Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Letter for 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Waine Kong Family. 2012 was very exciting year for my bride and I. For starters, Stephanie and I have a new baby. Her name is ZOe. We started a Pediatric practice in Thomaston, Georgia. Even though we started the practice on the promise of support from the hospital, that financial support never materialized so Stephanie and I know FIRST HAND what "Trusting in the Lord to meet all your needs" mean, as we assumed the financial support of the practice and all the employees. My wife is one hard working woman and I am the guy who never pass up an opportunity to promote ZOe Peds. I believe that Stephanie and I have been preparing for this for all our lives. Stephanie is such a blessing to the community. The practice name is ZOe Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Health. ZOe (pronounced Zoway) is Greek for God's Blessing. We have endless stories of positively impacting on the lives of our patients. This year also saw the Home Going of my mother Violet. Our family has her for 89 years and she passed quietly in her sleep in February. She was remembered fondly by all her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. I miss her Sunday dinners. In my retirement, I was able to spend a lot of quality time with her and I wouldn't trade those visits of memories for anything. Jill's thriving immigration practice in Phoenix continues to grow. Mackenzie is a full fledge teenager, a vegan and a budding scientist who is interested in biomedical engineering. It just seems like yesterday that she was this toddler that traveled the world with her Nanna and Poppop. Would you believe she wrote a proposal to a community Foundation and got her project funded? Brooks has a black belt in Taekwondo and a gifted writer. Freddy and Tracy have two wonderful children who shower us with hugs and kisses on a monthly basis. Kai is quite the athlete. He loves to climb anything and is frequently caught on the highest limb of a tree. Hailie is known as Hail Storm the Drive by kisser. She runs to everything and then stops to kiss you and she is off again. She truly channels her "Gandma" Stephanie. Melanie has expanded her business Play Connections. Her waiting list of students continues to grow and her business is thriving. Our granddaughter Audrey is a budding philosopher and continues to be a great "Big" sister to Vincent. She loves to share jokes with her Pop Pop. Vincent is six and is still very BIG on negotiating everything. The Great Northwest continues to be very good to them! Aleron is finishing his residency in internal medicine and is now interviewing for full time employment as a hospitalist. For those of you who have seen him grow up, he is quite the handsome man and is an excellent clinician. All my prodding to entice him into a cardiology fellowship has not paid off yet, but I will keep on trying. Stephanie’s 60th Birthday party at the Tradewinds Hotel in Tampa was simply marvelous. The entire family showed up and all the grand children performed for her. When our family get together, we hug and catch up, tell jokes, play games, lounge in the sun and swim in the ocean, most importantly, we dance! It was a really great party for a really great lady. Hint, hint, I turn 70 next year! These annual reflections are very meaningful for Stephanie and I and we appreciate your presence in our lives. In our celebrations, I hope you don’t overlook the reason for the season. We are celebrating the 2012th birthday of our Messiah who came to establish a new order of love for our fellow travelers on our planet. “And when we give each other Christmas gifts in His name, let us remember that He has given us the sun and the moon and the stars, and the earth with its forests and mountains and oceans--and all that lives and move upon them. He has given us all green things and everything that blossoms and bears fruit and all that we quarrel about and all that we have misused--and to save us from our foolishness, from all our sins, He came down to earth and gave us Himself.” (Sigrid Undset) Waine and Stephanie

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jamaica speak

Observations on our Culture Expressing Ourselves Basil Waine Kong Some of the interesting observations I have made about how we speak are that: 1. Any part of the body below the pelvic region is your "foot" and any part of your limbs below the shoulders is your "hand". 2. We love to repeat words for emphasis. We love a little something extra, added or brata as exemplified in our tautological descriptions. While Americans may say: "where are you---at?" “Déjà vu all over again", "free gift", "over-exagerate", "forward planning" or even "planning ahead" or "first introduced." Typically Jamaicans will say: “reverse back”, "Rock stone", "cry eye water", "mad crazy", "rain shower", "lamb meat" and my favorite, "I am all by myself, alone.". 3. We do not have very in our language. So, we just repeat the word as many times to emphasize how serious the circumstances are. I can be sick or I can be sick, sick, sick, or I can be close to dieing, when I am sick, sick, sick, sick, sick, sick. The daughter can be pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, or she can be pretty, pretty, pretty... 4. If someone in Jamaica ask you for a "drive", we are not asking to drive your car just to get a ride. 5. While Americans emphasize results, Jamaicans reward effort. Instead of "get dressed", we say "put on your clothes". In the United States, we wash coffee beans before we put them out to dry. In Jamaica, "we swim them." Farmers are planters. A rest stop is a "lay by" and a speed bump is a "sleeping policeman". A bright student is "bulby" as in a bright light bulb. If you want the driver to go faster, you would say "speed up" and Jamaicans say "mash (the gas pedal) e flat" putting the emphasis on the action rather than the desired outcome. You do not hang out clothes to dry, you put them out to sun. "Just be quiet" says Americans or "Resist the temptation to say something you will regret later." We say: "Don't let them pull yu tounge." 6. It is no big deal for the son from a wealthy family to succeed but we celebrate Horatio Alger stories of a phoenix rising from the ashes. We value remarkable effort regardless of the outcome. You can succed by failing in Jamaica if you try hard. 7 A Jamaican will not say "I don't know" or "I cannot do something". He or she will at least tell you something else that he knows. "I cannot tell you how to get to Woodlands but if you wanted to go to New Market..." And we will try to do anything as nothing defeats failure like a try.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My apologies!

