“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make melody. Awake, my soul!” – Psalm 108:1
My immediate family, with twin grandchildren much to their grandmother’s delight, and some extended family, assembled in Barbados for a week in July. Missing was my sister Helen who was at home in the UK. Kevin & family and Bevan live in Dubai and New York, respectively. Various subsets of the family have met from time to time in various parts of the world, but this was the first time in many a year that we have had this major an assembly in Barbados.
Karen lives in Barbados so I am able more easily to follow her progress professionally in the medical epidemiological field. Kevin and I bonded personally before Bevan arrived during which time he regaled me with stories of his professional development in Dubai over the last six years, as an airline Captain. I am now in New York bonding personally and professionally with Bevan and to witness at first hand the development of his public relations, marketing and media company. I am very proud of the professional development of the three offspring now that they can see the horizon of financial independence and wish them continued success and happiness.
To quote from the Daily Word: “I am alive and alert. I am one with the One. A birdsong before dawn is music to my soul. It’s as if the bird cannot wait to greet the new day. This song calls me to wake up and get started, to welcome this day with enthusiasm and expectancy. If I’ve become comfortable in my routine or have settled into an uninspired pattern of living, the birdsong reawakens me”.
Last Friday, Bevan introduced me to B&H the sprawling photo and electronics super store. A profile of this emporium by Alex Littlefield reads as follows: “Stretching a full city block, this Hasidic-owned electronics emporium offers a huge stock of TVs, stereos, and photo equipment—often at cheaper prices than the typical electronics chain store. Green-vested, yarmulke-sporting salesmen coolly dispense product descriptions to foreign tourists amid a flashing sea of LCD screens, while overhead a system of conveyor belts and automated lifts trundles boxes of merchandise toward the checkout area…The photographer’s tool kit is fully covered, from gaffer’s tape to light reflectors to anti-moisture packets for underwater cameras—and that’s just the beginning. External hard drives? Earbud microphones for recording phone conversations? Gold-plated opera glasses with flashlight handles? There’s a stunning array of electronics-related miscellany and a team of sales associates to help shoppers narrow down their options. Basement and upper-floor warehouses, as well as a facility in Williamsburg, supply the superstore and its booming online business. Used equipment is also available, and customers can bring in their old gear for trade-in or repair”.
We went to pick up an order for a friend but we were treated with a truly, amazing amalgam of business management, technology, quality, efficiency and excellent customer service. It was the epitome of a high productivity environment…and if that were not enough, one of the Hasidic customer service agents, as he was serving us, effortlessly lapsed into a mood of holistic happiness. His theme was that if everyone in the world reached out to the rest of the world, to inculcate an atmosphere of peace and happiness, how much better off we all might me. He was no doubt inspired by his immediate technological environment when he said that twenty years ago it would have been difficult to spread the word of happiness but today we can say something now and it can get around the world in seconds. Each one of us can influence the world, so why do we not spread the word of happiness. Do our utmost to give everybody that which makes them happy and what a wonderful world it would be.
We are tempted to be distracted by greed and ego destabilisation, but do not realise that happiness is a more rewarding path.
When walking around New York City one cannot help but notice the sophistication and the cosmopolitan nature of the place. It brings to mind the small countries of the Caribbean and their continuing struggle for economic sustainability. Travel and Tourism was in focus over this last week and Bevan and I discussed a favourite topic: “Expansion of the Caribbean tourism arrivals market to include the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) countries.”
From halal spas to prayer rooms at airport terminals, the global tourism industry is gearing up for a projected boom in Muslim travel over the next decade, experts say.
Their growing number and affluence means Muslims – especially from the oil-rich Middle East – are travelling like never before, and it is a trend that looks set to gather pace. We might want to add to that …Muslim countries in North Africa, Asia and the Middle East to the BRICS.
He drew my attention to his recent article in the Amsterdam News in NY where the following extracts are relevant: “…and, the wonderful thing about tourism is you are not forcing things down peoples’ unwilling throats. Tourism, in fact, is the greatest voluntary transfer of wealth from the rich to the not-so-rich in the history of humankind” … and “…In the context of the Caribbean, the region’s political directorate needs to lead us into some of these hitherto remote regions to bring home the business, and to use the robust aerial highways between places like Dubai and New York, for example, to tap into the oil-rich Middle East, and upscale Asian travel markets”.