Friday, 14 February 2020

Blind Date in Mandalay

The online culture reigning supreme in Myanmar today, there is little material better than capturing a foreigner seeming to behave just below the standards they are deemed to be held to. This includes anything from hand-holding to less than modest dress to picture-taking at various Buddhist sites. Unfortunately, the mirror is rarely if ever held back to careless behavior in the local community. Take this example (, created by the company "Perfect Date For You", in which a Mandalay dating service is charging 5,000 kyat to pair college-aged Burmese singles with one another. The backdrop for this flirtatious fun? Kuthodaw Pagoda in Mandalay, whose 729 marble slabs were meticulously carved in the 19th century under King Mindon, and house the entire of the Tipitaka, the whole of the Pali Canon, thus protecting and enshrining the liberating words of the Buddha. Where the color of one's skin or the flag on one's passport gives or denies license to follow or degrade the Buddha's teachings, there is a fundamental problem. That this dating service is flaunted and promoted so freely online with no criticism to speak, and where a photograph or dress by a foreigner is enough to (literally) threaten their safety and demand their removal from the country, such a double standard is harmful for all followers of the Buddha.

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