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The mob mentality

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Well, we are used to hearing Bhutanese spectators, comforted by the refuge the crowd provides, often name-calling and identifying players on the field with their physical imperfections.

Players on the football field would rather be anything but bald, or dark complexioned, two stark attributes that Bhutanese cannot not refrain from bursting out with lurid remarks.

That becomes worse, as evident from the many matches of the King’s Cup that ended yesterday, when the match up is between a local team and that of another nation’s.

Fortunately, it was abated by the euphoric holler the entire Changlimithang stadium reverberated with, some of the comments some local spectators passed against players from countries within the region were racial slurs.

Comments that can be tried in the courts of law by international norms were further encouraged or contagiously picked up by those next to the person passing them.

Indeed, the spectacle the Cup provided can be viewed as a platform that united many Bhutanese in the capital city, the melting pot of people from all parts of the country, following a rather disturbing and divisive election, the embers of which still lurk.

It was about national teams playing against several other teams from countries within the region, and naturally it kindles patriotic sentiments that bring the people together, united by one goal to keep the Cup within the country.

Thanks to the international participants and from diverse cultural backgrounds that they were targets of all pent up frustrations that local spectators blurted out without giving any thought to what they actually meant.

But spiteful on our part to have called players from various parts of the region various racist names, the very people, in the form of adversaries in a match, who helped us forget differences within and roused this flag-waving moment in us.

Perhaps, it resides in many of us, especially urbanites and, gauging from posts and comments on the social networking sites, feeling secure under anonymity and various sobriquets, as we would in the crowd, make blistering personal remarks.

Posts and comments online also show how we take umbrage at the remarks other might make against us.

Although many participants at the Mountain Echoes, which concluded around the same time as the King’s Cup, eulogised the country for being a model in many ways, perhaps such compliments are overrated.

We need to resign from the material pursuits for a while and delve into the teachings of Buddhism to relearn the attributes of humility.

2 Comments to “The mob mentality”
  1. Current | August 12th, 2013 at 20:45:02

    Certain sections of the Bhutanese society got Racial mentally. one has to accept this fact cos it exists around all part of the world and in every society.
    i was there in the crowd for all matches there were individuals in the spectators passing abusive racial comment as loud as one could.

    with all those, i just wonder if GNH philosophy is actually reaching to every individual in our own society. it was embarrassing as bhutanese citizen.

  2. irfan | August 12th, 2013 at 16:30:01

    Not that all get away with being unnoticed. A discussion that I once had with a few internee from Yale University working with a Bhutanese NGO had a similar conclusion. One can’t buy values in life. It may sound old fashioned, but one needs to work hard to create values in life, and these are purely non material values of life. Realization simply happens, you don’t try to purchase it with some dollars. One disadvantage with this urbanization or just call it physical modernization is that, it brings an illogical sense of ownership, minus genuine patriotism, that results in a master-slave public behaviour. The moment, one smells some foreign tourist hanging around, the pirate from the Caribbean comes alive in us. For many Bhutanese, idea of India is limited to certain area touching its borders and I have made many Indian tourists sharing their pathetic experience in Bhutan, that too in the capital. It’s true that Bhutan has a very interesting history of being independent, but the feel of independence from our senses will only cultivate ignorant happiness. It was not dead past, when I saw Indian workers lining up bare footed to get their passes at the immigration offices. Good to see that things have changed now. Probably it’s time for us to learn that in Asia, you can’t dig for an Europe and yet, you find at least 20 Switzerlands in Himalayan range. How many of us has seen a Switzerland dressed like Bhutan? Preserving a culture is fine, but projecting one comes from a mutual respect for other cultures, something that the country has not yet learnt and that’s a shame for all who understands and have studied Buddhist philosophy…whether it’s Sakyamuni Buddha or Buddha Amitabha, it doesn’t matter and of course, there is Guru Padma Sambhava. And these are only my personal views for those who believe, rest need not bother.

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