25 April, 2019

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Intoxication In A Kakistocracy

By Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

There’s a word in Sinhala that is widely used for which there is no English equivalent. ‘Pevunaa’ is a word used by those who drink, mostly. Those who almost drowned also use the word to indicate that a certain amount of water was swallowed, clearly without intention to do so.

That’s the key here; lack of intention. Tipplers usually add a qualifier: ‘tikak’ or a small amount. So, if we take the claim literally, a small quantity of alcohol had got into their system without even the slightest desire or help on their part.

Inadvertently is a word that comes close, but it only suggests lack of planning. ‘Pevunaa,’ on the other hand suggests that the particular person had his or her mouth open and some alcohol fell into it. It’s not as though he or she tripped over a word as in the phrase ‘slip of the tongue.’ It’s more like getting wet in the rain.

It’s something like this that has happened under the yahapalana government.

The Central Bank was not tricked, it got tricked of its own accord. No, we are not talking about Arjuna Mahendran’s agency in the scam. It’s the building that robbed itself or allowed itself to be ransacked. And it was a ‘tikak’ matter if we go by the deliberate trivializing that the Prime Minister has indulged in since President Sirisena read out sections of the report submitted to him by the Commission of Inquiry he appointed. It was, if we are to believe Yahapalanists, a ‘tikak affair’ and even then it was of a ‘pevunaa’ kind of misdemeanor.

Arjuna Mahendran was not appointed as Central Bank Governor, he got appointed (almost as if no one appointed him, that he descended from the sky, literally and metaphorically). The Bank of Ceylon had no inkling that it was giving a massive loan to Arjun Aloysius’ company Perpetual Treasures. It happened. Just like that. Aloysius didn’t purchase a luxury apartment for the then Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake; it got purchased. Karunanayake didn’t occupy it with his family; they walked into it in their sleep without any intention to do so. Sujeeva Senasinghe didn’t make dozens of calls to Aloysius after he wrote his book on the bond scam, the phone made the calls of its own accord.

The President and Prime Minister did not decide to dissolve Parliament just before the COPE report on the bond issue matter was released; Parliament dissolved itself.

The Attorney General did not, it follows, instruct his men not to grill the Prime Minister at the Bond Commission; they just lost their tongues and not due to any fault of their part either. The Attorney General did not sideline the most qualified personnel at his disposal in the matter of acting on the Bond Report; they sidelined themselves.

These are all little things or ‘tikak affairs’ and there was never an intention to do wrong. Tell yourself that. All the time. And see if you believe.

The President didn’t appoint his brother as Chairman, Telecom; the brother got appointed. The President didn’t take his son to the UN; Daham Sirisena was teleported to New York to his utter surprise and dismay. The President and Prime Minister didn’t accommodate in the national lists of their respective parties candidates who were rejected by the people; they woke up one morning and found that they were MPs.

It was not rank ignorance of global realities that prompted the Yahapalanists to badmouth China and grovel before the USA and it was not that they decided post-Brexit to look to the East (read as ‘China’); no, the earth started spinning the wrong way all of a sudden and they lost their bearings. Sorry, their bearings were made to be lost. Not by omission or commission, let us say, if all this sounds a bit confusing.

It’s not that Yahapalanists didn’t and don’t believe in Yahapalanaya; maybe Yahapalanaya didn’t believe in them. It’s not that they allowed Yahapalanaya to slip out of their fingers, but Yahapalanaya slipped out of its own accord (if it was in their hands in the first place, of course).

The issue is about responsibility and accountability. The outcome is clear. This Government cannot govern, doesn’t know how to govern and don’t care about governance. It’s as if they are claiming (without even the apologetic tone of the tippler) ‘pevunaa’ but the fact that stands out is intoxication. This means they can’t think straight, can’t walk straight and can’t get anything right.

So they might say that they didn’t want to make a kakistocracy and that they don’t know how they became kakistocratic, but kakistocracy is what we have right now. Just for those unfamiliar with the term kakistocracy refers to “a system of government which is run by the worst, least qualified, or most unscrupulous citizens.”

The question then for the citizen is whether or not they want to mirror their leaders. Do they want to say ‘we didn’t elect this government, the government got elected (by whoever) for us’? Well, they voted. Their votes didn’t ‘get cast of themselves.’ They will vote. Their votes won’t be cast for them.

The follow up question is simple: ‘do you want to strengthen kakistocrats and kakistocracy?’ Do they want to play ‘snug and dumb’ and offer apologetically at the end of it all some political equivalent of ‘pevunaa’ that is an insult to their citizenship?

*Malinda Seneviratne is a freelance writer. malindasenevi@gmail.com. www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

  • 2
    0

    Not sure who is worse out of the 2 “leaders”

    Dr. Ranil who keeps giving excuses for everything and points the finger at everyone else including the previous government from 3 years ago. Any newly elected government can accuse the previous dispensation for 6 months, maybe 12 but for 3 years and running? What is Dr. Ranil going to do in 2020? Still blame the Rajapaksa’s? Remember, when you point a finger at someone else, there are 3 fingers pointing at you.

