One Love: Jamaican Blogger Tag
Fellow Jamaican blogger Karee tagged me in the Jamaican Blog Tag that’s making the rounds courtesy of another blogger Nas. According to Nas, the tag is meant to “form links, possibly discover new information and new bloggers and have fun while doing so.” Nas chose the topic and questions, and explains the rules:
It starts with one blogger (in this case, me) who chooses the topic of the Tag and then gives a list of questions or one general question which is wide enough to have its answer broken down into list form. After the first blogger answers said question(s), he or she will “tag” other bloggers to continue the tag.
Why did you give your blog its name? (If it is named directly after you, try and make your answer interesting. eg: Did you feel nervous at all about putting your name out there? Did you just lack creativity at the time?) I like cucumber juice. It’s really just that. Since joining Twitter though the name has apparently taken on a sexual undertone…I don’t mind . When I decided to restart blogging (I had a blog waaaay back when there was UWI dial up, Netscape, and when you had to stay up late to log onto the internet so that no one who was calling your mother was thwarted) I was looking for a name and I think I’d recently made and enjoyed a batch of cucumber juice so I figured why not. The way I make and prefer the juice mirrors my preferred style of writing: natural, fresh, refreshing, pure; no artificial additives. I’ll hop off the metaphor now.
Why did you start blogging and why do you blog now? I got tired of The Jamaica Gleaner either publishing my letters with odd, unnecessary edits or not publishing them at all. I also got threatening email once in response to one of my published letters. So I figured I’d try for a measure of anonymity (read: safety) that also allowed greater freedom regarding subject matter, frequency, and content. I felt that I had useful opinions to share and sharing them only with the Gleaner’s editorial board became frustrating. I wanted to discuss those opinions (or at least present them for discussion), and, most of all, I wanted to learn about and from what other people thought…especially from those who hold opposing or different opinions. So, one lunch time I got started…. I continue to blog because I have lots of things to say. I continue to blog because I love learning and I enjoy and appreciate the feedback from readers. I’m also refining my interests — personal and professional — and blogging provides a way for me to immerse myself in and learn about a topic or issue; my posts will be great groundwork for my books. But I also love to write and this is one of the few (relatively) unstructured opportunities that I currently have to write; it’s therapeutic, even when I blog about serious, angering, or heartbreaking things.
Do you think being Jamaican influences your blogging style? Yes. I began blogging in response to articles and commentary in the Gleaner and Observer. Then I began blogging about memories of being home…then about more general observations of Jamaican life, politics, society. Many of the issues that I blog about I see through a Jamaican lens, e.g. I think about how it will or can affect Jamaica, or how Jamaica(ns) will or should confront an issue.
What do you think about the increase in bloggers in Jamaica? It’s a good thing. Actually, it’s necessary because reporting in Jamaica is now sub par (I’ve written about this before). Yes, there are a few standout journalists but generally the profession doesn’t get the support or respect necessary to fulfill its important role: providing full, unbiased information for the Jamaican population. Bloggers can, at least, offer Jamaicans an opportunity to read different non-JLP or PNP tinged views and may even push traditional journalism toward improvement. Ideally both will happen even as bloggers maintain a check on traditional news media’s activities.
What is your favourite thing about being Jamaican? Um. I really don’t know. How can I choose? I’m not even sure I can identify what it is that makes me Jamaican…I simply am and feel it in my bones. I like very much that I was not raised in an insular way but I’m not sure that that’s inherently Jamaican. Yet I find that too many Americans do not know basic things about the world outside of the 50 United States, territories, and possessions. That kind of insularity seems to be a common American trait (perhaps I’m biased?). One need not be a geography or world history scholar but being curious and thoughtful about the world outside of your immediate neighbourhood, community, state, or country is important. I’m not sure if that curiosity is inbred in Jamaicans but it feels like it is a part of my Jamaican identity. I also like the arrogance of Jamaicans. Like when Bolt eases up before the finish line, bites his lip, and beats his chest yet still wins kind of arrogance. It sometimes gets us in trouble but we look damn good displaying it…I still love it.
Ackee and saltfish or “(mackerel) run down”? Ackee and saltfish. With fried roast breadfruit, boiled or fried bananas, and fried plantain. Listen, I’ve had my Mom bring this to the airport to greet me. Sure I can buy ackees here or, err, may have somehow had access to parcels in my freezer but there’s nothing like (a) my mother’s cooking; and, (b) nyamming that dish at my yard. Confession: I’ve never had run down.
Stew peas or stew chicken? Stew peas. With spinnners and corn pork and white rice. My most vivid memory of eating stew peas is by Home Sweet Home light (JPS strikes again, they’ve been at it for so long) sweating like crazy (for some reason stew peas always makes me hot) and hoping that nothing flies in from outside and drop innah mi plate because (a) if I saw it I’d be waving it away wildly and would probably turn over the lamp, burning down my Grandparents house (or the neighbourhood if it’s a flying cockroach…Jesu!); and, (b) I can’t spot a bug in my plate until it’s too late and I’d have been pissed about that ruining my stew peas. I have a vivid imagination.
Tastee Patties, Juici Beef Patties or Mother’s? Erhm. I’m a little out of touch as I’ve had to make-do with Golden Krust’s…offerings…for too long so either of these will probably be jus’ fine…BUT, last time I was home I had Juici Beef patties and it was great and that’s what I bought at the airport. I also like how they’ve expanded their menu! That’s the kind of franchising I like to see in Jamaica, not TGIF. But I digress.
Pantucky or KFC? KFC! No argument. KFC in Farrin is awful and then one is not sure that one is actually eating chicken. I have a special love for BBQ KFC in Jamaica too and that surely isn’t served in Farrin.
What do you hope to be the future of blogging in Jamaica? I hope that more Jamaicans blog and I hope that we become well known and respected for it. I hope that our blogs are widely read and critiqued. I hope that our writing and analysis of things improve. I hope that we are successful. I strongly believe that writing is a form of advocacy and can spur change, so I hope that at least some Jamaican bloggers will use their posts to push for the change they’re passionate about. I hope to see more Jamaican history and music bloggers. I’d like to see bloggers from the “deep rural” areas sharing about their daily lives. There are many voices in Jamaica and I welcome that cacophony. There’s a lot to be written about, advocated for, explored, and discussed about Jamaica. Traditional newspapers cannot handle the load and, currently, are not doing a good job so there’s little reason to believe that they’ll be able to meet the challenge anyway. I do hope that the blogging community becomes less cliquey. I hope that more Jamaicans overseas blog about their lives; they don’t necessarily have to blog about Jamaica or Jamaican life, politics, or society…but the example of what Jamaicans do off The Rock is interesting and valuable.
Hmm now for 7 other Jamaican bloggers. My tags are:
Mamachel of The Adventures of Mamachel
Annie of Active Voice
Gordon Swaby at Gordon Swaby
Shar at Tidbits
Nicky at Cinnamon Coffee
Chunchi at Chunchimina
Karin at YardEdge