Thursday, July 07, 2005

Plucking Tea

This is something that I just confirmed from a second source.

A recent World Bank document on the estate sector in Sri Lanka, grossly exaggerates the levels of poverty in the state owned estates. Yes there the situation there is poor, and it is generally accepted that estate areas are among the most poor in the country, but it is not as bad as the World Bank document makes it out to be.

S who originally put me onto the story believes that these figures are being manipulated to keep more and more money coming into the estates for poverty eradication programs. This source was one of the team who gathered the data that was manipulated. But A makes a few more links and comes up with another theory. A says the ultimate aim of the World Bank is the complete privatization of the estate sector and they can do this by twisting figures to show how shitty the state run estates are and how good the privately owned ones are. In reality the level of poverty in both state owned and private owned estates is shocking.

But the World Bank's tweaking of figures is more shocking. You out there, you know there's more to this story. Say it.

Do you happen to know if the estate workers now have access to education? Last time I was visited the estates the children still didn't have access to schools.
Anon Anon Again - hi Ivap

The Indian Tamils of Ceylon have been treated worse than animals by consecutive Sri Lankan govts. for decades. They are the most disenfranchised minority in the world probably apart from the Tutsi's in Rwanda & the Sudanese in Dafur.

Because they are not Muslim, no-one gives a shit about them at this point in time - but hey the only reason that they are probably still allowed to live in Sri Lanka is that in a few years time they may become part of some other lunatic's political game.

It is interesting that the Tamils of South Africa became so empowered that they were able to support Nelson Mandela. One day I hope that Ceylon Tamils will be able to set these people free so that they can live wherever they choose.

They are imortalised in so many old Colonial stories of plantations & estates, including a Barbara Cartland! They work hard & even though their British masters have now been replaced by Sinhala ones they are still a crucial part of the country.

That disgraceful, preposterous notion that they should be sent back to India is just another testament to the fact that Sinhalese politicians have no intention of letting go of any bloody racist tactic to win over a few measly votes. NOWHERE else in the WORLD has this ever been done. Not in Fiji, South Africa or the West Indies - all lands where the British enslaved Tamils as workers on plantations.

Anon - de Non - de I hate Rascist Pigs - de NoN
anon anon

I will respectfully disagree with some of your points here. I’m generally aware of the conditions in the estates but not over the last few years. Aren’t you taking a bit of creative licensing in comparing the estate workers with Dafur and Rwanda?

Yes they are marginalised, poor and have few opportunities for social mobility or improving their lot. However they are not living in fear of life and liberty, and as far as I know there isn’t any discrimination. They are not starving, have access to healthcare, most of them are citizens (yes I am aware of those who were in limbo) and have political representation (via the CWC, DWP, JVP, etc. more later) and certainly there isn’t any ethnic cleansing. They also have access to some sort of Industrial Relations Tribunal system where the complaints brought forward by the workers are dealt with. If I recall correctly they even have Colombo based lawyers representing their cases.

However, I gather that there is some competition now including the JVP. Hey, if the JVP are improving their lot and not training them in the art of weapons the political outcomes may be better than in the past. India too seems to have picked up the ball recently by agreeing to support the estate workers. I hope they follow through with this and as you say, as long as they don’t become a political football.

Another problem has been the lack of economic development in the hill country in general. It seems to be about 20 years behind the rest of the country at times. They may also be disadvantaged by a lack of informal communications networks (read relatives, friends etc) into colombo too. In addition being geographically close to India may have had an impact on branching out from the estates unlike those in Fiji, Sth Africa, Malaysia, etc.

I know for a fact that the government has lately tried to improve the communication between the tamil estate workers and the non-tamils who live in the near by towns. They are trying to use English as the means to overcoming the language barrier. Here is a good interview by an Australian academic who was involved in this work.

However, my personal view on this is that in the past the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) had a monopoly on the estate workers vote and didn’t make use of it for qualitatively better living conditions and even some sort of rights to private property (i.e. for a small plot for house before people start accusing me). While they gained some improvements in the estates they were always close to the seats of power and cutting deals, they could have done better. Again my knowledge is limited, I wonder if it’s another case of the CWC’s colombo based elites failing on the job. I just hope it improves. We all deserve it.
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Arrgh ... kept stuffing up the links. Here they are in order of appearence.

were in limbo

political football

good interview

failing on the job

it improves
Hi there IVAP - I notice Morquendi is prancing around Lahore in the heat - otherwise for sure he would have jumped into this debate by now! Ah well I suppose he's entitled to a holiday too - just hope he doesn't get himself into trouble over there.

