Whilst surfing the net for stories for our prestigious publication
SRILANKA CRAZY NEWS tm (now syndicated to
several news services and affiliated with Moreover) we came
upon this apalling piece of drivel from an uneducated arrakku
preserved brain who not only condemns our national sport but is of
the belief that playing football etc is more morally uplifting etc.
goes on to deride etc. other cricket playing countries like England,
Australia and NZ and finally has the audacity to suggest that the
game should be abolished. His piece appeared in the Sunday
Observer of 12th Aug 2001 and is published below verbatim
- the detrimental time-killer |
During the early 1970's I was in
the staff of a leading government boys' school situated in the
heart of the Kandy town. At that time I was in charge of junior
sports. A boy of about 13 yrs, the son of a University
Professor, who had been studying in the United States for a few
years when his father was doing some research work there, was
admitted to our school on his return.
He had been a student of our
school earlier. One day I had a very interesting conversation
with him during the interval. I asked him about sports in the
United States. He spoke at length about baseball, basketball,
boxing, rugby football, tennis and many other sports but never
mentioned a word about cricket.
So I asked him "Son, what
about cricket?" This is what he told me: "Sir, the
Americans and the Russians do not play cricket and they have
gone to the moon. But the British and their cronies are chasing
a ball 5 days of the week. Look at the industrially developed
countries like Japan and Germany and even China. Do they play
cricket? No - only time saving, quick and interesting games like
basketball, football etc. Cricket is an utter wastage of
precious time. It is a game that is not suited at all for poor
developing countries as it results in so much wastage of
valuable man hours with people glued to the TV at all times of
the match. "The purpose of a game is exercise on the part
of the player and entertainment on the part of the spectator.
Nothing like a quick game of basketball, football, rugger etc.
it's a good exercise for the players and very interesting for
the spectators. Walking is a good exercise and some who were
walking for the sake of exercises would have felt bored and
started hitting a stone or a ball whilst walking and golf came
into being. The same with cricket, sun-bathing is enjoyed by
those in the cooler climes. One day while sun bathing some smart
guys who were bored would have started hitting a ball and
running for all their might while his friends were chasing the
ball and cricket came into being. What is the need for those in
tropical countries to sun-bathe? It only saps your energy. "cricket
is an utter wastage of precious time and it is definitely not
suited for developing countries situated in the tropics."
At that time (early 1970's) we
did not have TV. Now we do. Do we as a nation, especially our
leaders think in terms of "Man-hours" lost or gained.
What do our readers and our honoured guests, the Englishmen
think about the comments of the young but intelligent boy about
the game they introduced to us.
M.V.N. De Silva-Moratuwa
(As we say in British cricketing circles "My God Sir! You are
a cad!" Thats about the least we can say about you. You of
course had the gall to sign the letter in your own name rather than
hiding under a pseudonym. We admire you for that and that is about
the only good thing we can say about you!)
Old Cricketing Days!
Readers of the MadPage and personal
associates of ourselves are of course well aware of our achievements
in the field of sports. In athletics, the high point of this page
was the The Sack Race of 1957 at the Annual Sports Meet of Holy
Cross College at Kalutara (where we came in one-before-the-last
and cheered by everybody!)
In cricket, the highest point of our
career was the time we were delegated the most challenging of tasks:
that of the scorer. We have of
course been actually on the field before we retired from active
sports due to injury.....
In 1957 we remember playing a rather
challenging and historic match as captain. The proceedings took
place on our front lawn. Our team consisted of our sisters and a few
assorted cousins who happened to be living with us at that time. The
opposition was rather formidable and consisted of assorted kids from
the neighbourhood led by Manel the girl next door
who even though handicapped by a skirt could outrun this page
anytime. I felt a little bit like Charlie Brown! The equipment
consisted of four pick-'n'-mix stumps, a rather
old-but-linseed-oiled bat, a coconut frond (Pol Piththa) and a Gutta
Parcha (Ottapalu) ball. The coconut frond did double duty: sometimes
as a bat and sometimes as a wicket.
Our late old Dad was the umpire of course and carried out his
umpiring duties from the comfort of his favourite verandah chair
whilst drinking endless cups of tea and smoking cheap cigarettes.
Mum made us refreshments.
The injury that caused our retirement
from the field of sports was of the type best described as an unfortunate-contact-of-our-personal-regions-below-the-Equator-with-a-kicked-foot.
The other end of the kicked foot was
of course attached to Manel (who could never understand the
difference between the Gentleman's Game and that of the morons.)
This encounter with M's foot made a
lasting impression on overselves.
We of course have digressed as
usual....to get back to business...