Dear Readers of My Blog: I was getting along just fine posting my comments and celebrating my Jamaican roots and culture when Google suddenly changed everything. So, until I can muster the motivation to learn the new rules or get one of my children to teach me, I am lost. As you can see from my last two posts, it is a garbled mess that I cannot figure out. I am at a loss to understand why Google made these changes. At a time when there is so much to write about, I am not able to post them. So, until I figure it out, my apologies and much appreciation for your support and patience. In the meantime, I will obey gravity. What a great moment in time to be a Jamaican! Basil

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Basil Waine Kong “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” (1 John 3:16) There can be no greater love. So, to manifest this love on mother earth, God gave us mothers to protect, nourish, and endow each of her children with caring and love. The definition of motherhood is that she willingly gives unconditional love, sacrifice herself (if necessary) to keep her children from harm and to create positive opportunities for them. A mother wants children to be everything they can be. That’s what she also doesn’t tolerate foolishness. This is my first Mother’s Day without my mother and I am feeling lonely---reflecting on those wonderful moments when she was particularly nurturing, funny and wise. I would have liked to hug up on her, shower her with poems, flowers, gifts and well wishes today but she is not here to receive them. So, for those of you who still have mothers, I hope you take the opportunity today to acknowledge her for her many sacrifices and give her roses while she can smell them. Oh what a beautiful morning! We are visiting with our Son Freddie and wife, Tracy, and two of our six beautiful and talented grandchildren, Kai and Haillie. It is a perfect morning. Freddie is Steph’s frist born and who made her a mother, so she is particularly emotional to share this day with him and his family. Their children are just wonderful and loving. They love that I chase them around the house and throw them from one end of the pool to the next. Freddie served mimosas and coffee as soon as we woke up and as I write this is fixing breakfast---fritata, bagels and lox, etc., etc. He is an excellent cook. Happy Mother’s Day! I guess I will have to adopt my aunts today but no one could substitute for my really great mother! A Mother's Love (Helen Steiner Rice) A Mother's love is something that no one can explain, It is made of deep devotion and of sacrifice and pain, It is endless and unselfish and enduring come what may For nothing can destroy it or take that love away . . . It is patient and forgiving when all others are forsaking, And it never fails or falters even though the heart is breaking . . . It believes beyond believing when the world around condemns, And it glows with all the beauty of the rarest, brightest gems . . . It is far beyond defining, it defies all explanation , And it still remains a secret like the mysteries of creation . . . A many splendored miracle man cannot understand And another wondrous evidence of God's tender guiding hand.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Bless Be the Tie that Binds

Ladies and Gentlemen: I awoke this morning with a dream for the development of rural Jamaica. My idea will engage the Diaspora like never before, increase rural employment and go a long way to develop rural communities across Jamaica. I start with the premise that every community in Jamaica has had phenomenally successful people who got their broughtupsy in small communities. For example, in Woodlands District in St. Elizabeth where I grew up, I can count several doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, engineers and business men and women who remember the village that raised them but who owe much of their success to the values learned at their Granny’s knees. They all share, as I do, a love for the people of our district and want to stay connected. I love going back and worshiping with my people, hugging on them and helping in any way I can. So, what if we: 1. Organize a Board of 12 community people (from each district) to plan and build a building to accommodate: a. 12 motel rooms b. A restaurant c. A hall for social functions (weddings, Saturday night dances, club meetings, political meetings, etc. d. A retail outlet to sell items produced by those who live in the community e. Organize domino, table tennis and cricket clubs 2. Ask those who can afford it both here and abroad to invest in the building and its management. 3. The clear advantages to the Diaspora investing in this project a. A place to stay and visit with the “old people” b. Interesting and entertaining things to do when they are there c. A place to eat and drink and socialize when they visit d. A profit center In the old days, towns competed against each other in cricket and dominoes. Now “nutten a guan”. Out of these domino tournaments and cricket matches, talent could be identified and nurtured. In terms of its impact on the economy, tourists would be motivated to visit these non-resort towns. No matter how far we may travel from yard, if we were born in Jamaica, we will always be interested in our heritage. Let us go about bringing in new money, strengthen the ties between the people who reside here and the “beento” people who are spread out around the world. What a great way to spread our love, our music, our dance, our sports and culture! Yea Mon.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

