24 September, 2020

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Theoretical Model Of Rajapaksa Populism By Kumar David: Critical Commentary

By Siri Gamage

Dr. Siri Gamage

Kumar David’s delineation of this subject (Colombo Telegraph 23 September 2018) deserves some comment/response as his analysis as well as recommendation for left unity plus alliance with some liberals pose serious questions in terms of the political trajectory in the near future. After writing about what’s happening around the world in terms of neo populism, he focuses on the Rajapaksa populism. He says, ‘in the case of Rajapaksa Populism (RP), the strands that intertwine and converge to a focus are; “the proposed separatist constitution”, “the betrayal of war-heroes”, “sacrilegious persecution and imprisonment of Buddhist monks” and “lurking terrorism in the North”. Intertwined they evoke a single vision; bigotry on which masses feed and politicians breed’. He further writes that ‘In the eyes of the adoring masses Rajapaksa is socialist, anti-imperialist and authentically nationalist; the government is capitalist and pro-Western. That Lanka’s elite and the UNP leaders communicate in English while the JO and Rajapaksa clansmen, with few exceptions, struggle to do so, settles it emotionally’. Furthermore, ‘Rajapaksa Populism is intrinsically hostile to internationalism and its institutions’.

Material Basis of Ideologies

Ideologies arise from dialectical material conditions in societies, class contradictions and deprivations, existential challenges. They are articulated by leaders in terms of language and categories easily understood by their followers. However, we need to recognise that ideologies emerge from material contexts and structural contradictions prevailing in a given society.

In my view, it is far more important to understand what gives rise to Rajapaksa Populism under the conditions of current global economy, polity and the unequal relations of production and exchange that have been created by the new economy in the country. Though Kumar has been reluctant to use class analysis for this purpose, there is no way that a deep analysis of ideology can be conducted without looking at class formation and class relations arising from the emerging and new enterprises, state-market relations, local-global networks in terms of labour, capital and communication (to use a suggestion by Sujata Patel) in our cities and countryside as well as the declining share of agriculture compared to the rest of economy. Otherwise, we fall into the trap of not only using political rhetoric as substance but inadvertently consuming them also.

Though essential, Kumar does not look at the material basis including class contradictions arising from the expanding neoliberal, free market economic policies of the government for Rajapaksha populism. Without analysing this basis, it is not possible to engage in sound and valid analysis of ideology merely looking at political rhetoric and key ideas embodied in the Rajapaksa project as listed by him. Analysis of an ideology like Rajapaksa populism and its similarities to populisms elsewhere in the world-though good for a start of a discussion- remains abstract and remote from what is happening materially on the ground or at the base. To use a Marxist term, such analysis remains at the ‘super structure’ level rather than ‘infrastructure level’. A question arising from such analysis is whether ideology (set of ideas) can be analysed by using selected components of ideology alone?

Material Deprivations, Classes and Class Analysis

In this context, we need to analyse how the economic and social disparities created by the new economy – based on information and service provision; privatisation of key sectors such as education, health, communication, energy; loss of traditional livelihood methods; mega projects and their impact on communities, and internationalised operations of capital accumulating ventures in tourism, trade, supermarkets, increased taxes; rising costs of living give rise to severe competition among classes and class fractions while creating collective frustrations among those at the bottom and middle of class hierarchy? 

In the case of the middle class, its two layers (upper and lower) seem to be struggling to move forward and fulfil personal and family aspirations even though a fraction seems to be able to access better incomes, services and consumer goods. This fraction-young and stable- seem to visit supermarkets in cars with their kids, undertake foreign tours, send children to international schools and entertain themselves. However, contrary to the rhetoric of some leaders, the majority of those in the middle class (both vernacular and Western-oriented) seem to struggle without being able to be absorbed by the new economy in their and their children’s case or being able to connect with the services available from local and foreign companies in areas of human need. This sort of unequal material conditions give rise to a situation where those suffering look for economic, political, religious and symbolic alternatives including a charismatic saviour or a messiah gifted with supernatural powers. 

The case with the working class including its variants is even more dire due to the inflationary impact of the currency, consumer expenditure, rising costs of living and services, etc. (a fraction of this class is also entangled in the new economy in an aspirational sense, e.g. sending children to international schools, wanting to buy a car and maintain it, build a modern house, send children overseas for higher education, buy shares in listed companies). By and large, in the cities and the countryside deprived members of this class look for material goods provided by the government such as housing, loans, and land. 

Some members of the middle and working classes take the relatively less risky option of migrating to other countries in search of better incomes, education, services, comfort, well-being, an environment where there is rule of law and respect for each other. The thread that binds these classes affected by the new and globalised economy is not an ideology detached from these material conditions. 

A problem facing those attempting a class analysis however is the fact that economic and social deprivations in the country have been conceptualised, explained and promoted by politicians and influential community leaders not in class terms but in ethno-religious terms. Thus, there are powerful discourses prevailing in society manifestly and latently along these lines. It could be helpful in this context to examine class deprivations within ethnic communities as part of a broader class analysis. However, we have to keep in mind that class deprivation and exploitation do not translate into direct action in a Marxist sense unless an organised party provides leadership.  It is here that there is a role for left intellectuals to articulate the alternatives to neoliberal, free market, globalised economic ideology and practice in clear terms so that activists in society can adapt them for political and community action.

