Photo by Pradeep Pathirana, from the Daily Mirro
By electoral fluke, the last mayor of Colombo was a trishaw driver. When he left office, he found himself without a job. Now he’s finally found work as a driver for the Sri Lankan Embassy in Korea. Today on Havelock Road over 10,000 people tried to follow him out. They lined up for a good kilometer, trying to just apply for a few jobs in Korea.
I was driving down Havelock Road wondering what was going on. The traffic was choked and there was a wall of people from Thumulla to the police station. Where, somewhat inexplicably, they were handing out applications. People need work. Hell, I need work. All the poorer people I know hustle hard, running their own house, cleaning other peoples houses, making roti, making lunch packets, whatever. Men or women go abroad, braving beatings, abuse, and possible rape or death in the Middle East to send some money home.
I used to go out with satellite crews to see what was going on. In the middle of nowhere you’d see a three story house coming up with chrome railings. We’d poke around the roof, trying to hook up the TV. They were towering above their neighbors, but there was no mother at home.
Anyways, I wax poetic. People are lining up in the thousands for a job, even if it’s a thousand miles from home. Life is better than during the war, but it’s still not living. People need jobs.