ISN'T IT A JOKE THAT WE SPEND HOURS TRYING TO RAISE MONEY FOR BADMINTON COURTS AND SWIMMING POOLS FOR ALMA MATER WHEN THE COUNTRY IS BURNING - Dhammika Mawella (nee Jayasuriya) Hampshire.
War-torn Sri Lanka and the Sinhala people in particular are in a very pitiful state, more than half the population of our mother country does not get one full square meal a day. Thousands of our youth are dying trying to save the country. Isn't it a joke that we safely living in rich Western countries spend hours and hours trying to raise money for badminton courts and swimming pools' for our OBA's and OGA's, such as Visaka, Royal, St. Thomas, Ananda, Nalanda & Devi Balika, who are high profile and so awash with cash'? were the strong words used recently by Dhammika Mawellla, the daughter of the late Prof. F. R. Jayasuriya who lives in Hampshire, UK.
In the June issue of ' Lanka Viththi', ( the 'only Sinhala language newspaper published in London for the Sinhala readers wherever they are) which carries the motto, ' Mother and Motherland are nobler than Heaven' echoed Dhammika Mawella's strong feelings about the behaviour of some of the old boys and old girls who are now enjoying life in the West. Under a very apt caption ' Fiddling while Sri Lanka burns', her feature was carried in English language as follows:
Recently, I have seen proliferation of old boys and old girls associations within the expatriate community in the UK. Most of these OBA's and OGA's are affiliated to Colombo schools and Colombo schools, as we know, are doing very well even without the help of the UK OBA's and OGA's in terms of resources and general interest of the public in comparison, to schools outside Colombo.
Especially high profile schools such as Visaka, Royal, St. Thomas, Ananda, Nalanda, Devi Balika are so awash with cash that they are contemplating building indoor badminton/tennis courts and swimming pools. The children in rural areas are continually struggling to find essential items for their education such as books, desks, chairs and computers. For them badminton courts and swimming pools are unthinkable luxuries.
I see many of our highly educated, extremely capable men and women in the expatriate community spending a lot of their valuable spare time and energy helping causes that do not need very much help. Sadly they are totally neglectful and apathetic towards causes that are crying out, if not absolutely begging for their help and attention.
Aren't we Visakians and Rolyalists etc., trying to make the rich even richer and working for the benefit of a few people at the expense of the majority? Remembering and helping our Alma mater is a noble cause indeed. But helping one cause to the exclusion of all other, perhaps more worthy causes, shows we have not got our priorities wrong or utterly mixed up.
If the highly educated and experienced men and women who have benefited from the free education system of Sri Lanka do not help their mother country in a more meaningful way, then what hope has a poor, war weary third world nation got?
Today more than half the population of our mother country does not get one full square meal a day. Thousands of our youths are dying to save the country. Isn't it a joke that we safely living in rich Western countries spend hours and hours trying to raise money for badminton courts and swimming pools? I suppose this is the essential difference between the Tamils and us. They spend all their spare time raising money for Eelam and we spend all our spare time raising money for cricket, badminton and swimming.
War ton Sri Lanka and the Sinhala people in particular are in a very
pitiful state today. This is their eleventh hour - the time they are
most in need of our help. And yet we are quite happy to leave them at
the mercy of politicians, whose only interest seem to be to protect and
maintain their individual power base, no matter at what cost to the
country and its people. Unlike any other community around the world, our
expatriate Sinhala community have failed to put their country and their
fellow countrymen first above all else. Isn't it fiddling while Sri