COVID 19 & SRI LANKAN TOURISM
As per the above article “This is the first time that a group of tourists arrived in Sri Lanka since the country opened up after the Covid-19 outbreak and this group will be staying in the country for 10 to 14 days. The passengers who arrived at the Mattala Airport were subject to PCR tests 72 hours prior to their departure from the Kiev Airport in Ukraine. They were subject to PCR tests again on their arrival in Mattala, prior to departure to their hotels. They will be subject to further PCR tests during their stay.”
As per my direct experience when we enjoy more out of a Sovereign entity than its own members, the effects are exponentially negative. The reliability of a system confirms the level of sovereignty of the unit that claims and enjoys the Sovereign status which renders it the moral authority to make its own laws. My note on my experience of covid related isolation begins as follows:
I am currently in isolation as per the Singapore Airlines’ requirements in relation to Covid infection. Do I feel sick? – NO! I feel ‘normal’ – as I have been for over a month in Sri Lanka and as I felt when we left Sydney on 29 December 2021. Back then we stayed for a night at Galadari Hotel and left for Jaffna on 31 December.
As per our understanding of the rules we reported our arrival at Chankanai Health/PHI Office. Thereafter we went about our routine. At personal level, we wore the mask when visitors came over to our cottage. Likewise, during Poojah / Mass at the temple. When others came over into our premises, we did not ask them for any PCR certificate. A young pregnant lady from our neighbourhood was taken away in ambulance as she reported to have experienced hot and cold waves. The young lady was detained in hospital and when she came back and joined us at the temple she looked ok. The parents organized a thanksgiving lunch for the Temple community. I thought of Cousin Vathanee who does similar for her husband. I believe that such belief based actions eternalise the soul who lives with us, for us beyond the physical level. This was confirmed during my isolation, when I shared in the memorial lunch of a person connected to our land matter in Colombo. I was upset because the Supreme Court Appeal by our Opposition had to be adjourned because our Counsel tested positive to Covid. But the memorial lunch lifted my spirits – as if that community elder was blessing me.
Back in Jaffna, a few days before we were due to leave, I noticed the Ambulance again. Our staff Kowsi was also with us and we both hurried to find out whether the young lady was ok. The medical staff of the Ambulance was reading the ‘Riot Act’ to the pregnant lady & her mother. I asked to speak to them and he asked me ‘Who I was?’ I said I was a senior in that village and without waiting for his approval I started speaking to the ladies. I showed my feeling of oneness with them and felt that that would make them feel that they were not alone. To that was soul-connection.
As I finished speaking to them, the grandmother and aunt of the young lady walked towards us. They were both dressed up and stated that they had been to a housewarming ceremony. I was surprised by the ‘casual’ attitude especially by the grandmother. That experience helped me appreciate more than ever, the damage caused by caste-based separation – commonly known as ‘untouchability.
This results in losing protection against the weaknesses that we have and the other group does not and v.v. So, what do they have that I do not? Almost all of the residents of Thunaivi, are manual workers. There is no known record of Covid victims in the village. There were many who showed symptoms of the common cold. Many of then were children. As per their requirements they did not have to have PCR tests. Neither did I, while I was there and did not have to travel overseas. But I have family in Australia and together we are a Sovereign unit, in wider global context.
The Sri Lankan community that I feel part of is continuing to develop into a Sovereign unit but has more to do to naturally experience the value of that sovereignty. ……………………’
My isolation due to testing positive grouped me as an untouchable in terms of heath. I wanted to go back to the cottage in Thunaivi and be free of the bogus testing process. But my family in Australia, would not hear of it. That helped me override the urge to run back to Jaffna where folks now hesitate to go to the hospital due to fear of isolation. I listened to many of their experiences and appreciated that they had to choose between economic need and apparent protection from Covid.
While in isolation, I felt that when we practice the law more than the person above us in official position, our Truth becomes the law that is common to us. During lockdown, I followed our elected leaders’ directions. When Our Australian PM prayed at the Parliament, I also prayed with him. I came back to Sydney and during my week in isolation, the PM tested positive and is in isolation. That is the way of common faith.
