26 June, 2022


The 21st Century Fox

By Sharmini Serasinghe

Sharmini Serasinghe

These is always a reason why people do the things they do or don’t do!

It is indeed a strange and ironic phenomenon in the system of governance of Sri Lanka that when it comes to sound policies to solve issues of a national nature, those in power appear to be at a loss, while those in the opposition seem to have all the best policies to solve the country’s ills.

In Sri Lanka today, there is much written and talked about the perceived inaction of a certain Opposing individual who is looked upon by many especially his loyal following, as one who is able to salvage our country from the social and political quagmire it is sinking into.  Because traditionally as mentioned above, those not in power are expected to have all the right solutions.

The perceived ‘silence’ of this Opposing individual has bewildered many, mostly amongst his loyal supporters giving rise to much personal attacks, ridicule and criticism.

However I see it differently. Some may regard it as a figment of my over-dramatic imagination while some may not. But in a democracy and as a citizen of this country I believe I’m permitted the freedom of looking at things my way, therefore “outside the Box”.

The following is an Allegorical Narration of the Status Quo

“Once upon a time there was a Fox and a Bull in a land comprising mainly of Cattle, Leopards, Reptiles, Owls and Others. The Cattle were in the majority, followed by Leopards. The Bull was the ruler of the Land, for reasons best known to those who elected him.

The fox was a descendent of a family that had ruled the Land before and was not new to the game. However he unlike his predecessors never quite got to rule the Land except for a very limited period. During this short space of time the Fox together with his following of some wise Owls and Reptiles ruled the Land according to some, like a CEO of a massive efficiently run enterprise.

The Fox’s method of governance was far too sophisticated for the Cattle majority to comprehend and appreciate. Therefore the Fox came across more like a Lamb than a Fox and lacked mass appeal amongst the simple minded majority of the Land made up of Cattle.

The Bull on the other hand quite unlike those of his fraternity was a shrewd and charismatic one. Being a talented actor the Bull came across as more Cattle-friendly than the Fox. He knew exactly how to play his cards with the masses made up of Cattle known for their limited intelligence.

The Bull’s less sophisticated home-grown methods of governance therefore appealed to the masses which obviously valued populism over efficiency and thus ensured the Bull’s victory at every subsequent election.

This was a time when all was not well in the Land. Leopards were creating a ruckus disturbing the peace in the Land.

This came about due to a mess created by the predecessors of both the Bull and the Fox resulting in the Leopards being marginalized over the years. The unresolved mess which was not nipped in the bud snowballed into the Leopards wanting to carve out their own niche in the land. The majority would not hear of it, for they regarded the Land as their sole property.

The Leopards got mad and killed off all the great wise Owls who might one day rule the Land, leaving only the Bull and the Fox for the majority Cattle population to choose from. Therefore it became a Hobson’s choice situation in the Land.

Meanwhile the Land was going up in flames with the Leopards intensifying their wrath. The economy of the Land was down to a dribble and the rulers of the Land were caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

The Fox being a moderate intervened and wanted to settle the issue through dialogue and other diplomatic means. And so the Fox with great difficulty managed to get the intransigent Leopard chief to agree to sit down and talk, instead of burning up the Land.

The Leopard chief was a tough nut to deal with and continued to insist on the niche for his Leopards. The Fox and the Bull were for once united and said “Nothing doing”.

All hell broke out in the Land with the chief Leopard unleashing his fury on the majority Cattle and others. The Bull decided that the Fox’s method was not the way to go and unleashed his armies to finish off the Leopard chief and his comparatively small army of Leopards once and for all.

The methods used were questionable because many other innocent Animals in the Land were killed in the crossfire on the battlefield but the Bull couldn’t care less because he “Won the War”. This was to become the Bull’s main weapon to win over the majority Cattle vote base at every election thereafter.

Animal rights activists from far and wide started to voice their concerns over what was happening in the Land, but the Bull couldn’t give a damn for he was now riding high on the hysteria “We won the War”. In the typical ‘bull-in-a-china-shop’ manner the Bull carried on doing things his way. His arrogance knew no bounds, so was his stupidity. The Bull appeared to interpret good governance as pure and simple poppycock.

Meanwhile, the Fox was becoming increasingly unpopular in the eyes of the majority in the Land. His CEO method of governance had lost out to the Bull’s street-wise methods. He had lost his status as a potential ruler of the Land and became the object of much scorn and criticism.

Many regarded the Fox as a fool and some of the Reptiles in his camp decided to dump the sinking ship and crossed over to join the ruling Bull’s camp comprising a large Herd of well pampered Cattle which offered a rosier future for them personally and to hell with the Land.

