3 July, 2022


On Giving Left And Right

By Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

OMG, BTW, WTF and other three-letter ‘words’ which sound more like 4-letter words are relatively new.  Time was when acronym was ‘short’ for proper noun, for example a political party; there was LSSP, CP, UNP, SLFP, FP, TULF, JVP and later TNA, ITAK, SU, JHU and so on.  Maybe NGOs (yes, another 3-letter four-letter word) had something to do with it.  NGOs, or rather FGOs (Foreign Government Organizations) as veteran journalist and prolific commentator H.L.D. Mahindapala calls them, talk a language that sounds foreign to non-N/FGO people.  Nothing beats CSR, though, I sometimes feel.

Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, sounds nice.  Wholesome.  It probably makes those who work for corporates feel good about themselves.  But CSR projects generally cost next to nothing in overall expenditure and typically corporates make a song and dance about SCR that quite out-shouts the pits and pieces of feel-good they dish around.  It is called brand positioning.

Consider this.

Immediately after the tsunami struck Sri Lanka in December 2004 and after the immediate sense of horror, there was an outpouring of generosity. People gave and gave and gave, and gave in a thousand different ways.  There was no name to giver, to claim of giving.  People gave, as individuals and collectives.  Schools, clubs, cooperatives and groups of friends did what they could.  But there was a different class of givers too, a different colored ‘generosity’.  This was the Giving-Bragging club, one could call it.

There were corporate entities sending lorry-loads of bottled-water. With label.  Either on cap or on the side of the bottle.  With legend about who did the giving.  That’s giving of the return-envisaging kind.  It is called investment.

Is that giving?  Is that dana? Well, it is of course unlikely that one can draw a direct line from beneficiary to some kind of advantage that the giver obtains somewhere down the line.  On the other hand, a generally positive association with a brand, product or company does pay, down the line.  Investment is recovered, often with interest.  That’s giving ‘of a kind’, but only in appearance.  In essence it is business. As usual.

Alms is not about that kind of giving.  It is not investment, it is not business.  Consider the following line from the Bible: ‘But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth’ (Matthew 6:3).  Such giving goes without name-tag.  There can be face, word and smile, due to necessity, but there won’t be thought of possible recovery, possible benefit; not of the ‘return on investment’ kind and certainly no thought of pruning tax payments.  One gives, because some urgent need is identified and because one can.  And that’s it. No more talk of it.

If, on the other hand, the left hand knows what the right gives, then left, metaphorically speaking, is ready and able to take back, in one way or another, what was given.  With interest, one must add, because that kind of giving is not about giving X and taking back X+A (A=Transaction Cost), for business if not about a zero balance sheet but an exercise where marginal benefits must outweigh marginal costs.  Like CSR.  Like politicians doing what they are mandated to do and what they promised to do, and then spending public funds to brag about it as though it has cost them an arm and a leg, which they gladly ‘gave’ because they so love the people.

Merit accrues. One way or another.  But if it is desired, the gloss of giving comes off.  If it is advertised, then there’s no gloss to begin with.

If you want to give or if someone claims to give, this side of not looking a gift horse in the mouth, it is always good to check the hands, right and left, and their knowledge or ignorance of one another.  Good to ask oneself, for we are all humanly frail and unconsciously pass the buck, so to speak, from one hand to the other.  In short, we can’t do alms and CSR at one and the same time.  That would be a four-letter word, I am sure.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

  • 0

    Jesus Christ.. What did I just read….. Again I got fooled, this is the second time and last time I listen to this guy…

    Right hand plus friction = M (M = Mass terbation).. I should have done that instead of wasting time reading this shite..

    • 0

      You are dead right.
      He is so resistant as no comments would be added to this.Me, too, each time, I feel why the guys is compelled to drop this kind of contents.

