17 October, 2017

Chamal Rajapaksa: An Incomplete Biography

By Jayashika Padmasiri

jayashika padmasiri

Jayashika Padmasiri

If the “Mahawanshaya” can be considered as the biography of the ancient Sri Lanka, then certainly the latest ‘vanity publication’ in Sri Lanka “Chamal Rajapaksa” written by Punya de Silva (and sold for Rs.2000), can certainly be considered as Chamal Rajapaksa’s biography. It is a universally acknowledged fact that history is narrated and repeated in versions. However when considering history we must not forget that even ‘Mahawanshaya’ is also a version of history”: which boldly speaks the invisible worlds‘one point of view’. So with that cleared out from the picture, and getting the most obvious fact which is the writer sucking up big-time to please the main character or his family in the book (which in simple terms in Sinhalese is called as ‘kadde yamma’ these days) out of the way, the book “Chamal Rajapaksa” can be called as an informative book which is very well researched, and a book which not only relates a lot of information and incidents about Chamal Rajapaksa and his family, but also about the writer Punya de Silva as well in a none chronological order (since the book proves that the writer has lost all sense of order and organizational skills while writing this book.)

For an example, Silva would suddenly mention about Chamal’s father’s death through a letter written by Chamal’s mother at one point, then mention about it again somewhere in the book, and then after many more incidents he would bring up that same subject again and explain it completely from beginning to end while adding the stuff he forgot to mention the first few times he mentioned about the death of D.A Rajapaksa. This same lack of chronology can be said about the incidents concerning Chamal Rajapaksa’s marriage to Chandra Wijewardana, Chamal’s days at the Diddenipotha Estate, then Chamal’s resignation from the police force and even about the election loss of Dr. Wijayanada Dahanayake and many other such incidents, where the readers would be forced to read about the same incidents again and again later in the book with more details, which unfortunately exposes weak organizational skills of the writer and bad editing skills, since repetition in the book  can be widely noticed as one of the major flaws of the book.

While reading the book “Chamal Rajapaksa” there is a tendency for the readers to get confused as to whose life story or biography they are reading, since irrelevant information such as the writer Punya de Silva’s eldest son’s marriage and where it was taken place, and then about his trips abroad with his family are also mentioned in this so called biography of Chamal Rajapaksa. For example the quotation on page 102 can be considered as a point where the writer tries to showoff his close relationship with the Rajapaksas while trying to establish this point in the minds of the readers.

“My mother Soma Weeraratne sincerely treated Chamal like her own son and called him “Chamal Putha”. She appreciated and thanked Chamal for visiting her on his way to Medamulana through galle and on his way back from Madamulana to enjoy a cup of tea at my place. Sometimes, my mother prepared lunch or even dinner when Chamal, with his sisters Preethi and Gandanie, stopped at our house to see my mother. Chamal’s sister Gandanie yet speaks how she enjoyed lobsters and ambul thiyal my mother prepared for them” (from pages 102-103)

What part of this information is relevant or important for Chamal’s biography? That his sisters liked to eat lobsters and ambul thiyal which was prepared by Punya’s mother and that his mother addressed Chamal as “Chamal Putha”. …..So what’s the big deal? The readers can question. And what is so extraordinary or necessary about this incident that it should be mentioned in a biography, other than to boast about the writer’s close connections with the Rajapaksa family to the readers? And the fact that Chamal’s sisters enjoy eating lobsters and ambul thiyal, here the readers naturally starts to wonder whether Punya de Silva has started to write the biographies of Chamal’s sisters too. And by the way, most ironically, no where in this book, has the writer mentioned what Chamal likes to eat at all.  But the next paragraph in the book on this page, without any doubt establishers the fact that the writer wants to boast about his relationship to Chamal’s family and that perhaps that was one of his main objectives behind writing this book.

