April 3, 2011

Update – Randall Butisingh Blog

Posted in Messages tagged , , , at 6:26 am by randallbutisingh

UPDATE: Randall Butisingh’s Blog

Mr Randall Butisingh is no longer publishing new posts on this blog or replying to his many e-mails, as he has done in the past.

He is now in his 99th year and has told me that he had to stop his work on the computer due to his failing eyesight  and of course his reduced energy level.

This blog was created on October 21, 2007  and has over 650 entries on a wide range of subjects.  Although Mr. Butisingh no longer inserts new items, it still receives almost 5,000 hits per month as readers log in to read his items, especially the entries on his philosophy, poetry and life story.

As a Guest Contributor and technical advisor I check the status of this Blog to see if there are requests that need attention.  I am, however, not able to guarantee that Mr. Butisingh would be able to respond due to his health. 

I will inform you accordingly if there is any further news from him.  In the meanime enjoy his many entries… just do a search and read on!

Kindest regards,

Cyril Bryan.  Guest Contributor and friend.

June 15, 2010

The 2010 FIFA World Cup: Will South Africa “Score”?

Posted in South Africa tagged , , , , , at 6:17 pm by randallbutisingh

The 2010 FIFA World Cup: Will South Africa “Score”?

by (Brian E. Konkol)

On May 15th 2004, South Africa was named as hosts for the 2010 FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) World Cup, which is widely regarded as the greatest sports competition in the world. The opportunity to welcome thirty-two of the world’s greatest soccer teams (and their numerous adoring fans) was celebrated as proof that the African continent was making significant progress in its bid to contribute on the global economic stage.
The initial announcement brought incredible excitement for South African citizens, as the 2010 FIFA World Cup was considered a fantastic breakthrough in the ongoing developmental efforts of the nation, for it was widely communicated that “every South African” would benefit as a result of the month-long tournament.

In the past weeks, FIFA announced a $196 million surplus for 2009, as overall revenues soared over one billion dollars. “The market trusts South Africa”, said FIFA President Sepp Blatter, making reference to lucrative television and marketing deals, such as Coca-Cola, Emirates Airline, Hyundai, Sony, Adidas and Visa. In addition, the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa is projected to earn FIFA its largest revenues in history, with $3.1 billion in corporate sponsorship and broadcasting rights already secured for the next four years, and more generous funding likely to follow. In terms of FIFA revenues, South Africa is set to become the most “successful” World Cup host of all time.

With ongoing news of massive FIFA profits, the question lingers: What about South Africans?

As the June 11th opening match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup draws closer, South Africans have increasingly expressed their discontent at the massive disparity of benefits. For example, in July of 2009, South African trade unions led a nation-wide strike after learning that some of the 70,000 labourers assigned to building and renovating World Cup stadiums were earning about $1.50 an hour and others $5 a week (minimum wage in South Africa is supposed to be $200 a month). In addition, the United Kingdom newspaper News of the World reported how young Chinese workers in Shanghai earned 2.30 rand (approximately $0.30) a day to manufacture models of “Zakumi” – the official mascot of the 2010 World Cup (the product typically sells for $48). Also, reports surfaced that Adidas was manufacturing its “Jabulani” soccer balls (the official ball of the 2010 World Cup) in Asia as well, paying workers marginal wages, and leaving South African workers and industrial leaders completely out of the picture and unable to enjoy financial profit.

As multi-national airline industries increased flight costs to and from South Africa in the early months of 2010, and with expendable income of potential tourists reduced because of the global economic crisis, the amount of visitors expected in South Africa has declined steadily from 450,000 to 250,000. In addition, South African government projects on mass transportation have been met with heavy resistance, and port workers have also participated in various strikes across the country. All in all, hosting the FIFA World Cup is projected to cost South Africa far more than initially estimated, with stadium construction well over the 9.8 billion rand ($1.28 billion) budgeted, $1.5 billion spent on Johannesburg’s Gautrain light rail transport system, and $90 million for security, including new helicopters and body armour for police. The country has also upgraded seven of its airports, and built an eighth, the King Shaka International Airport in Durban, completely from scratch. These various developments have added significantly to South Africa’s public debt, in the hope that the long-term investment will eventually pay off.

The cheapest ticket for a 2010 FIFA World Cup match is 140 Rand ($19), whereas most will cost well over $100. While FIFA has offered free entry to a small percentage of construction workers and various local contest winners and schoolchildren, the fact remains that most South African citizens will be left outside the stadiums built by their own hands, while foreign tourists will have the best views of the greatest soccer players on the planet. The country has an unemployment rate of nearly 30% and the average monthly income is widely estimated at R2700 ($360). The country’s most loyal soccer supporters are among the poor, and as they rarely pay more than R15 ($2) to attend a local professional match, their attendance at 2010 FIFA World Cup venues is highly doubtful.

As a fan of international soccer, I am excited for some of the best athletes in the world to arrive on African soil, and I am indeed planning to take advantage of the opportunity and attend a few matches. Nevertheless, while I am eager for the competition and ready to support the South African and USA teams, my conscious is troubled, for the question remains: What benefit will the 2010 FIFA World Cup have for South African citizens? Yes, one can find examples of a few development projects surrounding the tournament, but what about the “big picture”? What about the long-term? Will the quality of education in South Africa increase, or will less funding be allocated as South Africa pays off its bloated stadium construction debt? What will happen to the 70,000 workers who no longer have stadiums to build? Will South Africa see the boost in tourism that it seeks (and so desperately needs to pay off its debts)? What happens if it does not? What about the ongoing spread of HIV/AIDS? What about public health? What about land-distribution?

