Law Personal Statement
The police in Sri Lanka torture, rape and kill. The justice system is nigh to breakdown, impounding the great societal depression. As long as I can remember my so far stable but monotonous life in Hong Kong has been broken up by visits to Sri Lanka.
There I saw child beatings and people not reporting cases of child molestation and rape to the police. I heard about people being afraid of the police. In fact a cousin of mine who was taken to jail for domestic violence was bribed out of the police quickly because of the fear that he would be beaten in custody.
In Hong Kong I had conversations with my parents and some domestic helpers - who work here for low pay and often in bad conditions because there are not enough jobs at home - about Sri Lanka, as well as listening in on conversations between my father and his colleagues about issues pertaining to the rule of law in South Asia at dinners at our house.
My father is a lawyer and human rights activist working in the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC). I interned for a month at the AHRC, doing mainly secretarial work and attending their meetings. Inside and outside that month I have typed up articles for my father on the state of the rule of law in the subcontinent.
I've also attended meetings on torture and disappearances in Sri Lanka. These experiences furthered my understanding of the importance of effective rule of law by showing the terrible nature of human beings in power when the law does not protect the common people. I also realised of the irony of the name The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
The irony of the police who are the enforcers of the law breaking it to torture people in so-called protective custody, and the reality of a “democratic republic” within which the people are afraid of the government. The people vote but the corrupt and nepotistic rich will ultimately decide who leads.
As I was early introduced to the flaws of the legal systems in South Asia, I came to question what exactly had broken down in Sri Lanka.
At my father's office I heard many times the phrase “the collapse of the rule of law.” As my reading taste matured I came across the writer Arundhati Roy, whose book The God of Small Things has inspired me and broadened my mind.
In this book Roy brings together what I want to study for the rest of my life: law and society. She describes Kerela, a state in India, but this description covers many parts of Sri Lankan society too.
After reading and listening avidly to stories that involved the collapse of rule of law I read Learning the Law by Glanville Williams and Law: Key Concepts in Philosophy by David Ingram. Because of the former I have a basic grasp of the English and Welsh legal system.
Because of the colonisation of Sri Lanka by the British, the system of law that I would like to learn in the UK would be similar to the law (in theory, at least) practiced in Sri Lanka.
I would love to learn the law in a place where it actually works, and a place that I have been told about extensively by Her authors. Also, lover of literature and comedy coming from the UK, I have always wanted to come and live in there. I immerse myself in English literature and I've tried to express my feelings of the law through creative use of language.
For the school newspaper one of my articles was about the lack of social welfare in Sri Lanka. I concluded that if there was social security, people would enjoy their freedom and some of the social restrictions made from fear of poverty would break down. Also, last year I did a presentation of the civil war in Sri Lanka at my school.
One of the causes of the war was a law passed called the “Sinhala Only” act of 1950 which caused a rife with the Tamil speaking community. In history class I've been learning about the Treaty of Versailles and its consequences, and about the development of modern law in China and Japan.
In MUN to representing India, I studied the laws that applied to the issues of the rights of indigenous people. Learning about and expressing thoughts about legal and social issues has enhanced my understanding of the world.
My current boarding school is Li Po Chun, one of the United World Colleges. I've learnt the benefits of teamwork, of the necessity of cooperation and of empathy. I'm a proactive member of the LPC community who enjoys problem solving, on both practical and theoretical levels. I co-lead “Art for Non-Artists.”
This in combination with my years of debating and my experience in GCSE drama has taught me skills in public speaking, problem solving and lateral thinking.
I've learnt from old books why the law was first created and how it developed. In studying law in university I will work hard on getting a grasp on how it now works. While I ultimately want to focus on human rights law, my first and foremost goal is to become a competent, passionate lawyer.
I would really apprieciate and try to use any and all comments! I have to submit this very soon though.