On Her Way

Basil Waine Kong

She had passed six subjects and was one her way
It was just dusk and drizzling
She wondered whether there was going to be weather
She was on her way to her Granny’s house
With brown stew chicken, macka yam and callaloo for supper
Her long legs freshly rubbed with coconut oil protruding out of her short dress
He came over the hill playing his guitar and singing as loud as he could:
“Tan de Mr. Goosie, tan de
Tan de till a mawnin”
She smiled in amusement and stopped to listen
He sat under the breadfruit tree and played the songs she liked
As she placed her hands under her chin and wind up her waist
With a great big smile he said: “Come ya Gal, Mek mi love you up no?”
She said: “No, I have to go. Mi bringing supper for Granny”
“You look so pretty and nice, mi love you u know”
She said NO
He would not take NO for an answer
She said no again
He caressed her around her thin waist and kissed her
Her knees went weak and she shivered in his arms
It was now wet
She no longer said no and he didn’t stop
And as the earth moved under her bare feet
He planted his seed and bigged her up
He went on his way and was nowhere to be found
She was caught in a storm
And no longer on her way

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Seeking Justice, Freedom, and the Right of Every Human to the Pursuit of Happiness.

My Attendance at the Amnesty International Annual General Meeting
(Friday, March 30 – Sunday, April 1, 2012)
Basil Waine Kong

(First of all, I need to apologize that I have not posted anything on this blog since the death of my mother. That event triggered a great deal of lethargy and procrastination that I did not anticipate. I felt unmotivated and everything I forced myself to do was a chore. Rather than writing, playing golf, traveling, dancing, visiting with friends, reading and being my jocular self, I found myself watching mindless hours of television and movies. It also took a minute to probate my mother’s will and wrap up her affairs. I am motivated again---probably triggered by an invitation from my oldest grandchild to accompany her so she could take advantage of a scholarship to attend the Annual General Meeting of Amnesty International.)

Due to my granddaughter’s passionate advocacy for gay and immigrant rights and her participation in several demonstrations as well as her letters to decision makers around the world, she was offered a scholarship and the enviable opportunity to attend the convention. She is mature beyond her years (14 years). In her brief life, she is already one of the unsung heroes who speak up and put her body on the line for various causes. While she bubbled over with enthusiasm and anticipation, her parents would not allow her to attend by herself. She needed chaperones. Her parents had to work, so retired Pop Pop and her Nana to the rescue. It was entirely our pleasure.

Before I tell you about our first meeting up with her in Denver, I need to provide some background. She once asked me: “Pop, Pop, what’s the evilest thing you have ever done?” I answered honestly. I told her that ten years ago I was attending a meeting at the San Antonio Marriott where there are two banks of elevators. While waiting for an elevator on the third floor to go up, there were three ladies waiting to go down. The Devil made me do it and I blurted out: “Ladies, if you want to go down, you will have to take the other bank of elevators as these only go up”. I couldn’t believe that they took my word for it, thanked me and walked across the hall to wait at the other bank of elevators. I spent the next three hours laughing in guilty pleasure and contemplated how anxious people are to follow directions without thinking. Even now, I take great joy in recalling the incident but reminding myself how much evil there is yet in my soul. As I am reminded by my wife: “God is not finished with you yet.” Anyway, back to the AI convention.

My grand daughter traveled from Phoenix and made her way to the hotel. We arrived on Friday while she was already attending a session. She answered her cell phone and said she would meet us shortly. After the smiles, enthusiastic hugs and greetings, she said: “I could have come sooner but some of the elevators at the Marriott only go down.” Is she a chip off the old block? We enjoyed a good laugh. I then took the opportunity to establish some ground rules. Her Nana and I were there:
1. to support her and facilitate her participation and not to interfere.
2. to accompany her to some of the sessions.
3. for her safety so we needed her to send us a text every so often.

