Long before I ever dreamt of getting married and fathering a child, there was a particular guiding principle I had in my life. It protected me. It empowered me. It preserved me. I had to pass it on to my only child.
In this life, do not be influenced by people’s criticism, snobbery and alienation. Try to please those that care about you. Try to please those that are responsible for your welfare. Consider the criticism of those whom you depend on and who care about you. The rest of the world can go to hell and put their dislike for you where the monkey put the nuts.
I have advised my daughter not for a moment to be bothered at what people say about you. You are bound to end up mentally jaded if you listen to what fools, charlatans and the underdeveloped mind have to say about you. Believe in yourself. Show obligation always to those that you owe a precious debt to.
I am satisfied when I leave this world that my only kid will not be burdened by the criticism of the average, uninformed mind. People are essentially flawed and selfish. Why should I be bothered with the man or woman who laughs at my hairstyle or my ragged T-shirt. Do I know them? Do I take my plate to them?
I have been in the public eye since my freshman days at UG more than forty five years now. I expected to have vilifications, derogations and worse thrown at me. I have seen them. I remain unmoved. I will remain unmoved. And I will be who I want to be.
This is a world where people will dictate your values for you while contemptuously dismissing those very values in their own existence. It is wise to always remember that humans crave their own selfish needs; that is the law of civilization. Someone will snub you because you are argumentative. But those very people will gladly patronize a commercial company if the prices suit them, while ignoring the horrible industrial violations at the said company. That is how they judge life. If in their monthly expenditure at a particular supermarket, they save a few thousand dollars because of the low prices of the items they buy, why you think they care about child labour at that supermarket?
This is the nature of Homo sapiens. Long before Karl Marx popularized the class basis of civilized existence, the ancient Greek philosophers wrote about the ruling classes in society and the moral values dominant classes invented to judge other strata. It was left to the brilliant Italian philosopher, Antonio Gramsci, to add a fantastic dimension to Marxist philosophy.
Gramsci coined the term “cultural hegemony” to explain the continuing domination of the ruling classes. Gramsci polemicized that the dominant classes invented a repertoire of mores, moral values, ethical traits that serve their economic and social interests, and they have succeeded in getting the exploited classes to accept these as the national ethos. Culture then is used to preserve class superiority.
I have found out in this country that the wealthy classes that manufacture local products do not themselves buy locally produced food items. A fantastic irony!
I keep my emotional rage under control when I am in the line at the supermarkets. Foreign fruits, foreign ice-cream, foreign confectionary, foreign beverages, foreign spices, foreign everything, are stuffed high in the shopping baskets.
You think they will be embarrassed if I should enquire why they are so hooked on foreign items? Do you think they care about if I write in the Freddie Kissoon Column what I saw them buying? I told Adam Harris that I met a prominent citizen outside the “Fix It Hardware Store” on Main Street, who is puzzled why I continue to write for the Kaieteur News. He used moral criteria.
I was so disgusted that I related it to Harris what he said. I asked him why I should accept his moral criteria in judging people and places, when I can question his associations the same way he questions mine. Then before we parted I made sure I gave him the perfect response. I asked him if he thinks resourceful Guyanese will flock to me and offer me endless opportunities if I stop my columns. I can well imagine the faces at the supermarkets and the gas stations; “Suh Freddie yuh stop writing maan, take care.”
I believe there are good humans in this world, but I have my doubts how many such people are in Guyana. Tomorrow I will read nasty things in the newspaper about me. I don’t give a damn and never will.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper)
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