19 October, 2017

CHOGM – A Carnival Is Coming To Town!

By Sharmini Serasinghe

Sharmini Serasinghe

Sharmini Serasinghe

There is a tangible feeling of an impending carnival-coming-to-town in the air these days in Colombo. The city is being virtually turned up-side-down and inside-out, dusted and vacuumed by the Surgeon General of Lanka’s cosmetic surgery-Urban Development cum Defence in order to make it look pretty to impress the visiting revelers.

Vibrant coloured banners and gadgets decorate the streets and roundabouts, competing with larger-than-life cut-outs of our very own Emperor-in-new-clothes. Trees pruned and some uprooted, innocent homeless dogs banished, roads re-carpeted and of course the pavements/side-walks dug up and some still awaiting to be tiled. In the interim, pedestrians at great risk to life and limb must share the roads with speeding vehicles.

In short, anything that doesn’t look pretty and prosperous is being removed and pretty-looking-things put in its place.

But this is not just any ol’ carnival coming to town, it’s CHOGM!

One wonders if such a din has ever been made by any other member nation over CHOGM during the entire 64-year history of the organisation.

With the exception of Canada, and some reticence on the part of India (caught up in a ‘to-go or no-to-go’ quandary) ultimately deciding if India’s foreign policy or domestic politics will win, some 50-odd countries are eagerly trotting to Lanka to attend our Emperor’s carnival. And, of course, Britain is obliged to come after that massive Rolls-Royce deal they clinched with Lanka (or should it be with the Emperor and his Clan, at the expense of the Lankan tax-payer).

After all it’s getting rather cold in some of those countries, so why not enjoy an all-paid holiday, basking in our warm weather, sandy beaches, friendly smiles and our legendary hospitality – again, courtesy Lanka’s tax-payers.

In order to facilitate this carnival and picnic, thirty-five schools in Colombo are now closed for two weeks “in order to implement a comprehensive security plan for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)” states the official website of the Ministry of Defence & Urban Development.

Furthermore Universities around the country will be closed for one week while the Carnival is in town. Why close Universities around the country when the performance is happening in Colombo?

This is an obvious move to silence any rising voices of dissent amongst our vibrant young student community that will obviously embarrass the hosts – Emperor and Clan – while the ‘foreigners’ are around, the foreign media in particular.

Ironically, while the country’s Universities remain ‘closed’ the first private University in Lanka, a very controversial one at that, is expected to be officially declared ‘open’ during the ‘carnival period’. How about that?

CHOGM in Lanka is not a victory for our country but a massive, opulent and extravagant ego-booster for the Emperor and his clan. It has been argued elsewhere in these columns that “Hosting this event is an opportunity for the host country to make a lot of money”. 

Under different circumstances with a leadership and political administration more open to transparency, decency and honesty this could well be true. But in the current scenario the question begs “who” in the host country, (in Sri Lanka) will be making a lot of money? And will all that “lot of money” go towards the betterment of the country OR will it all wind up in the pockets of the Emperor’s lackeys or both?

Thus far CHOGM has only one significant achievement worthy of being remembered- its stand against apartheid in South Africa. Thereafter it dwindled into a toothless talk-shop that issues declarations not worthy of the paper it’s written on at the end of each meeting.

Perhaps this is why there are no qualms amongst the member nations about a fellow member governed by an administration that has violated with impunity, the core values enshrined in the Commonwealth charter- Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law being given the Chair of the organisation for a period of two years.

Had the Commonwealth been made up of a strong back-bone, this would have been the ideal opportunity to trap our Emperor in a catch-22 situation. After all he will be the Commonwealth Chairperson-in-Office (CIO) for the next two years, with the onus on him to uphold the core values of the Commonwealth Charter- Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law.

Our Emperor obviously realises this. If for whatever reason he is stripped of the Commonwealth Chair, he will use it as a weapon to win the next Presidential election. He will go howling to our gullible masses about the injustice caused to him by the International Community and the usual sympathy vote will come into play again.

