‘Go to the jungle!’
Posted on February 24th, 2017

Editorial The Island

How civilised a nation is can perhaps be judged by the cleanliness of its public toilets. Sri Lankans boast of a glorious past and what is described as a hydraulic civilisation. They also take pride in the fascinating engineering feats of their forebears such as vast irrigation reservoirs and huge dagobas. Excavations in the archeological sites continue to throw up many surprises. Interestingly, ruins of ancient toilets have been unearthed in places like Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

Sadly, we learn that foreigners who visit Sigiriya or the Lion Rock cannot use toilets, which have been in a state of disrepair for a long time. An apparently jerrybuilt public convenience with cesspits overflowing was shown on television the other day. Some members of the cleaning staff were heard telling a group of resentful tourists in a callous manner, ‘Go to the jungle!’ So, these workers and their bosses seem to think decent men, women and children come all the way from faraway lands, spending their hard earned money and pay a hefty entry fee to relieve themselves behind bushes! This is certainly not the way to treat humans whether they are foreigners or Sri Lankans.

The Sigiriya rock fortress, a world heritage site, built by King Kashyapa circa 5th Century AD is a showpiece of the country’s cultural prowess besides reflecting the engineering and architectural achievements of ancient Sri Lankans. A panoramic view of the forest-clad terrain below, from its summit, is simply breathtaking; its comely damsels immortalised in frescos in rocky boudoirs, moss covered ponds and symmetrical garden adorned with fountains which still function are fabulous. Why so many people including foreign tourists do not consider a tour of Sri Lanka’s ancient kingdoms complete without an arduous yet exhilarating climb to the Sigiriya summit is not surprising.

As for the Lion Rock, one may say with apologies to Bishop Heber that every prospect pleases and only those who manage the place are vile. Foreign tourists are charged exorbitant fees though they are not provided with even basic facilities. They are friends of this country and must be treated as such. It is incumbent upon the tourism and cultural authorities to ensure that they are not exploited. It is reported that they have to pay as much Rs. 4,700 each to visit Sigiriya and this fee ought to be reduced.

Lack of proper sanitary facilities seems to be a national problem in that toilets in most public institutions are far worse than pigsties. The same is true of some private ventures which do not treasure their human resources. Anyone who steps into a toilet at a railway station comes out, running faster than an express train!

Badly maintained public toilets also spoil an otherwise pleasant climb up the holy mountain, Sripada; some of the cesspits overflow, flooding sections of the road leading to the summit and emanating a foul smell. The same goes for many other places of religious and archeological significance.

President Maithripala Sirisena himself said the other day that teachers of a public school had informed him that their students were wary of drinking water during school hours as there were no toilets. Surveys commissioned by the National Water Supply and Drainage Board and some non-governmental organisations have revealed that many schools are without safe drinking water and sanitary facilities; students are left with no alternative but to ‘go to the jungle’. But, politicians wax eloquent ad nauseam, claiming that they have developed the education sector.

Sri Lankans also find it gut-wrenching to use public toilets at Sigiriya and other tourist attractions. Let the government be urged to send mobile toilets in sufficient numbers urgently to these places and take immediate action to renovate the existing toilets or build new ones.

8 Responses to “‘Go to the jungle!’”

  1. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    This is what the Sinhala modayas did by choosing traitor YAMA PALLAN headed by traitor chief die hard catholic
    token Buddhist Batalande Wadakaya pol pot r@nil wickramaSinhalakiller. Sri Lanka was booming under MR.
    Sinhala modayas, tamils, mussies for the first time had a chance to see motorways for real in their lives.
    Not only that they even managed to travel on them. They were given the chance to go about their lives without the fear of getting blown into smithereens.