  • 0

    They say the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’
    Is a slippery kind of a brat
    Who thinks he can fool the people
    By crappy opinions on this and that

    Often he will ponder and muse
    Of alternate uni-verse
    Though without an aliquot of substance
    Prompting readers to swear as they course

    He will never stop serving as mouthpiece
    For bandits shameless and conspiratorial
    Cos they pay him to spout his bull-shite
    Taking our poor country deeper, dictatorial

    He says that after the Tsunami
    There was an outpouring of generosity
    But in reality what happened fell far short
    To provide succour and ameliorate adversity

    Who, pray was it that took possession?
    Of these monies from gentle rank and file
    The answer to this important question
    May open your eyes in style

    But shameless Malinda continues unabated
    To lick, grovel and brown-nose
    The arses that now are in power
    Who we pray will soon be in hubristic throes

    • 0

      well said and poor malinda must be peeved now!

  • 0

    WHen Milinda can write crap here why can’t we? -;)
    Here’s my crap…..

    Sri Lankan President declares open international convention center (MRICH) in Hambantota built at a cost of US$ 15.3 million.

    The President also declared open the Siribopura flyover located at the junction of the Ambalantota-Weerawila road this evening.

    The flyover is a part of the major highways interchange project in the Southern Province. The 150-meter long 4-lane flyover is the first one built in the Hambantota district. It has been constructed at a cost of Rs. 2.675 billion.

  • 0

    “Immediately after the tsunami struck Sri Lanka in December 2004 and after the immediate sense of horror, there was an outpouring of generosity. People gave and gave and gave, and gave in a thousand different ways”

    Unfortunately there were also those who ‘took and took’ until they got caught embezzling ‘tsunami funds’ that were meant for the victims. No “sense of horror” here, Malinda???

    • 0

      Well said. Just because he saved us from the armed criminal gang, we should not forget how he started, by looting in a national emergency.

  • 0

    Things Malinda Seneviratne could have included in this but didn’t:

    1) CHOGM because he’s too much of a coward to write about Mahinda brown nosing white people and the inevitable massive tax burden that will be placed on us to support this.

    2) Helping Hambantota because he’s he’s too much of a coward to write about Mahinda stealing money.

  • 0

    Here are some 2 letter 4 letter words

    MS (Malinda SeneviRotten)
    RA (Rajpal AbeyKnickers)

    • 0

      Malinda’s Part1 of the Story is;

      “Immediately after the tsunami struck Sri Lanka in December 2004 and after the immediate sense of horror, there was an outpouring of generosity. People gave and gave and gave, and gave in a thousand different ways. There was no name to giver, to claim of giving. People gave, as individuals and collectives. Schools, clubs, cooperatives and groups of friends did what they could. But there was a different class of givers too, a different colored ‘generosity’. This was the Giving-Bragging club, one could call it.”

      THE Part 2 of the story is coming like;

      My Bosses, they my Sponsors, they my handlers, They my saviours. are the collectors of those gifts and specially the money,
      millions and millions to be siphoned away to personal bank account with the help of judges and law manipulators,
      what the heck of tsunami dead.
      let them rot, But I want money and power.
      they had one hand front for Asking and other hand back for LOOting of givers money.
      I am happy we become instant Billionaires MAAAAAAAN.

  • 0

    After the tsunami –
    “There was no name to giver,to claim of giving” says MS.
    There was a prominent name circulated about a ‘receiver’ – the infamous “Hambantota Account”.
    Most monies given were channeled into this account which was beleived to be a ‘government account’.
    Only later it was identified as the private bank account of one Mahinda Rajapakse.
    All hell broke loose and a case was filed allegging misappropriation of public funds.
    This was when Supreme Court Judge Sarath N.Silva gave his judgement of
    “Not Guilty”,giving the benefit of doubt about the intentions of the account holder.
    This changed the course of history – MR escaped jail,to commence his saga of grabbing power by subterfuge.
    Rest is history.