Naming and shaming our Emperor in the international arena will have no effect, since, “how can you shame those who have no shame” as one wise one put it. One thing is assured, after the Carnival leaves town- the hungry will be hungrier, the poor will be poorer and the rich will become richer and richest. Budget 2014 will ensure that.

But all will be forgiven and forgotten come the next Presidential election. For the majority of our stupid voting public will never realise, that Rajapaksa is NOT Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka is NOT Rajapaksa!

*Sharmini Serasinghe was Director Communications of the former Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) under Secretary Generals Dr. John Gooneratne and Jayantha Dhanapala. She counts over thirty years in journalism in both the print and electronic media.

 

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    The last time Charlie Boy came to Sri Lanka was for the 50th Independence Day celebrations, when we had an one-eyed President, a Defense Minster with a walking-stick and an IGP who fainted at the main event.

    Wonder what fun he will be in for this time!

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      Hey you forgot the world’s 1st woman PM in a wheelchair right next to Charlie boy!

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        The Defense Minister Anurudha Ratwatte was actually on crutches after some mishap.

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      I think the President still had both eyes at that time. Wasn’t it about November 1999 that the Town Hall bomb went off? Moot point, of course.

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      Oh God….this brings back wacky memories.

      Here’s an excerpt from a report by our man, Peter Popham, on the scene….

      The Prince of Wales arrived in Sri Lanka yesterday to join in the celebrations of the war-torn country’s 50th anniversary of independence. Our correspondent witnessed the start of a visit constrained by security anxieties.
      As Prince Charles stood on the podium in Colombo airport this afternoon, cannon shots rang out in salute, and a stray dog, clearly convinced that it was about to die, sprinted flat out across the runway. Then the long grass in front of the guns burst into flames and a fire engine raced up to put them out. Finally, the band marched off playing the theme tune from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

      It was a promising start to a royal visit which terror and scandal have reduced to a ceremonial skeleton.

      etc etc etc….

      Didn’t we laugh that night on the balmy terrace of the Galle Face Hotel as we gargled with Mendis Special.

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        why is that he has come to the island a few days before the summit begins ?

  • 0
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    Hi Sharmini Serasinghe,
    This is nothing but hatred!!!
    It is pity that after 30 years in journalism, you wrote an article of this nature! 30 years wasted!!

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      I think she is [Edited out]

      Now, she only spews venom again rajapkases.

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        Wait and see CHOGM will end up becoming it a “CHEWINGUM”.

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      If anyone would make it clear, you guys always attack the messenger.

      These are similar to the acts of wimal buruwanshe.

      When pointing out any wrong doing – they attack them calling as imperialist, NGO worker, dollar greedy journalist etc.

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    Calling a spade; a spade takes courage and years of creative journalism. Lets face it, Democracy (mob rule) sucks all over the world. What do we call a group of people in this case, the majority who keeps electing a bunch of incompetent officials to govern? Stupid is a mild term to describe. with democrazy, It’s not who votes than count, it’s who counts the votes.

    Most Sri Lankans like carnivals, the magic show, games of chance, crowns, the parade, a good time, which gives them a short burst of satisfaction; just like a stimulant. Short term gain, long term pain is a desirable way of life in the South of Sri Lanka.

    The North can and will be the force to make a difference in years to come. Prudent investors will move shop to cash in with the impending progress and development. The North of Sri Lanka could be the wonder of the world.

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      Maghribi,

      “Most Sri Lankans like carnivals, the magic show, games of chance, crowns, the parade, a good time, which gives them a short burst of satisfaction; just like a stimulant. Short term gain, long term pain is a desirable way of life in the South of Sri Lanka.”

      You are absolutely right.

