Alcohol, Gurdwara and the Cup

The 65th Gurdwaras Cup & Sikh Festival Of Sports 2016 were held in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan earlier this month. A reader expresses his discomfort with the presence of alcohol at the Sikh sporting event organised by the Malaysian-Singapore Sikh Sports Council (MSSSC).

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| Letter | Malaysia | 22June 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Gurdwara Cup 2016: Some photos sent in by the reader.
Gurdwara Cup 2016: Some photos sent in by the reader.

The most recent chapter of the long-running Gurdwara Cup ended on a good note. Seremban played host to the inter-state Sikh games involving Malaysia and Singapore. It was a resounding success.

The execution was largely flawless due to its long history of 65 years, running at almost auto pilot mode. There can be no doubt that this sporting event fosters commendable positive values and offers a platform for up and coming talent.

On the other hand, some may challenge that certain practises associated with the tournament are detrimental to the Sikh values. Over the years, it has raised some tough questions for the organisers.

It’s common knowledge that this cup is also jokingly referred to as ‘huru-hara‘ (Malay for chaos) cup owing to its highly festive nature which involves huge amounts of drinking and merry making.

While it’s acceptable for sports to go hand in hand with recreation, many Sikhs have a problem with the event being called Gurdwara Cup due to representation issues. The organisers defend that sports and religion shouldn’t mix but are left with the incriminating fact that the very name of the sporting event, in essence, is very much religious in nature.

In Seremban this year, some of us felt let down by the organisers on a few sentiments namely:

– Not delivering their promise to make the event alcohol free at the designated venues

– Setting an unhealthy standard amongst Sikh youth on promoting a drinking culture (consuming alcohol)

– And perhaps the more blatant issue of disrespecting the holy 5 Pyare incident during the opening ceremony where alcohol was visibly arranged at the venue.

Scene 2016: One of the photos filed in by the writer of a letter to the editor on alcohol being present on the grounds of Gurdwara Cup and the Sikh games organised by the MSSSC.
Scene 2016: One of the photos filed in by the writer of a letter to the editor on alcohol being present on the grounds of Gurdwara Cup and the Sikh games organised by the MSSSC.

There’s never a single event which has been, and can be, organised at the level of a ‘Perfect 10’. There are bound to be inevitable hiccups or short comings along the way. We appreciate the massive task that organiser’s face. We understand the challenges.
However, we hope the organisers would view the issues highlighted as crucial areas for improvement for the coming years.

They definitely call for some serious reflection to be done in good faith, preferably without any mud slinging by any party. There can be no one answer which will satisfy all quarters, and therein lies the challenge.

Whatever the decision, some will find it a difficult pill to swallow. Suggestions to simply change the name of the tournament may or may not make all the unhappy sentiments go away. The decision, in the end, has to be made collectively for the betterment of the Sikh community and one which would hopefully promote good values beyond just sports and culture.

– Concerned Sportsman

 

RELATED STORIES:

KL dethrones Perak at Malaysia-Singapore Sikh games, retains Gurdwara Cup for hockey (Asia Samachar, 6 June 2016)

Negeri Sembilan MB opens 65th Gurdwara Cup and Sikh Festival Of Sports 2016 (Asia Samachar, 2 June 2016)

Perak creates history at Gurdwara Cup (Asia Samachar, 8 June 2015)

 

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs / Punjabis in Asia. How to reach us: Facebook message or WhatsApp +6017-335-1399. Our email: editor@asiasamachar.com. For obituary announcements, click here]

17 COMMENTS

  1. Sikhs in Punjab who migrated to US-Canada-UK-Aust-NZ- etc and became financially successful may not have been able to handle the financial success. The result of this was failure in upbringing their next generation or their relatives who remained in Punjab to manage the vast land holdings. The sudden wealth made most lazy and passed on the cultivation of the lands to the other non-Sikhs/Punjabis and started to indulge in drugs resulting in addiction.

    Sadly today PUNJAB IS PERCEIVED TODAY AS HAVING THE MOST NUMBER OF DRUG ADDICTS IN INDIA,
    The position may be similar to the position in Malaysia where one pampered race has the highest number of drug addicts as can be evidenced by the addict population of Government rehab centers.

