18 September, 2020

Blog

Chickens Coming Home To Roost

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Those of us who grew up in other times need to be forgiven for falling back on aphorisms from those times!

One of those sayings was that which is the title of this contribution and has its more modern version that goes, “What goes around, comes around” which, in turn, can be viewed in the same light as Newton’s Third Law which goes, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

The incompetence that flows from the corruption in administration of public institutions was brought home to us a few days ago when one of our employees had to continue his sojourn in his home village, originally required by the death and funeral of his father, when his teenage son came down with severe abdominal pain.  The young man was “warded” in the local hospital and was being treated for what was diagnosed as either gallstones or kidney stones.  This appeared to be a rather unusual malady for a youngster of that age and the boy’s father, after initial acceptance of the diagnosis, began to express his doubts and, acting on “gut instinct,” insisted on the boy being discharged from the rural hospital.  He then “channeled” a specialist in the Hill Capital who wanted the youth admitted immediately to the provincial hospital where he underwent urgent surgery for removal of the obstruction.  That there was an element of urgency in the need for surgery for the young man was most evident by the fact that he was admitted to a surgical ward which was, by all accounts, grossly over-crowded with patients sharing beds, some under the beds and some beside them!  He was discharged after the removal of the kidney or gall stones the very next day which did sound rather odd given the fact that he would be returning to his home village, several hours away from treatment in the hospital at which he was operated if such emergency care was needed.  Not a great fate for anyone in a country which used to have free health care not so long ago and where life and death appears to now be dependent on the spin of a wheel of chance!

If is fortunate that a lay-person of very limited academic education was persistent and insistent enough in the matter of facing down medical authority to ensure a relatively unorthodox course of action – disputing the medical opinion of a doctor.  The chain of circumstantial evidence is obvious enough and points very clearly to what could well have ended up as medical misadventure leading to death. However, this kind of thing is symptomatic of what goes on in many rural institutions, medical and otherwise.

Shortly, after this excursion into the medical services of the nation, the authorities at the school which his second son, in his early teens, attends sends home a demand to the effect that his father has to provide five (continuous) days of labour in the school, repairing its furniture.  Now, what makes this exercise even more complicated is the fact that the mother of this boy and his two siblings works in one of the Gulf States and the boys, except for an ailing grandmother have no adult supervision or care, their father being in our employ many miles away.

Off goes our worthy because failure to act when summoned by the school apparently can have dire results for the student!  I haven’t had time to “de-brief” the man since his five day stint as repairman in one of our government-funded (if you’ll pardon the very loose use of the term) schools, but I imagine that he performed his tasks with acceptance because, otherwise, his return would, I am sure, have been further delayed!

The primary victims of this state of affairs are the poorer elements of our society in rural Sri Lanka.  They are left with little but mulish persistence to save themselves and their dependents from the callousness, indifference or arrogance of those in “authority.”

Is there a lesson in these little episodes for the rest of us?  Yes, there certainly is because even the more affluent among us will not be spared similar circumstances where someone with more authority than you or I will make that authority prevail because that is the culture that has been established in this country.

This kind of arrogant wielding of power is only made worse by a cadre of incompetent government “servants” being bolstered by the continuing, blatantly political, appointment of even more arrogant and inefficient appointees who believe, rightly, that their positions are sacrosanct and, in no way, subject to approval by a public that has to bear the brunt of that arrogance and incompetence (and foot the bill for it!)  If, by some rare chance, the supervising officer of this phalanx of incompetents happens to be that rarity – an honest, competent member of the government service – he is likely to soon be the victim of tale-carrying to some uneducated bozo, wielding political authority, and able to threaten and even perhaps subject him to physical violence or, at the least, transfer to some particularly inhospitable part of our Paradise Isle!

