No literary merit in “Coolie Tom Puss” To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
January 24, 2002

I have to disagree with Mr Ian McDonald (Stabroek News, January 13, 2002) [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] that Haslyn Parris’s short story titled “Coolie Tom puss” and given prominence in the 2001 Christmas Annual, is an excellent piece of writing.

There is absolutely no literary merit in such writing. It is the kind of story told when men gather around a rum bottle. Some passages are obscene, suggestive and unfit for the eyes of children. The main character, Jones, a Bajan national, is notable only for his appetite for food and sex. His Guyanese dougla wife, Valerie, waits to fulfil his every whim, as do millions of dutiful wives every day of the year. There is nothing remarkable about this piece.

What I find most objectionable is the title of the story. Their neighbour, Mr. Persaud and his cat have been dragged in as scapegoats, not so much to demonstrate the prejudice of the Joneses and their wayward daughter, Rosie, but to provide their writer with an opportunity to insult and damage the image of Indians in Guyana.

Doesn’t Mr Parris know that racially loaded terms such as `coolie’ and `nigger’ are no longer in use in our part of the world?

What if someone had written a story titled “Nigger Ram Goat” or “Blackman Stink Hog” would Mr Ruel Johnson have featured it?

I recommend that a small advisory committee be in place to guide the young and enthusiastic editor of the Christmas Annual. Mr McDonald should control his penchant for praising mediocrity. It does Guyana no good whatsoever.