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Carnival deeply rooted in our heritage

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The death of an innocent Japanese tourist visiting our shores she loved so dearly has riveted the world’s attention to the wrong side of our Carnival—our sweet, sweet T&T has been violated.

T&T Carnival has another side, the right side of a beautiful fun-loving people amassed together in unity of spirit, friendliness, joy and revelry. Carnival, in my view, is a celebration of a rainbow of colours, races, religion and people from all walks of life—local and foreign. 

Where else in the world do so many strangers assemble, drink hard and party hard, and blend into a chorus of assimilation into friendships and comradeship “on the road” chipping behind the truck.

Carnival is substantially more profound than bikini and beads, wine, woman and song—such things are mere branches of a cultural tree embedded with deep T&T roots. 

The spirit of Carnival exposes who and what we Trinbagonians are. Our heritage is rooted in friendliness, we love music and dance, we love the lime which is a reflection of unity of people sharing a good time together in harmony, and we like it so!

Beyond the political and moral constructs of zealots, prejudices and negativity, Carnival transcends the ills of our society and shines a bright light on our people. Carnival removes the human silos that deplete humanity and bonds our people in a cumulative release of the truth of what a Trinbagonian is—we are a fun-loving wonderful people, and yes, we like it so.

I spent my Carnival jumping all over the road. I played J’Ouvert, played mas in Harts, then jumped in Tribe and Fantasy for hours. I picked up Exodus steelpan on the avenue on Tuesday evening and chipped into town; and on Tuesday night I ended my mas chipping down the road with Renegades sweet pan.

I witnessed no “bad behaviour”, no fights or anything other than welcoming faces and new-found friends—even if it was friendships that lasted minutes at a time, it was real and genuine.

On behalf of all Carnival lovers of T&T, our sorrow is deeply felt for the death of one of us, Japanese musician Asami Nagakiya, who lived and exemplified what Carnival truly means, that all ah we is one family and we like it so. Asami’s price for her passion for our music, culture and love for T&T, is metaphorically speaking, a Romeo & Juliet death darkened by violence.

Asami’s passing is a wake-up call that what we like “so” is not “so”! It instructs us that her “sacrifice” for her love of our country is a call to duty of our own citizens to take up patriotic arms to rid our land of crime and make our homeland the paradise Asami believed in.

Brian Stone