28 September, 2020

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Another Recruit To The “Insurance” Brigade

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Like all those seeking to comment on what is emerging out of the cesspool that passed for governance until this country rid itself of the Rajapaksas, I have found myself having to indulge in superlatives of the wrong kind, the mildest of which are probably “ludicrous” or “bizarre.”

The recent, poorly written article/media release from Namal Rajapaksa, obviously not a G. L. Peiris production judging by its grammar and syntax, has our erstwhile (I hope) Crown Prince first directing his white charger towards those pointing to the positively outlandish conduct of members of his family other than himself and the man he expected to/was expected to succeed, H.M. Mahinda Rajapaksa. He proclaims from the rooftops that it is fair game to be critical of the erstwhile Monarch of Sri Lanka and his Heir Apparent but that it is not cricket to criticize the rest of his family.

Given the documented conduct of various members of the Rajapaksa family, both extended and immediate, I expect that comment is hardly necessary in that regard.

However, what I would like to take up today is the matter of the conduct of the Rajapaksa Triumvirate on the rugby field and all that flowed from that conduct. The reason for this is the conduct of yet another opportunist crosser-over who portrays himself as a defender of all that is noble in the field of services rugby.

I will come to Mr. Navin Dissanayake, Minister of some kind, in due course, but I make no apology for what might seem like a long lead-in to that narrative.

Namal Yoshitha RohithaLet me say at the outset that there are eye-witnesses, video, and other documentary evidence to support every word of what follows.

Namal Rajapaksa has proclaimed that his participation and that of his siblings in competitive rugby was driven purely and simply by love of the game and an overweening compulsion to promote it in Sri Lanka. I find that particularly interesting in the context of what I was witness to as a member of the Kandy Sports Club (KSC) on several occasions when its team met the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) in club competition.

On every occasion that the SLN played the KSC at Nittawela what should have been post-game celebrations ended up as monumental brawls. On one occasion, I was witness to the fact that men in uniforms of some description, described as “Namal Rajapaksa’s personal security,” led by the Personal Trainer to the Rajapaksa siblings, clambered up to the second level of the main stand, assaulting people willy-nilly with plastic chairs and, as they broke, with pieces thereof, because, allegedly, a small plastic water bottle had been thrown at Namal when he was entering the visitors’ dressing room at the end of the game (that the SLN had lost). Picture, if you will, the unerring marksmanship of whoever threw the missile into players, officials etc. all bunched together on their way into the visitors’ dressing room and finding the target, the Crown Prince! Of course the Presidential entourage which included Anarkali Akarsha, the star of movie and other enterprises, her mother, H.M Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Consort and a few political hangers-on had left the VIP row of seats to go into the post-match reception as guests of the KSC’s President and its primary Patron by the time this happened. The attack by the goons went on right around the wives of the President of the KSC and one of the Vice-Presidents who were waiting to leave the “VIP row” in the stadium once the human traffic bottleneck cleared. I have been provided video that more than adequately documents what was taking place. This doesn’t include footage of the chief cheer-leader of the KSC who usually dances and waves a KSC flag the colours of which are painted on his face. The reason for his absence from the video was that he was being hidden under a chair on which the wife of one of the VP’s of the KSC was sitting, cowering in fear of his life!

When the melee was over, three or four dozen KSC fans were hospitalized and a few Kandy fans were charged with being intoxicated! That was the kind of rugby culture that the Rajapaksa siblings were active participants in. And as they used to say in an old, old radio serial, “now for the rest of the story:”

As might be expected, there was a great deal of anger in Kandy at what had transpired and several spectators contacted the hierarchy of the KSC with a view to having “something done” about all of this.

The upshot of that agitation was that a meeting was convened of those who’d expressed dissatisfaction with the status quo and wanted something done to, at least, prevent a recurrence of this kind of totally unacceptable behavior by visiting goons brought in by the SLN to their rugby matches. I should add here that, on at least one occasion, the SLN paid the KSC directly for 5000 tickets for their personnel to attend matches at Nittawela. Part of our national “Defence Budget?”

I was invited to participate in the recording of written statements and I was aware of at least one individual who risked his very employment to provide a signed statement describing what had transpired.

