Ginger, garlic, goraka, bandakka, watakka in political soup! There is an ancient Chinese curse: “May you live interesting times” and that is exactly what all voters will face in the forthcoming provincial council elections. We have certainly experienced the antics of the clowns and comedians in the different political parties over the years but reading [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka



Ginger, garlic, goraka, bandakka, watakka in political soup!

There is an ancient Chinese curse: “May you live interesting times” and that is exactly what all voters will face in the forthcoming provincial council elections.

We have certainly experienced the antics of the clowns and comedians in the different political parties over the years but reading the line-up of potential candidates from the SLFP, the JVP, the UNP and other parties, including Independent groups, makes me remember the circus that came to town.

R.L. Stephenson said: “Politics is perhaps the only calling for which no preparation is thought necessary.” This takes us to the crux of the matter. The dictionary defines politics as: – noun:

n The activities associated with the governance of a country or area;

n The activities of political parties concerning their political relations between people and nations.

If that is the nature of politics, will even one of those singers, dancers, buskers and good-looking vain aspirants with no administrative ability be capable of running the affairs of, not state, but a small provincial council? This is not discriminatory of any profession including the ‘oldest profession’ in the world but an analysis of the levels to which the present politicians will sink just to get their lap dogs into the seats of power. This reminds us of what the great conqueror Napoleon said: “In politics, stupidity is not a handicap.”
If one should pause to consider, the fact is plain to see — politicians and diapers have one thing in common; they get dirty and should be changed regularly!

Politicians and aspirants suffer from the disease of power. The structures of power eventually are taken over by psychopaths (a personality disorder causing one to commit antisocial acts.) They don’t feel compassion; they have no conscience but an insatiable lust for power. Singers, actors, musicians live in their world of fantasy. They keep the public entertained in a world of fantasy.

The black American had to fight and fight every day of his life to keep what he already has; let alone wins anything more. The only things that could get him ahead in the United States are (1) money and white skin. Look at Michael Jackson – he got the first and worked hard for the second!

It won’t be long before the people of this country will be entertained by a bunch of raw councillors if and when they hit the scene. We will have entertainment on such an unprecedented scale that will make pale the highlights of Bollywood! The only outcome will be a soup of such mixture that even the councillors won’t be able to smell apart from digest it. So with the concocted soup of ingredients of ginger, garlic, goraka, bandakka, watakka and a hodge-podge of heroes and villains, the public will have a constant display of ‘interesting times. The problem with political jokers is that they get elected.
Deiyo Sakki!

Brian Jansz

Don’t belittle our freedom heroes

The article titled ‘Freedom India won and Sri Lanka squandered’ published in the Sunday Times of January 26 was discussed by the committee members of the D.S. Senanayake Memorial Society who agreed that we should respond.

It is true that even in the past we have had power hungry elements who sold the sovereignty of the country. We wonder whether Don Manu wants to repeat history of promoting traitors. It is sad to find that prestigious newspapers such as the Sunday Times have space to undermine our freedom fighters of yesteryear. It is shocking when he says that the pride of place at Independence Square in Colombo should be for Mohandas Gandhi and of a Modern Independent Lanka.

Don Manu has failed to understand that we too had a long struggle for our freedom. To name just a few, Ven. Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala, Ven. Magettuwatte Gunananda, Anagarika Dharmapala, Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan and F.R. Senanayake are some of the heroes we should remember.

D.S. Senanayake, the first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, a Buddhist, followed the path of nonviolence and compassionate thinking. That is what the Buddha taught.

D.S. Senanayake was able to rally all Sri Lankans of different races, caste and religions at a crucial period of our history.
Let us hail the Father of the Nation, D.S. Senanayake, and be proud Sri Lankans who will stand for the sovereignty and integrity of our Motherland.

Prasanna Jayasuriya
D.S. Senanayake Memorial Society

Ananda College prefects’ behaviour deplored

I was shocked to read the news item about what happened when journalists visited the funeral of the Ananda College boy who died in a tragic accident at school.

Every heart cried for the tragic demise of the boy and it is natural that everyone wanted to attend the funeral. At least, they would want to know what happened and how it happened. So they look to the media for information.

It is shocking to know how some prefects of Ananda College, one of the prime Buddhist educational institutes in the country, reacted to the media personnel. Where is the tolerance Lord Buddha taught? Whoever instructed the prefects to act in such a manner should be severely reprimanded.

I salute the Sunday Times for highlighting this incident.
B.J. Wijesinghe
Colombo 10

Cameron’s political circus and Abbott’s goodwill diplomacy

The Sri Lankan Government’s open invitation to Commonwealth heads of government has brought it much credit.

The purpose of the invitation was to show the visiting leaders the Government’s massive welfare programme aimed at uplifting the living standards of the people in the north and east.

However, Britain’s youthful and dapper Prime Minister David Cameron was hell-bent on throwing a spanner in the works. He made a beeline to the north and flatly refused to talk to government representatives who were prepared to show him the other side of the coin. His actions were not in keeping with the high office he holds.

