TRAVEL WARNING ON BRITAIN
Oh to be in England! Last month there was a flurry of activity in the British Foreign Office stemming from its present keen obsession with Lanka, declaring that it was ‘a country of concern’. Whilst the State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hugo Swire was declaring that he had no plans to visit Lanka in the near future, the British Foreign Office was busy updating their travel advisory on Lanka to its citizens making them aware that, though the Eelam War has ended and defence ministry permission is no longer required to travel north, there was still the underlying terrorism extant in Lanka; and warning them of the dangers of not following security forces orders, of the risks of credit card frauds, of road accidents, of drinks being spiked by locals at bars, of dangerous weather and monsoon havoc and even of the dangers of bathing in the sea, stating it carries the risk of drowning.
While it is perfectly proper for any nation to warn its citizens of the risks they will face when they visit another country, it is sad to note that the Sri Lanka Government has not thought it fit to issue one to the thousands of Lankans who visit hazard ridden Britain annually.
Thus today SUNDAY PUNCH steps in to fill the gap and, for the benefit of the Great Lankan Jet Setting Public, issues its own Travel Advisory Update to all who intend travelling to the British Isles this summer; and warns them of the risks they face in that volatile land, sceptred with a thousand shocks. If the Lankan Foreign Ministry is not up to it, well then, someone has to do it. So here goes.
Since the end of the Second World War foreign nationals are no longer interred and do not need permission from the Defence Ministry to travel to southern England, northern Scotland or western Wales of Britain but since police conducted traffic operations are underway on a daily basis you should always obey orders from the police and follow road signs and traffic lights warning of the danger existing on roads. Also ensure that you only cross roads at specified pedestrian crossings. But even this can be hazardous since not all British motorists obey traffic rules.
ILLEGAL: Against the law to get drunk in a pub
Given the still underdeveloped road and transport infrastructure, there are no tuk tuks in Britain.
ACT OF TREASON: Pasting a stamp in Britain can cost you your head
And remember, since 1839 it is illegal to get drunk at a pub in England.
Though the Irish Red Army fighting for an independent state of Northern Ireland has been defeated by the British military forces, there is still an underlying threat from terrorism. Any suspicious parcels found on the road should not be examined. They could be homemade bombs planted by the IRA or unexploded bombs from the Second World War; still undetonated sixty years after the war ended due to lack of finances faced by the destitute British government to carry out bomb defusing operations..
You can be charged with terrorism for picking up an abandoned parcel.
If you are lucky, most visits to Britain are trouble free but you should be aware of the risk of credit card frauds, of pick pockets, of getting the proper change at super markets, of road accidents, of many diseases, including AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Beware of clothing shops selling cheap third world manufactured garments at fancy high prices. Care must be exercised when bathing at sea at the many sea side resort like Brighton or even in the bathtub of your hotel lavatory. There is the strong risk of drowning. Death by freezing is also common in England so take care not to step out onto the streets in sarong and vest to buy the morning bread and milk from the corner boutique.
Do pay close attention when you are mailing a ‘wish you were here’ postcard to your friends back home, for you can be hanged for it. Placing a postage stamp bearing the monarch’s head upside down on an envelope is considered as an act of treason and carries the death penalty.
If you are in Britain during the Christmas season please note that throughout the whole of England it is a criminal offence to eat mince pies on Christmas Day, the 25th of December.
ILLEGAL: Christmas Day ban on mince pies
Since a considerable number of Britons are against the Royal Family and throng Buckingham Palace on a daily basis to mark their protest at the monarchy and lack of true democracy, all precautions must be taken when visiting this land mark building since violence can flare at any given time without warning. And remember the bear skin headwear adorned guards who stand motionless as if dead, bearing long bayoneted guns at the gates of this royal residence, are actually alive and are not wax figures dragged from the nearby Madame Tussaude’s House of Horrors nearby. Take care not to take advantage of their statue like appearance, and be photographed kissing them since some may take offence.
Should you buy a pet dog and take him along for a walk remembers it is an executable offence to allow your pet to mate with one of the Queen’s corgis without permission. Should you happen to meet the Queen on one of her famous walk abouts, exercise full control and don’t flatulate. Passing wind in front of the reigning monarch can lead to a charge of treason.
When touring the ancient city of York if you murder a man and he happens to be a Scotsman carrying a bow and arrow, don’t fret, it’s all right as long as it is not done on a Sunday. It is perfectly legal. But, please, please, don’t ask a Scotsman what he wears under his kilt. Whatever liberties you may take with him, this sensitive topic is forbidden to be raised by law. And if by chance you do happen to meet Tom Jones, remember he is Welsh and not English, as it is illegal to refer to a Welshman as an Englishman.
If you are visiting the House of Commons and the House of Lords at Westminster, ensure that you don’t drop dead there. It is illegal to die within the premises because, if you do, you have to be accorded a state funeral.
PUBLIC SPECTACLE: Allowed for men as long as it is the car owner
Soho is a popular street in London but be warned. The innocent looking plastered show cases may be a facade for shops selling pornographic stuff and may be patronised by local perverts. Also watch out for Lankan politicians and high ranking officials who roam these streets on ‘fact finding’ missions (of course, of course) to find new ways to curb vice in Lanka and study the effects of prostitution spawned by casinos would have back home. They are on secret missions paid for by the Lankan public purse so avoid showing signs of recognition and giving the game away.
