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Sir Vidia...One of us

Lifestyle - Sun, 08/19/2018 - 02:23

The greatest literary virtue of the Trinidad-born writer VS Naipaul, who has died aged 85, was instant readability. He constructed clear, irreducible sentences, and marshalled them into single-minded paragraphs.

His control of language and the rhetoric of his novels were such that he could persuade you into belief even when his truths were only partly true.

Naipaul, the winner of the 2001 Nobel prize for literature, was regarded by many as the greatest novelist of his time. In his early fictions he trusted description, character, dialogue and event to evoke the world that had shaped him. Beneath the comedy and the almost kindly satire of these early works there are glimpses of the bleak view of human existence and effort and self- fictionalising that were to become the key themes and motifs of his later work.

The first of his 14 non-fiction works, The Middle Passage (1962), was a lively if unsparing report on West Indian societies as “half-made societies that seemed doomed to remain half-made” because they lacked the self-knowledge or the will to reinvent themselves in the independence period. By 1970, the urge to express ideas and opinions about a world growing everywhere more unstable and insecure began to take hold.

He admired journalism (the occupation of his father, Seepersad Naipaul) because it was much better than the novel at keeping up realistically with the changing world.

To widen his net he started to shape combinations (In a Free State, 1971), hybrids (The Enigma of Arrival, 1987), and “sequences” (A Way in the World, 1994) that blurred distinctions between fiction and non-fiction.

The Middle Passage (tame in hindsight) was followed by frequent travel and more on-the-spot coverage of peoples and countries in turmoil. The liberties he was to take with language registers and genres, and his ability to evoke different settings, are displayed with aplomb in In a Free State, a pageant of placelessness and insecurity that won him the Booker prize in 1971.

Of his 29 books, at least seven are likely to endure: his first collection of stories, Miguel Street (1959); the three novels A House for Mr Biswas (1961), The Mimic Men (1967) and A Bend in the River (1978); a work of non-fiction, The Loss of El Dorado (1969), an original and challenging historical work on the making of Trinidad and its polyglot capital, Port of Spain, that Naipaul described as “the synthesis of the worlds and cultures that had made me”; the global fiction In a Free State; and the ambitious The Enigma of Arrival, part autobiography, part fiction, part meditation on life, time, death and the writing life.

In these works, he created palpable geographical, social and cultural contexts in which to locate people, their stories and their emotions; and in all of them, symbolism and ideas of universal import spring unforced out of realistically rendered detail.

‘His native island was his seedbed’

The scholarship in The Loss of El Dorado added conviction to the key Naipaulian preoccupation with the futility of human effort and the perils of the impossible dream. Much of his experience as a student at Oxford and as an anxious inhabitant of London in the 1950s was filtered into the constitution of Ralph Singh, the narrating character of The Mimic Men.=

In this novel, the miscellaneous collection of misfits and refugees with whom Singh associates for a time were soon to become a conscious part of Naipaul’s vision of a restless world of people cut off from the landscapes of their birth and not able to find purchase somewhere else. He was the first writer to stumble upon this theme and he took it further than anybody else.

His native island, the former British colony of Trinidad, with its extraordinary meeting of peoples and cultures, was his seedbed. Long after he decided he would never live in Trinidad and Tobago, he could still say: “From the writing point of view, this land is pure gold … Pure, pure gold.” Trinidad made and haunted the writer, and the evidence is in many of his books.

Born in Chaguanas, on Trinidad’s west coast, south of Port of Spain, Vidia was the second of the seven children of Seepersad and his wife, Droapatie (nee Capildeo). 

They were married in 1929, the year that Seepersad began his journalistic career as the Chaguanas correspondent of the Trinidad Guardian. Vidia’s early childhood was mostly spent in or near the Capildeo family residence known as the Lion House, a unique example of North Indian architecture that dominated the main street of Chaguanas, a country town in the sugar belt where the majority of Trinidad Indians lived. Seepersad quickly felt his individuality threatened by the communal life of the Capildeos. The acute tensions of this period would have been felt by his son.

When the chance came in 1938 to work in Port of Spain, as a full-time reporter with the Trinidad Guardian, Seepersad left Chaguanas to occupy rooms in a Capildeo house in Luis Street, in the Woodbrook district. The move in 1938 introduced the six-year-old Vidia to the life of the street, the pleasures and sights of the city, and in due course to the cinema, all of which were to inform the comic and compassionate stories and sketches of Miguel Street.

From 1938 to 1942, Vidia was a pupil at Tranquillity boys’ school, after which he began his “sound colonial education” at Queen’s Royal college, the country’s oldest and most British secondary school. At the same time, he witnessed his father working at being a writer, self-publishing in 1943 a remarkable collection of stories, Gurudeva and Other Indian Tales. “I loved them as writing, as well as for the labour I had seen going into their making.”

Seepersad’s example made it possible for a young boy in a colony to dream of a literary career. The purchase of a house of his own in 1946 brought much needed relief to Seepersad. To Vidia, in his last two years at QRC, and to the family, it brought peace and desperately needed stability.

In 1950, Naipaul went to University College, Oxford, to study English and become a writer. Five years later, he married Patricia Hale, who would be the one reliable element in his life for 41 years until her death. Pat may not have been his muse but she remained in all seasons note-taker, sounding board, listener to drafts, common reader and excited fan.

A stillborn first novel as well as book-reviewing for the New Statesman would have made it clear enough that Naipaul did not really want to be (could not be) the kind of writer envisaged by the raw 18-year-old in The Enigma of Arrival.

The example of Seepersad’s book, and the older man’s constant recommendation of West Indian raw material were reinforced by the years Naipaul spent as editor of the BBC’S Caribbean Voices programme, reading hundreds of manuscripts from the islands and sharing fellowship with the writers hanging out in the freelancers’ room at the BBC.

When he started to turn to his natural raw material, it was to three of those writers, the Caribbean Andrew Salkey and Gordon Woolford and an Englishman, John Stockbridge, that he excitedly ran with what became the opening story of Miguel Street: “Without that fellowship, without the response of the three men who read the story, I might not have wanted to go on.” After the breakthrough, he produced The Mystic Masseur (1957) and The Suffrage of Elvira (1958) in quick time and then tussled with his demons for three years to land his greatest work, A House for Mr Biswas.

‘Fellow West Indians began having difficulties with Naipaul’

In London in 1958, in a time of different stresses, he was able to go back in memory to the traumas of life in the Lion House and to the years in Woodbrook as raw material for his masterpiece. The three-generational novel depicts the exposure of descend- ants of Indians to the shifting society of Trinidad and describes their evolution from 1906 to 1953. Comic richness arises from the battles between Mr Biswas and his in-laws, and the manic journalism of the main character, who, like his prototype, Seepersad Naipaul, works on the city newspaper. Mr Biswas saw that the world is what it is and refused to allow himself to be nothing.

Naipaul was well regarded for his travel books and for innovations in the genre of travel writing, and spoke of valuing them above his novels, an opinion that few readers would endorse. He travelled to the Americas, Africa, India, Mauritius, Indonesia, Iran, Pakistan and every corner of the earth touched by invader or coloniser to report on failed and failing states and to expose what he regarded as the malformed or undeveloped selves in them. He stocked his “travel” books with character, scene and dialogue and rendered episodes.

He wanted Beyond Belief: Islamic Excursions Among the Converted Peoples (1998) to be thought of as a book of people and stories unshaped by the writer’s opinions, but opinion and idea dominated his later work. His topics included imperialism, freedom, emergent nationalisms, religion, revolution, fundamentalism and the colonial mentality. He saw the terror waiting to be unleashed upon the world by half-baked revolutions, mutinies and holy wars, and by fundamentalism and fanaticism of any kind. By the 1990s he had made himself the cynical poet of post-imperialism and the peculiar prophet of violence, global disorientation and homelessness. He was considered by many to be the first modern global writer.

His fellow West Indians began having difficulties with Naipaul early in his career. He was accused of writing “castrated satire”. A sentence in The Middle Passage that “history is built around achievement and creation; and nothing was ever created in the West Indies” has been held unforgivingly as proof that he was anti-West Indian. He has been accused of racial prejudice against people of African origin, for saying that Africa has no future, and for presenting women negatively.

In interviews he seemed to go out of his way to provoke. He remained unchastened, and his detractors continued reading him, watching for what came next. In 1983, a taxi-driver at Piarco airport in Trinidad pulled him aside and asked: “You is Naipaul?” When he owned up to the name the driver looked at him with compassion: “Look, you better travel with me, yes. We don’t like you down here at all.” He told this story with delight. Although he was severe on the US and Britain, it was his harsh accounts of India, the Islamic world and former imperial possessions that led to his being denounced as a spokesman for the west against developing cultures and societies.

‘He gave fuel to his critics’

In 2008, he gave fuel to his critics by allowing an authorised biography, The World Is What It Is, by Patrick French, to publicise bold confessions about his visits to prostitutes, intimate details of his obnoxious behaviour towards Pat and his mistress, Margaret Gooding, and many of the cruelties attending his relationships with them and other people. He acted as if he did not care. He would sacrifice anyone or anything for his vocation.

