What If

Members of the Sri Lankan camp in Australia for the CB series were the target of verbal abuse and had eggs thrown at them on Thursday night in Hobart. Muttiah Muralitharan and a team selector were part of a group walking from a restaurant to the team hotel and the selector was hit on the back by an egg. As a result, the Sri Lankan board has asked Cricket Australia (CA) to tighten security around the team.”Muralitharan, along with one of the selectors and the team masseur, were walking on the street in Hobart when suddenly from nowhere a car passed them and the guy starts abusing,” a source close to the team confirmed to Cricinfo. “He then came back a few more times and repeated this and suddenly he started throwing eggs in their direction. One landed on the back of the selector.


Now here is what I think will happen after this.

1. The Sri Lankan team will barricade themselves in their hotel and tell their tour manager that they are very afraid for their safety and wish to call off the tour.

2. The Sri Lankan press will pressurize their board to not let the financial clout of the Australians silence the player’s genuine concern for their security.

One of them will write : ” How long will the greedy Sri Lankan board barter racist humiliation for rupees?It’s not just a question of some fans behaving atrociously but the persistence of a culture of racial intimidation where , not long ago an Australian “legend” called a Sri Lankan player a “black monkey” without any censure?”

Another will fulminate :” If calling Symonds a monkey in Mumbai was a national shame for India, how does a physical attack perpetrated on persons, based solely on the color of their skin, rank on that scale of ignominy?”

3. The Sri Lankan government will announce that they are sending a high-powered team of security officials to check whether Australian security arrangements are adequate. Only after their report will the tour continue.

4. Quackinfo, a cricket-themed website based in Perth, will have an article on their front page saying that the Australians are the most racist people in the world and it’s time they opened their eyes to this. Other writers for Quackinfo will be approached by newspapers like “Gaand”-ian of the UK to write for their blog platform and outlets like We Pee See will immediately do a show on the White Australia policy, a “whites only” immigration policy Australia had as late as 1973.

You don’t think that these sequence of events will play themselves out?

To be honest, neither do I.

But what if Sri Lanka was Australia and Australia was…

What if?

34 thoughts on “What If

  1. Murlidharan deserves that treatment for his chucking. He is a tru liar.

    Frankly speaking, Sri Lankans look very ugly and that is why I don’t see their matches. I think they should wear masks while playing on field.

  2. He he, i am the first one also the second one to comment.

  3. quackinfo? 🙂 you should read their sister publication crackinfo.

    @ kishor

    enlightened comments as usual.

  4. true, very true …

  5. Very interesting perspective. In fact I was startled to read the Soumya Bhattacharya article. In fact he was on a scholarship with some Oz uni when India toured there in 04. He makes some good points, but in his effort to put all eggs in a single basket, makes the article a ham-handed.

    I would like to say that the Indian obsession with fair skin is strange, but we need not be apologetic about it. Its not racism, but a personal preference. You cant call a man racist because of that. I have heard that some guys from Germany like black women a lot, more than white women. I recently met a friend who swooned on white women earlier, but now has come to the conclusion that tanned brown, like Brazilians and Mexicans are the best and that too much white skin sucks. I totally agree with him. But there may be some guy who likes white as milk skin. People have different fetishes. Some men are chubby chasers. They like whales and BBWs. They like the feel of cellulite around buttocks and inner thighs. Its all a matter of preference.

    Ganesh in the comments says it nicely:

    “Saumya…ah ..you are falling into the familiar Westernised error of judging everything by the thinking of the average person in the rich Westernised countries. Do they have more people than say , India,China and parts of Africa. And your definition of “global” is wrong. For the average Western and so-called Westernised Indian, calling a person a “monkey” is worse than calling someone an unprintable error. But for Indians, a slur based on an allegation about one’s parentage is definitely far far worse . Why should Indians be judged by your definition of “global” standards. Your definition of “global” implies “Western” rather than global. You have to wake up – The “global” economy and the “global” media are by your definition, run on Eastern Standard Time or GMT, but things are changing.”

