edge

Explains a Lot

My name is Merlene Samlalsingh and my natural hair colour is finally in fashion.


I’m definitely from St Joseph Village, San Fernando, and pretty much grew up with the Kangaloos [the family which produced an acting Chief Justice, the late Wendell, and the last Senate President, Christine]. Wendell actually gave me math lessons when I was doing O’Levels. I was secretly in love with him. I had such a crush on him.
I come from a very small family: just my sister, Simone and me. But my father came from a family of 12 and my mother, eight! LOTS of cousins on both sides!
I was raised Catholic, made my First Communion, did confirmation, all of the above, but just don’t have any connection with the Church. When you look at history, they’ve sort of gone away from the teachings of Christ.

I believe in God. Sometimes. I hedge my bets. I’m like, okay, God, just in case you are there… But, seriously, I don’t think there could be a higher entity that created
the universe in seven days and can intervene to give you good weather for the cricket.


I do believe in karma, that if you’re a really crappy person, it will come back to bite you in some form, at some time.
So I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. But I don’t think that I have a soul that, after this life, is going to float around somewhere.

My mother always said my sister and I fought a lot, physically, when we were growing up — I usually won — because we were so different. I preferred to sit and read, and she always wanted to be doing stuff. But, when I went to boarding school, my sister decided she was coming along, and we got closer at Ursuline Convent, in Kent. An all-girls school. I had an all-girls education right up until I was in my 20s. That explains a lot.

I started university but dropped out. I LOVE learning — but I hated the school environment at every stage. I freeze up in exams. I hate people who can lime for 11 months and then ace their exams in a month. It’s not fair. I was very lucky to have a family business to fall back on.

The hardest thing about working in a family business is being unable to turn work off when you leave work. On weekends, over Sunday lunch, family dinners, you’re constantly talking business. You can’t leave work arguments at work and go home to rest, because the people from work are all there!

I did it for quite some time but, honestly, I wouldn’t recommend to anyone to work in a family business. It becomes difficult to accept another corporate culture. I don’t think I could EVER work for anybody but myself. Working for my dad, I wasn’t, in essence, working for a boss.

My relationship with my father got much better after I left the family business and since I’m not living in Trinidad. He’s 84 now and still working six days a week and it’s nice to be able to have conversations that don’t involve business.

I moved to Barbados about six years ago and sort of retired. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I took a little break. Now, I’m in a company with a good friend, selling biodegradable food containers made from sugarcane bagasse.

Trinidad is an odd place. And it’s getting odder.

Trinidad is one of the world’s most interesting places and I love it’s diversity, culture, topography, everything. But I’ve always felt I wouldn’t live in Trinidad for my entire life, because I’ve always wanted “island” life and Trinidad is not really “an island”. It’s more like a small part of South America. Barbados really is an island, really is more relaxed, really has an island lifestyle. But it also has great restaurants and a multiplex cinema. And you’re not constantly looking over your shoulder.

Now that I live out of Trinidad, when I go back, I see things people who live there everyday don’t see, because it’s “normal” for them. The crime, the way people drive, how they interact with and talk to each other…That’s now “normal” for Trinidadians.
I suppose I could have gone to live in Tobago, to get that “island life”. But that would be too much of an island life. Watching people I know who moved to Tobago, you become a hermit over the years, almost. I didn’t want that to happen to me.

In Barbados, you walk into any place and everyone says, “Good morning”. In Trinidad, they just don’t do that any more.

People in Barbados are more respecting of rules and laws, even traffic laws. If you overtake a line of cars, the other drivers glare at you, like, “You rule breaker! You must be a Trini!”

Apart from horse racing, which was because of my dad, I have never been into sports. I started playing squash when I moved to Barbados. It is NOT hard on the knees. Not the way I play it!

I started going to races with my dad when I was nine. One time, one of his horses won the Easter Guineas, and I got drunk. The trophy was a big silver cup and they filled it with bottles and bottles of champagne. Another ten-year-old friend and myself managed to get the cup away and decided to drink all of it. It was a bad drunk, champagne, but it was a lot of fun. That explains a lot.

