25 July, 2021

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Beyond Belief (Even In Sri Lanka!)

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

As I watched the seemingly endless line of those who could accurately be described as giving even Sri Lankan politics a bad name parading before the TV cameras of what appeared to be every TV station in Sri Lanka, it stretched, to its very extreme, the credibility of one who thought he had seen it all in the matter of political parody and downright corruption during a life that had spanned far closer to eight than seven decades.

If you thought the excesses of Mugabe, Idi Amin and Ceaucesceau were close to unbelievable you really missed a treat if you didn’t see what Maithripala Sirisena and Ranil Wickremesinghe had prepared for us Sri Lankans. This was entertainment beyond belief and I am extending the meaning of the word “entertainment” beyond what used to be called “gallows humour.”

There was that antithesis of a glamour boy, Dilan Perera, with his inimitable (thank heaven!) hairdo declaiming his oath as a Minister of some description or another. (Does it matter what the hell the title is any longer given the theatre of the absurd that is being played out for us and at our expense?)

This Dilan Perera I seem to remember for all the wrong reasons.

I first recall him harrumphing that there was no way he was going to share a government bench with Susantha Punchinilame when that worthy, for reasons very well known to observers of the political scene at the time, was one of those members of the United National Party (UNP) who had led the stampede to join Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government. The reason for Mr. Perera’s towering indignation was a charge of a capital nature hanging over this Punchinilame’s head in connection with the demise of a politician by the name of Ellawela who, Mr. Perera claimed, was very near and dear to him both politically and personally.

Well, my friends, Mr. Punchinilame sat on the Rajapaksa government’s side of the house and, even if Dilan Perera wasn’t his immediate neighbour, they were both on the same side of the aisle. In fact, all they didn‘t do was walk down that political aisle to seek the blessings of their Optimum Leader, though, goodness knows, their treatment of our last President seemed to elevate him to a level higher than the Deity.

I should add a postscript to this part of my little narrative with a question about the fate of the capital charges that hung over Mr. Punchinilame’s head and which, I am sure, had absolutely nothing to do with his leaving the UNP and joining the Rajapaksa government in the first instance. However, opening any such can of worms might be deemed churlish in the circumstances!

In contradiction of the oft-believed dictum that history does not repeat itself, the most recent political developments in our fair isle have resulted in Mr. Punchinilame and Mr. Perera sharing a metaphorical political bench again, only this time, with Mahinda Rajapaksa sitting on the other side of that particular aisle. To call this some kind of Punch(inilame) and JuDilan Show would really be to push the pun, I suppose!

Unfortunately, Mr. Perera, who is not exactly one of my matinee idols as you might have gathered by now, is one politician who has seemingly left an indelible impression in my mind, beginning with the monumental scandals in the Foreign Employment Bureau to the ultimate in boorish conduct during the kangaroo court proceedings when Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake was first verbally abused and then “legally” impeached. The earlier-mentioned brouhaha with Mr. Punchinilame provides a mere filling to that particular sandwich, it seems.

That a man who has, publicly, demonstrated conduct of this kind, flouted it in fact in the face of the public, should be given anything resembling a position of public trust is truly beyond description. That said, it should be emphasised that it speaks far more loudly of those responsible for his elevation than it does with regard to Mr. Perera.

If this is what Yahapaalanaya government means in practice……………

However, another conspiracy theorist of my acquaintance is insistent that this is part of a deep-laid plot hatched by Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa to bring back to power Sri Lanka’s recent example of its very own ancien regime, with some further shuffling of the chairs on our particular Titanic. The simple theory is that you can make anything look good in contrast to something that’s worse and that the new developments will provide proof positive of that theory!

And then of course you have the lesser lights.

I remember the now conveniently-forgotten haul of several hundred kilos of heroin which was being taken out of the port in a container truck.

Let me dredge a few tidbits about all of that before the salient bits are lost from memory.

1. A container-load of heroin was in the process of leaving the port when it ran into a police roadblock, a fate that, strangely enough, its predecessors had not met!

