Thursday, February 22, 2007

Brats and other Sri Lankan societical illnesses

So, another rant post is on its way.

Sri Lanka is a small country with a population of just over 19 million. Colombo, then is a smaller city. Being a third world country with a war situation over the past 21 years, its not wrong to think that the majority of the population lives dismal lives, with a huge gap between the rich and the poor within this country. In Colombo, we find a situation where the country's current situation is only mirrored when the occasional bomb goes off, when we see the army and policemen at check points around the city and when we see the roads barricaded.

In Jaffna (Northern & Eastern Sri Lanka equally), there are people who can't get access to basics such as shampoo, soap, batteries and other essential items to lead a 'normal' life. These aren't the minority who face this situation, it is an entire section of the country. People in Batticaloa (East) live in refugee camps with mud as their floor and a bare canvas as their roof. They live in fear of the gun, fear of abduction and forced recruitment either to the guerilla fractions or to the army. There are 4 people being killed every hour in Sri Lanka. A large part of tsunami victims live without homes, without family members, without a form of employment. In a country, where such a large number of people face one crisis after another, such a large number live in dire poverty and oppression, what do Colombo persons do?

I used to be part of the people who go clubbing every weekend, dinner at 5 star restaurants in the nights, not a care in the world except who did what last night with who. However, as I grew both in age and life experience, it became essential to question this behaviour and whether it is right to do this. Sri Lanka is a small country therefore our nightly joy can be seen by those that suffer, is this right?

A perfect example - HI magazine: a societical magazine that shows the Colombo socialites out and about at their respective cocktail gigs (about 70 pages of this) and the last two pages are dediacted to the occurences around Sri Lanka over that period - women crying, houses burnt and other dismal pictures stare back at you. This is the reality of Sri Lanka. So how can we behave like this does not happen? That it doesnt happen here, where this party is going on, where Im sipping this cocktail - there are people without drinking water in the East. How can we as a nation be so apathetic?

So, someone tried to talk to me about Colombo society today and I wondered whether they were real! How can they even speak about the value of these bimbo females and males that go clubbing to the same spot every week meet the same people speak the same things and presume that their lives were so FULL? YES, if you can afford it, do it. But - where do we draw the line? There has to be a line doesnt there?

This is an ideal example of the strict divide between the rich and the poor in this country. The disillusionment of the masses with the situation in the country cannot be reflected by these individuals. But aren't we living in the same country?

Everyone needs to go out and have a good time. However, this type of societical illness where people go out only to see and be seen in a country that is so afflicted with problems seems a problem that is reflected on a larger scale by the war that is going on in the country which doesn't seem to have a solution in the near future.


Darwin said...

I confess I've lost touch with the 'in' things in Colombo now. Was never into clubbing there either so can't comment regarding it. That said, most people (sometimes myself included) are happy to live in our own little bubble. To me, its a self preservation thing; I can't become emotionally involved in each and every cause out there. I think that's okay though, as long as I do what I can in the areas that I can actually make a difference in. Hope that makes sense!

Rane said...

Hey Darwin, totally makes sense, thats kinda what I do but more often than not (sadly) u find a whole bunch of people not really willing to acknowledge the issues that do exist in the country. Quite sad, saying that, I guess this is an issue in any developing nation.

sittingnut said...

good post
ultimately each individual has to decide how to live. whether in a cocoon removed from reality and a lie to oneself, or otherwise.