Monday, April 13, 2009

Mi ta na Kòrsou! I'am on Curacao

Here I am, enjoying my short stay in Curacao.

I didn’t have a lot of plans but I’m experiencing the island life at full extents. The referendum about the upcoming constitutional changes is dominating everything, from the whole media till birthday’s parties. The topic of the referendum is the approval or disapproval of the political agreement on the new constitutional status of Curaçao achieved by the Curaçao government with its partners in the Kingdom, Bonaire, St. Eustatius, Saba, St. Maarten, Aruba and the Netherlands in Europe. This political agreement generally entails the following two issues: (1) de constitutional status of Curaçao and (2) the national debt of the Netherlands Antilles and Curaçao.

My first day I saw friends and we talked a lot about the referendum. How the discussions about it are dividing the island in two camps: the YES and the NO camp. I have heard some people also saying that they will boycott the whole thing, because they think it shouldn’t have been organised in the first place.
My second day on Curacao I also went out. A friend took me to Madamme Jeanette, a monthly get together organised by Curacao Gay Plasa, the local gay events organiser. It’s held in a new venue called Central Park on the business outskirts of the city. The party started very slow but got nice at the end. The DJ was not cooperating with me neither. I just do not like house beats and they really annoy me at that he was playing at the beginning. That meant talking outside with friends (about the goddamn referendum again) and of course gossiping. The local gay scene isn’t really big, so people living on the island know everyone and some times also some details about their personal lives. I saw some people I knew and danced a lot mostly at the end on the Caribbean tunes that the DJ played then.
Because the music played a party is one of the defining way to select the audience. I heard that at this party Madame Jeannete there is not a lot of local music played. This is done to attract a higher class audience.

I have the feeling that the class/ racial divide has widen on the island the last ten years. This is on of the explosive things underneath all the referendum debates and this divide is always denied by the island establishment and the coalition. Eastern Sunday I went ot a local party with the famous Arubian band Claudius Phillips and Oreo and that was a really local affair: no tourists and a mostly black audience. The party was nice and I danced nearly the whole night and saw my cousins, old schoolmates and other people I knew.
The contrast with the party the day before could not have been bigger. Not the gay/ straight contrast but more the cultural difference felt the bigger. I was not the only one who attended both, so there are more people that can bridge those differences. Such a small island and so different worlds!

At the family lunch I attended during the day also the discussion turned around the referendum. I noticed that there are people convinced about NO, and other people feel that there are not another option than go for YES, to take the offered package that could give some relief to the burden of the big financial debt that the island has accumulated the past decades.
But the whole things shouldn’t have been about this, it was suppose to be about he constitutional changes and now it only revolves about the financial bail out. A missed chance.
I am curious what more I will encounter on my next days on the island.