Thanks for your response. We will agree to disagree on one basis. IVAP it is pointless telling me that the lot of theIndian Tamils is now vastly improved & that these things have happened just recently. You know - it's all well and good to make a few parltry moves at the 11th hour but I'm afraid that one cannot look at history by opening a conveninet snapshot of it. Furthermore you say last time you visited the estates the children didn't have schooling. When was that? I mean why pretend that genocide & rampant discrimination has not been heaped on these people. All because a few parties have decided to take political advantage of them & the GOSL has finally been embarrased into behaving? You can't change facts. One thing I can tell you IVAP - if the Indian Tamils have got the JVP supposedly looking after their rights - they might as well take of to the Maldives!
The fact that we have to resort to using the English language to help these people integrate into SL society as you say is news to me not to mention ironic to the nth degree! I say there is a lesson about language to be learnt here - tell me do you remember the famous words of Colvin R De Silva - One Language Two Nations, Two Languages One Nation? It is about time the left in this country pay heed to a great Sri Lankan who I had the pleasure to meet when I was very young. He did his country & the Sinhala race proud. I can't tell you how saddened I am that left politics is now reduced to balmy monks & frothing at the mouth lunatics like the left-over opportunists of the JVP.
ANon ANon
Anon Anon

Morq seems to be enjoying been driven around. You know, he’ll probably demand us minions refer to him as “Morquendi Mahaththaya” or some thing similar once he returns. Let’s keep this blog interesting in the meanwhile.

Anyway, getting back to discussion, when have I suggested that the history and struggle of the Estate Workers should be forgotten or placed in the dust bin of history? No doubt there have been many forms of discrimination, systemic or otherwise, against the estate workers of Indian Origin. I look forward to the day their contributions are recognised and codified in the history of the country. May be someday we will be able to visit a museum dedicated to these workers and their history.

Thanks for clarifying your position. I am objecting here to the use of the term genocide in describing the plight of and the violence committed against the estate workers. The term, since its introduction, has a particular significance in the English language and should be protected from attempts to dilute its meaning.

I recommend reading the description of genocide as given by the inventor of the word Ralph Lemkin at the wikipedia.

In addition the UN Convention on Genocide describes it as

…genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
• (a) Killing members of the group;
• (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
• (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
• (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
• (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
I agree that politically motivated murder and violence has been heaped upon the Indian origin estate workers at various time. Their history / culture may have been neglected too (not destroyed with intent). However it’s impossible to compare this to the systemic attempts at the eradication of the Jews under the Nazis, Tutsi in Rwanda or Pakistan in Bangladesh?

Are you saying that there has been a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves[link] in regards to the estate workers ? Economically it would have been suicide for the tea industry and SL.

Moving on, the mad-monks sound very right-wing to me. I saw that they were fighting the JVP now. Looking at what some of the ultranationalist loonies have been saying about reclaiming and cleansing the hill country, it’s damn scary.

BTW, I last visited the estates in 1997 a long time ago.
Hi there IVAP - Ha Ha - its such a joy poking fun at Morq. You will have explain what Maha... watzi means though. I am a true citizen of the world, of course I have strong Ceylonese connections but I do not speak Sinhala.

This is just a short comment - I have not had time to review all your links - so once I've done this will respond at length.

HOWEVER - IVAP, I do have to say - that when one has to resort to quoting definitions or dare I say splitting hairs about what is genocide & what isn't then really I think one is missing the point. The fact of the matter is this ...

There is an unfortunate, miserable, backward & evil sentiment that has permeated throughout Sinhala culture which deems that Sri Lanka is for the Buddhists only. Hence - everyone who is not must bugger off & drown in the sea. As you well know - this disgraceful sentiment which has absolutely nothing to do with the true teachings of a great spiritual leader whom millions of people follow, Buddha, is the crux of discrimination of the worst kind being inflicted on every marginalised group in Sri Lanka. Now - it is critical to understand - leaving the LTTE etc aside. This same discrimination has been veted out to the Sinhalese themselves. Out of sheer political desperation the likes of the JVP & the so-called socialist parties of Sri Lanka have fallen into bed with religious fanatics.

I shudder with you about "I saw that they were fighting the JVP now. Looking at what some of the ultranationalist loonies have been saying about reclaiming and cleansing the hill country, it’s damn scary." however it illustrates my point. So long we have disgraceful immoral politicians who will stoop at nothing to gain & maintain power - then this is the Circus that will continue to degrade this country.

