February 15, 2002

I’m home after a couple of hectic days – went to Kurunegala on a quick visit day before yesterday and got back yesterday morning and almost immediately started work <g> No, it’s not computer work but rather television work – I don’t know whether I’ll be going back to producing programs but I’ve already started reviewing stuff that others have done. I guess it’s going to turn out to be pretty interesting since I’m already involved in a variety of projects after just one day at work – guess that’s the advantage (or disadvantage) to going back to a place you’d worked at before :p

I saw something yesterday which has been going through my mind quite a bit but before I get into it, I should (I guess) put in a word of caution – I don’t believe that there are many (if any <vbg>) Sri Lankan readers of these pages and so some of my rants might not make much sense due to the fact that you don’t know the people I’m talking about or the cultural scenario. I’ll try to sketch out these things if I do remember but can’t always remember that I will remember since these are basically my thoughts jotted down whenever I feel like it :p But on to what I started to say … Yesterday was Valentines day (as you probably know :p) but it isn’t something that has been widely celebrated in Sri Lanka till about six or seven years ago. People (or should I call it organizations/businesses? <g>) started picking up on the cash potential of Valentines day over the last few years and at the time I left the country, it was still not that big a deal but the prices of roses would shoot upto around Rs. 200 (or even as high as Rs. 400-500) per rose on that day. I came back to find that it’s become a much more widely hyped event – everybody has gone Valentine crazy and businesses offer Valentines promotions, radio stations and cellular networks have Valentines promotions etc. Basically, it has become an overly hyped and overly commercialized event like quite a few other holidays (even though it technically is not a holiday :p)

So much for the background <g> When I came to Sri Lanka this time, I realized that there was an anti-Valentine group that was protesting the fact that the highly hyped celebrations of Valentines day in Sri Lanka is utterly crass commercialism and that it is basically against the culture of of Sri Lanka. Yesterday, I saw a pro-Valentines rally which was composed almost entirely of young people (of course :p) who were protesting the fact that they had a right to celebrate Valentines – and even more so, the right to a free choice as to what they could do. Now to be honest, I have mixed feeling on the issue – in fact, I had a raging argument with myself when I saw the rally since on one hand, I believe utterly in individual choice (and the freedom for individuals to make their own choices …) I found the rally itself to be slightly comical and in extreme bad taste. Sri Lanka is a nation with many problems – the biggest of which is a multiple-decade spanning civil war which has crippled its economy and has brought all progress to a stand-still. At the moment we are enjoying a brief respite brought about by a ceasefire agreement that many hope will turn into a full blown peace initiative. Under such circumstances, I find this rallying for (or even against …) Valentines day to be almost a petty action.

But on the other hand, is it right to put any conscientious objections aside at any time just because we think the timing isn’t right? Doesn’t that by extension mean that it might be construed to be all right to be silent in the face of injustice just because we thought the timing wasn’t right? I am not sure … there are many facets to this problem and I would like to write about it at length but unfortunately, I don’t have the time since I have to get ready for work :-( So till the next time …

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Posted by Fahim at 6:17 am   Comments (0)