23 April, 2024

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Taxing Times

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“…we emphasise that we won’t hesitate at all to unite with all health workers and take tough measures which can paralyse the entire hospital system against this unfair wage cut.” ~ Statement by the GMOA (23.2.2023) 

Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka’s poorest of the poor, their lives devastated by economic collapse, may face a killer blow soon: a crippling of the public health system. 

That GMOA is planning to ‘paralyse the entire hospital system’ in protest against a government decision to institute a ‘wage cut’. Needless to say, ‘the hospital system’ they are planning to paralyse is the public one, used by those Lankans who constitute the bottommost layers of the income totem pole. The fee-levying private health care system, used by middle and upper layers of society, including politicians, will function smoothly. The very doctors who refuse to treat patients in government hospitals will attend to their private practices with usual assiduity. 

Hippocrates and our own physician-king Buddhadasa, who, according to legend, stopped a royal progress to treat a sick cobra, would turn in their graves at the conduct of these medical merchants. 

We excoriate politicians, and rightly so, for their unconscionable and irresponsible conduct, for their greed and their willingness to risk the safety and wellbeing of citizens who sustain them. Are the doctors, who threaten to hold the poorest of the poor hostage to win a wage demand, any better?  

The UNP president and the SLPP government will probably condemn the doctors’ strike because they are in power. Had they been in opposition, they wouldn’t have. 

Will the SJB, the JVP, and sundry opposition parties have the moral and political courage to ask the doctors not to penalise the already pulverised poor in order to win a wage demand? Will Sajith Premadasa, Anura Kumara Dissanayake or Dulles Alahapperuma possess the decency to tell the doctors to find another weapon to attack the government with?

The doctors’ demand may be just. But their tactic is supremely unjust. Weaponizing poor patients is heartless and malicious at any time, doubly so in the midst of a calamitous economic crisis. The strike won’t hurt politicians. It will hurt the fiscally impoverished 36% of the population who are missing meals and missing school, the 600,000 families who might lose access to power thanks to the recent electricity hike. The very people, who through indirect taxes, helped fund the medical education of these doctors.  

When President Gotabaya and PM Mahinda Rajapaksa reduced health expenditure in the midst of a pandemic, the GMOA doctors remained mute. They were too busy enjoying the rich fruits of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s 2019 tax cut, the first step in Sri Lanka’s fast-track to bankruptcy. The GMOA bosses were probably among those who whispered sweet lies about tax cuts and instant growth into the ignorant ears of the former Lt. Colonel. 

In Sri Lanka’s avoidable tragedy, the only bad guys are not the politicians. The rot in the political class is a reflection of a widespread and deep-going societal malaise. The politicians are the most culpable. But none of us voting age citizens are completely innocent. If any solution is to work, if any change is to be effective, it must move beyond the simplistic formula of bad politicians and good everyone-else and confront special and vested interests, from monks and military to professionals and privileged trade unions. 

Are there other predators apart from politicians?

According to the latest IHP survey, while no political leader has a net favourability rating, in a general election, the NPP/JVP and the SJB will win a plurality. 

Stirring oratory and pie-in-the-sky promises apart, how will a NPP/JVP or SJB government apportion the economic and social costs of recovery? The answer will depend mostly on how the tax burden is distributed. And on this seminal matter, the SJB and the NPP/JVP fudges at best. The SJB talks about reducing direct taxes for the uppermost bracket, while remaining silent about which income segment/s will have to pick the extra tab for that tax break. The NPP/JVP criticises the current imbalance between direct and indirect taxes, promises to correct it, but says nothing about how.

The reason is obvious. Neither party wants to anger those professional groups who are demanding tax cuts for themselves. 

The demonstrating professionals are not saying they don’t want to pay higher taxes to fund such government waste as the silly Janaraja Perahara or the huge stable of cabinet, deputy, and state ministers. The government – any government – must be held to account about how public funds are used. But that is not what the protesting professionals are doing. They don’t want to pay higher taxes, period; irrespective of the identity of the president or the hue of the government. Their reasons have nothing to do with how government borrow and spend and everything to do with how they themselves have lived beyond their means. They too, like successive governments, have borrowed heavily to sustain an unsustainable lifestyle. They want to continue that lifestyle, even as the poorest of the poor are starving. That is the burden of their tax-song. And their tax song will remain unchanged irrespective of who sits in the president’s chair and who forms the government. What is Ranil’s headache today could be Sajith’s or Anura’s headache tomorrrow, if either leader achieves his presidential ambitions.

