This country has been independent for nearly 70 years. Yet no minister in all that time had opened a health spa for the benefit of the nation – at state expense that is. Some say this is absolute gall. Still others say it is innovative genius. Those who hold the latter view say there is [...]


Spa a thought for the minister, will you


This country has been independent for nearly 70 years. Yet no minister in all that time had opened a health spa for the benefit of the nation – at state expense that is. Some say this is absolute gall. Still others say it is innovative genius.

Those who hold the latter view say there is sufficient evidence to prove the urgent need to open spas in every electorate so that ministers, deputies and assorted types who enter parliament could be given free head massages to stimulate thinking and revive what seems like atrophied organs that have stopped showing the power of thought.

What goes on in parliament today in the name of intelligent debate and educated discourse is proof enough that some kind of anatomical flush system is needed to cleanse the thinking processes of our law makers.

After all they are honourable men, all honourable men (and women) in the words of Mark Antony and spend hour upon hour at Diyawanna Oya dedicated to the service of the nation. Surely they deserve careful looking after and nurturing.

If a news story I read the other day is true and accurate, an unnamed Minister has spent funds of his unnamed ministry to open a spa so as to protect the health of the nation while the Health Minister is otherwise engaged in fighting the doctors and advisers on pharmaceuticals and other things that matter to the health of our ancient nation.

Moreover with the Health Minister busy doubling up as cabinet spokesman also he has little time to worry about the general health of the people when there are such urgent matters to attend to like a good squabble over a private medical college.
So when an unnamed Minister from an unnamed ministry decides to step in and do something constructive like providing therapeutic conveniences there is hardly a word of praise for such enterprising endeavours.

Obviously the Minister, whoever he may be, is obviously self-effacing, fighting shy of publicity and not wishing to be showered with bouquets for such dedicated service to the nation. After all that is his task according to the job description though he might have strayed from the straight and narrow on this occasion.

The problem is that it is difficult to fathom whether he has in fact exceeded what was required of him and has used state funds for purposes other than what they were originally intended.

I mean there is enough precedent in this regard. Funds allocated to various ministries have not always been used for the job at hand but for underhand jobs that have truly made this country the miracle of Asia in that it has somehow survived all these tribulations.

Just the other day the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key described Sri Lanka as the “shining light of the Asian region”. Well I don’t wish to denigrate a foreign leader who has just promised to improve our bovine industry so I will desist.

If however one might digress for a moment, it is indeed an industry that needs improving, seeing that the bulls and cows we have and some revere, create such public disorder that it turns into a veritable who-dung-it which not even our megapolis will solve.
It is, of course, not in our culture to upbraid visitors to our home. It was only recently our President reminded all that he will not allow our ancient culture to be debased by undesirable foreign influences.

But I did hear some wag say that if we are a shining light in the region as our visitor publicly claimed, it must be because the others have switched off their lights and gone to sleep. The Sri Lankan people were so thunder struck by these Key words that before they could recover the country was struck by lightning – or so the Electricity Board said initially- and the shining lights of the Asian region went out all over the island.

Anyway why quarrel over the words of one visiting leader except to ask what other Asian nations would think about Mr. Key’s words that seemed to imply that the other chaps in this region are in the dark.

Maybe, just maybe, he was referring to the innovative skill of our unnamed Minister who, if true, has taken the trouble to open a spa in the hope of building a healthy nation and controlling, if not eliminating, obesity particularly among some of our politicians who seem to gain in girth what they lose in brain power providing a clinically-interesting juxtaposition.

For whatever it is worth I am going to hazard a guess. This Minister, who unfortunately remains unnamed for reasons known best to that reporter, must be an aficionado of the classics.

He is surely the kind of man who could crush the loquacious Weerawansas and the pretentious Gammanpillas with a few words from the works of Juvenal, that Latin poet and satirist or turn on the oratorical skills of a Cicero. That should be sufficient to sow confusion in the serried ranks of opposition parliamentarians, some of whom apparently turned their backs on public examinations early in life.

As a faithful follower of Juvenal whose words “mens sana incorpore sano”(meaning a healthy mind in a healthy body for those untutored in the classics) probably still ring in the Minister’s ears as he has set out to recuperate the once healthy bodies that contained otherwise healthy and well groomed minds.

As sparring partners (if one might resort to pun) he – or someone on his behalf – has hired the feminine kind (some might add feline but never mind) who, it might be claimed, have been so well trained in the therapeutic arts and sciences that they could reduce in a month or two a sumo wrestler to the size of an emaciated former parliamentarian struck down by political outage.
To ensure that this spa functions with maximum efficiency and the feminine therapeutists do not linger on the job the minister has thoughtfully placed his wife in charge of managing the spa, if the media report is true.

Not only that. It appears that the wife is paid a lower salary than any of those hard working girls who have been employed without even a by-your-leave from the Constitutional Council.

Nepotism and cronyism would have been farthest from the Minister’s mind which must have gone through a power flush to rejuvenate his thinking process, when he put his wife in charge as manager and recruited therapeutists bypassing the tender process, if you get what I mean.

But those who do not understand the Minister’s intention to make Sri Lanka not only a shining Asian country but also experiment with a novel idea that could be replicated throughout our island nation if not the region in which we are shining examples.
It is unfortunate, if the report is true, that the Minister’s efforts to spread the good word and worthwhile cause are likely to come to nothing if ministry funds are limited to such pre-determined projects as the megapolis which, if it is anything like the other police, will be left to pick up bodies and pieces.

Why, for heaven and our sakes, is the clamorous joint opposition strangely silent? It demands everything, even a few minutes here and a few there. So why not a spa! Like charity it should germinate at home, right in the middle of the Diyawanna Oya.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Post Comment

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.