23 May, 2022


Father-In-Law Austin; A White Belly Turns Yellow

By Sarath De Alwis

Sarath de Alwis

Sarath de Alwis

This commentary is an effort of plain speaking to repossess the spirit of the movement that made 8th January possible. In less than eight weeks, we will reach the first anniversary of the Maithri Presidency. The avidity of late January has given way to abject apathy in early November.

The essence of what was perceived then as an epochal transformation is captured in this anecdotal point of reference with which the Time Magazine accentuated the Maithripala presidency.

“When the Sri Lankan President’s motorcade encounters a red light now on the streets of the capital, Colombo, it does something unthinkable just months ago—it stops and waits for a green signal.”

You cannot step in the same river twice. That is the perpetual tragedy of the human kind. President Sirisena and Premier Wickeremesinghe are human.

8th January was an idea of which the time had arrived. In the age of broad band connectivity people at every level wished to participate in the leadership process.

The new President himself stressed the import of the movement that catapulted him to the presidency with disarming sincerity. He told the Time Magazine “For a short period after being elected, I was not really certain that I am the President.”

This commentary is constructed on the reasonable premise that history is the sum total of things that could have been avoided. The election of President Maithripala Sirisena was the result of an idea whose time had come.

Ideas are not intellectual toys. Ideas have consequences, for good and for ill. That is the ‘real world.’

This is an effort to understand that real world which holds the President and Prime minister hostage to political and parochial compulsions. It appears that both have put politics ahead of governance.

Governance is the process of steering and managing the government. Politics is about parleying on who gets the opportunity to pull the strings. One is a process. The other is a pursuit.
Governance is about baking the pie. Politics is about distributing the pie.

Although it may seem to be unfair, the government of President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe needs to be subject to scrutiny with a ferocity that has no precedent. They sought and obtained a mandate for good governance.

In the age of broadband connectivity their omissions and commissions are condemned or hailed instantly and irretrievably.

Governance is a concept subject to qualitative assessment.

That is precisely what this commentator proposes to do by citing the example of Mr. Manoj Warnapala whom the government has made the new counsellor in our High Commission in London. He is a Solicitor domiciled in the United Kingdom. Until his new diplomatic appointment he practiced as a solicitor with Caveat Solicitors Limited, TEK House, and 11-13 Uxbridge Road, London, W12 8LH. The Blurb in its website informs us that Manoj Warnapala currently heads the firm’s housing department. Manoj is fluent in Sinhalese and has a wide range of skills that enable him to represent different types of clients from all backgrounds.”

He is the son-in-law of Mr. Austin Fernando Distinguished Public Servant, Governor of the Eastern Province, Presidential Confidante, and Handpicked Defense Secretary of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the author of the tome ‘My Belly is White – Reminiscences of a Peacetime Secretary of Defense’. Mr. Austin Fernando is therefore, the quintessential insider of the Maithri Ranil consensus government.

This commentator derives no pleasure in this distasteful exercise of criticizing a distinguished public servant he has neither met nor dealt with. But for this injudicious episode, this commentator may have never concerned himself with the career path of a young solicitor in London.

Mr. Austin Fernando is the author of the tome “My Belly is White”. He explains why he titled the book “My Belly is White”. He has borrowed the title from an African folk tale in the book ‘Gab Boys’ written by Cameron Duodu the Ghanaian writer.” In the folk tale, the Snake Oprammire, unjustly accused and cut in two, exposes its ‘pure’ white belly and appeals to god that his heart is as white as the underside of its belly. The author similarly ‘exonerates’ himself and his colleagues from criticism levelled at the cease fire agreement. He rightly asserts that public servants can only rise to the call of duty.

It was only after Mr. Austin Fenando emerged as a prominent figure in the post 8th January 2015 firmament, that this commentator read the book ‘My Belly is White.” It was only to discover the man who was publicly acknowledged by the new President as one who mentored him in his early days. The author of ‘My belly is white is an idealistic and upright public servant. On page 189 of his magnum opus Austin Fernando reproduces an extract from the poem ‘God give us men’ by Josiah Gilbert Holland.

“God, give us Men! A time like these demands

Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;

Men whom the lust of office does not kill;

Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;

Men who possess opinions and a will; 

Men who have honor; men who will not lie……,”

Then he laments “For six decades God has not heard our prayers, even sparingly.”

