22 July 2008

Letter 2.44

The description of my kuti is now outmoded. I was offered -- and accepted -- an asbestos roof, which has now been constructed and so all problems -– whoops! I'm writing this at night, by candlelight, and just felt a mysterious creature pushing against my robes which, upon investigation, turned out to be a frog who, friendly but shy, hopped off -- and so all problems with repairs, etc., seem to be ended. (The straw mats which previously formed a movable -- they could be rolled up and down -- part of the stone wall have now been made into a ceiling and replaced with jute -- good looking also). As for other natural resources, there's a small stream at the bottom of the hill, a well about 150 yards away, and less than a mile is a movie theatre that serves Kandy and is equipped with 70mm projectors, stereo, etc.

Yes, I remember the 'Golden Book Encyclopedia', and also remember the trouble I had choosing between it and the 'Golden Book Bible' when, one day at Shirley Jaffee's clothing store, you said I could have one of them. The encyclopedia, I recall, was two pages longer than the bible. Do you remember that?

Yes, the political climate has changed. Although the new government calls itself 'socialist', it strikes me (as an outsider) as being rabidly nationalistic and will attempt to promote the welfare of the Sinhalese majority by attacking the Tamil and Moslem minorities. (As in most every country I've seen, the minority groups in Ceylon are simply 'better people' -- more cultured, economically more successful, harder workers, etc. -- than the majority. Perhaps this is, in most cases, necessarily so, else the minority groups would simply not survive as coherent groups. Anyway, if the government survives for long, which is by no means certain, it's likely that they will breed a great deal of unrest if they carry out some of the oppressive -- rather shocking -- measures which they are now talking about carrying out. But in Ceylon -- as everywhere else -- most political talk never amounts to more than just talk.)

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