24 February, 2024

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Still On The Rotten Bridge 

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Homo Sapiens is prone to orgies of stupidity, brutality, and destruction.” ~ Martin Wolf (The crisis of democratic capitalism)

So back in the Chalk Circle, but this time play ends in Act 2. Grusha never gets across the rotten bridge. She is near the end when the Ironshirts, gathered on the other side, manage to inflame her with their insults. She turns around to give her own back. A battle of words ensues. The Corporal steps on to the bridge. Grusha stamps her foot. The soldiers join their leader. The rotten bridge breaks at both ends, plunging all on it into the abyss below. The play ends not in renewed life but in avoidable death.

Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka is still on the rotten bridge, precariously balanced between sensible economics and insensible politics. The freefall of the economy has been halted. But it can resume, and spiral into societal anarchy, if the political war of attrition between the President and the Opposition doesn’t end soon in a mutually-agreed ceasefire. 

Sri Lanka has avoided collapse, for now. Hyperinflation has been reined in. A run on the banks has been averted. The rupee has stopped plummeting. Prices of essentials remain high, but the crippling shortages and killer queues are over. Tourism is booming, foreign remittances are increasing, and foreign reserves no longer look like Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard. These gains are not opinions, but facts. And most of the credit for those small but meaningful advances belongs to Ranil Wickremesinghe. 

On May 9th, SLPP thugs attacked Gota-go-gama protestors. Angry Lankans responded with mob violence. For two days, the country burned. On May 11th, tanks rolled down deserted streets, occupying urban centres and rural towns with no public opposition. People, having exhausted themselves with an orgy of arson, had retreated into sullen silence and resentful inaction. Gota-go-gama remained but its power of intervention was limited to issuing not quite realistic statements. Mahinda Rajapaksa had resigned. There was no prime minister, no government; only a weak president, a strong military, a wearied public, and a deadly political vacuum. 

Opposition leaders declined the premiership, using virtue as an excuse. Ranil Wickremesinghe accepted. Some kind of political normalcy was restored. The alternative was not a pure government of the people, but a Gotabaya-military regime or just military rule. 

Ranil Wickremesinghe is no Saviour. But he saved much. Those achievements, while real remain fragile, easily reversible. As with Grusha on the rotten bridge, utter disaster is still one misstep away.

The President has claimed economic health to be his priority. But economic health and political health are interdependent states. One cannot be sustained without the other. The political health of a nation cannot be achieved through tear gas, repressive laws, and baton charges, but through understanding and consensus. As Karu Jayasuriya pointed out, a political ceasefire is the need of the hour, first in parliament, then beyond. 

The deftness and the patience the President displayed in inching the IMF deal to the finishing line is absent in his political dealings. His ham-fisted reaction to any protest is indicative of how his political attitudes continue to be shaped and coloured by his acrimony against those who burnt his books. The anger is understandable. But translated into political attitudes and policies, it could create a socio-political inferno which consumes the economic good he has achieved.

Not intelligent self-interest but blinding rage has become the determining factor in oppositional politics. So they align with the anti-direct tax crowd, forgetting that progressive taxation is a sine-qua-non of any progressive economic strategy. Had the IMF refused to sign a deal with Ranil Wickremesinghe, the opposition would have been singing the praises of this Bretton Woods twin. 

Meanwhile, the bottommost one third of people struggle to live, dependent for survival on inadequate charity. Their suffering is glossed over by the government and ignored by the opposition. Their anger, if it explodes, will be a flood that takes everyone and everything in its path.

The myth of authoritarian stability

According to media reports, the police are to get 500 SUVs under an Indian credit line. The first 125 fuel-guzzlers have already been delivered.

SUVs for the police are not a priority by any sane economic standards. That economically irrational loan is symbolic of how political insensibility can undermine economic sanity. 

The government’s zero-tolerance response to peaceful protests is turning non-issues into issues. The over-the-top reaction to March 7th IUSF protest is a case in point. If the government did nothing, the protest would have come and gone. But the government opted for a course of action which was the mirror-image of protestors’ heedless extremism. Police tear-gassed Colombo University students and staff who were not part of the protest and followed it up by tear-gassing students from nearby schools. A puny protest was met with massive violence. This is the path not to social peace but to endless disharmony. 

Authoritarian stability is a myth. By pursuing that myth, the president, knowingly or unknowingly, is placing Sri Lanka on the slippery slope of unending unrest. This unrest will not be limited to the streets but will creep into the very heart of the state, as the attempt to use the legislature to cow the judiciary indicate. If pursued any further, this attempt to neutralise the courts will open another front, with the legislature engaged in a no-holds barred war with the judiciary on the orders of the executive. The necessary balance between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, on which the health of the state rests, will be undermined to common peril. 

The attempt by some state-sector trade unions to cripple the country through a continuous strike failed primarily due to the total absence of public support. The strike-leaders shelved their disruptive plans not because of government threats but because of public ire. If the government wants to avoid a repeat performance by state-sector unions, they should focus on propaganda; no hype would be needed; truth will suffice. Instead, according to media reports, the government in its PTA replacement has created a false equation between strikes and terrorism. Such dangerous dipping into tyranny are the inevitable fruits of pursuing the myth of authoritarian stability.  

As the World Bank reminded us recently, poverty in Sri Lanka doubled from 13% to 25% between 2021 and 2022 and will increase by 2% in 2023. This was Rajapaksa doing. And in that doing, the Rajapaksas had the uncritical backing of the likes of GL Peiris, Dulles Alahapperuma, and Wimal Weerawansa, not to mention the Viyath Maga cohort. Thanks to their collective economic insanity, people are eating less, both in terms of quality and quantity. The IMF seems to far more concerned about providing these poorest of the poor with a strong-enough lifeline than the government or the Opposition. The government, instead of focusing on an adequate poverty alleviation programme along the lines of Janasaviya (targeted and time-bound with consumption and investment components and add-ons like skills training), is picking political fights with all and sundry. The Opposition is more concerned with the taxes of the few than the hunger of the many. 