2. Initial inquiries showed, quite simply, that the consignment concerned had been released on the written instructions of the top functionary in the then-Prime Minister, D. M. Jayaratne’s, office, additionally ordering that any demurrage charges be waived.

3. It was then acknowledged that the owner of the consignment of heroin had bankrolled the only recently-concluded Provincial Election Campaign of Mr. D.M. Jayaratne’s son, Anuradha, a campaign in which he topped the manape (preferential vote) count.

4. Mr. D. M. Jayaratne, then Prime Minister, also freely acknowledged the fact that the Pakistani businessman (?) who had indulged in that piece of political “support” was a frequent dinner guest at the Prime Ministerial residence.

(Does one have to start joining any plot dots at this point?)

5. Mr. Jayaratne Jr. runs in the last national election and succeeds in getting elected thanks to the wonderful system put in place by Yankee Dick Jayewardene that has seen so many absolute monuments to democracy being chosen as “people’s representatives.”

(What has just been recounted in the matter of electoral practice by the voters of the Hill Country could be attributed to the level of intelligence of people in a region of the country where, at one time, the term “Kandyan brains” needed little further explanation!)

6. Then, one of the earliest actions of the Yahapaalanaya dispensation is to make now ex-PM Jayaratne a Presidential Advisor for, I can only assume, acceptable protocol in the matter of dinner invitations.

7. As if the preceding unfortunate occurrences were not enough, those of us who rely on the print and/or electronic media for entertainment and information (?) are assailed by the sight of the same Mr. Anuradha Jayaratne being elevated to Ministerial rank of some description by the MSRW duo who might well be on the way to being awarded the first Joint Honorary Oscar for Horror Plots, at the next Academy Awards.

8. A sad post-script to all of this is the fact that the Pakistani businessman whose demurrage charges even (on the load of heroin) were waived by Prime Ministerial diktat is missing from all of this. One might even suggest that his absence is akin to that of Hamlet from any tale (cautionary or otherwise) about the Prince of Denmark. The fact that he is not in custody, charged with the biggest single dope import in the country’s history, pales into insignificance in circumstances when comedy must needs take precedence over drama or tragedy in troublous times such as we face today.

And if all my readers, agree to drink their hot Milo and go to bed immediately, hugging their Teddy Bears, I promise to regale them with more tales of horror in the days to come, a promise not hard to keep given what our MSRW duo keep producing!

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Latest comments

  • 11
    0

    Emil, as Mr.Dayananda said, it is the VOTERS who are not bothered about those who represent them. Actually, I notice that even now after several months of “Yahapalanaya”, you still have to bribe to get a small thing done. It maybe a very good thing for Civil Society to have all the citizens sign a form of a covenant that they will by no means offer bribes.

    As for the “perahera” of the “jokers” taking oath, what could MS/RW have dome?!

    • 3
      0

      Kumaran:-
      “As for the “perahera” of the “jokers” taking oath, what could MS/RW have dome?!”

      They have to ‘Cut their Coat, according to the Cloth’ that is available to them!

    • 1
      1

      Good one Emil! Keep them coming…

      Yes, and the Financial Crimes Blah-blah is fingering all sorts of low level bureaucrats for the Rajapaksa borthers, sons and corrupt cronies crimes rather than the big fish.

      Also, the tow corrupt clowns who ran the Central Bank – Nivard Cabraal and Arjuna Mahendran need to be netted.

      Mahendran is not a qualified economist and not fit to run the CB. The rupees is in free fall today because he is merely following IMF orders in the absence of enough economic knowledge to steer independent economic policy good for the Lankan people.
      Sad fact Emil is that we live in Miracle of corrupt Modayas!.

  • 10
    0

    the greatest wisdom of sri lanka is stupidity.
    leave the rest to heaven just like a monkey.

  • 3
    0

    Brilliant piece, Emil.

