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Soualiga Newsday Features (1906)

Merciful Mothers and Gregorian Reggae on St. Tosia

SINT MAARTEN (COMMENTARY - by Cdr. Bud Slabbaert) - St.Tosia has a well-functioning health care system. The modern 75-bed fully equipped hospital of the island belongs to the Hospice of St.Tosia which is part of the Catharsis Monastery. From its foundation on until today, at the Hospice of St.Tosia, the elderly, disabled and sick people, orphans, women about to give birth and the destitute have all been uninterruptedly welcomed for treatment and refuge.

Medical insurance did not exist then when the Hospice was founded in the 17th century and is not required now either, no down payments for admission, no credit cards and no invoices. It saves the hospital the costs of a bureaucratic administration apparatus. No need to stand in line for admission or registration. No need to show an ID because every needy individual is a human being first and not a number. The patient gets what is needed, period. The Hospice was and is still financed by donations of grateful families of patients and generous benefactors who are often offshore investors and descendants of the pirates of the good-old-days way back then.

The Hospice of St.Tosia was founded by Bonne Soeur Aubrey de Beaune who was so disturbed by the variety of abuse she experienced during her six-week sailing trip from the French port of Nantes to the Caribbean colony of Guadeloupe in 1635, that she decided to distance herself from her partner and managed to escape to St.Tosia where she entered the Order of Catharsians. The Catharsian nuns on the island are also known as “Merciful Mothers of the Innocent Lambs” and they are devoted medical missionaries. For them medical support and care are a calling and not a business. From the very beginning the “Merciful Mothers” who operate the hospital have also opened their establishment for the education of young ladies, and it is known as the “Convent of the Innocent Lambs”. Many young brats from the island have learned from the saintly health practicing teachers; lessons that have fortified them for their future duties in the world.

The Catharsis Monastery crowns the rugged Kalinago Hill on the most northern part of St.Tosia. It was constructed on top of an older pagan site of the Carib Indians who have populated the island from about 1200 AD but were later displaced by the European conquerors by warfare and extermination. An old manuscript in the library of the monastery explains that the reason for the construction on the hilltop was to remind monks “of the ascent they must make in their life”.

The somewhat tilting Bell Tower of the chapel next to the cloister is one of the most significant landmarks in the Caribbean. Every 15 minutes “La Nina”, the high voice small bell in the chapel tower rings; one ding for quarter past the hour, two dings for the half hour, three for quarter to, and four signaling that the full hour was reached and then it was followed by the one to twelve dongs of “La Nonna”, the big bell, indicating the hour. Fifteen minutes before a worshipping service in the chapel there are three full minutes of dingdonging mission bells.

On the way up the meandering road to the monastery one cannot help but notice that you are disconnecting yourself from the turmoil below. The silence becomes palpable as the dwellings are now few and far between. It is one of the most peaceful and tranquil places on the Island where the environment is outright serene. The views from the hilltop to the sea are breath taking and the atmosphere is invigorating. The Catharsis Monastery complex encompasses not only the religious buildings, but also a farm, a home for the aged, a drug rehabilitation unit and of course the Hospice with its modern Hospital.

The Order of Catharsians allows for both monks and nuns; a mixed bag, you might call it. The Catharsis Monastery is currently headed jointly by Prior Petrus and Abbess, the Reverent Mother Dominiana. To become a Catharsian Nun or Monk, the desire alone does not suffice. Alone she or he enters the order who has felt a call in the very center of the soul which is more powerful than any of the contradictory forces within and around her or him; a rule which may not always be easy to stick to on an island like St.Tosia.

Whereas the nuns are devoted to health care and prayer, the monks are under slightly different types of vows and spend less time in prayer and more time in farming, manual labor and undertaking physical repairs provide assistance to the monastery community and managing supplies; monks-of-all-trades so to say.

During the daily evening mess the Gregorian chants of the monks permeate the entire compound and mesmerize anyone. They sing like heavenly angels. That is not surprising because prior to the evening mess there is a “Happy Hour” and it is the only time of the day that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is allowed and only of those devout drinks produced at other saintly monasteries, like the fine French liquors Chartreuse and DOM Benedictine and Trappist Beer of the Westmalle Abbey in Belgium.