In addition to these problems the Fox had to deal with, there started some rattling and rumblings within the Fox’s camp. Moves were under way to oust their leader the Fox. But before long the ruckus ceased as his challengers realised that the Fox was no fool.

By now the Fox had come to be regarded as the Bull’s coziest asset, for never did he raise a hue and cry over the way the Bull and his Herd of Cattle were bulldozing around as rulers/ruiners of the land. And on the Bull’s part he made sure that the Fox had all the comforts he required and was protected from perceived enemies from within his camp. For the gullible Bull regarded the Fox as his greatest ally. It appeared to be a win-win situation for both the Bull and the Fox! Or so it seemed!

Few realised that the Fox was no Simple Simon. This was none other but the 21st Century Fox himself!

The fox having lost out to the Bull at a record number of elections in the past realised that he needed to take a short cut to get to his destination and therefore decided to sit back and wait for his day he was sure would eventually dawn.

Somewhere down the line the Fox had acquired a spiritual need shared by the Bull to seek the divine intervention of Gods who could be consulted only at certain holy shrines in the big Land next door. Both the Fox and the Bull took turns at visiting these shrines to seek whatever they were seeking, causing much confusion to the Gods and putting them in an unenviable situation.

The Bull and his Herd of Cattle meanwhile were running amok with their self-destructive political gymnastics with the cunning Fox stealthily egging them on giving them all the rope to hang themselves with. The Bull was now increasingly becoming like the Emperor with new clothes, with the majority Cattle population admiring all his new outfits and failing to see his obvious nakedness.

To make his master plan not too obvious and being the tactician he is, the Fox every once in a while would make wise utterances at the regular congregations at the Zoo critically analyzing the problems facing the Land and urging the ruling Herd of Cattle not to incite religious and  communal passions, which once embroiled the Land in war.

This cunning 21st Century Fox was only too aware that all his utterances were falling on the Bull’s deaf ears, but nevertheless he made them anyway, if only for the record. The Cattle were now starting to wonder why the Bull could not come up with such sensible solutions himself.

Meanwhile, the Cats and Vultures from far off well-to-do Lands were starting to take note of what was happening in this small but strategically located Land in the Indian Ocean. Their concerns and reprimands fell on the deaf ears of the Bull and his Herd of Cattle. They were still riding high on the hysteria “We Won the War”.

Given the characteristics of the species, the Bull and his Herd of Cattle little realised that in the eyes of the rest of the world the Bull had unleashed his armies only to squash a battle amongst the citizens of the Land he ruled and not against a foreign invader.

Serious concerns started to be raised by the Cats and Vultures in the international arena regarding Animal Rights being violated in the Land. They were being goaded into action mostly by Leopards of the Land who had fled during the war and become citizens of foreign Lands.

The Bull and his Herd of Cattle taking umbrage at this treated these concerns with scorn and ridicule, little realising the long term consequences of their actions and inactions. They stubbornly stuck to their policy that Good Governance is Good Poppycock.  Not for a moment did they stop to think that if all from these foreign Lands collectively spat on this tiny Land ruled by the Bull, his kingdom would vanish beneath the Indian Ocean within moments.

Meanwhile, the 21st Century Fox is lying low marking time for his final leap, making periodic wise utterances at the Zoo congregations, while the Bull and his Herd continue to wind the rope around their necks.

Will the Bull eventually meet his Waterloo in the now seemingly sleeping 21st Century Fox?”


The above is a work of fiction based on the writer’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, beings, living or dead is purely coincidental. Any humiliation caused to animals is deeply regretted.

*Sharmini Serasinghe was Director Communications of the former Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) under Secretary Generals Jayantha Dhanapala and Dr. John Gooneratne. She counts over thirty years in journalism in both the print and electronic media.



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Latest comments

  • 0

    ”The Bull and his Herd of Cattle meanwhile were running amok with their self-destructive political gymnastics with the cunning Fox stealthily egging them on giving them all the rope to hang themselves with”.

    ….”the Cats and Vultures from far off well-to-do Lands”.

    I quoted from you (writer).

    Sharmini,You look like ”Goddess of small things” Years of experience reflects in your observations. Simply the best.

  • 1

    A great parable consonant with what we see around us. Should be appended to both the Panchatantra and the Aesop’s Fables. The only worry is that the 21st century fox, who is also ageing, may have missed his chance to rule the zoo forever and also not learned the lessons from his previous rule, where he had to function under the watchful eye of a short sighted , if not blinkered cow. The lesson the fox should have learned by now is that efficiently ruling a zoo requires a combination of common touch, mass appeal, plenty of acting and importantly good management. He forget to feed the Cattle the last time and concentrated on the needs of his fellow Foxxes and Lions, hoping that the meat that fell from the dining table was sufficient to feed the Cattle which were vegetarians. He also forgot that among the cattle were also fair number of donkeys who could bray aloud when hungry and hyenas who were waiting to make a prey of him. However, the Fox was very clever in laying the peace trap for Leopards during his brief rule, which helped the Bull to do what he did to destroy them within the zoo. The Leopards enjoyed the joys of Bankok , the beauty of Geneva and the loving entertainment of their fellow leopards in other zoos, during the Fox’s rule, to the extent that they forgot how to hunt. The Bull currently ruling has all the attributes to rule except superior management skills. The Ruling Bull unfortunately is also bent on making the wheels of governance/ management square.

