straight to the point – from different points of view

Trini truth by Kevin Baldeosingh

Trini truth by Kevin Baldeosingh

It is generally considered a virtue to be truthful, as long as you are not trying to get into politics or a sexy woman. But what, really, is truth?
Post-modernist intellectuals—if you’ll pardon my oxymoron—argue that there is no such thing as objective truth, which means that everything they say is irrefutable crap. Religious scholars—if you’ll pardon my other oxymoron—argue that objective truth exists and only their brand of religion has it. And then there’s the Trini version of truth, which is employed by all Trinidadians who want to be successful, popular and acne-free.
For such Trinis, facts bear no relationship to truth. Thus, it is incontrovertibly true that socialist societies have been more successful than capitalist nations; that licks and prayer prevent crime; and that rum is one of the six food groups. This is because Trini truth is determined by three questions: (1) Is it in the Bible/Bhagavadgita/Qur’an; (2) Does it make me feel warm and fuzzy inside; and (3) Is it profitable? So Pastor Cuffie became a multi-millionaire by saying that evolution is a lie; ethnocentrists receive millions from the Treasury for wearing authentic African and Indian costumes; and President Anthony Carmona believed he could get a $28,000 monthly housing allowance while living in rent-free accommodations.
This does not mean that Trinis can’t distinguish between truths and lies. But, in this place, lie ability is never a liability, and most of the most successful Trinis believe it’s okay to lie in the service of truth. I realise that this is a paradox, but that is only because I am not successful enough to reject logic and evidence and pâté de foie gras.
That is why Muslim leaders can claim that Islam is a religion of peace, even though the Qur’an has over 100 verses instructing Muslims to hate, fight or kill unbelievers (an unbeliever is anyone who’s not a Muslim, as well as any Muslim who’s not a beard). It is why radio talkshow hosts can say they are outraged about a shortage of drugs in the nation’s hospitals, even though they co-host paid segments with persons calling themselves doctor who say they can treat any disease. It is why women can wear padded bras and even more padded panties, but still call men liars.
So, if a man is demanding transparency from the Government, he can claim to have gone over 60 days without food, which is possible, and over 60 days without water, which is impossible. And plenty educated Trinis will swallow this line as easily as a hooker. In fact, many of these Trinis have taken this impossibility as clear proof that God and/or the universe is on the man’s side even though, despite his claim to be a champion of democracy, the man has regularly voiced support for totalitarian leaders like Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and even Osama bin Laden. But that is okay, because he’s lying for a good cause and, more impressively, doing what none of his well-fed supporters could ever imagine doing—not eating food.
But his admirers whose intellectual pretensions don’t allow them to invoke mumbo-jumbo say they are “not detained by any debate about whether he is cheating or not” in an article titled—no lie—“Activism for truth”. And even a Trini agnostic can assert that persons sceptical about the man’s bona fides are “morons who don’t even have the sense to google longest hunger strike” (it’s 94 days), although the outer limit for surviving without water is ten days, but longer if you’re brain-dead and so didn’t google that information.
Given that, maybe the man and his supporters are telling the truth after all.

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