7 December, 2023


Hilmy Cader’s Fine Advice To Exporters

By W.A Wijewardena

Dr W.A Wijewardena

Dr W.A Wijewardena

Hilmy Cader’s Fine Advice to Exporters: If the objective is to prosper, confront reality and think strategic! 

A powerful shake up of exporters

In a recent forum and discussion on the country’s exports organised by MTI Consulting and Daily FT in Colombo, MTI Head Hilmy Cader threw a formidable challenge at exporters. He said that the country is doomed if exports do not grow in line with the growth in global trade and the exporters should wake from the deep slumber in which they have been savouring complacently. That was not a traditional ‘wake-up call’. Instead, it was a powerful ‘shake-up’ that leaves them with no alternative. They have to lift themselves and thrust forward if they are to fly high in the world of exports. Cader’s synthesis of the issue is as follows:

Sri Lanka’s dismal record of exports

During the 15 year period from 2000 to 2014, Sri Lanka’s exports have grown only by 2.1 times from $ 5.5 billion in 2000 to $ 11.5 billion in 2014. In fact, if one takes into account the country’s dismal export performance in 2015 at $ 10.5 billion which data were not available to Cader at that time, the growth is pretty dismal with an increase of a little less than even 2 times. In contrast, during 2000-14, Bangladesh had recorded an export growth of 4.7 times and Vietnam, 9.4 times. Because of the slow growth in exports, Sri Lanka’s exports as a share of its GDP had been continuously falling. He said that this was not an achievement about which the country could be happy. That was because imports are growing faster than exports leading to a widened trade gap requiring the country to depend principally on remittances to part-finance the deficit.

Concentration on a few product lines

Cader supported his claim by examining the constituent products in Sri Lanka’s export sector. In the export structure, apparel has been the largest segment accounting for 44% of the country’s exports. When the traditional three-tree products, namely, tea, rubber and coconuts, are added, all four sectors account for 73% of the total exports of the country. The balance 27% representing 24 sectors, according to Cader, had been dispersed among 3100 odd exporters. That composition has not changed much in the 10 year period from 2005 to 2014. The most disturbing observation, according to Cader, has been the zero level contribution by the entrepot trading activities to Sri Lanka’s wealth creation during this period.

Diagnosis of the ailment

Cader had diagnosed several causes for the country’s dismal performance in exports. One is the lack of appropriate scale of operation with more than 3700 exporters contributing small amounts to total export revenue. In fact, the number of exporters who has had an export turnover of $ 100 million had been less than ten. The whole of the agricultural exports has been fragmented over a large number of small players. This factor has inhibited the country’s export growth. Another reason has been Sri Lanka’s low research and development or R&D outlay that had forced the country to carry on what it had been doing for ages. As a result, the basic goods which Sri Lanka has continued to export had generated both low value addition and low returns. Sri Lanka’s high tech exports have been close to 1% of the total merchandise exports; in other emerging countries, they are much higher with 44% in Malaysia, 28% in Vietnam, 20% in Thailand and 8% in India. Though Cader did not highlight, the continued simple product export has enabled Sri Lanka’s competitors to copy technology easily and out-beat Sri Lanka with their low wages.

No ‘hunger’ for a quantum leap

So, according to Cader, Sri Lanka had been exporting simple products to the rest of the world and those simple products have now reached their saturated point. This makes it necessary for Sri Lanka to make a quantum leap – a change that would put Sri Lanka to a completely different level and structure of exports. Cader asked the question openly whether Sri Lanka’s exporters have got the ‘hunger’ for such a quantum leap. His answer was that, except major apparel exporters, the others have not. What is needed in Sri Lanka is to have a group of ‘category invaders’ who could take Sri Lanka to the next level. In 1980s, this was done by the apparel industry, but by now, it too has reached its saturated point. Cader opined that the small and medium industry is hailed by everyone today, but it lacks the needed high scale to take Sri Lanka to the next level. Also, exporters today are also faced with very valid operational issues such as funding, markets, labour costs, unproductive governmental controls etc. They should be resolved for the exporters to maintain the current status. But resolving them alone will not take Sri Lanka’s exports to the next level and that would depend on a number of new policies taken.

The perils of obsession to value addition

There is an obsession to increase the value addition component in order to increase Sri Lanka’s export earnings. But value additions do not necessarily increase the country’s exports on a sustainable basis. Cader presented the example of tea bag industry to prove his point (See Exhibit 1). There are five stages of the production of tea bags. They are tea-growing, production, transport, packaging and freighting. Of all these five stages, the only value addition is the labour inputs put into the production process. External inputs used in each of these five stages are much more than the labour inputs used for the process. In tea growing, such external inputs consist of the application of fertiliser. In production, the use of machinery and energy; in transports, vehicles and energy; in packaging, machinery, paper, ink and energy; and in freighting, the whole process of shipping tea bags to their intended destinations. If labour costs are cheaper and constitute only a small fraction of the total value, so is the value addition of the tea bag industry. The implication here is whether such small contribution could lift the tea industry from the depth to which it has fallen.

The woes of the tea industry

Cader tried to answer this question by looking deeply at the country’s tea industry. Its current contribution is about $ 1.6 billion with a cumulative annual growth of about 8% over the last ten year period. Sri Lanka’s tea industry is faced with rising costs which have made it totally unviable; as against this background, its competitors have the benefit of lower costs than those in Sri Lanka. Its customer base as well as brand development is highly fragmented allowing no sufficient scales of operation. Worse, it is presented as a generic product called ‘Ceylon Tea’, whose brand name is owned by nobody. To complicate the matters further, R & D outlay across the entire value chain of the tea industry in the country is very low. Cader opined that instead of promoting the brand called Ceylon Tea, Sri Lanka should promote individual brands in tea.e2

Can Ceylon Tea sustain?

Cader’s diagnosis and prescription here are in line with what this writer has been arguing in the past with respect to the ailments in the country’s tea industry. In an article titled ‘Storm in Sri Lanka’s tea cup: A more pragmatic approach is the key’, this writer argued that some 150 years ago, it was easy for Sri Lanka to promote the brand ‘Ceylon Tea’; even in bill boards in grocery stores in London, Ceylon Tea was projected as a ‘brain tonic’. However, with the name of the country changing from Ceylon to Sri Lanka in early 1970s, the country called Ceylon is no more in the vocabulary of young consumers. Today, the problem would be to explain what Ceylon is: hence, when “it comes to Ceylon tea, one may even tend to think that Ceylon is a part of Sri Lanka going by the references to other teas like Darjeeling Tea (a part of India), Nilgiri Tea (again a part of India) or Cameroon Tea (a part of Malaysia)”.

