Thursday, April 18, 2024

THE LOWDOWN: Mash up de khub


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Beware we must of judging historical phenomena – slavery, the crusades, cruelty – by today’s standards. Context is the operative word here.

For instance, future historians trying to explain today’s mysteries – like, why so many youths are leaving civilised, developed countries to join a regime which glorifies beheading, crucifixion, kidnapping, raping and enslaving of young girls – will eventually conclude that ours was the Jackassic Period.

This has resulted from idiotic notions of freedom and human “rights” which have thwarted society’s ability to effectively discourage those who exceed acceptable norms. Wayward children shouldn’t be flogged, no hard labour for convicts, no death penalty for murderers. In fact, though the duration may be longer, the punishment for murder is the same as for illegally diving sea-eggs.

Man and beast alike need boundaries in which they can feel secure. If those boundaries are removed, man and beast will act more and more outrageous in search of discipline. In this Jackassic Period, Western society offers few boundaries for its youth. Not surprisingly, therefore, in crisis they seek ISIS which will deal with them if they step out of line.

To get back to historical context, however, consider this angry gay email from “Jada Plane” a few weeks ago: “wat two constenting adults do is their business . . . we all have rites ok . . .  from some one who probaly had sex wid farm animals as a boy shame on u”.

What Mr Plane says may indeed hold true for some of my era. But he is missing the context. When I was a boy, evolution was still in its earliest stages and we felt a close kinship with our animal ancestors. However, while many a country lad might have cast amorous glances at a nubile heifer, not one ever desired a bull.

I miss those wonderful days when the plantation people would tell animal stories with the beasts talking like me or you. They even taught me what the various animal cries meant. The plaintive Guinea bird goes: “Joe Clark, Joe Clark, bring back my eggs; I wish the Lord would send the rain to wash Joe Clark from head to foot.”

The blackbird foraging for oats in horse dung: “Horse sheet too sweet! Lick ’e, lick ’e, coachie, make ’im sheet.”

And my all-time favourite, the pigeon coo: “Ah went down by Pigeon pond, ah eat some o’ Pigeon food, my wife as well as you, Tom, Tom, ah goin’ lick up de khub, Tom, Tom ah goin’ lick up de khub.”

My children and I still do a dance to this one, flapping arms boisterously. “Khub” is as close as I can get to the Bajan version of “coop”.

“Mash up de khub” is often suggested as a Bajan last resort “if you can’t get rid of the pigeon”. The “pigeon” in this case is usually an outdated wife or girlfriend who refuses to leave. You make the house generally uninhabitable and, if that doesn’t work, burn it down.

Mash up de khub can be positive. It should be our number one line of attack against this deadly chicken gumbo disease. Mosquitoes breed in water so tackle the source. Similarly rats thrive in garbage and bushy areas. Clean them up.

On the other hand we are mashing up de khub for our coral and reef fish by pollution; for many small businesses with utopian regulations and employment “rights”. In many cases, it is easier to close down rather than fight a losing battle.

This Morgan Lewis area has been used for unrestricted grazing long before I came here in 1977. Small people make a dollar keeping animals. So do I with my goats. Now Soil Conservation is planting young, unprotected trees all around me as is their right. But what with unfair competition, dog attacks and other hassles, it may be the last straw to mash up de khub and get me out of goats. We shall see.

Just to clear up a few points: first, cow’s milk and Coke is a “Brown Cow” in Bajan parlance. Veoma’s goat’s milk and Coke therefore a “Brown Goat?”

Secondly, I was speaking columnically last week about visiting Scotland. Strange how both Al Gilkes and I claim Scottish ancestry. But while my wife thinks that’s how I got my “wee” part, Al allegedly suffered no such injustice.

Richard Hoad is a farmer and social commentator.


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