6 December, 2021


Rupee Crisis: Mahinda Cries, “Ehi Passiko” 

By Shyamon Jayasinghe

Shyamon Jayasinghe

“Stamp your foot and tell Mr Rupee: “No. You shall not go down!” Or, Like Jesus Christ addressing Lazarus, the dead man: ‘Rise and come forth.”

Ehi Passiko

“Ehi Passiko,” is a methodological statement in expressed in Pali and attributed to the Buddha. The sage asserted that his Dhamma must be experienced to to be proven. “Come and experience”(ehi passiko)! Former Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa has said the same about his solution to the currency crisis. Hand over back to me and you will experience the solution like seeing something currently unseeable, in broad daylight.

Seen the Video?

I am thoroughly amused watching a video doing the rounds on Facebook. It is issued with a caption in small lettering: “Sinha Lokaye Sinhaya” (The Lion in the World of Lions). The lion is none other than former tough man Mahinda Rajapaksa. He is fortified by a ring of advisors that includes the former Central Bank Chief, Nivard Cabraal. It is a media  conference in Colombo over the subject of the falling rupee. This is where MR, with his customary bluster, announced: “Give the government to us and you will see the solution.”The video doesn’t give the speech but it does show a hilariously classic cameo of the proceedings where  a media guy asks him if he could specify a broad  time- frame for solving the crisis as promised. 

The oral response and the body language of our dear old leader, Mahinda, shows up his vacuous mind when it comes to even basic economics and finance. When the question was posed, Mahinda’s face went into a pale blank. He showed he was clearly out of depth. Turning his back to his former loyal Nivard Cabraal, Mahinda didn’t even seem to have grasped Cabral’s laboured prompt. A long delay for comprehension would have left the audience gasping for breadth, laughing. Hence, Mahinda blurted out an irrelevant response: “All this rise is due to the present situation,” said he.

Mind you, I am not exaggerating, this is a performance of the former President who, embarrassingly, also held the portfolio of finance over his ten year rule as supremo of Sri Lanka. If Mahinda didn’t know the answer to the question raised he obviously wasn’t serious when he said he would fix the problem if only he was returned his power. Did Mahinda think that this is like fixing a leaking tap or, at higher lever, fixing the indiscipline in our universities. Give a firm decision! Stamp your foot and tell Mr Rupee: “No. You shall not go down!” Or, like Jesus Christ addressing Lazarus, the dead man, “Rise!”

Not Like Winning the War

Mahinda Rajapaksa never ever demonstrated any intellectual  prowess or studied policy analysis. To be fair by him, he didn’t think such skills as  matters for recognition. Mahinda rose to political power while he was basically a Chandiya in politics. He did have amazing luck twice: one, to be the Prime Minister under CBK. Two, to have the war with the LTTE finished during his time. Mahinda and brother Gota claim to have won that war single-handed from their seats in Colombo. However, the moot point is that that had been a ground battle requiring moment to moment lightening decision- making with regard to micro strategy. It was physical and dangerous. This being the reality in fighting ground, water, and air battle, the line of command can never come all the way from Colombo. That isn’t practical. The line of command is short and swift -shooting down from the commanders and majors-starting there and ending in a short line. Besides, the time had been internationally ripe to enable a victory. 

Gut Won’t Help

That is, however, a different story. I gave a brief reference to that in order to explain that the falling rupee cannot depend luck, on sheer bravado or on Chandi guts. It requires day to day study of the overall dimensions and dynamics of a crisis that is global in origins. It requires adjustments of domestic policy. It does demand hard domestic decisions, too, that would cause  pain to the people and that places the government’s own popularity at stake in an electorate which would never be able to access this knotty issue. What makes it all worse is that elections are not far away. Probably, Mahinda’s bluster is tuned to the nearness of elections. He is a great populist and he knows how to to duck  and to evade when things don’t turn out as promised.

Lankan Economy’s Structural Weakness

A complete difference is observed within the government ranks and particularly with its leader, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The contrast reflects something vitally different  about the quality  of these two key leaders of Sri Lanka. Two days ago, Ranil Wickremesinghe at a public meet in Nattandiya clarified the whole genesis of the currency turmoil in simple language for the Nattanadiya people.