The results of this inquiry was presented to the next General Committee Meeting of the KSC and it was unanimously decided by that august assembly that a formal complaint should be made to the International Rugby Board about the state of affairs prevailing in Sri Lankan rugby and requesting their intervention. I was delegated to prepare the letter of formal complaint, which I did.

Sri Lanka being Sri Lanka, I picked up the fact that the formal complaint to the IRB was being shelved and was, therefore, going nowhere.

When I raised the issue at the next General Committee Meeting I was informed, not to put a fine point on the matter, that the KSC’s “movers and shakers” had got what is colloquially known as a case of “cold feet” and had decided to shelve the whole business. The reason I was given was that going direct to the IRB was “not the right procedure.” On that day, I ended up as a minority of one in my belief that, if it was not the “right channel,” the IRB would tell us so and, probably, indicate what was the “right channel.” The fact that I was in a minority of one on that occasion is a badge of courage that I will carry proudly for the rest of my days!

This decision by the poo-bahs at the KSC should also be viewed in the context of it being one of the latter straws in a sequence of events that was preceded by an Air Force player discharging an assault weapon during a game, on the field of play. The President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) at the time was Roshan Goonetilleke, then the recently-retired Air Force chief and Chief of Defence Staff and it was one of the more-poorly-kept secrets that he had had his term as President of the SLRFU extended on orders “from above.”

(As a side-bar, I wonder what happened to the inquiry into Mr. Goonetilleke’s holiday home in a part of the Knuckles range that is designated as an International Heritage site?)

A couple of things happened subsequent to this. Or should I say one of them, at least, didn’t happen subsequent to this?

The letter of complaint to the SLRFU about the firing of the weapon, backed up by the existence of video footage, was not so much as acknowledged and I believe that there was some kind of sneering, insulting comment about the complaint in the media by a man carrying the name of Baptist, who held office under Roshan Goonetilleke in the SLRFU. Not only was there video footage, I know that the empty shell casing from the assault weapon was picked up off the ground and handed to the police who did not so much as conduct anything resembling an inquiry into the matter. Remember the old, “My enemy’s enemy is my friend?” The KSC was the No. 1 enemy of the SLN and any of its enemies was deserving of any and all support! Obviously!

The final game of that particular season was the championship match played on the grounds of the Royal College Sports Complex. I have a distinct recollection of the events that transpired there and I will make no apology for describing them in some detail.

Contrary to the expectations of even the KSC supporters, their club dominated the SLN in the first half of the game during which the (Sri Lankan) Presidential entourage was ensconced with the afore-mentioned President of the SLRFU which was the hosting authority. The President of the club competing against the SLN for the championship (the KSC) was not allocated a seat in this august assembly and when invited, literally, up, declined to accept the afterthought. This was an interesting “protocol error,” given the fact that the person responsible for it was an erstwhile Forces chief and a clue for the “oversight” might well have been that he was openly cheering on the SLN team!

Anyway, at half-time, the President (of Sri Lanka) left his seat (without any fanfare) and I didn’t notice him returning until the second half was well on its way. What was beyond my experience in many years of playing and watching rugby was what followed: both teams returned to the field for the second half and then, for better than five minutes, had to await the arrival of the referee who appeared to have been “unavoidably delayed.”

When play ultimately resumed the complexion of the game changed completely with penalty after penalty being awarded against the KSC with the SLN narrowing the first half gap. Then, as the game was drawing to a close, the SLN was close to the KSC goal line. Video shows the referee about to award the ball to the KSC in a scrum or award a penalty to that team when the touch judge intervenes and speaks to the referee who then awards a penalty to the Navy, resulting in a Navy try.

What is relevant to this action on the part of the referee is the fact that there is video showing a player who was on the bench at the time and was not supposed to leave that bench according to the rules of rugby, speaking to the touch judge near the KSC goal line, many yards away from said bench. That worthy then speaks to the referee who makes the call referred to earlier. Follow my drift?

Do I have to name the player in question?

Despite all of this, the story had a happy ending because the referee appeared to be arithmetically-challenged due to which the KSC won the championship game by one point!

Of course, this wasn’t the end of that particular saga because the KSC dressing room was invaded by “security” who proceeded to beat up some of the Kandy players and jostled (to put it mildly) Kandy supporters, many of my vintage and female into the bargain, who had gone down to congratulate the victorious team. When I remonstrated with the Navy official with whom I had shared the pre-game comments for the TV broadcast, that senior navy officer intervened by getting Namal Rajapaksa to call off the thugs that had invaded the KSC dressing room. The SLN officer concerned told us that the miscreants were not “navy personnel.”