The Australian TV channel, ABC News did a feature on Finland’s education system. Arguably the best in the world, it is completely free. Not just the teaching, but also lunches, books, and excursions. Teachers are highly paid; teaching is one of the most sought after professions, and one of the hardest to get into. As a school principal told the interviewer, “Schools can’t raise private funds or to charge fees from parents. All schools are equitably funded from taxation”

Finland has one of the highest direct tax rates in the world. And this high rate came into being not after the country became developed but before. From 1945 to 1951, when Finland was dirt-poor and war-devastated, about one third of public revenue was generated through income and wealth taxes.

That money was used to build free health and education systems of the highest quality, which in turn helped the country to escape poverty without falling into the debt trap.

Taxation, argues Thomas Picketty, in Capital and Ideology, played the leading role in West’s economic triumph over the East. Based on a wealth of data, he points out that by the end of the 15th Century Oriental and Occidental powers were evenly balanced. The West took its great leaps upwards firstly from 1500 to 1800 and secondly from 1930 to 1980. Both were enabled by increases in tax income. Chinese and Ottoman empires declined because their tax revenues remained low. Japan was the only exception, Prof Picketty points out, with higher taxes being a major pillar of its Meiji reforms.

Taxation is not the only issue. The recent electricity hike which disproportionately burdens the poor was caused not only by political corruption but also by the wasteful way in which the CEB was run for decades. Wages for excess workers, bonuses despite huge annual losses, and other privileges all added up to push the unit cost of electricity sky high. Now more than half a million poor families might be pushed back into the kuppi lamp era in consequence.

State owned enterprises (SOEs) were supposed to rescue consumers from exploitative practices of private entrepreneurs. But in Sri Lanka, SOE officials and trade unions have themselves turned predator, preying on citizens. Several recent directives provide examples of how these groups battened themselves on public funds. One ended the practice of top government officials taking their official vehicles home at retirement. Another prevented officials from holding their retirement parties at state expense. A third directed all officials to travel economy class and not business. Are these unearned and unjust privileges only the tip of the iceberg? How come no trade union screamed about these high-way-robbery type practices? Is their silence indicative of a mutually beneficial understanding of the plunder-and-let-plunder variety? 

 ] When rulers are hegemonic, they transplant their own values and beliefs on to the society they rule; and by doing so successfully, they manage to maintain their moments of hegemony longer. From an addiction to unearned privileges to tax phobia, from anti-compassion to indecency, we are still Rajapaksa children. 

During a recent parliamentary debate, when MP Rohini Wijeratne was speaking, a parliamentarian was heard scolding her in filth. The Speaker remained silent, during and after. Not a single opposition parliamentarian intervened to defend their colleague. This is what the Rajapaksas have brought the country down to. Unless the President orders the miscreant to apologise publicly (and removes him from his ministry if he happens to be the education minister), unless the opposition in one voice demands such action, then, even if the last member of the Rajapaksa clan departs politics, Sri Lanka will remain a Rajapaksa land.

Why elections?

Mahinda Rajapaksa is correct, for once. The real reason President Wickremesinghe scuttled the local government election was not economics but politics. 

In 2020, the timing of the general election became a bone of contention between the Rajapaksa government and the Opposition. The government, knowing it was on a winning streak, wanted to hold elections as soon as possible, despite the pandemic. The Opposition, citing the pandemic, wanted the election to be postponed. The Opposition’s argument was more factual; having an election in the midst of a pandemic was risky. But the real reason the Opposition wanted a postponement was the fear of losing. 

Now the opposition wants an immediate local government election because it believes it is ahead politically. The wisdom of spending so much money on an LG election in the midst of an economic devastation is not even considered. In truth, their much shouted fidelity to democracy is but a cover for power. If the SJB was clearly ahead and the NPP/JVP trailing way behind, the latter wouldn’t have been so averse to a postponement and vice versa. And Ranil Wickremesinghe would have found the money for the election somehow, if he thought the UNP could come first. This is how real priorities are decided. This is why Sri Lanka is unlikely to do better in the future than it did in the past.

