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Monday, January 23, 2006

It's just not cricket

On a 43 degree day I didn’t feel like doing much except keeping cool and sitting in front of the tv to watch the cricket (a rare feat) and some reading in between. As Sri Lanka beat Australia I watched the trumpeter and a few drummers kick off what looked like a baila tune or two. However, a similar attempt to keep a band playing at the previous match at the Melbourne’s Telstra Dome was apparently thwarted, after crowd complains, by the ever reliable boys in blue. According to a Sri Lankan – Australian, Laknath Jayasinghe, who wrote in The Age op-eds during the week.

….this, and other far more cutting and racially motivated language, is what confronted me and my friends - all Australians from migrant Sri Lankan backgrounds - when we decided to sing traditional, festive Sinhalese songs to amuse ourselves during what was a very one-sided cricket match.

There was dancing, and some from the broader Anglo-Australian community joined in. To me, this was multiculturalism in its truest and most joyful sense.

So it was incredibly sad to hear a collective grunt of displeasure from a large body of spectators seated nearby, sneering suspiciously at our "foreign" activities. This was followed by a collective sigh of relief from this same section of the crowd when the boys in blue, whom they had complained to, asked us to stop singing and dancing …

This is nothing new. In the past I’ve been to a few AL vs OZ games in Melbourne and invariably when the baila starts playing and people get together the boys in blue materialise as if an alarm has gone off in their deterrence detection meter. More about that later. The next day a friend forwarded the following email ( edited for minor cleansing) which was written by a mate who was at the match providing context for the above cited article. It provides an insiders view.

What happened at the Dome was this. The first half I really enjoyed the banter because there were a few Aussie guys with the beer in their hands who were countering our cheering with Murali taunts ( and we were 10 guys who started shouting in Sinhalese (native language) and then turned to English when we started copping it - so that people can understand). Anyway that was good fun and both parties enjoyed it and we even had a bit of a chat during the 40 minute interval. Then came Part 2.

Part 2 happened when the band started playing and the about 150 or more Sri Lankans got together on one part of Level 3 at the Dome and started singing sinhalese songs/ This is when the crowd around us got apparently uncomfortable (or maybe offended) and asked the cops to make us stop. In between some Aussies teenagers got between the singing group and started to yell in English. So the cops came and they asked us to leave and told that if we want to sing that we should take it outside the stadium. So most of us did a lap around the Dome and watched the remaining 30 odd overs at the big screen outside the Dome .Honestly, I thought we copped a bit ( and there were some very minor scuffles !) but I didn’t relate any of the events seriously to 'other more broader issues' until I saw this article and looking at a lot of things, I do agree with a lot of the content.

My response in another post…TBC.

12 Comments:

  • At 2:57 am AEDT, Blogger Chandare said…

    I usually hear same kind of complaints in Sri Lanka when Pakitan team visits.The local muslims (some not all) cheers the Pakitani team and this pisses some guys off.
    I don't know the rational beihind that since Sri Lankan muslims don't have anything common except the religion.On the otherhand why can't a person cheer a team he likes?
    From all the major professional sports ,Cricket is in a unique possition because of the national teams which brings out cheap jingoism rather than enjoying the game.
    If cricket wants to go real pro,they have to breakup current stucture allow multiple teams from countries and let players be traded between teams.

     
  • At 2:38 pm AEDT, Blogger ~CC~ said…

    "..If cricket wants to go real pro,they have to breakup current stucture allow multiple teams from countries.."

    which kind of pro-sport has that? multiple national teams??

    i agree there should be more of a strong club-cricket structure where different clubs fro different countries can play together, kinda like the 'Euro' cup in soccer. with trading possible between countries, where clubs will then be able to make money which will lead to the development of the game.

    But there should only be one national team.

     
  • At 9:44 pm AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    chandare - ta, didn't know about the pakistani supporters. could they actually be pakistanis following the team?

    agree with both of you re: a professional league. a south asian league is probably the best bet. given the sizes of the population the potential income stream would be quite sizable and i can imagine it casting a long shadow over most of the other local competitions if managed successfully. attacting overseas players and all that

     
  • At 10:52 pm AEDT, Blogger ashanthi said…

    oh come on Ivap, come on .. what are you on about - you didn't know about the Pakistani's? What do you think happens when they play India???! Couple of nuclear bombs go off maybe!!! Well in some nutters head :-)

    So they give the Sri Lankans grief - what do you think they get everytime they play England? What do you think the "Pakis" get everytime they attend a soccer match in Bradford?

    Please - everyone cops this stuff - it's all about being Male, Macho & Mad!

    Let's not get precious because we are Sri Lankan. Currently in Oz the Australian cricketers are coming in for a lot of criticism by their peers & rightly so - they're a bunch of stuffed goannas. Ponting is a goose, Warnie can't lay of the mobile phone, Brett Lee has turned into an arrogant pratt - well what do you expect when you think you're the best cricket team for the last decade or so .... and you have the results to prove it? Men & egos???

