By Grusha Andrews –
In the midst of a tragi-comedy that is Chathura Senaratne’s wedding lies the truly sad funeral that is the death of our national conscience. The 4000 guest opulent wedding pushed down our collective national throats via TV channels, internet and social media actually represent the absolute disrespect politicians have for the citizens of our troubled nation.
It is not with a light heart that the author writes this commentary on one’s wedding which is a very important milestone of life. But the usage of Temple Trees premises as the venue for this mega wedding, the near 11 minute “oration” by the groom and the statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office defending the usage of government property precipitated this article.
The burning question about Chathura Senaratne is: does he not have any power of reflection in spite of the error of his birth to be born to his lowliest caliber of parents well documented for corruption, misuse of public property and nepotism? Surely, belonging to a new generation, does he not possess some thoughts overarching his pitiful genetic destiny? What was he thinking when he exploited the property of the public, entertaining his wedding guests with public monies and to make a spectacle of himself in this ignoramic fashion? Is his thinking so gruesomely retarded?
No. We Are A Nation Of Retards
Starting from the joker president reciting riddles riddled with cheap sexual connotations in public to the Prime Minster who has deskinned Good Governance pretty much with finality to the janitor scrubbing the toilette, our nation is bound by a common national ailment: it is the mental retardation pertaining to the accountability, responsibility and citizen’s rights.It has become a deplorable national practice to tolerate all intolerable mischief by converting them to Facebook jokes and turning up the jocularity one more notch till we are herded to the next intolerable mischief. Tolerating despotic, undemocratic, thieving politicians has become our national habit.
“Ranil Brand” Statement From the PM’s Office
Ranil Wickremesinghe may be a failure in many areas, but he excels in the dis-art of insulting the intelligence of others with completely humorless hairsplitting argument understood by God and himself alone. No modern politician can match his ability at making a mockery out of media and the general intelligence of the nation with replies such as “oh I just had a black coffee with the President”. The lack-luster journalists don’t have the strength of character to prevent Wickremesinghe going scot free and the rest of the citizenry do not have the moral courage to question such behaviors from a supposedly responsible politician.
That Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office defends their position in letting the Temple Tress premises being used for Chathura Senaratne’s wedding. What moral right have they to defend this abuse of public property that is maintained with the tax money of the poor? The poor of our nation sleep empty bellied, their children die of overeating leaves of trees and acidic fruit to satiate hunger, their children do not have a pair of shoes to school. Can the Prime Minister’s office, in good conscience simply claim that it did not foot the bill of food or decoration for this wedding to justify this misuse? How can they issue statements that this hall has been similarly used previously? That the reasons for letting this to Senaratne’s is “with good cause”? There is only one person who has at least a partial moral right to have a wedding within the Temple Trees premises. That would be a child of the Prime Minister because this premises would be that child’s residence. To the best of our vigilant knowledge that child is not yet born.
Was It Really A Wedding?
According to the speech made by Chathura Senaratne, only 20 of their relatives attended this function. Hence, the rest of the 3980 guest ,by his own admission are political associates. The question arises whether a select Member of Parliament can use public property to a political promotion aka “wedding” of this nature. Weren’t the officials of the Temple Tress concerned about the security ramifications of such event? Isn’t it their official duty to address these concerns?
The Prime Minister’s Secretariat justifies stating Rajitha Senaratne is a minister of the government which in turn “justifies” this abuse of public property. Instead of the thousands of positive things they could have learned from the seasoned Prime Minister, these officials seem to have only learnt how to present monkey logic just like their boss, insulting their own intelligence and those of others. Before perusing the Advanced Level qualifications of SAITM students one should check if these imbecilic officials have passed the 8th grade.
Chathura Senaratne states that when he received the auspicious dates for his wedding ceremony, no hotels were available for his wedding. The writer would like to state that Chathura should go and say this to babes in the woods!