Incidents of the kind I have described are not aberrations.  They are a part of day-to-day life for the mainstream of Sri Lanka’s citizenry in a land where might is right and impunity is the order of the day, starting from the very top of the pyramid of power.  The fact that those who established this state of affairs and preside over it are uncultured ignoramuses who wouldn’t know a principle if it bit them in the most vulnerable part of their anatomy only makes it worse.  And what, pray, provides them with the untrammeled ability to impose all of this on the citizenry as a whole?  It is simply the complicity of the “elites” and “wannabe-elites” of this country who are slavering at the foot of the table in anticipation of crumbs from.  That the acolytes of those who are currently practicing impunity without limit will one day be at the receiving end of what their patrons are now dishing out to the rest of us is inevitable.  Their turn will come, as surely as night follows day, but it will be cold comfort for those who have already been victims of that regime and some of whom might not even be around to witness Judgement Day thanks to what results from the corruption and incompetence in what is inappropriately referred to as “the service sector.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 2
    0

    “Rajakariya”. All Sinhala Buddhists know and love this system. It worked fine before your great grand people abolished it.

    • 1
      0

      Well said. These colonialist would like to make believe that we were as backward as they were in the 15th century. They were the first boat people who were uneducated and penniless when they landed on our shores – then ungratefully. The same happened in the Americas and Australia

      • 3
        0

        Peter Casie Chetty

        “These colonialist would like to make believe that we were as backward as they were in the 15th century.”

        You are now.

        “They were the first boat people who were uneducated and penniless when they landed on our shores – then ungratefully.”

        This is an insult to Mahanama.

        Vijaya and his hoodlums were the first batch of kallthoni asylum seekers penniless when they landed on our shores.

        Get your facts right or fact check before you start typing.

  • 0
    0

    crazyoldmansl:
    Thanks for that, I shall soon try and do another piece on the merits of mediaeval torture, hanging-drawing-and quartering people etc. etc. in pursuance of this line of reasoning!

    • 0
      0

      Yes and I am sure you will be referring to medieval Holland and England. Why people like you are still living in Sri Lanka beats me!

      • 2
        0

        Peter Casie Chettty:
        Unfortunately the Dutch and English had no monopoly in the matter of mediaeval torture. I don’t know about your kallathoni (to Sri Lanka) ancestors but I have to own up to the conduct of my Sinhala forebears who had the guilty sit on spikes, pound their children in mortars, bring two adjacent arecanut trees together prior to tying the left arm and left leg of the miscreant and the other arm and leg to the other and then, in an act of great civility letting the trees go!
        The words “racist cretin” applied to you would be an act of generosity!

        • 1
          1

          Europeans had a huge monopoly on medieval torture! The monopoly was so great that it was what kick-started European renaissance and colonialism. For Sinhala forbearers on the other hand, it was a once in a lifetime event.

          • 3
            0

            ramona therese fernando

            “For Sinhala forbearers on the other hand, it was a once in a lifetime event.”

            Though it is impossible try not to sit on your brain.

            • 1
              2

              Definitely Sinhala-Buddhists learned all these things from European invaders, and also Hindoo-invaders(who had these feel of these things after burning their widows). For the Europeans it was a huge torture industry that kept the church and crowns going.

              However, they didn’t do anything much to the Veddas. Sinhala-Buddhists merely chased Veddas away 2,500 years ago. “Shoo, shoo,” they said. Go away and lived your uncultured lives (albeit ecologically friendly – we appreciate that) in reservations, while we form a higher level society based on the words of Buddha.

              • 1
                0

                ramona therese fernando

                Though it is impossible try not to sit on your brain.

          • 0
            0

            “Once in a lifetime event” indeed! It certainly would have been for all the victims!
            But then, your belief is in “Long live the Sinhala-Buddhists!!! A bit of fascism on their part is acceptable, come to think of it.” Could you please define the “a bit” part while you are about it? Would Beruwala/Aluthgama qualify? How about Emergency 58 and Black July? They must provide at least “a bit” of proof of what “a bit of fascism” means, don’t you think?
            Remember, “Better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are stupid (vicious?) than to open it and confirm the fact?”

            • 0
              0

              Mr Poorten,

              Isn’t it remarkable that our ex LTTE proxy Vellala Leader of the TNA has become the chief mourner for our Muslim brothers who were fatally wounded in the Dharga Town skirmish?.

