Columns - 5th column

It’s plain sailing now with jubilation in the air!

By Rypvanwinkle

My dear Mahinda maama,

I thought I must write to you as you prepare to bat for your second innings. I am told there are great celebrations that are being planned but I am not so sure whether those planning them were certain about your ability to bat for a second time, just a year ago!

As you no doubt realized Mahinda maama, you were given the chance to bat for a second time only because you won the war. Of course, we are all grateful to you for that because you ended thirty years of suffering at a time when no one thought the Tigers could be defeated militarily.

You do deserve all the credit that you can get, firstly for realizing that the Tigers were always bluffing with their promises of peace talks, secondly for believing that it was possible to defeat them in war and lastly for giving the armed forces a free hand to do just that.

We must also thank you for having the courage to stand up to all those international busybodies who were knocking at your doorstep during the last days of the war, asking you to stop the offensive. And then, you handled India tactfully too, unlike most of your predecessors.

Now, Mahinda maama, as you embark on your second innings, I do hope you realize that the voters may not remember all these achievements in another six years. So, you will have to deliver on your promise of developing the country and converting it to the ‘miracle of Asia’!

Now, that is what worries me, Mahinda maama. We still don’t seem to be able to survive a sudden onslaught of rain without getting flooded, we can’t get rid of the potholes on our roads, we can’t deal with a Dengue epidemic-and yet, we hope to become the miracle of Asia in about six years’ time!

If we are to get there, I am sure you would have to crack the whip on at least some of your Ministers and get rid of others altogether. As I see it, some are only there for the title and the perks it brings, without doing any real work at all, apart from providing entertainment for all of us every now and then.

Take for instance, this theory about ‘paan piti thrasthavadaya’. We are being told that the rising prices of wheat flour is a form of terrorism foisted upon us by western countries and that therefore we should eat rice for all meals instead of bread.

What next would they tell us, Mahinda maama? Use a bullock cart when the world oil prices rise? Revert to the ‘kuppi lampuwa’ when electricity charges increase? Boycott reading newspapers and watching television because they advertise all kinds of unnecessary luxury goods?

Then, Mahinda maama, I am sure you realize that we are still saddled with the same old faces that have been ruling us since 1994. Now, if these people couldn’t get us very far for the last sixteen years, how could we be optimistic about what would happen in the next six years?

I know that your plan is to develop the South with ports and airports just like the Greens once developed the Mahaveli areas. It is not a bad idea Mahinda maama, but I do hope that you have in your team people who are capable of implementing these tasks.And while they do that, Mahinda maama, don’t you think it is only right that you grant some political concessions to those in the North and East? I know it is not fashionable to talk about it after the end of the war, but surely, their grievances didn’t vanish overnight simply because the war was won?

And, now that you don’t have to count how many MPs you have in Parliament to support you every time there is a vote, why don’t you get rid of some of the more nefarious characters, Mahinda maama? Surely, you can find permanent employment for them as judges in one of these reality TV shows!

Can you also let me in on a little secret, Mahinda maama? What was all this fuss about passing the eighteenth amendment that allows you to run for a third term? Now, it is not that we like you less but don’t you think that familiarity would breed contempt, if you stay on for seventeen long years?

Be that as it may, Mahinda maama, we wish you well. We hope you will have the wisdom to govern like a statesman-and not just a politician. Sri Lanka is not the Beliatta Pradeshiya Sabhawa, you know!

Yours truly,
Punchi Putha

PS-We hear some people are busy stitching new clothes, thinking they will get the No. 2 job but Di Moo has demonstrated that he is still the best man for the job, hasn’t he, by saying all the right things and not uttering a single word against his Lord and Master?

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