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The Fifth Column

16th March 1997

Hiru, tharu and boru

"Thaaththa" Bindu Udagedara asked, "Why does everyone complain that this country is going from bad to worse...?"

"Because", Percy Udagedara, Bindu's father said, "we have so many problems and no one seems to be able to solve them..."

"But thaaththa", Bindu argued, "we have so many honest, intelligent, brave people among us now."

"Why do you say that? I can't remember seeing one for a long time".

"Why, thaaththa, if you read all those posters on the walls they say 'avanka', 'buddhimath' or 'edithara'...".

"So I suppose Mr. Ganeshalingam calls himself honest."

"And Karu Jayasuriya calls himself 'Hiru'.."

"And the other side has put up posters saying that if we elect him, we will all see 'Tharu'..."

"So, thaaththa, who will get your vote?"

"Ideally, we should vote for the best man"

"So, why don't you do that?"

"It is difficult to do that, because now we have to choose the best out of a bad lot..."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because, when we sent out one lot because they were corrupt we find the other lot also making the same mistakes....."

"But we don't have much to choose from, do we?"

"There are people like Dinesh who have stuck to their priniciples but that is probably why he is always in the Opposition and now even out of Parliament..."

"And then there is the JVP which appears once in a while at the elections only to go underground a few years later..."

"So, thaaththa, who do you think will win on the twenty first?"

"I don't know, and it doesn't bother me either", Percy said.

"Why do you say that?"

"Look, we are not electing presidents, ministers or even MPs. We are electing people to look after our roads, maintain street lamps and collect our garbage. So I don't see why we should kill each other over that."

"So, you don't know who will win? Whether it will be 'Ganesh' or 'Karu' who says he is 'Hiru'..."

"No" said Percy firmly, "all I know is that they are all 'Boru'...."

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