THE KEYBOARD IS MIGHTIER THAN...
On reading the aforementioned
missive-to-the-editor our immediate reaction was to phone the cad
and give him a piece of our mind. Phone calls to the old Republic
are not only expensive but are not easy to connect either. We were
not going to waste our money and time (in that order!) on a cad who
has absolutely no feeling towards the country and her people. We
therefore decided to resort to the mightiest of all weapons, the
article should be taken for what it is: a humorous piece, not
political commentary and not a personal attack on Mr M.V.N. DeSilva
whoever he is...Manel is a real person who was (and still is!) a
("Dear Sir" is a
standard form of salutation in the old Brit Empire and does not
necassarily imply any fondness for the person being so
addressed. Maybe you would prefer the American salutation "
We refer to your obnoxious
missive to the Editor of The Observer dated the etc.
Cricket of course is a
gentleman's game and played by gentlemen all over the civilised
world which of course includes the old Rep. A few countries do
their best to reach our standards but fail miserably. Some of
these so called countries should not be recognised as countries
at all...more as dumps and open sewers! We refer of course to
India and Pakistan!
As far as non-cricket playing
countries go let us have a look at the Americans.
It is of course well known that
the Americans can't do anything right. Admittedly they were the
first to fetch upon a barren piece of "real estate",
the Lunar Corporation, just a little bit ahead of Aeroflot but
do look at their record in other fields of achievement...
In particular Vietnam, Laos,
Saddam Hussein Land, Kosovo...or..or look at their cultural
achievements: McDonalds, backward facing Baseball caps,
Simpsons etc...or...or.. their internal politics: vote counting
in Florida, Presidents Reagan, Carter, Bush and Bush. Look at
their record on human rights: electric chairs, Native Americans,
General Santa Ana's Last Stand, persecution of Mexican "wetbacks"
desperately trying to crawl across the dried-up bed of the Rio
Grande, the Statue of Liberty ("Bring forth your huddled
masses etc" but try to get to New York without a visa or on
a Srilankan passport with a visa).....
The Americans that you so
admire are a spent force Mr. Mervin De Silva. The US of
A is kept going by Srilankans.
And as for Russia,
Tchaikovsky and Vodka were the only two good things to come
out of the frozen wastes.The less said about the place the
The other non-cricket playing
country you so admire is Japan but have you recently
looked up the Nikkei Index? Ha!So? So much so for their
finances. As to Japanese technology have you ever noticed the
clapped out Toyota Hi-Aces on the Galle Road?.....
As far as Japanese culture goes
Suki Yaki comes to mind. That's about it. I am not sure if you
are aware of the unhealthy obsession that the Japanese men have
with schoolgirls and in particular with their (ahem!) underwear!
And as for Germany all one can
say is that if they had played cricket they could have won the
war (The second WW that is. A man of your vintage should know
about the second WW and should have been in the Second WW..) And
who won? The Germans? The Eyeties? The Japs? No, the cricket
Enough of that! Lets have a look
at the games you like.
Boxing! Beating the shit out of
each other, admittedly wearing gloves and gum shields but
nevertheless causing diffuse axonal damage and with the express
purpose of knocking your opponent into oblivion. Sport? Ha! How
many boxers have died during a match in recent times and how
Football! At present the world of football is well known for
the activities of a skinhead by the name of Beckham married to a
skinny bird by the name of Victoria Spice and with their
combined vocabulary limited to Yash! Nope! and Er!. Their
offspring is named after a rusty old bridge in New York:
Brooklyn! Whilst this may be a decent sort of name for a bridge
would you like a child by the name of Brooklyn?
As to people being "glued
to TV sets" and wastage of man hours: the media, which of
course includes writing letters to the editor, is a thriving
industry! It keeps a lot of people in employment and a lot of
mouths well fed and most imp. It keeps a lot of people happy.
The only sort of believeable
material that my elderly Mum (80+) finds in the sunset of her
life is the spectacle of young men hitting a little ball with a
bit of willow wood.
In these times of darkness, made
worse by the power-cuts, people find solace in cricket. As
somebody greater than ourselves once said "Cricket is
the opium of the downtrodden Srilankan Masses".
Don't spoil their fun Merv.
Don't ever put down cricket or
Great Britain or I will send Manel around at night. To pelt your
house with ottapalu balls ...drag you out...pull your trousers
down and administer severe corporal punishment with the broad
end of a Pol Pittha (coconut frond).
To descend to the sort of
language your football "heros" employ may we, with
great respect, offer you this warning: "Do watch it,
Your obedient servant,
Gyan Fernando of MadPage
Gyan Fernando 2001 First written on the 16th of August 2001