Add some English instead of salt?
However, let’s get to the point: Ayeshea Perera who is introduced to the readers as someone completed a dissertation about blogging, has made some serious mistakes when making her observations. When self proclaimed “experts” get it wrong, they will get their share of responses for sure ;-)
Despite their increasing popularity, it will take blogs quite some time to go entirely mainstream in Sri Lanka. This is in most part because “a lot of things have to come together before a blogger is born… Internet access, some knowledge of blogging, knowledge of English, etc,” explains Ayeshea.Ms. Ayeshea, blogs are not “entirely mainstream” in anywhere on this earth. Ok I agree, it’s a debatable issue. But still if we assume that you are talking about blogging being a popular practice in Sri Lanka; you have got it wrong! Internet access - yes. some knowledge about blogging - yes. knowledge of English…what? And this particular “qualification” you highlight is totally outrageous! You think knowledge of English is a key for blogging to become “mainstream” in Sri Lanka! I sympathize the monolingual undergrad but we have to explain a thing or two that is missed in this Sunday Times article. There are two major languages spoken and written by Sri Lankans. And if blogging is to become “mainstream” in Sri Lanka, it has to be widely popular among Sinhala and Tamil writers. Don’t you see the obvious truth?
Knowledge of English is an issue if you wish to blog in English. But if you blog in Sinhala or Tamil you need the knowledge of Sinhala or Tamil. For those who are unaware of it let me tell you Sinhala is the language spoken by about 16 million people in Sri Lanka. Tamil is used even more widely in the subcontinent. As I can see, this Sunday Times article promises to tell us about Lankan blogs, but ends up talking about English blogs on Kottu.org :-)
Ayeshea and the Sunday Times writer must understand that blogging is not an English only endeavour at all. There is a Sinhala blog syndicating site, plus we have Sinhala and Tamil presence on Kottu.org. Present admin of Kottu is one of the first who tried to introduce a font for Sinhala bloggers. But Ayeshea thinks English is a pre-requisite and Sunday Times writer just publishes it uncritically. What is this? Ignorance? Or is this yet another incident that illustrates the attitudes of Colombo - English only people who claim to know everything about Sri Lanka? I hope this is a mistake or a printing error. I have nothing personal against anyone, but wanted to make sure my point is heard.
Here’s the link to the Sunday Times article in question and see how shocking it is to find out that there’s no mention what so ever about recent developments in Sinhala and Tamil blogging.
And finally, let me quote Indi from an interview with ICT for Peace blog about this language issue:
Question :”For a medium that’s still dominated by English in Sri Lanka, what do you think it’s potential is to reach the vernacular speaking people?And yes indeed, now we are seeing a growth for sure. :-) Sinhala Unicode google group clearly proves that if the Internet access with computer knowledge is given, people will start communicating and blogging freely.
Answer : Most of the blogs in the world are in Chinese or Japanese, so I don’t think it’s a language thing. Right now you can’t type or read Sinhala reliably, though the Unicode finally exists. That’s the biggest hurdle, I think you’ll see growth after that…”