The Asians of Lesser Gods
On an illegitimate comparison of the Asian entire races by a racist
Anytime you see someone more successful than you are, they are doing something you aren’t.
After the Chinese invented gunpowder in the 9th century, it took another six hundred years to reach the then Asiatic kingdom of Manipur, formerly known by several other non-Sanskritised names. If we talk about nomenclature, China was known by different names throughout its long and rich history: Chixian Shenzhou is considered to be the oldest; then it was also called Hua and Xia in different times. On the other hand, for Manipur, we also have, amongst others, Kangleipak, Tillikoktong and Poireilam. At first glance, this might look like a comparison of greatness of this province, now in the Union of India, with China, but the intention is just the opposite.
The purpose is to see some of the basic differences between the various Asians: some of them like the Chinese, Southern Koreans and Japanese are living, competing and excelling in the global level while others like the Burmese, Laotians and Cambodians are just tagging along in this supposedly globalised world. Here, we cannot insert India even if it boasts of a chiefly Mongoloid territory called the Northeast. As a matter of fact, we cannot refer to India because of several reasons: it is under the supremacy of people with pointed noses and big eyes; it is South Asia while the NE is pretty much a part of Southeast Asia if we consider the geographical, cultural, historical and other factors. Who did the cartographical crime, it’s never clear, as obvious from the armed struggle between the Union of India and resistance led by the elites of groups residing in the NE—but what’s clear is that we have been putting up with these geographical felony.
This is quite a tragedy for the people in the Northeast. It is too ‘west’ to be Southeast Asia while it is too ‘east’ and different for India to represent it. What’s more, the people does not matter in mainstream politics and socioeconomic issues—what matters is just the territory, as a frontier with people who it can wage a secret war and still go to world forums to declare itself as the largest democracy, while never admitting it is just sheer population that makes it the number one democracy. No surprise, democracy is just about numbers while other elements, such as one people’s fight for a life of dignity are just a sideshow.
Coming back to the topic, the Chinese are known for their innovations and inventions regardless of the scorn for its low-quality shits. They can also exert their identity and power merely from its cuisines (烹饪). To cite another example, its alternative medicines are quite a hit across the world. What do we have?—we don’t even have the sovereignty that defines us a particular people while—leave alone the political positions. In this context, kangsoi and iromba are too bland to make a mark.
Next on the list are the Japanese, who are famous equally for their electronics and high technology as well as for their traditional values. Let’s not start with their Maglev trains and mangas (漫画). We can safely assume that they know where they came from and where they are heading to. Juxtapose this with the condition of one of the Manipuris’ neighbours: the ethnic groups of Burmese that are occupied with nothing but fighting against unjust and high-handed authority and social decadence arising out of multiple issues ranging from unabated conflicts to drug smuggling. By the way, it is still too early to talk about its democratic transformation.
Likewise, to put it directly, the Southern Koreans are famous for their pop culture as much as they are in technological advancement. If you want a plastic surgery; wait no further but just fly to Seoul. If you can afford such a surgery, it is hoped that you can as well book a flight ticket. For everything that they have not done or illogical to do, others are making it up for them—and more significantly, so perfectly. To understand this phenomenon, consider the youth in the Imphal valley. Inspired by Arirang (아리랑) and obsessed with global consumerism trends, these young fellows look more like Korean paupers who need to register for financial support from the Welfare Ministry.
Referring to other more developed Southeast Asian people will only made these statements lengthy. Overall, these matters remind us of Winston Churchill’s quip that attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
Unfortunately, our attitude is fashioned by our dependency on others, as evident from that of the government of Manipur, which survives on grants and alms from the Union. The comparison is not fair but we cannot ignore the fact the Asians are markedly differentiated into two groups: one of the victors and the other of the vanquished, but not necessarily being the antagonists; plus one of the success and the other of the utter failure. The inequality is louder than gunshots, apparently which the Chinese had invented an eternity ago. Knowing the difference can be of some help to amend the qualities of the Asians of lesser gods in this part of the world.
Irom Sharmila breaks fast with honey
9 Aug 2016, Imphal: Irom Sharmila has ended her hunger strike against the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act today after sixteen long years of nose-feeding and controversies and bricks and bouquets and Desmond and countless narratives. There will always be support for her—her adherents are spread all over the world but the issue is more important than the personality. The ideas will live on even if she disappears into the maze of electoral politics and gets carried away by the deceit of the establishment—or into a quiet married life that she has been planning to with a strange hobo. Incidentally, India has shown us that there is no space for peaceful protest. Let a hundred military democracies bloom; let a hundred schools of gunmen and armymen and rebels contend!