by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 31 October 2007)
President Jagdeo’s new house seems to be a controversial issue in the opinion pages this week. Evidently, when a nation is done with its sitting president nowadays it is supposed to stick that person in a shack to live out the rest of her/his life.
As comical as this discussion is – because in my opinion, it would not hurt Guyana to build a home for a retiring president – this issue is just another boy toy argument. Boys have to have their toys. They have to have the biggest and best everything.
They must have the shiniest bike, the nicest car, the biggest yacht, the bird that whistles the best, the most DVDs, the purest gold – you get the picture.
I think this argument concerning Jagdeo’s new home is more about that age-old male competition to have the biggest “assets.” I will never understand why men have to cock their feathers and strut about as if the whole world revolves around them, but it sure is a ton of fun to watch.
As all of these politicians, with their cocked feathers, show off their new homes, fancy cars and lavish lifestyles, I cannot help but wonder if they are trying to compensate for something else that does not quite measure up.
It is no secret that most men need to have their ego stroked every now and again. Yet there is more to this male competition than an engorged ego. In the male competition, the guy has to make his competition appear to be less threatening and small.
It is not as if anyone is going to compare Jagdeo’s house with other luxury homes recently built in Guyana. Could you just imagine the scene as someone asks Jagdeo about how big his square footage is and after that person comes up short with his own square footage, he then poses a question about how many bathrooms Jagdeo’s new house has?
Male competition is rife with blazing testosterone. I have seen good male friends end up on the floor rolling around in a fistfight during a competition for attention from a female. The best part is the pretence that no competitiveness actually exists even when the rivalry is apparent to everyone.
So what if Jagdeo has a big house? On this account, I do not think it is important who paid for the house because an outgoing president deserves a decent home in which to live. Why be jealous of the man? Why begrudge someone who has served the people for so long a nice home?
I am no Jagdeo fan, not by any stretch of the imagination, but even I would vote to build the man a home he could live in comfortably after he leaves his current abode. Pettiness concerning this issue shows how trivial male competitiveness can be at times.
Sometimes I really think these male politicians are going to line up and have a peeing contest to determine who gets to run the nation next. Honestly now, their methods of distinguishing themselves from each other sometimes amounts to no more than this.
In my opinion this matter should be put to rest. Jagdeo has a big house. Deal with it and just pretend that size does not matter.