ESCHEWING THE RAT RACE
Akalanka Wijesuriya envisions a world where humanity prevails above all else
Q: What’s the good, the bad and the ugly here in Sri Lanka?
A: The best thing about my country is its people. They possess qualities that are hard to find in other nations – warm smiles, friendliness and hospitality. These are traits that have come from centuries past and endeared us to many who visit the island.
If it weren’t for corrupt politicians, there would be nothing that is bad or ugly in this country. Sri Lanka boasts the finest natural beauty and environmental support a country could have but not the best parliament.
Q: In your opinion, what are the challenges facing the country today?
A: As in the rest of the world, at present our country is challenged by COVID-19 and I believe that as a nation, we’re facing and handling it in the best way possible.
In addition, poverty continues to be a major challenge facing the country. No matter how developed Sri Lanka has become, the gap between the rich and poor is widening.
Q: How do you view education and healthcare in Sri Lanka?
A: Ours is one of a few countries extending free education from primary school until university level. The syllabi are of a very high standard, which has led to the birthing of brilliant minds.
Moreover, Sri Lanka is one of the few emerging nations in the world with universal healthcare. As a result, its human development indices have been among the best in the region. With the emergence of COVID-19, we have witnessed how talented and skilled our medical professionals are. This is due to the excellent education and practical know-how they have gained in this country.
Q: What opportunities do you see for young Sri Lankans such as yourself?
A: In general, young Sri Lankans have numerous and diverse opportunities, which can be easily identified and exploited. However, it is important to set goals that will enable us to secure those opportunities and improve ourselves while contributing to the nation’s goals as well.
As a young Sri Lankan who is interested in aviation, I see many opportunities. The national carrier is a strong contender, and I do believe that it will be a good honing ground for my ambitions and career aspirations.
Q: Where do you see Sri Lanka in 10 years’ time?
A: It really saddens me that with everything happening around us,
I don’t see my country in a good place.
I believe that our nation will be mired in debt and its culture will modernise, erasing some of the deep-rooted religious and cultural values that it has – these aspects make Sri Lanka special and if they’re gradually eliminated, we’ll lose that unique identity that we possess at this time.
Q: And what’s the good, the bad and the ugly of the world in which we live?
A: Unfortunately, because the world has become so busy, a majority of the people have forgotten how to be human, and show kindness, humility and general love for others.
It has become a rat race to earn wealth – with no qualms about corruption, indebtedness or destroying others to earn that wealth. Because of this materialism, people don’t realise that all this wealth is of no use to them once they die!
Q: And what are your expectations of the world and its people?
A: My expectations may not be practical at present but I hope that someday, people will view others the same way they’d like to be viewed – and there will be a world sans poverty, sadness or suffering.
I would like to see this world as a haven for all people where equality, justice and truth rule supreme. But for the moment, that seems only a dream.
Q: Where do you see the world in 10 years’ time?
A: It certainly won’t be exciting. While the world will be operating on a single platform that runs entirely on technology, what’s frightening is that it will be fuelled by pollution and operated by criminals.
Given such an equation, I find it hard to imagine the world being a nice place in which to live.