Change and the new year

 THE year 2014 is here. We in Trinidad and Tobago joined with the rest of the global family in perpetuating the myth and mystique associated with exiting the old and welcoming the new year. 

We made our resolutions with some fanfare, and little sincerity; somewhat sheepishly perhaps. For truth is we instinctively know that change, especially relating to self, can be effected at any time. 

We probably acknowledge too that such change is likely to be more effective if we lay adequate foundation for its realisation and sustainability by making appropriate preparations; better away from the public glare, in the quiet recesses of our minds. 

But what of the wider societal change so sorely needed in Trinidad and Tobago?

The anomalies, delusions and intrinsic lies afflicting our political and socio-cultural systems have engendered a debilitating cynicism driving us to a state of near utter helplessness about which we seem able to do nothing.  

We appear comfortable with having an intellectual awareness of the state of things, but paralysed, without the conviction to do anything.

Indulging such cynicism leaves us lacking the passion for and personal commitment to social and political change; fosters a false sense that our established institutions and governing frameworks are eternal and unchangeable; turns us into frustrated, powerless consumer-citizens, harbouring simmering hatred in our hearts and minds, making us vulnerable to exploitation by all manner of mindless anti-social elements; and inculcates a sense that we are neither part of the problem nor fundamental to its solution.

Sadly, this phenomenon is not only the pastime of cynical old men but equally popular among the bright and young.

Undoubtedly, it’s easy to fall prey to cynicism when our political leadership, the manner of their governing, the performance of public agencies and other major societal institutions are continually disappointing us. 

However, as with many things in life, we have choices. We can opt to remain cynical, nurturing the myth of a helpless victimhood. We can find our inner strength, accept the fact that real change is a long and difficult process and unshackle ourselves from the false restraint that it is always the obligation of someone else to make things better for us. 

This is as good a time as any to think and decide on these things.

We are reminded that “… good citizens are thinking citizens …” as much aware of their duties and responsibilities as their rights. We need to know and live the truism that the change we seek must begin with us.   

Richest blessings for a year of real change and fulfilment!

Winston R Rudder

Petit Valley

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