Party Pooping Vesak

Tuktuk wisdom this Vesak? No thanks. Pic by Jerry

How many hundreds of millions were spent on the Vesak celebrations this year? I know i sound like a wet blanket. Why can’t I just chillax and enjoy the party? Incidentally, do Sri Lankans party to forget everything else, or do we forget everything else when we party?

That question is purely academic, but the government knows the only important answer. Give us a party and we are ready to forget, and at least temporarily forgive, anything. High fuel prices? Borderline monetary policy mismanagement? Pending international condemnation? Rise in prices of everything from milk powder to cement? How do we solve these pressing economic problems? Simple, throw a party for Vesak. Have the loudspeakers sing the praises of the President. Have various philanthropers give free food to the masses and have them blinded by mesmerizing, colorful fairy lights.

Colombo was decked out to kill. The Beira was lit up by fairy lights consuming electricity in quantities probably enough to power North Korea for a couple of nights. People were out in force, enjoying themselves. Families were traveling from far off places in the backs of lorries and hand tractors to witness the spectacle. Dansals were sporting queues hundreds of meters long. Even Beyond Borders, that is me and my friends, had what we called an ‘inspiration dansal’; we distributed stickers with enlightening quotes promoting peace and tolerance, for what it was worth.

The complete front facade of the Museum was made into a surrealist pandol composed of LCD screens light projections. Very postmodern and very, very expensive. How expensive? Sadly we will probably never know. It was sponsored by the milk board or the National Livestock and Development Board (NLDB) an entity already bleeding cash, suffering from acute mismanagement and misappropriation of funds.

So as Sri Lankans ‘shoo’ and ‘shaa’ at the beautiful bright lights and marvel at how far the country has come there is a greedy elite basking in the success of yet another PR event of massive proportions aimed at pulling the wool over the public’s eyes. Or maybe i don’t have a right to comment since i’m a Muslim, and have no understanding of the need to spend needless millions on a religious festival that is really about contemplation and inner peace.

Maybe my idea that the recent Vesak extravagance only serves to emphasize the cronyism and institutional corruption prevalent in our state is manifesting in my brain because i just don’t know how to have a good time. Maybe i should just get out more instead. And yes, maybe the sus domesticus is aerially mobile.

  1. Jerry said:

    FWIW, the museum thing was projected on, not done via gluing LCD screens onto walls.

    • Whacko said:

      Gracias. I can’t believe i thought they actually glued LCD screens to the walls lol.

      • Jerry said:

        Well given your track record with technology… 😀

  2. Slight decrease this year from somewhere between 1,800MW and 2,200MW last year to 1,750MW and 2,100MW.
    If they had taken an initiative to curb consumption effectively, we could have seen a more pertinent figure.

    I wanted to do a feature on energy conservation vs energy exploitation during festive periods, but it was deemed too controversial. Oy vey.

  3. guess we tend to forget everything when we party…lol and i guess for ppl who are overridden with cost of living and all the other issues, these are the only breaks to enjoy themselves…:)

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