Owl Opinions

Master Sir & the Coconuts

Classism is an unfortunate malaise plaguing many societies including our paradise isle. With the recent economic upheaval, aragalaya and ensuing haves vs have nots debate, the class chasm has been steadily growing. The latest mud slinging has been on the free education and free healthcare Sri Lanka provides.

There is no such thing as a free lunch scream the free market capitalists while those who are a tad more attuned to human nature understand that those who have should share for the greater good of all. Free healthcare helped reduce infant mortality, bring about better health statistics and vaccination rates for the people of Sri Lanka. These are important to ensure a healthy workforce and society. Capitalism cannot thrive without its workforce. Somehow with the need to curb government expenditure, there is mounting resentment against the ‘free’ elements of society including the tertiary education this country provides.

Free education is one of the most prolific vehicles of upward social mobility. It is this that has allowed countless people to step out of poverty and into a possibility of a better life. Citing the ragging prevalent at universities to justify removing free education is absurd. Ragging or hazing is very common in most schools – very prevalent especially among the so called good schools of Colombo where in the name of tradition all hell is given free reign. Most universities have ragging because the administration is weak and allows for it to take place. Ideally, university students – who are adults – should be arrested and tried for criminal activities like ragging, destroying public property etc. However this is a small percentage of the students who actively engage in ragging and destruction. Hence, demonising all is counter-productive.

In this burgeoning need to curb government expenditure, there is that ugly monster classism slowly creeping in. It harks back to a time when a rather prominent politician is said to have uttered, “if we educate the poor who will pluck our coconuts”. Because the feudal master needs his vassals to remain as such if he is to remain the master. In this context it is worrying to see how so many are very blind to the privilege they enjoy. A broken system serves only those in power. And the problem with power is that you have it today and can lose it tomorrow. There is nothing promised. In a functioning system you ensure, to a great extent at least, that there is somewhat fairness in how it works.

With the debt restructuring taking place and need to curb government expenditure – snipping on the tendrils of the basic needs of this country is absurd when we are supporting a 1.5million public servant workforce (3 times overstaffed) and countless loss making enterprises. A leader who can cut this menace will lose votes in our feudal voting system but will set the ball in motion for a far better future for this country. Unfortunately, our current stock is proving to be the classist bourgeoisie we have bred since before independence.


Meet Lilanka
“what is meant to be comes about of what one does”.
An eclectic personality with a penchant for creativity, Lilanka is an old soul who loves life, laughter and stepping off the beaten track. She finds joy in nature, travelling and venting her existential frustrations via her writing while calming her body with food and her soul with music. Her motto is – “what is meant to be comes about of what one does”.
A collection of eclectic expressions from life according to Lilanka Botejue. From her creative outbursts and passionate views to her love for nature, food, music and archaeology, Owl Muses is an attempt to capture these moments in time.
Follow @ instagram