The need for developing private brand names

Therefore, this writer argued that Sri Lanka’s tea exporters should endeavour to develop their own private brand names. There is an owner of such private brand names and that owner has the incentive to spend money on the development and promotion of that brand name. The brand name Ceylon Tea has no owner and without an owner, there is no one who willing to promote that brand name. Accordingly, this writer argued: “The owner of that public property, presumably the government of Sri Lanka, has no sufficient resources to promote it globally on the scale which such promotions need to be conducted. Even if it has resources, governmental promotional activities are inefficient and ineffective in creating the required impact in consumers compared with promotional campaigns launched by global soft drink manufacturers like Pepsi or Coca Cola”.

Governments are poor in developing country brand names

This writer further argued: “If the government raises funds to finance such promotional campaigns by taxing the industry, the industry has the right to demand for the best results and impact out of such expenditure. But the industry has no say in the way the campaigns are conducted for it would be in the hands of bureaucrats over whom the industry has no control. This would be an unsatisfactory arrangement where one spends money but has no role in deciding its quality and has to accept the final output whether he likes it or not perhaps with some grudging complaints”.

Brand names can address consumer grievances effectively

In modern marketing, to establish brand names, it is necessary to continue with promotional campaigns unceasingly so as to drive the brand name hard into the minds of the prospective consumers. To establish a good brand name, it is essential that the supplier has an effective mechanism to handle consumer complaints and grievances promptly. But, since sellers are numerous under a common brand name, there is no single agency responsible to handle consumer complaints and redress their grievances. Hence, private brand names are more effective than public brand names. So, advice to the tea industry was that it should develop private brand names like Lipton, Brooke Bond, PG Tips and Twine and so on and promote them with personal funds so that in the long run, the particular marketer will benefit. When the local brands become global brands, the country’s tea industry, whether it is Ceylon Tea or Sri Lanka Tea, will benefit.

Should Sri Lanka continue to be only a tea producer?

Tea being a beverage has several competitors, hot drinks like coffee, soft drinks like Coca Cola and Pepsi and light alcoholic drinks like beer. To push tea up in the market as a major drink, it has to be mindful of the changing consumer preferences and the marketing strategies adopted by its competitors. On both counts, Ceylon Tea has lost. Cader has therefore suggested that instead of producing tea, Sri Lanka should now go for tea trading. This is what this writer recommended in the article under reference: “So, there is a hard choice which Sri Lanka has to make in its move toward making tea a $ 2 billion export industry. That is, either increase the volume by importing tea from other countries or wait patiently till the tea prices increase to a level of $ 6 a kg in the market. Even if the tea prices go up to the level required on its own accord, Sri Lanka has to supply teas which the world consumers want to drink and that would mean producing again value-added tea by the country. If Sri Lanka does not do that, others will import valuable Ceylon Tea, blend it with other teas and sell at premium prices thereby denying the benefit to Sri Lanka. Hence, all that is needed today is to shed the emotional bonds and have a more pragmatic approach toward tea by taking into account the emerging global trends in beverages”.

Need for joining supply chains

Cader has recommended that Sri Lanka should join supply chains instead of seeking to produce the whole value of a product locally (See Exhibit 2). This is in terms of the assessment of the capability of Sri Lanka with respect to producing goods and services (See Exhibit 3). In this, an important requirement is for Sri Lanka to develop intellectual property by moving across the borders by becoming multi-national, branding and patenting. It also pre requires Sri Lanka to engage in high R & D to ascertain the values which it can create in the global supply chain as a valuable partner. Cader has therefore warned that the current export business of $ 11 billion or so should not be taken as given. The way forward should be to protect the current export base over the next 2 to 3 year period given the global challenges. Then, the move should be to select major thrusts of export promotion that involves prioritisation as given in Exhibit 4. There, the potential future stars would be hub-based entrepot trading, services, concentration on non-apparel manufacturing, developing high value added agro and aquatic products.e3

Repeating insanity should be halted

It is indeed a challenge which Cader has thrown at Sri Lanka’s exporters. Their future will depend on taking this challenge and making a quantum leap in export promotion. That would require them to make a complete change of what they do today since, as Cader has quoted a quotation by Albert Einstein, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results would be sheer insanity.

*W.A Wijewardena, a former Deputy governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at waw1949@gmail.com

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Latest comments

  • 13

    These are models from text books. They are not MTI’s models. It would have been nice to acknowledge the authors.

    • 9


      Absolutely! Any standard modern day textbook on Project Management will give you all this “Fine Advise” and much more. Or else, go, Google “PMI Techniques”

    • 2

      Nothing wrong with using a text book model. All important is the ability to contextualise it.

      • 3

        @Shifan Razick

        Now tell us just HOW do you contexualise it?

      • 4

        Appreciated that you use keys.
        No wonder he speaks of Copying and lowering labour cost- thereby lowering the quality of life.
        Even though Lanka inherited a democracy its citizens are unable to Innovate.

      • 10

        There is something wrong with using a textbook model and then passing it off as your own by attempting to convince the industry to hire your consulting practice to employ the model. Ever heard of plagiarism and intellectual property? I’ve half a mind to report this chap.

        • 9


          Why do you think you are Nako or Nakamatsu??
          Come to your scenes there are many who know more than you do.

          • 5

            Dragos, Of course there are, and even those that know less than me will still, by a mile, know more than you do.

            • 10

              You never knew who Nako was pissu kollo.
              You see for once the bag has cooooooled
              But for how long.
              As for me at 15 I learnt how to manufacture essentials oils and exported by the kilo to Scandinavian nations who still offer the best prices.
              What the F were you doing at 15??

    • 5

      These are definitely MTI Models (which have also been applied on our consulting projects), so there is no question of acknowledging any other authors !

      • 7

        MTI’s export value chain model uses four phrases: Supply chain, Value proposition, Market access and Demand generation.

        The originator of the concept and term Supply chain is Keith Oliver of Booz Allen Hamilton.

        The originators of the concept and term Value Proposition are Michael Lanning and Edward Michaels who worked for McKinsey.

        The phrase Market access is largely used in World Trade Organisation speak. Since there is no claimant for originating this word, let’s give this one to Hilmy!

