An Insularity In This Worldly Paradise
Posted on November 11th, 2015

Roger Smith.

In the Sunday Observer of November 8 th 2015, an article under the heading ‘Bracing for Friday 13th’ by one, Manjula Fernando, describes the countdown for the plunge to earth of some space debris due to arrive close to Sri Lankan southern shores. At the start, he notes that all those in responsibility for such arrivals are not in any hurry to prepare for any eventuality. He writes that the whole world is preparing to observe the falling to earth of this space debris” and, all stakeholders need to be in the forefront of action, but at this point of time the Disaster Management Centre, the Navy, the Fisheries department, those who should be in the know and alert, had little or nothing to say as to what is expected to arrive on this coming Friday the 13th when questioned. Our questions entailed a lot of ‘what ifs’ to which we did not get any satisfactory answers.  he writes.

That is, the State’s agencies for emergency action were not even aware of this unknown arrival, just as we were caught napping when the Tsunami arrived. I suggest two reasons for this: (1) that few people take much interest in what is happening in the larger world outside, and (2) only those with a good and easy mastery of English can understand the outside world anyway, for it is mostly in English, the language of our colonial masters. But should we not ‘move on’? from this past trauma, not re-live it? Let our children learn about it in their history books, not relive the past in their homes?

The fact is, there is a great upsurge in the use of English; it is both a powerful tool and a vehicle for much that is good – fine literature, for example. So, wise people all round the world are learning it to serve as a life tool. Tourists arriving here need to communicate and so, are using it. Should we not get up to date, forget the past, and learn it, too? Didn’t Dr. Mahathir Mohammed of Malaysia instructed Malaysians almost every month to not be like frogs in a well just looking round their little world but come up and see, learn and understand the wider world? And it brings jobs! Look at the job adverts – many require ability to speak and understand English.

Science is the engine of prosperity. Whose science (read research)? Who is doing it? Who benefits from new ideas and discoveries first? Does America do this for fun -? No it is for prosperity and jobs – American jobs. Look at the news today!

Perhaps the best example of this prosperity dictum is Michael Faraday whose discoveries brought a whole revolution in manufacturing and the use of electricity – honour the man! (Who? Did I hear you say?)

America has institutionalized this scientific discovery process. Firstly, they have in place a visa system which allows them to import all the best minds (people with brains) from around the world. ( – look at Silicon Valley -many from people from India! – the Chandra X-Ray telescope. (What? Did I hear you say?). The long-term result now is that they have a work force of, perhaps several millions of researchers; PhD holders in all scientific areas, doing investigations and developing a culture of intelligent inquiry. Millions! Not just one or two researchers! Now, in order to keep their jobs for the next term, reports are made, grant applications are reviewed by committees of experts, wise men, and projects for investigation are funded (= supplied with money to do the work proposed).

The Biogenome is a recent case to mention, where scientists are calling for researchers and funds to investigate all the bacteria, viruses and funguses and worms in the human gut. It would provide well paid jobs in Sri Lanka if we could fulfill the necessary condition to participate!

It is worthy of note that their technological advances leave the rest of the world standing, or in postures of meditation, naval gazing: the field array telescopes, their Spitzer and Hubble telescopes, their rocket science, their planet landers, all supported by great advances in metallurgical science, their attempts to tap free, zero point energy, plasma science, etc. European scientists are struggling to keep up with it all.

And all these reports are in English, and regrettably, not in Sinhala; sorry, it is America after all.  Surely, this is a motivation, too, for our brainy minds here, to spend time to learn a new language and come up out of the proverbial well! Surely, this is a time for our brainy minds to start work on projects useful to Sri Lanka. After all, it brings jobs!

Roger Smith. 12/11/2015

One Response to “An Insularity In This Worldly Paradise”

  1. Nimal Says:

    I hope the moderator will allow the comment below by a British lady who is concerned about the influx of refugees to Weston countries, the reason why we must not give into any religion or even to ones own past history if we are to move ahead in life..
    ‘The fact is that we cannot take in all the people of the world that look at Britain and see that we have a better standard of living that they have in their country. For one thing, there just is not room. We would have to concrete over most of the UK and build huge flats. Then we would have to import all our food. It is just impossible.
    For another thing, we have worked as a society for the last few centuries to build this better society. Our forefather strove for this, and they cast off the medieval ways and devotion to religion in order to achieve a better standard of living and a fairer kinder society. This is what immigrants should be doing in their own countries – working to create a better society there rather than giving up and dumping themselves and their families on us, destroying all that we have worked towards in the process’
    You see we have to cast off the medieval ways and over devotion to any religion in order to achieve a better standard of living and have a harmonious society.

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