A painting of me

Pitchfork: M.I.A. Interview

   29 September 2005, early evening

I didn’t feel good growing up back in the day in London with Sri Lankans, ‘cause they’d look down on us. They’d be like, “Oh, you haven’t got a Dad. My Daddy’s a doctor, and we’re going to private school, and then I’m going to Cambridge to be a doctor.” And I knew when I was a kid that was never going to happen to me. I had no parents helping me with my homework. My parents never came to a parents’ meeting in school, I went to my own—“How’m I doing this year?” [laughs] Then when I started doing art, and everyone was like, “Oh my God, your children are so thick that they have to take art!”

Excerpt from a great interivew with M.I.A. at Pitchfork Media. I can’t stress how true this quote is. I think all of our family friends in England have children who are doctors or lawyers now. In Canada, there are just too many Tamil people around for anyone to be in your face about what your kids are up to. [via Ananthan]



  1. “In Canada, there are just too many Tamil people around for anyone to be in your face about what your kids are up to.”

    wanna bet

  2. Well at the very least it’s much better here than in Sydney or London, where random strangers will ask you what your kids test scores are. I wonder if it is just Jafna Tamils that are so obnoxious.

  3. “I wonder if it is just Jafna Tamils that are so obnoxious.”

    Yes. Yes it is.

    BTW, hi Ram. Nice meeting you at the concert. Ananthan can attest that I’ve been raving the past 2 days about the great blog you have here.

  4. Alex Thanks. On the subject of Jafna, I’ve always been curious as to who actually does all the fighting there. Living abroad gives you such a skewed view of things. When my parents talk about Jafna and their generation, it’s all educated middle class Tamil folk trying to go to university or work in Sri Lanka, who move to London when they can’t. I guess they filter out everything else. So in my head, the Jafna Tigers would be a small army of accountants, doctors, and engineers—lots of engineers. I need to go visit Sri Lanka.

  5. er, as the resident spell-checker (I’ve been slacking, but I’ll get back on it again), I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Jaffna (a poor wikipedia entry that I will likely edit in the future…and it has a political slant to a supposed encyclopedia entry. lonely planet has a better entry on Jaffna) has two “f”s.

    also, not to discount the people living there, but many of the future doctors, accountants and engineers left with the rest of the diaspora. that middle class your parents knew could afford to leave when the shit hit the fan, and for the most part, they did.

  6. That’s sort of what I assumed. I imagine there must be a lot of folks that couldn’t pick up and leave in the 60s and 70s when it was pretty clear being Tamil in Sri Lanka isn’t so hot.

    (And thanks for all your spell checking help, as usual. Shout outs to Dave and Mezan as well. Distributed grammar and spell checking is great.)

  7. This is also a pretty comprehensive site on Jaffna

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