1 October, 2020

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Keheliya, Boys Will Be Boys, But Where Are The Men?

By Ravi Perera

Ravi Perera

Trying to explain , perhaps down-play , the youthful  brawl in a resort hotel on the Eastern coast a Minister who is  the government spokesman  used the old idiom  “ boys will be boys…” . The boys in this case were   a son of a senior Minister who with his companions had allegedly assaulted another “boy”, the victim needing hospitalization as a result of the injuries sustained. The injured is a son of a senior Police officer, a Deputy Inspector General. There were no reports of injury to the assailants.

Apparently, the quarrel began when the son of the DIG objected to a youngster in the company of the Minister’s son taking a photograph which he thought may have intentionally or otherwise “captured” his wife who was walking past. The intended subject of the photograph was another young man evidently with little clothes on him. The DIG’s son  had demanded that the photographer show him the digital image. The photographer refused to oblige which resulted in the brawl. It is said that the group with the Minister’s son had been after liquor.

The details as reported are mundane and typical of your everyday youthful broil anywhere in the world. As any  psychologist would explain the adolescence  are difficult  transient years for a young man to handle, when you are neither a child nor a fully fledged adult yet .But as we view  such incidents in the  context of the Sri Lankan culture , there is another , a sinister dimension to a young man’s  coming of age , particularly when they involve children of those  we commonly refer to as VIPs.

We must consider the victim, at least by the fact of marriage, more advanced   in his passage to adulthood. The opposite group ,  with the Minister’s   son, apparently younger  in age, seems  to have had  a boozy fun time ,  with no care in the world ,no rules  applicable and  money not a consideration.

Most of us, particularly when travelling, would have sometime or the other become a part of the background in many a photograph involuntarily. Although those with a more developed sense of social etiquette would endeavour not to walk in front of a camera or avoid unnecessary subjects when using one, sometimes you cannot help such things from happening. One wonders if anyone else other than a son of a DIG would have demanded that he be shown the images of photographs taken in a public place. In this country we all know that the Police are not only a force to maintain law and order but are a power to be reckoned with. That power could extend to the family and even friends of Police officers.

On the other hand, the Ministers son and his friends thought nothing of brutally assaulting a young man who was heavily outnumbered. They attacked him right in front of his wife. It is clear that they had no fear of consequences, and in fact the manner in which events unfolded confirmed their confidence.  They also did not think that their conduct was socially or morally unacceptable. Maybe it was a necessary ritual on their way on manliness   as defined in the milieu they are familiar with.

This incident is just one of the many cases in recent times where children of VIP’s, particularly politicians, have assaulted and debased others purely on the basis of the impunity they apparently enjoy. Even army and police officers, who are also no angels, have been publicly humiliated by them.

Obviously, the phrase “boys will be boys” have a different meaning when we examine these incidents so symptomatic of the broad culture of the country and particularly that concerning the exercise of power. These boys will be boys only when certain circumstances are fulfilled. The most important condition for their conduct seems to be the fact that their fathers have to be in the governing party or holding high office in the forces. When the father is out of power the level testosterones   in the boys seem to recede rapidly.  Secondly, just like the father, the boy also must have behind him security officers provided by the State.  Thirdly, either the security or the young man will have a gun with him, which puts him at a tremendous advantage over his adversary. In addition, the other symbols of their ilk, those huge four wheel drives, convoys, young men and women who invariably provide a kind of entourage to the brat go to make up the show.

In most other cultures such young men would be considered pathetic cowards and parasites on the public purse. But not so, here in Sri Lanka. Those who remember that era would recall that the nascent tigers of Tamil terrorism were also called the “boys” by their elders. That seems a description that comes easily in this country when we seek to excuse the conduct of a youthful offender. The problem   however is that we have far too many “boys” but so few “men” here. Oh God, when will you give us the men of the kind that Josiah Gilbert Holland demanded?

GOD, give us men!
A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor; men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.

To read this in Sinhala click here.  Translation by Yahapalanaya Lanka.

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Latest comments

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    Will the Minister say “boys will be boys” if his daughter or daughter-in-law happened to be the DIG son”s wife?

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      This is an another example to confirm that the so called minister – Kehelmal how irresponsible he reacts just droping this kind of responses. He is not at all serious even to alarming matters that he should be responsible. This is the problem in current day srilanka.

      For me, Keheliya should be away from the task of being govt media spokesman – if he repeatedly behaves in this way.

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    It is a typical comment of a boy, so Kheliya has to grow up. Whether he will is anybody’s guess. It is obvious if one reads the poem that the term was also used by a boy and not a man. A man will speak with more responsibility and so we are left to rue the day as we are now led by a bunch of sick boys.

    As regards to your observation of the behavior of both parties to the conflict, they are equally to blame, and as one side was openly more powerful in numbers than the other the weakest lost. Like in the case of the LTTE at the time of the rout.

    If the tide was turned the outcome also would be different with the minister’s son perhaps being consigned to history as the Police are also another fearsome bunch protecting their own to the death.

    So the lessons with the incident, if it is not to be repeated time and time again nauseatingly!

