18 July, 2019

Blog

A Case For Hypocrisy

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

What follows is NOT written tongue-in-cheek but are musings generated by the state of public discourse, such as it is, in Sri Lanka, in the English medium at least.

My rather tattered version of Chambers English Dictionary describes hypocrisy as “feigning to be better than one is, or to be what one is not” among a plethora of definitions too many to enumerate here.

What provoked this piece is the fact that we seem, in Sri Lanka, to have reached a point of cynicism in our “national view” that does not so much as even pay lip service to all that is supposedly good and worthwhile in the world at large and, particularly, in the manner of our interaction with our fellow human beings.

Our political culture as expressed by those provided ample publicity by a servile media doesn’t even pretend to paying lip service to considerations of ethics, morality and any kind of principle.

Interestingly, it has been my personal experience (like that of Robert Knox, I believe) that it is only the “sons of the soil” who even remember what the precepts of civilization preached throughout history are. Yes, our goviyas appear to be the least sullied by the epidemic of cynicism and downright criminality wherever possible that seems to have overtaken what is too-often touted as the last bastion of Theravada Buddhism, leave alone a land where all the major religious faiths have substantial followings.

While democratic capitalism is essentially cruel and uncivilized in its pure form, it has evolved over the years into a system that, as Winston Churchill put it, “ …….is the worst form of government except for all the rest.”

Even Donald Trump who is perhaps without equal in the matter of political (and personal) venality, pretends, from time to time, to subscribe to those attributes that civilization has accepted as being in the larger interests of the governance of mankind.

The rampant nonsense that passes for public discourse in Sri Lanka media appears to be bought and paid for, often literally, by politicians and their hangers-on.

If there is a villain of the piece in recent Sri Lankan history it is “Yankee Dick” Jayewardene and I say this as someone who, with a young family, became political refugees from the only land they could call home, thanks to Sirima Bandaranaike and Hector Kobbekaduwa. That said, there was a significant core of UNP supporters who always viewed J. R. Jayewardene and his ambitions and political philosophy with suspicion.

1977 provided him with an unbelievable opportunity of setting in place a “dog-eat-dog,” “devil-take-the-hindmost” brand of capitalism sans the leavening of principle, ethics, morality or anything resembling those philosophical concepts.

Many friends who lived through the years of J.R.’s hegemony who had welcomed his ascent in the first place, lived to rue the day they began working for him.

The moral musings of Dr. N. M. Perera and Dr. Colvin R de Silva, even when considered logical by many, were disregarded by a voting population who had “had it up to here” with the “family socialism” of Sirima Bandaranaike and her clan to which the alleged Trotskyists and Stalinists had contributed until their falling out occurred.

While I could only observe the performance of JRJ from the other side of the world, literally, you didn’t have to be any kind of political pundit to anticipate where his brand of democratic capitalism would ultimately take the country. No matter how seemingly irrational and badly-timed the second Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the insurrection of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) might have seemed, those responses were inevitable given JR’s prior politico/philosophical history.

That Premadasa, warts and all, was the most representative of the broad Sri Lankan population is something that cannot be denied in the cold light of day. Ruthless, he might have been, but the overall thrust of his governance was egalitarian. I am still bemused by the jubilation that resulted at the time of his assassination by a suicide bomber. I happened to have been in Sri Lanka on one of my infrequent visits during the 30+ years I spent in Canada and distinctly remember the huge number of firecrackers that were lit in jubilation on that May Day!

The majority of rural folk who are my primary associates since my return and were old enough to remember R. Premadasa’s political career, now often express chagrin at any happiness or satisfaction they might have expressed at the time of the man’s murder!

The irony of the current situation is that, unlike during what proved to be Premadasa’s final term, where there was an expectation of morality, ethics and principle in governance, the vast majority of our population appears to have fatalistically accepted the status quo as inevitable and irreversible. If at all, they seek to leverage whatever position they might hold in society to obtain financial benefits and, if they don’t see themselves as being in such a position, accept their lot in life as “fate.”

The reaction to the increasingly brutal governance of Mahinda Rajapaksa that led to Sirisena’s Presidency seems to have dissipated completely and, in all honesty, this was to be expected given the wholesale betrayal of the population and the monumental self-aggrandizement that has occurred in the years after 2015. The extent of this disillusionment is only too evident to anyone viewing the Sri Lankan political scene no matter how superficially.

