20 May, 2022


More Of The Same!

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

A short while back I chronicled what poor rural folk had to undergo in their pursuit of an honest living.  The central thrust of that piece was the fact that, in the absence of anything resembling the rule of law, misery is the lot of the less powerful in this land through absolutely no fault of theirs.

Shortly after those shenanigans we were treated to pyrotechnics of a natural kind when several “fire-bugs” in our neighbourhood decided to test the combustibility of vegetation that is still suffering under unusually severe drought conditions.

The photographs that accompany this piece (if the editor finds them adequate for reproduction) hardly show the extent and ferocity of the fires that consumed our hillsides at several points of the compass that evening.

It all began a little before sunset and got steadily worse.  The good news is that there was no loss of life.  However, the economic loss, even given the fact that most of the land around here is, to all intents and purposes, fallow thanks to the hang-over from the late Hector Kobbekaduwa’s attempt to extract revenge in the name of “land reform.”  However, one pyromaniac’s efforts were rewarded by a neighbour’s rubber trees having the bark “boiled” off them, as one of the rubber-tappers described it to me.

Brush fire on the hillside in middle distance

Brush fire on the hillside in middle distance

We suffered “collateral damage” thanks to the wind helping the fire jump the road that separates us from the rubber plantation.  This led to the dry leaves and other debris in the beginnings of a vanilla planting igniting and scorching several of the young vines which were putting up a valiant struggle against drought conditions up to then.  Significant loss but not as devastating as that to some around us.  The fact that an entire Champak tree (Gini Sapu) appeared to be scorched beyond recovery is indicative of the temperature generated by a fire which qualified for the “grass-fire” designation.

As someone who has witnessed the ferocious summer fires of boreal forests in particularly dry spring or summer conditions, I was particularly surprised by how this skimpy vegetation in a humid tropical zone could burn so fiercely.

I subsequently learned that a neighbouring garment factory had to call in fire protection and, if those who claimed first-hand knowledge of what transpired are to be believed, the fire trucks manned by armed forces personnel from more than twenty kilometers away (Kandy), were reduced to dousing the buildings with water from their own storage tanks to reduce their inflammability.  Preventive action taken, I am sure, with a silent prayer for divine intervention to ensure its success!

These fires, on this or any other day, aren’t the effort of a platoon of demented pyromaniacs working in concert.  These were random acts of destruction engaged in, probably, by people under the influence of liquor and/or non-prescription drugs while “having a good time.”

There used to be vanilla vines here!

There used to be vanilla vines here!

Bad enough?  Consider the fact that NOTHING will be done to apprehend the miscreants who, in any event, are not likely to be “squealed on” by their neighbours because that could present significant danger to any informant’s health.  Remember, this is, after all, the Miracle of Asia an appellation that carries with it the adhesion to a particular brand of the Rule of Law.  A particularly peculiar brand of that commodity, perhaps, but, nevertheless, one whose characteristics have been before our eyes every day of the year, for several years now.

There are still many who will insist on claiming that every one of these events is unique and refuses to join the dots that connect them which lead inexorably to the standards set by the highest in the land who decide in advance that “Apey minissuwill be immune from the consequences of their conduct because of their standing as acolytes or sycophants of our rulers, take your pick. For these, afflicted with terminal myopia, I have news: your turn at victimhood will arrive sooner or later!

Something that is fascinating and which is beginning to take shape and grow on the sidelines of all this is the indignation expressed by many who, up to now, have accepted this “reality” fatalistically, with little protest.

Before this year’s durian mayhem, in anticipation of it given the fact that in two preceding years the successful lessees had been subjected to similar “raids,” the suggestion was made, more than once, that it might be an appropriate time to set a few trap guns.

For the uninitiated, a “trap gun” consists of a metal tube, generally galvanized iron water pipe, about three feet long.  One end is sealed and some explosive – gun powder, generally – is first put in with a “cap” attached to it on the outside of the “barrel.”  This provides a means of detonating the explosive which then expels the load of lead and metal pieces that is separated from the gunpowder by wadding of some description.  The projectiles are held in place by similar material.  The “barrel” is appropriately located so that its contents will do significant damage to anyone tripping a taut wire laid along the intended path of the “shot.”  It has been a long while since I’ve seen one of these contraptions and I expect that an apology is due in advance for any shortcomings in this description!