Cameron arrived in Colombo after meeting with pro-LTTE diaspora members who were securing deals from donors for the Conservative Party’s election campaign.

Cameron appeared to be a puppet on a string, manipulated by the pro-LTTE diaspora. Mission accomplished, he left without offering an apology to the Sri Lankan Government for his faux pas.

In sharp contrast, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott displayed a sanguine, unbiased, diplomatic attitude. He appeared to be head and shoulders above Cameron, in the diplomatic game. He left Sri Lanka with an avalanche of goodwill.
It is mind boggling to see a never-ending stream of finances pouring into the diaspora kitty.

The money collected is used to prop up governments not only in Britain and Canada, but also in France and many other European countries. These people could make or break governments. This is a disturbing trend.
F. S. R. J.

Public nuisance behind Temple Trees

There is an unauthorised three-wheeler garage on Camel Road behind Temple Trees obstructing the road and creating a major environment problem for our children as they spray-paint and repair vehicles in the open.

The garage is operational seven days a week till late night and most of the workers are under the influence of liquor in addition to other activities.

How is it that a few thugs can take over a public road, become a public nuisance and create sound pollution?

Our children cannot study due to the vehicles raising their engines. We are unable to park our cars in front of our house. Even the post box on Carmel Road – Sri Darmakerthiyrama Road is obstructed and we can’t post letters in it any more.

There is a policeman standing next to the garage due to its proximity to Temple Trees and he sees all the activities taking place there. It is a security threat in a high-security area.

There is also a boutique now opened in the middle of the enclosed road and the garage has put up a temporary structure in the middle of the road.

At a time when the UDA and the Defence Ministry have ordered the removal of all unauthorised structures, how is it that an unauthorised garage and a shop are allowed to operate in the middle of a public road, preventing the residents from using the road peacefully? We appeal to the authorities to take some action.

Residents Association of Carmel Road, Colombo 3
(Behind Temple Trees)

Hoodwinking pensioners

Many years ago an outspoken statistics lecturer said, “Lies can be defined as lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

However, after 5,000 pensioners were invited to Temple Trees, before elections, and as usual the promise was broken, without any relief, what would the lecturer say if he were alive? Would he say, “There are four types of lies – lies, damn lies, statistics and hoodwinking pensioners”.

N. Victor
Colombo 10

Continue the 5th Standard scholarship exam

Much has been written and talked about the Fifth Standard Scholarship Examination in recent months to the extent that it eclipsed many other national issues of importance.

It became the hot topic after Minister Bandula Gunawardene revealed at a news conference that the 5th Standard Scholarship Examination would be simplified in the future to ease the pressure exerted on both the children and the parents seeking admission to popular schools.

My own experience in the good old days was far from this. Perhaps I would not be writing this note if not for the 5th Standard Scholarship which I passed in 1949. Only two students were permitted to sit the exam in that year from my school in a remote village in Kalutara district and we both passed. It was the Head Master who decided who should be sent for the exam, may be depending on the past performance at the term tests. Nobody cried foul. In fact, the Head Master saw to it that we two would not be overage by the time we sit the exam by giving us a double promotion from the 2nd to the 4th Standard.

Two teachers, on the Head Master’s instructions, volunteered to teach us what they felt was necessary, taking turns after school for about three months. I cannot recall my teachers getting us to do any past papers. They taught us free as a service. We did what the teachers told us to do and nothing else. My parents took no notice that I was going to sit an exam. I can only remember my father accompanying me to the nearest town 12 miles away, to the Central School, where the exam was held. I was the third person to pass the exam from my village. The first student to do so obtained a first class in Mathematics and ended up as a Deputy Governor of the Central Bank. My friend from the adjoining village became a Weaving Master after obtaining a degree at the University of Ceylon. I found employment in a bank and retired as a competent banker 15 years ago.

The talk about turmoil and stress is all rubbish, created by tuition masters and certain parents themselves. My own nephew who got posted to Maha-Illuppallama as a research officer attached to the Agriculture Department, took his wife also and resided there. His two sons who attended the Maha-Illuppallama Maha Vidyalaya both passed the 5th Standard Scholarship Exam without attending any tuition class and are now studying at Royal College and Ananda College in Colombo. My niece tells me that she is finding it difficult to stop her younger son from climbing trees, which he learnt while in Maha-Illuppallama, in their backyard in a Colombo suburb.
The 5th Standard Scholarship Examination should continue.

D.P. Jayasinghe,

Install CCTV cameras at CMC’s cashier counters 

The Colombo Municipal Council should install CCTV cameras over cashier counters and cash counting machines should be kept on a higher elevation for ratepayers to see the money being counted.

It is alleged that some cashiers drop a few notes on the floor and say that money is short even when the correct amount is given.
January is a month when ratepayers rush to the council to pay their property rates. Some cashiers at the CMC made use of this rush to confuse the unsuspecting ratepayers and rob some of their money.

A victim
Colombo 7

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