Compiled by Nicola Jayasundera


Shimer Fawas essays his thoughts under candlelight in the 21st century

Q: What’s the good, the bad and the ugly here in Sri Lanka?

A: Good is seen in the unity among people when facing common challenges such as the ongoing economic crisis. The availability of endless natural resources, generosity of professionals in finding strategic solutions, and 22 million hospitable people who can forgive each other and live together are some of the other positives.

The bad is a lack of political leadership to take the country to the next level, ignorance of voters who believe false promises, utter mismanagement of the economy and a divisive social system that’s been dominant since independence.

And the ugly aspects are our political system, corruption and restricted media freedom.

Q: And what are the challenges facing the nation today?

A: Sri Lanka faces a lack of export driven businesses – which led to the forex crisis – dwindling revenue and reserves, a volatile stock market and high external debt leading to bankruptcy.

There is an urgent need for intellectuals, industry experts, entrepreneurs and youth – locally and internationally – to contribute patriotically in all possible ways and move Sri Lanka out of the black hole.

We may face rock bottom today; but that’s solid ground on which to start building again.

Q: Do you believe that Sri Lanka will be united one day – and why?

A: The concept of ‘divide and rule’ has been a key strategy since the advent of British rule in Sri Lanka. But Sri Lankans are gradually uniting like never before when facing common crises and challenges.

If the new leadership can make use of the present unity strategically to tackle the ongoing crisis, we could build a unified nation. We are traditionally a united country and the externally introduced divisions should be eliminated.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

A: I hope to be a better man who has grown intellectually, spiritually and socially – a person who has contributed through words at least to make Sri Lanka a better place.

I see myself as a scientist, an entrepreneur and a leader who can walk proudly in his motherland – seeing Sri Lanka prosper after all the racial, economic and political turmoil it has been through.

Q: And where do you see Sri Lanka in a decade from today?

A: A mega transformation from the past systems to a modern, unified and growth-oriented country with youth leaders taking Sri Lanka forward.

Our school and university education systems must breed more leaders and entrepreneurs rather than a lazy workforce.

Q: Who is responsible for climate change and global warming – and what must be done about these?

A: We all are responsible for global warming.

Governments should have a clear vision and action plan, along with sufficient budgets, guidelines, laws and regulations to manage the environment, research using environmental sciences, find alternative energy sources and so on.

Creating awareness about dangers of, reasons for and possible solutions to global warming are also important. World leaders need to resolve and commit themselves collectively to minimising global warming, and its impact on the planet.

Q: How do you view the growing importance of social media today?

A: Social media has become very important to all sectors of society. It provides a fast and effective communication process. But how beneficial it is to users will depend on their attitudes and discipline.

The power it wields, from meeting or shaping consumer needs and wants to changing governments, is quite extensive. It has also become a most distracting tool that hampers the productivity of people – especially youth.

Q: Where do you see the world in 10 years’ time?

A: People will have to carry oxygen cylinders, wear PAPR masks and use highly protective clothing. Medical advancements, food scarcity, lack of greenery and fast spreading diseases will become commonplace.

There will be increased opportunities to make money but more people will be un-happy without peace. And there will be concerns about human rights but war and crime would prevail.

While we’ll see technological advancements such as augmented reality, flying cars, space travel and much more, a vast majority will live without the basics.

All this can be changed if we decide to take the initiative now, to create a positive impact.