By Helasingha Bandara -
At the very outset, please Let me extend my sincere gratitude to Shyamon Jayasinghe for his article “Kirimandala” -Our Female Stars In The Gold Rush ( Colombo Telegraph) for giving me an absolute gem of a title for this piece- Moona Kachal -(Problematic face or not very good looking face). Moona kachal is a milder way of saying ugly, in other words Moona kachal allows the teller to be mildly critical without being too harsh.
This cliché seems to have been currently used, indeed together with another part of the female anatomy, to simply ridicule female politicians and political aspirants. It struck me, if taken moona kachal alone it suits many of our male politicians much more than their female counterparts. I should refrain from bringing in examples although our parliament is full of glowing examples for moona kachal. On the contrary many of our female politicians belong to non-moona kachal category. Rosy and Malini with many years behind them may be getting their moonu a bit kachal. In their prime their faces were absolutely non- kachal. I would not mind including Thalatha and Paba in the non-moona kachal category but no hesitation to exclude some others, no names sorry.
Let’s take a little break from politics and assess the creative ability of the author of the cliché “moona kachal, puka hurathal” (problematic face but cute arse) Moona is a hackneyed day to day mundane term for the face. Kachal on the other hand is a term manufactured in a factory. I do not know whether it has been derived from the word Karachchal meaning trouble. Karachchal Karanawa (making trouble). Normally Kachal ekkak means a row. Therefore the term implies trouble or problem. The beauty of the beast kachal is when taken together with moona, it neutralizes the negative effect to a greater extent with its comical connotation. The next term is one of the worst in the Sinhalese language, not to say ‘arse’ holds any better position in the English language. Surathal or hurathal as in the colloquial is the word sublime. The author has used an ordinary term, a comical derivation, a vulgar word and a refined term to be a lethal combination to ridicule his targets without being too nasty. Credit to you pal whoever you are.
Back to politics, let us look at what Sri Lankan politicians do to earn comforts such as a huge pay packets, free trips abroad, car permits, commissions and bribes, permission to engage in drugs, alcohol and prostitution rackets and not the last or least but to be pardoned and be absolved of all forms of crimes.
To get such perks and privileges their job remit is to devise absolutely unethical strategies to win at the next election, shed the beggars’ hide in which they disguised themselves and start dressing in silk and assume Godly status looking down upon the very people that they begged to vote for them, take to the roads with large retinues as if no other has any right to use the roads, threaten, intimidate and frame those who democratically opposed them, and hell! what evil is spared? The worst is just to occupy seats in the supreme house and say yes to one man! That’s all.
To do that the country does not need rocket scientists. Any Tom, Dick and Harry can do that. Why not the actresses? It is only male chauvinism that makes them ctiticise females. The male lot in the parliament is no better in any respect.
Is the face important? No is the answer because usually after an election people do not see those faces until the next election. Face is also not very important because most of the politicians are faceless.
Politicians are shady traders and they do their shady businesses mostly in the dark and keep the people in the dark too. In that male dominant dark world of politics there may be a competition between the face and the arse. “When the candles are out every woman is fair”- Shakespeare- In the dark kachal moona or non-kachal moona does not make a difference, but surathal puka can still perform miracles, possibly better in the dark. With a kachal or non-kachal face, a cute arse therefore can be the winner and can earn a place in the list of the shady traders. You lot are the winners and as ever we are the losers.