28 October, 2020

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“Monkey See, Monkey do:” A Rural Version Of The National Scene

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

If people think that urban models cannot be adapted to rural circumstances, I have an example that should dispel that myth quite conclusively!

The whole business of “Familial Rule,” with the active support of particularly less-savoury elements within the political firmament has constantly been thrust on the consciousness of the public of this country where probity and decency were considered the hallmarks of decent politicians in the years immediately following independence.  Exceptions there were, even then, but that is precisely what they were, exceptions, and not the broad rule that they are today.  In fact, what should have been exceptions have become completely a part of the ruling power structure that governs this country.  Thieves, murderers, rapists and common-or-garden thugs have become part of the elite of Sri Lanka and at every level of government, it seems.

In the matter of the rape and pillage of the financial resources of this country, the only difference in rural Sri Lanka is that the sums of money changing hands and the books being “cooked” are not as considerable as they are where billion dollar construction contracts are involved.

The pity of it is that the ingenuity exercised could be employed in the interest of those both delivering the schemes as well as those who are the victims.  However, the insurmountable impediment to such a state of affairs is that it will run completely contrary to a culture without equal in the matter of corruption in this or any other region of the world!

Backhoe #1 at work with a dog seeming to ask “Monawa Karannada?”

Backhoe #1 at work with a dog seeming to ask “Monawa Karannada?”

I have met and worked with a few people who, if they entered a room through a north door would not leave through the exit on the south side of the room unless they traversed the entire periphery of the room before doing so.  The reason for doing this was not some eccentric need to check out the whole space but because they were, literally, incapable of going in a straight line.  That seems to be the prevailing situation of which the Sri Lankan elector is a victim!

The guys who run our lives are so crooked that they could moonlight as corkscrews in the busiest bar in the world!

Recently, under active prodding by his mentor, the local Chief Politico hired the piece of equipment that seems a sine qua non in the matter of digging or moving any material on or immediately under the surface in the vicinity of roads – the ubiquitous backhoe.  The first time was a backhoe owned, I was informed, by a buddy of the ruling politicos.  I personally was entertained by the operator in a demonstration that raised very serious doubts about whether he should be behind the wheel of ANY vehicle.  That, of course, was what little I saw of his activity because – and I have photographic evidence in support – the piece of equipment was emitting, literally, clouds of smoke that obscured it from public view!

A considerable time after that “going through the motions” exercise, when the sole access for several dozen families was again impassable, I sent an email SOS to the address of the Senior Minister who is our MP, together with pictures of the devastation.  This resulted in another piece of comedy when all of about five metres of roadside drain was cleared by yet another backhoe.  This was arranged differently, I was informed. The services of a local heavy equipment “training school” were enlisted for the purpose this time.  One or several of the trainees were sent up our road on a backhoe and, as a part of the training for which they (the trainees) pay, performed this task which would, employing one worker and one mamoty, have taken all of an hour!  The information available to me suggested that the local body’s books now reflect a payment to a commercial backhoe operator for several hours at commercial rates!

Is it any surprise in these circumstances that money is allocated for various “projects” each year, the year ends and very little, if any, of the work is commenced, leave alone completed?  A little clue as to where the funds ended up might be the deficit that has to be bridged between the cost of an election campaign and the measly, official remuneration received by the successful candidate.  “Someone” has to pay the political piper and it is, inevitably, that amorphous entity: the “public!”

This seems particularly bad in rural parts of this country because the people who live there appear to have resigned themselves to the fact that this is the way that things are and will continue to be done and that they will not ever have the power to change that state of affairs. “Monawa Karannada (What can one do)?” is the inevitable comment if one seeks to engage one’s neighbour in a discussion on the subject.

There has to be a breaking point in the tension that is building and the chaos that is accumulating.  With a government that is determined not to permit the usual democratic opportunities for the governed to “blow off steam” that point will be reached.  The question is when and its corollary is “Who will the poor and dispossessed of this land turn on in their frustrated fury?”  I will repeat the obvious response to that question:  it will be those without the protection of private militias to ensure their physical safety, it will be the middle-class of this land who have turned a Nelsonian eye towards what is obviously coming down the turnpike thinking, wishfully, that they will have something akin to divine protection from the marauding horde!

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    Emil VanderPoorten
    ‘Monava Karannada’ is the reason why Our Country is in this State!
    Those who tried to ‘Karanna’,were ignored by sucessive Governments, until they were driven to armed coflict. Then like the JVP and LTTE, they were ruthlessly destroyed by those very Governments.
    Do we have to wait for another Generation of Youth to grow up, before another Massacre takes place!