We had the PCR tests done at the hotel – for which we paid Rs 6,500 plus 1000/- to have the test done at the hotel. The hotel staff arranged for the tests to be done at the hotel. Since we were tired after the tight work-schedule in North – we decided to pay the extra and have the service in our hotel room. The Service provider was – Nawaloka Laboratory in Colombo 2. The more senior of the two that came to the hotel, kept probing us with question – especially whether we were Indians? That young woman stated that we would have the results quickly – well before the 24 hours – as promised. But when the results came, it was almost dawn of the day of our departure. Along with the positive report came the offer to accommodate us at the hotels on the right of the above picture.
That alerted me to the ‘business’ basis used by the Lab which promised ‘Confidentiality’. As per my discovery, when there is lack of promised ‘confidentiality’ the system works against one who follows Due Process with faith in the Service Provider who is taken as a ‘Senior’ due to the common belief. By following Due Process I placed my trust in the Service Provider. By demonstrating the ‘Business Approach’ the lab, confirmed Equal Opposition status.
We therefore decided on a second opinion and this meant a Rapid Antigen Test(RAT), if we were to leave that night. I led the way to Royal hospital at Wellawatte which is predominantly Tamil area. I had gone to them once when I had chest pain. I found their service affordable and reliable. There the tests said I was positive and that Param was negative. I accepted those results and came back to Galadari Hotel. I rang the reception and asked them whether they had facility for me to isolate myself. They said ‘No’ and I could hear the voice of a lady (sounded like the one who booked the lab service) . That lady said that I had to ‘leave immediately’ and that as a close contact the others in the room had to remain inside the room and would be served food on a table placed outside the door.
I was really shocked by the treatment – as if we were untouchables. I said not to worry – that we were both vacating. I asked for a refund but they declined. In the meantime, I rang our Tour driver and asked him whether he was ok to pick us up? He said not to worry and said that if he went in for the test he would also test positive. True or not – I felt someone cared. He took us to a hotel at Wellawatte not far from the Royal Hospital. Then as we were going through the check in process our relative in that area called. When I informed her of the situation – she said ‘come immediate’ – our upstairs is vacant. To me that is the difference between family / faith based relationship and business based separation.
I started staying at Galadari due to feeling that they needed support after Easter Bombings. I did so due to my own experience of ‘suspicion’ that I was a Tamil Separatist and therefore an LTTE supporter. Hence the empathy with Galadari Hotel – which to my mind was a Muslim hotel. During this stay in Colombo, I asked the hotel ruk-tuk driver to take us to St Anthony’s Church at Kochchchikade. My pain was experienced largely through this church. As we entered the church, I heard the loud wailing of a male – crying Ammah! Ammah / Mother! Mother. I did not look in that direction due to respect for the privacy of the devotee. But while standing in the queue to touch the feet of St Anthony, I thought of the Easter Bombings and asked for ‘forgiveness’ for nor preventing the attack through common faith as Sri Lankan. When I had completed the rounds within the church and was about to exist I noted the voice continuing to cry. This time I felt the urge to look and my heart went out to the young male who kept crying Ammah! Ammah / Mother! Mother. My heart went out to him towards soul-sharing.
When Galadari Hotel alienated me – they not only lost my business but more importantly that belief based empathy with them. As a supplier of service, they had the duty to test themselves through the same processes as we the customers were required to put ourselves through. Given that we spent most of the time in the hotel, and had our meals at the hotel, the probability of hotel infection was high. To be reliable – they had to bind themselves by the same rules that they used on the customers. It was therefore essential to put all of their staff through daily PCR/RAT tests. Otherwise – they had no authority to ask us to leave and/or to demonstrate to other customers that we were dangerous due to Covid infection.
Larter – after Param left , I was planning on having myself tested two days later. But my relative said to go on Thursday – as she was well aware of my faith in Sri Sathya Sai Baba whose pictures kept me company during the isolation. I said to my relative that if I did test positive again – I would take it that my services in Jaffna were needed more than in Australia, and go back to North .
