17 December, 2017

Blog

Guti Kaemata Niyamithayi: A Battering Is On The Menu

By Udan Fernando

Udan Column Name PicFood continues to inspire my column. But it’s a different type of food that inspired this week’s column – a contemporary Sinhala play called, Guti Kaemata Niyamithay by Thilak Nandana Hettiarachchi. An insightful review written by my friend Upali Amarasinghe (loosely) translates the title of the play as ‘Destined to be Beaten’ (read Upali’s review here. The three characters of the play are indeed odd, but refreshingly novel: a beedi kote (a cheap local cigarette), a drop of sweat and a ‘gullaa‘, a weevil. They all exist in a loaf of bread, but face the threat of being baked. As Upali says, “the characters in their inimitable style bring forth to the audience the tragedy of their lives; the tragedy of being imprisoned in a loaf of bread. They want to break free but do not know how”. I leave it to a linguist to tell us why kanawaa or kaema (eating, food) is used in Sinhala to denote getting beaten-up. Anyway in Sinhala parlance, getting beaten up is as just good as having a meal.

Malaka SilvaA lot had been said, denied and written about a String Hopper Meal in New York where a then High Commissioner was allegedly served a sumptuous portion of string hoppers with seeni-sambal by a Monitoring Minister of the External Affairs Ministry. The latest we heard, which was not surprising news, was that the then High Commissioner was excessively intoxicated to the extent that he collapsed at the party in New York in front of the Monitoring Minister, the Secretary of the External Affairs Ministry, and other guests. Such a matter which involves a top diplomat in a topmost diplomatic posting could have been a humongous scandal to be investigated and drastic action to be taken. A government MP, Hon. Rajiva Wijesinghe, writing an opinion piece to Colombo Telegraph, a few weeks back, lamented that ‘government simply had no one left who could argue a case intelligently and in good English. But now it seems, and according to the above statement from the government, the then High Commissioner who collapsed had no strings (hoppers) attached. So the matter is closed. The Monitor will continue his monitoring work while the former High Commissioner will probably revert to his family business to blend tea. What a fall from a Diplomat to a Chai-wallah!

The trend of serving oneself a meal started with Mohamamed Irshad, a Samurdhi Officer. He was alleged to have tied  himself up to a tree by a Doctoral Minister to mete out a form of punishment from the good old days of pre Colonial Ceylon called ‘gas-Bandinawaa’, an arbitrary collective act by villagers when they catch a someone who commits a petty crime. The TV channels went to town with the images of the Samurdhi Officer being tied up to a tree and being subject to embarrassment and humiliation. There was a public outcry at this evidently uncivilized act by the Minister who’s better known for notoriety. But, lo and behold, the Samurdhi Officer made a public statement to say that it was he who tied himself to a tree! So the ‘matter’ was closed. After some time, the Samurdhi Officer, fled the country and gave a moving speech, which is available on Youtube, where he describes his helplessness and desperation during that time. The former Samurdhi Officer vowed, in disgust, that he would never ever visit Sri Lanka for the rest of his life. It seems that it took some time for Mr. Irshad to digest the ‘tree-meal’. His feedback perhaps comes after partaking of a fine liqueur from where he is now domiciled.

Meal time continues.

The latest meal-story we hear is from the Doctoral Minister’s son who follows in his father’s footsteps. His latest choice of dish seems to have been Haggis, the traditional Scottish savory pudding made out of sheep’s heart, liver, lungs and minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices and salt mixed with stock and encased in the animal’s stomach and simmered for about three hours. Haggis is traditionally served with “neeps and tatties” (turnip and potatoes), boiled and mashed separately, and a ‘dram’, a glass of Scotch whisky. The Minister’s son seems to be a true connoisseur of good food – kana-bona type as said in Sinhala. However, sadly, there had been some glitch in the delivery of the meal. The son is said to be now nursing a broken nose. Some news reports say that he’s in remand prison. What an unjust world we live in? Why should an innocent boy who just wanted to taste Haggis get his nose mashed like “neeps and tatties” and languish in a remand prison? Perhaps, the people of Scotland will honor the young Lankan boy with some Scottish Regalia for his almost martyrdom for an authentic Scottish delicacy.

