Fifth Column

24th December 2000

A gift for everyone at Christmas

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My Dear Santa Claus,

I thought of writing to you to let you know that there are so many people out here in this little country who would wish to have a gift or two from you.

Just see whether you can oblige them this Christmas, will you?

Santa, why don't you give Satellite a few more free air tickets to Paris, London and New York, so she can spend more of her time away from this troubled land whenever her 'kendare' says she has a 'apala kaaley'? After all why should she be virtually in prison, confined to her 'palace'? That way, she will be better off and we too will be spared of roadblocks and security checks!

To the Pee Em, Santa, you must give some cassettes, with his election campaign speeches recorded in them. The man is having a serious bout of amnesia and doesn't even seem to remember that he promised to crush Prabha once the polls are over and is instead saying things like 'I will not block a peaceful settlement!'

Then, Santa, why don't you give Seeni Bola some more cabinet portfolios? He is collecting ministries just like those kids collect stickers of their favourite cricketers and I'm sure he wouldn't refuse a couple more.

Then you must give Mangala a few more bulldozers, Santa. He is razing all these so-called unauthorised structures around the countryside and he certainly could do with some help with Fowzie on the warpath.

To the General, Santa you must give more strength to his army. The more people you have in the Army, there will be more to desert and when that happens, there will be more available to 'help' when the next elections are announced.

To the Professor Santa, you must give a good handkerchief to wipe his tears. After all he expected a better ministry and he didn't get that. And now, just after he was made second in command of the Treasury, he has it all spoilt with the announcement that Seeni Bola will always be there, looking over his shoulder.

To Lakshman the first, Santa, you must give some good prepared speeches- maybe, you can borrow them from that Norwegian Solheim- which he can deliver instead of speaking his own mind. After all, Satellite and Solheim do everything possible to please Prabha and this man has to spoil it by asking Britain to ban the Tigers right now!

To Lakshman the second, the best gift you could give are the resignation letters of the Sunil and Sumathi duo. And of course, you could also give him the balance five million that Seeni Bola promised Susie when he was in charge of sports- but never delivered in keeping with the traditions of his government!

To Rauf, you could give him the undisputed leadership of his party and maybe even the collected speeches of his late leader who promised he will never sit in the same government with Fowzie again.

But Santa, you must deliver these gifts without delay, because if the lady leader comes out of mourning before that, it will be all over for him!

For Prabha, Santa, I don't think you need to give him anything. He has virtually got his separate state and he has Solheim begging at his doorstep.

So, with his latest cease-fire announcement he might be even nominated for the Nobel Prize for Peace, so what more could he want?

For the Green Man, Santa, don't bother to look for anything special. When you have finished distributing all your gifts, you can give him whatever is leftover. After all, he has been satisfied with being second best for six years now without even a whimper, so why should you bother about him?

So, Santa, you have your hands full this Christmas. But I'm sure you will have a merry Christmas because, cease-fire or not, we always do!

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha.

PS- No Santa, the average man on the street doesn't need anything special this Christmas. After all, he has got the government that he deserves, and what's more he has also got the Opposition that he deserves. So, what more could he ask from you?

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