The political war of attrition is not just consuming time, energy, and resources of both sides. It can also undermine President Wickremesinghe’s hard-won achievement, the IMF deal. Sri Lanka will not get the second tranche, if the targets of the first phase are not met adequately. Those targets can be best achieved not through repressive laws, riot police or club-wielding soldiers, but dialogue and consensus with stakeholders, starting with the Opposition. Economic moderation on the part of the Opposition in return for political moderation on the part of the government: that is a possible and necessary goal. Sri Lanka, still on the rotting bridge, need the unity of all moderates, a rational politico-economic understanding, to deprive political extremists of political oxygen.

Commenting on the uproar surrounding French president Emmanuel Macron’s plan to increase pension age by two years, The Economist warned “This could be a moment when social rebellion emerges.” If it does, the ultimate beneficiary, if there’s one, is likely to be Marine Le Pen rather than Jean-Luc Mélenchon.  

In Sri Lanka too the political war of attrition will deliver neither economic recovery nor greater democracy. The resultant turmoil will open the floodgates of either anarchy or tyranny or both. 

The poverty of alternatives

The world’s first recorded labour strike was in ancient Egypt during the reign of Ramesses III when necropolis workers, tomb-builders and artisans, downed their tools and protested demanding their pay. Since that day in 1170BCE, strikes have often been the only recourse available to the powerless with no other means of making their voices heard.

In Sri Lanka, even that weapon is denied to millions of casual workers providing vitally necessary (even risky) labour in the industrial sector. Like the 2 million Manpower workers who labour in the FTZ garment factories. They are right-less and unprotected since they are not registered under the Labour Commissioner. According to media reports, about one quarter of their salaries go to agents and they are not entitled to bonuses or other facilities. Most of these Manpower workers are women and many suffer sexual harassment in workplace with no recourse to relief or justice. And yet, about the suffering of these millions of Lankan workers, the injustices visited on them, the Opposition is silent. 

Of the grade 3 students in government schools, only 34% are literate and 7% are numerate, according to a research by the Education Ministry covering the entire island, done between December 2021 and January 2022. This disastrous inability cannot be blamed on the pandemic alone since only 26% of students lacked online facilities. The fault also lies in the quality of the education and of the educators. If this trend continues, we will have a population that cannot read, write, or do a basic sum, and therefore unemployable except as soldiers, monks or Manpower workers. This too seems not to be a priority for the Opposition. 

The SJB and the JVP who agree on very little are agreed on reducing taxes for highest income earners from the current 36% to 24%. This is their economic progressivism. In what sense is Ranil Wickremesinghe more neo-liberal than these opposition leaders who want to tread the same path as Gotabaya Rajapaksa and give tax breaks to those in the topmost bracket?

If the SJB sounds clueless on economic issues, it is because the party is trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hound on contentious issues. The JVP’s cluelessness seems genuine, its ignorance of economic basics as total as Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s. The best evidence is a recent statement by Sunil Handunnetti, who will be the finance minister if the JVP/NPP forms a government. Questioned about the recent appreciation of the rupee against the dollar, his response was: “Do you think if the rupee becomes stronger than America, America will let us be? Eh? If so America will bomb us. That rupee is becoming stronger than the American dollar.” His NPP counterpart, an economics lecturer in a university, did not dare to correct him, proving once again that the NPP is a mere cover for the JVP. 

Utopia is not an alternative to reality. It is a form of escapism and must be understood as such. There are no painless paths out of this crisis. The Opposition should be focused on minimising the burden on the poorest one-third of the population, the 3.4million people identified by the World Food Programme as suffering from hunger. Instead, opposition parties are vying with each other to curry favour with disgruntled doctors and relatively high earning state sector workers. They criticise President Wickremesinghe, but are yet to provide a rational alternative to the path he is charting.

The JVP might be too like the frog-in-the-well to know it, but the SJB and some SLPP break-offs would know that we are not in a position to impose conditions on anyone, starting with the IMF. They would also know that the IMF today is not quite the IMF of yesteryear and that most of the conditions in the agreement with us are helpful, necessary or both. There is no austerity for the poor in the agreement, only some belt-tightening for the rich and the middle class. 

If direct taxes are lowered, indirect taxes will have to be increased, hurting the poor more. If the rich and the middle class do not share the burden of recovery, the poor will have to shoulder an even greater load. If we keep on pumping money into loss-making state enterprises like Sri Lankans, there will be less money for education and health. Those are the real choices any future government will have to make. All the rest, like making good the income-expenditure gap through less corruption or bringing back the stolen money, is rhetoric. Both are worthy and necessary goals. But neither can be realised fast enough to make a difference in the here and now, given how endemic corruption has become and how much legal and paper work will be involved in getting stolen money back. 

When Gotabaya Rajapaksa failed, the country paid the price. It will be no different if Ranil Wickremesinghe’s gains are reversed and he too fails. When the healthy difference between opposing political parties descends into an endless war, there can be no winners; only losers. 

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Latest comments

  • 22
    3

    “… the president, knowingly or unknowingly, is placing Sri Lanka on the slippery slope of unending unrest.”
    Ranil the usurper is doing this knowingly and purposely. It is the chaos and uncertainty that engulfed the country that brought him to power. He knows very well, if normalcy is restored and people are allowed to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed rights once again, he will have to run for his life like Gota did. If elections are held anytime soon it will be a harbinger of the end of his interlude at the top. Instead, instigating the people to revolt and then unleashing the uniformed thugs on them will manufacture the necessary climate of fear and anarchy in the country to enable him to cling to power until 2024. After that he will be known in history as the Don Juan Dharmapala who, as dictated by the IMF, made the hardworking, law-abiding Sri Lankans pay for the sins and crimes committed by the Rajapaksa political mafia in order to save them from going to jail and for him to be the President for a couple of years.

    • 10
      2

      ASD,
      “IMF, made the hardworking, law-abiding Sri Lankans pay for the sins and crimes committed by the Rajapaksa political mafia”
      Isn’t that rather simplistic? The Rajapaksa mafia couldn’t have committed their crimes if they hadn’t been voted in. Who voted them in, despite being hardworking and law-abiding?

  • 8
    2

    Sri Lanka is still on the rotten bridge, precariously balanced between sensible economics and insensible politics. if the political war of attrition between the President and the Opposition doesn’t end soon in a mutually-agreed ceasefire.
    This is not exactly correct. The problem is much more complex. Any ceasefire between Ranil and the political opposition will not end because of a mutually agreed ceasefire.

