Not unlike Aussie sledging
Sri Lanka came off well in the First Test against England just concluded,
but unfortunately gathered many minus points on the way via the incessant
and nonsensical vehicle of appealing, orchestrated by the man from behind
the stumps. It was an unbecoming spectacle and took the gloss off our achievement.
This amounted to what I would consider almost a subtle form of cheating
to gain an advantage to win at any cost-not unlike the Australian sledging.
I am not quite sure if this upsets the concentration of the batsmen
but it certainly cuts across the seriousness and serenity of the game.
It sure disturbs the viewers.
I wonder whether anyone in authority such as the coach, captain, umpires
or even the match referee hasn't the power to intervene and stop this disturbance.
It also gives the impression that the offender has not got the faintest
idea of the rules of the game where specific conditions have to be met
to gain an l.b.w. decision or catch. Of course those who know better (and
there are many) make the offender lose all his credibility and be treated
as a joke. Unfortunately, this could rub off on his not inconsiderable
ability as a batsman.
In the same breath let us give due credit to the England batsmen for
their effort against an imposing total, difficult wicket/conditions, searing
heat and others.
A minister for national self-respect
As you enter Horton Place from Green Path you can see a huge C.M.C.
hoarding on which a tourist resort is advertising 'Beaches and Blondes'.
Is there no limit to our shamelessness? A new vulgarity has crept over
our people. Blondes are not an indigenous product, they have to be imported.
One wonders what exactly is on offer.
At the Kollupitiya junction there is a social club, which has a sign
boldly proclaiming 'VIP Lounge - Foreigners Only'. In no other country
in the world that I can think of will such an insult to its own people
For three decades after independence there was a nursing home in Colombo
which refused to admit any patient who did not have a white skin. A white
sailor with the pox from some tramp steamer in Colombo port was welcome
but the Maharani of Baroda who was on a visit to our country was refused
admission. In 1977, when Gamani Jayasuriya became Minister of Health, he
telephoned the nursing home and gave it two weeks to clean up its act on
pain of takeover by the state. And suddenly the nursing home found itself
able and willing to admit non-white patients? But Gamani Jayasuriya is
no more and we do not seem to be able to produce another.
A friend of mine, a doctor who had served for some time in an African
country, told me this story. A white doctor, who was summoned late at night
to attend on a very sick African child refused to come. The child died.
Rightly or wrongly, this was seen as racial discrimination because the
doctor was known to have answered summons late at night to attend on a
The very next morning there were policemen at the doctor's residence
to escort him to the airport and send him out of the country. Such a thing
will certainly not happen here.
Before the present Minister of Tourism and the present Chairman of the
Tourist Board took over, we read in the media that the Tourist Board had
spent Rs. 21 million on producing a video for broadcast over German TV.
This had depicted Sri Lanka as an ideal place for paedophiles and other
sexual deviants. The video shown over German TV had reportedly shocked
the viewers. The official responsible has since been sacked. This is yet
another example of our complete lack of national self-respect.
Not long ago the bodyguards of a service commander, incensed that a
mere motorist had presumed to overtake their chief's vehicle, chased after
him, forcing him to stop and assaulted him. Fortunately the victim of this
outrage had some clout and the culprits were hauled before the beak and
had to grovel in open court and beg for pardon from the person they had
There are several other areas in which our lack of national self-respect
is starkly evident. The belief of our undergraduates that they have a divine
right to rag freshers in the crudest and most sadistic way is one that
they fiercely hold on to. This despite the fact that many tragedies have
occurred from this barbaric practice, including maiming, suicide and even
homicide. This disease has spread to technical colleges and even to some
Meanwhile young nouveau riche thugs have devised a novel form of amusement.
At weddings, they seize the newly-weds and, on what is supposed to be the
happiest day of their lives, dunk them in the swimming pool in all their
finery. This, they find enormously hilarious. Violence (including manslaughter)
often results from these goings on.
We already have 45 ministers. We can surely fit in just one more - a
Minister for National Self-respect. He would have plenty to do.
Nine, ten, big fat hen
Parliamentarians are paid a strange 'sitting allowance' of Rs. 500 a
day for each sitting in Parliament, in addition to a handsome salary and
other super luxury benefits and perks.
Thus for merely being in Parliament for 10 days, he/she gets Rs. 5000.
No other public servant gets such a payment.
Is it justifiable to pay this allowance exclusively to parliamentarians?
What of the less fortunate public servants like clerks and teachers who
are struggling for survival under the vagaries of the cost of living?
Most parliamentarians have lost their heads and forgotten that they
have been voted into power by the common people.
They have also forgotten that they are being maintained at the expense
of the taxpayers' hard-earned money.
Parliamentarians are also supplied subsidized meals at their canteen.
A meal worth about Rs. 500 at a five-star hotel, is supplied to them for
only Rs. 15 or Rs. 16.
After a parliamentarian has served for a minimum of five years he is
also entitled to a princely pension. An MP gets about Rs. 22,000, a deputy
minister about Rs. 28,000 and a minister about Rs. 29,000. What a bonanza?
I am an old, useless pensioner who served for 35 years (from 1951-1986)
as a teacher of English. My monthly pension now is much less than that
10 days' sitting allowance of Rs. 5000 paid to a parliamentarian.
Raja Bhavatu Dhammiko
May the rulers be just!
Chandrika, very beautiful no?
Sri Lankans are popular in the Gulf, although dominated in proportion
by Indians and Pakistanis. Taxi drivers in particular seem to have a soft
spot for us.
On more than one occasion I have been lured into conversation by cab
drivers. Whatever the opening volley in Hindi, the link language here,
I have a memorized stock answer - "Hindi nehi malum" (I don't
know Hindi). Pat, comes the next question, "Aha, Sri Lanka? "
And I say, "Yeah". The next salvo is fired soon after. "Aha,
Jayasuriya, Jayasuriya very good number one batsman." And I say, with
much glee, "Yeah". The stage is now usually set for some stumbling
But the other day, I was up against something amusingly different. This
burly Pakistani with his well trimmed beard gave me the customary treatment
in Hindi and later posed the question, "You Sri Lanka?" When
I said, "Yeah", he quipped with delight and excitement, "Aha,
Chandrika, Chandrika, very beautiful lady, no?"
With patriotic pride I responded, "Yeah, she is nice." Then
he said to me, "Big bad man giving Chandrika big trouble, no?"
Respecting his knowledge of Asian politics I mumble, "Yes". Then
came the knockout punch. "Last night Chandrika telling bad man, you
are too much hot, too much hot, I get rid of you," said the cabbie
shaking his head negatively. Perturbed that I may have missed some vital
home news, I ask him, "Hey sahib, who told you that?" Came the
crisp reply, "Nobody telling me. Last night I eat Chandrika's crab
curry. Ooh very hot, everybody crying."
I had reached my destination. The cab came to a halt opposite the popular
Sri Lankan restaurant. Chandrika, the owner gave me her usual wave, while
her cook, the big man from Matara was dusting the chillie powder off his
white apron. "Aha, Chandrika nice no?" repeated the cabbie, blushing.