Saturday, August 29, 2015

The dangerous roar of Talking Tom

Photo of Talking Tom. Image courtesy: Google

The advent of smart phones has made our life easy and interesting in many ways. We have so many sophisticated features and applications that can enable us to do almost everything just by swapping and tapping on the screen of our phone with fingers. For instance, we can create and edit photos/videos, record music, access social sites and accomplish many other important tasks apart from making calls and sending/receiving text messages. In short, our mobile phone today has almost become like a small compact computer which can help us carry out many tasks efficiently. But as there is a limit to everything, it’s important to be mindful of the fact that we must be able to use those facilities more responsibly.

In the recent times, people are circulating some video clips with racial messages featuring the popular Talking Tom. While the clips might have been created for fun, the circulation of such materials on social media has the potential to create social disharmony and hatred in such a close-knit society like ours. I foresee that such videos might promote regionalism and racial discrimination between different ethnic groups of Bhutan in the long run. In one of the clips I received, The Talking Tom which is featured as Ngalung refers to Sharchhops as thieves, probably with reference to the recent RICBL embezzlement case in which the culprit is from Eastern Bhutan. In another clip, the talking Tom who is presented as Sharchhop makes fun of Ngalung people and justifies how Sharchhops are not thieves but they are superior to Ngalung people in many ways. I strongly feel that the concerned authorities must stop the circulation of such sensitive materials right from the beginning, before it becomes a serious national issue later. Once the issue crosses the point of no return, it becomes too late for the authorities to act and I fear that even the national security could be at stake. One reason why such clips are getting viral could be because the Talking Tom app allows the person to hide his/her personal identity and even the original voice. So, no one would ever know who recorded that clip.

Today, we enjoy so much peace and harmony in the society. We have so much faith in our leaders and we all live as one family under the dynamic leadership of our beloved kings. We always wish to keep our differences aside and join hands in our journey towards our common future because we have lived like this throughout our history. We have fought wars together, we have defended our motherland together, we have equally shared pain and sorrows during disasters, and we have built and rebuilt this nation together. So, we all wish to continue this spirit of ‘One nation, one people’ for all the times to come. The circulation of such sensitive materials may not affect our generation just now but it might influence our young children as they grow up. I am worried that such racial messages widely circulated on WeChat and other social media platforms might someday disturb the kind of harmony we have been enjoying in the society until now. So, I strongly feel that we should not encourage the production and circulation of such materials and those who do it must be held responsible for any possible harm caused to the society as a result of their actions. I believe that racial messages like these ones are more dangerous and serious than the circulation of leaked Bhutanese porn clips which has also been viral on social media like WeChat. Porn movies can, at the most, damage the reputation of the persons involved and the society as a whole, but they would not create social disharmony and communal differences among the public. Therefore, let us make a pledge today that we shall at least not share such racial clips with our friends. That would be a great contribution on our part for now. May God bless Drukyul and its people forever!

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