“Chamal with his brother Mahinda, then member of parliament attended my father’s funeral in 1992, and in 2007 Chamal was present for my mother’s funeral. His Excellency the president expressed his condolences over the phone when Chamal was at our house and sent a wreath from Colombo with a letter of condolence. In 2008, my wife Kamani’s mother died and Chamal with Chandra attended the funeral at Maharagama.”  (Page 103)

If all the funerals Chamal Rajapaksa, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Basil Rajapaksa, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa or Namal Rajapaksa visits for a year are to be mentioned in their biographies, the pages would be filled without nothing-else other than the list of funerals they attend to.  So again the question arises, how is this above paragraph, relevant for Chamal Rajapaksa’s biography???

However there are a few plus points in this book too. For example the chapter which was written by Chamal Rajapksa titled as ‘Chamal in a Reflective Mood’ proves better writing skills than the writer Punya de Silva’s writing skills. And this chapter stands out from the rest of the writings in the book, with a genuinely sincere tone to it, while creating a very pensive mood through the details explained by Chamal.  And Chamal in a very concrete, straightforward and emotional manner has explained many things in this chapter, which opens a window to the true character of Chamal Rajapaksa while making the readers question why on earth Chamal didn’t write his own biography, since if so, definitely a better product would have come to being instead of this messy creation with unforgivable faults.

However from the few good points in this creation, the anecdotes revealing young Mahinda Rajapaksa’s character are quite interesting.  For example, during Chamal’s visit to the ‘Kandawala Walauwa’ along with his elders to meet the Prime Minister Sir John Kotalawala, the incident which followed is very interesting.

The book states, “When Sir John told Mahinda jokingly, “you had better eat the mangoes and rub the juice on your face”, Mahinda retorted, “I will hit you with the mango seed.” Sir John commented, “You are all ‘chandiyas’ like D.M and Lakshman”. Little anecdotes such as this have succeeded to add a bit of colour, humour and irony into the book (and even sarcasm perhaps). Even the anecdote regarding yong Mahinda sitting on the top most step of Temple Trees during Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s time while demanding from the PM to release the JVP youths in Belliatta taken into custody during the uprising is quite comic and interesting.

“Mahinda came over to Colombo immediately and met the Prime Minister but she said she was helpless in that matter and walked up the stairs. Mahinda sat on the top most step on the stairs and threatened that he would not get down from the steps until those youth are released. A few moments later the Prime Minister gave a call to an army officer in Tangalle and the youth of Beliatta were released. Mahinda thanked her and left the Temple Trees. When the Prime Minister met Chamal, she said laughingly, that Mahinda was a terrible nuisance. Chamal thought that Madam Bandaranaike was like a mother who would chide a naughty child and then secretly laugh. Chamal had to take the brunt for Mahinda’s naughty work’.” (Page 136)

Such anecdotes included by the writer have succeeded to make the book less boring. However the only incident emotionally narrated to the readers by the writer, was the time when young Mahinda who was in jail visited his mother who was dying in the hospital. These few paragraphs indicate the writer’s potential concerning writing skills, which he has abandoned from using since he was more engrossed in trying to please while buttering the Rajapaksa family.

“On a request made by the family, Mahinda was allowed to see his ailing mother. He was taken to the house at Mirihana by a prison van. Before he went near his mother, he requested from the jailors that his handcuffs be removed. The jailors granted the request. When mother saw Mahinda, she grabbed his hand and asked him whether he had been released by the Prison. Mahinda answered in the affirmative and when mother asked him to stay behind with her, Mahinda said that he had to go to Hambantota the same day. He stroked her head, wished her well and left the room.”  (Pages 145-146)

This paragraph clearly shows that the writer is skilled in arousing emotions of the readers though he has seldom used this talent while writing the book “Chamal Rajapaksa”.  Anybody who reads this passage experiences the feeling of steadfast sadness while the writer has also very well created a detailed, emotional picture in the minds of the readers.

