There has always been much talk on the fact that Colombo is an isolated pocket of civilization in Sri Lanka. In fact when outsiders or foreigners think of our little nation images of trees, jungles and rural people are what come to their minds. But the truth is, except for those living in the heart of the country, this really is what life is like.
There has always been an element of pride amongst the people living in Colombo. Many tend to feel that they are the most gifted, talented and generally the best of the best in the country. This doesn’t mean that everyone is a snob, but there is a tendency to look downwards on some people.
This really isn’t the case at all and is just that the people who meet success generally do so in Colombo and receive greater amounts of income. This money is then spent on educating their children who tend to grow up with a Western upbringing which fits well in to a global context unlike someone who is raised in the village.
Most of the people in this country don’t speak English on a regular basis and yet we give it so much importance.
Why is that? Well quite simply the language spread due to the influence of the British and now the Americans globally. It is the ‘Universal’ language. But really it’s nothing more than that. It’s not better than Sinhala, Tamil, French or German.
Sri Lanka needs English. Not because it’s a superior language but because it is the language commonly used everywhere. National Pride for a language is not really the issue at all but it has been used as an election tool in the past whilst basically ruining the future prospects for the country. Take the Japanese for example. They are an extremely proud and nationalistic people. High ranking business officials who speak perfectly good English refuse to speak it and instead insist on speaking through a translator. I just don’t see why that’s not the case here instead of switching the education system to emphasise Sinhala and Tamil.
English is just a tool that many use to survive. Some people even survive solely based on their ability to speak English. Worst of all there is absolutely no reason why just about everyone in this country can’t speak English. If the education system was geared in such a way then everyone could and we’d be able to get more projects and business down here. We already do pretty well but we could do a hell of a lot better.
The recent presidential elections also were rife with speculation with Mahinda Rajapaske supporters insisting that everyone except Colombo really was behind him. There is probably a large amount of truth to this and Colombo has generally voted for the UNP which is a party that seeks to serve upper class interests.
Someone once said "I don't see point in blogging in Sinhala because you're just shrinking your potential audience." I disagree because if you're blogging locally, then you're actually widening it.
Most of the people on the relatively small English blogosphere don’t really live in Sri Lanka per say when considering the entire country. It’s like that George Romero zombie movie remake where human beings lived in the last final city complete with a good deal of comforts while the rest of the world was filled with zombies.