Also permitted in this hour is the smoking of incense cigars that spread the sweet perfume similar to that of patchouli oil and high-ascending smoke. It is all solely employed for the divine purpose of worship and lifting the spirits of this celestial community. The other day, as he inhaled the blessed aromatic odor, the 85-year-old and somewhat conservative Friar Augustin commented that he believed that it smelled like burnt lawn clippings. The young and very liberal Friar Sunshine, who is in charge of cultivation of herbs and spices in the Clairvaux type cloister gardens, hid a big grin behind his beard when he heard the comment.

The Catharsian monks of St.Tosia have rereleased several CDs of Gregorian Reggae Chants that evangelize Caribbean Reggae. Their songs are well sold worldwide on Spotify under their group artist name of “The Barefoot Friars”. The custom of chanting unshod was introduced by Prior Petrus several years ago since he believed that Pope Gregory the Great, who gave his name to Gregorian music in the early Middle Ages, would be proud if he could hear the Friars from St.Tosia sing their Gregorian Reggae interpretations. The album “Rocksteady Gregorian Reggae” by the “The Barefoot Friars” made it to the Billboard 100 for seven consecutive weeks and the solo song “Cantus Calypso Gregoriani” by the white-bearded Friar Eucredo became an instant smash in the Caribbean as soon as it hit the airwaves.

The well-known Billboard magazine of the popular music industry commented that if you let the Friars-on-bare-feet lose on stage, they are wild crowd pleasers. It should not come as a surprise that the Catharsian Friars have their own float in the St.Tosia Carnival Parade and the amplified Gregorian Reggae Chants appeal to the cheering crowds who are hard-driving uncontrollably off the beat.

The funds earned from royalties and group appearance fees are another form of financial support of the Monastery. After all, it was founded on the principles of self-sufficiency. In that regard it should also be mentioned that the handmade Sandals of the Catharsian Monks are sold in all the souvenir shops of St.Tosia and cruise ship gift shops as “orthotic friendly flip-flops”.

It was in 1925 that the renowned rum-runner Walter “Wally” Britches, owner of the only rum distillery on the island and the then sanctuary’s Prior Primus agreed on holding a Charity Rum Auction which is now still held in November each year. Rum distilleries from the neighboring islands would donate rum in a barrel that yields approximately 288 standard 750 ml bottles which translate to 24 cases of 12 bottles. The management of the distilleries would be blessed in a special ceremony in the chapel, and receive a certified recognition of being “Purveyor to the Monastic Court of St.Tosia”, which all works quite well for their product adverting and promotions.

After the donation, the rum remains in the cellars of the Monastery to mature in the oak barrels for another year or two; it will then be bottled, labeled, and packed up for shipment mainly to the USA. The label on the bottles features the prominent crest of the Hospice of St.Tosia, as well as the name of the company that bought the rum. Although the prestigious weekend surrounding the Charity Rum Auction has become a vanity event, the funds go to support the benevolent works of the Monastery of St.Tosia.

About the author:

The almost true stories and almost believable stories of St.Tosia are written by Cdr. Bud Slabbaert who claims that it is what he has experienced while residing on St.Tosia and monitoring what else is going on in the Caribbean.

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Amsterdam schools face ultimatum over parental contributions

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Amsterdam city council says it will stop giving extra subsidies to schools which ask parents for more than €225 a year in voluntary contributions.

Parental contributions, used by schools to fund extras such as music lessons or lunchtime supervision, prove an obstacle to poorer families and increase inequality in educational opportunities, education alderman Marjolein Moorman has told councillors.

‘Amsterdam is a city in which every child should have equal opportunities and no parent should be put off by high contributions,’ she said. The upper limit will be lowered again to €112, the city average, in the 2021-22 academic year.

Some schools in the city ask parents for as much as €700 a year in extra funding, according to local broadcaster AT5. Schools are largely funded by central government, but local authorities provide top-up money which is used to pay for specialised teaching help for cultural and gym as well as extra support staff.