Market Forces, interests of the Capital, Economic and Social Casualties 

Economic and social casualties of the neoliberal, free market Western-oriented policies of the present government come in various forms and shapes. Increased cost of living is a major factor as is the depreciating rupee due to global dynamics. The latter impacts the incomes of those who rely on remittances from family members employed overseas.  Whereas in olden days a 100-rupee note was sufficient to go and have a cup of tea and some short eats in a cafe, these days a thousand-rupee note is required if you go with a family member or a friend.  This tells the story of inflationary impact of recent times. Even to fulfil daily needs, one needs thousands of rupees. This is how the situation has become worse. 

Market forces have made life easier for those with plenty of money and worse for others with average income. Cities have become market places for global industries and products including education. They are flooded with advertisements on both sides of roads leading to the CBDs and on main trunk roads through suburbs and disappearing villages e.g. Colombo-Kandy road. Everybody is after money from those who have them or those seeking better opportunities beyond state employment. Heavy competitive society has been created as a result of the open, free market policies where individual is placed above all. Care for the neighbour is alien in such a society.  While infrastructure projects such as beautification of Kandy city is proceeding with World Bank funds, lacking is social engineering projects that affect daily lives for the better. For example, the heavy traffic issue facing commuters between Kandy and Peradeniya continues with no solution in sight. Human impact of unresolved issues with environmental and social impact lurk in the background.

Expanding neoliberal, globalised free market economy is not only associated with economic disparities leading to class deprivations and contradictions.  It also creates other casualties in terms of social problems such as unemployment, crime, drugs and violence, exploitation and abuse of labour as in the case of women proceeding to West Asia for work, child labour, domestic violence, suicide, breakdown of traditional communities and livelihoods, human trafficking, uncontrolled importation of goods and services(resistance to FTAs indicate unhappiness by local professionals), problems associated with the brain drain and export of skilled labour by way of migration, and more.  Nonetheless, to my knowledge there have been only a few academic studies that looks into these aspects, e.g. the work by Nalini Hennayake on globalisation and its impact, Mervin de Silva on failed neoliberal paradigms in Sri Lanka and globally (2018), and Darley Jose Kjosavik and Paul Vedeld on political economy of environment and development in a globalised world. Though work focused on neoliberal economy and its casualties are rare in Sri Lanka, there are studies on single topics such as poverty, unemployment, human trafficking, crime.  Even in discussing educational issues in the country, there is not much effort taken to link educational disparities created by the expanding privatisation and quality issues in public education with the profit-making intentions of the globalised education industry. However, critical education scholars such as McLaren, Michaele Apple and Giroux connect the economics and social problems in societies in their theoretical work.

Yahapalanaya, Rajapaksa Phenomenon and a Third Alternative

Whatever label we attribute to the current coalition regime and its agenda for neoliberal, free market economic policies and projects, the essential truth is that the large majority of masses are hurting and facing an existential crisis not only in terms of the public services such as education, health, utilities but also overall wellbeing.  One needs to only travel by public transport or visit a major city to understand the depth of public frustration and unhappiness about the way things are? Party allegiances have changed over the course of the last few years of Yahapalana government and people are looking for an alternative. In the absence of a third alternative from the established political party system or outside it by way of powerful civil society organisation with a political agenda, frustrated individuals and groups are taking another look at leadership from the Rajapaksa family to face the crisis situation.  

Kumar states that the ‘Yahapalana’s alleged genuflection to imperialism and Rajapaksa’s stalwart ant-imperialism is the fiction which the Dead-Left employs to hide its opportunism and humiliating absence of identity’. However, the so-called dead left may argue that their role is to influence Rajapaksa populism to move away from right wing rhetoric and re-orient it to left wing one. How far they succeed is a different question. I do not believe that Rajapaksa populism is as yet right wing in a holistic sense. But it has the potential to be transformed to be so with or without formal political power. Currently, it is a combination of diverse ideological streams e.g. religious, nationalist, majoritarian ethnic, old left, peasant. However, we have to remember that once in power, Rajapaksa also plays the role of promoting the interests of global-local capital while maintaining a populist ideology and image carefully constructed in satakaya symbolism to appeal to the working and middle classes in cities and countryside. Old left politicians provide legitimacy for this project with their rhetoric more than worker/people-friendly action.

Mahinda Rajapaksa is not an isolated individual. He has a political history as his family is rooted in the politics and collective imaginary of Southern Sri Lanka and elsewhere with extensive networks and memories. During his rule, his image was promoted by using multiple technologies from cut outs to electronic media messages. The images remain in public mind and the public uses them to interpret what is happening to them and others in society under the new conditions of existence most of which are unfavourable to their interests and aspirations in a context of growing disparities.

Dead and United Left

The important question from the perspective of the left –both dead and new-is how is it articulating the dire material conditions of human existence and existential questions? What steps are being taken or proposed to connect with these classes negatively affected by the new economy and operations of the state including its hands-off policy in terms of social responsibility? How do they perceive the nature of power and state, the nexus between power and wealth creation, and more importantly distribution of wealth for a just and egalitarian society plus a democratic-socialist Lanka? How do they address the conditions of inequalities created by the new economy and the operations of a market friendly (not necessarily people-friendly) state? Finally, how do they create a working, poor and middle-class friendly (weaker classes), materially rooted and relevant left ideology that has the potential to compete with ethnocentric, racist and bigoted ideologies or even Rajapaksa populism as Kumar puts it? 

In discussing what is to be done Kumar says ‘This is not the time to wring one’s hands with mere verbal denunciations of neo-Populism and the Dead-Left. Censure must be for the purpose of preparing for well thought out and well-defined action. I have repeatedly called for left unity and an alliance with willing liberals if any can be found. Not much progress has been made, but there is no alternative’. If this is so, isn’t it time for the divided or united left to engage in self reflexivity and find out why their messages are not biting with the masses? Some soul searching is surely in order. Identifying the progressive forces in society and linking with them in some form or shape is essential to build a political platform and discourse rooted in the unequal nature of class relations, weakening purchasing power, deprivations and sufferings of masses plus loss of hope.

