Let’s use certain four letter words more often – by Francis Quamina Farrier

Let’s use certain four letter words more often – by Francis Quamina Farrier

Francis Quamina Farrier

The term “Four letter word”, usually takes on a negative thought process in the minds of most people who speak the English language. But this missive is to point out that there are those four letter words which need to be used much more often, such as, “LOVE” and “SOME” – and even “HATE”.  Used in a positive context, the four-letter word, “Hate”, can be positive.

For example, if someone says, ” I hate to see people drink and drive!” Or “I hate it when I judge someone else, without first knowing them, or having the facts about what they are accused of doing wrong”. So, there are those times when “hate” can be good. “Good” – another four-letter word.  

Indeed, we need to use certain four-letter words much more often. Now, Just re-read that immediate past sentence, and note the number of four-letter words in it; “”need”, “some”, “much”, and “more”; all in that very short sentence!

Let’s continue to think on this idea – “idea” – also a four-letter word, and let’s gain – “gain” – yet another good four-letter word, which we as a country classified as being poor, should be going after. With all the many natural resources which we are blessed with as a nation, we ought to aim to gain more wealth which is ours in abundance, in this our elegant El Dorado, but which, for the better part, is underutilized, including our human resources. At this very time, many of us are focused on what we will personally gain from the up-coming oil wealth. So many of our brilliant, patriotic Guyanese citizens are not utilized as they should, either because they are not of the right political or racial group. Many Guyanese have migrated because they were treated almost as strangers in this their own country, and have prospered in their adopted countries.

Then there are some of our citizens who are still very productive, but are shunted aside because their age is of a certain number. When one studies the developed countries, and how the elderly with health and talent are embraced, we realize that they seem to be welcoming of all of their human resources; we note how many airline pilots, for example, sport silver hair.

We can recall that elder pilot, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who in 2014, piloted the stricken US Air Flight #1549, when all four engines failed after birds flew into them. That elderly pilot flew that large aircraft without engine power, safely into the Hudson River without resulting in a single fatality. There is that saying, “Experience never gets old”. Here in Guyana Capt. Sullenberger would likely be regarded as an old man who should be sent off to pasture. Even a former President of Guyana went on record expressing how fed-up he is with older Guyanese, and that “they should go one side”.

As an Elderly Gentleman and Senior Journalist writing this feature article, I’m feeling fine. Yes, “FINE” is another inspiring four-letter word which should be used more in our vocabulary. Many years ago, when I was in my early twenties, I was going up the stairs of the General Post Office at the Robb Street entrance. The great Guyanese Jurist Sir Donald Jackson, who once served as the Speaker of the House in Parliament, was coming down the stairs. I was in awe of that gentleman, and greeted him excitedly. “And, how are you, young man?” he asked with a warm smile on his dignified face. “Not bad, Sir Donald”, was my response. “No, no, no”, Sir Donald chided me. “Never say “not bad, rather say, “I’m fine.” Words of wisdom from an Elder Statesman which I have always remembered. “I’m fine”. Today, many people say, “I’m good”, when asked, “How are you.” “GOOD” is such an inspiring and wonderful four-letter word in the English Language.

“He’s cool”, or “She’s cool” is now very much in vogue, used especially by younger people when describing the personality of someone who they admire.  For sure, “cool” is a cool four-letter word. Well, we have to agree that even “WORD” is a four-letter word. So let’s make use more often of those pleasant and positive four-letter words in the English Language.

Let’s say “I LOVE you”, much more often to those who we love – and sometimes, even to those who we really have no reason to love. And whereas, the statement “I’m done” used to have a very positive meaning back in the day; for example, it would usually mean, “I’ve done my assignment”. It also meant that I am finished doing something which is wrong. In more recent times,”I’m done”, usually means, ” I’m done with this job; “Ah fiya de wok”. Or “Ah leffin’ meh husban’; Ah done wid he.”

Five months after his inauguration as Guyana’s eight Executive President on Saturday, May 16, 2015, David Granger and First Lady Sandra Granger, paid an official visit to President Barack Obama and the American First Lady Michelle Obama. The meeting was very cordial from all reports, and the 44th. President of the United States and First lady, were a charming Host and Hostess. A beautiful photograph of the two Presidents and First Ladies together, was published, and when I first saw it, I began to think in a certain creative way.

My thoughts were as follows: suppose our dignified President David Granger were to use a four-letter word to the American President! I’m serious. That thought came to me. I would have liked our president to tell his American counterpart about our Beautiful Guyana; about the good relations our two countries have shared and enjoyed over the decades. I thought that it would be nice to hear that President David Granger apologized to the American President in person, for that infamous ‘feral blast’ which American Ambassador to Guyana, Dr. Brent Hardt, received at his official Residence, during his Farewell Cocktail reception. I thought that it would have been good for us to hear that our President immediately and emphatically said a four letter word to President Obama, right there and then. “Mr. President”,  I thought of President David Granger saying to President Barack Obama; “Mr President, “COME”, to Guyana and enjoy the hospitality for which we are well-known internationally. “Yes, Mr. President, “COME”, as soon as it is mutually convenient.”

