"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Sri Lankan Postmaster Sacked for Demanding Customers Speak English

On the 19th of March it was reported that a Postmaster, himself an immigrant from Sri Lanka, had caused controversy after refusing to serve customers who did not speak English.

Deva Kumarasiri has been in this country 17 years. He says coming here was always a dream for him - not because of the range of generous welfare benefits that attract some, but because he loves this country.

A Union Flag flies from his house, another from his car. Mr Kumarasiri even boasts that he taught his two daughters every word of the national anthem. His dream is for them to grow up to become doctors in the RAF.

However, today it was announced that he will be transferred after his Muslim Pakistani boss Riswan Raja, who owns the shop to which the post office is attached, threatened to 'make his life a living hell'.

Apparently several local Muslims and do-gooders had made complaints about his stance.

He has also been kicked out of the Liberal Democrats, for whom he served as a local councillor.

In the original article, he said:

Nobody stands up for anything in Britain any more,’ he said.
‘It’s the best country in the world as far as I’m concerned, but the great country I once called Great Britain has changed a lot since I came here.

‘All I’m doing is telling people if they want to live in Britain, be British. Don’t boo our soldiers when they come home from Iraq. Don’t live your life without embracing our culture. Don’t stay here without making any effort to learn the language. And if you don’t want to be British, go home.’

Mr Kumarasiri runs the post office inside a shop in Sneinton, an inner city area of Nottingham that boasts a diverse ethnic mix.

He became so weary of customers expecting to be served without uttering a word of English that he took to telling them to go away and learn the language. It’s not exactly a ban, he says, because they keep coming back anyway.

But he tells those who make no effort to speak English they will need an interpreter if he is to give them a proper standard of service.

‘Our laws are written in English; our culture is chronicled in English. How can anybody understand that if they can’t understand English? I tell them if they don’t speak the language and they can’t be bothered to learn, then don’t bother coming here.’

Mr Kumarasiri, whose wife is a nurse, likes to call his regular customers ‘duck’ and ‘dear’, following local tradition.

‘The fabric of the nation begins to unravel if we don’t all speak the same language. When I left Sri Lanka I left behind that country’s culture, customs and language. I have done my utmost ever since to be part of this country’s culture. Far too many people come here and expect Britain to change to suit them.

‘An Asian woman came in here yesterday and I insisted she spoke to me in English. She replied she preferred to speak in her mother tongue, but I told her Britain was now her motherland and she should speak English.’

As we talk in his shop, an Eastern European woman silently presents a £299 benefit cheque at the counter to be cashed. A Pakistani man – berated earlier by Mr Kumarasiri for not speaking English, smiles as he struggles with ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.

‘I decided to make this stand because I think too many Britons are afraid to talk out,’ he explains. ‘If they insist on everyone speaking English they are afraid of being branded a racist.’

Mr Kumarasiri grew up in a village outside the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo and learned English at school. He always dreamed of coming to England and worked in a garage, warehouse, shops and another post office before taking over this one in Sneinton.

He met his wife, Durga, here and both his daughters, Shahani, ten, and Heshini, eight, were born here.

He took a ‘stupid citizenship test’ at which he was asked questions such as what age he needed to be to buy cigarettes in Britain, and holds a British passport.

Back in his native Sri Lanka, he said, people were still proud to be associated with their former colonial ruler. ‘Still we have the pride that Britain left behind,’ he said. ‘The laws are still there, the schools are still there. The kids have courtesy. They have discipline. Here, all that is gone. Let’s bring it back.’

I must say I find his attitude inspiring, but I'm not entirely surprised that he has been transferred.

Apparently one of the main features of the local post office is that it is bilingual when necessary, and caters 'for the whole community'. That is presumably unless it has been closed.

Mr Kumarasiri vowed to continue his policy at his new post office - the Royal Mail said they would 'monitor the situation'.

Wait for the time to be right to sack him, more likely. However, he has received hundreds of messages of support from around the country.

5 comments:

Dr.D said...

Wow! Is it ever obvious where he went off the rails. He is trying to act British in Great Britain. The gall! And to expect to lead others into the foolishness as well -- where will it end?

Actually, the poor fellow might be happier to move back to Sri Lanka from what he says about conditions there. That sounds pretty good.

mksviews said...

I knew they'd shaft him, the worthless, cowardly scum. No more room for patriots in Britain.

A pox upon the scum that should have backed him up.

The Venerable 1st Earl of Cromer said...

Dr. D:

Yeah, it is a little crazy, isn't it? He clearly never read The Refugee Rulebook.

It's nice to see that some people see aspects of the British Empire in a positive light, though.

MKS:

Yeah, it was only a matter of time. At least he only had to move and actually still has a job - it won't be long before they find an excuse, though.

ProudPatriot said...

Is anyone setting up a petition of complaint regarding his transfer and treatment to back his stance up?
If not how can this be done anyone?
We need to support people like him. If all immigrants were like him then rascism would reduce so dramactically it simply wouldn't be on the political radar.
Don't the do-gooders know that this type of treatment of immigrants who do try to integrate just makes matters worse for those that do not!

ProudPatriot said...
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