1 October, 2020

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Rosy Is A Woman Of All Sorts

By Balan Moses

Balan Moses

Rosy Senanayake,  former beauty queen and Colombo’s senior-most diplomat in Kuala Lumpur, breezed into town last week wearing the hat of someone seen by many as an up-and-coming Sri Lankan politician and the country’s most visible and vocal women’s activist.

The former Miss Sri Lanka and Mrs World, who was high commissioner in Malaysia for a little over a year before an unceremonious recall in 2004 following a change of government back home, was back in her old hunting grounds to further the cause closest to her heart today — women’s rights.

I managed to catch up with her yesterday, a day before she flew off to Colombo, to exchange notes on how the past nine years have treated her and the change in circumstances from diplomat to member of parliament for Colombo and senior United National Party (UNP) leader.

(We are joined by second daughter, Thisakya, who flew into Kuala Lumpur with her mother to requaint herself with the city that she first came to know nearly a decade ago.)

Rosy Senanayake

The long and the short of it is that the personable Senanayake, still packing the charm and grace that made her the belle of Kuala Lumpur’s diplomatic balls nearly a decade ago, has been talking about the Malaysian success story when she has not been pursuing the rights of “those who are sometimes seen as the second-class citizens of Sri Lanka (women)”.

“I came back to being a political and social activist. The transition from diplomacy not being very difficult to accept. Today, I am in the thick of advocacy for women’s rights in Sri Lanka,” says the outspoken first-time MP, who was part of the Sri Lankan delegation at the Women Delivers Conference which ended last Thursday.

Senanayake, in the opposition ranks where she plays a key role in the UNP led by Ranil Wickremesinghe, who sent her as a political appointee envoy to Malaysia almost a decade ago, is very much a new breed of Sri Lankan politician willing to work as much as possible with widely-popular President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government for the people.

“I do not like to wash dirty linen while abroad,” she says to my question about relations between her and Rajapakse’s Sri Lankan Freedom Party (SLFP), her statement very much underlining her policy that she is Sri Lankan first and last outside the island’s shores with party lines obscured when away from the nation.

That she is here in a parliamentary delegation led by Sri Lanka’s Minister of Child Development and Women’s Affairs Tissa Karaliyadda with two MPs from the ruling government and another opposition MP is proof of her willingness to assist efforts to help uplift Sri Lankan women at large.

But she cannot help but state with diplomatic tact that “if we were in the government, we would do things very differently and that it is time for the UNP to take over and usher in economic development”.

The mother of three adult children responds with a smile to my comment that the person in charge of women’s affairs in Sri Lanka is a man (there are only eight women MPs in government ranks and five in the opposition.) She does her bit through her daytime television program Eliya and Tales With Rosy on MTV where she champions the cause of women and children to profound effect.

Senanyake is unable to shake off her brief but momentous association with Malaysia as high commissioner; this time around honing in on Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s “Permata Negara” early childcare and education programme as a possible project for Sri Lanka.

“I met Rosmah at a dinner at her residence. I would love to emulate her ‘Permata Negara’ programme back home,” says the 55-year-old, who admires the prime minister’s wife’s initiative to take up the cause of children despite her duties as spouse of the leader of the nation.

The former goodwill ambassador for the United Nation’s Population Fund is also a relentless campaigner for greater Malaysian investment in Sri Lanka as “I feel that there is so much more Malaysia can do in Sri Lanka” (Malaysia is the largest investor in the nation).

In this respect, her links with Malaysia’s special envoy to South Asia Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu (“a good friend with whom I spoke a few days ago”) will hold her in good stead as she tries to woo Malaysian investors to the island nation.

Senanayake is uniquely equipped for the task (despite being on the wrong side of the political divide back home), given her exposure to Malaysia, its leaders and its political, social and financial architecture. We can rest assured that the quintessential Sri Lankan woman politician/activist will be back in town soon to resume her love affair with Malaysia and reap dividends for both nations.

Courtesy New Straits Times

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Latest comments

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    All Sri Lankans, especially Sri Lankan Women should be proud of Rosy.

    It does not matter what party, race or religion, we all see hare as Sri Lankan.

    She should educate some of the Buddhist Women, and Upasaka Ammas misled by the racist Monks of BBS and their racist political supporters.

    Besides, she is mother of three children, and is role model for Sri Lankan Women.

    She should give here helping hand to uplift of Muslim women in Sri Lanka, as well, who are subjected to internal misguided religion base discrimination, and external racism based discrimination.

    She also should bring attention to the violence against women especially the rapes.