    Another ‘theory’ about the parade of undesirables (based on their unsavoury reputations) entering the ‘Titanic’ parliament is that MS/RW need the numbers to pass bills that will pave the way to the Yahapalanaya they were talking about, after which they will let the law (ha ha ha) take its course with those who have charges hanging over their heads and incarcerate them, thus reducing the numbers in parliament.

    There are more of these ‘theories’ floating around, mostly about the crafty plans of MS/RW to isolate the ‘main-man’ from those dregs (like “Punch and Judy”) who, along with the ‘snubs’ will make things difficult for the Yahapalanaya ‘good guys’.

    Your guess as to what is REALLY going on, is as good as mine!

  • 3
    0

    We the voters are at fault. Don’t blame the politicians.

    Politicians will use the dumb voters to their advantage forever.

  • 4
    0

    The greed of these guy, as it said in the Hindu Religion, is attached to their soul. It not with their “mind or brain or heart” that is something can be associated with the body. I have been thinking little ago that this DMJ had his lesson and may go on retirement, would no longer come back to politics. Here we go again. That is why I think their greed is attached to the soul and it will not go away from them even if you burn the body on the death.

  • 3
    4

    Well done, grand son.

    You have wisely chosen your targets of the MSRW circus for criticism. Dilan Perera is of course a nobody with a foul mouth and you can keep hitting him until the cows come home. No danger of reprisals.

    But it is a different game with ‘heavies’ like Laksha-man Kiriella. It isn’t grand son? We should better keep away from those who display courage to hit back. Shouldn’t we?

    I agree that we shold adopt the priciple “once bitten, twice shy”. After all, discretion is the better part of valor! Right my brave grand son?

    • 4
      3

      Ran Menika:
      If that is an attempt at veiled sarcasm suggesting that I am “afraid” of Lakshman Kiriella, you better think again!
      Mr. K’s minions, after all the bluff and bluster, have paid out the statutory dues in question. Not quite the behaviour of someone who was “teaching me a lesson” right?
      Incidentally, my grandmother must be turning in her grave at the very thought of someone like you using her name even as a pseudonym! After all she was a decent human being.

      • 0
        1

        Emil,

        Don’t take the veiled threats of Ran Manika (whoever he or she is) too lightly. I definitely see a threat in her words.

        Yahapalanaya is unravelling fast and I for one will not be surprised if the while vans are getting a tune up for relaunch very soon. After all part of the nefarious white van brigade of the former government are now in the yahapalanaya gallery.

      • 0
        1

        Mr Poorten,

        So you are a Hybrid too…

        Join the Dalits and do something for them.Instead of sucking up to the Colombo Elite

        Our Dalits need more protection now than ever before if we are to stop them becoming the Srialnkan brotherhood with Batalanda Ranil and Mangalan as the Hybrid Sissi.

  • 1
    4

    Thank you Mr Poorten..

    Did the old BASL Boss put in a claim for unfair dismissal on behalf our Ex CJ ?..

    Or one more thing

    Haven’t you heard about Beefy Muththa from Galle who is now a Minister too?..

    • 4
      0

      Sumaney:
      Oh, there you are! Wondering when we’d be blessed with some of your stupidities parading as “wisdom.”

      • 0
        1

        Mr Poorten,

        Thanks for being a bit civil…

        What do you reckon mate .. Will Yapalanaya push our LKR to 200 against the Greenback ?….

        Interest rates are up 1.5 % from next month.

        This is where the Yahapalanaya is going to hit the our Sinhala Buddhist Elite where it hurt most.

        Just imagine how much a 100 g Decaff Nescafe and 250 g Kraft will cost ?.

        Now I will have to fork out extra 1.5 % too, if the Nadu bank is kind enough to keep the increase just at that.

        I think you should take up Economics to educate your mates, rather than wasting your time talking about recycled rooks, who have become Yahapalana Dispensers…

        • 3
          0

          “Interest rates are up 1.5 % from next month.”
          “Just imagine how much a 100 g Decaff Nescafe and 250 g Kraft will cost?”

