AS BAJAN AS FLYING FISH – Barbados is love
My name is Johann Crichlow and I am the marketing coordinator of a shopping mall.
I went to Westbury Primary, down by the Orleans. My father taught at St Leonard’s, so it was easy to pick up his kid from school.
At age 11, I represented Barbados as a Cub Scout at Cuboree in St Lucia in 1994. It was the first time I met someone who spoke another language. Someone from Martinique.
As a young boy, crazy about girls, you would learn words like, “Je t’aime”.
At Lodge School, I got involved in sports and music. I actually got to the United States, to South Carolina University, on a track and field scholarship.
My event is the long jump, even though I wasn’t the tallest on the squad. I was in the top eight in the East and top 25 in the US.
My furthest jump was just over 25 feet. I was consistently 7.4, 7.5 metres.
I can play the flute. I’m Cambridge-certified, up to grade four. I was in the Lodge School Ensemble. I could play in a tuk band, if it came down to it.
My whole family loves music from classical music all the way down. I have the name Johann, so that speaks for itself. I’m named after Johann Strauss and Johann Sebastian Bach.
As a young boy, I’d have liked to have heard a lot more reggae. My parents weren’t very strict disciplinarians. But it was their radio. So I heard a lot of classical music. But we did hear everything.
When I was a boy, radio was a lot more structure. You could just forget hearing calypso on a Sunday.
For years, I would like a song and not know what the person who sings it looks like. I like good music, whoever brings it.
Nowadays, people want to know the whole life story of the singer. I could care less. It was the music I went for.
I like Bob Marley. But my wedding song, if I get married, and if I get to choose it, not my wife, would be Kiss From A Rose by Seal.
My environment has always provided great teachers – and not necessarily academic teachers, but teachers in life. I’m not saying they were perfect but they had certain qualities that, as I grew up, I wanted to emulate.
I love to dance. Of course. I’m Bajan. I love a lady that can dance, too. I love to party.
I like hanging out with friends at one another’s houses after work. We’re getting a bit older now so we can actually reminisce.
I like beers. Heineken by choice. When it comes to local products, I like my Eclipse but I like pretty much any brown rum from Barbados.
I have many friends from other Caribbean countries in the United States, who, no matter how bad things get in America, will stay. I was missing home, so I came back. And here I am.
My job title is “marketing coordinator” but I’d say I do about 40 per cent marketing, 30 per cent operations and another 30 per cent admin.
My duties range from getting traffic into the mall, promotions, dealing with tenants, maintenance, security and construction issues, even. The face and branding of the mall falls under my jurisdiction.
The best thing about the job is meeting different people from all walks of life. I’m a people-person and that’s what makes life interesting to me.
There’s no bad thing about the job but there are hard days. Being in sports, I know what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.
This job has afforded me the opportunity to touch various aspects of a business and, as a budding entrepreneur, it’s given me the chance to learn running a business. Running an empire, even.
I’m happy for Muslims, Jews, Hindus. Similar to myself. That’s the way they were raised. They’ll get to heaven or wherever they believe they’ll find happiness. We can all get to the same place.
Whatever makes you happy, do it. Once you’re not hurting others.
At the moment, I’m single. For the first time in a long time. My parents have been married over 26 years. We don’t really have divorces, even in the extended family. So I expect a family to last, not to break up.
My dad is one of my biggest mentors.
I started wearing my hair in dreadlocks in the United States about three years ago. At first my mum wasn’t sure about it, like when I got my ears pierced or my first tattoo. But she knows who she raised, knows I wouldn’t make stupid decisions.
When you wear your hair in locks, you get to see who appreciates you for you.
People hear me on the phone and get one image of me, then see me and are kind of like, “Oh!”
You have to be that much smarter. People challenge you, because of your hairstyle: are you sure you can fit this position? And you have to be able to prove yourself.
I grew my locks overseas. They’re very much into culture and respect someone who isn’t afraid to show their culture. And then you come home and get so much more resistance in Barbados. That’s why I don’t keep a lot of hair on my face. I make sure to keep well groomed to respect people around me.
What I might find sensible, you might find completely outrageous.
Most things aren’t black and white. Most things are grey.
A Bajan is a happy person. Someone who enjoys life and lives in harmony. We don’t fuss about much, outside Crop-Over.
Barbados means love to me. It’s such a beautiful, caring place. I know times are changing but, still, by comparison, we don’t have it as bad.