Category Archives: Jamaican Culture

To Beat Or Not To Beat

It was a cold dark night, full of mischief that evades memory. I stepped through the gate like I was the ‘man a yaad’, only to be greeted by the lady of the house. She was clearly angry about what I had done. Back in those days we kids didn’t have smart phones, so I doubt it had anything to do with nude videos on Instagram or voice notes telling her how good it taste. But whatever transpired that night was whipped from memory as the lady of the house made her inquiries. We were still at the gate, lack of preparation this time around prevented her from having the special leather belt with the names ‘Aldeam’ and ‘Everlee Facey’ etched on its buckle. As she held my shirt, I could see her silhouette looking left and right for an instrument of correction. Knowing this I made attempt to escape the prison of her arms. But like the love of God ‘neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature…’ was able to separate us. As I struggled to be free I recognized the strength of a woman. She finally found a substantial element capable of forgiving sins, purifying and creating a new creature. A loose chain hanging from the gate became less an item of security, less an element of aesthetics but became a whip, a lie detector test and a rod of correction. As the chains of Olympus fell squarely on my back, ‘wooii’ was my cry. All secrets were revealed, all apologies made and the lord was remembered.

‘Weh yuh did deh?’

Chains…

‘Look from when mi a call yuh?’

Chains…

‘Dweet again!’

Chains…

With each question tied to a swing to encourage a speedy response, confirmation was guaranteed. The session was probably two minutes long, but it felt like an hour. All I know for sure, is that whatever I did, was never repeated.

www.lifeofajamaican.com

Memories of my most noteworthy spankings floated around my mind as the video of a young girl being spanked by her mother was echoed by the Jamaican media. Naturally people took sides; some believed the mother (who has since been arrested) was too extreme and was guilty of child abuse, others thought nothing was wrong. It may seem contrary to the truth, but based on my experience, such expressions of anger by a mother, when her child misbehaves,comes from a heart of pure love. She wants what is best for her child, she doesn’t want her daughter to make the same mistakes she did. At least that is what I believe. Our culture is supported by a large number of people who believe they should never ‘spare the rod and spoil the child”. Majority of the Population are Christians and as a child I often hear the following text used to justify spankings:

“Proverbs 13: 24 He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (KJV).

There are many other methods of punishing children for their misconduct such as removing privileges. In the context of rural Jamaica, where such privileges were initially nonexistent  that may not be the best option. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with spanking, majority of the concerns regarding the recent video was the mothers use of the machete. Now clearly, this mother knew what she was doing, clearly she is an experienced machete wielder. No dogs or children were chopped and as in my case, that was probably the closest ‘rod of correction’ she could find. In any case, I disagree with the use of a machete as it is a ‘high risk’ choice but I completely support spanking!

 

-Aldeam Facey 2017

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The Blue Mountains Jamaica: A Quick ‘Peak’

Blue Mountain Peak is the highest place in Jamaica with a height of 2256 meters. The journey to the peak starts at Mavis Bank. You will then cross the river and initiate the thigh burning climb. It is strongly recommended that you start the hike in the night as the sun, plus a climb can be a deadly combination. Usually groups will stop overnight at the cabins at Portland gap. The journey from Mavis Bank to the cabins will take between 4 and 7 hours depending on your level of fitness. I have however seen a case where it took a young lady over 13 hours without luggage! The journey from the cabins to the peak takes 1.5 to 2 hours – again depending on your level of fitness – so in order to view the breath taking sunrise, you will have to leave the cabins about 3:30am. To better describe the experience, view the photos below:

The Journey starts in the night. subsequent photos will be in the day for you to better view the landscapes.
The Journey starts in the night. Subsequent photos will be in the day for you to better view the landscapes.

Blue Mountain at the start

Blue Mountain Crossing the river

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

A dangerous area to walk at nights. A path just about half of a meter or less in width, very long fall!
A dangerous area to walk at nights. A path just about half of a meter or less in width, very long fall!

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

Beautiful!
Beautiful!

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

DON'T GET LOST: STAY ON TRACK: NO SHORTCUTS
DON’T GET LOST: STAY ON TRACK: NO SHORTCUTS
Many scenes to capture
Many scenes to capture

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

Fog
Fog

At the Cabin

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

"A nuh nuttn fi mi walk inna Rome an start a fyah"
“A nuh nuttn fi mi walk inna Rome an start a fyah”

At the Peak

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

Blue Mountain (www.lifeofajamaican.wordpress.com)

Just before the sunrise
Just before the sunrise
A photo, especially from a point and shoot camera, cannot in anyway grasp the true beauty of the Blue Mountain Peak sunrise! Breath taking - No really, I was out of breath by the time I got here.
A photo, especially from a point and shoot camera, cannot in anyway grasp the true beauty of the Blue Mountain Peak sunrise! Breath taking – No really, I was out of breath by the time I got here.

