Why not. More weird photos.
I think now is a time for action. I’m trying to start with me. For years I’ve railed against the government, but I’ve never voted or stood in the street for anything. I’ve said we need freedom of speech yet never really practiced it outside of this blog. So me personally, I’m trying. I also read an article by my father in LBO today which is something concrete along the same lines. Rather than simply saying we need to address Tamil demands it’s picking one demand (government service in Tamil language) and offering an idea to address it (expanding the phone hotline).
Let us take as an example the lowest hanging fruit: enabling a Tamil-speaking citizen to interact with the government on mundane everyday matters in her own language.
I am robbed; I am threatened; I am mugged. I need to communicate with the Police. Is it too much to ask that I be able to do this in language I am comfortable in, without having to take my neighbor along as an interlocutor? It appears to be so, in much of the country today.
We simply do not have enough bilingual government servants, even though we have more people working for government, per capita, than any place on the planet. Mr Lionel Fernando tried to solve this problem; Mr D.E.W. Gunasekera is still at it. But the evidence is clear. Conventional approaches are not working.
The solution is staring us in the face. The ubiquitous telephone.
With just a little tweaking of the 1919 Government Information Center, we can enable any citizen anywhere to speak to any government servant in any official language of his choice. Even today, 1919 is one place in government where questions are answered in all three official languages, politely. Why not just extend it into a full-fledged government interpretation service?
It may be simple or it may be wrong, but we might as well consider it and other ideas and start debating and moving the country forward. I think we’re all aware of the myriad things wrong and it is important to point them out. However, we have to start making positive changes as well. Beginning with ourselves.
Anyways, the article is worth a read, and perhaps a comment, and a think. More to the point we need more ideas beyond ‘this sucks’ or ‘this doesn’t work’. God knows I’ve done that. We need ideas that can actually improve peoples lives and which can be actioned now. As in, I think we’ve got the diagnosis. It’s time for the cure.