Columns - 5th column

Gifts - more for promises than for their performance
By Rypvanwinkle

My Dear Santa Claus,

I thought I must write to you even though you may have finished distributing your presents for Christmas by now. That is because there are quite a few Christmas presents that you may have forgotten to deliver and I thought I should remind you about them.

For instance, why don’t you give Bandula some ‘sahana mallas’ to distribute to everyone? The poor chap is shouting himself hoarse saying that these relief packages are available everywhere but they are nowhere to be found, Santa, and he has to take the blame for this.

Then, Santa, why don’t you also distribute some cabinet portfolios among the remaining few Green MPs who want to cross over to the Blue camp but are biding their time? At the rate ministries are being doled out to anyone who joins the Blues, we should now have a Cabinet minister in charge of Allocating Ministries!

Santa, you should also give some gifts to Arjuna and Wijedasa. Those two lost souls joined the General probably expecting to be rewarded if the General won but I think you should give them gifts just in case that does not happen and these poor chaps are left with nothing-that is the risk of crossing over to the Opposition, you know.

And what would you give the other famous cross-over, SB? I don’t think he needs any gifts from you, Santa, because some say that he has been promised the prime ministerial chair at the expense of dear old Ratnasiri!

As for SB’s eternal rival Mangala, you need to give him some catchy slogans and good publicity material for the campaign he is desperately trying to run, Santa. The man may have been a good fashion designer but he hasn’t designed anything imaginative for the General so far…

Now, don’t give any gifts to Uncle Ranil, Santa. He has already had the best gift of all- a chance to escape nomination as a candidate from the Greens. Had he contested, he would have been a poor loser and that would have ended his political career, perhaps. Some would say that wouldn’t be a day too soon, but the fellow doesn’t need any more presents for now!

The same can be said about the Rathu sahodarayas too, Santa, so there is no need for gifts for them. After all, they got the gift of getting rid of Wimal, so they wouldn’t be complaining…

Wimal himself could do with a loin cloth or two to cover his political nakedness, Santa. Also, I think you should reward him with a Cabinet portfolio, possibly in the next government because no one washes dirty linen for the government as cleverly as he does. Maybe the Ministry of Speech and Drama, if we can have such a Ministry, would be appropriate because frankly I don’t think he will be competent at anything else…

As for the General, he is one man who needs a lot of gifts from you, Santa. Can you give him more security personnel, some air time on the state television networks and some space in the state newspapers in addition to providing him with some posters which he seems to be lacking these days, compared to his rival? And maybe providing him someone to advise him on what to say and what not to say at newspaper interviews will also not be a bad idea, Santa…

Finally, it is indeed difficult to think of a gift for Mahinda maama, because he seems to have it all: free air time, plenty of posters and cutouts, people crossing over to his camp and artistes singing his praises at the drop of a hat. So how about a few hundred thousand extra meals for him, Santa, so that he could extend his ‘dansalas’ at Temple Trees to feed all of us, even though we may still be paying for it years later?

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

And while you are doing all this, Santa, why don’t you think of a gift for our poor elections commissioner as well? I am sure he could do with the gift of everyone listening to his instructions and playing by the rules, but that day will never come. So, Santa, why don’t you give him the gift of retirement, at least after this election? I am sure that will be the best gift for him!

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