13 April, 2024


Anatomy Of A Turning Point

By Sarath de Alwis

Sarath de Alwis

“When earth piles up into mountains, wind and rain will originate thereof.” “A bosom friend afar brings distant land nearer.” ~ Chinese Proverbs 

This is not a lockdown. This is not a curfew. It is called ‘Sancharana Seema’. Restricted movement is the idea. Better late than never. The blanket restriction of vehicle movement has pissed off many. That includes my children.

But that is the right thing to do. ll you must do is to walk to the nearest outlet. The SJB has expressed its reservations. I don’t understand those chaps. They say that they oppose neoliberalism of Ranil and that they are grassroots free marketers.

Then please put on your jogging outfits and walk the talk. I am really angry with these chaps because they are all for a port city accountable to parliament. That is neither here nor there.   

I stand with my lifelong commitment to the idea of Capital which as Marx said is dead labour , which vampire like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks.

That said, we must take the world as it is. Globalization has created one huge enterprise in search of capital. It is in search of the best talent and the most contemporary ideas. And you expect them to come to your parliament and explain?

If you want to go the brothel do not go looking for virgins.

The debate over the riches to be realized from the reclaimed oceanfront in our capital is over. The discourse mirrored a swing between Uninspiring Idealism and Opinionated Cynicism.

Watching the debate, I was reminded of that aphorism with which the German thinker Friedrich Nietzsche dissected human nature and debunked the premise that every man had a price. That is not true he said. But every man had a bait which he “cannot resist swallowing.

“To win over certain people to something it is only necessary to give it a gloss of love of humanity, nobility, gentleness, self-sacrifice, – and there is nothing you cannot get them to swallow.”   

The debate on the port city commission bill mirrored that Nietzschean view of human nature. It had the elements of slave’s morality of conceding power to the master. It also had the elements of deep psychological egoism that comes from raw power.   

The port city has been described as a turning point. It is claimed that it will offer ‘world class’ facilities.

For it to be a turning point, the journey must also have end.  A nation’s journey is a never-ending journey.

If 1917 was a turning point for Vladimir Lenin, 1985 was the year that Michael Gorbachev took a definite detour. If Mao Zedong reached a turning point in 1948, Deng Xiaoping diverted to his expressway in 1978.

If Jawaharlal Nehru took the high road of ‘Pancasila “1948, Atal Behari Vajpayee took the explosive Pokhran road of détente in 1998. 

The journey of a nation is an enduring journey. Nations on their journeys through the ages have displayed the excellent habit of leaving charlatans by the wayside. 

I do not understand the urgency that prompted the hurried debate and passage of the Port City Commission bill.   

History will record that the operative legislation of the port city was enacted when the nation was in the grip of an omnipresent sickness. When fear of death by an invisible pathogen engulfed the land.

It is a date to be remembered. A time when human coexistence was under the most severe strain imaginable.

Now there is to be another inquiry to determine if it was passed with 148 or 150 votes. They say that politics is trophy hunting. You pull the trigger from a safe distance.

Commonsense would suggest, that this discussion on what is to be done with those reclaimed “Hectares of the Port City” and by whom and how should have preceded the reclamation of the land.

Now it is not suggested that we have put the cart before the horse. We have only got ourselves a Master of all Carters with forbidding whip called ‘Renminbi’.

The Master Carter has arrived with his Carthorses and has now put shafts and the wheels in place.

Quietly and slowly. He will put the carriage in to shape. We are told that it will be of world class. 

For the sake of my grandchildren, I would sincerely hope that it will turn out to be so or strive to approximates that figure of speech of being truly ‘world class’.

We are told that it will be a turning point. Unfortunately, this sanguine sentiment has emanated from the bloke who invested in Greek Bonds.

The Greek Bonds were dumped by investors. Only the Pope offered to pray for Greece.

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Latest comments

  • 8

    Dear S De A.
    Yes we are in peril. You have set out the gloom engulfing us.
    It is bleak and cloudy to day – the SW Monsoon has set itself in. An ill wind blowing ?
    But like weathering the monsoon, what else is there for us. Wait and see.
    An uneducated electorate, led by the nose scenting promised nectar, but not discerning the vultures promising it, is doomed.

  • 3

    All Tamils in SL oppose China. Take note Beijing.

  • 7

    Since independence, as a nation, we have made every mistake possible …….. taken every wrong turn imaginable ………. that’s our fate.

    I can’t see how it’s going to change anytime soon.

    But I wish, our new colonial master are the English again …….. not the Chinese ………

    Like Chinese gals though!

    • 4

      nimal fernando

      “Like Chinese gals though!”

      We know we have quite a few or bit more than average number of dirty old men among ourselves. That is another issue we do not know how to deal with.

      • 4


        I really had a Chinese girlfriend in collage ……. I know what you guys are missing!

        We are still in contact after all these years ……. If EE behaves, I’ll introduce him to her ……. put the poor sod out of his misery! :)))

      • 4

        ….dirty old men ….
        May be some are “virile old men” better endowed!
        After all there are nymphomaniacs – it is a two way thing.

    • 4

      “But I wish, our new colonial master are the English again …….. not the Chinese ………”
      One takes what one can get. I wonder what game the Chinese will teach us, since they don’t play cricket?

      • 4

        “since they don’t play cricket”

        They are good in Kung Fu, Ping Pong and contortions (Beijing Circus shouldn’t be missed)……… ol’ EE is spoilt for choice!

    • 1


      The island was never a single nation (apart from very few instances). It was made into a single nation by the British in 1948. That’s where SL got it wrong. SL was on a wrong path since 1948. If the island was divided then and there into the 3 largest ethnic groups all 3 nations would have prospered.

      Greed breeds misery!

  • 4

    Hambanthota port and Matala airport turned out to be turning points when white elephants were created with China money with a huge debt owing to them. Have we got any economic benefits or profits from these Quixotic ventures? The country pays interest while the politicians have safely banked the commissions and kick backs.
    Port city is another Quixotic venture taking matters to a new dimension: Here China is the boss who is going to reap the Lion’s share of the economic, military and other benefits while the Sinhala lion will get the left over meat and bones. However this will be ideal for laundering the ill gotten money by the politicians and their cronies. It surely may be a turning point for the destiny of the island with the West trying to contain China’s expansionism.
    If they can create artificial islands in the South China Sea to flex their muscles, they can do it anywhere where corrupt leaders benefit, but a gullible population can be fooled to believe that prosperity will ensue.
    Sinhalese leaders and Sinhalese people must realize that only though indigenous thinking, planning and implementation, not by relying on China to do those things, or even America for that matter.

  • 0

    Why should we always be pessimistic? At least we could hope for the best!

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