the Golden Hour – the period just after sunrise and just before sunset. Non-photographers call that period the Jogging Hour but the majority of Joggers with shorts came later than the sunshine. On that Sunday, the sun, like a teenager, struggled to wake up but the light was interesting enough for me. On Carnival Monday and Tuesday the Golden Hour will be earlier but should still make for interesting photographs. Click here for my photos.
“Port of Spain‘s largest open space—and the world’s largest traffic roundabouts—is the Queen’s Park Savannah, known colloquially simply as “the Savannah”. It occupies about 260 acres (1.1 km2)  of level land, and the distance around the perimeter is about 2.2 mi (3.5 km)” – Wikipedia
“In 1817 the parcel of land known as Paradise Estate was sold by the heirs of Madame Peschier to the governing body of the day, the Cabildo, for 6,000 Pounds Sterling as a recreation ground for the citizens of Port of Spain. Seven years later, the Cabildo transferred Paradise Estate for 10,363 Pounds Sterling to the Colonial Government and what is now known as the Queen’s Park Savannah was laid out” – NALIS
“In 1882 the Queen’s Park ordinance was passed to regulate the use of the Savannah. Historical accounts mention that besides cricket and horse racing, athletics, football, hockey, polo and until 1936, golf were played in the Savannah.” – NALIS
- Queen’s Park Savannah Photos 2011 (akalol.wordpress.com)
Port of Spain was one of the eleven cities that was named by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their 1969 antiwar drive called “The War is Over.” Their friend in Trinidad and Tobago was the infamous Michael X aka Michael Abdul Malik aka Abdul Malik. The song Happy Xmas (War Is Over) was written by John Lennon in 1971 and has become a Christmas classic. If you want to see the harsh realities of war done to the music of John Lennon click here (embedding disabled by request).
According to Wikipedia “Following the impact of “Give Peace a Chance” and “Happy Xmas (War is Over)“, both strongly associated with the anti-Vietnam-War movement, the Nixon administration, hearing rumours of Lennon’s involvement in a concert to be held in San Diego at the same time as the Republican National Convention, tried to have him deported. Nixon believed that Lennon’s anti-war activities could cost him his re-election; Republican Senator Strom Thurmond suggested in a February 1972 memo that “deportation would be a strategic counter-measure” against Lennon.” Some of the intrigue concerning this fear of Lennon by the US Government can be seen in the 2006 documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon. For some intrigue into Michael Abdul Malick see the movie The Bank Job.
- Yoko Ono Recreates John Lennon’s ‘War Is Over’ Poster in 100 Languages (spinner.com)
- John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ suit for sale (bbc.co.uk)
- “Yoko Ono Remembers Laughing with John Lennon Over Tea” and related posts (gabbybabble.celebuzz.com)
- John Lennon’s 10 Best Songs, as chosen by Yoko Ono (current.com)
- On John Lennon’s 70th birthday, here’s an encore presentation of my 2008 interview with Yoko Ono (pinkbananaworld.com)
- Law group concerned about Trinidad wiretap bill (foxnews.com)
Countless prominent people in Trinidad and Tobago are worried about those illegally-obtained, SIA (Security Intelligence Agency) phone-tapped files which featured their private and sometimes racy conversations because they fear the files might end up on wikileaks, or worse, the local version called something like trinileaks. The spied-upon people are afraid that if their conversations were to hit the streets of Port of Spain, more bacchanal and scandals might break loose. Even if these files were destroyed by two unidentified Isreali men, there are spies walking freely amongst us who know some juicy secrets.
The website wikileaks is now an international celebrity and has won the hearts of hundreds of millions of fans by its ability make classified Government information available to the world. Wikileaks claims it is doing this to “help keep Governments open,” which is the biggest fear of any democratically elected and dictatorial Government as information in the public’s hands tends to make the Government’s grip on citizens slippery and weak. Governments like to claim they are transparent but like some underwear, never transparent enough to please the man in the street.
The Internet has created a nightmare for any government as the old method of feeding the public bullshit to keep them in check has lost its nutritional value and flavour. The US Government is now in a battle with wikileaks over leaked cables (correspondence), some of which have proven embarrassing to them. The US Government, being big, huge, powerful and secretive, has deemed the act of leaking these cables illegal all over the world and maybe the US can ask the International Criminal Court to prosecute the website. The US Government, not to be confused with US citizens, is not getting much support as citizens of the world would always choose a website over a Government in a streetfight any day. Governments have been putting pressure on web hosting companies that host wikileaks.org while Mastercard, VISA and Paypal have pulled their plug on wikileaks making the site less able to get donations from the public. Apparently the US Government has secretly tried and convicted wikileaks and secretly sent the court order to Mastercard, VISA and Paypal. Hackers have already attacked the mastercard website in retaliation and may focus their skills on other sites soon. The hactivist are calling this Operation Payback. Let the cyber war begin.