        Now, let’s take Demand generation. The term Demand is often used by Keynesians and stands as one of its pillars. So, I’ll take the credit for it!

        And here’s a link to Michael Porter’s value chain:

        It looks remarkably like your value chain.

        Porter must have copied it from Hilmy.

        • 2

          The terms used for the 4 components (i.e. SC, VP, MA, DG) of the MTI export value chain model and the very term ‘value chain’ are not proprietary to anyone and have been used in business text for decades in varying contexts. What the MTI has done is to apply the concept of a value chain to a country’s export development process and come up with our own ‘MTI Export Value Chain Model’. Here is how it has been applied to the Sri Lankan context:

          • Supply Chain
          ◦ Is the non-availability of the basic ‘inputs’ to this industry limiting its export growth?
          ◦ ‘Inputs’ could include land, human resources, machinery, raw materials, funding to start production, scale of the firms current operating (implies the right quantity and quality).
          ◦ E.g. the non-availability large lands and the lack of economies of scale among the highly fragmented small farmers limits the production of fruits and vegetables exports to compete in large international markets, hence this is a Supply Chain challenge.
          • Value Proposition
          ◦ Despite having no major challenges with its supply chain (inputs), is the industry’s offering limiting its growth potential?
          ◦ The value proposition covers the industry’s product range / solutions it offers customers, how it is priced and how the product is delivered to international markets.
          ◦ The Value Proposition should be based on what the markets demand and NOT only based on what Sri Lanka can produce?
          ◦ E.g. the fact that Sri Lanka still exports a significant % of rubber in its basic form, implies our inability to convert this key raw material into intermediary product to a diverse range of industries, thus commanding premium pricing. In this case, the challenge is with the Value Proposition.
          • Market Access
          ◦ Or is it the case that, Sri Lanka has an internationally competitive value proposition (based on an efficient supply chain), but are unable to access international markets due to tariff and / or non-tariff barriers?
          ◦ E.g. EU ban on fish imports, operational challenges / bureaucracy with clearing Sri Lankan products through some Indian ports despite being permitted via the FTAs, hence the impediment is access to the markets
          • Demand Generation
          ◦ Or could it be that Sri Lanka has a compelling value proposition and no issues (tariff or non-tariff) in getting the product into international markets, but are unable to access and convince customers?
          ◦ E.g. Sri Lanka is able to produce the best quality teas and have no issues at all in getting the product imported into the UK , but Sri Lanka’s branded market share is less than 1%, due to challenges in generating demand and branding.

          • 6

            Mr Cader

            How many people qualified in supply chain management (say, a master’s degree from one of the global top 20 supply chain programmes – not one of those correspondence courses available at our ‘kadeys’ from unaccredited schools) do you employ as consultants?

            How many of them have worked in highly supply chain or export driven industries in a FTSE 100 or Fortune 500 company that would likely have implemented globally accepted best-practices as standard?

            Do you have any empirical evidence (not one offs) that the above models, purportedly of MTI’s creation (let’s leave that aside for now) have worked in the Sri Lankan context, and if so, how do you define ‘worked’?

            If the answer to any or all of the above questions is no, then what evidence have we that this will work for Sri Lanka?

          • 4


            The problem with using value chain models is that it reduces it to something like a jigsaw puzzle or a chess game or a Rubik’s Cube. Portfolio analysis tools such as the BCG Matrix, GE-McKinsey Matrix and the MacMillan model for NGOs also suffer from similar limitations.

            We need to start playing LEGO and unleash our creativity so that we come up with what Nassim Nicholas Taleb would call as the Black Swan.

            Our exporters should get rid of their boards… their Ludo boards and Chinese Checker boards type thinking mentalities. Towards this end, I give credit to Basilur Tea, which is a good example of thinking outside the box. They decided to play in the gift teas segment, a segment that did not even exist in the industry until the chaps at Basilur came up with it.

            That joker Merrill Fernando is still preaching about branded tea when his company’s exports is struggling to hit 2% of Sri Lanka’s tea exports. The day his shit hits the ceiling (say 20%)… I will then buy his crap.

            Another sad part is that these Sri Lankans come up with goday names for tea brands. Not only that, the names are also tongue-twisting. Anselm Perera though he had made the greatest discovery on earth when he thought of spelling his name backwards to come up with Mlesna. Merrill Fernando had his eureka moment when he conjoined the names of his two sons and came up with Dilamh. Even the names of the executives in the industry are tongue-twisting – take Yshan Fernando for example. This joker should change his name to Ishan.

            Let’s take the quality of advertising. Merrill Fernando has come up with the tagline Do Try It, which is taken off Nike’s Just Do It.

            Let me give the links for the Dilmah and Lyons tea ads:



            My friend’s children in Australia think that Dilmah tea is something you drink after becoming a grandfather because they see Merrill’s face on the packs and ads.

            We should come up with ads like these:


            • 2

              very interesting point u make about the jigsaw Vs. lego – as an analogy for a strategic framework. Still based here in BAH, with now increasingly more time down under. Always happy to engage in strategic discussions, but prefer another medium than this!

              • 1

                Reason my only lover
                Why do you shy when I use you Hilmy??

              • 2

                The Jigsaw Vs. LEGO analogy is not mine. I read in one of Henry Mintzberg’s books.

                I also have no qualms about washing one’s dirty linen in public fora such as these. You know the saying and the book: After the ecstasy, the laundry.

                MTI Consulting has been high on its own dope. MTI Consulting needs a consultant to restructure it and help rethink new approaches. My rates are reasonable. Moreover, no one can beat my hangover theory to analyse business failures.

          • 1


            Why did you give up your Bahrain-based CEO tagline?

            • 2

              Keynes! ,
              The whole world is a stage and a copy. Ahamedbad school is the closest and best (american collaboration) School of design and management- RBI chief is a gold medalist from there.
              “”Towards this end, I give credit to Basilur Tea, which is a good example of thinking outside the box. “”

              Nike copied `just do it` from the dead roman poet- because of patent rights (remember apple and Beatles)
              ” in the gift teas segment,”- its just a copy from chocolates.
              Packing is a multi billion dollar business better than any tea. The Chinese are paying to learn.
              Take M&S which is not for middle class. They changed with their Uno man and got back to business. Then in came the head hunters the man gone its struggling again.

              Take J Lewis a middle class outlet. It owned by the workers and it stays innovating.
              VOC changed crop when disease stuck- VOC traded in goods for aristocrats and had the fastest ships in the world.
              Do vaddi kahatta . there are much more resources in that island. when the age of peace dawns there you will experience the wealth of resources from the land.