– Aldeam Facey 2015

Conflict Of Interest #2: A Stranger Sends You Credit Accidentally.

Today I received $200 credit from a number I couldn’t recognize. With a pleased countenance I tried to figure out who it was that made my day. I didn’t want to call and say ‘Who is this?’ as that may be offensive if it really was a friend.
image

The person called, I answered, but before I could say thank you, the caller said ‘Never mind, wrong number.’ and hung up. Later I tried calling, no answer.  She returned the call tonight and I told her she sent a message to me erroneously. She Said ‘okay’, then hung up. I think that justifies me keeping the credit, don’t you think? Well I wanted to return it, but based on her response, I don’t think she cares. I still feel a little awkward so if I’m going to keep it, you are all going down with me. I will send $25 to the first three (3) persons who  comment.

 

– Aldeam Facey 2015

Conflict of Interest #1: Sitting Beside A Smelly Person In Church

Psalms  1:1  Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

The Church is a public place, doors open to all, but as with all public places one must be considerate of others especially where personal hygiene is considered.

smelly

So I was in church yesterday, yes, on the Sabbath day, the day set aside for rest and worship. Shortly after my arrival a gentlemen came in, apparently I was sitting in his seat. I moved aside and allowed him to reclaim his throne. He seemed to be a great guy, very interested in the word. Unfortunately he did not appear to be of perfectly sound mind – but hey, who is? My problem was that his smell was very… very strong and I was not pleased with it. I am not one to scorn a fellow and the whole aim of a Christian is to be more like Christ daily. Jesus interacted with everyone, not once is there a record of Him discriminating. But it was hard for me to sing a note or to recite a scripture. I felt as though I was suffocating. For the duration of the service I breathed out much more than I breathed in, or so it would appear. The smell stained the back of my throat, I could not even swallow my own saliva. I watched as he aggressively took care of the itch on his testicles, flinched as he raised his arm, moved to the right as he moved to the right, to the left as he moved to the left.  I didn’t want to say anything as he may be offended and I did not at the moment have the resources to provide any assistance. Quite possibly he could not have done anything about it, it’s just his situation and without help it may just be unavoidable.

I sat beside him, suffering in silence until the end of the service. What would you do?

– Aldeam Facey 2015

Jamaican Nicknames

My grandmother is so nice they call her Miss Nicey, her sister is so cool,  they call her Miss Cooly, their brother is so hard they call him Maas Rocky. Given that I am so awesome, will they eventually call me…. Awe-sy!?

Nickname

In the lower and middle class Jamaican society, where bureaucracy and hierarchy fail to prevail, where regular informal conversations form the basis of relationships, Christian names are seldom used. In lieu of the Christian name, a name descriptive of a physical characteristic, occupation or some other defining personal trait is used. This is done because these names are much easier to remember and often times they are very funny.
Let us look at some examples
Sellers on the street are called by the names of the items they sell followed by the word ‘man’ . In some cases they are called by the adverb of the item they sell. A man selling juice will be called either ‘Juice-man’ or ‘Juicy’ (if the seller is female only ‘Juicy’ is used). There are no written rules for this form of nomenclature but a Jamaican always know the correct terms to use. If a gentleman sells mangoes in the market, he is called ‘Mango-man’ not ‘Mango-y’ because that just doesn’t sound right.
A guy passes my home every Sunday selling Gleaner magazines. I purchase from him, usually weekly, but sadly never asked his name, but when ever I see him and give him a hail ‘Gleaner-man’ works just fine. He is not offended because it defines his occupation.

Personal Nicknames
There are Nicknames not associated with one’s occupation and are purely bases on one’s character. These names follow the same aforementioned ‘rules’. If you are a tall male be prepared to be called ‘Tall-man’. If you are short it will likely be ‘Short-man’ or ‘Shorty’

There was a case where a young man was sexually abused by another person. To date he is called ‘Victim’.
The horizontal distance between the corners of a certain young man’s lips is far greater than that of the normal population, he is called ‘Fish-mouth’ When I was young a few relatives called me ‘Peas head’ or ‘Peasy’ but due to its literal inaccuracy, it did not catch on.
These Nicknames are meant to be either embarrassing or catchy and can often result in fights.

What are some of the funny or embarrassing nicknames you have been called or have heard? Comment below.

– Aldeam Facey 2015

Poem: I Could Have Been

I could have been so many things in my brief lifetime,

A singer on the church choir or leading a life of crime.