    WHILE SIKHS HAVE BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN THEIR CAREERS/PROFESSIONS/BUSINESSES THEY MAY HAVE ALSO BECOME KNOWN FOR THEIR ADDICTION TO DRUGS [in Punjab] AND LIQUOR CULTURE [in other countries].
    The number and size and grandeur of Gurdwaras/missionaries have been increasing worldwide
    but GURU’s TEACHINGS APPEAR TO BEING FORGOTTEN and accumulation of wealth appears to be becoming the main objective of most MANAGEMENT COMMITTEES.

    WEALTH MAY HAVE BECOME A WALL BETWEEN WAHE GURU JI AND SIKHS

    Looks like the need of the day is DUKH DAROO as SUKH ROG BHAIYAH in current times especially among Sikhs and especially in Punjab.

  2. Gursharan Singh JI, I agree there is a lack of understanding among some about how businesses operate.

    In Europe, often in the period leading to Christmas and just after the new year[30 days] -the intake is probably equivalent to a whole six months.Just the same happens elsewhere in the business wol most of the time.It is a matter of getting the timing right for most astute business.

    In Malacca, the basic principle is the same-bar that it involves Sikhs and Alcohol.

    The same is associated not only in sports-but weddings, an often as soon the Guru Granth sahib departs after the cosmetic “very spiritual” expression though SUKHMANI SAHIB DA PATH-bottles of all sorts appear.I am sure you being a teetotller or, a rachabite,as I am ,have more than often, experienced, observed and wondered what was all that katha and show of spirituality about.But every body to their own, I believe.

    In the course of my job, and visiting, training and conferences,etc in the last many many years, I have come across a very commonly re-occuring theme, from both occupational collegues and people I have met, or meet, when ever I say, I do not drink!

    An expression of shock is noted, and an exclamation and a question is thrown back at me , “Really, you do not drink?But SIKHS ARE NOTORIOUS for their drinking!They are worst than the Irish or Scots”

    Sometimes,quite often,it is followed with”oh I have been to a Sikh wedding, Mmy god the booze flows like water;unlike the English where one has to pay for their own booze at the bar!”

    Then some other will share more to that effect and about Sikhs and their drink and their experiences with Sikh friends, Sarj, or Jack, who loves his drink!

    A small chuckle, then “Oh you are the exceptional,[ or the first Sikh], I have come across that does not drink!
    “But of course it is against the Sikh religion to consume alcohol”, many may chip in.

    This is how famous Sikhs and their binge drinking is!

    When I am back home,in Malaysia,do things change?No. I often venture into a coffee shop or stall, or restaurant or hotel bar restaurant, as soon as I am seated, the first semi enquiring question is thrown at me!

    Sir,beer? or Beer sir?Tiger, heinikan?When I say, I do not drink.having gone through such reactions so many times , I can imgine what response I will get!

    WAAH!All Singh drink ah!Cannot lah!I see all Singh dlink lah!Looking, forsaken and paralytically surprised…then looking at anyone ,accompanying me, and the same line begins,wah semua Singh minum,mula kali jumpa satu tidak minum lah!

    Of course in fine dining restaurant and Hotels, they are a little more refined when reacting, but nevertheless, surpised and shocked, I do not drink.
    Initially, I used to be quite taken aback, but over the years I realised the reality.

    I have often accompanied ,or persuaded to go along, where I have seen gathering of Sikhs, indulged in drinking, as I sip my soft drink.A nice friendly conversation is going on, when I will hear , EF you , Teri…..bhen .etc suddenly breaks out, without any reason whatsoever,beween two individuals who a couple hours before had hugged each other, but were now ready with a mouthful of foul gospel to kill, beat and fight!

    After a lot of commotion, things calm down, often not before having landed a few blows upon each other.Then one gets upset and leaves.Once I witnessed one such scene, where the chap got up to leave and mount his motorcycle, only to fall on to the opposite side.Then he tried from the otherside only to fall again on the otherside!In all he had about 7 falls, while the drinking buddies earlier were watching happily, quite fueled in their own drink.

    I have witnessd more than that, but just how sad it is when there was absolutely no reason for the fight!

    If we reflect back in history, our Kingdom came down because of alcohol.