He saw himself as a man without a place. With The Middle Passage, Naipaul had effectively written off Trinidad and the West Indies as places to live. After writing An Area of Darkness (1964), he knew that whatever it might mean to him, India was not home. Within months of the publication of The Mimic Men, the life he had been constructing for himself as a literary figure in the UK was shaken by Britain’s new immigration laws.

He wrote to a friend about “a very special chaos” he felt coming to Britain, and reported feeling that “I could no longer stay here.” He flirted briefly with the idea of living in Trinidad. In July 1968 he and his wife were settling in Canada, but by September had changed their minds and returned to the UK. It was at this time that Naipaul completed In a Free State, an overwhelming map of dislocation, of fractured worlds, and of damaged individuals in a violent free state. In the prologue, a crazed and lonely old man avows that he is a citizen of the world; and the epilogue closes with the image of defeated soldiers “lost, trying to walk back home, casting long shadows on the sand”.

At the end of 1970 Naipaul’s friends rescued him from his own dislocation. A bungalow on the grounds of Wilsford Manor in Wiltshire was secured for him at a minimal rent, and after 11 years as tenants there, the Naipauls moved into their own house, Dairy Cottage.

His life from 1972 to 1995 was dominated by a triangular relationship with Pat, who stayed at home, and Gooding, an Argentinian woman whom Naipaul met in Buenos Aires in 1972. Their tempestuous affair was conducted in several continents for more than 20 years, and was terminated abruptly by Naipaul only in 1995, when Pat was dying of cancer and he met and proposed to Nadira Khannum Alvi in Pakistan.

He received in this period almost every major literary award and recognition, including a knighthood in 1990. He established himself as a phenomenon and a spectacle, “the writer” personified.

His outstanding work of this period was A Bend in the River, a real novel issuing from a novelist possessed. It is Naipaul’s most frightening presentation of a world without meaning or the possibility of meaning.

Meaninglessness and ineffectuality became his subject in Half a Life (2001) and Magic Seeds (2004), which pick dispassionately through the unremarkable life of Willie Chandran, from India to London to Africa to India, and back again to London, making an epic of nonentity and purposelessness. Naipaul secretes into them elements from earlier books and his own life in London as if to remind us how fragile are the foundations, and against what dispiriting odds anything is achieved in the world.

The World Is What It Is was a fitting title for the biography of a writer who struggled all his life between poles. On the one hand, there was social and personal anomie, on the other a commitment to vocation. He had a mutated Hindu view that all the world was illusion and only the self was real, and yet his writing showed him observing and reporting the external world with precision. He was a difficult man to get to know.
His meaning for the island of his birth, and for the world after the centuries of empires and colonies, “everything of value”, as he put it in his Nobel lecture, was in his books: “I am the sum of my books.” In time, that will be seen as his most appropriate epitaph.

In 1996 he married Nadira. She survives him, along with their daughter, Maleeha, and his sisters Mira, Savi and Nalini.

Vidia (Vidiadhar) Surajprasad Naipaul, writer, born August 17, 1932—died August 11, 2018

London Guardian, published August 13, 2018.

Categories: Entertainment News

Alicia Lee Wo: Get out of your comfort zone

Lifestyle - Sun, 08/19/2018 - 02:19

What is fear keeping you from? What do you yearn to do but fear beginning? No matter how strong and confident we appear, we are all susceptible to fear.

There are irrational fears that can literally cripple us and there are those that we all experience, some hidden from others, sometimes even hidden from ourselves.

Overcoming fear is one of life’s greatest challenges.

How many fail to achieve their dreams because of fear? How many works of art, astounding creations and inventions lie dormant?

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but to triumph over it,” says Nelson Mandela.

“The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid but he who conquers that fear.” Fear of change is always terrifying. Moving to a new country, starting a family, beginning a weight loss or exercise programme all carry different levels of fear.

Exercise is one of the most potent stress reducers on the planet and yet it’s the one activity that too many people do not make time for. We were designed to move frequently and fluidly.

Physical activity helps to reenergise us and produce feel-good endorphins. Despite this, we are afraid of embarking on an exercise programme.

Walking into a gym or yoga studio for the first time can be stressful.

If you are unfit or overweight selfjudgment can step in. Quite often when we are exhausted at the end of a hard day the choice to exercise often seems too difficult and wetake the easy way out.

If you are one of those fearful of making that lifestyle change, putting off adjusting your eating habits, remember that you can build up to anything as long as your legs work, and even if they do not. Find an activity that you truly enjoy.

There are so many ways to get exercise. Explore the ones that you feel comfortable doing and would have fun in the process. Perhaps take your routine outdoors. Most people find that being in a natural environment relaxes and refreshes them. Remember that the time of day you choose will influence your staying with it.

As there are many other priorities to balance, select an exercise schedule that will work for you long term. Take small steps but do not under estimate your potential. I love these words from Kobe Bryant. “I have self-doubt, I have insecurity, I have fear of failure. You don’t deny it, but you don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.”

Today, Alana Lee Wo shares her fitness journey. Fighting her fears, she stepped boldly into the world of the triathlon and on to ironman.

Always dream big and strive for excellence.

Judy Alcantara • BA English Honours/Spanish • CIAR Cert (Cooper’s Institute of Aerobic Research) • email: [email protected] • Facebook: www.facebook.com/ TheFitnessRevolutionTT

“It all begins and ends in your mind, what we give power to, has power over you...if you allow it!!” I’ve learnt so much on my journey to finally understand and accept this.

My name is Alana Lee Wo, and I just completed my first ironman (2.4 miles swim, 112 miles bike, and 26.2 miles run) I’ve always done some form of sport from early. I can’t say I was ‘running’, it was more like jogging. I fell in love with being outdoors and the thought of doing a marathon came to mind. I was turning 40 and what better way to celebrate!! So I just started running more. No coach, no running partner, just me and the Savannah!! I chose the Disney Marathon and increased my mileage every week. Then the pain started. The orthopaedic surgeon told me I had no cartilage left in my knees.

I refused to give up and continued my marathon on pain killers. I prayed for the strength and courage to make it. I will always cherish that Mickey Mouse medal.

After a few months break, I decided to start running again and joined a once-a-week running group, founded by Dexter Simon and his brother Derrick.

It was truly a one run each week. This group consisted of athletes involved in other sports. I started to take running more seriously, racing more and doing 1/2 marathons and full marathons. I trained with inspiring and motivational individuals and so qualified for the prestigious 2015 Boston Marathon which I completed. I had to take a break having suffered many injuries over the three-year running preparation. Some were very serious like my ankle and a torn quad. It was depressing to be injured and unable to train and the cost of therapy is incredibly high. I would like to thank Asha de Freitas, Renew Star Serpentine, Movement Mechanics, Ruel Rigsby, and Beverly ‘Leda’ Skinner, for making it possible to continue my running journey.

When the Simons opened their gym “The Asylum” I started a strength training programme for the first time.

I cannot stress how beneficial this was for me. I was coached on the ‘holistic’ approach to training for any sport. Being able to do a sport and more importantly do it successfully is not just about your physical ability.

‘The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine’. Every aspect of your life has to come together. It is about nutrition, strength training, rest and recovery, sleep, massages, stretching, time-management.

It is overwhelming at first, and takes courage and determination.

‘I’m stronger and fitter’ It is 2017, I’m stronger and fitter than I have ever been and looking for a new challenge. Why not try triathlons? I just have to learn two new sports, how difficult could that be! Let me tell you, even though you can run a marathon, try swimming 25 metres!!

I have never been so humbled and embarrassed in my life. I think pride made me doggy paddle back the 25 metres. It was pretty much downhill from there to finish my ‘assessment’ of 300 metres! God bless Edward Tuberoso!!! Even though I know he thought I was a little bit crazy for wanting to do a full ironman in about a year, he never discouraged me and had all the patience in the world to get me to be able to swim the 2.4 miles (3800 metres) comfortably.

So we are now into May 2017 and I finally get my bike. I thought swimming was going to be the death of me—try getting on a road bike for the first time in your life!! I fell many times.

Thank you also Jerry Chin Lee, for taking me under your wing and helping me improve my bike skills.

Training for a full ironman is not easy. There are very long hours especially on a weekend and most days we workout in the morning and evening. It is a huge sacrifice. The encouragement from family and friends is so important and I was very fortunate to have 100 per cent support to be able to achieve this dream. It was a blessing to have my +one a week family, my Aslyum family, my Misfits family, my JCA Optical Ltd family, and Dundee Thomas by my side in this journey.

So many lessons I have learned about hard work, coming out your comfort zone. What I think is most important to realise is that the only limitation is your mind.

We all have dreams, and it’s never going to be the right time and we will never be 100 per cent ready.

We will always have too much going on and the excuses will always be there, but only you can give your dreams the respect for it to happen.

I completed my first ironman with only doing two sprint races before, learning to swim a little over a year, learning to ride only 11 months, but I had people who believed in me and made sure I had the whole holistic approach.