    I tend to agree. Really, there is nothing more ridiculous than when an openly racist country like oz introspects India without looking in the mirror. I would not be blind to say that Indian society has its faults, but people should judge the western perspective themselves before accepting it, rather than blindly accepting it. I was in a pub with some friends one day when a guy who was a history major with a major interest in Indian culture and his gf came up to us and started a conversation. They started pooh poohing about dowry. I said that it was fine provided there was no torture. Why should dowry be frowned upon? Rather than blame the concept or trying to change that party’s views, say f u to that party and go look elsewhere. When the girl tried to throw some crumbs of wisdom at me, I said, “Look how pussy whipped your society is. If someone divorces, they have to give off their half of their property to their ex. Ridiculous sums of child support. All around you see shows on TV where its always the guys who are jerks and aholes while the girl is clean. The feministic view of blaming guys for broken relationships, trying to restructure society where there is an artificial scarcity of vaginas, shows on tv like desperate housewives, greys anatomy etc. As the great Tom Leykis says, “TV has become one big vagina.”” Needless to say the girl did not like what I said. But she also could not argue back.

    What happened in the Harbhajan hearing was absolutely fair. There was no evidence and you cannot rule him guilty based on word of the mouth. I liked Mukul kesavan’s article in Cricinfo on this issue. In fact I would also say that the chartered plane episode was nothing wrong. It is Cricket Australia and the ICCs problem if they got influenced by external events. BCCI merely said that they would leave if they got the verdict not in their favor. In the event of zero concrete evidence, they are perfectly entitled to do so. It is Cricket Australia who is to be blamed if they asked their players to downgrade charges anticipating financial losses. These are independent events and I marvel at the Oz media’s ability to juxtapose events to foster a viewpoint which suits their agenda- in this case of a growing dictatorial body called BCCI. Now the BCCI is an ahole in itself, but I like the fact that they decided to stand behind one of their players who was banned without evidence.

  6. Confused about your point 4 – I thought the whole point of that article was to show that Indians are racist as well???

    Side note: Murali is a f*** tharki…saw him in enigma (night club in bombay) four years ago dancing to “CHUCK de bole” tunes with two hoebags

  7. There’s nothing I like more than the smell of exposing hypocrisy in the morning.

  8. @Kishor: Ahem. Arent these South too?

    @WTF: In my first draft, I had written “Crackinfo” but then I thought that Quackinfo would be better.

    @Amardeep: Hmm.

    @Yourfan2: After the Symonds issue, I got a call from BBC Radio pre-screening my opinion for a program “Are Indian racists?” I said we are not any more racist than any other country—as a matter of fact, if we really had deep racial divisions I doubt we would have survived as a nation. The BCC man talked about the sale of skin lightening lotion and I raised the same point as you did–notions of beauty should not be confused as an “ism”. In Western countries, many seniors go for Botox injections to look youthful —would that make them very “ageist”? I dont think they particularly liked my opinion because despite saying they would call me in during the live program, they never did.

    @NPS: As a matter of fact, quite the opposite. The point of the article was not to show that Indians are racist but that if what happened to Murali had happened to an Australian cricketer, the shit would have really hit the fan.

    @Footballnath: Napalm and hypocrisy. Very similar.

  9. @greatbong:
    I think NPS is referring to Cricinfo article (rather than yours) when he/she says “I thought the whole point of that article was to show that Indians are racist as well???”.

    The Cricinfo article in question is actually targeted at people like you who think ‘ugly’ looks deserve derision. Though I won’t call you racist, I suggest you to still see a therapist.

    Slightly out of context, I feel that that judging people by their extrinsic attributes (that is, those like skin of color, size of nose or even the way you dress etc.) is as bad as racism irrespective of whether one identifies such attitude with racism itself. On that note, placement of that article in Cricinfo and that too in the context of this alleged racism row may look unjust but if it helps some positive discussion or reflection unto ourselves, it is not all that bad.

  10. @Yourfan3: Yes my apologies. I think you are right about what NPS said. Though I still dont understand NPS’ confusion re Point 4. The whole point of Soumya’s article was to show that Indians are the “most racist” (thats what he said) and my point was “Would any Australian journo write that?” I would think not. They might say “Racism exists in Australian sport” but I doubt they would say “We need to first accept that as a nation, India (Australia) is among the most racist in the world”. Peter Roebuck after the Sydney Test came up with a trenchant attack on the Aussies saying India had every right to pack up and go home. Later however in another article, he criticized India for, hold your breath, wanting to go home…which just goes to show that he possibly realized that he needed to change his stance in order to stay “relevant” for those who matter.

