Selective Literacy


It appears to me that this is one of those cases where I should politely start by saying “well I can only speak for myself…” knowing full well that I would have already began speaking on behalf of at least 80% of the Trinidadian population, when I say it seems that we are selectively literate. I’m not sure if this is a case where you fake it (ignorance) till u make it and then you can’t stop faking it (full fledged ignoramus). What I mean by this is, I would like someone to explain this new age phenomenon of choosing when to be literate. I’m not talking about pulling push doors dumb or ordering a KFC sandwich without the combo dumb and not even simply buying one shoe in Payless’ BOGO sale dumb. Rather, I am referring to those individuals who display behaviours as seen in the picture above, as they skillfully tried to present a masterpiece entitled:

‘Paper Model of Mt. Everest’ *not to scale*

Perhaps the person responsible for emptying the bin failed to recognise what was happening or maybe it was after hours, we don’t really know. What we do know is that surely if we guard the paper in our pockets then at some point we will find a bin. One day I went to use the ATM and I was surprised when the machine asked me whether or not I would like to have a receipt, I thought it was quite thoughtful and impressive. I only now recognise the reason for that feature. Good job guys! *commence slow clap*

Now don’t get me wrong, I am aware that some individuals are in fact illiterate and in no way am I trying to make a joke of those circumstances. Rather, I am highlighting that our literacy is definitely not something we should take for granted or ‘switch off’ for our selfish convenience . A sign clearly states ‘keep this room clean’ and yet many people chose to reside in Oppositeville, Population:completely lackadaisical. If ever there was a reason to SMH this would be one of them. Of course this could never be the only example of such disregard for clear signs and one’s environment, so let’s move along.


This sign says ‘Place Umbrellas Here’ but when I looked in, it was full of garbage. Since some people had filled the umbrella holder with their garbage, I was forced to walk around with my wet umbrella as it dripped behind me leaving a trail of water droplets as if it were a re-enactment of Hansel and Gretel… SMH

All it would have taken was for one person to drop a piece of paper and in no time it became a dustbin. If only my bank account could follow suit and multiply the little money I would deposit ever so often.

#financialgoals #growbabygrow #mommaneedsanewpairofshoes #maybe2ifitsBOGO

Many signs around us are slowly turning into amber lights and so although we see them and we know what they really mean we choose to ignore, just as we speed up when we all know that amber really means slow down and proceed carefully. Unless of course you’re a true true Trinidadian (see picture below) .


Now, I’ve saved the best for last and even now, to the end of my rant, I admit that even I have fallen short of fulfilling this simple request. DRUMROLL PLEASE…..


Apparently it’s not enough to use one of the following, more appropriate alternatives:

  • Don’t touch vents
  • Doh touch d vents
  • Do not adjust
  • Refrain from touching vents etc.

CAUTION!!! Heavy Sarcasm Ahead

This maxi driver was clearly tired of saying the same thing. He was probably tired of seeing hands stretching above only to realise that they weren’t in fact reaching for the bell and he had had it with replacing vents which are so easily broken by the Hulks that walk among us.  He took matters into his own hands, walked up to the ‘Sign printing for Maxis’ shop and said something like this, “Hello good day. I’m tired of people touching the vents and so under each vent can you please write the words ‘please don’t *insert pseudo expletive here* touch vents’? with three exclamation marks please and thank you”. Unfortunately for him, I don’t think it would have had any greater effect than other popular alternatives and I am indeed speaking from personal defiance.

Why don’t we read, interpret and conform? Why is it so hard to follow simple rules and instructions? Why do we as Trinbagonians choose illiteracy? It’s about time for us to bottle some of the national pride we conveniently adopt on one of our many national holidays so in times like these we can release an ounce of national pride as well as concern for others, just enough to be consciously literate in doing something that will benefit us all in whatever way. I would therefore suggest that you remove the term ‘selectively literate’ from your social resume and stop making it something to boast about.


Is ah rankin’ ting


Unless you are living under a rock, you would know of the brawl that took place recently between local ‘celebrities’ Ian Alleyne and Inspector Alexander. Staying true to our Trini culture, we have successfully managed to maximise on this incident turning it into a comedic masterpiece. This ranges from jokes, memes, videos, cartoons and even merchandise. Language is never out of the loop and as a passion of mine I have to admit that my favourite result is the new slang that has emerged i.e. “Is ah rankin’ ting?’ or ‘Is ah rankin’ ting with you or wha?’ It is so appropriate, so useful, so direct and I love it. How would you even begin to explain this phrase to a foreigner? Given the complexity of the relationship of the two men involved, the easily forgotten but more important case of alleged domestic abuse and of course the phrase itself, well you’d have your work cut out for you.