You know these people dare to say that they represent Buddha. I keep saying - if they were Catholic priests & they reckoned they represented the Pope, he'd be kicking them out of the Holy Roman Catholic Church in a flash. Buddhism as I have said, is one of the greatest religions in the world. It is being used for such foul gains of just a few madmen. Regardless of whether the Tamils gain independence or we have peace or perpetual war. Sri Lanka is always going to be a predominantly Buddhist country - I don't think anyone disagrees that this should be so. But we are the laughing stock of the planet when we commit acts of horrible & brutal murder in Buddha's name. Truly - you don't want me to call it genocide - sorry it is a matter of degrees. You know that the intent is there.

Anyway - don't forget to give Morq a hard time for getting a big head in Lahore! I left him a Blog comment on the other site - seems like he's abandoned this one for a while! You should do the same!

Anon de Non de Non!
Sorry - I meant give Morq a hard time - not stop commenting!

I'm too busy for this at the moment - I'd betting log of before I say the wrong thing & offend you!

ANOn AnoN - ZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

We have to split hairs when it’s necessary.

It would be better if we separate Buddhism the doctrine according to the Buddha from what is at times referred to as “Political Buddhism” (it sounds strange when you think about it). This seems to be an interpretation of Buddhism, History and Nationalism wound together to appeal to the identities of the lay in democratic politics. I can’t say that I am uptodate on the thinking in this arena. Just observing it from a distance it appears to be heading down the same path as the religious-nationalist politics around the world.

BTW, I don’t know the exact translation but it roughly comes across as “sir” when referring to someone with authority and status.
Hi, I found u'r blog very interesting & have linked it to my own:
Keep up the good work!
Hey - are you saying thanks to Anon Anon & Ivap or Morquendi.

Just to let you know - Morquendi thinks he's a famous journalist because he went to Lahore (after having to deal with some rather heavy petting on the plane flight over there! YUCK) & we haven't heard from him since.

So if you've been reading the blog comments going back & forth between myself & Ivap - we accept your compliment :-)) !

Anon Anon
I wonder if it is even worth the effort to answer the stupid and utterly futile claims of Anon Anon. But he should not be given the chance to mislead people all the time, that's for sure.

Anon, You claim to know so much about our little country. But you don't even speak the main language, what do you call yourself ? Now it is understandable that Sri Lankan Tamils, who've spoken Tamil all their lives won't know Sinhala, But a smart ass like you ??

You want to compare the treatment of the up-country Tamils to genocide, Well then what do you call Prabhakaran's activities ? Afterall, his methods were recognized as the worst ethnic cleasing in these parts of the world. But of course, since he is your idol, I'm sure you'd come up with some pathetic excuse to clean his name.

"Sinhala culture which deems that Sri Lanka is for the Buddhists only. Hence - everyone who is not must bugger off & drown in the sea" - Oh man, You are SO WRONG. Only an idiot like you could come up with shit like this. Sinhala culture has been one of the most tolerant in the world, where not only the Sinhalese and Tamil, but all sorts of Muslims (Malay, Moor, Bora etc. ), (Other) Indians, Chinese and (since recently) Burghers have lived in peace. The peace has only been disturbed by the occassional Tamil invader who seized rule of the Northern regions, now and then.

Everyone knows that it is the Tamil politiacians of the hill country, that used Tamils as means of gaining power and then abandoned them. Yes it's just a power struggle, but since recently, some of the people have been changing their minds (or so I've heard) and turning to the JVP. It's doubtful what good or bad this could yield, but surely, it's not good for those Tamil politicians, who have, for so long, kept the Tamil people under their foot.

The mojority of the Sinhalese and the Tamil don't have a problem living in harmony with each other. This, of course, must be news to you since, you only have a few Ceylonese connections here and there and don't even speak the language.

You claim to be a non-racist. Well, you are pathetic. You never speak of the Sri Lankans, you only know a little about the Tamils and the Sinhalese, but nothing about a Sri Lankan identity. Over here, where we don't consider races anymore, we call all of our country's people Sri Lankan. They could be of Sinhalese or Tamil heritage, but for the heck of it all, we are all Sri Lankans now.

And You are NOT. Cos you are a racist bastard who justifies the murderous actions of terrorists.

So anon, you moron, the next time, only talk about what you know, and Not what you think you know.

Oh dear - it's a live one! Hmmm.... Sanajay - very unusual way to spell that name - you want to swear like a fishwife well - no problem - FUCKWIT here goes

So I'm the rascist Terrorist lover? Well I think you've just defined rascism in your rather FUCKED comment.

