Daily Archives: May 23, 2007
Yasushi Akashi, Japanese Peace Envoy for Sri Lanka, said Japan was very watchful of the alarmingly continuous Human rights violations in Sri Lanka, whether it is by the LTTE, the Government or any other. He hoped that the Independent International body appointed in this regard will expedite its report to uphold the rule of law in Sri Lanka.
Japan has not decided on suspension of aid to Sri Lanka just yet, although US and UK have already done it. Japan who is the single largest donor for the last two decades is scrupulously observing Sri Lanka’s situation. However, he was not ready to commit for the future.
Akashi was not happy with the Government’s mode of IDP re-settlements.‘These humanitarian issues, we view with concern’ he asserted.
‘The current situation is not the same as in 2001/2002. The present government is not as enthusiastic for peace as under Ranil Wickremesinghe when the peace process went on track. No Organisation on its own can usher in peace unless Sri Lankan Govt. sincerely aspires for it.’ he emphasized.
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All the controversy surrounding fast bowler Lasith Malinga’s hair is astonishing, all the more since it shouldn’t happen at all. One would have expected critics to carp on a more serious matter, such as a (presumably) suspect bowling action. Instead, they have picked on his bleached head of hair.
The problem is that, for the first time in our cricketing history, we have a bowler who has become internationally famous because of his looks (in other words, he is the first we’ve had with genuine and marketable sex appeal). The girls in the Caribbean reportedly raved over him. His Afro looks and dark complexion undoubtedly have something to do with that – plus, one suspects now, his superb head of hair, which has left Lankan males with less conspicuous growths on their top decks (and even those with none at all) writhing with jealousy.
One good thing about the Lasith Malinga phenomenon, as one might call it now, is that it has advanced the ratings of dark-complexioned males in our marriage market. In a country where most, if not all, people are supposed to be yearning for a fair complexion, this is no mean achievement.
This is said to be more of a problem for women than for men. But men with dark skins too, can have an awful time here.
Sri Lanka has not won a Miss World contest so far, but Lasith Malinga being voted the sexiest player of this World Cup is certainly a consolation prize, and good news for all dark-skinned males who constitute a second-class citizenry in this country.
But back to the hair controversy. Fast bowlers everywhere are a virile lot, but I can’t recall anyone who has got into so much trouble because of his hair. The whole problem is enhancing one’s looks by bleaching the hair has become a fad in this country. This is especially true of those who have some sort of inferiority about their looks. It is quite possible that Lasith Malinga bleached his hair to offset the natural disadvantage of having Afro-looks and a dark skin – whatever one might say about that in the Caribbean, that combination is decidedly a disadvantage in this country when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex.
In a recent interview, the now internationally-famous fast bowler said that he has been admonished by a Buddhist monk for having bleached his hair, and he has therefore decided to revert to its natural state (the bleached hair, let’s face it, was a factor in his stardom. Even if he had been a big bowling failure at the World Cup, he would still have been popular among the girls).
He sounded chagrined, and I really don’t understand why. It’s about time he started growing and faced such silly criticism squarely.
He went on to say in the same interview that he was still the same village boy at heart. C’mon Lasith, we all know better. That’s what people like to hear. But the boy from a village in Ambalangoda will be transformed in some fundamental ways by cricket and the places it will take him. It anyone with those possibilities remains the same village boy even half-way through that career, then there must be something wrong.
He already sounds transformed, in that he knows what to tell the press. He claimed in the same interview that the bleached hair was a tactic meant to put off his opponents in the cricket field. This aspect has not been lost on some of his admirers and defenders. One local pundit said on radio that the young man with his flaming hair reminded him of the lion in the drama ‘Sinhabahu.’
But let’s not flatter ourselves too much. The lion analogy would be totally lost on a foreign batsman waiting at the wicket. It’s a safe bet that a Hayden or Lara watching the bowler making his run would be concentrating on his bowling hand, not the hairdo. If they get distracted or intimidated by bleached hair, they wouldn’t be playing international cricket.
Another aggrieved critic, writing to a Colombo English daily, has admonished Malinga for ‘forgetting that he’s a village boy.’ But why rub that in his face? Almost all the village boys I have spoken to share one dream – to get out of the socio-economic straightjacket of their rural poverty.
The same critic has admonished the Caribbean folk for being confused enough ‘not to know north from south.’ But why are the poor West Indians, a much more fun-loving lot any day than straight-laced Sri Lankans, being taken to task for finding one of our village boys sexier than the likes of Glenn McGrath, Sajid Mahmud and Ajit Agarkar?
The answer to that may well be that the sum of all parts was greater than the whole, but don’t underestimate the power of that bleached mane (at least to adoring females).
From historical times, hair has been a potent symbol of sexuality and virility (the well-known tale of Samson and Delilah is an example). With his hair back to ordinary black, will his bowling averages suffer? Only time can tell. Even if we disassociate the potency of hair from cricketing performance – balding Sanath Jayasuriya with his fiery bat makes nonsense out of that theory – we must allow people to have their own identities without soaking them in cultural correctness, which stems directly from narrow-mindedness and xenophobia. The frogs in the Lankan well are croaking louder than ever. -Wijeya Newspapers