No, They’re Not Really Hipsters
I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of people wandering around Sri Lanka who, if you saw them on the streets of New York or Phila, would seem to be dripping with Cool. Their messy hair, their tatty clothes… it’s a study in careful dishevelment.
Except they’re not Cool, they’re poor laborers and betel addicts and alcoholics, by and large. Some phenotypes of this:
-middle-aged guy in tight flowered poly shirt, open to the navel, also wearing a batik skirt (sarong), with shaggy bedhead ‘do
-young guy in short shorts, pink flipflops, big curly Sri-fro, and about twelve necklaces
- the Sri Lankan punk: plaid short-sleeve button-down with plaid sarong
Also notable: the women cops, especially traffic cops, wear tight knee-length skirts and tucked-in shirts and little Gestapo-y shiny caps and belts and lots of insignia. Their uniforms are sort of mauve and they wear matching ankle socks and laced oxfords, making them look like some kind of paramilitary R. Crumb fantasy. Hott!
...I am reading Frantz Fanon, and think he would disapprove of my observations. A colonizer, clearly. His ideas about violence and hatred of the 'native' for the 'settler' are way out of line with my sense of the colonial past and memory here. Then again Sri Lanka didn't have a violent independence movement. No no; they waited till after independence for that!