Friday, November 27, 2009

After being back in Sri Lanka for five years - a short list of one liners

some observations that came to mind in no particular order of significance

The decision was to attempt to live in a village outside of my existing comfort zone

1 The village was not the romantic serene idyllic place of my imagination
2 Much of the poverty I observe is self inflicted and based on ritual of expectations
3 There is no such thing as “my word can be relied upon for anything”
4 Level of illness, hypochondria and downtime is of gargantuan proportions
5 People are two faced, saying one thing and behaving quite the opposite
6 When it comes to an almsgiving you can expect unlimited help
7 No one ever says they cannot come, especially when you invite them for a meal
8 People are very contradictory often denying what they have earlier said
9 I have never been invited for so many meals at short notice in my life
10 I cannot imagine how I have lived on so little and perceived as having so much
11 My being let down by those I had financial transactions with is astronomic
12 The density of con artists trying a fast one is probably the highest in the world
13 The level of generosity of the poor person knows no bounds
14 Every bus journey has people singing for supper due to the above generosity
15 Never give anything expecting anything in return, it’s a lost cause
16 The amount of cooked food that does not get eaten by humans is mindboggling
17 People look for stray dogs and cats to feed with the expectation of merit
18 Each cow saved from slaughter permits the butcher to kill 3 more with the profit
19 Lack of sense in financial transactions is legendary even amongst the wealthy
20 The fear of experimenting with a new idea prevents innovative thinking
21 There are too many pied piper followers and too few genuine leaders
22 There is inherent belief that what they see on TV or read in the paper is true
23 The complete absence of thinking in society at large spawned my blog
24 I am stopped at road blocks for my King Coconuts and not to check my ID
25 Farmers have no idea of their soil’s nutrient content or lack of it
26 80% of the Fertilizer subsidy is wasted
27 People have no concept of nutrition, and what is a healthy diet
28 Powdered-milk is preferred to fresh cow’s milk
29 More mangoes are lost to bats than what we consume
30 There are more monkeys than people in rural areas and they eat too much
31 Very little cultivable land is used, as it is considered unprofitable
32 Mothers being physically abused by sons they spoil is tolerated
33 Boys want to marry the first girl he falls in love with at age 16
34 Farmers quarrel and disagree amongst each other more than they cooperate
35 The level of superstition and ritual, control people’s lives and thinking
36 Almost all bureaucrats look at ways of making some money on the side
37 A government job is coveted over any other due to security and pension at 55
38 The police are more intent on catching speeders than in preventing accidents
39 Drivers have no sense of direction or that there are cars behind them
40 The country is paradise on earth but the people living there choose to spoil it


Jack Point said...

Some of my experience here relates to yours

Lee Kuan Yew, in his memoirs recounts an experience he had in London (during the last stages of the war).

There was a public square with newspapers placed on little stands. Besides each stand stood a till. People would drop money into the till and pick up a newspaper. No one tried to take away a newspaper without paying and no one tried to steal a till.

He observed this behaviour for some time, quite amazed. This, he thought, was a civilised nation.

It was what he wanted Singapore to become.

Ratmale,Minneriya,Sri Lanka said...

thanks Jack, I appreciate your comments.
This is just a list that came to mind in a half hour and not a long considered and added to one. Perhaps there are a 100 more if I give it time to think and add

Anonymous said...

this list is great.

you should be winning awards for your blog entries, but the trick is that you have to submit the entires to the awards commitee yourself as nobody else will do it for you.

This is how Milinda Moragoda wins all of his awards.

Kirigalpoththa said...


This is tremendous observations!

Other than one or two I agree with you.

Ratmale,Minneriya,Sri Lanka said...

the observations are not complete, just what i managed to jot down in a few minutes. I think i will do it again sometime and get a further 40 in a matter of minutes, useful to take stock of the goods and bads and determine what if anything one can do about it.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how Moragoda's site ( is an "official honoree of the 2007 webby awards."

your site is much more useful and informative than his.

how did he win?

i suspect he nominated himself and there was limited (or no) competition

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. Agree with almost all of the items of your list. Waiting for the next 40!