A botched actView(s):
My dear Premanath,
I thought of writing to you because you seem to have become famous overnight. Two weeks ago, if asked about you, most people would have said, “Premanath who?” Now though, many people not only know your name, they are talking in great detail about what you said in the House by the Lake.
Being a politician, you must be happy. For you, any publicity must be better than no publicity. We also heard that you are an actor. Again, you are one of those actors who does a supporting role every now and then, and certainly not in the league of Gamini, Joe or Vijaya, so every bit of publicity helps!
We are told that you are a lawyer as well. Once again, not one with an elite clientele such as Romesh, Saliya or even good old Tilak, but nevertheless someone who does possess the required qualifications. So, being a lawyer, actor and a politician, you are a Jack of all trades and master of none.
Anyway, all this fuss about you is because you dared to say in the House by the Lake that the privileges of those in that House were being encroached on by those in Hulftsdorp. Now, people are up in arms saying you have created the potential for a conflict between the House and Hulftsdorp.
Your speech that day was controversial. It was quite interesting for several reasons. First, you spoke in English. Of course, there is nothing wrong in that. However, many noted that previously when you spoke in the House, you always spoke in your native mother tongue. Why change now?
As I have said already, you are not one of those actors who fall into the ‘great’ category, but seeing you speak made me wonder whether you were an actor at all. That is because, if you were trying to convince the rest of us that your speech was your own, it was a very poor performance indeed.
You stuttered and faltered, paused at the wrong places and gave the impression that you were reading what someone else had written, although there is nothing wrong with that either, because we know that many in the House do that – except maybe young Tissakutti and old Susil in recent times.
As an actor, Premanath, you should know that when you get a script you need to read it carefully, maybe even rehearse it a few times. Not doing so can lead to disastrous consequences. Is that what happened? You fluffed your lines and everyone wondered whether you were Your Master’s Voice.
You went to the extent of saying that one of the Lordships should not have sat on a bench that heard a particular case. You are entitled to that view and entitled to express it – except when you said that he should have “rescued himself”. What you should have said was he should have “recused himself”!
What should have really happened, Premanath, was that you should have recused yourself from the job that you were asked to do. You weren’t able to do so. Now, someone should rescue you from the plight that you find yourself in. I say so because many have said that there can be consequences.
For instance, that law professor chap in the House says you could be in contempt of Hulftsdorp because the privileges you enjoy in the House by the Lake covers only civil and criminal matters. That chap’s legal advice is not the best; still, that is something to worry about, don’t you think?
Days after your controversial performance we saw young Shehan, who is now a State minister, jump up and make a request. As you have raised a matter of privilege related to the elections, all preparations for the poll should be halted until your matter is inquired into, he suggested.
That was a sad sight. That is because Shehan is the grandson of KB, who controlled the House by the Lake at one time. KB valued democracy and was much respected for his honesty and integrity. He must be turning in his grave seeing what his grandson is doing to protect his State ministerial job.
Premanath, you have already had your 15 minutes of fame. Even though your performance was not the best, it has made you a household name, more than being a lawyer or an actor ever did. Citizens now recall not only your name but those of your ancestors as well!
The people now feel that all this is just to stop those local government elections from being held. On the other hand, Uncle Ranil has told us that ‘there is no election, even if there was election, there is no money’, so I am a bit puzzled as to why they go to all this trouble to postpone a non-existent election!
PS: The next time you are asked to perform a task like this, don’t just say ‘yes’ to score brownie points with the boss, especially if it means taking on the Lords of Hulftsdorp. I don’t think you would really like to join an exclusive club that includes just SB and Ranjan, would you, Premanath?
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