      Today my cab driver was on cloud 9 despite him losing his daily income due to lack of business as the roads in Colombo are closed most of the time. He didn’t care that he hadn’t met his target for the day and earned enough ‘tips’ for the day to feed his hungry young family of three toddlers, because ‘Charles Kumaraya’ was coming all because of the great Mahinda Rajapaksa!

      So that was enough to fill his hungry stomach and those of his children.

      Talk about “stupid voting public”!

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    Sharmini !! Are you a cheer leader for the Mmmmmmmmm….
    or
    One in that exodus of JR’s Menikdiwela group to Canada ?

    Why not jointhe Carnival as SL have been a party from the very inception. Then, why miss out?

    Only if your brains could match your looks.

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    We know very well that lot of people including Tamil Diaspora and Powerful western Nations are jealous with our 3-San-wedee Nayakathuma as he will be a world leader by leading all commonwealth countries including Great Britten for at least another 2 Years with the help of Kamalesh Sharma.

    Actually in my opinion we should celebrate this grate occasion by cooking “Kiribath” and dancing on the roads. To celebrate this great Occasion we should close all the Schools and Universities in the country indefinitely. Bandula Gonwardana and SB is there to look after that. It is better if we could close all the Govt. Institutions including Health ministry to celebrate this important Occasion. We should not stop at that and we should celebrate this in every month like we celebrate great war victory. In my opinion now itself we should start a campaign asking Kamalesh Sharma to change the commonwealth Principal’s and make our Saddarmadveepa Chakrawarthi as Life time Leader.

    After he becomes the world leader other country leaders will rush to come to Sri Lanka to have a short meeting with him and have a group photo with him and Mrs. Plaster of Paris as souvenir. Then Rajpal Abenayaka will not have to do any Photo Shop work like before he did with Obama’s picture.

    Now I think everybody can understand why some People, Tamil Diaspora and Powerful western Nations are Jealous about this great occasion.

    If our Learned Prof. G.L Peiris informed all the member countries that after the CHOGM there will be a traditional dance from Jackson Anthony and Musical Show from Bhathiya and Sunthush, I am pretty sure that Leaders of all the member countries including Her Majesty should have participated in this great occasion.

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    Sri Lanka will SHOW-THEM with CHOGM –
    The Brazilian Mardi-Gras will be over-shadowed by CHOGM (Colombo Hotels Offices General Markets – up prices)- given the “carnival air” in the city with all the fugly but colourful Catherine wheels and “sprucing up” of the capital for the Emperor in his new clothes ….[ if he has any ] – Well done Sharmini – brilliant article – you go girl ….. Salute !!!!

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    Sharmini

    Watch out. White vans! We need writers of the calibre of you. I’m afraid, you prophecy of another 7 yrs this kingdom wont come true.

    Deshabandu Jaya.. is working hard. Mark my words! You wait and see! Common candidate is emerging sooner than you think.

    Dont forget what happened to Madam Sirimavo after the 1976 NAM summit.

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    Well said sharmini. And where will all the new benz cars go after the carnival? Faiz

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    Sharmini you are a beautiful woman with brains, not sure 100% about which side of the wall you belong, but i would love to have a coffee with you to discuss. The Penetrator.

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      What brains are you talking about? You could [Edited out]

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        Esme dear, your claws are showing. Hope you got your annual anti-rabies shot or the rest of your ‘pack’ are at risk.

        Tell me are you still roaming the streets of Colombo? I thought Gota was banishing all the dogs and bitches before CHOGM?

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          M M Jr
          Well said as,
          It seems, This dog has escaped from Hothambya’s dog cage.

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    Anyway CHOGM is whole bullshit gathering, failed meeting, headless forum, dictators’ luncheons, and colonialists gathering. That said, listen folks this is what Sri Lanka means from its constitution,

    “Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka”

    It is going to be the HEADLESS LEADER for the forthcoming 2 years for this VISION-LESS COMMONWEALTH. Really cool! Let’s unpack some of the profound words in our constitution and explore whether those words mean anything to this country particular and in general to this VISION-LESS COMMONWEALTH.