The one light at the end of this particular tunnel is one that was evident at the tail end of the Rajapaksa years: the voices in print of the so-called, “weaker sex:” women journalists who have not been silenced at this time of as great peril as the previous one against which they railed.

Another glimmer of good news is that there are a few people of political experience and, most important, of moral integrity who have begun to display interest in leading this nation, Nagananda Kodituwakku being one.

Sirisena and his cronies have proven to be worse than the contents of the Trojan Horse of ancient times. This country has to be rid of him and his minions and the sooner the better.

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Latest comments

  • 4
    5

    Emil, right on! the biggest villain of the peace now is Yankee Dicki’s Nephew, US puppet Bondscam Ranil.
    Time now for Lankan civil society to lead a massive protest outside the US embassy, and ask the biggest Rogue State in the world to remove its war ships and war machine from the Indian Ocean, and stop causing oil spills and environmental disasters in Sri Lanka, after the CIA-IS Easter Carnage. Also call for US Puppet Bondscam Ranil’s impeachment. Time for Ranil and his Cabinet of thieves to GET OUT!

    All these man made and environmental disasters are so that US marines can then enter Sri Lanka and clean up the US disasters! Disaster Preparedness and Disaster capitalism like the sale of weapons is a US global industry – First cause the disaster and then pretend to save people and environment!

    There is no such ocean as the Indo-Pacific and US needs to take it war toys back to the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and stay ther. Indian Ocean belongs to Asia which is Rising and US needs to get out of Asia and close down all its military bases as in Chgos Island.

    • 6
      3

      Don Stanley,

      You are nothing but a paid shill of the Rajapakse murderers; a low-life carrying out their propaganda.

      How can you only see one side and not see that the Rajapakses hocked the country to kingdom come and gave parts of the country freehold to China ……. why are you silent on that? Ranil made them 99-year leases. Any good word for Ranil, eh? :))

      It’s not Ranil or the Rajapakses ………. what matters is the truth and it needs to be said loud and clear.

      “it is the US, EURO bonds, Japan and ADB that is responsible for the crash of the Sri Lankan rupee”

      Could you please explain how the rupee is crashing due to the factors you have mentioned above?

      You seem to know a lot of economics! :))

      But I know you won’t answer ………. will just run away and hide. :)))

      A typical Lankan from the gutter spreading falsehood for the consumption of economics-ignorant gullible Lankans to gain political advantage ……. Is it any wonder the country is in this mess?

      You are nothing but the scum of the earth ………. and you know it.

      • 1
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        Seems that you are a butterfly paid shrill of the Trump war machine Mr. NP! Now, US puppet Bondscam Ranil, US Citizen Gota Rajapaksa must share the same prison cell for treason. They are both owned and operated by CIA to advance US interests in the non-existing indo pacific.
        Time for America to take its war toys back to the Atlantic and Pacific leave Asia and Indian Ocean alone.
        US has cause enough damage in the Middle East and Central America which is why there is a migrant crisis which the moron Trump cannot understand, and now Trumpland wants to do the same in Asia Rising. US is jealous of China and to make America great again.
        US should PISS OFF from the Indian Ocean and stop calling it indopacific!

        • 3
          1

          “it is the US, EURO bonds, Japan and ADB that is responsible for the crash of the Sri Lankan rupee”

          That’s what needs to be answered ……. I know you would go round and round but will never answer it! …….. because you’ll be found out …… that you know bugger all about economics!

          Why are you lowlife slime-balls …….. soooo predictable ? :))

          Get a life man! :)))

  • 4
    0

    Sinhalese-Buddhist Nazism has risen in Sri Lanka to the point that a ”Hitler” will appear soon, and the Sinhalese people will “elect” him to power. Rehearsal was conducted in Nanthikkadal in 2009.

    Minorities beware: Tamils, Muslims, Christians, Gays, Marxists – you name them.

    God and outside help can only save Sri Lanka.

    • 1
      2

      Hitler is exactly what we need.
      \
      Only he knew the Zionist deviousness in manipulating the world economy, society and everything else to enable the rule over Jerusalem and their perverse mythical belief of building a fourth temple.
      \
      Churchill the prostitute’s son lied, and committed genocides to continue the process with the so-called fricking Balfour Declaration. The world has never recovered since the 1943 war ended and the lie of a ‘holocaust’. These animals are the ones who caused a holocaust in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, based on the Israeli staged event of 9/11.
      \
      So we can correct this destructive path only by having some one with Hitler’s intelligence and courage.