I go to cricket at the Queen’s Park Oval. But for the lime, not the cricket.

Since I moved to Barbados, stress has totally gone out of my life.

I love that there’s a drive-in in Barbados. When I was a child, we had Twilight right next to where we lived.

I live in the Bajan countryside and, every day, walk the dogs in the canefields with my friend Karen. My father thinks it’s nuts — two women walking dogs in canefields for hours by themselves! But you don’t feel threatened in any way when you see a man coming your way. The most that might happen is, we bounce up someone exercising a horse from one of the nearby farms and they say, “Good morning! How you going?” And we pass them and go on.
As a woman in Barbados, you go to a beach alone and there’s nobody else on the beach, and you go, yessss! In Trinidad, three women go to a beach and there’s no one there and they run back to the car! We not staying HERE! They go driving until they find a beach that has people!
I haven’t played mas in 15 years. Because Minshall stopped bringing a mas. I was never into bikini mas but Minshall was right up my alley. That explains a lot.

People have always asked why I never dyed it, but my hair colour never bothered me. I was born with small boobs. I had to accept me for me from a young age.

I started greying when I was about 19. It was just a little salt-and-pepper happening. I liked how it looked. In my 20s and 30s, every person would say, “Dye your hair! It makes you look so old!” I guess I’ve now aged into my hair because everyone is saying, “Wow, your hair is fabulous! What a statement!” Fashion goes around, if you wait long enough, and it’s finally gone around long enough to meet me.

People ask me if I colour my hair. I ask them, “How could anyone possibly get hair this colour in a bottle?” It’s not possible. I don’t know if it’s more white than silver.

A Trini is one of the happiest people on this planet. But maybe for the wrong reasons.

Right now, Trinidad and Tobago does not mean a whole lot to me. I feel like I’m actually losing my connection to Trinidad. Well, at least to the Trinidad that is. I’m more connected to the Trinidad that was. I don’t think I need to explain that but it hurts my heart to say it.

Explains a Lot

My name is Merlene Samlalsingh and my natural hair colour is finally in fashion.


I’m definitely from St Joseph Village, San Fernando, and pretty much grew up with the Kangaloos [the family which produced an acting Chief Justice, the late Wendell, and the last Senate President, Christine]. Wendell actually gave me math lessons when I was doing O’Levels. I was secretly in love with him. I had such a crush on him.
I come from a very small family: just my sister, Simone and me. But my father came from a family of 12 and my mother, eight! LOTS of cousins on both sides!
I was raised Catholic, made my First Communion, did confirmation, all of the above, but just don’t have any connection with the Church. When you look at history, they’ve sort of gone away from the teachings of Christ.

I believe in God. Sometimes. I hedge my bets. I’m like, okay, God, just in case you are there… But, seriously, I don’t think there could be a higher entity that created
the universe in seven days and can intervene to give you good weather for the cricket.


I do believe in karma, that if you’re a really crappy person, it will come back to bite you in some form, at some time.
So I try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. But I don’t think that I have a soul that, after this life, is going to float around somewhere.

My mother always said my sister and I fought a lot, physically, when we were growing up — I usually won — because we were so different. I preferred to sit and read, and she always wanted to be doing stuff. But, when I went to boarding school, my sister decided she was coming along, and we got closer at Ursuline Convent, in Kent. An all-girls school. I had an all-girls education right up until I was in my 20s. That explains a lot.

I started university but dropped out. I LOVE learning — but I hated the school environment at every stage. I freeze up in exams. I hate people who can lime for 11 months and then ace their exams in a month. It’s not fair. I was very lucky to have a family business to fall back on.

The hardest thing about working in a family business is being unable to turn work off when you leave work. On weekends, over Sunday lunch, family dinners, you’re constantly talking business. You can’t leave work arguments at work and go home to rest, because the people from work are all there!

I did it for quite some time but, honestly, I wouldn’t recommend to anyone to work in a family business. It becomes difficult to accept another corporate culture. I don’t think I could EVER work for anybody but myself. Working for my dad, I wasn’t, in essence, working for a boss.