(DutchNews)

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Today’s youngsters are more conservative than their parents, report says

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Dutch people in their 20s and 30s are more conservative than their elders, research by Tilburg University seems to suggest, particularly where abortion and euthanasia are concerned.

‘The younger generations seem to be looking for a new set of values to identify with and in doing so they are harking back to the past,’ Tilburg sociologist Quita Muis told the AD.

The study, to be published in the journal Mens en Maatschappij, is based on data from a European study that has been ongoing for almost 40 years. Some 7,000 Dutch people are part of the research project, answering questions on issues such as abortion, euthanasia, suicide and homosexuality.

The majority of this group still favour free choice where these issues are concerned but researchers have found that those born in the 1980s and 1990s are much more conservative than the so-called baby boomer generation.

For instance, 8.1% of people in their 20s and 11.5% of 30-somethings think that abortion is never justifiable compared to 7% of the over-40s. It’s too early to say that conservatism is on the rise, Muis said.

‘But the trend of becoming ever more progressive has clearly stopped.’ Christa Compas, director of the Humanistisch Verbond, said the findings were worrying, especially about the right to abortion.

‘Young people are used to having everything organised for them. They don’t realise that this has been fought for and that we must cherish this right.’

(DutchNews)

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Minister to publish pension plan next week, most funds will avoid cuts

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – Social affairs minister Wouter Koolmees will tell MPs next week what he intends to do to help pension funds avoid reducing pension payouts next year, sources have told the NRC.

Opposition parties GroenLinks and Labour, and the FNV trade union federation, have said they will withdraw their support for plans to reform the Dutch pension system if the government does not give assurances no pension will be cut in 2020.

A number of funds have warned that pension cuts are likely under current rules. And central bank president Klaas Knot has also said cuts cannot be avoided without passing the risk on to younger generations.

In June, unions, ministers, political parties and employers agreed plans to overhaul the Dutch pension fund system, which would reduce the pressure on funds to keep their assets topped up.

That new system is due to come into effect in 2022, meaning the funds have two years to bridge before they face more relaxed financial requirements.

Despite Koolmees’ willingness to reach an agreement on pension cuts, some funds will have to reduce payouts because their assets only amount to 90% of their obligations, the NRC said.

However, the risk that the big four funds, including the giant ABP civil service union, will have to make cuts will be removed when Koolmees makes his statement, the NRC said.

(DutchNews)

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Woman armed with hammer and knife and shot by police has died

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The woman shot by police in Alkmaar on Wednesday after she charged at them with a knife and a hammer has died of her injuries in hospital.

The 48-year-old woman had been roaming the streets, armed with the knife and hammer and had smashed several windows when the police were alerted. One officer reportedly shot her after she refused to obey instructions and ran towards them.

The shooting, which took place close to a primary school, is being investigated by the public prosecution department. The woman is said to have caused problems for years.

‘We have made at least 200 reports,’ one neighbour told local broadcaster NH Nieuws.

A spokeswoman for the housing corporation which owned the property where the woman lived has confirmed she was visited by officials but declined to say what, if any, action was being taken because privacy concerns.

(DutchNews)

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INTERVAL TO SERVE AS INTERNATIONAL TITLE SPONSOR OF SHTA CRYSTAL PINEAPPLE AWARDS

SINT MAARTEN/MIAMI, FL - Interval International, a prominent worldwide provider of vacation services, is the main international sponsor of the 12th Annual Crystal Pineapple Awards Fundraising Gala. Organized by the St. Maarten Hospitality & Trade Association (SHTA), the event is scheduled for November 23 at the Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino & Spa. The awards gala honors excellence in the hospitality and trade sectors and is resuming its tradition after a two-year hiatus due to the 2017 hurricane season impact.

"We are pleased to recognize the outstanding individuals who work across a range of businesses and contribute to St. Maarten's vital tourism industry by demonstrating their commitment to exceptional hospitality," said Neil Kolton, Interval's director of business development for the Caribbean and Southeast U.S. "These professionals have helped drive the island's impressive recovery and demonstrate the resilience of the shared ownership industry in this beautiful location."