    People also matter. The people who are getting affected due to post IMF polices are not going to keep silent because of ceasefire, but intensify due to intolerable burden to be placed on a section of working population due to restructuring of loss making state enterprises . Could they wait till 2048? When Ranil’s polices may bring dividends.

    • 11
      2

      sk
      You have a strong point there.
      People are too used to seeing political matters as dealings between leaders of certain political parties. That view holds as long as there is no serious crisis and electoral politics is a game of musical chairs.

    • 5
      1

      “The fault also lies in the quality of the education and of the educators. If this trend continues, we will have a population that cannot read, write, or do a basic sum, and therefore unemployable except as soldiers, monks or Manpower workers.”
      So, what’s new?

      • 4
        2

        This is already the situation. Throughout Sri Lanka, perhaps. I’ve kept saying this, but you guys haven’t listened.
        .
        oc is wise and intelligent, but this is not his subject.
        .
        This is my subject, but “Throughout Sri Lanka?” Nobody can do that, but a study could be made. and acted upon. I’m too old to do that now; I could have done it.
        .
        However, I do have experience of teaching very different social groups, at many different levels. Almost only English, admittedly. But few want to listen to me, at all. Make efforts even now because you’re right:
        .
        https://www.dailymirror.lk/worldnews/breaking_news/Spoken-English-in-all-National-Schools-from-March-30-Minister/108-256171
        .
        That announcement by itself is all right. But do you trust the ass?
        .
        https://parliament.lk/en/members-of-parliament/directory-of-members/viewMember/138
        .
        Notice that he’s now sporting a PhD. How can the average Lankan withstand that blitz?

        .

        • 5
          0

          SM,
          Hold your horses. A “doctarate” from Paris is what he claims. This is different from a Doctorate, and is granted on payment of a small fee.

          • 2
            0

            This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.

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          • 0
            0

            This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics.

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      • 2
        3

        OC
        Already most of the world’s young population cannot do basic sums, and use the calculator on the mobile phone.
        They do not read or write either, except under pressure.
        We are a step ahead perhaps.

        • 1
          0

          SJ,
          “They do not read or write either, except under pressure.”
          I have the impression that mobile phones have forced many people to learn how to read and write- after a fashion.

  • 15
    2

    TG has confirmed my worst fear of a JVP led NPP govt. It is not that I have more faith in RW but the old UNP & the new SJB with the same lot are not the solution either. The IMF loan will give breathing space but for how long? SL needs direct foreign investment, access to markets & foreign aid but a socialist JVP/NPP, nor, a known to be corrupt party, is likely to win friends. We talked of change & the NPP seems to be the answer but what change will there be if led by JVP who have been in the business for some time without much success or the ‘lost in the wilderness’ communist party in the alliance? We are led to believe the NPP consists of academics, intellectuals & successful businessmen, & their political manifesto is impressive in the absence of other parties providing their own but aren’t there any leaders in the NPP who can form a govt. without the ‘guidance’ of the JVP or does it boil down to just another leaderless ‘viyathmaga’ bunch?
    I am all in support for the NPP if they are without the baggage. They should not allow the riffraff & the opportunists on board & not compromise on the ‘aragalaya’ principles, out of which, I assume, the party was born. I have no respect for Buddhist monks who dabble in politics & if I am not mistaken, aragalaya rejected the participation of monks, therefore, the Bikkhu Front should also be rejected. Otherwise the pickle would taste the same as before, maybe even more sour.

    • 12
      5

      Raj,
      thank you so much. I completely agree with everything you added above.
      I mentioned earlier in other threads that not a single apologist from NPP and JVP can give us a constructive response yet.
      I also shared that I have many questions that NPP and JVP have not yet answered. I am not sure how JVPers will ever be a panacea knowing that JVP will never compromise with anyone, not even with the mothers of those days who killed our youth during the barbaric era of 89-92.
      It is very easy to blame only the rival parties and we can do the same by not being active in Sri Lankan politics. Even school going children can repeatedly point the finger at others.
      . Even when the Sinhala man provided links one behind the other in JVP meetings, his ignorance paid off every time he asked a question. That is the nature of the so-called intellectuals of our society.
      I am also a NPP supporter if they are freed from JVP murderous leadership. Even JVPrs who have moderate views, I support. However, most of them are still not neutral. The public speeches of Nalin Hewage and Lal Kanta still disgust me. The candidates mentioned above are strong members of today’s Janata Vimukti Peramuna-led NPP.

    • 8
      7

      “They should not allow the riffraff & the opportunists on board & not compromise on the ‘aragalaya’ principles, out of which, I assume, the party was born.”
      *
      I wonder who the riffraff are and wonder if any of them is any worse than the ‘non-riffraff’ leaders we have had for some time.
      *
      The NPP is not a ‘party’ and is only an alliance founded in 2015.
      So I wonder if there was a prior Aragalaya (or ‘aragalaya’ principles) which R-UK only is aware.
      *
      “if I am not mistaken, aragalaya rejected the participation of monks”
      You are mistaken, I regret to say that there were Christian clergy as well.

    • 5
      0

      Raj,
      “( NPP should not ) …compromise on the ‘aragalaya’ principles, out of which, I assume, the party was born.”
      No, it wasn’t. It was established in 2015, long before the Aragalaya.
      Even the Aragalaya didn’t explicitly reject all monks. The notorious Omalpe Sobhitha was an ostensible supporter.

      • 4
        0

        OC

        Thank you for enlightening me. I had no interest in the numerous loony fringe parties but now when the NPP suddenly broke into the limelight, I assumed it is a new party inspired by the aragalaya. This now gives me a totally different perspective of the NPP & confirms my doubts of a JVP led left wing mob who are likely to do more harm.

        • 3
          0

          Raj,
          .FYI, I have added the info below.
          .
          The National People’s Power (NPP), or Jathika Jana Balawegaya (JJB), is a political alliance in Sri Lanka. It was established in 2015 by Anura Kumara Dissanayake, leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna.[1][2][3]

          It consists of 28 political parties and other organisations. It contests in elections under the compass logo. Anura Kumara Dissanayake is currently the leader of the electoral coalition and Nihal Abeysinghe is the general secretary.[4][5] Since its inception, the NPP has been a prominent third party in Sri Lankan politics.
          History

          The NPP was formed by the members of the far-left Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and 27 other parties, worker unions, women’s rights groups and youth organizations including members of ethnic communities.

