Update 11th February 2018: Given the amazing election victory for the the SLPP, it looks like the vast majority of Sinhalese have finally improved themselves. I will leave the article below as a reminder to all how dire things looked during the dark three years from 2015-2018.
The events of the past 3 years have been nothing short of shocking. We have seen a massive crime wave, corruption from unelected ministers, the biggest bank robbery in the history of any nation – orchestrated by the goons and henchmen of the prime minister and the ruling party, a soaring cost of living, key strategic infrastructure sold off, the health service in near collapse – with a catastrophic dengue epidemic claiming thousands of lives, the universities in disarray, garbage piled up in the streets and once shining cities stinking to high heaven, the nation’s leaders tightening the hangman’s noose around our heroic military, food scarcity and worsening hunger and malnutrition, the imposition of a colonial, minority-rule constitution, and the economy in total free-fall. Worst of all, we have seen the nation deprived of any and all elections, from the lowest level of societal organization upwards.
And despite it all, what is most astounding is how the people have sat and watched, with nary a whimper of protest as their franchise has been taken away from them by the foreign-backed rulers who came to office pledging “good governance.” For three years, every election has been cancelled on the flimsiest of pretext, and often the rulers did not even deign to give any reason at all.
What all this highlights is not just the power-hunger of the present rulers, nor their obvious fear of the popularity of the Rajapaksa movement, but rather the total backwardness and lack of sophistication of the Sinhala mass of the country.
They have no understanding or even concept of what democracy is, they do not know how their country is run or what rights they have. They are unconscious, asleep and comatose. Just as the stray dog in the street cannot understand how a motor vehicle is propelled forward, the Sinhalese cannot understand or comprehend that they have inalienable rights as citizens. It is beyond their awareness. Instead, they are like parrots, waiting for the master to give them some fruit, blurting out the latest catch-phrase they heard online: “rule of law,” “corruption,” and “ප්රජාත්රන්තවාදය”.
Like the tribalistic cavemen of the past, they cower in awe of those with power, they are scared of the white-skinned foreigners, they suck up to those who promise them free handouts, too lazy to try and better themselves, and they believe all the salacious gossip they hear about those who they envy (e.g., the famous non-existent “Lamborghinis”).
They cannot comprehend the importance of ports and highways – for if they cannot eat the concrete from which this infrastructure is built, they see no use for it. They hate the crooked politicians who get fat in the tax-payer funded restaurants of parliament, but keep voting for them anyway.
They push and shove if a line has formed, they swarm to an open counter that they need to use, and they thrust their cars and motorbikes into any available road space. They have no interest in being healthy and well-presented, instead they adore the big bellies and over-swollen biceps of their male and female celebrity idols.
Each Sinhalese has no respect for himself or herself, and so has no respect for their fellow citizens. Thus, they grab and drag and claw at whatever benefit they can get for themselves: the ordinary man jumps the line, the man with the car flies into the small gap he can see in front, and the MP steals as much as possible from the state coffers.
50 years ago Sirima offered to bring them rice from the moon, and won. Today Ranil offers to bring “free wifi” and it is still, shockingly, disgustingly, likely that his party of foreigner-sucking, anti-Buddhist, bank robbers will win the upcoming elections.