1 June, 2023


Season Of Exaggeration

By Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

It is par for the course. Election time is about making mountains out of molehills when it comes to one’s legitimate brags and the errors of one’s opponents. ‘Mega Deals’ was a term that had currency during the run up to the last Presidential Election. The claims were of such magnitude that people expected the wrongdoers to be tried and punished by the dozens. And fast. Lots of complaints, some arrests, but it all adds up to much talk and little action.

True, there’s a thing called due process. You can’t pick people off the streets just like that and put them behind bars, especially not when ‘respect for proper procedure’ was mouthed as though it was a prayer by the Lords and Ladies of Good Governance. Tellingly, though, there is very little talk of ‘Mega Deals’ this time around, just seven months after the Presidential Election.

Exaggeration, though, has not lost currency. The ali-koti (elephant-tiger) slogan has been brushed of dust and is tossed around, but with far less conviction. The ‘Mega Deals’ charge has been countered by a Mega Mega Deal charge referring to the Central Bank bond scam whose stink seems to grow in proportion to the effort expended by the UNP to keep it under wraps. Claims about victory and margins of victory are naturally exaggerated and apart from the party diehards not too many people are paying attention to these.

RanilAll this is expected. Elections see ideas being marketed as plans, plans made out to be grand schemes, and grand schemes tossed around as magical strategies that will create heaven on earth.

Take for instance Harsha de Silva’s ‘Mother of all Revelations’ prediction that a future UNFGG (United National Front for Good Governance) will achieve an export revenue of US$ 50 billion by 2050.

First of all, let’s just consider the numbers. Sri Lanka’s total export revenue in 2014 was around US$11 billion. The former government targeted US$20 billion by 2020. The thing about prediction is that you can say any old thing and get away with it. US$50 billion 35 years from now can certainly be entertained because the annual growth required to achieve this, even going by the increments envisaged by the previous government, is within the realms of the possible. And yet, De Silva says ‘we are thinking big’. Nothing wrong in that, considering that Ranil Wickremesinghe plans to turn the entire Western Province into a Mega City (yes, that word again).

The question is one of time. We are talking of 35 years. That’s longer than Sri Lanka’s struggle to defeat terrorism. If, as Ranil says, only the UNFGG can deliver on the economic front, then this means that Harsha’s party will have to be in power until 2050. Confidence is not necessarily a bad thing, but this is ridiculous. Simply put, achieving targets is not only about a particular party being in power. There are things called ‘externalities’, Harsha should know. There are imponderables. There are cycles of recession. There can be wars. There is resource depletion.

Now Harsha De Silva has some credentials. He’s got a doctorate. More importantly he has not been touched by even the shadow of scandal in the way his boss and his (the boss’) handpicked men have been. Academic and integrity credentials aside, Harsha is known for his outrageous claims. He had this habit of predicting imminent collapse of the economy every three months or so. Didn’t happen. Now he says that numbers were cooked but still comes up with ‘corrected’ figures that indicate growth rates that are decent and certainly not such that call for ‘grave concern’. This is why this ‘we know how things will be in 2050’ is hilarious.

If the ‘experts’ can be so frivolous what of their less-knowledgable political brethren? Mind you, this is not just about the UNFGG. The manifestos of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) are as littered with exaggerated claims and impossible-to-deliver promises as any that we’ve seen since Independence.

There’s an easier way for politicians and parties, a way-out that will spare the voter the drudgery of assessing truth of claim and merit of plan. All that needs to be done is to say ‘we promise the sun, moon, stars and grant every citizen any three wishes each’. Would save a lot of paper and of course a lot of trees.

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Latest comments

  • 8

    OK, Malinda [Edited out]. You seem to have accepted there is no chance Robber Baron Rajapakse can taste power ever again. That’s a plus. But then you seem to think there is no point in electioneering. Because all politicians exaggerate, causing huge loss of time and effort analyzing nonsense. You seem to suggest politicians should cease electioneering. May be you are hoping that MaRa’s brainwashing of the last 10 years will still hold good for the August election?

    No worries though, as no politician is going to listen to you. You are yesterdays grass no politician will eat.

    [Edited out]

    • 5

      Malinda Seneviratne , Mahinda Rajapaksa Shill and white Washer

      RE: Season Of Exaggeration

      Do you mean to say that Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Labu Balls are not as large as claimed to be and it is exaggerated?

      Do you mean to say that the killings and murders by the MaRa regime are not as large as claimed to be and it is exaggerated?

      They are unearthing bodies…

      Do you mean to say that the corruption and robberies and Murders by the MaRa regime are not as large as claimed to be and it is exaggerated?

      MaRa MaRa Chatu MaRa Amana MaRa MaRa Shiils Active Shills Malinda Shill

    • 5

      Malinda Seneviratne , Mahinda Rajapaksa Shill and white Washer

      RE: Season Of Exaggeration

      Through the Grape wine…

      Medamulana Mahinda Rajapaksa gives up his Prime Minoister Dream accepts Defeat and Even if he Wins Kurunegala he will not be an Opposition MP and this decision has been made and he will forgo his seat at Kurunalajla if elected and give to the Next in Line in order to retain his former Presidential Perks…

      MaRa MaRa Chatu MaRa Amana MaRa gets his Senses back…

      MaRa, time to retire and go fishing… Should have listened to Amarasiri 6 months ago…Instead you listened to your Shills, Cronies and Baiyyo…

      Let your Cronies, Shills, Baiyyos, Liars, Crooks, Thieves and criminals fend for themselves…

  • 8

    “The claims were of such magnitude that people expected the wrongdoers to be tried and punished by the dozens. And fast.”

