The World

Feb 23, 2018

Why Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump Jr had very different Indian visits

Dress ups and gaffes marked both visits, but their deeper significance is a bit more complicated.

Charlie Lewis — Journalist

Charlie Lewis


Photo: Justin Trudeau, Facebook.

The Disney prince of Western Democracy, Justin Trudeau, a man who’s jawline is so sharp you could prepare a salad with it, has been enduring what seems to have been a pretty miserable week in India. He was snubbed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi (who didn’t meet with him, sending his agriculture minister instead) and accidentally inviting a man convicted of attempting to assassinate a cabinet minister to dinner.

And all the while, much as been made of the fact the he’s been dressing up in all manner of traditional Indian finery, multicoloured sherwanis and kurtas — eliciting a range of responses from amused to genuinely annoyed: Why, a few people fairly asked, are Trudeau and his wife Sophie dressed in wedding outfits outside that Hindu Temple?

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2 thoughts on “Why Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump Jr had very different Indian visits

  1. Dog's Breakfast

    “I don’t want to be glib but you can see the poorest of the poor and there is still a smile on a face.”

    I’ve visited India many times, and holidayed in developing nations of Asia, and this is always said by those of us who visit without much thinking. It’s a western form of rationalisation of the disparity in wealth between nations, and excuses us from profiting off their very cheap labour and goods. It’s also bullshit, and as likely just a product of practice, smiling at the westerners in the hope of a gratuity. Oft enough, in their cultures, the proffered smile is not analogous to happiness at all, but perhaps more to formal cultural manners.

    The ‘westernomorphism’ of tourists visiting developing countries assuming that a smiling face means they are happy is nothing more than an ode to our ignorance, an ignorance we are determined to hold on to. I find this little episode, played out by everyone virtually, to be particularly egregious.

    Good on Trudeau, by the way. It’s unlikely that anyone apart from the extraordinarily wealthy thought that dressing up was somehow a slight. The locals would have loved it, as would the Sikhs back home, I’m betting.

  2. The Curmudgeon

    I don’t like being the pedant (too much), but this is not the first time that the possessive “who’s” has wrongly appeared for “whose”. Editor, please.

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