25 June, 2022


Insulting ‘The Common’

By Malinda Seneviratne – 

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

‘Podu Apekshakaya’ (common candidate) screams one set of people.  ‘Podu apekshaawa’ (common hope) screams another. We are in ‘podu’ or ‘common’ days. The days of the people. Common people. Voters, to be precise.

The ‘commoners’ have got their once-every-six years (well, every four years, since of late) moment. They will be salaamed. They will be placated with promises. They will be championed. They will be promised better representation. This is also the moment of the politician, therefore. Politicians, friends, are full of promises.

But where is the ‘common’ truly located in our economy, in our political structures, in the institutional arrangement? The ‘common’ are spoken for, but they rarely speak. It’s all a hand-me-down system. The benefits of development rise up; what goes ‘down’ is a trickle. Decisions are top-made and then handed down. There are of course those who rose from the ‘commons,’ let’s say, but there’s little commonness in them. This is true of those in power and those who aspire to replace them.

maithri SirisenaThe people vote. The people choose. Then never get candidates who are at the time of candidacy like them. This is why candidates refer to roots, humble beginnings and commonality – all of which have to be spoken of in the past tense. If there are ‘common’ candidates (and there are), they don’t have a chance in hell of making any kind of impact on the outcome of major elections. They are also-rans. The political economy of elections is just not skewed in favor of the common.

In the coming weeks when ‘the common’ are supposed to take center stage, you won’t find anyone of that overwhelming majority on any of the political platforms. Well, there could be a few actually, but they’ll probably be doing security duty or an usher’s job or handing out drinks to the worthies who get to speak. The commoners will be spoken to and spoken for, but they will not speak. They’ll cheer, sure, but that’s small consolation all things considered in a representative democracy.

It is not that the entire voting population is deluded. They know all this. It is not that they are in a feudal bind. They know of fetters, they know what’s what, what’s pragmatic to expect and naïve to demand. So they express preference not so much because they are swayed by ‘common’ rhetoric but the possible tidbits that might come their way.

This is why there’s no such thing as a podu jana pethuma  (common people’s hope) or podu jana apekshakaya (common people’s candidate). What are really out there are candidates. Real, live candidates.  Personal agendas. Personal ambitions.  Voters, as such, are just temporary necessities to secure such things. Dispensable the moment-after.

Should the common voter just stay home on election day, though? No. Like those uncommon but commonality-pleading politicians they vote for, voters weigh consequences, calculate risks, consider relative merits. They compare. They contrast.  They watch. They wait.

For now, ‘the common’ are ok with ‘go along with it’.  They are ok with being spoken for. They are ok with being silent, marginalized or seldom heard. The system will survive and part of the reason is the slight rise in hope that change and possible-change bring. But there could come a time when ‘the common’ might wonder if the whole this is not just a farce but a process that is geared to scribble a descriptive addition to their tag to make them ‘common suckers’.

People don’t like being insulted. They will suffer robbery. They will live through exploitation. Humiliation is something else. This is election time.  It is also a time of massive humiliation. The candidates should at least be conscious of this.

Just don’t take ‘the common’ for granted.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

  • 13

    A desperate cry from Mahinda tail. The common people understand how dangerous this regime is. The suck the blood of common people to create a family kingdom.

    • 5

      Malinda Seneviratne – Another Shill and White washer,

      Shill Malinda, are you paid by the sentence, word or letter?

      Goodbye Medamulana MaRa aka Mara…

      Gone with the Wind…

      How many times must ……. MaRa is Blowing in the Wind..to the Sea…


      How many roads must a man walk down
      Before you call him a man
      How many seas must a white dove sail
      Before she sleeps in the sand
      How many times must the cannonballs fly
      Before they are forever banned

      The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
      The answer is blowing in the wind

      How many years can a mountain exist
      Before it is washed to the sea
      How many years can some people exist
      Before they’re allowed to be free
      How many times can a man turn his head
      And pretend that he just doesn’t see
      The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
      The answer is blowing in the wind

      How many times can a man look up
      Before he sees the sky

      How many ears must one woman have
      Before she can hear people cry
      How many deaths will it take till he knows
      That too many people have died
      The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
      The answer is blowing in the wind

  • 10

    Malinda Malli, I can see that you are preparing for a back flip – sitting on the safe side for now. Don’t forget to take a backup.You may have to return that lap top.