          • 6
            0

            Thanks LM. I got that information from their website but all these similar sounding names of fringe parties had me confused. I had my suspicions of NPP’s leanings to the left & how such a large number of coalition partners going to compromise on their ideology but I am now quite sure the NPP is not the solution.

            Now that we have had a taste of all other mainstream parties, the NPP/JVP are the only ones left but I am wondering if the unknown angel would be better than the known devil, RW.

            • 4
              0

              Raj,
              I don’t know why Dr. HA is the only person I recognize whenever I think of NPP. All others related to her are JVP. Most of pro NPP commenters cannot explain the real NPP manifesto. Whenever you and I raise them, they hang RW on us. The Sinhalese man has become the symbol of stupidity today. He may lack knowledge, but why should he be busy promoting barbarians?

    • 4
      0

      Correction – ”……….a socialist JVP/NPP, nor, a known to be corrupt party, is likely to win friends” should be read as ”…… a socialist JVP/NPP, nor, a known to be corrupt party, is un-likely to win friends”
      Apologise for the error

      • 4
        6

        The apology is due not for the error but the underlying prejudices that lead to such error.

  • 7
    5

    “Still On The Rotten Bridge” – Incorrect, The crew(Ranil) at least know where to sail. This is the only crew available to make bold decisions at this time.

    • 2
      1

      Lankan100,
      Absolutely right on the money

  • 6
    2

    Or IMF wouldnot have trusted him

  • 11
    1

    TG has the most realistic answers for the pro / anti groups of RW and alternative NPP. Prefer, not mentioning JVP when the discussion is about economy, because it’s never been a priority or area of their interest. Leaving Rajapaksas out of this
    surprisingly SJB seems lacking commitment and motivation for even consideration. Don’t tell me they prematurely peaked and got burned out.

    • 11
      2

      Chiv,
      .
      “Prefer, not mentioning JVP when the discussion is about economy, because it’s never been a priority or area of their interest”
      .
      This is exactly true. They don’t say if there is any other alternative to the IMF injection.
      My million dollar question is why are they joying about the crowds to their public rallies? why ?
      If one criticizes the other, suitable alternatives should be presented. JVP behaves like swimming pool animators.
      Why on earth people don’t have enough brains to raise these issues again and again. May the main food of this nation be “grass” !

      • 7
        2

        Chiv and LM,
        I you or anyone thinks that JVP has the “Handle On’ the economy or Prosperity of National wealth of SL, could easily put those thoughts out of their mind!!
        Because, if they did an iota or inkling of economics, these fools would not have STRUCK work 15-20 years ago at Unilevers Sri Lanka, over a matter, as simple as “How many gms of Chicken was provided in “Chicken Curry” of the “FREE LUNCH” given to employees of this corporate multinational (PART OF REMUNERATIOM) and paralysing their operation!!
        Their operations included (Multinational) Tea exports, Edible oils, (Import substitution) Toiletries, Cosmetics, Oral care manufacturing!!
        Chased them form ‘OUR SHORES’ to India, After 125+ years of stabilised operation in Sri Lanka!!!
        These are so-called PATRIOTIC, NATIONALISTIC SAVIOURS, WHO WANT TO BE ELECTED!!!
        Before they dare, ask for votes, NPP cum JVP (who is backing whom – immaterial), to me ITS IS THE SAME BUNCH!!!?? EKA WALLE POL, must own up!!!
        MEA CULPA!!!
        Won’t be surprised, they may succeed fooling the rural folk, devoid of knowledge or due to loss of memory as did the SLPP!!!??? They may well succeed, which must be stopped, because that’s and will be DISASTER COMPOUNDED!!?

      • 7
        2

        cHIV AND LM,
        Accountability, is of utmost importance, without any exception!!!
        If they want to be silent about it, they cannot morally ask the vote of the people!!! CHARLOTANS to say theleast!!!
        They are culpable as they are progressing with that same organisation!
        If as they say they have reformed, then that should be signified by an admittance of guilt – MEA CULPA!!??
        NO OTHER WAY!!

        • 6
          0

          Mahila, thanks for this information. Though not aware , I’m not surprised. Almost 35 years ago, in Communist ruled Kerala a garment factory employing thousands of locals was intimidated by their union demanding unreasonable pay rises and other perks ( at that time many of those employees were earning salaries almost equal to a government doctor) Unions with a upper hand was the norm then.Strike was soon hijacked by outside forces including politicians and other trade unions. After years of shut down the owner finally moved to one of the Gulf states where he already had established supply chain. Whereas employees and their families were left standard without any assistance. Many workers and in some cases their families too committed suicide. The ruling Communist government at that time, was not only clueless (about business) but failed to find alternate management.

          • 2
            5

            Can we have specific data please, so that one can fact check and comment seriously?

            • 4
              1

              Why don’t people comment seriously on Unilever, Lanka before fact checking on matters took place elsewhere. Let me put it this way “I know what I saw in person”.

              • 0
                4

                I know that you run away when challenged.
                *
                He “saw in person” every bit, but shies away from giving details.
                Pathetic!

  • 9
    4

    And most of the credit for those small but meaningful advances belongs to Ranil.Wickremasinghe says the essayist in this fine essay.

    She is generous; Lets give the devil his due is her stand and the moral of the essay.
    Besides Ranl.W. is justly angry..His ancestral house with a priceless collection of books has gone up in flames. Its not easy at that age.Besides he has turned 74 on 24th March.
    As President he needs to balance Economic Health along with Political health for his survival as well if he wants to fight another day..

    I was humoured to read this line……………
    The JVPs cluelessness seems genuine;
    I agree; The JVP IS GENUINELY CLUELESS ………

    • 6
      0

      Plato,
      “As President he needs to balance Economic Health along with Political health for his survival as well if he wants to fight another day..”
      I don’t think he wants to fight another day.