    We se many families today, where alcohol has triggered much pain, often emotional, sometimes physical violence, parting and break up of families etc, and the effects upon children and their future.There is such an increase of single parents, esspecially mothers, struggling to cope with young children

    The side effects of drug use by binge drinkers and alcoholic does untold damage, not only o the individual but also upon the family.Often, that can lead to all sorts other criminal activities.The list is unending, untold,until it is often too late for any intervention towards abstinence.

    Before I end,let me share a significant happening in history that involved Mohan Chand Karmdas Gandhi.He was very much in the habit of slagging off Sikhs.Sometimes he would taunt Sikhs about their Kirpan, other times about their martial status, or spirit of violence, or drinking for worst.

    One Sr Sant Singh from Hazara , West Punjab wrote to him , asking him why was he projecting Sikhs in bad light, and to stop it.

    Gandhi replied..by a rude public invective during the course of his prayer meeting, on 25th f November,1947.He invited Sant Singh to help in riding the greatad brave community from the madness that resulted in the community that drank, and indulged in illegal production of booze, and all the vices that goes with this community .

    Though every word smacked of hatred , he said”a kirpan ceases to be sacred when it goes into the hands of an unprincipled drunkard or when this drunkard turbaned Sikh uses it any how, and kills even his brother.

    He refered to the bravery of the Sikhs,but questioning their morally bankrupt integrity with DRINK, acidly adding.,”in my opinion the high nobles that are in the book and preached, but not practiced, become more a menace-which is degrading, reflecting low life of a community indulged in alcohol”

    Is it any wonder , the role of Sikhs in any Bollywood movie is very popularly involved with drink; or the Sikhs are much the butt of sardar ji jokes, and alcohol?

    I agree with your advice, BE MODERATE!But often among many families, very sadly , the whole scenario is beyond help, or professional intervention and salvage.

  3. To ‘Have a beer bro’.
    I do not drink in beer or any other alcoholic drinks.
    The reason is simple: My father died due to heavy drinking, my brother died from heavy drinking.

    The comments of Gurcharan Singh dated June 23, 2016 at 4:00 pm above says all and he leads a Alcohol & Drug Service now in the United Kingdom and his comments provide details and some past history on drinking.

    Please Let us not be personal and insult and call names but be civil.

    WAHU GURU JI KA KHALSA WAHE GURU JI KI FATEH.

    Sikhs or others do not need tragedy in the family/friends to learn a lesson. My suggestion is ‘BE MODERATE’

  4. ‘Sure the point you were making was a good one’

    Well at least you agree with the point I made. Just for information my family had a restaurant with PUNJABI SWEETS [BARFI ETC] BUSINESS AS THE MAIN BUSINESS AND WE USED TO MAKE PROFIT IN FIVE DAYS DURING DIWALI WHICH WAS EQUAL TO ALMOST SIX MONTHS OF PROFITS.

    The figure given was based on a discussion with some of the shop owners some years ago when I visited Malacca on my way to audit the accounts of a Government Institution there.

    It appears that you have never been in business. Yes, I am telling that some shops CAN AND DO make sales equivalent of 6 months in a week and it will make sense if you visit the many HARI RAYA BAZAARS TODAY AND SHOPS IN MASJID INDIA AREA.

    Just for information some permits given by DBKL/Malacca City Hall which were reported in the media and TV [when some Malay traders complained about the high bids] to be being bid for RM40,000 for just one month with the bulk of the sales being in the last two weeks and yes these people can earn in the two weeks what they may earn in one year.

  5. Gursharan Singh is a blatant liar, you’re telling me a shop made sales equivalent of 6 months in a week? that makes no sense at all. If that is the case, the shop owner is better off closing down till the next event and making huge profits by selling at a lower price point. Sure the point you were making was a good one, but do not make claims and not provide any evidence to back it up.

  6. I lead a Alcohol & Drug Service now in the United Kingdom.I have made some deep study of Sikhs and alcohol, especially in Malaysia.Most of done through observations and reading reports and oral communication.Even though this limited to a small circle, it gives me a very clear picture to what goes on.

    It is not simply the alcoholic drink that taken, but the side effects that trigger off from binge drinking and dependency of Alcohol.

    In Malaysia there is a big denial, and defences put up by some unimportant toads about the alcohol intake.

