Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Plan for worldwide multimedia domination

Since all I've done is run to offices the past 24 hours, this seems like a good time to mention other sources of Siren-based content on the web.

First, there is my
YouTube channel, SirenTV.

As some stupid folk singer beat me to the username "Sirensongs," I had to register as Sirensongsindia. Connections and bandwidth are so poor here, I have only been able to upload 9 videos so far, each one taking at least half an hour.

The most popular has proven to be that of
a young Bharatanatyam dancer (viewers recognized her and wrote in that her name is T. Sangeeta).

My favourite is one from the Mahabodhi Society in Sarnath, showing four young orange-robed monks chanting the Buddha's first sermon in Pali language, by candle-light.

YouTube seems to attract very abusive commenters, for some reason. After five various abusive, profane and disgusting remarks from users, I disabled the Comments section.

Judging by the names (south Asia is a lot like Africa in that you can determine "tribal" affiliation by
names) alone, two abusive commenters were Indian men, one Nepali male, and one Sri Lankan male. I had my own south Asian diversity-program of verbal abuse!

Welcome to my world
What is it about the internet that brings out the absolute worst in people?

The derogatory comments included the predictable - "Why don't you include the so and so. You really know nothing and are not a real blah blah and a REAL blah blah would do such and such, and...." (no extra points for guessing this nationality was -- drumroll please - Indian!).

Naturally, this guy had nothing up on his own page, he just roamed around criticizing others.

...- to surprising allegations and ethnic slurs ("end the slave culture of child abuse that is Buddhist monk culture"; "you MONK-ees have to understand...")

...- to the outright vulgar ("if you like the Kumari so f**ng much why don't you make your own f**ing daughter the Kumari").

I guess it really sucks to be a mama's boy all your life and be spoiled rotten the first 18 years and handed everything you ever look at, then get out into the big bad world and realize it isn't going to be like that. This appears to be the disease afflicting a lot of south Asian men.

However, my page is not the place to vent your spleen. That's the beauty of the net, you can have
your own page to spew onto. (Don't worry, either your Mom or your dutiful wife will clean up after you.)

Eye of the Siren
The other Siren-supplemental audiovisual site is my Flickr account.

Organized into geographical sets, this features about 600 photos from my travels all over India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

For whatever reason, the Flickr community is far more laid-back and less confrontational than that of YouTube, which explains why I spend more time there.

Here are just a couple of photos from my Flickr.

At left are women of the Lambadi/Banjara group, originally from Rajasthan. They had migrated to Pune for construction work. I met them on the job site.

They were building - one head-load of cement at a time - a high-rise mall, the kind they would almost certainly not be allowed to enter themselves once it was completed. (Such malls 'reserve right of admission.' Gypsies like these are considered, sometimes rightly, to be habitual thieves).

Amazingly, they wore their full traditional garb during work hours as well. This photo was taken after hours at their "hutment" or corrugated tin hut erected as temporary housing on the building site.

The masked skull dancers in the photo above are novice bhikkus or young monks at Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh, at the annual Thiksey GuStor festival. They are all dressed up as the Cemetery Lords or harbingers of death. These young dancers get license to run about and tease the audience, sitting on laps, messing with cameras and so forth. The idea is that Death makes a mockery of us all!


c said...

Give us some background(at least from the dalai lama's corner) of the various sects associated(the hats, the taras, the pali/sanskrit/tibetan scriptures) with these rituals..

what's not to like about parochial mamas boys from south asia?The'll sit where they are put (like a chettiar doll in a golu). all they need is some curd rice and for you to rub their sweaty bellies once in a while..



Nice flickr Page;-)

Lekhni said...

It's true, I am shocked at the levels of hate I find in some of these men. It's always men. I wonder whether the cloak of anonymity that the internet brings helps them to say things they cannot say, except perhaps to their like-minded friends.

I am worried because things are only going to get worse. Indian women are doing so much better - in education, in the workplace. They can afford to more selective in their choice of partners. The skewing sex ratio also does not help. I wonder if these trolls are frustrated losers who are venting.

Sirensongs: Indologist At Large said...

@Lekhni: thanks for ratifying. I don't think there's any need to wonder - You KNOW they are frustrated losers who are venting.;-)

One concerned reader wrote me privately and said they didn't think I should cheapen my blog by complaining about the harassment. But I want people to know the harassment is real and I am not exaggerating.

c said...

"they didn't think I should cheapen my blog by complaining about the harassment."

How does that help things? I think any argument in support of "sufferring silently" is subversive.

If "not cheapening yourself by not talking" were the way to maturity, Indian women would be in patriarchal heaven.

I just think you should stop letting such harrasment define your blog/life/whatever..