TODAY -

In the midst of Goh Tong, Gang Wu and Tai yong

Prof E. Bijoykumar Singh *

Singapore - 2007
A glimpse of Singapore :: Pix - Martin Haobam



When the performance of Singapore was discussed as a role model for urban planning in the conference in Delhi in December, little did I know that in three months time I would be in Singapore experiencing the real Singapore in every way I can.

An invitation from the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) in National university of Singapore would take me there to present a paper on our perception of the ASEAN-India connectivity. I will write about the seminar later. What I cannot wait to share with our readers is an experience which I thought was a stray thought. I am glad that a Chinese journalist took up my argument and after the seminar emailed her excitement over my view and suggested that we should pursue this further.

When you go to Delhi, all you see around are Sens, Nayars, Sardarjis and Modis. You are very distinct and if you are sensitive enough to feel the disdainful stare you are uncomfortable. You cannot help becoming self conscious. But in Singapore all you see are Chaobas, Tombas and of course Haokips - to be more precise their look alike. If development follows a linear path, what we see today in Singapore is probably what we will see in Manipur in the future.

How far in to the future I cannot say but I have a feeling that it will not be very different. You go anywhere in Marina Bay, Coleman Street, Woodland drive. The experience is the same. Back in India we are always with the Sens, Nayaars and Modis who cannot be blamed for misunderstanding us.

When I met the Arunachal Pradesh governor in the seminar, he asked me which country I was from. I do not blame him because among the delegates were delegates from Japan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and China. Though he proudly declared that he had spent the best parts of his life knowing the mountains and valleys of the north east, he failed in recognising an Indian from the region.

When we see all our bosses are the Sens, Nayaars and Modis and Chaobas, Tombas and Haokips are either salesmen or security guards we begin to doubt our capability. We are good in sports and dance. Paacha Meetei in his Sahitya Akademi award winning novel 'Imphal Amasung Magi Ishing Nungshitgi Phibam' had very correctly said "they want to see our sisters and daughters dancing for them".

We are innovators par excellence. Our classical dance came from Brindavan and the Rasleela of Brindavan we regularly see in TV is very different from our Rasleela in terms of aesthetics and presentation. Their Rasleela is very loud. It is an excellent example of our innovation. In others we are nowhere. But it is the other that is more important.

Not everyone is our Mary Kom or Ratan Thiyam. One of the worst effects of colonialism is the loss of faith in oneself. I have no other way to describe what we see around. You are taught to believe that you are inferior and in real life also you are second in command. You see it all around and you come to believe it. A tiger is convinced that he is a deer. How can you expect a tiger with a deer's perspective to behave like a tiger?

When I told Subir Bhowmick, a famous commentator of the north east, about this perception he was not very enthusiastic. He said looking alike was diferent from thinking alike. His perception of ground reality had made him very pessimistic in his outlook. He is a Bengali from Tripura now settled in Kolkata. I told him that the ASEAN–India connectivity would convince Chaoba that he was as capable as Chow. We are not destined to be Gurung, the gatekeeper when the eastern gate reopens for us. We will be gatekeeping our own house. Though we think differently, we can unlearn it.

We have come to value anything we donot have. We have come to believe that we have nothing. What will you export when the ASEAN Connectivity materialises? When you cannot even link Jiribam with Tupul, forget about Hanoi. When you import everything you consume, what are you going to export to the ASEAN market?

Yes there are problems at the ground level. Money is necessary but not sufficient. There has to be the will and the belief that we can transcend the barriers. I always say one of the best things of being in a vicious cycle is the ability to breach the cycle anywhere and it keeps on accumulating . When we believe that we can and should do, many perceptions will change. This breach will cumulatively build up.

How many phaneks a Sen in Delhi will demand? How many phaneks a Myanmarese Manipuri will demand in Mandalay? The former may demand one in his lifetime and Swe will demand several in a year. The sudden expansion of demand for our products by the Manipuri diaspora in Myanmar is bound to energise our industries and competition will bring in the economies of scale.

Our delegates to the Mandalay trade exposition had reported this possibility. In front of Singapore's famous Mustafa shopping centre I saw the dolls of 56 communities in China selling for three dolls per SG$ 10. That comes to Rs 430. Similarly Manipur can sell dolls of all tribes and every other community in Manipur.

When demand is large , economies of scale may become a reality and we may be in a position to make our price highly competitive. I told the delegates that Than Myint's book had very perceptively brought out the similarities. Crores of rupees and supreme sacrifices of many had not taught us the lesson that our future is in our hands. It is not in the hands of either Singh's at the centre.

Can such a belief be the Godot we have been waiting for decades? Such a belief should enable us to transcend the narrow domestic walls and enter into the land where mind is free from fear and the head is held high.

My neighbour's daughter Saroma has been teaching English in Singapore for six years. There are so many young people from the north east trying to get a foothold here. They have learnt to think big and that is very important. Learning to think in a well is very different from learning to think in an open space.

There are many cultural traits we have to unlearn if we want to move forward. ASEAN-India Connectivity will give us another opportunity, a chance in a lifetime, to learn that we can. We will become the tiger we were.