    We MUST resort to a different sense of power, of humanity of humility, and of piety in our leaders. That can only begin at the bottom from our montessori kids being given lessons in morality and behavior in keeping with Buddhism.

    We have time to save our country from this menace and it is time the people of our country erupt and decide once and for all that this system has to change for the better, and ONLY elect people with the right idea. First the people must understand that the right idea is not today’s politician and that is the first step to a better Sri Lanka.

    So exercise your franchise with foresight

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    By saying boys will be boys, what Keli Keheliya is saying is that when boys are boys, men will jump off the window to get out of an coward situation. Further when boys are boys, men will jump from political party to political party like monkeys jumping from tree to tree for personal benefit.

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    Such incidents have been occuring for a long time. One remembers the killing of a Fijian Rugby player at a club some years back. It seems the culture of impunity permeates right through the families of some politicians. Bodyguards, backup vehicles and even firearms are at the disposal of these spoilt brats. All at the expense of the tax payer and people of this country. All this is a pert of the political culture of this country.

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    This pithy saying about boys beng boys has done enough damage to the Sri Lankan society.Boys and when they grow up as men are given the licence or social sanction to do as they please or behave as they please the results of which are RAPE and GANG RAPE,CHILD MOLESTATION,DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, BLUE MURDER etc.It is the lot of the women to accept their lot (PAST KARMA OF BEING BORN A WOMAN )and keep their mouths shut in the presence of violence.I have seen more developed and civilised countries engage their young in schools to concepts of agree to disagree ,to be humane and not behave like wild buffaloes.Sri Lanka boasts about a culture spanning 2500 years a humane religion.What has gone wrong?Our Leaders have shown our young that thuggary should be met by thuggary,show of force is better than negotiation,

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    These are NOT boys.They are men,and should behave accordingly,especially in a public place.

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    Secondly, just like the father, the boy also must have behind him security officers provided by the State. Thirdly, either the security or the young man will have a gun with him,
    Well this kind of armed , uneducated, uncouth, sons of politicians and, politicians who obviously have , organs that , do not perform normally are a great risk to society at large.

    rambukwella, a and Sirisena thinks that these are boys? They are a special breed of nincompoops. They are terrorists

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    Why not give over the ‘boys ‘ to the Bodu Bala Sena? They have come forward to safeguard the sinhala culture buddhism and the country!!they will train them to become very INNOCENT like them … so BBS where are you now in these matters dont waste time on halaal issues …

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    Ravi,
    God is dead.
    Your boys met our men in Nathikadal…. remember?

  • 0
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    And yet, when a little school girl stole coconuts out of poverty to pay some illegal school demand, she was thrown into jail…

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    If saying in short, discipline in the country in all aspects has gone to the dogs, thanks to the political culture; and what else the Minister can say than saying something to avoid the issue.

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    With all respect to Josiah Gilbert Holland may i humbly add another verse for this wonderful poem to suit for srilankan general public who send the most “intelligent” representative to the NSA With most number of Manape votes.
    Men who can stand consuming one bottle of Blue label scotch and cross the balcony of the room to the adjacent room without breaking the both legs.

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    What a meaningful verse for these dark days ! Thanks Ravi for reminding us that others’ too have faced such times and overcome them.

    The right man will emerge at the right time ! Have faith and I don’t mean just Christian faith. After all this is a thrice blessed Country and mythology says there is God specifically charged with protecting our Island.

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    This is a devastating piece of political writing. I didnt think present day Sri Lanka could produce writers with this level of command of the english language . I must congratulate the writer for his outstanding puns and wit. Any one reading this article by Ravi Perera will be ashamed of the political culture of Sri Lanka and the doings of the children of powerful people, In the case in Passikuda even the son of the DIG thought he was wearing a police uniform. By the way, what is the policy of the Secretary of Defence in allocating policemen to guard wifes and children of politicians.? Does he make that decision based on actual threat level or just political considerations like doing the father a favour ? One day all of us will have to agree that the present Secretary Defence was one of the greateses disasters to the civil administration of this country.

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    Kehelmala has lost his marbles after that very suspicious “fall” in Aussie land.

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    The men have got screwed up by the boys.
    Keheliya is stuttering……….

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    Issues of this grade by ministers and their sons were not new to the folks in SL:

    a) At the time Mervin forced the guy got tied to the tree to say he tied himself to the tree –
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v71jO0Pve9k

    b) That was more or less similar that Mervin donkey son brutally assulated the army officer, but the victim was the one who lost the job in the investigation

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eZgDpibMdc

    c) The killing of a British tourist in a fight between govt PC member – said to have close ties with president and the sons – stay scot free, no matter international community incl UK wants the accused to be punished within the law prevailing in SL

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLAyIXRKV98

    d) Not limited to above incidents, but the PC MP murder case with the direct involvement of the so called notorious minister Mervin – stay as if the case should be given attention, but it is just from the GOVT approval killing

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MHO5EY2Png

    and and and…

  • 0
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    Kehiliya jumped out of the hotel balcony in Australia because he is a boy.

  • 0
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    What a shame to be a Sri Lankan!

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