With that slight detour to God’s garden behind us we return to folk tales.

There is another African folk tale that has an immediate and urgent relevance to the Good Governance project of President Maithripala Sirisena.

It is a folk tale of the Ndebele tribe in Southern Africa, about the Great Race between the Hare and the Tortoise.It is borrowed from that marvelous anthology of South African folk tales – ‘The Quivering Spear’ by Thomas A Nevin.

This tale narrated around Ndebele fires in Southern Transvaal is quite reminiscent of the race between Mahinda the Hare and Maithri the Tortoise. We all know that Mahinda the Hare did not go for a nap in the midst of the race.

The story is about Umvundla the Hare and Ufudu the Tortoise. Once the challenge was made and accepted the race was to be from the home of Ufudu the Tortoise to the big rock pool.

Ufudu gathered all the tortoises two days before the race. Now if you had been at that meeting of Tortoises you would realize that all tortoises look alike. They made up the ‘Aluth Parapura.’ He told his Tortoise colleagues ‘This is what you should do. The race takes place from my home to the Rock pool. Each one of you must hide in a different place and wait. Then sharp at noon each one of you must walk towards the rock pool.

Ufudu the Tortoise allocated a spot for each tortoise along the race course much in the manner that Venerable Sobhitha did. Now to revert to Thomas Nevin’s engaging prose. “At the starting line, the Hare hopped from one foot to another. The Tortoise stood quietly waiting. He was completely relaxed. “

‘Indlovu’ the Elephant had been appointed the official starter. He lifted his trunk and issued a piercing trumpet call. The race was on. The Hare sprinted off. In seconds he was out of sight. The Tortoise took a few lumbering steps and then walked off to the glade.

Meanwhile the Hare was baffled. Every time he looked up there was Ufudu the Tortoise ahead of him. He took one last bit of strength and bounded towards the finishing line. But before he got there, he gave a cry and collapsed. Ufudu the Tortoise was waiting for him!

The race on 8th January was won because all we Tortoises 6,217,162 of us of an ‘Aluth Parapura’ crawled to the rock pool in unison. It is not just a folk tale. It was a miracle. No one has the right to maim a miracle.

We have now subscribed to the Open Government Partnership. We are yet to agree on a code of standards in public life. The Prime Minster is known to favour Latimer House Principles on Judicial standards.

His administration may not frown on House of Commons standards recommended for holders of public office. “ Citizens have a right to expect that holders of public office who take decisions which affect their lives should do so with impartiality, should be truthful about what they are doing and should use public money wisely. Society expects decisions to be made fairly and on merit and not influenced by personal or private interests.”

We must return to the forgotten poetry of Josiah Holland. What was not quoted from Holland’s poem ‘God give us Men’ by Mr. Austin Fernando is a fitting end to this lament on good governance or the lack of it.

“For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,

Their large professions and their little deeds,

Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,

Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.”

In this instance, Homer nods, falls asleep and slips off his pedestal.

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Latest comments

  • 25

    Mr de Alwis:
    Thanks for another piece of good, honest writing.

    I have one quarrel with you though: You should NOT be apologising for exposing what is driving appointments of importance made by this government. It is not just a matter of “politics” taking precedence over considerations of “governance.”

    There is a far more accurate term for what the Wickremesinghe/Sirisena bunch are doing: PORK-BARRELING.

    The Wicki-Siri government is seemingly operating in the belief that because those who elected them cannot/will not support the MARA bunch they have nowhere else to go. They believe that we will continue to put up with the b.s. that is being dished out to us, the public, on a daily basis.

    I have consistently suggested that we need to hold this government’s feet to the fire. I will go a step further by saying that we need to make them an integral part of the bonfire if they do not mend their ways immediately if not sooner.

    • 4

      We will not allow those who are known for belly-aches spreading their ill-will about this government the same way they did with the last.
      That is a recipe for destabilisation (exactly the motive of people representing foreign interests in our country).

      Yes, this government has appointed some friends and relatives, but those jobs had to be givern to some one. Just because some one is austin Fernando’s son-in-law, or Mithripala Sirisena’s brother, daughter or son, or Ranil Wickremesinghe’s cousin (Ravi J), does not mean they can’t do the job.