    • 4
      0

      Dear Plato,
      .
      Dear Plato, you are 100% correct about JVP. JVPrs are like boys that enjoy school cricket matches yet today, or those practise “their sexual fantasies” in crowded public buses in colombo today, compared to all other parties in our hell made by RAJAPAKSHE Bastards.
      .
      Main stream media is to be blamed for all the mess in srilanka. There is a no big gap today between main stream media (normally main stream media news should be balanced and accurate by its contents) and social media. As many should be aware, that there should be a greater different betweent two media streams, if we consider ethics and morals in a society.
      .
      National TV channels are today underrated while Pachawahnis (lying RTC and irresponsible private TV channels) have risen up. TV news alerts are the primary source people’s means of news. As had been before, back then in srilanka, those who read new papers are relatively low in our country today. People are on a struggle of their living and surviving.
      .
      tbc

      • 4
        0

        cont.
        .
        Any unedcuated bastards could behave like ” JOURNALISTS” by misleading the very same easy audience. People are made eternal fools by Pachawanhinis.

        People should stand vehemently against DERANA TV, SIRASA TV and HIRU TV. Protests should be more powerful than ” that lately held aragalaya”. THEY SHOULD BE SUBJECTED TO TOTAL DEMOLITION and REJECTION BY VIEWERs:

        These TV channels ruined this nation as of today. Iam not sure, the levels of destruction for Tamil TV channels are reached the same levels….. ????
        :
        SIRASA is somewhat better compared to other two evils, however they were the ones who destroyed UNP and JVP during the period of GOOD governance. People have lost their truthful memories today, since MEDIA dont seem to allow them to be alert on THE TRUTHS.

  • 3
    4

    I think that the talk about hyperinflation is in itself hyper inflated.
    The near doubling of nearly all prices was the direct result of an absurd devaluation in early 2022.
    The havoc caused by shortage of fuel added to the mess. The prices had to stabilize soon and had since stabilized.
    This so called hyperinflation was a pulse not a sustained phenomenon.
    Calculating based on year-on-year inflation, we may even see zero inflation sometime soon.

    • 5
      1

      SJ,
      Many voluble authors and commentator on this forum are clueless about economics. To them, 100% is hyperinflation. Neither do they understand the fallout of bankruptcy, like being required to pay upfront for anything we want.
      Few can remember that the USD doubled in value in 1980 or so, and we weren’t even bankrupt. Even before that, interest rates were over 25%.

      • 6
        1

        old codger

        “…….. interest rates were over 25%.”
        =
        The idea behind this interest rate hike was to bring down the inflation and increase capital which was supposed to have increased savings and used for investments in various private and state development projects.

        Did SJ say the interest rate hike was engineered by Walls Street and it was an international capitalist conspiracy?

        • 3
          6

          Poor sod, are the nightmares so terrible?

          • 2
            4

            Any tales to explain the depreciation of the rupee against the US$?
            BTW, where is Walls Street?

            • 0
              3

              I vaguely remember a little quip by Charlie Brown in the cartoon strip “Peanuts”.
              ‘Did God make everything?’
              ‘Yes’
              ‘Even ice cream’
              ‘Yes’
              “Then why is it called Walls Ice Cream?
              Is any street named after Walls?

      • 4
        2

        OC,
        That is the unfortunate reality. not just about economics. but about even simple things.

        That’s why I’m going to promote and recommend “Grass as a staple”.
        :
        The Sinhalese man follows me like a lion chasing a fawn, however, he also belongs to the category of “Lindalanga Sangamaya or bazaar men”.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_70XLjAGHFc
        As Professor Pathegama Ghanissara Thero said it as none other than “it is clear that the majority of our people know nothing about anything, they do noteven know that they do not know”. Unfortunately, he is not supported by LANKEN Professionals.


        Ridiculously enough, Panini is held up as “our CT Satyaguru” by many commenters in this forum. What instantly came to my mind was, when a STUPID sinhala buddhist monk makes public statements, all various people coming from diverse walks of life dont wait long to say ” SADU SADU”.

  • 8
    2

    Sri Lanka is on a rotten bridge because of the Politicians scratching each other’s backs. In public, they make marvelous speeches as if they are saints but in actual fact, they are all crooks. Take the new King – Back Door President Ranil – he pretended, based on his speeches on supporting Aragalaya, took a 180-degree turn after becoming the President and started illegally and brutally attacking the protestors who had the right to protest as permitted and protected by the Constitution of the country. It’s not only the bridge that is rotten the ones who are there to protect the bridge are also utterly corrupt and rotten ( don’t forget Ranil the head of the Central Bank robbery team, who now claims he was declared innocent by the courts).

    • 4
      2

      Buddhist1

      “Sri Lanka is on a rotten bridge because of the Politicians scratching each other’s backs.”

      Its only partially true.
      If people stop seeking corrupt favours from politicians and then keep voting for the same crooks again again ,…………………………

      • 2
        0

        In a country of poor people, even an oil lamp could win a vote. I would blame the Police and the Judiciary mainly. If the Police and the Judiciary applied the laws as they were supposed to be applied, even the politicians would not have had a chance. But it did not happen. Police and Judiciary became the key members of the Politician’s kitchen table.

  • 10
    1

    Most people who applaud the IMF Relief of US$ 2.9 billion in 42 months installments have so far not considered the “46 Conditions” that the Government must fulfill. Before, considering the “Conditions” laid down, it is understandable that the present President – who runs the Government has to be “RE-BRANDED” as the “One and the Only” to “Cross the Rotten Bridge”. I say this President has to be “Re-Branded” because since 1977 he too has been at various levels of authority in Governments that have governed this country up to 2019 and was and is “Responsible” and “Accountable” for the present state of this country. The other day, I saw his address to the Havard University forum and he made an “Excellent” analysis of the state of the economy of the country, of course forgetting that he too was responsible and accountable for all that he said and analyzed. I am certain the “Audience” would have had a better understanding of the fact of his share of culpability. I missed the “Questions” and “Answer” sessions. I will follow it later.

    • 7
      1

      Simon,
      .
      experts repeat that all the conditions would not have to be considered. That was the same in 2015. Sorisena too confirmed it.
      So what is the point you are going to make ?
      Honestly saying, one should be happy IMF to have eventually given SIRLANKENs a green light.
      Did not you know that all other countries were approved within 7-40 days while our hell made by Rajapakshe dogs was given that after 200 days ?

