Despite high tidal waves washing the shores where the restaurant stood, a resort in the south did good business that Sunday. The loud bursts of tippers unloading boulders on the shore or dust from repairs in the building did not deter diners. They have filled the open hall for the sumptuous buffet lunch amidst caressing [...]


Humpty Dumpty and his bottle of scotch


Despite high tidal waves washing the shores where the restaurant stood, a resort in the south did good business that Sunday.
The loud bursts of tippers unloading boulders on the shore or dust from repairs in the building did not deter diners. They have filled the open hall for the sumptuous buffet lunch amidst caressing winds.

The distraction came only when a southern politico, with a tummy which local cartoonists are fond of projecting, a bubbly curve which prevents them seeing their toes, turned up. The walk-in looked like a scene from a Sinhala movie.

The lordly politico, known for many headlines and headaches to his leaders, was accompanied by two of his men, one to the left and the other to the right. For every step he took, the duo stood crouching their heads in obeisance and guiding the man forward. One of them held a brown paper package. A waiter ran towards him and quickly took charge of it.

The man walked in and sat on a chair. Onlookers feared the steel tube legs may bend. His back which had occupied every inch of the seating area with the rest overflowing appeared perched perilously. His aides sat on either side. Within minutes, the waiter arrived. The secret of the brown paper parcel was out. It was a bottle of Famous Grouse Scotch Whisky. There was soda water and three glasses. Before a hotel guest could finish a buffet meal, the bottle of whisky was empty.

The politician commanded the respect of all waiters. Like his two men, they also bowed when he came and thereafter when they served him. Whether this was out of fear or respect, or both, seemed unclear. The man has on one occasion been a guest of the Government at Welikada. Soon diners came to identify him. There was a lot of finger pointing and his long name of being a jewel and a village was uttered in whispers.

That is Mathata Thitha, or the Government’s temperance programme, for its politicians. Even if they get on platforms to berate the “dirty white men”, their scotch has become part and parcel of their life. Who cares? Elections are not due yet!!

The Hummer secret is out

The use of a ‘Hummer’ which is considered a luxury SUV (Sports Utility Vehicle) by former UNP MP turned UPFA Provincial Council candidate Dayasiri Jayasekera for his campaign work in the North Western province (NWP) has made the rumour mill work overtime in the area.

Many think that the former MP has been given the vehicle as part of the inducements given to lure him to cross over. But reports from the area say that the ‘Hummer’ belongs to a well-known chicken farm owner in Hettipola and he has lent the vehicle to Mr. Jayasekera to travel to election meetings speedily and securely, but not discreetly. Now, as the vehicle approaches, people in the area know who the occupant is.

Dayasiri and the politics of religion

Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, UNP Parliamentarian for the Kurunegala District, took a swipe at his former colleague and now rival Dayasiri Jayasekera during a talk show on a television channel this week.

Producing documents, he claimed that Mr. Jayasekera had legally sworn allegiance to another religion. “If he quit the opposition complaining against the leader of his party, has he given up being a Buddhist because he did not like Lord Buddha?” he queried.
Jayasekera had promised to be on the programme with Kariyawasam and UNP MP Ranjan Ramanayake, but bailed out at the last minute. There was no show by him.

For a change, Police tell Mervyn to go

The dispute over the mosque in Grandpass saw the arrival of an unexpected mediator. That was Public Relations Minister, ‘Dr’. Mervyn Silva. “I want you all to remain calm and maintain the peace until I discuss the issue with the President,” Silva shouted.  Just then Senior DIG Anura Senanayake appeared on the scene. He whispered something in the Minister’s ears. The demeanour was polite. It turned out that he had asked the Minister to leave the area since his presence may further increase tension.

“Hondai Mama Yanawa. Magen Janadipathi thumaa ahuwoth mang kiyanawa thamunnansey kiwwai kiyala (Okay, I will leave. If the President asks me, I will say that you asked me to go),” Silva said. He retreated from the area thereafter with his bodyguards. It was nice to see a Minister taking orders from a DIG for a change.

Lankan doctor highlights US ill-treatment

When Sri Lanka expatriates in the US hit the front pages of The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, it is invariably for one of two reasons: either being charged for Medicaid fraud or for insider trading, both criminal offences warranting a long term stay in the slammer.

