Every time I throw a Tamil proverb around, the husband looks bemused. According to him, my tone exposes the fact that I am parroting a proverb that my mother used. Many a time have I used this particular proverb looking most knowledgeable. (Yes, my mother looked immensely knowledgeable when she unbelted these gems.)
நுணலும் தன்வாயால் கெடும்), Nunalum than vaayal kedum
Roughly translated this proverb tells one to keep one’s large mouth shut to avoid getting in trouble.
I felt this is just the sort of proverb that would have served the Indonesian Information Minister (IIM for the remainder of this post) Sembiring, well in the recent controversy. Apparently the IIM boasted several times to his nation that he was a staunch believer in Islam. This in itself might have been fine, had he not gone on to advertise rather vociferously that he rarely came in contact with women other than those related to him. He seems to have gone on a limb and proclaimed that Women must not shake Men’s hands.
Of course when he was busy making these speeches, he did not guess that there would be a day when he would be standing in line like a school boy expecting chocolates, and he would find himself gushing with pride to do just that: Shake the hands of a lady – not just any lady, the First Lady.
The IIM now claims that he was forced to shake hands with Mrs. Michelle Obama during her recent visit to Indonesia. The poor IIM was not yet aware that the meeting was recorded and put out with glee on youtube and elsewhere. There is no escaping the fact that Mr.IIM shook hands with Michelle Obama quite whole-heartedly and in fact used both hands while beaming like a radiant star. A point to note in the video clipping is the fact that most others only used one hand to shake Mrs. Obama own hand, but this man fell over himself and engulfed Mrs. O’s hands in his own.
Now, if he had kept his views on hand shakes to himself, he might have been able to frame a photograph of himself shaking hands with the World’s First Couple and placed it prominently behind his desk. Alas, now he is making matters worse for himself by tweeting about how he was forced to shake her hand when videos are reeling with proof quite the contrary.
Ancient wisdom – where were you when he needed it?
PS: I apologize to those to whom this news is stale – I can’t keep up with the strange and exciting that the news unleashes.