22 August 2018
My Tradition is My Refuge from Discrimination Pain
My ownership investment in Sri Lanka, includes work value for which I was paid relatively less than the custodian/s of power over that position and which I did not contest/object to even in my mind. THIS is the Ownership Opportunity available to most minorities including women in families of traditional culture. Air Lanka was no exception. Hence the ownership pain when there is excessive transparency about Sri Lankan Airlines due to political excesses – including by the current government.
My ownership investment in Sri Lanka gradually escalated to investment in Singaporean company – Prima Ceylon, followed by Air Lanka under Singapore Airlines Management. The parallel of that in terms of the Government, to my mind is the Free Trade Agreement with Singapore. Daily FT in its 29 March 2018 article ‘The FTA with Singapore and what it means for Sri Lanka’ highlights as follows:
[Turning to investment, Singapore is Sri Lanka’s fourth largest investor, preceded by China, Hong Kong, and India. FDI into Sri Lanka from Singapore accounted for 5.3% of GDP over 2014-17. While FDI into Sri Lanka has exhibited a rising trend, Sri Lanka attracts disproportionately only a very small proportion of FDI ($ 0.09 billion in 2015) compared to its regional counterparts (Singapore $ 65 billion in 2015). ]
On the basis of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) – Singapore is Sri Lanka’s elder. To my mind, this opens enormous opportunities for Tamils who have Direct Human Investments (DHI) in Singapore – where Tamil is also an official language. Hence the FT Agreement with Singapore is awakening of ownership investment for Tamils at regional and global levels. I believe fully in this pathway to globalization – through my own experiences. The ownership of our current home unit, here in Coogee, NSW, Australia, was born of such common investment.
Our home-unit in which we have lived for over 20 years – and despite many financial challenges including due to my battles to maintain my sovereignty at the workplace – (University of NSW) – was developed by Prima owners. Even though I had worked for Prima, I did not seek to influence the developers in any way. But on the day of the auction, I paid my respects to the Chairman who was present at the auction. The chairman may not have remembered me but the ‘ownership’ investment in Prima was ‘common’ to us. That I believe never forgot. The price was just within our top limit. Today’s capital value of this property confirms more than 400% growth. Its Human Resource Value is exponential. We were able to meet the financial challenges due to our ownership investment in Australia – starting with valuation of First Australians by sharing in their pain – as if their pain was ours. To me Coogee sustained me because of my feelings for First Australians who also felt the discrimination pain.
Many Tamil leaders are limiting themselves to finding fault with Sinhalese Government. But I see more the Sri Lankan part which responded to me and more importantly is awakening my own common experience with Singapore also.
It is however counterproductive to wash dirty linen in public as is happening in the case of Sri Lankan Airlines – through the Presidential Commission Inquiry which is exposing internal failures in an irresponsible manner. The Bloomberg report headed ‘Sri Lanka Seeks Investors for Airline With $1 Billion of Debt’ is such a manifestation. The more the Airline is condemned – the cheaper it becomes. Given the commercial success of Air Lanka under Singapore Airlines Management, the current government ought to have included the National Carrier in the FTA. That way the Human Values of Air Lanka would have been preserved to provide common support to future activities through FTA.
The current Singaporean Government may have its own agenda. But the Government of Singapore taken as a whole is committed to valuing Labour – in its various forms. FTA with Singapore is also compensation from wider world for the suffering of minorities in Sri Lanka. It happened due to those minorities who forbore instead of taking revenge when they were discriminated against. The Truth as per my experience is that one who is ‘traditionally’ strong will not experience discrimination pain. That investment in tradition is a permanent refuge within us when we are hurt by inequality pain. One who is strongly traditional therefore does not experience discrimination pain. The ‘show’ is for intellectual purposes and helps those who have assimilated and end up copying each other. Jaffna is such a refuge for Colombo Tamils who have assimilated.