17
Nov
08

Doctor’s Orders

I went to my big sister’s graduation ceremony at the University of the West Indies (St Augustine campus) on Friday Oct 31, 2008 (Halloween).  She graduated (with distinction, mind you) with her post-graduate diploma in “Educational Technology”.

Trinidad Newsday


Anyway, UWI likes to grant honourary doctorates at each of its graduation ceremonies.  As luck would have it, the calypsonian Black Stalin was carded to be one of the recipients at my sister’s graduation.  I had no clue until I picked up the programme and gave it a quick skim while waiting for things to get started!

After the first honourary PhD recipient (Mr Kynaston McShine — a QRC old boy) gave his moving acceptance speech, it was Stalin’s turn…

“Ah… I had ah mind to give a lil speech this morning… but after Dr. McShine speech, I feel is better I sing (audience laughs/claps).

Flickr: Ricosmixxx

Ah came here dis morning to just do one calypso and leave… but ah tink this being ah graduation– one such as this with so much young people — we should add another one to it — jus’ fuh so…

(audience applauds)

Yuh know and… and this particular song… we going to do this one with no music (motions to band to be still)… so we could let de message hit home…which is so much easier when yuh do it acappella style…

We just want to say that… yuh know… God <???> … regardless of your position, regardless of your condition, one of the things we know is that… we doh run dis world… somebody else does run it for us… and while passing thru, we got to make de best of it… so …ahm… here is my story…”



(starts singing his song “In Times” acappella)

We seem to feel that life is over
just because we throw a few pennies down de gutter
We seem to feel everything is lost
so we fighting to get back something at any cost
but while we fighting and we fighting just to get back that little something…
we keep forgetting that we know nothing of this world in which we livin’
Someone greater put this world together
So we must remember…

In times of plenty we must be grateful
In times of sorrow we must be strong
In times of joy we must be thankful
Because life really have its ups and its downs
In times of disaster we must be ready
To get together and move obstacles out de way
And if you listen to this watchword from yuh lover, Black Stalin
Tomorrow would be ah better day

We meet ah world today wit four seasons
Who is we to try and find out “what’s the reason?”
And what goes roun’ so…
Must come back roun’ so
Why dat is so, nobody doh know
And there are so much other mysteries
That nobody still can answer
So we just got to say ‘thanks’ and keep looking to de future
because dis world is not yours to control
it is just to behold, so…

In times of plenty we must be grateful
In times of sorrow we must be strong
In times of joy we must be thankful
Because life really have its ups and its downs
In times of disaster we must be ready
To get together and move racism out de way
And if you listen to this watchword from yuh lover, Black Stalin
Tomorrow would be ah better day

As we go thru this life we livin’
we must know by now that this world owe us nuttin’
so live yuh life, just enjoy it,
and just try to leave dis world better dan yuh meet it
because de maker of dis world which nobody has no contract
no paper is going to tell you yesterday is going to come back
so… look ahead but without looking dead
after all is said…

In times of plenty we must be grateful
In times of sorrow we must be strong
In times of joy we must be thankful
Because life really have its ups and its downs
In times of disaster we must be ready
To get together and move racism out de way
And if you listen to this watchword from yuh lover, Black Stalin
Tomorrow would be ah better day
…for you and you and you…

(fades)
(audience applauds)

Stalin then went on to perform one of his beloved songs “Caribbean Unity” aka “Caribbean Man”, with just guitar and drum accompaniment. The audience sang along without prompting, too.

You can find the lyrics to that song at the Toronto Lime website.

Apologies for the poor audio/video quality, but I was fairly high up in the bleachers, and that was the best I could do with my camera maxed out at 3x zoom.  I need a new camera, and I’ve been a good boy all year, right, Santa?

_black_stalin_tg012

CalypsoWorld

It was really nice to hear Stalin and to see him moved enough by the occasion to give the graduands this piece of advice in song, which I’m sure they appreciated (especially the undergrads).  It was really appropriate too.  Maybe the upcoming US election had something to do with it.  Being poised on the threshold of history will do that to you I suppose.

He (Stalin) really is a man of the people, and while he seemed a bit in awe at all the pomp and ceremony of the occasion, he was…well, how do I put it…*Stalin* !  He will never lose his common touch, which is why so many Trinbagonians love and admire him so much.  Even while he walked through the venue, he took the time to acknowledge the starstruck in the crowd with his winning smile.

With the mess the world is in today, with all manner of danger, threat and peril looming around every corner and facet of our lives, lets sincerely hope and pray that the UWI Graduating Class of 2008 will follow the goodly Doctor’s orders and make a difference in the lives, hearts and minds of the whole world.

Peace and Rice,

jw

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3 Responses to “Doctor’s Orders”


  1. November 17, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Thanks for posting this–he is definitely one of this Universe’s treasures. Thanks again,
    the lab

  2. November 17, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    Not a problem…

    😎

  3. 3 youcouldbelievethis
    November 29, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Very. very nice post. UWI couldn’t have conferred the Doctorate on a more deserving Kaisonian. Don’t worry about the video quality, I think it’s fine.


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