|Sunday, 30 January 2005|
The right column
Fetishism of the foreign
There is no dearth of patriots. Browse through any newspaper or media bulletin. You could spot several leads where the patriots figure prominently. Everybody talks about the nation, building the nation, resurrecting the nation etc., etc. "National" is a common prefix.
Paradoxically, however, there is also preference for the foreign. Whether it is toothpaste, soap or sanitary towels the Number One choice among many, especially the city folk is for foreign brands.
Take any consumer item variety, the rush is for the foreign stuff. Locally produced stuff is considered to be below par, at best mediocre.
Take education. The craze is for International schools and the foreign syllabi. Take language. English is revered as the lingua franca. Those who could smatter a few English words and phrases could lord over the less fortunate vernacular mouthed populace. In this age of the knowledge society they could even outclass the literati if the latter is swabhasha educated.
Yet there is no dearth of warriors who come forward to defend the language and race. They, of course, had insured their offspring with classy foreign education. Even the Sinhala Commission wrote its damning report in English. English is used not as a tool of learning or a gateway to the world but as an idol of worship.
The craze for anything foreign permeates even to the bottom rungs in society. Take even the consumption patterns. Rata del is better than gan del. Rata jambu better than pini jambu.
Take the professions. Foreign qualified are preferred over locally qualified. If you do not believe me go thorough the employment columns. Even those who patronise the oldest profession in the world prefer the white skinned and yellow skinned lasses who have invaded our shores thanks to globalization.
Take the corporate sector or the higher echelons of the public service. Why is there such a craze for foreign consultants when their local counterparts could do the same jobs equally well or even better? Yes, the white skin is preferred to our own dark skin. The dark skin on the other side of the Mahaweli seems to be far stranger than the white skin arriving from thousands kilometres afar.
In the post-tsunami scenario all patriots are happy that the marines are here, that plane loads are arriving bringing relief and God knows what not.
As a nation we seem to be a bit proud that we are getting aid, aid, endless aid. Debt moratoriums are considered achievements. Our leaders are seen proudly posing for photo opportunities with our donors, our saviours.
There is actually a fetishism of the foreign. So much so for our patriotism! Every thing seems to be well for all -Uncle Sam and us, recipients of his magnanimity.
- the Sceptic
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