Saturday, April 6, 2013

Histeria Colectiva

It's just another day in paradise when everyone gets worked up over *something* again. I mean, really. They say life on this island is chilled out but we need something to be collectively indignant at every now and then right? So I've decided to come up with a helpful list of things people are butthurt about and how to be less butthurt about these things. Yay!

The Sinhala Buddhists

Oh my. You guys are my favourites, maybe because I'm supposed to be one of you? You're 70% of the population, have held power since the "great revolution of 1956", but still have to put up with bad roads, bad education, contaminated medicine, corrupt politicians, and your daughters getting groped on the bus.

Butthurt Claim #1: Nobody Respects Meeeee!

This has been circulating over email recently too. If you ever find out a blog carrying said email, please link in the comments. Email is titled "Sinhalayage Hinamanaya" and is supposed to written by the JHU's Udaya Gammanpila. It is spot on in many regards.

The Sinhalese don't respect their culture, their language or their heritage. No, getting worked up when someone invades your cave temples isn't real respect. Girls think it's cool to speak in broken, accented Sinhala. Say a few words of English and you're the man. Are we really this bankrupt?

See, we used to have a lively, beautiful cultural scene going on. Then the JVP and the Government death mobs colluded to kill and destroy everyone and everything. Sinhala cinema is dead. Our greatest authors and songwriters are dead. Will there ever be another Premakeerthi De Alwis? Highly doubt it. Why?

Butthurt Claim #2: Our Education System Sucks!

Who runs your education system again? Oh right, the most incompetent government ever! Well done.

See, when Ceylon was still a colony, the Brits introduced missionary education to Sri Lanka. To get somewhere in life, and enter for example the prestigious civil service, one had to pass through one of these centres of Christian learning. This left the Sinhalese Buddhists out of good schools and good jobs. A lot of kids entering these institutions were pretty much forced to embrace Christianity.

And then a Buddhist revival of sorts happened. Henry Steel Olcott (the less I speak of his influences on Buddhism, the better) founded a number of Buddhist centres of education: Ananda, Mahinda, Dharmaraja etc. Piriven (institutes for monastic education for monks) such as Vidyodya and Vidyalankara flourished.

Then independence happened, the Sinhalese Buddhists had their people in government, and decided that the government was going to look after these institutions. And we know how that goes, right? Today Vidyodya and Vidyalankara are normal civilian universities and monks often follow normal degree programmes. This has led to a deterioration of the monastic standards of this country. The prestigious Buddhist schools are often battlegrounds between old boys seeking to preserve their status and traditions, and government appointed Principles and other administrative officers trying to enforce their will. Who stands to lose from this other than the Sinhalese Buddhist?

Butthurt Claim #3: We're Losing Our Majority

When half your kids are in Melbourne and don't intend on returning: of course you are. Fix your damn country!

Butthurt Claim #4:  They're RAPING MY DAUGHTER!

From Sinfest
There was a saying in old times that a girl dressed in ornaments and carrying a large gemstone in her hands could walk from one corner of the island to the other in the middle of the night and just arrive at the destination safely.

I mentioned Olcott up there. Look, the importation of puritan Victorian values has fucked up our moral compass. It didn't matter how long a girl's dress was, or even if she was topless.

"Still Not Asking For It"
The birth of a girl was celebrated. Unmarried girls had a share of their parents' inheritance equal to what a boy would get. Women were not property. Women *held* property. What happened?

Butthurt Claim #5: I'm Offended 

From Akon, to Buddha Bar, to tattoos. You guys are indignant at the slightest of things. It's like you're trying to emulate somebod... oh wait.

Look, nobody is obligated to tiptoe around your religious beliefs so as not to offend you. That's NOT how the world works. To quote Rowan Atkinson (widely known here for playing Mr. Bean):
To criticize a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous, but to criticize their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom. The freedom to criticize ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society. A law which attempts to say you can criticize and ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed.
If the Buddha flipped out every time someone tried to offend him, he would never have gotten around to preaching the Dhamma. Similarly, if you flip out every time someone "offends" your beliefs, you will never have time to practice the Dhamma. If you want to reply, reply with respect and loving kindness. Or just plain ignore it if they're just taunting you. Your actions in self-restraint and kindness speak more for the Dhamma than your words of defence ever will.

Think about it. What's more insulting to Buddhism? A tattoo of the Buddha or this:

Image from here

So, I think I'm done here. I could go on and on and on, but Ain't Nobody Got Time For That. Originally planned to cover the Muslims as well, but yeah. No. So for balance I'll finish with a joke:

A Muslim DIDN'T randomly get offended over something. 

There. Pitchforks are in the first room on the left. You can light up your torches in the kitchen. :P