Monday, July 1, 2013

WAT THAI MUNICH CALLING FOR PROTESTS

While this is a blog about temples in Thailand, it is also the perfect place to post this blog - A temple in Munich, Germany calling for a protest against a shameful placement of a Buddha image in the middle of the city. 

A special "art" project called "A SPACE CALLED PUBLIC", Chong, positioned a meditation Buddha image on it's back, as if it had fallen over. The head almost on the floor. Something unthinkable in Asia is deemed "art" in Germany's city of Munich. 
by the Malaysian artist Han


When I first saw the image in the paper, my jaw dropped and I said to myself "how ridiculous ...and how offensive!!!" We fired off emails to the responsible person in the city's responsible department. The answer came prompt and was merely an advertisement for the art show. 

The "fallen" Buddha image was placed in a busy market
place, next to a public drinking hall! Kids crawled onto it, playing while parents watched and obviously unable to read, ignoring the sign which said not to step on it. Tourists sat on the Buddha's arm and posed for photos. Sad! Very sad! Even more sad was that the city and the organizers claim that the artist is a Buddhist himself. Malaysian originally, he now lives in London. 


After the first protest letters from the Buddhist Union of Germany, private people and newspaper coverage, the city quickly added an addendum to the flyers next to the Buddha, stating again, that Han Chong is himself a Buddhist and that his image has "unfortunately been misinterpreted as disrespectful and insensitive towards a religious symbol". 

Bangkok Post reported on it, as did other magazines. Facebook pages like this one in German and Thai languages were founded and Wat Thai Munich called for protests.


The Royal Thai Embassy and the Royal Thai Consulate protested in letters to the Mayor of Munich, who in his answer again claimed that nobody wants to offend Buddhists. Well, guess what? You are offending us!! 

Whatever an artist has in mind is hard to grasp for the local
bystander, tourist or just workers at the market. A Buddha image laying on it's side basically screams out for people to be offensive in the way they behave. I am not paid to give credit or do advertisement to the artist here, so I am not even going to comment on what his intentions were. What is more important, is that the Buddha displayed in this way is highly offensive to us Buddhists. Photos here are all from the protest which was called by Wat Thai Munich on 30. June 2013. ... to be continued...

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