      So cup of tea, a Bex and a good lie down.

      We will run the country for best effect, not caring about who does the job. It is working fine.

      • 19

        Konappu, How articulate you are. Even more, how logical!

        … but those jobs had to be given to some one.

        Succinct indeed!

        You are right. Someone needs to occupy those chairs. Those are not newly created positions. Those were posts ‘given out’ during the previous government, as well.

        Isn’t the coincidence striking!

        Jobs are not for being given out. Jobs are not for distribution. Jobs have to be filled with the best suitable/available applicant.

        Let me stop here. With your ‘intelligence’, I am sure, you’ll fill up the rest.

        Have a good day. Nay, how about a great day.

        • 1

          [Edited out]

        • 0


      • 5

        Your definition of “stability” involves discarding anything resembling justice and fairness and is nothing but a recipe for the total destruction of democratic practice.

        It’s as simple as that.

      • 3

        Konappu – Anything goes, does it? If not for the belly-aching and spreading ill-will about “the last” lot, we would still be tyrannised by the goons. Do you want more of the same?

        Drink your tea, take your Bex and go to sleep. Sweet dreams!

    • 23

      I agree that this government is behaving like this thinking that “we have nowhere to go” . I blame MS more than RW in his appointments . He starts with his brother, then takes his son to UN and we are not given an explanations. Most of the rogue Ministers are part of his gang.

      I remember this Public Servant once telling some of us about the greatness of the then Foreign Minister ACS Hameed. I thought he is going to talk about achievements on foreign policy etc. You will be surprised as to what he said. He said he did a personal favour to him when he was down. So then I thought this is the calibre of the “great public servant”.

      I was in public service and I realised that the top public servants are worse than the Ministers in appointing their favourites. In fact when I didn’t get justice from the top public servants, I had to appeal to the Minister to get justice. Public service has gone to the dogs not only because of the interference of the Ministers but also it has to do with the higher ups in the public service.They take all the scholarships even what is due to an officer in the lower ranks. When I was in public service, those who approached me to favour particular party were the so called ” top public servants” and not Ministers.
      The young graduates when they get into public service, I see a lot of enthusiasm to work, but they are not given good training and hence they fall back and become lethargic.Public service has gone to the dogs and the top bureaucracy has to take a large share of the blame.

      Austin Fernando is not lily white as he boasts or the way public are made to see him.

      • 6


        It was a personal favour using public/ taxpayers funds

    • 3

      Well said Emil, “… we need to make them an integral part of the bonfire if they do not mend their ways immediately if not sooner.”

      And the SOONER the BETTER!

      This bunch has reduced our faith in them to cynical disbelief with their nepotistic appointments of siblings, relatives, friends and hangers-on. And we won’t even mention the fact that NOT ONE of those charged or accused has been punished!

      Simply ignoring the views of those of us who voted for ‘good governance’ and continuing as if only they and their actions matter, makes us wonder if the promised ‘good governance’ will ever manifest!

      Let’s not hold our breath!

    • 5

      Nepotism started on January 9th 2015 already.

      Infamous Kumarasinghe Sirisena to Sri Lanka Telecom, of course. A key GOSL owned business that should be a trail blazer for Sri Lanka’s vibrant ICT industry. It should lead our way into lucrative international investments. Like many other state run Telecom companies have done around the world. Most notably Singapore Telecom. For such feats, Sri Lanka Telecom needs world class management. Such qualities are unlikely in corrupt crony infested Sri Lanka Telecom under all administrations.

      Kavan Ratnayake, Sagala’s brother to Lake House. Ajith Dias, RW buddy to Sri Lankan Airlines.

      Latest high profile Dhammika Ranatunga to Sri Lanka Ports Authority.

      Apart from the shameless betrayal of people’s wishes of 8th January, This brazen nepotism represents a daylight robbery of future opportunities from Sri Lanka. All to benefit a few individuals from SLFP & UNP who believe they own this country.

      Nope. Sri Lanka Telecom will never be a Singapore Telecom. Sri Lankan Airlines will never be industry leading Emirates Airlines. Lake House/SLBC/SLRC etc. will never be Al Jazeera or BBC. Sri Lanka Ports Authority will never be Dubai Ports World.

      All unforgivable crimes against this impoverished country, full of untapped yet world class talent.