"We are grateful for Interval's support of our association and our members who work tirelessly to promote St. Maarten's tourism and business experience on the local and international stage. These collaborative efforts will continue to heighten the profile of the country's offerings as a destination to potential guests," said Wyb Meijer, executive director, SHTA.

As a board member of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) Education Foundation and the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) Scholarship Foundation, Interval has been a long-time supporter of the tourism industry in the Caribbean. Since 2000, Interval and its participating Caribbean resort clients have donated approximately US$800,000 to the CHTA and CTO foundations for the education of Caribbean nationals.

About Interval International

Interval International operates membership programs for vacationers and provides value-added services to its developer clients worldwide. Based in Miami, Florida, the company has been a pioneer and innovator in serving the vacation ownership market since 1976. Today, Interval's exchange network comprises more than 3,200 resorts in over 80 nations. Through offices in 14 countries, Interval offers high-quality products and benefits to resort clients and approximately 2 million families who are enrolled in various membership programs.

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Dutch government to appeal against IS children repatriation ruling

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The cabinet is to appeal against a court ruling ordering the Netherlands to do all it can to bring back IS children from Syrian prison camps.

Justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus and foreign minister Stef Blok told MPs on Tuesday that the ruling raises a number of issues ‘which may not have been considered sufficiently, including international relationships’.

By appealing, the cabinet hopes to gain clarity on these issues, the ministers said in a short letter to MPs. In the meantime, the government will start preparing to fulfill the court’s order to do its best to bring the children home, the ministers said.

Judges in The Hague said on Monday the Netherlands must ‘make all possible efforts’ to repatriate some 56 Dutch children in refugee camps in Northern Syria but is not required to bring back their mothers unless that is unavoidable.

The children ‘did not opt ​​for the caliphate, but now they have to deal with torture, abuse and lack of facilities’ the court said in its ruling, giving the Netherlands two weeks to make progress on the issue.

The US ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, has reiterated that the US is willing to help bring the children, and their mothers, back to the Netherlands. ‘If the Netherlands asks for American help with repatriating the women and children, then we will do all we can to make that possible,’ Hoekstra told broadcaster NOS.

The issue has divided the cabinet and both minister’s parties – the VVD and CDA – are opposed to bringing the children, most of whom are under the age of 6, back. ‘We don’t want these children back,’ VVD MP Dilan Yesilgoz said.

‘It is dangerous to bring these children back.’ CDA parliamentarian Madeleine van Toorenburg said on Twittert the verdict was full of risks. ‘The parents will have the right of return through the children,’ she said. ‘I think we should focus on the victims of the genocide.’

(DutchNews)

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We People vs Them People?

SINT MAARTEN (COMMENTARY – By Adonis Cyntje) - Dear Editor, I’d like to point out the fact that we had an amazing array of activities and events for our 60th St. Martin Day Celebration. People were having a good time; cultural wears displays, organized orchestras and the traditional Johnny cakes and chicken leg. But we need to embrace all facets of our culture including our Dutch aspects. 

When we think about a lot of Dutch people coming here for jobs and opportunities, we must keep in mind there are a lot of our people including our students who go abroad to the Netherlands to seek job opportunities and tertiary education. As much as we expect integration there in the Netherlands, they expect integration here in St. Maarten. Therefore, we should foster such a relationship with the Netherlands. With this I encourage our political leaders to foster an amicable and working relationship with the Dutch in the best interest of our people. 

Remember that the rest of the world are joining up as seen in the European Union. It would be pointless if a small island like St. Maarten goes on its own without a sustainable plan. What a great multi-lateral relationship with all kingdom countries looks like? Open communication, exchange of resources, common goals, and most importantly trust.  

Even though there are some challenges dealing with our kingdom partner, there are also benefits, such as low-cost loans with low maturity as well as access to the European development funds. Should St. Maarten not have this accessibility we would then have to be mindful that St. Maarten would have to compete on the international market for loans in which we would have to prove our credit worthy. And given our credit standards, this may prove to be difficult. Hence, given our credit worthiness and political instability our credit loan would be questioned.  

