Dear Enrique, thank you, no thank you & sorry

Dear Enrique,

As you are on your way to Israel right now, and after that to other destinations for a continuation of your “Sex and Love” tour, here are a few things I’d like to thank you for, not really thank you for, and apologise for. Simply hoping that this reaches you some day, some where and you get some insight as to how the thousands of fans from my little island nation felt the night you performed.

Thank you —

Thank you for deciding to perform in a country you probably hadn’t, but should have heard of, because you made dreams come true last night.

Thank you for taking the time, and I’m sure this is the real reason behind your 3 and a half hour delay, to learn how to say Ayubowan and Obata Stutiyi, the pronunciation was spot on and we immensely appreciate it, Hola y gracias to you too Mr Iglesias.

It was a night several would remember for as many ups as downs the night bought, and the highs of the rollercoaster only began when you actually started performing. You are a tremendous live performer and your voice turned out to be just as hot as your body. Hearing you perform took me right back to the days your latest single would play on Vh1 as I’d come home after school and annoy the life out of my mum by dancing in my school uniform and refusing to eat or shower until I had played it on Youtube another 100 times and danced-it-out, but that’s the thing, you can never dance-an Enrique song-out. They’ll remain forever timeless, to lip sync to, to dance to, to clap to, to even hum to, and that is why I am forever grateful to you for letting me experience not only what it feels like for your ovaries to explode when you winked, but also for witnessing first hand, music that I am positive, will live on in the hearts of many generations to come. The tunes of Hero serenaded my mother, myself and hopefully my daughter or son too. But sadly, I won’t let either of my children attend your concert if you do decide to visit Sri Lanka again in a decade or so, and this is why..

No thank you —

No thank you, to your crew, and most importantly the organisers for being able to do the most, but doing absolutely nothing. Although I purchased a ticket priced at 35,000 LKR, I am only part of a privileged minority. Several people, those that love you as much, and probably even more than I do, unfortunately weren’t part of this minority. And yes, I understand, the entertainment industry is as much of making money as it is actually entertaining and the VIPs were promised a lot of “free stuff” at the after party and possibly free beer at the event as well, but if this segregation had to be made there might as well have been a higher quality service for those that really thought they would be VIP for a night. There were people from different parts of Colombo that had travelled long distances, collected money by doing several odd jobs for months, sacrificing meals, living of scraps, and the worst- agonising the life out of their traditional families because entertainment is not meant to be “worth it,” in our academically driven country but we really thought you would be. And here is why you weren’t-

Audiences for all 6 types of tickets, were standing in queues as soon as easy as noon, just to make sure they’d get as close to you as they possibly could. With immense determination and endurance of the blistering heat and pools of sweat, being told that the gates would open at 6pm we waited. Children, women, men, couples, friends, families- your fans- waited. It was 7.00pm and still there was close to no progress. We had all moved a little bit forward, and the large gate that could accommodate the crowd was under strict orders not to be opened. So we were allowed in, almost in single file through a narrow opening to the entrance of the grounds almost one and a half hours later than we had expected. But that’s alright, the show was meant to start at 7, theoretically its only a small delay, and you’re bound to have people waiting from the crack at dawn at concerts like this anyways so was the wait worth it is the question. It wasn’t. People that had arrived at 7 could so conveniently cut the lines and come straight to the front because there was absolutely no regulation of the queues, there were a few police helplessly staring as men that had just stepped out of whatever fancy car they were driving pushed through the families that had been there since 2pm and there were no barricades, no crowd control ropes, nothing at all to stop them from doing so. So we just had to remain there, squashed in between a huge gate that would essentially solve the problem and a crowd that was for the most part, merely frustrated.

So once we finally got inside, was the wait worth it? No. Tickets were barely even checked as a result of the permeating guilt of the delay and coloured bands that demarcate those that paid an extra 5000 LKR from those that didn’t were just handed out. This wasn’t an issue of a bunch of kids from a seemingly elitist school wanting to be the only ones who got to see you, this was an issue of 5000 LKR actually being of value to majority of the people. The people that had put in everything they could to scrape that extra 5000, their efforts were diminished. They would have gotten the exact same view of you, exact same treatment and all they had to do was grab a red band instead of green or yellow. And yes, it was as easy as just ‘grabbing.’ There wasn’t even any deceit involved, their wasn’t any Neil Caffrey stunt to pull with showing half the ticket or any illusionary trick of the sort, it was as easy as grabbing a band.

Okay fine, we finally got in, at least those that couldn’t afford that extra 5000 could enjoy the show, it didn’t really affect most of us. But did we enjoy from here onwards? No.

