Tag Archive: rants


I received an invitation from a friend inviting me to the Edna Manley School of Dance Faculty in Concert titled “Physical Labrish…Reflections of the Moving Mind”.

For my international readers the word ‘labrish’ in the Jamaican culture means to gossip or to chitchat.

When I received the invitation I made up my mind in earnest to attend this concert. One, I have not been to many and since I am free why not? That same evening I had a group meeting for my Supervisory Management course which was near the dance school. I was late because of my group meeting but I could not miss it. I literally ran to the venue, paid the entry fee and walked right in, head upright as if I were early.

Looking back, I have been to a concert at Edna Manle before but it was in a different studio. The Dennis Scott Studio the venue for the concert was exquisite. I liked the interior, very modern. It made their presentation look credible. They utilised a huge projector and lighting to enhance their routines, which was pleasing to the eye. I will not continue to describe the aesthetic appeal but just to say, the stage without the dancers was good.

The faculty concert was dedicated to the late Professor the Honourable Rex Nettleford, O.M., O.C.C., F.I.J., who has been integral to the dance community in Jamaica and the Caribbean region. He was a Jamaican Scholar, choreographer and Vice-Chancellor Emeritus at the University of the West Indies. In 1963 he founded the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, a respected ensemble which he led until he passed away.

Of the pieces I saw I could not decide on a favourite. I loved all of them. They each had something that you could connect with and appreciate.

To begin with the show had to be good. The dancers are lecturers in their field at the dance institution. How can they fail?

One of my favourites of the night was a piece entitled “Today and Tomorrow” choreographed by Arsenio Andrade-Calderon. It was very short but essentially he prepared for the rain. He sat on stage on a chair with his umbrella while dancers walked on stage opening water bottles one by one and pouring the liquid on his umbrella. It was a very reflective piece. After the pouring of the water which signified the rain he then closed the umbrella and walked out signalling the rain had ended – tomorrow.

I thought the piece could have been better presented if better use of the lighting was done. To signal the clouds and the initial preparations for the rain, the set could have been dark while brighter lights could signal the tomorrow which came after the dark moments. However the interpretation, the point was made.

The concert ended with everyone laughing. The final piece entitled”Of Tensions and Dilemma” brought to life through dance the struggles the lecturers encounter in their normal day-to-day activities as dance facilitators. The choreography began with teachers in traffic and the drama that comes with that – horrible bus drivers, persons walking on the streets etc. If you take public transportation you can appreciate it but more so Jamaican public transportation. The piece was hilarious, it included the struggles teachers go through with administration issues and student lackadaisical attitudes to education.

I could not end without telling you about my favourite Jamaican dancer, Neila Ebanks. She danced in many pieces at the concert but the two I enjoyed her in were entitled “The Edging of Sister Mitzie Margeret” and “Their work song…a moving musical soundtrack for making it through”. The Edging of Sister Mitzie Margeret was an excellent piece in terms of its production and execution. It began with Neila Ebanks on a video presentation and her obsessive compulsive behaviour to edgings/lines. The video presentation showed her entering the dance studio which was cut to show her continue her compulsive behaviour on stage. This piece showed some thought went on into its production. Leaving the stage the video presentation continued with her leaving the studio and Sister Mitzie Margeret continuing her behaviour on the outside (on video).

Based on the attendee’s reactions the concert was well received. The concert ran for the full weekend. I was their on the final night – Sunday and it was almost full house. Only some seats were empty (limited) which I think the organizers can take some compliments. I will be attending more Dance Concerts here – the quality is good.

However, I think the dancers here should take care of themselves. Jamaica has a culture where we think fat is attractive and in terms of dancing, the shapes and lines are so important that leading a healthy lifestyle is imperative to the visual senses. As I mentioned before I was not there for the beginning of the show and was aware of any states rules. I took my camera to take pictures. During the show I noticed no one was taking photos apart from the official media team. I did not want to be reprimanded so I did not.  However, I snapped a private camera phone shot and after that I noticed the persons beside me started to tape the show. This was at the end. After that, I took out my digital camera to snap the photos you see below. I am happy I did. The teachers gave a good show. I am happy the students have good role models to follow.

