Paging De Barman … Aim For Excellence!

 One of the best celebrations ever was enjoyed by all.  Well not all; there are those who appear to be green with envy.  They use the airwaves and bandwidths to spit a gospel according to sour grapes.

For “industrial” fans of King Konris, “Sugar Mas” was sweet but a little bittersweet.  An orgy of Konris-bashing erupted over his prolific winning ways.  Somebody else should get a chance, they say.  Chance?

When did a crown become a handout?  Should Bolt give Asafa a chance at a gold medal?  Maybe England should have given Australia a chance instead of thrashing them dust to dust, ashes to ashes.  Will Newtown United allow Konris’ beloved Village Superstars to win in football by chance?

We have a sub-culture of entitlement that has to be corrected.  Too many pretend to be helpless and loudly beg for sympathy. Laziness and covetousness are co-existing conditions.

You make your own luck.  The probability of succeeding is increased by studying the competition, working the criteria and doing the hard work (different to working hard).  The formula is the same for soca, calypso, road march, sports, engineering and life as we know it.

For the people of a small island nation to thrive and survive in a hostile world, there is but one option – distinguish yourself from the competition.  Those who fail to grasp that reality deserve the fate handed them by their practice of the “crab in the barrel” syndrome.

Perhaps naysayers and complainers need a reminder.  We are one of the tiniest nations in the world but steeped in history and rich in artistic talent.  When sugar was king, it fuelled the industrial revolution and capitalism in England and Europe.  Brimstone Hill, a world heritage site, is evidence of superpower rivalries past.  The future king could be geothermal energy and the next heritage site the healing waters of the hot springs.

Democracy, as we know it in the Caribbean, started with the riots at Buckley’s Estate, St. Kitts.  Nevis is distinguished by having the highest number of test cricketers per capita.  Jazzique, the keyboardist from Clay Ghaut (I believe), is sought after by international recording stars.  Masud from Green Tree is an anti-gender violence message ambassador for the United Nations.

People who chase after excellence are better positioned to take advantage of opportunities.  If foreigners capitalize at our expense, we are either fooled by spoilers or we are drunk from “drink as you like”.

The scapegoating of Konris and Monarch is similar to that directed at first generation migrants from Guyana and the Dominican Republic.  People move in search of a better life and uplift themselves by their bootstraps, generation by generation.  Kittitians and Nevisians too have used discipline and pooled family earnings to rise above poverty and mediocrity here and elsewhere.  Raise your glass to them and not your voice against them.

The fuss over the road march is a storm in a teacup.  For the record; the 1970s brass bands chased steel bands off the road.  Back in that day, individuals won road march then a decade or so later, high energy rhythm boxes ruled.  Now another decade or so later, an individual wins.  So be it.

And speaking of working the criteria; when King Ellie was singing “for king”, the posse from “under the breadfruit tree” was always strategically positioned front and center in Carnival Village.  Ask Contenda, Ranger, Sweeney, Mallet, Starshield and Monarch about the heat they endured in the bullring.

Parents and guardians should use Konris, and for that matter, Keiron, Kayamba and Kim as contemporary lessons of high level achievement in various fields of endeavour.  They aimed beyond the ordinary.  Having parents and family to push and pull you (and spank you) also matters.  Good parenting is an “unstoppable force”.

So let us raise our glasses to those among us who prosper by aiming high.  Great things are never attained by begging and jealous complaining.

Paging the barman and talk show hosts; keep negative voices “under the sea” of radio silence.  They are “outta style” in a progressive country.  So too is the practice of pointing unsubtle, accusatory fingers at judges while onstage and after-the-fact.

It pays to know and work the criteria.  In a recession, prize money for good lyrics and sweet music don’t bite. Cheers and bench!


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