              After reading today’s piece on “Vellalas and the Untouchables” , I wonder whether the TNA Leader has reformed himself to become the Liberator of all oppressed people , including our Muslim brethren?.

              Sinhala Buddhists didn’t lift a finger at our Tamil brethren although the Hero of the TNA CM kept on butchering them in poor rural villages for thirty years.

              TNA and its Leaders still haven’t tendered an apology at least, to the widows and dependants of 300 Worshippers in Kathankaddy.

              Mr Sambandan as a fellow Hindu, and a Hindu of the highest order hasn’t been heard expressing anger, sorrow and making complaints to the Big end of the town HR enforces like the US special reps, regarding the slaying of poor Gujarati Muslims by his ancestral cousins in India.

              People who try to make big capital out of this unfortunate incident in Dharga Town seem to have a memory loss.

              Norway financed the BBS and donated big time to their Temples to propagate Buddha Sassana.

              They trained them,

              US ambassador in Colombo was in constant contact with them.

              And to top it all your Elite mates , the UNP Christian Faction Leader and his Leadership Council had high level chit chat with Gnannassara even as late as late 2013.

              What do you think they discussed at these meetings?.

              Is itto prop up Rajapaksa and give him a hand to ramp up our current growth rate by a few notches to double digits?.

              Ramona got a point. Hasn’t she?….

            • 0
              0

              After the centuries of being trodden on, a bit of hopefully, non-violent fascism, is a good thing for them – especially at this time in the light of SLMC building up Lankan Muslim people aside from all others. Lankan Muslim people are not downtrodden comparatively to 8 million Sinhala-Buddhists. If leadership is good and honest, they will disband all racial-religious political groups, BBS included, and have non-sectarian democratic parties standing for liberté, égalité, and fraternité for all.

              Beruwala/Aluthgama, Emergency 58 and Black July…..all are a result of poor leadership without much thought of how to build up the country majority. However, hope this government is willing to learn and do a lot more.

              Terrible things :Beruwala/Aluthgama, Emergency 58 and Black July. Shows that the former ones followed the same pattern as Beruwala/Aluthgama (but without the press in those times to expose everything). I feel ashamed of the 0.1% Sinhala Buddhist priests who have, time and time again, disgraced their religion and race.

    • 0
      0

      You are welcome, and while you are at it do some reading and writing on the history of how colonialism disrupted the whole process of capital formation, institution development and elite generation in Sri Lanka as well as other areas of the planet the impacts of which can be seen very clearly in the make up of the “Sinhala Buddhist Nationalists” and many others in similar situation all over the planet. “Rajakariya” was part of the social process once prevalent on this island and this social process had its own checks, balances and guidance systems many of which were as brutal as any that prevailed in other places at the time. My intention was not to justify such brutality but to point out the systemic destruction that had occurred with consequences now becoming evident. That evidently was of too great a subtlety for the magisterial blockheadedness with you seem to regard the world.

      You come across in your writings just like the pugnacious bully that made up the operational rungs of empire, the kind of lout and social misfit who ran away to sea to rape and pillage and return a bilious and cantankerous scoundrel to be rewarded according to his spoils sometimes with a seat in the house of lords.

      Such cretins are obviously not into the task of studying processes and their impacts, engaging, reconfiguring and transforming them. That kind of intricate work cannot come easy to one whose heritage consists of the putting of the boot to the backside of abject semi slaves in order to get them to produce tea, coffee, rubber and other cash crops as well as to work mines and build railroads and carry loads for the jackbooted empires of the world. You are behaving very much like the proverbial bull in the china shop creating greater and greater alienation and conflict where what is required is something much more delicate and difficult to build and if I remember correctly I did my best to make this clear to you in my very first responses to you maybe some years ago.