    • 0
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      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

      • 0
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        What did I write wrong ?

        You people are very biased.

    • 0
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      Rosy should be made head of the UNP and eventually Prime Minister of Sri Lanka once Chandrika Kumaratunge has won the next Presidential Elections.

      Two women in the most power full posts would be very good for cleaning up the rotton to the core political culture that has reached monstrous proportions of putrification with the Rajapassa cabinet of corrupt clowns abetted my the corrupt and depraved UNP dictators Ranil Wickramasinghe..

      • 0
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        Dodo you poor soul. I think you are already dead as a Dodo. Have you taken you medicines today dear. If so, dont trouble your aching head anymore. Try catching some sleep and your hallucinations will go away soon. And when you wake up youll find Rosy as PM and Chandrika as President of the country.

        • 0
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          Dude, I agree Chandrika is no saint, but Sri Lanka needs people like her and Rosy to get rid of Hitlerpaksha & Brothers and not forgetting RANILpaksha!

  • 0
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    I have had the pleasure of meeting Mrs Senanayake and I was expecting a clueless ex-beauty Queen and was surprised to talk with a well spoken, accomplished and knowledgeable politician. A very very rare breed in Sri Lanka. Hopefully, some day soon she will have the opportunity to put her multiple talents to good use for Sri Lanka’s benefit.

    Oops I almost forgot…Ranil Wickremesinghe leads the UNP. SO then what does one do? Form a new party with similar minded, competent technocrats and honest citizens of Sri Lanka. We are in 21st century. When political leaders believe the astrologer to dictate their decisions, you have to be intelligent enough to run….away!

  • 0
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    We are sorry, the comment language is English – CT

    • 0
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      Is there a Sinhala-English or Tamil-English Language Translator available?

      There are other language translators available in other languages.

      Just Google and find if there is any.

  • 0
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    The writer seems to be blown over by Rosys “charm and grace”. Poor soul. I dont blame him for his youthful hallucinations, but his praise is wasted on somebody who has nothing to show by way of achievement in bettering the lives of women and underpriviledged children, who she claims she stands for. “I came back to being a political and social activist”. she says. There lies the problem. Nobody trusts political activists who are also social activists these days. As a politician, being in the opposition, what has she done so far to condemn the various abuses of basic human rights taking place in the country at every level almost every day. You may wow audiences at overseas conferences with empty words and charming looks but positive action is the need of the moment. In my opinion stalwarts like Tissaranee Gunesekera, Sagarica Rajakarunanayaka, Frederica Jansz, Sunila Abeysekera, Raisa Wickremasinghe and plenty more are doing a far greater service by risking themselves and exposing the gross violations of individual freedom and human rights abuses without fear of personal or political disadvantage. They are true social activists who will not let their political affiliations or ambitions to compromise their main aim which is basic human rights.

  • 0
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    Oh Moses!! Oh Jesus!!!!

    Balan has chosen to write on Rosie, the only
    Rosie of Sri Lanka.

    Rosie’s charm and grace has made her the mascot
    of the United National Party. They should now
    forget the elephant and make her the symbol.

    Most men would vote for her. Won’t you Tissa
    Attanayake

  • 0
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    CT is run by Tamil/Christians and the writer is Tamil-Christian and he is promoting a Sinhala – BORN AGAIN Christian.

    • 0
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      Softly you can get an ECT and correct your delusion

    • 0
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      JimSofty;
      You are jealous and you wants to blast your anger.
      try to wrie some garfity on walls and beware of your boss’s [GOTHA] goones.they will abduct you as a JVP er.
      so calm down or if you can’t,
      jump in to a running train ,
      CHAPTER CLOSE poor soul.

  • 0
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    Jesus Christ!

    [Edited out] skin deep is not beauty nor useless conspirators in the party can contribute anything for the party. Rosy is gone man! She is as good as dead! Save your hand over this worthless package!

  • 0
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    Rosy Is A Woman Of All Sorts? So is Ranil!

    • 0
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      But isnt Ranil a Man, you dumbo?

  • 0
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    One thing is certain, the former Mrs World and Lady diplomat is corruption free. I may have guessed correct seeing her still in the Opposition instead of hastily crossing over and getting treated to a Cabinet position on Women’s Affairs or at least White Sugarcane Development and Golden Syrup Promotion among other such lucky UNPers who are doing yeoman service to the country while their files are in benign hibernation doing them no harm ,for the time being at least.

    • 0
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      She is not corruption free. Did you live in Sri Lanka in the early 90s?

      • 0
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        She is corruption free. If you have any just ad proofs please

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