FIFA is expected to earn billions, yet South Africa is expecting to owe billions for years to come. Whereas foreign business leaders and a small number of well-connected South Africans will reap incredible rewards long after the closing ceremony in July, the debt repayment process will most certainly leave its most negative impact upon the poor and marginalized throughout the nation. And so, the most important questions leading up to the grand tournament is not who may win the golden trophy. But rather, I hope the millions of soccer fans around the world who will be following each match are led to consider the facts surrounding the event and boldly decide not to ignore such blatant exploitation. More specifically, my hope is that fans will consider not only what is taking place within World Cup stadiums, but also what is taking place around them.

Posted by ELCA – MUD

Source: http://briankristenkonkol.blogspot.com/

Comment by Randall Butisingh:

Hello readers:

This is an article from my friend Brian Konkol, who now lives in South Africa,  which I would like to share with you.  This Blog has many articles by Brian and his wife Kristen, which you could access using the search button.

Football is the most popular sport in the world as it is inexpensive to play … all you need is a football.  As a child we played a lot of cricket, but there was always football as an alternative, easy to set up and play, and requiring little space to play – the field and goalposts being whatever we decided was right for the space that was available.

Today, football has grown into a worldwide game played between nations, all aiming for bragging rights as the best football nation, or at least the chance of creeping up in the world standings.  Like any competition, football can be divisive as it pits one nation against the other.  However, it can also serve as a cohesive force of bringing nations together as building blocks for harmony and common purpose.  Let us hope that this World Cup in South Africa, helps in the positive process of awakening all mankind that we are all one with common destinies, so we must all work together, even though we compete, for the good of all mankind.

Randall Butisingh

June 13, 2010

Character Building

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 4:55 pm by randallbutisingh

CHARACTER BUILDING

Character building is the primary function of education.  This means a cultivation of moral values which will enable the individual to be fair and just and helpful in the society in which he is a member.

He must learn that his body is a temple of God and should not be abused.  He must eat to live and not live to eat.  He must exercise, rest, and cultivate good habits.  He must be able to look and wonder at God’s creations, love what is good and beautiful, and be prepared to make the final sacrifice for Truth.

from: “Flashes of Light” by Randall Butisingh

December 25, 2009

ALL THINGS BELONG TO YOU

Posted in Philosophy, Poetry, Psychology tagged , at 9:23 pm by randallbutisingh

ALL  THINGS  BELONG  TO  YOU

Live in the present moment wherever you are;
It is the only certainty;
Even death cannot steal that moment.
Behind that is history,
Beyond that is uncertainty.
The present moment can mean your eternity
if you hold on to it
and live it as if it were your last.
See God in everything –
the flitting butterfly, the honey bee,
the birds and flowers, the babbling brook,
the stars and planets, the stone.
See the clouds how they change
to bring rain to the earth,
The brook that constantly flows towards its goal – the river,
the river towards the sea.
See the connectedness in all things –
See their interdependence, their interrelatedness.
Hold on to the moment,  don’t let it fly from you.
All things belong to you,  if you belong to all things.

Randall Butisingh

December 14, 2009

THE BIRTH OF A VILLAGE

Posted in Economics, Guyana tagged , , at 4:18 pm by randallbutisingh

THE BIRTH OF A VILLAGE

Annandale Today (Written in 1964)  by: Randall Butisingh.

About eleven miles from the City of Georgetown, journey East, one cannot fail to notice the compact Housing Area which extends for four hundred yards on both sides of the public road from Buxton on the East to Lusignan on the West.   The stranger will be surprised to learn that a little more than twenty years ago, this well-drained area was swampy rice fields and pasture for cattle and sheep.   He will not fail to notice the rectangular streets and macadamized roads which are kept in good state of repair and the piped water system which gets its supply from two deep artesian wells in the area.

Annandale was a grinding Sugar Estate many years ago.   It was said to be named after Ann and Dale, the daughters of the proprietor but its factory was dismantled because of its proximity to Lusignan whose factory had the capacity for grinding its sugar cane.   The workers were then removed to Lusignan where they were housed in Logies, or range houses.

How did these new houses at Annandale, which the middle class or urban dweller may envy, spring up in so short a time.   The older heads will remember that as recent as 1947, following discontent and restlessness among Sugar Workers, the Venn Commission was sent from England to investigate conditions on the Sugar Estates of British Guiana. and to make recommendations for improvement.   They found the most appalling conditions in the estates.  Apart for a small number of certain categories of workers, the majority of sugar workers live in ranges, called logies of five or six white washed, mud-floored rooms for as many families with no fences and not much privacy. These homes were also prone to flooding in the rainy season.

In 1948 the Lusignan Sugar Factory was dismantled and the canes were sent to a Central Factory at Enmore, a Sugar Estate about six miles east of Lusignan.   This too was a reason for getting the workers out of the Lusignan Estate and for speedily finding alternative accommodation for them in another area.  The Commission recommended that these ranges be pulled down and proper houses erected for the workers.

In 1949, the first interest free loans were given by The Enmore Estates Ltd to the first set of workers to be paid on the basis of a dollar a week and the logies in which they lived were sold to them for a pittance.   With the money and the materials, part of which was sound, they built the first houses on which is now called Annandale South.   These houses were to form the nucleus of a fast-growing community which now totals hundreds of houses and a population of around three thousand.   In 1950, the Sugar Industry Welfare Fund was introduced.   This fund which was raised by setting aside a small percentage of the sum collected for each ton of sugar provided the loans for the houses and also the infrastructure – proper streets, water supply and social amenities.