              • 0

                [Edited out]

          • 3

            When P. Sara was the tea commissioner, he got our local blokes to be sent to England for training in tea tasting. One of those chaps who got sent in the first batch was Merrill Fernando, who eventually set up Dilmah.

            I wonder what our tea trade would have been if P. Sara did not have the vision and sent them to Medamulana instead for their training.

            As a token of appreciation to P. Sara, the tea exporters must consider giving a part of of their profits to the NGO Centre for Policy Alternatives, which is run by by P. Sara’s grandson.

            What did that political turncoat Merrill Fernando do instead? He decided to get into the reconciliation business on his friend Gota’s instigation and came up with a programme called ‘Reconciliation through power of nature’ to whitewash the Rajapaksas. Here’s the YouTube link for it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ_MqS2REAo

            This programme was run by that rabid Sinhala Buddhist racist Sarath Kotagama. Merrill is always critical of Fairtrade and has even called it a farce. But he does not think twice when it comes to fair-washing the Rajapaksas. Merrill even had the temerity to set up the website http://www.integritea.org and throw a smokescreen for the dirty things he does.

            And he has a history of employing thugs. Let me give some names of these thugs: Pradeep Cabral, Saman Munasinghe, Yshan Fernando, Sheron Fernando etc.

        • 7

          Yes Michael Porter is well known for plagiarizing his work from Sri Lankan textbook consultants on exports, and then using the considerable resources of Harvard to invent a time machine, go back in time, and publish it as his own. The suspicious similarities are too much to ignore. Shame on Dr. Porter!

  • 2

    Sri Lankan tea has 3 major competitors. They are China, India and Kenya.

    The Chinese and Indian currencies have devalued against USD approx same rate as the LKR.

    The Kenyan Shilling however has not undergone a similar devaluation.

    So there is a possibility where Sri Lanka can grab market share from Kenya.

    • 4

      A civilization that invented the zero and designed the first flying machine is unable to decipher a storm in a tea cup. How come?

      • 0

        Why don’t you say it? The suspense is becoming intolerable!

        • 5


          For simplicity, let’s assume there are only two countries in the world – Sri Lanka and Thailand. And let’s assume that the people in these two countries need only tea and rice and that they have Genmaicha for dessert.

          Now, let’s also assume that all the goods (tea and rice) that are made in Sri Lanka are cheaper than in Thailand.

          Should Sri Lanka import any goods from Thailand?

          • 2

            Well, it depends on the value proposition.

            See, Germany still makes cars even though one could buy a quality Korean made car for half the price.

            People pay more for Coffee even though pretty much same kind of beverage as tea. Its considered more trendy to be associated with coffee than tea.

            If everyone considered value when purchasing tea then, sure no need for import.

            Lets say Thailand produced a variety of rice that reduces cholesterol. All of the sudden the value proposition has changed and yes it will be imported as there will be demand.

            • 2

              Let’s say that the goods made in Thailand have no such value proposition and that they are are of the same quality as Sri Lankan goods.

              Should Sri Lanka still import these Thai goods even if they are more expensive?

              • 0

                Its hard to say without doing any kind of market research. Some people prefer anything that is imported – even if local variety can match the quality.

                • 0

                  Our Lanka Muslim minister kept pestering China to purchase `true cinnamon` when Chinese don’t eat it but export bark quality to the West and they get it from Vietnam.- Where has reality gone??

                • 1

                  I give up.

  • 2


    Our producers are taking the easy route. Sri Lanka has a population the same as Florida (the third most populous state in the USA). In addition, there is much demand from the constantly growing tourism sector. Hence, the local demand is insatiable. Additionally, overseas buyers demand higher standards and consistency. Not every overseas customer is willing to set up quality control in Sri Lanka.

    Our best exports to date are the people we send to the Middle and Near East and the rest of Asia. We should support them better. We are going to need their remittances for some time to come.

    • 2

      “”Not every overseas customer is willing to set up quality control in Sri Lanka. “”

      Even the Koreans, Taiwanese, and Japanese never set up testing of chips and electronics at Mainland China because of the ability of Chinese to copy at will.

      Why doesn’t India get FDI even though there very rich Indians – No protection laws.

      the same goes with Lanka.

      After WW2 the Japaneses Taiwanese Koreans have all purchased patent rights copyrights and have the goodwill so they prosper. It has nothing to do with political crap of licking the European face.

      It’s the stupid socialist policy of most eastern countries that they can beat the west etc etc.
      Look at the master Russia and the size of its war machines- they are bigger than elephants.

    • 1

      Spring Koha,
      Indian Government says it is ‘disappointed’ with EU for imposing an import ban on 700 drugs made by GVK Biosciences,
      The latest additions of billionaire list to India comes from Pharma and China is desperate to have Indian Pharma collaboration.

      Why the Ban??
      India was gifted with manufacturing rights after they carried away most American Awards for the Pharma.
      When Indians or Chinese or other developing countries carry out the testing process they take away the `factor of safety` to almost zero thereby making it cheap for production. While we the end users rely on that factor of safety.
      I would never buy a product that is not manufactured in the west and especially medicine.

  • 2

    Fine paper from W.A.Wijewardena as usual. Hilmy Cader does provoke thought and they are useful in bringing to focus areas in which we can develop. Yet when one ponders over these inexorably difficult hurdles to surmount, the question arises as to whether all this effort is worth it. All the economic activity is geared to make man happy. Will that goal be achieved? Cannot we make ourselves happy without all this economic activity?

    Sri Lanka is a small country with a small population. We cannot meet the economies of scale demanded to meet the needs of the market, nor can we be seriously competitive and have the clout to convince our international collaborators. Is GDP the only way to measure progress?

    Cader makes an interesting observation on the cost of labour(employee) as against material and other cost. Is it not time to focus on reducing other costs rather than “labour” costs? After all when labour costs rise, it is an indication that the citizen is benefited directly. Isn’t that a good thing? Definitely better than some rich shareholders stashing away excess money in offshore Banks.

    On the subject of hiding wealth, I would love to read a paper by Wijewardene on how illegal moneys can be detected and the laws available to prosecute offenders. It is topical! He can also tell us how money can be so hidden and what impact mis-invoicing, trade fraud, commission taking and money laundering etc have on Sri Lanka’s GDP for which we the ordinary citizen is made to sweat.

