Once upon a time, learning about Eastern culture was not a norm. Nowadays, information about old man Eastern culture is far more readily available. For instance, we could easily explore the extent to which tradition and ancient wisdom are part of current cultural practices.
Listen to this Sufi parable that illustrates a lesson of life:
An old man was walking home late one night when he saw a friend on his knees under a street light, searching for something.
“What are you doing?” the old man asked his friend.
“I am looking for the keys to my house,” his friend explained.
The old man started helping his friend looked for the keys, and after some time asked him, “Exactly where did you drop them?”
The friend then told him he lost the keys over there in the dark.
“So why are you looking for them here?”
“Because this is where the light is,” the friend said.
On Labour Day weekend, I went to see the bands, and, to listen to the music of the sound systems. As with the story, the key was the search, the parkway was my focus. However, there were many little stories elsewhere — at vendor stalls, on the sidewalk and side streets. It was there that I found some cultural gems, when the early finish of the parade sent me “looking for what yuh ent put down”.
Cultural gem #1:
A young adult male, take a coconut from a box — shipped from Miami — and throws it to a male who removes the top with cutlass, and, afterwards cuts a piece from the side so that the patron can eat jelly.
Cultural Gem #2
It is customary for some Trinidadians to bring iron and steel, or spoon and bottle to a fete and make their own music. If it is a “Parang party,” some patrons will bring instruments — guitar, steel, etc.
On Nostrand Avenue, outside a restaurant, a man sat beating steel that was sweet fuh so. Further down Nostrand Avenue, on Park Place, Mark Stoute (Bayland, Barbados) was beating kettle drum, to music that came from inside a car.
Cultural Gem #3:
At a vendor stall, perhaps Spanish, there is a production line. Three blenders make Pina Coladas while other members of the team remove the belly of a pineapple fruit. Some patrons drink Pina Coladas inside a pineapple. However, the kids prefer the commercial cups that resemble balloons.
Cultural Gem #4:
Do you remember those days, when children raided a cane field, or had to wait for a piece of cane to drop from a truck? Fresh cane juice and cane were everywhere.
Cultural Gem # 5
Should masqueraders text and jump at the same time?
Cultural Gem # 6
The Jewish vendor, who sold lemonade and danced Caribbean style.
Do you know that Ms. Macray, the wife of New York mayoral candidate, Bill De Glassio, has Caribbean roots. Her son Dante told me that the grand-parents of his mother are from Barbados and St. Lucia.