Chrysanthemums and Dual Citizens

“The Beijing Swift” – By Prof. Samitha Hettige ©

The Chrysanthemum represents vitality or energy and strength in Chinese culture. At present the Chrysanthemum cultural festival is happening in the Peoples Republic of China. The bright coloured flower blooms in cold autumn when most other flowers aren’t visible. Sri Lankans have associated foreign nationals who served Sri Lanka when in trouble. Ven. S. Mahinda of Tibet maintained his Tibet identity, lived with us and gave us very strong psychological support. American Colonel Henry Steel Olcott laid the foundation to build generations of strong Sri Lankans. Contributions of Mr. Pierre Pringiers to develop the Sri Lankan socioeconomic fabric in the recent decades is well known and much respected.

Chinese poet Yuan Zhen once wrote “I don’t have a particular preference for chrysanthemum, yet there are indeed no better-looking flowers after it blooms”. Chrysanthemum tea can help balance the internal heat in cold climates as per traditional Chinese medical practices. Ms. Hilda Muriel Westbrook (wife of P. De. S. Kularathna) and Deshabandu Clara Motwani being foreign nationals educated thousands of Sri Lankan girls making strong mothers to drive the civilization. Sir Arthur Clarke decided to live with us and attracted the world to us at a time when Sri Lankan citizens were migrating to other countries.

There is discussion on dual citizens with the 20th amendment to the constitution. Before the 19th amendment there was not much talk about dual citizens. The day after the 19th amendment was passed some print media reported that Gotabaya Rajapaksa will not be able to become president. We should analyze the experiences with citizens from other countries and decide on whom to be recognized to get the best for our country. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa came to Sri Lanka to serve his brother. He contributed to end the 30-year conflict. When the war ended many professionals with Sri Lankan origins returned to serve the country and few were invited. One notable was the former governor of the Central Bank who was known as Arjuna Mahendran. At the same time there are Sri Lankans who are physically present with hearts and minds in other countries. Most critical are those who live elsewhere but come to the country at sensitive moments such as democratic elections if they are recognized as citizens. Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake’s approach on citizenship, impact of the Sirima Shasthri pact, Malaysia’s Bumiputra concept also can be studied before making policy decisions.

China’s Deng Xiaoping wanted to train youth in the west to make China stronger. When he was sending thousands of students on government scholarships to the west for higher education, some were skeptical of the move. Deng’s view had been that if at least 5% returned it would be enough to reach the goal. Most came back and created the world’s leading economy (Ref. Chinese sources). Chinese poet Tao Yuanming wrote “The mountain air is fine at evening of the day, and flying birds return together homewards, within these things there is a hint of truth, but when I started to tell it, I cannot find words”.

The writer is an Academic and a Broadcaster. Views expressed are personal and may not necessarily be the views of his affiliations.

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