Knowing how free speech actually works, it will only be a matter of time before democratic Governments band together to censor the Internet to help keep the public from hurting itself with too much of the right information. Censorship is sometimes necessary especially when it comes to things such as what is actually in that tasty hot dog or knowing the sleeping habits of some people, but banning people from leaking government information via the internet or courier pigeon is simply wrong.
- WikiLeaks cyberwar: hackers target Paypal (telegraph.co.uk)
- WikiLeaks supporters hack MasterCard, Visa sites (sfgate.com)
- WikiLeaks’ hackers ‘Operation Payback’ cyber war on Visa, MasterCard and PayPal (dailymail.co.uk)
- PayPal cut Wikileaks on US letter (bbc.co.uk)
- MasterCard, Visa, Paypal and 4chan – The furor of Wikileaks unleashed (nakedsecurity.sophos.com)
- Want To Know Why Visa & Mastercard Cut Off Wikileaks? Because Its Latest Leak Was About Them… (techdirt.com)
- WikiLeaks’ hackers ‘Operation Payback’ cyber war targets Swedish Government (dailymail.co.uk)
- Protests, cyber-skirmishes rage over WikiLeaks (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Army of hackers targets Sarah Palin, the Swedish government and credit card giants in WikiLeaks ‘Operation: Payback’ (dailymail.co.uk)
- MasterCard and Visa May Face Legal Battle Over WikiLeaks (dailyfinance.com)
- WikiLeaks cyberwar: hackers planning revenge attack on Amazon (telegraph.co.uk)
- WikiLeaks cables – now available on Amazon (newstatesman.com)
- PayPal: US Pressured WikiLeaks Account Freeze (webguild.org)
- Wikileaks will never die – it will just change webhost (akalol.wordpress.com)
- The war that maychange the world: WikiLeaks and the Internet versus all that is opaque (techvibes.com)
- Key Lawmakers Up Pressure on WikiLeaks and Defend Visa and Mastercard (wired.com)
- Has Wikileaks Begun a Cyberwar? (searchenginejournal.com)
- WikiLeaks Distances from Hackers – Somewhat (cbsnews.com)
- UPDATE 1-U.S. looking into hack attacks in wake of WikiLeaks (reuters.com)
- WRAPUP 4-WikiLeaks backers threaten more cyber attacks (reuters.com)
- WikiLeaks backers threaten more cyber attacks (thestar.com)
- WikiLeaks backers threaten more cyber attacks (theglobeandmail.com)
- WikiLeaks cyber war threatens online Christmas shopping chaos (mirror.co.uk)
UPDATE: 31th October 2010 @ 12:52 p.m - Tobago and Grenada remains under a Tropical Storm Warning
FROM The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Services
Date: Sunday 31st of October 2010 ISSUED AT:12:52PM FLOOD POSSIBILITY EXISTS FOR TOBAGO AND NORTHERN AND EASTERN TRINIDAD. Over the past twelve (12) hours, Tobago and specifically Northern and Eastern parts of Trinidad, experienced prolonged periods of rainfall, some of which were heavy and accompanied by gusty winds. The feeder band into Tomas remains over both islands and while satellite and radar imagery show some degree of weakening there are still few areas of intense convection in the vicinity of Tobago that can produce additional rainfall. Grounds are waterlogged in the above mentioned areas and with surface runoff there is the possibility of further flooding to those regions already inundated. There have also been reports of landslides in eastern parts of Tobago. Trinidad but more so Tobago will continue to see some periods of light rain and/or showers and the isolated thundershower with improvement to more settled conditions as the day progresses.
October 29th 2010
A vigorous tropical wave is approaching Trinidad and Tobago and it has a 80% chance of turning into a tropical storm in 48 hours. This doesn’t look good for a population that had to put up with extremely bad weather for the rainy season and continues to weather the Clico financial crisis with desperate threats from formerly-rich policyholders. The 6:25 am bulletin from the Met Services states “The leading periphery of the wave should begin affecting Trinidad and Tobago during the late afternoon/evening. Moderate to heavy showers can be expected along with isolated thundershowers capable of producing 1 to 2 inches of rainfall. These downpours can yield moderate to severe street or flash flooding and strong bursts of gusts in excess of 50kmh.
As the wave continues to intensify and move closer to Trinidad and Tobago showery activity can yield 3 to 4 inches and possibly 5 to 6 inches from early Saturday into Sunday. Wind speeds with gusts in excess of 55kmh are likely.”
