SRI LANKANS OVERSEAS
ONE SRI LANKA MUST RISE
Miranthi Dole calls for racial harmony and an end to prejudice
Q: As far as perceptions go, do you think Sri Lanka is regaining its composure in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks and COVID-19?
A: People who love Sri Lanka will always return. It has regained its composure but regressed in many aspects – and the COVID-19 outbreak hasn’t helped.
I was horrified by the Easter Sunday attacks – there is absolutely no justification for such senseless killings. This event only fuelled hatred and discord, even amongst the educated and so-called elite in society.
Q: How do you perceive Sri Lanka today – i.e. in terms of progress or a lack thereof?
A: Sri Lanka will always have my heart. But its people remain easily swayed by negative propaganda, and permit hatred to come between peace and progress.
The youth lack career guidance and support. On every visit to Sri Lanka, I witness new concepts and businesses being opened. However, I feel that they can thrive with more funding and training.
There are many youth with great ideas but they lack the resources to bring their ideas to light.
Q: And how do compatriots in your country of domicile view Sri Lanka – meaning the citizens of the country you live in at present, which is Bahrain?
A: They love Sri Lanka for its beaches, lush landscapes and domestic aides. It is mainly viewed as a place for holidaying but not one in which to invest.
Many Bahrainis I meet have holidayed in Sri Lanka, spent their honeymoon there or heard wonderful stories about the island.
Q: Likewise, how do other Sri Lankans living in Bahrain view Sri Lanka?
A: They do not consider it an ideal place to give children the best. The escalating cost of living and devaluation of the currency are perceived negatively.
Q: What were your impressions of Sri Lanka on the last visit and how much has it changed from the past, in your assessment?
A: I visited Sri Lanka in March last year. There was no town planning and the roads in Colombo were more congested – there was no method to the madness. Escaping the city was most welcoming.
The food continues to be amazing although it is inconsistent at times.
Q: From afar, how do you perceive news about Sri Lanka – and what mediums do you rely on to stay connected?
A: I keep up-to-date mostly through social media including Facebook pages and Instagram.
Q: How do you view the brain drain? And why is there no reversal of it, in your opinion?
A: There are many reasons why there is an export of our finest [people]; however, there also remains the best with many returning home to bring back international expertise.
Unfortunately, there is little change in opportunities and exposure with corruption continuing to be hugely prevalent. Many Sri Lankans leave due to encountering persistent racial discrimination and prejudice.
Q: What should Sri Lanka focus on most in the coming decade?
A: Investing in and supporting local entrepreneurs, harnessing talent, and providing youth an outlet or the right education and career guidance to reach their goals.
It is crucial to spread racial harmony in these turbulent times so as to take the country forward. Strict governance and a long-term plan for the country are much needed instead of short-term gains for a few.
Q: And what are your hopes for the country in the next decade or so?
A: A leadership that is fair and impartial to all ethnicities, working towards uniting its people and capitalising on all ethnicities – one that is focussed on the people’s progress and less on personal gain.
Moreover, there’s a need for an education system that is accessible yet paid for by the youth – either monetarily or by way of service to the state. Taxpayers’ money can no longer fund an ungrateful generation that resorts to picketing and ragging others at will!