Destroying old Sri Lanka
Lake House journalists in recent times have not been known for their outstanding musical talents nor even journalistic talents. Thus, the controversial news report that they are to produce a CD with a hyped up (New Life) version of Sri Lankas National Anthem has surprised and intrigued not only music lovers but also ordinary citizens.
The countrys National Anthem composed by the legendary Ananda Samarakoon on the eve of Independence has remained unchanged; loved and sung by the people for over a half century. It is a beautiful song devoid of any trace of communalism or religious prejudice and lifted the spirits of the nation in its darkest hours.
Why, then is the need to give hype to the National Anthem at this particular moment and play it on Independence Day? National Anthems are revered a permanent expressions of the greatness of the nation and cannot be considered as modern day pop or baila to be jazzed up to hit the top of the hit parade and then drop down to be remembered as a has been. It is said that the words of the new National Anthem remain the same and so does the tune but the beat is faster. But why is the need for this faster beat? To take away its sanctity? It could well be that once the begining is made to change the anthem, it could result in the begining of the end.
Sometime ago, astrological nuts claimed that the reason for the inability of governments to stay long in power was due to aksharas (sounds) in the opening bars of the anthem being inauspicious! So our nutty leaders changed the Namo, Namo, Matha to Sri Lanka Matha. But governments continued to fall and Prabakaran continues to bump off our astrologically conscious leaders. At least now, the musical score is included in the constitution and it cannot be changed unless by a constitutional amendment.
Since the time of Independence, there have been efforts to change the National Flag by interested parties even though this flag was selected by a special committee appointed for the purpose that included representatives of all communities. A report on the selection of the National Flag is available as a sessional paper. The attack on the National Flag has been made by those who do not like the Lion in it. But this is the flag of the last King of Kandy, Sri Wickrema Rajasinghe, a Tamil whom the Sinhalese had chosen as their king!
This sudden desire to have a new national anthem and many other aspects so sacred to Sri Lankan life could be the result of moves to have a New Sri Lanka. To peace makers and even the international community the old indigenous Sri Lankan values including the name Sri Lanka itself is an obstacle to the reforms they are hoping to bring in. Over ninety per cent of the Sri Lankan Peace Makers are those from the anglicised elite who find indigenous Sri Lankan culture, their language and religion anathema to them. If all this could be replaced by their thuppahi culture then the road to reforms and a New Sri Lanka are all clear. The infusion of this new culture is evident from the peace songs in Sinhala with western orientation sung in candle lit ceremonies. Little wonder, these peace demonstrations have become a joke to the ordinary people.
If attempts are made to change to National Anthem it will be the responsibility of every citizen not to respect this new composition and refuse to get up when it is sung anywhere or walk out in protest.
The people themselves must protect the culture and heritage of the people.
The shame that Aussie cricketers bring on Australia.
Australian cricketer Darren Lehmann has justly been rewarded by a five-day match ban imposed on him by the International Cricket Council for his uncouth, racist remarks on Sri Lankan cricketers.
Sri Lankan cricketers have demonstrated their sportsmanship and culture by declaring that they were prepared to forget the incident although others feel that Lehmann qualified for a much severe penalty.
It will be recalled that such uncouth and unsportsmanlike behaviour against Sri Lankans by these World Champion Sportsmen had taken place before and is likely to happen again. Punishments alone cannot cure those with genetic disabilities and living in Billingsgate environments.
However, the Australian cricket Board should be reminded that four to five decades ago and even later, Australian cricketers were the most loved and respected by Sri Lankan cricket fans and heir players.
When they played whistle-stop matches in Colombo in travelling to or from England, Sri Lankans flocked to see the Aussies. Sir Donald Bradman and his magnificent team of cricketers such as Lindsay Hasset, Keith Miller, Neil Harvey, Ray Lindwall were some of the living heroes of todays Sri Lankans in their sixties, seventies, eighties and even nineties.
Evidence of this is seen in the number of these old gentlemen who still carry the name of Bradman given to them by their fathers the admirers of the Great Don.
Perhaps the Australian High Commissioner should write to Australian papers how the goodwill built up by those famed sportsmen is now mud and the harm that todays Aussie cricketers do to their country.
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