The Sunday TimesPlus

4th May 1997



A day in the life of..

A passion for plumbing and cars

By Roshan Peiris

Farih Fauz: never bored
A 150-year-old Abyssinian pump made of English cast-iron adorns his sitting room. No flowers or foliage keep it company. It is a cherished souvenir given by a grateful client to a professional plumber Farih Fauz. Rotund with a beaming face, Mr. Fauz is no small time - man. He has a heap of vans and men who run to the help of harassed housewives with plumbing problems on the double.

The day before we met him, a weeping housewife had woken Fauz up at 1.30 in the morning frantic that the entire upstairs of her new (three-day-old) house was flooded due to the bursting of a pipe. Of course, Fauz had nothing to do with it originally.

Weeping, screaming housewives, hysterical ones all in a day shout to Fauz for professional help with leaking taps, sewers, clogged drains, defective sumps, or temperamental cisterns. A day in the life of Fauz is always full of plumbing problems and challenges.

‘’I get up at five, but often almost daily agitated housewives wake me with their plumbing problems since I run a twenty-four-hour service for their benefit.

"It is a shame that those who build new houses find that there are water leaks and blockages marring the novelty of their homes because of careless plumbing.

"At six in the morning after breakfast normally of string hoppers or hoppers, I am out in the field with my men. I visit each and every site we work on." Fauz is slightly balding but says, "No, I never wear a hat. I prefer to be one with my men and work in the sun. Bored with my work? Never. There is always something different in each job.

‘’People will tell you I am expensive, but qualify it quickly with the statement that my work is solid and lasting. I have a band of professional men working for me and they have to be paid well. Besides I provide them with their meals. I believe that on a daily basis to get good work, one must treat one’s employees with consideration and courtesy.

"My wife Sadiqa not only cooks but also works in the office fielding calls. My daily life is pretty hectic and so I come home at noon for lunch. I go back to work again, no afternoon snoozing for me.

"I love vintage cars and so I spend my evenings collecting and looking at vintage cars. I do buy many a new car, too’’. Three large cars well kept and covered up remained a mute testimony to this.

There are two glass cabinets full at his home of models ranging from small police cars to dinky cars to small scale racing cars which would delight young boys with his same passion.

Mr. Fauz with all his professional ability (I saw many a certificate adorning his walls) remains a simple man wearing a sarong, a round neck open shirt. His daily life is full of verve and vigour.

Plumbing problems do not rattle his happy temperament but he runs like any knight errant to rescue ‘damsels’ in distress. And that too on a daily basis.

Book Review

Foreign policy: a study in depth

Title: Sri Lanka and Non-Alignment: A Study of Foreign Policy of Sri Lanka from 1948 to 1982 Author: Dr. W. M. Karunadasa (University of Colombo)

Reviewed by Prof. D. L. Abeywardena,

Sri Lanka is ranked among the few Third World states which played a significant role in non-aligned politics. Being a founder member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Sri Lanka hosted the fifth non-aligned summit in Colombo (1976) and played a key role in international affairs, particularly during the decade of 1970s. Commencing from the historic Colombo Powers Conference (1954) and the Bandung Conference (1955), Sri Lanka’s stand in international affairs has received little or no attention in scholarly work until the recent publication on Sri Lanka and Non-Alignment: A Study of Foreign Policy of Sri Lanka from 1948 to 1982, written by Dr. W. M. Karunadasa of The Department of History & Political Science, University of Colombo.

Commenting on the available scholarly work on Sri Lanka’s foreign policy, a well known South Asian specialist in International Relations, Prof. Peter Lyon of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, in a foreword to this book states that,

"The existing scholarly literature on the foreign policy of Sri Lanka is neither voluminous nor is it notably sophisticated. Dr. Karunadasa’s book is thus to be welcomed as a valuable addition to this small but relatively neglected aspect of recent international affairs. This present study of diplomacy and political economy of Sri Lanka’s non-alignment during some critical years deserves to be widely and carefully read...."

This observation clearly and distinctly explains the validity and the relevance of this book as a major contribution to the current literature on Sri Lanka’s foreign policy and non-alignment. As a matter of fact, this book stands as the third major research publication by any Sri Lankan scholar on Sri Lanka’s foreign policy published since independence. Notably, this book may be deemed as the first publication which makes an in- depth study of Sri Lanka’s commitments to the non-aligned cause during a very crucial period of non-aligned politics.

This is a 394 page book which consists of nine chapters excluding the introduction and the conclusion. Arranged in a chronological order, the first three chapters are devoted to trace the history of Sri Lanka’s non- alignment from 1948 to 1970. The next four chapters deal mainly with the domestic politico-economic compulsions which brought Sri Lanka to the mainstreams of non-aligned politics during 1970-1982. The last two chapters make an assessment of Sri Lanka’s role in non-aligned politics covering the same period.

In essence, the first three chapters argue how and why Sri Lanka was committed to the non-alignment from the very outset of her independence. The main theme of the argument is that it was essentially economic considerations but not political factors which dictated the terms for the policy makers. The significance of this argument is that it contests the existing views on the subject of Sri Lanka’s non-alignment. Also it sets the necessary historical background to the core themes argued in the main thesis.

It is widely known that Sri Lanka had been one of the key actors in non-aligned politics particularly since 1970 at least until the end of the first term of office of Jayewardene, who figured as the first South Asian leader to opt for the ‘open economy.’ On the other hand, Mrs. Bandaranaike, who was known as the first women Prime Minister of the world figured very prominently in non-aligned politics especially because of her continuous association with all non-aligned summits commencing from Belgrade until she hosted the fifth non- aligned summit in Colombo. Dr. Karunadasa makes a deep analysis on the summit declaration where Sri Lanka made very constructive proposals in guiding the NAM while the cold-war conflict was on the recession.

At the recent Foreign Ministers Conference of Non-Aligned countries held in New Delhi, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Kadiragamar, has suggested something similar to what Dr. Karunadasa has suggested in his work. Mrs. Bandaranaike still as the Prime Minister of this country and her daughter as the Executive President have the best opportunities to take the cue in directing the NAM on the economic front at the forthcoming Non- Aligned Summit. In fact Dr. Gamini Corea, Former Secretary General of the UNCTAD and Consultant in Foreign Affairs, in delivering his key-note address on the day of the book launch by Dr. Karunadasa held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute on 6th February ’97, not only praised the contribution he made in highlighting the economic ingredients of the foreign policy but also encouraged him to undertake further research on the next cause of action that non-aligned should take.

Another important remark made in this book needs mention here. In respect of foreign economic assistance, this book argues that foreign economic assistance was a major cause of concern which brought Sri Lanka to the mainstreams of non-aligned politics. With specific reference to Third World countries, the author argues how Sri Lanka performed in the realm of international affairs and also examines the degree of sacrifices and commitments she made for the non-aligned cause. In this part he assess how the pendulum works in favour of economic resurgence as well as set-backs under the alternate regimes.

I am of the view that this book stands as a major contribution to the study of foreign policy of Sri Lanka. In time to come, hopefully, it will be a text book as well as a major source material in foreign policy studies.

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