    Democratic

    Democratic government is in which all eligible citizens participate equally and elect their representatives regardless of your backgrounds. Democratic process provides equality, empowerment, fairness, and justice in any give proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic, and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination. Am I missing something here before I say whether these profound things are found in this country?

    Socialist

    Socialist: a member of a political party that supports socialism. What sort of socialism do we have in this country? Do we have a shared and common culture where everyone gets fare shares from the national production? Do Weliweriya people deserve clean water or not in the socialist government?

    Republic

    A republic is factually a form of government in which affairs of state are a “public matter” In other words it cannot be the private concern of the rulers (e.g., MR, GR, 10%, GL, SB, Mavin, Namal, Baluwansa, and Patali Baluwaka). In republic, public offices are subsequently appointed or elected rather than privately accommodated. Gota is an ideal person to this topic. The question is did public elect him or democratically appointed him, was he accommodated by the headless MR who is in-charge for UDA, Defense, CHOGM, development, foreign affairs, media, police, Buddha Sasana, Universities and its security, and over all entire Sri Lanka is under Gota. Gota is the Sri Lanka’s spoken person to the world. So a result, show me the republic in Sri Lanka? Should we rewrite “Republic”

    May be this is what headless MR wants to say Sri Lanka will be the Knowledge HUB of Asia.

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      hey, you forgot to stamp LTTE seal at the end of your long boring article CITIZEN !

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        Ajith Pee.
        LTTE Is M R and Hothambaya Jarapassa’s Baby.
        They bribed the killer Prabha and killed the Inheritors, Got all the LTTE Coffers to Hambaya thota.
        and deleted LTTE from the list of Tsunami fund donators.

        SO DO NOT BLAME INNOCENT KING AND HIS FANILY FOR LOOTING.

        ANEY PAWU Bang.

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    Bitterly written article, again. It is clear that Sharmini can’t stand the president, though understandable.

    Sharmini, do you live abroad or are you a [Edited out], which makes you think that you are out of danger from ‘WHITE VAN’?

    CHOGM is certainly not a carnival, it’s simply a conference but the president and his incompetent ministers are trying hard to make it a carnival. In CHOGM pool there are almost 2 billion people(market for SL exports), and there are lots of natural resources, state of the art technology(in developed counties), lots of job opportunities, education opportunities,and many more. Since SL being the host , which means SL is going to be the centre of attention, it’s SL government’s responsibility to take advantages of this once in a while opportunity.

    Personally I think that Sri Lanka takes alot more from the world than it gives to the world. Not to forget, when tsunami hit SL, lots of these developed and developing nations helped SL out, even though Chandrika and her ministers looted relief funds and deposited them in their London banks accounts .

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      Chandrika looted tsunami funds ? Are you sure ? Not anyone else ???

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        If CBK was not there, no country would have spent that much for our poor folks. This BIll Clinton had expressed many a time.

        These buggers attack her for no reasons. But her administration was far better than that of the current abusive bunch.

        If Chandrika collected that much funds, UK govt should have gotten information about that. The rulers could easily find it. Her relatives are in the UK. Earlier that oral patient came with a book, called CHAURA RAJINA.. BUT THE very same writer remains, when crimes rates become skyrocketed by now ? If his is credible, the very same writer to stay so mum is not acceptable.

        CBK made it clear that tsunami donations were embezzled by Rajapakshe. That is why she has been isolated by them.

        If we would hold a SMS opinion poll, people of this country would easily share their opinions. But it should be made to the manner westerner do.

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      CBK became FILTHY rich with the money given by Petroleum Companies.

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      “CHOGM is certainly not a carnival, it’s simply a conference “

      you are spot on , CHOGM is not a carnival but a circus with plenty of clowns .

      “when tsunami hit SL, lots of these developed and developing nations helped SL out, even though Chandrika and her ministers looted relief funds and deposited them in their London banks accounts .”

      who did you say loot Tsunami funds ??????? carry on writing mate .

