21 September, 2020

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Women As Protectors Of ‘Family Culture’: The Play Of President & The Former President

By Anushka Kahandagama

Anushka Kahandagama

The recent discourse about allowing and not allowing women to buy and sell alcohol in Sri Lanka provoked many discourses of power and gender equality in the country. The government announced in the last Wednesday that, it was amending the law which prevented women from buying and selling alcohol, agreeing that it discriminated against women and allowed women to buy alcohol after about four decades. After this decision, Movement for Consumer Rights Protection accused the Minister of Finance of encouraging of consuming the alcohol and urged the President to intervene in the matter. The Buddhist Sangha stated that the allowing of women to buy alcohol would destroy the Sri Lankan ‘family culture’. Against this background, President had ordered the government to withdraw its notification announcing the lifting of the ban. The irony is Movement for Consumer Rights Protection is violating the right of women (as consumers) to buy whatever they like as men. If the movement thinks that, allowing women to purchase alcohol is encouraging the nation to consume more liquor, the movement is out of their senses.

Take aside common sense, if you seriously look into the statistics, in 2010, the Total alcohol per capita (15+) consumption, drinkers only (in liters of pure alcohol, males consumes 26.7 and females consume, 2.9. Thus, it shows that men are high in rate. According to the logic of Sangha, if the State allows buying alcohol for women, then it undermines the ‘family culture’ of the ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ nation. What is the ‘family culture’? Is that the culture where drunkard husband beat the wife and the children at night? Studies show that the most prominent reason for domestic violence is alcoholism of the males. If Buddhist Sangha wants to protect that particular culture, yes of course, the State should not allow women to buy alcohol, as it would trigger the problem, as both the parties, males and females will be engaged in domestic violence.

Apart from Buddhist Sangha being interfering with the alcohol issue, it is shocking to see Movement for Consumer Rights Protection is interfering with the problem in the same manner as Buddhist monks. The Movement for Consumer Rights Protection has become the violator of rights of the women consumers, and has become the gatekeepers of a ‘pure nation.’ It is important to see how this whole discourse of alcohol consumption of women has become a problem with ‘Nationalist’ importance during the election period. As according to Mahinda Rajapaksa, allowing women to participate in buying and selling alcohol is an act of degrading the women by the State, as women are respected as ‘mothers. If women are respected as ‘mothers,’ the State should allow women to partake in the rights which men are partaking. Most ironically, Mahinda Rajapaksa is talking about ‘respect of women,’ while an officer of his party asks for sexual bribes from a contest of the upcoming election, who wanted to contest under the MR’s party. It is clear how MR’s party is protecting and respecting women within their newly formed political party.

As the final part, it is essential to look at the President Maithripala Sirisena’s act of re-establishing the law and encouraging ‘gender inequality.’ Mr. President too hardly believes in the fact that, women are not capable of taking their own decisions on alcohol consumption and, due to that, the State should interfere in the matter. Thus, he has decided to interfere in the matter of alcohol consumption of the women of the island at the State level. It is unfortunate to see, how women’s equal rights have connected to, virtue, family culture and the ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ narrative of the country and has been played by both the President and the former President in the sake of votes.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    17

    Anushka Kahandgama: what is your experience as a Wife of a Drunkard husband., as a Drunkard woman who is beating her children. As a daughter of a drunkard father or a drunkard mother. As a relative of a Drunkard families ?.
    IF not are you just talking CRAP that you do not understand and do not know how to analyze ?
    There are some males even approve prostitution to be good for Sri lanka. If we suggest start that as a family business, they are silent.

  • 7
    5

    Making a big fuss over a small matter.

    There’re organizations always looking for something wrong in Sri Lanka; particularly in Sinhala Buddhists.

    What’s this mad hatred towards them?

    No one is perfect in the world so it’s not whitewashing Sinhala Buddhists. If the women in the country want to buy/sell alcohol they could easily demand/agitate for it as there’s democracy in our country.
    But when somebody else in the guise of consumer protection & equal rights starts demands on behalf of our women, it arouses doubt.

    What’s the hidden agenda behind it?

    Some talk about domestic violence as if there’s zero domestic violence in other communities.

