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Sikhs: turning religulous?

Last week Bill Maher was a guest on the Daily Show, promoting his new movie Religulous and offering a clip. The clip happened to show a sardar in a London park, which was the extent of any Sikh’s appearance in the movie.

The name, ‘Religulous,’ is a portmanteau blending the words 1) religion and 2) ridiculous, and examines the overlap of those concepts. The movie’s proclaimed purpose is to promote doubt in the minds of those who have blocked doubt in religious teachings completely and subsequently hold totally irrational beliefs (i.e. reject evolution), though those who actually go to watch the movie probably wouldn’t be completely opposed to such doubt to bereligulous.jpggin with. Of course at some point the explanations of rationality end, and there is the unknown. The point of the movie is to admit that it actually is unknown, and show that those who claim to know, really don’t.

In the movie, Bill Maher interviews people from a variety of backgrounds and religious faiths (from a former head of the Human Genome Project and the former Director of the Vatican observatory to a British rapper). Some hold more nuanced views than others. He listens and asks questions of people who staunchly believe in literal translations of age old texts even when their beliefs scientifically absurd, and has some interesting (and comical) conversations. My favorite interview by far was with a very rational Vatican priest who happily admitted that Jesus’ birthday is not on December 25th and the Catholic church has absolutely no idea when it really is.


Sarah Palin meets Manmohan Singh

It’s Friday.  Hooray!  On that note, I think a light hearted post is needed for today.  As David Letterman recently pointed out: McCain taking Palin to meet with world leaders at the United Nations this week was like “take-your-daughter-to-work day.”  Oooh Snap!


Hopefully Manmohan Singh didn’t gush over Governer’s Palin’s looks as his neighbor did earlier this week!

Enjoy the Presidential Debate tonight and have a good weekend Langarites!

Standing Up for the Truth… and Against Other Sikhs

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Muslims and Arabs in America engaged in various efforts to respond to the post-9/11 backlash.  narinder-200x300.jpgFor example, in the halls of Congress they advocated against discriminatory security measures and in the courts of law they pressed allegations of employment discrimination and airport profiling.

Muslim- and Arab-Americans also turned to another, perhaps less conventional forum: stand-up comedy clubs.  For example, a comedy show, “Allah Made Me Funny,” was “an attempt by a group of American Muslim comics to counter the negative stereotypes and attitudes about Muslims and Arabs by poking fun at themselves, their communities and the prejudices they face.” [Link; see also here, here, and here.]

The latest edition of Newsweek contains an article by one Sikh, Narinder Singh, regarding his attempts to use comedy for the same purpose.


Jessica Alba and Batnaa

02120801-178x300.jpgSo it’s wedding season for many Panjabis in the Diaspora and one key product commonly used across South Asian groups is batnaa (the yellow mixture used on a groom/bride a day before the wedding to clear up the complexion). Guess what? Jessica Alba is now on boxes of Batnaa! When I saw this I laughed and got confused … what is going on here? I find it interesting that Alba is on the box … maybe it’s because she “looks” more South Asian than say Hillary Duff? Any other ideas?

Also, American stars are being used to market traditional South Asian products rather than relying on Bollywood stars. Anyone else out there seen something similar in marketing other traditional South Asian products?

Is Snoop Dogg Singh Kinng?

This post is just for fun.  A week ago, a fellow langa-(w)riter asked which Singh was really King? As the buzz for the upcoming “Singh is Kinng” movie continues, many had heard the news that Snoop Dogg had donned a pagh for a promotion with Akshay Kumar.

snoop_turban.jpgWhile many that were looking for Snoop Singh ended up finding this convert, my guess guess was that the people had something else in mind.  Many people have emailed us asking if we had seen the picture of Snoop Dogg (for me he will always be Snoop Doggy Dogg) with the pagh.  To make it easier for all of you internet hunters, here is the picture of Snoop with the turban, sitting like a king with Akshay.

For a link explaining how Snoop came to don the turban in Chicago, you can read a link here.

Sources revealed that the rapper dressed exactly like a Sikh with a turban on his head while recording the track.  They even said that the rapper was to have his own crew and clothes, but Akshay convinced him to wear a turban. [link]

Baba Blacksheep

In certain cultures, memorization has always been a means of oral transference of knowledge through the generations. My father can quote so much random poetry. I see others that can quote entire passages from Waris Shah’s Heer. Although some of us still take the time to memorize Sikh prayers and gurbani, I wonder how much oral knowledge is about to be lost in our generation?

Here is a look at one government school in Punjab. Interesting how nursery rhymes there are sung in a manner different than elementary schools here. Does anyone else notice the subtle differences in promoting a ‘rote’ model? Well, even if you don’t and I am just seeing something that isn’t there, enjoy the video and enjoy your weekend!

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Metrosexual Murdabad!

While I had contemplated covering some serious news, scouring through Google News, an article caught my attention. Today happens to be the 33rd birthday of David Beckham. Not that I really care, but the article shahrukh.jpgbemoans how David lost his star status over the past few years:

From 2003 to 2004, Google ranked his as the most popular sportsman in the world, by virtue of the number of times his name had been logged in. But in 2008, David Beckham’s popularity has been confined to reports of his luncheons with his wife, Victoria, and her famous girlfriends — Eva Langoria and Katie Holmes. [link]

The article theorizes that Beckham had gotten too large for life. I had my own theory….since Beckham had always been labeled as the “poster boy” for metrosexuals, maybe we finally got sick of him. Maybe, after a decade of this god-awful trend, we have returned to normalcy and are in the post-metrosexual age. Eager to test my hypothesis I devised the full-proof experiment — I would look up the word “metrosexual” in Google News.

As far as my hypothesis goes, I WAS WRONG!


Can we just call you Harry?

So the weekend is upon us again. Yesterday, I had a friend tell me about an oh-so-common experience. His name is Harjinder [or something like that] and at work his co-workers asked if they could call him Harry. Something akin to when Barack went by Barry, back in the day. So Harry, ahem I mean Harjinder, stood his ground and insisted that his co-worker learn his real name. So on this Friday, I throw it out there, what are some of the names people have asked to call you?

Also for your viewing pleasure, here is a clip on the subject from one of the GREATEST programs ever: Goodness Gracious Me.

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Award for Stupidest Headline Featuring a Sikh-Related Article

Today I announce the beginning of a new award. It is the ‘Stupidest Headline Featuring a Sikh-related Article.” My first nominee:

“A Temple That Aladdin Would Be Proud Of”

It seems that our friends down-under in Autralia, at the Shepparton News, were reporting the opening of a new Sikh Gurdwara. The article’s first paragraph continues with the obnoxiousness:

There will be no genie or magic lamp, but Harpal Singh described the finished product of Shepparton’s first Sikh temple as something similar to the palace of Agrabah in the Walt Disney animation Aladdin.

I doubt Harpal Singh said anything of the kind. [This assumption was faulty and the author of the article did clarify that Harpal Singh did in fact make the connection. Thank you Kayla!]

In 2008 can you really get away with being this dumb as a journalist?

Do you have any other nominations?

Another Take On Elderly Care

Desi Southpark to send you off to the weekend. For those of you easily offended…..dun vurry, he only joking you know, only joking yaar.

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If You’re Punjabi and You Know it Clap Your Hands

Wishing all of you a great weekend. Although this is old, hopefully it will make you laugh….including some fellow bloggers that aren’t having a great day.

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