Oh! for those days
I remember in 1954 when I was a student in the S.S.C. class (now G.C.E. O/L) there was a big storm in Parliament over a word N.M. Perera (before he received his doctorate) used while making a speech in Parliament. He said, "I see in Parliament today around me 'Puduma Saththu' (queer animals). Then speaker after speaker condemned Mr. Perera's 'unparliamentary language' and asked him to withdraw those words right away.
Mr. Perera replied that the word 'Saththu' was not unparliamentary at all because Lord Buddha himself had said 'siyalu sathwayo nidukwethwa' (may all beings be free from sorrow).
All protests stopped at that.
In those good old days the Parliament was occupied by educated and respectable people of the calibre of D.S. Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake, Sir John Kotelawala, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, W. Dahanayake, Philip Gunawardene, T.B. Jayah, Peter Keuneman, S.J.V. Chelvanayakam and a host of others who we could have proudly said were our leaders. But today as one Cabinet Minister pointed out there are 'nusudusso' (undesirables) in Parliament.
This was clearly evident when Mangala Samaraweera who seconded the motion on the Government's alleged LTTE deal was verbally attacked with a barrage of insults in unprintable language. Half of the parliamentarians today fall into this category of undesirables.
But sadly they are the ones who are most sought after by the party leaders during nomination time.