Friday, January 16, 2009

Alcoholism a daily curse of Sri Lanka

Is it just me, my neighborhood or my luck that I am stuck facing alcoholics all around me who are or seem to be always permanently inebriated. Most of the males in my workforce in Godagama are blind drunk after work and when they keep begging for money to keep food on the table, I wonder how in all good conscience I can feel sorry for them. No doubt all my exhortations come to naught and my frustration level knows no bounds.I know that the output and efficiency of the workforce is compromised due to this disability if I can call it that, I am at my wits end to find a solution.

Today, I had to tell a neighboring alcoholic, whose wife works in the Middle East and sends money home, to make sure his 7year old son goes to school. This neighbor is illiterate and so I had to nicely talk to him about the importance of a basic education for his son who rarely goes to school and failed the entrance to the next class and who will now have to repeat the previous year. I think my request was not heard or will not be acted upon and he has no one to persuade him to do the right thing. It is not a question of money, as they seem to waste the money the wife sends on the unnecessary things.

I then had to confront a man who was also totally under the influence to ask him to come and pluck some coconuts and still another punch-drunk neighbor to come and husk my coconuts in the morning. All these individuals merely drink with the money earned from these activities, and I don’t need to repeat myself here to state that a man who can climb coconut trees can potentially earn more than a physician in Sri Lanka, such is the demand for his services. I know I desperately require their services.

I know that my road is full of alcoholics. A moonshine seller inhabits my neighborhood, but does not appear to be that well off despite his trade. He is constantly nabbed by the police but is able to bribe or pay a fine that is imposed on him by a magistrate and continue his trade. Even I have problems where I have told him that my property is not to be used for any part of his activities especially as I control two properties by the river, which would be very handy to him to hide the brewing barrels under the water.

I am sure the problem I face is prevalent throughout the island, but the sad fact is that in a male dominated society where only the women appear to work no one appears to take any action and politicians don’t dare.

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