The Prime Minister recognised one fundamental cause as being the weak structure of the Sri Lankan economy. This is has been the defining feature over many decades since independence.Sri Lankan economy is an import dependent one and a debt economy consequent to that. 

The result is that the balance of payment has been on deficit, occasionally relieved by foreign remittances. This adverse balance impacts on the rupee. The balance of payment is in deficit  due to repeated deficits on the Trade balance. Our trade balance is negative because of our severe import dependence. Nimal Sanderatne, commenting in his column on economics in the Sunday Times, states that over the last three years there has been “impressive growth in exports,” but that that increase has not been sufficient to swallow up the huge import bill that is growing.

The PM did point out how the government has been focussing intently in order to change that structure and build strong foundations. 

Developments in US

On the other hand, said the PM, what Sri Lanka now faces is the outcome of Donald Trump’s  new trade tariff polices with China. It is an all out trade war that is going on these days. Trump has imposed tariffs on imports from China after so many years when that great continent piggybacked on the US leniency in order to access US markets at cheap prices. China benefitted more by this and US industry suffered. Now, America is witnessing a kind of resurgence in its economy where domestic investment is on the rise and dollars are flowing in. The Americana dollar has gained in  strength. 

This means that other currencies, world over, have to compete with a rising dollar. The US economy being lucrative, capital funds are pulled out by investors from other countries and shifted to the US. This means a flow out from Stock Exchanges of small countries like Sri Lanka. Central Bank Governor in a special report gave the statistics of currency depreciation of comparable economies. Sri Lanka down 8.5 %; India down almost double that to 15.2%; Indonesia to 18%; even China down to 5%. This clearly reflects a trend due to global reasons and that reason is the Trump trade policy thus dismissing the claims of government critics that it was all due to financial mismanagement by the yahapalanaya government.

The PM pointed out that one solution was to raise interest rates in order to keep the island economy attractive for foreign investment. But that, he admits, would have other serious consequences within the domestic economy. The Prime Minister has discussed this whole issue studiedly with his  own team and before the peoples’ forums. “Trust me,” the PM assures.” I will navigate this problem successfully.” The crisis demands a navigation all right and that demands economic planning. Steps have already been taken to curb non-essential imports.

I would rather trust the Prime Minister’s assurance than wait for Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ehi passiko. Economics is Sri Lanka’s central problem and of all our leaders only the UNP and Ranil Wickremesinghe seems to be talking economics. Most other poltical leaders are more concerned with tribal issues.

How will Ehi Passiko Work?

How will Mahinda Rajapakse’s Ehi Passiko work? He wouldn’t tell us how he is going to sort this out if people go back to him  with the enthusiasm for experiencing the magic at work. The media interview, however, showed only too baldly that Mahinda was bluffing to return to power. Okay let’s try giving it over to him again. The outcome: we won’t get it back again in the foreseeable future. Hung Sen, the dictator in neighbouring Cambodia is there for three decades  but there aren’t any signs  he is going to relieve his people off his burden. Hung Sen’s  brothers and sisters and everybody close are in a tight ruling regime that would require God’s intervention to dislodge.

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Latest comments

  • 6

    Hung Sen , Chavez and Mugabe did not relieve the pain but were able to rule for years supported by the public who grabbed eagerly what ever rubbish they uttered, So Shyamon try telling this to our retarded Lankans. I am no fan of pervert Trump but I am happy at last China has met its nemesis in Trump.They were screwing around at will for all these years and now it looks like pay back time.The world may be in illusion about China,s super power status ,China passing US economy, and so forth.But right now the reality is the biggest market for Chinese goods is USA and not China.

