Tuesday, 31 July 2012

India, Don't Lose the Sense-of-Humour Medal Too

If someone ever did a per-capita Olympic medal calculation, India would be at the bottom of the heap.  [Update 01/08/2012: There is one, and India is at the bottom of the heap.] In some ways, that's a no-win situation. Winning medals at international events takes serious investment, and only rich countries (or communist countries who make it a matter of pride) can afford to spend that kind of money. So either India gets ridiculed for not winning medals, or it gets criticised for wasting money on sports when there are "so many starving millions", as the critics will be quick to scream.

Fair enough, but Indians can at least maintain a sense of humour, can't they?

At the opening ceremony of the London Olympics, a young Indian woman in a red top and blue trousers joined the athletes and marched at the head of the Indian delegation.

Three cheers for Madhura Nagendra!

The head of the Indian delegation, P K M Raja, said the woman had "embarrassed us in front of the world". (There are far more embarrassing things about India, Mr. Raja. Where do we start? Corruption? The complete non-governance of the government? The loser mentality?)

Calling the incident "bizarre", he said the Indian team would be demanding an apology. (From whom? Nobody owes you any apology. Stop taking yourselves so bloody seriously and learn to laugh at the ridiculous.)

"The Indian contingent was shown for just 10 seconds and to think this lady hogged all the limelight," said Mr Raja. ("Boo hoo! Because these 10 seconds are the only chance our athletes have of being in the limelight.")

Me, I had a hearty laugh. Indians have arrived at last, I thought. We can play practical jokes with the best of them. Here are two of my personal heroes of the art of gatecrashing:

Chas Licciardello of The Chasers penetrating deep into the security cordon surrounding George W Bush during the APEC meet, -- dressed as Osama bin Laden!

Claude Khazizian (with the red handkerchief), a distinguished-looking betting shop employee, who loved to bluff his way past security and pose with heads of state

Do these people not deserve our applause and adulation? Breathes there a man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, "This is a joke, a hilarious riot"?

Fortunately, the disgracefully humourless behaviour of the Indian official was somewhat mitigated by that bulwark of sanity, the cartoonist. This is a sample.

(Now somebody is going to take offence at the Indian flag being shown upside-down)

Thanks to that cartoon, India, you've barely managed to win the Bronze for humour. We expect better the next time.
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