17 June 2019
TAMIL COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS
The young lady at Jetwing Jaffna reception asked me whether I had had breakfast? I said
‘no’. Christina naturally said that I ought to look after myself especially because my
amily was not with me. I appreciated that very much and said that to the extent I was a
caring member of my family, someone like her would fill the ‘family-gap’. Christina
thought about and said that she identified with it. So long as we are ‘relatives’ we are
providers or beneficiaries. Once the relationship in whole or part matures as commonness
- two become one. The services in a relationship would be with or without consciousness
of visible outcomes. The more visible the outcomes - for example money - the less the
commonness value. In the case of Jetwing Jaffna - I strongly feel this commonness due to
the standards demonstrated by service staff - which remind me of my days with Airlanka
and the training by Singapore Airlines. That training resulted in one of my completed
relationships - forming the base through which I value my work - especially in global
Later I received emails from a couple of Diaspora leaders about a young member of the
Diaspora Plumbers without borders? Looking back, looking forward at Oxfam | Danny Sriskandarajah | TEDxLondon at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKmHNgFhgdA
I knew Danny as part of the Tamil Diaspora in Australia. Danny, like his parents was an
outstanding academic achiever. But I guess due to my own current role in Jaffna - I could
not identify with much of Danny’s position in relation to OXFAM where Danny is CEO.
Danny for example, talks about growing up with his grandparents in a little island off the
coast of Sri Lanka where there was no running water nor electricity. That same area
became the training ground for Jetwing Jaffna under the leadership of General Manager
Mr Christopher Ponnadurai who shared his wisdom about current workers in Jaffna -
many of whom would have grown up under the conditions that Danny described in
relation to his own childhood.
I identified more with the contribution being made by General Manager Mr Christopher
Ponnadurai who is sharing himself with the folks even though he could be enjoying like
many in the Diaspora by relaxing and touring the globe. I learnt that Mr Christopher
Ponnadurai’s family is in Melbourne, Australia. The Service provided by this gentleman
is that of a parent to the common child.
Later when I was sharing experiences with a young family of toddy-tapper origin - at the
Cargills Food Court - I said to Jeevan - who was born on the same day as my youngest
child - that it was important to follow Due Processes as much as he could - as they would
bring him the blessings of those from other parts of our community - he may never meet.
I said if he did not know the Common Rule / Law - to be guided by his truth. The
discussion was about distribution of family wealth where various members of Jeevan’s
family had differing structures to Jeevan himself.
Members of that family continue to tap toddy for income and hence it would be wrong
to not recognize that caste-based identity which is the parallel of race within the Tamil
community. I however doubt that the Tamil Diaspora would find this interaction and
sharing as interesting as the one in relation to Danny to whom neither Jeevan nor a large
part of Jaffna youth who are seeking to preserve their identity, would relate. Jeevan’s
family in Thunaivi do not have running water even now. But a good proportion of
Jeevan’s family, including Jeevan paid / pay for their children to be educated at Jaffna
College. Hence they are my relatives.
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