Pramitha Ranshika

Looking forward to when Sri Lanka emerges as a powerhouse

Q: What sources of information do you rely on to keep in touch with Sri Lanka?

A: I speak to my family and friends regularly. And I read what’s disseminated by the major international news channels for a balanced view.

Q: How do compatriots in your country of residence view Sri Lanka?

A: Aussies speak highly of Sri Lanka and most of them love visiting the island. Even after talking to hundreds of them, I’m yet to find anyone who has not had an amazing time in the country.

Melbourne’s Sri Lankan community is incredibly competitive and professional, and has earned an excellent reputation for itself.

As a result, many Australians were quite concerned about the wellbeing of Sri Lankans back home during last year’s catastrophic economic meltdown.

Q: Likewise, how do other Sri Lankans living in Melbourne perceive their motherland?

A: To be honest, it’s a mixed bag.

While the well-established Sri Lankans generally view the country favourably, those who were compelled to flee due to the economic crisis not long ago are still traumatised by the difficulties they had to undergo before leaving in haste.

However, I see a shift towards positivity, given that the state of the island is far better than it was last year.

Q: What were your impressions of Sri Lanka on your last visit – and how much has it changed from the past?

A: As always, I had a fantastic vacation in the country during Sri Lanka’s traditional New Year.

While speaking to my mates however, a typical story emerged: the cost of living is astronomically high and they’ve had to cut down not only on discretionary spending but purchasing essentials too.

Nevertheless, Sri Lankan hospitality and the delicious cuisine have always been so refreshing every time I visit the island.

Q: So how do you perceive Sri Lanka today?

A: Sri Lanka was confronted with a massive reality check when it plunged into an economic crisis. The sandcastles that had been built upon massive debts crashed in seconds.

Fortunately, the country has been moving towards stability since then – but getting back to the pre-pandemic scenario will take some time.

Q: And how would you describe your connection with Sri Lanka?

A: My connection with Sri Lanka is very strong since my extended family continues to live there.

I engage in multiple business forums, and volunteer to assist Sri Lankan finance professionals who wish to up their game in the ever growing and competitive business world.

Q: How do you view life in Australia – and what do you appreciate most?

A: Having lived in many different countries for over a decade, I’ve finally found a place that I really like.

Besides, I’m also glad that my Sri Lankan and Aussie identities can coexist harmoniously in Australia – and that I don’t need to choose one over the other.

Q: Do you think Sri Lanka is capable of regaining its composure in the aftermath of multiple crises – including the most recent economic crisis?

A: Though I can’t predict the future, I remain highly optimistic that Sri Lanka will slowly crawl out of the economic hole that it dug for itself.

Q: How do you view the brain drain – and why is there still no reversal of it, in your opinion?

A: The natural human response is to flee an unstable environment.

However, the tables may turn if Sri Lanka enters a steep development curve like what we have seen in India, South Korea and Singapore over the last few decades.

Q: In your opinion, what should Sri Lanka focus on most over the next 10 years?

A: It should identify a few niche areas where manufacturers can create better economic value.

And Sri Lanka doesn’t need to look beyond India, which is one of the fastest growing major economies in the world. If we can access even a tiny part of its massive economy, the country is destined to witness steep growth.

Q: And finally, what are your hopes for Sri Lanka in the next decade or so?

A: I look forward to the day the world can proudly tell the story of how Sri Lanka rose from the ashes and became a financial powerhouse.

The dream continues!