The Fifth Column
19th July 1998
Pay hike drowned
"Thaaththa" Bindu Udagedera asked, "what is this fuss about a salary increase?"
"Why, what about it? Percy, Bindu's father, wanted to know.
"Why, Thaaththa, do you remember the salary increase they promised in January?"
"Yes, they postponed that till July..."
"Why was that, thaaththa?"
"Because G.L. said they had no money to pay us..."
"Now it appears that they won't pay you even in July" Bindu said.
"Why is that" Percy demanded.
"Satellite says any future salary increase will be given only if government employees show satisfactory performance..." Percy laughed.
"Why are you laughing, thaaththa?" Bindu wanted to know.
"Why Bindu, just imagine the people who will then be deprived of their pay hikes....."
"Why, who are they?"
"Why, all our ministers and even the President...."
"Why do you say that, thaaththa?"
"Firstly, the General won't get a pay hike becaue be couldn't finish the war and shake hands with Prabha as he promised...."
"Then G.L. must forego his increase because he got less money from the Aid Donors in Paris than last year..."
"And?" "And Mangala must get a pay cut because he promised media freedom and imposed a censorship..."
"He wouldn't mind, thaaththa, he has the credit cards..."
"Then Seeni Bola should not get a salary increase because our cricket team is doing so badly...."
"Isn't that unfair, thaaththa? He has little to do with the cricket team performing badly..."
"Well, he claims to have everything to do with the team, when the team is doing well and tries to get into the picture whenever Arjuna is receiving a trophy..."
"Then, Kingsley must not get a pay rise because he still cannot give bread at the price he promised...." Bindu suggested.
"And Rajaguru should not be given a pay hike because his police can't perform well enough to conduct elections....."
"That might not get him a pay rise, thaaththa" Bindu agreed, "but that might get him an extension......"
"Then Nimal Siripala shouldn't get a pay rise because he can't control the doctors still. Why, he can't even get a clinic shifted away from Colombo...."
"And Fowzie should also not get an increase because transport is still a big mess and the roads get flooded whenever it rains heavily...."
"And Satellite of course shouldn't get a pay hike because she didn't abolish the Presidency ... " Percy pointed out.
"So. it's a long list of those in the government who won't get a pay hike ... " Bindu observed.
"Ah" said Percy, "Don't forget that the Opposition also deserves no pay hike...."
"Why", Percy said, "What have they done? Anura is fighting with Ronnie.
Everybody is fighting with Anura and they all don't know what they are doing with Wijeyapala....".
Bindu didn't disagree.
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