Gone with the wind PEEPING TOM
Kaieteur News

June 20, 2004

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I came across the following fable in a discussion forum on the Internet in which the contributor was arguing that there is nothing like a bad press. And even though I do not agree with the sentiment about there not being a bad press, the fable serves as an appropriate introduction for today’s article.

The wasp was long in quest of some deed that would make him forever famous. So one day he entered the king’s palace and stung the little prince, who was in his bed. The prince awoke with loud cries. The king and his courtiers rushed in to see what had happened. The prince was yelling as the wasp stung him again and again.

The royal household rushed in, the news soon spread, and people flocked to the palace. The city was in an uproar, all business suspended. Said the wasp to itself, before it expired from it efforts, “A name without fame, is like a fire without flame. There is nothing like attracting notice at any cost.”

When the fame that has traditionally gone with a name wanes, it is the season of pain. And therefore when today you see persons in self-destruct mode, you must try to appreciate what it means to lose the fame that was traditionally associated with a name.

Guyana’s past has been one in which class and race had a special relationship. Those were the days when well-known families, backed by wealth and the power and influence that come with it, dominated the socialite circle. Over the years the names of these families opened doors.

Those days are however at and end. Those who once held stage over public attention are now finding that fame does not always go with title, and names no longer open the doors they once used to.

Becoming objects of public derision, these old praetorian guards of a once great era are losing control. The loss of social prestige amongst the once wealthy and dominant class has been very traumatic. Today when you see public figures descending into the gutter in their attacks on others, you know that it is the courting of attention at all costs that they are after.

It is, like the wasp, their last great stand. The only thing is that their sting is now just a tickle.

Whenever you witness such attempts to pull down others, they are but symptoms of the troubles of those who have not woken up to the reality that they are no longer living in pre-1960 Guyana, but are instead part of a different age when the titles of prestige and fame are no longer about names.

Spare a thought for sections of the once propertied gentry in Guyana who now find that the hold they once had on public attention is now but a feeble grip.

Spare a thought for some of the once dominant families who have faded from the limelight they so craved to compensate for their other shortcomings. Feel sorry for them; pity them. Lift them out of the hole that they have become trapped in. They need a helping hand. Understand their pain. Understand their suffering.

Today no one bothers with them. No one reads them. No one listens to them anymore. They are no longer toasted as guests of honour. Their opinions no longer carry the same weight as in times of yore. They have become objects of public amusement. The only thing is that they are so in love with themselves that they do not hear the sniggers when they turn their backs. Forlorn figures, they spend their days in a drunken stupor, unable to control the vile expressions that stream from their tongues as they contemplate the end of their Golden Era.

Seeing their social standing and profits slowly slip away has affected the thought processes of some and they cannot handle the displacement. The fall in public standing has taken its toll on their egos. And this is the most tragic aspect of their decline.

A bruised knee-cap eventually renews itself, but the recuperative process for a bruised ego is far more extended requires a special type of therapeutic medication, which I am afraid, is slow in working.

Seasons change. Those who once dominated are finding that name and fame are no longer inextricably linked. Competition has come. And it has broken down the traditional barriers that have stood in the path of those who had neither the name nor social standing to attract fame in the past.

The success of Glenn Lall, a self-made man, has attracted the envy of others and this envy has graduated to enmity. The name Lall has not been one of those names which we in Guyana have traditionally associated with fame and social standing. And so to some, it is bewildering and incomprehensible that someone of Glenn Lall’s ilk can pull the rug from under others.

The name Adam Harris was also not one that we associated with social prestige and fame in colonial Guyana. So who is this guy who Peeping Tom calls Uncle Adam to think that he can suddenly come up and overnight produce the most popular newscast in the country? What does he know about this business? Well, he knows enough to be able to take the title away form those who once held it.

Something has to be wrong here! This is how some people see success in this country. If you are born with a gold spoon in your mouth then success should be yours. Guyana is supposed to be, in their eyes, a place where success is passed on with inheritance. So who are these self-made individuals, like Uncle Adam and Glenn Lall to come and displace those whose names have long been associated with fame.

History moves on. People were fed up and sick with the old guard. They wanted new ideas and new brains and they have chosen the new pace makers. The Golden Age has simply vanished, gone with the wind so to speak. And all that is left is deflated egos and sad individuals.