Within Annandale, where the land is leasehold, is an area with over a hundred and twenty houses.   This area was reserved for sale to the people of Lusignan Pasture so that they could remove from the present site which was not developed, and so leave the land vacant for the use of the estate.

However, residents of the pasture were reluctant to remove from an area with gardening and pasturing facilities and very few took the opportunity to purchase plots there.   Other workers too, who were safely accommodated in the Housing Scheme did not avail themselves of the opportunity to buy although they were given first preference.   Eventually the lands were sold to selected applicants and the section which is known as Courabane Park is made up of chiefly of residents from villages in the surrounding areas.

Courabane Park boasts the finest houses in Annandale, but it lacks the facilities of good roads, proper drainage and potable water supply.  These inadequacies however will be remedied soon within the framework of a Local Authority and Self help.

The population comprises the descendants of East Indians and Africans with Indians forming a large majority.   Most of the Indians are Hindus, a small number is Muslims and a smaller number of Christians.  Annandale also has a Government Primary and a Secondary School to serve the educational needs of the people, a Temple, an Arya Samaj Mandir, a Mosque and a Baptist Mission Church to serve their spiritual needs

A Community Centre, the best of its kind, a project of the S.I.LW.F., provides recreational facilities e.g. cricket, table tennis, volley ball, athletics and the like.  Here also can be found facilities for Adult Education, e.g. groups, films and a library.

With the availability of free Higher Education, children of the estate workers have become Graduates of the University of Guyana, or have attained certificates at the ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels of the G.C.E. Examinations.   Annandale has produced to date (1964) two medical doctors, a lawyer, two sanitary inspectors, and a number of teachers, nurses, accountants, mechanics, tailors, carpenters and other skilled workers.

Recently, Annandale has projected itself on the literary scene and during the past year works of three of its creative writers.  Among them is a young poet and story writer Rooplall Monar with a string of National prizes.  His work has appeared in local and Caribbean anthologies and magazines.  The others are Bramdeo Persaud, poet and short story writer and Guska, a brilliant student, poet and artist.

In the field of music Ramdhan is rated the best player of the dholak (Indian drum) in the Caribbean.   His son is following in his footsteps, and Sugrim  Samaroo, as player of the harmonium and mandolin.

In athletics, Annandale has produced three athletes of note – Sheik Hassan, Twahir Ali and R.D. Singh.  Sheik Hassan is at present in Neighbouring Surinam where he is imparting his skill and techniques to the youths over there.  Twahir, the veteran is active in the Athletic Group at the Community Centre.   R.D.Singh, the youngest of the three was the winner of the Caribbean long distance championship in Grenada.

For the physical needs of the area there are large groceries and parlours, hardware and dry goods stores, a furniture mart, and spirit shops. It also has two garment factories, two mechanic shops, a welding shop and two small printers.  Its market is one of the largest on the East Coast, but it is accommodated in makeshift tents on both sides of the Main road.   It operates for about four busy hours starting about 11 a.m. every day except Sundays.  After about two p.m. vendors and buyers clear the street and everything becomes quiet again.

Annandale as an Extra Nuclear Area has hitherto enjoyed freedom from rates and taxes and the help of the S.I.LW.F. (Sugar Estates Labour Welfare Fund),  in the maintenance of roads, internal drainage and water supply facilities, but these privileges will go under the system of Village Administration and the residents will have to be faced with the obligation of supplying the facilities for themselves through rates and taxes and by means of Self and Cooperation.

Blue Star Interfaith Group Address

Posted in Philosophy, Religion tagged , , at 3:44 pm by randallbutisingh

ADDRESS TO MEMBERS OF THE BLUE STAR INTERFAITH GROUP

This evening I will continue my observations on Love  and present some thoughts on the topic.  First of all I would like to recite again that Doha (couplet) which I recited on the first occasion.

Prem hi prem ka tatwa hai, Prem hi Ishwar naam

Bina prem sansar men;   Jivan hai na kaam ll

This means; Love is Truth and Love is God. Without Love in the world, life has no meaning.

Now I quote from a Christian Hymnal;

Beloved, let us love, Love is of God;

In God alone has Love, its true abode.

Then this is a quotation from one of my own poems inspired by a thought in the Reader’s Digest.  It says Life consists of three essentials – something to do something to love and something to hope for.  My poem reads:

Life cannot be blue

If we’ve something to love,

For no one truly lives

Who does not truly love.

What do we garner from the above?  This.  That Love is essential for a successful, peaceful and happy life.

Yes, many have found something to love which helps to make life meaningful.  It may be work, which if we love becomes a vacation.  It may be for a pet- a dog or lamb or horse, or any such animal, or it may be for another human being – a friend or lover.  In these experiences one may catch glimpses of the timeless, we may feel ecstasy – the flowers may appear more beautiful, to us, the songs of the birds sweeter.  We may stop for an hour to look at a sunrise or sunset; but this love that has its limits cannot bring complete fulfillment.  These experiences are gained from outward and temporary manifestations that is Maya or unreality.

How then do we need to find that Love which is wider than the ocean, deeper than the deepest sea and higher than the highest mountain?  We have to stop looking in the temples and churches and in places of pilgrimage and journey inwards.  This may be done by guided super conscious meditation, by prayer and devotion or by selfless service.

The Soul which is the image of God according the Jews and Christians, or a spark of the Divine according to the Hindus, identical in every one, is the abode of Love and is within this body.  It is there, ready to enlighten and illumine when we realize that Love is the Way and the Goal.

What happens when one is so enlightened?  Listen to this short poem on St. Francis of Assisi which I have written:

Love touched his eyes

The scales fell off

And He beheld the Lover, Christ

Effulgent, serene

Spanning space and time.