The most recent icing on this particular cake is Navin Dissanayake galloping off in defence of the Rajapaksa siblings who have apparently been “dis-invited” from participating in Army and SLN rugby. How gallant of yet another parachutist of convenience! I’d really like to know where his sense of sportsmanship resided when those whose wellbeing he is so concerned with now were visiting truly unprecedented mayhem on players unfortunate enough to provide opposition to teams on which they condescended to play? Perhaps, he’d like to tell us what he thinks of the manner in which probably Sri Lanka’s finest rugby player of recent times, Fazil Marija, sustained the injuries he did in a game against the Navy, resulting in his being carried off the field?

I know it used to be known as the “Uncle-Nephew-Party” at one time but given the fathers- and sons-in-law operation it has now become, it might be necessary to find a new nickname for the UNP!

In the meantime, perhaps Navin Dissanayake can find something a little more productive to do than run around playing Sir Galahad to the Bobbsey Triplets of Sri Lankan rugby. Ah, but then, he must be a real acquisition for the current government considering he spent so much more (personally valuable) time with the Mahinda Rajapaksa crew than did his turncoat father-in-law. They have one thing in common though – they came back singly, even though Karu Jayasuriya took eighteen or nineteen with him on his first journey.

Is this government ever going to learn that you don’t deal with massive corruption and violence by enlisting those whose primary intent appears to be to buy “insurance” with the very perpetrators of the unbelievable “governance” that the people of this country had to endure? These individuals had it good then, have it good now and appear to be ensuring that, in the event of a return to that dark age, they will still have it good.

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Latest comments

  • 13
    6

    The moral of this epistle is in the punch line question.

    “Is this government ever going to learn that you don’t deal with massive corruption and violence by enlisting those whose primary intent appears to be to buy “insurance” with the very perpetrators of the unbelievable “governance” that the people of this country had to endure?”

    I fear the answer, unfortunately, may be negative, but I have not (yet) given up hope thanks to many active pressure groups – the JVP and JHU, several ant-corruption fronts, and numerous newspaper correspondents.

  • 18
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    Emil

    In a way I feel sorry for the father and the three sons. It seems to me they had power over a world they hardly understood. They tried to impress with their power but they found the world to be more complicated and sophisticated than they could handle. I seriously think this family as a whole suffers from very low intelligence. In the end they just got utterly frustrated and used goons to beat the people into submission if the admiration they so craved was not forthcoming. Counseling in social behaviour, and basic education about how the modern world works should be an essential component of the punishment that is meted out to them eventually.

  • 8
    3

    Further to what has been said in the article, I wish to add that now is the time to leave rugby as a colonial remnant on our society, and invite baseball as our new national game. That is bound to solve all problems of thuggery associated with the homo-phone game of rugby.

    There are many reasons that favor the adoption of baseball as our national game: first of all, it will signify our gratitude, and reverence, of America as our savior from the “evil” of what President Rajapakse began to deliver for us on May 19, 2009.

    We will be in eternal debt to America for the crucial role they played in the conspiracy that toppled the Rajapakse presidency with a scheme that exploited political jealousy and greed (of the former presidential bibikkama and Maaru Sira), and minority – we mean those of weird sexual orientation – interests with a fair dose of bribery and NGO-led electoral roll corruption thrown in.

    Since the election our-Mangala has not yet got off the plane, and is in the US right at this moment (probably in a sauna practicing effective back door foreign policy), following hard work of thanking at the Carnegie Center (good hymie name) and the Washington “Press” Club.

    There is no better way than Americanizing ourselves with the adoption of their weird spelling, hymie values of unspeakable atrocity to foreigners and a life full of food, sex and merriment to replace our Buddhist civilization.

    Adoption of baseball as our national game will go a long way towards this.

  • 8
    1

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 4
    3

    Only [Edited out] should be allowed to play rugby

    Cheers

    Abhaya

  • 3
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    Dalits don’t play Rugby in Srilanka.

    Neither do they go to watch Rugby, because Anarkalis won’t even look at them..

    Even in the Forces, foot soldiers don’t get a gig unless they can’t fill the numbers.