    All the regimes before MR didn’t manage to build an inch of motorway in the country. Only thing they were good at
    was murder, mayhem and robbery. But catholic-run Sri Lankan media managed to hoodwink Sinhala modayas and
    branded MR & co were gang of thieves. Unsurprisingly Sinhala modayas fell for it and got rid of MR. Sri Lanka
    started going in the opposite direction. These traitor YAMA PALLAN are only good at murder, mayhem, treachery


  2. Vijendra Says:

    Thanks to the eradication of ltte terrorism, today more and more tourists are arriving in Sri Lanka. This is a great opportunity to showcase Sri Lanka and treat the tourists by providing them a taste of the Sri Lanka culture. If the basic amenities are not there, very soon the world will get to know that Sri Lanka is no place to visit. Hence it is essential that the tourist authorities and the Minister responsible take immediate action to provide the basic necessities such as usable toilet facilities.
    It is also important to realize that currently exorbitant amounts are charged for tourists where as a very small fraction of the amount is charged for Sri Lankans. When a Sri Lankan accompanies a tourist friend, it becomes so embarrassing when a the tourist is charged more than ten or twenty times, though it is perfectly alright to charge them about two to three times. However, ten to twenty times is very unreasonable, especially when there are not even the basic facilities available. This is “killing the goose that lays the golden egg”.
    There must be stipulated standards for serving tourists. Our idiotic tourist authorities who get paid to do a proper job, rather than warming their chairs in Colombo, should visit these places from time to time and check how these places are run to understand the how poor the state of affairs at these locations. Feedback from visitors must be entertained and if there are complaints, they must be investigated and the wrong doers must be punished.
    Tourism is a great money earner for Sri Lanka. However, like any business, it must be run as a sustainable manner. Managers capable of doing such a job only must be given responsibility to run the tourist business.

  3. Lorenzo Says:

    SL has been converted to another TAMIL NADU where EMPTYING BOWELS in the public and in jungles is part of culture.

    What a shame!

    This will spread diseases!!

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    The Yamapalanayas of the Yamapalanaya have incredible difficulty managing simple things!

    Gotabhaya Rajapaksa cleaned up Colombo, beautified it’s streets, setuo garbage removal and processing systems, defined the rules for etecting new buildings and revived old Colonial buildings as productive malls.

    Most of all, he brought a sense of law and order to governance of our cities, and imbued the people with civic pride. It was a brilliant demonstration of what we can accomplish with a can-do patritic attitude.

    Today, all of those accomplishments are rapidly decaying, and is in danger of becoming a lost art! The Yamapalana government cannot even collect and dispose of the garbage in an environmentally safe and economically profitable fashion.

    We, the Sinhala Buddhist majority of Sri Lanka, had a golden management in the country, and traded it for a PARA-FATHI Kalliya that is well on its way to ruining it and transforming our citizens into indentured servants of foreign powers!

    No wonder our enemies call us Sinhala Modayas!

  5. Christie Says:

    We are getting closer to becoming a full pledged Indian colony.

  6. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    We have 225 ARZ OLES, in a place called Paraliament, whose brains are in their anus, and led by the Pied Piper of Polonnaruwa town. They are unable to solve a minor problem like broken down Toilets, in Sigiriya. HOW THE HELL CAN THESE BUGGERS RUN A BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY LIKE SRILANKA.?

    Call for Tenders from the Private Sector to build modern Rest Rooms (Toilets), atleast 20 of them. They can charge a nominal fee for the use of such a facility. Now you can be rest assured that the bastards who are responsible to handle tenders will want a cut. Even from shit they will try to get a CUT. Good luck to all the ARZ OLES.

  7. Fran Diaz Says:

    Self Respect & Self Reliance for the vast majority in Sri Lanka, whatever the group, can be restored through PATRIOTIC LEADERSHIP.

  8. Nihal Perera Says:

    I just returned from SL, and I watched this on local TV news. I was shocked when one of the workers said to tourists “go to jungle” because the toilets were blocked. I couldn’t believe my ears.. This country is becoming a mini India, thanks to idiotic and corrupted politicians and their government officials. I visit SL every year and unfortunately every year since these idiots (yahapalayans) came to power I only witnessing the gradual deterioration of the country, socially, economically, politically, morally, and everything else in between.

    For the last 6 weeks I spent in SL, I have never seen so many street protests, accidents, school brawls, and murders, etc. It is truly sad to see the country is going down hill so fast. And, the saddest part is no one seems to care, as long as their needs are met. Unfortunately, this society seemed to have become very selfish, corrupted, and money-oriented.

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