Analysing President’s bitter pint

26 September 2016 12:04 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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resident Maithripala Sirisena is nothing if not outspoken, when it comes to gender-sensitive issues. While handing out life-time achievement awards to an NGO  which rehabilitates drug addicts, he said more women were drinking beer, while pointing out the dangers posed by alcohol and drugs to Sri Lakans.
If he had deplored the fact more people are drinking beer now, it would have been positive feedback from a leader whom, one assumes, is either a teetotaler or a moderate drinker. 
But, when he is worried about women drinking beer, it becomes a gender-based issue, begging the question: why is it bad for women, when so many men are drinking stuff worse than beer?
If the question sounds fatuous (obviously, any alcoholic drink poses a health hazard), one may point out that the President’s objection may be moral rather than medical. Drinking, hard or soft, is another male bastion with solid masonry.
Seen in another light, however, more women drinking beer could be an indicator of their upward mobility, since beer has traditionally been regarded in this country as an expensive drink, somewhere between the regality of whisky, brandy and gin to the humbler echelons of Arrack down to the abysmal depths of kasippu, hence, not worth the money one pays unless the drinker wants to use a beer can as status symbol at sporting and other public functions.

 

 

"One can only tell the politicians: Be merciful. We know that your wives don’t drink. Or so we are led to believe. But many husbands, if they see their wives opening a can of beer or swiggling toddy in the tavern, would put up with it for the sake of saving the marriage. Or they may happily join their spouses."

 


Any politician would quip that upwardly mobile women, should show off their newfound status with cars, phones, jewellery, credit cards or choice of restaurants rather than risk the moral degradation of drinking beer. They could now happily quote the president himself, generally regarded as an authority on moral issues. In my whole life, I have never seen a Sri Lankan woman buying a bottle of beer. But it could also be true that I have missed out on an interesting social phenomenon altogether. The president, one presumes, has been reliably informed on this matter. He wouldn’t have said that unless he had the statistics to back it up.
That women do not stand in line at wine stores doesn’t mean that they don’t drink beer. I have seen it happening at weddings, and anyone who wants to prevent women from drinking beer will find that an excellent venue to start with. But beware of the social impact of such moral policing. As any toddy-swiggling female plantation worker or villager would tell you, even the mildest stuff can make life a little more bearable if you are going home to a kitchen of survival rather than joyful eating, while television (Assuming the drunken woman and her alcoholic husband have one) will present cookery shows in sizzling rainbow colours.
Any social analyst could now point out that the above examples do not fit into the beer-drinking class deplored by the President. 

 

 

"If the question sounds fatuous (obviously, any alcoholic drink poses a health hazard), one may point out that the President’s objection may be moral rather than medical. Drinking, hard or soft, is another male bastion with solid masonry."

 


You can’t purchase toddy with a credit card, but the urge to drink is the common factor which binds this diverse humanity together, high or low. Sustained campaigning saw an end to fancy advertising for beer, both local and foreign. As far as I know, beer manufacturers only got richer, as they can now sell beer without spending billions on advertising.
One can only tell the politicians: Be merciful. We know that your wives don’t drink. Or so we are led to believe. But many husbands, if they see their wives opening a can of beer or swiggling toddy in the tavern, would put up with it for the sake of saving the marriage. Or they may happily join their spouses. 
Gender wise, this looks quite unacceptable. But the world runs on a secret pact between the less-than-equals, who raid the world of the privileged on a routine basis, and the privileged, who turn a blind eye for the sake of keeping the peace. 

 

"Any social analyst could now point out that the above examples do not fit into the beer-drinking class deplored by the President."

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  • sphkl Monday, 26 September 2016 08:31 AM

    ☺ Joke


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