    So elite having a go at other elites in the heat of the competition is not a big deal as far as the great majority of the inhabitant population 5.7 Million in fact are concerned.

    If a missile was thrown at Harper’s son, while Mum and Dad were in the audience, the whole down town Toronto would have been cordonded off to hunt Islamists or AlQueda jihadis.

    That is another story.

    Poorten perhaps should think of taking up Golf instead of messing around with the Elite.

    Just play nine holes in Scarborough. Have a few Bundys and go home to watch Days of Our Lives with the Missus.

    That will give him time to focus on more important issues like how our Jathika Hela Urumaya has ganged up with the SLMC to drive the Vellalas bonkers.

    And forced the CM Vigneswaran to become more Militant than Gajendran, and demand the UN to investigate Genocide starting from even before Viggy was born.

    Wonder how Viggy survived to become a Supreme Court Judge ?.

    Or was he in the Tamil Nadu SC?..

  • 5
    10

    Mr. Vaderpooten……get a life! You seem to dwell in an archaic era of decadence. About your ‘grammer and syntax’ nobody is bothered. Your attempt to associate with GLP’s language ability is an exercise in futility.

    • 8
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      Chandra;
      I don’t know about my “grammer” but your spelling speaks for itself! How about trying to make some sense in what you are trying to say? Your inability to express yourself is curiously reminiscent of the person who writes under another, one of dozens of,pseudonym. May I suggest that you, too, look for a suitable “English tuition teacher?” Goodness knows you’ll reap immense benefit from such attention!

      • 4
        5

        All the crap you write usually is pompous git. This is irrespective of the grammar, syntax and everything else. You reveal your self-centered egoistic nature with your assumed sermons from an assumed high position.

        The pity is that only you believe in all those things. The astute reader finds such self-righteous recriminations, laced with gratuitous abuse made possible by an anonymous website repulsive.

        So are you as a person.

      • 1
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        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 8
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    Emil.

    We have two idiots in the current cabinet amongst a longer list, who are there because of their fathers, not of their innate capabilities.

    Sajith Premadasa and Navin Dissanayake. They are both shooting the breeze, making stupid statements. Sajith trying to fill his father’s shoes (Impossible for the best of us..Pop Preme was an indefatigable personality, despite his faults) and Navin trying to be a Statesman, when he does not know what that word entails…

    How about ordering fresh elections to all Boards, irrespective of who is in power, for a change? Lets the chips fall where they may. I doubt it will happen because for all the UFPA bribe takers…there were UNP bribe givers!!!!!

  • 2
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    For Sri Lanka’s ill luck, the country was colonised by the Portugese, Ductch and the English and the country was raped and pillaged by the colonists. It appears that the curse continues even to this day.

    • 5
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      Paul:
      I always thought the expression was “Koheda Yanney, Malley Pol,” not “…Malley Paul.” I obviously, have been mistaken these many years!

      • 1
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        Yes Kumar, I won’t respond to yours.

  • 4
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    Hi Emil

    As a KSC (must confess that I was an Air Force fan when they were winning under Nalin and the gang) fan I watched most these games and I totally agree with your analysis. Your analysis of sports matters because it demonstrates extent which autocratic power impacted the society, and bad parenting by the autocrats. Since my College days, I have never seen the Kandy crowd watched games with so much of fear. Normally, when outstation teams visit Kandy, the Kandy supporters are very vocal when their team is mistreated. This was not the case when R brothers played for the forces. Even when the game was played the players were looking more at the R brothers than the ball or concentrating on the game. I felt very sorry for the referees. That was really funny, there were lot more incidents. Why did the age limit for playing school rugby was increased? In another occasion, Kandy team was not allowed to practice at Bogambara grounds because Navy was practicing. But we won that game. Thank God these brothers did not play cricket for STC.

    Cheers
    Jude

  • 5
    5

    Emil please don’t respond to nincompoops, insulting and low level comments and foolish questions. CT readers are quite bright enough to appreciate that.

    • 5
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      Kumar:
      I do like the odd bout of mud-wrestling, particularly when I don’t have to share the “mud” with the so-called “critics” who are distinguished by their truly pathetic idiocy, stupidity befitting acolytes of the terrorist regime that ruled this country for far too long!

      • 7
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        While I do agree overall with Kumar, pls don’t stop commenting, Emil. It’s hilarious ! I love your responses !

