Reflections from Kingston, Jamaica (23 November, 2014)
The University of West Indies, Kingston is a sprawling campus nestled among little hills, somewhat a secluded oasis in this otherwise busy but laid-back harbor city of Kingston. Much of Kingston holds harsh but forgiving memories of the horrors of slavery, indentured labor, and European colonization.
Even today, although independent, free, and democratic to a fault, Jamaica remains under the British Queen, and the streets and buildings still carry the names given to them by the colonial masters, who were reminiscing their own England in such distant foreign lands or worse were using the symbols of names and culture to dominate the innocent natives of these lovely islands and the slaves brought there.
Regardless, the place has begun to change and is now witnessing the American influences of KFC and McDonalds, not any less the creeping presence of Chinese trade. People are nice and innocent, and there is something in-built in the culture to be laid back and to enjoy life - perhaps, coping mechanisms that have helped them survive so many centuries of oppression, while the colonial masters lived a life of luxury feeding off the greed for sugar and rich mineral.
Now the population faces unprecedented levels of obesity and diabetes, and even on a morning walk one cannot miss this epidemic. Of course, it is easy to blame a single evil - Sugar, but is it that simple, I wonder?