Sri Lanka: Is the BPO glass half full or half empty?

Posted on December 7, 2010  /  6 Comments

I am sitting in China, writing this. It may be a case of observer bias, but I find the Sri Lankan young people I deal with more nimble in thinking and in command of English than their counterparts here. Yet, according to a ranking by IBM as reported by LBO, China has made a dramatic jump from 13th position in 2009 to 5th position in 2010, while Sri Lanka is holding steady at 12th place. Is this a cause for self-congratulation or self-examination? Is the glass half-full or half-empty?

Sri Lanka retained its position at 12 while China moved to 5, from 13 a year earlier.

“China is continuing its ascent as a services destination, and confirms it should not be considered anymore “merely” the world’s factory,” the report said.

“Sri Lanka is another Asian country that has succeeded in positioning itself as an alternative to India.”

Several Sri Lankan firms are engaging in the high-end of the market in the so-called ‘knowledge processing outsourcing’ of KPO sector.

Sri Lanka has been competing for outsourcing business for several years under the shadow of a 30-year war which increased risk. In 2009 a war ended and the country is looking forward to increasing services investments in particular.


  1. The lack of fluency in English is considered as a weakness and obstacle
    to our progress, with only 6% of our population fluent in English. Yet,
    instead of looking for weakness, let us consider how we could build on our strengths. We have a 92% literacy through our native languages, Sinhala and Tamil. But the main obstacle in using Sinhala and Tamil is its links to IT due to the lack of a Unicode that links us to other world languages as well as to each other.

    To take an example, one can use Japanese, Chinese, German, French,
    English or any of the other major languages, in any type of letter font and send it over the internet or any other telecommunication system, where it would be legible for the recipient to be able to read. You can send an SMS in any of these languages and the recipient will could read it. Yet, not so in Sinhala or Tamil. We cannot send an SMS in Sinhala or Tamil to any other mobile phone user regardless of the network. We cannot send an e-mail or access the net in Sinhala or Tamil without any restrictions and limitations. Many websites, written in Sinhala of Tamil appear garbled due to this short coming.

    Software for translations between Sinhala and Tamil cannot be developed due to this lack of proper registration (utf values) of all Sinhala and Tamil characters in UNICODE.

    All this is because the incorrect standard we have in the SLSI.

    To make the wonder of asia we need to correct the SLSI with “Donalds Code”

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Let us change the standard

  2. Donald is back in action with Donald code.

  3. Dear Donald,

    We missed you for some time and this blog has become a boring place without you. We welcome your re-entry. So what is new? What is the progress with Donald code? Are we any where near using it for sending SMS in Sinhala? Do they at least use your great product at Mahavilachchiya? Please update us on your progress for the years that you were so silent. It was a long period. Wasn’t it?

  4. You should see the progress of the other side. What have they done?
    How far they have progressed with their version?

    What do they talk
    “”They speak of an “IT” enabled society, English for all, Education excellence, Regional Commercial hub, infrastructure and rural development and economic stability among other things……””

    The question is, should we either wait for things to happen or work to make it happen. Bringing in English as a link language to make us IT enabled is simply not the solution. It is unproductive, and non-starter. In IT terms, without a common code to link, English cannot be made a link language.

    Use IT to bridge the digital divide between our two main languages and with others must be made a priority.

    The solution is with me and I should be given the opportunity as the other side had failed to give the product to the public.

    Give me the authority and 18 months. I will show the path.
    Wonder of Asia is in your hands.

    Donald Gaminitillake
    let us change the standard

  5. Pardon me for my lack of understanding on the subject/issue and the resulting confusion! Donald, why should anyone “give” you the opportunity to release your product to the public as you are free to do so in the free-for-all Net which is being flooded by various applications and other freeware by the hour? If the public is allowed to experience any of the claimed merits of “Donald Code” and its applicability, it would end up where it deserves to be. Pardon me again for my lack of understanding.

  6. Dear MH

    In Sri lanka — the two local languages are not compatible across all platforms. This is because we have not allocated the UTF values to all Sinhala and Tamil characters. All Sinhala and Tamil characters are not registered in the unicode consortium or in the SLSI.

    I am the only person who point this error to the public and I and I have published the solution. It is a problem with the standard.

    If you need to know the history of the problem please contact me.

    Donald Gaminitillake
    Let us change the standard