        To the matter at hand, thanks for reminding us of the brothers grim’s antics while playing rugby !

      • 0
        1

        Mr Poorten has been throwing mud at the Dalits and their Leaders from the time Elite lost Govt.

        After Jatthika Hela Urumaya gave Ranil a helping hand to grab the power again, Pooty has got a sort of Viagra boost, to gather more mud to throw at the Rajapaksa and his children.

        His acolytes are not only helping but even coming to to protect him,because they know that Rajapaksa is the only leader who can save the 5.7 Million inhabitants, their families, and their dependants from the Elite, Anglican , Vellala and the latest addition SLMS pirhanas.

        If Ranil becomes the Exec PM as Sira has promised , our Southern dalits will be made in to a “Sinhala Brotherhood”.

    • 4
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      Do you think yourself a nonpareil with a supreme head, Tamil idiot.

  • 0
    0

    Emil van der Poorten, would it have been too much to ask KSC to have thrown the game for the safety of their supporters. The records will show that every game that the Rajapakse siblings had played and won, ended without any violence. Also as the events had unfolded, regarding KSC’s letter of complaint to the IRB, throwing the game would not at all been preposterous.

    • 2
      0

      Sylvia Haik:
      While I obviously don’t have a great deal of respect for those members of the KSC hierarchy who were, in fact, complicit in what the Navy did to Kandy players and fans, I certainly admire the young men who played for the club’s rugby team. I don’t think ANY team ANYWHERE faced what they did whenever they played the Navy and, particularly during the reign of Roshan Gonnetilleke as President of the SLRFU, the Air Force (armed with assault weapons!) as well.

  • 0
    0

    Let’s not forget the curse of the Goonetilleke’s…..

    Harry, who adjusted the officer admission to allow his son, Oliver to enter the Officer class and then Roshan…

    Remember Padman Mendis who did seances to see his future. Wonder what tricks the Gunatilleke’s have in their armoury?

  • 1
    3

    Pooton:
    Same pseudonym, different email address and better “grammer!”
    What I particularly enjoyed was, “The pity is that only you believe in all those things. The astute reader finds such self-righteous recriminations, laced with gratuitous abuse made possible by an anonymous website repulsive.”
    Very impressive, indeed,particularly the part when you call yourself an “astute reader.”
    Do you remember what the acronym, “MPHOT” used to stand for or is that some kind of “Vellala thing” that is beyond your (very limited) comprehension of anything resembling the truth, accuracy, civility, and civilization in general?
    P.S.
    Perhaps you could tell us which part of that article contains “gratuitous abuse?” When last I looked accuracy didn’t qualify for such a description!

  • 1
    0

    The whole article is “shit”. For many many years ruby games at Nittawela ended up in fights. Its a game of thugs,a game imported from England to train thugs to manage the tea estates.The time has come to get rid of this so called “sport”.

    • 0
      0

      Piyal:
      Perhaps you’ll care to tell readers why you didn’t do your bit to get rid of this game up to now. I am sure it had nothing to do with the fact that your patrons, the Rajapaksas, exerted absolute control over it!

      Incidentally, why don’t you get rid of the other “colonial” game, cricket, while you are about it? After all, that should be easy enough given it’s played by flannelled fools.

      And, by the way, perhaps you’d care to expand your statement that goes, “a game imported from England to train thugs to manage the tea estates,” in the context of the three Rajapaksa siblings being active (and very proud) participants in this alleged “non-sport.”

      Another tiny note: would you care to tell us how many tea estates there are in the other countries playing rugby football – Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, France etc. etc?

      The quality of what you have to say certainly needs no description from me. It speaks (very eloquently) for itself and its author.

      “Chuck-gudu” anyone?

  • 2
    1

    Emil van der Poorten, my grateful thanks. You must be one of those rare columnists who read the comments and put those idiots in their place. I haven’t laughed so much in years.

    • 0
      0

      God blitz you for a yuppy married life.

      • 0
        0

        Cheese! you are having Disney spells??

  • 0
    0

    No one has said anything about the Rajapakse brothers’ ability or lack thereof in the sport of rugby. They aren’t even good enough to play chuck gudu because even I am a better player of that wonderful game. .. and does anyone know what role Asanga Seneviratne plays in perpetuating the Rajapaksas Rugby dreams?

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