16-22 September 2016 #826

No laughing matter


It has come to the notice of investigating authoritarians that despite a state of national urgency, there is still a lot of uncontrolled and spontaneous laughter going on in isolated parts of the Democratic People’s Federal Express Fast Track Secular Republic of Nepal. There is clear and present danger that such unrestrained mirth could spread and be detrimental to national security, especially at a time when the Left Honourable Prime Minister Comrade Awesomeness is on a state visit to a neighbouring country to the South which we always refer to in superlatives, and therefore should be nipped in the bud forthwith. This is no laughing matter. 

Our founding grandfathers, in their wisdom, promulgated the Laughter and Satire Act 2007 BS which categorically states that in times of grave national crisis the state can for a limited and stipulated period temporarily suspend an individual's perfectly natural urge to giggle, snigger, chuckle, chortle, twitter, or all of the above. These curtailments of fundamental freedoms are sometimes deemed necessary for the collective good, even if the individual in question may have no idea what that good is exactly.

Since such a crisis is now at hand, and considering that wild guffawing is highly infectious and can spread by word-of-mouth thus lowering the morale of our civil and uncivil servants, the state is now invoking Article 27 of the Laughter and Satire Act and banning all unauthorised laughter until further notice. Guards! Take that chap who has fallen off his chair to the dungeons and tickle his armpits.

Where were we? Oh yes, compared to the DPRK which has just executed the Education Minister for falling asleep during a Cabinet Meeting, we lag far behind in enforcing the laughter ban. (Speaking of North Korea, when is Comrade Bijukche of the People’s Democratic Republic of Bhaktapur going to congratulate The Great Successor Comrade Un for conducting another underground nuclear test?)  

Be that as it may, nothwithstanding, and nevertheless we are a civilised society, and realise that in rare cases those of unsound mind may need to laugh at regular intervals for medical reasons. For these cases, exceptions have been made so they can do so in designated sound-proof Laugh Cells. But they must bring their shrink's prescription in triplicate duly notarised by the Joker-in-Chief of the governing coalition stating the psychosomatic and physiological reasons why the said patient needs to chuckle gustily, and more importantly, whether there is actually still something to laugh about in this country. These strict regulations are required to thwart abuse, and to prevent the entire country from pretending that it has gone insane. 

Appendix 1: Non-Nepali residents and diplomats are also exempt from the laughter ban since their conduct in the host country is governed by the Vienna Convention and its Annexe 13 (d) which states: 'In cases where the recipient state has suspended its sense of humour, consular missions and their resident staff may on occasion enjoy diplomatic impunity and be allowed to vent off a little steam as long as they don't indulge in boisterous jocularity in public.' 

Appendicitis 2: Nepal Telecom has been given the go-ahead to resume its hitherto immobile phone service (oops, did I just say something funny?) after all subscribers were fingerprinted and had to sign written affidavits declaring that they will send only officially-sanctioned unfunny jokes to each other via SMS. 

Appendectomy 3: Despite draconian crackdowns it is inexplicable that some miscreants insist on defying state-sanctioned regulations and staging laugh-ins at Baluwater. In all seriousness, what is there to laugh about? Don't they know that under the current Authoritarian, he who laughs best laughs last?

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