Elections are necessary for democratic health. But democratic health cannot be reduced to periodic elections. Moreover, if there are powerful groups with vested interests who claim that they have the ultimate right in deciding how a country is run, a democracy’s health becomes precarious, with or without periodic elections. In many countries, it is the military which arrogates unto itself such political veto powers. In Sri Lanka, so far, it is the Buddhist clergy.

During their anti-devolution demonstration outside parliament, several monks argued that the president should not implement the 13th Amendment in full because the chief prelates are opposed to it. In a subsequent interview with a You Tube channel, two leading political monks, Ulapane Sumangala thero and Akmeemana Dayaratne thero reiterated the argument. The former said, “Even if the entire parliament agrees we won’t allow the 13th to be implemented. If 13th is given the country will become a lake of blood.”

Sri Lanka’s bloated military might become a threat to democracy in the future (especially if politicians continue their constant bickering, making an exhausted public turn to the Uniformed Man for salvation). The Buddhist clergy is an actual threat to democracy now. They insist on having the final say in every matter, from how much devolution Tamils should be given to how much sex education children should be taught. (The answer to both is none; no devolution, no sex-education, we are Sinhala Buddhists). The monks obviously think Sri Lanka is a Sinhala-Buddhist Iran and they are the Sinhala-Buddhist ayatollahs. If every measure needs saffron sanction, why bother with elections or parliaments? Why not save a lot of money by asking the chief prelates to run the show? 

Given the key role political monks played in Ceylon/Sri Lanka’s downward trajectory right up to the re-election of the Rajapaksas in 2019 and 2020, their undiminished determination to interfere in governance poses a real danger to the prospects of recovery. If political and societal leaders lack the courage to stand up to rampaging monks and other vested interests (civilian and military), what hope for the future, irrespective of which party comes to office and which politicians hold power?

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Latest comments

  • 5
    0

    A third of my income is taxed at 40% & the balance at 20% but I don’t mind because we all pay our fair share of taxes, apart from, maybe, the very rich who have tax consultants to find loop holes in the system for tax avoidance. In Scandinavian countries, direct & indirect taxation is high but the standard of living for every citizen is also high. The gap between the rich & the poor is very much non existent & everyone, whether a street sweeper or any of the millions in mundane employment, have a decent life.
    Cont.

    • 5
      4

      Much food for thought here, Raj-UK.
      .
      Particularly relevant to me, since I’ve been a teacher all my life.
      .
      Let me give you that Australian view of Finnish Education again, since viewing habits vary:
      .
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7xCe2m0kiSg&t=84s
      .
      Only seven minutes. Please watch.
      .
      I’ve never been outside Asia, but I have a first cousin there, married to a Fin. Actually, I had to give her away in the Church in Oman, since her parents were dead.
      .
      CT staff have lots of duties that they perform admirably – usually! However, I don’t understand why the Dictator’s photograph had to be there. This article is mostly about Finnish Education, not so much about our despised Dictator.

      • 3
        0

        “How come no trade union screamed about these high-way-robbery type practices? Is their silence indicative of a mutually beneficial understanding of the plunder-and-let-plunder variety? “
        TG hits the nail right on the head. Doctors who scream about taxes don’t talk about the untaxed cash they make on private practice. CEB engineers cry their hearts out, claiming that some pay 350,000 in taxes. But they don’t talk about the 25% annual increment that brought their salaries to this level in the first place . Ditto the CPC staff. The JVP too plays a double game. Its unions never objected to over-staffing and inflated salaries. But its NPP avatar glibly talks about “efficiency” without specific details. In that way the JVP is as dishonest as any other party.
        If anybody has the right to complain about taxes, it is not the unions.

    • 6
      0

      Raj-UK,
      .
      As TG explains in her article, Finland was very poor and lived in the dirt before they introduced taxes to the nation. So I don’t think finish people were well paid at that time.
      Europeans in general want to see real changes for their own good. They are not very much sabotage. Our peoples are totally the opposite. The people of our hell, who were destroyed by the Rajapaksas, do not seem to be committed to real change.That is the biggest cancer in this country.
      If they are taxed, they will go on strikes. JVPrs and other sons of bitchs support them for their own selfish gains. All what they have been doing is where the sun is shining, make their hay.
      . Look how highly paid people like those doctors act today. Those specialists in srilanka are real blood suckers. And the tuition traders are unbelievably rich. Do they pay proportional taxes on daily basis ? No… these men that earn more should be taxed multiple times. That is what european countries do.
      Sri Lanka’s GMOA is a powerful institution politicized by Rajapakse politics. These people are real heatshreckers who suck the whole system of this country. There are a large number of other unions that do not allow any change to be implemented.