    Sirisena who gives selective excuses when he thinks it will benefit him. When Sirisena’s nepotism/cronyism is pointed out, he very conveniently avoids it(Brother’s appointment, Daham’s incidents and the daughter’s advertising agency are a few that come to mind). I believe Sirisena has thicker skin than Ranil who thinks he is entitled to do things as he pleases.

    Either way, we the people are screwed. Who can we vote for?

  • 8
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    In 1948, when we saw the Union Jack descend and the Lion Flag ascend, we never INTENDED to see India and Singapore overtake us in every way. But, it happened! I was amused to see the P.M of Singapore glow in the aftermath of signing the “Free Trade Pact” say, it will be a grand option for his big and small companies.

    • 1
      1

      K. Soysa,
      This Lion flag business was inadvertent too. It was those damned Indians who kicked the Brits out and pulled us into their frying pan . But now they are in the water cooler and we are in the fire. Whose fault is it?

    • 2
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      K Soysa and Malinda,

      The average IQ of the Paras in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho is 79, whereas the average IQ of Singaporeans is 108.

      That is why the PM of Singapore glow in the aftermath of signing the “Free Trade Pact”, because it will be like a hot knife cutting through a slab of butter.

      National IQ Scores – Country Rankings

      https://photius.com/rankings/national_iq_scores_country_ranks.html

      The intelligence scores came from work carried out earlier this decade by Richard Lynn, a British psychologist, and Tatu Vanhanen, a Finnish political scientist, who analysed IQ studies from 113 countries, and from subsequent work by Jelte Wicherts, a Dutch psychologist.

      Countries are ranked highest to lowest national IQ score.

    • 1
      1

      K.Soysa

      “In 1948, when we saw the Union Jack descend and the Lion Flag ascend, we never INTENDED to see India and Singapore overtake us in every way.”

      Did you really see lion flag ascending?
      In 1948 was there a country known as Singapore?

      • 1
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        NV,
        Singapore did exist in 1948. This belief that Ceylon was more advanced in 1948 is a bit of an urban legend. To put things in perspective, in 1948, Singapore was recovering from 3 years of Japanese occupation. Japan and China were in ruins. So naturally we were in the top 3 , which is not saying much, really.

        • 0
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          oldcodger

          I take your point.
          However my question is whether Singapore existed as a separate country with its own flag in 1948?
          Before the foreigners arrived the island Singapore was a haven for pirates of the Malacca Strait and also some Chinese secret societies had sway over sections of the society.

          Otherwise how are you?

          • 0
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            NV,
            Singapore was a British colony separate from Malaya. Lots of interesting videos on you-tube about Singapore in the 30’s.

    • 0
      0

      Malinda,

      “Rajapaksa era culture and ethos, EPF scams helped Sri Lanka bond frauds: Commission”

      “The politicization of Sri Lanka’s central bank, the “corporate culture and ethos” coming from the Rajapaksa regime and ignoring stock scams at the Employees Provident Fund helped bond frauds to be committed from 2015, a Presidential Commission of Inquiry has observed.”

      “Perpetual Treasuries, a company connected to his son-in-law Arjun Aloysius made a killing by buying bonds at low prices at auctions using insider information and dumping them at high prices on the central-bank-managed Employees Provident Fund by paying off front office dealers.
      But culture of tolerance of irregularities prior to 2015 had allowed the scams to proceed, the commission said.”

      “Though the Governor and member of the board are appointed for six year terms and removal is for specific reasons, under Sri Lanka’s central bank law.”
      “The fact that Mr. Cabraal, Mr. Welgama and Mr. Umagiliya considered it necessary to resign as soon as a new President was elected and the President who appointed them ceased to be President, suggests that, these three gentlemen regarded themselves to be political appointees who held office at the will of the President,” the commission noted.”

    • 2
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      continued,

      I don’t read Lankan news all the time; just don’t have the time but this was my gut feeling as an no-partisan distant observer. This is what I’ve been saying all along. The whole issue is greater than one bond-scam ……Ranil, Mahinda is here today, gone tomorrow ………….the country is bigger than any individual

      Milinda ……..as a non-partisan patriot :)) can you put to good use your considerable writing skills and write a insightful non-partisan, unbiased, apolitical piece on this whole shindig?

      No need pussy-footing, let’s have a hard-hitting piece.

      “comes the hour comes the hero/smart-patriot.” …………..Don’t let DJ beat you to it …………….

    • 3
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      So Malinda, you have woken up finally from your stupor!
      Since Independence almost the Sinhala masses and you were fed on and imbibed (pevunna) the Racism and Hate Speech again Minorities that your great Sinhala leaders dished out, in order to DISTRACT, DIVIDE and RULE and in order to Steal from the working masses of Lanka!. Money politics and immunity for SInhala Politicians crimes is today entrenched.
      MS, For so long it was possible for you to BLAME THE MINORITIES for the follies of the Sinhala-Buddhist Leaders who routinely used and pevvua RACISM and Hate Speech to distract the moda masses. Now the blinkers have come off – good for you MS!

