Big noise in a small island

Friday, 22 June 2012 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

WOKE up as usual to a nursery rhyme. The Bread Man, who blares the same old tune over a megaphone every day, runs two jobs; one of waking up Sri Lanka, a job coercively collared from the rooster and the other selling bread and buns.

The ice cream man comes later on in the day, playing a different tune.

As I write this piece, I catch the latest sermon from the adjacent mosque. The lottery guy is unusually late. Wherever you look everybody’s playing a tune or dancing to someone else’s.

The problem with the world is that everyone’s jockeying for attention and no one seems to be listening.

From the talk shop by the Diyawanna to the newfangled family, there’s a rapacious urge to be heard. From the bread man to the man with a prophetic warning of the end of times, the message is loud and clear, but who’s listening?

Ask cricketing legend Sanath Jayasuriya and he’ll tell you that he was born for batting... err… dancing to the right tune. In the talk shop, it’s a capacious orchestra playing incongruous tunes.

This week, the cacophony of sounds that drum up the island’s state of affairs took us a step closer to doomsday. The news of an international rating agency sounding alarm bells for the bank-centric economy should make us all worry. Whether it’s yet another international conspiracy as labelled by Mr. Carb or an accurate indictment as proclaimed by Dr. Doom, it doesn’t matter to the common man with a tin roof over his head.

The noise is scary and the question is: Quo Vadis?

While we wait for our destiny, as islanders do, we sing and dance. One man who brought us a welcome respite announced that it’s curtains for a grand show which has been on the road for over four decades.

A whopping 1,500 shows from where he began as a talented young artist, maestro Victor Ratnayake will bid adieu to his fans after one last show.

A showy drug baron brazenly pushing the banned commodity called frantically. He said that plans are afoot to legalise drugs and he was overcome with the rare feeling of being helpless as this was happening in Uruguay. He said that the Government of Uruguay was planning to curb the drug menace by legalising marijuana. Registered users, according to the litigious plan, can buy their fair share directly from the Government so the drug trade can be controlled. Our man is worried that the concept may wind its way here!

Here’s one for your knowledge bank:

The world’s oldest moving picture shows have been unveiled in French caves and how old are they? Pictures date back 30,000 years. The Cavewood discovery shows that Stone Age artists used torches to create an animated picture using cartoon-like drawings inside the caves.

The artists gave life to pictures of animals in super-imposed poses of various actions by using torches. As for sound-effects, it is widely believed that they originated in Sri Lanka. Incredible surround sound and no action; folks that’s us!

Paid Rs. 23,000 for a MRI scan of the brain. At least now on, no dissenting reader can say it is worth nothing. Magnetic Resonance Imaging is a true marvel. It generates true-to-life images of the body’s intricate interior by creating a massive magnetic field which interacts with liquid atoms which forms an image back on the screen of the MRI. Read for more; bookmark the site. It’s darn good.

Twenty-five minutes motionless in the MRI scanner. All the while, sequences of high decibel sounds emanating from the machine, each piece in stark contrast to the previous. Eyes closed, ears wide open. It’s an island of a thousand sounds.

(An award-winning former war correspondent and adviser to the Minister of Tourism, brand guru Dinesh Watawana heads the respected integrated communications agency The 7th Frontier. He is renowned for his innovative brand strategies and is credited with putting Sri Lanka on the global map of tourism with his critically-acclaimed eco resort KumbukRiver. Email him at [email protected])