Pathetic performance of the Western Service of the SLBC
Posted on February 2nd, 2019

R Chandrasoma

In this forlorn country, the need of the hour is the intellectual upliftment not only of elites but ordinary people so as to better shape their lives ‘in an age of great socio-economic challenge. Adult education – the belief that the dynamic shaping of body and mind is a lifelong process – lies at the heart of such ameliorative process. How can adults be educated outside or beyond the walls, boundaries, or precincts of an organized unit such as a school or University? Self-study through the reading of books is, of course, a prime means of advancing intellectually but – at least in this country – serious book reading is in sharp decline. The electronic media has become the prime source not only of entertainment and sensory titillation but also act as ‘information pumps’ that – more often than not – trivially entertain rather than educate. The point to stress is that it could be otherwise – the electronic media could be a powerful means of boosting adult education through exposure to languages and cultures that cut through the insularity and pig-headedness of native ways.

The case of the Western Service of the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation is most apposite in this connection. While this organization could have been a prime instrument in bridging two cultures and serving the nation as a  public educator, it has chosen another path – a purveyor of cheap Western (Cow-Boy) music to ageing native juveniles. Its programmes other than music are loyal political and religious apologias delivered in poor English. The Learned and dispassionate argument is a lost art in this country and the supine broadcasts of the SLBC reflect this infirmity.   The clear remedy is to reintroduce the relay of BBC transmissions – especially the transcription service – where scholarly subjects are discussed by experts in illuminating ways that should serve as a model for aspiring locals. As an aside, how is the name of our native land pronounced? Is it ShriLanker or Sri -Lung -Car?

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