      • 7
        0

        it should be GMOA men are the real grasshoppers.

        It is reported that GMOA do not even fulfill their duty hours. Remember, how those men worked as ” VIORLOGISTs” in that COVID crisis, leaving real experts in virology aside, – Gotas adminsitration did not give a chance to real experts such as Prof. Withana. Prof. Withana was not given a chance evenif he repeatedly asked for that. All these were the malpractices of criminalpaksha rule. I have no doubt, if things went correctly, thousands of COVID patients could HAVE been saved from death. This curse is no longer spoken by srilankens today. THAT IS THE typical srilanken mentality.

        Restructuring should not be limited to debt but every public institution. An inspection committee should be established in every establishment to monitor worker anomalies. In the 80s, as I recall, schools were regularly inspected. The local education department repeatedly monitored teaching malpractices. Today all these people were released by the Rajapaksa administration.

      • 0
        3

        Dear LM: I am taking “Kadamandiya” to a new height. Must Listen.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk37-YgpK_U

        This is coming from Italy.

        • 1
          2

          Dear Simon,
          .
          1/2
          .
          Discovered “two must sees”, which I’ll place at the bottom of these comments.
          .
          No time to see all that is available.
          .
          Two problems with that video you’ve linked us to above. It is not really possible to correct the Sinhala term for “Tiger” in the academic way the speaker tries to. It would be interesting to know whether Prabhakaran’s set up was named after The Tiger (which even in Bengal is probably larger than The Lion, with, as I think, the Siberian subspecies much larger. This is just what’s in my head – could be “researched” on the web, but that’s not the way language works) OR whether the LTTE had the leopard in mind. I think that the leopard is also almost the same as the panther (which is only darker) and the puma, which is found in South America. I’m playing with fire here – I’m no zoologist.
          .
          The other problem was that the speaker sounded far too angry whilst discussing Hitler – I fear that his shouting didn’t prevent my falling asleep. It is dawn now. 06:19. Of course this Hitler adulation makes one furious!

        • 1
          3

          Simon,
          .
          2/2

          .
          These two are what are important:
          .
          Two very recent videos which help us get to know Anura Kumara Dissanayake as a relaxed man in a reflective mood.
          .
          Mostly, we see him addressing “election meetings”, where it is issues that dominate.
          .
          That Hitler programme segued to these two personal views of AKD, which I’d like you to place elsewhere as well, since it is the character of the man that seems to concern many:
          .
          First, these 42 minutes, made just 5 days ago: 187,946 views 25 Feb 2023
          .
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWBNavZubu8
          . Anura Kumara Disanayaka | Haritv
          .
          Secondly, these 79 minutes, made a little earlier: 339,577 views Premiered on 30 Jan 2023
          .
          https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=-VQ6nfYs0PE
          .
          | Anura Kumara Dissanayaka | NPP Srilanka | | 2023-01-30
          .
          Well many have seen them, but have you? I must see them again myself.
          .
          Please place both prominently for our readers when a suitable new programme comes up.
          .
          Once more the problem of too much rubbish preventing us from seeing what we need to.

          • 1
            2

            NOTE
            .
            Thirdly

            .
            There is a Second Part to the video which I have labelled as the “First”
            .
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q60o4b4lcFw – 17 minutes 42 seconds
            .
            -AnuraKumara Dissanayaka | Hari tv
            .
            40,543 views 1 Mar 2023 #lahirumudalige #anurakumaradissanayake #srilanka
            Part 02
            .
            The above is what I have copied off the browser search bars. This is obviously a commercial website, and I am myself confused by the advertisements – to “somehow” get to Australia, something that I don’t approve of.
            .
            Please comment on that aspect of it if you understand what’s going on.
            .
            There also seem to be some problems with the links that I have given in the previous comment, above..
            .
            Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela (NIC 483111444V)

      • 4
        3

        Dear CT and Tisaranee,
        .
        I wrote a response to the wonderful comment that “leelagemalli” has made elsewhere, embedding this moving video:
        *
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2FpAoOmKVJU
        *
        It took me some time to compose a careful response to LM’a comment. However, when I submitted my comment, I was told, “Sorry, comments are closed for this item“, or something similar.
        .
        Since this article by Tisaranee Gunasekara, and LM’s heartfelt comment, are in keeping with what was rejected, may I please submit it directly below this comment?
        .
        Yours sincerely,
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe of Bandarawela (NIC 483111444V)

