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The Fifth Column

29th August 1999

One man show becomes one woman show

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“Thaaththa,” Bindu Udagedara asked, “What is this anniversary that they are celebrating?”

“Are you referring to the big show at Havelock Park last Saturday?” Percy Udagedera, Bindu’s father wanted to know.

“Yes,” Bindu said, “that one where Satellite promised to take us to the twenty first century..”

“That was supposed to celebrate the government’s fifth anniversary in office..”

“But Thaaththa” Bindu said, “they didn’t celebrate any of the previous anniversaries on such a grand scale..”

“Well” said Percy, “some people say that they must be fearing that it may be the last anniversary..”

“Why do they say that?”

“Why, elections have to be held next year...”

“But thaaththa, didn’t they promise not to waste money on such propaganda exercise?”

“Of course they did; but then, no government keeps its promises, Bindu”

Percy advised.

“And many people say the show only remained them of what happened seven or eight years ago...”

“Why do you say that”

“Why, that was the time of the ‘one man show’ and all the newspapers, television and radio were taken over for propaganda and every now and then, there was some showing promoting the image of you-know-who...”

“Was it like that last Saturday?” Percy wondered.

“It was,” Bindu said, “the only difference was that it promoted someone else’ image...”

“Ah, yes” Percy recalled, “they did have giant billboards with pictures of Satellite parading the streets...”

“And good old Dew who wouldn’t interrupt his news broadcasts on television for cricket matches interrupted all his programmes and showed Satellite speaking to us for nearly two hours....”

“So” said Percy “Satellite is following in the footsteps of her predecessor...”

“Yes” Bindu agreed, “now it is one woman show...”

“But we shouldn’t complain...” Percy said.

“Why do you say that?”

“why, Bindu she will win the Nobel Prize for peace in the year 20007, so we must respect her...”

“Who said that?”

“Why, Sir Arthur C. Clarke has said that, they say...”

“How does he know?” Bindu demanded, “has he been reading the e-mail of the Nobel selection committee?”

“No, Bindu,” Percy explained, “it is among his predictions for the next millennium..”

“But should we take that seriously?”

Bindu wanted to know.

“Well,” Percy said, “Sir Arthur has been making predictions about Satellites all his life and most of them have come true, even though he was laughed at when the predictions were made...”

“But thaaththa” Bindu argued, “Satellite won’t be our leader in 2007..”

“How do you know that?”

“Why, thaaththa, even if she wins a second term of office, it will end in 2006...”

“Don’t worry about that, Bindu” Percy said.

“Why, thaathatha?”

“Because” said Percy “Stellite is always late..”

Rajpal Abeynayake's Column

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