The streets of England are a dangerous place for people to walk especially at night and females should never be on the roads after dark whether accompanied or not, since rapists and muggers prowl the alleys looking for sex. Even single males should watch out for homosexual attacks. Since the sun does not rise and set at regular times in Britain unlike the well ordained routine in Sri Lanka, darkness may dawn at any time of the day. So be warned. Also beware of pigeon droppings when out on the streets especially when you visit Trafalgar Square. They can strike without warning and are hazardous to your health and can damage your clothing.
Britain, for all its show of opulence, is a cash-strapped nation; and many of its streets date back to Roman times and have not been carpeted. Do be careful when walking on these uneven cobbled streets. If you slip and twist your ankle, there are no ‘kadum bidhum’ vedas to help you in England.
In the UK, a pregnant woman can legally relieve herself anywhere she wants in the road and, if she wishes, even into a policeman’s helmet. It is legal for a male to urinate in public, as long it is on the rear wheel of his motor vehicle and his right hand is on the vehicle. The law is not clear as to how it will affect a woman who is not pregnant or to a man who does not own the car he is driving so it is safer (if you are in the latter category) to practice self-control and get back to your hotel. In Scotland, however, you have every right to knock on a person’s home and demand to use the toilet. They have to let you, by law.
Also, if you are driving a vehicle, please note that the horn, under a quaint law in England, is only to be used in an emergency and NOT to show your annoyance at the driving manner of another.
Under the Salmon Act of 1986, it is ‘illegal to handle salmon under suspicious circumstances’. UK legislation also contains strict decrees against illegal possession of salmon. So be warned when carrying any if you have a fetish for the fish.
Barely fifty years ago it was illegal for a woman to “cause a nuisance with abusive or argumentative language.” A woman guilty of scolding had to wear a scold’s bridle, or metal cage, enclosing her head. In 1967, however, this law was abolished and your wife can now scold you freely and as much as she likes, so it is pointless to complain to the nearest copper and refer to the old law.Unfortunately, under the ancient laws of chivalry, men are precluded from doing the same and can be arrested for violence against women. But rape is okay, like in Lanka, if she is your wife.
With the alarming rise in paedophiles in England it is best to leave the children at home in Sri Lanka. It is this increase in English perverts that has given rise to the English maxim “children should only be seen and not heard” meaning they should not scream whilst being viewed and molested.
However if you have taken them already, remember Section 54 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839, prohibits ‘flying kites, playing annoying games, or sliding in snow” so ensure your kids don’t get locked by the police for playing on the road.
Britain can be affected by severe weather conditions like freak flooding, mountains of snow, gusty wind, non-stop drizzle, severe cold spells, and frostbite; though in Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire hurricanes hardly happen, beware of the adverse effects of experiencing all four seasons in one day. The polluted environment can also cause hay fever, bee stings, gout, shingles, cramps, influenza, stomach upsets, headaches, and tooth aches.
But for the British the weather is indeed heaven sent. For their pedestrian minds it provides them a topic of conversation that can drag endlessly. They love its unpredictable nature and will kick off every meeting with it and carry on until it is time to say bye. Any attempt to talk about any other matter will be taken as a sign of rudeness and will leave them greatly offended. They much prefer to talk about a glorious summer morning or the rainy foggy evening than about their sick wife or child.
Communicating with the natives has always been a problem for Sri Lankan visitors since the English language is rarely spoken in this part of the world. For over three hundred years French was the official language. Today, the commonly spoken languages are Hindi, Tamil, and Urdu. The abundant use of a few odd English words known to the locals such as ‘darling’, ‘love’, sweetheart’ etc should not be taken personally. But since 25 per cent of those born in London are foreigners, there are over 300 languages spoken. Sinhalese is sometimes spoken by the Sinhala Diaspora but there can be difficulty deciphering the cockney ‘pol katu’ accent in which it is spake.
Take out VIP Full Option travel and medical insurance and a return air ticket before you travel. Ensure you have sufficient amounts of Sri Lankan rupees since the British pound is subject to sudden fluctuations. And never forget to carry your Golden Spree Credit card, though their on line banking systems are still not state-of-the-art and thus may not be able to confirm its credit worthiness.
It must be understood, and allowances amply made, that Britain is a country in transition and suffers from a multitude of physiological issues, including schizophrenia, concomitant with the malady popularly termed the ‘empire’ syndrome. Her loss of Empire, her destitute plight and her altered status from British Raj to Uncle Sam’s lap dog have had their cumulative adverse effect on the psyche.The grandeur that a Royal Family provides, though having a tranquil sedative temporary effect on her mental status, prevents her from coming to terms with the paucity of her realistic state. This, as eminent psychiatrists have observed, make Britons take a keen, almost obsessive interests in other people’s problems. So don’t be alarmed to see Britons ruffling through their neighbours’ garbage. It is to forget their own plight. Being aware of this condition please refrain from hailing the wonders of Sri Lanka and how it has become the miracle of the world, the hub of everything that matters under the sun. This will only serve to make British wounds bleed afresh, the blood to run green in envy. And, if at the end of the visit, you wonder what’s so great about Great Britain, remember it’s like the sri in Sri Lanka. Nothing resplendent or great to write home about.
Oh, two more things. Nearly forgot. An offer to serve you breakfast with egg and tomato is not to be taken as a prelude to a gun attack. And remember, it is illegal under the terms of the Prohibition and Inspections Act of 1998 of England to cause a nuclear explosion. Well, you have been warned.
Happy Holiday and safe return.