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    [ Perhaps this is why there are no qualms amongst the member nations about a fellow member governed by an administration that has violated with impunity, the core values enshrined in the Commonwealth charter- Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of Law being given the Chair of the organisation for a period of two years.]

    SHAMINI: If you know what you are talking,,,,,,,,,,,,, I can not believe that.

    You just try to survive and you need some income.

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      – You just try to survive and you need some income –

      Talking to the mirror, Softy ??? How funny :)

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    An appallingly written ‘article’ for a journalist of 30 years experience. Innuendo and made-up titles coupled with one-sided shouting at the end – but then, this is Sharmini.

    No data, no specifics – just a long rant of clichés. Yes, CHOGAM it is expensive – yes, we cannot afford it but the benefit is the bigger picture – we are in focus, we will hold the chairmanship of the organization, we will have leaders here of countries where the rump of the LTTE are agitating to paint separatism white.

    As for the President, he was elected in a democratic process – far less flawed than in the past – by sheer popular choice. You have no right to sit on judgment or to label the voter with your universal tar brush.

    I suggest you put on your ‘journalist’ hat read your own article again and see how ludicrous you sound – your laziness to do any real research to tell us something we do not know will soon become very apparent.

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      Are u sure that his reelection was democratic ?

      Man, try to get the facts straight before being added to this kind of garbage.

      I wish I could meet up with that former EC to get more about the manipulation of election results.

      Leaving that, how the bugger performed it since his reelection, is that acceptable by any sane ones ?
      As the writer herself call is – stupid public would do anything – knowing all these to abuse them repeatedly is not criminal ?
      Rajapakshes are born to destroy the nation.

      War winning was thanks to US and Indians. Their agents were MR and GR.
      This is the reason why US still backward to interview war criminals directly.
      Shavindra Silva is in the us, but have they questioned him adequately ?
      There you dimwits should raise the question why ?
      For you guys, no matter what it is .. so long thing stay shine.
      So long this kind of attitude is common among the many, nothing would change for the nation :(

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      Athula,

      “No data, no specifics – just a long rant of clichés”.

      In case you hadn’t noticed, this is not an academic paper the writer has presented.

      Your pathetic attempt to criticize the writer is appalling to say the least!

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    Well said Mr.Athula. Who the hell is this woman who does not know what she is talking about, and a Sri Lankan at that. Ashamed to even think of her as a Sri Lankan. Go write about what is happening in other countries and DO NOT run our beautiful country down. We are proud Sri Lankans and no matter who or what governs the country, it is a great honor for Sri Lanka to host this event.

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      Esme dear, your claws are showing. Hope you got your annual anti-rabies shot or the rest of your ‘pack’ are at risk.

      Tell me are you still roaming the streets of Colombo? I thought Gota was banishing all the dogs and bitches before CHOGM?

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        This comment moderated by the Editor? Really?

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        MM (Jnr)

        Super one man. My mother once had a fat old female cat called Esme and it died of rabies.

        This creature commenting here sounds like the reincarnation of that horrid cat!

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      Not even a 3 grade child would see in that way – stupid woman..

      ” whoever govern.. “. So is it fine for you to see the changing the image of srilanka ? Let s meet in post summit discussions to see it broadly..
      You the dimwits see only one side of the coin.

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      Esme, I shall think of you as I watch with heavy heart, ammay negotiating when buying a tomato, two carrots and a coconut at our Sunday pola in this miracle of Asia. Apropos writing about other countries, I will never in a million years try to interfere in their business and I certainly do NOT want them to meddle in ours. You see, our problem is that we couldn’t keep our business within our borders; if you go abroad, take a look at the flotsam and jetsam that we have unleashed on other countries, mainly our Tamil brethren but also many Sinhalese including increasing numbers driven out recently. I love Sri Lanka and will never tire of singing its praises but many of us refuse to stand by idly watching some the nonsense that goes on. We must work to ensure that not one of our citizens remain broken and hurting and alienated in our tropical paradise. Your blind denial won’t help that.

