Saturday, May 02, 2009

Getting involved

Listening to: Radio 1

Being stuck here in the UK can be very frustrating in these times. Especially when you read about how people at home are able to physically help. Somehow, just 'sending money home' doesn't feel as productive. But we can't all get our hands dirty, so the best we can do is contribute to the cause in any way we can. And that's what happened on Thursday.

One of my friends (an old school friend from Sri Lanka who's now studying here) organised a mini-concert in his college bar, with a view to collect money for ACT. The 'concert' was basically two hours of excellent student musicians jamming away in the bar, with collection buckets going around every now and then, guilt-tripping students into parting with their beer money for a good cause. The highlight has to be these guys - Coll Reg - their a cappella rendition of Billie Jean (there's a low quality clip here) was a treat for the ears (if you're into collegiate a cappella, of course)...and then there was this song, which was hilarious (check it out even if you don't like the genre, the lyrics will make you giggle). I promised myself I would focus on their vocal talent instead of their eye candy factor, so um *drool*...yeah they were awesome :D.

I remember after the tsunami, there was a lot of opposition (from other Sri Lankans) to our plans for the Sri Lanka Society annual dinner. It wasn't sombre enough, they said. I suppose the same could be said of this. The mood was definitely not sombre, apart from during the speech given by an expat-Sri Lankan member of the college - I won't go into how much of his speech I agreed with, but I applaud his attempt to give a balanced view. But back to the mood...I accept that a jolly ambience comes across as insensitive, but how else are you going to get money from people who don't have any emotional ties to the situation? Imagine if the bar was closed and the music was depressing...would non-Sri Lankans give as much money? I'm not saying they have to be severely inebriated to feel generous, but they're more likely to feel generous if they're in a good mood. And these people were very generous. The total raised in two hours was just over £375...that's about Rs. 65,000. All of that money will go towards enabling ACT to continue their good work. Does it matter that the fund-raising process was fun? I think not.

I only have one gripe. There weren't enough expat-Sri Lankans present. I think I've mentioned elsewhere in the blogosphere that I know people in Cambridge who've marched on Westminster to highlight the plight of the civilians trapped in the war zone. Where were they on Thursday evening? If they're as concerned about the people as they claim, why didn't they come and show their support for an apolitical fund-raising event? I know it's exam term for undergrads but surely 2 hours in a college bar is less disruptive to revision than a day trip to London? Heck, even 5mins and a 50p donation would've been sufficient. Apparently Cambridge is one of the few universities in the UK where the protests haven't resulted in a bust-up within the Sri Lankan community. I was hoping that this event would be testament to that solidarity. I guess not.

I don't want to end on a negative note, so I'll say congrats on a job well done to my friend, and many thanks to those who took time out from revision to perform and to those who came along and donated. The Sri Lanka Society is collecting donations for the Sri Lanka Red Cross, and hopefully more fund-raising events will be conducted before the end of the academic year.

1 comment:

Speak now, or forever hold your peace (well not really)!