Faculty Members

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How September 11 changed the world?

This piece is dedicated to all who lost their lives and who lost families, friends in the 9/11 attacks on the United States of America.

The entire world changed on this day, September 11, 2001. I was standing on what is called the ‘front page area’ of my school when I heard what happened on this sad day. I saw teachers running about to offices to view live coverage from New York and other parts of the USA that were attacked. Back then I heard the World Trade Centre was attacked and I remember wondering “What is that?”

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Today, our rights have been altered in some way, how governments handle events, economies shaken, diplomacy, security procedures, travel rules, etc have all changed because of the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001.

I watched footages from the major networks who replayed the exact coverage as the events unfolded. What struck me was the moment President Bush was told by his aide that the country was being attacked. You saw a man that was shocked and scared but at the same time who had to hold his composure. He had to because as a leader but more so a President you do not want to be seen in a frantic mode that is not in control of the situation. I found that very interesting that even in a moment where you are being attacked certainly not in control he gave an image that was thoughtful, and composed.

Many in the western world were sad and saw it as unbelievable because no matter how independent your nation may be; we are in some ways affected by what happens in the United States of America. As people grieved thousands in Israel celebrated the loss of lives shouting “God is good.”

On September 11, 2001 for those who thought terrorism was not an immediate threat instantaneously saw the impact of this because it happened to the greatest nation in the world the mighty USA. President Bush’s presidential term was now aimed at this attack; finding the perpetrators. The 9/11 attacks dubbed Bush the war president as he was fervent in finding the attackers. This attack changed US politics as Bush’s approval ratings shot up to the highest in history plummeting to over 90%; but we all saw in times coming to the close of term, his numbers trended downwards.

Years later millions of people all around the world remember the events that took place on this day. We regret the passing of so many lives but we are even more cognisant of the fact that there are evil men and groups in our world whose aims are to kill and terrorise people. We must support efforts and wars that will bring to justice those who will kill us in a moment. How we fight wars that is another issue.

Hell or Paradise

Today is a sad day in Jamaica. We are known internationally for being a violent country and so deserved, yet the 3rd happiest place on earth. How ironic?

Historically, our politicians have embraced criminal activities. In the earlier elections many years ago, politicians seeking power gave citizens located in the ‘government created’ ghettoes guns and ammunitions. These illegal weapons were used to intimidate voters and also to maim and kill the others who tried to oppose the thugs. These thugs headed by dons – leader of the community would secure wins for the political parties. This violence in election periods is still evident today. Because of the wide access to illegal and dangerous weapons vicious acts of violence toward other citizens are committed based on simple disagreements. Disagreements are solved using the guns today. The infiltration of the weapons is affecting society to the point where politicians have begun distancing themselves from these gangs. The process of distancing themselves from the thugs proved hard to accomplish because they are heavily cemented in the system. The thugs are split across political lines, dividing communities by lines and turfs. The criminal gangs that are affiliated to the ruling government would see themselves getting government contracts among other benefits.

One would think that those who assume high moral standing in any society would be constantly speaking out against such heinous acts. The church, non-governmental organizations, political groups etc are so silent it is deafening.

Recently, the USA government has requested that Christopher ‘Dodus’ Coke be extradited to the USA naming Coke one of the world’s most dangerous drug kingpins. How could this man be free in Jamaica?

Today, September 4, 2009 the Jamaica Observer had the headline ‘Dudos holds the key’. I was so shocked to see the headline because you would think conventional wisdom would think that the country would support a criminal doing time behind bars. Instead you have groups led by the government who are silent on this issue, silently condoning his illegal acts. The community Christopher ‘Dudos’ Coke leads is affiliated and only supports the ruling government and they may think it isn’t an issue to comment.

The fact is that these gangs have more powers than the police themselves. The thugs kill whoever opposes their culture/belief and live in freedom because of their ties. Now Dudos is free to roam the streets of Kingston but is wanted in the United States of America. Jamaica has developed a society that condones unlawful behaviour and embraces those committing violent acts in the name of politics.

