Why Choksy will
never clap a coffee tax
may be the sincerest form of flattery, but G. L. Peiris probably did
not want to be flattered when Kabir Hashim UNF Minister spoke during
the budget debate.
Instead he was seen fleeing the house. Imitation can be the most acute
form of embarrassment, even for those who bask in flattery. Hashim
definitely is consciously or sub- consciously imitating Minister Peiris,
and why he would want to do any such thing is a good question - but
one needs to ask that from Mr Hashim of course. "In this count-reee''
he says, dragging the last syllable just like G.L. "The Prime
Minis-terrrr'' he says doing it again, in that typical G. L. didactic
mode. "Three thou-suuuunddd'' he says, and once again that G.
L trademark hanging-onto-the-last-syllable delivery.
takes his glasses on and off for good measure, and seems to throw
a challenge to all listeners : '
who says anything G. L. can
do, I can't do better?''
But G. L. at
least is quirky enough to be imitated. But, take ('he would not
invite a sneer being called an intellectual') Sarath Amunugama for
instance. His performance at the budget debate, shortly after Hasheem,
was so totally colorless that you could say he was inimitably insipid.
He did say a lot about a 'lacklustre budget' - but exactly why does
a lacklustre budget have to beget an absolutely lacklustre speech
which seemed to send everyone to sleep - including Amunugama himself?
If Amunugama didn't do anything to damage Mr. Choksy's budget in
its immediate aftermath - he really didn't achieve much for either
himself or for the opposition.
But yet he
can feel ecstatically happy about one thing. Which is that that
those who want to imitate intellectuals, like Kabir Hasheem, will
never try to imitate him, ever. Even the most earnest intellectual-on-the-make
won't find anything that Amunugama said or did, that's even faintly
interesting to even try to imitate. Just imagine? Amunugama is rid
of impersonation by Hasheem, for all time.
end of his delivery, Amunugama probably saw the TULF's dear Mr Sambandan
almost supine in his seat, totally and blissfully in the land of
the nod - perhaps dreaming sweet dreams about the coming promised
land. At this point, it seemed Amunugama wanted to bait someone
into heckling him, if not to wake Sambandan, at least to create
enough commotion to prevent himself and a lot of others falling
So he turned
to Azwer 'my very good friend Mr Azwer,'' and said something about
'your government having a bird in one hand
..'' Even the ever-obliging
Azwer had to be in a stupor by now. Amunugama had to prod him on.
My ''very very good friend Azwer,''. (Oh come on Mr Azwer, please
please please please?)
the gentleman, and in his holy Month mode, will not turn down this
kind of entreaty, so he did spring to his feet - but seems to have
had no idea where Mr Amunugama's argument - like Mr Amunugama -
was going, left right or center? Finally, he looked at the JVP benches
and tried lamely: 'the whole problem with you is the birds have
all flown. This is the whole problem.''
could muster was 'be serious Mr Azwer.''
may have acquired a certain going-through-the-paces quality about
them, but isn't there any way the Minister of Finance could budget
the budget debate? Contrive to prune down time allocated by half,
by law, and perhaps the parliament canteen will save a fortune on
coffee meant to keep MPs and parliamentary sketch writers awake?
week's POLITICAL SKETCH 'Moragoda the magnificent - he means it',
was by the same writer.)