My brother, Derek, came to support me at my ironman, and he told me, he was so inspired by watching me do it that he has now set that dream and goal for himself!

You never know how you inspire people by your life choices, so keep dreaming, keep achieving and then dream some more. As they say in ironman...anything is possible.

Categories: Entertainment News

A visit to the Motherland

Lifestyle - Sat, 08/18/2018 - 00:03

Arnold Jordan and Leslie Ann Meade were crowned St Patrick Emancipation King and Queen during an evening filled with talent, beauty and splendid African fashions last Sunday. Jordan and Meade were among ten contestants who participated in the 18th edition of the pageant held under the theme A Visit to the Mother Land — Africa at Naparima Bowl, San Fernando.

Each contestant represented a different country across the vast African continent and competed in two segments of the show, talent and evening wear.

Meade, who paraded as Ms South Africa, was crowned by former Emancipation Queen Aaliah Lewis while Jordon, representing Congo, was crowned by Nigerian High Commissioner Ambassador Hassam Jika Ardo.

Patrons were astonished by the contestants’ gorgeous ensembles and also breathtaking African garments from designer Larry Rampersad and head wraps by Emily Hoyte which was displayed by models during the show.

Special awards were given for most photogenic, best introduction, best talent, best runway fashion, best African head wrap, best makeup and best African authentic or Caribbean evening wear for both male and female.

Entertainment was provided by Ensemble Drummers from Point Fortin and Alliyah Lewis’ Exceptional School of Dance. The show also featured appearances by St Patrick Emancipation King and Queen 2017 Michael Mortley and Mandisa Matthews, and Little Mr and Miss Africa T&T.

Categories: Entertainment News

Comedy Night finally comes to Chaguanas

Lifestyle - Sat, 08/18/2018 - 00:00

Finally, after years complaining about having to leave their borough in order to enjoy major shows and concerts in Port-of-Spain and San Fernando because promoters ignore their community, the residents of Chaguanas will enjoy a mega event taking place right at home.

Come Saturday, August 25, Randy Glasgow Productions (RGP) will present Chaguanas Comedy Night Out (CCNO) at the Pierre Road Recreational Ground, Charlieville, Chaguanas, featuring performances by 25 of the island’s top comedic artistes and more. The collective of acts will present performances in genres of comedy such as stand-up, theatre, storytelling, slapstick and more.

Held under the patronage of Chaguanas Mayor Alderman Gopaul Boodhan, the CCNO, intended to be an annual event, is a show designed for entire families. Although the jokes, skits and other elements will be suitable for children and youth, adults will have more than enough to bend over in uncontrollable laughter.

The artistes have all be charged with creating brand new material for this show, drawing from local and international current affairs. Said RGP head Randy Glasgow this week: “As you are surely aware the local political landscape has in recent weeks provided a wealth of material for our astute, creative and always on-the-ball humourists to create stand-up jokes and skits that will leave audiences in stitches throughout the show.

“Our comedians can not only weave riotous humour out of issues here at home, but they make very good use of international events as well. So you can expect some choice material based on the misadventures of POTUS 45 whose antics and off-colour statements, as frightening as they are, do make for great fall-out-your-seat political, social and satirical comedy.”

The line-up of acts for the CCNO includes veteran stand-up comedian Tommy Joseph who has been in the arena for over 40 years. Back in the 1980’s into the early 2000’s, Joseph drew as many people as calypsonians to the iconic Calypso Spektakula Calypso Tent. As the tent’s host, Joseph left audiences in stitches nightly with his left field brand of comedy. He has the uncanny ability to tell jokes that people take a few seconds to get and then they can’t stop laughing.

Theatrical humourist Learie Joseph will also be on stage with his team with whom he delivers skits that are very funny, but usually send quite serious messages and or can be tragic.

Whatever the underlying tones of his act, Joseph always has the audience laughing hard. He also delivers very funny monologues.

The Caribbean’s number one comedienne Nikki Crosby brings with her a triad of offerings namely stand-up, sketch comedy and also her alter ego, Granny the crotchety yet adorably lovable senior citizen. The internationally acclaimed comedienne will be taking the stage in various personas during the night, each sure to have the audience laughing non-stop.

Sprangalang is the consummate storyteller who always causes mayhem whenever he steps on a stage whether to do stand-up or as an actor in a skit or even full theatrical production. There was a time when he was relating a true story of a court judge who enlisted the services of a male prostitute, then refused to pay, causing the prostitute to become violent.

Sprangalang used the analogy of a plumber doing repairs to the pipes in a home, the homeowner of which decided he was not going to pay the plumber for this because he was not satisfied. With members of the audience falling off their chairs doubled over in laughter, Sprangalang continued the story on what the plumber did in response to the home owner, never once alluding to the incident with the judge, but everyone knew exactly what the story was about. That is how gifted Sprangalang is and just what one can expect from him at the CCNO.

The CCNO will include performances by superstar actresses Cecilia Salazar and Penelope Spencer, Allan “D Entertainer” Alexander, the Ramsingh Family, the Drunken Saint, the Dancing Midgets and Their Angels, Shelly Narine and The Bacchanal Sisters and much more.

Two patrons will be admitted on one ticket, and single tickets also available at all NLCB Lotto Booths nationwide; Extrafoods Supermarkets - Chaguanas, Endeavour, Grand Bazaar; and, JTA Supermarket, Couva.

For more information, call the 24-hour Ticket HotLine (774 5555) or email, [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

The best breads of Tobago

Lifestyle - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 23:58

Only a few commercial dirt ovens still exist Tobago. The best and most popular loaves can be found in the village of L’Anse Fourmi, located on Tobago’s north coast.

A drive along the North Coast Road takes the traveller in search of this delectable tasting bread past the villages of Mason Hall and Runnemeade, and over the hill to Castara and scenic Parlatuvier.

The road then splits into an intersection; turning right sends you along the Main Ridge Forest Reserve and eventually into the Windward Road. Turn left and you are heading to Bloody Bay where the road now seems laden with an abundance of mango and avocado trees with fruits falling on the side of the roadway and tumbling down the hill.

Nestled at the bottom of a hill in L’Anse Fourmi lies a huge dirt oven covered from the elements under a galvanized shed. Next to it is a table covered with loaves whose texture, sight, aroma and taste evokes a sense of warm nostalgia to the older generation and a rich taste made with love to the young.

The bakery is a simple operation run by Earl Manswell and his wife Judy. Also an artist by profession, he built the oven seven years ago. Recalling the process, this artist/baker/ovenbuilder said it was built using river stones, dirt and straw. The process involved him gathering stones from a nearby river. Since there are no natural sources of clay in that part of Tobago, a combination of various soil types were used to get the structure right so it could withstand high temperatures. A shed was built over the oven to keep it protected from the elements. Earl and Judy’s bakery operates only on a Sunday. This means that long lines of tourists and locals alike make the journey to get the hand-crafted loaves that sell at a very cheap price.

One customer said she makes the trip from Scarborough and stocks up on the previous loaves for the week since she is not a lover of the bread sold in groceries.

Earl said the process is two part. The flour is kneaded by hand and are shaped into pan loaves and hops bread. While this is taking place, the oven is fired up and heated. Earl added that he does not measure the temperature but instinctively knows when the heat is right.

The oven is cleared of the coals and loaves are placed inside, the oven sealed shut and the bread allowed to bake. The time is determined by the baker who, with his years of experience, knows when the bread is just right.

Earl Manswell can be contacted 715 1249 to place advanced orders before making the trip on a Sunday along the long winding road to L’Anse Fourmi.

Categories: Entertainment News

Endless vibrations at Kaiso Blues Cafe

Lifestyle - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 05:48

You could not stick a pin inside Kaiso Blues Cafe (KBC) , or get a space in its new spacious carpark on Wednesday night when the popular showplace hosted what was supposed to be a “soft re-opening” at its new venue at 1D Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.

Aside from music lovers seeking every vantage point to see the acts on stage, cars spilled over unto Wrightson Road and even into the space at adjoining SWWTU Hall.

Billed as Kaiso Blues Cafe 2.0, the remodelled venue is a far cry from that existed previously, its exterior and interior adorned with a beautiful paintings by artiste Khadaffi Romney. The stairway also carries portraits of KBC owners Carl and Carol Jacobs, and celebrated artistes Robin Imamshah and David Rudder.

Wednesday night’s event attracted several well known personalities including retired Brig General Carl Alfonso, Brian Kuei Tung, David Abdulah, impressario Roxanne Browne-Phillips, and musicians Clive Zanda, Chantal Esdelle, Nicholai Salcedo, Marva Newtown, Blackie, Ken Clarke, Roger and David Boothman, Ruth Osman, Krisson Joseph and Roger Salloum.

Admission was free to the re-opening but the guests in attendance were treated to a priceless show, hosted by John John Francis and featuring 2017 Road March champion MX Prime & Ultimate Rejects, Michael Low Chu Tung & elan parle, Vaughnette Bigford and Michael Boothman.

Summoned on stage by show host John John, Bigford sent the audience into a frenzy when she performed a stylised version of Sparrow’s No Money, No Love and Baron’s River of Tears.