These are the same reasons the country cannot grow because we have failed to learn from teachable moments. We have developed a culture that suppresses the poor, embrace criminality and ignore people’s fundamental rights based on Christian beliefs. Today is a sad day because this country has not given its youth or anyone anything to be proud of. The two things we have aimed to manage well are tourism and sports – and we have deficiencies there.

I cannot wait to leave this god forsaken country and live in a country that respect people’s rights does not condone criminal activities and support the advancement and development of its own people. Someone, something help this country.

I must end this on a good note. We have a wonderful set of people here who work hard and try to live life above the law, who with all the struggles attempt in getting an education and seek to assist their families to be better off. I travelled to Ocho Rios today and wow the scene is fantastic. Below is one of the photos I took.

Ocho Rios Jamaica

Ocho Rios Jamaica

Celebrities and Drugs

The life of a celebrity is by far no means easy. Apart from being talented, entertaining, attempting to balance their own lives and being role models to those who look up to them there are other sides to the life that makes people wonder why they crave that lifestyle. There are hardly any celebs today that appear to be leading balanced lives and if they are they become unpopular and are not recognized as such. Mind you, there are some exceptions because they have not built a career based on being frivolous.

Recently, celebs have been making rounds in the news in the worst ways possible – end results drugged deaths. Michael Jackson, DJ AM, Keith Ledger just to name a few, all celebrities who have ended up dead because they abused drugs in their lives. We must be cognisant of the fact that they are humans and they do make mistakes. That out the way, why drugs? Celebrities today are forced by the media, paparazzi and fans to constantly make the headlines. The more ridiculous or entertaining their actions the more they are talked about and the longer they live in the media. When you make your career making entertainment headlines you better top the last act to remain alive – like releasing a nude picture or leak a sex video.

The monies these celebs are demanding and controlling are vast. Not only are they commanding this wealth, they set up their own world around them – hospital, school, mall (homes) etc. In their world shut off from normalcy they command doctors, have access to illegal/banned substances and perform crazy acts to remain on a high.

MJ

MJ

If being a celebrity will cause you to end your life using drugs then it is not worth the journey. For many of the fans who laud these people finding out their favourite person in the world was taking propofol to sleep is not comforting. I think M Jackson was an idiot, his doctor must be charged but he also should carry some of the blame. He was acted stupidly to say the least. Taking drugs not only places one on a high for the moment it does what these celebs fail to understand it kills. For many of the young today who find prescription drugs hip they are treading a path to destruction – which can be led privately.

We all have a right to privacy and we all must respect one’s right. The popular saying ‘what is in the dark must come to light’ certainly is true when it comes unto celebrities and the private lives they lead. I am tired of hearing of celebrity deaths caused by drugs. They are adults and they should therefore act as such – mature with responsible behaviours. Fans should really think twice before worshiping some of these celebrities. The standards we hold them to, quite frankly, they don’t make the cut. Maybe looking in the mirror is the best solution.

Since the development of the internet it would appear that reality television came after. Reality television features unprofessional actors, most times celebrities or created ones to show unscripted reactions in various scenarios. In recent times we have been seeing many newly wed couples deciding to film a reality series to be picked up by the major networks. However, it would appear that the usage of reality television for any couple in Hollywood is a divorce sentence for their marriage. Of course we can list all the victims of reality television these days. The question is, did reality television cost them their marriage or was it for different reasons. Most times children are the biggest cash cows for these series as they are also paid for the gig.

Giuliana & Bill

Giuliana & Bill

I am a huge fan of reality television. I would say I like the productions, not a fan of all the drama but I appreciate the wonderful and creative ideas that they are based off. Two reality television series that I have been following and I will be referring to in this piece are The Real Housewives of Atlanta (not really a fan) and Giuliana and Bill (can be seen on the Style Network). The Real Housewives of Atlanta is filled with drama as the show follows five Atlanta housewives on their lives and friendships with each other. The celebs on the show are always in conflicts and they lead unstable lives financially and emotionally. On the other hand, Giuliana and Bill; this reality show features both Bill Rancic – winner of the first Apprentice and Giuliana from the E Network. The show is about this couple as they lead successful careers and attempts to balance their marriage.

