by G Amirthalingam
Sri Lanka, here I come on Air Lanka.
Heart filled with dreams of a dream holiday in the
Went through the Immigration and Customs.
Officials were nice and courteous but their eyes were
looking out for passengers.
Who they have to help pass the barrier without paying the fee.
Friends, friend’s friend, relative and so on.
And they did it so openly, it was astounding.
I realised, ok, this is Sri Lanka, part of the Paradise service,
Only if you know the right person.
Went out of the building with my suitcases.
There were ten or fifteen of them, all porters, swamped on me.
All wanted to carry my bags. When I protested, it was aggression
and force combined with pushing and shoving.
I had to give in ….. out of pity.
In Colombo, seeing through the day to day life of the city……..
I thought to myself:
Do you need so many cars to clog up the roads?
When the roads have hardly any space
for cars to go in a single file.
Skyscrapers and mansions, shopping centres and hotels,
luxury cars and money with a few
don’t represent the true status of the country.
Country is plagued with poverty, sickness,
malnutrition, corruption……….. do you see that?
How could you sit in a plush restaurant
and have a hearty meal when hungry eyes are glaring at you.
How could you shop at those expensive shopping centres
when the majority of the population is going about
like skeletons in rags.
Country is in ruins and crumbling down around you
don’t you feel guilty?
Ostentatious display of your wealth for the needy to see.
what pleasure do you get out of it?
What car do you have? A BMW. Oh, I have a Lexus !!
You have a six-roomed house; I have a ten-roomed mansion,
also a swimming pool!! Been to London to watch the World Cup too!!!
Rat race, rat race and rat race.
Does it make you happy to flaunt your luxury
in the middle of shanties.
Look out of your air-conditioned dream machine
at the ordinary citizen “soul so dead and a thought in his head”.
Caught up in a rut, nowhere to go.
With a blank look in their eyes, gazing at nothing.
They ask you money for a meal or for a cup of tea,
you call it organised begging. Just to please your ego and
soothe your guilt feeling. “I am alright Jack” mentality.
It’s another excuse for your ignorance of the true situation.
You should be ashamed of yourself.
Oh, Mother Lanka, your dreams are shattered, you might crack open, I am afraid, under the weight of these FAT CATS.