Whether to completely condemn the book “Chamal Rajapaksa” as a failure is not correct because it does contain certain good qualities too. Nevertheless the book is confusing… and whether to call this book a biography or not, is even more confusing, as the presented style of the book does not indicate signs of a good biography at all (for example even the narrated incidents in the book are not recorded in a proper order following one incident after another) So the incidents in the book remains to be all over the place, while the pages tell stories not only about the Rajapaksa family, but also about Punya de Silva’s life too. However if Punya de Silva plans to write more biographies (either of the Rajapaksa family or not) there is a lot for him to learn, such as avoiding repetition, improving his editing skills and limiting the book to the relevant subject matter without straying on ‘irrelevant’ paths which would not take him or his readers anywhere.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    wondered why they were chopping off all the trees in Colombo..to provide pulp to ptoduce paper to print and produce the book of this man’s autobiogrpahy

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      Are there people in SL, who are willing to waste Rs. 2000,- for this guy’s biography?

      Is his life so extra-ordinary? What has he achieved so far?

      Apart from utterly misusing office of The Presidnecy of Sri Lanka that fell into his Bro’s lap.

      Give me a break!

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        I will buy this book only if Chamal makes Mahinda a good man. I am willing to wait a loooong time.

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      Now now. Dont say that. I am sure the book is worth every rupee of the 2000 one might pay for it. Most items that appear on CT makes me want to cry. But this was a rare exception. I am still unable to contain my laughter.

      There is no shortage of brown nosed Pandang karayas in our fair isle. It is certainly what we do best! We really do have a gift for it.

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      Even Mervin could bring a biography putting all the abuses he has made with the approval of Rajapaskehs soon.
      Today any criminal or crime supporter could do whatever they feel is right – all because NO RULE OF LAW IN ACTION…

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    “Chamal’s father’s death through a letter written by Chamal’s mother at one point, t
    hen mention about it again somewhere in the book,
    and then after many more incidents he would bring up that same subject again and explain it completely from beginning to end while adding the stuff he forgot to mention the first few times he mentioned about the death of D.A Rajapaksa”

    oh my god…then we have the autobiography of all the other brothers.
    and if the mother is the same and the father is the same this going to be repeated again and again many times in all the autobiography…

    one thing it make the authors job easy
    and they can market the product like sopa powder
    the new and improved…

  • 0
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    Thank you Jayashika
    Questions
    (1) Why was Mahinda in prison? I remember reading somewhere that former justice Silva helped his release.
    (2) Should their ancestry be included in the book
    [Edited out]

    Please don’t post gossip links -CT

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      One of my friends who spends lot of his time reading and analysing SL history, tells Hambantota Rajapakses are Javanese people. Dutch brought over families from Indonesia and settled them in SL. Some kept their Moor names and some changes to Sinhalese names. MR, Basil, Namal’s faces clearly shows their genetic inheritance from Javanese tribes,,,
      Anura

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    Oh my god, why do our silly people read or gulp this bullshit about some nonentity with no discernible outstanding intellect nor qualifications or a man who has made any significant contribution towards the welfare or wellbeing of our people.These stupid Rajapaksa family from Medamulana.are trying to gain respectability while the whole nation knows they are a bunch of uneducated fools with no proper education or culture.They rely on thugs and criminals to keep them in power and use brown nosed presidents back suckers to get the crumbs he only can offer. Where are this countries intellectuals please stand up and give your two cents worth and expose these blood frauds.

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    What are Chamal’s educational achievements?
    How about Chamal’s days in the police force?
    Why did he decide to become a policeman?
    Was he a good cop or a bad cop?
    Was there torture and/or rape in his police station?
    How many cases did he solve as a police officer?

    This information would have made the book interesting.

    Will Jayashika fill in the gaps?

  • 0
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    IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN PRINTED ON TOILET ROLLS.

    THEN WE MAY HAVE READ IT,WIPED OUR SHIT AND FLUSHED IT DOWN.