My relationship with my father got much better after I left the family business and since I’m not living in Trinidad. He’s 84 now and still working six days a week and it’s nice to be able to have conversations that don’t involve business.

I moved to Barbados about six years ago and sort of retired. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I took a little break. Now, I’m in a company with a good friend, selling biodegradable food containers made from sugarcane bagasse.

Trinidad is an odd place. And it’s getting odder.

Trinidad is one of the world’s most interesting places and I love it’s diversity, culture, topography, everything. But I’ve always felt I wouldn’t live in Trinidad for my entire life, because I’ve always wanted “island” life and Trinidad is not really “an island”. It’s more like a small part of South America. Barbados really is an island, really is more relaxed, really has an island lifestyle. But it also has great restaurants and a multiplex cinema. And you’re not constantly looking over your shoulder.

Now that I live out of Trinidad, when I go back, I see things people who live there everyday don’t see, because it’s “normal” for them. The crime, the way people drive, how they interact with and talk to each other…That’s now “normal” for Trinidadians.
I suppose I could have gone to live in Tobago, to get that “island life”. But that would be too much of an island life. Watching people I know who moved to Tobago, you become a hermit over the years, almost. I didn’t want that to happen to me.

In Barbados, you walk into any place and everyone says, “Good morning”. In Trinidad, they just don’t do that any more.

People in Barbados are more respecting of rules and laws, even traffic laws. If you overtake a line of cars, the other drivers glare at you, like, “You rule breaker! You must be a Trini!”

Apart from horse racing, which was because of my dad, I have never been into sports. I started playing squash when I moved to Barbados. It is NOT hard on the knees. Not the way I play it!

I started going to races with my dad when I was nine. One time, one of his horses won the Easter Guineas, and I got drunk. The trophy was a big silver cup and they filled it with bottles and bottles of champagne. Another ten-year-old friend and myself managed to get the cup away and decided to drink all of it. It was a bad drunk, champagne, but it was a lot of fun. That explains a lot.

I go to cricket at the Queen’s Park Oval. But for the lime, not the cricket.

Since I moved to Barbados, stress has totally gone out of my life.

I love that there’s a drive-in in Barbados. When I was a child, we had Twilight right next to where we lived.

I live in the Bajan countryside and, every day, walk the dogs in the canefields with my friend Karen. My father thinks it’s nuts — two women walking dogs in canefields for hours by themselves! But you don’t feel threatened in any way when you see a man coming your way. The most that might happen is, we bounce up someone exercising a horse from one of the nearby farms and they say, “Good morning! How you going?” And we pass them and go on.
As a woman in Barbados, you go to a beach alone and there’s nobody else on the beach, and you go, yessss! In Trinidad, three women go to a beach and there’s no one there and they run back to the car! We not staying HERE! They go driving until they find a beach that has people!
I haven’t played mas in 15 years. Because Minshall stopped bringing a mas. I was never into bikini mas but Minshall was right up my alley. That explains a lot.

People have always asked why I never dyed it, but my hair colour never bothered me. I was born with small boobs. I had to accept me for me from a young age.

I started greying when I was about 19. It was just a little salt-and-pepper happening. I liked how it looked. In my 20s and 30s, every person would say, “Dye your hair! It makes you look so old!” I guess I’ve now aged into my hair because everyone is saying, “Wow, your hair is fabulous! What a statement!” Fashion goes around, if you wait long enough, and it’s finally gone around long enough to meet me.

People ask me if I colour my hair. I ask them, “How could anyone possibly get hair this colour in a bottle?” It’s not possible. I don’t know if it’s more white than silver.

A Trini is one of the happiest people on this planet. But maybe for the wrong reasons.

Right now, Trinidad and Tobago does not mean a whole lot to me. I feel like I’m actually losing my connection to Trinidad. Well, at least to the Trinidad that is. I’m more connected to the Trinidad that was. I don’t think I need to explain that but it hurts my heart to say it.