just a jibe: Delhi’s Athletes ‘Slum-dog’ village

[image from BBC]

Perhaps, those responsible for the ‘slum-dog’ conditions of the Athletes’ village intended for it to appeal as a set for a sequel to the similarly-titled movie.

Or perhaps they wanted to give the foreign athletes the 'star' treatment by giving them the opportunity to experience conditions not dissimilar to that experienced by the ‘stars’ in the film, ‘Slum-dog millionaire’.

Or perhaps, they thought that by thus inconveniencing foreign athletes they would stand a better chance of winning more medals than they did the last time round - given that the locals would be more accustomed to conditions reminiscent of the Trainspotting loo scene than most westerners.

Or perhaps, they’re just trying to bring to the attention of the world conditions the majority of the population of India has to put up with.

As my mum said at the outbreak of the SARS virus, the reason why few Indians, as opposed to Chinese, died from it was because Indians have to put up with far worse in India, and thus have pretty strong constitutions. My father, in his more irate moments, has often been heard to say in Tamil, ‘must line up the whole population of India in front of a firing squad.’ I bet my mum would be having a good laugh about this situation back in singapore.

I have to wonder though, if this problem would have arisen if the games were held in south India. However, i have no reason to think that it would or wouldn’t.

Puke-inspiring filth aside, I bet the Indians would be having quite a bit of fun poking fun at the mindset and culture that produces these problems. One thing i have to give to the Brits and Indians is their penchant for self-critique. I have seen many Indians and Brits criticizing their own histories, cultures, and peoples. Perhaps, that is why they are a pretty intelligent people. Self-critique is the most discomforting intellectual exercise. Being able to look at the details comprising one’s own identity and all that is supposed to give one ‘pride‘ and serve as a significant basis for one’s sense of self-efficacy critically enhances one’s ability to be logical and objective. It, as a result, renders the task of dissecting everything else a bit easier as it wouldn’t be as discomforting as self-critique.

That said, perhaps we need to rope in China to manage the construction and maintenance of the village, stadium, amongst others. I’m sure with their ‘do or suffer the firing squad’ attitude, scenes reminiscent of the aforementioned film would be appreciated as, ‘well, it’s just a movie’.


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