Tuesday, September 05, 2006

How Low Can One Stoop?

I recall in the earlier days of this blog, an unnecessarily aggressive anonymous comment leaver pointed out to me, for my information of course, that they, the Argentines, are very comfortable calling a person negrito (nigger), moreno (brown), chino (gook), gordo (lardy/ fatty), or narigon (big nose) because these are terms of endearment, all in the name of fun. This is their culture! How dare I criticise it! How could I, an ignorant foreigner and a gook, possibly understand their "sophisticated" culture and the Argentine "greatness"?

According to this person who didn't have the courage to reveal her thinly-veiled identity, I should get with the programme and stop reporting, albeit in restrained language, their "justified" behaviour.

To this day, I am still puzzled; endearing to whom? Fun in whose book? Don't make me cringe; it is the most pathetic excuse for simply appalling behaviour. It is uncivilised conduct by any standard, and in any culture.

Guillermo had told me bullies thrived at his school. A couple of his friends suffered in particular. They were artistic types, a budding thespian and the other, blessed with musical talents. They were called all sorts of names by kids at school. Names, no doubt, these kids picked up from the narrow-minded adults around them. The two men, in their thirties now, remember their torments vividly. Fortunately, both are still pursuing their passion. The one who suffered most is now a respected concert pianist living in the U.S., married to a soprano, with two kids.

Another Argentine friend, one of the nicest guys anyone could meet, told us he went around terrorising his classmates throughout his school years and was one of the most popular boys at school. So popular, the staff turned a blind eye to his thuggish carrying-on.

If bullying is accepted and condoned by authority from youth, no wonder society, at large, justifies such behaviour. Mind you, justified by the majority or not, it is still the behaviour of low-lives. Let's not forget the country is a direct reflection of society; our country is only as good as what we breed to fill our society.

Sadly, I can see this misguided culture being passed on to the next generation and beyond. Firstly, we have the cowards who rationalise their uncouth behaviour shamelessly while hiding behind anonymity. Then, I see glimpses of such behaviour in kids, as young as three; go completely uncorrected by their parents. Instead of counselling their children, the parents are proud of their kids' "quick wit".

The self-destructive attittude of many Argentines makes me speechless many times over; this time, it makes me want to cry. I am sad for the future of this country.

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