      • 1

        Kavan Ratnayake and Ajit Dias have proven records of Management at top level. The former as Country Manager of IBM and the latter at Commercial Bank. If the government could use their talents they should.It is when the ONLY qualification, is a political family relationship that it is questionable.

        • 4

          Head Hunter,

          Thanks a lot for your response. This is a critical issue that continues to cripple this nation. That is why I engage myself in this.

          I have no personal bones against either Kavan Ratnayake or Ajith Dias. I have no doubt they are both essentially decent individuals.

          However, please note both enterprises are state owned and are critical assets of this country. They do not belong to either UNP or RW.

          How did relevant boards of these companies go about the selection process? Why were they exactly chosen? What were the convincing reasons for appointing these two guys over other highly qualified candidates?

          Please make the case. Point is there is no case to make. They are both close confidantes of RW. That is the only case.

          In Kavan’s case, it is obvious RW plans to manipulate the public opinion of this country using horrible Lake House propaganda mill as usual. Just like under all other corrupt administrations. There will be no change there.

          There will be no effort to turn Lake House into a free media power house. That will become the envy to the world. That will be not be Good Governance. In fact it is bloody awful. Intolerable!

          In Ajith Dias’ case, please inform the nation exactly what cutting-edge aviation business know-how he brings to Sri Lankan Airlines. We know for sure, in the highly competitive world of international airlines Dias will be up against killer top managers from Emirates, Qatar & Singapore Airlines.

          Then again we don’t have to worry, Sri Lankan will end up in the red as usual under Ajith Dias too. Then impoverished taxpayers will pick up their useless cocktail circuit invoices.

          Nice for them. But, I would be ashamed a bit.



          I would not even bother to discuss Dhammika Ranatunga. That appointment is nothing but a daylight robbery of Sri Lanka for the next five years.

          Problem is RW or MY3 do not have the moral authority to kick Arjuna’s corrupt behind. Coz’ they have questionable baggage themselves.

    • 2

      well said mr.van de poorten. If this government does not deliver all they promised the bonfire should be large and blazing. Really sick and tired of this B.S.

  • 14


    Agitation against this improper appointment should continue in the name of good governance until this dirty Austin Fernando’s Son in Law is removed.

    • 1

      @Mervyn Silva

      You have the freedom to agitate all you like. Be our guest.

      And we, the Yahapalanaya, have the freedom to totally ignore you !

      We are now in power and can do what we jolly well please !

      • 3


        ‘We are now in power and can do what we jolly well please ! ‘

        Are you in power now? What’s your position of power, pray tell us?

      • 1

        Maalumiris is trying to be sarcastic, I guess!

  • 0

    [Edited out]

  • 5

    we did not want a booru chinthanaya and rejected that,
    if the yahapalanaya trying to betray us, we are going, we have to use tough measures next time.

  • 7

    I do remember an essay by Austin Fernando,which was published by CT last year titled 50 years of the Srilanka Administrative Service.He was extolling the virtues of the SLAS over the years,having replaced the CCS.

    My comment on that article went like this….
    From Zenith to Nadir!
    I have been proved right!

  • 5

    “For a short period after being elected, I was not really certain that I am the President.”

    With every passing day when it gradually dawned on Sirisena that he is the President, his demeanour gradually progressed to being a real Sri Lankan President. He must but follow on the humble presedent set by his predecessors. Jobs for the boys, elevation of children above all others, padding the government if need be with nefarious charachters and so forth. As per precedents set by all Sri Lankan Presidents, once one becomes a President the general citizen is of no consequence and the welfare of the country even less.

    • 0

      Sri Lankans are the most unfortunate people in the world to have such horrible leaders. All of our presidents are bad and the worst one is Sirisena.

  • 0

    Austin Fernanado’s [Edited out]

  • 4

    We can touch a man’s head. What can we do about his head, other than hitting it? said Chesterton. Imagine this scenario. There is a new President. Absolutely committed to good governance. Too damn sincere because he is not exposed to the corrupt sophistry of the elite. Now consider this script. He generally consults his advisers whom he holds in high esteem. ‘There is my brother.You know my family is close to me. They have suffered much due to my politics. It has been suggested that he be offered this position. Whats your take on that?”