In a context of facing severe living costs and losing hope by the masses (defined as working, middle classes and the poor), how can a united left with no mass appeal address the situation with some liberals as Kumar suggests? Who will organise some grassroots based popular democratic movement to address the issues facing the large majority of people struggling to meet ends? While there are interest groups representing professionals, workers, farmers etc. seeking redress to the issues peculiar to these groups, there don’t seem to be an organisation to qualify as a third force with an overarching vision, mission and program of action(agenda) to salvage the masses from the abyss they have been pushed into by the new globalised economy. 

The governing parties have recently implemented village and entrepreneur oriented economic and social policies in view of the impending elections. These may impact on the attitudes and experiences of those who can positively benefit mainly those affiliated with ruling parties. Nonetheless for the rest, it is symbolism and populism that can appeal.  For better or worse, Rajapaksas provide such symbolism as well as organisational capacity through established networks (e.g. religious, community, institutional) that can reach the masses in a political sense.

If there is no credible left oriented political platform and an ideology that explains the exploitative conditions under the new economy and a state that promotes the interests of the global-local capital, appealing to the interests of working and middle classes (men, women, young, old), and speaking the truth to power, right wing ideologies can emerge from the ashes of Yahapalana experiment and its failure. 

In this context, the work being undertaken by a group led by Lional Bopage, Jude Perera and Chaminda Hettiarachchi in Melbourne on a new policy platform for building a progressive future oriented egalitarian society based on the principles of equity, social justice and economic freedom and participatory democracy can be a useful process that should receive the attention of progressive forces. There may be similar groups engaged in deep thinking about the way forward but the issue is how to reach the masses with the messages and policies developed by such groups? There are signs of new discourses taking place on an alternative government oriented to citizen rights at a small scale also (see Vikalpa Anduwak, Nava Puravesiya, August 2018).

Capitalist Ventures, Investments and Development

In this context, Kumar’s next statement is quite perplexing. ‘The government should play an active and interventionist role in creating conditions and building institutions that increase investment and economic activity for private-public partnerships (foreign), entrepreneurial ventures (capitalist) and state infrastructure. The UNP is pathologically unfit for this and Rajapaksa Populism has no conception, policy, plans or clue’. If this is the conception of economy that Kumar advocates for the future of Lanka, I fear that the material conditions that have given rise to Rajapaksa populism will continue with no or little redress. Contrary to what he states, the UNP seems to be moving ahead with entrepreneurial ventures (capitalist) and state infrastructure with borrowed money from global lending agencies. During the previous Rajapaksa regime, similar projects and ventures were undertaken –perhaps without a conception, policy, plans or clue? Continuing in this direction is highly risky not only because they add further to our debt problem but also in terms of sustainability and social dividend. What is required is a new framework of sustainable development focused on improving the capacity of local production and manufacturing (national development), reduction of imported goods and services, export orientation, encourage social enterprises, and effective strategies for community harmony. Social engineering is an essential aspect in the development of society. One cannot rely on the development of economy alone because societies are broader than economies.

Nonetheless, it is to be recognised that in Sri Lanka people perceive development and progress in terms of material monuments constructed and benefits derived from the projects even with borrowed money. With borrowed money and foreign investments, they come in various forms and shapes. Human development seems to be given second or third priority. If it is true development, people have to feel it, smell it, hear it, and be able to embrace it. Life should become easier to navigate as a result of holistic development.  What we are seeing is a lop-sided development that makes the rich richer and the poor poorer pushing the latter to the margins of society. For the average Lankan, life has become difficult with so many vehicles on road, sub-standard bus services, crowded hospitals and classrooms, etc. Getting a simple problem solved has become difficult at local level where the bureaucratic processes move slowly. The gap between enriching ruling political class and rest of the population has become considerably large in terms of power, wealth, and status.

Conclusion

When the people are exposed to market forces in multiple areas such as health, education, utilities like electricity and consumption, and the neoliberal state is no longer a protector of citizen rights as such, the divisions between rich and the poor become sharper and inegalitarian nature of society become a fact of life. New forms of capital-labour relations and corresponding inequalities have emerged in the country creating rather oppressive conditions of existence for the masses i.e. working and middle classes plus the poor.  Upper classes -including the political class/elites who have access to power and key institutions of governance, invested and profited in the new economy, enjoy the consumerist culture and everything else that come with it – are thriving in this environment while promoting their kith and kin for even better futures. The season has come for recalibrating the same political class in a different name like a pack of cards for impending national elections and gaining power for another term in office. 

Left oriented intellectuals and organisations need to come forward to present a united, well-articulated political platform and corresponding ideology of liberation before right wing ideologues and political figures exploit the situation to come forward and pretend as saviours of the nation from an inept Yahapalana government whose policies have not brought home the bacon as expected. Left intellectuals and organisations have a duty to explain the exploitative and unequal conditions that have emerged in the new economy under the stewardship of a neoliberal state conducting brokerage between local and global capital on one hand and borrowing to pay for various mega projects on the other to keep the people happy. In this sense, Rajapaksa populism itself is not the culprit for current predicament. Analysis should look deeper into the material conditions of deprivation for the many and their causes. Class analysis can offer insights about the prevailing conditions that may give rise to (or have given rise to) right wing oriented, ethnocentric ideologies exploiting the material deprivations and anxieties of the masses. 