I could have been a drug dealing, wifi stealing, ganja smoking panty dropper,

Who does what he feels and to no one give an answer.

I could have been a shy guy, the kind of guy, ladies, who would always be yours,

The guy who speaks very little but never ignores.

I could have been an artist, painting my life away,

Or a freelance sales representative, selling for Amway,

I could have been a white police, hated by the blacks,

Or a Jehovah’s Witness, selling ‘Awake’ tracts.

I could have been a race car driver, burning up the road,

Or a humble Hindu, reincarnated as a toad.

I could have been a Loada man, you don’t need me but I’m there,

Or a taxi driver, where your comfort is not my care.

I could have been a Rastafarian man, living on ital stew,

Constantly conscious, though the Babylon try to slew.

I could have been a soldier, in that Tivoly incursion,

Shooting a few innocent people yet stating an alternative version.

But I am who I am because of whom I choose to be.

Never let your situation define your destiny.

Be you, be honest, be good.

– Aldeam Facey 2015

“A Proper Backsiding” – Child Abuse Or a Cure For Disobedience?

A “backsiding” is a term often used, especially in rural Jamaica, to describe a spanking. This spanking is usually very thorough and is of an intensity proportional to the offense.
We Jamaicans are very angry people and a simple backsiding, where it involves the aluminum pot covers, barbed wires, chains, frying pans or ‘anyting di han can find’, may easily be classified as attempted murder.

“Aldeeeeam!”
“… Yes”
“Gwaan fi di belt an come”
“…. ”
” Mi seh gwaan fi di belt!”

A ‘sticky’ situation, a dilemma characterized by its complexity. Do I obey and accept my guaranteed, immediate reward or do I disobey and have my reward multiplied later? A tough decision I had to make as a child, a decision which became skewed in favor of immediate acceptance as time progressed.
I had a very interesting childhood, whenever I was sick with ‘disrespect’, Dr. Mommy would prescribe and administer ‘a propa backsiding’ or a ‘good buss ass’. It may sound violent, but I don’t believe I turned out too bad. Would the other techniques work? What if during my disrespect full phase my mother prescribed a time out? “Go to your room Aldeam” or “No TV” just to give me some time to think about what I’ve done. I laugh at the very thought. I personally don’t think that would work for a tough head like me, a very stubborn boy.
All the adults in my immediate and extended family turned out to be well disciplined persons, and all had been served a good dish of butt whooping.
Traditionally speaking a spanking was believed to cure the following childhood diseases:

  • Back talking
  • Teeth hissing
  • Disobeying
  • Unauthorized excursions
  • Child spoiling
  • Idling
  • Late home arrivals
  • Bad grades at school
  • Early pregnancy
  • Hard-a-hearing

And many more unpublished diseases.
Spanking ‘created’ the perfect child.

Modern society is moving towards a more passive approach to child corrections. Physically beating a child may result in a legal charge. Many, however, still hold the traditional beliefs that sparing the rod spoils the child.

What are your views? Share below.
Also share some of your experiences with physical corrections.

– Aldeam Facey 2015

The life and Death of Gully Bop’s Tooth: A Chew Story!

Gully Bop is the name of a Dancehall artiste who has had a sudden rise to fame after an amateur video of him performing went viral. Within a few months he transitioned from being homeless to performing at arguably Jamaica’s biggest stage show, Sting! Physically speaking, Gully Bop is not the most well groomed man you had ever seen and possibly not the most handsome you had ever met either (I’m trying to be nice here). However, these are the features which clearly distinguishes him from the scores of other artistes fighting to excel. His most unique features are his teeth – or the lack thereof. I could just imaging what his teeth had experienced over the years.

Gully Bop
Gully Bop

From a tooth’s point of view:

“Hi, I am Fronty – Gully Bop’s front tooth – and I was the last 1 standing. I remember years ago when I was born, there were 32 of us but life was so hard. Sighs. I remembered when we all had to sell our enamels just to buy a little calcium, shed our plaque just so our master could eat. Our master refused to take care of us, but we understood, as fortune was not on his side. Sometimes we were fortunate enough to get a little food from the dump and we would have fun masticating it. I would slice a piece of expired bun and throw it over to Sidey and finally Sidey would pass it on to Backy. Sighs, oh Backy, I miss that fat dude. Even though he smelt so moldy that we often called him Molar lol (tears). He was the first to leave us. Backy had very rocky days before he fell. The most saddening thing is that when we fall, no tooth fairies come for us, no wand wielding, tooth carrying, gravity defying beings come for us. There is no one willing to leave a dollar under master’s stone when we die, in memory of us.

