25 September, 2020

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An Expatriates Lament!

By R.A. Ratwatte

R.A. Ratwatte

R.A. Ratwatte

It is Avurudhu time again and here I am in a foreign country, not ungrateful for the lifestyle but missing so much… Missing the smell of frying kavun and kokis. The general hustle and bustle and excitement around the house. The ever prevalent call of the KOHA, in the background .

We do get some of the Avurudhu sweet meats here but pani walalu, Konda kavum, Kalu dodol…freshly made, or hot hot off the pan as we used to say, are luxuries beyond our reach.

When we miss these things and when our Children are denied these things, we stop and wonder what are we doing here why are we not back where we belong? The answers are many and varied but when one removes the ethnic conflict and the foolish language issues that preceded it, neither of which affected me or my family directly, one moves to deeper more insurmountable reasons.

Politics and a general decline in standards and values that have been caused by irresponsible politicians features high on the list of reasons for leaving my mother land. A culture of taking bribes and other forms of gratification that is the norm today, I could never relate to. Promotions given to “YES” men or relations with no regard for ability, Sri Lanka is a Country where you could actually keep a good man down! How many people who deserved promotion and recognition were overlooked for other reasons? How many of you are reading this piece from another Country?

Non retirement of all senior people until they are warded in geriatric homes! Just look around you all the chairmen and managing directors around …how old are they? Where is the incentive for a young man to work hard and aim at the top when the top is always moving further and further away!

The corruption of Buddhism and the utterly wrong manner in which it is practiced today. Even in the span of one generation I have seen this so clearly. The priests are no longer living according to the Vinaya or the code of conduct that is so clearly defined for them. What is more there are no laymen or senior monks to say that this is wrong. It is condoned and even encouraged, this desecration of our noble philosophy.

The utterly bogus values and standards or lack thereof, practiced by society in general. Would you pawn your jewellery to “celebrate” the New Year? Too many of our people do, so that the people next door won’t think they are having hard times! Children growing up without their mothers’ as the mothers have been sent into semi-slavery in the Middle East. Fathers living on these earnings, consorting with other women, drinking, on drugs and of course driving the inevitable 3 wheeler.

It is so encouraging to see what this New Government is trying to do but the quick results that a section of the press and society are calling for is actually a result of them being used to the autocratic decisions of those who ruled them in the past. An oxymoron in the sense that they call for justice but want it dealt out by kangaroo courts or presidential decree. They want democracy to prevail but when it does and a parliamentary vote is actually lost it is considered a failure!

The only hope for those of us who have left based on the fact that the Country is not one that we would want our children to grow up, not one that we would wish to earn our living in, IS this Government and what it stands for. Shame on all of you detractors on the only salvation available for Mother Lanka!

Ours is a sick society, indeed ASICKLAND as depicted by the irrepressible Chaminda Pusswedilla.

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Latest comments

  • 17
    1

    Well put and many expats I know of share the same thoughts

    the sad thing is that people in SL will not accept what you said and will call you a traitor or kalu sudha

    The change must come from within in Sri Lanka and should start from the kindergarten

    happy avurudu to you !

    • 5
      2

      R.A. Ratwatte –

      “The answers are many and varied but when one removes the ethnic conflict and the foolish language issues that preceded it, neither of which affected me or my family directly, one moves to deeper more insurmountable reasons.”

      “I could never relate to. Promotions given to “YES” men or relations with no regard for ability, Sri Lanka is a Country where you could actually keep a good man down! How many people who deserved promotion and recognition were overlooked for other reasons? How many of you are reading this piece from another Country?”

      Thanks for relating the real situation in Sri Lanka. Worse is the break down of law and order and the criminality that is state initiated or sanctioned, like the White Vans and Alutgama killings.

      Can you be the sri Lankan writer to write the sri Lanka Common sense pamphlet, like Thomas Paine dod for the Americans in 1776?

      Sri Lanka needs a Thomas Paine- Martin Wickramasinghe Combination author to get it done? Can you?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_Sense_%28pamphlet%29

      • 1
        0

        Thank you sir firstly for telling me about this document which I am reading at present.

        I am sure there are much more eminently qualified people than me who can write for Sri Lanka !

  • 11
    0

    Dear Mr. Ratwatte,සුභ අලුත් අවුරුදක්‌ වේවා

    I share your sentiments and can only shed a tear in memory of the beautiful land we once lived in, torn and shackled by wolves in political armour. I hope a day will come when our children can talk with pride of the country they hail from.

  • 6
    4

    Thungs are much better now under MS but a long way to go.

    I am confident that with MR and his family out of he way it cannot be as bad as that in the years to come.

    Judiciary is much more independent now. Still a long way to go since some of he judges are still there. Police is still a mess but there is hope. Public sector needs a complete revamp and hopefully we will get there.

    Nothing like SL and it is time for you guys to come back.

  • 3
    0

    Celebrations are good and enjoyable and good for family traditions. But I have some doubts about the New Year. I know that when the Sun starts another cycle starting from the house of Aries, it is called the new year. But why is that there are different new years to different people. Example: New year for the Christians is on the first of January, Noth Indians would be in November, Tamils and Sinhalese and the South Indians in April and the Chinese in August , I think. It goes on like that. There is only one Sun and its movement is just the same. Can anybody enlighten me.

  • 2
    0

    If expatriates lament what about the people resident. It is a hell hole. Until the politicians are made to account nothing will happen. One set of crooks will take over from another. Initialy they will shout about dooshanaya and beeshanaya. but it will be soon forgotten. So let us not live in hope but in reality. SL is been driven to the gutter by politicians a majority of them are lawyers that have completely destroyed the judiciary. The protectors of the citizens have become their destroyers.