    • 13

      I don’t think the individual concerned raises any important points. They were all raised before him in the PMI institute (USA) textbook and a few textbooks on corporate strategy and operations management that he has conveniently lifted these models from (unacknowledged).

      They are also just models. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Sri Lanka needs fewer textbook academics and charlatans like Cader and Rohantha Atukorala. We need more execution because it seems we are unable to exist outside of the world of textbooks.

      Shame on this purported intellectual Dr. Wijewardena to fall for this nonsense.

  • 14

    What the hell does Hilmy Cader know about exports ? The last I heard of him he was advising companies on how to downsize and [Edited out]

    Why does Dr. Wijewardena keep plugging [Edited out]

    • 4

      Perhaps, if you could tell us as to what you know about exports

    • 5

      Don Quixote,

      Hilmy has exported his consulting firm to Bahrain, Tunisia, Bangladesh and the UK.

      He even has associates in Italy, Malta, Kosova and Armenia.

      The next NCE Exports award should go to him.

    • 7

      A friend once told me that Sri Lankan bullshit can never be exported.

      Well, Hilmy is living proof that it can be done!

  • 2

    “If we can teach undergrads to wince when they hear someone talk about ‘competitiveness,’ we will have done our nation a great service.”

    – Paul Krugman

  • 8

    Every once in a while Cader comes along and vomiits out the familiar stuff.Now if the man has not acknowledged his sources that’s PLAGARISM plain and simple.But the amazing thing is that the usually very knowledgeable and restrained Dr. Wijewardena has gone wild with his praises of good old Carder of BCC bar soap fame. [Edited out].Being a genuine PhD, the veteran economist Wijewardena should really know better.But it must be conceded that [Edited out]

    By the way Cader seems to have now quietly dropped his famous tag line of been the “Bahrain based” marketing “expert”.Hmm wonder why.No more Visa ha ?

    • 1

      His profile on Linked In states that he does not have a PhD degree.

  • 1

    Please, Please, Can you add comments on the content and not the person who writes or for that matter, copies.

    I believe that our Export Development Board (EDB) has failed miserably in identifying and promoting products with a export potential. Can the EDB give a list of exhibitions and gatherings that they had represented overseas and any positive outcomes?. Can anyone give ideas of such products that can be manufactured in SL? Has there been an attempt to expand the market of non-traditional goods? Has there been successful programs to improve quality or the manufacturing cost of such products? These have been achieved only by a few hard working individuals with some sharp eyes. The country has to be thankful to them for this doubling of exports within a long period of 14 years.

    We need to listen to the likes of HC and WAW and ACT.

    • 2

      Sarath Seneviratne,

      “We need to listen to the likes of HC and WAW and ACT.”

      Are you mad?

  • 0

    Drinking pure Ceylon tea from the estates, causes major heartburn. If it is toned down, it has little flavor. Other blended teas have lots of flavor, and are cheap too, like the Red Rose brand.

    • 3

      The best tea is blue tea available only at china.
      Of the gold leaf- when the foxes get married- dew drops and sunshine.
      I have had it both at 5pm seated by the fire at the estate.
      no sugar but a dash of milk.

      Half baked sinhala/buddhist ruined it.

      • 3

        Blue tea is not tea. It is a tisane.

        All teas in the world can be put into six categories: White, Yellow, Green, Oolong, Black and Fermented. That’s the ‘periodic table’ of tea.

        Any tea that cannot be put into one of these six slots is not tea.

        As for claims of best tea… well, on what grounds is it?

        Your point sounds like the claim that Coca Cola is better than Sprite because it is darker in colour.

        Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And so is the tea in the tongue of the tea sipper.

        One must always compare like with like. That is why a professional tea sipper/taster will not compare a Dimbula with a Nuwara Eliya or a Uva. You compare a Dimbula with another Dimbula.

        • 1

          “Blue tea is not tea. It is a tisane.”
          No its tea- tea was first brought to Darjeeling by English botanist from China.

          Blue tea was served to Nixon.

          Wine- red, white or rose you are not the connoisseurs Like for Jammon.

          i have a card for wine which is renewed – the season place year.

          take care stick to your tea please.

          • 3

            I looked up the Internet for Nixon’s iconic visit to China. There are all kinds of accounts about the tea he was served.

            I reproduce the following excerpt from teachat.com about an email they had received from the Nixon Library:

            “The research from our exhibit tech, Feliz Padilla, showed that the only tea listings we have is a gift of Lung Ching [Long Jing/Dragonwell] Tea, Jasmine Tea (four tins) and China Green Tea tins, all products of the People’s Republic of China. Our gift cards do not show the weight of the tea in the tins. We don’t have information about how many Lung Ching tea or Green Tea tins were received. We have only inventoried on tin of Jasmine tea in the collection. Usually edibles are discarded as they can pose problems in pest management – it may be that most of the tins were discarded and one remained in the Presidential collections.”

            Longjing or Dragon Well tea is a green tea.

            Also, there is no mention of the Wuyi Da Hong Pao tea, which is probably the world’s most expensive tea since it sells at over USD 1 million a kilo. The Wuyi Da Hong Pao is an Oolong tea.

            What is your source?

            It is highly possible that some some tea vendor made up this story to sell Da Hong Pao tea.

            As for blue tea, much of what is available in the market is a tisane made of butterfly pea flowers.

            However, I am willing to concede to you on the account that in China, semi-oxidized teas are referred to as blue-green tea, whereas fully-oxidized teas are referred to as red teas and not black teas.

            I used Google Translate and copy-pasted the Pinyin characters 青茶. Google returns these as Green Tea and not Blue-Green tea.

            • 2

              “”I looked up the Internet for Nixon’s iconic visit to China””

              you know buffalo grass?? It is used to conserve the erosion of soil.
              But we have well manicured blue grass on our front lawn.
              now you understand blue tea. Things like these are not commercial.
              Like Maliban biscuit makers used to make just 25 loaves of bread (butter etc) and never sold it.
              Today I buy ciabatta bread but the best which is the last five that are baked using the old technique of hearth.

              “It is highly possible that some some tea vendor made up this story to sell Da Hong Pao tea.”

              Ask the supplier of gold leaf tea to her majesty whether its sold- the best of the best.
              so you see i told you are salesman. now when I go to china I am guest of Sinopac and pay company rates for stay at 5 star. Its like that.
              I drink tea not like a farmer but like conversational tea with 3-4 because it is charming. I don’t buy it because its not for sale.
              So when you do business remember the best is not to god we have not seen- it makes you different.

