Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Monday, 23 March 2009

A man after my own heart.

Deva Kumarasiri is someone I have a lot of time for - a guy who migrates to another country for a shot at a better life and adapts to his new home rather than expects it to adapt to him. I can quite understand because it's the same attitude I've taken. Admittedly the wrench is so much smaller for me since I've moved to somewhere that shares a fair amount of culture, history and language with the country of my birth, but if I'd moved to Italy (or wherever) I'd have taken the time to learn Italian (or whatever). Mr Kumarasiri feels that people moving to the UK from non-English speaking parts of the world should at least take the time to learn enough of the language to buy stamps, which he should know being both a migrant himself and a Postmaster.
Sri Lankan-born Deva Kumarasiri said he turned away five people from his Nottingham post office for "wasting time and holding up the queue" by not speaking English.
He introduced the rule last week because he believes all immigrants in Britain should learn the language and take pride in their new homeland.
Oh dear. You just know what's going to happen, don't you?
But Mr Kumarasiri said he was "forced out" of Sneinton Boulevard post office on Saturday, after a backlash in the community.
The 40-year-old father of two, from Carlton, Nottingham, said most people had come out in support of his stance, but a "small minority" launched a petition against him.
From now on he will be based at a different post office in Nottingham, but hopes to move back to his former branch in the future.
"I was forced out by a small minority of people who don't want to integrate into society," Mr Kumarasiri said.
If you're thinking that he's only been moved because he's not white enough to be a real racist and fired outright, he has apparently moved at his own request. But fuck, was what he said so unreasonable? Christ, when in Rome you do as the fucking Romans do. It's more convenient and it's just plain courteous. And then there's the liberty issue - why the fuck should a business be forced to put up with a few customers who hold up and inconvenience all the others? If my local Post Office started developing queues out the door and round the block because the only English the customer at the front has learned is G'day, and he's saying that wrong, then I'd simply go to a different Post Office. If it happened more than a few times I'd stop going altogether. Time is money, and that's as true for the business it self as it is for the people queueing for service.

But some people in multicultural Britain (Oz too for that matter) don't see it like that. "We must welcome all with open arms" they say. Well, yes, we certainly should. But that doesn't mean we have to adapt to everyone who comes. We can adapt to nobody that comes and still welcome the arrival of anyone who wants to live here rather than where they came from. The two are not mutually exclusive, and I think Mr Kumarasiri shows how it's possible. I expect his reasonable attitude to integrating with the country he chose to make his home will win a lot of support among native Brits. After all he is arguably more British than I am, born British and lived there for three and half decades. My Britishness is a fact of birth, but while I'm still very fond of the UK my loyalty to it should be measured by where I've made my home. In the same way Mr Kumarasiri chose the UK as his home - I was only born there. Who is more British?

I'd quite like to meet Deva Kumarasiri and compare experiences of choosing a new country to be a part of. And I wonder if he's better at God Save The Queen than I am at Advance Australia Fair. My old country could probably do with migrants just like him, but if he doesn't get the sort of support he deserves there I'd suggest he tries my new country. The Aussies wouldn't know whether to call him a pom or not but I think he'd be popular.

H/T Ambush Predator.
Related Posts with Thumbnails