Intellectual dialogue, policy development articulation of the conditions of existence, existential challenges facing the masses or lower to middle classes by various means and venues from a left, middle and critical position/perspective are important. However, far more important is the political and social work in the relevant material context giving rise to various inequalities, disparities, deprivations, displacements and marginalisations of masses due to the expanding neoliberal, free market – globalised capitalist economy along with their marketing and advertising programs in the interest of global-local capital. Collectively organised intellectual and political activity is essential in this context for developing platforms for sustainable, indigenous development and governance model that can appeal to the deprived masses in multiple ways and secure their support for a democratic third alternative.

Additional Readings

Gamage, S. 2015. Globalization, Neo-liberal reforms and Inequality, Journal of Developing Societies, 31(1), pp.8-27.

Gamage, S. 2011.Changing Development Models, Post war international Development and Developing Country Needs, in Rev. D. Wimalarathana (ed.,) Agriculture and Rural Development in Sri Lanka, Colombo: Development and Resource Centre, Department of Economic, University of Colombo.

Gamage, S. 2011. Internationalization of School Education in Sri Lanka: An analysis of differing Discourses and the Impact on Society, Modern Sri Lanka Studies, 3(1), pp.25-41.

Hennayake, N. 2006. Culture, Politics and Development in Postcolonial Sri Lanka, Lexington books, Lenham.

Hennayake, N.M. 2013. Globalization from within: Interplay of the local and the global in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Journal of Social Sciences. 33(1-2), pp.1–14. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljss.v33i1-2.5453

Silva, M de 2018.  Failed Neoliberal Paradigm, Poverty and Inequality continue as Persistent, Unjust Socio-economic Issues of our Time, Daily Mirror (24.09.2018)  Accessed 24.09.2018 http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/Failed-Neo-liberal-paradigm-Poverty-and-inequality-continue-as-persistent-unjust-socio-economic-issues-of-our-time-155902.html

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Latest comments

  • 6
    8

    What a joke?

    Two loud, so-called “academics”, this one by Gamage a lengthy analysis, attempting to, “analyse how the economic and social disparities created by the new economy …. rising costs of living give rise to severe competition among classes and class fractions while creating collective frustrations among those at the bottom and middle of class hierarchy? “

    – This is the problem with this country and its ‘wannabe’ academics.

    The ‘analysis’ of the above question by this Gamage can only need to ‘paralysis’. Do we really need such analyses to work out how the price rises affect those at the bottom and middle of class hierarchy? They do not have the money to buy. I have no PhD, but I can help Gamage learn that.

    All we need to do is to go to the villages we came from, whatever Mulla they could be, and see for ourselves.

    STOP WRITING NONSENSE JUST TO BIGNOTE YOURSELF, PhD karayas!

    • 11
      4

      F-U
      I can understand one’s frustration about inability to comprehend text longer than 300 words.
      This is among some of the most scientific responses to serious articles; and such writing deserves to be encouraged on these pages.
      *
      AKD, despite flaws, is a serious writer and Siri Gamage is among a few who always comments on issues objectively.
      The points raised are relevant and AKD should address the shortcomings pointed out, although his conclusions need not tally with those of his critic.

      • 3
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        Siri, right on- Sri Lanka and much of the world is in the grip of outdated, Euro-American ‘Market Fundamentalism’ that benefits Global 1 percent and beggars the rest. This Model and massive economic inequality it brings has given rise to the current swell in populism and racism and religious fundamentalism too.
        What is needed is out of the box thinking; If liberalism is to survive it must be decoupled from Market fundamentalism as Robert Sidelski has argued in “Good politics, bad Economics” .
        Markets are rigged by external and internal players who have inside access to info. and/or what Stiglitz termed Information Asymmetries, and this is what is NOT discussed by IMF WB and MCC that writes Bondscam Ranil’s economic policy in Washington DC to benefit Global 1 percent.
        Root cause of current crisis is Neoliberal economic development model of unfettered deregulation, financialization of every sector, and liberalization without sequencing and developing value adding in export sectors, or protecting vital local production is what turns countries into Development Disasters. Unfettered deregulation and market reform brings asset stripping and looting of the Wealth of Nations by corrupt local and foreign players. (EU and US have massive subsidies for agriculture sectors.)
        Greece, Argentina and Haiti are neoliberalism’s development disasters and where Lanka is. Haiti an island played by US Fake Aid and Fake experts is where Lanka is at headed at this time.
        The undermining of research institutions and education system by fake aid experts who peddle outdated growth models is a huge problem. LKI, IPS have been captured by obsolete neoliberal economics and the Neo con Advocata Insitute funded by MCC are examples of the undermining of national institution by Fake aid and experts.

        • 2
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          Food for further thought

          • 1
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            Anyways, your writing could have been made easier if your uttermost aim was to outreach the masses.

            I think we must not bring the kind of article in a difficult way so that normal people would not comphrehend it easily.

