Rude Things Sri Lankans Say

I saw this on Conan of all things, with comic Charlyne Yi explaining how Sri Lankans kept mistaking her for a boy. And telling her so. There’s a lot of stuff things Sri Lankans say to, well, anyone that can seem rude or odd to outsiders. Questioning gender is one of them, here are a few others.


Pretty much a classic greeting is ‘oh you’ve put on’ or ‘oh you look thin’. Not that neither is put in a positive way. Just recently my landlord stopped me as I was heading out to say that I was getting fat. Quite cheerily, which was the spirit I took it in.


When a Sri Lankan asks you where they’re from they don’t mean city or town, they literally want to know the address and what kade it’s next to and the nearest milepost. The question ‘where are you from?’ isn’t satisfactorily resolved until the asker knows exactly where you’re from, such that they can connect it to some place they know and come there if needs be.

Needless to say, to more privacy conscious people, this comes off as rude, though it is in fact quite the opposite.


If you go to the beach for any period you’ll get ‘oh you’ve got dark’, disapprovingly. It happens less often, but if you get fair this is commented on glowingly.

Marital Status

It is pretty common to be asked if you’re married by people you’ve barely met, not excluding security officers or trishaw drivers. If the answer is no they’ll usually follow up with a ‘why not’ which is a rather expansive conversation among strangers. Again, asked with the best intentions. I’m sure they’d try and fix you up if you asked.

And those are a few things. I think these questions come because Sri Lankan identity is more social than individual, or at least more skewed in that direction. Hence there’s no need to take things personally because they aren’t really personal questions.

For the poor miss Yi caught in the airport though, it must have been quite befuddling to have to pull out her passport to prove she was a woman.

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2012-12-20 15:45:02

RT @indica: Rude Things Sri Lankans Say: from a bit about Sri Lankans on Conan

2012-12-20 15:46:57

RT @indica: Rude Things Sri Lankans Say: from a bit about Sri Lankans on Conan

2012-12-20 18:11:51

RT @indica: Rude Things Sri Lankans Say: from a bit about Sri Lankans on Conan

2012-12-20 18:18:33

RT @indica: Rude Things Sri Lankans Say: from a bit about Sri Lankans on Conan

2012-12-21 11:18:20

Do you have kids?

What do you do?

…etc, etc.

But do you know it is worse in India? Once someone asked me my salary. I knew this guys for less than 30 minutes when he popped the question, which came straight after “Where do you work?”.

2012-12-21 11:58:27

This is so true,

Sri Lankans are the most nosy people ever.

I always get asked about my weight, one person who was in a lift asked me which shop i buy rice from (meaning how did I get so big), I told him from his mother’s shop, was so tired of people asking me this all my life.

Also another is the puzzle why I am not married. Most Sri Lankans cannot fathom that there are people who dont want to get married. :P

Crazy country, but awesome as well

2012-12-21 20:06:07

Indians, Sri Lankans are the RUDEST people on the planet. We just don’t have any manners. Another very rude thing Sri Lankans do is “STARING”. A very bad habit. Very bad manners.. Our so-called 2500 year old culture is just complete BS.

2012-12-21 23:22:12

As an expat, I face the following “rude” questions with virtually every new person I meet. I’m in Batticaloa, where foreigners are a lot less common.

1) Age
2) Marital status (with follow-up questions)
3) Salary
4) My religion

Interestingly, in the West these are the four questions that are the most private and you are NEVER to ask another person. By now I’ve learned to laugh about it.

2012-12-22 17:52:08

Sri Lankans and the rest of the subcontinent rats are 1000s of years behind the Europeans and East Asians (Japs, Koreans) when it comes to manners, etiquette. I don’t think we are sophisticated enough to cultivate decent manners.. We are so backward. I mean look at the way we eat. We eat with our fingers. If you really look at it, it is a disgusting way of eating.

2012-12-23 20:26:42

How come eating with fingers is backward? I see u re not civilised enough to understand that.

Sapumal K
2012-12-24 19:40:43

You don’t find food, gravy all stuck in your fingers when you eat not disgusting???? That is why at weddings, conferences and on any other “important” event, Sri Lankans eat with forks and spoons.

