Beauty and the Keepers of Tibetan tradition

Religious conservatives dont like beauty contests.

The Tibetan government in exile has condemned the beauty contest which crowned Tashi Yangchen Miss Tibet 2004.

Miss Tibet 2004The pageant, however, was not without its complications. Just as the week-long festival kicked off on October 1, a minor controversy raged within the community, with the Tibetan government-in-exile expressing its opposition to the competition. Samdhong Rinpoche, Tibet’s de facto prime minister, called it “un-Tibetan and untraditional”.

“Body is the home of the conscience. Beauty is skin-deep and there could be no such contest in which inner virtues could be put to test” [Asia Times]

Arguably, the venerable Rinpoche may have a point, but he would do well to realise that explaining the impermanent nature of the human body to viewers of beauty pageants is quite often a fruitless venture.

The Tibetan theme prevailed throughout the event as the five contestants participated in a Tibetan costume round, sang traditional songs in a talent contest, and gave a presentation on topics about Tibetan current affairs, history, the political situation and culture.[Miss Tibet]

In other words, no controversial red swimsuits involved.

That’s the thing with the theocracies, they just dont get it. The Tibetan-government-in-exile’ statements sound very similar to those of the Ayatollahs of Iran, the Wahhabis of Saudi Arabia, or the anti-Valentine’s day brigade in (secular) India. In each case, the greatest opposition to freedom of expression comes from a bunch of fogies who have arrogated to themselves the authority to pronounce the final word on tradition.

4 thoughts on “Beauty and the Keepers of Tibetan tradition”

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  2. I have seen Buddist Monks in Theme Parks here. Didn’t Buddha say “Thou Shall not go to Theme Parks”.

    Buddha just said he found a way to attain nirvana and anyone could follow it. Now these people have converted it into an “-ism” and then you get your fatwas.

  3. One of the unpleasant truths about Tibet is that prior to the Chinese invasion, the country was basically a feudal theocracy, having more in common with Medieval Europe than any Shangri-La. This doesn’t justify for a moment the Chinese government’s crimes in Tibet, but it does show once more that the victims of criminals aren’t always saints.

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