With that US$60 million book deal that President Barack Obama and his dear Michelle have recently signed, and with their recent holiday aboard that Billionaire’s yacht “Rising Sun” in the South Pacific Ocean, on which Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey were also a guests, President David Granger could still extend an invitation to the Obamas, to “COME” to Guyana, and go to the peaceful and beautiful Guyana hinterland – to our world-famous Iwokrama Rain Forest Project, and complete the writing of your two books, in that tranquil and pristine rain forest sanctuary.”

I dreamed a dream that President Granger can tell President and Michelle Obama, – “TELL”; such a Firm four-letter word – about the many Peace Corps Volunteers who have served in Guyana over the decades, and who are in Guyana even at this very time. There was also my thought of Guyana’s president telling President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, of those two great American aviators, Art Williams and Harry Wendt, who pioneered aviation into the hinterland of British Guiana, back in the 1940s and 1950s.

The visits to Guyana by President Jimmy Carter and other well-known Americans such as Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, Mahalia Jackson, Mohammed Ali, Andrew Young, Louis Farrakan, Sydney Poitier and others, should also be mentioned to the Obamas, I thought.  However, no mention must be made of Jim Jones, whatsoever. That “Ugly” American – that evil man, who led over nine hundred of his followers in a mass murder-suicide horror in Guyana on November 18, 1978. That should never be mentioned in such a pleasant circumstance.

There are those four-letter words which challenge us to make a choice one way or the other; one can be “nice” to others, or “ugly” in our behavior. We can speak with a “soft” and pleasant tone of voice, endearing ourselves to others, or be “loud” and annoying. In the scheme of things, there has been a perennial battle between two four-letter words – “good” and “evil” – and it is our duty, as best as we can, to do whatever it takes, to ensure that “GOOD” always wins over “evil”. Well, I sincerely hope that you have enjoyed this read; and that’s SIX four-letter words in that final and very short sentence.


President David Granger and Mrs Sandra Granger visited the White House in Washington as guests of President Barack Obama and Mrs Michelle Obama

The great American Jazz musician, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong at Queen’s College in Guyana, on one of his visits in the 1960s. Please note that “JAZZ” is also a four-letter word.

President Jimmy Carter who visited Guyana on a few occasions, working along with others to help return Guyana to Democracy.



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  • demerwater  On 04/22/2017 at 7:17 am

    I have this single comment on this profound subject.
    The opposite of “love” is not “hate”.
    It is “indifference”.
    You had to have had been the ‘object’ of the assertion, “doan kay dam wha happen to” … him / her.

  • Albert  On 04/22/2017 at 12:45 pm

    Never met a more complicated word than “love”. Some people in America relate the word “love” with sex. “They are making love” is a familiar expression. According to Oprah (in my words) love is the act of extending oneself for the benefit of another without expecting anything in return.
    An elderly Jamaican woman once told me she knew her deceased husband loved her because if she awoke in the middle of the night with an headache he could walk the entire island looking for a remedy for her ailment. That was how I began to think of love since.
    It seems much has to do with how as Guyanese we have been culturally programmed to think. I observe some older West Indian women having difficulty responding to a compliment. Perhaps they have been insulted or criticized, especially by men, for so long that it becomes difficult to react to a praise.

  • Doreen Abrams  On 04/22/2017 at 12:53 pm

    As a fellow Guyanese, it is with great pride that add my response to Francis Farriers’ thoughts and reflections. Let me first say a warm “Hello There” to Francis who might remember me as a schoolmate(at St Ann’s) a ‘mattee’ villager, (McDoom) and a member of the Agricola Village Youth Club. As I read the article, it really brought my mind to a place filled with satisfaction and pleasant memories. I began to think that there might be many other proud Guyanese who could come together and make Francis’ idea, a reality. With his creative abilities and his training and experience in Drama, along with the support and energy of us all of us we can make a dream become a reality. Let us work together on this. That’s my challenge!

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 04/22/2017 at 2:27 pm

    In the spirit of Brother Francis’ excellent article and taking up the challenge to use four letter words, I offer this haiku poem.
    Life is very good
    when we love and give for free.
    Gain for you & me.

  • Tulsie T Das  On 06/01/2017 at 10:40 pm

    Mr Francis Quamina Farrier my sincere thanks to you this article is outstanding, highly commendable.

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