28 May, 2024


Is It Too Late?

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

Recent events on the political scene seem to suggest that it may be too late for the Yahapalanya lot to make what, in 21st century jargon is called a ”course-correction.” In fact, having taken longer than usual in putting this piece together, I am suddenly faced with the task of completing it as even more disgusting events intrude as each week progresses!

The slide into the morass of corruption and bribe-taking has reached a point where, as it was with the previous regime, it is the rule rather than the exception. Most significant, the parade of corruption goes on without the semblance of risk of consequences such as prosecution for what are, without a semblance of doubt, criminal offences. The degradation of governance by members on both sides of the House is almost beyond description and most important, perhaps, these are crimes against the national interest of the nation and its citizens. How else can the previous and recent shenanigans of MPs on both sides of the aisle be described?

That there is a very strong undercurrent of duplicity, leading to the undermining of what little is left of the justice system is obvious as the nose on one’s face. The most recent example of this is the seemingly endless line of judges of our highest court “recusing” themselves from occupying the bench at a time when a criminal offence allegedly committed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa is to be heard. From all accounts, this has reached the point when there are not enough judges of the required rank left to hear the matter. Period. If this is not INTERNATIONALLY WITHOUT PRECEDENT, would some reader please correct me? 

Sri Lankan politics, any politics anywhere in the so-called democratic world, have deteriorated and, in every instance, where a public has turned to some politician or politicians promising to replace what is seen as the “establishment” with governance no second to nirvana, the result has been even more corruption without even the semblance of a silver lining to the cloud.

Rohitha Rajapaksa ‏@Rohitha_Chichi Jul 22 More Visiting #Moscow with my brothers was a great experience. @YoshithaR @RajapaksaNamal | Photo via Namal Rajapaksa’s twitter handle

The move to conservative, nay reactionary, agglomerations of politicians probably reached its peak (nadir?) with the ascent to power in the world’s most powerful nation of the “The Donald” and his minions.

The difference between the so-called “developed democracies” and Sri Lanka, though, is that in those jurisdiction the law prevails so that its citizens, irrespective of rank, can be investigated, prosecuted and even put in the crowbar hotel, as might conceivably happen to our Donald if the Mueller investigation goes where it’s expected to.

The smaller and less important nations of the world such as Sri Lanka have not been spared the same fate, though probably on an economically lesser scale. Because we do not have the mineral resources that have been the great magnet for the international bandits, we have been targeted for other reasons.

The importance of our geographical location which was pivotal to those seeking control of the seas in the days of sail has returned because of the need for security of the sea lanes used to move fossil fuel to the exponentially-growing industrial giant of Asia, China. The needs of industry in the other dynamic Asian economies such as Japan, the Koreas, Indonesia and what used to be French Indo-China only serves to increase that importance.

In fact, China has provided ample evidence of its interest in controlling Sri Lanka, primarily by structuring the “development assistance” provided in a manner that enables absolute control over our homeland without the nuisance of dealing with dissent, something which is on the plate of the local political entities who will continue to squabble about which of them is best able to “Safeguard 2500 Years of Sinhala Buddhist Civilization.” Talk about a nation of Neros fiddling while Rome burns!

Recently, both in web and print publications, there have been detailed descriptions of how the previous regime, not satisfied with the self-immolatory impulses of the current one, are putting in place an obvious plan to use modern media technology and the more old-fashioned strikes-and-demonstrations to make this country ungovernable. The widely-published picture of the three Rajapaksa siblings on a “pilgrimage” to Red Square, apart from the obvious contradiction between pilgrimages and an avowedly Communist nation, is fascinating to say the least, particularly in the context of what is emerging with the Mueller investigation into Mr. Putin’s efforts to influence the last Presidential election in the US through the use of people close to the most powerful in that country. Wouldn’t you accept the fact that Namal, Yoshitha and their baby brother would be very close to the ultimate seats of power in the event of a Rajapaksa Return?

The scribbler of this piece, as insignificant a citizen as he is, appears not immune to the de-stabilization impulses seemingly sweeping in Sri Lanka.

As one who does not pretend to be in the 21st Century of electronic communication, the fact that one’s access to internet communication disappears, literally, overnight is a bit disconcerting to say the least.

Then, to find your Facebook presence seriously violated simply cannot but add to one’s consternation when you are not particularly technologically savvy.

Then comes a viciously and devastatingly critical anonymous review of one’s primary means of existence – a home-stay operation – on probably the most widely consulted travel website in the world. The fact that the critique referred to a stay with us in a month when we didn’t have a single guest only made it marginally less aggravating. Do I have to make reference to the malice that drives this and the kind of people capable of this type of behaviour?