Not to be outdone, Boothman (Michael) opened his set with the popular Maya Mosquito. As expected, MX Prime & Ultimate Rejects brought the audience to its feet as they performed last year’s Road March, We Jammin’ Still.

Wednesday night was just an appetiser on much more music Carl and Carol have planned for KBC. Reigning National Humorous and Extempore Monarch The Incredible Myron B and retro kaiso exponent David Bereaux headline tonight’s Kaiso Nights, from 7 pm.

Tomorrow night, it’s Back in Times, featuring The Music Connection and the Joey Lewis Orchestra. Sunday evening is a time to “sit down, rock back” to some smooth Caribbean Kaiso Jazz with a live performance by Clive Zanda, Russell Durity, Richard Joseph and Juliet Robin.

Sunday’s showtime is 6 pm.

Categories: Entertainment News

Year-long birthday tribute for Sir Vidia

Lifestyle - Fri, 08/17/2018 - 05:45

“A life in full circle.”

That is how LiTTscapes author Dr Kris Rampersad described Sir Vidiadhar Surajprasad Naipaul who passed away on August 11. Noting that today marks his 86th birthday, she stated: “With all the acclamation pouring in on his death, the awards he has from the literary world including the highest, the Nobel Award for Literature; with more than 30 works to his name, two honours from the Queen of the Commonwealth, and holder of the highest national honour of T&T, the Trinity Cross, it cannot be said that Sir Vidia died “unnecessary and unaccommodated.”

Rampersad said: “Throughout his life he seems to have been haunted by the sense of nonbelonging and metaphoric homelessness that surfaces in many of his works and captured in the early pronouncement in his epic and most quoted biographical novel, A House for Mr Biswas: How terrible it would have been…to have lived without attempting to lay clam to one’s portion of the earth; to have lived and died as one had been born, unnecessary and unaccommodated.

“To recognise the value and volume of Naipaul’s literary contribution we will embark on a yearlong series of LiTTributes to the LaureaTTes here and abroad,” said Dr Rampersad,who noted that her book, LiTTscapes—Landscapes of Fiction from Trinidad and Tobago, defines and captures the sense of place locating them not only in landmarks, but also in cultures, lifestyles and experiences of Naipaul along with a hundred other writers.

Rampersad, who spearheaded the Year of Derek Walcott with Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott in his 75th years, is inviting collaborations and partnerships for The Year of LiTTributes to the LaureaTTes.

She states that this is to revive appreciation, respect and understanding of the land, culture and peoples that inspired the works of Naipaul, and Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott who died on March 17, 2017.

“There has been much talk of how Naipaul may be remembered by the land of his birth, if at all. As I reminded on the death of Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott with whom I collaborated over several years for culling a literarily-friendly environment, we are not doing them, but ourselves, any favours by such remembrances. All we can aim to do is pass on the value of their ingenuity to next generations that is reflected in their life’s work,” said Dr Rampersad, an independent sustainable development heritage educator.

Dr Rampersad, who has been promoting T&T’s literary heritage at home and abroad through a series of LiTTributes and LiTTours—already staged across the Caribbean, the Americas, Canada, the UK and Europe—is also the author of Finding A Place, which Naipaul himself acknowledged as unearthing much about his father Seepersad, that he, Naipaul did not know, she notes in her blog posting on Naipaul’s death.

Now out of print and evolving into an illustrated multimedia new edition, Finding a Place has been critically acclaimed as an original and groundbreaking study in its mapping of the literary history and heritage of our islands and the antecedents of writers as Sir Vidia Naipaul as it traces the social, political, cultural and literary processes over the century that saw the blossoming of a national literature and the nation of T&T into Independence.

It involved intimate study of not only Naipaul and other writers through their works, manuscripts and collections housed at Universities in America and Britain but also from other written and oral accounts in T&T and the Caribbean. This knowledge fed into LiTTscapes and she is in the process of collating the full array of this research for future study, she explained. (See emokrissy – www.kris-rampersad.blogspot. com).

Rampersad added, “These are the islands that nurtured the literary leanings and the genius of the likes of Nobel Laureate Sir Vidia Naipaul and substantially inspired Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott and the literary canon of Trinidad and Tobago. This is what LiTTscapes celebrate.

The LiTTributes and LiTTours, launched in conjunction with the book, invite intimate engagement with not only writers, but to engage with those elements of value in whatever spheres and fields, that create and sustain a nation, including spheres of education.

“The ‘Year of Derek Walcott’ included Evening Epic and the piloted awards for literature, drama and film in conjunction with the Trinidad Theatre Workshop, and a tribute to Naipaul on receipt of his Nobel Laureate in 2001.”

Dr Rampersad recalled: “From the Year of Derek Walcott, St Lucia developed and instituted on its national events’ calendar a week in tribute to its Nobel Laureates. MovieTowne, which was a sponsor of what we pitched as the award for film scripts, developed that with its partners into what has now become a national film festival.

Many of those who participated in those awards developed confidence to advance their creative interests. 

“With Naipaul’s Laureate, the then Minister of Culture, Ganga Singh, had endorsed a proposal for then new National Library to be named after Naipaul but there was widespread negative reception, even from among the so- called intellectual and academic and many who should be supporting efforts not tear apart our society. Surveying the state of the country, riddled with crime, mindlessness and disrespect of elders, groups and others, some of them may want to rethink their stance and let go of animosities or other recalcitrance in the interest of next generations,” Dr Rampersad said.

Inviting partnerships, she said the ‘Year of LiTTributes to the LaureaTTes’ will include a number of grassroots-driven developmental actions that would secure legacies of learning, aspirations for excellence and appreciation for generations to come, while stimulating new paths for economic, cultural, social and political development.

“We lament the state of our society but we do not take the actions to transform it,” said Rampersad. “We have a historically ingrained cultural habits that scoff and downplay achievement, intelligence, knowledge and book learning and we are still saddled with systems that treat literature and learning as elitist, exclusive clubs and cliques.

“LiTTributes have infinite number of forms with a blueprint of many exciting actions for anyone who may be interested in meaningful social development and cultural transformation. These include but are not limited to developmental initiatives associated with sprucing up or engagement with the natural, built and cultural environment promoted by LiTTours and LiTTeas and LiTTevents.

“Awareness and appreciation are precursors to respect and understanding that break down animosities, make connections, foster intergenerational and elderly appreciation and value the positive and creative stimuli that spring from our natural social and cultural impulses, so as to downplay those negative elements. By this, we will be not only reclaiming ‘writers’ in the process, but our environment and people as well. A more successful education system would tap into this, not try to impose forms and formats that frustrate the development and blossoming of natural talents.

“Naipaul, in fact, summed up the education system in his rather succinct satirical statement placed in the mouth a caricature of one of his teachers as Queen’s Royal College, ‘the purpose of education is to form, not to inform’. We are reaping the whirlwind of this depreciation of knowledge and intelligence and uninformed approaches to development.

“Dubbed ‘the reading room outside the reading room’, with LiTTscapes, LiTTributes, LiTTours and related events, existing arenas become our classroom, whether it is industrial or community spaces and our medium is those already practiced lifestyle and habits— the vast and open landscapes, cultures, habits and activities through which persons of any age, any field, interest or discipline can identify, participate and share confidently his/her or their value with others. They are geared to reawaken our sense of self, as several of the reviewers of LiTTscapes have noted, but also to attract interest, and investment as well.

“So, the targets are not only to children and families and communities and schools, but the industries and industrialists, social planners and investors as well in a range of spheres too, who want to distill the best of what they have to offer to their employees, investors and others.

“Other specific elements of the vision to encourage those with resources to make more meaningful investments in developing the social and cultural capitals of the fields, spheres and districts they occupy—and not just in the physical sense—will unfold as we move forward. There are many ways we can plant the best of us into the landscapes and mindscapes of our country and people for the better evolution of our society.”

For books, bookings and to advance partnerships and collaborations email Dr Rampersad with the subject ‘Laureates’ at [email protected] and visit and follow developments on social media.

Categories: Entertainment News

Jumbie Birds ends Arts in Action’s Discovery Camp

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 05:36

Arts in Action’s Discovery Camp 2018 came to an end with the original play Jumbie Birds. The play tackled issues of domestic violence, gender-based violence and environmental conservation.

Jumbie Birds is set on Bird Island, a small island off the coast of Trinidad where small exotic birds live. We first meet the protagonist, Celine, when two hunters attempt to illegally poach birds and are run off by Celine and a band of stickfighting children, all disguised as small birds.

The children, including Celine, have all been adopted by an elderly couple, Joe and Eveyln. Joe is a boisman and has taught all the children how to use the bois and the history of stickfighting, including male and female fighters.

Rose and Caleb come to visit the island, fleeing from Rose’s abusive husband Charles, who is also a policeman.

Joe and Evelyn offer to let the duo hide on the island, while Sister Joan, their friend from Trinidad, enlists the help of her police friends to assist them.

Celine, who was also abused by her father, agrees to protect Caleb. Later that night, Rose meets with Charles, who bullies her into coming back to him. Celine finds out and vows to protect Caleb.