  • 9
    0

    Cont.
    In UK, several public sector workers, from train drivers to nurses, have been on regular protests recently, demanding an increase in wages but the system prevents a total breakdown. Now, junior doctors are expected to go on strike for 3 days but the hospitals have contingency plans & senior doctors, although facing pay cuts as well, are not taking strike action. Protests are acceptable in a democracy but within reason. In contrast, the GMOA membership have benefitted from state funded education & enjoyed perks, such as, duty concession vehicles but not only have they forgotten the ‘Hippocratic oath’, they don’t realise they have a debt to society for their free education. The sad fact in SL is that the average citizen has to bear the cost of a bloated cabinet, waste & an overstaffed public service but get little in return.

    • 3
      8

      “Protests are acceptable in a democracy but within reason.”
      Were you there in the UK during the miners strike?

      • 8
        1

        China’s Aging Man in Sri Lanka

        “Were you there in the UK during the miners strike?”

        Were you there in peacefully rising middle kingdom during the student protests between 1986 and 1989 finally ending at 1989 Tiananmen Square killing thousands of its own citizen.

        Were you there during the countrywide Pro democracy protests in 2011?

        Were you there during Uyghur unrest in 2008 and later?

        Were you there during various protests against China’s occupation of Tibet since since 1950?

        ….

        Were you there during the cultural revolution?

        Can’t remember won’t remember, …..

        • 1
          7

          The waffling is a little out of control.
          I wonder what you had last night?
          See the doctor ASAP.
          I now worry about your health

        • 3
          1

          NV. Do not be an optimist. What is there in an empty coconut shell???

          • 4
            2

            hanchopancha

            I am trying to point out the fallacies in his typing. Thats all, as usual this supposed to be a learned man who could not bring himself to accept his errors, including factual as well as arguments.

            I respond to his typing only to alert others the danger of automatically accepting his typing as gospel.

            I cannot educate him.
            Caanot teach him new tricks.
            All what we can do is to point out his inability to ………
            Poor man.

          • 4
            0

            hanchopancha,

            This guy plays a buffoon role to hang around until Siri Ma O ‘s SLFP unite back and resuscitate itself.

            When I came to CT, he organized a party to curb the vocabulary of CT contributors. Devananda was only in a corner. Danced on highest rhythm when Dr. Thiyagalingam (A true, educated professor – the archived story is in CT) was denied his right to work at UOJ saying that he was a foreigner, but simultaneously carrying in palanquin the US citizens to rule Langkang. Thero de Silva, the Cuban Communist predicated a lot of grandeurs for the US citizens. Thank God to Sinhala Buddhists, who worked hard to split their baby, SLFP and destroy it into two. This Hero then, not sure of which branch was about to flourish, changed his costume from Hero to Clown, with a heavy heart, only to survive in hope once again the thriving days to dawn to refuge him under the feet of winning masters.

            But we will try until the US & Other Democratic countries put these guys in Netherland’s Prison. Long live the Royal Rowdies until they get the truly deserving palaces in Netherland.

            (PS: Old Rowdy said that he was foolish enough to resign the PM position and let Evil use it to climb the EP seat. He feels now Evil is diplomatically safe, but himself is not)

      • 6
        0

        SJ

        For your information, the miners strike was a few years before I came to UK but it will not be forgotten because that’s what mage Thatcher the ‘iron lady’. I am not a Thatcherite nor a Tory supporter but looking at the bigger picture, uneconomical mines had to be shutdown & that was before the environmental impact by the use of coal was an issue. Militant strikers paralysed industry during the previous Labour govt & as a direct result, productivity & quality suffered & British industries became uncompetitive. An example is British Leyland, the 3rd biggest vehicle manufacturer in the world in the 70s which was subsidised by the tax payer until Thatcher privatised it but the ripple effect finally caused the end of the indigenous Motor industry.
        I don’t condone Thatcher’s stand on violent protestors & in hindsight, it can be said that the strike could have been handled differently. Miners had guaranteed jobs for life for generations but when it stopped, they did not have the skills to take alternate jobs which paid the same high wages. Since then, legislations were introduced to keep the protests peaceful. Strike action, although disruptive & cause inconvenience to public, usually have public sympathy & accepted as a way of conveying grievance

        • 2
          1

          Dear Raj,
          .
          I fear that you are being far too harsh and prejudiced in your attitude to the JVP that has now become the NPP. However, I respect your sincerity and intelligence. You always think carefully before you write. Unfortunately, you give us results that are wrong!
          .
          Well, you can always say the same about me!
          .
          What is bad is allowing the vomitting of putrid rubbish purely because you’ve got addicted to typing things here. Prime example: “leelagemalli” with whom I’ve exchanged 2,000 emails in a little over two years.
          .
          Please continue to give us your wise words, Raj.

