Ninety per cent or maybe even more people are proud of their inherited customs and traditions. Most of them, to a great or lesser extent, make a valiant effort to pass them on to future generations. In NZ, there are a few organisations devoted to this task. This Newspaper freely circulated all over the island is a giant step towards this goal. This article aims at examining to what extent we should permit the infiltration of local habits to our children.
Kids generally follow their parents. When the parents speak the native tongue, they learn the spoken language without effort. They also follow religious practices. However, habits like worshipping elders may not be acquired so easily. Some of them will become shy to worship an elder as the local children never do that when they become teenagers. Some of them prefer dry cleaning rather than using water in the toilets.
The problems that arise as the children grow up are much more complex. For example, consider the case of “sleepouts’. You may not mind a boy staying a night out with the family of a friend. But any Sri Lankan parent will think twice before permitting a daughter to stay out of the parents’ domain.
As the children reach adulthood, they observe how closely the boys and girls associate here. In Sri Lanka, if a boy and a girl are found in a room, they will be taken to police custody and, after humiliating for a few hours, will be handed over to the parents. A very good case is depicted in the teledrama Pithru, where a girl is taken to the police labelled as a prostitute as she was found in a hotel with her boyfriend. To what extent can we prevent a couple from flatting in a room? The question arises should we prevent such modern ways of living. Once when a parent protested as “My darling Duwa, it is contrary to our customs for a girl to live with a boy?” “Thathi, as kids, we followed the Sri Lankan traditions. If you wanted us to be Sri Lankans, why did you bring us here?”.
By Uplai Salpadoru – Wellington