I thought I must write to you now because, for some strange reason you are in the news in our little island. One may have thought it is due to the raging pandemic that has shut us down – even though no likes to use the word ‘lockdown’ – and because that originated in your [...]

5th Column

Ni Hao Xi Jingping,


I thought I must write to you now because, for some strange reason you are in the news in our little island. One may have thought it is due to the raging pandemic that has shut us down – even though no likes to use the word ‘lockdown’ – and because that originated in your country. That is not the reason.

You might be surprised to know that some are even suggesting that you are in effect the leader of our land because we seem to do what you want, and give all that you ask for from us. All this is because of the fuss over this ‘Port City’ extending out of Colombo, which we appear to have handed over to you.

It is not that your country has not helped us in the past. We remember how, in the early ‘70s, when we had the world’s first female Prime Minister leading us, Mao Tse-Tung and Chou En-Lai were very good friends of our nation, and we had a very good working relationship with your people.

Your country gifted us a conference hall named after the Prime Minister’s late husband – and that is the major conference venue we have to this day. Later, you also gifted us with our superior courts complex, where ironically, a case against handing over the ‘Port City’ to your country was heard!

I suppose the difference now is that, while your country continues to be generous, you also seem to be asking too much in return. You may have given us billions of Yuan in loans, and a few million vaccines to fight the coronavirus, but you seem to want total control of the ‘Port City’ in return.

What has also changed in that 50 years is that you have now become a major power in the world, if not a superpower. So, just like the Americans and Russians did previously, you also now want to gain control of events in the region to your advantage – and you use smaller nations like us for that purpose.

What was surprising was the ease with which you have won over the ‘R’ clan and the ‘pohottuwa’ chaps. These are the same people who shouted themselves hoarse about selling our assets to foreign powers when they were in the opposition, blaming the ‘yahapaalanaya’ clan for doing that.

Even those who supported the ‘pohottuwa’ at the last elections and helped them to come to power, including those who wear saffron robes, are astonished at this change of heart. They knew that the ‘R’ clan always had a soft spot for you and your Yuan, but they didn’t realise that you would get this far.

All this was also happening in the midst of another disaster of Chinese origin – the coronavirus. It was odd that the laws related to the ‘Port City’ were being rushed through at a time when the energies of the government should have been devoted more to reducing deaths from the deadly pandemic.

These laws were passed when medical experts are demanding a ‘lockdown’, and many asked whether Gota maama had got his priorities correct. I am sure he did, at least from his point of view. What difference would a few hundred more deaths make, if he can have his ‘vistas of prosperity’?

If the powers-that-be got what they originally wanted, some laws which apply to the rest of the land wouldn’t apply to the ‘Port City’. We would have needed a visa to enter the city. Special approvals would be needed for many activities there. It could have even been administered entirely by Chinese!

Naturally, people asked whether we were becoming a Chinese colony! We hear of what is happening in Hong Kong in recent times, and its changes since the British left less than 25 years ago. Many were worried that in this instance, we could have two countries with one system – yours!

Fortunately, the highest court in our land intervened, because in Paradise, people still have the right to go to courts on issues which they feel strongly about. They still dispense justice even though faith in the system is tested now and then, especially when the likes of Senadhipathi walks away a free man.

Sitting in a court house built by your people, they made significant changes to what was originally planned. What that means is that the ‘Port City’ will still go ahead but with changes to ensure that it will be part and parcel of our little Paradise and not something that is entirely ‘Made in China’.

That must have been a disappointment for Gota maama and the ‘pohottuwa’ chaps. Nevertheless, Xi Jingping, we know that the devil is in the detail. Now that you have a foothold in Paradise, you will want more, so we must beware. For now though, hurry up and send us some more vaccines, will you?

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS: Xi Jingping, what are your thoughts about the fear that, in 25 years’ time, when Namal baby is leading this land, the lion will be replaced by the dragon in our national flag and our national anthem will be ‘Chee Lanka Maatha, Apa Cheeeeena Lanka, Namo Namo, Namo, Namo Cheenaa’?

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