Divided or United under One Flag?

I’m sure almost every Sri Lankan must have seen the famous Independence Day picture that comes out in the papers and posters every single year. The cliché – kids representing Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities under the national flag.

My little daughter sees the picture in the paper and points her little finger and shouts with a big smile of achievement on her pretty face:
“Paap, this girl is Tamil, this boy is Sinhala and this girl is Arabic..!”
Well, she’s too small to know that we call them the Muslims, in Paradise.

Aren’t we emphasising our differences and promoting division in this picture? Shouldn’t we be all anonymous under one flag?

I keep learning from the kids everyday, but this one is hard to crack.


  1. From the mouths of babes indeed!

  2. promoting differences? aww come on now...thissisthething..with lankans. over thinking! ;) ok...seriously...
    I look at it in a way, that we are celebrating our communities. :)

    Let's take the Malaysia "Truly asia" ads on tv. don't the harp on the different cultures in the country and so on? indians, chinese, malay ect?
    Some countries may take the anoonymous approach, and we took this...is it a big deal?

  3. Actually I find it to represent the view that you can be ethnically Sinhalese/Tamil/Muslim/Burgher etc. and still be Sri Lankan. We all have varied cultural backgrounds but what brings us together is the fact that we are all Sri Lankan. I personally like to believe in 'unity in diversity'.

    I agree that there is a risk in highlighting our differences, but the alternative is to imply that we have to choose either our ethnicity or our nationality. Maybe the best response would be to acknowledge that your daughter is right but reply with "yes and they're all Sri Lankan!"? (Note the use of 'and' instead of 'but'.)

    Just a thought :-)

  4. Mmmm.... No... Imagine all 5 fingers same size, length and shape. It will be ugly :-) Imagine plain white rice and no curry.... Contrasts is Cute & Colourful :-)