To Be Goday Or Not To Be…
Goday is a good word that many of us use to describe many things – people, clothes, attitudes. Godaya is a derogatory term stemming from goday. It’s ironic how many situations warrant the use of this term simply because of its human absurdity.
I was at a 90s party recently organised by an Old Boys batch of god knows what. The crowd was an interesting mish mash of Colombo, its suburbs, the known faces and the newbies. At some point in the night I noticed a particular man who kept looking around with his nose half in the air with a haughty expression. He never smiled. He would squat down from time to time in some pseudo dance move. For some reason it seemed to me like he had something stuck up his butt – like a kothala himbutu. He seemed to want to give this superior air and with that squatting, he looked like he wanted to poop. Now this is me being very judgmental. But I felt he could have been more at ease – he was no teenager. Surely he could smile? Why this attitude?
It reminded me of the absurd attitude we faced with the rowing teams of some well known schools. One would have thought Steven Redgrave was among them. They would look down on the other teams, especially those who were not from Colombo. It was the epitome of the colonial hangover and its stinky remnant – classism – which is sadly endorsed by many past and present. Ironic is that subsequently these very snobs became friendly when they realised that their parents and peers were the same as some of ours. It’s one of the things that irked me about the sport. Sad coz Rowing is possibly one of the most ultimate team sports – you need absolute precision and harmony in the boat. Yet, in Colombo, it’s the vessel of Colombo’s insecurities. My conversation with someone regarding the ‘charity’ they were doing towards the sport reeked of this condescension. If you’re doing charity, stop grandstanding about it. It’s better you remain in snobbish oblivion than doing a bit for those less privileged and talking about it like you invented Penicillin. Doing for those less fortunate than you is common human decency. Not a Herculean feat to be exalted. Ugh.
Over the years I have listened to too many conversations about how an upgrade in life is about a vehicle you drive (regardless of whether is it affordable, practical etc.), about the brand of handbag you carry, the watch you wear, the shoes you buy. How being seen at certain places and with certain people means you are something. I’ve watched people worship God, weed and money with equal emphasis while others claim to have seen the light while condemning those who they claim to save. I’ve seen too much need for social media validation while claiming to be in control of something you cannot even comprehend. Yet precious few have addressed the emptiness within that thinks these things bring fulfilment.
Goday. This attitude of insecure ego is honestly goday. It reeks of bourgeois values. It truly is a malaise and yet it is very prevalent in society and you see it raise its misery of a head from time to time. Each of us has succumbed to this at some point or another. It was prevalent during the Aragalaya, during the big match season, during the Rugby season and it’s very much a part of Colombo society so much so that stand up comedians are capitalising on it. Between the aunties of Colombo, the non English speakers and the ‘servants’ lies the chasm of classism that honestly needs to close. It’s feudal in its very premise and feudalism has been the downfall of this country for centuries. It’s this very insecurity that has fuelled a faux nationalist agenda interlaced with ethnic and religious politics. Insecurity is what breeds nepotism and the support of it. It also breeds misery.
When will we learn?