Dear Sri Lanka,
This time I want to address my words to you as an entire nation.
To you all, Buddhists, Christians, Muslims, Hindu, black, brown, fair or white.. I would be very pleased if you can read these words and pay attention to what I am trying to say, following my own personal experiences or situations that I have been facing here in SL.
Saying that, I don’t mean to be aggressive, neither I don’t want to offend anyone. I just want to express how I feel, and how most of the foreign crowd in town feel.
I have been living in this lovely island since August 2014, which is not that much of a time, but it is enough to let me understand few things about culture, society, friendship and ways of doing business here.
Being a foreigner in SL:
Let’s begin by saying that there is a slight difference from a foreign man’s point of view and that one of a foreign woman. And the difference is just because for foreign girls/women living here, life is tougher than for men.
For the big majority of local guys/men, the ones who didn’t leave the country and they stick to the web to know more about foreign cultures, then yes, foreign ladies don’t have a good image for them: well, it’s not that they refuse them. In fact, the opposite!
They chase foreign girls, by thinking they are easy to get, very open minded, and treat them like toys. Something to play and have fun with. And the most sad thing here is that those men believe in what they are thinking.
So, what happen to those girls?
– First and easiest way to approach a foreign girl is on the street: these ladies just walk around freely, enjoying the city, the weather, listening to the music till they get stopped by random cars, with men inside offering a ride. Day or night, all is the same. It can happen, everywhere in the world. But not every single time that a girl goes out walking. It is so frustrating.
– When it comes to business: no matter how you look like, what you are wearing, if pants or skirts or dress… those men, married and with family (they can be your fathers in terms of age) will call you just right after the meeting. A call or a message, whatever. But they do it. At the beginning I thought it was just kindness. Then, I realized it was not.
(Still I am talking about a certain group of people, not everyone).
I’ve been travelling a lot and I had worse experiences than those ones, especially in South America. There is already too difficult to control those situations, but here.. we are still on time to change the general perceptions.
What it’s likely to have the same effect in a foreigner’s AND local’s life, either men or women?
The fact that here people LOVE to talk. Love gossiping. Love to live the other people’s lives. It feels like I am in my hometown in Italy, with just about 30,000 inhabitants. We all know each other, and everybody knows everything about everyone in town.
It’s ok to know. But why talking so bad at someone else’s back?! Why judging?!
I mean, think about it.. What do you get from that?
A raise of salary? Attention from someone? More love from your family/friends? Win a lottery?
“Judging is preventing us from understanding a new truth. Free yourself from the rules of old judgments and create the space of new understandings”
– Lack of communication:
It seems that here it’s really hard to confront people, even for small issues, either in business or private social life.
What happens when we drag small issues for so long time? They become troubles.
Because they might delay an important situation/decision/opportunity in business, and you have lost the chance to let your company grow;
You can have the same issues in friendships or relationships. Not communicating to each other means not willing to understand the problem or not trying to find a solution to solve it. In this world there are so many different types of people, you never know how the friend can react. You can have him back or lose him forever.
It’s a big risk. We all can avoid the risk by talking to each other.
“People don’t get along because they fear each other. People fear each other because they don’t know each other. They don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other”
During my work experience in Sri Lanka I have been dealing and working with lots of local companies and just few of them were able to express their issues, concerns or doubts very clearly facing me or my colleagues. But the result was positive: we got a clarification of the matter and both companies understood each other, which means the work is much smoother and clear.
So what to do?
What is missing is the system. And of course it’s like that, it’s still a developing country, we can not expect a quick change. It takes time.
If I write this “letter” is because I, and not only me, have seen a huge potential in this country: it’s like having a fertile soil but not being able to work it out. What you obtain is almost nothing. You’ll never make a change.
So, as my title suggests it I am here addressing mainly to the new generation, the ones that they are now in their 20’s or less: you are going to be the new decision’s makers in the country. The ones who studied and lived abroad, maybe you also worked abroad, now you have the experience of how the world works. Each country in a different way, but with a very well structured system.
And Sri Lanka CAN too. (as I said it takes time, like it took time, efforts, and lot of hard work a while ago in Europe)
Together with the ones who studied and worked hard locally, smart, very well oriented and talented young guys… you all are the ones who one day will succeed.
The Directors, Chairmen, business people of today should give you the base to start and let you make the change in 10 years time. You can be the change you wanna see in your country.
I guess we don’t go and study abroad to come back in our countries and be the same as before. We know we have seen something more, we noticed the differences, and we know what is good to maintain and what is good to modify.
Let what you experienced, locally and internationally, and your intelligent mind be part of the better change of your whole country, in terms of economy, working style, communication, social life, rights and principles… mentality.
I personally think that everything happens for a reason and nothing is a waste of time. It’s a life lesson, always, as we learn from everyone and every situation, either negative or positive.
Why I am writing this?
I believe in this country and I am very happy to be here now.
I feel there is a big similarity within the traditional italian culture that there was before and still is somewhere in some small villages around Italy. We can’t pretend to bring the change we wanna bring to the entire country; there will still be some parts which will remain very traditional and that’s how it goes everywhere! So let’s try to focus the change within the main cities, where different cultures and mentalities meet and mix together.
If we all listen carefully to each other, our minds will get richer.