            • 1

              “”Also, there is no mention of the Wuyi Da Hong Pao tea, which is probably the world’s most expensive tea since it sells at over USD 1 million a kilo. The Wuyi Da Hong Pao is an Oolong tea.””

              A million UD$$ per kilo ;)
              is it tea from the moon??

              $600 Goat Milk-Brushed Loose Leaf Is World’s Most Expensive Tea


              Neither of these as they contain animal ingredients.
              Without pork stock there is no chinese food. but they just cant make Iberica Jammon.

              • 0


                You are one power-packed nut!

                • 0

                  you can’t believe your eyes because you have not manufactured with love.
                  Economics alone does not sell.- lay your hands on the book: greatest salesman in the world- paperback (100 page) that has helped young graduate engineers.
                  Salesman when you loose don’t be disheartened with the truth.
                  because there is always
                  Wishy washy plucking peaches in the beaches.
                  We have enough fruits.
                  good luck with your friend Hilmy.

                  folk of SARC are a disgrace when it comes to packing (even wholesale merchants in the west)

        • 0

          “”As for claims of best tea… well, on what grounds is it?””

          go ask your old man Harry J whom I knew well as a kid.

          “” Your point sounds like the claim that Coca Cola is better than Sprite because it is darker in colour.”

          Even Indira G did not know that it is a green corrosion remover off a battery better than known removers in the market. Take some regular Coke Cola and pour it on the green area and watch it fizzle …. then try brushing it off with an old toothbrush. Thumbs Up was just pride which came before a fall.I tried it when it first came- i don’t drink fizzy stuff anyway but mineral water and lots of it- the next big thing after Oil.

          I get it You are a sales man.

        • 1

          “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

          That is just for artist but not cinema goers who call it art.

          “And so is the tea in the tongue of the tea sipper”
          Not really. Conversational tea depends where you stored it in the first place, how you boil the water and the type of water and how you make.
          The first cup is a girl of 13 and the second is a girl of sweet 16 and the third a married woman. We all say the second is the best but can do with the 3rd. Taste buds well you know no smoking, no drinking and preferably a mouth wash before taste.

          “That is why a professional tea sipper/taster will not compare a Dimbula with a Nuwara Eliya or a Uva. You compare a Dimbula with another Dimbula. “
          I don’t like to disclose who i am but confidently tell you that we bought tea to the region while you were under us EEIC. I learn my tea from the chinese first hand because they found it.
          Mr professional its coffee that sells here in the west and Kenya is still doing better on the tables at west end london than MacWoods.

          • 2

            “I don’t like to disclose who i am but confidently tell you that we bought tea to the region while you were under us EEIC”

            The EEIC was dissolved in 1874. I, thus, guess you must be at least 142 years old.

            What’s your secret to long-life? Blue tea?

            • 1

              EEIC was purchased by a Mr Patel for something like £125k about a decade ago and he has a shop The East India Company Fine Foods
              Tea Shop
              20, 30 Tavistock Ct · 020 7836 9144
              Open until 20:00
              East India Company
              Tea Shop · Covent Garden
              140-142 Long Acre · 020 7836 9144
              Open until 20:00
              The East India Company Ltd
              Food Shop
              7 Conduit St · 020 3205 3395
              Open until 19:00

              What is your secret to long life- Tai Chi
              but when the time comes we all go.
              Because of Sinhala /muslim Ceylon the island made love to terrorist nasser the postmans son and we all went down hill. he should have been killed as the Arab prince requested before he was killed 3 months later.
              The muslims control the tea at lanka from the time of independance – they buy and sell brokers but the labour was first chased by JT’s muslims and sinhalese.
              Now light chinese crackers and fling it at Hilmy:))))

              • 0

                East India plantations Indonesia was purchased by Polish Jew (his family died in the gas chambers) He came to England and purchased most of Whiskey 1 whiskey London the most expensive and married Rabbi daughter a widow – then he died its called Langham Properties the biggest of London- they don’t sell and it is still under polish money something because her kids are from former marriage (that is their church)- BBC is on their land. It only changed name but since tea was marketed EIC the name remains- like Ceylon is retained.

        • 2

          “”As for claims of best tea… well, on what grounds is it?””

          your ignorance and arrogance is like the islanders and Sirimavo Ratwatte.

          When our estates were taken over. She thought I am the girl from the hills like the rest of the pol buruvas. So she invited the UN experts to assist her to stop the rot going on in the estates. The experts decided to cut the dadap trees/wind breakers and voila you lost the buds.

          Trade secrets are power So where are the BCC gas lines that came to our homes at Colombo 7??
          the same goes to the smart Chinese who purchased MG patent rights and carried away the total plant to China within 2 months leaving the workers jobless. they cant manufacture the new model as yet.
          They at least say we made a big mistake and got Rover via TATA UK which earns 75% of its income.
          Asia Piracy, copy rights patent rights. Tea is branded in EU TATA has Tea Tetley from the Nilgiris. Common folk buy it.
          Keep to Vaddi kahhata and sell it to ME eastern Europe.

        • 0

          “A new movement that has been giving competition to your morning green…a fresh new beverage — blue tea…made from dried butterfly pea flowers….”

          The flagship tisane which has been featured by media outlets all over the world is Bluechai’s blue flower tea made from 100% organic dried butterfly pea flowers.

          If blue tea is “tea” then there is an endless list comprising floral teas like chrysanthemum tea, chamomile tea, dandelion tea, lavender teas and various herbal teas.

          I doubt if there is pistachio tea…but one never knows.

          • 0

            The term tea must be reserved only for those that are made from Camellia Sinensis.

            Other products such as Rosehip, Rooibos, Mate should be referred to as tisanes.

            As far as I can gather, what is sold in the market as Blue Tea is made from either of the three which are given below:

            1. Dried butterfly pea flowers
            2. Dried Water Morning Glory flowers
            3. Hibiscus

            Since these three do not belong to the Camellia genus, I suggest we refrain from calling these as blue tea.The phrase blue tisane is better.

            As for the blue tea that Pistachio is crowing about, I suggest that it be referred to as Blue-Green tea.

            If we, thus, rework the periodic table for tea, we have:

            White tea
            Yellow tea
            Green tea
            Blue-Green tea
            Black tea
            Fermented tea

            The Oolongs can be put into the Blue-Green tea category?

            Enlighten me.