    Sharmini, thanks.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 0

      My addition to Sharmini’ s parable wil not be complete without mentioning that the 21st century Fox failed to support the Cow who was in charge of the zoo then, to enact a new set of rules to manage the zoo. The Fox and his pack in fact rampaged around the zoo’s rule making office and tore up the new rule book. The Fox as always tried to be too foxy and helped prolong the agony and declining management standards in the zoo. The Fox yet continues to do so, causing much worry and concern among the other denizens. The big dilemma for the other denizens in the zoo is to decide which of the two, the Bull in the ‘China shop’ or the cunning and very sly fox , is the best to be in charge of the zoo that is being rebuilt after decades of neglect.

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 0

      True. The 21st Century Fox is getting old. Just like his uncle the Old Fox or 20th Century Fox. He was also too old when he became the ruler and his senile brain churned out the devil of a Constitution we are stuck with today.

  • 0

    Doesn’t this sounds more like a “cock & bull story’?,

    Ms Sharmani reckons the Opposition dudes have all the right policies to fix our National problems.

    Our biggest problem is that the same people who tried their utmost to detach the NE provinces from the main body and rule them as exclusive homelands until a global Eelaam is established are still in the hunt to trap Rajapaksa and install a separatists friendly regime .

    Potential candidates to act as the frontmen for this Mission are Ranil, Sajith, Fonseka, and the new recruit the ex CJ.

    Ranil has been rejected by the great majority of our inhabitants 18 times..

    Sajith’s dad is totally responsible for most of the carnage bestowed on Sinhala and Muslim inhabitants ,by the predecessors to the current Separatists.

    The recent petition to Pillay by an Anti Govt journ accusing the Ex General of killing his fellow journ mate has demolished even the little chance he had to present himself as foreman material.

    Ex CJ is starting with a crippling handicap in the form of commissions and dodgy share deal of the spouse.

    Shouldn’t these dudes be fixing their own ills before Ms Sharmani can present them as Political Saviours with magic solutions to fix us inhabitants?.


    • 0

      K. A. Sumanasekera:
      I ask again, “Why have you not crawled back under that rock from which you emerged a while ago?”
      To call your blathering stupid would be to state the obvious. It’s criticism like yours that elevates Sharmini Serasinghe to a level akin to Aesop’s.
      That said, the chronicler (Sharmini) deserves kudos for stating the obvious, though I do not share her optimism regarding the capacity of the fox to lead us to the promised land given the fact that he had to have picked up significant numbers of vermin by lying with the dogs he has on his sly sojourn with the Bulls and Cattle of this country!

    • 0

      There are foxes, bulls cattle and leopared all over the world. But the ones you find in baboon land you don’t find anywhere in the world.

      When one fox tried to have his own empire in the north, the other fox trying to establish his empire in the South with own Ports, Airports,Cinema studios and a heram.

      Now the north fox is already dead, the south one is heading for it’s own burial grounds.

      While there are no ships coming to his port, no cattle will like to go to his home town air port due to sit and wait in a plane under hot sun in the tarmac for one and a half hours until others are boarded.

      Therefore the cattle who used the baboon land own aircrafts will avoid travelling in them in future.Already these Aircrafts are loosing 50 Million Rupees per day.

      The baboon land gon haraka fox could not do anything right because it is looking for his commission percentage first before looking at the project.Therefore all the projects he does doom to be fail.

      That fox is the first ever Tsunami thief in Sri Lanka’s history. Now the Airport is about to open the fox has got it’s tails burnt due to nobody want to fly in it’s airline anymore due to going out of the way and also to sit and wait additional one and a half hours..in the tarmack.

      Also Air plane burns additional 4000 gallons of jet fuel for each land in his home town airport while costing additional two million rupees and three hours delay to the journey.

      Also Fox tried to get One Billion Dollars from IMF after showing his Airport and Developments to it’s representstives, but failed.

      Now in order to cover up it’s humility the southern fox is resorting to violance, intimidation, killing journalists and create troubles to community to divert attention.

      But very soon the Southern Fox will face the same fate that Nothern Fax faced.

      We the bulls are counting for our day to come earlier.