Then straightway loosed he his earthly ties

And ran singing in the street;

There he met a beggar for whose rags,

He did his costly robe exchange.

Then found and clasped the leper to his heart ,

Crying, My brother, my own dear brother!

St. Francis was a dissolute young man, the son of a rich merchant.  His every material need was fulfilled, but he felt unfulfilled.  In his sick bed he heard the voice of his saviour calling him to rebuild  the Church.  He immediately arose and from that day, he spent the remainder of his life serving the sick and poor.  He was a lover of animals and the birds would flock around him and he would preach to them.  The animals he would address as brothers; even the wolf was brother wolf.  He was not harmed by any of them.

Here is another of my poems which describes the Saint in a few lines:-

As full and free as the breeze that blows,

such is my love which over flows;

No wall surrounds, no heart enslaves,

No barrier time or creed enclaves;

It touches all, exempt is none,

Bird, beast and man, God, everyone.

The love of the Saint is full and free; it cannot be contained; it overflows and touches everything.  It has no limits, no boundaries.  It transcends and breaks barriers of every kind – race, creed, colour.

Hear what St, Paul says about Love:

Love is patient, Love is kind; Love is not jealous; Love is not out for display; it is not conceited or unmannerly; it is neither self seeking nor irritable nor does it take account of any wrong that is suffered.  It takes no pleasure in injustice, but sides happily with truth it bears everything in silence, has unquenchable faith, hopes under all circumstances; endures without limit.

Love casteth away fear.  No one fears the thing he loves.  There is so much fear in the world today because man has failed to exploit his greatest potential– Love which abides within all and which makes him equal with all.  Like the waves in the ocean, each individual wave dances and prances, trying to outdo the others, without realizing that it is the one with the ocean, and beneath that restlessness, there is calm and peace.  The individual soul will continue to be restless until it finds rest in Love.

You may hve read or heard the story of the prodigal son found in the gospel of the New Testament. The father in that story represents God who is ever waiting for the penitent sinner to return.  When you make one step towards Him, He makes ten steps towards you.  So as you seek him within, you will find your true imperishable self which is no other than the Universal Soul.

No one who loves unconditionally is ever poor, even he has very little material possessions.  Things material change, disintegrate, decay and vanish, but the Cup of Love is always full no matter how much is given from it.  To love is to give, to live for others and if needs be to give your life for others.  When you give to others, you give to yourself, like wise when you harm others you harm your self.

Lord Jesus was the incarnation of Divine Love.  Even when he suffered on the cross, he asked His Father to forgive his enemies as they knew not what they did.  His heart was so large; it took the whole world in.  A Hymn writer wrote this of Him:

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were an offering far too small;

Love, so amazing, so Divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

To you members of the Blue Star Organisation of Florida, yours is the great privilege, also the challenge and opportunity to continue ceaselessly on your journey in Quest for true Love and so find your true self which is the imperishable Atma.

AUM  SHANTI  SHANTI  SHANTI!!!

— Randall Butisingh


October 26, 2009

Causes of sickness and disease

Posted in Philosophy tagged at 12:43 am by randallbutisingh

Sickness and disease are caused, not only by what we eat or how we eat, or by lack of exercise and adequate rest, though these contribute a great deal, but also to the negative emotions  like hate, anger, malice jealousy, bitterness and the like.

There is an Indian saying which goes:  “HASAD  KEE  AAG  BADAN  KO  JALAATAA  HAI  JAISE AAG  LAKREE  KA”.   This translates to mean:  “The fire of malice consumes the body in the same way as fire consumes wood”.   That may seem an exaggeration, but negative emotions do not only harm you physically,  but they warp the wind and corrupt the morals.  Hate  too, corrodes the vessel that contains it and also disfigures the object on which it is poured.

Nothing is better medicine than cheerfulness, laughter, thankfulness, content, loving service and prayer from the heart.  Carrying guilt too,  is harmful; we can never undo what is done already.  Confess, repent and ask forgiveness and move forward with a clear conscience;  for though you may carry the scar of your past,  the wound is healed.   God, who is of the present, will know you as you are, and not what you were.   It is fallible man who digs into your past to condemn you for what you are not.

Temperance too, is good medicine.  So get wise, get in good company without which  you can never acquire discrimination, and think loftily at all times.  It was Sir Philip Sydney, that compassionate soul who said:  “He is never alone who is accompanied with noble thoughts”.

To sumarise: Health is Simple living and Lofty thinking.

– Randall Butisingh.

October 22, 2009

A request for help – re: Eric Shackle

Posted in Messages tagged , , at 11:03 pm by randallbutisingh

Dear viewers,

I am requesting information for one of my chief promoters.  I sent him an e-mail a few weeks ago but did not get any reply.  He is Eric Shackle, a reporter and journalist of world wide recognition who lives in Australia.   He, like myself is  old, ninety plus years, which is the reason I am so very much concerned about his silence.

There may be some one in Australia, or elsewhere,  who knows him and who may be visiting my Weblog;  please, I will be very grateful if you could give me the information I need.

Awaiting, with high anticipation an answer.

Randall Butisingh.

—————————————————————————————————————–

REPLY FROM ERIC SHACKLE

From: eshackle@ozemail.com.au
To: randallbutisingh@hotmail.com
Subject: Here I am
Date: Fri, 23 Oct 2009 17:19:04 +1000

Hi Randall.
I read that you have been looking for me.
I’m alive and well, and enjoy reading your blog every day.
My own blog is posted at http://lifebeginsat80.blogspot.com/

Best wishes,
Eric.

