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Art of doing nothing



The feature article titled - Art of doing nothing, by Abhik Roy, appearing in The Island of 6th Aug. was quite familiar to us, although it maybe something difficult for most Westerners to practice. The cartoon strip of Calvin and Hobbes, inserted by the Editor, added more punch to this revealing piece of writing. It was very appropriate. Just as Calvin was ready to help Hobbes in doing nothing, there won’t be any shortage of volunteers in this land like no other. Our "honourable" Members of Parliament has set a fine example of practicing this art.


The writer has pointed out the downside of leading a fast life and that the Dutch have taken it to heart very seriously and that they have a word for it called Niksen.


This made me wonder whether the Dutch during their sojourn in the 17th and 18th centuries, in our Island, picked it up from the Sinhala word - nikang or it was the other about. That is, whether the Dutch gave us this word and showed us how to practice it, so that they would be rid of any possible rebellion. Some old timers say that even the name of the coastal town, Negombo was derived from the word nikang. If this art of doing nothing was introduced by the Dutch, we should be thankful to them. If so, in addition to this, they also left us the legacy of their Architecture, Roman-Dutch law, canals, Breudher, Kokis and Lamprais and the happy-go-lucky Dutch Burghers. While the rest still remain, it was unfortunate that most of these Burghers, as the late Collette used to say, burghered off to Australia, in the 50s and early 60s.


(ND)


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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