Business in Sri Lanka

I think I get it. Or, at least I’m done fighting.

I’ve moved on to a mix of passive resistance and giving up. Two stories to elucidate my point:

Story One

Since I arrived at this company, I’ve been working on the website, along with our web designer. Events have not moved as fast as I would like. Content wise, most of the core element are near completion, but in terms of design it’s a ways off.

For the last three weeks, we’ve been unable to FTP to our new site. For the last three weeks, we’ve been constantly frustrated and working at 1/10 our efficiency, and we’d even sent in over five different requests for support to our webhost, none of which were answered.

I had just made plans to go to the webhost’s office in person, when a coworker asked, “Have you been trying to change the password for cpanel?”

Yes, I explained. I had been trying to figure out which email we had our login information under, so I could go to our webhost in person and explain our problem. We hadn’t been able to FTP for weeks.

The problem was that our webhost had changed our password for FTP weeks ago. Our webhost had only emailed my coworker the new password. But, my coworker explained, “I can’t give the password to you, because, you understand, we can’t give it to everyone in the office,” he said patronizingly.

“I don’t need it, but our web designer needs it. Why didn’t you email it to her when you got the email? We haven’t been able to do anything for weeks!”

“Well, now you have it,” he said.

No admission of sorry, no, “I didn’t realize that not having this information would make your life harder.” My blood was boiling, and I left the office. To my coworker’s credit, he had gotten married. However, he had been in the office when he received the email and is in a management position here.

There are a couple things wrong with the above.

First, my coworker did not forward the crucial email for our jobs, even though we were working on the website and likely knew we needed the new password.

Second, the webhost, when we sent in help tickets, ignored all of them, and instead called my coworker only, not informing of us any of the details.

Story Two

Last week, we needed a poster made for the office, to give to a school group. I had designed the poster, and finished it on Tuesday. I gave the poster to my coworker (a different one than above) and told him we needed it printed urgently.

I asked him on Wednesday how the printing was going. He said he would do it Thursday.

I asked him on Thursday how the printing was going. I got a response indicating he was working on it.

I asked him on Friday if he had printed it. He said that he hadn’t been able to print it for the past week because it was too pixilated. Why didn’t you tell me it was too pixilated? I could have fixed it! If I had known that the image was too pixilated, I could have immediately avoided all the problems and wasted time. But culture here dictates that you cannot disappoint someone asking for help. For instance, if you ask for directions and someone doesn’t know, they’ll just point you in a random direction, rather than saying the don’t know.

We needed it delivered later the same day! quickly remade the poster and gave it back to him. He said he thought it was ok if he could print it on Saturday. I said, “no.” I need it now, we need to deliver it to the school by 4pm!

He went to go eat lunch.

He came back and I told him we needed it now, or, “my head was off.”

In order to help a “machan” (brother) out, he drove to the printing office. But, then called me and told me he forgot the file.

I emailed it to him.

He then called and said he couldn’t reach the phone number of the schoolmaster we were delivering it to and had forgotten the backup number.

I texted him the backup number, and cycled off to the school, where I waited for him to deliver the poster.

I called and asked where he was. He said he was lost. 5:30 he showed up, quite the sight on his scooter with a life size poster between his legs


(Saying the word, “hurry” is a criminal offense.)