But I see the light at the end of the tunnel. If we as a people can see ourselves as one, including our French neighbours, and our Dutch counterparts, then we can grow this nation and strive in the best interest of the people. I believe we can do it! 

Adonis Cyntje

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Court says Dutch state should bring IS children home – but not their mothers

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Dutch government must ‘make all possible efforts’ to repatriate some 56 Dutch children in refugee camps in Northern Syria, but is not required to bring back their mothers, judges in The Hague ruled on Monday.

The children ‘did not opt ​​for the caliphate, but now they have to deal with torture, abuse and lack of facilities’ the court said in its ruling. The group of 23 Dutch female jihadis and their children had gone to court to force the Netherlands to repatriate them from prison camps.

The courtroom was packed with families of the women themselves. Law firms representing the women and children said that by not bringing them back, the Netherlands is acting against international human rights treaties because conditions in the camps are so dreadful.

‘If the Netherlands does nothing, Syrian President Bashir Al-Assad will soon have the blood of children in his hands,’ said lawyer Tom de Boer, who represented some of the women. On Friday it emerged that the Dutch counter terrorism agency NCTV believes bringing the children back would be better for national security in the long run.

‘Not bringing back these children carries more security risks within,’ the NCTV said in a memo seen by the Volkskrant. The children are still young and have not been indoctrinated and if they are not brought back, they could pose a risk in the future, the NCTV said.

Safety

The cabinet has repeatedly argued it is not safe to send officials to the prison camps to bring back children, although several children, including orphans, have been helped to leave.

Some 55 adults and 90 children are currently being held in Syrian detention camps, according to the Dutch security service AIVD. In January, the Dutch children’s ombudsman renewed her call to the government to bring back children who are stuck in camps in Syria because their parents supported IS.

‘The development of these children has been seriously threatened by their parents’ choices,’ the ombudsman said. ‘If parents cannot protect their children, the government should step in.’

Prime minister Mark Rutte said the government would study the judgment closely. André Seebregts, a lawyer for the families, said he expected more clarity in the next two weeks about how the judgment will be implemented.

But he cast doubt on the idea of sending the children to the Netherlands without their mothers. ‘The Kurds have already made it clear several times that they don’t want to separate the children from their mothers,’ he said.

Deportation

The Guardian reported on Monday that Turkey has started deporting foreign IS fighters who are currently living in refugee camps there.

One US citizen has been sent back and seven Germans are scheduled to be sent home on Thursday. ‘Turkey is not a hotel for foreign terrorists,’ the Turkish interior minister said.

(DutchNews)

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Miss St.Tosia Pageant

SINT MAARTEN (COMMENTARY – By Cdr. Bud Slabbaert) - St.Tosia stopped in freeze-frame this week when their newly elected unmarried Miss St.Tosia Pageant, Rosa Malosa, suddenly announced that she would relinquish her title due to pregnancy. She became very beloved on the island for her dazzling dance performance titled “if you have it once, you want it twice” as part of the beauty contest. No one could have known her reign would last just one week. In general, the islanders are very forgiving because of the human fact that anyone could become pregnant at any time. And so, the dust settles, and the queens move on wearing their kitschy rhinestone tiara, wearing their title on a shiny ribbon and by being a good-looking crowned chick. Rosa refrained from immediately naming the father.

Yet, the inquisitive reporters of the St.Tosia Courier found out through the bush telegraphs that she was pregnant by the current Chairman of Parliament who had also fathered a child with his former wife who was Miss St.Tosia three years ago. The news stunned the island’s high social order and had raised eyebrows in political circles. In the past, unmarried beauty queens were quietly having their babies for decades. Either nobody seemed to notice, or nobody cared. But in this case…? Yet, it is common knowledge that male dignitaries generally have the first pick of beauty queens for wives, and many high-profile politicians on the island were already beneficiaries of some of St.Tosia's most bewitching beauties. There is a belief that being empowered by the charms of a titled queen is the formula for rising to rapid stardom.