    WHO THE HELL WANTS TO KNOW ANYTHING MORE OF HIM OR HIS FAMILY?

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    Dear Jayashika Padmasiri;

    Why waste time of reading of all those Nikamas biographies.
    I have an Idea to write a book about the Biography of a unmarried villager called “Harbour Martin”, did more things to the society than all Jarapassa Clan.
    I think there Were /are many like Harbour Martin in sri alnka and they are the real Viruwos of the nation not highlighted,
    not those POLITIKKAS like Dahja Jarapassas, Who get Fatty from eating peoples money and boasting, “We did this for you people and we did that for you people” and LOOT the tax payers and people’s money.
    Can you ask the Jarapassas and clan, How much or What are the contributions They have done from THEIR PERSONAL WEALTH to Southern Tsunami Affected people.
    { not from the donations or Government coffers]
    The Poor Harbour MARTIN, Who worked at the Colombo Harbour 1940s to 1960s and Supported Labour leader Mr Gunasingha for Nationalization of Ports and Docks of sri lanka.
    He was a social worker to the Villagers and others who ask for any help.
    Helping for Any Funeral or any temple or culture pestval he was doing a Free service and He was a asset for the Gampaha police division as he was very good at Fresh water DIving and used to find dead bodies from All Rivers and Streams around Gampaha.

    So better to write/ read biographies like those men who do/ did silent works for the sri lanka’s Society.
    WHY DID YOU WASTE YOUR 2000 Rs on THAT BOOK???????.
    Jayashika;.
    You should have fed Crows in the morning with white Hoppers with that money.

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    President Mahinda Rajapakse hailing from a southern family that joined the Govigama caste around 1930s -40s, long after D. S. Senanayake and other aspiring political families acquired the Govigama identity which was created by the De Saram Clan over a century ago.

    The first known ancestor became an informant to the British during the late 19th century anti-British local uprising around the Hambantota salterns. His information led to the capture of Karava Mudaliyar Amadoru and other leaders. The British rewarded the informant with the name Rajapakse, appointed him as an Arachchi and granted him 600 acres of land at Hungama for his service. He hailed from the Yak Veddah territory of Giruwa pattu and the name of the land was Degampotha. This land was sold off in stages by Rajapakse Arachchi s descendants to finance their indulgences leaving only Medamulana.

    This family adopted the Govigama identity around 1930s -40s, long after D. S. Senanayake and other aspiring political families acquired the Govigama identity created by the colonial period mudaliar families of the De Saram clan over a century ago.

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      During the British rule collaborators were rewarded and they became “leading” families among Sinhalese.

      Those who opposed the Brits vanished in the history.

      Jayawardene clan is an example. A Kerala LASCARIN(coolie soldier) in the Portuguese army was able to create a political clan among Sinhalese.

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        Mahinda Rajapakse is another example. According to some of the sources, his ancestors are Karawas and one of the forefathers dobbed in some of the freedom fighters. British Raj honoured this dobbing person with a new name and awarded vast amount of lands.

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        Good people

        If you are recalling the names of our GREAT families who helped to keep the ‘natives’ quiet, DON’T forget the BANDARANAIKE family. They finally hit the jackpot and named their little boy SOLOMON WEST RIDGEWAY DIAS…..SWRD was born when Sir Joseph West Ridgeway was governor and Sir Joe was very pleased. SWRD was a baptised anglican but his political brain told him that he needed to appeal to the majority so he wisely ‘became’ a buddhist. Now, good people, learn lesson no.1 in politics; identify with the majority (at whatever the cost).
        Oh, as for the biography of whatisname, I have to confess that I would prefer to re-read the Jataka Tales.

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          Interesting stuff Spring Koha!

          I have heard local heros who rose up against the brutal British occupation lost everything.

          Descendants of “Veera Puran Appu” are still found in rural Sri Lanka. Living in abject poverty, in rented homes. At the mercy of other land owners.

