I have tried to explain that to people. Many human acts of kindness are to uphold one’s illogical virtues. Our good deeds may be just empty. When addressing this shallowness, I take on the clergy in the highest positions. It’s a complex operation. People have agreed to a recent proposal to stop offering the clergy a seat on the bus. We don’t have to allocate a special seat to the clergy. It could be voluntary. Why should it be voluntary? Because if clergy members have conducted themselves in such a way that they deserve respect, then someone would voluntarily offer a seat. Such a practice will drive them towards better conduct worthy of an individual in robes so that they deserve a seat on the bus. Priority should be for sick and pregnant women. Creating awareness and change will be a slow process. People don’t have to be excessively kind. Exaggerated kindness leads to social stagnation. I believe we should change this narrative and create a mature society.
I hope to focus on social problems such as issues in personal relationships that spill over to the social domain and, in the long run become a social problem through a new online channel that I intend to launch shortly. Like politically, the citizens of this country are not given a voice to speak but have to forcefully get that liberty by pushing the boundary line. Whatever change I promote and envisage should be done rationally.
Tell us something about yourself and your background.
I am from Rathnapura. I entered Royal College Colombo after passing the grade five scholarship, where I completed my GCE advanced level. I was quite a radical young man even then. I had no desire to enter any local university because I strongly opposed the ragging culture. I hate the mental manipulation that takes place through such a monstrous practice. In 1989, when I immaturely got entangled in radical political activities, my mother sent me abroad. I worked for five years in Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore. On my return, I began working in media around 1995.
I began writing in about 2005. I have authored nearly 12 books and contributed to all the Sinhala newspapers in Sri Lanka. I used to write about 30 articles a month. I am in the process of translating Simone de Beauvoir’s book The Second Sex, which is on the backburner owing to my involvement in making content for my YouTube channel.
I wrote and published the Alchemist magazine for ten years, and as the name implies, I gathered scattered knowledge in folklore and linguistics to create something valuable. I continue the same practice through my YouTube channel.
I have given up and refused incessant requests to return to writing for newspapers and contributing to television because my mission is to use my channel to bring about a positive change in Sri Lanka. I have three daughters and a son. As a policy, my family and I don’t use the visibility I have to get favors or take the easy way out. In this period of shortage, I have been asked by many owners of fuel stations and gas distribution centers whether they could help me get my fill. But I have chosen to walk the talk as this is the virtue I want to inculcate in our people. It will not be easy as many may not want to fall in line, but the systems must change so that everyone will have to do the right thing.
My struggle is for change. My battle began when I saw an advertisement on the Discovery Channel where in a long line of people, one man was walking in the opposite direction with a tagline that read ‘what one can do.’ A lone individual can drive for change. It was solitary individuals who achieved change around the world. From the Buddha to Jesus, they have fought for their mission alone. However, to mobilize the people to achieve the desired change, the changemaker must possess integrity.