The Miss St.Tosia Pageant is not a Miss Something-Or-Other. It shows the world that the Caribbean has so much more to offer than just sun, beautiful beaches and delicious cocktails! Not just any body can represent St.Tosia. The contestants are ultra-good-looking women with bra sizes often bigger than their intelligence quotients. The Pageant is about pretty women who are for real and are parading around in pretty dresses and swimsuits while smiling all the time. St.Tosian beauties are among the most beautiful in the Caribbean because of their baffling exotic ethnic mix! The first question that comes to mind is “what ingredients does this callaloo have in her?” For instance, Justine Jobert, last year’s Miss Tosia, is what you might call a rainbow person who has a bit of everything there is to find on the island: French, African, Indian and Chinese. Her late father, may his soul be blessed, lived 45 years on the island; he strongly believed in diversity and Justine was one of his 13 children of almost just as many mothers. No one really knows exactly and although nothing is proven, at his funeral there was a striking large following of crying women in black veils.

Besides Rosa Malosa, there were five more candidates who were participating in the contest and in an official announcement almost immediately after the abolishment of Rosa’s throne, the Miss St.Tosia Pageant Committee stated that the first runner-up, Eulalia Muddermoore, would become the new Miss St.Tosia. Eulelia made jaws drop and tongues wag in the “Bikini and Whole Piece Swimwear Segment” that was held Friday a week ago at the St.Tosia Imperial Yacht Club. She paraded in a creatively styled swimsuit that was hand sewn by her 80-year old grandma Eunice and it wholly showed her physical fitness and enhanced her personality. Grandmothers in that age sometimes don’t get all the pieces together anymore and that worked just perfectly for Eulelia’s swimwear. Her appearance brought her so much ahead in the scoring that although she tripped in her floor length gown during the Evening Wear competition on Saturday night, sending her stumbling right up to the flower decoration at the edge of the stage, the judges choose to see past this insignificant flaw. “Ooops, ‘forgot to scuff the bottom of my shoes.” she said, then got right back up and laughed it off with a million-dollar smile and started clapping her hands above her head and the audience joined in with a thundering applause.

At that Saturday night event in the Windhole Resort and Beach Hotel in Puerto Olvidar, the finals came alive when the exotic St.Tosian beauties competed in the additional segments Cultural Wear, Evening Wear, Performing Talent and Question and Answer Session.  

The flamboyant flavor of the luscious ebony Esperanza Fammagusta evoked a rare combination of mystery and sensuality. With her perfectly chiseled face and her graceful neck, the nearly six-foot tall statuesque built beauty has an impeccable sense of style. She had legs to die for and she could sashay without a bounce, a smooth walker gliding glamorously – and gliding carefully as if she had a fishbowl with a goldfish on her head. The slower Esperanza glided, the longer she is on stage, the longer she is exposed to the judges and keeps them in a state of suspense. She knows how to stretch it like the week between Christmas and New Year.

Charmaine de Sinsanque wowed the male judges and audience with her grace, and her dark, sexy and sultry looks. She went out to prove to every man in the audience who she beguiles that she's got two of everything. She made eye contact with the President of the Jury and Former Prime Minister of St.Tosia, Spencer Llewelyn, who is notorious for being an avid admirer of beauty and who has the reputation of having not much in the head but from there on down…, gangbusters. Charmaine had that certain “Yes, I'm looking at you and don't you think you should be looking at me too?” which she topped off with an eye wink that didn’t go unnoticed by the other judges. Llewelyn was totally smitten and gave her 10 points for her performance whereas the other judges only gave her 6.4, 6.7, 6.5 and 6.3 points. On them, she may have made too much of an impression of being self-centered, hedonistic and sometimes sexually promiscuous.

But everyone was totally astonished when Spencer Llewelyn who appeared to still be in a daze, again rewarded Charmaine with ten points for the answer she gave in the Question and Answer Session when she was asked to name an expensive feature in a car and she answered “Uhhhhhh…, a Rolex radio!”

