Thursday, May 25, 2006

Born For Bad Luck


Boys I'm most done travellin', Lord I'm at my journey's end
B'lieve I'm most done travellin', Lord at my journey's end
Well I been lookin' for me a good partner, bad luck is my best friend

Lord I was born for bad luck, bad luck is everything I see
I was born for bad luck, bad luck is everything I see
Well I wonder why, bad luck keeps on follow me

There was thirteen children in my family, I was the last one born
Thirteen children in our family, I was the last one born
I was born on bad luck Friday, lord on the thirtheenth morn'

Play it Jim

Bad luck is just like my shadow, follow me everywhere I go
Bad luck is just like my shadow, follow me everywhere I go
Till they follow me one time, back to my best gal's door


-- Brownie McGhee, The Complete Brownie McGhee (Recorded 1940 Released )

I saw Brownie McGhee with the legendary blind harpsmen Sonny Terry at the Student Union of the then SUNY-B back in the early ‘80s. Since then, Sonny died. Well he was pretty old already then. Brownie moved on to play with other harpsmen (harmonica player).

I couldn’t quite get remember any song from that duo. I pick this one cause I believe it is also sang by the legendary guitar boogie bluesmen John Lee Hooker. This song of Brownie’s epitomise the sense of hopelessness within the former slave Black community.

After the emancipation of slaves by the decree of Lincoln, resulted in the American Civil War, life didn’t get any easier for the slaves. 


They continued to work on cotton farm and plantation of their former masters as lowly paid workers without any regard for their welfare. The harsh condition continues. 

Unconstitutional discriminatory laws, like Jim Crow law, continue to exist. Segregationist practices in school, public facilities and even church last for another century.

If you get to watch movies and documentaries on the 1950s in the US, you’d likely to come across scenes of a baseball game where the blacks are separated from the whites and signboard "No Blacks, Jews and Dog allowed" placed at public and private facilities. 


It took Dr Martin Luther King 1956 march in Alabama to remind that they are citizens with constitutional right to vote.

Aside from the illegal act, social and economic discriminatory practices by the dominant whites are near impossible to curtail. 


Today discriminatory practices prevail under the coverage of individual rights. That it is enough to say that its bad luck all the way I see. What much more should they bear for being black?

While writing this thoughts, I can’t help but compare with what is happening here. 


The discriminated here are the majority saved by the political numbers. Capital ownership remains with the minority and they continued to discriminate unabated and fail any attempt for social equality. 

And, talking of slaves, do we feel the same of the displaced lots in the plantation and the immigrant workers living a dreaded and endless work life.

The power of money and capitalism has usurped into mainstream media to ironically blame laws and policies for social equality as discriminatory, unproductive and inhuman.

With the power of money and valueless society today, even the powerful pious are no more incorruptible. You hear great cliche which effectively does not serve the lesser of society but for the interest of rising new power devoid with any sense of loyalty for the country. 


Who will champion the down-trodden ones? Who do we trust today? Who will have the heart in themselves?

It’s a hopeless feeling, ain’t it? Do you feel the blues? Heck man, its nightime …

Till they follow me one time, (I’m) back to my best gal's door.

A Voice
Kuala Lumpur
May 25th, 2006, 1.00 am

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