          • 2
            0

            You can fool stupid lankens, but not Raj for sure. There you are so naive SM. He has seen better systems being able to live in UK:
            :
            Panini please stop lying. I’ve said it several times, you’re schizophrenic. If you don’t see a psychiatrist soon, you won’t get better.
            .
            I have made it very clear that you have misused my email address to blackmail others.
            If you repeatedly claim that all the emails sent to me were intended to improve my awareness, you may be the world champion of lying. Absolutely despicable.

    • 8
      4

      Dear Raj-UK. You are comparing Pearls and Pebbles. Srilankans belong to the stone ages with savage mentality. Their heads are screwed on anticlockwise. They move opposite to the rest of the world. It is the “I am alright Jack” mentality. The cheating to them is one-upmanship.

      • 7
        2

        HP,
        .
        agree with you more about most Sri Lankans.

        It does not restrict to Sri Lanka but to the entire “South Asian region”. Watch the video below, but many Indians even today are chasing caste and religion rather than fact-based information. Those artists and media fraudsters transport the message so that the culture remains in favour of them.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXZQomvJn4Q
        That is engrained in their mentality with thier child growth.
        ..
        Regardless of their level of education, they behave so primitively. As for their opinions in general, if they don’t like the person, they will go to their personal details and even try to slander them. That is nurture over nature. However, ridiculously enough, the majority of these men wear the “Sinhala Buddhist banner” on their foreheads.

        • 6
          0

          LM,
          The video isn’t anything to do with caste or religion. It’s a Hindi classical music show. The singer is a Muslim.

          • 1
            1

            Old,
            Who is on the swing? BJP Amrith Singh?

            • 1
              1

              Malli,
              Who is Amrit Singh?
              As LM says, the guy on the swing must be a senior musician.

              • 2
                0

                Old,

                Sorry, man, I meant Amit Shah!

                In other words, I just wanted to know who the arrogant person was sitting on swing, while singer is on the floor. It was only in movies, at kings’ time scenes only, I saw a scene like that.

                Thanks anyway! t. .

              • 3
                0

                OC,
                .
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXZQomvJn4Q

                Why did not our stupid people put our fake Maharajah (Jathiye Meeharaka aka Mahinda Rajapakshe) in a swing to the manner, Indians do that with their famous characters?

            • 2
              0

              Mallai,
              .
              Who is on the swing?

              Morari Bapu is a renowned exponent of the Ram Charit Manas and has been reciting Ram Kathas for over fifty years throughout the world.

              https://chitrakutdhamtalgajarda.org/

          • 3
            2

            OC, you didn’t get it. Seated on the floor are the lower caste men and the man on the swing is from upper class and a popular singer/artist. I learned this from an Indian postdoctoral scientist who stayed in my student hostel at the same time (late 90ties). He was explaining the reality of the Indian caste barrier.

            My fellow European colleagues thought it was the same in Sri Lanka. I emphasized then, no, it’s not that dark with our hellish castes.
            :

            • 2
              3

              LM,
              I think you have been misinformed. There is caste discrimination, but it doesn’t take place in public musical performances. You shouldn’t believe everything you hear. Have a look at this video from Pakistan. Audiences sitting on the floor is a South Asian tradition, nothing to do with caste.

              https://youtu.be/3KfEHH7G2Fc

              • 3
                1

                No, I don’t agree with you. I have been studying this mindset for 3 decades. I know it is their tradition to sit on the floor use the finger to feed them. I lived in SL at least 2 decades before leaving the country. I have been traveling all over the world today and I know exactly how some traditions work. I love the japenese sitting on the floor but not because they belong to varied castes. However, the indian man in the swing is said to be a prominent figure for the region (be it in nPakistan or India). This is just one example only. I can bring you lot more if you really want to see it
                We had students from different castes from India (BSc, MSc, PhD, Post Doc). There were once those who belonged to the lowest caste but were postdoctoral fellows. In a session where I was invited to a dinner party, the people sitting on the floor were from the lower caste irrespective of their higher academic level. This audience were not just south asians but also some europeans. My good colleague Peter questioned me how it functions as a tradition in india -The result is what I added above

