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Who is endangered The bra-tosser, the cricketers or the stingray?

1 January 2016 06:56 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya



By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya
With the commotion that has been whipped up over the ‘incident’ at the Enrique Iglesias concert the other day, there is bewilderment among many as to what exactly, in that episode, was so damaging to Sri Lanka’s moral status, in the eyes of the nation’s moral guardians. Some members of the audience thought it was the rip-off of a lip-synced performance for which they had paid prices that made them feel foolish afterwards. Others are of the view that it was the sale of liquor that was at the root of the problems. Should liquor sales be banned? But God forbid! What would the Tax Department have to say when such a large chunk of its revenue accrues from this source each year? Especially at a time when the government is desperately trying to bridge the budget deficit? No no, it can’t be that one! 

Then was it the unruly crowd that barged in on the overpriced VIP ticket enclosure to enjoy a better view, that was so upsetting?  What’s the big deal with that in a country where queue-jumping is a national pastime, one may ask.  Some are of the view that it was the provocative (if somewhat unimaginative) title of the show – ‘Love & Sex tour’- that set the alarm bells ringing. 

But no, it was none of the above. Even the ecstatic female fan who rushed on stage to steal a kiss from her idol couldn’t have caused that much outrage. After all, what’s a stolen kiss in the eyes of the well-heeled public who follow the far more entertaining activities of politicos and their paramours each day, detailed in the gossip columns of the newspapers?  

One has to conclude, by a process of elimination, that the offending item that inflamed passions was nothing but the infamous bra tossed into Enrique’s hands. ‘It was the bra that did it, sparking off comments from the highest in the land that made headlines around the world!

Now those comments - that refer to whipping the offending party with poisonous stingray tails - have proved to be problematic for those with a logical turn of mind. The party declared to be deserving of stingray-whipping is not the woman who flung the offending bra, but the organizer of the event at which the crime was committed.  The question as to why the organizers should be punished for the behaviour of an audience member is puzzling in itself, but never mind.  This line of thinking makes two of Sri Lanka’s most revered cricketers culpable, since they own the company that organized the show. Just think what would happen if our moral guardians took this line of thinking to its logical conclusion.

A point of view that has not been taken into consideration in the debate so far is that of the hapless stingray. The stingray counts among endangered species, and (endangered or not) abusing the creature in this manner is bound to upset environmentalists, among others. According to Wikipedia, Stingrays (a type of fish related to sharks)  are “relatively widespread and not currently threatened” but “for several species (for example Taeniura meyeni, D. colarensis, D. garouaensis, and D. laosensis), conservation status is more problematic, leading to their being listed as vulnerable or endangered by IUCN.”  

Now a dilemma has arisen over the question of who is the most endangered by these remarks - the bra-thrower, the cricketers, or the stingray?  Asking this question presents further difficulties. Whoever is selected to undergo the punishment, the fallout will be politically disastrous. Consider the options: 

If the woman who threw the bra is picked as the accused, feminists will be on the warpath and the votes of women, who make up over half the population, will be at risk. This wouldn’t make sense, with a referendum on a new constitution around the corner (not to mention local government elections). If the cricketers are accused, it would be akin to sacrilege because cricket is religion in this country, and seeking to topple a cricket icon from his pedestal is a worse sin than attempting to topple the government. If the stingray ends up being abused as the instrument of punishment, the environmentally-savvy younger generation would be all over social media whipping up a storm of protest. Whichever way you look at it, it’s not looking good for the political establishment. 

It’s also likely that the clergy of all faiths and the majority of the citizenry will be up in arms over this attempted return to the middle-ages in order to protect public morals. A stingray injury is said to be extraordinarily painful even though it’s usually not fatal. (Whipping with the tails of stingrays was reportedly a punishment reserved for hardened criminals in medieval Sri Lanka, according to the BBC). 

It would seem that the combined problems of logic, environment and ethics etc. arising from the stingray controversy are more than we can handle as a nation at this point. Even a referendum on the issue may not provide the answers. So for the sake of political stability (if not anything else) as long as we’re in Sri Lanka girls, it looks like we’ll just have to keep our bras on. Grrrumph! 

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