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20th December 1998

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Gift of a kiss

This is what people expect this season

By Roshan Peiris

This is the season of exchanging gifts. While children have prepared long lists for Santa Claus and are counting the days until he will fill their stockings, we asked some adults what they would like to have this Christmas and New Year. And what a surprise, the expectations ranged from peace for the country to a simple kiss!

Here are the gifts some well-known people in Sri Lanka long to have this season.

A.S. JayewardeneCentral Bank Governor A.S. Jayewardene who deals with, at least on paper, billions and millions of rupees each day has a simple wish vegetable seeds and plants for his backyard.

"I have taken up gardening since I moved to the Governor's House on Buller's Road. So I would like as a gift vegetable seeds and plants for my garden. I am a simple man and don't have great expectations. I would also like good wishes from the people," he says.

For Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna stalwart Wimal Weerawansa the question came as a surprise.

"I never think about gifts. The idea is novel to me. Since you ask me, I wish I can get a few 'vathagath poth' 'worthwhile books' on history or politics, even novels. Such gifts I would value very much."

Susan Donnelly"An extra kiss or two," is just what charming Susan Donnelly, wife of the American Ambassador would like this Christmas.

"I don't really need anything and what my husband gives me would naturally be a surprise. But I don't mind an extra kiss or two. That would be fine. To me affection is what counts more than material things," she explains.

Rising above personal expectations, Ms. C.V. Gooneratne, wife of the Minister of Industrial Development yearns for peace in the country. "I would like to ask for peace as a gift. I also want my husband to contribute more for Sri Lanka's progress, instead of giving anything to me." And yes, she would like a special kiss on Christmas Day, she says.

Science and Technology Minister Batty Weerakoon too does not want anything material, but would like peace to dawn in the country. "All I ask as a gift this season is peace. This will help people like us to carry on with our development programmes."

"A large donation," is all that Sajith, only son of the late President Ranasinghe Premadasa longs for. He explains, "I wish someone would give me a large donation which can be used for the development of Hambantota. No, I don't want anything from my girlfriend. She has given me many presents." (Sorry we can't give her name to the reader, as we promised we would not. Her initials are however, J.J.

Sithie Tiruchelvam, wife of Neelan Tiruchelvam and lawyer herself said, "I am very content with my life. I have a roof over my head and food. There is nothing material I want." What about a special kiss from Neelan. "I don't think I can get him to do that," she said with a chuckle. "I also want real peace, not an elusive peace."

Reggie CandappaReggie Candappa, Chairman of Grant McCaan Erickson, one of the largest advertising firms said in his own inimitable style: "I would like it if there are no lists for Christmas Santhosams brought by people who hardly render service - some of whom I see for the first time.

"Thank God I have shaved my head, otherwise I would be prey to my barber who usually produces a list of fictitious contributions topping the list with Rs. 1,000, Rs. 750 and Rs. 500 making me like a niggerly patron if I don't match this in some measure. "On second thoughts, I too expect a bonus on top of a well-paid job. I really should not complain."

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