    I’d like to request women’s organizations of Sri Lanka to start agitating against selling alcohol for men as well; or @ least limit selling, that’ll make more money available for women’s & children’s requirements & defeat the attempt by international liquor producers to increase their market in Sri Lanka.
    Alcohol makes us dizzy & kills brain cells. Don’t shed crocodile tears for our women.

  • 7
    1

    An important point has been disregarded. As per the excise ordinance alcohol (and tobacco) can be sold only to males over the age of 21 years. But the existing law banning the sale of alcohol to women was amended by the FM to allow women over the age of 18 years to purchase alcohol. What was the reason to do this? A constructive comment by the writer would have been to also allow women over the age of 21 years to buy alcohol. It is then up to the Excise dept to develop practical measures to prevent the sale to the under-aged of both genders.

  • 7
    9

    Stupid logic lady! Yes, there are the drunkard males beat their wives and children. Reason, their habit of taking alcohol excessively. Will the problem be solved once the no. of women boozers are gone up? Poor children will have to be beaten by both the Dad and the Mom when this so called “equal rights” champions succeed.

  • 3
    4

    Max

    Happy Thai Pongal. Did you celebrate Maattu Pongal (on 15 Jan), specifically meant for cattle?

    Did you listen to Dr Mahinda (LLD, PhD X 3) Thai Pongal Wishes to Tamils in Tamil? You should listen. Did you listen to Mother Theresa May’s Thai Pongal wishes to Tamils all over the world in English? You should listen.

  • 3
    1

    Anushka

    I find you both , naive and immature . It is time young persons like yourself become more aware of the ground realities of this country ( if you do live here) where a third of the population live on less that US$ 2.00 per day , and where thousands of low income families are devastated by the scourge of alcohol abuse – which has led to a very high incidence of rape and incest particularly in the plantation sector.

    As someone suggested , hold a referendum and let the women decide what they want , not politicians who sit in air-conditioned offices and cars and globe trot at the tax payers expense.

  • 5
    3

    I believe that this government is desperate in promoting liquor and beer. You can argue and make a point that in this scenario women are discriminated. But trust me it is good. This discrimination will not harm women and society. What we should try to do is ban selling tobacco and alcohol and beer also. Not only women but also men too.

  • 3
    1

    Anushka Kahandagama has opened a can of worms that is the alcohol purchase issue.
    MR evades the issue by pontificating that allowing women to buy alcohol is insulting ‘motherhood’.
    The Buddhist Sanga is giving a culture twist – destruction of ‘family culture’.
    Mangala saw it as a gender issue.
    To MS, it is a political issue.
    No one has mentioned the evil effects of alcohol.
    .
    The silver lining is the slip showing in some fundamental issues.
    Is the language/religion issue fundamental?

  • 2
    4

    Anushaka KHANDaGAMA doe snot know how both DRUNKARD as well as DRUGGIE – mothers destroy their children. Search and see. do not write stupid article. there is limit to individual rights. It is not absolute. where the rights of the society. what about the destroyed society because they do not respect a culture. You are suggesting a way for people to become animals.

  • 3
    1

    Ms. Kahandagama, shouldn’t we at least protect the 51% of the population from the alcohol menace, to which we have already lost 49% (Okay, I know Muslims don’t drink alcohol, but that is too much arithmetic for me to process, I’ve already had my second drink)

  • 1
    4

    For suburan women, buying alcohol or sleeping with any number of women is not that big deal. the question si why this brought just ahead the election. USe this as an political issue. UNP is dead.

  • 2
    5

    Anushaka: the same fraction of the society that wants human rights women and to be treated equally wants prostitution legalized. So, in that case, women are pleasure objects because men wants it that way. So, what do you think think about this CRAP human rights, fundamental rights and equal rights as the way western society and kalusuddas like you people talk.
    You may get drunk and sleep on the table of the pub, next day you may wake up on some one’s bed and who knows how many did you and what germs you have got. I took you as the example, if not how can you understand, it is not only writing you need to understand what you are writing.
    What do you say ?

    • 3
      0

      Softi does not seem to know, how many intoxicated men destroy their children (and wifes). If men can’t keep themselves under control why should women pay for it, loosing their human right? One is doing wrong, the other one gets hit for it? This is illogical and a strange philosophy.

