Sunday, November 29, 2009

Politics in Jamaica

A Jamaican Story as Told by Ralph Thomas

A woman in a hot air balloon realized she was lost. She lowered her altitude and spotted a man in a boat below. She shouted to him, "Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don't know where I am."

The man consulted his portable GPS and replied, "You're in a hot air balloon, approximately 30 feet above ground elevation of 2,346 feet above sea level. You are at 31 degrees, 14.97 minutes north latitude and 100 degrees, 49.09 minutes west longitude.

"She rolled her eyes and said, "You must be a PNP. "I am,"replied the man. "How did you know?" "Well," answered the balloonist, "everything you told me is technically
correct. But I have no idea what to do with your information, and I'm still lost. Frankly, you've not been much help to me."

The man smiled and responded, "You must be a Labourite. "I am," replied the balloonist. "How did you know?" "Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are or where you are going. You've risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. You're in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but somehow, now it's my fault."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Life is Grand

My Last Thirty Days
Basil Waine Kong

Life does not get any better than this. While "Thanksgiving" is not a national holiday in Jamaica, it is a day Americans set aside to celebrate and give thanks for our blessings.

I have been on a great adventure with my loving, forgiving and accommodating wife (Stephanie). We are perfectly matched. We are both blessed with excellent health and strength, enjoy the company of ALL our children (4) and grand children (5.5). We also work as well as work out together daily. Each monring when I check my e-mail, there is always a note from my wife. The note this morning reads as follows:Good morning my love and I wanted to be the first to greet you with a big smile and big hug. I love you my darling and you are my hero. All your gestures assure me that you are in love with me as well. You are a true reflection of the love of God and I am blessed among all women to have you as my husband--the one person who I look up to and look forward to loving. I love you beyond measure in this moment. I cannot wait to be back in your arms tonight. Your Wife.

Over the last thirty days, we visited Grand Cayman for three days (It rained every day but we met wonderful people, toured this small Island where the first civilians were certified as scuba divers) and we saw a wonderful performance by Cuban acrobats, dancers and singers; we attended the 35th Anniversary of the Association of Black Cardiologists in Las Vegas, (where I received an appreciation award for serving as their CEO for 22 glorious years). I also attended the Centers for Disease Control National Forum on Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention in Atlanta where I serve on the International Committee on behalf of the "Heart Institute of the Caribbean Foundation". We saw a Broadway show in New York (FILA) where we also attended the 65th birthday celebrations of a dear friend (Obie McKenzie) and visited with another close friend (Josh Weinstein) who we do not visit with nearly enough.

In golf, I won a golf tournament in Jamaica (Kingston Hilton Open), played the famous East Lake Country Club and otherwise play an average of four times per week with wonderful friends whose company I thoroughly enjoy. Two weeks ago,I shot under par for the front nine at Caymanas with three birdies. Don't ask about the back nine.

I spend a great deal of time reaching out to others particularly with my eighty seven year old mother. It gives me a great deal of comfort that I am not a motherless child. The people of Woodlands District in St. Elizabeth, particularly the children, are a priority. We went to Hellshire Beach to swim and eat fish and festival, the Myrie’s in Kingston for soup on Saturdays after golf as well as play dominoes, swim, sing and dance whenever we have the opportunity. I have seven writing projects that are taking shape. In all that I do, I pray as if all depended on God and work as if all depended on me.

So, when anyone ask me, how I am doing, instead of saying “not so bad”, “could be better”, “I am still above the ground”, or some other cliché that shows how little we expect from life, I now respond:

I am complete. I am perfect. I am happy. I am dynamite. I am lovable, loving, getting lots of good love. I am well off and doing well. I have it all together. I am basking in the riches of life. I am prospering right here and right now. I am being richly rewarded, even in my sleep. I am a miracle worker expecting a miracle right now. I am peacefully peaceful. I am walking the walk. I am talking the talk. I am claiming the victory right now. I am successful. I am wealthy. I am living in pure grace. I am a believer. I am standing on faith. I am on my way to the top. I am what I am because I just can’t help myself.” (Iyanla Vanzant, “Acts of Faith: Daily Meditations for People of Color”, Simon & Schuster, 1993, December 7)

My wife and I can look backwards with joy and look forward with hope. And how are you doing?