  11. @greatbong: Point taken. Though I can easily, for example, imagine some Australian blogger going to say such stuff (‘most racist’) but that isn’t going to be that influential.
    Yeah I also double checked whether its the same guy. peter roeb-U-(turn)-buck.

  12. ouch…I meant roeb-U-(turn)-ck.

  13. Look GB- This sale of skin fairing lotions is nothing new. My point is that if in a merit based interview, say for an engineering position, if you as a recruiter discriminate against a girl on the basis of color, that is not acceptable. But let us say that some employers want to hire some sexy girls for some entertainment event. So if they don’t hire a dark fat chick for that event, they become racists? Matrimonial ads dont want dark skinned girls. Well thats preference. You can call it shallow, but not racism. Actually all these issues are feminist claptraps- these phrases “look within”, “not looking for guys who are only into sex”, “want a guy who knows what a deep meaningful relationship means”,”must love dogs”, “if you are looking for sex go elsewhere”, “thou shalt not exercise your right to choose a girl”, “accept all kinds of bodies”, “shame shame that guy wants only fair girls, only girls can discriminate- like guys who watch porn are bad, who look at other girls etc”.

    Also I dont think that Indians have some kind of manic obsession with white skin. Millions of Indians jack off everyday to Bip Basu pics. She is not a fair girl. It just happens that many Indian guys tend to like the fair skin more. And how tough life in general is for them. Most Indian guys don’t get plenty of opportunities for pre marital sex. Now when society puts an immense amount of pressure of them by asking them to marry, and when they are willing to sign that contract, they are asked to go against their inner wishes and lie and say that “we love dark skinned women (assuming that they prefer fair skinned ones).” I would be willing to bet that any Indian woman who is not fair and with an iota of self respect, would not like the scenario where some guy marries her due to pressure and against his predilections.

    BBC probably wanted an apologetic response from you. They wanted you to unravel some more biases in the Indian society, so that the Aussies could say, “Yeah we are racists. They are racists too. So see, everybody is a racist.” I also think contrary to many people out there that Asian males are not at all discriminated by the US media. TV will only hire someone whom their “core constituency” considers attractive. Best man for the job. In some jobs, the best men are the asians. So similarly, if people want to see “United colors of benetton” in these jobs, well go and f urself or increase your skillset.

    A few days back, an Indian blogger called Saket Vaidya said that he did not find Madrasi chicks cute. I support his views as much as I support people who did not like his views and their right to dislike. But this does not make him a racist. Hes an HR. Say all things being equal, if he hires (not for his own company) for someone else a delhi chick than a madrasi chick, then I can say that he is a racist. But how can he become racist by what he said on his blog!

    NPS- “Murali is a f*** tharki…saw him in enigma (night club in bombay) four years ago dancing to “CHUCK de bole” tunes with two hoebags.”

    Yes, but how is that bad? You can definitely laugh about it as we laugh about Warnies SMSs, but how is it wrong?

    fan3- “Slightly out of context, I feel that that judging people by their extrinsic attributes (that is, those like skin of color, size of nose or even the way you dress etc.) is as bad as racism irrespective of whether one identifies such attitude with racism itself. On that note, placement of that article in Cricinfo and that too in the context of this alleged racism row may look unjust but if it helps some positive discussion or reflection unto ourselves, it is not all that bad.”

    You must realize that you are asking for a person free from bias- which society has still not evolved to yet. What is important is that you should not let those biases affect your behavior or decisions wrt those people in certain areas- like your co workers, people whom you come across everyday. Now when it comes to some personal choices I fully support someone who doesn’t want me in their lives. As an example, one vegetarian guy once refused to rent his apartment to me as he did not want fish/meat at his house. Well guess what, he is perfectly ok with doing that. In fact when it comes to issues like these, you can perfectly discriminate based on lifestyle choices. Let us look at the issue of chivalry to women by opening doors and giving up seats. Well guess what, I have seen plenty of young women not giving up seats to the aged and infirm of either sexes. I always thought that this was a valid enough reason for me to not give up my seat for any young women who were fit enough to jump in in the sack for hours on some guy. I would even not give up my seat to a pregnant woman as pregnancy is a lifestyle choice and I believe in the equality of sexes. Now you may leave your seat and thats your decision. I always leave it to aged people. But is that reason enough to call me a sexist?No.

