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June 30th 2009

    Amongst the creatures upon this earth the tourist or the holiday maker is the most insidious colonizer.  Some might argue for the ground elder, or the water hyacinth, or the kudzu vine, or the English, or even perhaps Kapital as a better hallmark of the word colonizing.  The tourist arrives with hoopla and suitcase, stays briefly and then leaves.  Hardly an example of that permanent settlement Plymouth became.

    However, to an indigenous people all tourists and all holiday makers look alike, which make them a permanent presence.  

    In some respects the concept of harvest might be applied to the phenomenon of tourist or holiday maker.  And this might be especially apt when a season is involved.  I picture the farmer watching the main road, or the airport, or the dock relishing the prospect of fat pickings.

       

    

    However, the tourist or the holiday maker has a set of demands that require a capital investment far beyond the hand tools most indigenous people possess.  The consequence is a formal investment by outsiders, which is then managed by outsiders, leaving indigenous people to change sheets, wash dishes, sweep roads, mow grass, while those they serve eat drink and splash about in a most unbecoming manner.

    Amongst the possibilities, there is training.  A holiday destination does not yet develop its reputation by allowing surliness, or brigandage, or cannibalism, or adherence to peculiar religious practice.  And always, hungry people will smile for food before they smile for sewage systems, pension schemes, a just government and other such shiny things.  So to my mind the tourist or the holiday maker remains a colonist.  

    It is a movement toward a oneness.  An essence both Marx and Hegel might have recognized.  Moses and The Buddha too for that matter.  Harmony was an objective for them, and for my part I should be viewed with suspicion, because there is a giant mote in my eye.  I don't actually like leaving the plot of land I call home.

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(Pin Ng)  (Brits)  (Yanks)  (Ajit K. Thavarajah