            Thanks,
            Switzerland

      • 1
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        Dr. Gamage says:
        “One needs to only travel by public transport or visit a major city to understand the depth of public frustration and unhappiness about the way things are? “
        The truth is that over the last 60 years (and I have travelled in public transport ) it has been a cycle of euphoria among the travellers just after elections, and much frustration and grousing before elections. I cannot recall any period when this was not so, from Dudley to Mathini or JR/ Premadasa. .Even MR finally succumbed to this cycle, in spite of his ability to lead the masses by the nose , and his unabashed image-building.
        However, the fact is that people, middle-class or not , live better lives than in the 60’s, for example. The value of the rupee has little to do with it. When the dollar was worth 8 Rupees, a bicycle cost 275 rupees and an average salary was 150 rupees. One could have lunch for 1 rupee.. Now a basic salary is 25,000. So in 1968
        you could buy 150 lunches with your salary, whereas now you can buy 166 at least! As far as I know, you can get more bicycles and shirts for your money nowadays, notwithstanding the US Dollar going for 170.
        The problem is that the people have new aspirations. In 1968, people didn’t gripe about electricity /phone/water/gas/ petrol /traffic jams because they didn’t have any of these. But they did gripe about expensive rice (25 cents !) as much as they do now.
        People do expect the Kingdom of Heaven in 5 years, or 10 at most, and this has not changed over the generations.

        • 2
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          As some African leader said : “We elect hyenas to look after goats, and when the goats go missing we wonder why ?” .
          Who to blame but the goats?
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_0-rQdN1qw

        • 1
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          Dear Old Codger,
          Governments use or put up with depreciation, because today, there is a sizable class not affected by it or whose prosperity depends on depreciation – such as those who gain from projects involving foreign borrowing. Jayewardene understood that and yet he felt the need for communal violence for his political survival. There is also a large class that is grievously affected, such as pensioners, recipients of provident funds and the elderly who live on their savings. Many others face a temporary drop of their purchasing power, such as barbers and labourers. But the extent to which they could put up their charges is limited. Only a small minority could keep pace with the increasing expense of say, foreign education.
          Governments have been careful to pamper university academics, who would without much effort get their salary increases for their mediocre contributions. In a sense they have been bought. Is that not why there is so little lively discussion from academics on our sorry plight today? How many of us have been bought to turn a blind eye to the enormous degradation around us?
          .

          • 2
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            Dear Rajan,
            Thanks for your comment. My point is that people’s lives HAVE improved over the years, even though they habitually complain. I know my barber in the 60’s could hardly afford a bicycle, but the current one arrives at his air-conditioned joint on a scooter. I agree people dependent on fixed interest from deposits have difficulties. But the same category in other countries (where interest rates are zero or thereabouts) survive quite well on things like Mutual Funds..
            “How many of us have been bought to turn a blind eye to the enormous degradation around us?” I am sure that you can remember that 50 years ago, there were people who pulled other people around in rickshaws.
            “Is that not why there is so little lively discussion from academics on our sorry plight today?”
            Our academics are drawn from the same society that thinks it sinful to question certain holy cows. So it’s not surprising.

            • 1
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              Thanks, even if one cannot fully agree, one is enlightened by such exchanges.

            • 1
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              Dear Rajan,
              Degradation of society irrespective of so-called development is a real issue facing many. For example, bus services in Kandy have not improved. People travel in degraded, low quality buses exhausting terrible fume.They are herded like cattle. Traffic issue is a serious one between Kandy and peradeniya(I am sure on the other side to katugastota also) but the govt is beautifying the George E de Silva Mawatha with World Bank funds. Depreciation of rupee has hit majority of people. Rs 1000 is nothing now. People and tourists are not able to go about walking due to three wheel menace. On both sides of the road from Kandy to Pdeniys side, pavements are blocked by parked bicycles, sellers, other objects.No sense of city development in a people friendly way even though big plans with Japanese funding is being used for various projects.I can go on and on.Who to tell? Mayor and Council need to look into these matters closely and improve the situation but they are busy with scoring political points…..

        • 2
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          Old Codger, When you say people live better lives than in the 60s, it is a huge generalisation…? Have you seen how many beggars are in Kandy now? i.e. near the temple, on side walks, cafes,bus stand etc. Some women with small children? Do you know how many young men who clean 4-5 start hotels charging US 150 or more get per day(it is Rs. 15000-20000 a month). Compared to 60s, people get more money(but can buy less due to inflation) and more comforts(need more money for this, e.g. private hospitals).

          it is wrong to ascribe all ills on people’s aspirations.

          • 1
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            Dr.Gamage,
            As far as I can remember, there were far more beggars in Colombo in the 70″s than now. I can remember whole families living in bus shelters in front of Fort station. These people were even more visible at night. I don’t know much about Kandy. One difference nowadays is that professional beggars operate in public transport. I don’t think this is any indication of their poverty, rather their knowledge of the gullibility of the passengers.
            As to the hotel employees, yes they are mostly underpaid, but as in all professions, these people can and do demand more with experience. Also, hotels pay a service charge which is often more than the “salary”. Using my bicycle analogy again, if you check you will find that many of these “poor” workers have a mo-bike or scooter.
            “Compared to 60s, people get more money(but can buy less due to inflation)”

            That might be true of some food items, but then very many of these items were not available in the 60’s.
            I don’t think private hospitals are a good example of a common man’s expenses. That is rather like a waiter talking about the poor performance of a Mercedes!
            I have before me a Brown and Co. catalogue which advertises a “Hercules” bicycle for Rs.195. That looks cheap today, but don’t forget that the average worker hardly made Rs. 50 then! The USD was only Rs. 4 at the time!
            A “Winchester” torch is Rs. 9.75. and an incandescent bulb is Rs. 1.50. So you see, the absolute price of something is no indication of its affordability. Many more people nowadays CAN afford to buy furniture, electrical goods, telephones, even a greater variety of food and undertake journeys that they would have balked at in the past. The “Dambadiva ” trip is a prime example. Isn’t that progress?

            • 0
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              Sorry, I forgot to mention that the Browns catalogue was for 1955. It used to belong to my father.

