Sunday, April 16, 2006

I ♥ BBC News (most of the time)

Listening to: 'Better Together' by Jack Johnson [In Between Dreams]

Nothing to do with me this time. I've been visiting the BBC World News site quite a bit recently...possibly my only link to the outside world while being stuck in revision mode. Along with the slightly bizarre articles about ear wax removal in Japan and lawsuits over Easter bunny rights, a few more relevant articles have caught my eye. In keeping with the tradition of ranting whenever something stirs me, I shall comment on these articles.

Violence over Indian star's death

So what's this we read about from the land of Mahatma Gandhi? One of South India's most celebrated actors has passed away peacefully (or as peacefully as a cardiac arrest would allow) at the age of 77. So what do a handful of his fans do? They set buses and cars alight and stone offices in Bangalore, because...erm...erm...(I can't think of a good reason, can you?)

While I can understand (but not condone) the violence following cancellation of the England v. India match in Guwahati, I can't find any sense in the violence following Rajkumar's passing.

It's a shame that countrymen of the greatest advocate of nonviolence in recent times cannot follow his example.

Moral police hit Mumbai nightlife

I know it seems like I'm picking on Mother Lanka's big sister, but she seems to be asking for it. Now personally, I have no opinion on dancing girls. If they're making what they consider to be an 'honest' living, then that's fine by me. Exploitation of women is an issue, but if those being *exploited* don't mind, I don't think there's anything that can be done about it. You can't force anyone to drop their career without giving them a viable alternative.

What irritates me when reading the above article is the attitude of the stereotypical upper class, which seems to be quite similar in India and Sri Lanka. The article mentions 'regular party-goers' who are seemingly distressed by the thought of having to leave a nightclub at 1.30am instead of 4.30am (hmm...wonder what time they were planning on sleeping). Now I'm not averse to clubbing, and I have been quite a few times and have enjoyed myself thoroughly. However, if a club's going to close a few hours earlier than before, it doesn't bother me.
The way I see it, a club closing early means I'd save some money that would otherwise be spent on least I'd think that way if I did drink.

In my limited experience, these 'regular party-goers' are less the hard-working individuals who like to enjoy an occasional night out with their friends, and more the socialites of the land who live off inherited wealth. Is there nothing in these people's lives other than flashing their money around and partying? Is this a time to be partying? We come from countries where over half of our population spends the night worrying where the next day's meals are going to come from. Sometimes I think the stereotypical upper classes aren't a part of our countries. They live in Cuckoo Land where everything you want can be bought and that's it. No poverty, no sadness, no suffering, no reality.

Now I'm not saying that we should all leave our comfortable lives and go and feed the poor. Not all of us can be humanitarians, and if we tried, our social structure would collapse. BUT, while as upper or upper-middle class citizens we are able to enjoy a certain level of comfort, I don't think we're entitled to grumble about things that aren't necessary. Your world is not going to end because you have four pairs of designer jeans instead of five. The sky isn't going to fall down because you couldn't go to the *party of the century* (or at least 'party of the century' until next week's party). In the words of Lord Buddha, Anicca vata sankhara - all is impermanent.

Hopefully the blindness of the stereotypical upper classes is impermanent too.

n.b.: I have used the term 'stereotypical' when generalising about upper class behaviour. I acknowledge that quite a few members of the upper classes do realise the situation in their homeland and don't let their wealth and social status go to their heads, and that it's only a prominent few who give the upper classes a bad name.


  1. Hey there Rambling Altruist! How's the view from up there on the moral highground? :P

  2. Guess I'm equally addicted to blogs! so sad!!

    The shallow people will always remain shallow, its not worth wasting your breath talking about the lack of perspective with some people. They just live in different worlds..

    Speaking of BBC news, read it at work today and honestly felt nauseous when I read an article title about how Tom Cruise wants to eat his Baby's planceta!! How disgusting! they should really put a warning before headings like that. gross


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