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Batik Silva breathes fire

Even if he was forgiven for tying a Samurdhi animator to a tree, Public Co-ordination and Public Affairs Minister Mervyn Silva, learnt what he did this time turned out to be unpardonable. He attended last Wednesday night's weekly Cabinet meeting wearing a short-sleeved batik shirt with a floral design.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa was not pleased. He asked Mr. Silva to leave the meeting and return properly attired.

The Minister who was seated far away from the President, who chaired the meeting, walked past his colleagues. He came in front of Mr. Rajapaksa, clasped his hands together, bowed low and greeted him with clasped hands. Thereafter, he walked away and did not return for that night's meeting.

Just days later, he was ceremonially moving into his office at Dharmapala Mawatha, overlooking the Vihara Maha Devi Park. The media were invited. Noting that camera operators from a TV channel were not present, he asked an official whether they were invited. When he replied "no," Mr. Silva said he would be suspended for 20 days. Thereafter, his services will be obtained only if he needs it, said Mr. Silva whilst officials and media persons watched the drama.

Another bombshell followed. Mr. Silva was livid over his colleagues who had leaked the story about his wearing a batik shirt for the Cabinet meeting. "Eka Deli Pihiyaking Kiri Kanawa Wagey (its like eating curd with a razor)." he remarked. Then he added, "Eka dunne ekawa dana gaththanang mama uge kata kapanawa (If I can find out who gave it, I will cut his mouth)."

Message in a bottle

During an engagement in Hambantota, a well wisher gifted President Mahinda Rajapaksa, with a rare gift. It was a sealed bottle containing his photograph inside.

That prompted some witty remarks. President Rajapaksa said the gift symbolised his predicament. Though he won freedom for his countrymen winning the separatist war, he was not free to move around without security. He had to eat food after others had parttaken of it.

This was a reference to food tasters who first checked his food. Even on his recent visit to Britain, some talked about a warrant to arrest him. Anyway we have played chak gudu (a local game) and have learnt to survive, he said

It took so long to say goodbye

For weeks, the British High Commission in Colombo tried to get an appointment with President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

This was for the outgoing High Commissioner, Peter Hayes, to make his farewell call. Dr. Hayes has just completed his three-year term in Sri Lanka. However, Mr. Rajapaksa's busy schedule did not permit it.

On Friday morning, hours ahead of his departure, Dr. Hayes received a phone call. It was an invitation for a breakfast meeting which he attended.

Who's the groom, asks Ranil

Prime Minister D.M.Jayaratna and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe were witnesses at a scribe's wedding which was held at a Buddhist temple in Colombo last week.

After the witnesses had attested the marriage certificate and it was the turn of the groom to sign, he found that the space allocated for his signature had already been used by the Premier instead of the space meant for the witness.

The groom then decided to sign just above where the PM had signed after the registrar said that would suffice. The Opposition Leader who noticed the two signatures had quipped," There are two grooms who have signed, will someone tell us who the real one is." It was only then that the Prime Minister realised his mistake.

Small fish for big fish

Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne wrote to ministers and his Parliamentary colleagues in the Government about a seasonal offer from him.

He asked them to carry his letter to the Fisheries Department stall in Modera and collect the Christmas-New Year gift. Ministers sent their security men whilst some MPs went personally.

It was a gift wrapped rigifoam box. One of them brought it home and opened it in the presence of his wife. Placed inside was a small fish, enough for a couple. That was Minister Senaratne's compliment for the season.

Nutty name for minister

UPFA Parliamentarians have given one of their colleagues a new title — "Pol Mudalali."
Jagath Pushpakumara, the new Minister of Coconut Development and State Plantations Development, had been busy with officials. He was checking which parts of the City of Colombo had a short supply of coconuts.

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