20 May, 2022


Hansamali, Chandimal, Chamuditha & The State

By Ravi Perera

Ravi Perera

“The State is a product of society at a certain stage of development…”  ~ Friedrich Engels

If the story of Sri Lanka’s battle with the Covid-19 pandemic is ever written, it is very possible that the Hansamali / Chandimal / Chamuditha episode would claim a few pages, if not a chapter. Not because any one of these three individuals has a direct bearing on the contagion, either as a victim or a healer. As far as we are aware, none of the three has contracted the disease, nor has any of them advocated a native concoction as a cure for the world-wide pandemic, as several of their countrymen have already done. Their link to the narrative of the pandemic, is only incidental, but as happens so often in this country, the insignificant was given significance, the ordinary was dressed in the clothes of the extraordinary.

We learn that Piyumi Hansamali is a model of some repute, while Chandimal is a well- known event organizer. To complete the trinity, we have Chamuditha, a media personality whose trenchant TV interviews capture attention; a people in lockdown mode have little to engage their minds and only a few outlets to relieve the tedium of their confinement.

The incident that triggered the drama was a birthday party held at a plush five-star hotel in the centre of Colombo. Usually a celebration of this nature is business as usual, hotels thrive on such events. However, these are not normal times. Apparently, there is a lockdown rule which prohibits a gathering in excess of a given number of participants (is it 25? lamentable is the uncertainty about these things).

As for compliance, we are not certain on whom the onus rests primarily, the hotel, the party organizer or the guests? There is no information as to whether all hotels complied with this rule, and that this particular party was the only reported case of a breach. Arguably, even diners at a restaurant, users of public transport, the participants at a meeting, workers in an office and so on should not exceed this number. The restriction on the number, is an attempt to contain the spread of the pandemic and is in the interest of the public. For validity, the rule must be applied uniformly, without exceptions.

Apparently, in the minds of the partygoers they had broken no law. Either due to their ignorance or indifference, they went about it openly, themselves sending the event viral. Whatever the reason for their non-compliance, there was no attempt to conceal. Even while the party was going on, it had become news, opening the way to public criticism. Such disdain for health regulations, cannot be countenanced was the general attitude.

A few days later, TV news presenter Chamuditha had the main Police spokesman before the camera. He was grilled, were local celebrities treated differently? Soon the matter acquired a new momentum towards more viral activity, many unseemly, even vile, leading to panic reactions, impulsive and incoherent decisions. As of now, the news is that the partygoers have been detained and sent to quarantine centres in other provinces.

If anything, the country’s desperate struggles with the pandemic has once again only underlined its weak administration, underperforming workforce, lack of resources and the frailty of the overall economy: all factors that go to the brittleness of our so called State. In every comparable statistic, our ranking is among the mediocre nations, and invariably in the middle-order of the mediocre. Going side by side with this undeniable reality of a failed performance, is a deeply rooted need to talk up, “how remarkable are we, how well we perform outside of our shores; our brains, our skills, our past-only the superlatives can do justice!” It is as if without such an unction for the self, we cannot explain our being.

The lost years since independence have shown us that building a modern State is serious work, a long sustained effort requiring great skill and foresight. Not every country can boast of success, some are even defined as failed States. In Statecraft we have had only poor players; many amateurs, braggarts and scoundrels, in the words of the Bard in Macbeth “the way to dusty death, out, out brief candle, life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more, it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” When describing our post- independence elite, it is not possible to do better than Shakespeare.

Today, a State is not merely the King’s horses and king’s men. Over the centuries the concept of the State has been refined into a complex institution, representing   multifaceted aspects.  At one and the same time it expresses various, and even contradictory ideas; a regulator as well as a service provider, wearing both the munificent manifestation of welfarism, as well as the stern aspect of law and order.

The State will   prosecute the country’s criminals, but will also guarantee the safety of its prisoners. It will take money from the people in the form of taxes, however do everything thing in its power to improve the quality of their lives. It will invest money, but will be frugal in rewarding itself. The State will enforce laws, yet will protect every citizen. Experience tells us that for a State to reach the desired stature, its levers should be in the hands of evolved persons, men of honour, learning and heightened sensitivities. In lesser hands, the machinery of the State could become a mockery, even a criminal enterprise.

The duty to protect is now considered paramount to a State’s legitimacy.

Answering to this duty, our State too, moved to protect its people from the pandemic now raging across the world. They have done many things to contain its spread; in a roundabout way, the Hansamali/Chandimal/Chmuditha saga is an episode in this endeavour.