    Oh why don’t you make him this or that? Surely he should not be denied some thing because he is your brother? After all there are plenty of precedents. Take John Kennedy. He made Robert Attorney General

    Ah! That solves it. After all he is competent.

    The King rules. The Kautilyas Govern.

    • 1

      But then Robert Kennedy was qualified and did a great job with race relations! That is the difference!

  • 5

    Sirisena and Ranil are from that shitty generation that has been ruining the country. They are tainted, desensitised to corruption/nepotism and above all, have been around far too long, hobnobbing with the scoundrels who were ruling the roost just a while ago…so don’t expect a marvellous
    lily-white regime from this lot. The danger is that anything other than
    prefect governance might not deliver us out of the pit that the country had steadily sunk into. If that’s the case, Sirisena and Ranil have already sullied their credentials, with some atrocious acts.

  • 3

    Why all attack AF, but forget Charitha for Suren Ratwatta appointment, Sonali Samarasingha and Lal Wickramatunga for DPL appointments etc? Why the silence of all critics or mild attitude for them? Is it because of personal favours to the latter? Is it gunning down another selected former public servant? Cannot a qualified person be selected just because he is a relative of another “important” person? Why not check whether Warnapala’s qualifications fit the job he has been asked to do and unfit remove him? Has the government checked them and got necessary approvals? If he is qualified leave him alone and disqualified take him off.

  • 2

    If Manoj Warnapala is anywhere near a diplomat like Mr Fernando, three cheers.
    I am sick of seeing these uneducated [Edited out] who cant speak english, in high places.

    • 0

      If the sole criteria on which the appointment of Manoj Warnapala as counsellor in the SL HC in UK was made because he was a Solicitor of Lankan origin and domicileld ithere, then was the government unaware of the fact, that there are many practising Solicitors of Lankan origin domicileld there with more seniority, experience and expertise and not merely confined to housing as in the case of the appointee, but in other fields as well?

  • 4

    Oh Mr. Fernando is this what the Ceylon Civil Service taught you? Old Leonard Wolff must be spinning non stop wherever he may be.

  • 7

    The President appears to have a rather twisted view of ‘good governance’ It is reported that he had discussions with ex- Def. Sec., Presidential Sec. and Treasury Sec. These are all people under investigation, and by doing so he has compromised himself! It is similar to a suspected felon under investigation, having an audience with the Chief Justice.His permitting his son to occupy the seat of the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UN at the UNSGA, showed very poor judgment. Surely the Foreign Minister should have advised him. It is also surprising that Mr.Nanda Godage, an ex-ambassador, should think that it was minor matter! It is also reported that the President has instructed the police to notify him before questioning the former secretaries. Is this not political interference? Very similar to the previous regime. If these people have any concerns, they should go to court or the Police Commission with their grievances. It is time the leaders of this government realised that they should be like Ceasar’s wife. All the tortoises and swans are thoroughly disappointed especially when they put self and party before principle. They should certainly be held to account.

  • 1

    Bodhi Sira and his mate Batalanda Ranil even stop at the Red Lights on Galle Road.

    We are thrilled.

    Now they can see our sweaty Dalits in Colombo walking their kids or themselves under the scorching Sun, on their daily grind, after putting their hands up for Yahapalanaya.

    And still hoping the Good Times will come, although it hasn’t after nearly twelve months of Yahaplanaya.

    But Yahapalana bosses have delivered a few extremely goody Goodies to their Families and Friends with lightning speed

    Cyber Sira, In Law Jeya, Perpetual Uncle, and a few others in real juicy jobs are just a few examples.

    So another one for an In Law is not a big deal.

    And this Fernando Dude did a tremendous job selling Yahapalanya to the Colombo Elite among the Sinhala Buddhists who can read English.

    But my gripe is that the Goodies like Jobs, Better Schools, Better Hospitals and Better Public Transport for the Dalits aren’t even visible in the distant Horizon.

    In fact the Development has gone in to reverse in the first year under Batalanda Ranil’s watch.

    IMF and Moody’s both have worked out it to be 5.5 at the best ,for the Yahplanay first year.

    That is 2 percentage contraction from the 7.5 plus continuous five year growth for the full post Pirahaparan period.

    But Guess what ,

    Our brilliant Accountant and Finance Minister Galleon Ravi says IMF & Moody’s are liars.