I tested negative on Thursday . Royal hospital did not have the RAT kits and as guided by them I went to Lanka Labs – in a suburb which was my ‘home’ when I worked and lived in Colombo. It is also where I forewent much to purchase land to build a home.
The staff there demonstrated much care as if I were part of them. I had to go to different sections and they were all very helpful. Finally the male nurse who took samples from both nostrils demonstrated that he was worthy of my trust – by recognising my discomfort which I did not feel during the service by Nawaloka staff nor here in Sydney. If the testing process was reliable and our pain indicated it – then – the last one was more reliable than the other two.
I took my turn in the queue for the results and when it came and I found it to be negative – which results identified with my own diagnosis I blessed the whole group from my heart. Through their caring service they earned to share in my positive Energies. This sharing happens through the area of ‘belief’ where one is a Common member of the group and/or Relative who has fulfilled her/his duty as per the position allocated by the ‘Service-Provider’. We fight to protect our homelands to enjoy this confidential sharing of our respective strengths to offset the others’ weaknesses.
Then began my battle with Singapore Airlines who had informed me when I rang to inform them that I had tested positive and therefore to reschedule my flight – that whilst they would not charge me any cancellation fee, I would need to pay any difference in fare. I was informed of this by the Travel Agent in Sydney and I considered it to be a fair deal. But when I rang after the negative results they said that the flight was full and only business class seats were available. My husband insisted that I took any seat and came to Sydney and hence I asked Singapore Airlines lady – what the extra was? The staff put me on hold and while waiting I invoked the spirit of Singapore Airlines managers – Mr Colin Martinus and Mr Kulasekaram – who had openly expressed appreciation for my performance as Manager within Airlanka. When the female staff came back she said that there was a seat available in Economy class and that it would cost me Rs 89000 extra. I accepted that as per my family’s expectations. When I gave her the credit card details and asked her to read them back to me there were two mistakes. Later when I checked my reservation details – it read ‘Reserved’ and not Confirmed. I rang many times before I got through. Finally a male staff answered and informed me that the credit card charge had not gone through. Yet they failed to ring me. The male staff got it right and I noted the ‘Confirmed’ status.
As is my way I went early to the Airport. While waiting to be checked in, a guy asked me whether I had filled out the form as required by the Australian Government. When I said I was not aware of any such requirement – he downloaded it on my mobile phone and asked me to fill it in while waiting in the queue. It was hard for me as I am more a computer person than a ‘phone person. Before I could complete the process, it was my turn to check in. The staff who did the check in process asked me for the QR code for the Colombo test. I said that was all that I was given by the lab. In terms of details, it was identical to the one Param got but my certificate was smaller. I then ‘left’ it to the system. The guy took the certificate and walked away from his seat. He came back after sometime and asked me to place my luggage on the scale. This meant he was satisfied with the Certificate.
The process thereafter was purely Public Service and was smooth. I noted that my flight was Singapore Airlines right through. Param’s was Singapore Airlines SQ 8516 and in small letters ‘Operated by Scoot’ . I was misled. But at that time I was driven by the need of my Jaffna projects.
On the Colombo-Singapore sector – the guy seated next to me started sneezing continuously and the steward asked him twice to wear his mask. They did not isolate him on the flight. So much for their rules!
While in transit at the Singapore Airport a couple – also from Sydney shared their experience with Nawaloka in Batticaloa which had produced conflicting reports. The gentleman said that he had complained against them to health authorities. They also paid the higher fare to Singapore Airlines.
In Sydney someone who valued my work forwarded an article about the Hiru News article on Hotel Quarantine racket - Hotel quarantine racket: Several persons express views on current situation (Video) - Hiru News - Srilanka's Number One News Portal, Most visited website in Sri Lanka
That confirmed that my belief based conclusions were valid. Further confirmation came through the difficulties experienced by the Sri Lankan government that brought in 2020, visitors from Ukraine, while Sri Lankans were still battling with the unknown Covid – as presented by the Government. As per the difficulties – those Ukrainian visitors became closer relatives of the Government than Sri Lankans. Hence as per Dharma – both would share Energies – be they positive or negative. That is the way of the Universal system of Karma.