I don’t admit to being a hugely “Lankanized” Sri Lankan. I openly admit that I’m alright with living absolutely anywhere, but since I was born here and my friends and family are here, I will still feel tied down to the country one way or another. My tie was apparently greater than I’d anticipated. So, with the use of a picture that I’d already used before, here is an opinion from me, something that’s extremely rare in these parts. Yet the blogosphere needs to know this.
We all have ways of showing off our “Lankanness”, what with all the tea we drink, the rice we cook in milk and eat with spicy red-hot onions and the constant games of cricket we all jump up and down to. Plus the memories of the last three decades of war against an elite terrorist organization. All of those are the markers of the stereotypical Sri Lankan, aren’t they? Well I’m not a great connoisseur of tea, milk rice makes me sick to my stomach and I’m dead clueless about cricket. Yet I am alive and well, having lived through a monster tsunami plus said war against terrorism. So maybe my way of showing my “Lankanness” is just plain different.
If anything though, it’s not waving a little flag in my hand and howling like a lunatic.
The reason for this post was something or the other my mother told me a few days ago. Or at least, told herself, she’s extremely old-fashioned when it comes to matters of respect and whatnot. Her complaint was one, a marathon in the middle of the road and two, a statement regarding rules about disgracing the flag and showing some respect to it. The marathon was being run by the common young men and boys you see lounging around on a common Sri Lankan suburban or rural road: Tall to medium-size, talking loudly, maybe sharing a smoke.
Their peers in this situation though, were doing that common Lankan hooligan trademark call: Th hoot. All the time while swinging about small copies of the national flag.
Now, a country’s national flag is always flown at full size, at ceremonies or major events that actually commemorate something important that happened in our nation or to our nation. And a road race in the middle of the day is definitely not something worthwhile. In fact it’s not even close.
But here comes the double-edged sword.
These kids probably were doing their best to show off their “Lankanness” to the world. Maybe this was the only practical way they could think of at the moment. Of course we know all about the modern youth. This species is not crazy. Speaking in evolutionary terms the teen is a creative, knowledgeable, inquisitive and powerful breed of human who would gladly challenge those geezers who call themselves “superiors” and “elders” with great wisdom.
Then comes the other edge of the sword. These old coots had lived through a time that these bucks and blades could hardly imagine.
I couldn’t live in a world with no Internet!
And all that Generation X and before had to keep itself from going mad during those long nights, was to pray and read. They prayed for the good of others, and they prayed for the country most importantly. Why they call it the “good old days” and gripe so much is still beyond me-I hate them for doing that but at this time the sword seems to be swinging in quite a…well, strange direction.
I didn’t think about it much until a later musing on the topic.
The national flag is a symbol of Sri Lanka and the literally leonine might of the Sri Lankan peoples as a whole. It is thus a glimpse of what we are and it’s there in the database for the whole world to see. It isn’t party decor, it isn’t something to be waved from a motorcycle by young lunatics. So at the end of what would have ordinarily been a productive day for me, was a display of selfishness and disregard for others’ feelings-especially those of motorists in a hurry to get home or go to wherever they had planned on going.