          • 1
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            Dr. Gamage,
            I must also mention that, in the context of having better lives, it is undeniable that people nowadays live longer than in the 60’s. Due to better health-care, nobody dies of smallpox or Malaria or polio. Even the dengue toll (about 250) pales in comparison with the 30,000 who perished of malaria in the 30’s.
            I have no political agenda. What I am trying to say is that contrary to perceived wisdom, things are getting more and more comfortable . It is possible that the rich are getting much richer, but surely all those old couples going to Dambadiva are not from that class?
            There is a twist of course. You and I are probably from the same generation. Take a pair of shoes for example. I think it is ridiculous to pay 2500 for a pair which in my day I could get for 50 bucks. But my children don’t think so, and happily pay even 6000, for which they have the income too. They are having the time of their lives, living much better than I did.So, my dear Siri, perceptions depend on who is doing the perceiving, don’t you think?

      • 0
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        I think this article by Sri Gamage is useful to understand the nature of Rajapakse populism is about.
        The author’s reference to the effect of market forces on the ordinary citizen and the underprivileged working class and the resulting inequalities and deprivations combined have much to do with with MaRa’s skewed populism especially with race and religion as added catalyst.
        This certainly is more meaningful and worthy than the earlier one by him ruminating about screes and pottus worn by Gujarat and Bengali females and as he walked a an river bank in the country down under.
        country down under.

    • 7
      5

      Dr. Gamage,
      Many thanks for this important analysis,.
      Bondscam Ranil is a market fundamentalist and is following Fake Advice and outdated Economic models of and for deregulation and liberalization sold to him by US Govt’s Neo Con Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and IMF.
      MCC wrote Bondscam Ranil’s Vision 2025 , and has captured Lanka’s Economic policy process and space while developing a Fake Aid “Compact” for Sri Lanka for the past 3.5 years!
      Also, MCC got Ranil to set up the Economic Sub Committee to undermine Cabinet oversight and Mangala Yapa’s (US) Agency for Development to push Traum-pland’s security and Business interests in Lanka, where the UD$ is first!.
      Back in 2015, MCC promised Bondscam Ranil $ 1.1 billion grant but now it is down to 480 million, as half has been spent on US Consultants and companies doing “research” to develop the Compact!
      MCC with its Singapore and Aussi (Pacific Partners) wants Mutturajawella lands and SL Railway lands to build roads and speed trains to nowhere to support US security agenda in Lanka against China with A. Mahendran in Singapore and Mangala Yapa of Agency for development being their point men
      MCC claims it wants to build more roads although Lanka has the highest road density in South Asian, and is also using Singapore FTA to get land cheap.
      MCC head honcho was in Colombo to see rupee crash and then saw Sira in NYC. MCC also got Bondscam Ranil to set up the Economic Subcommittee to undermine the Cabinet as well as Mangala Yapa’s MCC funded Agency for Development capture Economic Policy Making and Policy Space of Lanka and undermine national over site institutions, since US has not got deep pockets like China to fund corrupt Lankan politicians!

      • 1
        0

        These insights, if correct, should be of concern to those interested in the stories behind large projects and debt dependency

        • 0
          0

          Yes all of this is true – based on first hand experience by a Whistleblower who worked with PM’s office.

          Unfortunately investigative journalism is all but dead in the Lankan media – on line and broadsheet, including this CT website -sad to say
          Also JVP was informed about MCC running and ruining SL economy but has taken no action, because Anura Kumara is supporting Bondscam Ranil and playing with the 20th Amendment in the Parliament. AKD is now a constitutionalist and has not time to educate people on the street. He has become holier than the Pope.

          • 0
            0

            Can you share more information on what MCC does in SL?

    • 2
      3

      Not the Rajapkshe populism but lanken MEDIA and its abusive nature should be the root cause for all the mess in this country.

      See, how Derana TV, Hiru TV and the other Printed Media work.

      They just play with the news headlines such as attacks being made on First citizen and former defence secretary.

      For them news that should be focused at all are NEWs headlines misleading poor folks

      Social Media is the same – for some reasons, they spend billions to cover their image.

    • 3
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      Fed Up,

      you may be right. you dont need ot have a Professor title to see it right. Those who bear such titles have become lap dogs of all the greedy and vicious politicians in this country.
      – Example GLP – is OXFORD educated – former Prof.
      – Example – Rajieeva Wijesinghe – who could not even to manage the little he was offered at the dawn of this current govt. If a person does not have the hand s on experience ot be a team man – what more we can expect from him.
      He has always a big mouth against RW – but he himself did nothing to both academia or lanken politics
      – Dayan Jayathilaka – most known JOKER of the day- until few weeks ago, he was attacking current men in power as no other men. – he had the guts to sit with Wimal weeranwase or th elike in that JO vicoius groups – no matter he may have betrayed entired educated folks – but he did it..
      now he has been tamed by the dipolomatic position which the GOVT offered him few weeks ago.. can you imagine… like a dog who barks until his piece of meat is gotten, ::: dj will be read in our CT history
      These men are shameless buggers. They would do the same as street boys of Wimal Weerawanse are upto.
      So what do they have in COMMON ? nothing else.. SINHALA blood:
      I am ashemd to be a sinhala.. i really do

    • 3
      1

      Rajapaksas puppet Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith is going to become a Buddhist monk soon.

      Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Practice your religion instead of interfering in politics…

      A Cardinal who works for the devil and advocates the protection of criminals, rapists & murders through his irresponsible political statements is not fit to be a leader of the Catholic Church of Sri Lanka.

      He it a traitor to the teachings of Jesus Christ. He is exploiting his position for his own selfish needs and greed for power and wealth.

