By Chithru Patalee De Silva
The social network Facebook has plenty to offer. Once as I was scrolling down the homepage I came across something that instantly grabbed my attention. Intrigued by its name and struggling to figure out whether it’s pronounced as ‘meh-meh’, ‘meems’ or ‘mems’ I entered into a world of memes depicting stories according to the Sri Lankan style with ingenious graphics and of course overflowing with humour. Varying from Kottu roti to the cricket world along with catchphrases such as ‘Superb ah’, ‘Papadam’ and ‘aiyyo salli’ ‘Sri Lankan memes’ is an ideal page where we could show the world, how Sri Lanka looks like in our eyes.
Sri Lankan Memes was created on 26 February 2012, by the admin JDS and within the first 24 hours the page had received 285 likes. Less than a week it reached up to 1,000 and currently it has 31,205 hits. As the localized memes were becoming more popular and the page was merely a platform where the average Sri Lankan could present their view point on a matter related to Sri Lanka in a way that everyone could understand and appreciate could be the reason for its instant popularity. The specialty of this page is that the sudden tendency to act as a news report. For an instance when there was tsunami alerts released few months back, there were almost immediately memes posted about it. Crickets matches, popular figures and of course political matters are a huge mainstay in the page.
Speaking of the administration Aus, Pld, Jds, AA, R,Amsol, One love, L2PK, GTR and Deshi, each has a special task in their hands. True, they do have different views on politics, religion and even sports. (But they all do love cricket and also big fans of papa dam) Yet they are all proud and fun loving Sri Lankans.
“The primary function of Sri Lankan Memes is to be a platform on which Sri Lankans could go online to have a laugh at memes which have a Sri Lankan touch to it and also to create and upload memes concerning Sri Lanka themselves.
Another aspect we later decided to make a point of which, was to promote an idea of solidarity among all religious and ethnic groups in Sri Lanka as we feel that is what we, especially the youth, need to understand in this moment of time.” States the Admins.
As the fan memes kept on coming it was quite obvious that certain rules had to be made in order to ensure that the page has good quality memes for the fans to see. Memes will be taken down if they do not fit into the criteria as displayed on the page.
A little bit insight
Sri Lankan Memes wouldn’t function or reach its high standard without the meme creators. So here’s a special insight view on why and what made them create memes and love this page.
- Sachithra — “For me making memes is more than a creative chore, it’s about telling a story with a smile. It could be something making fun of ‘Papadam’ or even a work of fiction as the ‘Mahinda-Obama’ comics, yet it’s glad to see Sri Lankans embracing the concept of memes and no doubt Sri Lankan Memes played an important role in making that possible. What’s more fascinating is our meme makers are Sri Lankans around the globe, which is further testament on how this platform is truly impactful. No doubt this little community is growing day by day; of course, once in a while everyone needs to take a break and smile...”
- Kumma — “Not sure if actual article, or an attempt by W. Vans to round up meme makers. Coz I don't always get in the news paper, but when I do, it's coz I make people laugh on the internet. But like the Paranoid Parrot, when I'm recognized, I think they might come to kill me. But like Yao Ming, I say B**** Please and tell you this. What if, what if I told you, that meme making is really easy and is actually for jobless people who have no lives, like me.”
- Nadun— “When I first joined the page it had less than 300 likes and had only a few memes. But it didn't take much time for me to realize how different and amazing this page is! Thanks to Sri Lankan Memes, we see memes with a Lankan flavour now. As an active member I realized that it wasn't just the memes that was special about the page but the whole community. Creating memes, going through posts and trolling was fun but I think the best part was getting to know a whole lot of new friends and how united we all acted. “United, we troll. Divided, we get trolled.”
- Chathuranga— “Making memes is an art which creates humour plus wisdom, and my memes are a graphical projection of my inner sensitivity.”
- Nisal — “For me, memes represent a way of giving a humorous perspective to some issue we are affected with. The popularity of a meme is a good indication as to how well that meme could bring a smile to the person who’s seeing it. Even though some meme makers nowadays have differed from the idea and have made memes a means of channelling their hate-filled personal interpretations of issues, still a real meme created by a passionate meme maker can often make your day.
People don’t often see how much work that goes into creating a meme. For a real meme maker therefore, seeing their hard work being embraced by the fans is the greatest gift of them all.
