By Emil van der Poorten –
I don’t know whether to document and hang on the wall of my workspace accounts of recent events in my life as “badges of honour” or just to be simply ashamed of what my motherland produces in the matter of alleged “humanity” that chooses to indulge in efforts at “communication.”
In any event, I expect that when I next bump into an old schoolmate of mine from our days at Trinity, he’s going to (again!) gently chide me with the reproach that I am “an angry man!” As I told him then and as I will tell him again with (additional proof for my averment), “Sorry, my friend, those with whom you work, shoulder to shoulder, give me little choice, unless I’ve had my backbone removed since last we met!”
These are again becoming very “interesting” times for me and those around me thanks to the “civilization” that the Rajapaksa regime has visited on our island home. And let me be bloody clear on the subject, this IS my home whether its current rulers believe so or not!
Anyway, let’s get on to the cause of my ire today.
Less than a week ago, I was told that there were seven or eight members of the local constabulary under and around a small bridge on the road that serves me and several other families in the area. There were, apparently three motor bikes on the verge of the road. Wild creepers had been draped in an effort to conceal them from the gaze of any passers-by. Several of the policemen were under the bridge and a few were on the bridge deck at the time my informant encountered them. Every single one of them was from the local station and my informant, as one whose son-in-law is, in fact, a local policeman, knew whereof he spoke.
To place this little gathering in context, let me say that the road on which this bridge is located is about two kilometers long and, except for a few dwellings on the first hundred metres of it, has no human habitation adjacent to it along its entire length. I happen to live close to its extremity.
When this rather bizarre occurrence was reported to me, I phoned the policeman who serves as a “beat cop” for our part of rural Galagedera and who I was told was among the policemen on and around the bridge.
Suffice it to say that while our conversation was cordial enough – we’ve known each other for several years now – the explanation he gave me for being at the location was not very convincing, given the fact that we know each other well enough to be frank with regard to law enforcement or crime prevention issues.
I used the terms “bizarre” and “outlandish” quite freely in a recent column and don’t know in which to place this particular incident.
And now on to my second vignette.
The hordes with whom my old school-mate chooses to make common cause has now had one of its more slimy supporters launch what he (she?) thinks might be a more effective campaign to silence me.
On the 17th of January I received the following SMS message:
“(….)l to gandaya Weerakoon too. OK?
Lotus (not Karapothu) 17/01/14 , 11:36”
Given the fact that this was, to put it mildly, inexplicable and without precedent I responded with,
“Who or what the hell is this?”
Back came the following:
“Nice! CT is all cleaned up!!! But u r up to ur neck in shit U lansi c…t (abusive term for female pudenda). U thought eavesdropping and info stealing clever? Wait for it . S’thing is coming! 18/01/14 11:30″.
The number from which this garbage originated was 614 669 19667, which I understand is a mobile number in Melbourne, Australia, a country where, in the last General Election, the primary protagonists, Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott, were engaged in a refugee-bashing competition in their efforts to secure victory, trotting out the “Tigers are coming” rant as fuel for that argument.
Interestingly, Colombo Telegraph has had occasion to recently delete comments made about the material I submit for publication to them because those comments apparently contravene their editorial and publication policy which, I am sure, is not permissive in the matter of scurrilous text parading as criticism.
Even though Australia has long been pilloried as the land of convict settlement, it seems that its current history, inclusive of those with access to cellphones suggests that it might, in the 21st Century, truly be stretching every sinew to live up to that very unhappy stereotype, with the assistance of a bunch of Sri Lankan government acolytes who, despite their allegiances, have sought refuge in the land down under. Talk about actions speaking louder than words! Here they are singing hosannas to Rajapakistan while enjoying the creature comforts, not to mention democratic practices of what once was part of the British Empire! They certainly qualify for classification as the southern part of a horse going north, profiting from singing hosannas to the 21st Century Dutugemunus in Sri Lanka while enjoying all that Australia has to offer.
Suffice it to say, however, that it will take a little more than scurrilous SMSs to have me throw overboard those values with which I’ve grown up and found, over the proverbial three-score-years -and-ten to be what life’s all about. But then, neither the authors of this kind of crap or those in whose employ they perform their tasks are capable of understanding those who seek to simply lead dignified lives even in the Sri Lanka of today. That would be totally alien to their experience and beyond their comprehension.
A final word before this column ends: these incidents DO serve to break the monotony of rural life on top of a little hill in the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka!