POLITICAL SKETCHBOOK                  by Rajpal Abeynayaka  

Talk show stories and tongue lashings
Last week's talk show culture became more like a walk show culture. In one talk show, the moderator had to walk out, and get his guests to walk out and stop the show midstream because two guests, Rajitha Senaratne and Wimal Weerwansa were about to gouge each others eyes out - right there in front of the cameras.

The usual talk show performers, I mean politicians, act as if they can develop this country by the sheer weight of their clichés. They say things like 'api me sthavaraye nonavathee gaman karanava', 'api janthava venuven sadakalikawa kepa venava,'' etc etc., and if a country would be developed by cliché alone, then Sri Lanka will absolutely be the world's undisputed superpower.

Last week though, they decided to let their trousers down, oops to let their hair down. No doubt if they fought to a finish, they would have let their trousers down too, and a fight it was that was about to happen at the Kinihira show whose moderator is a sham - I mean a Shan.

Well, it did not develop into a full blown fight, and in the way that HIV is stopped from developing into full blown AIDS, midway things were controlled, and a total embarrassment was avoided.

But, let us suppose that they - the fighting MPs - were later at a different talk show and asked for grounds for mitigation - ''amathithuma, ayie me giya para sangwadayakadi adi pudi gahagannna thatwayakata awai kiyala kiyanne?" ("Minister (or MP as the case may be) is it true that in one recent TV discussion, you almost came to blows?'')

Knowing our talk show types, wouldn't the answer naturally have to be in the lines of 'why are you complaining about under development in the South when there is so much misery in the North.'' Therefore, wouldn't the answer be: "when Sajith Premadasa has been accused of killing another MP, shooting him clean dead, what is a little fisticuff thing by the side? What, you thought we attained Buddha-hood?''
By the way, Sajith Premadasa appeared on TV and pleaded that despite the poster campaign saying nasty things about him and Provincial Council MP Ranjith's death, that he is a clean politician who has nothing to do with drugs, assassinations, underworld thugs, and vice.

Like father like son - he said 'mava gathanaya karath mage charithaya gathanaya karanna epa.'' (Even if you assassinate me -- do not assassinate my character.)
But what would have some of our less cleaner politicians who report to the CID every week for instance have said, if they were to be more, let us say rooted in reality. It would have not served them much to appear on TV and say what Premadasa said. But something on the following lines would sure be more spot on and useful.

"Mage charithaya gathanaya karath kamak ne - karuna karala mawa gathnaya karanna epa.'' ('Even if you assassinate my character - kindly, please do not assassinate me.'') At least this way, newspapers would have less pictures to carry of MP's who are blood splattered, dead as a dodo, and sprawled on the streets?

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