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      Yes, The Truth Will Set You Free.

      A timely note below.

      Martin Vickers, Conservative MP, UK:

      Clearly there has been genocide taken place in Sri Lanka and the International Community needs to take the issue much more seriously and investigations should take place.

      Source a video clip in English, above is a transcript by me from:

      http://www.tamilwin.com/show-RUmrzBSVMZit7.html

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      The rationalists seem to be the only ones who still see this reality.

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    Thank You for chronicling a very topical state in our rural existence – the local politico and his henchmen who mimic the worst excesses of our national rulers albeit on a smaller scale. If not for the light relief afforded by your skilful turn of phrase, I would surely have suffered an apoplectic turn. What you describe is exactly what I see as I perambulate the dappled country roads of our local parish and, often in hopeless exasperation, I ask ‘Why Lord?’ What have we as a people done to deserve this shitty state where decent folk have to shut their mouths in fear and watch crooks and thugs lording it up over us. One very nice gentlemen of similar vintage tried to comfort me with a ‘What to do Uncle, this is the country to day, no?’ But truth to tell there have been many times that I have nearly blown a gasket, but remembered, just in time, my old English teachers regularly touted words of advice ‘discretion dear boy is the better part of valour’. I simply count my blessings and live to enjoy the good life and not run the risk of having my car or home stoned. This is the reality of life in the miracle of Asia; decent, hardworking, intelligent people having to swallow their pride and accept the abominable curse of arses running our community (and country). Our generation has become inured to all this. What I truly feel sad for is the next generation.
    Please God, may this pestilential cloud of misery pass on soon!

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    You are so right Mr Pooten.

    When you say “it will be… the middle-class of this land who have turned a Nelsonian eye towards what is obviously coming down the turnpike thinking, wishfully, that they will have something akin to divine protection from the marauding horde!” it rings a bell to me personally.

    One of my ancestors, Vira parakramabahu of Kotte took this atitude as far back as 1505. When a “marauding horde” arrived in Colombo, from as far away as Portugal he welcomed them and invited them to the palace. You know what happened for the next 500 years, don’t you?

    The thing Mr Pooten, is that our people do not learn lessons from the past, or from the half, quater, 1/8 or 1/16-cast Portuguese, Dutch and Anglo-Asian remnants of our colonial rulers still blessing us with their presence, honesty, integrity and constructive social input.

    You need to keep trying to achieve your aims, no matter how ineffective they could be in the short term. There is always hope and the “international community” will keep financing, supplementing your effort informtion on ‘patriots’ through phone tapping and internet surveillance etc.

    You mentioned our people believing in divine protection Mr Pooten, that could be the biggest obstacle you might have to overcome!

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      Winter Blues,

      Why stop conveniently at 1505? Actually, it is the poor aboriginal bugger who clung to this piece of island as it broke off from Gwondaland who should take the blame. He should have repelled the oily dravidians and the other ‘aryan’ reprobates from Orissa and other points thereabout who crept in centuries earlier when the naked native vedda and his tribe were busy looking for honey in the sacred trees. He should have pulled out his axe (and bow and arrows) and finished off the mongrel invaders, pronto. Then we would have all been spared the internecine horrors that followed from those even earlier times. By the time the Portuguese arrived (close on the heels of the quiet arab traders who had already taken up position in the maritime areas and were quietly slipping our comely maidens an exotic length), the party was already in full swing and all that was needed to spice up proceedings was the startling baila renditions that became an immediate hit with Kotte royals. Truth to tell, the reason that for the King being so hospitable to the ‘ferringhi’ was the rumour spread by the bints in the royal court that the Portuguese had bigger dicks than the locals (and your ancestor vira Parakrama Ba Hu – not chinese, was he? – was always partial to a well hung lingam.

      Too late Winter Blues, you should have paid closer attention during History class.

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      Another thing Winter Blues…….

      You seem to question Mr van der Poorten’s qualification for writing. Now, we don’t know your credentials, Winter Blues, but we are all creatures of circumstance and we are all welcome to make our comment as long as we do not frighten the livestock. For all we know, you were probably an inconspicuous speck in your fathers sack when Mr van der Poorten was making a contribution to our common cause. That he lives amongst us is his choice and he has just entitlement. It is our gracious duty (alien as that might seem to you) to allow him his right. With one flourish of his pen, SWRD rid this land of the majority of the burgher people. I recall when on a visit to Melbourne, a very nice burgher gentlemen complained ‘they drove us out and we came away and now all the yakkoos are following us and making a bloody spectacle washing their ethnic linen in public, so we dare not trumpet our Ceylonese connections’.

