Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Campus Stories : How to Survive Being Ala

Basic Definitions:

Ragging : A form of abuse on newcomers in educational (mostly) institutions.

Ala : An antiragger. A person who opposes ragging, thus doesn't get ragged by anyone and does not rag anyone.

Wela : People who get ragged, and return the favor to the newcomers come next year.

Semi-Ala : A member of the Ala group by definition, but not wholeheartedly. Hangs out with the other party as well, and does not take a side in a crisis situation.

Semi-Wela : A member of the Wela group by definition, but not wholeheartedly. Hangs out with the other party as well, and does not take a side in a crisis situation.

Purpose of this post is to provide you a guide to survive, even thrive four years in the university without getting ragged, thus the two groups Semi-Ala and Semi-Wela are not discussed henceforth.

Perspective Definitions:

Definition of Alayo by Welayo
Softies. Posh, possesses a good command in English, and usually rich. Looks down on people of all classes that are not theirs, does not care for the commoners. Focused, at all times, only on their well being. Un-patriotic, admires all things foreign and most probably UNP-ish. Spoilt brats/bitches. Hence the term Ala which literally means Potatoes - foreign, expensive, soft and usually perceived as a high class food.

Definition of Welayo by Welayo
The real deal. Tough guys, brave but still possesses a kind heart that cares for humanity. Open minded, wise and are matured. THE prototype of the university student.

Definition of Welayo by Alayo
Assholes. Uncivilized morons, who like nothing better than to see their own suffer. Oppose all things conventional just for the sake of it, and big heads who see their way the only way. Backbone-less for not being able to stand up to other assholes who want you to lick toilets. Being 'radical' and patriotic is considered fashionable. Usually JVP. The term Wela (literal meaning ; over riped Jack Fruit) reflects on the said backbone-less characteristic, basically everything that is the opposite of Potatoes.

Definition of Alayo by Alayo
Humble and brave. All are equal, and nobody's made to do anything by anyone else because they happened to be born a year earlier. Appreciates freedom and the right to live with dignity. Everything that is NOT the definition of Alayo by Welayo.

Tips for survival (tested and proven)
Upon your entering the university, senior Welayo will be uncharacteristically nice to you. Don't be deceived. Repeat, don't be deceived. The niceties are only until you are converted - afterwards you will be asked to clean their toilets with your tongue because the university is on a cost cutting mission and toilet cleaning equipment are not provided to them. Remain uninterested to their invitations at all times, and avoid confrontations as much as possible. Not being alone whenever you are out in the open will be a good practice. Guys will have the added advantage of keeping girls of your batch in company whenever necessary, and girls will have the opportunity of being protected from the evil Welayo, by the Alayo who want to get into your pants. Well not always, but you get the gist.

Know your facts. Some of the common misconceptions promoted by Welayo are that you will not be able to survive four years in the university without the help of the seniors and only Welayo will be given the said help. Or that you will be isolated in lectures. That you will not be able to stay in hostels. Truth is, there are Ala seniors who are more than capable of giving you assistance - a.k.a. Kuppi - and it is very rarely that you have only a solitary Alaya registered in a particular course. You will have at least one partner, usually a lot more. There are hostels that Alayo can stay perfectly well as well. Also, if you're a guy, knowing that usually the girls outnumber guys roughly 1 : 3 when it comes to Alayo will help you keep motivated.

Also being aware of the freedom you will enjoy being Ala is bound to motivate you. For one, you do not have to abide a set of self imposed silly rules that serves no purpose other than to harass you. You don't have to be belt-less and wrist-watch-less for three months. If you're of the fairer sex, you can wear jeans and short skirts if you prefer, without being labelled as a whore. You can use facilities such as the gym and the pool right away as opposed to Welayo who forbid you from the use of them until they deem it appropriate. You don't have to call silly names for the schools which you practically grew up, whenever you are talking about them. You can pretty much live without your human rights being violated if you become Ala.

In the event of a confrontation, assault verbally as much as possible as opposed to being physical. Welayo largely outnumber you, usually at a ratio somewhere around 1 to 20, so a physical confrontation hints at a prospective disaster. Also, do not show any signs of fear even when confronted with a bunch that fits the above proportion - they do not want to start a fight and suffer the consequences, so take advantage of it. Talk, displaying that you're oozing with confidence that you can take them on. Also, they do not have the courage to take you on unless they outnumber you 20 to 1 as mentioned above. Mentioning the names of few 'aiyas' in town you happen to know will probably help, though making sure the said 'aiyas' are not better pals of the Welayo you're confronting would be healthy.