      What the Sinhala Buddhists are doing right now is ugly, dangerous and likely to have far reaching consequences and will have to be changed if greater volatility is to be avoided – any fool can see that and no one supports this kind of fascism – but you come from something that is global and much worse and which continues to constitute the dark side of the species while enjoying ideological legitimization and institutional protection. The Sinhala Buddhists are reacting largely unconsciously and clearly irrationally and with no strategic capacity or competence to their historical experience. You are deliberately furthering yours. You do not seek to engage them. You seek to enslave and destroy them if you cannot enslave them. If the fascism of Sinhala Buddhism is blind, the neo colonialism you embody is well aware of its objectives and proceeds with great deliberation. It is difficult to say which of the two will do more harm in the longer term.

      • 0
        0

        Crazyoldmansl:
        What a pile of sound and fury signifying f-all.
        If that was an attempt to “devastate” with “erudition” of some kind, suffice it to say that lies and distortion encased in bafflegab just don’t cut it!
        You probably impress your friends and acquaintances with your ability to put together something in grammatically and syntactically acceptable form every so often. How about some CONTENT the next time around, rather than personally-focused invective?

  • 1
    0

    Isn”t Mr Poorten a leftist?.

    Shouldn’t he be giving Private health Cover to his loyal employees in addition to Life Cover?

    It was not long ago that Govt sent goons to attack his Durian guards and rob the crop.

    Now the same damn Govt doctors try to remove the kidneys of the children of his employees for no reason.

    Wouldn’t that give him not only good Karma but allow him to practice his leftist ideology of giving labour the same privileges as their Capitalist masters at least in Health care?.

    And set an example in his electorate and demonstrate what his Elite UNP mates will do to the whole labour force when they win Govt?.

    It may even get him a gig as a Policy Adviser in Ranil’s Inner Circle, to prepare for the soon to be held General Election , as soon as the Pillai Police Investigation is sanctioned by the UNP in Parliament.

    • 2
      0

      Sumane:
      Very interesting that you should talk about “Isn”t Mr Poorten a leftist?. Shouldn’t he be giving Private health Cover to his loyal employees in addition to Life Cover?”
      Just because you and your self-styled “leftist” paymasters believe in “private” health care – particularly the kind reserved for those sustaining gun-shot injuries at shoot outs in Sri Lanka who get treatment at government expense in Singapore – doesn’t mean that the rest of us have to follow suit. For the benefit of you and RAMONA THERESE FERNANDO I CERTAINLY DO NOT. I happen to have grown up in a country where there was a working national health care system and spent the better part of my adult existence in a country that has, arguably, one of the best (not-for-profit) health care systems in the world. I was also one of those who actively defended that system when the likes of you were sucking up to those who believe that a person’s life is only worth what he has in his bank account (if he has one!)

      • 1
        1

        Emil van der Poorten, it seems that you are romanticizing the past a bit. I was in Sri Lanka from time to time in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, and I had relatives undergo the public health care system. It was terrible event even then. We visited a hospital in Colombo in 2007, and it was a state of the art facility.

        Glad you are a leftist after all. I too believe in leftism. But in the previously leftist society of Sri Lanka (albeit attempting to creep up to capitalistic virtues), it was a novelty for Lankan masses to even go to a hospital.

        Nowadays, that the masses can actually go to hospitals in the capitalistic Rajapaksa society is actually a novelty, although hospital sizes and bed numbers have yet to catch up with the economic boom.

        Wherever I live, I am glad that I can pay my share of the taxes and give donations for the common man to get decent meal and health care. However, as I said before, I too prefer the leftist system, and I hope the Rajapakse system will work on these things even more.

        • 1
          0

          Ramona Therese Fernando:
          Let’s get one thing straight you and I( are NOT on the same philosophical wavelength when you espouse the merits of charitable handouts of one kind or another to help the “less fortunate.” That kind of crap speaks for itself and I can only hope that you don’t send donations to those without medical coverage in the States so that they can buy the ammo to put an end to the misery you describe in your first submission.
          Before I left Sri Lanka in the early seventies, my immediate family, children included, had need of hospitalization to meet medical challenges. those challenges were met in public institutions and, in fact my son was born at the De Soysa Lying in Home (I believe it was called), certainly not one of the posh private hospitals currently used by the middle class of this country.
          I’m sorry I’ve got to waste time and space, but your sweeping inaccuracies cannot be allowed to go unchallenged.