Anyway, moving right along. One morning as I arrived to work, dropped my things, counted down the days to vacation, grumbled at my having to be there and so early ‘to boot’ I then decided to make a cup of coffee. Among the choices was a box with packets of hot chocolate mix. I decided to read the box and was hit with two pictures for my next photo opinion post. Voilà!

Firstly, the manufacturers of this product wish to make it clear that they in fact use real milk  and I thought to myself if there was even such a thing as fake milk. As far as I know the only and without a doubt the coolest fake milk was the one that you fed your doll when you were younger; the one that ‘disappeared’ as you tipped the bottle over. *nostalgic childhood memory* If that is not enough to convince you then rest assured that there’s more because this REAL milk comes from Wisconsin. Excuse my ignorance but I would feel just as comfortable even if I didn’t know which country the milk came from.

By the time I read what is seen in the second picture I really had to blurt out a “buh what d jail is this, is a rankin’ ting with you or wha *brand that I dare not mention in order to protect myself*” They so boldface and boastful that they feel the need to say they have 4 more than Nestle’s box. I wonder if that means they have 10 for the price of the same 6 which Nestle offers although I highly doubt it. Talk bout marketing strategy and advertising! If you are not convinced by now then you are probably an advocate for brand loyalty, the same brand loyalty that compels us to buss our bank accounts to purchase brand name products when other brands work just as well or even better.

Well, if I walked around with the confidence and conviction of this box I would be invisible, untouchable and maybe even a bit delusional but it’s a good point to consider. As much as I joke around, I also reflect so bare with me a while longer. It may be a far fetched comparison but sometimes we try to be this box in order to stand out and appear more attractive to others but there’s a limit. As upright individuals, we ought to be just and see ourselves as we truly are and also treat others as they ought to be treated. I believe that on a deeper level this phrase (is ah ranking ting with you?) arose from the virtue of justice which seems to be lacking these days. What gives you privileges that I will never have? Why am I looked down upon? etc etc. Therefore, while it is used as a joke in informal settings there may be more to it at times. The next time the phrase is hurled at you, laugh it off and have a quick comeback but also think objectively, ‘Am I truly being just?’

Made in China


Much too often we fail to appreciate the good things in life and so was born that famous saying, ‘You never know what you have until you lose it’. Surely this pacifier would fall into that category of things to be highly appreciated because as the label clearly states this pacifier was ‘Designed to SURE natural development of healthy teeth and gums’. You cannot possibly ask for a better quality product for your baby so jump off that GERBER train and get with this high quality no name brand and let’s be honest with ourselves. Is the Pricesmart brand of dishwashing liquid really of a lower quality than Squezy? Furthermore, if the bottles were switched without your knowledge would you know the difference? This of course is open to debate.

It is clear that these sort of high quality goods can only be the result of the mass production of China (see name of blog post). Not only because of the high standard associated with mass production *wink wink* but due to the evident fact that something was lost in translation along the way. This hardly matters in any case because we all know that Trinidadians do not read instructions or labels. So while you work tirelessly trying to find the last A4 screw to assemble that bed/desk/chair etc incorrectly allow me to fan myself with the assembly instructions while I complain about the heat and how hard it is to assemble said item. Complaints then range from ‘I sure them blasted people forget to include some parts inno’ to ‘See why I not buying nothing from Courts again *steups*’ and even the most ambitious of them all and also my personal favourite ‘Is bess I did make my own damn (insert name of said item)’ because it amazes me that you have the ability to make a product from scratch yet you are unable to browse simple instructions.

So back to the picture and on to my next point. How can something be designed to ENsure the natural development of something else? Allow me to state this again in the form of another question. If I am designing a product for a specific purpose or goal then can it not be said that the process fails to be natural? I am going to invent a fertiliser that ensures the natural growth of plants.

nick-young-confused-face-300x256_nqlyaaWHAT???…. NO!!! 

Sorry to be so particular but maybe ‘aids’, ‘helps’ or even ‘facilitates’ would be more appropriate in this case. In any case, we all know how to use this product and quite frankly it does not matter because chances are you won’t have time to read all of the information. Just in case you thought that children hold the title of ‘Fastest Unwrappers’ there’s nothing faster than the hands of a tired, disgruntled parent who needs to open a new pacifier to quiet the mini Hulk that momentarily embodies their crying baby. THEY my friends are the real MVPs. Can I get an amen? So whenever you come across a crazy translation, check where the product was made just for the fun of it.

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