Then comes a little more icing on the cake: a winner of a Gratiaen Prize directly accusing me of receiving money from Great Britain and quoting his (now deceased) female source and refusing to respond with anything resembling fact, no matter how slim, in support. When our local “Nobel Prize for Literature” is awarded to such indescribably malicious fabricators, one really has grounds to question what “2500 Years of Sinhala Buddhist” philosophy has yielded, at least in the matter of literary awards! Need I add that the litterateur in question is considered one of the “theoreticians” of that particular brigade?

The Noel Gratiaen that many of us remember must be turning in his grave at those who are being honoured in his name!

It certainly seems that anonymous abuse and vilification does not fulfill the needs of these types, they need to go the extra yard to seek to deprive you of your means of livelihood as well! That said, people who seek to practice the dark arts should also accept the fact that there are many, present company included, who refuse to bend the vassal knee to such sub-human impulses. Such is life and, to translate from Robbie Burns’ Scottish, “The best laid plans of mice and men, oft go awry.”

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  • 7

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

    • 0

      While agreeing with the gist of your piece, I wish to quibble on the following:
      “The widely-published picture of the three Rajapaksa siblings on a “pilgrimage” to Red Square, apart from the obvious contradiction between pilgrimages and an avowedly Communist nation, “
      I thought the ( Communist) Soviet Union disappeared many years ago.

      • 1

        Old codger:
        Good point. Mr. Putin and his predecessors seemed to want to have their cake and eat it too, in that they tied in with the Orthodox Church as well as maintain Lenin in the mausoleum! So, I expect the point I sought to make could be debateable.

        • 1

          Yes, they’ve put the crosses back on the church in the background.

  • 5

    “Is It Too Late?”
    Its never too late to do the right thing but the question is whether Sri Lanka as a whole got the will and determination to change?
    Sri Lanka did not get to where it is over night over night. As you have pointed out corruption is not the exception but the norm.
    Politicians only objective is being in power are riding the gravy train. Although Sri Lanka has many laws in its books it does not get enforced because the judiciary is weak at best and corrupted to the core at worse.
    Sri Lanka calls itself a Buddhist country and has also given prominence to all religions but the population gives no consideration to basic ethics. Its a “ME” first attitude screw everyone else.
    Yahapalanaya is not perfect but it has tried and today we hear about corruption at every turn as yahapalanaya has allowed the people to air their grievances. If this happened during the last govt we would have had more white van abductions.
    Not just the politicians but the people too should take their fair share of blame. Sri Lanka needs drastic changes but people will not stomach it and the govt is trying piece meal change and that will not work.

    • 3

      Thanks for that thoughtful response. It’s good to know that there are increasing numbers who appreciate how we got where we are and are ready to try to make the urgently needed changes.

    • 1


      • 3

        What does JD stand for: Jim the Dimwit?

        The above is quite different from:
        “Sri Lanka calls itself a Buddhist country”
        Just because you call something “Buddhist” does not make it Buddhist.

  • 10

    You can’t expect much from literature these days. It is also part of the social and moral decline you have been writing about for sometime now. It’s no surprise. Literature has become institutionalized. It is now a part of the degenerate establishment with awards, grants, self-congratulation and media celebritydom. What a sad irony. Literature, along with the other arts, is supposed to be anti-establishment, depicting the gulf between the official ideology/propaganda on the one hand and the reality of everyday life on the other.

  • 0

    Future kings of SL.

    • 4

      Thanthai Chelva – “Future kings of SL.” Do you mean the three rowdy rugby players, sons of Medamulana Meeharaka?

  • 3

    Fraud and corruption are way of life in Sri Lanka.
    Politicians started …
    Now it’s habit for anyone in Sri Lanka…
    All know that ..
    Now it is out of control…
    Now one could stop it .
    It’s a vicious circle .
    It’s like Arab rulers inherited politics from father to son and son into grandson.
    Courrption has been inherited by politicians today in Sri Lanka ..
    No politicians dare to talk about it .
    You expect m&s will do it ..
    He will never do it .
    It is his dream to make much out of this system ..
    You know politics is like a season business for traders.
    They must make use of it .
    You and me if we were in their situations we too follow them..
    That is Sri Lanka .
    You follow the master or risk being left out ..
    No point in wasting time writing all this.
    Only God can save Sri Lanka ..
    With CKB ..
    Sri Lankan politics is gone.
    Bad examples already set in Sri Lanka .