October 21, 2009

Our Second Weblog Anniversary – Oct 21, 2009

Posted in Awards, Messages tagged , , , , , , , at 5:07 am by randallbutisingh

MY MESSAGE ON THE SECOND ANNIVERSARY OF MY WEBLOG

October 21, 2009.

Today marks the second anniversary of the inauguration of my Weblog on October 21, 2007.   I wish to thank all those, my editors, contributors and technical advisers, the sources from which I got inspiration, my interviewers, and you, my viewers from all over the world, of every language and clime; without whose inputs my Weblog could not have earned the success it has.   Recently, the Blog won the Graypow Award for distinguished blogging by an over 80 blogger. It is confirmed that I am now the oldest person running a Blog, and I am also the oldest person with an operating Facebook account.

The Weblog has been endeavouring all along to post meaningful content. As the philosopher White puts it; “The best test of any writing is its serviceableness for the moral and spiritual needs of men”.

I have tried by exhortation and example to teach values like perseverance, compassion, service, care for the environment, friendship, unity, love and most of all; it is never too late to learn.

In less than two months, I will have reached my 97th year of my sojourn here on Mother Earth.  I have not as one of my erudite colleague told me of himself; “I have gone into complete retirement”.  I believe that once you have life and can think, you need not spend the remainder of the winter of your years in hibernation, but with the experiences you have garnered. Live a twilight of usefulness.

My final engagement before my anniversary is to record the reminiscences of my life which I had prepared some time ago, and which with the help of my editor and technical advisers, I am now happy to record.

I may or may not live to see another anniversary.  On my last visit to the doctor, I was diagnosed as having a weak heart and will need a pacer, but I have decided against using it.   I feel as good as ever.   So with the limited time at my disposal, I have to live today as if it was my last, but work as if I will live forever.

I wish you all, my dear viewers, fulfillment and happy blogging.

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COMMENT from Cyril Bryan:

Today marks the second anniversary of this blog which had its first entry on October 21, 2009.  On our first anniversary we talked about how the Weblog was started and how we had achieved so much in such a short time.  I am truly glad that I am one of the persons responsible in helping “Teacher Randall” (T.R.) to start his blog with my technical support, and the selection of some entries with my comments as a “Guest Contributor” over the last two years.

He has said that my support has encouraged him to be even more dynamic with his Weblog inputs and comments, and has made him new friends, and connected him with past colleagues, students and friends around the world.  It is a pleasure that I was able to do this for a man whose world vision is similar to mine, especially in regard to the “Indivisibility of Mankind”, and the belief in “Lifelong Learning”.

This second year has passed quite quickly and the popularity of the Weblog has grown.  To date we have had almost 64,000 viewers to some 610 entries which include news items, videos and articles of interest, historical articles and pictures of Guyana, articles from various contributors, philosophy, psychology, education, and of course the articles, poetry and the many comments from Randall Butisingh to the content of the Blog and his correspondence with readers.

This month Teacher Randall begun to publish: “My Story” – The Reminiscences of Randall Butisingh since 1913.  This is a truly gripping tale of a man living for over nine decades in a changing world, battling poverty, battling the integration process of different cultures; being accepted for who he is; and being able to fully actualize the reason for his sojourn here on Earth.  Life in the early 1900’s was drastically different from life today, but T.R. battled on searching for meaning; searching for relevance; searching for his inner abilities that could transform others through his teaching; searching for inner security and his actualization through his poetry, religious studies and firm beliefs in personal education and lifelong learning. I am sure that everyone would find his story an interesting one.

I think that this Weblog has served a great purpose for many others as it has awakened many, especially older people to the fact that being “old” does not mean being discarded to the dustbin of history.  T.R. has told me that he gets correspondence from all over the world from people who are proud of what he is doing and who are emulating his strong beliefs of lifelong learning.   Even I was surprised when he told me recently that he had joined FACEBOOK, the social networking site, and invited me to be his friend on that site. He is now not only the “World’s Oldest Blogger” but most likely the oldest FACEBOOK member. Congratulations Teacher Randall!

We do hope that Teacher Randall continues with his good work for us all in the coming year and for many years to come.

Happy Weblog Anniversary Teacher Randall!

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TRIBUTE by Patanjali Ramlall – Guest Contributor

It is with pleasure and wonderment that I dedicate this tribute to Guruji Randall Butisingh.

My earliest memories of Guruji go back to 1956, when I was in 1st standard at Lusignan Anglican School, now Lusignan Government, East Coast Demerara, British Guiana, now Guyana. I often read the proverbs that he posted on the wall, behind my class, three of which were:

LEARNING IS BETTER THAN SILVER AND GOLD; SILENCE IS GOLDEN; and CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS.

He practiced and lived them all. He was always the consummate teacher and guide, never causing pupils to be scared of him, teaching in a compassionate manner, going that extra ten miles, e.g. Gardening, Art, Poems, etc. I never heard him lift his voice to any student, and some of his words were in the colloquial manner of the day, trying to accommodate his young charges who were then trying to grapple with Standard English; and he had a knack for doing the right thing without pretense or offense. All of these qualities he not only lived, but continued to improve on them visibly and by hard work over the years.

He continues to be a guide, teacher, a poet, philosopher, always in the pursuit of knowledge – in art, music, language(s), comparative religion, etc. Most of all, to continue to impart his life’s knowledge and share his wisdom with us is quite an accomplishment in his 98th year.

He was my Headmaster when I passed the School Leaving examination and left school at age thirteen in 1962.  Never could I, at that time have dreamt that he would continue to be my teacher and that we would have this avuncular relationship, now at my age 60. First: he was my teacher, then Headmaster, friend, philosopher, historian, poet, and now I am a guest contributor on his blog.

