I’m in Beijing visiting a friend. It’s a pretty happening town.
China is Sri Lanka’s new BFF (best friend forever). China gives us loans, helps build roads, ports, airports, and they keep more hostile nations off our backs. One thing China doesn’t give is tourist visas. Sri Lankan citizens have to go in groups of five for tourist purposes. I’m a dual citizen so I applied as a Canadian, otherwise I couldn’t really get in.
For someone of my generation, using the post is an ordeal. It involves paper, pens, envelopes and patience, none of which I have readily at hand. For people my age, communication is largely electronic. The entire country may be moving this way, in fact. According to household spending data, the average Sri Lankan household spends only Rs.4 per month on postal services compared to Rs.750 on telecom.
“Bless your hearts coming to listen to the playwright, what’s that all about?” - Tom Stoppard, Galle Literary Festival, 2012.
The Galle Literary Festival is a blend of pretension and promise, brain farts and art. It’s a trip. Tom Stoppard was my favourite speaker. With a spray of gray hair, he’s got the moves like Mick Jagger. I saw his play (Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead) and found it particularly relevant to high school. It’s the story of bit characters in Shakespeare’s Hamlet wondering what on earth the bigger drama is about. They die in the end.
My car overheated on the Southern Expressway, plunging me onto the street, feet first. It really is a different world.
Most people don’t have cars - Most people don’t have cars. It’s easy to say that, but the statistics are actually shocking. Of all vehicles on the road in 2010, only 10% were cars (Department Of Motor Traffic). Car owners may feel like they own the streets, but they’re actually more of a priviliged elite.
I’m happy to see development in Colombo and Sri Lanka as a whole. However, even I feel a bit left out sometimes as, I think, do a lot of Sri Lankans. The average things a person needs - health, education, work - are not improving at the same pace as cosmetic Colombo. That needs to change.
My old car cannot handle the Expressway, and I can’t afford much at the Dutch Hospital. They’re talking about building casinos (where I wouldn’t go) or building five star hotels (where I wouldn’t stay). And I consider myself middle class.
The Daily Mirror wrote a misleading headline saying “Tamils to blame for Lanka solution delay: Rajapaksa”. What the President seems to have said is that he blames the TNA, saying “There is no point blaming me, it’s the Tamil parties that are delaying the solution.” In the Colombo Telegraph, also, Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka has pointed to the intransigence of the TNA (the Tamil National Alliance).
Are Tamils to Blame?