Eyes of the beholder
Cross-walk outside City Gate in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

The eyes of the beholder: From Las Lomas to Port-of-Spain, people are sad or smiling

“The fact that we can still smile and be happy and courteous to one another in this tiny country called Trinidad and Tobago is truly a blessing.” Ian Boodoo, one of the authors of Sweet TnT Short Stories, shares his story about Trinidad being viewed from the eyes of the beholder.

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ife in Trinidad and Tobago comes alive in the exciting, entertaining, comical, dramatic, thrilling, mysterious and suspenseful tales in Sweet TnT Short Stories. The novella consists of 34 fictional pieces written by authors from around the twin islands who share narratives with you under the sections Lifestyle, Superstition and Fauna. Created by Culturama Publishing Company, producer of Sweet TnT Magazine from San Juan, Trinidad and Tobago, this book is one of the publications that commemorates the 10th anniversary of the publisher from 2009-2019. US$9.99

‘The glass is half empty’

With crime currently out of control in the country, it’s very hard to see the “sweet” in sweet T&T. Every day there are murders, kidnappings and home invasions headlining the major newspapers. The people are battered, fed-up and frustrated. As I commute to work each day, I look at my fellow citizens and I see the fear and sadness in their faces. Each individual in their own world fighting the odds to survive one more day just to provide a meal for their families and loved ones. (Wait… that’s not right)

My father was a humble man, he loved to reminisce about the past, about his struggles and about how happy people were in the “good old days”, even though their family were big (many brothers and sisters) and they had to cut cane to make a living, they were contented.

I always felt great joy listening to his stories, stories about a world where people helped each other, a world of respect for each other and a world free of hate and racial and religious discrimination, a place full of laughter and comradeship, a place where the village raised a child.

How has the world changed so much in such a few short years? I now ask myself. My mother and father grew up poor and without an education, but I’d like to think that through all the hardships that they both faced, they were successful in building a happy home for my siblings and me.

I am in my late forties now, and when I compare the present with my past, I am reminded of my father’s stories. The strange phenomena is that I too can only remember the good times, I know there were a lot of bad times, but somehow those memories are faded and are even non-existent.

It makes me wonder, was my father’s world very similar to mine? Similar in a relative (Einstein’s theory of Relativity) way that is. Had he too, also forgot the really bad times when he relayed his childhood days? Or maybe he left it out to give us hope…

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‘Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder’

As I commute to work each day, I look for a bus with air-conditioning and head into Port-of-Spain down the priority bus route. 99% of the people entering the maxi-taxi still say, “Good morning.” And approximately 87% of the people sitting responds.  From Curepe to Port-of-Spain the warm landscape flashes by through the maxi’s window. School children and well-dressed ladies in their Piccadilly shoes enter and exit, each in their own mind.

As I enter City Gate, I am greeted by the five for five vendors” (five face-masks for five dollars) there is a hustle and bustle of people each moving swiftly to their destinations.

By the doubles’ vendors, on the way to Independence Square, there are orderly queues of people waiting on their turn (slight pepper please). I would sometimes buy doubles or beef pies from the various vendors in the immediate vicinity, or empanadas (from a “Hispani” on the Promenade), it all depends on what I feel for.

I wave or say, “Morning” to the regular security guards standing in the front of the malls at the bottom of Frederick Street. I go to my favourite Play Whe vendor and play a “mark” for the morning draw, I buy a small “Solo” soft drink and sit and eat my breakfast whilst listening to my favourite morning show programme on “Freedom Radio”. I wait for Victoria to join me. 

From my home in Las Lomas to my workplace in Port-of-Spain, I am greeted with smiles. The smiles of happy people. The fact that we can still smile and be happy and courteous to one another in this tiny country called Trinidad and Tobago is truly a blessing. Yes! We all have our problems. Yes! We are struggling, but we are still happy in comparison to the rest of the world.

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What one individual perceives to be of great importance, to another it may be of little or no significance.  I thank the Great Creator for my “dirty dishes”.

To those of you in Trinidad who have enjoyed reading this article, you can sometimes find me watching the lady who likes petting the stray dogs at the bottom of Frederick Street at approximately five p.m. each day (wishing I was a dog). Thank you.


Hometown hues: Why your perspective colours your perception

The saying goes, “There’s no place like home.” But what exactly makes a place feel like home? The answer, like most things in life, is subjective. Our experiences, backgrounds, and even personalities all influence how we view the places we live. It’s all through the “eyes of the beholder”.

Take Sarah, for example. She lives in a bustling metropolis, a city that throbs with life 24/7. While some might find this energy exhilarating, Sarah craves peace. The constant noise pollution and the never-ending crowds grate on her. For Sarah, the city’s vibrancy is a negative, a factor that clouds her perception of home.

Across town lives David, a young entrepreneur who thrives on the city’s energy. The constant hum of activity fuels his creativity, and the diverse population provides a wellspring of inspiration. For David, the very aspects Sarah dislikes are the very things that make his city feel like home.

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This is the essence of the “eyes of the beholder” at play. The same environment can be perceived in vastly different ways. This becomes even more apparent when considering migration. Someone moving from a quiet village to a bustling city might feel overwhelmed, just as Sarah does. Yet, someone yearning for excitement might find that same city to be a perfect fit, like David.

Migration, of course, isn’t just about swapping cityscapes. Every country has its own set of pros and cons. A nation with stunning scenery might lack certain job opportunities, while a country with a booming economy might have a higher cost of living. Here again, the “eyes of the beholder” come into play. What one person sees as a sacrifice another might see as a worthwhile trade-off.

The key takeaway? If you’re considering migrating to escape the negatives of your current home, don’t be fooled into thinking another country is all sunshine and rainbows. Every place has its challenges. Research is crucial. Understanding a country’s social, economic, and cultural landscape through the “eyes of the beholder” – its citizens – will help you make an informed decision. Migration can be a life-changing experience, but with a realistic perspective, you can ensure it’s a change for the better.


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About Sweet TnT

Our global audience visits sweettntmagazine.com daily for the positive content about almost any topic. We at Culturama Publishing Company publish useful and entertaining articles, photos and videos in the categories Lifestyle, Places, Food, Health, Education, Tech, Finance, Local Writings and Books. Our content comes from writers in-house and readers all over the world who share experiences, recipes, tips and tricks on home remedies for health, tech, finance and education. We feature new talent and businesses in Trinidad and Tobago in all areas including food, photography, videography, music, art, literature and crafts. Submissions and press releases are welcomed. Send to contact@sweettntmagazine.com. Contact us about marketing Send us an email at contact@sweettntmagazine.com to discuss marketing and advertising needs with Sweet TnT Magazine. Request our media kit to choose the package that suits you.

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