While I was on a Shrimping trawler off the coast of South America, (Brasil, French Guiana, Surinam, to name a few), from age 15 to 22, I never thought that I could touch base with this humble man again, and that I would be privileged to have him at my home as an honoured guest. His blog has greatly enlightened me and improved my awareness of life and the world. I gained a lot from his tireless writings and insight, and I wish him good health and strength to continue his great work for as long as possible.

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Tribute by CYRIL A. SARJOO, former teacher at Lusignan Primary School –

I have known Teacher Randall since the 1950’s. Now he is the world’s most senior blogger and  I wish to congratulate him on the 2nd anniversary of his weblog.

I am proud that he is a Guyanese and I am honored to have known and worked with him.

I have been reading his weblog and made a few contributions.

He has accomplished quite a lot academically and spiritually.

His spiritual revelations and his relationship with and his obedience to God have caused God to bless him and keep him alive to this golden age of 98 years.

His philosophy of life as evinced in his poetry and blog is very inspiring.

His many and varied accomplishments have earned him several international and local honors and awards and even a painting by a renowned Indian artist.

I wish him all the best and pray that Almighty God will continue to bless him with good health and spiritual strength.

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Tribute by Lyndon Barton

Dear Teacher Randall,

CONGRATULATIONS! on the 2nd anniversary of your weblog, and best wishes for your continued success.

As one of the readers and occasional contributor to this weblog, I am happy to see the way it has evolved to become a unique global forum that not only shines a positive light on our homeland GUYANA and the Guyanese culture, but also one that affords readers the world over a rare opportunity to gain valuable insights into your longevity and philosophy of life, which you so willingly share though your poems, thoughts for the day, inspirational messages, personal interviews, and recent book “My Story.”

For all this, I, personally, feel privileged and proud to be your former pupil, then a colleague, and now a friend.

Keep up the good work!

Lyndon

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Tribute by Rampersaud Tiwari.

Randall Butisingh will be 97 on December 1, 2009. He is the world’s oldest Blogger and probably the oldest Buxtonian alive. He was and still is a teacher, educator, writer, poet, artist, Hindi scholar and iconic community leader. I am now in my 77th year, and I am privileged to have known him since my early childhood years in our native Buxton Village on the East Coast of Demerara in Guyana, South America.

This tribute on the 2nd Anniversary of Randall Butisingh’s Web Blog is to me a kind of celebration of his achievements and his contributions during a long and useful life. At this distance in time, I can only dimly imagine the struggles, sacrifices and efforts he must have made in his journey in life.  As I reflect on his life, I remember hearing a Hindu Vedic recitation of “a Light that shines beyond all things on earth and beyond the highest, the very highest of the heavens. This is the Light that shines in the Heart” – taken from the Chandogya Upanishad; and which in my view epitomizes the spiritual qualities that helped to shape the human values that shine in his heart.

Randall’s parents were part of a small number of indentured Indian immigrants who had completed their terms of indenture or had been expelled from the neighboring sugar estates who settled in Buxton in the closing years of the 19th century. Randall’s father was a Koker Attendant in the village.  With good schooling as the objective for their children, Randall’s parents encouraged him to pursue his studies at school with dedication and diligence at a time when many East Indian children of school age, for historical and economic reasons, were unable or refused to attend school and get an education. From the time Randall started his primary schooling, he was a student who tried to achieve his best although he was not one of the brightest students.

The defining moment in Randall’s scholastic career arrived in 1925, when at 12 years old, he secured 62% of the marks in the examination for the Buxton Scholarship. The other successful candidates were Ballbir Ballgreeme Nehaul with 80%, who later became a medical doctor, and Claude Holder with 61%. The Scholarship was awarded to Ballgreeme Nehaul, who became the first Buxton scholarship winner.  However, Randall Butisingh’s 62% could have secured his placement in the prestigious Queen’s College, but this was not to be, as his parents could not afford the expenses for him to do so.

This missed opportunity did not prevent Randall from becoming a Teacher and serving at all relevant levels leading ultimately to Acting Headmaster, the status from which he retired the Guyana Teaching Service in 1972. A significant feature of his career was his mastery of the Hindi language which was a subject in the national examinations for teachers in the colony. In later years, he helped to promote the teaching of Hindi in extra mural classes at the University of Guyana (UG) through the good offices of the Indian High Commission in Guyana, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and the Hindi Prachar Sabha of which he was a founding member.

Randall Butisingh was also a founding member of the Indian National Congress of Buxton. Patterned after the Indian National Congress of undivided India, the Buxton Congress was established in 1946. The objectives of the Buxton Congress were to promote strong bonding feelings of communal harmony and nationalism in Guyana and to persuade the British to “QUIT BG” since the country was then a colony of the United Kingdom.

“APADANA SOBHINI PANNA” – WISDOM BEAUTIFIES CHARACTER: from Buddhist Pali.

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Tribute from Miles A. Hintzen

Congratulations, sir, on the second anniversary of your blog.  Kudos also to the associates – editors, technicians, and others – who have helped you launch and maintain this wonderful and scintillating site on the internet.

It was only earlier this year, on my own personal journey to trace the roots of my biological father, that I stumbled on your Weblog.   Since then I count myself blessed for this fortuitous accident which has now transformed me from a man on a genealogical expedition to a servant of God on that most meaningful of all journeys – the travel along life’s highways in search of the true meaning of life and its purpose beyond the realm of physical being.

Sir, your pieces have helped me along and have added tremendously to my understanding the real destiny of man and woman on this earth and in the hereafter.  The short time that I have had the pleasure of your distinguished acquaintance has already surpassed multiple lifelong associations with others in providing me with food for thought on the most pressing matters of the day.  To be sure, it has opened my eyes to the beauty of life and shown me how a single individual can so value and utilize every precious moment that Almighty God has given him to make the world a better place .