  • 4

    The MPs try to get in to parliament by hook or by crook to make money, plunder the country amass wealth for their ten generation.
    Our voters also bribed to vote for these culprits over and over again.
    It is a damn shame that most of the MPs are crooks, uneducated and greedy

  • 3


    How much of this (course-correction) is applying to Yahapalanaya’s course? If have not mistaken any part of the essay, the essay wanted to say the present government is realizing something but it is too late to act. The word “correction” is suggesting the realization is about what expected did not happen or there is feeling something had gone wrong in between.

    Let’s check one or two things; not anything systematic, not even near perfect; but Just a casual look!

    1. Is somebody guessing that current situation of the country was/is not connected to Ranil’s’ meeting of Old Royals in the night on Jan, 8th 2015? What would be the talk between Ranil and Old Royal King on that night is inconsistent to the current situation? Is Ranil, the most active leader in Yahapalanaya is seeking to fix anything went wrong beyond he talked there?

    2. The lesson child below nursery has learned is “If you touch fire hand will be burned”. But what Ranil said after Digana riots? “The country is Buddhists’ one, their interest will be preserved, Muslims lost property. They will be compensated.” Whose money is paid with that free talk? What Slap Party Campaigned in LG was utter racism and all minorities expected something like that to happen. So it happened in Digana. Is there a course correction needed to Ranil action of not controlling, nor countering the racist’s fiery campaign that burned minorities’ properties? Apparently the government (opposition and ruling parties) wanted it that way and it happened.
    3. What really happened in CB and what is the corrective action from Ranil should be doing for that?

    4. Why Ranil hiding about the Kantale Sugar factory case? Media reported New King’s family members were in that Hotel? Why has he not arrested the important people involved in that? What is the corrective action Ranil or New King is thinking for that?

    • 4

      Sorry that I am not able to follow what you say.

  • 1

    5. There are statistics released that in Mullaithivu that in some area the army is deployed to 1:2 civilians. Northern Average is 1:3 and some area 1:5. It is estimated 150,000 troops are there. Government refused to reduce this number or talk about this problem to Sinhalese. Minister Vijayakala’s speech stirred a lot. She is under investigation. Rapist Army and Paramilitary Aavakuzhu are accused for most of the crimes. Now the government is saying there are only 14,000 troops and that is the amount after the war, the Chitanta government left there. With this game, government thought the crimes in North to either go away or Tamils will shut up from complaining about it. But Tamil Media is reporting now the crime is exploding too many folds. Did any of the government’s action was in any direction to control the Army Induced crime in North? If that action is going wrong then a corrective action needed. What Yahapalanaya expecting is that they want to keep the Rapist Army at 150,000 and even if they lose the election, they can return the North East at the same condition Chitanta government gave it to them.

    6. There was a case investigation in 2015 about China bribing on behalf of Old King from the Loan money people supposed to have benefited. Old King is the opposition candidate to Yahapalanaya. But Yahapalanaya suppressed the Investigation and closed the case. Strange? No! This is not the American situation with Russia now. Depressed investigators passed some Infor to NYT. Now Ranil said he has told the investigators to get prove from NYT and start a new investigation. There is a 50:50 chance Old Royals coming back. This is putting the journalists and the investigators life in jeopardy. How long it is going to take to pass the file to AG and have the criminals arrested instead?
    We can tell many more but what is the point in that!

  • 2

    Emil you beauty.

    So wonderful reading………


  • 6


    Lets get the facts straight.
    Who ever comes to power in 2020 there is one person who is safe
    Who is that?
    MR made one request to the person who came to see him in the early morning of Jan 9 2015. Dont do anything to my family.
    Rest is history.

    • 1

      Who else none other than Junius Nephew.

      • 1

        YT – a.k.a. “Ranilpaksha”

    • 4

      Sandra Aponso:
      As cryptic as your contribution is, I think your reference is to the meeting after the last Presidential election when Ranil and a Rajapaksa relation met with Mahinda in what was then (and now) circumstances that were and are shrouded in mystery! The fact that Mangala Samaraweera’s very serious complaint to the CID of an attempted coup that night was not followed up despite better than three years having elapsed is also probably relevant in that context.

  • 1

    Boys your next sight seeing location will be VATICAN. Have fun when you can . IRONY

  • 5

    This is unbelievable !
    The salaries of all parliamentarians is to be increased by a whopping 215% with retrospective effect from January 2018.
    What exactly have these respectable men and women done for the people during the past 3 years that justifies this increment ?
    It is definitely too late to do anything about electing these 225 miserable scum-bags.

  • 5

    All the three Medamulana morons planning the next move.
    Thajudeen gone, what next?

  • 4

    Kemo you mean past 70 years.