      Pope Francis please take action against this corrupt Cardinal.

      #CardinalMalcolmRanjith #PopeFrancis #Vatica #Excommunication

    • 1
      0

      Fed Up, so there is nothing useful in what have written in this article for you? It is all non sense because I have a PhD…,(in fact it was on class and class consciousness in a Kandyan village-1989- copy in Pdeniya library). If this is how hyoid think, it is better not to read most of CT articles because it can lead to paralysis…Good thinking!

  • 6
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    Theoretical Model Of Rajapaksa Populism

    To reach people heart is through the stomach not by kissing the Photo of MR
    Small children cannot understand future promises and long stories when they cry give them food enjoy good health not by Theoretical Model of populism, previous theoretical model was that when the war is over economic will be good , Dollar rate has gone up for the last 10 years
    Past is what we want present is worst due to lost of past opportunity

    • 2
      0

      It is just simple

      1) if you as an actor but being a politician would betray anyone for the mobilising of your camp – you would easily be polarised and no matter people – in masses would have been hoodwiked..

      2) Media men and women were bribed in public to stay with them closely..

      3) Not to forget – all the artistes – whose fan bases are spread any corners of the counry were directly abused – and offere dthem MP positions pleasing them.
      Govt s funds were mostly abused for those extravagant ceremonies..

      So tell me.. then who would not achieve his FAKE POPULARISM ?

      a) Media would hardly write things against – due to the loads of perks offered ot them – as is the case with LAPTOP distribution to journos…. remember

      b) Artistes like that ballige putha Jackson Anthony was pleased by giving him MILILIONS and social position him to abuse the nation in every TV channels.. by using his own ACTOR popularism…..
      recalling the speech the bugger held in Sugathadasa stadium – calling ballige putha Rjaapahse should be ABOVE any levels of leaders…

      Since then only the ballige putha got hallozinated and went amok with statefunds even more than he had then been doing. Remember ?

  • 7
    1

    I tend to agree with Dr. Kumar David that Rajapaksa ideology has much in common with the rising tide of neo-populism all over the world in reaction to the failure of neo-liberal economic policies and the resulting hardships felt mostly by the working and low-middle classes. That doesn’t mean this populism as a movement and an ideology is progressive and going to bring positive changes for the benefit of the people. While sharing the right-wing protectionist and anti-foreign rhetoric of western populist nationalism (like that of Trump and Brexit), populist movements in developing countries like our Rajapaksas’ have the luxury of adding anti-west, anti-imperialist leftist rhetoric to their ideology. But Rajapakasa, as shown during his rule, simply cannot do anything substantially different from Yahapalanaya government’s neo-liberal policies, however much Dr. Gamage may claim to see subtleties and nuances between the two. Countries, especially small ones like Sri Lanka, are helplessly caught in the vortex of a rapidly globalizing world. If pseudo-leftism is one pillar of Rajapaksa populism, the other is the more deadly extreme right Sinhala nationalism. This fanatical combination cannot solve any of the country’s grave problems. It can only spell disaster, reversing even the small gains for democracy and rule of law achieved under the present government – plunging the country into an authoritarian nightmare. Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, the Mafia Cardinal’s diabolical attack the other day on human rights as “a western religion” is a harbinger of things to come. It captures in a nutshell the anti-liberal fascist nationalism of Rajapaksa populism.

    • 4
      0

      Thanks for this observation Ajay. Extreme right Sinhala nationalism is a much broader ideology with roots compared to FR populism. Sinhala Buddhist community has various grievances in the current context. I am not talking about the elites in the community here. These grievances have to be investigated and solutions found. This community exists in competition to other ethno- religious communities. Protection of Buddhism and their status as the majority is a main concern too. In a changing world where Sinhala Buddhist professionals keep leaving the land in hundreds if not thousands, and the rest keep silent over the burning issues including those in the academia, some organisations have sprung up to advocate on behalf of the affected segments of the community. A deep analysis backed by research is necessary to understand this phenomena.

      • 0
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        Dr.Siri,
        “In a changing world where Sinhala Buddhist professionals keep leaving the land in hundreds if not thousands, and the rest keep silent over the burning issues including those in the academia, some organisations have sprung up to advocate on behalf of the affected segments of the community. “
        Isn’t this contradictory? If the Sinhala Buddhists are leaving, why are they heading for very un-Buddhistic places like Australia? If they were so fond of your Sinhala-Buddhist culture, would they not stay and support these organizations (including BBS ?) Is it not strange that the BBS couldn’t muster 10,000 votes in the whole country?
        What are these defenders of Buddhism complaining about?
        There are Buddha statues outside and inside every Government establishment, be it Prison, hospital,school or sewage station.
        State jobs are monopolized by Sinhala Buddhists far beyond their population ratio. There are 300,000 of them in the forces alone, doing nothing useful put being paid to keep them quiet.
        Can you, Dr. Siri, explain this???

    • 2
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      Ajay,
      I have a feeling the Cardinal is about to start his own Joint-Pohottuwa Church. Probably the Satakaya will replace the Cross, and the Saviour will have a luxuriant moustache.
      Either that or he is unaware of his own boss’s notions about hanging or human rights.

  • 5
    0

    I wonder if there is a simpler explanation for the way the Sri Lankan economy works. Borrow money in hard currency for projects we had best do without, or are simply a waste; where those in power cream off in commissions. Meet the costs of borrowing by robbing the people through allowing the Rupee to depreciate against the US Dollar at an average of about 5.3 percent per annum. The result is a shift of resources towards a profligate elite who make us poorer by further robbing the beauty and environment around us that belongs to all.

