“With its estimated 90 percent middle and upper-middle class, the exurb is a prime target for exploitation by advertisers— in the form of magazines and mailbox flyers.”
Gulf View was developed in the mid-1970s to cater to a need for exclusive housing developments for the flourishing middle-class amid the island’s burgeoning oil economy. Its well-defined boundaries—the Western coastline, South Trunk Road to the East, Gulf View Link Road and the popular Gulf City mall to the North, and to the South, Bamboo Main Road—conspire to make the exurb an insulated neighbourhood.
The middle class of the 70s and 80s—middleaged public servants and semi-professionals with requisite collateral for housing loans and a slightly younger generation with permanent jobs and borrowing power or family inheritance—were among the first residents of Gulf View—along with a cadre of businessmen who occupied designated sections and prime locations in the development.
The evolving state of the national economy—which had experienced periods of exorbitant growth due to increased global oil and gas prices, rendered the socioeconomic climate of the country in a perpetual state of flux. As such, the social strata—which had remained relatively stable until the new millennium— suffered a reshuffling of sorts, and some thirty years later, the middle class was thrust into a precarious existence in a superficial, askew economy which saw an astronomical increase in real-estate value.
Some of the earlier residents opted to sell their property to the new money-class- elites and the evolution of Gulf View began. So, too, our story, “Gulf View: The Dark Side of the Moon,” a sad commentary on the pretentious life and the people who live it.
If the ethos of a community reflects the people who live there, then Gulf View is a soulless, staid, and disintegrated community, with no deep social and cultural history. Its history is intrinsically linked to San Fernando. Many an old-timer remembers the area as a swampy wasteland with coconut trees and mangrove and a crab-catchers’ haven.
Gulf View is intensely fragmented with pockets of cliques and individuals with no social ties to the neighbourhood. The socioeconomic class divisions is overtly visible—and finding common ground for the purpose of enhancing community spirit is a futile mission.
Luckily, Gulf View does have in its midst, a smidgen of unassuming residents—a precious “one percent”—not to be confused with the island’s infamous clique. The Gulf View “one percent” are residents of varying social and economic backgrounds who lives are guided by basic moral principles including— respect and consideration for one’s neighbours. They, more than the ostensible churchgoers, provide the morality factor which adds balance and tolerance to an otherwise grim environment.
With its estimated 90 percent middle and upper-middle class, the exurb is a prime target for exploitation by advertisers— in the form of magazines and mailbox flyers. It’s not hard to discern advertisement-based and content-based publications and the sincerity of those claiming to promote community spirit.
Even the now-defunct Residents’ Association had been accused of having ulterior motives and exploiting the residents. As such, any stated effort to promote community spirit would be met with skepticism, more so, magazines and publications replete with ads.
“Gulf View: The Dark Side of the Moon,” is written from the perspective of a “detached” dweller— playing devil’s advocate.
The readership consists of five persons with an expected target of seven by year’s end.