on renting in Jamaica (and Babylon)

Often we think about how Jamaica makes it difficult for people to achieve things we often look at the outer extreme of poverty. Centring those who live in extreme poverty is important since they are most often ignored in many aspects.
Only using that experience as a lens to understand Jamaica, however, leaves some other people out of the conversation and limits our understanding of what needs to be changed. And how we make independence and upward movement near impossible for each other in our own unofficial policies and preferences.
 
For example, the standard in Jamaica is that a person needs to provide first, last, and one month deposit before they can move into a home. That’s three month’s rent they need to have ready to go in advance on top of moving costs, application costs for light and water and cable and internet etc on top of cost of furniture.
 
Even if a person decides to tough it out and sleep on a mattress on the floor they still have to provide three months rent before they can get to the four walls. So for a rent of JMD 25000 per month I must first have 75000 put down just so to hand over before I can get the key. Now this may seem like a small amount for some but for a person who is only working 75000 or even less per month, who had to move to another parish for the job, who is currently cotching on a couch and good will, who perhaps also has a kid to feed or a parent…that’s a lot of money that will take a long time to amass.
 
and why do we do it? it’s not the official policy. and even people who have never had a negative experience with renters will demand it.
 
we do it because like most other things the Jamaican renter system is mercenary and developed to benefit the (historically white/wealthy/landed) owner while taking advantage of and pathologizing the (historically black, poorer) renter.
 
I get it, you need protection in case you place mash up. but you also walk into people place to conduct random checks as you have a feeling…or perhaps if you were doing maintenance like you should you would know what was happening before the person moves out.
 
just saying.
 
people, we claim that we want ‘di yutes’ to do good or rather blame them for not seeking independence. But so many of our policies make life unliveable for people who don’t come from money or earn ’nuff money or who can’t call on parents to back them up.
 
we can do better.
 
#carlamoore #thinkitthrough

oh Jamaica 1/who knows

I find more and more my relationship with Jamaica is a conflicted thing full up of resentment and growing short on hope.

I hate the feeling.

The latest thing I am trying to make sense of is the vendors who beat a Rasta man and left him for dead because he started (him alone mind you) chanting against their jerked chicken and saying it smelled like dog and was polluting the place.

The whole thing bothers me for a number of reasons:

1. Is it that easy to kill a person now? Anything they say that’s against you or displeases you deserves death? What happen to all the shades of responses in between and why more people inna the crowd never recognise say it was a mob against one man and that never fair? And when we going to realise that this particular brand of badness can only ever benefit a select few while taking advantage of most…rather, when we going to recognise that our time as the ‘bad’ is limited and soon we will all fall from power and become the beaten?

2. I know somebody is going to say

‘well you haffi consider say wah him a do coulda did a interfere wid the people dem money…some people nuh play bout dem money’.

This I understand. When smaddy a ramp wid you money it nuh just easy fi siddung and watch. But that draw up even more question fimme: a) people really in such desperate situations (that kind that warrants killing a man fi piece a bread) or we just tell we self say things desperate as a way fi excuse we self fi treat one another terrible? Because sometimes me feel say we turn the sufferers story into the national identity and use that justify anything we do. Not everybody is at the ‘anytime me hungry again you a go see mi nine’ state. Some a dem nuh even hungry but dem a tear out people neck and headback like dem a starve. We, the not hungry,  tell we self say Jamaican dark lakka midnight inna every situation and go from there. Fi why? To what end? And what cost?

3. Now as me write this round and brown me know say smaddy a go tell me say

 A middle class browning like you cyan chat because you have privilege  and you belly full and you will never understand

Yes, me have privilege. Cyaan deny it and the impact it have pon me life. And me nuh waan take up too much space in a conversation that is not about and my experience. But the fact that I am privileged does not mean I am blind and don’t mean me cyan call out foolishness when me see it. And this is it: One Rasta man chanting fire on a whole slew a jerk man never did a go cost them business, dem cudda shout him down and run him dem never need fi do him physical harm. Dat a just people feeling like anybody come against dem must be exterminated because them a pest. That a we feeling like black people easy fi kill and deserve fi dead. That a colonial ignorance and foolishness. That a summn we need fi puddung.

