Posts Tagged ‘KINGSTON COLLEGE’

 

Three days ago I sat satisfying my regular need for social media and saw what I thought would be an article par excellence pop up on my newsfeed from one of the regular social commentators in Jamaica that I respect, even if I don’t always agree with the views he espouses. The article I refer to was published in the Jamaica Gleaner on Sunday June 5, 2016 and is entitled “Why Campion is So Loved and Hated” by Gordon Robinson.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/focus/20160605/gordon-robinson-why-campion-so-loved-and-hated

The topic is very near and dear to me due to my being the proud if sometimes reluctant sibling of a Campion alumna and *whispers* a one-time Campion College aspiring student (prior to divine intervention). This experience has made it more obvious to me than the average joe that Campion College may be the most opinion splitting, controversy stirring and divisive institution in Jamaican society and a lot of the reason for this actually is no fault of the institution itself.

So recognizing the above reality and acknowledging the literary prowess and infinitely sharp mind of Sir Robinson I eagerly awaited the well nuanced and balanced discussion of this lightning rod that is Campion. Unfortunately, but not altogether surprisingly, Mr. Robinson took the default position that many more contemporary Campionites take when the rest of society leans in on them with  the mostly unwarranted negative sentiments – he presented us with the combination of the litany of reasons Campion is great, blended with the subtle condescension that “you all really wish you were us.” And to top it off for me on a personal level, for no apparent reason Mr. Robinson sought to juxtapose the virtue of Campion by pejoratively comparing the strong Jesuit ethos of Campion to, what for him is the seemingly useless braggadocio of the motto “The Brave May Fall But Never Yield.”

Don’t get me wrong either, I thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Robinson’s quite brilliant depiction of why Campion is a truly great institution that all Jamaicans should be proud of. And indeed we all should really be proud and I go on further to state that the Jesuit principles that have guided the school’s development and that are so ably described by Mr. Robinson should really form a template for the development of truly rounded citizens for the benefit of the Jamaican society.

But what Mr. Robinson has robbed us of is balance. Though mostly unjustified, there are perfectly reasonable explanations as to why Campion is not everybody’s cup of tea, not least of which is the subtle and not so subtle reminders that Campionites give us that we wish we were them. Though the catch 22 there is that sometimes that is the response of an attacked animal backed into a corner. But still what the article I eagerly awaited did not do was adequately account for what Campion has become a symbol of. Though Mr. Robinson merely mentioned it in an almost throw away fashion, Campion for all the developmental strengths it possesses does get the nation’s best students in large measure thus possessing a strong leg up on everyone else. Also a large swath of the school’s modern day population and I may venture to posit its “back in the day” population as well consisted of societies well to do. Simply put, in a gravely inequitable education system which foreshadows a probably more inequitable society on a whole, Campion has unwittingly become to many a symbol of this social stratification.

So I agree with Mr. Robinson that some of the persons who were dying for Campion to lose this years’ School’s Challenge Quiz Final need to grapple with some internal insecurities and perhaps even inferiority complexes. (Although this year people had many legitimate grouses not with Campion but how the Organizers handled Campion’s matches, but that is for another day.) Notwithstanding this agreement, what I expected from Mr. Robinson, and was left disappointed, was an honest acknowledgement that a lot of the anti-Campion sentiment also emerges from it being a symbol, right or wrong, for the social divides that mar our Jamaican existence.

SELAH!!!

PS –  To Sir Robinson, though you may disparage it, beyond the bar talk and the obnoxious bravado, the words “The Brave May Fall But Never Yield” have been a rallying cry that has steered many otherwise rudderless young men from lives of obscurity and strife to the upper echelons of success in their chosen fields of endeavor. And for those who may have not reached such lofty heights, the spirit of the Rt.Reverend PW Gibson, which those words channel gives us a reminder that though we face challenges we can overcome. I am sure you can acknowledge that beyond the Old Boys who won’t grow up, the Fortis ethos is of great value as is that of the strong Jesuit philosophy.

Fortis, Fortes…Respect.

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So many social political and economic and personal issues have been swirling around in my head giving me a good old case of writers block. But just when I thought my hiatus would go on for an extended period, a fellow faculty member (lol) of the esteemed University of the West Indies has provided that spark that gets the fire going.