In any event, trap guns are illegal and not to be recommended under any circumstances.  However, suffice it to say that they are in common use and one of our neighbours has been reduced to serious disability by crossing his own “maru-vela” (“death line”) more than once, inadvertently of course, after having imbibed a significant quantity of an illicit, spirituous substance!

In any event, we succeeded one more time in preventing trap guns being employed.  However, these lethal weapons are in common use – set up to kill pigs, porcupines, muntjac and chevrotain – and I expect it will be just a question of time before otherwise-law abiding citizens will be sufficiently fed up and driven to employing them as their only means of self-defence.  When that happens and I use the term “when” rather than “if” for obvious reasons, all those self-righteous members of the middle-class in the cities of Sri Lanka can again mount their high horses and go tut-tutting around the block!  Those of us not prepared to use trap guns, however, will be left to their own devices, still to be determined given the fact that the Rule of Law has ceased to exist in the Debacle of Asia!

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Latest comments

  • 2

    May be another way of evicting small holders to acquire lands for hotels, golf courses and air strips. Wholesale looting of the country, treasure hunting, land grabbing is the order of the day. Many Govt Plantations are being requested for parcels of land by the family for various projects. Circuit bungalows have become the property of politicians and their families.

  • 6

    This is serious,

    If Mr Poorten gave these details on the Web how to make a lethal weapon with explosives to kill or maim people, in his old home territory , he would have been extradited to Guantanamo for sure.

    But then he is now in a Territory which had thousands of Jonny Mines planted by the mates and even comrades of the current Human Rights protection Brigades.

    And they killed and seriously disabled hundreds if not thousands and the current Human Rights protectors didn’t give a shit, although Mr Poorten is so worried about his neighbourhood dude who is disabled by his own Galkatas.

    Mr Poorten probably was in Canada when these atrocities were committed in remote Sinhala Buddhist villages.

    At least the Grass Fires around his Ecolodge overlooking young Vines weren’t lit by crazy Sinhala Buddhist Fire Bugs… Right …

    It is sad that the Colombo Elite , Anglicans, and the Vellalas whom Mr Poorten tries to put in Govt, to make our poor Village folk also cool as Ranil’s boys, don.t give any help to Mr Poorten.

    Shouldn’t they form a committee to look at providing security, or help him to move to safer location away from the bad Sinhala Buddhists.

    Mr Rankin and the Lady Ambassador would love to help Mr Poorten on compassionate grounds.

    Jaffna peninsula is well know for good volcanic soil , which is excellent to grow wines.

    And my elders tell me that the Vellala Priests used make a fine drop before the non Vellala Prabakran banned alcohol.

    Just imagine how cool it is to make your own wine , drink it and sell it too?.

    And it is the dream of a lot of Elites, Intelligentsia and the Anglicans in Canada, and Australia too.

    And beats smelling Durian every year…

    • 2

      K.A. Sumanawathie & Outrider:

      Never fails! Your attempts to consistently reinforce your display of truly monumental stupidity! And to think your patrons pay you for this. Truly a display of great charity!

      What’s going on here? don’t your patrons provide you with enough money to send abusive filth in SMSs that you’ve had to return to this web publication?

      Incidentally, quadrupeds of your disposition need to be careful: you are at serious risk of falling victim to trap guns while engaged in your usual nocturnal activities.

      • 6

        Mr Poorten why do you get cranky?.

        What is wrong growing Vines in Vallala Territory?.

        Our Sinhals Buddhists love to have you guys among them. It also adds colour,

        Look at hundreds of those Sugar Daddies of both girls and boys living in the South, which your mates in Colombo call the hardcore Sinhala Buddhist Turf.

        Pyromaniacs live even in Australia.

        Your Diaspora mates will tell you that they are responsible for Bush Fires every summer, including the major one a few years ago which killed 180 people in just one Saturday morning.

        And you are stressing about this grass fire.

        If it was a massacre like Kabilithigolla , one can understand the outrage and venom, the Human Rightists like yourselves would spit out…

      • 4

        Grow up Mr. Poorten. As a journalist, learn not to abuse your readership – after all without them you won’t even have a job… Take a leaf from other journalists who publish on CT.. They do not treat their readers the way you do.

