Playing cards at a funeral is a rural custom. The idea is to help visitors in a funeral house to keep awake through the night.
At a funeral this week in Nugegoda, the card game turned to what was termed ‘booruwa’ or ‘asking-hitting.’ It was for money.
The game was at its peak during the dead of night. Big money was changing hands. Suddenly a group of persons in civvies, posing as police officers, turned up at the funeral house, rounded up the gamblers and took all their money.
One player, a tough type, asked for the identities of the "police officers."
He met with abuse. One smart player, however, noted the vehicle number.
The Mirihana Police was alerted. They soon rounded up three soldiers. The vehicle used belonged to a senior Army officer though he was unaware that his men were playing ‘cops’, of all places, at a funeral.
Only a ‘Hi-bye’ from Peiris
Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga were at a wedding in a five-star hotel on Friday night.
The host, a leading family of florists, turned out to be a relative of External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris. Dr. Peiris walked in and was ushered to the table where Wickremesinghe and Kumaratunga were already seated.
He smiled and said a few words to the duo while still standing. Then, Wickremesinghe - being Ranil Wickre-mesinghe (who had an exchange of words in Parliament the day before with the Minister) -- got up from his chair and told Dr. Peiris "why don't you sit and talk to your former leader."
The professor made a hasty retreat and was seen seated elsewhere.
The former President was not amused either at Wickremesinghe's move to make Dr. Peiris sit next to her.
Budget feast as Wimal fasts
While their Cabinet colleague Wimal Weerawansa was on a fast outside the UN compound in Colombo, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is the Minister of Finance, hosted all Government MPs to dinner at Temple Trees on Friday night. Finance Ministers throw that traditional dinner after the B udget is passed.
Government MPs had a jolly good time with food and drink galore.
In the Opposition camp, UNP's Thalatha Athukorale did the same thing. She played host to all UNP MPs. However, their leader Ranil Wickemesinghe and deputy, Karu Jayasuriya were not on her invitation list. Three MPs regretted and another notable absentee was Ranjan Ramanayake.
Even Ravi Karunanayake, who had originally wanted to host the event and was advised against it, was there to mark his attendance. He left after a short while.
The band played and the liquor flowed. Sajith Premadasa and Dayasiri Jayasekera were the two vocalists.
When they sang "Master Sir," the others got on to the floor. Some of the lyrics in the song were changed. One line said ‘Aliyata udawena davasa kawada tho’ (When will the day dawn for the elephant?).
National List auction
Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe could not help take a jibe at the boss of a private bank who has been launching several scathing attacks on the UNP leader.
"The reason he is attacking me is because I did not give him a National List seat. If I knew this, I would have auctioned the seats," he said. It may not have been such a bad idea given the number of people who have fallen out with him for not giving them one of the seats. But then, he had so few to distribute.
Now it's Erskine Fonseka
Some new Members of Parliament (MP) seem to be taking their job very seriously. Among them is former Army Commander and now DNA Colombo district MP General Sarath Fonseka. He has ordered and obtained for himself a copy of 'Erskine May - Parliamentary Practice', the most authoritative and influential book on the subject. It's the latest edition of the book and had cost him 250 pounds sterling. It was only the other day that Mervyn Silva was seen carrying a copy of the same book.