          Theoretically two things must happen.

          Increase in interest rate should benefit the savers if the increase is passed on to them. The savings account holders are better off than before when the interest rate lower by 1.5%. Hence people and firms tend to save more if they are rational, which can be then parceled by commercial banks and lend it to investors.

          Interest rate increases may help to reduce money circulation hence a drop in inflation. Theoretically of course increase in interest rate should cost your 100 g Decaff Nescafe and 250 g Kraf not more than what it cost before, given that other factors remain constant.

          If you have huge sums of surplus money, take it out of your pillow cover and bank it. The only problem is that you may be arrested under money laundering charges.

          The years you spent at HK MGR university hasn’t helped you either.

          • 1
            2

            Dear Native,

            Stick to your day job, and keep barracking for Illankai Thamil Ararsakittu..

            • 1
              0

              KASmaalam K.A Sumanasekera

              “Stick to your day job, and keep barracking for Illankai Thamil Ararsakittu..”

              You don’t even know what you are talking about. Thats good. However you never understood anything anyway.

              Do you think I am that silly to work for Federal Party or for that matter any other party? Unlike you I am not a b***s carrier of any party leader.

              Would you like to discuss such concepts as Quantitative Easing, People’s Quantitative Easing, Micro Finance, Gearing, Crowding Out, Wind Fall Taxes, Fiscal policies, Monetary Policies, Broad Money, IMF Sap Office, Velocity of money V= PQ/M, ……………. etc?

        • 1
          0

          KAS,

          What do you expect. Yahapalanaya is now stacked with crooks from the previous government that you went to extreme lengths in defending not too long ago. You deservedy was subject to intense criticism and mockery. Now the very same rogues are standing alongside the Yahapalanaya gallery.

          So what do you expect. A sound economy or a independent judiciary or a government clean and mean, low interest rates or a good exchange rate?

        • 1
          1

          Sumaney:
          To your statement that goes, “Thanks for being a bit civil…” I must apologise to all those who read my stuff for this misunderstanding on your part because it has NEVER been my intent to be “civil” to the likes of you!

          • 1
            0

            Fair enough…I am an Alumnus of the University of Hard Knocks….UHK…

  • 3
    2

    Well, Mr Van den Poorten , what else can you expect from the former close associate of Rajapaksa who condoned the activities of the murderers, rapists, racists, kudukarayas, white van abductors, money laundered associated with the previous regime. The man was in the middle of all these criminal activities but said not one word against them when he was with Rajapaksa
    All politicians are the same, Mr Poorten, opportunist,devious, lying scoundrels. They are on it for personal gain only. The idiots who elect them deserve them to rule them.

  • 2
    0

    There are so many who say, ‘We Sri Lankans are capable of looking after our own affairs, there is no need for foreigners to find fault with us, or meddle in our internal politics or give us advice.”

    They are damn right. See how beautifully we are running our country! We are running it to our entire satisfaction. So why should outsiders complain?

    We are actually perfectly content to carry on like this and we don’t want to change.

    Our collective DNAs are also not going to change, so we will continue to be like this even a hundred years from now. Cheers!

  • 2
    3

    Mr Van der Poorten

    Most enjoyable as always

  • 1
    0

    Dear Emil,

    I think it is us the gullible who need to be medicated for believing in the impossible. For MS and RW it is a normal day at work.

    • 3
      0

      RW seems to be playing into the hands of MS, who is playing into the hands of his upfa crooks. What a tangled web!

  • 3
    0

    Don’t you know Emil?
    That’s the way the ball bounces –
    Sometimes you gotta work with what you got
    So calm down baby.

    • 1
      0

      Off The Wall,

      I beg to differ. Yahapaalanaya is a whole new ball game, best played with balls that bounce true, and tested new balls to replace the threadbare old ones that have shown a false and suspect through.

  • 0
    1

    Mr van der Poorten at his best! and he has the inside track on this one.

    Alas, it will take a long month of Sundays to get through any definitive list.

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