    No Malinda, in a democracy things don’t happen that way. Those who voted in January for a real change (there were many who merely wanted a change to the sides without a real overall change) want “due process” (which you have referred to as a sideline) to be the main thing.

    Rest assured Malinda. Wrongdoers will be punished. And fast. In fact by the time it takes to mark the ballot paper on the 17th.

    Come to think of it. This punishment will be for the second time. Just like it happened in January.

    Of course you didn’t see it then. No wonder, you don’t see it now.

    Remember, as long as you don’t look with your eyes open, you will never see.

  • 10

    You don’t understand forecasting of future in economics and how it works. You don’t build an airport just to show that you invested large sums of money for the benefit of people. You should plan it based on how many passangers will come to this airport and how it will meet the requirement population growth even after 50 or 100 years. Mahinda’s Hambantota airport was such a bad project where money was spent for one man’s own benefit. It is not secret about Mahinda’s mega corruption deals but it is difficult to take action in a govt where most of the corruptors are the law makers. I am sure people will get rid of those corrupters this time and elect good law makers to the parliament. I am sure Malinda you will be also caught under the new government and you may have to pay back what you get as gifts from Mahinda.

  • 7

    I can understand Malinda, a disappointed person to realise his leader is going to be defeated though he may end up as a back bencher in the new parliament and therefore he has committed hara kiri. Therefore, he is looking for pot holes in the UK slogans and promises.

  • 2

    Hon above the Rest and other guys

    I do not know which year you were born ,during 1989 period ,poor ,village youths of more than 60,000 were arrested in an arbitrary manner,and without any sort of due legal process killed and burnt on the sides of the roads or thrown in to rivers. during this period the so called gentleman Ranil was Prime Minister and directly responsible for killing these poor sinhalese youths. none of them were from elite and certainly not from so called Royal clan.
    pl go through Balalanda case if you do not know what kind of man he is

    then in 1983 who killed tamil and created the problem.
    again it was done by Ranil uncle JR where Ranil was cabinet Minister.

    then ranil when he was last time PM almost destroyed our motherland to extremist LTTE fellows
    then when there are so many sutable sinhalese and tamils in the country he appointed mahendran who has renounced Sri lankan citizenship and arrangred the worst financial fraud in the history of Sri lanka.

    this is the kind of man ranil is who has no feelings for common Sri Lankans,whether, sinhala,tamil muslim or burger.

    Mahinda rajapaka only solved the problems crerated by previous rulers (pm and presidents).
    Corruption you is not something introduced by Mahinda rajapakse ,it was there throughout.
    how do you think man who talk big navin dissanayake, came own a bilioins worth on mansion Next to British council in colombo, to give one example. his father Gamini Dissanayake as Mahaweli Minister in early 1980s, who was handling Mahaweli projects had the luck to get benifits from contractors.
    that is part and parcel of business. i do not say gamini robbed money but lucky enough to be incharge of construction projects and consequently benifited.
    similarly, during rajapasa time billions of construction projects were done,which brought immense benifits to country.But of course, the contractors, would have given part of profits to those who facilitated projects.
    that is there all over the world.
    But contribution Mahinda rRajapakse made by eliminating LTTE and developing the country and saving our beloved motherland is some nobody else did. in fact ranil who is kalu sudasa ,almost destroyed our motherland by signing ceasefire agreement with LTTE.
    so do you want ranil to be made prime minister and other kulu suddas, like magagala ,Ravi and disintegrate our mothetland

    • 4

      Even assuming your comment to be true…

      RW is going to win. MR is going to be humiliated.

      .. and its hard being an MR supporter, eh?

    • 0

      Ranil PM in 1989? What was D B Wijetunge doing then?

      The rest of your story was no better!

  • 4

    The only thing more disgusting than bought-and-paid-for “journalists” singing their hosannas to those they assiduously supported when in full flight is their pretense at “objectivity!”

  • 0

    All the “Pandits” of varying degrees who make all sorts of “predictions” in relation to the forthcoming election should have watched the “SATANA” programme aired on 1st August, 2015. There were three representatives: (1) Dr. Harsha de Silva from UNP (2) Mr. Yapa Abeywardane from UPFA and (3) Mr. Hewage from JVP. An opportunity was given to the viewers to answer three questions via electronic media and the answers were published on a percentage basis. As per the moderator they claimed “millions” of viewers both locally and internationally. Now what is interesting to all of us, including the “Pandits” I mentioned above are the questions and responses received. Please read below:

    Question (1): “Is it to Party or the Person do you vote?
    Answer: Party – 51%; Person – 49%
    Question (2): “Do you need a person to be found guilty to identify as a rouge”?
    Answer: NO – 71%; YES – 29%
    Question (3): What you should do to a person identified as a rouge?
    Answer: JAIL – 75%; SEND HOME – 19%; ELECT – 5%.

    What do you or how do you “Assess” the mind set of the present day voter with the above answers? Please read the answers to questions (2) and (3). So the party “Leaders” be very clear of what the voters at the next election are going to TELL YOU.

  • 0

    If you send more people as refugees you can export more fish and curry powder etc to achieve $20 bn. easy way.

  • 1

    Not many are interested in election this time. They are tired of election gimmicks unless new forms of magic is introduced. Now people know the real politics of election.They don’t to play the old game again. That is why they brought new formates in cricket. Not many are attending the election meetings especially in the N-E. There is nothing to entertain the voters. The LTTE, Terrorism. war victory have come obsolete and uninteresting like old video games. Voters need some thing new to play with. some thing modern electronic games in latest graphics and high capacity RAM and latest version processor.
    In the north more people are turning to TPNF than that of TNA

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