Sri Lankan Memes have provided the platform for such aspiring meme makers. I joined the community when it was at its infancy, introducing the troll comic and meme culture to Sri Lanka. Since then, it’s come such a long way and even though many have tried to replicate it, for us there will be only one page dedicated to memes in Sri Lanka; and it’s quite simply known as ‘Sri Lankan Memes’.
- Saranga— “Sri Lankan Memes, oh well talk about it... the fast growing 'Meme' trend, basically among the youth has already reached the height of being a subculture, basically meme catch phrases and lines have come in common use amidst the youth and the middle agers as well.
Introducing this to Sri Lanka , 'Sri Lankan Memes' has become a large community of fun loving Sri Lankans.
I think it is the best place to share your creativity as well as the humour you carry inside you by both posting memes and commenting.
The whole meme scene gets updated by day. Like what's hot in the society can be seen with a flavour of humour if you enter the page. Let it be politics, sports , music and basically anything.
And what's best about the page is how the administration and the fans try to keep it original and Sri Lankan to the very core.
For me Sri Lankan memes is where I take my morning coffee at, brightens my day every single time.”
- Marine— ‘United we troll...divided we get trolled’. That says it all! Sri Lankan memes is a place where people come together for one purpose: To Troll! That's the beauty of the page. People from different backgrounds, ethnicity and religions come together to appreciate one fact: Being Lankan...and did I mention troll? The page caters to a diverse audience but majority of its participants and viewers are teens and young adults. Therefore it is always filled with a very vibrant and hyperactive atmosphere which is what drew me to it. Most of the posts in the page could be related to personally and in no time I found myself making my own memes! Knowing that there are others who appreciate my ideas, and share my experiences was seen through the likes accumulated on my posts and this encouraged me to make more memes and the hunger for likes and shares was on! Being a busy college student, Sri Lankan memes is a great way to channel my, should I say occasional creativity, in to the world while getting a break from all the stress that school work brings. Sri Lankan memes is addictive. Very Addictive, but it is one of those few things that I actually don't mind being addicted to and I am not complaining about it.”
- Giovanni—“Well meme making for me is very creative and needs a lot of thinking and expressing a funny idea through a group of pictures and bringing a smile to the people who view it .Sometimes it can be a meme which takes you back to your childhood days and sometimes it can be a meme which can give some kind of moral to the people while giving a smile to their faces which is a very effective way of giving a message to the public. SL meme have really made an impact on the Sri Lankan society with its growing fan base and succeeded in making people in Sri Lanka smile and relax. As the saying goes laughter is the best cure.”
- Keshan — “The thing is before everybody knew me as a good guy, but now they call me as ‘flirt Player’ but Sri Lankan memes is a nice place to expose your coolness and wild ideas ....”
- Yohan D. — “Thing I love the most about SL MEMES is that you get the chance to make thousands of total strangers laugh and you feel their love (or hate) for your work. That feels awesome! And you get to meet these wonderful crazy ass people too.”
- Kushan— Making memes, it's creative and productive and also good excuses to sit in front of my computer all day long like a zombie on the internet. Some might say they do it for fame, glory and honour, but honestly I just do it for the papadam, dolphin papadam that is. Memes are the main source of entertainment for me
they are simple and funny they are what gets me through the day.
I got to know Sri Lankan Memes through a friend back in February, loved it and been making memes ever since. I mean the idea was pure genius ‘tell the world what it looks like in the eyes of Lankans... through memes’.
The page has come a long way now, I would love to see it improve in the future with maybe its very own website."
- Shehan—“I mostly make political memes highlighting the funny goings on in the government... There is a certain crowd that go for my memes...mostly university students...and since I started making memes for SL Memes a few months ago, I have got a whole lot of friend requests from university students.”
In an era where the internet plays an important role in our lives, Sri Lankan memes is definitely a hotspot not only between the Lankans but it also has a foreign fan base. Especially the Lankans who are living abroad. Memes are definitely powerful more than anyone could imagine. It critiques the mainstream and could change the status quo. A hate free zone and memes more relevant to the Sri Lankan culture has its space for Sri Lankans to network and also to have fun. So as the description says ‘Why not join the athal and tell the world what it looks like in the eyes of Lankans?’