    • 3

      Chiv and Simone, Lanka has been betrayed by all its corrupt politicians – the worst being Bondscam Ranil and his buddy MR.
      There is not FDI going to Lanka because no investor with brains would invest in a country where the Central Bank, the most important financial institution of a country, was scammed by the PM, and the rupee is crashing due to Debt .
      Ranil is a market fundamentalist and following Fake Advice and outdated Economic models of and for deregulation and liberalization sold to him by US Govt’s Neo Con Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and IMF.
      MCC wrote Bondscam Ranil’s Vision 2025, and has been developing a Fake Aid “Compact” for Sri Lanka for the past 3.5 years with promises of Fake aid!
      Back in 2015 MCC promised Bondscam Ranil $ 1.1 billion grant but now it is down to 480 million, as half has been spent on US Consultants and companies doing “research” to develop the Compact!
      MCC with its Singapore and Aussi (Pacific Partners) wants Mutturajawella lands and SL Railway lands to build roads and speed trains to nowhere to support US security agenda in Lanka against China with A. Mahendran in Singapore and Mangala Yapa of Fake Agency for development being their point men
      MCC claims it wants to build more roads although Lanka has the highest road density in South Asian, and is also using Singapore FTA to get land cheap.
      MCC head honcho was in Colombo to see let rupee crash– See the pics with to Lanka’s Hair dresser finance minister and then saw Sira in NYC. MCC also got Bondscam Ranil to set up the Economic Subcommittee to undermine the Cabinet as well as Mangala Yapa’s MCC funded Agency for Development capture Economic Policy Making and Policy Space of Lanka and undermine national over site institutions, since US has not got deep pockets like China to fund corrupt Lankan politicians!

    • 0

      Mahinda is an “economic wizard” to the “21st century stone age” fully grown Lankan adult gullible. ……. Ranil is only marginally better

      The US fed is increasing the interest rate (4 times this year) and reducing it’s balance-sheet (stop buying and slowly selling off the toxic crap it bought during the sub-prime crisis to keep the banking system solvent.) In other words tightening the monetary policy (winding back quantitative easing.)

      Countries borrow short-term from where the interest rate is low (for example Japan) and lend long-term in countries the interest rate is higher.

      Now the US interest rate is going up the money is flowing back into the US.

      It’s not Lanka alone that is having trouble with a higher US $ but many other countries around the world.

      Because the higher US interest rate means higher demand for US$s. So the price of US$ goes up

      Try explaining that to the Lankan voters!

      In Lisbon ……. next visit Dayan in Moscow

    • 1

      This should be a sorry state.

      The kind of former goons who looted it to core are given to make public statments on the economy.
      Today s situaton – just allow thelooters to add what they think is right – should be the joke of the day actually.

      Nowhere in the world, any govt would allow HIGH profile criminals to add their thoughts contracdictory to their performances.

      We know how this bugger ran the economy to all depths by the time he was goo defeated by 6.2 millions of voter eligiles in this country.

      Derana makes the kind of voice cuts as their headlines..

      People are being fooled by the kind of news. Better to put these bugger in a cell and bombed down so that we are not compelled to hear from .. can POSSIBLY heal our wounds.

    • 0

      Shyamon Jayasinghe

      Rupee Crisis: Mahinda Cries, “Ehi Passiko” ,


      Or is it, Mahinda, Crisis and Cries, “Ehi Passiko” or “Mage Passo”?

    • 0

      Chiv, Trump cares ONLY for his people, and rightly so. If you analyze the trade imbalances between the U.S. and China, as well as with Canada and Mexico, you will see this is true. China has been living like Genghis Khan, from Tibet, some African maritime nations. They forcefully entered international waters and built a large harbour and airport for military use. During Obama’s term, the only time the USAF tried to fly over them, they were warned off by the Chinese saying, “Get out. This is Chinese territory.”. Last week, the USAF flew a flight of B 51s right over them. Not a hum from China. But of course, these steps has to lead to a serious confrontation, sooner or later.

  • 3

    Thanks for the commentary Shimon.

    But without a finance minister who knows how much 2+2 adds up to, the country’s economy cannot be managed.

    This ‘bugger’ (in more sense than one) OurMangala is a clothes designer and he wouldn’t know a US dollar from a Burindi franc.

    He is in the position because of his leader’s love and other kollos’ love. Tell your Hamu to stop taking him in and kick him out if he wants to save the bloody country.

    • 1

      So you reckon the Finance Dude is a Clothes Designer….
      My Elders tell me Dr Ranil is a Lawyer..