There are hundreds of reality shows on television, some are sane and the others are insane. One would think the sane ones would get stellar reviews and constantly being booked for another season. Hell NO! The insane reality shows, filled with wanna be celebrities, people that live unstable lives, people who you would warn your kids to stay far from are playing huge roles in what network executives are constantly booking for another season. They do this because this is the garbage that society wants. I do not know but I would never sit for hours on end and enjoy a show that shows humans behaving despicably, acting in selfish ways to their neighbours. It alarms me to know that we have reached a stage where this is what we demand daily. I would agree that this is entertaining but networks that run these series for endless hours the show becomes insipid.

The show Real Housewives of Atlanta is depressing and we wonder why we still have certain issues in our society today. When a show can glamorise black people to be irrational thinkers, uneducated, gold diggers and unproductive to society we have a huge problem on our hands. We then wonder why people are hateful of black people; they are because they have not seen anything positive of the black race. They have not seen hardworking, educated people rising to the top (apart from Obama and a few others) and the images we should be portraying of our race are absent. So they have associated with being black all the negative ideas we can think of.

The sane reality shows and images we should be desperate for are all being chopped by business executives because they have a business to run. They cannot fund sane reality shows because it is the unpopular decision to do. After all a business is not charity organization. As a people we should start demanding productive programming. I will agree that there will always be a market for insane material but we should have options. I enjoyed watching Giuliana and Bill because it never had any crazy drama scene where they were fighting each other down and the constant bickering was absent. Whatever your tastes are you can find it. If you want to see adventure, a loving couple, hardworking people who are balancing their lives check it out. I am sure you can find other sane reality television shows to watch where it can be worth your entertaining and leisure time.

The world is now an open space. With cable television comes with advantages and sore disadvantages for any society. Cultures will begin to change and people will act differently because of the diverse influences that will now be present. The cultural values that some societies were proud of will soon go away because there are other new sometimes bad values to adapt. The images and values that these insane shows project into our societies must be challenged by positive role models (which we so lack) and shows that depict what living a stable life looks like; that is reality. There is no way we can continue to accept the negative images of our race and remain silent with it. As young people we need to separate positive entertainment from negative entertainment and break the rising trend of insane reality television.

So You’ve Graduated

graduate3After attending college/university you expect to land the perfect job or have an internship at a top company using all the skills and the knowledge you have learnt. As graduates we expect the economy to provide constant jobs and the business environment to be healthy for the creation of new businesses. Are our expectations too much? In today’s economy, it is not advantageous for graduates as fewer jobs are left vacant and the vacancies created are as a result of layoffs from companies both huge and small. University/College graduates should therefore prepare themselves for a period of unemployment. How can we all prepare our minds and psyche for the stressing times ahead? This blog will seek to provide tips for recent graduates who are in the market looking for a job.

Be Patient

After leaving school the job market will be very competitive. All the students from all the universities across the world are graduating students who have studied the same area you did. You cannot ignore all the applicants who will be entering the same market from high school and other areas. You must be patient as companies review hundreds of applications and resumes all in a bid to say you are the best candidate. In this time I will advise any applicant to remain calm. Never blame yourself for not finding a job fast enough; you did your part by getting that solid education. That’s a start!

Keep Searching

We all have our favourite companies and dream jobs stuck in the back of our minds. In this economy and with a world wide melt down of countries, there is no way you can limit yourself as to the places you apply. This is the time to expand your scope and apply to various places.

For example, you have graduated with a Marketing Degree. You cannot expect only to work in Marketing Departments and Advertising Agencies. You would have to apply for jobs in Customer Service, Teaching, Management Roles, Sales and Banking etc.

It is critical that as soon as you graduate or even before graduation it is advised that graduates apply for a host of job opportunities. You cannot go wrong in applying as you may never know the company may be looking for you, a candidate in Sales & Marketing but you studied a Finance elective. Never as a graduate limit yourself, this is a huge mistake that people make. Research employment websites, company websites, newspapers, and classifieds for any job posting and never forget to apply.

