Columns - 5thcolumn

Everything we do, we do it with a foreign touch!
By Rypvanwinkle

“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedera asked, “is the dengue epidemic over?”
“Why do you think it should be over?” Bindu’s father Percy asked, “is it because of the elections at Uva?”
“Why,” Bindu was puzzled, “what have the elections in Uva got to do with the dengue epidemic, thaaththa?”

“Why, the same man is in charge of both...” Percy pointed out.
“Who is that?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Why, Bindu”, Percy explained, “it is our very healthy Health Minister of course...”
“I was not thinking about that, thaaththa...” Bindu said. “I just thought the dengue epidemic will be over soon because they got down doctors from Cuba to tackle it...”
“But what can doctors from Cuba do when our own doctors seem to be unable to do anything about it?” Percy demanded.

“No, thaaththa,” Bindu explained, “it is not only the doctors, they have also brought a bacteria which apparently kills the dengue mosquito and that is what is supposed to do the trick...”
“Well,” Percy said, “that is a new way of looking at it...”
“Why do you say that, thaaththa?” Bindu inquired.
“Well,” Percy said, “maybe we should get foreign help for all of our problems...”
“Why should we do that, thaaththa?” Bindu asked.

“That way,” Percy said, “if something goes wrong, we can always blame the foreigners but if it doesn’t, we can always take the credit for inviting the foreigners and settling the problem...”
“I think we are already doing that, thaaththa...” Bindu said.
“Why,” Percy asked, “since when has that happened?”
“Why, thaaththa, we have now got that loan from the International Monetary Fund that they didn’t want to give us for a long, long time,” Bindu declared, “so we are getting foreign help for our financial problems...”
“Not only did they not want to give it to us,” Percy said, “a lot of people here didn’t want us to get that loan from them either...”

“That is true,” Bindu said, “but some of those people who wanted the plug removed from these financial institutions are now going around touring the Pyramids with Mahinda maama even though they may not have seen Sigiriya...”
“That is how it is, Bindu” Percy said, “but where else do we have foreigners taking over our problems?”
“Why, thaaththa,” Bindu said, “now we have the Chinese building our harbour in Hambantota and our power plant in Norochcholai...”

“That is true,” Percy conceded, “but when have we handed over our real problems to foreigners?”
“Why, thaaththa,” Bindu remembered, “didn’t we try to settle our problem of rising fuel prices through foreigners?”
“Ah, yes,” Percy agreed, “that is when they tried to hedge their bets on oil prices rising indefinitely and eventually ended in a bigger mess...”
“Then,” Bindu said, “even Uncle Bandula does the same...”
“Why do you say that?” Percy asked.

“Why, thaaththa, whenever the price of gas or flour or milk powder or goes up he always blames foreigners and world market forces for it...” Bindu pointed out.
“But when the prices come down, it always because he has worked some miracle...” Percy observed.
“Then, thaaththa,” Bindu said, “remember how we tried to settle the terrorist problem using foreigners?”
“Yes,” Percy recalled, “first we tried to get the Indians to do it for us by inviting their army here...”
“And that ended in a disaster both for us and the Indians...” Bindu said.
“And we didn’t learn a lesson from that because the next time around, we tried to settle it by inviting the Norwegians to be peace brokers...” Percy remembered.

“And that too ended in a disaster not so much for the Norwegians but for us...” Percy pointed out.
“And all the while, we didn’t know that we had the capability of finishing the task by ourselves instead of asking foreigners to do it for us...” Bindu said.
“Now I think we have another problem which needs to be handed over to foreigners, if we can’t find a really suitable person locally, Bindu...” Percy suggested.

“What problem is that, thaaththa?” Bindu wanted to know.
“Why, Bindu, the problem of leading an effective opposition...” Percy pointed out.
“Some would say that the person who does it now is behaving like a foreigner anyway...” Bind argued.
Percy didn’t quite know what to say to that.

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