      As always, the problem of this nation has been, they just dont care about the facts. They are eternally blindfolded.
      If we have failed to succeed IMF help, 7 out 16 times, it is high time we should study where our failure lied. Instead, to point the finger at them is a fool’s act.

      If 1300 million-population india could succeed it and see forward, why cant we as 22 million population nation ?

      Even a country of India ‘s nature rotten with all diverse mythologies, making average eternally blind and fool is said to have achieved good economic advancements, however, our animals not to realize yet little about the grave reality of our fall is beyond bearing.

      Alas, this nation would never see it right.

      • 5
        5

        Dear LM: Thank you for your “Considered” (as you have expressed) opinion on those “46” conditions attached to this IMF facility.

        My friend: All those “Conditions” have been agreed already at those “Staff” levels. What I said was, there are “37” more to be “Fulfilled”. “9” of those have been “Fulfilled”. In placing the “Agreement”, the President told Parliament to debate it and approve for him to get the authority to “GO AHEAD” with the rest of the work. This is the “Political Trick”. If the whole “Agreement” is passed by the Parliament, it would be very difficult to make any “Changes” or “Abrogate” it. To get that done as per the wishes of Ranil W, your most hated “Enemy” Rajapakses will raise both hands and for them, it is “SURVIVAL”.

        You say that “Experts” have told you those “Conditions” need not be “Considered”. What rubbish and BS are those views? I am sure, you must be referring to those in Ratnapura who lighted crackers and ate “Kiribath” on hearing the news.

        Please understand the different meanings of “Consider”; “Agreeing” and “Fulfilling”. Don’t say “Alas”. The “New Generation” see all these “RIGHT”. Take a little rest!

      • 4
        3

        Dear LM: Among the “46”, one of the agreed is to immediately implement action to tackle the problem of “Corruption”; “Fraud” etc.

        Yes “Immediately”, Ranil W has prepared to bring a “New Legislation” to prevent corruption and fraud. In fact, Ranil W publicly announced that legislation would be the “One and the Only” strongest in the Asian region.

        Do you know what happens with this legislation becoming the Law of the Land? The draft doesn’t state that its provisions are effective “Back Dated” but would be from the date of its adoption. The result – All those “Corruption” and “Fraud” cases against “Rajapakses & Cohorts” and “Yahapalanaya” times of Ranil W will be set aside. What a “Smart Move” that is!

        I will remind you one by one as the “Agreed” terms are been implemented.

    • 1
      2

      Dear Simon,
      .
      Thanks for alerting in the first place.
      .
      Now, here it all is – Question and answers included.
      .
      https://www.ft.lk/ft_tv/Discussion-with-the-President-Ranil-Wickremesinghe-organised-by-Harvard-University/10520-746782
      .
      The disgusting man badly interviewed by Harvard University, whose reputation will suffer owing to associating themselves with this crook.
      .
      However, these are must listen to and digest 57 minutes, because, whether we like it or not, this man has succeeded in grabbing the Presidency of Sri Lanka for himself, for now. We have to grant that it was done through a series of moves that were “legal” – something that ought to lead to the entire legal profession having to hang its head in shame.
      .
      Technology has developed so that you should be able to listen to this without interruption (well, I hope so, since I haven’t sat through this particular version of the material.) Each Lankan ought to evaluate this – so as to rid ourselves of this smooth talking tyrant.

  • 6
    3

    continued: In stating the “46” conditions, the “Agreement” very correctly envisages the problems that would emerge in the Political, Economic, and Social setup in the country. Understandably, those “Conditions” to be fulfilled would bring a turnaround in the economy and most visibly in the Financial Sector.

    Ranil W has already sent “Ripples” in the Political and Judicial circles in handling the Local Government Elections. Next, he is bringing in two more Legislations viz. “Bribery and Corruption” and a replacement of the existing “Anti Terrorism” Acts. These two Legislations he is proposing are already under fire. No doubt, those will be passed with SLPP support who are already “Dependants” of Ranil W.
    .
    In my opinion, judging from Ranil W’s public statements both in Public and in Parliament and his “Behavioural” gestures, I get a feeling that he is determined to be a “Carbon Copy” of Lee Kuvan Yeu of Singapore or Mahathir Mohamud of Malaysia. Perhaps, Ranil W must be thinking of changing from the “Broken Bridge” to driving on a “Super Highway”.

    Well IMF would be “Patrolling” on that “Super High Way” and taking note of the “Patrol” duties that would be in place for Sri Lanka in the “Future” would be a matter of interest to the people.

    • 6
      3

      Simon,
      “No doubt, those will be passed with SLPP support who are already “Dependants” of Ranil W.”
      Correct, though many on this forum think he is the dependent .

      • 5
        3

        oc
        Many around here want to have it both ways.
        They want the IMF deal desperately, but more desperately they need to curse the one who did the job for them. Can you think of a better candidate than RW?
        How many will dare curse both RW and the IMF?

        • 3
          2

          SJ, nobody explained it more clearly. If RW passed away tomorrow, there would be huge crowds of hypocrites at his funeral. They are incapable of valuing what they have until it is too late.

          • 1
            2

            S
            Sorry to say that I am not keen on either IMF or RW, but the current hypocrisy gets me.

            • 3
              1

              Just do not try to bamboozle with a puny, imbecile’s brain. Before you start to put Evil Emperor on your head and dance and sing That evil is the one “got the IMF loan”, or before you write your real economics and finance article that what is your new boss, Evil is going have achieved with the IMF loan, could you, pls, (1) list at least 5 important reason how the Evil Emperor influenced the IMF to grant such a big loan, (2) and point out what actions of Evil has influenced IMF to release the loan prematurely without Evil complying to, at the basic conditions,(3) and how many conditions that IMF has put is already fulfilled for IMF to release the loan without any fear that this is not going to be one more to the already failed 16 interest free loans and (4) most importantly why IMF released the loan while China has not agreed for any term to restructure past loans’ repayment. Do you know Evil did not go one time to Washington, it was IMF MD called and talked to Evil.

              You are never able to ridicule anybody’s comments in CT, but rather ridiculing yourself and trying to trick the readers that you are cracking lots and lots of jokes. A sheer Karumam man!

