25 Sep 2010

John Mason has welcomed the decision of the Scottish Commonwealth Games team to head for Delhi as planned this weekend. Earlier this week there had been concerns about health and safety as well as questions over sanitation and cleanliness. However, it seems that sufficient progress has now been made to satisfy officials to let the team go.

John was concerned about the message that would have been sent out if Scotland had turned out to be one of the countries most critical of India’s preparations. That in turn could have led to other countries taking a very critical view of any mistakes Scotland might make in the preparations for 2014.

In addition he feels there has been a lack of understanding in the West that things are done differently in Asia. He himself lived in neighbouring Nepal for three years during the 1980s and visited Delhi during that time. He says, “In Nepal we routinely used pit latrines and accepted that hygiene standards were different from what most westerners were used to. India was and is more technologically advanced than Nepal but clearly they still have huge problems of poverty to face. In these circumstances there is no way they should be spending lavish amounts of money to cater to every whim of the western competitors.

“If we are serious about the Commonwealth and treating all countries as equals, then we need to be appreciative of the hospitality they lay on. Neither in India nor in Scotland is it acceptable to visit someone’s house and then start listing all the things you don’t like about it. The guest’s attitude is very important and frankly some of the Scottish attitudes have been disappointing in this whole episode.”