Be Optimistic

Life goes on; bills are to be paid, your activities etc. Life will become stressful as the months roll on and the need for a job becomes your ultimate goal. It is critical that at this time you remain calm. There is nothing you can do (unless you will be starting a company) about your job prospects once you have applied. At this moment potential employees must remain positive, thinking that better will come in due time. Moments will however arise where you are at your end where job searches are concerned. It is advisable that you remain optimistic and never stress; this may have you developing health complications which you may never want to have.

Network

It is so important that as graduates look for jobs that they rely on the present network they have. This is crucial because the contacts you have within your circle may prove to be beneficial. It will be in your advantage to email or hand copies of your resume (multiple copies) to those in your network. This is good as your friends in the companies will hand deliver your resumes to the Human Resource Department or to hiring Managers. These people are your hands and feet to the managers directly. Ensure that they say a word on your behalf ‘Carol is hardworking and great with the databases’ etc.

But what if you do not have a network? It is advised that you ask around your family and friends and investigate who they know and who they can connect you with in companies. If you are at a disadvantage in having a good network then walking in to companies may be your next move.

Family/Resource Team

It is important that in this time of looking a job in a jobless market that you have a team around you that will keep you positive and one that won’t blame you for not having a job. Starting with family and real friends, rely on them for emotional and financial support and always let them know how important they are while you are in this predicament.

Today, being unemployed is never easy. Being unemployed and actively looking a job is even worse. I hope these tips that were explored will give you insight and assurance that as you look for job, it may be hard but remember there is a rainbow after the storm.

2Land that Job. Yeah!!

Salary Packages

1232069670.typepadI need your urgent feedback on this issue. It surrounds the issue of salary packages on an interview. I was interviewed for a position in a firm today and overall it went well. The interviewer was pleasant throughout and I maintained that atmosphere. As per usual, salary expectations are discussed. This is so because the interviewer will get the chance to find out if the company can actually afford this individual among other reasons.

The interviewee is advised to avoid this question by throwing it back to the interviewer in the form of a question. The interviewee is advised to say “I will accept your best offer, seeing that it is an objective one. What will be your offer?”

I took that suggestion and gave the opportunity to the interviewer to make the first offer. This however, can backfire for the interviewee because the management personnel may say “You must provide an offer for this interview to continue!”

What do you do in that situation? Do you potentially hurt your employment opportunity by avoiding the question and still wait on the firm to make the offer? Do you give in and provide a figure?

The risks are great. You may provide a figure that will make you look desperate for a job and you may provide a figure that will make the employer overlook you. What is the best advice for young professionals entering the work force?

Now on Twitter.com

So after many months of trying to avoid Twitter I am officially tweeting. This will be incorporated in my blog here and updates will be provided.

My official twitter page is http://twitter.com/corvedacosta

I can’t wait to start tweeting and sharing with others in this amazing medium.

Obama

Obama


Health care reform is taking on new heights, more town hall meetings and the tension just seems to be rising. For those Republicans, health care reform is a nightmare. They build their ideology on proper financial maintenance and fewer government interventions in citizen’s lives promoting the private sector. The Democrats however, have another thinking on health care reform; they intend to provide public health care while allowing tax payers (Americans) to pay for it through the payment of taxes to the government.

This is causing a huge debate especially at this time when the economy is in a recession and most plans are failing because of lack of funds. This has resulted in all the sides going in a brawl with persons from the left, the right and all independents fighting at it. Most persons have their own plans as it relates to how the President should approach health care reform. Most people will agree that the system needs drastic reform to provide equality in the system.

In recent times angry and supportive voters have been showing up at these town hall meetings to express their feelings on the issue. What is disingenuous about the process is that citizens who disagree with health care reform are being demonized. This is not correct and this does not add any value to the discussion if you’re going to make voters who are genuinely upset or unhappy about such a policy appear to be horrible people. I believe Obama who campaigned on an open policy of respect for all and bipartisanism should take hold of this conversation. But he can’t! His administration is promoting this backlash and they should be ashamed of themselves. If the Obama administration does not accept people who will be disapproving of some of his policies then public administration is a bad area for him.

