ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 32

The big ego problem!

They say never to judge a book by its cover; why do we Sri Lankans judge a person by his profession?

By The Scribe

I was recently watching a movie called Alfie starring Jude Law, who's a limousine chauffer by profession who he leads an 'enviable' bachelor's life, devoid of any responsibility or hassle, until he realises too late in the day, that he wants more out of life than just meaningless sex and one night stands. (What more is there to life??? I hear many of my male compadres say) Anyways, getting back to the point, my observations revealed that in the West (for once something positive about them!) that it doesn't matter what line of work you're in, your respective occupation is given the respect and dignity it deserves. Unfortunately though, the same doesn't apply to our country…

Who builds your home sweet home?

I mean you're talking about the regular, everyday people here, not complete aliens. Irrespective of whether it's the guy/girl working at McDonald's or the guy working at the petrol shed, though some tend not to show it as much as others, the condescension is ever present. From the tone of our voice to the manner in which we address them to our very gesticulations, I can't help but notice a manner of superiority or what's the word??? Emmm… I'm sure you get what I'm trying to say, written all over our faces.

It's really pathetic you know, to sit there feeling all sorry for them, when it's actually our narrow minds that we should be feeling sorry for.

The collar is not always white in some jobs

See... it's like this. Abroad, a university student or anyone for that matter can work at a fast food joint, either to fund their way through college or to earn some extra pocket money. Regardless of his/her family status, wealth, or class, they are simply respected for who they are and the job they do. It's not of paramount importance to delve into their private lives and make assumptions regarding the financial or social status.

It is possible for someone who's working as a truck driver, waiter/waitress or mechanic to socialise, mingle and (heaven forbid!) even catch up for a drink to unwind at the end of the week, with other average people. It's not like someone's committing the most unthinkable or horrendous crime to talk to someone and treat with respect, people you'd invariably bump into at some point of your day.

It’s not the pot but the creativity that counts

So, why is it that there is no dignity of labour in our country? Is it a mental block that our people cannot see beyond their superficiality and 'so called' social norms to see the person for what he/she is, rather than what they do for a living or how much they earn? I mean what is with us Sri Lankans? This is not to imply that we're the only country that has no dignity of labour but rather, the only country I feel I have the need to speak about.

Next time you find yourself looking down on someone or making a judgement about someone based on his means of employment, take a minute off to judge yourself first…Who knows you just might give condescension a second thought…

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Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.