    Fact is they have done well & as for their manners & the manners of their supporters it will get sorted out. Not least because of the indignation shown by Mr Jayasinghe in the Age. We had a good laugh about that one when I read it a few days ago. Pot calling kettle black me thinks.

    Someone from the "community" of Sri Lankans - ie all those excluding Tamils should pay the coppers a vist & take them to task about telling people not to sing Biala - never mind tasting exotic curries. That is just not on - even I like Baila especially when hubby drums along to it :-)

    I can assure you when the South Africans play Australia or Sri Lanka or India or even England - i have a few things to say.

    My hubby was at the SA vs Oz match on NY's day - he heard a drunk fat ugly Ozzy (his words not mine) give McGraw heaps ... and I quote ..."Your shit McGraw & you got no mates ... you said you hate the Poms & then you went & married one .... Fuck off you loser, fuck off"

    Hmmm - yes charming. Well - no one called the cops ... errr nope not even hubby, no one told him to shut up, he was just allowed to abuse one of the best bowlers I've ever seen in action.

    Well done to the Sri Lankan cricket team for showing the Ozzies that they have teeth. Very proud of them for giving the South Africans a good pasting - actually almost thankful. I missed most of these matches but still it's been enjoyable seeing Sri Lanka rise to the top.

    So let's all take a bow & put this nonesense to bed....

     
  • At 11:13 pm AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    oh come on Ivap, come on .. what are you on about - you didn't know about the Pakistani's? What do you think happens when they play India???! Couple of nuclear bombs go off maybe!!! Well in some nutters head :-)

    Ashanthi - well, i plead ignorance. until now i've never heard of s/l muslims supporting pak. I am cerainly not surprised, just wasn't aware of it happening, that's all. plus I'm not a big cricket fan and haven't been to a match in SL since I was 12.

    I have more to say but you are gonna have to wait for another blog soon.

    g'night

     
  • At 3:26 am AEDT, Blogger Chandare said…

    CC,
    I don't mean several national teams .It's more in line with NBA,NHL,NFL,European Soccer or Major league soccer in US.The geograpghy and the market will be the problem for cricket.
    Like IVAP says a
    South asian league would be a good start.Every four years the national teams can get together for the world cup.
    What if we have a league where Colombo,Bombay,Bangalore,Delhi ,Chennai,Calcutta,Dacca,Karachchi,Islamabad(Male,Kandy?etc..) compete?Why not Afridi in Colombo ,Sachin in Dacca or Murali in Karachchi for couple of seasons?

    Ivap...
    I don't know about any recent Pakistan tour but if you check footage from late 80's and and 90's (SL and PAK matches )you can see sections of crowds cheering.Now since the composition of Sri Lankan side has changed (J Mubarack,Maharoof,Dilshan)I don't know what would be the current reaction.In the neighborhood I lived where there was a muslim majority they used to light firecrackers when Pakistan won.

     
  • At 1:50 pm AEDT, Blogger Keshi said…

    anyone who cant tolerate harmless fun and gets all worked up abt it is a number 1 loser...:)


    Keshi.

     
  • At 11:36 pm AEDT, Blogger ivap said…

    Hi keshi,

    welcome back. apologies for the delay but I haven't felt like blogging for a while.

     
  • At 7:39 pm AEST, Blogger Just Mal said…

    hmm... 2nd and 3rd generation muslims in aus still support foreign teams in soccer etc.

    apparently muslims have a knack for being insulated from the culture of the country of their adoption.

    but we'd expect a lankan in aus to support the lankans so you can't really blame them now, can you?

     
  • At 10:00 am AEST, Blogger ivap said…

    just mal - good to see you here.

    2nd and 3rd generation muslims in aus still support foreign teams in soccer etc

    So do 3rd and 4th generation italian and greek friends of mine. It's nothing unusual and neither is it limited to muslims.


    apparently muslims have a knack for being insulated from the culture of the country of their adoption.

    They said the same sh*t about the japanese during WW2, the eastern european and mediterranean migrants in the 50'snd 60's, the viatnamese refugees in the 70s and now the muslims and the african refugees. I've met sri lankans who never socialise outside their 'curry' circles. Only the statistics will bear out the truth in the long run. See here for a read on australian attitudes

     
  • At 10:05 am AEST, Blogger ivap said…

    but we'd expect a lankan in aus to support the lankans so you can't really blame them now, can you?

    just like the muslims, eh? Yeah even I can't keep myself from supporting SL when they play. It plays a part in our identity and how we see ourselves even if it's a small factor in ourlives.

     
  • At 6:10 am AEST, Blogger ashanthi said…

    ivap - thanks for the email and address, I'm not sure if i can respond in kind.

    However, good to have you back online

    Just one thing though - i think Just Mal is Dextr so be carefull.

     

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