24 January, 2022


Irrelevancies In A Time Of National Tragedy 

By Upatissa Pethiyagoda

Dr. Upatissa Pethiyagoda

I find it a supreme irony that while our nation (and perhaps the World) is battling with existential needs, our politicians are engaged (indeed obsessed) with the desire for electing a Parliament. The Commissioner of Elections has estimated that the cost would be some 2.4 billion. Our Nation is in dire financial trouble, and faces great threat, if we are unable to honour our loan obligations. Massive requirements for meeting costs of long delayed and basic needs for water (irrigation, CKDU control), Environment related issues (erosion, deforestation, Dengue), Drug Addiction, Crime, Corruption, Poor schools, Ill-equipped Hospitals, Inadequate Power supplies and many, many more.

Widespread theft (including the Central Bank, EPF, NSB, MP’s Duty Free Car Permits etc.). But do we care? Why don’t us people do something about this Bloody Circus? Let me be among the first, but not the last, to declare my disgust. I have done so in several of my “Opinion” pieces. I am driven to do so for many reasons, as my conscience pricks with a hopeless anger at the price which all of us get this charade of “democracy”. Our poor fools devour this crap unthinkingly, enabling a poor quality to move to an exalted, unmerited bunch of privileges. I have grave doubts that a further round will help to dispatch the criminals into their deserved place (Jumper Suits and all) but just short of suggesting that the newly acquired ropes (at obviously enormous cost) and newly recruited Hangmen (of whom, I heard that one has retired, because he was bored with inaction) may help.

Please do not think that I consider all Politicians as rotten. There have been, and are, and will be persons of stature, integrity, competence, well read, decent and truly “Honourable” gentlemen and ladies. But sadly, they are still too few. Some may even become like the majority and learn, practice and join the heap. As the proverb has it “When a fish begins to rot, it starts at the Head” As most poltikkas consider themselves as Heads, the suspect field diminishes. As a stray thought, just as flocks, (sheep) herds (cows), packs (Jackals), and shoals (fish) denote collective nouns for their species, how many know that the collective noun for Parliaments is (believe it or not) “Baboon”. So we have a herd of sheep but a baboon of Parliaments!

But to return to my earlier point, why don’t the miniscule number of admirable MP’s not see that their “Honour” is not sullied by those many who are “integrity- challenged” ? Is it a matter of indifference, fear, timidity or an easy conscience? While faulting them for going along with the less virtuous, may they be reminded that “Those who lie with dogs, will awaken with fleas”.

I have resolutely held that governance cannot be entrusted to the likes of incompetent know-alls. It is only persons who have proven successful in their chosen professions, merit selection for managing the affairs of State. The majority who have come through the political ladder – District Councils, Provincial Councils as their sole qualifications for political office, are unlikely to excel. These symbols of Decentralization have really become “Schools for Scoundrels”

To me, it is plain rubbish to talk about “Experience” being the pre-requisite for success in politics. Contrarily, politics remains one profession where “Experience” is of negative value. President JRJ justified a huge increase of his Presidential fortunes, while doing little to alleviate the conditions of the Public Servants, with the celebrated justification that “the President” was just one while the Public Service was a million!”. 

He should also be held principally responsible for obscene increases of allowances for Parliamentarians. It was possibly a sinister move by a “Sly Fox” to secure support. The dishonest assertion was that increasing their income will deter them from robbing the Public Purse. What this actually did was not to reduce venality, but rather whet the appetite of an already hungry but over-fed mob. 

Was it Ronald Reagan who said that “Politics is said to be the second oldest profession. The longer that I have been in it, do I see how closely it resembles the first!” Someone also said that politicians, like babies’ nappies should be changed frequently, for much the same reason. 

HL Mencken is quoted as having said “Democracy is a system where the combined folly of the many somehow transforms into the wisdom of a chosen few.” This through a franchise which itself is seriously flawed.

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Latest comments

  • 6

    it is now a waste of energy and time writing about the plus factors if any pertaining to the nation of Ceylon and sadly there are none.?
    Ever since 1956, the blue-shirted SLFP banda’s men/women and now it is the SLPP purple attired ruffians of no decency in them have converted into a military junta of a dictatorship which is totally disguised as a democracy.
    Now it is nothing but a haven of a paradise for the crooked who are led by the disgusting rajapuk gang where the plum positions of power are held by them all to the infighting still going on in the UNP and the nearly 7 million sitting shitting on their tiny brains have gifted them with a Kota Uda impotent country.
    How cool can it be.?

  • 6

    Dr. Pethiyagoda: All that you say is indisputable. What relief can we expect? NOTHING. Before the people go for election, on whom they have to cast a vote to represent them? Take a glance over the candidates nominated by the three major political parties (SLPP/SLFP; UNP & PJB) to stand election. Don’t you find all the so far proven in the public eye to be “ROGUES”; “CRIMINALS” are in the nomination lists? Leaving aside the “Back Benchers” (who played supportive roles), the “FRONT LINERS” are the “Prime Ministers”; “Ministers”; “Junior Ministers” and “State Ministers” who “Robbed”; “Mismanaged” and “Wasted” all Public Properties of the State. Have the major political parties given any “OPTION” for the people to vote “Intelligently”? NO. I bet, this same “Old Wine” will come in a “Different or same Coloured” bottle and that “Cocktail” ( a coalition) will be served by the “Bar Tenders” picked and chosen by the same “GANG BOSSES” of the mafia.

  • 4

    Greatly articulated and portrays the abyss this country has fallen into thanks to these political prostitutes and gang bangers. unfortunately come election time a 1/4 bottle of arrack, biriyani packet and Rs.5000 will trick the sheep like public to swing the votes for these imbeciles to climb the proverbial political ladder.

    Every politician promises come election time that they will make SL the new Singapore. what they failed to understand was that Singaporean politicians are highly educated and respected in their chosen field of specialisation.

    Here we have retired Military personnel who have been faithful being rewarded by filling the available slots, thus depriving the next generation of leaders. The youth of this country our rotting away whilst the political pensioners still rule the roost.

  • 3

    “To me, it is plain rubbish to talk about “Experience” being the pre-requisite for success in politics. Contrarily, politics remains one profession where “Experience” is of negative value.”
    This “Experience” mr Pethiyagoda is the ability to steal without getting caught and dodge punishment even if you are caught. Facing the public without shame is also a part.
    Give experience its due place.


  • 3

    Upatissa TOO LATE, it has been seventy years now, horse has long bolted . What you have is empty stable, good enough to rear pigs.

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