Selective Literacy

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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.

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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) .

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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…..

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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.

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Spelling duz nut matter… part too (2)

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The moment we have all been waiting for, this is part two of the ‘Spelling duz nut matter’ series. This one is special because it was sent to me by one my friends (thanks Mich) so I’m glad to see that people do take an interest in my blog. Moving along… I mentioned in one of my earlier photo opinion posts that Trinis are known for not reading instructions and this sign of rules is no exception. Maybe this is the reason why we are so bad at giving directions, because we can’t even follow simple instructions :/

See video: Taking directions from a Trini

Please draw your eyes to the third ‘NO’ which states that there should be no picknicking  or coolers allowed around the pool area and as I finish this sentence the red squiggly line has already appeared to identify and signal the culprit.

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Because what exactly is picKnicking? It amazes me that someone would have invested time into designing this, it would have been sent to print, placed in its current location and proudly reviewed by those in charge after which many visitors would have passed by it. So from its inception to now why has this spelling gone unnoticed? Maybe we are so used to how it is actually spelt that we don’t even notice. Or do they know and are just too lazy to print a new sign? (see relevant photo opinion post Slow down) Well I am drawing attention to it NOW once and for all. The sign is being covered by leaves, whether or not this is part of the whole natural ambience and design or just neglect by the groundsmen I don’t know, the white letters are turning brown to slowly camouflage with the already green background of the sign and by extension the surroundings. I would say it has served its time and therefore it should not be a problem to have a new one done with the correct spelling.

Another message for management is that they have no need to worry  about persons not adhering to such as this activity technically does not exist. Lawyers benefit a lot from similar technicalities and if I were bold enough I would toat the biggest picnic basket I could find and lay out my nicest blanket and if I were reprimanded I would smile and lift my sign that would read, ‘Do not disturb, currently picnicking not to be confused with picknicking. Kindly refer to the list of rules posted. Thank you. By my management.’ However I have yet to master this level of bravery and fearlessness so I’ll stick to blogging.

So we’re back to square one of asking ourselves if spelling really does matter and if so then to what extent. Surely on legal documents accurate spelling is a must but take a look at the linguistic masterpiece below and you will find that it may not be such a big deal in other instances.

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With or without the extra ‘b’ we all know what it is and this would hardly likely affect our decision of whether or not to purchase food here. Especially with the added bonus of the smiley reassuring you of just how tasty it is. So decide for yourself how important spelling is but for the sake of us all, in public places that require longstanding signs such as the first example, ensure that your sign has accurate spelling please and thank you.

By management.

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