          While SWRD clan flourishes even today based on the springboard effect of collaboration with occupiers.

          Cheers!

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    He is a silent man. He has done comparatively much more as a politician to the Hambantota District. Please be frank to your Conscience, don’t manifest your political motives. If you do not know about him himself, just say nothing. Comment about the subject – biography.

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      What has he done to Sri Lanka, other than join with his brothers to loot and plunder.

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    Hi
    just for the record, I didn’t buy the book. I had to cover the book launch and there i told the organizers that I would like to review the book and asked for a copy since a lot of things were said about this book at the book launch while giving the event major publicity. I just wanted to see whether the things they mentioned at the launch were true or not.

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      Jayshika;

      “Many thanks for you not buying That useless “KOLAPOTHA”.
      If any body is having an idea to buy that,
      please tell them to give that money to Any patients in hospitals or some where .
      Or to a poor student who canot buy books.

      There, you will get more merits [ punya]than that.
      as you have done something good to the human beings.

    • 0
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      I enjoyed your review very much, made me laugh-keep up the good work !

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    As you mention funerals in the bigger family are repeated, I wonder why
    no mention is made of the death and funeral of Mahinda^s first wife –
    an important event or are these snipped by Censors? There are many
    more Rajapakse Biographies to come out in thy Dynasty build-up, when
    at least one will boast of such an event?

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    Why the hell these idiots write about thieves? Whata did this chamal do accept robbing peoples money? whole generation is robbing public money from sri lankans and you people write book about them . IDIOTs!

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    Chamal’s Biography in summary.

    1. Woke up in the morning.
    2. Had hoppers for breakfast
    3. Rice for lunch.
    4. Went to Parliament. Didnt say much coz he couldnt say much.
    5. Back home, changed into Sarong.
    6. Walked up and down the varandah massaging his b**ls.
    7. In bed by 20:00 after mal pooja to the Budda, thinking how many Dane’s he gave to monks in his last birth to deserve all these luxaries, and how many danes his hapless subjects didn’t give to deserve a prize statesman as him.
    8. Next day repleat 1-7.

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    Typo: luxuries not luxaries..

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    It is interesting Jayashika writes this particular “review” of this “biography.”

    The story is that when Jayashika who was serving a different paper than what she serves today she wrote a different story when a dispute arose between the trade unionists of professionals serving a government institute coming under the Ministry of Agriculture and its director who wanted to hand over his official residence to the Minister at that time. When the trade unionists opposed this move by the Director who was a very senior retired officer of the SLAS at that time who was currying favour with the Minister, it is said that the Director used the services of some journalists to discredit the trade unionists by planting false stories in the media. There is a supreme court file with regard to the case involving the dispute between the trade unionists and the Director.

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      When Chamal Rajapakse was the Minister of Agriculture, V.K. Nanayakkara was the Director of the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarain Rsearch and Training Institute. The latter was a Board Member of the Transparency International Sri Lanka at that time and had won the National Integrity Award and J.C. Weliamuna was the Director of the TI. At that time Jayashika was in the Lakbima News.

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    The title in correct – Incomplete Biography: Does the Author deal
    with Ch-Ra s Chairmanship in the Foundation that is described in the
    Helping Hambantota Investigations Report? A para reads as follows:-

    “It says little of Secretary Weeratunga’s knowledge of the financial regulations which should have been a subject of his constant study as a public official if it is his position that public funds received as tsunami donations could be bunged into any old private foundation or trust. It is immaterial to the issue that this foundation has the power to accept and request donations of all forms. It may have the power to turn somersaults but you cannot stash away public money into it.
    Indeed Weeratunga’s new explanation is even worse than his earlier stance. Not only does this public official feel that no laws have been breached in siphoning off public money into a private account, he states that the Helping Hambantota fund was opened by the officials of the private foundation.

