Traditions and Taboos

What was tradition, is now taboo. What was once taboo is now tradition. It’s amazing how time can transform our views on issues and activities … such as reparation, tattooing and acupuncture.

First up, we had Professor Barry Chevannes from the Committee on Reparations outline the history of reparations worldwide. Reparation can take many forms from a simple apology to monetary compensation. The current Committee is in infancy stage, so a policy on the issue has not yet been established, but Chevannes made his own views on the issue clear; Jamaica must establish “a relationship of dignity” with our former slave masters. There is sure to be spirited debate on what form, if any, repartitions should take.

There was a time when sporting a tattoo meant snubbing the establishment, not no so anymore. Tattoos are fairly common and easy to acquire. Even Neville has a tattoo. Tattoo artiste Phillip Shaw demonstrated his skills on Sheldon Reid. Sheldon was getting his 13th tat. Working with “ink and blood”, Phillip first sterilized all his equipment, drew an outline on the skin in pen then penetrated the skin with ink.

Of course, tattooing has practical applications too – like identifying pets. In our weekly Pet Tales feature, Dr. Latoya Brown explained different methods of identifying pets. On the low tech end, tags can be placed on a pet’s collar and critical contact information can be engraved on the tag. Stepping it up a notch, many pet owners may opt for tattooing pets. High tech pet owners also have the option of implanting a tracking device under the skin of their pets. The DNA Chip (Disposable Needle Assembly) is fast, painless and reliable for the life for the pet.

Speaking of needles, the ancient art of acupuncture can be used to relive pain. With me as a guinea pig, Dr. Patrick Lewis carefully inserted an acupuncture needle in my hard to illustrate the practice. I could feel my hand slowly going numb. Dr. Lewis studied dental acupuncture on Cuba and is the only dentist on the island employing the method. Acupuncture is a much cheaper alternative to anaesthetic, but it takes significantly longer to take effect.

Norkobe’s Hair is a new, locally produced magazine dedicated to showcasing the diversity of black hair. Colourful and complete, the publication is the brainchild of Sophia Brown. The magazine is distributed by Novelty Traders and available in bookstores island wide.

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