On Sunday November 9, 2014 a dear friend of mine whatsapped, tweeted and tagged me on facebook all in a frantic effort to tell me that my fellow faculty member at the UWI has become the latest to wade into the debate on the rightness or wrongness of the KC Old Boy’s Association’s tradition of male only (read member’s only) Annual Dinners. Her frantic attempts to reach me were supposedly because the professor apparently labeled KC Old Boys as homosexuals. I shrugged it off because this could never be true. So I decided to read for myself and boy was it an “interesting” article.

My response to this article here will be twofold:
1. I will look at the core issue at hand i.e. the rightness or wrongness of the tradition of all male reunion dinners
2. A direct analysis of the aforementioned article.

Of Discrimination and Exclusion

I refuse to spend too much time on this so I will let my feelings be known as succinctly as possible. Personally, I would not have a problem if KCOBA members were able to carry along their significant others to the Annual Reunion Dinner. HOWEVER I am of the belief that a lot of the anti KCOBA reaction that now floods the public domain is unfair and hyperbole at its finest. Honestly I am of the view that it is actually more offensive to suggest that there is something inherently wrong with Husband and wife spending dedicated time apart from each other, but that is for another discussion. But to my mind the issue is as simple as any organisation that has an exclusive membership will have occasions and events that will be exclusive to said members and this fact should not be portrayed as somehow morally corrupt.

Also I find it grossly disingenuous for persons to try and paint the picture that not having women present at a 4-5 hour gathering of “Di man dem” is somehow analagoous with a set of men belittling and disrespecting the great role that women have played and continue to play in the development of our school. If I were to reel off a list of persons that have left indelible marks on my life at KC that list would be so filled with women it’s ridiculous. However, the KC family has several and varied functions and events, each with a particular focus. The Dinner by and large is a chat fest where former students of “The College” come together and harp on about the glory days. Most self-respecting women I know have far better things to do with a Saturday night than being there.

Finally, to my un-learned mind, discrimination insinuates some harm or unfair advantage gained by the discriminators. By that metric I cannot see how a group of former schoolmates seeking to have a brief moment of nostalgia together has elevated to the level of being the emblem of societal patriarchy.

KC Old Boys Desire Male Sex

Now for the article itself. It is not usually my style to dignify attention grabbers by responding to desperate “look at me” ploys but honestly I must take the time to highlight that at its core “look at me” seems to be what that article was about. As I have stated elsewhere based on multiple readings of the article and based on the reputation of the writer I believe what happened was a woefully poor attempt at utilizing satire as a form of commentary. Satire makes light of serious situations to make serious points but unfortunately no larger, greater good can be culled from this article. To descend into homosexual aspersions in a homophobic society by no means will serve to engender the kind of debates on patriarchy that I hope was the writer’s intention (though it wasn’t apparent).

It is everyone’s right and perhaps duty to thoughtfully even creatively comment on the issues of the day but I am afraid that this article did not read as creative or thoughtful but more as a child in a school setting who has long held a grudge and has waited on a chance where the whole class is berating the object of the grudge to pile on, but the grudge holder goes a tad too far.

Final Analysis

Who is to blame for this great uproar about all this KC and the cult that it supposedly is? Some say it is the work of nefarious internet “feminists.” Others lay the blame at the feet of the biggest scapegoat in mankind…THE MEDIA which to be fair has to take its piece of the pie as honestly, in a country with so many issues and so many other more patently obvious cases of sexism, it boggles the mind how much air time and column width this issue has garnered.

I hereby suggest that the root of this current evil is the love and pursuit of power. If KC Old Boys are honest with ourselves we know that this matter of women attending the function at its core was an internal squabble. If we are also honest we can admit that it has taken on greater life as it is the new battlefield in a never ending strife between power seeking “benefactors” who supposedly mean well for our beloved college. It is this love for bickering and pursuit of influence that has bred the environment in which this furor and such a daft article could be written and seen as fit for publication. So let us look in the mirror and start working on becoming this forward moving, unified front of brothers that the outside world tends to think we are and that we clearly have the potential to be.

PS – If my wife doesn’t invite me to every girl’s night out from here on in then we going need counseling cause clearly she desires female sex. smh