If a person doesn't speak Sinhala - they are not Sri Lankan - HA HA HA - Oh & I'm the rascist?? Man you are so FUCKED. You reckon I don't have any connections to "your little country". What a patronising way to speak - you don't own it. Well I know a whole heap of Sri Lankans who don't speak Sinhalese ARSEHOLE (yep i can swear too you FUCKWIT). Some of them like me don't because we are of MIXED BLOOD. Oh & stop blabbering on like some mindless MORON about how tolerant Sri Lanka is - what a load of FUCKING CRAP. Is this guy for real?

So your definition (because you've got the brain of an ant) of a Sri Lankan is someone who speaks the lingo - oh of course Sinhala & lives next door to a DICKHEAD like you. YUCH - I can imagine the hovel you come from. Full of ingrained racial hatred.

You know it's so sad I had an email from a friend of mine who works overseas, as a migrant expat - yeah FUCKWIT - don't forget them - just yesterday who is Sinhalese through & through, asking me if I would assist him in setting up a business. He is a TRUE Sinhalese person who I would trust with my LIFE! And quite frankly I had to say to him - well how? How do you do anything normal when you live in such an abnormal country? How do you build trust? How do you deal with the corruption? How do you deal with the rascism & the MORONIC attitudes? However, we are going to try - let's hope I don't run into FUCKING narrow-minded naval gazing backward idiots like you when we do so. My friend has lost family & very nearly his own children in the Tsunami - they were swept away by the tide & of course property. Why do you think he has to work overseas - because of the hopeless state of affairs in Sri Lanka. For the first time in 20 years that my family have known him, he is asking for my help & inspite of you & those like you we're going to make things work.

So Prabharan committed genocide & the up-country Tamil leaders manipulated the poor Indian Tamils & it's all the Tamils fault - right? WRONG. You've got your FUCKING head so stuck up your ARSE it's coming out of your FUCKING mouth.

Why don't you go & read a few stats about how many Sinhalese have been killed by Sinhalese. Hey why don't you read the comment written by that guy calling himself JVP-killed-my-family because you are SOOOO obviously a FUCKING JVP supporter. It is the continuing political climate, the blatant tolerance of violence, complete disregard for the rule of law, increasing poverty & the decimation of EVERYONE's cluture that is running this country into the ground. I get emails about it ALL the time & if I WASN'T connected to this country - I wouldn't give a SHIT. Which is what you FUCKING BASTARDS want so that you can suffocate the people who remain & who still live in Sri Lanka with your pathetic one-sided version of history.

If Prabararhan has committed genocide then let him stand trial for it. Why don't you produce a report about it instead of shouting of your FUCKING mouth. As for those Tamil politicians who did all that political manipulating all those years ago - I'm sure Sri Lankan politics has dealt with them. Just as it's going to deal with a SHITSTIRRER like you. Oh - but all the other murdering SWINE that float around the country - hey they can all go free - that's what you'd like. That's right - it's because all those MURDERING SWINE live right next door to a DICKHEAD like you.

Get back to your JVP commune & read your little Pol Pot inspired red book you DUMB BRAINWASHED FOOL.

AND BY THE WAY YOU CHAUVANISTIC PIG - I'm a GIRL - Fucking hell you are so FUCKED#!@#!@%#@

Apologies to IVAP & others who read this for all the swearing. Just wanted to give SANAJAY some of his own SHIT.

My saying for today is ... you don't have to have a long neck to be a FUCKING GOOSE $#%%#$%#$%#$&

OK - guys - no more swearing - seriously that's it!

It's so easy to swear. Much more intellect is required to argue a point with emotion & feeling & state how you feel without resorting to verbal abuse. IVAP & I have done that for days now. You know I respect IVAP 's point of view. I have read his or her links & I have taken on board what he/she had to say.

Anon de NON - no swearing no more non non!
Wow, I'm not surprised, after seeing the hatred sown on the Tamil nationals in western countries by the Tiger propaganda machinery, this is exactly what should be expected from Anon.
i strongly recommend that people pay Mr Sven Swedish nice Gay Guy a visit on his Blog page - all will be revealed ....

