All we want for Christmas is A New Government

Published : 12:44 am  December 24, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 

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Christmas and New Year Celebrations in light of political and economic crises

A majority of vendors, shoppers and pedestrians had one thing at the top of their wish list- a political leader, who would ensure public welfare and relief.
In spite of a rather disheartening, bleak political situation, the crowds in Pettah were bustling in swarms. Fluctuating living costs, rising dollar rates and continued instability have set the theme for this year’s festivities.

 

For Shirani Dawlagala of Maharagama  Christmas was something she could not avoid celebrating.
“No matter how high prices rise, Christmas is something we cannot avoid celebrating,” she said.
N.M.N Mohommad Asmin, the chairperson of the Pettah Public Market delved into recent struggles as both a businessman and a breadwinner.
He explained that his sale of festival decorations had faced many setbacks this time around;  higher wholesale prices, less hired helpers and an apparent fall in customers to name a few.
“Last year we sold this item for less than Rs. 200, this year it’s Rs.250 or more. Even still, we are barely making profits.” he said.


“We have fallen into a great deal of hardship. Due to the political mess, we are caught in, the consumer has no money, the Council workers aren’t paid…”
He continued that they had had no relief for the losses incurred as a consequence of political uncertainties.  
“We haven’t received school uniforms, books, shoes so far. I have four children and I have to spend at least fifteen thousand on each child for these.”
However, there were also some who perceived the country’s status in a positive light.
Roshan Samsudeen from Wattala has been maintaining his Christmas Tree business for five years now. He claimed that he had not noticed a notable change in business, due to the politics of the country.


He also believes that since the political crisis had been settled, some good would come of it.
He expressed content with regard to the decision of the authorities to relocate the throng of street vendors on the pavements in a common market area.
In his opinion, it’s only appropriate that they set up in their allocated spaces instead of taking to the streets to attract more business.
Amidst Christmas shopping were also preparations for the New Year; countless mothers bargaining for school uniforms, books and stationery.
Wijayanthi Rajakaruna from Wadduwa was among them.


“Regardless of political turmoils, life has to go on,” she said.
When asked what changes she had encountered during her end of year shopping in light of recent events, she responded;
“Regardless of political events, our lives go on. Our children are starting school and we are busy with that. Politics seem to only benefit those in power, we are just inconvenienced.”
Children looked forward to Christmas all year and hence skipping it was no longer an option, according to Darshini Jeyapragasam from Wattala.
“We celebrate Christmas because we have little children. Just like buying school books in December, it has turned into something we must do,” she said.
New Year resolutions are generally based on personal change and alteration. This year, however, most have resolved that a change in government was what the future needed.

 

"Last year we sold this item for less than Rs. 200, this year it’s Rs.250 or more. Even still, we are barely making profits"


Shirani Dawlagala elaborated on how the common man carried all the burden and made all the sacrifices, but the power grabbers enjoyed all the rewards.
“A group of intelligent people must be elected into office to replace these crooks. We work hard; study in Universities ,and make do with small jobs. We wait around 60 years for our pension, while they can get it in a matter of five-six years,” she said.
A similar sentiment was expressed by Kusum Imiamottige from Kadawatha:
“If we make an unbiased observation of the country’s political situation, both sides are wrong…Parties don’t matter to us as long as they fix the country, improve the economy and provide education and employment to the youth.”


Although the masses were divided in, where their support lay, they were generally in agreement that the New Year must bring stability, selflessness and honesty in the way the nation is led.
Regardless of strife, Christmas decorations are being put up, Christmas sales are in full swing and Christmas shopping is underway.
Regardless of ethnic and religious differences, the New Year is awaited by all, with the hope that living costs will plunge and living standards will surge through able leadership.

Pics by Nisal Baduge

“Christmas is something we cannot avoid celebrating”

Shirani Dawlagala from Maharagama, a Secretary

“No matter how high prices rise, Christmas is something we cannot avoid celebrating.”
“There should absolutely be a change in Government. A group of intelligent people must be elected into office to replace these crooks. We work hard; study in universities, and make do with small jobs. We wait around 60 years for our pension, while they can get it in a matter of five-six years.”

 

 


“Government has been restored”

Roshan Samsudeen from Wattala, Christmas tree business

 “Now that the Government has been restored to its original state, some good will come of it.

 

 


“We need a change of government”

N.M.N Mohommad Asmin, the chairperson of the public market

“ We have fallen into a great deal of hardship. Due to the political mess, we are caught in, the consumer has no money, the town workers aren’t paid..”
“It is the public who bear the burden of even the rising dollar rates, the current leaders do not understand what has to be done. “
“We didn’t receive school uniforms this year, no books, no shoes nor bag. I have four children and I have to spend at least fifteen thousand on each one.”
“I believe we need a change of government. I am a strong UNP supporter, but it’s undeniable that while MR was in power, he made a difference.
“We have no relief. We were told that from the 1st of next month, all these street merchants will be removed. This is unfair, we have never asked anything from the government, but we are the ones carrying the burdens.”
“Last year we sold this item for less than Rs. 200, this year it’s nothing less than Rs.250. Even still, we are barely making profits.”


“If we stop work, we’ll have to starve”

A.M Saleem from Wattala

“Whatever happens, we have to stretch our arms and legs and get to work, if we stop we’ll have to starve.”

 

 


“We celebrate Christmas because we have little children”

Darshini Jeyapragasam from Wattala

“We celebrate Christmas because we have little children. Just like buying school books in December, it has turned into something we must do.”

 

 

“Parties don’t matter to us as long as they fix the country”

Kusum Imiyamottige from Kadawatha

“If we made an unbiased observation of the country’s politics, both sides are wrong…Parties don’t matter to us as long as they fix the country, improve the economy, provide education and employment to the youth.”

 

 

“A change would be good”

Kumari Wickramaarachchi from Kasbawa

“A change would be good. Our only hope lies in a General Election.”

 

 

“Everyone must be removed and replaced”

Wijayanthi Rajakaruna from Wadduwa

“Regardless of political events, our lives go on. Our children are starting school and we are busy with that. Politics only benefits those in power. We are inconvenienced when roads are obstructed.
“There should be a change, the only thing that has changed is that instability has worsened.
“The government must change. Everyone must be removed and replaced. It would be good if a new government that benefits the people is made.”

 

 

 

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