Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Young people hate long speeches, no they hate speeches.

I was at ceremony on Friday afternoon last week in the Kandy area in the Hewaheta Electorate to be exact, where about 150 youth almost all under 25 were gathered to receive sports goods for their respective sports club. This was organized by a Provincial Councilor of the Central Provincial Council, to commemorate 15 years in politics and he had decided to use some funds from the decentralized budget to gift, volley balls, bats and balls to these clubs.

In attendance were three parliamentarians and a host of other provincial councilors, and a sprinkling of Pradeshiya Sabha members. Due to the formalities of the proceedings in Sri Lanka style, people get offended when their names are not singled out for mention, so when each of the 10 speakers are called to the podium to address the crowd, they have to politely get the permission of all in the panel. The more speakers, the more on the panel and in the end mentioning their names alone multiplied by 10 in itself takes half hour.

The youth in the audience were stuck, having to sit it out to receive these items, a very unfair request, which people just say “if they want something for free a few hours of their time that is lost should not be begrudged” I am especially conscious of this issue, as one of my main tasks is to engage young people in leadership, community and political action for a better future for them. We do not want to jeopardize this chance by boring them out of their wits. We must make it valuable to them, and one where their active participation is sought, be it in a discussion format or question and answer format, where questions directly relevant to them are on the agenda.

The photos of the event are interspersed in this report, with the readers able to come to their own conclusion of how best to handle the event. It is worthy to note that as many people relevant to the subject are invited, and when invited are assumed to have to make a speech. One important outcome being that their public standing and their popularity must get a boost in this gathering.

There was only a fruitdrink served at the event, which due to the heat of the moment, TV camera lights etc barely even refilled the moisture loss from the body.

I would like these kids to be able to go home and relate a memorable event at the meeting to their loved ones, when discussing this event. I cannot even think what that might be. I hope that they even learnt something about the history of this country as even that knowledge amongst such youth who rarely pick up a newspaper is simply a void, not something they are aware of. Cest la vie.

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