Anon Anon
a couple of comments.

i find it amazing that certain sections of the tamil population still entertain the belief they are 'sri lankans' when the bare facts of the matter are quite openly to the contrary. one wonders how a minority can still call themselves sri lankan when most people in sri lanka would say otherwise. whether or not people refer to themselves as 'sri lankan' is up to them; no one can stop them. personally i also refer to tamils as sri lankans. but if i were a tamil i most certainly would not, given the alienation and cultural isolation i would feel in this majority sinhalese country. also, the treatment of the majority towards the minority in the past half century is unlikely to affirm my sense of belonging. i can say with certainty, as a sinhalese person, that sinhalese people (secretly or otherwise) really do not consider tamils as 'sri lankans'. whether or not tamils have lived in sri lanka since time immemorial (and even ruled parts of this country), most sinhalese people, at least after 1948, regard themselves as the exclusive race. when a sinhalese person uses the word 'upi' (us) he is more or less referring to the sinhalese ethnicity. this is a fact of the post colonial reality that is sri lanka, and whatever amount of protesting the tamils want to make of it, sinhalese people will continue to regard themselves in this manner.

But having said that, that should not in any way effect the sri lankan tamils, if only on an administrative, or 'citizenship' level of social intercourse. Tamil people in colombo already enjoy equal rights, it's only in the north east that decades of gov't neglect, and now a war, have taken their toll on infrastrucutre and standards of living (hence unequal quality of life for tamils in those parts). I can assure you that most sinhalese people in sri lanka want justice, equality and peace also. What we want above all else is that sri lanka develop economically, and simultaneously, that human rights and corruption so endemic of our govt bureaucracy, ended as in other more developed countries. Economic developement, increased liberty and transparency are aspects of the one process. They happen simultaneously, but above all in the case of sri lanka it requires the cessation of war and a federal solution. the current north-east issue will not go away otherwise. the sinhalese will have to grow up and agree to such a solution. However an equitable federal solution can never happen so long as the tamil tigers have anything to do with it. I of course don't blame the tamils for letting their patriotic fervour get in the way of 'real justice' and 'real development', but it's a very sad indictment that now, when so much is going in the way of equal rights for all citizens, that retroguard ideas should prevent progress. The question is therefore also one of whether the tamils are ready for peace and development. Only when you guys decide to quit supporting the ltte, will real justice be served in sri lanka.
Hey there Jiffyspace - excellent balanced comment.

Of course I don't agree with all you have said & you know really - Sri Lanka has the LTTE it deserves. How on earth did this whole terrible situation start in the first place. Because - people were killed, raped, bashed up, murdered, maimed, deliberately discriminated against, instituional rascism was shoved down peoples throats & all in the name of Bhuddha. It is so, so, wrong. Someone recently wrote on this Blog that most Tamils don't support the Ltte - you write that Tamils need to stop supporting them - well what's the truth?

Ultimately things are only going to change so long as we have an opportunity to speak honestlly with each other. Just remember - Tamils in Sri-Lanka - including those that plucked Tea (!!!) had every right to live peacefull happy lives without being hunted down & attacked everytime the UNP or the SLFP or the whatever did not win an election - and they happened to be in the wrong part of town. As I have said before - before we go pointing fingers elsewhere let's be honest about what we have done.

Let's think about how many Sinhalese people - innocent women & children died at the hands of the JVP militia & the government of the day that felt helpless & threatened & responded with equally vicious brutality.

Violence has absolutely torn this country apart & we are all to blame & all responsible.

Now - on a lighter note - what's happened to Morquendi - I want to know - is he still in Lahore or has he scored some other cow towing fancy assingment - do you know Jiffyspace?

I think he is masquerading out there as a Dark Elf pretending to be anonymous on his own Blog sites telling people what he really thinks - h,mmm - yes. What do you think? It's the sort of thing he would do - n'est ce pas?

Apologies I can't set-up my own Blog name on this site Jiffyspace - I've explained that somehow it just doens't work on my l/top - anyway what I do is id myself at the end of my emails .... Morq has been very kind & allowed me keep posting comments.

ANon - de NOn - de NON.
Stupid tamil nigger anon bitch staying true to the (un)culture of her dirty subhuman cannibal race.

Haha.. I bet you're one of those fat hairy tamil mamma's who sweat and smell like stale shit. Fuck you can't even do pro bono whoring can ya. At least your mom did that to support you.

Ugly black cow. Shut the fuck up and go eat some fried chicken.
fuck da sinhalese. u cum down ma ends i slap the shit outta u bald headed buddhist cunts. cum c wat happens to u wen u try cumin up into tamil eelam.u fuckin monkeys outnumber us tamils nd we still batter the shit outta u. wait a cuple yrs wen we get eelam nd u b left sucking elephant dick. i remem wen da tamils took ova the airport. u dumb sinhalese cunts thought it was da safest place in sri lanka. well fuck u. nd jus coz all sinhalese woman r fukin ugly it dnt mean u gottu start rapin ours.
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