Are We Patriotic?

Andrew Sage
3 min readOct 13, 2020

Culture, Progress, and T&T🇹🇹

Photo by Mike Sheehan

I’ve always felt a bit disconnected from my Trinbagonian culture.

From a very young age, I was told many negative things about various aspects of it. Although I grew up and still live in North Trinidad, there were a lot of quintessential Trini experiences that I missed out on.

I still haven’t been to Panorama or walked with a Moko Jumbie. I haven’t seen a blue devil spit fire or a Calypsonian do the same. I may know some of the classic soca tunes, but hearing them was purely incidental for me.

My Christian environment sheltered me from these so-called “worldly influences”. It took a lot of unlearning for me to embrace my cultural heritage. I’ve always spoken our tongue, understood our history, and eaten our food, but our music and festivals are still half-foreign to me.

Yet, even from an “outside” perspective, I can see that we are deeply patriotic people. Issues with governance aside, we have always seemed deeply invested in protecting and preserving our way of life.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

We are losing certain things, due to the diluting effects of commodification and potent media imperialism. US media has a tremendous influence on our society. But with effort, we can work to maintain our traditional practices and activities.

Yet apart from tradition, we need to make space for the new. We cannot remain static or our culture will die. Investing our time and resources into supporting and expanding the creative arts is key. Especially as there are so many young artists scattered across the islands who are pushing the creative envelope daily and pressing the culture toward new frontiers. We have talented young animators, writers, painters, poets, filmmakers, photographers, and musicians all itching for opportunities to share their abilities. We have Venezuelan migrants and LGBTQ+ folks in need of a safe environment to involve their creative energies.

Uplifting and supporting their work, I believe, is a vital step in cultivating a greater appreciation for our culture. That’s what I’m planning to do with my new publication, Saint Who. You can check out my first interview, with photographer Camryn Ranjitsingh, here:

Our patriotism can extend past the arts too. We can build through organizing in our schools and communities, bringing people together with their countryfolk to truly feel like part of a larger family. The government can’t do everything for us; we need to take it upon ourselves to foster greater unity so that future generations will have a unique culture to share too.

Photo by Kenrick Baksh on Unsplash

We have our issues, as do all on this blue marble. We have resentment and divisions to overcome. We forget our common humanity and turn a blind eye to the injustices and prejudices on our island. But we will overcome. One thing I know for certain: We are proud people.

Forged from the love of our islands and unique diversity, I have a vision of a Trinbagonian Renaissance.

You can follow Saint Andrew on Twitter @_saintdrew and subscribe on Youtube where I share my thoughts, opinions, and art. You can also buy me a coffee.

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Andrew Sage

I’m a writer of words, an artist of arts, and a thinker of thoughts. Founder of Saint Who and Andrewism. Follow me on Twitter @_saintdrew.