Rose confesses to Joe and Evelyn what she’s done, and they go to meet Charles, catching Celine just as she confronts him. As she goes to strike him, Charles cries out begging his father not to hit him. He is arrested and Sister Joan says everyone is a victim in this tragedy.

Camp director Patrice Briggs said Arts-in-Action (AiA), which is the outreach arm of the department of creative and Festival Arts (DCFA) at UWI, St Augustine, uses theatre and drama as a “means of educating and empowering our participants and our audiences on social issues. We try to bring about awareness and consciousness and bring about positive change in the different groups that we interact with using our cultural forms and the applied Arts.” She said the camp has been happening for the past 27 years, although this is the first time they have opened the final production up to the public.

AiA Artistic Programme director Brendon Lacaille said since 1994, AiA has been one of the applied Arts vehicles for the fight against violence against women and girls.

He said the organisation was formed in response to a spate of domestic violence cases in 1994, as then DCFA head Rawle Gibbons felt the department should play a vital role in society.

Lacaille said the topic is especially poignant as the department lost a student to intimate partner violence this year.

“Since 2016, we have been commissioned as UN women gender advocates for T&T and the Caribbean,” said Lacaille, “and part of our main focus and therefore our commitment is particularly to fight to eradicate violence against women and girls.

“This is not the only effort that we’re going to do, so look out for the work of Arts in Action and DCFA this year especially, in honour of that student we lost. Violence against women and girls has to be eradicated. It cannot go on.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Watch Dogs challenge Renegades board for reform upward

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 05:32

It was by way of social media, and posters distributed throughout its community, that a request “By Order of the Board,” had summoned “All members of the Renegades Steel Orchestra” to a Special Meeting on August 12, at the panyard for 10 am to discuss the state of the organisation.

This meeting was triggered by a group of former and current members including captains, stage-side members, elders and community representatives whom, over time to present, kept an eagle eye on the organisation and noted a multiplicity of complaints distinctively surrounding the “leadership and related matters.”

Having won the 2018 National Panorama (Large) Competition with Voice’s Year for Love, it is out of an abundance of love and loyalty for the band that this move claims relevance, affording three meetings to have been held, and influencing adequate support that enabled the request to meet with the general membership.

Concerned Renegades (CR), but facetiously referred to as Watch Dogs during the meeting, led by Harold “Mose” Moses, former captain in the late 1990s, sat up front among the army of 60-plus attendees in true combative posture facing the full board as led by chairman Michael Marcano, where salient, explicit and expansive points were raised as layered in the nine-point agenda, and concisely defined in the Summary of Findings.

CR assured the president of Renegades and the board members that, “our purpose is to assist our band and organisation….and look forward to working with all Renegades’ members including members of the stage side who are the main beneficiaries of the Renegades’ legacy…”

But what is wrong, if at all, with Renegades’ leadership?

From all angles, it appears trust and confidence are lost.

While adeptly managed, some discourse was adversarial and contentious as wounds and cleaning lacerations always bear discomfort, but as organisation and developmental consultant L Anthony Watkins articulated on leadership during his interview on the local television talkshow This Week with Andy Johnson, “At the heart of leadership is influence to grow, to change and get results.

“There must be process, and the process must be able to stand scrutiny, and the people charging the process, must be able to stand scrutiny, too.”

Stressing that “trust is key,” he questioned, “what is the expectation of the people that are being led?

As a form of clarity, he cited “Brian Lara, Chris Gale, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Clive Lloyd, as having different styles of batting, brought different leadership styles, and all with a different ‘how’, yet they got the job done.”

Should the concerns raised during the very intense but valuable four-plus-hour meeting be professionally addressed, and timelines and plans executed well, the reformation of Renegades’ leadership will start to shape-up one way or another —whether to maintain and retrain, change some, or eradicate totally—to soar the organisation upward.

Categories: Entertainment News

Health coach starts Holistically You

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 05:30

Introducing Nariscia Philip-Peter, an integrative nutrition health coach and organic farmer, is also the managing director of Holistically You which will celebrate its one year anniversary of being in operation in September. Philip-Peter though has been in the field of health and wellness since 2011.

The holder of a BSc (hons) in environmental science, minor chemistry from Claflin University in South Carolina, USA, Philip-Peter earned her health coach certification through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in New York, and is a certified Personal Trainer through the International Sports Conditioning Association.

Philip-Peter started Holistically You because she knows what it is like to be considered skinny your whole life, work out, eat healthy and then have life happen, as well as what it’s like to have a coach and accountability partner to push you on days when all you have were excuses.

She chose to make a change not so much for herself but for her children. This was the deciding factor to start the journey by providing organic produce to her clients, starting off with kale because of it many nutritional properties.

Using plant -based nutrition and utilising the organic produce (kale), Holistically You offers their clients, women between the ages to 25-45, the option of a 90-day Yummy Mummy Group Programme or a six-month one-on-one personal coaching session. It is not only about proper nutrition and physical activity, it’s also about stress management and self love; two aspects that greatly affect people from achieving the best of results. It’s all about a holistic approach to help clients live their healthiest life now.

Holistically You supplies kale— both wholesale and retail—and it is used to make salads and smoothies at Chow Down in Shops of Trincity, and All Natural Smoothie Like Mine from Santa Cruz; as well as Pure Organics TT. Retail customers include parents, students, even grandmothers who understand the nutritional value of organic kale and have added juicing and smoothies into their meal planning.

“I love what I do,” said Philip-Peter. “Seeing the smiles on peoples face when they reach goals they thought they couldn’t. Hearing stories of how our organic produce is being used by persons who are sick to make them heal. Earth food equals real food which is life.”

•For more information, contact [email protected], 758-2465, or, Facebook: Holistically You TT Instagram: @holistically_you_tt

Categories: Entertainment News

Focus on the works of local filmmakers

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 05:25

Following last year’s screenings to packed audiences and in support of National Patriotism month from August 31–September 24, this year, the trinidad+tobago film festival (ttff) presents a day-long celebration of T&T through the screening of local short and feature films, followed by Q&A sessions with the filmmakers.

The screenings will be held at MovieTowne, Port-of-Spain, San Fernando and Tobago, on Republic Day, September 24. This will be a day for Trinbagonians to come together to celebrate who we are, through the cinematic stories of some of the nation’s finest filmmakers, as well as those now emerging arts.

“The ttff has a special interest in supporting the work of local filmmakers and this year we are very pleased with the number of short and medium length films from T&T. The production of a short film demonstrates the ability of the filmmaker to make more films and move on to feature films,” said Bruce Paddington, ttff festival director.

The ttff celebrates films from and about the Caribbean and its diaspora, as well as from world cinema, through an annual festival and year-round screenings. In addition, the ttff seeks to facilitate the growth of Caribbean cinema by offering a wide-ranging industry programme and networking opportunities.

Hero, inspired by the Extraordinary Life and Times of Ulric Cross the ttff will also screen the feature Unfinished Sentences, a documentary directed by Mariel Brown about the relationship between herself and her late father, writer Wayne Brown.

There will be exciting new shorts on a wide range of subjects including: Mangroves, a supernatural mystery directed by Teneille Newallo, and the Deliverer, a thriller directed and starring actor/director Paul Pryce.

Miquel Galofre’s Breaking the Cycle documents the journey of a domestic abuse survivor and Floating Into Fire is based on the true events of a sailor lost at sea off Tobago.

Trini style dramas include Home Invasion, For the Love of Money, and Live Bait, all by young filmmakers. Kim Johnson and Orlando Dinchong have made visually exciting documentaries, including the March of the Mokosand the Firewalkers of Kali, respectively.

• For more information

Categories: Entertainment News

Write ‘Bout This, Talk ‘Bout Dat!

Entertainment - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 05:24

This year thus far, almost every weekend of the past eight months has had at least one theatrical production. If, however, you are looking to support and enjoy a show that supports the positive values that makes us uniquely Trinbagonians, make an effort to attend the annual Tim Tim Storytelling show, scheduled for September 15-16, at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Napa), Port-of-Spain.

Entitled Write ‘Bout This, Talk ‘Bout Dat! An Evening with Paul Keens-Douglas. The show will highlight the latest works of Paul Keens-Douglas and other featured artistes, as they continue to promote and preserve the value and art of storytelling in its traditional forms. You can look forward to an evening of fun, humour, poetry, social commentary and storytelling at its best.

Celebrating his birthday exactly one week after he premieres this latest production, Keens-Douglas has been an integral part of the T&T and Caribbean literary and theatrical landscape for the past 42 years, creating his own niche, and producing an outstanding body of work.

Every year on this show, he focuses on recreating those magic moments of yesteryear, when we used to tell stories, talk to each other, and just enjoy each other’s company. It was in this telling and talking and listening that were the beginnings of the understanding. It is also an opportunity for Keens-Douglas to do work that is not in our educational system, no longer heard in our media, ignored by our academics and being slowly lost to this new generation.

