25th July 1999
Music, music, music
An Opposition politico, one billed for Cabinet rank in a future UNP Government, was furious last week.
His neighbour, one of the instant millionaires (or is it billionaire ?) the ongoing separatist war has produced, has suddenly developed a penchant for music. So much so he wants his entire neighbourhood to have access to the blaring and jarring sounds.
The glass doors and windows of the politico's residence in east Colombo are said to vibrate when the millionaire's most modern musical equipment plays Golden Oldies, punk rock or even juicy Baila numbers.
The speakers are so positioned that one wag remarked that the music could be heard from even a part of the Kanatte cemetery.
The politico's complaint is that his children cannot study. Worse enough, that is with the exams round the corner.
Other neighbours are living in trepidation over whether their ear drums would remain intact when the new millennium dawns. The millionaire is said to be dishing out invitations to selected friends, including those wearing pips, for the party to usher in year 2000.
But some of the invitees say the fun and frolic is to be confined to a luxury building now under constructionfor the millennium party - perhaps the only one of its kind in Sri Lanka.
Its telling on the ears of the neighbours who have no access to big money, power and loud music !!!
The prestigious New York Times - the world's newspaper of record-has at last discovered the "contribution" being made by Sri Lankan expatriates to the world of (physical) culture and arts in the United States.
In an article in its Sunday Magazine edition, the Times says that Italians are known for owning pizzerias, the Japanese for running judo schools, the Koreans for owning grocery stores, the Chinese for running laundries and the Indians for monopolising the motel industry. But what of Sri Lankans ?
"Sri Lankans, in case you don't know this, run most porn video stores," says The Times.
Last week, there was a report that one of the Sri Lankans who owned a porno shop in the city was given $100,000 in cold cash - just to move out of a neighbourhood that was being "cleansed" of drug peddlers, porno stores and brothels. The Sri Lankan, needless to say, took the money and ran - but into a different neighbourhood.
Some of the Sri Lankan porno peddlers, who are ostracised by the so-called elitist professionals, are making desperate attempts to buy their way into mainstream Sri Lankan society flashing their dollars and their equally flashy cars.
The tragedy is that, despite their multi-million dollar houses, Land Rovers (equivalent of Pajeros), Mercedes and BMWs, they are being treated like pariahs.
One of them advanced a large sum of money to a group of Sri Lankans building a temple. But when he discovered he was still being treated shabbily by the English speaking, uppity professional expatriates, he demanded his loan back — pronto.
As the Americans say: Money can't buy everything, can it?
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