You, sir, are a living legend. Would that God in his infinite wisdom should allow you another century on this planet or several more decades to illumiate us with your keen observations and lifelong experiences.

On further reflection, sir, that would probably be unfair to God, for while we here do need you so badly, learned teacher, there awaits for you in another phase of existence, rewards, fulfillment, and honor befitting of how well you have shown us the paths to our own successes, happiness, and destinies.

I only pray that God will see fit in his benevolence grant us the blessing of your presence among us for a very, very long time, before requesting the pleasure of your presence elsewhere!

Congrats again, sir…and may God keep you in good health!

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October 7, 2009

Canon William Granville Burgan

Posted in Buxton, Education, Guyana, History, Lusignan, Philosophy, Religion tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:03 am by randallbutisingh

Persons who were of great significance in my life – 01

Canon William Granville Burgan,  B.A., M.A.

I will name Canon William Granville Burgan as one of the most significant people in my life.  This was because I had the longest relationship with him than any one else in my teaching career, when he was incumbent at Saint Augustine’s Anglican Church, located at Buxton, East Coast Demerara, British Guiana (now Guyana), and manager of the schools in which he served for a little over twenty- one years.   He jestingly referred to his twenty one year incumbency as his coming of age.  When he celebrated it in 1946, I had the pleasure of reporting it in one of the media of the day.

Rev. Canon W.G. Burgan 1886-1958

Rev. Canon W.G. Burgan 1886-1958

When he came to Buxton in 1925, I was thirteen years of age studying for the School Leaving Examination.  To me a small boy, he was tall by my standard in those days, five feet, ten inches, the same as I am now, good looking and elegant.   I admired him from the day he came.  He was a family man with three sons and two daughters.   He was the only African, in British Guiana, at a time when University degrees were rare to procure both the Bachelor and Master of Arts degree in a British University.   He was a good writer and his articles submitted to the newspapers and the monthly Diocesan Magazine stood out as gems of the English language.

For a man of his ability, he was easily fitted for the highest post in the Anglican Church, but in those days of colonialism, he could only reach as far as Canon.  The highest offices, like the Arch-Bishops and Bishops went to the white British, regardless of their attitude or aptitude – an area of discrimination, even in the Church.

Rev. Father Burgan carried out his duties as a priest and manager of the Anglican schools he controlled with dedication and commitment, though at times in conversation with him, I sensed a sign of frustration, which happens to a mind that is at a disadvantage to function to its full potential.  However, his tasks at Church were not a one-day affair, as some may think.   Apart from the regular services every Sunday and  children service every month, he held a weekday service for the school children when he would teach them new songs.   He was a good singer – a tenor, and a musician, and he also played the organ.   One of the songs he taught, I can remember word for word, even to this day.  He also helped the choirmaster to train the choir and held Confirmation classes, which were regular for long periods every year.

He loved children.  I remember once he took us on an excursion to Fort Wellington, Berbice to meet with children of the parish from which he was transferred.  At that time we had the railway running then from Georgetown to Rosignol.  I remember him taking off his clerical collar and joining with the boys in a game of cricket.

Besides his duty as priest,  he was also Justice of the Peace.  Policemen would go every week with bundles of summonses for him to sign.  In those days defendants were issued summonses at their homes to appear in court.  I believe that was the reason why he never tried to settle a case between two parishioners, but would let them go to court.    However, that was one area I did not feel agreement with him.   But now, I can see his reason; “if you could be so stupid as to make trouble, I have no patience with you; go and let the court settle it; that’s what they are there for”.   Even when one of his sons got into trouble, he did not try to resolve the matter outside of court.   Poor “Mistress” (Burgan), as we were taught to call his spouse, went to plead on the boy’s behalf.   Once I had a case with one of my young fellow teachers who hurt me.   His father refused to pay for the doctor’s expenses;   the matter was settled when his father was summoned to appear in court.

As I grew up in the school and church, I sensed a bond between us, an affinity.  I was always at ease with him although he was strict.  He was interested in my knowledge of Hindi and told me that he wished he had learnt it.   He, however was knowledgeable in Latin, Greek and Hebrew.  I knew of a candidate for the Bachelor’s degree who would visit him often to get help in learning  Greek.   He gave me the books left by his predecesor, Rev. James Persaud, who was proficient in both Hindi and Urdu, and who kept Hindi services for the old Indian Christians, back around the late 1920’s.   His books included the Missal in Urdu, an Urdu grammar and the Six Schools of Hindu Philosophy.  He also allowed me to continue the Hindi services which his predecessor kept.

Canon Burgan, though erudite, knew that he could not know everything.   He would ask me to explain certain points in grammar as if I was his teacher.   I did not realize then that maybe, he was really testing me.   He was not prejudicial; he spoke well of those of his calling who were well educated e.g. the Metropolitan (Bishop) of India.   In 1940, he appointed me Lay Reader along with another colleague.  We did the reading of the two lessons at evensong and matins, and also held the burial services when he was absent.  He made it plain that he hated the Old Testament lessons.

When I got married, he gave me a choral wedding and returned the fee I gave him for the ceremony.  He also baptized my eldest two children before he was transferred to the Plaisance Village Church in the mid 1950’s.

When India gained her independence in 1947, he held a service for the Indians of Buxton and neighbouring Vigilance.  I attended dressed in my Indian garb and was asked to read the lesson in Hindi. When the wife of the Indian catechist died, throngs from the neighbouring villages and sugar estates attended.  He made me sing a Bhajan (hymn in Hindi) with them and also read the sermon for the dead in Hindi.

