24 January 2011

Are you a Sri Lankan?

 Despite journey to and fro to SL my last half a decade has unfortunately been in her majesty’s service, culminating finally two years back in the ownership of a travel document that confirmed the same. Oh the shame! The shame that despite living in SL for 34 years and even schooling at ‘the’ Royal College I was no longer encouraged to comment or discuss most things Sri Lankan. Most replies to my two cents worth were you no longer live here; it’s easy for you to say whatever living in England.

This is quite ironic as whenever I meet second generation Sri Lankans born and bred here I immediately adopt this very condescending attitude towards them too. Very like a genital wart, to be despised but acknowledged. The ‘kalu’ suddhas, brown coconuts white on the inside. When my SIL, her husband and our other SL friends visit the motherland I sneer. When they spend good money to go to West Indies to watch SL play in the world cup of cricket, I glint in veiled sarcasm.

Sorry allow me to digress. The MCBO (My cutely booted one) on Friday evening was off to the Wembley Arena to watch the Strictly Come Dancing Tour. Needing to stay close by to do husbandly duties of drop and pick up my SIL who lives in the Wembley environs kindly invited the kid and I for supper. Her two daughters who I desperately love meant this invite was taken upon eagerly. Especially as the SIL’s husband owned a restaurant and is a superb cook.

So as the night progressed, funnily in true SL style some SL friends started to call the house to say hi, as I said SL style this was after 10pm at night. Something an English person would never do, even after getting copped for DUI and needing a ride home from the Police Station. The Police themselves call them a taxi. Anyways I was obviously in the same room and privy to the calls steadily pouring in.

My lips started to curl, I was close to snarling. The main topic of conversation was the coming Cricket World Cup. Who was, where, why, and how these British born and bred people were all heading to Colombo for the matches. My snarl of course might have been because I am not going to be able to make it.  My mood improved of course as the conversation then moved to the SL tour of England in the summer. As always these people were well organised and somebody knew of a capable somebody who had the actual itinerary for the tour and were organising tickets. My mood changed immediately as I was assured that tickets for the one-day matches were being purchased for the MCBO and I.

So the crux of the headline to this post is you a Sri Lankan lays here. When England plays Sri Lanka who do you support if you have been born and bred in England. Or whatever are you an English person or a Sri Lankan?

The answer is quite simple. If your ancestry is Sri Lankan, you are Sri Lankan. So there are Englishmen and Englishwomen, which those with SL ancestry living here are not. They are British, but not English. So their ties to Sri Lanka, the love of cricket, rice and curry, arrack, the sun, sea, sand and sex is part of where they are originally from. They are proud of their heritage and culture, as much as I am. We don’t live in SL anymore, but that does not in anyway not make us Sri Lankan. Especially those Sri Lankan’s who were born in England. Yes they maybe British for the want of a travel document, the free NHS, benefits and tax credits (J) but they are also Sri Lankan.

I am proud to be Sri Lankan.

I am off now; I need to quickly let the dogs know they are unfortunately English Brits and not Sri Lankan Brits. 

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