The TV Muslim – a comment
Mr. Hameed Abdul Karim has written a very sensible to ‘The Island’ of 16/9 and I feel that it should be read by all TV stations in this country because it is of utmost importance to all concerned.
Let me begin with a sincere apology to a fellow human being who very correctly felt insulted by the stupidity of TV station for telecasting such an idiotic programme depicting an imaginary "Thambiya" who mispronounces the Sinhalese words to cause hilarity among the blue-blooded Sinhalese audience – giving them a feeling, probably, of superiority
over the Muslims. …… A Sinhala youth – so assumed because of his fluency in the language as opposed to the ‘Thambiya’s’ faulty Sinhalese – enters the ‘kade’ and remonstrates with the ‘Thambiya’, telling him he won’t go ‘bunk load’ if he obliges the poor boy. But the recalcitrant ‘Thambiya’, looking over his eyebrows in a wily sort of way, insists he be paid his ‘Salli’ for the item. And the message here? ‘Thambiya’ is greedy! Then in a ‘gallant’ move our Sinhala youth turns hero. …… The message is clear. The Sinhalese are good – the Muslims are bad. I switch channels."
Mr. Hameed Abdul Karim also says, "It is sad that the producers of such anti-Muslim telegramas don’t realise that all such propaganda productions have their side effects. In this case the producers are teaching young Sinhala boys that it’s okay to demand something for free from a ‘Thambiya’ and it’s okay also if a Sinhalese youth actually steals from a Muslim."
These are the very boys who in later life enter university and create every possible harm including entering high security zones defying police warnings. When they are baton-charged and finally tear-gassed the MP’s who come to power using communal slogans and thuggery blame the armed forces for preventing student violence in both streets and schools of higher learning. Then the youth become a law unto themselves, uncontrolled and uncontrollable.
To come back to "The TV Muslim". The Sinhalese in general, unlike the Muslims, and Tamils, are monoloingual. They hardly know even their Sinhala language properly. Ask any Sinhala boy or girl in a university for the number of letters in the Sinhala alphabet and you will be surprised at the ignorance! They pretend to know English, yes even the TV actors and announcers. Look at the way they says "Mata coal ekak denna", they pronounce phone like ‘horn’, and dozens more! Nobody laughs at them but they will readily laugh if a Tamil or a Muslim mispronounces a Sinhala word!
Psychologists will tell you that both inferiority and superior complexes are the two sides of the same coin. The Sinhalese who do not know English feel very inferior in the company of the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims who know English.
Take the so called humour on Sinhala TV screens. All they can do is to mock at the non-Sinhalese! The commonest way is to reproduce a Muslim or Tamil pronunciation of a Sinhala word. But the Sinhala TV viewers do not know that there are enough Tamil and Muslim people who speak better Sinhala than the Sinhalese themselves!
In 1958 I was teaching at Christ Church College in Dehiwala and our Sinhala teacher was one Mr. Arumugam Pillai who had graduated in Sinhala, Pali and Tamil! During the Emergency 58 (vide Emergency 58 by Tarzie Vittachi) Tamil homes and shops were looted and burned by the Sinhala mobs. I was a witness!
When the mobs reached the home of Mr. Arumugam Pillai his wife had gone elsewhere for safety. Mr. Pillai in his perfect Sinhala and Pali began to talk to the mob leader who had described himself as a good Buddhist! The mob did not know that Mr. Pillai had read the Tripitaka both in Pali and Sinhala. He had only to ask a few questions from the mob leader on Buddhism and the ‘good Buddhist’ went away before his followers learnt about his ignorance of Buddhism! I won’t be surprised if in later years he entered Parliament the way the thugs do!
Mr. Hameed Abdul Karim may not know that our TV script writers are a dozen a dime. Take a bottle of poison, a pistol or two, a boxer, some rowdy boys with rowdy haircuts and shaves, one or two weeping women, a few young girls who look sex-starved, and blend them together into a dine paste and you get a popular teledrama.
Sri Lanka has no TV channel that shows good humour. All they show is domestic quarrels and weeping women! When I question the viewers they saym "Vena mokuth thiyanawada balanna?" or,is there anything else to watch.
So Mr. Karim, don’t expect clean, cultured TV Productions because then the Sinhala Mudalalis won’t sponsor them. The more uncultured, stupid a teledrama is the bigger the chance of success at the next local Oscar Awards!