KEN’S CHOICES # 33.
9TH Jan. 2009
NOSTALGIA and CHINESE IN GUYANA Last year I read more books than I’d read any five years before - perhaps a sign of sedentarianism ? So for the next three CHOICES you’ll see and hear about books; and to open the bowling or kick off or toss up, here are two to remember, or to be more precise, here are two remembrances. They are about history, nostalgia, memories, facts figures and fantasy. There are several more books to show you, so I start with these two which brings me to ask myself the question, “Hi man, how come you chose these two out of all the others?”Well read on and if the answer eludes you then next week’s CHOICES will reveal. The first CHOICES for 2009 is “NOSTALGIA” subtitled “Golden memories of Guyana 1940-1980” by Godfrey Chin. It is a wonderment of nostalgia of growing up and living in Guyana. An almost day by day, party by party, sport by sport, food by food, cinema by cinema, friend by friend memorabilia that almost astonishes in the details. Ask Godfrey about almost anything Guyana, particularly of Georgetown, between 1940 and 1980, and he’ll instantly go into his storytelling history-buff mode. Mention cinemas or hockey or Mashramani or rumshops or cookshops, blackpudden sellers, city fires, street names, who lived where, and he’ll take off like a racehorse. Then he’ll get on to his computer and write a lengthy and detailed story “off the top of his head” – yet another priceless NOSTALGIA.
Confrontation in front of Bookers on Water St 8 a.m. 16th Feb.1962 Godfrey, Arthur Veerasawmy, and the band help with the 1970 Miss Mashramani
. Cosmos Hockey champs of 60’s. H.Chesney, L. Lee, R. Diyalee, G.Lee, G. Young, I Chung, O.Fun-kee-Fung R.Lee, W.Chin, Dickie Chin, F.Chin, W.Lieu, Godfrey, “Weapon” Correia, J.Chin.
For any Guyanese “of a certain age”, Godfrey’s book is a treasure trove of memory joggers. I’ve watched people’s faces and reactions when he tells his stories at his book launchings – the nods of “yeah yeah yeah I remember dat!” I’ll say no more for now.. except that I really and truly believe that the man should be officially declared a “Guyana National Treasure”… and if not done officially, then we all should raise our voices in favour, with emails, texting, voicemails, facebooks, particularly those who have been fortunate enough to own one of his NOSALGIA books. Lastly but not leastly, whether you’re a Guyanese of “that certain age” or just a youngster at 40, you just have to get a NOSTALGIA, or you won’t find True Happiness. He’s in Orlando, Florida, at email@example.com or phone (407) 294 1173. It’s as simple as that. Then get another copy for a friend; you can’t go wrong with this gift. Page 1 KEN’S CHOICES. #33. page 2.
…and then there is, coincidentally, another Guyanese Chinese history story book or another history story book written by a Guyanese Chinese –
Trev Sue-A-Quan’s “CANE RIPPLES”. Trev went somewhere with this where no man has ever dared to go before.. stories of the previously politically and culturally unheralded invisible minority of the oft touted and shouted “seven races” of Guyana.. stories of the Chinese immigrants who came to Guyana with the same promises, hopes and expectations that the East Indians came with. Mostly, they were the second wave of indentured laborers brought here in the mid 1800’s to help fill the gap that the abolition of slavery had left behind, and the ultimate triumphs of their productive lives. Vibert Cambridge (Professor at Ohio University) puts it.. “Cane Ripples is an integrated work that expresses the joy and pains experienced by a vital sector of Guyanese society during the 20th century. It makes it clear that Guyana’s complex history is about connections among all of its peoples. Dr. Sue-A-Quan must be congratulated for a most valuable and accessible contribution”.
The Chinese Association in Brickdam;
RIPPLES encompasses the broadest of castnets.. it’s real life social/cultural history as told to Trev; it’s anthropology and storytelling at its best.. it’s authentic human endeavour to make best of their new lives in a strange and sometimes hostile place. “Not just reality but actuality”. Overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and political/social power of the Afro and Indo Guyanese, the Chinese have not had their stories told or appreciated. RIPPLES begins the attention that they more than deserve and is almost mandatory reading for all Guyanese who say they believe in the “Land of Six Races” slogan. For more information www.rootsweb.com/~guycigtr or email Canereapers@Lycos.com or call me.
The Akai family with seven of the nine children
My footnote personal cherished memories - there were two Chinese basketball teams in “my time” – Cosmos of the Chinese Sports Club, (many of them are in the hockey team photo in NOSTALGIA) and the other from the newly arrived immigrants of the 60’s who bedazzled us with lightning speed and sleight-of-hand and ball; and there was Leslie Chin who was my chief 120 yards hurdles rival (we came first second in the Trinidad Caribbean games of 1949).
Next CHOICE - “Descendants of the Dragon” and “Theatre in Guyana 1800-2000” unless something else of immediate importance turns up… jus’ like dat. CHOICES are FYI notes on Caribbean cultural/arts tithbits that I find interesting but have not been given their due broadcast. They are a meant as “drawing to your attention” and not as erudite essays. I send them to about 120 friends, associates, and some media. It’s easy - your address can be taken off the lists with a simple email to me with “NO CHOICE” as the subject. No problem.
I’m in Long Island, NY. (631) 744 3127 firstname.lastname@example.org and www.youtube.com/user/caribvoies Wilfred Ho-Sing-Loy, the wrestler.
Nostalgia and Chinese in Guyana By Ken Corsbie