Dis Also Happen a Foreign
This interesting letter to the editor is from the online Jamaica Gleaner.
'Dis also happen a foreign'
published: Saturday | September 1, 2007
The Editor, Sir:
Now that my travels have taught me better, I'll be ready, with a well-oiled tongue and a bank of experience, to take on the next ignoramus who, in a criticism of happenings in Jamaica, utters the wretched words: 'dis would never happen a foreign!' Whether it be the occasional tendency to bundle rather than queue, the instances of violence on public transport, or barely literate youngsters graduating from some schools, our 'humble homeland' is certainly not unique!
Having taught outside of the Jamaican school system for the past three years, I have certainly had a rude awakening. I have seen many a pupil place an apostrophe in every word that ends with an 's' and numerous others who think there is actually a word spelt 'somefink'. Yet, we are all ready to apply the label 'dialect interference' willy-nilly to every relatively minor error that our pupils make, thinking this is a phenomenon that affects only our own.
Similarly, we seem to think moments of inefficiency lie only with our public service officials and local employees who interface with the public. Having faced so many instances of even worse treatment abroad, I realise now how far this concept is from the truth. The experiences of having blatant errors made on official documents, waiting lengthy time spans on the phone to have business matters sorted, or occasions of downright rudeness, while inexcusable in any country, do not only exist in Jamaica.
The first time I witnessed a fight take place on a bus, so much so that the police had to intervene, was while in lovely Paris. Likewise, the most undignified instances of drunken disorderliness that have blessed these eyes have been at 3:00 a.m. in the streets of London and this could be any weeknight!
Again, I emphasise that none of the issues I have raised are ever acceptable in any country. While we should seek to stamp out mediocrity and indiscipline wherever it exists on our shores, we must avoid the self-denigrating view: 'only in Jamaica!' The idea 'dis would never happen a foreign' is a total fallacy. It can and it does!
I am, etc.,
DENNZ St. CLAIRVia Go-Jamaica