Confounded with priorities? Oh! but they had to toe the line!
“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “what is more important, Uncle Ranil’s entire body or Uncle Mervyn’s toe?”
“Why are you asking that, Bindu?” Percy asked, puzzled.
“That is the issue that is likely to decide the Eastern provincial council election, thaaththa…” Bindu said.
“How could that be, Bindu?” Percy inquired.
“Why, thaaththa, it appears that Uncle Mervyn’s toe is more important…” Bindu said.
“And what makes you think that?” Percy wanted to know.
“Why, thaaththa, remember Uncle Ranil asking for a helicopter to visit the Eastern province to campaign for the elections?” Bindu asked.
“Yes,” Percy said, “I can remember there was some fuss about that…”
“And they finally said they could not provide him with a helicopter…” Bindu explained.
“And why was that?” Percy demanded.
“I suppose they said there weren’t enough helicopters and anyway, they said they couldn’t provide helicopters for election work…” Bindu recalled.
“I suppose there is some truth in the second argument…” Percy said.
“Why do you say that?” Bindu asked.
“Why, Bindu, just imagine what would happen if the leaders of all the parties contesting the elections asked for helicopters…” Percy pointed out.
“I guess so,” Bindu agreed, “but that is not the issue now…”
“What is the issue then?” Percy queried.
“Remember Uncle Mervyn?” Bindu asked.
“Of course,” Percy said, “who can forget him in a hurry?”
“Well, he seems to have had an accident…” Bindu explained.
“He seems to be having quite a few accidents lately…” Percy observed.
“But this time it is a real accident, thaaththa,” Bindu said, “and he has injured his toe…”
“But how can that become an election issue for the Eastern provincial council?” Percy demanded, “There are no television stations there for him to break into and assault people…”
“No, thaaththa, that is not the problem,” Bindu said, “the problem is the fact that he was airlifted in a helicopter to Colombo soon after the accident…”
“That only proves that we have an excellent healthcare system, Bindu…” Percy countered.
“But thaaththa,” Bindu persisted, “can’t you see that this can lead to a lot of problems?…”
“As a matter of fact, I can’t see anything wrong with providing an injured man with a helicopter to rush him for medical treatment…” Percy retorted.
“But thaaththa,” Bindu argued, “how did the helicopters which were unavailable for Uncle Ranil despite repeated requests and advance notice suddenly become available for Uncle Mervyn at such short notice?”
“It is a matter of priorities, isn’t it?” Percy wondered.
“And that is exactly why it now seems that the government thinks that Uncle Mervyn’s toe is more important for national security than Uncle Ranil’s entire body…” Bindu said.
“They probably think that way,” Percy pointed out, “but that is where they have got it all wrong…”
“Why do you say that, thaaththa?” Bindu was confused.
“I would say that they should protect Uncle Ranil’s toe much more than Uncle Mervyn’s entire body…” Percy proposed.
“And why is that?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Why,” Percy said, “considering all that Uncle Ranil is doing to help the government and also considering all that Uncle Mervyn is doing to damage the government, they should protect Uncle Ranil’s toe much more than Uncle Mervyn’s entire body instead of doing it the other way around…”
Bindu didn’t quite know what to say to that.