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      Esme Wadugodapitiya,

      Aren’t you that woman who used to work in a snack-bar that sells rotten food?

      If you are the same person, well no wonder you are spewing venom at the writer! While she’s got the looks to match her intelligence, you my dear hitting 70 by now, overweight as hell, with a painted face that would put a ‘Geisha’ to shame, are seething with jealousy.

      Come on woman, realise your limitations and keep away from intellectual discussions on CT without making a fool of yourself.

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    Sharmini,

    Contracting for the LTTE rump ?

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      Oh no,
      Doing a donation to Jarapassa LOOTING RUMP of Mada MOOLANA from Hambaya Thota.

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      Ravi you Moron,

      For Sharmini it is just simply work in progress. Following from the LTTE Rump it will MRs Rump and then tracing his Loot which could take years. There is plenty of work to last a life time an beyond.

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    Every one must understand this!! We get no fun by castigating the head of state of Sri Lanka. But the sheer wastage of money on useless carnivals and tamashas are criminal abuse of power. One day, he will dearly have to pay for all this. That day is not far: many be in 4 months!!!

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      I hope the same, but that soon ?

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      I wish.

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    Many people tried hard with all type of fabricated allegations to stop CHOGM taking place in Colombo. Having failed in their attempts,due to the intelligence of most world leaders, unlike the hired journalists, they are now resorting to rediculing the event. They think this is a carnival. These are the people that want to ‘have the cake and also eat it’.

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    Sharmini Serasinghe

    1)In short, anything that doesn’t look pretty and prosperous is being removed and pretty-looking-things put in its place.

    If what you have said above is true what are these lot doing darting around in the Dance Hall

    1) MR the Dracula
    2) Gotha the animal
    3) Keheliya Rambukwella the Chi..
    4) Ministry Secretary Karunathilake Amunugama

    These are not the prettiest things that I have seen.

    What are these pretty looking things? Can you give me clue.

    May be the picture of ISAIPRIYA DEAD and NAKED courtesy of Sinhala Army.

    2)After all it’s getting rather cold in some of those countries, so why not enjoy an all-paid holiday, basking in our warm weather, sandy beaches, friendly smiles and our legendary hospitality – again, courtesy Lanka’s tax-payers.

    I agree with you entirely on the above . But a word of warning Mr.Cameron better watch out in the Beaches and Hotel Corridors as there are Homosexuals and Paedophiles like Shankar the Sinkalam are waiting for preys like you.

    3) Our Emperor obviously realises this. If for whatever reason he is stripped of the Commonwealth Chair, he will use it as a weapon to win the next Presidential election. He will go howling to our gullible masses about the injustice caused to him by the International Community and the usual sympathy vote will come into play again.

    *** Don’t worry sister the Emperor will be stripped naked and put on a one way ticket to the HAGUE after March 2014.

    4) Naming and shaming our Emperor in the international arena will have no effect, since, “how can you shame those who have no shame” as one wise one put it. One thing is assured, after the Carnival leaves town- the hungry will be hungrier, the poor will be poorer and the rich will become richer and richest. Budget 2014 will ensure that.

    *** I disagree with you on the above as Naming and Shaming is a price you pay for defaming a Nation.

    5) But all will be forgiven and forgotten come the next Presidential election. For the majority of our stupid voting public will never realise, that Rajapaksa is NOT Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka is NOT R

    *** On the above let me tell you this what better satisfaction there would be for us Tamils to PRESIDENT MAHINTHA board the plane ( compared to ordinary Mahintha ) to the HAGUE waving goodbye to his loyal subjects for the last time before he disappears in to the wilderness like MILOSEVIC. The pictures of MILOSEVIC boarding the plane still reminds me of the Srebrenica massacre.

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