MP Khan Joins Critics Of Chalkdust’s Learn From Arithmetic Calypso

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Member of Parliament for Barataria/san Juan, Dr Fuad Khan has joined in criticism of the winning calypso, “Learn from Arithmetic” sung by Dr Hollis “Chalkdust” Liverpool.

Chalkdust has already explained that his song was based on a conversation with Sat Maharaj and was meant to show his position on child marriages.

However, Dr Khan says it’s his view that the song was aimed at ridiculing the Hindu religion and its leadership.

Dr Khan issued this statement on the topic.

“When Dr. Hollis Liverpool took to the Dimanche Gras stage on Carnival Sunday, it was with the intention to deliver a political message to the Hindu community and the population at large. It has since been the view of many that it was the single refrain of “75 can’t go into 14” which was directly responsible for his ninth victory at the competition.

Since then, and amid a backlash from Hindu religious leaders and worshipers, and most notably Mr. Sat Maharaj who was mentioned in the lyrics of the calypso, Dr. Liverpool has sought to clarify the song by explaining that the song was meant to be a warning to young girls who court relationships with older men.

What was not reiterated by Chalkdust however, was his further warning of the use of lubricants such as margarine on copybooks, and other such perversity, while citing persons such as Pythagoras, Copernicus, Archimedes and Sir Isaac Newton, all of whom have conveniently had the details of their private lives lost to history, due to the various depravities of their times.

As such, his song which was clear propaganda aimed at ridiculing the Hindu religion and its leadership, was ultimately rewarded with a cash prize of US$100,000, which is equivalent to TT$700,000.

Further to this, is the coinciding of the instant popularity of the song together with the imminent conclusion of the debate on Child Marriage in the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago. It is no secret that this issue was highly prioritized by the current PNM administration, who have even controversially bent the rules of the House so that the vote now requires a simple majority in order to ascend. This is especially punitive since the original amendment to decrease the age may have required that the George Chambers led administration secured a special majority vote.

The calypso art-form was built on the premise of satire and public awareness, but songs such as “Learn from Arithmetic” uses the opportunity to deliver a more deliberately inveracious message than was originally intended. As the nation has since been made aware, there is no recorded union between any persons aged at 14 and 75.

But as someone who turns 76 years old this year, Chalkdust should realize that a debate of this significance should be elevated beyond a single soundbite or melody, unless there is in fact a hidden meaning in the song that has escaped the understanding of its supporters.

Because in writing, and rewriting the lyrics to this calypso, the legendary Chalkdust has revealed himself to be quite familiar, not only with the subject matter, but also its intricate workings such as the type of greasing necessary for both sexual intercourse and winning a calypso monarch.”