Sidey stood by me through thick and ‘tin’, for we had to learn to bite through tin cans as well. There are nights we would beg to be brushed, but neither the willingness, the resources or the interest was there. In cold nights we would cover ourselves in plaque just to keep ourselves warm. But whenever you find a plaque to keep you warm at nights, he will use you and cause you to decay. Most nights after being used I felt like a cheap tooth! Master water down and dilute sidey, master hide the colgate from the youte, but the youte dem hold dem root!

One day there was a mighty earthquake. I could hear Sidey shaking, he was going down. I held him close to me

Me: Sidey, hold on!

Sidey: I can’t, the gum is not too strong!

Me: Hold on to me with that sticky stuff that surrounds you, it will support the gum, at least for 30 seconds twice per day!

Sidey: *Sobs*

Me: Don’t wimp out now, you can do it, just 30 seconds of holding me twice per day, sure its a little intense but… Sidey…. Sidey!!! NOOOOO!!!

…..

I was the only one left. I was so lonely, but at least now I had good food and colgate. To add to the satisfaction I often feel a tongue or two rubbing against me so I know someone cares. If only I had my brothers back, life is not happy without them. Even some synthetic, replacement brothers would do, but master doesn’t seem interested in making me happy, such a hype and selfish man he had become. Just to make life worth living, I would sing to entertain myself:

Dem oda teet nuh have root like me.

Dem oda teet nuh nyam food like me.

Dem oda teet nuh bite ‘chin’ like me.

….. I miss dem oda teet.

I got tired of living, so while being cleaned, I wrapped myself in the dental floss and I would not let go! I relaxed my root  and away I flew, never to chew again.

I write this to you from fairyland. I was the only one rich enough to make it here.”

– Aldeam Facey 2015

I INTERVIEWED A HOMOSEXUAL: IT WAS A VERY ‘FUNNY’ CONVERSATION

The last blog article posted was very controversial. Several friends opposed the very idea of homosexuality, expressing very passionately that “Batty Bwoy fi ded” while others argued for equality. Conversations got very heated and many persons were offended.

The article caught the attention of a certain gentleman on facebook via a group which was created to discuss issues relating to Jamaica. Upon inquiry I was surprised to see him openly confess that he is a homosexual. I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions that have always puzzled me. For the purposes of this blog and to ensure his privacy is not infringed, I will call him “Elton”. I tried to remain as neutral as possible to prevent possible arguments.

The conversation was as follows:

So Elton made a comment based on something I said in the previous article regarding exposing children to homosexuality, I responded:

  • Aldeam Facey I think the exposure will influence their decision from an early age.

 

  • Elton oh okay. so at what age did you make the decision to love girls Aldeam Facey

 

  • Aldeam Facey Well Elton I never had my first girlfriend until i was 18 but i had always been attracted exclusively to females
  • Elton thats wonderful..god forbid u had been “exposed” to homosexualty at an early age you would have found ur first boyfriend at 18 instead?..im asking.. because it seems to me thats what ur suggesting..

 

  • Elton let me ask in planer terms. do you believe that if you even for the slightest were enlightened about homosexuals as you are now when u were smaller, you might have been gay ?

You see what he did here? At this point I could tell this dude is smart. Knowing that I’m not the best at debates I avoided arguments at all cost. 

  • Aldeam Facey Fig thats where you were going… had I been exposed I would probably have a different view which would be in contrast to my religious beliefs.

 

  • Aldeam Facey That all depends on the type of exposure… thankfully I was never exposed

 

  • Aldeam Facey I take it you believe Homosexuality is not a choice …Am I correct?

 

  • Elton well im gay. I didnt choose to be.. so i speak from a place of experience. unlike u who acknowledge that you are pretty much ignorant to this..except for what ur ” infallible ” bible tells u

WHHHHOOOAAA! (That was basically my response when he came out). “Infallible” I think its safe to assume he is not so much into the word. I saw an opportunity and I took it.

  • Aldeam Facey I have never had a conversation with an openly gay person before. Please don’t be offended that I have a ton of questions

 

  • Elton I never am. ask your questions

 

  • Aldeam Facey Did you feel attraction for other boys/girls (“Elton” can be male or female I hope you are male tho) initially? meaning as long as you can remember?

 

  • Aldeam Facey If you had a choice would you choose otherwise?
  • Elton i remember in primary school being extremely attracted to this little indian boy in my class.. so much i couldnt wait for the weekend to finish so i could go see him again,…as long as i can remember i knew i was “different”

I found this so very creepy. Imagine the poor little Indian boy, wonder how that turned out.

  • Aldeam Facey Are you harassed because of your sexuality?