Why does the Sri Lanka Air Force personnel eat with forks and spoons for their formal dinners as seen here: dd

Since it’s our “culture” is eating with our fingers why not here. The can eat with their fingers, but they don’t. Same for every other “IMPORTANT” occasion. This just shows that eating with your fingers is disgusting. That is why we do it at home and don’t do it at our wedding.

It’s uncivilized frog-in-the-well people like you, who are sill in the 16th century mindset that is dragging this country to the grave.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
2012-12-23 19:01:21

True. Just look at the video :

2012-12-23 20:33:14

This is more like a cultural issue. In certain cultures certain things are rude and in some they are not taken serious. Asking a person whether he/she is married, religion are cultural stuff. In SL we believe after a certain age everyone should be married and those who arent married are poor souls.
However I dont think even SLns ask what ur salary is. It is considered indecent.

About the video,

We cant say people at the airport were being rude because a lot of ppl may mistake her for a boy. If u look at the comments in youtube from NON SLns many thought she was a boy.

Sapumal K
2012-12-24 19:39:55

You don’t find food, gravy all stuck in your fingers when you eat not disgusting???? That is why at weddings, conferences and on any other “important” event, Sri Lankans eat with forks and spoons.

Why does the Sri Lanka Air Force personnel eat with forks and spoons for their formal dinners as seen here:

Since it’s our “culture” is eating with our fingers why not here. The can eat with their fingers, but they don’t. Same for every other “IMPORTANT” occasion. This just shows that eating with your fingers is disgusting. That is why we do it at home and don’t do it at our wedding.

It’s uncivilized frog-in-the-well people like you, who are sill in the 16th century mindset that is dragging this country to the grave.

2012-12-24 21:38:13

i dont find eating with my fingers disgusting cos i keep my fingers generally clean and thoroughly wash it before eating. Sri Lankan food tastes better when eaten with ur hands, this is something everyone in SL knows. I want my food tasty and i eat with my hands. It is a part of our culture.Also we have to adhere to a set of rules when eating with fingers.
The reason lankans or people in subcontinent or in other tropical countries eating with fingers is because we can wash our hands with water once we are finished. It was not the case with many european or in china where it is freezing cold. that is why they needed tools. About people using forks in ‘important’ events, i see nothing wrong with that. I think people tend to look at these things as trendy.
Please tell me how come eating with one’s fingers is uncivilised and that makes these people live in 16th century mindset? Do i drag my country to the grave when i eat with my fingers? :D I am not the one with a 16 century mindset here.

2012-12-24 21:39:24

the above is a reply to sapumal

Tania P.
2012-12-26 10:04:00

Completely agree with Sach here.

2012-12-25 12:14:57

Technically you can eat with fingers without getting gravy and stuff getting stuck in the fingers. Its just that parent don’t teach that to their kids any more.

There are different etiquette followed in different occasions. that does not mean one is disgusting than other. That is just primitive thinking. Then desire to feel superior than other.

There can be also many practical reasons. For example I often tend to use spoon and fork when I don’t feel like washing my hands before and after. How about in a event you meat someone while eating. How about shaking hands?. May be taking a picture?

2012-12-26 15:41:11

You did not answer his question as to why Sri Lankans eat with their fingers at home but use cutlery at their own wedding. Why does the Sri Lanka Army makes use of cutlery mandatory for their dinner??? I mean, we are Sri Lankans and we don’t have to eat like the British. Why then do they eat with cutlery. Why does the president of this country use cutlery when he hosts a dinner for foreign dignitaries. When he goes to other countries like England, he does not use his fingers, he still uses cutlery. Doesn’t this clearly show that eating with fingers is a primitive, disgusting way of eating. Also, when you eat meat, you are just holding the meat with your fingers. You don’t eat the the mashed potatoes, or coleslaw or salad with your fingers do you, although you can do it???

2012-12-26 16:22:36

Cant you read English? May be trolls cant. Ask someone to explain 2nd and 3rd paras for you.

I don’t speak for the president. You gonna have to ask him.

About mashed potatoes. Personally that’s something I don’t eat. But technically speaking some foods are easy and less messy to eat with cutlery. While others are easy to eat with fingers. I hope you know to which group mashed potatoes belong to.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
2012-12-26 16:01:56

Why Chinese eat with chopsticks is nothing to do with a cold climate. Vietnamese , Loas people also use chopsticks and these are not cold climates.