              • 2
                0

                OC,
                .
                I love melancholic Indian melodies. I really do. My mother was very fond of Hindi songs broadcasted on the radio in those days (going back to mid 70ties and 80ties)

      • 1
        7

        Here comes a another gem from an unpolished pebble.
        Hail the master race.
        Salute the master’s flag and sing the anthem.

        • 3
          2

          Hello, Hello SJ. Those were the days when you travel around the world people ask you where you are from. When you tell them I am from Ceylon, they welcome you with a warm smile. Now a days when you tell them you are from Srilanka the faces turn cold and sour. You should ask your keeper to get you a pacifier. Then retire to a corner and enjoy sucking it with full of awe and gratitude to the master race for having assured you with a sweet and a cozy life as you enjoy it.

          • 5
            0

            hanchopancha

            You are right. A few years ago, at the border crossing from Canada to the US, the immigration officer looked hard at my British passport because it stated that my place of birth was Colombo. He flicked through the other passports but took time with mine. He didn’t say anything but his face said it all.
            In the early 60s, my uncle came to UK for studies. At the time, it was common to see notices outside lodgings stating ‘ No Blacks, No Irish, No Dogs’ (dog owners being preferable to blacks) but he was able to get a room without a problem as his English friends provided references. Later, the same friends were very impressed when they saw my uncle’s new 4 bedroom house in Colombo which had 2 en-suites, whereas, they lived in terraced houses with an outside toilet. How things have changed in 60 years.

  • 6
    3

    Parliament today is a “comedy of errors”. In it, we have a clown, not an ordinary clown but a “Thovil Clown – Ranil”. He blatantly lies and gives promises and none of them have been delivered to date. Whatever he promises its always “coming in the future” and never sees the light of day. In this country even the constitution is flawed. We have a “Clown of a President” who was kicked out of the Parliament, not only from his electorate but also under his leadership not a single seat was won. He came into the Parliament through the back door, that too shamelessly, and was appointed the PM by a President who ran away from his seat but also from the country. Then the bunch of rogues, kappam karayos, drug lords, chain snatchers, murderers, and rapists in SLPP selected him to be the President. How on earth a person who was kicked out by the voters becomes the President is a question. What credibility has he got to stand among other leaders in the world? For this fact alone he is not only a “Thovil Clown” in Sri Lanka but also considered a “Clown” by world leaders. It’s time we put his name forward to the Guinness book of world records to be recognized as the only person in the world to get kicked out by the voters to become the President.

  • 8
    1

    China’s Aging Man in Sri Lanka

    “Were you there in the UK during the miners strike?”

    Were you there in peacefully rising middle kingdom during the student protests between 1986 and 1989 finally ending at 1989 Tiananmen Square killing thousands of its own citizen.

    Were you there during the countrywide Pro democracy protests in 2011?

    Were you there during Uyghur unrest in 2008 and later?

    Were you there during various protests against China’s occupation of Tibet since since 1950?

    ….

    Were you there during the cultural revolution?

    Can’t remember won’t remember, …..

  • 5
    4

    Is this for real? TG, you’ve got the wrong end of the stick.

    Taxation is for a time when the country ISN’T in financial despair; when taxation is used to sustain normal operations.

    When in Financial Ruin, what you do is tax the Lankan US$$ Millionaires and Billionaires! GMOA knows that their tax money is going to be used to pay off foreign creditors for things like :

    1. Investments in Port City,

    2. Crypto-Currency debacles

    3. “Investment-Accounts” placed on global markets that rolls with hard-work of other countries global prosperity. Now even they are becoming poor because of useless places like Sri Lanka.

    4. State-of-the-Western-art hospitals and fancy medical equipment that GMOA did not even ask for. But some Lankan US$$ Billionaire (or a set of them) decided to take money-of-the-hardworking-suffering-Lankan-Masses and place it via commission-system on “honorable” on health-care

    5. State-of-the-Western-Art office-buildings for producing things like coir

    6. State-of-the-Western-Art gadgets like recycling bins in supermarkets

    7. State-of-the-Western-Art gadgets like wind-turbines to fulfill the 2048 Western clean-energy pact.
    …and so on.

    No way is the Ranil-Rajapaksa taxation to be used for 36% of poorest-of-poor struggling without food, medicine, and education.