      You do’t have to be a star baby……to be in my land……………



  • 0

    Dear Sharmini Serasinghe,

    This reminds me of ‘Animal Farm.’ George Orwell would be proud of you if he was alive. Let’s hope that one day, brains will triumph over brawn.

  • 0

    I would like to add one sentence to your “fiction”…….When the bull and the fox were young they had a brain swap in a hospital for some reason ….

  • 0

    Dear “0”

    You have signed off on your comment correctly “0”. Your lack of intelligence and poor sense of judgement shows that you are a part of the heard of cattle that Sharmini speaks of. Its because of ignoramuses like you that our country is going down the tube.I am sure this well articulated article would have gone above your head.

    100% Sri Lankan

  • 0

    This article is a work of art that should be translated into a painting and hung on a wall in our parliament.

  • 0

    A charming and intelligent Orwellian story, by a talented and charming journalist! The undersigned has for some years been convinced of the truth of this ‘tale’. However, one fears early warnings to the Bull and his bull mastiffs, may not be in the larger interest of the Nation and its people. Please, have a little patience and afford publicity to this view at the ‘appropriate’ moment.

    Governance should be left to Statesmen.

  • 0

    KAS-writer talks only about a bull,cattle and a fox…nothing about opposition dudes,CJ,Gen.
    Now,don’t show us you are cattle!

    SS-My best Sunday morning read in a long time :)

  • 0

    The Bull in the ‘China’ shop thinks it has tamed the Leopard and now on the path to sow the seeds of divide and destroy whats left over until the citizens of the land comes across a compassionate, morally guided Lion to sort out the mess.

  • 0

    In our minds those two are definitely foxes, at least one is like a bull in the China shop and everybody else are cattle as the bull has all the power in the world.

    On the other hand, bull and the Fox understand how hard they try. They also know every time when they hit the bull it is a disaster. But, they don’t understand, simply, they don’t have the capability to do it.

    They know,at least, both of them live like kings on their own right if they hang on to those as long as they can.

    • 0

      Hello softy in the brain,

      No one need even attempt hitting the Bull. He’s doing a great job of it himself with all his bullshit tactics.

  • 0

    This is what their families did all their lives. Now, this is what they are doing it all their careers. Even in their old age if they can not get and only thing they do it public theft or, theft from cattle and cheating the cattle what we can say.

  • 0

    The more probable indications are that the 21st Century Fox has the much baggage and a 19th Century mindset and the “Bull” has an even more primitive one with the practiced means and apparatus to run amok in the booths and counting centres and stuffing the ballot boxes, denying visa’s to independent observers and buying off the rest with an encore performance. The ruling elite have more in common to close ranks and fight for their survival and thrival.

    Politics & Violence go hand- in- hand like Love & Sex and losses of Violence are made good by Lust & Sex like the reported nearly 300,000 pregnant women after the creation of Bangladesh. I hope and wish to be proved wrong as Life’s directions be it of an individual or a country change sometimes by the unexpected.

  • 0

    To develop on the “unexpected” in my previous posting ever eventuating it should be on the lines of the UNO taking SriLanka under its wings as a protectorate of it by a Security Council and/or general assembly resolution under an expanded R2P. It should take into consideration all the cultural, structural and physical violence death, destructions and mayhem since so-called independence from the British. The UNO should provide a just and equitable constitution for SL with protection for all on their common humanity and not on their mythical delusions. This should be done with intellectual contributions from concerned, outstanding citizens of repute with some politicos as well.

    SL in contrast to Singapore’s authoritarianism and nepotism of Lee Kwan Yu, its socio-economic development has been great and stupendous. SL in contrast has shown that it has no statesman of repute other than almost an entirely self serving lot of politicians.

    A majority of both Tamils, Singhalese and Muslims have shown that they are all incapable of ruling themselves in just and fair manner on rational, logical and sound principles of humanity other than to play by political cunning on the lottery of the accidents of their birth to give them an advantage over the others.

    This has eroded almost all confidence in the so-called mostly corruptly self appointed and easily purchasable political elite that many outside of it want to risk all their property, life and limb to find a better country.

    • 0

      Very true. As a last resort this may be the only solution.

    • 0

      Also UN should desolve and close down the Parliament and all the corporations, institutions including Schools and universities and service industry such as Transport, hospitals, tourism and Agriculture and industry sector…..all of the above that were previously under Ministers should be given to both foreign and local board of that comprised of highly qualified and knowledgeable professionals to govern.

      The rest of the parliament ministers duties should be handed over to respective area legal authorities and courts, judges and lawyers to attend to.

      Closing down the Parliament thieves den ” Alibaba and the gang of leeches” is a must.

      Only then our country will develop.

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