  • 11

    I read the mindless cacophony of Malinda. Where was Malinda when the common man could not access the truth because the press was controlled,bribed,threatened and (the editors) even murdered. We did not hear from Malinda about the common man on those occasions.How about the scrambling of television shows and online journals which give voice to the dissenters. Common man never heard a dissenting voice in the 10 years of this government. Malinda!, did you write about this? How about the white van and the murders of opposition political leaders by Karuna and Douglasand the military intelligence units? Did the common man know who did these atrocious acts? Why feel so sorry about the common man now?

  • 5

    Mahinda Malli,

    Is the Laptop still working? Do you need a new battery?


  • 3

    “People don’t like being insulted.”… What if S-Sinhalese Buddhists don’t have capacity to understand/feel that they are being insulted???

  • 3

    Malinda, This is sad. You are only fooling yourself by writing such drivel.
    Please wake up even now.

  • 5

    Dear CT Editor

    Do you really need this drivel to fill the space in CT?

    Malinda Seneviratne is yesterday’s garbage. Just dump him on the anthill.

  • 5

    Twerp. Just find yourself another Job on the 9th of Jan. Please don’t try to crossover like the others from the MR camp because the country can do without cheap journalists like you.

  • 4

    Canvassing for MR and that his democratic right as a citizen but as a journalist he is trying his best to downgrade the concept of a “common candidate”
    The reading public are well aware of most the journalists and their bias towards their own favourite/s. Therefore, the public would treat this article as a onesided….

  • 2

    Mahinda PAHALA;

    You lied and gave false informations thru Lanka Web Enough and Now came to COLOMBO_TELEGRAPH For White washing Your Sri Lankan’s BLOOD sucking Jarapassa Hyenas Clan and Their Cronies Like You elks.

    You SHILs can not Divert the socially educated COLOMBO_TELEGRAPH respectable Readers and Commenters.
    Only the Bloody Fools Like You and Your Patrons will get fooled But I think you get payments for licking arses of those Pilfering Cronies.
    And Why Do Not You Mention that 30% 40% Commission Gulping Jarapassa Brothers and Their Relatives and Some Heroin dealers Like Kudu dimiya, Sex maniacs Wermin and His son, Great Buccaneers like GaSJjin Vas, LTTE Briber Trihan ALLAS .

    Duddly is business man and Giving Good quality products he is earning Billions. So What is the Wrong with what he Do.

    But Your Shit eating Pigs are Done and Doing Abduction, Heroin dealings, Prostitution, Helping LTTE terrorists like all the JARAVA Thuggry JOBS.
    Without Wasting our time Why Don’t you JOIN THEM TO PILFER THE OZ.

  • 0

    I will like a laptop too. What is it that I need to say?Who should I villify?

    • 0

      I Will tell you my friend what you got to say if you really need thst laptop.

      ” MaRa….MaRa” – you got to sing it not say ut.

      “MaRa, MaRa…. our saviour…our saviour..you are the only one who can save the Sinhalese….you are the one and only….. and for the nation I sing, I fall at your feet….till you are on that seat.”

  • 0

    Reports coming in from all parts of the country indicate a massive swing towards the Common Candidate. Malinda pack your bags brother. Your next destination can be Seychelles. Apparently thats where the brothers are planning to go as they cannot go to the US.

  • 0

    Malinda, an educated man like you trying to twist the word COMMON or PODU is like Mahinda Rajapaksa trying to dispense Law and Order to people in Sri Lanka. As a JHU supporter Malinda, what is your position now? Are you going to stuck with Mahinda R for the money you get from him write for him or join Champaka and support the Common Candidate or the PODU apeksakaya?

    Educated and much travel people like you must educate the Sri Lankan voters about what is taking place in the country and how they are going to loose the country to CHINA. Malinda I know you have children, don’t you like them to grow in a country where Law and Order and the Rule of Law is working without any corruption, and free from Chinese influence.
    Think Malinda as a good citizen who seek a better future for your children, please don’t support Mahinda to destroy our beautiful motherland, even though myself or my children will never come back to live there.

  • 0

    Insulting the Dove (Peace) is a graver disease in our political cycle than a Common Pigeon.

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