But last week, Sajith Abeyawickrama, an anesthesiologist from Sri Lanka, was the focus of a page one story in the Times, titled “Path to US Practice is Long Slog for Foreign Doctors.” The story detailed the trials and tribulations of foreign-trained immigrant physicians who are caught up in a testing process described as unnecessarily restrictive and time-consuming.

Although the US faces a shortage of physicians, there is subtle discrimination against foreign-born doctors, including Indians, Filipinos and Latin Americans. Dr. Abeyawickrama, 37, came to the US in 2010 but has been working in a series of jobs in the medical industry, including an unpaid position entering patient data into a hospital’s electronic medical records system.

But fortunately, he has landed a two year research fellowship at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, and is quoted as saying: “Once I finish my fellowship at one of the best hospitals in America, I hope there will be some doors opening for me.”

ST saves Sir John

Soon after highlighting the slanderous biography of Sir John Kotelawala published in the Sir John Kotelawala Defence Academy’s official website,, the content has been mercifully removed.

The Sunday Times on August 4 revealed on this page the utterly contemptuous account of the very benefactor of the Academy, the former Prime Minister which included references to his wife’s so-called debauchery etc., but now the website states ‘404 page not found’, indicating that the content has been removed.

This is not the first time such government institution made glaring errors on their website. Even five months after Parliament voted to impeach Chief Justice 43 Shirani Bandaranayake, the Judicial Service Commission stated that its Chairperson was Ms. Bandaranayake.
After the Sunday Times pointed out in June the entire website has been missing except for a message ‘web site is being revamped.’

Updating websites has been a constant problem for these government officials, however the episode at the KDU took the cake.

Shashindra’s luxury vehicle, a submarine

However much a politician tries, the luxury vehicles they have been given duty free cannot be turned into submarines of sort in an emergency. That in essence was the moral of an encounter Shashindra Rajapaksa, Chief Minister of the Uva Province, faced last week. Of course, he was on a noble mission to cater to the needs of pilgrims attending the Kataragama annual Esala festival.

He wanted to greet the crowds who walk from Panama in the east through the Yala National Park jungles braving the threats posed by wild life there. That walk is an annual event undertaken by pilgrims with great religious zeal.

He wanted to reach the Kumana area, which he made the greeting point, before the pilgrims could traverse through the strict natural reserve to reach Kataragama. There was one obstacle to clear – the Kumbukkan Oya. Wild life enthusiasts drive through the river bed when water levels are low.

Unfortunately for him, on that occasion the water level was high and the driver was reluctant to engage the four wheel and dart across. “Baye wewulanawaney. Marenna oyatharam bayawenna epa, (Shivering in fear? Don’t be so frightened to die),” exhorted Rajapaksa.
Embarrassed by the remarks, the driver plunged the vehicle into the river bed only to realise water gushing inside. It had reached over the seat level and even swallowed young Rajapaksa’s mobile phone. The driver tried to reverse but found themselves in further difficulty.

The Chief Minister got to the driving seat after asking the driver to disembark. With great difficulty Rajapaksa managed to get the vehicle out of the water.

Harrison says minister goes to expensive beauty parlour

Even ministers are beauty conscious if one is to believe the UNP’s Anuradhapura District Parliamentarian, P. Harrison.  Addressing a beauty culture training workshop for young women in Galenbindunuwewa last week, Mr. Harrison said these days not only women but men too, spent money for make-up and beautification.

He spoke of a Cabinet minister who spent thousands of rupees every month to “look beautiful.” He claimed that the minister went to expensive beauty parlours. It was anybody’s guess as to who that minister was.

Star struck and video stuck

The past week was a hive of activity whereas international celebrity sightings were concerned in Colombo.  First Jermaine Jackson, the brother of late singer Michael Jackson, was seen shaking hands with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees along with MP Namal Rajapaksa.

The youngest son of the President, Rohitha Rajapaksa meanwhile was present, along with a large number of local film stars and others in the cinema arena at a hotel in Colombo to rub shoulders with popular Bollywood actors Ranbir Kapoor and Anouska Sharma who are here to shoot a film. The duo held a news conference on Friday where they expressed their fondness for Sri Lankan food. “I ate a lot of hoppers and kiri bath,” the Indian actress said.

The only hiccup at the event was when a video clip that was played showing off the country’s many tourist attractions, which also included clips of the President, got stuck. Despite many attempts to get a smooth screening, alas, there was no success.

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