“The reason lankans or people in subcontinent or in other tropical countries eating with fingers is because we can wash our hands with water once we are finished.” — This is just rubbish. Thailand which is a very tropical country like Sri Lanka. Thai people use cutlery to eat their food. They do NOT eat with their fingers. People who use cutlery are more civilized than people who do not use any cutlery. This is the general rule. Thais are much more civilized and developed that us and hence the use of cutlery. Cambodia, which is one of the poorest countries in the world. Cambodians use their hands, like us.

2012-12-28 10:39:24

Actually, the reason you see those SLAF guys eating with cutlery is because the mess system is based on the Brit model, and continued in order that SL officers can socialize with their foreign peers without being embarrassed. In certain SL Army infantry regiments you can’t wear your belt in the mess — not because wearing a belt is disgusting, but because this is the tradition.

As for conferences, weddings, etc, most people use cutlery because it isn’t set up for washing of fingers before and after the meal as would be necessary if you ate with your fingers. It necessitates finger bowls and/or enough sinks to accommodate a large number. I have been to wedding receptions where people ate with their fingers, and the only issue was the long queues for the sink.

There is nothing disgusting about eating with ones fingers. With certain types of food it is actually more practical, particularly seafood.

Actually, intolerance for strange cuisine or eating methods is probably the real sign of backwardness than the actual cuisine or eating method. It shows the frog-in-the-well attitude you mention, where one cannot tolerate systems one isn’t accustomed to.

2012-12-28 11:07:19

The above is meant for Sapumal aka Mad-dog-beast-whatever.

2012-12-28 16:25:24

Eating with your fingers is a very crude way of eating, i have to agree. Believe me, Europeans and East Asians find that disgusting. It’s that they will never say it to your face.

2012-12-28 16:51:07

Yep, but a lot of Asians think that wiping your ass with tissue instead of washing it is disgusting. They never will say it to your face.

2012-12-31 10:47:45

Lol, if you wipe your arse with paper, you better use cutlery instead of your fingers to eat!

(Comments wont nest below this level)
2012-12-31 13:01:50

Blacker you fool, actually it’s the other way around. If you wipe your ass with your fingers, only then it’s better to use cutlery. Why man, all your crap will be inside your finger nails and you touch your food (while cooking and eating both).

Animals eat with their fingers. That alone is a good reason why humans should not with theirs. We are “supposed” be be higher than them no!!!

2012-12-31 17:01:28

Well, you dumb cunt, if you think Sri Lankans wipe their arses with their fingers, you shouldn’t be allowed out of that padded cell they’ve put you in. Oh, also, ask the men in white coats to bring you some SOAP and WATER (yup, write it down) so that you can wash your hands.. The reason they use paper in the west is because they couldn’t be buggered to go outside their holes to take a crap and wash themselves in a stream. So they used whatever was lying around — usually leaves, grass, each other’s hair, and yes, paper, because they were too illiterate to understand what was written on it. So little has changed. So you have access to soap and water like any civilized society, you use it.

2013-01-03 14:38:38

You are forgetting the fact that, in winter, washing ones butt would have been terrible without hot water.

2013-01-02 10:50:32

Blacker, so if you don’t use your fingers, do you use your palms to wipe your backside after a you-know-what???

(Comments wont nest below this level)
2013-01-03 13:14:28

No, you retard, I use a hand bidet. Never heard of it? Here’s a pic: Would you like a picture of some soap too? Whether you use a bidet or not, water and soap is obviously more hygienic than paper.

For you, and your uncivilized alter-egos, here’s a tutorial, since obviously you mama probably just licked you clean:’t-wipe-your-butt/

2012-12-28 16:48:16

Okay, I’m going to sound like Nalin de Silva simply because some people here comment like total morons.

anyone that can seem rude or odd to outsiders

The keyword here is “outsiders”. It’s important to understand who those outsiders are. Outsiders here mainly refers to Westerners and others who are heavily influenced by Western values (the people Nalin variously calls kalu suddhas and anchorayas etc.). Indi, and some commenters here, are judging the Sinhalese culture from the perspective of modern Western culture.