            • 3
              0

              You just bluff like the village Kilavies (Old Women) who visit each other’s home frequently to have pan leaf and Arrigo nut to their mouth, telling tattletale. Please, be like a decent one and talk like a man who wasted some time in London’s universities’ chairs. If you do not have any job, wait you will not be let alone, because before September, there will be another round of IMF’s stimulation in international media, to get the said letter from China. One of the most major events in Langkang was the annual celebration pogrom on Tamil population, letter it became semi-annual Geneva pilgrimage to save the Royals from Electric Chair, and now (at for 4 years) Five times prayer on Washington’s Mosque loudspeaker. Evil, certainly, will listen to it with one ear and will let it go by the other, so no worry. That time Evil Emperor will need somebody to warm up Mao’s statues’ dingdongs for President Xi to release it to Evil. You are going to get a lot to quack here. Did you hear what Vasantha Muthali said? “Devas Acolytes can do nothing to take away his support of Tamils.” So just do not keep trying to sell Deva’s wholesale medicine, because we all have already had enough of it, but you reply to Vasantha Muthali too.

      • 2
        1

        OC,
        .
        take for example a garbage dump, and you and I know very well that it can only be removed from developing world human society by dealing with the people around it. In civilized countries such rubbish heaps do not seem to be connected with the immediate habitation of men.

        This is a huge task compared to Sri Lanka, whether it is in Calcutta, Cairo, Manila or other similar places to find solutions to remove the garbage dump. People’s lives in those areas are intertwined with garbage. Like the bark of a tree.
        Their charges are too high, however, this is good old Sri Lanka, full of more ignorant than educated. If people are told to eat “Tanakola”, they will not wait to do so. They are not ashamed to eat them but brag about their “Tanakola” taste. They dare to be champions of self-aggrandizing tactics.

        tbc

        • 4
          1

          cont.
          .
          Those theoretical experts or those from various other backgrounds will leave out the ground reality of real issues. Their senses are completely blocked by myths and other Sri Lankan specific cultural behaviors.

          I always compare “garbage heaps” with our “Sri Lanka politics, South Asian politics”.
          Our politics are full of criminals rather than opposites.

          Even real people are misled by many rascals because their selfish gains are hampered, if only they align themselves with the ground realities and facts of whatever is going on in our country.

      • 3
        0

        Simon,

        Do we have other options?

        It is advantageous to wish the broken bridge to last at least a few months or years until the materials needed to rebuild or repair the new bridge are collected.

        People should be subtly understandable, unwarranted criticism can push us into a deeper precipice than it seems. At least they should respect the opinions of the experts.Sri Lankans in general do not seem to respect “facts and ground realities about anything”. At the time of the Covid-19 hit at its heights, they considered what lied by Gota et al were facts and ground realities. Looking back, the truth was completely opposite.

        This is why the OLD codger reiterated that many do not understand ECONOMICS and the depths to which we have fallen.

        In the fall of Greece, they did not allow irresponsible parties to criticise them and act as culprits.

        As of today, the Greek have made some progress through hard work and disipline.

        The austerity measures imposed on the Greek were so harsh by the European Union

        .

    • 4
      2

      Simon,
      “In my opinion, judging from Ranil W’s public statements both in Public and in Parliament and his “Behavioural” gestures, I get a feeling that he is determined to be a “Carbon Copy” of Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore or Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia. Perhaps, Ranil W must be thinking of changing from the “Broken Bridge” to driving on a “Super Highway”
      Agree with you, that may well be the case; That is, stark difference!!! Aloof and get things done as against, having a pastime with mothers of “Newborn” babies and ‘cuddling Appachche’!!!
      Then when election time comes, forget everything, remember only what was promised, or whether it is feasible or NOT!!??
      May be stars are turning better for us – long term!!??

  • 10
    4

    Thisaranee
    RW does not have a mandate from the people. This is the elephant in the room.

    Although Rajapakshas had a deal
    U scratch my back and I cretch ur back. And few Colombo businessmen and may be women and some Colombo house wives love Ranil Ranil is clearly not accepted by the nation at large.

    So what to do

    RW has to respect democracy and go for elections.

  • 13
    17

    These heroic sounding tales of maids carrying a baby across a bridge may boost their egos but completely irrelevant when referring to unprincipled, ignoble and crooked leaders of Sri Lanka .Writers may sound high flown but look under the hype ,they are equally pathetic.

    Old Codger,Gamini ,LM and other followers of this giant RW, did you guys listen to his interview with some Harvard mob ? From his face he looked very keen on the interview, when it is Oxford, Harvard , IMF our fellows feel faintish with excitement !

    OC ,what did you think of Ranil’s English and pronunciation ? Full of ‘Ceylonisms’, no ?

    Don’t you think Ranil is essentially a very limited home- grown fool, who for some mysterious reason has decided he was very clever ( may be the company he keeps, Vajira is the Chairman of the UNP after all..) . I am told bribe giver Esmond also thought he was very clever because he was kind of successful in wheeler dealing in little Colombo and power manipulation with old JR types.

    By the way,Ranil the historian says modernity for us began 200 years ago !

    When did it begin for UK ?

    • 8
      9

      deepthi ^ silva

      “….. when referring to unprincipled, ignoble and crooked leaders of Sri Lanka .”

      Could you name all those unprincipled, ignoble and crooked leaders, in any order.

      “OC ,what did you think of Ranil’s English and pronunciation ? Full of ‘Ceylonisms’, no ?”

      Could you name a Ceylonese leader who could speak queens or Ox-bridge English.
      I am sorry did you say Basil, Wimal, Sirisena or Gota?

      • 8
        1

        Agree with the comment that none in the present lot speaks the queens English and Ranil has an easy Sri lankan”what men” colloquial cynical approach.
        Thats all fine,but on a seperate note what if someone did get the pronunciation right ?
        The Sri lankan pundits will resent and accuse him of the one having an “accent” untill he speaks in sing song style like themselves.

        They would even accuse the queen of having an accent and hound her out with chilli powder.Thats how sure they are of their style…..national singlish/tamlish pride in their accents.

