31 October, 2020

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Pandankarayas: Is “Critical Mass” Building At Last?

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

When one begins to step back and try to analyse the issues and problems faced by Sudu Banda, Rasalingam or Cader Mohideen in this country, after a while the penny drops and one is left with a whole bunch of uncomfortable “realities,” the primary one being the massive corruption and violence that permeates every aspect of life in Sri Lanka and is going completely and absolutely unchecked.

While all of this continues to accelerate rapidly, their roots seemed to have really established themselves with the free-for-all that was the so-called “open economy” of J. R. Jayewardene which, literally, welcomed the robber barons with open arms.

By all accounts, there was a desperate need, for national psychological reasons if no other, to change course from the terrible broad stifling of society that Sirima Bandaranaike and her cohort of “pothay-guras,” with one or more doctorates affixed to their names, visited upon a country which, less than a quarter century before was predicted to have the brightest future of any nation having recently cast off the colonial yoke.    Even though there might have been a case for some of the steps taken by Mrs. B in terms of import substitution and resistance to the strangulation of the Sri Lankan economy by the forces of neo-colonialism, the incompetence, malice and venality of the Kobbekaduwas, Ilangaratnes and Felix Dias Bandaranaikes led to unprecedented privation being visited upon the hoi polloi of the country while the elites continued to enjoy a relatively comfortable existence, inclusive of the Bandaranaike progeny being afforded education at elite European seats of learning while the poor of this country were rummaging in garbage dumps.

When J.R. Jayewardene capitalized on the massive discontent of Sri Lankans to sweep Mrs. B’s coalition out of power, he obviously did not have the vision to use that golden opportunity to put in place a constitution and system of governance that would restore the promise that Sri Lanka had once laid claim to.  I am being generous to “Yankee Dick” in suggesting a certain lack of “smarts” rather that a gross lack of principle as the force that drove him to put in place a constitution that was alleged even then to be “More Gaullist than anything that Charles de Gaulle could have produced.”  In all honesty, though, being as generous and charitable as I can, I cannot turn a Nelsonian eye on what was, very obviously, the combination of stupidity and cupidity that went into that document.  Also, the historical Achilles Heel of the document and the manner in which it was immediately exercised was its racist underpinnings which, soon thereafter, spawned a communally-based insurgency.  That said, in fairness to JRJ, it must be said that the foundation for that particular part of the edifice was laid by that monumental hypocrite S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike who, with Greyhound on leash and briar or Meerschaum (pipe) clenched between his teeth provided Sri Lankans with “Sinhala Only in Twenty-Four Hours”  a little more than two decades before.

While all of that might provide an explanation for the stage that was set for the monumental corruption and attendant violence of the Rajapaksa Regime, there were people in this country throughout its pre- and post-independence history that “knew better” than to tolerate and provide even tacit support to the precipitous decline of ethical and moral standards in this country.  Every stream of “civilization” in Sri Lanka, be it from the European or Asian traditions set high and veritably impeccable moral and ethical standards for every man, woman and child in this country.  Even if the J.R.Jayewardene Constitution of 1978 had provided the framework for the dog-eat-dog capitalist world that is the Sri Lankan reality today, there was still a critical mass of people  that drew its numbers from those of every ethnicity, religion and class who believed in all of those precepts, religious and political, that could inject a modicum of justice and fairness into Sri Lankan society. Why have they been silent these many years?  Was it because they thought that each erosion of the Rule of Law was merely a temporary phenomenon and fairness and justice would return to the body politic after a each hiccup?  Was it because the stresses and strains attendant on survival during two pogroms, two insurgencies and a protracted civil war left them with little energy to raise their voices in protest? Was it abject fear of whichever government was in power that silenced their voices?  It might well have been all of these and a few more factors thrown in.  In any event, if any voices were raised in protest they were too few, too muted or weren’t committed enough to the cause of elementary decency to make a difference.

The cumulative violence beginning with Emergency ’58 and continuing through the racial pogroms , two insurgencies, and a protracted civil war appear to have beaten down the entire Sri Lanka population into a state of servility and subservience.

However, the unprincipled behavior of a government that has ruled by chaos and confusion is beginning to come home to haunt it!

The intertwined impunity, corruption, venality, viciousness and racism of the current regime have recently given evidence of their very nature causing internal conflicts difficult of resolution. Cumulatively it also appears to be causing enough grief to the population at large to create “critical mass” in opposition to its depredations.  The cracks are beginning to show despite all the massive papering-over schemes of the government’s stooges.  Even if the utterances of several of those seen as the “intellectual” glitterati of the Rajapaksa regime are seen as simply the donning of life jackets against the coming tsunami, they do constitute signs that principle is alive even if it is being voiced by the monumentally hypocritical!

Is the behavior of the departing pandankarayas a case of coming events casting their shadows?  It’s hard to read those particular tea leaves as meaning anything else.

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Latest comments

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    A sure sign will appear when the rats start deserting the ship. Animals have a sixth sense.

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    Emil, what I feel is that Sri Lankans, being a very adaptive and resilient bunch, are simply adopting strategies that they hope will provide them sustenance in the ever-changing dynamics of Sri Lankan socio-cultural life.

    Unlike in previous eras, people often do not reflect on the past, or on what might have been. They simply change with the styles in vogue and proceed, and if that means having to let go of values or morality introduced in their childhood, that too is the “cost” of survival to them.

    These are some of the confounding aspects researchers have to deal with, when analysing directions society takes…

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      Very perceptive. Please develop this thought further. Are our values changing, particularly our commitment to them? We often hear of the honesty and integrity of our forefathers, whether Prime Minister or MP, IGP or Constable, CJ or Magistrate, any profession for that matter. Values, and the pride in possessing such have changed. Is it all for accommodating change and a means for survival? Interesting subject for thought.

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    The Rajapakse Regime is sitting pretty on the two-thirds majority of MPS who have sold their self-respect for a mess of pottage.
    Unless some of them think as sri lankans and not as pandakarayas change will not happen.
    MR knows,and gives them perks to keep them happy.

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      ‘justice’, you have got the right end of the stick. Those who think of themselves as ‘ Sri Lankans’ no longer live in Sri Lanka. They all left a long time ago when they saw how the ‘Pandankarayas’ were getting the plum jobs, not because they were competent, but because the swollen headed Pollies were lapping up their Sycophancy.

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    The Rajapakse Regime is sitting pretty on the two-thirds majority of MPS who have sold their self-respect for a mess of pottage.
    Unless some of them think as sri lankans and not as pandankarayas change will not happen.
    MR knows,and gives them perks to keep them happy.

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    This bit of “Critical Mass” also seems about 40 years behind.

    Plain Bandas whether Sudu or Kalu are an extinct species,

    Even the few like the UNP one has tweeked it to sound better than the ones our Colonial mates were used to.

    Sumane, Wimale and of course Sumana and Wimala, to be politically correct are the new “Critical Mass”.

    If you want them on your side , you ought to show them that you got the goodies.

    You got to show them that the alternatives you are offering, will give them better Jobs, more Incomes bigger Per Capita, better Hospitals, better Schools, better Infrastrutue ,and last but not least total Peace and Harmony.

    Instead what is on offer?.

    Candle Light Vigils by the well off.

    Constant attacks on Sinhala Buddhists and their Monks by non Buddhists , mainly ex Srilankans.

    Slurs, Insults, and outright false allegations.

    TNA parliamentarians openly demanding SGA and plotting to resurrect another armed insurrection with the Tamil Nadu LTTE supporters.

    Their handlers overseas including their elected Members of Parliament in Excile threatening Eelaam sooner than later.

    Sending Ms Navai Pillay to check on our brave Military Officers.

    Western PMs boycotting Srilanka because we are not helping them to please the Diaspora.

    And what does the Opposition Leader who is the altenative President do?.

    He is propping up the party who openly calls for total control of the North and get rid of the Security and Sinhalese.

    And even demanding that we import “Sudu Bandas” from overseas to help the TNA win the Elections.

    Then there are Priminsters and Senators in excile who constantly remind the inhabitants that the fun won’t last long as the Canadian and British PMs are cheesed off.

    And Mr Poorten seems to confirm that with his Tsunami threat.

    Corruption at all levels including political ,is directly proptional to the PCI of nations.

    No need to go further than our Big Brother neighbor.

    However crime is totally different.

    Norway with the highest per Capita with USD 98 G,has the record for worst crime of the Century.

    And the perpetrator is an admirer of the LTTE according to his own confession.

    And Mr Poorten reckons our inhabitants are the worst in the World on both fronts..

    • 0
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      Sumanasekara (who is Leela ) talks like a broken record and lies through the teeth when you say
      “Constant attacks on Sinhala Buddhists and their Monks by non Buddhists , mainly ex Srilankans.”

      which a lie and its the so called Sinhala Buddhists’ who are attacking Muslims and Christians!

      AND BEFORE YOU TALK OF ALL THIS TAKE A LOOK AT YOURSELF AND YOUR CONSCIENCE FOR CHEATING PEOPLE UNDER THE LEE POTTER HOUSING SCANDAL!

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        Hey Pro Bono,

        Looks like the Diaspora and a few recalcitrant Monks are working hand in hand .

        Pleae read Ggnanissara’s press release.

        And guess what.

        It is none other than your beloved Solheim Mob who are providing all the logistics and of course the Kroners.

  • 0
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    You are right, Emil, the “critical mass” may be forming, it is about 50 now judging from the representation here.

    Just below your article, Laksiri Fernando, the “political scientist” is suggesting that the “seniors”, (we read “elites”) of Sri Lanka should form an nti-government movement.

    Emil, we know you are about 80 years old (though it is hard to imagine from the venom in your veins) and you need to drop the pen and grasp the sword as Laksiri is suggesting.

    We love to see how that is going to go!
    Please make our day, punk!

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    K.A Sumanasekera :
    I can but presume that you understand what you have committed to this page, because I fear that your ersatz erudition would be, to put it mildly, puzzling to most of those literate in English. However, I suspect that the explanation for what you have written might lie in the fact that you seem to belong to the same school of composition as the author of that famous piece in the souvenir issued in commemoration of the opening of the Mattala airport. That classic of incomprehensibility went viral and, with a little bit of luck,you might be able to match that effort.
    Berty:
    I suppose your “make my day” comment is an indication of who your hero is – “East Clintwood” as he used to be known to film fans of another time. Given your affection for that man and what he stands for, you really should locate the news story where he spoke to an empty chair during the last Presidential election campaign in the States. Since he did this in support of Mitt Romney, you might be able to persuade him to perform a similar feat when you choose to pursue political office in this country. It will certainly be appropriate.

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      I certainly am not a fan of Eastwood, or planning to ssume political office.

      I merely suggested that you should because judging from your diatribes to this site, you seem to have all the answers to Sri Lanka’s problems.

      Are you an armchair critic only?

      Have the balls (though may be low hanging these days!) to come forward and serve the prople of Sri Lanlka, at least the Burghers.

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        Berty:

        Do you ever read what you write before it is published?

        I suppose, if you had your way, I would be restricted to serving “Burghers” only, for which community I’ve always had respect even though I do not consider myself a part of it. After all, that racial segregation is, very obviously the route that racists and those whose heroes are the Clint Eastwoods of this world follow.

        And while we are on the subject of political activity and activism, I suspect I’ve forgotten more than you’ll ever learn and done a damned sight more than any devotee of crony capitalism ever will.

        And let’s say, in the matter of “balls” that while I will grant that you probably have equipment of equine proportions I have always considered what is in one’s cranium as being more important than what hangs between one’s legs. But then, we obviously don’t agree on all of that!

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      Mr Poorten,

      Isn’t a A Sumane, writing in English alone an achiement that Bhurghur Scholars like you who ruled us rural poor peasants for centuries, should appreciate?.

      By the way as one your Mates Laksiri suggested our Srilankan Old Silver can still contribute something for the betterment of our inhabitants.

      May I suggest you take up English coaching of the poor young Lads and Lassies in Nanthikadal and Puddithiruruppu, like the good Briton Dr Arthur Clarke did in the South to help the poor.

  • 0
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    Emil;
    do not get drawn into exchangers with these guys. These people are the true believers and cannot be changed.

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      Tony Candappa:
      While I agree with you, they don’t deserve a free ride, either!

    • 0
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      Emil, You are wasting your time responding to these ‘dumbos’!!

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