20 June, 2024


Poor Sri Lanka: Rife With Hypocrisy, Lacking The Will To Succeed 

By Lasantha Pethiyagoda

Prof. Lasantha Pethiyagoda

Despite the attempted lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic, there seems to be no abatement of the endemic corruption which has been a curse in Sri Lankan society. Where self-interest has trumped over common good, it is no longer a matter of shame, to be accused of corrupt practices. Amidst the clamour and naked greed fuelling the run-up to elections and admonitions by community leaders to choose wisely, such people are held in awe, and rewarded with loyalty for their ingenuity in fooling the people.

Where are the virtues of humility, love and compassion? Noble values have been replaced with crass hypocrisy, haughtiness and contemptuous behaviour towards dissenting people. This is done deliberately, to promote an artificial image of valour and strength in the eyes of the public.

Allied ordinary officials, two-bit politicians with dreams of lucre, strut about in self-assumed importance. This hypocrisy is in turn affecting the youth, who are emulating their peers, and indulging in lies and chicanery, while showing off their impunity, racing in powerful vehicles bandying big names painted thereon.

The jealousy, resentment and competition, that these parasites trigger, leads people with meagre means, to steal, demand bribes and indulge in antisocial activities like drug peddling and smuggling to finance their flamboyant lifestyle while TV news periodically highlight a drug haul to keep people fooled.

Crimes like extortion, kidnapping and even murder are often perpetrated with impunity despite loud public lambasting of dignified high officials by the people’s chief with appropriate camera angles and voice cuts. It is the extreme depravity to which our moral values have degenerated, when we find people being killed on the roads by reckless drivers or murdered for small pecuniary gains. These statistics do not seem to improve despite powerful rhetoric.

Many of these acts are unpardonable in any religion, with or without compassion and loving kindness. Nevertheless, people with such moral depravity, cannot be said to be “unreligious” as they are constantly fed the noble teachings via TV, radio and numerous sermons in temples.

On the contrary, most of these people are religious in their routine rituals, like offering daily prayers or flowers from another’s garden, worshipping at temples, and even engaging in philanthropic activities, like giving charities or donations to religious bodies.

To the diligent observer, their religious behaviour is a facade to hide their evil deeds, in the mistaken belief of atoning for their criminal, or immoral activities. The more enterprising among them, use religion to promote their personal or political interests, regularly turning to address and “reassure” the yellow-robed participants adorning the front rows of political platforms.

The ordinary beleaguered citizen in Sri Lanka is by nature weak and incomplete, and hence seeks divine help to overcome their inherently weak state, not knowing that the very people they look up to are their real oppressors.

They thus embrace religion to follow a path of self- improvement, worship, and pay monetary offerings to custodians of sacred places in the hope of getting peace in life, and salvation after death. In a sense, religion is the love and fear of the unknown, exploited to the hilt by their promoters.

While its root is faith and home base is the conscience, unfortunately for people the moral values that are an integral part of any religion, are rapidly deteriorating, making us religious nominally and largely ineffectively.

Most ordinary Sri Lankans follow religious customs, as a matter of routine, a ritual, without imbibing or assimilating its virtues in their lives and turn to religion only as an antidote to difficulties or uncertainties in life, praying for exam success, overcoming ill-health, or other benefit.

Most mainstream citizens claim to be Buddhist – Sinhala and boast about the five precepts yet speak half-truths, or untruth, for the sake of winning an argument, a contract or an order. Thus a salesman or a politician, resorts to making tall promises, in the hope of bagging an order, or a crucial vote.

Egged on by the successes of farcical politics, industries make misleading advertisements, to catch and hold the attention of the target audience. It is another matter that their products belie the claim, just as in the vile politician. Worse still are dubious companies, selling spurious products, backed by political clout, making a quick buck, putting the lives of the innocent millions in peril.

These contradictions in the national culture, are being effectively exploited by politicians, to sow seeds of discord, leading to communal strife which enormously benefits the rogues.

Sri Lanka cannot wear religion on its sleeves, to be used only at will. We must be religious in the real sense of the word, to be happy, and at peace with ourselves. For that we need an environment that is conducive to good morals. Building it is not the oppressors’ objective. We must learn to see through the façade and develop collectively to defeat our oppressors.