          • 1
            1

            Emil van der Poorten,
            No, I do not espouse the capitalistic system ;I merely live in it, but would dearly like to see it changed to a more humane socialistic one. Paying my taxes and giving my hard-earned money to the less fortunate is all I can do at the moment in the system I live in, but I also am a supporter, for example, of the “Occupy Wall-Street” movement, and voted for Obama as I am impressed by his socialistic stance in an ultra-capitalistic country such as America.

            Yes we are of different wavelengths, for while we might both be of a socialistic mindset, you cannot see it in the fuller sense of socialism being used in context of country and nation applicability. You do not care or understand Sri Lanka’s historical context, and have no love for her majority persons.

            As for your comments that you hope I don’t donate my money in USA so poor people can buy ammo to shoot themselves, is shameful expression of equivocation on your part, and an abusive of act of ad hominem due to lack of decent support for your arguments.

            We were all born safely and beautifully in Sri Lanka and in the public hospitals. However, compared to curing diseases and to dying, being born is a far easier medical phenomenon. Nowdays, Lankan hospitals have incubators, cesarean surgeries, epidurals for pain control, nursery and day-care facilities, and the birth and survival rates are almost 100% compared to e.g. the 60’s.

            Nowdays, Lankan hospitals actually give a name to diseases. In those days, rural persons didn’t even use the hospital, but relied on the vedamatthaya and folk medicine to cure ailments and quietly passed away at home. Of course the doctors nowadays (and world over) work for profits. This is causing an abuse of the medical profession (world over). Don’t’romanticize the past, I say again. Realize the context of the times and places and write in a way that can help people.

            • 0
              0

              ramona therese fernando:
              Your proclamations of support for Obama-care and the fact that you “support Occupy Wall Street” and “pay your taxes” as indicative of “left” political activity speak for themselves. You seek to compare a TRACK RECORD of politically progressive behaviour over several decades with high-falutin’ statements adding up to very little, making out that the former constitutes an “ad hominem” mindset. To each his own, I suppose.
              It might help to retreat from your middle-class pretensions of being a “progressive” to simply stating what you have DONE, that is apart from paying your taxes, supporting Occupy Wall Street and Obama-care from a suitably safe distance.
              It would take a weird kind of world if mindless support of a system where a person’s very survival is dependent on the size of his/her bank account constitutes being “left” or “progressive.” Certainly not one I would choose to be part of!

              • 1
                0

                Emil van der Poorten,
                That’s a very illogical set of arguments you use. Indeed it has no meaning at all. You equivocate around in circles and after much perplexity, I think you insinuate that I am speaking from a lofty position without actually doing anything about the situation. I don’t know what exactly you have done either, but I know that you are enormously critical of Lanka’s history, culture, and have no love for the majority, the Sinhala-Buddhists. So therefore you can’t be doing anything at ground level, other than try and be a spoiler for the poor suffering majority of Lanka. For shame, Sir!

                As for myself, other than the money I have sent many relatives and institutions in Sri Lanka (and have taken no money, position or free-education whatsoever out of the land to build upon in another land, unlike many of our other Lankans), I have a love for my land of origin and wish it the best. I support the Sinhala-Buddhist person, and although they can be mightily annoying in their racial pride, I have seen their suffering, and the way Burgers, Tamils, and Muslims have crushed them down ever since independence, and before. No wonder they have become racial. At least the Muslims are willing to work along with them to an extent, and that is seen especially at this time.

                Too many Burghers want the system they had before and after independence, and when they couldn’t have it, they migrated to Australia. There, they criticize the up-coming Sinhalese and their chance of showing-off, after the many decades and centuries they have suffered. As for the Tamils, we know just what they were about.

                Long live the Sinhala-Buddhists!!! A bit of fascism on their part is acceptable, come to think of it.