4. Why is it so easy for us to sing about and talk about and actually do harm to black people? Because me sure a white man woulda never get beating and me nuh see white people a sing bout killing niggaz nearly as much as black people. So wah di deal?

5. Why all now Rasta cyan get some respect. This many years after defining some aspects of Jamaica culture internationally, after the many atrocities including Coral Gardens, after everybody wanna be a Marley, people still cyan see Rasta as anything but dutty foot mad man.

The more I think about my future in Jamaica the more deeply riddled I am with doubt.

What do I see?

An upper class that manages to thrive because they have enough social and economic buffers to make a world inside a world. To live in the Jamaica we wish we could inhabit. Some of whom have grown mercenary in their relationship with the lower classes.

A middle class that is being held accountable for the country’s debt through taxation. Some of whom have grown mercenary in their relationship with the lower classes.

A lower class that has managed to resist and recover from crippling under development. Some of whom have grown mercenary in their relationship with the middle and upper classes.

Criminal activity passing for culture. Violence as a marker of national identity. And hopelessness.

Inside of that beauty and hope and children growing businesses opening and people living their lives.

When I think about my future here I don’t know what I see…and with the love I have for the country…this burns me.

It actually makes me cry.

I want to scream that we can do better but I’m not sure who is we and who I should scream at first. Perhaps at the colonisers and the ones with the whip. Perhaps at myself.

 

singular wanga gut- the ultimate betrayal

look here nuh, me used to see the meme dem and laugh after dem but me never realise how it real…

is there any betrayal that cuts more deeply than when he smaddy who claim fi deh wid you nyam and leff you out?

everything gone inna doubt after that

yes you love me…when you belly FULL

will you love me when you hungry

matter of fact

will you love me when you peckish?

me  cuddn believe it, come inna the bathroom as cool as you please wid di cheese trix crumbs a circle him mouth like lion fish inna harbour  – well proud a tell me bout him likkle snack.

like me did fi happy fi him.

like me did fi celebrate say him nah starve.

inna that moment if me see him a road a dead fi thirst me wuddn even piss inna him MOUT

so deep was the wound if you cut me you wuddn find BLOOD

JESUS wept and died and rose again for this charlatan to come moggle pon me wid cheese trix crumbs…the salty part a the bottom too…the nice part weh you all tun over the bag fi lick out.

when-bae-eats-without-you-k-messages-details-whats-for-16114048

me hurt,  me devastated, me nuh know if we can make it back again.

#Tessanne come fi dig up inna we feelings wid her new single #EverythingRemindsMeOfYou

#TheVoice fever may have subsided somewhat but #Tessanne fevah a bun hotter dan ever.
Chinita Goodaz debuted the first single from her new album #EverythingRemindsMeOfYou on the Voice tonight and needless to say plan fi send people right inna dem feelings
she say she cyaan talk to di man modda, fada, sister or brodder cus every single one a dem look di same
big farrin and dese tings Tessi a talk enuh
Big up YEW Tessanne
and when yu buss di small one drop
PUPPALICK!

