Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In breaking Buddha news ...

Pop quiz: How long would it take for a bar featuring a huge Muhammad statue, overlooking all the tasty drinks and appetizers, to be burned down? My guess is between five and seven seconds.

Even normally laid-back Buddhists, though, have got their backs up over Jakarta's Buddha Bar. Hence the new ruling that the trendy spot be shuttered, as offensive to the religion's followers. Fair enough, I suppose, since a massive Christ looming over one's mai-tai would probably be considered offensive too.

But note well that this Buddha Bar chain has a New York City outpost, which has gobbled up tourists' money for years now, with nary a peep from the local community. I suppose with ultimate enlightenment on their minds, true Buddhists have greater things to think about than who's misusing their religious iconography ...


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8 comments:

GJ said...

Not sure about the Christ comment, didn't that Jesus guy have a reputation for putting poor wine makers out of business. Bugger the grapes just give us some water and it's party time.

Christopher Taylor said...

Indeed ... wonder if it was cabernet or merlot??

Rob Baiton said...

I don't drink mai tais but I guess if I had drunk enough of them, then I am guessing I could probably see Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha, and a few Hindu Gods and prophets sitting down to a good dinner at the bottom of my glass (kinda like reading the tea leaves).

I still think the Buddha would be thinking that perhaps the whole thing is in poor taste, perhaps even offensive, but there is no need to sweat the little stuff.

On the Muhammad bar, the Jesus bar, and myriad of others is interesting because, let's face it, Indonesia probably has millions of people called Muhammad and let's assume one of them decides to open a bar and calls it Muhammad's or we are travelling through Mexico or somewhere and come across Jesus' bar?

Offensive? hardly.

I concede that this is clearly different with the use of the word Buddha and the subsequent iconography with the use of the image of the Buddha. But, if it was simply Siddharta's would this be a problem?

I read in today's Kompas that the Buddha bar's licensing and permits are all in order and that the agreement would allow for the historical or heritage building, which the old immigration building is, can be used for a restaurant. The Buddha Bar would probably loosely fall into the resto category.

Just some thoughts.

Cheers

rimafauzi said...

I am sure Buddhists in general do not care about these things, but the 'temperature' in Indonesia is totally different. Maybe because FPI keeps on protesting this and that, making those of other (more peaceful) religions feel ashamed of themselves for not defending their Gods as 'dilligent' as the FPIers. :p

Christopher Taylor said...

I'm sure Bill Maher's documentary Religulous could've had fun with this one ...!

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