                • 1
                  0

                  ramona therese fernando: do you really think that fascism is acceptable? There is no doubt that not just a little but a whole lot of it is currently involved in Sinhala Buddhist nationalism. Is it not possible for Sinhala Buddhists to pursue their interests without resorting to violence? The underlying thinking has to change indeed but there may be no time to make that change if indulgence in violence against minorities is continued. Already the government is behaving more and more like the LTTE and it may find itself being treated like a terrorist outfit.

                  • 0
                    0

                    Agreed! Gosl has to change everything asap, and most especially dismantle BBS and all those fascist organizations (especially Champika Ranawaka’s style of ethnic boosting and boasting).

                    However, it must be realized that Sinhalese-Buddhists are the mainstay of the Island. Having seen time and time again that ultra-capitalism does not/cannot work with majority Sinhala-Buddhists,and with what the country possesses in commodities, Gosl must work along other governing styles. And socialistic policies are the most appropriate for Sri Lanka.

                    Sinhala-Buddhists themselves must be taught to be more civil. With Ranawaka’s nonsensical claims aimed to boost up the people, comes unfortunately racism. Modern civilization cannot/should not stir up people that way. They will look only ridiculous, albeit dangerous.

                    Many minorities have suffered greatly with what seems like Sinhala-Buddhist paranoia, jealousy, and laziness. Van Poorten and others say a lot about these phenomena. It’s difficult not being Sinhala-Buddhist or being part of. It can be perplexing and embarrassing at times, to undergo the humiliation that is thrown back at you when you mean so well.

                    Truth is, if more facilities are channeled more directly their way, the country might be a much better place – and not through a web of intricate business associations that most are uncomfortable in dabbling with, but by direct, decent, and honest approach by the Gosl.

  • 1
    1

    Emil, come on a fact finding mission to the USA and gather data on the poor person of US who don’t have medical insurance for even basic medical care and can’t have their gall/kidney stones removed and so have to shoot themselves to end the pain.

    • 0
      1

      They don’t have after obama care- you are a stupid morn blabbering for the sake of it and smelling did i say fish Phew!

      • 1
        0

        Foolish person. Weren’t you taught how to think and write properly? Very sad to see. Doesn’t bother me however, that you are allowed to display your shameful mind. I write the truth, whatever the insult may be. I will not answer you in future.

        • 0
          1

          Ha ha fish smelling moron. you are a fascist with a very narrow mind like the tea baggers unable to live without destroying others and finally yourself like fatty vp and hitler- enough said.

  • 1
    0

    Dear Mr van der Poorten

    Though on my perambulations at this time, I have managed to read with interest this latest contribution of yours. Yes, I suppose hope of retribution is the one solace left to the helpless sufferer in this desperately unfair existence of ours. I also see that the indefatigable ‘look up and spit’ brigade continue to actively comment. Sir, suffer them like my dog suffers his mange, but don’t for a moment stop writing. May the Poson moon shine brightly over the misty hills of Hantane.

  • 1
    1

    Mr Poorten,

    Didn’t know you have a Pad in Hantane..

    No wonder you traded in the backyard BBQ and Ontario Reds for Rabbit Curry and Durian juice.

    Ramona reckons our Hospitals were OK even in 2007 when Praba was calling the shots.

    Ramona will be surprised if she sees By Pass Surgery Units even i Galle and your Vellala mates new Turf in the North.

    She will be even more srprised to see your Elite mates ” state of the arts’ in virtually every major suburb in their Territory and power walking tracks for speedy recovery after surgery.

    And they still grumble , whinge, whine and curse Rajapaksas.

    Even thousand Poson Moons wouldn’t make any difference to this lot…

  • 1
    0

    Sumane:
    Could you please provide me with the contact information to enable me to nominate you for the (Mahinda Rajapaksa) President’s Gold Medal for writing gibberish?
    I am sure that there will be several readers of CT who would be prepared to support such a nomination and, if they are not permitted to do so, will launch one of those international petitions to right such a wrong.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.