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20th June 1999

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Ever felt like thrashing someone or something? Chamila Jayaweera finds out what bugs whom

Oooh! it's maddening

Ever find yourself in a situation where you wish you were Tom of "Tom and Jerry" cartoon fame and then you just could slam your fist into people who rub you the wrong way?

Okay, maybe you're not that violent. But close, I'm sure.

Unfortunately, there is not much we can usually do besides direct an ugly frown or utter an exasperated word in the general direction of the irritation. Of course in all cases making sure that the opponent is not much bigger than you, might prevent you from suffering some bodily harm.

Those little irritations, we encounter in our day to day life can make our blood pressure rise, pump adrenalin through our veins and make us sweat.

The Sunday Times asked a few well-known personalities to share their feelings on what bugged them the most.

Prominent film maker Dr. Lester James Peries was quick to comment.

"I have so many allergies when it comes to food," he sighed.

"Any type of shellfish- be it crab, prawns or lobster are essentially an unknown area of digestive pleasure to me."

He added he considered himself a gastronomic eccentricity, since he was also forbidden to touch anything in the pork family or any dish with chilli. "I can fake at buffets," he chuckled, "but it's private dinners that leave me feeling embarrassed."

Another of Dr. Peries's irritations is with himself since he is preoccupied with the process of trying to preserve film. The hot Sri Lankan climate and high humidity often causes film to perish in about ten years. His concern is that this will result in Sri Lanka's history records being lost over time.

A fear of his eyesight deteriorating also haunts Dr. Peries . "I have had two operations on both my eyes, and I am still worried," he said.

The enormous extent of pollution in Sri Lanka is a factor that Dr. Peries notices, much more after he returns from a trip abroad.

Mosquitoes are another nuisance. "How can such a small creature cause so much pain?" he wonders, adding that he is really irritated that the Dengue epidemic spreads so rapidly among children in this day and age. The first documentary film Dr. Peries produced entitled "Conquest in the Dry Zone" had been about measures to control mosquitoes, and urged the banning of chemical poisons like DDT.

And as a final thought he added that he wished there was a station devoted to promoting classical music, like in European countries along with a mix of ethnic music. Although he added in a stage whisper "Of course I wouldn't hold it against them if they decided to play the Spice Girls!"

Well-known dramatist and TV presenter Arun Dias Bandaranaike, said he was cheesed off at religious humbugs. "Take Kosovo as an example," he said.

People with poor manners also irritate Arun. "Even if you ask a simple question at the Post Office, people will pass the buck, or say they don't know the answer quite rudely."

Exhaust fumes from cars are another factor that bug him. "Of course you hear all this talk about it, but is anything being done?"

Music on the phone when calling someone up, Arun observes is annoying. "Why not just have someone pick up the phone and get on with the matter at hand?"

And last but not least on Arun's list of the not so great, were people who flung their trash out, onto the streets or respective lanes, not caring whether it is in a bag or not. "Where is their civic responsibility?" he asked.

Chairman of Vijitha Yapa Group of Companies, Vijitha Yapa himself, was anxious to get his list of grievances off his chest. "No I don't need any extra time to think it over," he responded "I can tell you right now!"

Not being able to reach people was high on his list of annoyances, and most people can probably empathise with that.

"I also hate the way people beep their horns when you are at the traffic lights and the light just turns green, or when you are in a traffic jam. Usually I just let them pass or gesture to indicate they can fly over if they like!" he said.

Another peeve was about the way TV programmes never seem to come on at the time they are scheduled. "And then there's the times when you postpone everything to watch a movie or teledrama and they suddenly announce it won't be on!"

Yapa added that the same feeling of frustration prevailed when advertisements were shown all of a sudden during a cricket match in the middle of an over or when one was waiting to see the replay. "I think it could result in viewers taking quite a dislike to those particular advertisers!" he said.

The flooding of roads due to the lack of drainage facilities annoys him immensely as it surely does others. "I mean we pay the municipality quite high rates, but you wouldn't know it to look at it - with no lights on the road and never any repairs."

Reggie Candappa, a high profile figure in the advertising world, said he had a few grievances to share himself.

People who hate change and are a hindrance to progress, are number one on his list.

Those who are not loyal and shift loyalty easily towards personal gain are another category of people that irk him.

Candappa said those who have no integrity in their financial and intellectual dealings also annoy him.

"Those who have no feelings or time for those that are less fortunate, are also on my list, along with those who have no appreciation for literature or music," he said summing it up.

There you have it then. Now let me just add my thoughts here. On the other hand, let me save it, for I think my grievances would just about fill a book!

Next week: what the ladies hate

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