  14. greatbong,

    I am a longtime fan of your blog.

    on this entry,
    ///@Kishor: Ahem. Arent these South too?

    that was the best reprimand you could come up with for Kishor’s racist remark ? I am disappointed.

    Isn’t Mr.Kishor validating the viewpoint that indians are racist?

  15. My heavens, awesome article! I was avoiding this site for weeks because I thought you’d be yet another shrill nationalistic commentator. You have used your razor sharp wit to make a point I have been struggling to make to my Indian friends for a while now. Thank you!

  16. @Kishor: if you are looking to the Sri Lankan team for some homoerotic stimulation, I’d suggest that you use your internet more productively than posting inane crap.

  17. @Ravi: If you observe Kishor’s comments, you would see he says these very obscene things time and again just to rake up outrage. If you take the bait, then thats it—you have taken the bait.

    As to does Kishor’s comment confirm that Indians are racist? No. All it does is confirm that Kishor is racist. Extrapolating that to all Indians is a form of racism too.

    For the record, I strongly condemn Kishor’s POV

  18. Well, almost always every racism discussion ends up into ‘A is more racist than B or B is more racist than A’, and then we really loose the point. I really think that the first thing to be done to remove this evil is by accepting it, and accepting without any prejudice. Any one who is writing about it one sided is not helping the cause anyways. Yeah, I am referring to Soumya’s article. All that did was trigger an ugly diatribe with most of the people opposing his views taking on him.

  19. Sid..No More The Kid February 3, 2008 — 8:26 am

    @GB– what if, indeed!!! Thats a very good point you make.
    I remember when Australia refused to play their World Cup’96 matches in Sri Lanka and India and Pakistan decided to fill in with some exhibition matches to make up for the financial loss. There was a placard in the Sri lankan crowd-
    “Wasim and Azhar are men. Taylor is not even a woman!!!”

    Sorry if this makes me sound MCP, but it just cracked me up when I saw that!!

  20. Sid..No More The Kid February 3, 2008 — 8:28 am

    @GB- and its the first time i actually am “criticising something on one of your posts.. but ‘ Gaand’ian was a bad pun 🙂
    But you made up for it with “quackinfo” 😉

  21. @fan2:”Now you may leave your seat and thats your decision. I always leave it to aged people. But is that reason enough to call me a sexist?No.”

    Infact am I totally with you on this and that’s along and not against the lines of what I wrote above. Because if a girl evokes more ’empathy’ in our mind than an aged person than you certainly went by ‘appearance’ and not actual need. So I would say that if someone leaves their seat just because the person standing happens to be a girl, then *he* is certainly sexist and perhaps much more!

    I agree to some extent that when it comes to personal/lifestyle choices like marriage, discrimination based on appearance is not super-bad. But this is because things like ‘marital bliss’ heavily depend on you being both emotionally and physically satisfied (and both are related) and for evolutionary reasons they do depend on external appearance. But I don’t think there are too many such exceptions. Obviously beauty contests is another instance but that is by definition!

    Regd. your other example of vegetarian tenant-non-veg. landlord, I think one needs to make a distinction between ‘judging a person’ and ‘making a judgement’. If that guy/girl feel repulsed by the smell of non-veg food (many are) and decide not to give it to you, then he/she is not making a judgement regarding you. He is just exercising his/her choice of keeping away from that smell. He/she could also feel that non-veg is unethical (as it involves killing) in which case from his/her point of view eating non-veg is more than an extrinsic attribute.

    Overall I feel that human beings can do better when it comes to not ‘judging people’ on ‘shallower’ basis (which I define as *extrapolating* someone’s intrinsic attributes like trustworthiness/honesty etc. based on extrinsic ones like physical appearance).

  22. Soumya Bhattacharya is a not-so-greatbong 🙂

    Most people love to (at least used to) find symmetry in the world. If Aussies are racist, then so are Indians. If Islam is evil, then so is Hinduism, and so on. Hope people realize soon that this is an asymmetrical world we live in.

