Hi - bye culture
This title is a pretty over-hacked phrase among local scholars.
Everyone knows itâ€™s a topic for elders when condemning the younger
generation. The generation gap makes it happen all the time. Many local
elders of this century see the younger generation as a pack of
For instance many of them donâ€™t like the vocabulary of the young that
includes hi, bye and many other similar words.
I have no reason to stand against this culture. In fact I am a part
of this culture. â€˜Ayubovanâ€™ is just a fashionable-word for my
generation, though still some Sinhalese may use â€˜Budu Saranaiâ€™ or
whatever similar in place of â€˜byeâ€™.
My question: what is wrong with saying â€˜hiâ€™ and â€˜byeâ€™? These musings
peeped in when Nuwan Nayanajith launched Gaddarika Pravahaya hevath
Sookiri Batillange Lokaya at BMICH last Thursday.
His book focuses on how the younger generation has gone astray from
the traditional richness and embraced the hippie-type culture. The book
launch was packed with cultural items as usual. The addition of cultural
items on any book launch has become a ritual now. Letâ€™s talk about it
some time later in these columns.
It is one of Sahan Ranwalaâ€™s songs played at the function that makes
me pen these musings. The song criticises the hi bye culture that
includes using mobile phones too. The song was originally sung by
Sahanâ€™s father Lionel Ranwala, who investigated deep into traditional
fields including his own, music.
Ranwala has a valid point, but he loses the logic by being extreme
sometimes. Many scholars suffer this phenomenon when they investigate
deep into something. Ranwala sometimes opined that we should give up the
European-based habits. We can do what he says, but only to a little
Is it an offense to say hi or bye? Many scholars may have different
opinions, and I am sure many would not be honest with a straight answer
of either yes or no, but stick to the typical â€˜beat around the bushâ€™
technique. In my case, I would rather say yes, though with restrictions.
What Ranwala attempts to convey is that we accept anything falling
from the sky without giving it a proper thought. We canâ€™t imitate
Michael Jackson perfectly, but there can be budding singers who can sing
even better than Amaradeva. We are what our tradition is.
The hi - bye culture includes many Sinhala announcers who mix English
and Sinhala (you canâ€™t call this Singlish, as it refers to Singaporean
English too). Many locals have a knack for adding English words in their
daily conversation, probably because of the prominence given to the
The elder generation should be commended for one thing in general.
They learnt things the hard way, and almost perfected. We have easy
â€˜Information Technologyâ€™ everywhere, and it has made us more or less
lazy. Some of us are bothered only about â€˜copy and pasteâ€™ tricks.