Sunday, March 13, 2011
Now Showing: The Good, Bad & The Ugly
Labels and Denials
Five-years old. That is how old the media is in Bhutan, if we took Kuensel out of the equation. Considering it is still in its quest for an identity and trying hard to carve a niche for itself, no one would take offense to the claim that given its recent history and inception, the media has done its bit, without fear or favor. But everyone talks about its shortcomings and sometimes, its plain old childishness and guess what? The media houses would be the first ones to admit those shortfalls and as the saying goes, accept the fact, work on improving it and carry on executing the job – to inform and in this day and age, to inform and to entertain, as sensitively and sensibly as they can.
But the labeling has to stop. Opinions are valuable and indispensible and when meted out with care and concern, the vibe is picked on. After all, opinions are like nightmares, everyone has one. But the ability to tell apart what sounds like a condescending joke at the expense of one to relay a note that is obviously meant in ill-humor is something we are all ingrained with. Most of all, these comments are demoralizing, especially when it comes from so called senior folks – people in the ‘know’ who have supposedly made their ‘bones’ and whose words are taken at face value.
The labeling must stop, no matter how pigeonholed we would like things to be. Not everything, even in this day and age, is or can be categorized. Everyone deserves a second chance and if necessary, even a third. What is being sold and bandied about as New Age Wisdom is nothing but Old Age Truths that remain valid and will continue to do so long after we turn into ashes and dust. The reason is not a mystery either. What was murder during the Buddha’s time is still a murder. What was considered theft is still a felony today. And what was considered amoral during the Shakayamuni’s time is still relevant to the 21st century.
The reason labeling must stop is because it does more harm than good, and if you cannot do anything to help anybody, avoid doing the harm. It does not help when media gets labeled as careless buffoons bent on pushing their own vested interests or agendas and engaging in sensationalism. Just as it does not help when bureaucrats are labeled as civil serpents; lazy and corrupt benchwarmers awaiting the next trip abroad. It does not help when the government and its party members are just swatted away as stubborn zealots hell bent on propagating their own version of democracy. It does not help when the Upper House are nailed with a signboard that says “Opposition De Facto” and it certainly does not help when whatever the Opposition does is defined as self-enhancement, political mileage or personal glory.
Some even accuse the Prime Minister of being a megalomaniac, bound only by his own whims and dismissive of any suggestions or counsel, even from within his own party ranks.
As much as we enjoy the positive labels that the country is lavished with, we are more than defensive when it comes to the slightest criticism and take offense at the slightest mention of any negative reality that lie uncomfortably around us, staring and surrounding us. The reality is that we do not help the cause for we paint a picture of our country and ourselves that more often than not, exaggerates or underplays the surrounding presentations.
Keeping it real means accepting the cracks on our well-constructed walls of delusion and denial. But it is also these very cracks that allow the lights in, and that is how the light gets in, illuminating the darkness that envelops us.
Let’s stop the labeling and take stock of both the good and the bad. Which, invariably, brings us back to square one – accepting that we are who we are even with all our imperfections and saying “OK. It was a mistake. I’m sorry. I did not know.”