Thursday, December 8, 2011
As I have mentioned before, Harsha Lirne, my EF colleague and also a Member of the Sri Lankan Parliament, of course asked me when I was coming if I wanted to visit a Parliamentary session. I of course said “Sure, Why not”. I never mind seeing how governments work in different Countries and places. So one morning, before a full day of meetings and events, Harsha picked me up and took me to see the Parliament of Sri Lanka. Let me back up by saying that I when I first answered Harsha with “sure, why not”, that response meant exactly what was said, which in my mind meant “if nothing else has been schedule that is more interesting or a priority, I will visit Parliament. I want to include this sentiment in this post because I have visited a couple of Parliamentary sessions or two in my time, several in Africa and one or two in Brazil, and they can sometimes be very boring, unable to understand due to language barriers, and most members end up rambling on and on that a session can become a moreso just less than better option to the snooze button. However, it wasn’t until I met the “New” members of Parliament that I realized..”Oh, these guys are different…this could be interesting”.
The first night that I came to town, Harsha introduced me to several of his friends that included Parliamentary memebrs/leaders who were young, passionate, outwardly ambitious, and very entrenched in making the Country better, stronger, and a more vibrant destination and place to live. We were all about the same age and this immediately intrigued me because although I have many friends and colleagues who are young 30 year olds holding government office positions and also passionate about politics and the politics that take place within their districts, I just didn’t think I would find that in Sri Lanka of all places! So the night went on, the engagements were great, the discussion was interesting, the energy was alive and comfortable, and by the time the night was over…..I was hooked. Sri Lanka….who knew ;-)
So, to speed back up to my visit to Parliament, I now had more of purpose to go. When asked again if I wanted to attend, it was a resounding “YES”. I wanted to see just what all of this endless dialogue, vibrato, private circle discussion topics at late night hours, actually placed in its appropriate venue. So I went and glad I did. First, just on aesthetics the Parliament House is beautiful. An Asian design and openness to the building , façade, and grounds, is regal, welcoming, striking, and actually very feng shui.
After arriving, I was swiftly escorted upstairs, through numerous security checks and balances, and finally took a seat in the balcony, facing the Opposition side of the government. At first, it was rather quiet. Saw my friends, waved hands, and sat there not understanding a thing. But then something happened, people starting getting up and talking and speaking in Sinahalese, faster and faster and there were active retorts and comments being thrown back and forth across the aisle. Well this was definitely not unfamiliar. As everyone knows in the US, these types of active arguments and heated discourse are very common, so at that point I began to read between the language barriers and grasp what may be going on…..a legal debate. Now the context was foreign, but the actions were not. It was very interesting. Good to know that in other places around the world the bickering back and forth of opposing ideologies and positions, take on the same tantrums as constantly seen in my own back yard. Now in this case, I didn’t know who to liken the administrations to, ie….what party is more like the US Republicans and which party is more like the US democrats, but what I did know was that in that crowd there were hard core facts…1) Not that many women are Sri Lankan Parliament Leaders ( Maybe 8 or so, out of 50), 2) There are young and very interesting leaders of note in the government, and 3) There is room for inclusion of technology to bring a bit of modernization and “pizazz” to the process and progression of the SL governing structures and bodies.
All that being said, the visit was a success. Glad I went and saw for myself what all the hub bub is about. And Harsha was right, there is hub bub;-) Interest growing….
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- Meeting Singapore Eisenhower Fellows....
- Technology and Innovation Hubs In Singapore....
- Meeting with US Ambassador to Singapore, David Ade...
- Hello Singapore!!!!
- The Daily Financial Times Sri Lanka Interview....
- My Visit to The Sri Lankan Parliament!
- Dinner with the Sri Lankan Eisenhower Fellows!
- Technology and Policy In Sri Lanka....
- The Wonderful Sri Lanka!
- Last Thoughts.....Bye Bye India!
- FACEBOOK in India!
- Technology in Hyderabad!
- ▼ December (12)