Sri Lanka in the 60s—a fond look back at Woodstock, bell-bottoms, ‘suicide doors’ and whistling at girls

 

Feizal Samath

Sri Lanka like it used to be back in the 60s rekindles some fond memories for renowned Colombo journalist, musician and social activist Feizal Samath.

Remnants of British culture—Enid Blyton, ex-London Transport red buses, a ‘suicide-door’ Lancaster car—mixed with Brylcream, Elvis Presley and Woodstockian US counter-culture.

Says Feizal, writing for the News Decoder website: “The best part of the ‘60s? Laid back, no rush and time to spare!”

 

Woodstock, bell-bottoms, long hair and the occasional ‘smoke,’ gave hope to our new generation

Now the business-news editor for the Sunday Times and founder of Country Music Foundation, a charity to help underprivileged children, he looks back with a wry—and only slightly jaundiced—eye.

“A growing middle class in our South Asian nation, along with Woodstock, bell-bottoms, long hair and the occasional ‘smoke,’ gave hope to our new generation even though we were far removed from the global centers of power.

“The Vietnam War didn’t figure much in local politics. It was era when members of the three main communities here — Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims — lived together as one, without the squabbles seen today.”

 

It was also an era of kerosene fridges, Enid Blyton and Hardy Boys books, 33 and 45 rpm records, and ‘suicide doors’—car doors hinged at the rear rather than at the front.

A time when “whistling at girls in mini-skirts by boys sporting Elvis Presley-style, Brylcreemed hair bumps was considered clean fun”.

“Those were carefree days when going to school meant returning home around 1-2 pm, having lunch, a quick nap, playing cricket, early to bed, and listening to the radio in between.”

Read more here.

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