Be politically correct. Though you never really have any intentions of wiping out the Wela population in the university, they want to wipe you out. Thus they will, at times, take drastic measures which might provide you with an opportunity. Always be on alert, and make the best of it when an opportunity comes your way.

Not all Welayo will be as hardcore as their top notch leaders. There are plenty who are not real assholes. Take advantage of it; make friends with them and then induce fear into not so hardcore Welayo by continuously reminding them the might-be-dire consequences of getting into a confrontation with Alayo. Do not forget to remind them that the staff members are more often than not on the lookout for an opportunity to get back at Welayo for their unacceptable behavior in the past.

When you advance through the years, you will inevitably make friends with them. Still, make it a point to remind them the treatments they got from their seniors, and the stupidity of it all. By that time, they have probably realized that anyway, but still reminding that is a good idea because they will be less and less intent on continuing the tradition. Long shot, and takes time, but always worth a try.

Keep reminding yourself, in difficult times, that you were able to hold your head high and that you never bowed to the pressure from them. Be proud of the fact that you did not let anybody abuse you (all pun intended), and that in turn you did not abuse anybody either. That you lived by your principles, and that you did not make it a point to harass someone because they happen to be born after you. Be proud that you were not a disgrace to the humanity.

ONE thing to keep in mind at all times.
The privileges and freedom you enjoy being Ala right from the moment you enter the university did not come without a price. A lot of Alayo before you had to go through a LOT to get what you have today, they had to fight - figuratively and literally - over many years and had to go through a lot. Therefore do not, I repeat, DO NOT, take your freedom and privileges for granted for doing so will only ruin it for many a Ala generation to come. Instead, make sure that they too will be able to enjoy those in years to come.

Good luck to all you potential Alayo!



  1. nothing to add, this is perfect SACH...I too have gone through all you have said and found that this guide is quite similar to the one i would give to a potential alaya verbally...great job bro...will share this around for sure

  2. Good article.
    But it's true that most of the welayos are
    good. Only 10% are assholes.
    Others know they are not doing a good thing
    but they fear to resist it. Because their
    seniors (I mean seniors from their schools)
    are welayos.

    And most important thing is, most of the
    lecturers don't try to stop it. Believe me,
    some of them like it. They want it.
    This is unfortunate.

    Administration should involve in this if we
    really want to eradicate ragging from the

    Wish that will become a reality in the future.

  3. If you dont mind could you tell me which uni u belong to. because i went to colombo uni and they had no alayo there.

    btw all deeps all walayo are assholes. those ppl who do nothing. thats being an asshole. going along and trying to please seniors. thats asshole.

  4. @Deeps
    Hey, thanks! Please feel free to share this... Actually it's nice to see more and more people turning "ala" these days...

    Yes I get what your point about schools. But then again, you should have balls to stand up to this kind of ridiculous thing, irrespective of their gender. I know that some lecturers don't mind ragging, and that's actually a part of the problem. Maybe what we can do best is the raise the awareness.

    I was in University of Peradeniya and graduated a few years back. But as I heard recently ragging has been minimum in UOC.

  5. This was really well written Sach... yay for Alayas! :)

  6. Hooray for Alayas everywhere! I was never ragged, since I was in the first batch and had no seniors so I didnt have to go through any of this stupid ragging business :)
    But some of my friends, who are perfectly decent human beings normally, take a ridiculous anti - Alaya stance when we talk about this - exactly defining anti ragging people the way you described in 'Definition of Alayo by Welayo'..

  7. @Chavie
    Thanks dude, maybe because this was more or less my own experience.

    Yeah, hooray indeed! Well, that definition was sarcastic as well as true I guess. Which is sad, actually...

  8. Good one Gura. I especially like the last part.

  9. Thanks mahcan, yeah that last part was directed at a specific audience.

  10. yeah i figured u were at peradeniya. cz thats the only place i'v heard of that so far has an anti-ragging group. ragging is not minimum at UOC especially if you are a girl they never get off your case.

  11. @Anon
    Well, I wasn't sure, it was something that I just heard/read somewhere that had stuck in my memory. So maybe I'm wrong.
    But then again, in case you're still at the university, I guess it's never too late to start. I'm sure there must be people among Welayo even that who are tired of ragging, so you can start. It'll be hard, but worth a shot always.

  12. I read this in the Kottu supplement. I think it is excellent. Funny, informative and well written. My husband has been at a local uni the whole of his adult life but has never described ragging is well as you did.
    It's true some staff members don't do anything about ragging. I think they are scared of students.
    There is a dark side of ragging. It's is used to brain wash and recruit students to the JVP. There are training camps that some are sent to.