      • 10
        12

        You all ( another one of Ranil’s favourite Ceylonisms !) should stop this nonsense, none of those Rajapaksa types pretend to any connection with English.
        Nor do they have any pretence to any principles or honesty. But Ranil does,he says he knows about democracy and integrity. Let us take him on that that canard.
        Ranil,OC etc talk of hyper-inflation, interest rates and other high sounding things as if they are the last words on the subject.
        I think like typical amateurs they are dazzled by the technical words in the field of economics and are foolishly jargonizing .Or may be like all confidence tricksters it is a part of their cunning act ! I wish this fraud OC writes an article/book on any of the subjects he is preaching on, then we will see how empty he really is !
        Perhaps a book on Buddhism will come to his rescue !

        • 0
          4

          Apparently, ‘you-all’ is a normal part of polite speech in the southeast of the US.
          So it is also an Americanism.

          • 6
            7

            By the Blacks ? You-all ? Does his wife teach South East American English ?

            • 3
              1

              DS,
              “By the Blacks?”
              DS, DS, for your own good, please stop parading your ignorance. Your pass in IELTS For Baiyas won’t cut the mustard.

      • 5
        6

        Native
        What accent do you think Deepthi has? Considering her erratic grammar, I think it must be Cockney…😵‍💫

        • 6
          11

          Pundit OC, is there no difference between accent and pronunciation ?

          Ranil mispronounces English ,his accent in Ceylonese, his methods Sri Lankan ( dubious) and his talents mediocre but in pretences ( economist, historian ,philosopher ,Buddhist, patriot..) very foxy.

          You OC, a highly opinionated Brahmin ,who has nothing to show except blind worship of Ranil. From the time and effort you spend commenting here I can see you are a jobless nonentity

          • 2
            1

            DS,
            “Ranil mispronounces English ,his accent in Ceylonese, his methods Sri Lankan ( dubious) and his talents mediocre but in pretences “
            And you want to teach Ranil English?

      • 4
        4

        NV,
        .
        Could you name a Ceylonese leader who could speak queens or Ox-bridge English.
        I am sorry did you say Basil, Wimal, Sirisena or Gota?

        His/her answer will be “Madamulana Miharaka aka Father of the God of the Fall of Lanka – Mahinda Rajapaksa”.

        For me and many others, we have attacked the false relics that the a water snake according to them carried to Kelaniya river. But the entire people of this land which is punished by Rajapaksa are still after Buruwanse, Jayasumanaya, Rohitha, Mr. Rajapaksa….. :Jayasumanaya should be put in jail alone for that Dr Safi Saga. I can get BMJ specialists to get the kind of b*** puthas be cornered in the world.
        .
        srilanken nation s fate is similar to a patient with complex cancer.

        May all gods be led to turn Prof. Deepthi Silva or the like knowledgeable.

    • 1
      0

      Professor Deepti Silva,
      Did you listen to the questions they raised at the Haward in that online webinar where they had a discussion with Prez RW the other day?
      .
      https://www.ft.lk/ft_tv/Discussion-with-the-President-Ranil-Wickremesinghe-organised-by-Harvard-University/10520-746782

      If for example, PIMPS became the leaders of UK, things would have gone all wrong.

      Likewise, if srilanken people forseebly understood the capacities of RAJAAKSHES, things would have gone for good of all in our country.
      .
      Srilanken expats are keen that the Rajapaksas be held accountable for the human and economic disasters deliberately caused by the stupid electorate led by the “BELIATTE cattle thieves and rascals”.

      tbc

      • 1
        0

        2/
        It certainly affected us all. Not talking about their harsh punishments is a big puzzle to all of us. No doubt they should be hanged to appease the nation.
        If it doesn’t work, they should be treated like the JVP leader’s family was isolated.
        . They kept her and wijeweera s children in a military camp and isolated her. The same should be done to Mahinda Rajapaksa and all those who have committed crimes in this country. That way we can save more funds to feed poor people who are hungry.
        :
        I think it is time for the stupid majority to understand that RW had a vision in good governance but the united opposition led by the Rajapaksa dogs did not allow it to go ahead. Sirisena was not good enough to do his job as president. He later became Mahinda Rajapaksa’s lap dog and even ignored the Easter Sunday disaster. It could have been avoided if Sirisena was a president with heart and humanity.

        ->3

        • 1
          0

          3
          On the whole, what was achieved through good governance was diverted by Sri LankanTV and printed media. It has misled the stupid hegemonic nation into the RACISM led election campaign.

          People are also to blame for not realizing the depth of the crisis years ago. People never see it rationally. I think we can NOT expect miracles from the situation in Sri Lanka.

  • 7
    2

    I just don’t like the working-class …… they smell of sweat ……. the rancid smell of balsamic viniger, mould and stale milk.

    They barely can have a single square meal a day ……. take that away, their numbers will be drastically reduced …… the rest can be taxed to nonexistence.

    Oh Joy! Only the non-working-class and Ranil will be left …….. .. Attired in the best suits and ties money can buy …….. perfumed to gills ……. they smell good.

    Imperial Majesty by Clive Christian ……… Mmmmmm ……. I just love that smell ……… can’t have enough

  • 6
    0

    In ranking people according to their learning, T.G. has put soldiers, monks and labourers into the same category. That may well be so. But labourers make a positive contribution to the economy by doing constructive things whereas soldiers and monks don’t do anything productive.

  • 3
    10

    When the new JVP Government have outlawed strikes and declared a one-party people’s republic, all of you will be crying for a return to the ‘good old days’ but it will be too late.

    • 6
      2

      Svenson, Who planted you here!
      Are you worried about us or about your self.

      • 3
        0

        Nathan, Economics affects everyone but hardly anybody understands it. Don’t you think it should be ‘planted’ in the school syllabus and made a compulsory subject?

        • 3
          1

          Svenson

          “Don’t you think it should be ‘planted’ in the school syllabus and made a compulsory subject?”

          You mean
          Patabendi Don Jinadasa Nandasiri Wijeweera’s (JVP) five classes.
          Lessons from Mao’s Red Book
          or
          perhaps SJ’s favourite tin pot dictator Pol Pot’s “Year Zero” ideology?

          • 0
            5

            Is the doctor still elusive?
            Have you tried Walls Street?

            • 1
              0

              SJ,
              Walls Lane is to be found in Kotahena.
              🙂

    • 4
      7

      S
      It is already too late for anything.
      So, why not take what comes than keep worrying and worry others even more?

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