      Both must have got into this Economics as a hobby.
      Because obviously it doesn’t look like their forte..

      If they want a hobby . both should seriously think of taking up Stone Masonry.
      Apparently there was a clever PM in Shaymon’s Land who did Carpentry as a hobby, although he has done some marvelous things in their Economy….

      Wonder whether Shaymon knows him?…..

      • 2

        KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

        ” So you reckon the Finance Dude is a Clothes Designer….”

        If a failed actor,
        so called former human rights campaigner (who supported terrorists in Geneva and invited third party mediation in the late 1980s),
        a mass killer,
        a crook, ………………
        could be elected as
        and appointed himself as commander in chief,
        Minister of Defence and Urban Development,
        Minister of Finance and Planning,
        Minister of Law and Order, Minister of Highways,
        Ports and Shipping,
        and occupied various ministerial portfolios such as
        Minister of Labour,
        Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources,
        Leader of the Opposition,
        Prime Minister, ………………………………..
        why not a Clothes Designer serving as Finance Dude?

        Do you keep in touch with your distant cousin Dr Shashi Tharoor an internationally renowned diplomat/author a Malayali? Did your son meet him when he was in Kerala?

        • 1

          “why not a Clothes Designer serving as Finance Dude?”

          You bloody idiot, can’t you see what he is doing to the economy. He is destroying it and the rupee.

          Are you also a cock-a-doodle-do like him? Get together then. He will love it.

          • 0

            You BLOODDY IDIOT, when the M R Hyena and his JARAPASSA Family looting the Our poor people and Country’s Economy Where WERE YOU IDIOT.

  • 3

    Man Chiv you said it well. Walmart alone imports over USD 180 Billion per annum from China. That figure is equal to the GDP of several countries. The entire US figure is over USD 500B that’s halfer trillion but China buys only USD 185B. By this way over the years China has stolen the Americans jobs and wealth. Now Trump is sqeezing their balls, and China is in the rough waters. Yes, Trump got hold of good experts and did a thorough study of US, China trade. They said, no choice for China, no one else in the world has the capacity for the two things US provides them – Markets for their goods and food for their people. No country has such a big market for the Chinese and no other country has the capacity to supply the soya beans the Chinese needs for their food. They recommended to Trump to strike hard that US has the upper hands, and definitely Chinese would buckle up for these two things are absolutely essential for their economy to survive. The American people are supporting this plus it has the full support of both of the US congress. So all in the world are facing the music. Countries like Malaysia going to feel the pinch, they export nearly USD 50B worth of computer chips for all the products the Chinese make. When they impose duties the sales volume would be down, due higher prices so these people are highly worried what’s going to come out of this trade war.

    • 4

      Thanks for sensible comments. I am not a Trump fan, but happy that he has guts to squeeze the balls of china and castrate them. China is now beginning to feel the heat. Trump’s “trade bullyism” will bleed China to death perhaps.

      Once they have lost their biggest export markets, how are they going to survive? Trump should teach these “pig eating savages” an unforgettable lesson.

      China can bribe and subjugate third world countries destroyed by commission hunting dictators like MaRa, GoTa, and Gon Sira, but they look like “Hik Meeyas” when confronted with mighty US.

  • 4

    Nagananda Kodithuwakku said “Mahinda Rajapaksha is a good Actor and lokuma ravatilikaraya” at Derana 360 Political program. That is true. He can make omelettes even without eggs. May be he never expected that line of question. That is why he was speechless for some time. Actually he knows nothing about current affairs. He shows it very clearly. Then Google Mudiyanselage Pachawansa and another crook Gembanpila came to rescue him. As usual Pachawansa asked the connection between Rupee devaluation and journalists abduction. Then “Agga Mahaaaa…..Panditha, who knows everything (Siyalla Dath)” Gembanpila asked the Journo what he ate on 08th January. As usual “Appachchi” asked the Journo which media he represents. I do not know how many byya’s realized about his knowledge in the current economic affairs and if he is planning to govern the Country this way General public will have to say “Nanasara Saranai” only.