    Some years back, my neighbour, who was surprised that I do not entertain alcohol nor drink, and impressed, one day show me some newspaper headlines, regards the Melaka Shradh celebrations.The headlines read “Town runs dry as Sikhs converge for prayers of their saint’s prayers”It went on..the town’s shops have run out of alcohol as Sikhs gather to “pray”

    I was lost for words and struggled to grasp the rationale of Sikhs and their gathering and “prayers” for shradh-worship of the dead-which is contrary to the Sikh teachings anyway, but who cares as it is an opportunity to raise monies, and boost the alcohol sales for the local trade.

    Alcohol and sports for Sikhs is a joint exercise., that goes hand in hand.Without the alcohol, the sports are not a success, neither sports at all.

    We have seen such headlines in the Malay Mail some yearsm back, where players under the influence of alcohol, have been playing hockey and football with each other’s heads, bodies and legs-being broken, injured and made disabled either for life, or sometime.These than results in criminality, of all sorts, destruction of relationships, the break down in marriages.There is always the constant ripple after effects of trauma, not only with the culprit, but family members.

    As for the name Gurduara being associated with such binge drinking, is beyond the understanding of common sense.I would suggest the name be changed to “All Malaysia Sikh Alcohol Binging Sports”.

    The main problem with Sikhs is the DENIAL of binge drinking or reliance upon alcohol leading to this rising dilemma.There is no lack of religious organisations, but not a single organisation that deals with such social ailments of the community.More later.

  7. The name OF GURDWARA CUP SHUD BE CHANGE IMMEDIATELY……the organiser or who ever related to this event of so called GURDWARA CUP change the damn bloody name simply as that…..We punjabi are only punjabi NOT GURSIKH….

  8. READER JAY SHINDER SHARED THIS POST AT ASIA SAMACHAR FACEBOOK PAGE:

    1. Dont associate the name Gurdawara or Hola Mehla with this or any other sporting or social event if liqour or tobacco consumption is prevelant.

    2. Since this event is a closed event for SIKHS the liqour should banned and should be extended to tobacco consumption.

    3. Youths need to be lead by principled leaders who can lead by example.

    4. The event needs to produce quality sportsmen for the nation .

    5. Committe members and management who openly consume liqour and tobacco should hv no place in being involved in this or any SIKH event.

    Changing the name alone but ignoring the rest is like sweeping the dirt under the carpet.

    The past inactions does not mean change cannot take place. If past leaders have been weak it does not mean we cannot groom new leaders.

  9. READER RISHI SIDHU BRAR SHARED THIS POST AT ASIA SAMACHAR FACEBOOK PAGE:

    It has been ongoing for years even during our forefathers, so why is it a problem now?

  10. READER SERA KAUR SHARED THIS POST AT ASIA SAMACHAR FACEBOOK PAGE:

    Malaysian sikhs should stop makin a mountain over small issues..!! Most thinking they should change d name, mayb change it to turban cup than m sure drinkin is allowed..!!

  11. READER JAGDEV SINGH SHARED THIS POST AT ASIA SAMACHAR FACEBOOK PAGE:

    It is sad to note that for years the organisers failed to respect the sanctity of GURDWARA.
    How many are willing to join, stand up and speak the truth ?? If it is done collectively and with the support of the Sangat, we all can make the change happen. Forget about those who don’t wish to change, but lets make it happen for our future generation.

    A few years back Club Aman has made a change “NO Alcohol during Hola Mahala games” which draws a huge crowd of youths to participate in the games. That was a great move. Why can’t MSSSC do it?

    1. Some feel it has been going on for a long time and why get involved (sanoo ki piyaa attitude).
    2. Some want to keep the reputation and friendship with the leaders of today’s organisations.
    3. Some will say why now? My question to them is “If not now, then when?”

    The Sikh Gurus banned the use of intoxicants including alcohol on account of its harmful effects. It is physically harmful and mentally disturbing.
    Drinking alcohol not only causes biological damage but ruins families, relationships and leads individuals to do misconduct and commit sins.

