18 Nov 2007

Where is that?

Last week, I was speaking to a German guy at work. He is fascinated with my accent, and my English, since his is (in his opinion) average. He was also surprised that the only language I speak is English, (and the Indian people at work are also surprised at this) since most 'alien' (non-English) people I encountered here in English soil can speak 3 to 7 languages. Fluently.

Aside from one or two words in several languages I picked up from reading books (and subtitles in movies) I speak English. I write English.

However this is not a post about the language or the people. It is about Trinidad.

My new German friend wanted to know where I am from, what it is like there; and like many persons I met here, has not a clue as to where Trinidad is located. Thankfully, my Geography skills have not left me, and I can still draw a map to pinpoint the location. I can also show that Trinidad is not, unlike the popular belief, a part of Jamaica.

Explaining Trinidad is a different matter. Even Asians* from the Indian 'region' are surprised to find that we have people of Indian origins living in Trinidad, as well as other races.

I guess the main reason is that one race is primarily in the spotlight, either for crime, corruption, or in political news. The others are shunted aside as minorities, despite the large percentage share in the population statistics.

Perhaps those people at the Ministry of Tourism who are so busy repeating job descriptions and drawing fat salaries can work towards correcting this, and stop people asking " Trinidad? Where is that?"

* Asians - as I use the word - include both the peoples from India and Pakistan; however, Pakistani people I met resent being called Indian, seeing themselves as being separate and distinct from the people of India. Another case of stupid divisiveness that remind me of the race differences of Trinidad.