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28th June 1998

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Flower power

It was just an year ago that a garland ing ceremony at Hulftsdorp Hill hit the headlines. That was after a man with a conviction was garlanded with supreme orchids by the President of the International Bar Association.

Pro PA lawyers and of course some persecutors (not prosecutors) raised a hoary hue and cry giving TV interviews on the State media condemning the saga of a garland at Hulftsdorp.

An year later, by some quirk of irony, garlands have come to haunt Hulftsdorp Hill again.

This time it was over a colourful ceremony to declare open a new Attorney General's Department building complex. The senior officials playing hosts had on their hands a bouquet and a garland. The first was meant for the VVIP chief guest and the other was for the Minister in charge of the subject. Well and good.

But yet another Minister was an invitee. He belonged to that selected list of men who had served in the Attorney General's Department. Hence he was accommodated in the front lines of the invitee area and not on the dais.

No wonder he rose to a point of order. He argued he was a Minister of the State and had to be accommodated on the dais. That is not all. If a colleague was garlanded, then it was their duty to see there were some flowers around his neck too.

With only one garland in their hands, the "hosts" had no choice but to make a judicious decision.

They placed it around the neck of the Chief Justice who graciously carried the burden.

That was justice done. But the two Ministers had to be content without a millstone of flowers around their neck.

Wrong bus!

High security at social engage ments, weddings, birthday parties and other events when VIPs and VVIPs attend them have now become the order of the day.

Cautious security officials would insist that guests attending the ceremonies park their vehicles a kilometre away.

They saw to it that those hosting the events arranged a shuttle bus service from the parking area to the reception hall.

That's exactly what happened last Thursday. The event was at the Taj Hotel and the invitees were forced to park their vehicles far far away on the Galle Face Green

One late visitor found he had to drive almost close to the Presidential Secretariat to park his car and board a bus.

The shock came only moments later. The bus picked up speed and man in Saville Row lounge suit heard cries of "Saadhu, Saadhu!" What he had hoped to hear was Jayamangala Gathas and that too at the Taj.

It turned out that the bus was not the shuttle but one carrying pilgrims to Kataragama. The driver was more than sympathetic when he learnt of the man's plight.

He dropped him off opposite Hotel Oberoi, to take a three wheeler back to Taj.

Jungle Telegraph

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