Travel related diseases
April 9, 2003
It is alarming to hear that the President and his delegation have indeed returned from China's Guangdong province with that most terrible disease.... PTE or Post Trip Euphoria.
This is a common infection whenever officials expose themselves to the ideas of other countries. Symptoms include hastily arranged press conferences where the patient extols the local application of such concepts as mushroom farms, shrimp cultivation or outlines the prospects for trade agreements that never come to fruition.
We are also concerned that the delegation might be suffering from a particularly severe strain of the disease called ACCTS Acute Communist Country Trip Syndrome. This has thankfully been in decline since the end of the Cold War when Presidents would visit Eastern Europe and return promising the proletariat bartered Hungarian-made televisions.
A full diagnosis has not been made but if you see Ministers Rohee and Chanderpal using the word 'Comrade' more often than usual and bowing deeply instead of offering a bourgeois handshake it may be a case of ACCTS.
PTE is highly infectious and usually results in workers being given follow up seminars on joint projects. Thankfully the feverish euphoria soon subsides as the public servants' resistance to anything new and promising always overwhelms the intruder. The victim essentially becomes quarantined by his colleagues in that they avoid speaking to him for fear he may transmit any new ideas.
A good dose of reality such as a crisis in Linden or a teachers' strike normally resigns the patient to a more pessimistic outlook as he fits into his former condition.
More serious cases can be treated by anyone qualified with a PHD or Post Holiday Depression.
This is a very common but short term malaise which can occur almost as soon as the plane lands at Timehri and an immigration officer has been rude to you, a customs officer has rifled through your luggage and touts have hassled you in the car park. Symptoms include spending too long looking at holiday photos.
There is no known cure for PHD except a good bottle of ten year old although a permanent visa for the US has been known to help.
PHD is usually preceded a few weeks earlier by a case of STD or Sudden Trip Disorder, a very common affliction with symptoms being a tendency to write long lists of things to do before you leave, obsessive weighing of suitcases and trips to the hairdresser. This is immediately cured the moment you step on the plane to be replaced by PMS Panicky Mid-trip Syndrome. Symptoms: you ask yourself questions such as whether you switched off the gas stove after making that last cup of tea, accompanied by hallucinations of your house going up in flames and a fear that your plants will all be missing when you return.
Closer to home and a disease in the same family as PTE is APWS or Acute Post Workshop Syndrome. This can strike anyone who participates in a seminar conference or workshop of more than half a day, the minimum time for infection. It is usually transmitted by overseas-based motivational speakers who can infect whole rooms full of victims in a matter of minutes mostly by using impressive Power Point presentations. Participants are particularly at risk when broken up into smaller groups to work on special projects.
For those newly infected persons, the most obvious symptom includes walking with a free seminar bag stuffed with documents and complimentary pens. More lasting results can be a worrying desire to have a more creative outlook on your work and worse a desire to really try and make the world a better place that is very irritating to more settled employees. Once again strict quarantining along with comments such as 'That can't work here...' normally contains the spread of the disease and within a few days the patient is able to resume a more agreeable disposition.
We were delighted to see in Saturday's newspaper, apart from an absence of letters by Freddie Kissoon, a welcome list of Courtesy Rules and Maxims. What was not included was a supplementary list of 'Courtesy Rules and Maxims for Bandits."
1. Say 'Excuse me please' if you have to interrupt a stallholder in the course of a robbery.
2. Always cover his mouth with your hand if he is screaming for help.
3. Always wipe your shoes when invading a business premises and remember to take off your wigs and masks as you leave.
4. Don't push and barge each other when unloading a hijacked truck. Wait in line, it is a mark of respect for elder gunmen.
5. Do not make unnecessary noise on the street or in public places. Let your AK- 47 do the talking.
6. It is bad manners to suck your teeth in disgust whenever a store owner refuses to hand over his money.
7. Always say 'Thank you' for amounts over $100,000 and 'Thank you very much' for amounts over $1m.
8. Try to be punctual. Keeping fellow bandits waiting is discourteous especially when on a big job.
9. It is wrong to throw stones at birds and private buildings. Ministries are ok.
10. When seated in a bus it is courteous to get out of the vehicle when someone wants to leave and then mug them.
All those fans of Tony Vieira now have a place on the internet (www.tonyvguy.com)
to read past editorials. Yes some of them are indeed long. Most housewives can cook dinner in the time he takes to finish.
And while he may be rough around the edges and have an uncanny resemblance to the Iraqi information minister, he can dish it out. Read this comment from an article crucifying the Chronicle:
"John Da Silva who told us in 1999 that ESBI was offering us a good deal, thereby calling into question his complete lack of capacity to deal with the realities of the world and sees nothing further than the end of his nose, it is hardly a proper advertisement for his family's business which makes spectacles. Did you fall into the lens grinding machine at Modern Optical John? I do believe that you did, since you are continuously making a spectacle of yourself."
Letter to the editor
I am writing again to protest the severe editing of my letter complaining about the severe editing of a previous letter.
I am firmly convinced that you are.
Yours Rickford Burke
How times have changed
"I came I saw I conquered" - Julius Caesar circa 44BC
"I do believe this city is freaking ours!" - US soldier in Baghdad AD 2003