  • 7
    1

    Well said Malinda. Today Ravi K in his statement thanks the President and the Bond Commission for absolving him. This kind of public idiocy needs special treatment. The Bond Commission named Ravi K as one of the persons who should be CHaRGED by the Govt for criminal acts committed in relation to the Bond Scam.and this effing idiot has the brass to publicly state the opposite. I am not surprised as there are still blind followers of the UNP who say that no scam took place. This kind of behaviour is the stuff of revolutions.Let me also remind people that today is the 20 th AnniverssRy of that dastRdly act by Tamil Terrorists bombing of the Dalada Maligawa. Unfortunately the Asgiriya Mahanayake is a blind supporter of YAHAPALANAYA and would remain silent. Elsewhere we have Sampanthan telling the Singapore PM about the Constition that they the Tamils demand. Who is there for the Sinhalese for their constitutional rights?.Certainly not Sirisena who has sold himself off.

    • 0
      1

      Percy Dear,
      The JVP bombed the (fake) Dalada Maligawa before the LTTE. Why are you being coy about it?

      • 0
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        Raman yes that is the kind of lie that is being propagated by the Tamil Diaspora and Channel 4 and Ranil. I suppose the Central Bank was also bombed by the JVP and the later bond bomb of the Central Bank was not by a coterie of Tamils Aloysius/Mahendran / Ravi( a Tamil posing as a Sinhalese). But by the JVP?

        • 0
          0

          Percy,
          Are you denying that the Dalada Maligawa was attacked by the JVP in 1989? Are you for real?

    • 3
      0

      Okay, what Malinda has written is mostly true. And it is also true of every regime since 1948, in increasing degrees. So what it proves is that Sri Lankans are congenitally incapable of governing themselves. It’s only going to get worse, people.
      What to do? Call the Brits back? No, they won’t come.
      What we can do is apply to join India NOW. Advantages?
      1. A rupee that goes up and not down
      2 Cars for 5 lakhs
      3 Rice for 50 bucks /chicken for 200
      4 Totally independent Judiciary
      5 Highways without loans
      6 Lots of cheap doctors (no GMOA) /builders/ gardeners
      The list goes on and on. Why quibble about a few toilets?

  • 2
    0

    Malinda has described accurately Kolum Maduwa that Sri Lankan politics has become under the Yahapalana regime. It is like a bad set of actors doing comedy!!! But the audience is applauding as if they are watching a good play. The audience is like one that can not make it own mind but has to be shaped by critics! Even when knowing that critics are usually on the pay of Kolam Maduwa / part of the theatre!!! Colombo! keep shouting ‘Bravo’ until the fat lady sings!!!!

  • 5
    0

    What about the Kleptocracy that came before the Gonpaalayana? You were mute when Mister Ten percent an family incorporated plundered and wasted billions on ego trips?

  • 2
    0

    All to do with Sinhalese kakistocracy (omg….it’s a real word), sitting smug in their importance, whilst they convince Sinhala masses to work hard for them to fulfill Sinhala nationalism. Oh, for sure, they’d include some rich Tamils into the group….most don’t care for their low caste Tamils anyway (those who do, are lumped as JVP)…….but horror upon horror……Muslims are disallowed.

  • 1
    0

    The trend all over is for the rich to get richer. This is only possible if nepotism is the base building. This leads to corruption etc. etc.
    Nepotism ignores merit and this leads to kakistocrats holding the rein. The talented get sucked into kakistocracy. The kakistocrats permeate law enforcement agency ‘tikakly’ and takes over.
    Kakistocrats do not trust anybody and mistrust fills.

  • 0
    0

    Good article. Today everyone is so intoxicated with so much lies and no one knows what is a lie and what is truth. It all started with yahapalata campaign which was full of allegations which are yet to be proven. Even the promises they said are proven to lies (for example volkswages factory). Now they need to say more lies to cover up said earlie. But the danger is as time passes these lies become registered as truth.

  • 0
    0

    Good article. Today everyone is so intoxicated with so much lies and no one knows what is a lie and what is truth. It all started with yahapalata campaign which was full of allegations which are yet to be proven. Even the promises they said are proven to lies (for example volkswagen factory). Now they need to say more lies to cover up said earlie. But the danger is as time passes these lies become registered as truth.

  • 4
    2

    I have no idea whether Malinda wrote the article or it just got written. Either way, it is a nice article and I enjoyed reading it, which is something I rarely do.

    Yesterday, someone was asking me what the difference between ‘Complete’ and ‘Finished’ is. I was unable to give the expected answer, but it seems that a sentence that explains the difference pretty well is : If you marry the right person you will be a ‘COMPLETE’ person and if you marry the wrong person, then you are ‘FINISHED’. Nice is it not? applying the same principle to the forthcoming elections, if the majority vote for the wrong party, the we will all be finished.

    The problem however is how to decide which is right party. Finally it depends on the perception of the person concerned. In my opinion, whoever wins things remain the same basically. You find that the robbing, taking of grafts, misuse of influence go on. Or in Malinda’s words, no one does them intentionally – they just happen.

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