  23. @kishor
    srilanka IS south of the Vindhyas.

    next you will be demanding that the penguins wear COLOURFUL masks!

  24. Yourfan2, you do realize that these minutae of colour differences only exist within the Indian mindset.

    For everyone else, we’re all uniformly brown or darkies. So yeah, carry on with your preferences for shade Brown1 over shade Brown2.

  25. Sid..No More the Kid February 3, 2008 — 8:56 pm

    @ Everybody:
    Guys, is too late or can we still take a leaf out of this “throwing-egg-at-selector” fracas and carry out a similar act against Kiran More?? I think we can– though eggs do come expensive now and may serve better as scrambled /poached- but wont it be worth “poaching” Mr More and see him ‘scramble”??
    Cant do it to Chappel , though- that will be racism 😉

  26. The perceived “superiority” of light skin complexion is not just limited to India but also in Japan, Korea and China among others.

    The historical dominance of Europeans over the native population for hundreds of years has resulted in an inferiority complex amongst us all.
    Sonia Maino and Raul (Rahul) “Gandhi” would not be ruling the country, if they were not light skinned.

  27. Shekhar Ruparelia February 4, 2008 — 3:39 am

    Arnab Da,

    On a slightly different note, have you read Soumya Bhattacharya’s book “You Must Like Cricket” ? I thought the book got ridiculous after a point of time in its effort to show the author as THE greatest fan of Indian cricket.

  28. Nice blog great bong..waiting for your blog on raj thakray’s recent public speeches. 🙂

  29. Good one GB.

    But the reason the Sri Lankan board would refuse to take a tough stance on the subject is the same one that prompted the Indian board to do so. You sure must have read about Arjuna Ranatunga’s assertion that the Board was almost running out of the overdraft and was looking for some ‘help’ from the BCCI.

    What’ll happen is that we now have a rubber stamp for our POV’s at ICCs meet. Not too different from the whats heppening so far. If this isnt an example of efficient markets and capitalism at its best in sports, then I dont know what is!!

  30. I’ve heard from a friend of mine working at Pepsi that in South India, sales of Pepsi are much less than Mirinda because Pepsi is a darker drink and there is a popular perception that drinking it would make one darker. I think this obsession with Fair and Lovely, and fairer skin in general is the result of the Exotic Value effect. Just like we think something is cool because it is exotic, “Dude, he has a Brazilian girlfriend”, a much lesser form of exoticism is, “Dude, his girlfriend is very fair.” It doesn’t prove that we’re racist at all.

  31. @ random over analysis of humour which kills it:

    the reason i prefer crackinfo is because it retains the basic spelling of cricket with the change in a vowel. also i like cocaine.

    however, there is no denying quackinfo’s charm regarding the quality of opinion prevalent on the website. but here again, crack indicates a possible cause for the quackery.

    so i hope i have made my point about crackinfo in a manner that has touched you deeply.

    p.s. the topic of fowl behavior and eggs, bird flu has affected the ready availability of chicken rolls, chowmein and cutlets in calcutta. we are counting on the prayer of all and sundry including the probasis to tide over this period.

  32. actually, sri lanka probably does not have the money to charter a flight; and if they were to ask bcci for help (monetary assistance), that will just give the australians more purchase to climb on their high monkey (err … horse) and blame bcci.

    poor lankans – they are stuck between white and “black and blue”!! some bruise, that! 😦

    – s.b.

  33. in response to the symonds-racism controversy, this is similar to the White Australia policy but even worse. Till 1967, Australian aborigines were not classified as humans, rather they were categorised as ‘fauna’ on the flora & fauna list. Which means till ’67 people like Symonds could be hunted for sport (and no, they were not on the endangered species list)…

    coming from backward 3rd world country, india, not knowing recent promotion symonds getting, bhajji mistaking that symonds no longer big monkey

  34. Re some body: i’m sure you are the one who cant afford a flight, which explains your moronic baiting of countries and people you know nothing about. Please check any socio-economic indicator and you will find that Sri Lanka is currently a more developed nation than India is.

    The BCCI’s cash does not give you any right to be a prat. Besides, if you want to talk about monkeys, I think you should take a close look at Sreesanth, though he definitely would not even get peanuts from a zoo-keeper for his bowling.

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