This is an open letter I wrote after a vehicle parade for the Battle of the Saints prevented me from riding my bicycle on a Saturday.
Your expensive children are sitting on door ledges of powerful sports vehicles that are being driven by maniacs!
A parade in most nations is a procession of people. They may contain vehicles but these are usually used for purposes like the display of floats, the transporting of a musical band, and maybe even a moving dancing platform. In Colombo, celebratory sports parades are mostly classified as vehicle parades. More accurately they are just traffic. How did this happen? I believe some idiot amused by the concept of a combustion engine decided to bring his quite ordinary vehicle into the parade. His brethren followed suit. The concept of a vehicle is something that Colombo folk are still finding difficult to fathom. For instance, they show no understanding of what four-wheel drive is suitable for. I blame the nationalised educational curriculum.
This is quite sad as these parades could be a whole lot more interactive and enjoyable for the people involved. To put it in a form easily memorisable for the convenience of those from the local syllabus; You don’t meet people in a vehicle. By having a parade with more physical activity and contact you are far more likely to have an enjoyable time. You will also greatly improve your chances of being in contact with someone from an opposite sex. As it currently stands you are separated by the confines of your own luxurious vehicles. For the schools and parents this would also mean more participation and school spirit. It takes minutes to fasten a flag to a vehicle but takes days and skill to construct a float. School clubs and societies would also benefit as it would give them the opportunity to showcase their talents. Music for these events as I see it is mostly outsourced preventing the younger generation from learning and carrying forward a quite rich musical history. Parades should be celebratory and inclusive of onlookers with its positive vibes.
Parades should be about individual achievement and identity. It should not be the showcasing of German engineering. These schools can change this culture for their own benefit. Concerned parents should take proactive measures to work with the system to bring about a safer and societally beneficial set of outcomes. Some schools notably St Thomas’s already has a Cycle Parade which is a good model for other schools to follow.
Dinesh Anthony Perera