also….nuff love to 13th Street Promotions for bussing us on di link
#riddimup

PS it nah embed but see di link YASO

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pg9r7aw9su0

on using got ’til it’s gone carefully

while the sentiment ‘you don’t know what you got til its gone’ is true and helpful for people who are trying to heal, it should be used with care. sometimes we fixate on the idea that people don’t know what they got til its gone and fail to recognize that 1) some people never make the kind of connection with themselves necessary to have that realization and 2) regardless of how valuable you are some people will not recognize it despite their loss, also 3) no matter who you are there will be some people who find you to be a bad experience. this last one is hard to accept but in much the same way that the person you’re having a bad experience with may not seem bad to others or may be different in the future, some person may be having that same experience with you. it can be hard to swallow, especially when you’ve given your best and especially if someone hurt you. you’re sure they’re a bad person. and some people are. some, however, are just bad to you or for you. allowing for the fact that they may not be completely bad people doesn’t negate the pain they cause. and regardless of how pain is caused people will always have to pay for the harm they cause, especially if it is deliberate, especially if they harm a person who has tried to do the best by them. the universe does not allow that kind of imbalance to persist. but fair is fair (even if you’re too hurt to be fair right now) you could also be that person to them. so use it, use the sentiment to get you over the rough patch, but don’t hold on to it. do not hinge your healing on some mythical day when somebody will recognize the error of their ways, it may not come. recognize instead that with or without that realization, you are valuable. defy the odds: wish them well. if they hurt you to the point that they lost you, there’s probably some pain the haven’t dealt with that they need help with anyways- whether they know it or not. hold your own value in your hands, heal, and elevate, not because they recognize they lost you, but because you recognize what you have in yourself.

got ’til it’s gone

On Companies Snooping In the Social Media of Job Applicants

As person after person on my twitter timeline – including those who are twilebrities – makes their timeline private, i am prompted to think about the new business practice of using facebook and twitter as background checks before hiring a job applicant.
It goes like this:
You apply.
The company you applied to either legitimately or through some back door method accesses your pages and checks to make sure you’re not a murderer (I would be snide but people actually do post about that stuff), not an alcoholic (I’d say most of our Friday and Saturday night tweets would put us out of the running AND alcoholics need jobs too, especially if financial instability is fueling the alcoholism) and to make sure you’ve never said anything disparaging about the company (this is where my issue arises).
I find it interesting that companies would disqualify job applicants based on past  negative tweets about the company. Are you hiring based on qualifications or pre -existing brand loyalty? And is the person not entitled to have a difficulty with one of your services if the service is not working for them?
For example Jamaica’s two telecommunications providers (look at me not calling names because I may require a work from them…and either way I’m not pointing fingers, just using them as  relatable examples) employ MANY people (big ups to di call centre work weh a save *nuff* a we). They are also not perfect providers: service goes down, customer service agents are sometimes rude (and human),  RIM certainly gave them a bad name, and yes calling rates can seem exorbitant, offers that save money often disappear after three months and issues arise that have *nothing* to do with the provider but in anger customers will blame them. They are businesses, they care about customers but money is the bottom line, and customers who feel they get the dirty end of the deal will speak out on that feeling.
But here’s the thing, if you are a business and you are *actually* committed to improving the quality of service you offer, twitter provides free crowd sourcing of consultants for every part of your business.
They tell you at what point in the day you need to bring on more customer care agents, when you need to introduce a deal to please your customers, when you need to re-brand, which offer is no longer relevant, and even if the free gifts you’re offering fall apart after first use. That is free information people are willingly giving to you, never mind the tone.
Now, the person you are interviewing, up until this moment, was a part of that crowd. How then can you punish them for doing something that is 1) common place and 2) actually beneficial to your company (if your company uses it wisely) because now they want to offer a different kind of service to you? I understand, you don’t want anybody working with you who might undermine your organization, and yes, as an employer you have the right to know who you are hiring. But on the practice of twitter/facebook snooping and persecution (more specifically for ‘negative’ tweets about the company) I have an issue. Most of the people conducting the interviews had no loyalty to the company before they were on payroll. Why should social media be exploited to deny other people the same right to change? Furthermore this has the potential to undermine the company by only populating it with yes-men.  A company cannot grow without critique and organizations are doing themselves an injustice by scouring twitter timelines as a part of the application process with the intention of eliminating people who have not always found them to be perfect.
Let’s be honest. businesses make mistakes. Consumers complain yet retain the services. People should be free to speak about their experiences with a company in one way without feeling it will bar them from another kind of relationship with the company. Otherwise what are we doing? Seeking fans instead of hard workers. And while Britney Spears is a business i’m sure she doesn’t interview for accountants in the VIP of her concerts.