Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Economic Apartheid

This one's from Enter the Dragon.
One of my favorite Bruce Lee film is the “Fist of Fury” aka “Chinese Connection” aka “Jing Wu Men”.

There were far too many memorable scenes in the film to really highlight, but one that would really stand out in an age of being politically-correct and what not must be the famous “No Dogs and Chinese Allowed” (highly offensive!) signage scene.
A most offending signage

On reflection, the scene was quite contrived as there was no real flow in its inclusion with the movie except to amplify the socio-situation during the era the movie was supposed to portray.

For those who has never seen the film, the scene sees the late Bruce Lee (taking on the role of hothead Kung Fu exponent Chen Zhen of Chin Woo) being denied entry into a park with the said sign only for a turban wearing Sikh guard allowing access to a foreigner with a dog.

A man (presumably Japanese) approached Chen Zhen and made a disparaging remark that he would take Chen Zhen in provided he (CZ) pretends to be a dog.

The guy gets what due with kicks and punches and the infuriated Chen Zen then shatters the offending sign with a jumping kick.

(Note: A more politically correct and, some say, with a more balanced view of the era is the more recent "Fist of Legend" , but the latter - true to its title - cops out on the core "fury" portion of Bruce's version. Both are still highly enjoyable.)

The offending signage scene gets an impromptu replay in my thoughts when I came across this Reuters article on the Emporio Mall in New Delhi and so soon after I read the International Herald Tribune's article on Hinduism versus Christianity .

Both articles – which tell of a deepening socio-economic crisis in one of Asia’s rising economic giants - disturbed me as it portays something out of a bygone age and complety at odds with the progress the world had supposedly made.

The first writer spoke of economic apartheid, of the “haves” and the “have nots”.

For a country that prides itself of one of the premier democracy Asian country, the much lauded system had unfortunately failed its masses.

Perhaps the faults lie with the populace who did not take the opportunities presented, perhaps its India’s long standing caste system that perpetrates this vast chasm of the wealthy and the poor, the strong and the meek, the pariah and the brahmins.

I neither know nor wished to speculate on the possible reasons.

My prayer is that we do not go the same way as did India.

God knows there are warning signs of similar inclinations here.

Democracy means a number of things and it must surely include economic consideration where the majority – never the minority - benefits, in one way or another.

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