    A humble appeal to My dear leaders, brothers and sisters…It’s our duty to protect the Sanctity of Gurdwara and the future of our coming generation…

  12. READER JASHANDEEP SINGH SHARED THIS POST AT ASIA SAMACHAR FACEBOOK PAGE:

    Gurudwara cup is a holy name and at the same moment alcohol consumption is going on @ event and the event started with the name of punj pyare.sum up all it’s a disgrace to holy name “gurudwara”.this can hurt sentiments of thousands of sikh communities all over the world.the organisers are behaving so immature and naive.either they should change the name of the tournament or this issue will be adressed globally.

  13. READER SANDEEP SINGH SHARED THIS POST AT ASIA SAMACHAR FACEBOOK PAGE:

    So are you people really sad of the people drinking at the event called as Gurdwara Cup or at the “ Sikh ” who shouldn’t be drinking at the first place ? Talking about the event , are you people trying to say that drinking during Vaisakhi Day , Sant Baba Sohan Singh Ji is okay , it’s a good example ? If not then why it wasn’t being exposed like this.

    Talking about the “ Sikh ” people , aren’t we been told by our Guru not to drink alcohol and take tobacco. If the person been drinking his/her whole life without thinking much, do you think the event called as Gurdwara Cup will make some differences within him/her.

    So you people decide whether is this really necessary to change the name or there is something else we need to change .Well it’s just my opinion , any wrong thing I said please do forgive .

  14. READER Manvender Kaur SHARED THIS POST AT ASIA SAMACHAR FACEBOOK PAGE:

    Yes, I have heard of this happening many times during the event. The best would be to get the organisers to take serious actions on the person/s involved. We must remember, those taking part in the events are juniors AND seniors… so what messages are we giving to our youths? It’s OK to have alcohol during such events? We are actually ruining our own future generation… it’s good that Asia Samachar highlighted this matter!

  15. As sikhs the path is crystal clear. Alcohol is a no no.You like it or not. So we just have to work towards minimising it, if not eradicating it altogether .

  16. I had expressed my views of the perception of non-Sikhs about the culture of Liquor and Sikhs in my earlier comment reproduced below.

    The hotel-restaurant-LIQUOR businesses look forward to the function in Malacca as SIKHS ARE FAMOUS FOR THEIR LIQUOR DRINKING CULTURE. Businesses dealing in liquor have bumper sales and one shop keeper told me the sales in that one week exceed six months of sales per year. The total liquor sales are estimated to be in millions of RM.
    This is not the kind of reputation Sikhs want but it is there and many non-Sikh friends of mine tell me thst I am not a typical Sikh when I tell them that I am a liquor or beer non-drinker.

    Now a ‘Concerned Sportsman’ has expressed his discomfort with the presence of alcohol at the Sikh sporting event organised by the Malaysian-Singapore Sikh Sports Council (MSSSC) recently in Seramban.

    WHEN WILL THE SIKHS ESPECIALLY THOSE IN POSITIONS OF LEADERSHIP, SET AN EXAMPLE WHICH THE SIKH YOUTHS CAN FOLLOW WITH PRIDE.

    I read with great sadness about the Bollywood film ‘UDTA PUNJAB’ which should have been given the title of ‘LOOTHA PUNJAB’ as the film portrays the condition of the Punjab youths who are currently known more by their DRUG ADDICTION. Can this situation be reversed? Yes only if the parents-leaders-professionals were to spend more time and give attention to the youth than to the CHASE FOR WEALTH AS THE SIKHS HAVE BECOME FINANCIALLY/MATERIALLY RICH BUT WITH NO ONE TO TAKE CARE OF THE WEALTH ON THEIR RETURN TO THEIR MAKERS. Is this the future the SIKH GURUS HAD ENVISAGED?

    The situation may be no different in other countries not only among Sikhs but also among other races as is evident from world statistics.
    THE COMMON DENOMINATOR IS REPLACING TIME & LOVE FOR CHILDREN WITH MONEY-CREDIT CARDS-EXPENSIVE TOYS but NO TIME with the excuse BY FATHERS & MOTHERS THAT ‘WE ARE WORKING FOR THE FUTURE CAREER OF THE CHILDREN’ but they may be deluding themselves as CHILDREN NEED PARENTS AND NOT TOYS.

    My Prayers to all so that the REALIZATION COMES SOONER THAN LATER AS LATER THERE WILL ONLY BE REGRET.

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