The Message Behind The Venue
Even a babe in the woods can understand the hidden message of this Temple Trees fiasco. Surely, this exercise was never executed by Rajitha Senaratne due to his inability to secure a five star hotel in Colombo. He is sending a message to friends and foe, that he is the successor of the Temple Trees and that Chathura Senaratne is the prince in line to the throne. He is sending the message that Temple Trees is his play ground in 2019 if Ranil Wickremesinghe manages to win his presidential bid appointing Rajitha Senaratne the Prime Minister. He may even be dreaming of displacing Wickremesinghe short cutting to the throne. Pipe dreams may be, but dreams nevertheless. He wants to etch in to the brains of political slaves in particular, to remember Chathura Senarante’s imagined political inheritance. Should the children of our nation pay for the two bit dreams and political mind games of these narcissists?
Misappropriation of Public Property
Chathura Senaratne’s wedding was held inside the Temple Trees premises. The entire premises is maintained by the tax payer’s money. The carpets that are walked on, the water, air-conditioning, and air cooling and purifying devices, maintenance of the large chandeliers, vacuum cleaning thousands of square foot of flooring, repeated cleaning of the toilettes with every use to five star standards- all these incur a hidden cost not captured by a superficial glance. Also, one must consider the large investment of the time and overtime payment of government officers for the planning and execution of this mega wedding tamasha. Who has paid the salaries and overtime payments of such officers? Rajitha Senaratne? Sujatha Senaratne? Chathura Senaratne? Sarupa Manatunga? Sarupa’s mother? It should not surprise the reader if tomorrow these shameless individuals will claim that the “payment” they made for the venue included all these costs and “leak” receipts where the payments have been made to a‘t’.
Even if Senaratnes indeed “paid” for these services, there remains a distinction between hiring this venue for its intended purposes and a political tamasha. This venue is usually used or hired by other government institutions for important trainings, skills development programmes and award presentations etc. The events that are carried out in this venue are of consequence to the nation as they contribute to the empowerment, skills development and the motivation of the government sector. There is a return on investment in such endeavor. What return will the nation get by “hiring” this venue for an iconic political jester to feed the ego mania of himself and his infamous parents? Is his “payment” at least worth the wear and tear of the plush carpets by the feet of 4000 strong wedding guests?
Role Of Mahinda Rajapaksa In Trivializing The State
One unmistakable observation that should be made in the backdrop of this tasteless fiasco is that it is Mahinda and Shiranthi Rajapaksa who institutionalized the reduction of official state buildings in to party venues of political stooges. They diminished the official, respectable, stately and silent stature of these official spaces and will be remembered for that. During his tenure the actress marrying at the Presidents House today will be arrested for financial fraud tomorrow. The next actress marrying at Temple Tress today will be arrested for alleged prostitution tomorrow. If one really reflects in silence, one understands that the majority of the modern politicians in Sri Lanka are nothing but the political ejaculates of the Rajapakse brand, amounting to not more than shameless masses of flesh. Other than their sharp acumen for trickery and looting, most do not exhibit any capacity for critical thinking or governance.
A Message For Sarupa’s Mother From The Nation
This wedding ceremony was a lowly, pitiless monstrous act of corruption. It is an abuse of political power. It amounts to shamelessness. In the so called lowly slum dwellings where so called lowly men who celebrate their marriages drinking kasippu have more honor and honesty than these dispicables. There is more respectability and sophistication in such so called lowly celebration compared to this mega corrupt wedding. The so called lowly men celebrate their lives with the thickened palms of hard labor, their discriminated hearts and dispossessed rights to a decent life. Drug addicts in the back allies have more respectability than these politicians and their associates. Imitating the archaic ritual of vouching for the chastity of the bride, Chathura Senaratne delivered a cringe worthy account of Sarupa’s “good character” referring to her as a “girl who did not lift her eyes to look at another boy” (Sarupa, you have surely won the collective national sympathy).
There is a small message from the nation to Sarupa’s “venerable” mother:
Mrs. Manatunga, we, the tax paying citizens of this country have not asked for a character certificate of your daughter Sarupa. However we demand that our government demonstrates transparency in its use of public property and funds. “Good character” does not lie in the “eyes that are not lifted to look at a boy”, nor in any other part of anatomy that the writer does not wish to invoke in this article. Character is a valuable concept manifested in our truthful and honest conduct. In that context, a commercial sex worker has more “character” than your daughter who has staged a tamasha abusing public funds.
*This is the English version of the Sinhala article titled ‘Chathurage Magula’ (Chathura’s Wedding) published in Colombo Telegraph. Translation by Grusha Andrews.