      Why should a woman under alcohol be treated differently from a woman that is sober? I didn’t know that there is a law in the constitution, giving men the right to rape women that had alcohol. It is not the drinking of the woman that is wrong, but the behaviour of the man, who is raping. If she on the otherhand feels, that sex with five men even is fine, so what? It is her own business. She is free to do it according to the same constitution. Your argument is illogical here aswell.

      By the way, have you ever thought of the possibility that legalised prostitution could decrease rape and abuse? Men would have got a place where they can go to, if they haven’t got the sexual drive under control, instead of misusing innocent women on the road.

      Prostitutes are pleasure objects because they want it (unless of course forced to do it) not because men want it. They want it because there are plenty of men who need their services and they can earn a lot of money from the „Pride of Creation“.

      • 0
        1

        JO: In Sri lanka every thing is political. Even human rights and fundamental rights are political. You people are not paying Taxes in Sri lanka. Just think if you are paying Taxes to look after dysfunctional families, Men who are in the hospital because of Cirrhosis, if you have to look after children in orphan homes , wives who do not have income in their respective places, you would ask the govt to ban alcohol use.
        Even sugar is causing Diabetic Why do we need to promote sugar use and alcohol use. Govt is promoting those.
        Instead, grow Kithul, thal and Pol. Those toddies never cause fatal physhiological condituons or are not this bad.

      • 1
        0

        JO: You have written like an idiot.
        JO, Start prostitution as a family business. then you do not rape any females in your extended family.
        Otherwise, you can not recuirt other women as prostitutes and lock your women inside the house.

        • 3
          0

          Softi, this is a discussion about an article of a very brave and progressive young journalist not a place for personal vendettas. No need to get personal and insulting and twisting words around.
          There is no doubt about the dangers of alcohol abuse. But this is due for both, men and women. Still, it is not the keynote of this article. This is rather the fact that the government is cutting the human rights of the female population. I take my hat off to all ladies that are fighting for their rights. It is paradox to me though, that a human being has to fight for a human right, although it is granted as per constitution.
          What makes you think I am not paying tax in Sri Lanka? It is anyway totally irrelevant for the underlying topic.

    • 0
      0

      Jim, Prostitution legalied.

      What does ” Rooms Rs 500/= mean. I suppose that for Rs 500 one can get a room and meditate?

      Rooms at Rs 500.00 is a very prominent advertisement along the coastal belt. I have not travelled into the interior in the recent past.It may be the same.

      What does the tourist hotels along the western, eastern, souther coast do – train peoiple to meditate to see nibbana in one hour?

  • 3
    0

    Freedom of choice?
    If someone wants to buy alcohol he or she should not be barred from it.
    Alcoholism is not the same as having a drink of alcohol.
    Also this rationale saying it is to “protect culture” is a bag of bovine Excrement.
    Alcoholism is a severe problem in Sri Lanka.
    Women put themselves in harm’s way to go to Mid-East and send money and their scalawag husbands waste it on booze and gambling.
    Sirisena is being a rank hypocrite. Reminds me of Saudi Arabian males. They come to Ceylon and pay the drivers to buy them lots of booze so they can drink in the rooms. They also pay drivers to buy them prostitutes including Russian and Ukrainian and Chinese hookers in Ceylon at top hotels. Sirisena is a blind fool to try to project himself as a virtuous man. His thug Son assaulted a man in Nilaveli. The man is a son of a DIG yet nothing happened under MR. So much for Gon-paalanaya. Palayang Pako yanna means something to your bogus humbug hypocrites defending this dumb Sirisena rule. IT is against the Constitution to discriminate against a gender.

  • 0
    3

    Anushka, when your mother was pregnant, your sinhala society did not demand them to check your sex and terminate the pregnancy if you did not have a p. And they did not demand them to maltreat youor even kill you ( like in Tamil Nadu and rest of India) in case you were a girl. But women in SL including you were better off than their counter parts in rest of Asia.
    Of course in SL and in Sinhala society we have problems and those can be very easily solved. So dear Anushka, this society deserves to be protected and its female section should render their support for that.

    • 0
      0

      Sach, what has abortion got to do with this topic? You always go at a tangent.

      The Sinhala Buddhist society is sick. They believe in all the muck the safron clad liars, thugs and sodomites and rapists utter.

      the mother who protested against the safron clad man who sodomised her son was illtreated by the people- people in wetrnised coatal belt town – suburb of galle.

      Trhat must be your culture.

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