    It is 6.5 percent according to his calculator.

    I know the Yahaplana followers believe the latter.

    But it is still 1 percentage point down from our 7,5 percent under the previous Management.

    And that is a hell of a lot of job losses and reduction in incomes to a great many in the villages in the rural sector and the poor in urban areas.

  • 0

    Has all the western embassies and high commisions in Colombo been closed down?
    I can hardly bear their deafning silence.
    Until recently we were used to media releases one in the morning and another in the evening saying that this is not done and that is not acceptable.
    Now a days they all seem packed up and gone home!!

  • 0

    Dear Sarath: I am puzzled at the way these appointments are done. As per the 19th Amendment, Independent Commissions have been set up. One that entrusted with the management of Public Services is the “Public services Commission”. To me that “Public Service” includes all Government Institutions that are managed by public funds. Therefore, all appointments must come within the scrutiny of the PSC. So how come, the President, Prime Minister and other Ministers make their own “Choices” and go on “handing out” jobs in Government Institutions at their free will? At least there must be a mechanism to “check” these haphazard style of “doling” out plum jobs to their relations, friends and goons.

  • 0

    Wow. This is what Cavet Solicitors web page says:

    Launched in 2011 (short history) by Rehana Choudry.
    Others professionals include;
    Niran Pate 2012
    Pooja Verma 2012
    Manoj Warnapala in June 2015 (5 months) Manoj qualified in 2013 and before that had 10 years of exp. in housing although not clear at what capacity.

    Is this the type of candidate our country is looking for to fill this important position? I am not convinced.
    Austin Fdo. can assist the guy by living in UK.

    Can’t this be advertised in UK and the candidates interveiwed before the selecting the most qualified.

    Please save SL.

    • 0

      Exactly, that is the gist of another comment made elsewhere in this forum.

  • 0

    The appointment of the new Consul General of Sri Lanka at Toronto, Canada Mr. J.L.M.Jauhar had been approved by the Committee on High Posts – according to the website of the consulate .

    How did Manoj Warnapala obtain approval.

    Colombo, Sri Lanka. July 30, 2015.
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday announced the appointment of two new ambassadors, one high commissioner and five Consuls General to a number of countries, including Canada, India, Russia, the Philippines, China, Australia and Italy. The envoys had received the concurrence of the respective receiving States and been cleared by the Parliamentary Committee on High Posts as well, Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said at a press briefing. She said Esela Weerakoon had been appointed High Commissioner to India, Aruni Ranaraja as ambassador to the Philippines, and Dr. Saman Weerasinghe ambassador to Russia.
    Shanika Dissanayake and Lakshitha Ratnayake had been appointed as Consuls General to Guangzhou and Shanghai in China respectively. U.L.M Jauhar to Toronto in Canada, W. D. G. S Prasanna to Melbourne in Australia and Pradeepa Seram to Milan in Italy, Colonne added.
    The respective Heads of Mission-designate are expected to take up their posts shortly.
    Last February, the Foreign Ministry recalled over 30 diplomats from its missions overseas, citing that some of them were political appointments and non-career diplomats.

  • 3

    No one is perfect or lilywhite in this country. We have to choose between corrupt and less corrupt. MS/RW government is slightly better than MR’s government. Yes we have Hobson’s choice but lets choose the lesser evil. In that sense Austin Fernando is ok but we are not sure about his son in law.

  • 1


    The easiest job in the UK,is in the Local Councils.Most of the Boroughs have a large concentration of Ethnics,and it is pretty easy to land a JOB,especially in Social Housing! The English Guy will not touch them even with a barge pole.
    I guess 10 years experience in Housing,of young Manoj,must be this social housing.
    If he is going to land a job in the Srilankan High Commission,this will amount to a high jump! Ofcourse the belly will show after the Fall.

  • 3

    While I agree with all commentators who decry nepotism and corruption of this and the previous governments and politicians, I ask you what is the first thing Sri Lankan parents do when their child needs to get a job?

    They start calling favors from their friends, relatives, and colleagues pleading/coercing/bribing them to find a job or give leg-up to their kid. Merit gets thrown out the window, as parents finagle jobs and perks for their children. Ethnic group-loyalty trumps merit as well.

    So while blaming our leaders, we should also point the finger at ourselves if we seriously want to change this corrupt system.

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