From the beginning of his career, Keens-Douglas took the stage name of Tim Tim, derived from the patois saying for “once upon a time.” He has toured worldwide as Mr Tim Tim, giving a memorable Toronto performance when he shared the stage with his Jamaican counterpart the famous Louise Bennett, in the 1979 Black Theatre Canada production, Miss Lou meets Mr Tim Tim.

Every show features special guests and this year is no different, as Keens-Douglas will be sharing the stage with calypso humourist the versatile Myron B, rising Jazz Star Bri Celestin and popular Spoken Word poet Derron Sandy.

With this line-up there is no doubt that it will be an evening of top quality, clean, family entertainment, ideal for teachers, students, literary enthusiasts and those Paul Keens-Douglas fans.

The show will also see the official launching of Paul’s new website, www.pkeensdouglas.com.

Tickets for Write ‘Bout This, Talk ‘Bout Dat! An Evening with Paul Keens-Douglas are only $250 and are available at Crosby’s, St James, Cleve’s (Frederick Street), RIK-Gulf City/Trincity and Napa Box Office.

Categories: Entertainment News

RBC officially kicks off 2018 edition of Race for the Kids

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 05:21

RBC Royal Bank has officially launched the registration period for the 2018 edition of RBC Race for the Kids in T&T.

“I am incredibly proud to see RBC Race for the Kids enter its third year,” said Gretchen Camacho-Mohammed, managing director, T&T, RBC.

“In addition to being a fun activity, RBC Race for the Kids raises funds to benefit the Caribbean Children’s Cancer Fund. We want children, across the Caribbean, regardless of their circumstances, to have a fighting chance against this horrible disease. That is why this race is so important to us at RBC.”

RBC executives and employees were joined by Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh, and Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Shamfa Cudjoe. Those in attendance also heard from 11-year-old Destinee Britto, a student at St Francois Girls’ College. Destinee lost her best friend to cancer and urged everyone who is able to take part in the race. She issued an impassioned plea to parents as well. “Get your children involved with this cause,” said Britto. “It offers a valuable lesson in compassion, dedication, and commitment. It sends a strong message that children are our future and that we can make a difference in the lives of those fighting cancer.

“Through the Caribbean Children’s Cancer Fund, we work with the T&T Cancer Society to identify patients in need of assistance and to help fund additional care, testing, and treatment for them,” added Camacho-Mohammed. “In addition, this year, some proceeds from the race will go towards a new leukaemia diagnostic machine at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex.”

RBC Race for the Kids is one of RBC’s signature charitable initiatives. What began in New York City in 2008 has quickly expanded to include runs in 17 major cities around the world in countries where RBC operates. This includes Toronto, Chicago, London, Sydney, Hong Kong, and Kuala Lumpur.

In the Caribbean, these races take place in T&T and Barbados. The Bahamas will hold its first RBC Race for the Kids in Nassau in early 2019.

In 2017, more than 2,500 Trinbagonians took part in the race, raising an impressive $500,000 for the Caribbean Children’s Cancer Fund. Over the last decade, RBC Race for the Kids has raised over $206 million in support of children’s charities around the world.

The race in Port-of-Spain will take place on Sunday, October 7, and will begin with a 15-kilometre run at 5.45 am. A 5-kilometre Walk/Run fun run will begin at 6.30 am. Both events start in front of RBC’s regional head office on St Clair Avenue and end near Queen’s Royal College.

To register for a race, or to learn more about the event, visit www.rbcraceforthekidstt.com

Ed note: RBC Race for the Kids in Trinidad and Tobago 2018 is endorsed and supported by Trinbago Knight Riders.

Categories: Entertainment News

More stories by Alta tutors

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 05:20

Over the past 25 years, Alta has trained over 300 volunteer tutors who have assisted in changing the lives of the Alta students who come to their classes. Alta tutors around the country were asked to write about the impact the organisation has had on their lives.

This week, tutor Nichole Lancaster talks about her Alta experience as well as the impact of the program and the rewards she receives from it.

“As a child I always wanted to become a teacher and as an adult I never fully pursued that path in the private or public sector. I always enjoy assisting others or helping for any worthy cause.

Whenever there was or is a time to volunteer I would be amongst those so inclined.

“From 2011 to this present day my experience at Alta has been fulfilling, enjoyable and incredibly awesome. With some challenges added it made the right blend and brought that balance needed. With Alta I got the best of both worlds the opportunity to teach and the chance to volunteer. Alta has added value and a sense of purpose to my life.

Lancaster continues: “Alta’s impact on me is a profound one. I would read English Language books to increase my knowledge base of a topic that is to be taught from the Alta tutor books.

My Junior English Revised has gotten a new lease on life and so has my Students Companion (new version). Due to some of the students received by Alta I feel the need to do more. It was also because of this that I started an ECCE course last year and was very successful in the theoretical part of it. I am to pursue the practical part in September when school reopens. I am encouraged to do more and go further because of my involvement with Alta.

“When the giving is without any expectation but just for the joy of doing so, the rewards are bountiful. My reward from Alta is my Alta family.

“People, who are wonderfully and beautifully placed by nature to be a part of my life. I appreciate everyone and the role and function of all. The students who come in and out of the classrooms; who taught me just as much or maybe more than I taught them.

“My fellow tutors past and present who made team work meaningful and pleasant most of the time. All the office staff, I have encountered along the way; who tended to my needs when asked for and given when I didn’t know I needed it.

“Meeting with people I would’ve not otherwise encounter and to consider them all as family is absolutely incredible and that is why Alta has a prominent place in my life and one of the reasons life is worth living.”

Volunteer, donate or sponsor-a-student. Call 621-5708 or email [email protected] for more info. Keep up to date with Alta on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: ALTA

Categories: Entertainment News

Preysal comes alive with classical singing

Lifestyle - Thu, 08/16/2018 - 05:18

The Preysal Secondary School was packed to capacity last Sunday for the third annual Classical Singing Exposition and Community Awards. Hosted by Member of Parliament for Caroni Central, Bhoendradatt Tewarie, the free event is a highly anticipated one which is always well attended.

When questioned about the purpose of hosting such an event, Tewarie said: “My constituency is rural, agricultural and rooted in that culture which has evolved from their originally indentured ancestors. Classical singing as we know it today, comes out of these Bhojpuri roots. It is a locally created music and has been evolving.

“Chutney music derived from the classical singing tradition. I host this exposition, where the best classical singers can be heard every year, because my constituents like the music and it makes them happy.”

Indeed, the best classical singers entertained the audience. Famous singers like Ravi Jagroop, Dubraj Persad, Anthony Batson, Jameer Hosein, Rakesh Yankarran and many more, had the audience on their feet as they danced to the powerful renditions of songs that never die.

Tewarie also used this opportunity to help raise funds for Jovi Mitchell, a seven-year-old boy who has an inherited blood disorder called Beta Thalessema Major. He needs a bone marrow transplant in order to be cured. The transplant will cost $1.5 million to be done in Italy, the country with the highest success rate for this procedure.

A brief awards ceremony was also held where members who have contributed to the community were honoured.

Among them were Tranel Ghany, Kemal Manickchand, Pastor Noel Soo-Hon, Jagdeo Maraj, Dularie Mannie, Sharmilla Ojeer and Mahant Ganesh Ramsaroop, Marjorie Eileen Viera, Bill Ramrattan and Imam Nazim Hosein.

Asked how he felt seeing everyone so ecstatic and well entertained, Tewarie said: “When I see my constituents happy and enjoying themselves, that makes me happy too. People from all over attend this event.

“I met people from Petit Valley, Belmont, Diego Martin, Siparia, Fyzabad, Penal and some areas of wider Central Trinidad. This is now a feature of the Caroni Central constituency.

“This year I had a mix of the masters of the art-form as well as the younger, gifted singers who are embracing classical singing and providing the basis for continuity. Culture, the Arts, Music, Sports and events that bring people together are important to the development process. Development is not just about buildings and infrastructure, these things are important, but it is about how people feel, how they are uplifted and about the spirit and energy of the people.”

The MP then pointed out, “That is why on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Independence when I was a Minister, I took the diversity of our culture all over the country with scores of free concerts. You cannot build a society on bricks and mortar alone, you need to tap spirit and energy and you need the inspiration which art provides.”

Categories: Entertainment News

Playing dolly house is serious business

Lifestyle - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 07:31

Rock-a-Bye Babies, Caribbean Queens and Ritzy Renditions, custom handmade dolls and their clothing lines, were recently launched at Upmarket, Woodbrook Youth Facility, Port-of-Spain by Yoko Fung and Christine Phillip.

Rock-a-Bye Babies is a collection of handmade crocheted doll wear by Fung, while Caribbean Queens is a collection of customised Carnival-themed designer dolls by Phillip. The two artists also showcased their Ritzy Renditions collection, comprising evening wear fashions for Barbie dolls.

After teaching at a mental institution for almost five years, a fellow psychologist suggested to Fung that she should use her crocheting talent to help alleviate stress, the inspiration for Rock-a-Bye Babies was realised. Fung initially practised on baby doll models, sent to her by her granddaughter and cousins from New York but only decided to make it a business when she starting stepping out in public, wearing custom-matching outfits like her baby dolls and people wanted to place orders.

In addition to the crocheted baby doll clothing line, Fung has produced an assortment of crochet items such as cell phone, cigarette lighter and pen cases, bags, shawls, plant pot covers as well as a wide array of other craft items.

Phillip’s Carnival Queens and Ritzy Renditions hobby- turned-business, first started ten years ago when walking through the streets of Port-of-Spain on a Carnival Tuesday and a visiting friend picked up an arm band with beads and feathers as a souvenir.

Phillip, wanting to surprise the friend, customised a doll as a Carnival memento as it was the friend’s first time visiting during Carnival. Since then, Phillip has also incorporated evening wear for Barbie fashion dolls into her collection.

Now retired, Phillip stated she is now fully utilising her degree in fashion design earned in 1993 from FIT, New York.

Both Fung and Phillip eventually decided to officially launch their designer doll collections at Upmarket as it is an economical and practical way to launch a business.

Mofr info 

Christine and Yoko can be contacted respectively on facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/Tinastylett and Yoko,
https://www.facebook.com/yoko.fung.967 or at their email addresses:
[email protected] or [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

Zante Carnival & Theatre Arts Camp 2018 up and running

Lifestyle - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 07:28

Zante Carnival & Theatre Arts Camp 2018, run by the Indigenous Creative Arts Network (ICAN), promises a fun enjoyable experience while providing an opportunity for vulnerable youth to experience the Arts. The camp runs until August 24 at 63 Carlos Street, Woodbrook.

Camp director Dara Healey said the camp is open to young people between the ages of six and 12, who are interested in the arts. She said there are scholarships available to vulnerable young people, meaning “those who love the arts and want to explore more about traditional Carnival characters and that kind of thing but whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford to send them to a camp like ours.”

Healey said some of the activities being taught at the camp are wire-bending, mask-making, papier-mache, drumming, dancing and the creation of traditional Carnival characters.

“We have people who are experts in their field who will be facilitating the sessions. So I think the camp is really going to be a very exciting one and this year we are also going to be doing as our final showcase — a story written by Eintou Pearl Springer — who will be doing storytelling as well. The story is a Carnival story, and so all of the activities we’re doing in the camp will be tailored towards putting on the final showcase which is that story and the reason is because it allows for traditional Carnival characters, for music, for dancing and it also teaches important lessons as well, so we’re quite looking forward to that.”

Healey said last year the camp was open to older children but this posed a challenge in terms of competing schedules.

She said they are working on involving the parents and guardians more this year.

“We were predominantly open to vulnerable children and, of course, that brought with it its own challenges in terms of sometimes because of the areas they came from or because of their own circumstances they were not able to make it. So we’re trying to fine tune the selection so we are a bit more particular in that parents and guardians must be part of the process. So we are asking parents and guardians to register their children and to speak with us in terms of any questions they may have with regard to the programme.”

A major change for the NGO is a change of venue. It is now located at 63 Carlos Street, Woodbrook, where ICAN has partnered with artist Fitzroy Hoyte for the use of his studio.

Healey said the camp is also a fund-raiser for our NGO; we’re trying to do different and interesting activities to be as self-sufficient as possible so all the funds raised in the camp will go towards running the camp itself or go toward some aspect of the programming of ICAN or its operations.

“The experience will be an enjoyable one, paired with a social purpose of giving vulnerable children an opportunity to be part of something like this.”

The camp costs $375. For more information, find ZANTÉ Carnival & Theatre Arts Camp and Indigenous Creative Arts Network, ICAN on Facebook, email [email protected] and call 753-0798.

Categories: Entertainment News

It’s all ‘Bout Blue with Arielle

Lifestyle - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 07:25

Spoken Word poet and artist Arielle John will be performing in her first solo show, Bout Blue, on Thursday, at the Little Carib Theatre, Woodbrook. The performance is part of a new initiative called the Atlantic Future Series, which will showcase indie artists every few months.

The title of the show was inspired by John’s obsession with the colour blue, which interweaves itself into her life in various ways.

“My family jokingly calls me by the name of an ancestor of mine who wore a single blue dress all the time,” said John, “known for her very eccentric ways. I eventually found that the colour itself blended more deeply into a certain energetic quality that I came to resonate with; people with ‘blue personalities’ are said to value peace, serenity and harmony in the world before other things.

“Furthermore, the colour blue began attaching itself to a host of meanings, symbols and figures in my personal journey, and when something floods your awareness in such an overwhelming way, it is difficult to not write around it.”

John said she jumped at the chance to be the first to perform in the series, which is a collaboration between the Little Carib Theatre and the 2 Cents Movement, of which she is a long-time member.

Writing poetry since childhood and introduced to Spoken Word in 2005, John said: “That changed everything for me. I fell in love with this wonderfully dynamic way of storytelling and soon was able to recognise the importance of my own voice as a young person with an opinion.

“Spoken Word has groomed me into the person I am, giving me a sense of purpose and responsibility to the people around me, whether in my immediate community or beyond.

“The artists are often the ones who are early to recognise the range of possibilities that exist in a thing. We think and dream widely. Growing in this craft has meant surrendering to that work of magic, where we create what did not exist before. We announce things into being, and I mean that literally.”

In addition to being a Spoken Word poet, John teaches poetry and performance, does cultural research around Carnival studies, and is an amateur film-maker.

“One of the fun things about contemporary artistry is that you have to be multi-disciplined to survive in these ‘mixed-media’ times,” said the multi dimensional artist.

“I also get massively inspired by artist collaborations across disciplines, and all of my work lends itself to either self-care or social justice themes. In the future I’d like to continue developing more spoken word theatre here in T&T and help facilitate similar opportunities for younger people, for my students.

“I do work as a teaching artist with The 2 Cents Movement and Girl Be Heard T&T, so walking through this process equips me to pass on this know-how.

“Additionally, I would like to explore this work along with other poems that didn’t make it to the final script as a collection for future publication.”

The poet said she has taken a back-seat with her poetry for the last three years, and the show is a great way of re-introducing her poetry into the space. She added: “I simply relish work where I feel challenged to do new things and push new boundaries for myself where the idea is ‘here is a stage...now fill it with things that matter to you’.”

“Bout Blue is a collection of the times I have tried to put language to my blue-ing experiences, whether through the logic of a washerwoman, a contemporary contemplation on motherhood, an elegy for the Blue Devil mas in the year 2075, or how deities contend with all that humans dare to do to this home planet of ours.

“Some of the themes I’ll address in the show are healing, self-love, self-determination, motherhood, the evolution of Carnival and survival, among others.”

Tickets for Bout Blue: A Solo Performance by Arielle John cost $100. Tickets are available at the Little Carib Box Office, the 2 Cents Movement office at 14 Alcazar Street, Port-of-Spain, and by contacting 734-2560.

Categories: Entertainment News

Trini academic Liseli creates history

Lifestyle - Tue, 08/14/2018 - 07:23

On Sunday, August 5, Trinidadian-born Liseli Fitzpatrick crossed the stage as the first PhD in the Department of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University (OSU), Columbus, Ohio, an institution that was founded in 1870 with a student population of at least 60,000 students at any given time. It is a mantle that she carries in her heart in honour of her ancestors and all those who came before her.

Fitzpatrick specialises in African cosmology and the Diaspora, namely, the West African Yorùbá sacred science of Ifá and its Afro-Atlantic off-shoots in Brazil, Trinidad, Haiti, Cuba and the US. Her doctoral and life work explores African philosophy, spiritual thought, aesthetics, and sexuality and gender.

Speaking to Guardian Media from the US, Fitzpatrick said: “I am impassioned about cultivating consciousness in the liberation and empowerment of the psyches and souls of not just Africans, but the world at large. I hold the view the African spirit, thought, and cultural expressions are everywhere throughout society—made manifest and expressed in our spiritual practices, customs, food, dance, music, language, and, most importantly, our Carnival. However, our rich African history and signal contributions are not authentically reflected in our curriculum and institutions—the lingering vestiges of colonialism.”

Fitzpatrick continued: “African civilisations and cosmology predate the period of European enlightenment and the brutal enslavement of Africans. The field of African-American and African Studies, initially referred to as Black Studies, was birthed out of the radical womb of the civil rights era in protest of the atrocities and injustices that Africans faced such as mis-treatment, mis-education, and inhumanities under slavery and colonialism.

“Black Studies was and still is the intellectual arm of the Black Power social movement in (re)asserting African identity and heritage. It is an expansive and interdisciplinary study that foregrounds and integrates disciplines such as economics, philosophy, law, psychology, sexuality and gender, religion, political science, arts and culture, linguistics and medicine through African perspective lens.

“African philosophical thought and cosmos have been subverted by the western world view that is central to problems of Africans in the Diaspora. African culture has been greatly distorted, stigmatised and misrepresented, which has done a grave disservice and injustice to our people, and is directly responsible for the morass that plagues our society.”