  • 3

    Okay Shyaman or whoever with good hearing could you please tell me what is the
    reporter’s question..tell me word to word would you please?

  • 3

    The question as in Sinhala caption says “what is the status of the Ruppee in comparison to the dollar”. So Shyaman the intellectual you are wrong wrong wrong in saying:

    “The video doesn’t give the speech but it does show a hilariously classic cameo of the proceedings where a media guy asks him if he could specify a broad time- frame for solving the crisis as promised. “

    The reporter definitely does not ask that according to the Sinhala caption. And if you can hear better than me please do tell me what was asked, rather than tire your little head trying to bring down Mahinda.

  • 3

    Thanks Shaymon for correctly characterizing who Mahinda R. is.
    “Mahinda Rajapaksa never ever demonstrated any intellectual prowess or studied policy analysis”.

    But MaRa has an uncanny prowess for negotiating mega commission deals with China, savage like voluptuousness for women, and enticing mentally retarded “Sinhala Buddhists” to vote him. MaRa does not need education or discipline to prove them. He is born with those skills and capabilities.

  • 0

    Sri lanka will never grow up as a respectable country until these Hyenas who live on party politics write for peanuts but nit tell the truth and the holy truth. Zimbabwe was develoepd than Sri lanka until Mugabe begame became anti western. He had Human Antrhax and his currency was not worth even the toilet paper. Now, some one restructured it, IT is Running it. It is the same fate twith Chillie. and Nicaragua, Libya etc., Out countries problem is all Rajapakses, Ranil and Mangala, CBK clan, now Pretestant president Maithripala all ready to bednd and sel Sri lanka to get some money. So, pretty soon Sri lanka will be GREECE and We will have AUTERITY measures and people will be bank queues to withdraw the useless rupee buy some imported rice and coconut or cheap bread.

  • 1

    From 8.6 % Economic Growth post Nanthikdal , Dr Ranil pulled it down to 3.6 %…
    What a pathetic defense of Ranilnomics?.
    Or should I say RanilComics..

    One of the largest and with the best Pasture Lands and exporters of one of the most sought after commodities Beef ,.Didn’t Argentina have a proper Economic Structure?.

    Robbing, Borrowing Stopping Infrastructure Allowing Santhosams for the Politicians and increasing the Public Debt without investing in any Income producing assets , Dr Ranil F****Up Big time.

    Borrowing from the West to pay the Chinese added 2 or perhaps 3 Billion USD to the already stretched Loan Book…….

    One can can buy a drinkable bottle of Red even with the Weekly Pension.in Shaymon’s Land.
    Like to see how Shaymoms Yahapalana mates in Colombothurai are going to feel , when Dr Ranil cuts USD 1 Billion worth of their imports, as Dr Ranil said yesterday in Nathannadiya.

    Wonder whether any UNP Elite, Anglicans and Vellalas live there…
    Mahinda Lazarus Rajapaksa sound real ,according to Dr Jehan another Yahapalana Guru in Colombo…

  • 0

    I like the reference to Lazarus.Great writing

  • 1

    Old King is doing much better in his DSc Economical Science than Shyamon. All what Shyamon trying to do is repeating Ranil’s sermon. But that is exactly a blind repeating another blind’s instruction on map how to go somewhere. Ranil is on the seat for 40 years. From 1948 the Dollar exchange had been a problem when the National Fool Don Stephen played with tea and rubber exports. Idiot could not sell the tea on the London Auction. Even after that the trading account balance was extremely favorable to Lankawe until 1950s. The Sirimavo noticed that disadvantage and she fixed it with Nationalization of the British tea companies. That is it. It was fixed forever. After Sirimavo’s magnificent fixing, Treasury started to have problem of meeting payments. In the 1970s the famous cartoons of Colombo Media is NM flying country to country with his begging bowl.
    Ranil and Shyamon are writing a new Mahawamsa on economics. Now, Shyamon claims Ranil has solved the problem. Is that what the little Finance minister Harsha de Silva said? He said he has no idea until when the dollar will fall, but he was sure it has not reached the bottom, yet. First Shyamon has to understand something about the market and should be humble enough to accept it. Outside has better understanding of Currency market than Lankawe Modayas. If Ranil has put a fix, the problem is over. In that case Rupee going to pick right away and going to keep growing. The Traders will buy and stock the rupee for investment purpose and that will even accelerate the growth. Is Shyamon having gut to bravely say that rupee is going to bounce back in tomorrow market? No, because Shyamon is not any less fraud campaigner than Old King, though much less in Economics DSc comparing to Old King. Weather it was fixed or floating, Lankawe rupee has been weakening from 1948. Period!