    • 5
      7

      Only JVP-NPP can produce correct results by taxing the Lankan US$$$ Millionaires and Billionaires. (Quite possibly SJB too). They will spread the money of the Masses, to the Masses, so True business venture can emerge from the heart and soul of the people.

      • 2
        3

        Thanks, Ramona, for your truthfulness.
        .
        That may be the quality in you that has got nimal fernando, oc, NV, et al, bewitched with you.
        .
        Whatever regime we have here next year (let’s hope it is JVP-NPP), we will be poor for many years to come.
        .
        The chances for the NPP to set up an administration in Lanka look good. I met AKD for the first time eight days ago. He has quite bewitched me (but not in the way that dirty-minded nimal may think), and I gave him my cheaply printed but functional card. I don’t think that AKD is what Sirisena called a butterfly. The card has all my contact details on it.
        .
        If I meet AKD again, I must tell him that in the State founded by William Penn, the Quaker, there lives this pretty woman who will probably act as an Honorary Consul for us.
        .
        Panini Edirisinhe, the poor village teacher from Bandarawela.

        • 2
          0

          Not only this village teacher but everyone became poor thanks criminal Rajapaksa administration. Even today fake pub6 perception made on Rajapaksa in lanka society remains ad before. They at large are obviously stupid. My eyes could nt believe MaRa makes even today misleads the nation not being able to realize their Untergang. Nothing ll change in this society until law and order is kept above. Pinguththarayas should nt be able to everything what they think is right. Most of them among Kaha sivuru dressers are no different to underworld leaders.one law to them and other to the rest of nation. Law and order should be equal to every citizen as is the case in Europe.

  • 0
    0

    Here is a new story from Mahavamsa, by a familiar Sinhala Buddhist Viyathmaga, promoting Evil Emperor’s, Old Rowdy King’s & Communist Dinesh’s government. “JVP Anura did not prevent GMOA’s strike.” Comedy Thamai! First, can somebody tell me what was the date on the calendar that this rowdy club did not go on strike, after the poisonous Parthenium grew up in that wild jungle? Did Parthenium fail to stand up on the road, any day of the Yahapalanaya time, like a road warrior, instead of like a doctor? It was Communist Dinesh and Old Rowdy King who were managing GMOA. Now this new Mahavamsa story says that Anura did not manage that “German Shepherd or Rottweiler or Doberman Pinscher dogs? Evil Emperor, GMOA, New King, Railroad union, Bald Head Warriors, Rapist Security System…….all bulldogs were brought up for his fun by the Rodeo man, Rowdy King. Old Rowdy is still the main man in government. Old Rowdy King is saying that Evil is only a puppet, but it is his family that is the one still running the show. So then why didn’t he control GMOA to save the Evil Emperor so Evil can effectively save the Old Rowdy, in turn? The truth is nobody has to stop anybody, but our Lady Loose Cannon, just firing in confusion as usual! This year 1,000 doctors left the country.

  • 0
    0

    Every country out there has grown beyond Jack’s Beanstalk. All the countries are ready to give over the sky salary for any professional, technical, skill kind jobs. Remember when the Mexican President told President Doanld Trump that only Mexicans were managing the US cities, so not to underestimate their importance? Only Sinhala Buddhist Intellectuals forced Langkang to contract for 75 years and now do not have Salli to pay for government employees’ salary. What a shame. Even Parai Demola refugees who have been doing Koppai Addikirathu have more money than Radala, Royal Sinhala Doctors who were promoted by Appe Aanduwa with its Standardization. This Cannon lady is just firing with her empty mouth. Canada saying anybody want to come, come they give jobs. Australia says “do not beat system by coming back door, but come by the front door, we take care of you. In Langkang every day there are unbelievable number of accidents because kids who never show that if a vehicle’s steering wheel is round or square or triangle are driving vehicles. In that condition, last month unknown European country officials were to interview for a drive to they’re their country. Soon, in Langkang operation theaters, even the butchers will not come with knife to save any patients. Lady still dreaming about her Asian Wonder and talking in full dope. What an unrealistic rubbish easy!

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