* Prof E. Bijoykumar Singh wrote this article for Hueiyen Lanpao
(The writer is at Economics Department, Manipur University)
This article was posted on April 15, 2013



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Ringui Village, Ukhrul :: Gallery: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Chinglai, Chingmeiren :: eMing
  • Autonomy on a leash
  • Manipur: Past & Present (Vol.1) :: Book
  • Cry of a Dying River - 46 :: Poem
  • NSS Cell at Assam Don Bosco University
  • Shattering the dream of Irabot
  • Pandey, Pandey all the way : MU crisis
  • World Bamboo Day #1: Gallery
  • Financial aid to AMWJU member, K. Bipin
  • Meitei-Naga Relationship
  • The concept of Langban Tarpan
  • Today is Sunday :: Poem
  • Papaya and health
  • In tiger territory
  • NEUFC Fan Park at Sarusajai stadium
  • BSE, ANPSA donate to CMRF (Nagaland)
  • 45th AMWJU Foundation day : Gallery
  • Protest crackdown at MU: Gallery
  • Lai Lik Lei & their debut "Esei"
  • Diversity, Race & Gender-Based Violence
  • Cross Border Human Trafficking : Review
  • Imphal Municipal Council Bye Laws, 1998
  • Protest held against crackdown at MU
  • Stop Terrorising the MU Campus
  • Mob violence at Manipur University
  • Facts about Nagaland House at Kolkata
  • Midnight raid at MU
  • ..bridging cultures of Assam, Manipur
  • Tuilha Kol waterfall #2: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Rally against Mob Lynching #2: Gallery
  • Beyond the tragedy of Tharoijam
  • Jarnail's tryst with Manipur :: Review
  • Who killed the looter? (Short Story)
  • Heart OPD & Echo Screening Mission
  • Call for protest against MU crackdown
  • The farce continues at MU
  • Heikru Hidongba #1 : Gallery
  • Heigru Hidongba (Boat Race)
  • Get down to business
  • The Eternal Moment :: Poem
  • Why is oiling good for the hair
  • Jobs at SKY Hospital
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Creating Future Media Leaders in NE
  • Understanding Communist ideology
  • Suspended but drama not over yet
  • Arrested for molesting student in Mumbai
  • Manipuri Diaspora in Myanmar #1
  • Krishna Janma @Mahabali #2 : Gallery
  • Naga-Kuki Conflict: ..Kuki aggression
  • Tibeto-Burman Languages : Book
  • Indian Judiciary no more a caged bird
  • IGAR (S) calls on Governor of Manipur
  • Spirit of Irabot still runs in Journalists
  • Concern should be about mob mentality
  • Tribes, Art & Soul of India #1: Gallery
  • Rally against Mob Lynching #1: Gallery
  • 'Sahnit' an honour or a disgrace
  • Irabot : Socio-Political Challenges
  • Training employees for better governance
  • Blue Ocean :: Poem
  • Sextortion: Making money from shame
  • Condemn murder of Neiphretuo Metsie
  • Social lacunae
  • BJP on poll drive at Imphal, Kohima
  • Mary Kom lost 2 kg in 4 hours
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #2
  • Felicitation of Sportsperson: Gallery
  • ICJ: Investigation of Extrajudicial Killing
  • Legal profession as career option #2
  • Loktak Down Stream HE Project (2x33MW)
  • Protest against mob lynching at DU
  • Ripples of Music :: Poem
  • Memo submitted to CM over lynching
  • Poems of Peace, Resistance ...
  • Helicopter Schedule for Imphal-Jiri
  • Mirabai recommended for Khel Ratna
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #3: Gallery
  • Manipur State is still winning..
  • Gazetteer of North-East India :: Book
  • Sunfeast Cup Football Tournament
  • Trip down memory lane
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Folk Song :: Poem
  • The Endureres at Dwarka Half Marathon
  • Main accused in cop slaying nabbed
  • Naga talks not confined to Nagaland..
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #1 : Gallery
  • Rest in Peace Humanity
  • Ph Banti's artwork 'Trafficking of children'
  • Cry of a Dying River - 45 :: Poem
  • Buddhism is not a religion
  • Jobs at R-Square Design
  • Candle Light at DU over lynching
  • Society as a reflection of govt
  • Mobocracy : Shame on Manipur
  • Kuki Black Day @CCpur : Gallery
  • miAoIbgi pNTuH :: Seireng
  • An opinion on Tharoijam killing
  • How Manipur lost internal autonomy, Kabaw
  • Admission for PhD at Tripura Univ
  • Meefam ST at Nambol, Khangabok
  • Importance of Forest & Environment
  • Deep social divide: Two different folks?
  • Kuki Black Day: Kukis Will never forget
  • R & V Art House's First Art Fest 2018
  • Celebrating International Literacy Day, 2018
  • Born a Kuki, die a Kuki :: Poem
  • History of North East India :: Book