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Latest comments

  • 7

    Thank you Prof for the lovely thoughts shared.

    • 2

      Another “Yahapalana” “Civil Society” idiot who thinks he is above all………..

  • 8

    “…. the yellow-robed participants adorning the front rows of political platforms.”

    and the politicians shamelessly adorning the front rows of the “platform of the yellow robes”

    they are both hand in glove in the destruction of the country in the name of the yellow robe

    • 1

      Buddhist monks have been the custodians of Sinhale. They played a role in protecting the country from ‘Para’ Demala, Portuguese, Dutch and British invaders, ‘Para’ Tamil separatists and ‘Para’ Wahabi Muslim extremists. That is the reason why they hate Buddhist monks and engage in a mud-slinging campaign.
      Buddhist monks never encouraged Sinhala Buddhists to wear suicide jackets and blow up unarmed innocent civilians. But some clergy from other religions have directly and indirectly supported terrorists who massacred thousands of innocent people. We know who they are. They are responsible for the destruction of this country, not Buddhist monks.

      “…they are both hand in glove in the destruction of the country in the name of the yellow robe.”

      • 4

        Eagle Eye “Buddhist monks never encouraged Sinhala Buddhists to wear suicide jackets and blow up unarmed innocent civilians”

        They encourage “Sinhala Buddhists” to throw children in to boiling hot tar and watch in fun
        or lock up the car with the kids and parents and set it on fire and watch the fun

        more entertaining to the “Sinhala Buddhists”than blowing with suicide vest and dying instantly!.
        These Sinhala Buddhist Monks knows better

  • 4

    please go on you tube and look at the plight of the Sri Lankan ladies tear gassed in Jordan when they protested in front of the Sri Lankan Embassy demanding the Sri Lankan government of President Gothabaya Rajapakse and the Prime Mister Mahinda Rajapakse to take them back home. . They are stranded in Jordan since March. No wages paid since March. they are living in the factory hostel. two meals a day provided. they cant go out.

    Does Gota and Mahinda need 2/3 rd majority to bring these destitute Sri Lankan ,women who collectively earn millions of FX, back home?

  • 2

    365 people were informed by the defense officials received Indian warning of 4/21. This includes all ministers, many MPs, Secretaries, VIP guards, ……. Did one of them write a note to CT or Lanka News or BBC or NYT of what they were hearing & why government was suppressing that warning? All those got the warning whole heatedly wanted the Muslims terrorist bomb the Tamil Churches. Now Aanduwa twisting that Tamil woman Pulasthini (Sara) had been placed inside the terrorists by India & it had worked with them. Is there one Sinhala man ready to ask government to release Pulasthini right now? They all want to make it appear that the Tamil girls, if the LTTE is not there, want to join ISIS. The truth is it was the government paid to the Muslim organization to convert the girl’s religion and force her to marry a terrorist.
    How Ranil who said he saved Old Royals & War crime Heroes, now says it is the one saved the minorities? How the 2018 coup victory turned out like this?
    Only solution for this is Tamils going alone. On the next day after Tamils left, if a yellow roped touches a child or a girl, the village people will beat him to death because there won’t be any Tamils for them to relief their frustration.

  • 3

    Thank You Professor for speaking out the real facts .

  • 2

    Lankan Politicians are full of hypocrisy and Rajapaksa are Mastered the art. Today ex Intel chief was arrested and Ratnapura SLPP MP was sentenced to death for a murder committed during last elections. This is nothing but an election stunt to show the public “this time we are different”. CT article says Shani is arrested so that Duminda and Sajin can be pardoned. This fellow who was sentenced,soon after election will be found innocent on appeal or in SC, or worse his sentence will be reduced and will be pardoned in future.Same GR released a court sentenced murderer exploiting the Covid Crisis.

  • 0

    Once upon a time, in a far far away land, in a small village in its huts a Baby Satan was sitting and reading its bible on the candle light. Does this story seems to be boring? lets go to another one:

    Hakeem wrote a book in political ethics-science and Thero de Silva was giving introductory speech for this book in Kandy. Many you call this is hypocrisy? Come on guys, non of us are great in English; let us learn English again. The truth there is no word to call this in English.

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