MAMA LOOK AH BOO BOO
By Lord Melody (Fitzroy Alexander) 1956
I wonder why nobody doh like me
Is it a fact that I’m ugly?
Tell me why nobody doh like me
Is it a fact that I’m ugly?
I leave mih own house and go
Mih children doh want me no more
They cursing black is white and ting
And when I talk dey start to sing...
"Mama, look a Boo Boo!", they shout
Dey mother told dem, "Shut up yuh mouth!"
"That is yuh Daddy,"
"Oh no, my Daddy can't be ugly so!"
"Shut yuh mouth, go away!"
Mama, look a Boo Boo dey!
"Shut yuh mouth, go away!"
"Mama, look a Boo Boo dey!"...
This post was posted originally posted on October 11, 2006 in my note on Lord Melody's calypso "Mama Look Ah Boo Boo!" and I remembered it recently when I read about the way in which the ex-Prime Minister, Mr. Patrick Manning, was dismissed by people who had been his supporters and who had probably never felt as free to show this degree of indignation or disdain before their party was voted out on May 24, 2010.
GO NAH! PNMites, general council tell Manning:
By Ria Taitt Political Editor
Trinidad & Tobago Express | Friday, May 28th 2010
"One former candidate suggested that since the matter under discussion was whether he should continue or not, Manning should leave it for them to discuss the issue. Manning left the meeting. He went downstairs to his car where he encountered a hostile crowd, who shouted ’Manning must go!’ Read more..."Why would a song like “Mama Look Ah Boo Boo” find itself included in a collection of works on the topic of Trinidad and Tobago? I was listening to this song recently, chuckling over Lord Melody’s voice energetically conveying the distress of the father. I was finding uncharitable delight in the ineffectual protests of the wife and the children’s and neighbour’s unrelenting characterization of the poor, hard-working, but ugly man as a terrifying Boo Boo. Thinking afterwards about the song and remembering the poem "Look Devil Dey!" a less amusing interpretation came to mind. This is a wonderful song to exemplify our readiness as Trinidadians (by no means peculiar to Trinidadians), to separate ourselves morally from the easy targets around us in our society.
One of the most prominent groups of practicing and ritual “Boo Boos” in our society are to be found among some of our leaders. With our nod, we keep them in power, but then turn our backs and walk away whistling, relieved to know that somebody else will take care of our business. Someone else being in charge, is the excuse to revert to a pre-adult state, where we can reap the benefits of Papa’s hard work or cry neglect and abuse (or Boo Boo!) when the pursuit of interests injurious to our own, robs us of the security that is due to us as the helpless and dependent children we have chosen to be.
So we start to shout, “Mama, look a Boo Boo!” because now the Daddy must be seen in a different light, if we are to preserve our innocence and separateness from the source of all societal ills. Despite the attempts by the more loyal, more forgiving, more indulgent, we refuse to be placated. Something is very wrong and now that we are being forced to feel the pain, someone else has to be held accountable.
Now I really loved the Mama’s, “Shut yuh mouth, go away!” “Dat is yuh father!” and the incredulous, scandalized response of the children, “Oh no! My Daddy can't be ugly so!!”
My Daddy can't be ugly so??
Good morning, Trinidad and Tobago!! It’s in the spiritual/societal genes. Our Daddy is every bit as ugly as WE are. Hog plums can fall and roll but they cannot deny their connection to the tree! Some of us, myself included, look upon our leaders and find them to be flawed and weak and ugly and we are quite happy to derisively shout, along with the other detractors, “Look a Boo Boo dey!” Beside ourselves with righteous indignation, like the children blown away by what they saw as ugliness incarnate, we are not willing to accept for one minute that the unlovely target of our curses and ridicule is our own "creation," our own "father," our own "flesh and blood".
Now, I am not saying that we should ever be willing to look upon any leader as our “father” on any level, even if he is given the title, “Father of the Nation” but I believe that we should be less willing to ignore the fact that in the hidden earth, all our roots are entwined, that we are all related, leaders and followers, the nice and the not so nice, the Boo Boos and their callous, unforgiving children.
We need to take a long hard look in the mirror and find the Boo Boos in ourselves before pointing fingers and engaging in name calling. When we can honestly no longer find traces of Boo Boo there, there will be a new relationship between ourselves and the stewards we employ to co-pilot this society. As the adult ascends, the Boo Boo and his influence will retreat and fade away, quite naturally.
The titillating activity of pointing out the Boo Boo in another is easily accomplished. It is child’s play compared to the sobering realization that we are the source of Boo Boo energy and its continued sustenance, and it is we who have to experience this realization and scourging before standing up and accepting the responsibilities of our passage into adulthood.
"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.
Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.
Mweh ka allay!