  • 0

    Commentators need be reminded about the part played by a set of rouges
    who are still holding prominent posts. Please read this:-

    Do readers any of them living in S.lanka?
    A para states: “We give you below a list of the officials of this private foundation:
    Chamal Rajapakse – Chairman, Mahinda Rajapakse – Vice Chairman, Basil Rajapakse, Gothabhaya Rajapakse, Prithi Rajapakse, Vichitra Rajapakse, Lalith Chandradasa, Secretary (Brother-in-Law), Thusith Ranawaka, W. Gunasekera, U Wijesinghe (secretary), Chandra Wijewardena, Shiranthi Wickremasinghe(wife of the PM), Ramya Hettiarachchi, Ayoma Peiris, Pushpa Wickremasinghe, Sathindra Perera, Shainda Rajapakse, Saminda Rajapakse, Himal Rajapakse, Rangani Hettiarachchi, Thejani Rajapakse, Chaminda Rajapakse, Henri dissanayake, Vernon Samarakoon, Nihal Gunasekera, N.Ratnayake, Sarath Amaraweera, A.Weerarathna, J.P.Ratnayake, J. Amarawickrama, Upul Dissanayake, Udayanga Weerathunga, Dulari Dissanayake, Kithsiri Sepala, Keerthi Dissanayake, Dushyantha Roopasinghe, Jaliya Wickremasinghe, Anura Goonaratne, S. Jayasundara, K.M.A. Godawatta, P.H.G. Premasiri, Mendis Rohanadeera, T.Jayasinghe, Layanal Sarath, Edirisinghe, D.C.H.Samarasinghe”

  • 0

    you fool you are not fit to be a writer get lost

  • 0

    While on the subject of abbreviations such BTW or OMG, why doesn’t this AH simply FO and do us all a favour or better still why doesnt CT do us that favour by not publishing his crap?

  • 0

    According to my estimations Malinda Seneviratne will be writing about 1948 independence right about the time CHOGM is going on in Sri Lanka.

    I’m not the type to find anything funny in seeing someone pee on himself, but I cannot seem to stop smiling about this.

    If I’m not thinking straight I’d say the guy’s conscience seems to have started to overheating.

  • 0

    I was about to curse myself for reading a crap peace of shitty article I quickly glanced at the first comment. Penetrater nicely put an M firmula which made me giggle and read the rest of the comments.
    What a relief.
    Superb comments from everyone!
    Thank you guys!

  • 0

    There’s one difference between all you people and me. I don’t hide behind anonymity. Oops sorry, there are two. I have a backbone and you guys don’t.

    As I’ve said before, I rarely check comments. So you read me, and I don’t read you. Tickles me no end to note that what I write annoys people like you.

    Enjoy the anonymous orgy of invective.

    Meanwhile, I go back to write.


    • 0

      Of course Malinda, you are darn bloody right. There is one difference between you and the commentors here and that is you are a regime launderer and the commentors above have the guts to call you one.

      Since we read your articles its our right to comment, cant we?
      It doesnt matter one uses his or hers real name or behind anonymity.
      Looks as if you have taken the comments highly personal and so defensive you are, arnt you Pal?

      You know what, Its boring write up honestly.

  • 0

    Ha Ha Ha.. LOL.. If you have a backbone you would write some truths..

    There’s nothing in a name, it’s the content that matters Malinda.

    It is sometimes better to be anonymous at certain times, specially with this government in control. Don’t worry the time will come when no one has to be worried about freedom of speech. Hopefully at that time you can also express your opinion without worrying about any retaliation. God bless you Malinda..

    Please write something that has some relevance to the current state of affairs. I and I’m sure the CT audience will be waiting patiently for this.

  • 0

    Simple Bible Qoutes Simple mathematics but you cant speak the simple truth – because you are a Sri Lankan. Between your line all Sri Lankans know who you are. I don’t think this article carries any substance. Just plastering about something irrelevant . An empty vessel is filled with garbage just to make it full that is all this author is.

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