With all his effort and dedication, I sensed a frustration.  This is a dog’s job, he once told us.  He had to raise a certain sum of money every year to give to the Diocese, also to maintain the material fabric of the Church.  This could not have been done by contributions from the parishioners, as they were poor.   The takings from collections were small and some could hardly have paid the six shillings ($1.44) for their yearly membership, so he had to resort to entertainments to raise the required sum.   His yearly Tea and Dance had always been a success.  In the 1950’s the young Bishop Allan John Knight was transferred as Bishop, to British Guiana from Africa to help raise money for the Church, which was in a parlous situation, and which he said could not run without money, but he had not to do it himself, the parish priests had to do it.

After 1949,  Canon Burgan was transferred to Plaisance, a parish church closer to Georgetown, we still kept our good relationship.  I used to visit him in the vicarage where he and his wife lived alone.  By then, the children were all grown, married or abroad.  After retiring, he moved to his residence in Georgetown, where he passed his last days before his call to eternity.

When he was called to higher service, I went to the funeral home where his body lay for viewing. He looked peaceful in his casket.     His daughter Dolly kissed him on the forehead.   There was a funeral service held for him at the parlour;  a man in a  high pitched voice sang solo the hymn “Lord, I would own Thy tender care and all Thy Love to me” .   After the service I  followed his cortege when it was moved to St. George’s Cathedral.  There he laid in state for final viewing and funeral service which was attended by hundreds from various parishes, dignitaries and people from all walks of life.  He was later entombed at St.  Sidwell’s churchyard in Lodge Village.

To sum up his life, with the failings, errors and limitations which are inevitable to humans in this mortal life,  Canon  Burgan performed to his fullest in the state of life into which God had called him.   As he lived, so did he die and so will he gain eternal rest in the kingdom prepared for all those who “ran the race and endured to the end.”   I close this tribute with a  quote from one of my poems:

Now he is gone, no more for us his work;

Death’s icy fingers shut the heavy tome;

But in some fairer realm where waits his Lord.

A soul will rise effulgent and at peace.

Rest in peace, my pastor, my teacher and my friend!

Randall Butisingh

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SHORT BIOGRAPHY

Canon William Granville Burgan, B.A., M.A.

Canon William Granville Burgan (1886-1958) was born in British Guiana.  His father’s parents were one of the founders of the village of Beterverwagting, on the East Coast of Demerara.  His father, Mr. William Garnett Barnett Burgan, who died in 1938, was a well-respected Head Master of various schools in British Guiana.

Canon Burgan was born at Beterverwagting on June 16, 1886 and entered Codrington College, Barbados in 1907, holding a Diocesan Scholarship.  After three years’ residence he took and passed the B. A., degree of Durham University and also won the Wilson prize in Reading and Education competed for annually at the College Commemoration.

On his return to the colony he was ordained Deacon in December 1910 and was attached to Cathedral Staff.  In the following year he was appointed Curate of the All Saints, New Amsterdam.  On December 28, 1912, he and the Late Rev. W. G. Kimber, then Curate of St. George’s Cathedral, were advanced to the Priesthood by Bishop E. A. Parry.

Late in 1913 he was transferred to St. Michael’s Parish as Curate in Charge and later became First Vicar on the separation of these districts from the main parish. In 1914 he proceeded to his M. A., degree from Durhan University.   In 1938 he was made Canon (St Alban’s) at St. George’s Cathedral.

During his many years at Belladrum, in addition to his ministerial duties he interested himself in the general welfare of the villagers.   He was Chairman of the Local Authority of Eldorado and as President of the Farmers’ Association and First Secretary of the Belladrum and Lichfield Co-operative Credit Banks.   He was instrumental in getting the farmers to increase the area under rice cultivation.

For his services in connection with the Credit Banks he was made a Justice of the Peace of the Colony and in order that the operation of the Banks could be effectively controlled a considerable area of undivided lands was brought under the provisions of the District Lands Partitions Ordinance.  For this purpose Government appointed him Settlement Officer for the partitioning, and the issuing of titles of the villages of Belladrum, Eldorado, Paradise and Golden Fleece.

On the death of the Rev. James Persaud, incumbent of St. Augustine’s Buxton, in 1927,  Mr. Burgan was preferred as his successor and here, too, he has interested himself in the farmers.  He has been President of their Association and Vice-Patron of the Farmers’ League.  At Buxton he was manager of a number of Anglican schools in the area.

He spent over 22 years at Buxton and in 1949 was transferred to a larger village parish at Plaisance Village from where he retired in 1956. He passed on December 15, 1958.

As a Diocesan official he has held the post as Secretary of the Board of Missions for many years.  On his visits to England he has given good service in advertising the claims of the Church and in making the colony better known. His services were much in demand by the Society for the propagation of the Gospel.  He was detailed on special duty to the Channel Islands and in the Diocese of Cork in Ireland and the work and claims of the missions in this Diocese was made known to those with no knowledge of conditions prevailing in British Guiana.

He was an intellectual, well read, and versed in Latin,  Hebrew and Greek literature.  He was keenly interested in folklore and historical research. He published many articles in the newspapers and magazines.  For instance, in 1942 he published in the Diocesan Magazine “A Short History of the Guiana Diocese”, which outlined the history of the Anglican Church in British Guiana.  Mr. Burgan also contributed  for many years, to a Daily Argosy column under the non-de-plume “Rusticus”. – L. E. M., which were vivid writings of country life in rural villages of British Guiana.

– Source: the Daily Argosy

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