You can check for updates here: Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Services
When this system turns into a storm it will be called Tropical Storm Tomas
This severe weather may put a damper on Halloween Celebrations this year as the system has a good chance of intensifying into a tropical depression and then storm before the first withch’s mini-skirt is hemmed even shorter.
May the storm veer north even more.
Today is 双十节 or Double Ten, but it is even more special this year as people like me get to blog about Triple Ten. Because the chances are close to zero that I will live to see another Triple Ten I am posting my tribute to China and their contribution to Trinidad and Tobago and the world.
China’s best kept secret isn’t the melamine in the milk, the Geely Tiger GT, Liu Xiaobo or the name of the owner of the Gunapo Church. China’s best kept secret is 25 year-old Ayi Jihu (吉胡阿依) who is being called China’s Madonna by people who are authorized to do these things. If you look at some of Ayi’s videos on you will notice she can wine quite well by communist standards, a skill she developed while living in London, a city more cosmopolitan and has as much wining as Port of Spain during Carnival time. Ayi Jihu sold more than 100 million downloads of her music in China, which I assume, is a great achievement given China’s population of 1.4 billion. She is considered an R&B star and Ayi is going places like Bollywood where she is due to appear in a production soon.
I admire the Chinese not just for their ability to beat up, torture, then jail dissidents when needed, but for their ability to become leaders in the manufacture of everything from computer motherboards to people. The Chinese I know in Trinidad and Tobago are smart and this might be so because when China has to export people their pool to choose from is large. Here in Trinidad and Tobago, our pool is small so even with laptops for many by 2020 we may still have to depend on oil and gas money rather than scattered brains to make ends meet. Drill, drill, drill! China is on target to attaining world dominance but this will only happen when they conquer the last two frontiers – the automobile and winer-gul industries. Look out Toyota and Trinidad and Tobago, China is coming in your way.
And now for the traditional Chinese version of the post above:
今天是China’ s大天、雙十節或者雙十，但是它是更加特別今年，當像我的人们有關於三倍十的博克。 由于機會是接近零我將居住看另一三倍十我張貼我的進貢到中國和他們的對千里達與多貝哥和世界的貢獻。 中國的最佳的被保留的秘密不是在牛奶、Geely老虎GT，劉Xiaobo或Gunapo教會的所有者的名字的三聚氰胺。 中國的最佳的被保留的秘密是由人称中國的Madonna被批准做這些事的25歲的Ayi Jihu (吉胡阿依)。 如果您看一些Ayi’ 在您注意的YouTube的s錄影她可以相當很好喝酒根據亞洲標準，她開发，當住在倫敦时的技巧，更加世界性的城市並且有一样喝酒象口岸- -在狂歡節时间，西班牙。 Ayi Jihu賣了超过100她的音樂百萬下載在中國，我假設，指定的一個巨大成就中國的人口1.4十億。 她被认為R& B星和Ayi是去的地方，如Bollywood她就该很快的地方出现於生產。 我敬佩中國人不僅他們的能力的能打，拷打，然后拘留不滿分子，當需要，但是為了他們的能力能成為在一切的製造的領導從計算機主板到人。 我在千里達與多貝哥认识的中國人是聰明的，並且這也許如此是，因為，當中國必須出口人时他們的選擇的水池從是大。 這裡在千里達與多貝哥，我們的水池是小的，因此甚而與許多的膝上型計算機由2020我們也許仍然必須依靠油和煤气金錢而不是腦子。 鑽子，鑽子，鑽子! 中國在目標對獲得世界優勢，但是這只將發生，當他們征服前二個邊境-汽車和winer-gul產業。 看豐田，並且千里達與多貝哥，中國來臨您的方式。
As if the world didn’t have enough car worries with the recent massive screw up from Toyota and finding legal parking in Port of Spain, it now has the Ferrari spontaneous combustion fiasco to deal with. Apparently Ferrari is now recalling all the US$265,000 ($TT3, 000,000 after taxes in TnT) model 458 cars that were made this year (2010) because of a “thermal incident” as the picture (on the l-e-f-t) shows. Because of Ferrari’s exclusive nature due to price, Ferraris have been used for years by male millionaires and ponzi schemers to attract young, willing but well-shaped females into a world of luxury, chocolates, and rocking yacht-sex.
The Ferrari is one of the best known symbols of the filthy-rich male suffering from a midlife crisis or the spoilt son of a mega millionaire. There is an old wives’ tale that says the roar of a V12, 6-liter Ferrari engine can cause most well-proportioned, young females to want to strip down to their bikinis and wash and polish a red Ferrari in the hot sun while the owner lounges in the cool looking on, sipping champagne, eating cold caviar, munching on hot aloo pies and typing his blog.