Now the question is, is any culture objectively superior to any other culture? The answer is no. There’s nothing written on rocks about one culture being superior to another. Show me any molecule, any atom, any quark any differentiable amplitude distribution in a continuous configuration space, I’ll show you that there is nothing about one culture being superior to another is written on them.

Therefore, whether one culture is superior to another is really a matter of preference. I prefer a lot of values of modern Western culture over corresponding values of other cultures. For example, I prefer to have freedom of expression, instead of the Muslim value that you shouldn’t write Satanic Verses. It’s important to know that though my preference is informed and reasoned, it is still a preference, not an objective truth written on a rock.

With that understanding, I could only wonder what kind of an utter moron it would take to think that eating with your fingers is backward.

2012-12-31 01:11:27

I sense a strong reptilian force in SapumalK. Do not trust him folks!

2012-12-31 13:28:34

Another follower of that lunatic Nalin Silva. You are clearly suffering from what most here suffer from : i.e. A severe inferiority complex bought about by having to live in a world where everything is created by Europeans. It’s a classic case of “fox and the sour grapes”.

Even Nalin “gon” silva accepts that culture is everything that a race (or ethnic group ) produces. Culture is not just customs, rituals, dances etc. as most people think it as. Culture is everything and includes science and technology. You are commenting on culture without even knowing it’s definition. You are such a moron.

For example, our ancestors used bullock carts, sail ships to travel. Europeans invented the car, steam ships, airplanes and their mode of travel becomes that. That is their “culture”. The moment we also start using “these”, our culture becomes “European”. You understand now?? I highly doubt with you limited intelligence.

What the hell man. You are using somebody elses culture (i.e. in this case langauge) to express your thoughts. This internet we use is part of European culture. It was all invented by Europeans.

Democracy is a form of government invented by white Greeks. i.e. it’s part of Greek Culture. So is every other form of government, socialism, liberalism, capitalism, Marxism, all invented by just ONE group of people, EUROPEANS.

So, now do a estimation of (I highly doubt this also, cos with your little brain we just can’t tell) of everything we do from the time we get up till the time we go to sleep. Make a list of things and then try to figure out where it originates. They you will see that 99% of what we use is part of European culture. Not only us, but it’s the case for the entire planet.

So, this makes European culture clearly superior to all other cultures combined, for the simple reason that all the world uses things belonging to the European culture.

Why do we use cars instead of bullock carts? Simply because the car is superior to the bullock cart. Isn’t it mate.

So, yes, some cultures are superior to others.

Another way of looking at it is like this: If all cultures are equal, as you say, then the highest product of all cultures should also be equal.
That means, the music of Veddhas should be equal to Beethoven, Motzart, or I dare say Amaradewa. Are they equal ???
Is Amareadewa’s music (which is supposed to be the pinnacle of Sinhala music) equal to Mozart, Beethoven, Pavarotti etc. ??? Are they “equal” in sophistication and refinement? NO THEY ARE NOT. Amaredeva is garbage compared to European music.

That also means that a mud hut, which was the highest form of dwelling created by Sri Lankans is equal to a English Mansion or French chateau ? Are they equal in sophistication and refinement?? Absolutely not.

Do you get it now or are you still believing in bullsh1t like “here’s nothing written on rocks about one culture being superior to another”???
:-D Hik Hik

2012-12-31 14:43:11

??? ????? ?? ????.

2013-01-02 15:19:39

Lol…look at the brainwashed Kalu Suddhas go.. ROFL.

The reason Europeans eat with forks is because they use their hands to wash their feces.

Sri Lankans and Asians are superior than those people because we use water and we generally keep our hands clean.

J. John
2013-01-02 15:33:52

No point in washing your hands even hundred times. Your brown skin makes you look dirty no manner how many baths you take. ..

J. John
2013-01-02 15:33:31

No point in washing your hands even hundred times. Your brown skin makes you look dirty no manner how many baths you take.

2013-01-03 09:56:22


2013-01-03 15:50:11

Which is why they invented underwear.

2013-01-04 16:04:45

Blacker, about this hand bidet. You still have to use your fingers no??? Otherwise how to get rid of the hard stuff??? You know , the stuff that has been plastered to your arse??? Or, you still use your palms for that???

2013-01-07 19:06:06

The most fun part is when one fellow says that you have loss weight some one else will say that you have gain weight, Europeans say Hi we say weight. lol

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