Paying tribute to parents and mentors

Fitzpatrick’s accomplishment is an absolute tribute and salute to her mother Annette Fitzpatrick and late father Leslie A Fitzpatrick Sr who have prepared and facilitated the way through their tremendous and ultimate sacrifice, devotion, intellect, wisdom, spiritual prowess and anointing, their illustrious examples and above all their undying love. She thanked her mother for their infinite un-severed umbilical cord, where her eternal maternal labour in love is unending; and, for her siblings— Leslie AFitzpatrick Jr and Dr Leslie-Anne Fitzpatrick-Bennett—who have both led and pillared the way with their brilliance and boundless devotion.

Fitzpatrick lauds scholars and activists such as CLR James, Dr Eric Williams, Audre Lorde, Franz Fanon, WEB DuBois, Selwyn Cudjoe, Elma Francois, Kwame Ture, Claudia Jones, Walter Rodney, Iya Melvina Rodney, Iyalode Sangowunmi (Janice McLeod), Baba Erin Folami (Esmond King), Maureen Warner-Lewis, M Jacqui Alexander and Carole Boyce Davies among others for their leadership. She also pays homage to her “egbe” and borderless village that comprise her grandmother Thelma Austin-Hayes, fore-parents, aunts, uncles, relatives and all those, who shared her meandering journeys through hills and valleys well-paved though interspersed with potholes and speed bumps, and crossroads of decision and resilience—her Esu.

Motivated cultural allrounder

Fitzpatrick’s Zambian name, Liseli, which means “divine and guiding light,” as carefully chosen by her mother, she asserts is her greatest title and precedes all others, even eclipsing the more recent Dr, as it amplifies her true persona and penchant to empower.

Her story is, therefore, one of unwavering passion and love. She attended Sacred Heart Girls’ RC School and her mother’s alma mater, St Francois Girls’ College. Fitzpatrick was always committed to charting her own course in the fulfillment of her name.

During her ten years at OSU, she obtained the BA in Psychology (pre-law) with a double minor in visual communications and African American and African Studies (AAAS). Subsequently, Fitzpatrick earned her MA in AAAS.

In 2014, Fitzpatrick was elected by OSU to participate in the first Pre-Doctoral Humanities Without Walls (HWW) workshop, in Chicago, IL.

In 2017/2018, she was awarded a visiting lecturer position at James Madison University (JMU) in their first Preparing Future Faculty (PFF) Programme, where she lectured in the Department of Philosophy and Religion, also, a first for the department.

For seven consecutive years, during her tenure at OSU, Fitzpatrick has also taught over 1,000 students in the early African Civilisations courses in both the pre-colonial and post-colonial eras, respectively, where her classes have always been oversubscribed.

As a cultural enthusiast, Fitzpatrick spent most of her time engaging in the arts and cultural activities, and has been a recipient of several awards.

“I was a mere tot when I took the stage as a member of the Lilliput Children’s Theatre, founded by Noble Douglas and guided by Wendell Manwarren and Roger Roberts of Rapso group 3Canal,” revealed a deservedly proud Fitzpatrick.

“I naturally gravitated to The Trinidad Theatre Workshop (TTW), led by the prolific thespians Helen Camps and Albert Laveau; and, later graduated as a senior actress to their Theatre-in-Education (TIE) programme in leading roles, such as the protagonist Juliet in the famed Shakespearean play Romeo and Juliet that went to secondary schools throughout the country.”

Fitzpatrick utilises all her talents and platforms to ignite consciousness. In her A’Level years at SFGC, Fitzpatrick led the school’s morning assemblies in motivational talks, and was its annual yearbook editor-in chief. She then founded her Natural Ink Clothing company, which emerged out of her passion to ignite and conjure cultural consciousness and evoke patriotism.

Among her most sought-after design, is the TTT Tee-shirt, created in honour of her late father, who hosted Face of the Nation and Issues and Ideas interviews at the television station, as the then chief government broadcaster and director of information, and also to awaken a spirit of yesteryear and patriotism.

The sum total of homegrown talent

“I have never left home, in essence, as during the course of my rigorous doctoral study and teaching obligations, I conceptualised a powder-themed J’Ouvert band that paid homage to the cultural giants, ancestors, and her father with its inaugural presentation ‘Powder to the People: Peace, Love & Powder’ as a means of bridging the generations in preserving tradition and honouring the plurality and rich diversity of T&T’s cosmopolitan rainbow country.

“I annually volunteer my service on the liaison team for the Emancipation Support Committee (ESC), under the leadership and unrelenting and tireless work of Khafra and Asha Kambon, although this year was missed due to my graduation.”

Fitzpatrick unceasingly broadens and offers her shoulders for others to stand and not just lean.

She wants people to walk in the face of her light and not in her shadows. She regards herself as the sum total and reflection of everyone she encounters and is spiritually-grounded and free-spirited, as seen in her artwork, which is done in spare time; and, also, heard in a reflective piece she wrote titled Be Silent being regularly aired on the i95.5 FM John Benoit Sunday Family Show. Again, it was a piece penned while still a Sixth Form student, and awarded her a scholarship to attend the first motivational Iyanla Vanzant Conference held, in Trinidad.

Fitzpatrick is eternally thankful to her country and the diaspora that she continues to serve. In the spirit of gratitude, she also gave thanks to her dissertation committee, the Department of AAAS; and, her students both inside and outside of the classroom, at OSU, and JMU. Above all, Fitzpatrick gave thanks o Olodumare, and the pantheon of Orisa, saints, spirit guides, and all those, who have been accompanying her along her spiritual and spirited journey, as she humbly bears the torch in spreading love and bringing about true emancipatory change in the celebration of our diversity yet oneness.

Reporting by Peter Ray Blood — [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment News

A world of learning opens at Black Deer camp

Lifestyle - Mon, 08/13/2018 - 07:24

A whole wide world of learning is being opened up to dozens of students from Mayaro and environs attending the Black Deer Vacation Camp sponsored by energy company bpTT.

The words of eight-year-old, Kaylan Kate Brereton, who attends the Mayaro-Guayaguayare Community School, conveyed the campers’ excitement, “I love this vacation camp so much because we do a lot of fun activities every day. I get to play and learn with my friends and I also made lots of new friends. There were some topics that I had problems with and the tutors are really helping me to understand better. My parents are also glad because this is a safe and fun environment and I get picked up and dropped home and we even get a delicious lunch every day.”

Now in its eighth year, the six-week camp is hosted at the Guayaguayare RC Primary School which has many of the necessary amenities including a playing field and even SMART boards that were installed by bpTT. Ten experienced and qualified tutors engage with and impart knowledge to more than 100 campers between the ages of four and 13.

Underscoring bpTT’s support for the initiative, Ronda Francis, corporate responsibility manager, said: “This camp is unique in that it utilises highly interactive teaching techniques to reinforce fundamental learning skills such as literacy, numeracy and critical thinking. The real difference, however, is the fact that a nurturing and fun environment is created where the children feel comfortable to move at their own pace.

“They have excellent and dedicated tutors and the kids assist each other to succeed. From the feedback we have received year after year, the Black Deer campers go back to school in September much more capable and confident of attaining their full potential.”

The benefits of the annual Black Deer camp are so enduring that some people, originally from Mayaro who have moved to other parts of Trinidad, and even further afield like the United States, plan their vacations around the camp so their children can attend.

For Jaliyah Glodon, an eight-year-old resident of Chicago, the Black Deer vacation camp experience is unbelievable.

She said: “I am learning so much every single day and when I go back to school, I am going to share what I learnt with my friends in America. My family is originally from New Lands Village in Guayaguayare and my parents heard so many great things about this camp that they made sure we came for vacation while the camp is going on. I made a lot of friends and the tutors are so friendly and they really help us to learn by having fun. I’m so thankful that I got to attend this camp and I wish that every child in the world could come here.”

The camp utilises a mix of conventional and non-traditional techniques to reinforce the various skills students demonstrate at different education levels.

Academic learning is delivered through elements of arts and craft, music, dance, gardening and instructional field trips. Campers also engage in interactive exercises to strengthen them in areas such as phonics, vocabulary, sentence structure, reading and writing.

On hand to teach the students the unique art of balloon twisting was Mayaro Government Primary School teacher and guest tutor, Keith Richardson, and he said: “As an educator with over 35 years’ experience, I can say with confidence that this camp brings great benefit to the students. Education transcends books and learning by rote, and these kids are shown that creativity, individuality and freedom of expression are also great learning and developmental tools.

“Over the years, the children come back and tell us that the creative aspects of this camp are what make the biggest impact on their attitudes to learning.”

With the camp closing off on Friday, the campers have a packed last week including educational field trips to the Mayaro Fire Station, Devil’s Woodyard in Hindustan and the Pitch Lake in La Brea.

President and founder of the Black Deer Foundation, Arvolon Wilson-Smith, praised bpTT for its overwhelming support of the camp and said: “When our campers go back to school, we always get positive feedback from their teachers and parents. We offer the students the freedom to explore and engage in activities that encourage them to absorb things at a comfortable pace.

“We are really grateful for this investment in our children being made by bpTT because the rewards are very tangible and long-lasting and benefit the entire community.”

Categories: Entertainment News

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