It was about 8pm and there was still no sign of you, again understandable, the queue for audience members for 5K had extended beyond sight and at least some of them had to be let in right, so we waited for half an hour, 45 minutes, listening to music we could barely hear by artists we hadn’t come to listen to and by 10.00 it was just irritating. Everyone wanted to go home, people were frustrated, bad vibes were protruding from every single member of the audience and we figured 10pm was the latest you could possibly get. But no, you arrive 3 hours and 38 minutes later than the time you were meant to arrive. Two of my friends who had bought 35K tickets for themselves as well as their families had to leave the minute you stepped on stage because they had a flight to catch and I can’t imagine the plethora of people who had to catch flights, had curfews, had work the next day and other obligations and responsibilities to keep, that just gave up and left, virtually flushing 35K downs the drain. And no thank you, for apologising for being “a bit late,” and proceeding to tell us to enjoy the next two hours and actually leaving a little bit less than one and a half hours later, so abruptly, that we had to question one another and members of the crew for reassurance that it was over.

Because Enrique, what you don’t know about my little island nation is that we are as much heart as we are pearl. we are also as much discipline as we are fun, and we value our money and time as much as we value our tea and you managed to waste both for us.

Sorry —

Well Enrique, it wasn’t all your fault, you came on stage and you did your thing, and you did it good, and even taking off your shirt wouldn’t have helped as much because I probably wouldn’t have been able to see. Its not only my height to blame but it was the impolite, indisciplined minority of Sri Lanka, that unfortunately were present last night. A reason I agreed to attend only if I had been able to purchase a VIP ticket was because I wanted an experience different to what I could have had in my bedroom. But what I experienced last night, was no no different. I was on my tip toes the whole night watching off the screens of people that were videoing and this wasn’t because I hadn’t come early enough, I had, and we already established the futility of that, but initially, I was right at front. Close enough to touch your feet, but mongrels- both men and women, shoved forward and didn’t even stop to apologise for knocking down my friend’s 11 year old brother to the ground, for stepping on my hand as I picked up my purse and for elbowing my friend’s neck. And this happened throughout the show, so much that eventually, we were classified as too far away for VIP. Because all those at front recklessly waving their hands around spilling beer on everyone around them, had yellow bands on their wrists, and the ratio of Gold, Bronze or Platinum to VIP towards the end was too heinous to even quantify. It was claustrophobic and dancing was made impossible, possibly because restrictions and barriers weren’t respected, possibly because you’re bound to find some disappointing people anywhere you go. So I’d like to apologise, for the people that called themselves adults but acted like little children high on sugar last night, for the security forces who could be easily swayed by a bribe, for the organisers who are seemingly unqualified to even arrange a 3 year old’s birthday party, and last but not least, the racist, narrow-minded, arrogant people that booed the gentleman from Bangalore that you called on stage.

When you read out what his board said,

“Santa said you’d pick me,”

It was the highlight of my night. It was nice to see someone be creative and witty with what they said particularly with Christmas being just around the corner and the remainder being cliched, writing that read

“Marry me Enrique”

“I love you Enrique”

“Be my hero Enrique”

I thank you for recognising something funny, for appreciating something as creative and witty as that and the fact that it wasn’t a Sri Lankan national doesn’t make a difference. So I apologise, for the racists that screamed out things like

“Go back to India”

“I’ll bomb India”

“Take a Sri Lankan up there you idiot”

Because that’s all they had to say, and the day they grow up and realise that by rubbing their bellies and booing as they chugged their 5th cup of beer in the last 20 minutes won’t get them anywhere, I hope they’ll think of something witty to say if you do indeed come back to pay us another visit.

And you should, because that’s not what Sri Lanka is about, Sri Lanka is a melting pot that welcomes anyone from anywhere to experience our beautiful beaches and sandy shores, to enjoy our rich tea and adorable elephants. Because we have a majority that overpowers the heartless minority,

So I’d also like to say thank you-

To the two gentleman next to me in the queue (one in a checkered shirt and one in a black t-shirt) for pleading the police men to speak to whoever is in authority and open the gate so that the women and children in the area wouldn’t get stampeded over, and so that we wouldn’t have to be gasping for breath for another hour.

Thank you to the woman who protested against the delay and was told to be quiet but refused to.

So Enrique, as much as I’d like to end by blaming you, or the organisers, I’d much rather end by hoping no one has to bear with something as audacious of this sort ever again. In the spirit of Christmas, I hope Santa will help you be on time for your next few shows and I hope in the future, you’d be presented by an event organiser- elves from the North Pole would be more appropriate- that won’t defame you for the rest of your career.

ඔබට ස්තුතියි, ගොඩාක් ආදරයෙන්

Thank you, lots of love

Sri Lanka