Except for the occasional tendency to catch fire, Ferraris are beautifully engineered cars that were designed by brilliant male engineers with the female supermodel in mind. So, if a sexy supermodel type woman tells you she will wash your car in her underwear in the blistering hot midday tropical sun if only it was a Ferrari, sell your SUV and house to raise part of the down-payment for a used one. The thrill will be more than worth it.
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I yawned last night when the news on all local TV stations reported that the police, famous for being loyal to our incorruptible leader, raided UDeCOTT offices, Sunway International’s offices and the home of Calder Hart, possibly looking for remnants of The Treasury. They did this after months of intense investigations – the AG claimed the investigations started since September last year but it appears nothing was done until the suspect fled the country maybe on a tipoff from one in the know. From what I saw on TV, the investigators wore shirt jack suits and detained some Dell and Lenovo PCs, a few external hard drives and laptops probably sporting quad and dual core processors. The police will probably find nothing but some local and foreign pornographic photos, a few good Malaysian jokes, family photos of long lost relatives and very little about churches or bank accounts. Even I don’t leave that kind of thing lying around my hard drive.
This raid was very entertaining and caused the press and print media to squeeze as much mileage from the recent government orchestrated stage show featuring loyal supporters of the God of the Government. The media however missed the most important piece of news to affect Trinidad and Tobago now and way into the future and that news is the money done. This report was pushed to page 10 of the Trinidad Express which says “BPTT Head: Natural Gas boom over.” Now, if a man like BPTT’s current head can face reality for a change and tell the public there will be no more easy money and we in Trinidad and Tobago must start to actually produce things the world wants besides gas, oil and Chubby sweet drink, then things must be really bad. The Government knows this and many sensible people also know that the chances of getting their money from any failed insurance companies are getting dimmer by the second despite a bankrupt Government’s guarantee.
All these non-productive Port of Spain cosmetic projects, including the billion-dollar-fiasco-summits, have finally taken its toll on the country and all the money ain’t even done pass yet. The freeloaders appointed to cabinet are shaking in their shoes trying to justify their existence to the Prime Minister by nodding after every sentence the man utters, even when he is in a heightened state of delusion. I guess they must be suffering from his delusion as well. A snap election is inevitable as more news of suspected financial wrongdoings is leaked to the public. Those contractors who had the foresight to milk the country dry before the downturn must be commended for their clear vision of the future. Hopefully they were smart enough to change their money into US dollars and bank it in Miami before our TT dollar floats away. I also hope they found the time and took those well-deserved European vacations. Hopefully, Citizens finally realize that God is not a Trini and he is extending the drought, and WASA’s and UDeCOTT’s officials tenure just to prove this point.
An active Atlantic hurricane season is predicted for 2010 but this might not translate into productive rainfall for Trinidad and Tobago which will cause WASA, a proactive organization, to prepare a future press release claiming that though the country is constantly under flood water, the dams are still dangerously low so the country will have to invest billions on energy-hungry, corruption-resistant desalination plants which will feed those water leaks that will be maintained for both cultural and financial reasons.
On the bright side, the drought of 2010 has Trinidad looking more and more like the Prime Minister – destroyed via stupidity. As part of the country’s 2020 vision for the Hurricane Season, more of Trinidad and Tobago will be under mud when it rains because citizens have been comforting themselves with soft drinks in plastic bottles and replaced those third world foam mattresses with developed nation status mattresses from Serta, Restonic and King Koil. Though we have parts of Port of Spain looking almost first world with the Waterfront Project, garbage bins, and that other national pride, the analogue-ready NAPA, these building are like some beautiful women, good to look at but suck the treasury dry.
You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ‘em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done
Kenny Rogers – The Gambler
So, another alledged family man has bitten the Trinidad and Tobago dust. Like the Street Lighting God, he didn’t bite it voluntarily or with a smile, but he bit it like the sun and in a way, by the bullying forces of the press and the politicians.
Our local newspapers and those opposed to the tall and sometimes Chinese direction the country was heading, decided to gang up on a man who was legally here and banish him from the country; away from both persecution and prosecution. A man, who by his own assessment, did the country proud by ensuring his boss’s will be done on time and within padded budget. A religious man who collected offerings on behalf of his boss has left, not only the buildings, but the country.
The ink on his resignation letter has not even dried and people are already worried, asking “who dey goe put?” But as Beyonce is fond of saying in song, he is Irreplaceable. Some say they will pray for him in Gunapo while others say we will now get water. Some sick people concluded that the problem at the hospitals will suddenly be solved and doubles will miraculously once again cost $2.00. Almost overnight, traffic into Port of Spain will flow smoothly and without any harsh words aimed at the Arrogant Shortsighted Defender of Government Stupidity. There will be no more tall buildings in the country, not because the builder resigned, but because de money done.