In order to contain the spread of the pandemic, it was thought necessary to impose a curfew or a lockdown. A lockdown must have rules. One of the rules is that there should be no social events exceeding a certain number of participants. I have never understood why a lesser number is safer, there could well be infected persons even at a small gathering. However, that is the rule, we must comply, before we complain.

For violating lockdown rules, the penalty in most countries is monetary, a fine. The offender is not a criminal; he is only doing something he is entitled to do in normal times. There is no point in wasting State resources on transporting and housing a lockdown violator when that money can be spent on looking after a genuinely infected person. If everyone who has been in the vicinity of an infected person is quarantined in this manner, a very large percentage of the population must be sent to these camps, which will soon breakdown due to overcrowding. The big tomes left in front of offices where we write our personal details routinely, have thousands of names on them. It is wrong to expose anyone who is not infected to the possibility of infection. That is a huge failure in the duty to protect.

In our country, without even a basic test, lockdown violators are sent to a quarantine centre, to which the offender is transported in unseemly haste, convict like, together with other intended inmates. The process is bound to reduce him, to diminish his self-esteem, his residence acquires a certain ominousness, although he may well not be infected. Even when engaged in an act of assistance, the inherent coarseness of our State, comes to the fore.

The State cannot react impulsively, peevishly or revengefully. It is an institution that ought to act above such motivations, always rational and always objective.

When the servants of the State cannot adhere to such imperatives, they fail us all.

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Latest comments

  • 19

    Thought for food :
    Current situation (from Nov 2019)

    Chamuditha, Hansamali, Sugar fraud (16 billions rps) , Organic Manure instead inorganic fertilizers, Pirates-ship sinking strategies, Vaccination frauds, SIN-SRILANKA discount games, Nidhoskota nidahas (exonerations from ongoing high crimes of Rajapakshes and their henchmen); STAND against all minorities – Rajapakshe racism, Rajapakshe highly corrupted regime

    Previoius Situation ( 2015 to Nov 2019)
    Namal Kumara (Informant), Bond scam (so called), Gallow back to power, stand against DRUG trafficking, protection against RAJAPAKSHES high criminals-

    Authorities and local and international political analysts over to you, reveal the POLITICAL tragedies of srilanken political criminals. If this country was under colonial masters, no doubt, we would have achieved a lot for sure.

    • 3

      “As far as we are aware, none of the three has contracted the disease, nor has any of them advocated a native concoction as a cure”
      I don’t know about the other two, but Chamuditha definitely has been promoting snake-oil type cures for Covid, among other things. I don’t know if the man actually believes in the stuff he promotes, but like most Sri Lankans, he seems to place much faith in “devatas” and god’s. Watch his performance below with a 9 year old who claims to have bottled up an evil spirit who was about launch a “cyber attack using three satellites”
      In any other country, would such stuff be taken seriously by a senior media personality? So sad.

  • 13

    This “Storm in the Tea Cup” started with the confrontation that took place at the “Hiru T.V” channel program “Slakuna” conducted by “Chamuditha and two others”. I saw it live. It all started with questioning, rather “Grilling” of the Police Spokesman over a “Birthday Party” held at Shangrila Hotel. Though I don’t condone the “Aggressive” and “Intimidatory” style of the “Journalists”, the Police Spokesman deserved to be “Grilled” and put against the wall, because his “Pick and Choose” daily announcements relating to the number of ordinary citizens caught “Violating” “Lockdown” rules compared with “Comfortably” avoiding the violations of “High Ranking Elites” of the country.
    All have by now “Comfortably” and “Obligingly” forgotten the “Violation” of the “Pandemic Rules” by the Government in the case of the “Grand Funeral Parade” held when an MP and Minister Thondaman passed away. His “Son” who was to “Ascend” the “Throne” mounted on a vehicle and “Paraded” the streets with all the “Pomp and Glee” surrounded by the Law Enforcement agents for and on whose behalf this present-day “Spokesman” DIG Ajith Rohana represents. So he is a “Coolie”.
    Those “Journalists” (Chamudutha, Yapa Bandara, and the others in the panel) are also “Coolies”.

    • 0

      A person writing under the pseudonym “Simon” has has used the word ‘coolie’ in a disparaging manner with a racist slur.

