Sunday, November 4, 2007

i have never read a news story about this

If one lives in Sri Lanka one will become painfully aware that 90% of the population cannot read or understand English let alone speak it. The most they know are very few words and the English alphabet. There is however a 40 minute English class in every school every day at every level and despite that the knowledge is lacking.What makes this all the more glaring is that at least half the shop signs are in English even in Villages and even the names of the shops are Sinhala writing of the English like for example Digital Printing is written as that but in Sinhala writing.

All medicines are in English only. All the doctor prescriptions are written in English where people are clueless as to what medicines they are taking and in what dose they are to take it unless the pharmacist specifically writes the dosage on the medicines dispensed.

I know some of the weedicides and pesticides do have some Sinhala and Tamil writing. However what brought this outburst on my part was I sent Amila to change the coolant on my cab.I asked him to read the instructions in the coolant bottle and mix water according to the instructions. No one in the garage who sells the coolant can read English. The instructions in the coolant bottle are from a Caltex bottle only in English. Caltex is part of Chevron USA. Amila lied to me saying there were no instructions and he put 100% concentrate into my engine where the coolant bottle,(I asked him to bring an empty bottle for me to see) specifically says mix with a max of 50% water. He lied for fear of being exposed at not knowing English or thought the instructions were nothing to do with the mixing level of the concentrate. This therefore cost me double as I needed only half the coolant I eventually put.

I impressed on him, about how he can do his job properly as all the car parts are only written in English along with all the instructions including the handbooks. The people just think they know how to do it without having to read, and that goes for the garages too that do repairs and change fluids. I find it mind boggling to say the least and that the media have not exposed this as it can result in deadly consequences when instructions are not followed.

Shame on you Sri Lanka media, this results in more deaths than Prabhakaran!! The simple lack of ability in being able to read and understand instructions. Then insist all instructions are written in Sinhala and Tamil. In almost all of the products I sell in my shop, every thing is in English with occasionally one or two lines in Sinhala addressing one or two small bits of info.

You go to France and you will find that there is hardly a word of English in anything that is sold, be it coolant or toothpaste. It is all in French!!!

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