  • 3
    0

    When goes deeper into the Lankan spirit, (especially when one as a Christian expat decides to become a Buddhist expat), one can only shut one’s eyes tightly and say “no, no, no!,” to a certain lewdness in nature of contemporary fellow countrymen, and open one’s heart and mind to the concept of the true nature Lankan spirit that has given endurance to our land for over 3 millennia.

  • 1
    12

    Dear Haamu Mahattaya

    I will spare my choicest words for you so as not to offend the moderator of these comments.

    For us you are not an expatriate, you are the diaspora.

    Even where you are, you are likely an immigrant.

    Now to the crux of the matter – I truly despise people like you. I despise your arrogance, your know-it-all attitude, your condescension towards those of us who live in, work in, raise our families in and are trying our best to build this country?

    If you want to fix things then come back!! if not just the shut up and enjoy your servitude to your adopted country.

    Thanks

    • 5
      3

      Deshapriya, Don’t shoot the messenger for your ills. People of your ilk, chose the Rajapakses time and time again for the crumbs they threw your way but pilfered Billions into their own coffers. By your own definition, the Rajapakses are also migrants in foreign lands but living in mansions at our expense. In an ideal world they would all be behind bars but sadly the new government has made the judiciary truly independent and we await the outcome as per our constitution. I dabble with Stocks and Shares and have already lost 25% of my portfolio but it is a small price to pay for a decent government as we have today.

      • 0
        1

        ” I truly despise people like you. I despise your arrogance, your know-it-all attitude, your condescension towards those of us who live in, work in, raise our families in and are trying our best to build this country? “

        A true description, not of the author of the article, but of those who have been boastful of their ‘foreign qualification’ and the poverty of knowledge of the English language of those who have remained behind. Does it remind you of anyone.

        • 0
          0

          Dehspriya & Ramesh,

          The loathing is mutual !

          • 0
            0

            Mr Ratwatte, You seem to have missed out the ” not of the author of the article”.

        • 0
          2

          You appear to have got your knickers in a twist. Stop wearing tight trousers. The chip on your shoulder is to blame everybody else for your lack of education. You did not sacrifice anything to remain in SL but your selfishness probably did. You could be one of the hordes that sent their wives to slave in the Middle-East and live on their remittances. You should admire Mr. R.A. Ratwatte for taking a more conducive path for himself and his family instead of wallowing in self-pity you express.

          • 0
            0

            “I dabble with Stocks and Shares and have already lost 25% of my portfolio “

            Quite educational.

      • 2
        0

        Billions pilfered yet to find. where are the files of evidence “Pacha Champika & Lier Rajitha” said they have with them before the elections? your friend Mahendran, Ravi the Thief’s Governor of Central Bank is being questioned by the CID for pilfering 2 Billion Rupees and billions to come as a result of this fraud

    • 1
      0

      Correct way to address is APPO or Bandarahamuduruwo , at least get that right if you know the ways of this country !

      Hahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

    • 0
      0

      Deshapriya:
      You sound suspiciously like one of those who’ve tried unsuccessfully to achieve the status that Mr. R has: as an expatriate through necessity, not choice.
      What have YOU done to dislodge the plague that beset Sri Lanka for so long and what are you doing to make this country a better place right now, except for looking after your own narrow interests and squealing like a stuck porker?

  • 3
    2

    What Mr. Ratwatte writes is so damn true.
    Funny, that those ruling the country do not think like this or are just blind to do so.

    But, is it not even funnier that SL has been run by a Sinhalese lot since independence and sadly the Sinhalese race is just so damn selfish, ignorant, arrogant and egoistic. This must be seen as a fact. And thats the reason why SL will always stay the way it has been, a 3rd World Banana republic. See what it is today even after the 8th of January.

  • 2
    0

    The nostalgia that the writer speaks about is very genuine when one lives in a foreign environment where there is much cultural dissonance and it can be quite depressive also.

    Most people who migrate to materialistic societies to bring up their kids or aspire to comforts do in fact lament the loss of culture, tradition and oily sweetmeats that are ‘out of reach”.

    SL has been a basket case in terms of governance as all leaders exploited or abused their power. The corporate hierarchy also recognise only “Yes” men and not people who are efficient or productive, as loyalty and ego-boosting is more important to them than abilities.

    I believe that if good governance is given a chance, these regressive values will have an opportunity to be overcome with better virtues and good decent values that our people surely have the capacity for.

  • 1
    0

    the comedy of our politic is When J.R is bossy preme was jealous,& madam was in power common M.Ps were against.when ponil was in power jvp was not happy.now M.R in power & rescued the nation the useless lot is jealous. & priest come to save in the name of our heritage. colombians ( suddah ratwattes) are screaming.it’s to do with haves & have not’s=DEVOLOPMENT!

  • 0
    1

    IF YOU MISS ALL THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE STAED PUT.
    DO NOT CRY NOW. JUST GO BACK AND YOU WILL MISS OTHER THINGS BUT AT LEAST YOU WILL GET YOUR KAVUM.

    • 0
      0

      [Edited out]

      • 2
        0

        “Ours is a sick society, indeed ASICKLAND as depicted by the irrepressible Chaminda Pusswedilla.”

        This is what Ratwatte said!

  • 1
    0

    The writer’s lament reminds me of a Tamil folk parable where the husband of a dying woman lamented he couldn’t play with her breasts.

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