      This is not only an offence punishable under the law but is unacceptable by any standard in the civilised world. If it was any other country this type of reference would have by this time met with stern action by the authorities and employers. We have seen celebrities. politicians, sportsmen and prominent people being dealt with by the law and ostracized by society. It may be recalled that only a few days ago a top English test cricketer ousted from the team by the selectors and disowned by his club. CT should be more circumspect in permitting this type of comments in these columns.

  • 0

    Part II of my comment: Chamuditha and Yapa Bandara are not employees of “Hiru”. Both of them are on a “Contract” to conduct this program “Salakuna”. Both Chamudith and Yapa Bandara have their own “YOUTUBE” channels. After this “Episode” of “Salakuna” and the “Drama” connected with DIG Ajith Rohana, and the “Two” (Piyumi Hasanmali & Chandimal) another “Youtube” channel presenter “Sepal” carried a presentation condemning both Chamuditha and Yapa Bandara for their “Unprofessional” conduct at “Salakuna” in interrogating the DIG. Interestingly, on 08-06-21, Yapa Bandara, through his “Channel” named “NIDAHASA” directed a scathing attack on this “Sepal”. In this Yapa explains how he got his “Contract” with Hiru and what Chamuditha is doing with them. Please try and see that “Drama” on “youtube.com/watch?v=SoBnpSfyxlw” If you see these “Dramas” you will understand why I call them “Coolies” of “Media Mafia”.

    • 2

      Simon Aiye,
      Chapa Bandara is Rajapakshe man from the begining on. The kind of dogs have much in common: This guy and Chamuditha dont know the meaning of ” lockdown”: Nor have they idea about AFLATOXINE or COVID. Just watch the YT videos being released by them on the topics. But there are masses in among their fans keep commending their journalism. Chapa Bandara would stammer new kind of stories to the style of WiMAL BURUWANSE. Their knowledge is questionable about many of what they have been criticising. It is no right that westerners would want to conquer srilanka or the like countries again. Besides, if they want, they would have lot more countries in african continent.

      I respect SEPAL and SUDDA creation today than in the past. Sepal sounds to have a good knowledge about the world. And he should be a well read person.Chamuditha s questions sound to be parrot-like. He is being abused to the manner SORYSENA did it with that ” Namal Kumara”:

      • 0

        Dear LLM: Did you see that “Devil’s Head” hanging behind his seat, on the wall. That is the “Emblem” of Chapa Bandara and he is a “Devil” no doubt. Watch his “Nidahasa” program.

        Chamuditha was the “Media Director” of MY3. His “Career” records together with his “Watti-Amma” talk at “Mariya Kade” style indicate what he is and what his capacity and capabilities are.

        One time “Sepal” was associated with Chapa and later when Sepal pushed his way into Sarath Fonseka (during the Presidential election) Chapa broke off. That “Suddat” was with “MR”. Let us “Watch” these people with an open mind. These are “Dangerous Cargo”.

  • 7

    Why only in Lanka we have camps for any thing and every thing. Did US, UK other Western countries for that matter India have camps to quarantine. Is it that we have knowledge on running such camps as in post pogrom , Refugee camps, Postwar community camps, prisoner camps we had such for pandemic. Is that the reason military was brought in to run such camps so that people are treated like prisoners. All they needed was self quarantine and some cooperation which was successfully done in most countries, including infected individuals.The policy too kept changing time to time, from home , hotel , place of your choice, government specified camps and for those privileged none.

  • 1

    Experience tells us that for a State to reach the desired stature, its levers should be in the hands of evolved persons, men of honour, learning and heightened sensitivities. In lesser hands, the machinery of the State could become a mockery, even a criminal enterprise.
Ravi Perera
    Very well said. This is the crux of the problem. Sri Lanka since independence has been ruled by mediocre and corrupt individuals. The ruling class managed to divide the people on the lines of race, language and religion. Hence we see the mess.
    Make English the official language of the country and the medium of education.
    The country must be run by educated people who value Honesty, Ethics, Character and morals.
    Take the Rajapaksa family. They built D A Rajapaksa Mausoleum and Museum at Medamulana dead father. This by itself is very commendable and deserve praise. Unfortunately, they did not build the Mausoleum and Museum with their own money. Gotabhaya Rajapakse unashamedly built the structure at state expense using state resources while he was Secretary to the Ministry of Defence. .
    The construction was estimated to cost Rs.33.9 million, but cost estimates escalated when changes were made to the original plan. The final bill was for a staggering Rs.81.2 million.

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