Political blogging highlights Sri Lankan blogsphere’s irrelevance


The irrelevance to the Sri Lankan blogsphere gets highlighted every time things get political. It used to be that way during the war. Then as it is now, the drama swirls around the public words among private individuals. These days the foreign media might dip in for a sip of social media. In the plume of wordsmoke are the usual rants, personal attacks, snide comments and pearls of wisdom.

When ever I see such exchanges, I close the browser feeling tired and exasperated. All those clever arguments seem far removed in the un air-conditioned reality live by most Sri Lankans (I’m only partially air conditioned). The war and its political fault lines (both current and historical) seems far away from the grinding business of life. At a personal level we encounter the consequences of our history and political currents. When we do its not the politics we see but the specifics of the situation. Usually a minor crisis of some sort. Requiring strings and helping hands from our offline (real) social networks.

I know this post is grumpy and cynical. The title is not derived from a careful study of the Sri Lankan blogosphere. Fact is, I’m a jealous at those fortunate enough to find the minutes to blog and comment. I don’t feel part of that time rich crowd any more. The tasks of the day no matter how you try to life hack it, doesn’t allow for such luxuries. I’m amazed at the brazenness with which I write this. The to do list is a fulscap page long.

I shouldn’t be so snide. I too once had the luxury of time. Now its all about the daily logistics of survival. The demands of the voices in my heard to be written will have to be endured to rare moments like this. I should make such moments positive. Not waste them in grumbling. Yet when I see the words flow, and comment skirmishes go on and on its hard not to been a bit resentful. Where the hell do these people find the time?

Luckily such thoughts are fleeting. So are the moments of pecking on the keys like this. Life goes on.

16 comments

  1. “I think if you have a ‘Beware of Dogs’ sign on the gate, you have no idea of any country runs, let alone yours.” Come election time if these people walked to an election booth to vote they would get an idea of how people in the street feel about government.
    Well said Cerno.
    DD

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  2. Interesting post. The war is in fact far away but the danger is that its consequences can creep up and be felt in the most unexpected and unpleasant ways.

    There is very little real discussion of politics in the media now and very little on the blogosphere which is why everybody (me in particular) jumps on the bandwagon the moment someone comes up with a post.

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    • As always you make a good point.😀

      I guess my grumble isn’t at the discussion but by the fact that its occurring in a space far removed from the rest of the country. Particularly out of sight from the bulk of the voters who will decide whether to over throw or re anoint our current ruler.

      At a personally level I find that detachment disparing. No fault of anyone in the blogosphere of course. Its just a fact of the economic/social reality.

      I hope that the arguments made will trickle out to the non blogging voters. Specially the ones that you made in your post on the politics and the blogosphere.

      These days I find myself in a sort of a treadmill like existence where even small pleasures like blogging/writing are squeezed out. That too will change I guess. Till then there’ll be an occasional selfish vent😉

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      • Thanks Cerno.

        Churchill once said that the best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.

        Lee Kuan Yew noted the same problem when he said that the average voter was not capable of understanding a complex political or economic argument.

        I believe that in a democracy there are a few who will lead the discussion on complex issues, intellectuals, university professors, think tanks and the like. It is they who identify matters of significance and then voice their opinion. Others from the same strata may agree or disagree.

        This debate is then carried in the media, this is how complex political and economic questions are raised and brought before the public and sections of the public educated.

        Not all of the public will understand but at least some will. What is happening here is that (a) there are very few people left who have the capacity to think, (b) the few who are there dare not speak and (c) even if they do, the media does not give it enough coverage, hence the disconnect between the debate and the people.

        Politicians are thus voted by people who know little, which is why it is cardinally important to have an independent civil service. We cannot possibly leave the running of a country to politicians, it should be the civil service that actually runs it.

        The minister is appointed on a 5 year term and often has little or no experience or education in the area and has no hands on experience in running the department.

        What politicians need to do is set broad policy. Some of these may be idealistic and impossible, others less so. He then needs to work with the civil service, the Permanent Secretary to the relevant Ministry who will guide him on what can and should be implemented.

        Independent civil servants are governed by the constitution and their conscience.

        This was what we had when the idiotic politicians, finding that they had to work very hard and often could not get their way decided to disband the civil service in 1962.

        Apologies for taking up all this space, I may work this up into a post some time, all this commenting and posting is very exhausting.

        Felix Dias Bandaranaike was the chief culprit, may his infamy live forever.

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      • Totally agree with you.

        Setting aside the time envy on my part🙂 the thing I find most despairing is that discussions in the blogosphere seem utterly removed from the main stream population. Mainly for the reasons that 1. its on the internet. 2 its in English.

        Perhaps there’s better discussion out there and I’m missing it. I’m so time stressed now I barely check email let along turn on the TV.🙂

        I personally think that politics in Sri Lanka is very feudal – with an ancient Roman type of patron client relationships.

        Overall I think the discussion should happen anyway irrespective of the audience it reaches. But it does give me cause for despair that its not reaching a bulk of the population.

        I hope I’m wrong in this.

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  3. Good to read you. Yes I too read many bloggers writing about reconciliation but only a few are willing to reconcile. I too get tired but I believe any kind of dialogue is better than none. That is the only way I will know how you think and allows me to attune to your ideas, provided I am in tune.
    Enjoyed your conversation with Jack Point.

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    • Glad you liked the most. One thing I wish is that some part of all those political blog posts will filter out of the digital world into the street. Only when people talk about these issues in trishaws and in polas’ is there any hope of real reconciliation. Perhaps that happening. But at a pace different than the internet🙂

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  4. […] I shouldn’t be so snide. I too once had the luxury of time. Now its all about the daily logistics of survival. The demands of the voices in my heard to be written will have to be endured to rare moments like this. I should make such moments positive. Not waste them in grumbling. Yet when I see the words flow, and comment skirmished go on and on its hard not to been a bit resentful. Where the hell do these people find the time? (Political blogging highlights Sri Lankan blogsphere’s irrelevance) […]

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