22 October, 2020

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One Thing Is Certain!

By Helasingha Bandara

In the brewing atmosphere of the presidential election, many writers and commentators have said that nothing is certain regarding the outcome. I look at it from a slightly different angle and say that one thing is absolutely certain; Sri Lanka will remain the same, if not be worse off.

This prediction is based on many factors. Firstly, none of the leading candidates seem to have a well thought-out development plan. A country’s development does not only depend on its economic growth. A country can be called developed and civilised only when its people are both emotionally intelligent, and materially wealthy. There is no plan proposed by any of the leading candidates to achieve this, and instead of looking at more simple mechanisms to achieve it, they seem to be speaking about the usual and hackneyed themes that do not make sense to the general public. Those obviously include the usual election promises: price cuts, tax cuts, amnesty to the forces, the abolishment of the executive presidency, more foreign direct investment, farmer subsidies, more houses, ethnic harmony etc.

Such promises are not explained further in terms of how they are to be achieved and sustained, and nor why such policies were not implemented while the candidate was in a position of power. For example, the UNP candidate has not explained how he is going to attract more FDI and how he is going to sustain it. He also fails to explain why he could not introduce this policy while he was the deputy leader of the UNP, the major constituent party of this government. Who did not talk about abolishing the executive presidency among those who aspired to be the president after Premadasa? Which government did not promise price cuts just before the elections and then repealed such policies through the use of various back door tactics within three months of coming to power. People may still vote for these promises, yet the situation of the country will remain unchanged.

None of the leading candidates has the relevant experience, education, or skills required to develop Sri Lanka. A well-rounded education cannot be characterised by the number of degrees a person holds; to be recognised as educated in this context, a person should have both academic qualifications, as well as and the knowledge of how efficiently the society around them operates, knowing its people and their real behaviour inside out. Relevant experience should not be limited to the number of years one has been a parliamentarian, but extend to what that person, living as an ordinary member of society, has experienced, not through living as a privileged person who operates within a large network of influential people. It also extends to experience gained through living abroad, or by learning the experience of other countries in the world.  A person without such education and experience is unable to, empathise, sympathise or compare, and in turn would not have the vision to change Sri Lanka.

Can accelerated development be achieved while the workforce is slumbering? An enterprise of any nature is not recognised or encouraged by the relevant authorities in Sri Lanka due to a lack of understanding, foresight, and greed for personal gains. Efforts to initiate innovation that would positively contribute to the development of the country are invariably discouraged by the bureaucracy that not only pervades through the entire system but also holds on to the archaic administrative policies that the British introduced centuries ago. In Britain, such red tape has been eradicated long ago.

Can the people of a country be called civilised if they have the mind-set of a current Sri Lankan? The mind-set of a current Sri Lankan is that of “me, myself, and my family”, and not caring what happens to others. Judging by way of the thought processes the population has in terms of making money, how others are treated and corrupting themselves, it is not hard to conclude that Sri Lanka will remain the same for the foreseeable future, irrespective of whoever of the current leading candidates comes to power.

Someday, if a leader emerges with the vision of changing the mind-set of Sri Lankans so that they have some concern about their fellow countrymen while ensuring conscientious delivery of duty, we will then be able to hope for a change.

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Latest comments

  • 0
    1

    It will take 100 years to see this change .

  • 1
    1

    I think Helasinghe Bandare’s opinion is wrong. Political system in Sri lanka is unbelievably corrupt. Sri lanka’s democracy with respect to democracy is not existing. Yet, because of the excessive foreign influence, people cannot ask for visionary or genuine politicians. The present political struggle in Srilanka is parliamentary politicians are wooing to be with the winning presidential candidate and all the minority groups supported by the foreign powers (some UNP politicians are involved) are trying their best to push their candidate. this is mostly a media campaign as happened in Brazil making BOlsanaro win and Bolsanaro did not expect win until the Media (both social and other) made him win.
    If Gotabhaya Rajapakse wins his brother’s need and western demands come to the front and voters, I mean the country, will lose.
    Sajith pemadasa is no different. right now, Rajitha, Mangala etc., are behind him. Sajith is saying he would in first 100 days would consider the needs of the indian ocean in relation to western domination there. Again voters lose.
    NGOs are selling their needs assuming one of these groups will sell their allegiance to NGO needs. NGOs depend on western money for living.
    Sajith pemadasa’s only qualification is his father also was a president. His wife explained by saying She is going to be the “Aarryawa” and that explained every thing.

  • 3
    2

    “one thing is absolutely certain; Sri Lanka will remain the same, if not be worse off.”
    Not one but two things are certain. The Sinhala MODAYA will prove that the MODAKAMA that is now become a sickness and contagious to other minorities as well is worse now than before. Then follows the second certainty that you have stated Mr. Bandara.. Don’t forget that our’s is a Sinhala Buddhist country of the MODAYA, by the MODAYA for the MODAYA!!!

  • 0
    4

    Tamils got into tribal politics again I heard they were keeping quiet because the delimitation process or the electoral reforms would limit their number of parliamentary positions to four or less. Now at the end they have begun the Tribal politics. So, the govt also knows what is happening. The only problem is These corrupt Tamil politicians get to continue exploitation of poor Tamil voter. The sinhala politicians keep quiet and negotiate with minister posts.

  • 2
    0

    ”Sri Lanka will remain the same, if not be worse off.”

    Helasingha Bandara, you have hit the nail on the head. The question is, are we going to accept this fact & do nothing or are we going to do something about it? We can have massive protests like in Hong Kong & other countries, which is unlikely to be a success (apart from the loss of a few lives) or should we promote candidates with integrity from the civil society? Nagananda Kodithuwakku was promising but millions of miles away from the average voter on the street.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Helasingha,
    .
    I read this article a few days back, but held my comment back hoping to find something positive to say to lighten the gloom of your article. It has proved a difficult task.
    .
    If at all one finds something it is that some of “the Alternative Candidates” have indeed been able to assess the requirements, but they have not yet been able to control their egos sufficiently to put forward a coherent common programme. Time is running out. Twentytwo days to go. What these Alternatives must understand is that not one of them, except AKD, is sufficiently known to the country as a whole. A few of them are quite distinguished in their own line of activity, but that is different from having the nation-wide support that this election calls for.
    .
    We all know that the two major parties are just terrible. How then is it that we are almost certain that one of them will win. It is quite simply that they have not yet had the decency to withdraw in the interests of us their supporters. So, I’d blame the Alternative Candidates mainly, but also the hypocrisy of some of their sycophantic supporters who don’t have the honesty to tell their “leaders” the truth. So, it looks as though “the truth” is going to perish.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Helasingha,
    .
    I thought I had to give you some feedback yesterday, but I see that what I have put on yesterday was not really showing an understanding of your article which asserts that the fault lies with the Sri Lankan psyche and we end up with the government that we deserve because,
    .
    Quote: The mind-set of a current Sri Lankan is that of “me, myself, and my family”: Unquote.
    .
    In other words, the vast majority of us are incapable of acting for the good of all. So, really, “the vast majority of us” are all to blame, and on what basis do we shove the blame on others? There’s no point our trying to push the blame on to the candidates.

    O dear, what am I doing? I’m going round and round in circles, am I not? And so although every one of us asserts that we must get rid of our corrupt politicians we end up electing them, over and over again.
    .
    You are no exculpating yourself, are you, Helasingha?

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