            • 0

              “”Enlighten me.””
              You are not the patent right master for the world. neither is there a solo lingua franca or moneda.
              When it comes to Cheese we have patent rights for some others call it cheese.
              Patent rights is a costly business- there are over 700 US bases world wide that takes care of it.

              so when it comes to blue tea i call it blue and won’t sell it to anyone.
              I know of a few folk who get that special maliban bread- they are rich and close to the family.

              When it comes to Yasmin I know its not tea (but the yasmin flower) but we all call it Yasmin tea. And you too.

              Have you heard of aperitive Moscatel there are many a fruity taste.
              Brandy, Cognac, Port and Sherry – all from Grape wine.
              So please stick to Vaddhi Kahata and improve on packing.

              At China during the moon festival the government announces please don’t be frightened with the prices ranging from Y5000 to Y2 depending on the packing.

          • 0

            Before these flowers became an `infusion`
            We had the Bach Flower Essences. remedies prescribed by Homeopathic doctors.
            But blue tea is blue tea where the tea was introduced to the world- china not yesterdays 3rd hand Lanka.

            I don’t want to say more because Keynes has another point about characters Hilmy etc which i did not know. Anyway i have no interest their trade quarrel.

            Haven’t you eaten grass because the cows get the milk from it??
            Great men who survived WW2 have eaten it at Germany.-

            At china soya is the drink from the days of Mao and Chinese don’t drink milk or eat cheese because they fall sick- lactose. the young ones are trying and they are getting fat.
            i don’t drink milk anymore but unsweetned soya and its great- keeps the cholesterol down and out.

          • 0

            Like the Japanese who can afford it buy Harley Davidson – status symbol.
            New Delhi’ rich educated buy Chinese tea to reduce cholesterol.- and Status symbol.
            Chai in India goes with mallai (cream) makes them fat.

            Branding is very important if you need to sell.

            there were many who registered web names and made money selling them.
            When you go international branding is important or search engines may take elsewhere.

          • 0

            Floral teas would qualify as teas just as much as root beer will qualify as beer.
            Connoisseurs of tea and of beer are restrictive in their respective definitions.

            The intended subject of discussion was the dried and prepared leaves of Camellia Sinensis.
            All other ‘teas’ are of little relevance in this context.

            • 2


              I am just trying to develop a classification method for teas in the hope that it will deepen our understanding of it.

              Chemistry has the periodic table while biology has its taxonomy. Such classifications are crucial for the understanding of chemistry and biology. So, why shouldn’t tea have its own taxonomy whether through the level of oxidation, the agro-climatic division, the grade or the kind of machine that is used to process it (Orthodox, Rotorvane Orthodox, CTC, Lawrie Tea Processor)?

              Linnaeus, the father of taxonomy, came up with the binomial in 1753 through his work Species Plantarum. The binomial is still in use today. That is why we call tea as something that is made from Camellia sinensis, the United National Party as Elephas maximus and Dunesh Gankanda Ganda as Homo sapiens balangodensis for having given a Nahakanawa karate shot to a Tamil businessman at the Galle Face hotel.

              A few years prior to that (in 1735), Linnaeus divided plants and animals into two kingdoms through his work Systemae Naturae. Since then, much water has flown: in 1866 Ernst Haeckel developed the three kingdom model … and we now have the six kingdoms model developed by Thomas Cavalier-Smith. So, I think we should be constantly at it.

              I wish to obtain an in-depth understanding of tea and not just go around claiming that my tea is the finest in the world like Dil-muck owner and Rajapaksa shill Merrill Fernando.

    • 3

      Yes, that property of Ceylon tea, which causes heartburn, is called astringency. Our local tea tasters use the term ‘pointy’ to refer to it.

      Astringency in teas has a positive or negative reference. For Ceylons, it is a positive reference and becomes negative only when it has an off-putting sharpness.

      The Nilgiri teas from our neighbour in India are known for their low astringency and fruity finish.

      Anything else you want to know about tea?

      • 2

        Keynes! ….thanks.

        So, it’s that astringency factor that is killing the industry. Shouldn’t more R&D be done, and that heartburn factor removed (with flavor kept in….e.g. change the fertilizer to organic, or pick at a different time, or blend teas together)? Lankans love to speak about the obvious differential factors of tea, but did anyone ask the general public about it, especially from the average man perspective of the big markets like the US?

        Only thing that is done in places like US, is for some Lankan to have an official event with drummers and golden tea-pots, and speak of our tea in par-excellence terms. White people (trained in the art of diplomacy), ohh and ahhh the whole experience and then we feel our tea is best in the world.

        Average man (who constitutes the bulk of buyers) drink the Ceylon teas, and it tastes bland. Same with Indian tea- no taste whatsoever, except the Darjeeling tea which has a bit of smoky flavor (and not worth the price).

        Places like Bangladesh and Vietnam guard their secrets to flavorsome tea very carefully.

        Another factor is the condition of the pickers. If estate workers are miserable about their status in life, it somehow communicates into the tea bushes.

        • 5


          Astringency in teas has a positive or negative reference. For Ceylons, it is generally a positive reference. Indeed, many tea buyers in Europe buy Ceylon tea specifically for its astringency!

          If you don’t like astringent (or pointy) teas, I suggest you drink Nilgiris, Darjeelings or Ilams.

          Assam tea, which is highly influenced by the alluvial soils of the Brahmaputra basin, is also astringent.

          Just because you don’t like pointy teas, it does not mean that others do not. Taste is in the tongue of the beholder. We can’t change our billion dollar industry to suit one person’s palate.

          As for the Darjeelings, the flavour is referred to as muscatel (as in Moscato white wines) and not smoky.

          The only tea that I can think of in which a smoky (tarry) flavour has a positive reference is the Lapsang Souchong.

          I think we could take a leaf out of the whiskey maker’s book to better understand the concept. If one wants smokey whiskey, then you go for Islay malts. If you want saltish whiskey, you buy Campbeltown or Islay. If you want fruity whiskey, then you buy Irish whiskies such as Bushmills and Blackbush. Here’s a nice flavour map:


          I also think you should try out the teas from the seven agro-climatic regions of Sri Lanka: Kandy, Dimbula, Nuwara Eliya, Udapussellawa, Uva, Sabaragamuwa and Ruhuna. You can buy the seven teas at shops such as Tea Tang and Mlesna.

          Let’s say that you like the Dimbulas, but need some aroma to it like the Nuwara Eliyas. You start blending the two. Once you’ve got your perfect blend… you can then call it Ramona’s Crackin’ Cuppa!

