New Year, new decade
With all the revelry and celebrations over by the time
this column is read it will be time for some sober reflection on
the part of most on what the past year held for them and what is
in store for the new year that has just dawned.
Whatever be these musings the foremost thought should be
reserved for the country that is now set to leap frog into a new
era of development and prosperity with all road blocks cleared
for achieving its true potential.
There is indeed no basis to doubt its potential. It withstood
a cataclysmic global economic recession that swallowed up
powerful economies. It also withstood external pressures to
emerge triumphant in a debilitating war. There is therefore good
reason to view things with optimism for Sri Lanka in this new
year and in the unfolding new decade.
For we are today entering not only a new year but also
marking the beginning of a new decade of the millennium. It is
therefore appropriate to dwell over the larger picture not only
affecting one's future from a personal point of view but also
the nation as a whole. It would not be an exaggeration to say
that at no time before in recent memory has a new year held so
much hope and optimism for Sri Lanka as the one we are entering
Certainly 2011 is bound to be a decisive one for the country
that will determine the path it will charter for itself to
become a nation to be counted among the major international
actors now that we are rid of the main impediment that prevented
us from reaching our aspired for goals. This needless to say
calls for hard work, dedication and the commitment of all.
There is a need for all Sri Lankans to put their collective
shoulders to the wheel towards realizing the true potential of
the country setting aside all parochial differences to make it
the Wonder of Asia as aspired for by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
As mentioned, this calls for dedication and sacrifice. There
can be no half measures. We Sri Lankans are notorious for our
lax and indifferent ways. We leave a job for another day when it
could be done today. This trait and the general apathy on the
part of the general populace is one of the reasons that the
country had been lagging behind all these years since
independence although the destructive war also slowed progress
to a great extent.
All of us should therefore resolve this new year to put
behind our lethargy and laissez-faire attitude and dedicate
ourselves to the task of nation building. This is an apt time to
invoke those famous words of President John F Kennedy to the
American people of not asking what the nation can do for them
but what they can do for the nation. We would do well to harken
to those famous words if we are to pull ourself out of our
slumber and the collective apathy we are in as a nation and
galvanize ourselves into action. This is as good a time as any
to resolve ourselves to make this change.
To begin with there is a need to cultivate a proper work
ethic. Today our work places are filled with idlers. The norm is
to do as little as one could possible can get away with. One
does not see the need to go that extra mile. This attitude is
mostly mirrored in our public sector where the least work is
being done and a lot demanded. Trade Union leaders too should
resolve this new year to desist from making unreasonable demands
and above all to get their members to pull their weight.
There has to be sea change in entrenched attitudes if the
country is to move with the rest of the world.
Not just being counted among the rest, Sri Lanka needs to
integrate with the rest of the world if we are to breach new
frontiers and conquer new vistas. This will require hard work
and scaling new heights. Above all we will require the best
human resources to achieve our set goals. A core group of
professionals and experts to advise the Government is a sine quo
non in this context. It is hoped that the frequent calls by the
President to our expat Lankan professionals to return and avail
of their services to the motherland will be heeded in large
measure this new year.
The new year also holds promise for the healing of wounds and
genuine reconciliation. The country cannot prosper materially
when there is internal tensions brought about by mistrust and a
sense of exclusion and discrimination. In this context the
invitation extended by the President for an inclusive Lankan
society sans racial or ethnic differences holds hope for mending
of fences and genuine reconciliation. The Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation Commission which will wind up its sittings in the
new year will also be an ideal catalyst of the new
transformation contemplated by the President where all barriers
and road blocks that separated the communities would be pulled
down paving the way for a peaceful prosperous Sri Lanka.