  • Will SimpliciTB make TB treatment simpler
  • Meefam chathaduna ST gi issue..
  • Dipankar Talukdar- Mr Model of World Star
  • System error- who will fix Broken Window
  • Reshuffle Talks : Say No to Yes Me
  • India negotiating vehicle pact with Myanmar
  • Chalwa Village, Kangpokpi #2 : Gallery
  • Thien & its downfall in Zeliangrong #2
  • Is FA a self exposed daylight robbery?
  • Nation Needs Small Farmers
  • Who is programming you ?
  • Bandhs as dissent & survival of laziest
  • Looking for Raju :: Poem
  • The cry of the 2nd class citizen
  • Bharat Bandh in Imphal
  • Historical Evaluation of Puya Meithaba #1
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #2 : Gallery
  • Naga-Kuki conflict: Search for definitions
  • Mega Marathon Manipur : Download Form
  • Legal profession as career option
  • Guv felicitates 5 JAK RIF for flood relief
  • Stored Anger :: Book Review
  • On stepping into the 20th year of TSE
  • Sept - month which reinstated our courage
  • Krishna Janma @ISKCON #2 : Gallery
  • Empty :: Poem
  • Lets beat littering - plastics pollution
  • NEHU Seminar : Urbanization in India
  • Jobs at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • Declaration of Naga Collective Spirit [Sep 8]
  • Akanba Khongjangidamak Yathokpa Loire
  • Support for STDC from UMA, Assam
  • 'Deplorable power supply in Nagaland'
  • Tryst with destiny - Should we accept ?
  • Stand off at MU : Impact on LS Poll
  • Exploring the enthralling Tuilha Kol
  • Kamesh Salam : Outstanding Green Activist
  • The Valley Of Brahmaputra :: Book
  • Development of road database
  • The inner page story :: Poem
  • Kakching WW-II Memorial Run 2018
  • STDC public meeting at Langathel Keithel
  • Maibi Jagoi at Sangai Fest : Gallery
  • My poll without prejudice to anyone
  • MEETAC - Mission for streamlining TK
  • Conditions leading to Marxism
  • Heart Camp at Khelakhong, Thoubal
  • Cyber bully: Crime that follows you home
  • Bhupen Hazarika : Tribute at London
  • AEP & Importance of Myanmar & NE
  • Political pandemonium
  • Students central to MU issue
  • Landscape from Koubru #2 : Gallery
  • Leishangthem Robert for Mr. World 2018
  • Oinam Shilla Chanu at Mrs India Earth
  • North-east Frontier Of India :: Book
  • Thien & its downfall in Zeliangrong #1
  • Cry of a Dying River - 44 :: Poem
  • JRF Post at Mizoram University
  • Honours to Bamboo; a ubiquitous gift
  • Case of hunter now being huntedr
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #3 : Gallery
  • Women Empowerment & judicial Activism
  • Narin Chenggum - wild edible mushroom
  • Flying Star at your lips :: Poem
  • Out of the box thinking
  • Call centre fraud: Vicious vishing attack
  • Changing India & its impact on Manipur
  • MU stand off gets uglier
  • Tikendrajit : The Lion of Manipur #4
  • Krishna Janma @Mahabali #1 : Gallery
  • Eastern Frontier of India :: Book Review
  • Remembering Radhakrishnan ..
  • Moments to cherish :: Poem
  • Glimpse of the Buddha's teaching
  • NH7 Weekender Express Editions
  • Rejoinder to NDPP from NPF [05 Sep]
  • Mental equation
  • Are teachers teaching ? Apt, timely poser
  • Sirarakhong Hathei Phanit @Ukhrul : Gallery
  • Sit-In: Naga Peace Talk #1 : Gallery
  • Globalization, Act East Policy & Manipur
  • Review on anthology of Parthajit Borah
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Child Friendly Police Stations proposed
  • ADBU Goes Green with Solar Energy
  • Convocation of Assam Don Bosco
  • Fetal Echocardiography - Seminar held
  • Rejoinder to NPF from NDPP [04 Sep]
  • Divide, divert and rule will not work
  • FA, MU crisis : Issues before LS polls
  • Krishna Janma @ISKCON #1 : Gallery
  • Komrem Student Day @Bangalore : Gallery
  • September Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • The Coils of Pakhangba :: Book
  • Exhibition @ Art College #2: Gallery
  • AMWJU Sit-In-Protest : Gallery
  • Jangou Rah : eRang Classic
  • The Story of 40 Pineapple Suckers
  • Yumkhaibam Nanao Eramdam Yaourakhre
  • Ningol Chakkouba Celebration in Delhi
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #2: Gallery
  • Chaklam Khongchat Numit #2 : Gallery
  • The World of Kuki People :: Book
  • Martyrdom of Haipou Jadonang #1: Gallery
  • Dolaithabi Dam , Senapati : Gallery
  • Eid-Ul-Adhaa Festival #2 : Gallery
  • Dr. Jodhachandra Sanasam : Sahitya
  • Shougrakpam Bijaya :: A Profile
  • Disputed Myanmar Border Pillar : Gallery
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS