Colombo Telegraph

Political Comics And The Sri Lankan Voter!

By Harishchandra Lokumanna

Harishchandra Lokumanna

‘The political and commercial morals of the United States are not merely food for laughter, they are an entire banquet’Mark Twain in Eruption

Politics, they say is not for the faint of heart or those whose feelings are easily hurt. Politics is also not for those who feel a sense of shame or guilt. It is for those business minded who wants to reap returns even on Zero investment, irrespective of how awfully they are being perceived in public. That’s why the more seasoned political practitioners get their entire family involved in politics and even pass their ‘MP mantle’ to their next generation. We’ll never get rid of these types of comics and bullies in politics — they’re as enduring as an Ottawa winter.

In Sinhala, we call it ‘Illan Parippu Keyma’, which basically is like saying to a person ‘You asked for it’ when he gets hammered because of his own actions. This is exactly what happened to our ‘Good’ Excellency Rajapaksa who, like he did in 2010, called for an early election expecting a cake walk; but after doing so, finding his own throne shaking at its’ base. There is a very strong possibility that the throne will topple on 8th January when the people of Sri Lanka go to polls.

There are noises of desperation emerging from his royal camp. Rajapaksa is talking about giving up his throne peacefully if he loses. But His Excellency is very unlikely to let go the ‘files’ of his colleagues because his is a ‘Benevolent Dictator’ (lol). Beware! Your slip of the tongue cannot be retracted even by engaging an elephant. His heir to the throne Namal mentions about   having Mattala if Katunayake is closed after the victory (to flee!). There is contradiction all around. When Rajapaksa was saying that he should get the patent for Maithri’s Manifesto as most of his budget proposals were incorporated in that document, his party Secretary Anura P. Yapa , thunders that Maithri’s Manifesto does not have any constructive matter in it and not relevant to these times. There was also BBS (mouthpiece of Gotabaya R. and his operational arm) going into hibernation and the firebrand rogue monk Gnanasara has vanished into thin air, and heard hallucinating about his disastrous Hyde Park fiasco.

Muthuhettigama was busy showing his true colours by getting his goons to set fire to opposition propaganda stage and when those some goons were arrested, set out to saving them from Police custody

What a surprise! (was it!) Gammampila who joined Maithri,after being involved in the drafting of the JHU- Maithri MOU Agreement, suddenly thought it fit to desert his own ship and join MR’s Sinking ship on a ‘matter of principle’. No one knows what that matter of principle was . Perhaps, he will plan out another ‘Rs 100’ collection campaign to survive after the election. Meanwhile Tissa Attanayake says even his mother agreed with his decision to defect. Which mother will not be happy when her son wins a windfall and gets so much money when she very well knows that he is not worth even a fraction of it?. Again, what a Pity for Rajapaksa when he saw Amir Ali of ACMC who was offered the seat vacated by the Parliament Comedian Azwer, joining the Joint Opposition candidate Maithri ! With many defections, Rajapaksa’s 2/3rd majority has now vanished .

Meanwhile, the ‘SB Dissanayake / Bandula’-the Stupid Duo in charge of the Education of our younger generation, is keeping the nation well entertained with their sexist and vulgar jokes and adding more votes to their Master. SB was having dreams of seeing CBK being dragged on the streets stripped naked while Bandula made a broadcast about the same time, making a speech heavy with sexual innuendo.

Recently, Some Deputy Ministers have been at their best. Muthuhettigama was busy showing his true colours by getting his goons to set fire to opposition propaganda stage and when those some goons were arrested, set out to saving them from Police custody. Meanwhile, the Office in Charge of Wanduramba Police resigned his post to lodge his protest against these type of petty politicians . How about another Deputy Minister from the East Amaraweera, appealing to the wise voters to support MR as MR’s team has already amassed enough wealth to their hearts content and therefore on their next stint, there is less likelihood of them going for more ill-gotten money. Adding to this comic saga, our Exemplary Mayor of Hambantota Eraj Fernando of ‘Toy Pistol Infame’ was back in the news; this time attacking the Veediye Virodaya street drama group.

We did not hear the famous antics of Mervin Silva and his entourage much. Our Macho of Kelaniya recently resigned as the Party Organizer on his Master’s orders. When asked about rumours about joining Maithri, true to his form, he gave a raw unadulterated dose of filth to the Press. People of Sri Lanka must thank Rajapaksa for keeping this Court Jester to entertain them from time to time with sexist jokes in recent times. What a role model he is! Perhaps, after January 8th, he may go overseas in search of his Love Navi Pillay to take her hand in marriage or he may even stay back to float a security firm to look after estates and tie the trespassers to trees!

Lot of dramas on stage and comic characters on the prowl in Sri Lanka during this run-up to the elections! People of Sri Lanka are wondering how to shield their young ones from these type of psychopaths and characters verging on insanity. But do these politicians possess a sense of shame or feel guilt? Shame is a painful feeling arising from one’s awareness of dishonourable, disgraceful or ridiculous behaviour in the presence of others. It denotes awareness that others ridicule or disapprove of one’s behaviour. It differs from guilt which is a feeling of not having measured up to an internal standard. You don’t need the disapproval of others to feel guilt. In a country where those at the helm of affairs neither act in an exemplary manner nor want to discipline or reign in such nasty characters among their circle of goons, how can we expect a disciplinary and orderly society to emerge?

Why do so many politicians who smile in their posters and when an election is round the corner, have a bad reputation thereafter when in power? One reason certain is the election process itself. A life in politics is not an occupation for social introverts or those with not much money to invest in the electioneering process. Candidates for political office are often very ambitious and greedy by nature, and with ambition can come a level of moral and ethical flexibility. Some bad reputations develop because the politician has already had to compromise any number of personal beliefs in order to gain votes or popularity. There is also the adage that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. They come in touch with many opportunities to earn easy money and not all can resist corrupt deals. Further, they are also constantly been approached by lobbyists, special interest groups and influential businessmen who all want them to provide favours, many of them promising generous cuts and return favours at election times. This is what we see these days.

How can our kids learn to be respectful to each other when at the very top of the tree in Temple Trees or Diyawanna Oya, people treat each other like wild animals and outside they behave in the worst forms possible? There is general agreement that the increasingly crude, juvenile, disrespectful and overly combative behaviour of many politicians from top to bottom, degrades the parliamentary process, creates an inappropriate behavioural model for our youth and causes ridicule towards our country, even in the eyes of outside world.

Parliamentarians generally seem to be badly behavedBut, should it remain so and are we completely helpless or can something be done? I believe that we initiate and expect a constructive change after the January 8th Vote, if only we follow it through with those who will occupy the top seats.

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