nation of rancour and rife? Or nation of savoury rice?
When S. B. Dissanayake says back to rice, he means business. We
were a nation of rice pullers. But then we got lost, and we got
bread from the Portuguese. Now S. B. Dissanayake wants to take us
back to rice, and how he hopes to accomplish that by taking out
promotional space in the media is a good question.
all S. B. Dissanayake sponsored political entertainment will have
canapés made with rice. There will be no cocktails or orange
barley -- just rice wine, like sake.
But how does one say 'back to rice' to a nation that has more Chinese
restaurants per square mile than mainland China?
on the tube the other day that they must think of free rice soon
-- just to finish the surpluses. That completes the picture. A nation
of happy hedonists and lotus eaters, an island of serendipity, the
only problem being that a few rice cultivators are being sent six
feet under, every now and then in the Eastern province. (Only one
correction there - S. B. will forbid the expression 'a nation of
lotus eaters.'' It has to be - "a nation of rice eaters.' Besides
Lotus has a distinct Chinese restaurant ring to it...)
But SB says
the Treasury is blocking the rice revolution. Not giving money for
this, and not giving money for the other. He is like one of those
exasperated Sinhalese Kings you hear of now and then in the Mahawamsa
saying "the dhanyagaraya is being threatened by the bhandagaraya.''
But MPs traveling
abroad on junkets (oops, study tours) feel threatened too. What
will be made available at the duty free? Can't be Scotch of Ballantines?
It has to be rice wine, sake, made by Japanese brewers, especially
brought down for the purpose.
But in the meantime, paddy farmers are threatening to transport
burnt paddy husk to parliament as a gesture of protest on low selling
prices. S. B. Dissanayake will see to it that they will all be given
a free dose of the parliamentary complex MPs biriyani. Rice for
the rulers, rice for the hoi polloi. End of protest.
They have also
decided that the MPs morning breakfast be changed from bread and
chicken curry to kiribath and lunu miris. The Norwegians will carry
a special message to Prabhakaran saying that he must stop his habit
of eating pittu in the mornings. But there is going to be intense
speculation that the real reason for getting Prabhakaran back to
rice is to make him lazy -- like a bunch of Sri Lankan Provincial
Council Members. But, S. B. Dissanayake will take out an advertisement,
pronto, to say "that's just a canard spread by the RAW.''
S. B. Dissanayake
of course is a nationalist with a Naomi Campbell eye or fashion.
He is no rustic nationalist -- a man of the soil. If he wears a
sarong for a cocktail party, it will be bright red of the Barbara
Sansoni variety, else, he will be mistaken for an old Haramanis
type leading the Varsity Student's Union. (SB led the Varsity Student's
Union alright -- but that was in antediluvian times, before the
flood, before Charitha Ratwatte and the Treasury, before rice wine,
before the island of serendipity became the island of Ultra Serendipity
But this whole
thing cannot be incongruous. If his slogan with regard to sarongs
is "back to Barabara Sansoni sarongs?" his slogan with
regard to rice cannot be just "back to plain old boiled rice?"
It's not difficult
to envision this. Very soon, there will be well endowed models who
screech " back to savory rice -- back to pilawoo rice -- back
to prawn fried rice -- back to herbal rice -- back to Barbara Sansoni
rice.'' S. B. for B.S. rice - there, a new slogan for you. Anything
but just rice - what do you think, we are a nation of rice pulling