Pascal Antoine was the man who introduced me to the internet back on 1997! I remember the day well. It was at his apartment in Brooklyn where he, um, loaned me a copy of Teach Yourself HTML 4 which I used to, well, teach myself HTML 4, design my own websites and become the man I am today! (Yes, Pascal, it was a loan. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it! I’ll return it soon!)
Pascal Antoine is the myth, who as “CoolP” was getting tens of thousands of hits to his FreshFinesse.com website back in 1996, when AOL was dial-up, and Mark Zuckerberg was 12 years old.
Pascal Antoine is the legend, who as Rapper “Antoine” was featured on BET (um, that was on my record label), and on whose light and funny video for “canufeelit” I made a cameo appearance.
Pascal Antoine is the French-born force for social change who is now founder of the immensely popular HaitXchange.com website, and who uses his considerable technical skills and videographer’s eye to reveal a different side of Haiti for the benefit of residents, expats and the world at large. He even arranges tours to show Haiti to tourists, business prospects and anyone interested in seeing the world through a different lens.
Yesterday, we had lunch at Vegetarian Paradise Two (Yes, Vina, I’m still here), and then hung out in a Starbucks at Union Square where, once again, he’s bringing me (kicking and screaming this time) into the 21st Century with ipads and iphones, and other technology and platforms I’ll be using during my next China excursion. Yes, I’m now seriously considering actually getting a smartphone to replace my camera! I resisted it, but after Pascal blogged about our meeting right from Starbucks (scooping me by a few hours), and responded to emails with voice commands, who knows, Siri might actually become my new best friend!
The man, the myth, the technology maven! Photo by iphone
The man, the myth, the technology maven! Photo by digital camera
“Once upon a time, there was a Jamaican civil engineer living in New York who hated his job, followed his passion, started a sideline business publishing his own books, made enough money to quit his job, escaped the rat race, ran off to a tropical island in the Pacific, and started a tourism business so he could give tours of the island to pretty girls every day….and live a nomadpreneur’s dream life.”
Saipan will always have a special place in my heart and soul for one simple reason: the CNMI was the first country that I consciously deliberately CHOSE to live as a self-aware human being.
Through a fortunate “accident” of birth, I landed in Jamaica, West Indies. And while I’m eternally thankful I did, I didn’t choose to be there (not consciously anyway).
When my parents emigrated to the US mainland, I wasn’t part of that decision-making process either.
But, Saipan! Ahhh, yes Saipan! I ended up here, motivated by the pursuit of my own definition of happiness. I didn’t come here for a job. I didn’t come here for family. I came here simply for freedom and happiness.
And to share that happiness, beginning in 2006, I started writing for the Saipan Tribune, did a few “saipanpreneur” workshops, gave a few tours to visiting tourists, and, beginning with WELOVESAIPAN.com, started a bunch of websites all of which you can view at BestofSaipan.com
Six years later, people are still discovering Saipan through those sites….which brings me to my request:
I’ve just revamped the WELOVESAIPAN site, but I need some new faces and stories to post on the site since a few of the currently featured residents have moved on. I’d especially like to hear from and feature those individuals who are currently active in bringing about change in the CNMI! (don’t be shy, you and I know who you are, and this is a good way to speak out and take control of Saipan’s image on a popular site that people find through Google)
If you’re a current–or even past–resident who’s coming back (and I’m hearing from a few), check out the new format of WeLoveSaipan.com. Email me with a testimonial of why you (still) love Saipan, and attach or link me to a photo you’d like to use! It’s that simple, but it will make a powerful public, and global statement!
Let me get you started: “It’s because I DO STILL love Saipan and want it to maintain its beauty, as well as evolve and prosper that I do what I do….”
That’s all well and good, and the little tune he’s playing is nice. But, there’s no future in this. It is incumbent upon us as parents NOT to let our children be distracted by such trivial and impractical pursuits while we mold them into the little corporate cogs, bureaucracy builders and factory fodder they must one day become. It’s the only way.”
—Walt F.J. Goodridge,The Jamaican in China and… author of