    We give you below a list of the officials of this private foundation:
    Chamal Rajapakse – Chairman, Mahinda Rajapakse – Vice Chairman, Basil Rajapakse, Gothabhaya Rajapakse, Prithi Rajapakse, Vichitra Rajapakse, Lalith Chandradasa, Secretary (Brother-in-Law), Thusith Ranawaka, W. Gunasekera, U Wijesinghe (secretary), Chandra Wijewardena, Shiranthi Wickremasinghe(wife of the PM), Ramya Hettiarachchi, Ayoma Peiris, Pushpa Wickremasinghe, Sathindra Perera, Shainda Rajapakse, Saminda Rajapakse, Himal Rajapakse, Rangani Hettiarachchi, Thejani Rajapakse, Chaminda Rajapakse, Henri dissanayake, Vernon Samarakoon, Nihal Gunasekera, N.Ratnayake, Sarath Amaraweera, A.Weerarathna, J.P.Ratnayake, J. Amarawickrama, Upul Dissanayake, Udayanga Weerathunga, Dulari Dissanayake, Kithsiri Sepala, Keerthi Dissanayake, Dushyantha Roopasinghe, Jaliya Wickremasinghe, Anura Goonaratne, S. Jayasundara, K.M.A. Godawatta, P.H.G. Premasiri, Mendis Rohanadeera, T.Jayasinghe, Layanal Sarath, Edirisinghe, D.C.H.Samarasinghe

    Pray tell us under which financial regulation would the above list of ‘officials,’ practically all of whom are family,come?”

  • 0
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    Jayshika I don’t know why you spend your valuable time reading this rubbish about CR’s bio. Yiu know what CR stands for!

  • 0
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    For one critiquing another’s writing skills… perhaps those who live in glass houses……

    … Anyway… Chamal is merely a Rajapassa, enough said!

  • 0
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    Except for the pandankarayas who must be queuing up to buy the bio. and saving the receipts for framing in their homes in the event of a “Royal Visit,” is anyone ever likely to buy this rubbish?
    As for the reviewer: she must have gone to the same English tutory as the Rajapassas!

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      “As for the reviewer: she must have gone to the same English tutory as the Rajapassas”

      Wow! love this quip. So very true.

  • 0
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    What can an uneducated ex Policeman contribute towards good governance in the Halls of a so called democratic Parliament,?This idiot cant even express himself in proper Sinhala nor in grammatical English.This is the fellow who ruled that a Parliamentary Commission with all sorts of idiotic Kasippu Lawyers and their henchman including Modawansa that was responsible for kicking out a democratically elected Chief Justice.is this stinking Pariah who should be despised by right thinking people be hailed as some sort of hero?. We must be joking?The whole world laughs at this bunch of Rajapaksa Lunatics.

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      WHO THE HECK WANT TO READ ABOUT AN “OLD KOSSA”? -JUST BECOZ HE IS A
      RAJAFUCKSE!!!!!

      READ THE “DAILY MIRROR” AND YOU CAN READ ABOUT KOSSAS KILLING KOSSAS AND KILLING THE O.I.C. AND THEN KEEPING QUIET FOR 1 LAC RS.

      OH ! WHAT SPEAKERS WE HAD ; MOLAMURE AND EVEN OUR YOUNG ANURA BANDARANAIKE.

      NEXT SPEAKER MAY BE GALABODA– MAY HAVE TO GET A NEW CHAIR!!!

      ANYTHING POSSIBLE IN THIS COUNTRY OF KAVUNG EATING MODAYAS.

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    Is nothing written about his days as a security officer at Sri Lanka Trading Corporation at Slaveisland?

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    Are’nt we a sad people? Caught in between an impotent opposition, clueless voter and a thieving family.

    Even God will have second thoughts about answering our prayers.

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    Jayshilka,

    The Biography of the Genocidal Family as far as we are concerned belongs in the bin.
    But we will soon be writing the OBITUARY which will be the best seller.

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