The sweet settling of scores came in the Q&A session when Llewelyn asked the next candidate, Jodie Willmoth, what the purpose of life is, and she responded: “The purpose of your life is to serve as a warning to others!” That response visibly brought him out of concept. Jodie noticed it and tried to correct the situation by saying: “If you want a different answer, ask a different question.” Jodie only scored a meek 5.9 points from Llewelyn but was awarded four times ten points by the other judges on the panel.  

The 5ft 6 blue-eyed blonde Jodie Willmoth was a bit of dark horse candidate at first sight, and she appeared somewhat demure and homely. But she did show a fierce catwalk on the tune “Baby Elephant Walk” from the film Hatari; the music that Jodie had chosen for her modeling. She was the prototype female to prove that the worth of a woman takes a lot more than just maintaining a great face and physique and that strength and intelligence are priceless qualities. If you would play chess, backgammon or any other game with Jodie, you would lose big time for sure. She is the type of girl whose favorite dish is mashed potato and gravy. She may be short of the oozing sex appeal of the other contestants, but she outperformed them all with her outstanding communication skills and she marveled the audience with her confidence and wit. When the other contestants smiled it appeared as if they wanted to show that they are brushing their teeth four times daily with toothpaste containing peroxide and whitening microcrystals. When Jodie, with her pretty little dimples smiles or laughs, her nose wrinkles and she snores.

From the moment Cynthia Bird came on the stage, everyone was mesmerized by her stunning figure.

She may have lacked facial beauty but definitely had other bigger assets. Cynthia wore a black satin offensively almost-see-through top and had the most lifelike frontal acreage. She could have won any evening wear competition hands down. When Cynthia competes, boy, she knows how to compete! She transformed herself into a veritable pin-up girl who displays passion and ambition. She was bedazzled by the photographers calling her name and the flashlights went off like fireworks. Instantly she became the darling of Eleston Riddle, the St.Tosia Courier staff photographer, who seemed to make the best photo shoot of his life although these pictures were never published in the St.Tosia Courier, not even in the online picture gallery of the event.

The Miss St.Tosia Pageant organizers try to set strict fashion rules to make sure that the skimpy outfits of the beauty queens still manage to cover what should necessarily be kept from plain sight. Charmaine de Sinsanque, for instance, had been summoned during the rehearsals to cover up more by making her bikini bottoms wider. She started crying which broke the hearts of the stagehands and waiters at the Windhole Resort and Beach Hotel, who were actually rather pleased by the way things were. Cynthia Bird had already been given the warning by the Miss Pageant manager: "Don't forget your underwear", to which she had responded with: “Thank God, I’m very satisfied with the way the good Lord created me and I wouldn’t change a thing,” which left him speechless. And the cleaning lady who witnessed the moment when it was said, was making a threatening gesture with her cleaning mob to the manager: “Leh Sinty have she day. Left she alone. She beautiful and not fat like a lot of dem women in dis place.” At least, the beauty queen did as she was told, but her black satin lunatic daring reverted to now see-through top became known as “Cynthia’s Revenge”.

The St.Tosia school of thought of beauty may resolve a mind-body problem that can be traced back to Plato and Aristotle. St.Tosia Pageants hardly appear to qualify as culture. Contestants have no identifiable skills or recognizable talents. They are judged for the most part on those physical qualities-feminine beauty, grace, and poise-that are understood as the "natural" result of youth, heredity, and good breeding. St.Tosian beauty queens will never appear as technical workers, poets or academics. They realize they’ve got a lot more to gain than to lose from being in the pageant, by being more refined in body and not in mind. These emissaries of celestial feminine gorgeousness feel that they are destined to be the wife of a very important personality and will put their best foot forward, and not just their foot, as they endeavor to represent themselves first to the highest degree while showcasing a just diminutive sample of cultural elements of St.Tosia.

About the author.

The almost true stories and almost believable stories of St.Tosia are written by Cdr. Bud Slabbaert who claims that it is what he has experienced while residing on St.Tosia and monitoring what else is going on in the Caribbean.  

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