 

  • Elton maybe if i was given this choice when i was struggling i would have taken it.. but i have accepted who i am and have become to love me for who i am , so no.

So he was “struggling” maybe he actually believed/felt that it was wrong, But has now accepted certain beliefs (eg rejecting the bible) in order to be comfortable with his lifestyle.

  • Aldeam Facey how does your family feel about it? (assuming you are a Jamaican living in JA)

 

  • Elton I am harassed.. once my sexuality is known, especially online. i was harassed in high school… bullied, name calling. harassment now is not so much maybe because of my caring family and being resourced enough to avoid it

Its not cool that he is being harassed. But you know what they say, no fish like a rich fish

  • Aldeam Facey ahhh! Good (that u are able to avoid it)
  • Aldeam Facey do you believe you can be both gay and have religious beliefs? given that most religions oppose the lifestyle?

 

  • Elton yes. i know many. You may believe chrsitianity oppose homosexuality, but there are people, christians, theologians, who pull from a the bible the very basics of the gospels and have church on that… beside them there are many among u in the pews who are gay and believes firmly in god.

Say WHAT! Bold statements Elton, very bold statements. To believe that a pastor would preach a “basic sermon” so as to not preach against himself! This world!

  • Aldeam Facey WOW! Christian gays ….contradicting terms
  • Aldeam Facey Do you believe homosexuals in Jamaica should be able to get married? esp with the dominance of the Christian groups

 

  • Elton im not big on marriage. Jamaica must move towards changing its culture of hate towards gays first..jamaica has a high divorce rate anyways.. 1/3 youths are jackets.. marriage is overrated

mmh some truth here! 

  • Elton contradicting to you.

 

  • Aldeam Facey This question may be a little weird …I mean no offense ….but how do you Identify each other? say u c a guy n u interested…how do u know he is not str8!!

 

  • Elton how do u see a girl and know she is straight? this dilemma is not just confined to gay men. how do straight men handle it.. i guess we do in the same way

 

  • Aldeam Facey sometimes I can identify a gay woman (well by assumption) but not always….All the women I approach are str8…. but good to know

He doesn’t give ‘straight’ answers in most cases. But can one expect ‘straight’ answers from a gay man? 

  • Aldeam Facey Given the significantly higher frequency of hiv in the gay community…Is this a major concern to you?

 

  • Aldeam Facey Oh what do you think about Prof. Bain’s dismissal?

 

  • Aldeam Facey Do you think that we (str8 ppl) are now being harassed or treated unfairly for expressing our opinions?

 

  • Elton HIV should be a concern to everyone.. especially jamaicans where its researched and documented that sodomy laws drive these rates.

 

  • Elton like u i await the courts decision. the organization he headed is no long around. i think the message was clear from those with invested interest

 

  • Elton u said that as if all str8 peope have an issue. No i dont think so…but bigotry should be called out.

 

  • Aldeam Facey wouldnt that mean str8 people will become the minority where vocal freedom is concerned?
  • Elton thats a silly question.. did white people become the minority when blacks fought for freedom?

 

  • Aldeam Facey well re bigotry I also believe we Jamaicans are a bit too aggressive towards Homosexuals and i think thats because we dont really know u …which is y m asking so many questions
  • Aldeam Facey I’m obviously not as open minded as you are but I’d like to do some research on this issue

 

  • Aldeam Facey possibly an investigation of the presence of xxy chromosome frequency in male homosexuals

 

  • Aldeam Facey oh one last question do you feel absolutely nothing when you see a voluptuous Jamaican woman?

Its so hard to believe that he doesn’t! Jamaican women look good enuh!

  • Aldeam Facey have u ever tried dating women? I mean when you were younger? Women are real cool enuh

 

  • Elton before anybody writes an article like what u did.. the least u could have done is research..when u write things like that it does add to the fear mongering.. it would serve better if u had written a piece that tells truth or as u said enlighten those who are in the dark

 

  • Elton well ur lasts set of questions can be answered if u substitute women with men… ie. have u ever tried dating a man? do u feel absolutely anythinng when u see a stud? Ur answer to these questions will give u my answer

 

  • Aldeam Facey Getting answers one of the aims of the article… There will definitely be a follow-up there is much truth in what I wrote what I don’t know I phrase as questions….. I guess I have your answer…. I never look at men that way… I guess I’m enlightened now… You don’t really answer questions directly tho but I got the answers via deduction… Its really interesting hearing your views
  • Aldeam Facey Just a bit of advise…. Be very careful where you come out…. Jamaica is nowhere near ready.

Feel free to share your views in the comment section below.

-Aldeam Facey 2015