• 14 Aug, 2022

Ministry of Health’s ridicule of Indo-Trinidadians

Ministry of Health’s ridicule of Indo-Trinidadians

Ministry of Health’s ridicule of Indo-Trinidadians

Recently, I was sent a link to a TikTok video currently in circulation. This video was commissioned by Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Health entitled “A Good River Lime”, it can plainly be seen that the all the participants are overweight Indo-Trinidadians males, drinking alcohol, dancing and eating a curried dish, soon after which one of them has a heart attack and the TikTok video closes with a warning that not exercising and bad eating habits may lead to a heart attack.

While I have absolutely no problem with the Ministry of Health warning people about their diet, exercising and generally living a healthier life. I am yet to understand why the Minister of Health would approve such an ad. Not too long ago there was a loud hue and cry when the United National Congress’s political ad showed people being given yellow bananas. This ad was deemed racist! Now we Indo-Trinidadians males are being portrayed as big-bellied and glutinous. 

This advert is equally, if not more offensive in nature. ....   This advertisement feeds the negative stereotype that Indians are big-bellied, rum-drinking people with little or no ambition. Is there any evidence to show that Indian males are more at risk for heart attacks or a strain on the State hospitals? It now seems the next thing you will see is an Indian man chasing his wife to beat her or chop someone! Reinforcing stereotypes that an Indian man is not emotionally mature enough.

There has always been some strange need in this country to portray Indian men as not manly enough, useless and second-class men. The media, both print and television, would always show an Indian woman with a non-Indian man in its ads, portraying this as the ideal couple or perfect family. Trinidadian-Indo males are more than well aware that we need to exercise, and we need to take care of our health and many of us do. I really wonder if MP Terrence Deyalsingh is so alienated from his heritage and ancestry that he is blinded by the self-evident stereotyping and parody that denigrate the Indo-Trinidadian community.

I call upon the Ministry of Health to immediately withdraw this advertisement and publish an apology. I also call upon the Minister of Health to do the honourable thing and resign. In mature democracies, we see that when politicians are unable to fulfil their role and serve the need and the purpose of which they are elected, they do the honourable thing and resign. This TikTok video is not only offensive to Indo-Trinidadians, but it should be offensive to all Trinidadians alike. TikTok link:

https://www.tiktok.com/@derekbob1/video/7123581245304458502?_t=8UET8rfgic1&_r=1 

Pundit Satyanand Maharaj, Spiritual Leader, Satya Anand Ashram

Aranjuez, Trinidad and Tobago

Pt Satyanand Maharaj

Pundit Satyanand Maharaj, Spiritual Leader, Satya Anand Ashram Aranjuez, Trinidad and Tobago