Throughout the three day meeting, except for our early morning work-outs and swim each day,(she is an excellent swimmer)we were not able to spend nearly as much time with her as we anticipated because she took her attendance VERY seriously. She never missed a session! So ”If Muhammad will not come to the Mountain, the Mountain must come to Muhammad.” I dutifully joined her in sessions, had our faces painted with “Rise Up” and accompanied her to a large demonstration for Immigrant Rights. Even though I struggled with some of the logic of the presentations as well as the two mile walk, I enjoyed the passion in which she repeatedly shouted the various slogans. “Immigrant Rights is Human Rights!!!”

In answer to her questions, I was proud to tell her that I was one of those who went to jail for illegally demonstrating against Apartheid in front of the South African Embassy many years ago in Washington DC as well as my civil rights and anti-war activities during the Viet Nam era.

She is a vegetarian and I took the opportunity to visit all the restaurants in a four block area to evaluate menus to determine if they could satisfy her dietary preferences. She enjoyed the Indian Restaurant immensely. Her Nana and I had to plan our meals around her schedule. Stephanie and I took some time to drive to Colorado Springs to visit the famous “Garden of the Gods” and tried desperately to entice her to come with us. However, Mackenzie reminded me that her primary duty was to attend the sessions. The trip to Colorado Springs was stupendous as my wife and I enjoyed a lovely visit---fantastic place!

Some of the training sessions she attended included: “How to Lobby”, “How to Research a topic and debate issues” as well as “Tactics that Make a Difference”. So, like a butterfly flapping its wings in a meadow that eventually starts a hurricane, she now believes that she can be a force for change on society and the world---a passionate advocate with the right cause is a majority.

Presentations included: Adotei Akwei, Managing Director for Government Relations (AI); Nada Alwadi, a journalist from Bahrain; Joe Baker, Vice President for Causes and Advocacy (AI); Shane Bauer, Journalist, who was captured by the Iranian security in 2009 along with his friend, Sarah Shourdand Josh Fattal and released in 2011; Max Berger, an organizer for the Occupy Movement; Snajeev Bery, Advocacy Director for the Middle East (AI); Savio Carvalho, Director for Demand Dignity Program (AI); Colonel Morris Davis, a military attorney who was the Chief Prosecutor for the Military Commissions at Guantanamo Bay; Antone De’Jaun Davis-Correia, death penalty abolitionist; Attorney Sarah Deer, a Native American lawyer; Dr. Tarah Demant, a Stop Violence Against Women activist; Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford; Amy Goodman, Journalist and host of “Democracy Now!”; Ken Gude, Chief of Staff for Center for American Progress; Benjamin Todd Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP; Halima Kazem, a journalist from Afghanistan; Claire Levy, a member of the Colorado House of Representatives; Kung Li, an attorney for the Southern Center for Human Rights; Asmaa Mahfouz, co-founder of Egypt’s 6 April Youth Movement; Joseph Margulies, an attorney with the Roderick MacArthur Justice Center; Kica Matos, Head of the U.S. Reconciliation & Human Rights Program at The Atlantic Philanthropies; And many others. No wonder that we didn’t see her very much! This was a feast for any passionate advocate for human rights. The audience was very loud, enthusiastic and supportive of the presenters.

One evening when she returned from one of her sessions, we were watching a lecture being presented by a fascinating physicist who was encouraging the United States to resurrect our space program as a strategy to advance innovation in society in general. She took a glance at the screen as said: "That's Neil deGrasse Tyson. I read several of his books. He is a really great writer." She then sat down to watch the rest of the program with us. I was blown away. How many fourteen year olds have read Tyson?

As I have a special interest in Zimbabwe, I was impressed with the work being done there to re-establish democracy. Having visited four times, I experienced Zimbabwe singing the Bob Marley Zimbabwe song when it was grand and again when the society had deteriorated. Their life expectancy went from 70 to 40 in just ten years. Eight of us visited Victoria Falls seven years ago and found an economic disaster. The cost of dinner for the eight of us at the hotel was in excess of $1,000,000 because the exchange rate was $7,000 Zim dollars for one American Dollar and the people were devastated. Interestingly enough, the paper money had expiration dates on them. I pray that Zimbabwe will recover and find their glory days again.

Even though the theme of the conference was “Rise UP!” It could just have been: “Rise Up, Stand Up for Your Rights!” In this case, let us stand up for each other. I, for one, have been inspired with a renewed commitment to be more active in building advocacy coalitions and adding a Voice in the interest of the Vulnerable in Jamaica. Words have power.