        • 0

          The day that I seek a readership such as that spending huge amounts of time (and their sponsors’ money) ABUSING AND THREATENING any critics of the current government will be a day when that place down below freezes over!
          In the event that “Paul” is not yet another pseudonym used by the same cretin whose pseudonyms (about 100!)CT has listed in the comments section on the piece on Jayantha Dhanapala and Dialog, don’t waste my time with attempts at “political correctness” which are little more than simplistic b.s. in defense of the indefensible.
          In case you haven’t noticed no self-respecting writer of any description writes to achieve “popularity.” But then, considering the content of your comment……………!

          • 4

            I do not understand what you are blabbering on about Mr Poorten.

            I see no relevance in you bringing in Jayantha Dhanapala Dialog article here- apparently I am not among the pseudonyms used by this person either.

            And where did you pick up “popularity” in my response to you?. This too is irrelevant here.

            Thirdly, I see it “cretin” is a derogatory term. We ought to avoid using them in civilised conversations.

            Fourthly, “In defense of the indefensible” is an excuse for your intolerance of the opposing views. World consist of people of different views. In fact, in Sri Lanka according to last general election results, more than one half of the population hold opposing views to yourself. Learning to live with this reality might help you calm down.

            • 0


              “Thirdly, I see it “cretin” is a derogatory term. We ought to avoid using them in civilised conversations.” The level of “civilization” is only too evident in the filth and abuse, inclusive of threatening SMSs sent by your tribe of apologists for violence parading as governance.
              The relevance of what CT has published in the “Jayantha Dhanapala column” in the matter of multifarious pseudonyms being used by ONE person is the fact that several of those very pseudonyms appear here as well, with their typically abusive, racist content. If you’ll simply check the list that CT has provided THERE against several of the pseudonyms attached to comments HERE it MIGHT help cure you of a case of terminal self-righteousness, if it doesn’t do anything else.

              • 0

                What relevance are these ‘threatening SMSs’ that are being sent by the ‘tribe of apologists’ relevant to what Sumanasekera said? You’re obviously trying to generalise the people that comment when they constructively criticise parts of your article. I better keep what I say short otherwise I’ll be labelled as one of the many pseudonyms by the ‘same cretin’ since lurrrve Mahinda Rajapaksa right Emil?

    • 5

      Sumane, Life here in SL must be hell now that his hymie imperialist masters have let him down on regime change with UNHCR action. Another hymie fart in the bath!

      That is why he is back to writing about garbage collection and failed states.

      Unfortunately Rankin and the lady will not accept him becuase they discriminate against even half and quarter casts, let alone mongrels.

      His best bet would be to go back to the ‘land of the braindead’, Canada.

      Miserable filth and his wait to trap during ‘noctrnal activities’ MF.

  • 8

    Emil van der Poorten

    Your writing is also More Of The Same!

    You bombard us poor readers with unrelenting negativity and a sense of futility week after week. I think the problem is more with the observer than the observed. You seem to be a victim of your own sense of entitlement. The normal vicissitudes of life in the little corner where you abide seem like major catastrophes of cosmic proportions to you. Most people would give anything to live in a place where the major crimes are motorbikes under a bridge, stoned people setting grass-fires, and neighbours stealing durians.

    And also Emil, don’t think people are so naive they can’t see your middle-class condescension towards the “poor rural folk” amidst whom you live. Your attempt to isolate some of them as “Apey Minissu” and subject them to attack by the rest, and your touting the virtues of trap guns – all sound rather ominous, I’m afraid.

    • 0

      [Edited out]

  • 6

    I have no doubt as pooty says these simple events in galagedera are linked to the ruling Rajapakses and by the same cosmic link connected to the Ghandis of india and obama and in the end God ,

    LMAO ..

    sorry I had to say it .

    • 1

      Man, you are not even dirt worth to respond to Emil´s writings.

      U are just an idiotic applogist of the MR regime, trying to show to be educated using particular IT acronyms. I really dont think yo guys would ever be able to comphrehend the situations related to the context of the country today.

  • 2

    What Mr van der Poorten writes about is but a microcosm of a national malaise that most of us, out and about in this blessed island, encounter in our daily lives. These seemingly trivial occurrences are but a gnawing sap on everyday life; some retreat without a fight and end up trodden over, some resist and often regret. The fact is that we are still a feral lot, living cheek by jowl in an overpopulated island of breathtaking beauty, and every Banda, Thiru and Rauf is jostling for a bit of real estate. Come to Angunukolapellessa in our beautiful south – once a bucolic retreat – and now the powers that be plan to foist on us the mother of all prisons which will then to be preferred abode of every irc on this island. It won’t be long before their bints come a camping. God help us!

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