Life Abroad – Part 38:Colombo cleaner than London
Posted on August 1st, 2013

Dr.Tilak Fernando

Human beings are born with a vital organ called the brain with much more intelligence than any other creature in the world, yet it is apparent that an important part in its grey matter has been purposely omitted or missing by-default giving the freedom for each individual to take decisions independently for better or worse in one’s actions. That is the underlying factor why in this present existence everyone becomes irritable, unhappy, anxious, hyper or hypo-manic from time to time, irrespective of the fact whether one is a millionaire or a pauper.

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Unhappiness in this transient human existence is some times defined in a spiritual perspective as due to egoism in one form or another. All religions advise people to control their anger which is not only injurious to one’s health but it tends to block one’s ‘spiritual advancement’ in life.

Cricklewood Broadway in London NW2

Why do people get angry and cause damage to their health at someone else’s expense? Or for that matter, the way nature behaves at times! The sacred answer to this question is known as the “I” factor! When a person’s ego is hurt, one’s balance is supposed to go haywire thus bringing about anxiety and unhappiness.z_p04-Colombo02_0.jpg

Erratic behaviour

On a broad generalisation, people in the 21st century tend to become erratic at the drop of a hat! For instance, when it becomes too warm and hot they are inclined to complain about the blistering unbearable heat; when it starts to cool down and rain they begin to complain again about the deluge and storms.

This factor is not common to a particular race, religion or a country but affects right across the globe. Last few months natives were talking about an unusual weather pattern in Sri Lanka, an unendurable heat wave, while the folks in England were cantankerous about the dismal summer this year with extreme cold weather and snow falls. Last week, however, quite an unexpected heat wave with temperatures rising up to an unprecedented level of 30 degrees Centigrade(86 Fahrenheit) claimed lives of up to 760 people during the first nine days in England.


Whether in Britain, Sri Lanka or anywhere else in the world people generally will find it difficult to strike a happy medium most of the time. When consumer prices go up in Sri Lanka, for instance, due to the fluctuation of the dollar, some politicians in the opposition attempt to make a heyday out of such situations to gain political mileage with irrational condemnation but fail wholesale to see the good that has dawned upon them such as the freedom of movement in the country after a long drawn terrorist affliction where at one time people had to travel separately for mere survival of the family unit in case of any bombast or suicide bombing that became a common feature with terrorists.

Human mind has a very short memory to remember the good that were bestowed upon them. Some purposely decide to turn a Nelsonian eye to observe the fast changing skyline in many towns in a new and free Sri Lanka.


Today Colombo and its suburbs are cleaner than some of the London streets mainly due to the foresight and effective executive programmes pioneered by the Secretary of Defence in beautifying the city limits. It is self-evident to any individual’s naked eye to observe the development of infrastructure within the country with a long term far reaching dynamic programs covering road, rail and air which are progressing at a bracing speed after cleansing of the terrorist menace from the Sri Lankan soil.

In this context citizens of Colombo and suburbs should be proud that Colombo city is much cleaner and picturesque than some of the London city Towns. I qualify my statement with my own photograph taken in June 2013 which depicts the piles of garbage strewn on the pavement of Cricklewood Broadway in London NW2.

Good and bad do exist wherever it may be. As much as perseverance exhibited in remodelling the cities in Sri Lanka, one cannot deny the fact of the existence of pot-holes in some of the highways on which millions of rupees have been spent to modernize, rubberise and carpet the road surfaces by RDA (Road Development Authority) and concreting by-roads by respective Town Councils.

A bad example of a by-road neglected for years that comes under the purview of Maharagama Town Council is Meemanagoda Road, off the main widened Kottawa (174 route) left to be seen as an eye sore apart from being so incommodious to residents who have to use this through road. Desperation of the suffering road users has finally turned into a personal petition submitted to Economic Development Minister, Basil Rajapaksa MP, with a request for remedial action since the Maharagama Town Council has been in slumber on this issue for the past several years whilst residents complain that this particular road has been ignored for some ‘special reason’ while all other by roads, including private roads have been concreted!

On the contrary, what struck me was an impressive huge notice displayed prominently on the pavement at the town Centre of Wood Green in North London’s Borough of Haringey in the UK. A distinctive colourful picture depicts a council worker filling a pot-hole with a slogan which read: “Pot-holes we’ve got them covered.

We are working hard to fill all the pot-holes in Haringey , it’s a big job but we have got them covered.

Inform a pot-hole, with its precise location,” It also gives the email, twitter and online details to contact the Council of any pot-holes. What a difference and a contrast I thought in serving the people whom the Councilors and Mayors have been elected to work for their community!

Some of our political pundits keep on harping about the cost of electricity prices and breaking down of power stations in the country but the latest records in England according a watchdog revealed that ‘Britain will be in danger of facing blackouts in the next two years if the government did not increase the power generation’!

Consequently the British government announced an investment program at a cost of £ 110 billion of private investment to boost up Britain’s energy infrastructure where communities would be able to share £ 10 million payout if they allowed energy companies to drill for ‘Shale’ Gas in their area. It was also mentioned that such volunteers would receive £ 100,000 in compensation and one per cent of revenue out of the production.

Very much similar to the Sri Lankan folk keep on raising their eye brows when it comes to pay rises to parliamentarians and their privileges it makes no difference when it comes to the British as well. The latest news in London exposed how ‘the Royals cost the tax payer £ 33 miilion and it is going through the roof’!

The expenses chart exposed the British tax payer having had to fund extra £ 1million on the Queen’s Diamond jubilee events and travel, with an additional £ 1million spent on Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s NewKensington Palace to make it habitable for Royals – repairs to the roof alone was quoted as costing £ 400,000

Anti-monarchy campaigners insist that it is high time ‘the Queen gave something back and enough is enough’. However it was reported that the Royal couple will honour the bill out of their own pocket for the cost of decorating the flat.

The figures from Buckingham Palace revealed the Royal budget for 2011-2012 as £ 33 million where even the laundry bills risen by £ 200,000 on the financial plan. A revamped funding system comes fully into effect this year and it is expected that the Queen will receive 15 per cent of profits from her property portfolio and the Royal budget for this year stands at £ 36 million!

In the present climate of human existence it does not matter in what part of the world one lives or to which category of society one belongs to as the attitudes, behavioural patterns and thinking of people are governed by the small amount of grey matter within individual head.

In such a backdrop the onus falls within each individual’s mental capacity to upgrade or degrade its function for the betterment of fellow creatures living on earth.

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