Tuesday, January 1, 2008

i was thinking

When I was stealthily walking a few nights ago, about 11pm along the path in our neighbourhood, to divert water to our fields, I could not help noticing, how all the houses had their lights on inside. and all their windows firmly shut and TVs blaring the sound emanating from the open grill above, that no amount of noise I made, nor the barking of the dogs would disturb these avid tv addicts. I could not help wondering with the men asleep after the regular kasippu shots, what these women and older children were watching.

When I visit my neighbours, (they have electricity and I don't)they do not have any reading matter on view.They have photographs and the mandatory wedding one and now the all consuming TV set with some having a stereo system too.

Sri Lanka claims a high level of literacy, but I really do not notice anyone reading, or for that matter writing. We generally confine ourselves to upper middle class homes where education and books form an important part of our lives, but the masses of this country do not appear as interested or is it just the rural people and not the urban folk?

I therefore have come to the conclusion that TV has immense power as those glued to this in the evening invariably believe what is said without analysis.The education system rarely teaches one to think for oneself, and therefore opinion formation is influenced unduly by television. This dependence on TV for all entertainment while keeping people out of mischief can also be harmful as the content of many channels are not educational, but light hearted soaps mostly imported from India and dubbed into Sinhala. The shallow lives of the story line is then emulated as the one to aspire to, and this breeds contempt for the lives they now lead.This further hurtles them(primarily the female audience) towards the middle east so they have a chance of living this life.

I would like to see a more critical and objective view in the press of this issue and to an extent bring out this social phenomenon to the fore so people can make some educated decisions on the merits.

On a lighter vein what happened to the people who went to bed at dusk and rose when the cock crows to get about their business. No wonder the women have now become fat as a result of the couch potato syndrome. The working farmer is generally still thin, as alcohol dependency and smoking keeps them that way too. In the west it is the wives who complain that the husbands are the couch potatoes holding onto the remote when they come from work and fall asleep with the dinner plate on their lap.

Not trying to be sexist, the women still exclusively do all the housework in villages and gather firewood to cook and therefore look forward to their relaxation once their husbands are fed after their drink and they pass out.

This point is for the press, not to let their prejudices overwhelm them, but look objectively at lives of the different people in this country, and try to bring about an awareness and understanding so that a commonsense choice can be made. They should not just report news items as news, but try to improve social conditions of the people.

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