  • 1

    Does Ranil know this or not? Then why is it now only that crook has secretly told in Shyamons’ ears that he has put a fix. Come on Ranil! You cunning blaming Old Royal’s period for Rupee’s current fate, but you put fix to that problem only after hearing it from Shyamon, this week? Shouldn’t you have done that on January 10, 2015 if it were a problem created by Old Royals? Why did you wait until today? Poor Shyamon is not able to understand that there is no difference between you put a fix today and waiting for it to work and Old King is waiting to you leave the office so he put the fix.”
    The other funniest comedy is Old Fraud is asking for Media presentation to hand him the government over. That is basically the PM position. Karumam ! Here we go again! He has been asked to accept the Slap Party leadership. He told he has nothing to do with it, but GLP was operating something renting a part of his office. People wanted him to take over UPFA leadership, SLFP leadership, Opposition Party Leadership and PM position. He declined for everything. Especially, when Ranil was about to be impeached, he got nervous that somebody may ask him to take over the job, so he made a special call to TTH and pleaded Ranil not to resign in any case. Now it is being concluded that in any case he can summit election papers to commissioner and stand in election for EP and win, irrelevant of if 19A is valid or not. Now he wants the government only to fix the Rupee exchange rate and give it back to Ranil?

  • 1

    Shyamon has all the time in the world to write eloquently about the political crooks in the land of his birth from the comfort of his adopted homeland. While on joker tells us we are victims of circumstances another tells us that the government is following wrong policies and has the audacity to equate himself to Trump. Men may come and men may go but we go on suffering from bad to worse. Every joker talks about the value of the currency, which is very much linked to the balance of trade. No point asking the political crooks here to produce yearly statistics on that for the past twenty years. They lure our vote to make hay while the sun shines.

  • 0

    Don Stanley, I fully stand by you. If facts are true then RW too is dishonest (anyway I do not expect any decency from any of the current politicians except Sajith that too only because I am not aware of all facts) .I am not into partisan politics. It is all about people and country. Where ever I had lived my life this the way I tend to assess leaders.Only a decent politician (not even good) can be of any worth to discuss. I hold the same standards, what people expect from me as in my profession. People when they visit a physician are not just trusting but expecting the best care for them or their family. They do not settle for any thing less. Is it wrong to expect the same from politicians (so called leaders????)

  • 3

    With referance to MR……The following is a textbook definition of crony capitalism:- “Crony capitalism is an economy in which businesses thrive not as a result of risk, but rather as a return on money amassed through a nexus between a business class and the political class. This is done using state power to crush genuine competition in handing out permits, government grants, special tax breaks, or other forms of state intervention”

  • 4

    Shyamon you have pulled down Mahinda Rajapakse’s shorts. We can see his b.lls

  • 3

    “Cheating is a well known profession for Mahinda Rajapakse”. He Pretended as human rights activists until he comes to power and we know the human rights under his power. During the last election in the North he spoke in Tamil by reading what was written in Sinhala in order to cheat Tamil speakers. We know during the final stages of war he said his soldiers carried human rights bible in one hand and gun on the hand to massacre thousands of innocent civilians.

  • 1

    You got it right, Shyamon. Mahinda has a Chandiya mindset. So Gothabaya and even the younger Namal. You see this feature in their public life. Brawn – no brains. That is the Medamulana Mafia. If the brain-dead Sri Lankans want this, they will have this.
    The country will be another Zimbabwe, Venezuela. Till now the Tamils, in the main,
    ran out to save their lives. Next will be the Sinhalese. It already began a few years ago.


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