But who will admit to having consumed the ‘meal’, in this case, I wonder. Will the Son say that he served himself a dish of Haggis? Or will those Kilt-wearers admit that they served Haggis to the Son? Or will this be construed as another diaspora ploy? I tend to wonder what the eventually would be.. But then again, Guti Kaemata Niyamithayi play gives us wise on how to chew on these issues in Sri Lanka.

Towards the end of the play, the three characters who are imprisoned in a loaf of bread finally find a  means to  exist  despite thier predicament. They tweak the oft-quoted phrase from Descartes from “I think therefore I am or I exist” to “I don’t think therefore I exist”.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 3
    0

    “I tend to wonder what the eventually would be.. “

    Do not wonder Udan Fernando. In a country where ‘guti’ ‘bata’ rules the roost, this errant docotoral minister’s errant son will himself eventually become an MP and don’t be surprised if even the president.

    Ours is indeed ‘The Wonder os Asia’.

    • 4
      1

      The sad reality is this.

      Malaka Johnnie is very talented. King Kong has already spotted him. Despite the outcry from the disgusted public.

      Just wait and see. In time, Malaka Johnnie will be nominated to contest a PC election.

      Eventually, he will move into Sri Lanka’s notorious Parliament. Where majority of members are uneducated and criminal.

      Malaka Johnnie is an uncut diamond. Extremely valuable for Hamba Clan’s violent, Gil-Mart politics in Sri Lanka.

      Cheers!

      PS: Lohan Ratwatte, Duminda Silva, Susantha Punchinilame, Karuna Amman are all in GOSL. Why make such a noise about Malaka Johnnie only?

      • 4
        1

        Good one Udan!

        Namal Rajapaksa-Jarapassa the corrupt car race Czar and his brothers are in the same league as Merwin Silva’s moronic off spring – Malaka.
        They all need to be thrown in prison but it seems that Malaka has admitted himself to hospital to avoid prison – just like Duminda Silva – who killed Baratha Luxman and got a free holiday in Singapore on tax payers funds!
        Duminda Silva is Gota the Goons monitoring MP!

        Miracle of Modayas indeed!

  • 3
    0

    Why We Forget Comedy of those days, “Vinoda Samaya”,
    Burty Gunathilaka,, gemunu Wijesurya and Samuel Rodrigue’s famous Stage comedies.

    ” Uoo Mata Gehewwa, Mata Uoo gehewwa “.

    Cap it all,

    We Sri lankans are” KANA BONA JAATHIYAK” ne!!!!!!!!.

    That I why, F King, The Maha Raja Gave a Good Food Budget With Loaned Money.

    KAAALA WARELLA ??????????

  • 1
    3

    Among those invitees who did not see Nonis attacked by Sajin Vass Gonaa was so called Ambassador Prasad KariyaaWasam .This man has had the temerity and guts to say he didn’t see the slapping because he was listening to music and later on he learnt that Nonis had left.All this while being in a small room. How much more bizarre could it get?

    Prasad is actually a survivor in the Foreign Service not due to any brilliance but because of his Southern
    Craftiness.Interlectually and diplomatically he is near zero.His English is limited ( whilst in New Delhi his English was corrected by a lady officer very much his junior) and his ability very questionable.He is supposed to the last in the 1980 intake to the foreign service which had far far more brilliant people like Romesh Jayasinghe, who alas did not go after positions.

    What for t

  • 1
    3

    Among those invitees who did not see Nonis attacked by Sajin Vass Gonaa was so called Ambassador Prasad KariyaaWasam .This man has had the temerity and guts to say he didn’t see the slapping because he was listening to music and later on he learnt that Nonis had left.All this while being in a small room. How much more bizarre could it get?

    Prasad is actually a survivor in the Foreign Service not due to any brilliance but because of his Southern
    Craftiness.Interlectually and diplomatically he is near zero.His English is limited ( whilst in New Delhi his English was corrected by a lady officer very much his junior) and his ability very questionable.He is supposed to the last in the 1980 intake to the foreign service which had far far more brilliant people like Romesh Jayasinghe, who alas did not go after positions.

    What for telling aney !!!

    • 0
      0

      By amazing coincidence, Ambassador Kariyawasam had thrown himself into the party mood and had just started on a popular Lionel Richie number

      Well, my friends, the time has come
      To raise the roof and have some fun
      Throw away the work to be done
      Let the music play on……..

      and then, when he turned around, High Commisionerthuma Nonis had fallen off his high chair and was crying.

      Aney aiyoo, you cannot make these things up. No?

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.