  • 4
    1

    Don Stanley, , did anytime US reject entry visa for you ????? You seems to have tendency to blame them for your age old Prostate and urinary incontinence.

  • 1
    5

    JR was a genius. With his economic reforms, he was ready to do for S. Lanka what Deng Xiaoping did for China. Premadasa had poor vision. He thought he could negotiate with the LTTE, at the end they killed him. He had some interest in helping the poor but JR’s is the one who opened the economy on a massive scale, particularly with regards to tourism. JR was ready to get Prabhakaran before parippu drop & the Indo-Lanka deal forced on Sri Lanka. Clearly JR had more vision than Rajiv Gandhi or Premadasa, who were flying Tigers around on helicopters. And much more vision than his nephew Ranil, by far the worst politician in Sri Lankan history. JR could see his opponents well, while still controlling those within his own party. A skill which Mahinda also has.

    • 1
      0

      What’s the point in JR having opened the economy and his being ” ready to get Prabhakaran before parippu drop & the Indo-Lanka deal forced on Sri Lanka?”
      .
      He’s the guy who created Prabhakaran in the first place.

      • 1
        0

        Thank you Sinhala_Man.
        Tisaranee Gunasekera
        “The LTTE did not come into being or grow into a world-class terror outfit in a vacuum. Without the Sinhala Only, the Tiger may have remained unborn. Without the Black July, the Tiger may not have grown exponentially. If the B-C Pact and the D-C Pact did not miscarry (thanks to the midwifery of Sinhala extremism), the LTTE, even if it was born, would have remained a fringe group.
        The Tiger was born out of Tamil discontent and alienation; it fed on Tamil fear and anger. A policy of preventing a Tiger-resurgence needs to take this history into account. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa may be labouring day and night to prevent a Tiger-resurgence. But the militaristic approach and Sinhala supremacist policies of the Family cannot but fan those old-embers of Tamil fear and ire into new-life.”

        • 0
          2

          India was ready to create a federal state for North & East Tamils. India invaded Sri Lanka against the will of the dominant community to supposedly protect Tamils. We know the result; the Indian PM was assassinated. The Tamil leadership never wanted a federal state; they wanted a separate one. Ridiculous proposals like 50-50 (which country has that?) and DDC’s were all stepping stones to a separate state. The mistake made by the TULF Vellalars like Amirthalingam was that they underestimated the low-caste Tamil youth who took up arms. The TULF thought the Sinhalese would cave after a few policemen or soldiers were killed. Prabhakaran being a true psychopath was ready to kill thousands. That is exactly what happened. Of course the Sinhalese reacted. Human nature!

    • 3
      0

      Lester:
      The fact that you call JR a genius, speaks more about you (and him) than anything I could say except to ask where in your pantheon of gods like JR, Adolf Hitler would sit/

      • 0
        1

        Considering that Sri Lanka earned $4.4. billion USD from tourism in just 2018, I would say JR was definitely on the right track. An Executive Presidency was needed to crush the Tigers; again, JR was ahead of his time in this regard. Opening up the economy to foreign investment is not bad, despite what you claim. Foreign firms have something called “money” which they invest in the local economy. This creates jobs, increasing the standard of living over time. The alternative is a subsistence-type economy, e.g. plantations owned by a rich few, the type of economy created by the British & inherited by JR. Transforming the economy into an entity ready to embrace the modern world is JR’s real legacy, not 1983. Now if your argument against JR is Premadasa giving alms to the poor, that is nothing short of laughable.

    • 1
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      Lester. i am laughing through both ends.

      • 0
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        What bahubatha compels you to laugh through both ends? The musings of Emil Van Der Pooten? If you want to see Emil Van Der Pooten type socialism in all its glory, I encourage you to visit Venezuela. Food rationing, food shortages, hyperinflation, unemployment (above 30%), etc. Sri Lanka did not have any of these things even during 30 years of civil war. Sri Lanka embraced many ideologies, luckily, Marxism was not one of them. Let me remind you that Marxism is far worse than the LTTE or any Wahhabi ideology.

  • 1
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    How about an Alberta style citizens’ Forum, Emil?
    \
    Remember we managed to collect 135 votes during our peak? Its worth giving it a go.

    • 0
      1

      “Bill Finn”
      It’s a good thing the person who really bears this name can’t reach you because you wouldn’t have to evacuate your innards because he’d already have done so with his boot.on you

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