      Winter Blues, I may not always agree with Mr van der Poorten on everything but I can confidently proclaim that his writing will be far more readable than yours will ever be. We share the same sod and experience much the same things that effect our existence and that will always give us, each and all, a right to be heard. Much as it pains me to say, you will be afforded that right too as you share this tropical paradise with us.

      I don’t know what school you went to Winter Blues, but in my Maradana classroom we learnt ‘Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, Who never to himself hath said, This is my own, my native land! . . .

      Now go in peace; and may your God go with you.

      ps: remember, there is an r in Poorten and, strictly, it is ‘Mr van der Poorten’. Obviously, the standard of teaching these days is not what it used to be.

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    Mr. Emil Vander Pooten:

    Greater Colomthota (Nugegoda ?) or Kaluthara living – Lansiyas know about the Sri Lankan – Rural vision.

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    Backhoe doing the digging at the back of Willpattu instead of our monkeys busting their asses and their backs is amazing.

    What a progress in just four years.

    Our rural monkeys didn’t get a chance sit in the back of a Nano even let alone learning to drive these equipment,until Rajapakasa took charge.

    That is nearly four hundred years since Poorten’s ancestors and their Anglo Saxon mates ruled the poor inhabitants.

    It is a pity that they still try to hang on to their self imposed superiority and treat the inhabitants as Monkeys.

    If they can’t put up with the monkeys manoeuvering Backhoes, what happens when the front end loaders come in, saving our our poor having to shovel it.

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      Gawd, the ridiculous depts you sink to in boasting the Rajapaksa regime.
      So you think absent the Rajapaksa regime, Sri Lanka would not have used earth moving equipment.
      Earth moving equipment like the hydraulic excavator mentione here is nothing special; it can be found all over the world , including in poverty stricken backwaters. SL doesn’t need Rajapaksa to bring in earth moving equipment; that stuff existed in SL well before Rajapaksa became president.

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    It seems like we now have a new pseudonym to add to the Jim Nutty, Tsunamiskera horde – “Winter Blues.” Or is this yet another case of an old whine in a new bottle? More incomprehensible gobbledegook!

    When Judgement Day arrives, I can’t think of a better fate than to have all of you and the rest of your tribe confined in one room and sentenced to talk to each other till the end of time. On the other hand, that might not be adequate punishment because you’d run out of verbal garbage without your plummy-voiced “tuition teacher” to keep feeding you the rubbish that you keep regurgitating on the pages of this publication.

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    Is this Poorten, Gunasekara, Samarasinghe Trio doing any constructive work to support their Anglo Saxon mate Cameron who is disembarking soon to announce the Judgement Day?.

    The LTTE and now Diaspora proxy TNA at, least have all the bases covered with an audience for Mr Cameron with their new Messiah in the North.

    Even old Sritharan has been muzzled and the molotovs ,moth balled for the time being , not to cause any distraction, when Mr Cameron explains what part he would like the TNA to play.

    The real foot soldiers on the other hand who can put Rajapaksa in cages are in total disarray.

    Once the main ally of Keselwatta Kid is in Kandy dobbing him to the Maha Sanga. as a bad boy because he wouldn’t join the council.

    Shouldn’t the Poorten trio , get these leaders of the Cosmopolitan Intelligentsia and the Anglican Sinhala Tamil Bourgeois into line and get ready to fall behind the Anglo Saxon to carry out his instructions?.

    Shouldn’t the Anglo Saxon meet the Maha Sanga too and explain why and how Rajapaksas should be put in cages and delivered to the Hague to face the Judgement Day?.

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      K.A Sumanasekera:
      We have all arrived at the same conclusion: YOU write the most tiresome gobbledegook to CT of any contributor of your tribe and, in addition, to make matters far worse, you try to parade it as “analysis!” The great comedians of this world knew when that last pratfall should not be taken. You don’t. You and the rest of your tribe epitomise the unfortunate reality that the only thing worse than stupidity is being REPETITIVELY BORING!

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    Watching the live proceedings of CHOGM Peoples Forum and opening address by Malaysian delegate regarding the involvement of civil society in the governance of a country, I hope our leaders and people will understand and accept the concepts being presented.

    If these global principles and concepts are practiced the we can progress as a civilised society and be accepted in the assembly of nations.

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      Safa,
      Our great and respected leader on one unrestrained occasion, glass in hand, commented ‘ofcourse our citizens can make a contribution as long as it supports our plans’. Pure Animal Farm. Constructive criticism will have to wait a little longer. Safa, don’t lose hope!

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