  • 1

    “………. the seemingly endless line of judges of our highest court “recusing” themselves from occupying the bench at a time when a criminal offence allegedly committed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa is to be heard.”

    Judges who “recuse” themselves from hearing cases can be described as “kakuse” judges. If we could appoint a foreign national as our Central Bank Governor, why can’t we appoint foreign judges to our Supreme Court? That is the only way to solve this problem. We should also appoint foreign citizens to the posts of Minister of Law and Order, Chief Justice and Attorney-General.

  • 1

    I always thought that SL was on a fast track to Zimbabwe.

    Mugabe & MR are both ‘war heroes’ who had the support of the average man on the street & a powerful elite society which benefited from generous offerings, courtesy of the ruling regime, at the expense of the country, . Such popularity, perhaps, gave a sense of invincibility to the rulers. However, as the saying goes, there is no honour among thieves, which can be applied to theses corrupt politicians too, & in time, both were ousted from power, both seemed to be stabbed in the back by their own loyals. Unfortunately, in both countries, it seems that one corrupt regime is replaced by another but in Zimbabwe, there is still hope because the election results are still not confirmed even after 2 days & despite the speculation of rigged votes, there is the possibility of a fresh face.

    The billion $ question is whether poor countries like ours, plundered by contentious regimes to an extent that corruption & injustice is accepted as a way of life, can ever recover from the cancer that is slowly killing it.

    • 0

      That is a very “black” but accurate description of Sri Lanka’s predicament. That said, I’d suggest that we have no choice but to DO something about it.

      • 1


        My question is what can we do? Come election time, we get the same yobs every time, the same rigging of votes, violence & intimidation. Voters have a choice between bull shit or horse shit but the fact is, both are shit.

        If SL is ever to prosper, we need a Macron. A political novice but with a suitable education &, above all, integrity. I am sure there are eminent people in our civil society, perhaps, now retired after a successful career with time on their hands who can come forward & do their bit for the country, reforming the Parliament by example, starting with voluntarily giving up perks, such as, duty free luxury car permits. Any volunteers?

  • 0

    it is 70 years too late….another 70 years ….no one will dare to ask the question….

  • 0

    Emil Aiiya Didn’t get a booking for one whole month…How come?.
    I tried to book Siva’s Trinco Beach Resort for Mid January. It is all taken.
    And it was in June.
    May be Emil Aiyya’s Politics turn off our Expats who go on Booking .Com..
    I mean the travelers are not impressed when Emil Aiiya regurgitates the same BS, blaming the Rajapaksas , when Dr Ranil and My3 Sira have really F****Up the country totally and irreversibly……
    Still I want to stay a couple of days and have a round of Golf at Victoria ,just to get a feel of how Kirra .s Kandy elite and their mates from Colombo are doing there..
    Perhaps Colombo Elite do not come to play Golf.
    Does Emil Aiiya have a All you Can Eat Buffet on the weekends?..

    • 1

      K.A. Sumanasekera:
      You must have a very large oral orifice (or your feet are tiny) because every time you open your mouth you seem to put your foot (feet?) in it.
      Has nobody ever told you what a terrible waste of time and energy it is for dimwits to try to be witty?

      • 0

        Emil Aiya,
        My Elders tell me you were a Socialist once,who fought for the Rights of the Dalits…
        What happened?.
        That UN Report really upset me, because I was once a Dalit myself.
        And know well how it is to live on less than 400 Ruppiah a day, when Dr Ranil and Mangalan have jacked up the price of even a Mas Pan to Sixty Bux.
        And the Colombo Elite are racing towards USD 12.500 per Annum.
        I know Dr Ranil is all about Reconciliation between the Vellalas and the Colombo Elite.
        Which is fair enough.
        But how do you feel about your Socialist past when you see this Difference between our Lankawe Dalits and the Colombo Elite?.
        I hope you pay your workers at least the Per Capita GDP which Mahinda set in place, before Dr Ranil F***D him with the help of the another onetime House Boy Socialist….

  • 0

    Did the JVP think of the consequence to the country when they went on thier adventure in 1971.Mrs B. would have lost the election because of the hardships that the people under went, but not so drastically.The JVP’s adventure and the ruthless suppression ensured Mrs B’s terrible loss.The Sri lankan population had never experienced such a suppression.
    The 5/6 majority that JRJ got was misused.Their policy on agriculture and the small busisnesses hit the Sinhalese and the Tamils.The Tamil reacted.
    Today we are a failed nation .The fear in 2015 were sanctions.We suffer on our own with no sanctions, but due to foolish acts and advice.Athureliye Ratana was was one of the main causes. Thank god the fool left..

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