Friday missive from Colombo

I have been in Colombo this week, my last visit here in February coinciding with Sri Lanka’s Independence Day celebrations.

As I gear up for returning back to Saigon tonight, I’ve been combing through this morning’s report out from Donald Trump’s July 4th speech about America’s independence, alongside a rash of social media streaming Anne Widdecombe’s inauguration (which, let’s just say “touches” on the topic of independence) as a Member of the European Parliament.

Widdecombe, in case you didn’t seen her performance, compares those duty bearers inside the European Parliament to “feudal barons”, and the United Kingdom to the “peasantry” – a “colony” seeking to escape from the oppressive regime of an “empire”.

Trump, to paraphrase his day in the office, made a speech with lots of “uncharacteristic” words in it (such as “we are one people chasing one dream”) and then stood back as his country’s military arsenal flew overhead.     Continue reading “Friday missive from Colombo”

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Sri Lanka: preparing for a future without international aid

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“Up-country” on a Sri Lankan tea estate

During what was recently my fifth visit to Sri Lanka in as many years, my taxi driver picked me up at the airport in a Honda Prius, with the air conditioning set to “glacial” and the FM stereo blaring out 1990’s classics.

On closer inspection over the course of the next eight days spent in Colombo, and also “up-country” on tea estates, it was clear that not every aspect of the nation was motoring on hybrid fuel and gyrating to the sounds of Take That. However, change is occurring here, for a country still only five years free from a long standing and debilitating civil war. The question remains, how positive might that change be for every Sri Lanka citizen, and how can inclusive growth for all be created in the future?

With Honda Prius taxis also comes an array of international fast-food joints, peppering the main streets of the capital, and beyond, and ensuring Sri Lanka’s “middle income” status and advancement towards that end goal to which so many Asian cities are now succumbing: modernisation. Continue reading “Sri Lanka: preparing for a future without international aid”