Compiled by Nicola Jayasundera
THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS
Sanduni Wanasinghe foresees more future interaction with foreign nations
Q: What’s the good, the bad and the ugly in Sri Lanka today?
A: I would say that the good is the love we have for others; it’s something that you won’t find anywhere else. We are like one family, always keeping an eye out for each other.
In my opinion, the bad is our tendency to criticise rather than appreciate what we currently have. This may even prevent Sri Lankans from reaching their full potential.
Envy is what’s ugly. Counting another’s blessings rather than one’s own makes people feel envious of others; and often, hatred follows.
Q: And what are the other challenges facing our nation at this time?
A: The economic crisis is the most challenging at the moment. It caused changes in the nation that no one could have predicted and brought people to the streets. All of us were united in a quest for social change and human rights, and conventional divisions based on class, caste and creed were completely ignored.
The lack of social, economic and political stability in Sri Lanka has made people poorer, and poverty has become more widespread. In turn, this has adversely impacted the education of our young people and created yet another weak foundation that hinders the development of the country.
Q: Do you believe that Sri Lankans will be united one day – and how and why, if so?
A: Sri Lanka is a country with people who are closely connected to one another and those bonds can never be broken. Although there may be occasional disputes between groups, our people always come together in times of need.
In addition, we need strong and open-minded leaders who can stand alongside the people rather than above them.
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
A: As yet, I don’t have a plan since I want to keep my options open. Given my deep interest in healthcare, it’s likely that I’ll work in this field.
However, I will be fine if things turn out differently. I know that wherever I end up, I’ll be content with what I have.
Q: And where do you see Sri Lanka in a decade or so from today?
A: Every country experiences difficulties over time. And last year, Sri Lanka witnessed its greatest economic and political collapse since independence.
Yet, every cloud has a silver lining, and I think we will recover. I believe that in a decade from now, Sri Lanka will enjoy more foreign interaction, and this will enable us to grow and develop as a nation.
Q: Who is responsible for climate change and global warming in your view – and what must be done about this?
A: Humans are the primary cause of global warming and climate change. The key is to educate people on this challenge because they need to know how their behaviour is impacting the environment – and they must be taught about mitigation methods.
It’s best to educate the next generation about protecting the planet. Disciplined behaviour in caring for the environment should be inculcated in human beings from an early age; and this must begin at home and in schools.
Q: How do you view the growing importance of social media today?
A: Obviously, there are good and bad sides to everything. Social media has become a significant part of our lives and it’s necessary to use it effectively to reach out to society on various aspects of daily life.
It covers a wide range of uses including trading in goods and services, knowledge sharing, entertainment and so on. Social media is undoubtedly helpful; but too much of anything can be harmful. It has its toxic side, which one must avoid – because it is negatively impacting our youth today.
Q: And to end this interview, where do you see the world in 10 years’ time?
A: Though 10 years is a relatively short time, the world will see many changes – both positive and negative – and there will undoubtedly be further technological advancements. If effective measures aren’t urgently implemented however, the environment will be at greater risk of degradation.
I sincerely hope that most of the countries that are presently experiencing an economic crisis will be on the road to recovery by that time.
We need strong and open-minded leaders who can stand alongside the people rather than above them
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