Town Hall

Town Hall

There are however some things right about this health care reform plan. Certainly there are millions of people in America who are without a health care plan and they should be given the opportunity to have a good health care system. That is a human right I believe. The problem arises now where you will increase taxes to cover these new people and also illegal citizens which is absolutely wrong. Obama is getting flogged and his ratings are taking a beating. Will there be health care reform? We do not know the answer yet but if there is a law to overhaul the system then the government better put all the steps in place to make it work. You would not like what happened to the stimulus package to happen to the health care system where people who are in dire need are not receiving the benefits; or to the cash for clunkers system where government had to pay out more money for the system to work efficiently.

Do we need health care reform? Absolutely and we need it now. Anything you do Obama, do not tax stressed Americans.

Customer Service at its Best!

customer_serviceBusinesses often say customers are the most important aspect of their work. If this is so why is it that some firms do not place much emphasis on Customer Service? Customer service is a key factor in any organization’s operations. The lack of it will make the company go under and if the company appreciates the value of customer service it clearly distinguishes that particular company from the others within the industry. I believe in a few years more companies will understand how critical this aspect of a company is. As customer service moves to the forefront of every organization, companies are going to employ stringent guidelines in hiring employees as the friendliest and most courteous workers will be hired. How are you able to communicate the company’s values to the customer with a smile in the fastest time?

Most fast food outlets attempt to operate efficiently. The operation is all about time. Preparing that meal to the customer at the fastest time; after all it’s fast food. I happen to have been at a particular outlet of KFC in Portland, Jamaica and was stunned and shocked at the level of customer service that this branch has. Most fast food outlets have average customer service but this outlet in particular was just outstanding. Lining the walls of the branch were the various awards and plaques the outlet has received over the period of its existence. I cannot believe the service I was receiving. In a country where most people accept mediocrity and any standard of service it is amazing that this company stands out among the others in setting the right standard of service quality for the others to see. At this particular branch the employees smiled with you each time they communicated, they had a fast serving time and the food was very good. This was genuine among the employees; nothing about the service was fake. I am very meticulous when I walk into any service organization. I observe the employees and just analyze how things are going. It’s just a habit. The employees were laughing and smiling with each other. This shows the kind of atmosphere and work environment that the management has cultivated which makes the service offering to the customer even more appealing.

You know, you might be thinking Oh they were nice to me because they were having a good day or the employee was trying to flirt, or because I was a good customer. I told someone else who would be going to that same branch about the quality of service and low and behold the service was the same. This simply means this is a norm for this branch of KFC and it is most heart warming to be served in such a great way. What is amazing about great customer service is that the customer’s perception of the product or service increases. So even the meal tasted better, and you would like to purchase a meal from this branch all the time simply because of the service they provided. In the end the customer is king and firms should act likewise.

I am sure you have encountered great customer service and some horrible ones. It is true we expect so little of service providers that when they give us mediocre service quality or poor product delivery we say nothing. I am amazed that when we receive great customer service we are so shocked like it was a gift. Companies should begin to understand that customer service alone can make their business succeed even or out of a recession. It should be the norm when companies offer great customer service. We shouldn’t be talking about it, it should come and go. But customer service is never like that; some leaves a bad taste in your mouth, allowing you to think how come people got employed in the first place. As the world opens up and the internet begins to be the place where employees vent, companies will understand how important it is to deliver on customer service to all customers. More websites are being launched where customers can comment on the service quality delivered and websites that will allow customers to rate the business. If companies think customers are entitled to shop or purchase their product or service think again! There are tens and hundreds of other firms just like yours who will offer the same product on a better customer service level. Companies are going to lose out if they continue to allow front line employees to offer insipid customer service. Service comes with a smile and a courteous attitude.

The next time you are offered great customer service spread the word and when you were not served with gratitude spread that bad news and allow the company to suffer. The more we support companies who show no respect and little and low customer service quality the more we are rewarding their bad business. Let us congratulate those who show great service quality and spread the word about companies who offer service beyond the call of duty. Companies like Ritz Carlton and the thousands of others that can be added to this list must be congratulated and rewarded with more business for showing the customer is still king!