          You also made a reference to Bangladesh and Vietnam guarding their secrets to flavors. As for this, all I can say now is that the taste of tea is highly dependent on ‘terroir’ and not on the ability to guard a secret formula. The taste of tea, unlike Coca Cola, is not determined by a secret formula… that made Indira Gandhi so determined to obtain it. If there is any secret in the tea industry, then it is in blending and flavouring and not manufacturing.

          Let me know if you want to know anything about wine.

          • 1

            Great info, Keynes!.

            But surely teas cannot be compared to fine wines and whisky? Those drinks are for people to sit in posh restaurants and drink, while eating rare-medium rare beef steaks….well, maybe not the whisky.

            Tea, on the other hand, is an everyday drink for the common homely person. What the tea-taster keeps tasting and analyzing like fine wines, cannot translate into what the average housewife will want to drink (and that is a huge market).

            All those different upcountry teas you find selling in the tea board, are only for Sri Lanka (and a special set of people who will drink it for the Lankan experience only), after a heavy meal to cut out the pointiness. And to have the Lankan posh look every once in a while, like the Colonial-ladies with tea-trays brought in by the servants.

            But the article is about how the teas industry can increase sales. And one billion $ industry is too little, in the end.

            Yes, blending and flavoring is the answer. And the conditions of the tea-workers also (the karmic repercussions).

  • 1

    let us compare two geographically and demographically closely similar islands.

    Taiwan srilanka

    area 36000 sq.km 65600 sq.km

    pop 23.5 mln 21 mln

    GDP (PPP basis) $1.1 trillion $ 232 billion.

    GDP per capita(PPP) $47500 $11000

    exports $262 bln $11 bln

    semiconductors textiles&apparal
    petrochemicals tea
    autoparts spices
    ships rubber products
    wireless communication equipment precious stones
    steel coconut products
    electronics fish

    export countries china-27% US-25%
    HK-13% UK-10%
    US-10% India-5.5%
    Japan-6.5% italy-5.5%
    singapore-4.5% germany-4.5%

    So what can we deduce from this

    1.taiwan is exporting about about 24 times more than us.

    2.However the average taiwanese has only about 4 times more income than a average srilankan.So assuming on the current trend if srilanka increases its exports to about 50 billion it should have the same average income as taiwan.

    3.The type of products being exported are completely different in both countries..Taiwan is exporting industrial products,while srilanka is exporting agricultural products.

    4.Industrial exports are probably higher value,so taiwans exports look massive compared to srilanka,but the corresponding income received is not reflected by the value of the exports because average income is only 4 times more.

    5.So i think srilanka’s export products are better,giving more income to the people,but those exports should be increased further to at least to 50 bln.

    6.taiwan rivers,air etc must be very polluted due to manufacture of these industrial products on such a large scale in such a small country.

    7.The export countries are also completely different in both countries.Taiwan is exporting mostly to asia and US while srilanka is exporting mostly to europe,US and India.The indian exports is about a fifth of what taiwan is exporting to china.

    8.There is immense scope for srilanka to to diversify into industrial products,but it should be small,nonpolluting,high value added products.

    9.There is also immense scope for srilanka to export to asian countries too.

    10.Srilanka needs a two pronged export strategy.First while trying to increase as much as possible the current exports to the current export destinations,it must try to also start new high value added(note value added is different from value,so not just copy the products that taiwan does) products to sell to new export destinations like in asia.niche marketing and product and market diversification is the way to go.

    • 1

      well,that became a bit jumbled up.hope this time i’am getting it correct

      area 36000 sq.km
      pop 23.5 mln
      GDP (PPP basis) $1.1 trillion
      GDP per capita(PPP) $47500
      exports $262 bln
      Export products
      semiconductors,petrochemicals, autoparts , ships , wireless communication equipment, steel, electronics ,plastics, computers

      export countries
      china-27% HK-13% US-10% Japan-6.5% singapore-4.5%

      area- 65600 sq.km
      pop 21 mln
      GDP (PPP basis) $ 232 billion.
      GDP per capita(PPP) $11000
      exports $11 bln
      export products
      textiles&apparal , tea ,spices rubber products, precious stones ,coconut products ,fish
      export countries US-25% UK-10% India-5.5% italy-5.5% germany-4.5%

      • 0

        You make a good point Shankar. What I glean from your comment is that GDP per Capita is not a true indication of the distribution of wealth. To me it looks as if a few are enormously wealthy in Taiwan. It is not so bad in Sri Lanka. All economic activity must be geared to ensure a fair distribution of wealth among the populace. Then only can we say a country’s progress is better.

  • 0

    The following may interest Einstein followers:

    However, this is where the fun begins.
    I began looking into the quote to find out what Einstein actually said only to find that, in all likelihood, *he never actually said or wrote the witticism about insanity.*
    According to Ryan Howes, writing in Psychology Today, the quote has been attributed to Einstein, Ben Franklin and Mark Twain….
    At any rate, it doesn’t look like Einstein came up with the gem, but as one of the sites I found on this wild goose chase put it: It’s not surprising that it has been attributed to Einstein, since everything but the Book of Genesis has been attributed to him at some point.


    Another reference:
    My read of it all is that Einstein was too smart to define the broad scope of insanity is such narrow terms. However, the quote has been used effectively by Alcoholics Anonymous for many decades to drive home a simple point in a specified context and so I think it most probably originated from someone in that organisation like Dr. Silkwood or Bill Wilson, possibly as far back as the 1930’s.

    • 0

      Conspiracy theories are many.
      even bees and 7 mins.

      What is new??

  • 3

    “A mountain roars, and a mouse comes forth.”

    These were the words of the Roman poet Horace. They aptly describe Hilmy Cader, W.A Wijewardena and Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    • 0

      Keynes! ,
      Did your parents study latin and greek at school?? No.
      Never mind you tried.
      Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus – Mountains will be in labour, and an absurd mouse will be born. (all that work and nothing to show for it)
      Its denotes criticism.

  • 0

    Here’s Horace’s full epistle:

    And don’t start like the old writer of epic cycles:
    ‘Of Priam’s fate I’ll sing, and the greatest of Wars.’
    What could he produce to match his opening promise?
    Mountains will labour: what’s born? A ridiculous mouse!

    • 0

      “Mountains will labour: what’s born? A ridiculous mouse!”
      Its about criticism.!

      Although the power is lacking, the will is commendable.)

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