The mag­netic mad­ness and con­fu­sion of Stabroek Mar­ket Square

Stabroek News Sunday - - LETTERS -

Dear Edi­tor, Is the Stabroek Mar­ket Square a mi­cro­cosm of the Guyanese so­ci­ety?

The Stabroek Mar­ket Square is al­ways busy with com­muters from ev­ery walk of life. Ev­ery square inch pulses with life and en­ergy. Lo­cated near the De­mer­ara River, it’s the Grand Cen­tral Sta­tion of Guyana.

Re­cently, I vis­ited the Stabroek Mar­ket Square. It sur­prises me how ev­ery time I go to this place, I see much more, and no­tice much more. To­day, I paid spe­cial at­ten­tion to the peo­ple in the area. There were scores of peo­ple head­ing to get trans­porta­tion to go home. There were po­lice of­fi­cers and thief men ev­ery­where. There were school chil­dren, teach­ers and other work­ers. Peo­ple were walk­ing on the streets, in­stead of on the para­pet be­cause the para­pet is full of ven­dors and there is no place to walk. Two mu­sic carts were blast­ing mu­sic si­mul­ta­ne­ously, even though they were right next to each other.

One mu­sic cart was play­ing rap mu­sic with pro­fan­ity. The other was play­ing reg­gae mu­sic with pro­fan­ity, as the school chil­dren were danc­ing to the beats.

It makes me won­der what long term negative im­pact the mu­sic may have on their young minds. What if the mu­sic carts were play­ing Mozart in­stead of rap or reg­gae, what im­pact would it have on the minds?

Even though it was a Tues­day af­ter­noon, the whole at­mos­phere felt like a big street party. Young men were con­sum­ing Guin­ness, while school chil­dren still in uni­form were jam­ming to the beat and hang­ing out. The chil­dren were en­joy­ing the party.

A mid­dle-aged Chi­nese man walked by hold­ing an in­fant. There were peo­ple from all walks of life there. What you’ll find at this square can be de­scribed as weird stuff, strange stuff and gen­er­ally off­beat: weirdos, odd­balls, screw­balls, mis­fits, work­ing class, home­less, men­tally and phys­i­cally sick, and junkies. All march­ing to a dif­fer­ent drum­mer. All wear­ing that in­vis­i­ble coat of frus­tra­tion and anger.

Not too far from where I was stand­ing, I can see a big church and a cross. In the mid­dle of the mad­ness and con­fu­sion, stands a church and a cross.

At the Stabroek Square, two worlds col­lide. The sa­cred and pro­fane. Good and evil. Saints and sin­ners. Po­lice and thief. Work­ing class and no class. Con­fu­sion and mad­ness.

What struck me about the at­mos­phere was that the mad­ness and con­fu­sion seemed so nor­mal and ac­cept­able to the peo­ple. No one seems to be dis­turbed by the noise, mad­ness and con­fu­sion. As a vis­i­tor, it all seemed very strange and felt weird.

I have been to many cities and saw peo­ple hus­tling home af­ter work and school but Ge­orge­town is the only city I re­call see­ing mu­sic carts play­ing loud and sex­u­ally ex­plicit mu­sic in the heart of down­town as peo­ple make their way home. This party at­mos­phere that seemed nor­mal to peo­ple is what make this coun­try dif­fer­ent from the oth­ers and strange.

Does the Stabroek Square rep­re­sent the rest of the so­ci­ety? Or does this square ex­ist in its own lit­tle sphere of re­al­ity?

De­spite the mad­ness and con­fu­sion, the smell of urine ev­ery­where, the feel­ing of vul­ner­a­bil­ity to the gangs, it’s hard not to marvel at the pure in­ge­nu­ity of the mad­ness and con­fu­sion at the Stabroek Mar­ket Square.

The thrill, the feel­ing of be­ing part of the mad­ness and con­fu­sion seems so un­real. The adren­a­line of ex­pe­ri­enc­ing so many si­mul­ta­ne­ous events hap­pen­ing ev­ery­where around you, the smells, the crowds, the sights of hu­man be­ings be­hav­ing badly and crazy - it’s too dif­fi­cult to re­sist. I’m vic­tim to the crazy mad­ness and con­fu­sion at this square, which is why I keep re­turn­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence it. Yours faith­fully, An­thony Pantlitz

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