    • 2
      0

      Rajan Hoole,

      That is exactly what MaRa, GoTa, and Basil have done in the name of development. They borrowed money from China at exorbitant rates, handed projects to China, and creamed off mega commissions amounting 19 billion US dollars.

      Now we are robbed again to repay the loans from China. MaRa is using a modicum of those commissions to fund “monkey parades” Janabalaya exercises in Colombo.

  • 1
    1

    IT is just wan attempt to earn a few bucks. What if some one said, except for the few first leaders, since 1948 sri lanka was becoming a family oligarchy. foreign involvement was always there. Now every one is a RAW, CIA, MOSSAD, M5, noe Chinese and French agent. What we need is a system change from the corrupt system management, politicians ind top beaurucrats.. No one writes it. Both Che guvera and LTTE failed becoming selfish.

  • 6
    0

    I hate Tamils. I can’t stand them.

    • 2
      0

      But you are Tamil, arent you?

    • 0
      1

      No

    • 1
      0

      Chick Nugera

      “I can’t stand them”

      Are you sitting on your brain then?

  • 3
    0

    I do not know about this Dr. But I know Prof. David because he was my Guru. All this Dr’s are Pandithayas who Talk – Talk but never Walk the Talk. For example, Dr. David has a PhD in Electrical Engineering, but he has never built a valve radio in his student days. Neither does he know what to do if the starting motor in his car (in 60’s) has gone Kaput and it has to be Thallu started. In our times, an Electrical engineer who has never built a radio or re-wound a burnt out motor is no engineer.

    The fault is not his. PhD’s are in general awarded on a thesis in a very narrow subject. Most of the Engineering PhD holders are good in Math and pass out with a First Class BSc (Eng). Then they go for a PhD. Most do not have any practical experience in the industry when they come out and start teaching.

    If that is the situation with their chosen fields of specialization, what can one say about completely different field like politics? To compensate for the lack of experience they go in to Theory that no Putujjana can understand, and I suspect, they themselves are not sure of.

    My modus operandi with these guys is to attack right from te start. Why should I read something that I am going to attack and destroy. That is why I do not read them and not because what they write is like Greek to me.

    • 1
      2

      Very good explanation Edwin. Sri lankan PHDs are very Old boys club. Are they still offering Elelctrical Engineering degree in hundreds.

      • 0
        0

        Yes they produce a lot of engineers – much more than in our times. All the universities combined must be producing much more than a 100 a year. We were fortunate to have teachers like Prof Kumar David, Dr. Bartholomeus – a breed that has gone extinct.
        .
        The problem is that most of the would be engineers are, from the word GO, interested mainly in making the most amount of money in the shortest possible time by whatever method available. I suppose that this is so with all other professions.
        .
        To the credit of people like Kumar David, I must say that they are not in to that sort of corruption. They are simply talkers – not walkers. That happens to be the problem.

        • 1
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          Edwin Mahthathayo, welcome back to CT,
          Long time no see, I am not infected your diseses, which is I now check only few comments, not going to read the article as done before. That had lot to do me being fed up lanken issues as a whole, or some articles look very boring to even overead.
          To tell you Mr Rodrigo, Not just Engineers but physical science graduates I happened to meet in Europe knew anything in practical in terms of house heating or wearing warm cloths in winter seasons. One of the family that are both parents – and BSc in Physical Science had wrapped up their little children so that they could not even breath well. Then the doctors warned them accordingly.
          It is the system in SL – most get entered to the UNIs today are like parrots. They are not learnt to see anything out of the box. So, they get various kind of difficulties in their carrier life. No doubt, mos tof them are very good at theories and mathermatics. But what brings the employers, if their the kind of employees would not know adjust themselves to the tasks the job life.

          And my friends, have added me lately, having being able to do some reasearch at Lanken hospitals today – many of the medical doctors would not want to exlain things in English. May be they are shy to speak English. I know their degree course is taught in English in many coutries in south asian region. But in earlier times, Doctors and many graduates produced by lanken universities were very smart as my nigerian friends shared to me. Most that went to Nigria for teaching appointments were the best according to my afro friends.

          • 0
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            what I meant is I am now infected with your disease..
            Sorry, I was on a tram heading back home.

          • 1
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            Sam,

            in the ME, things are worse, as one may expect. We have world class technicians who can take apart a large gas turbine and put it back after doing the necessary repairs. However, the engineers are useless and the new ones are still more useless. They come in the morning, sit in front of the PC and then browse, browse and browse or scratch, scratch and scratch their smart phones like monkeys.. They just sign whatever reports the technicians generate and go back to their browsing and scratching.
            .
            I tell these guys to wear their overalls, put on the safety helmets and go out to the plant and get some oil and grease on their overalls. But they are not interested.

            • 1
              0

              Really ?
              HOw come they get them paid for their work ?
              This could not be a case in Europe. Every minute is weighed. Now they have introduced the kind of sheets for items that you will have to cover during your working times. This they want to show their accounts offices at the end of the month. This is the same for medical doctors, Natural scientists and all various levels of professionals.
              Being addicted to mobile phones is even worst in your and asian countries. That I knwo it since I travel a lot.
              Btw, when will be plannign to visit your family back in SL ? I am thinking of travelling to SL and Malaysia at the end of Nov.

              I am now so fed up of lanken issues – so I dont try to read and react as had been before.
              Have a great weekend for you !

    • 1
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      The so-called social ‘scientists’ like Gamage are n different. They ‘analyse’ social issues without realising that those issues are everyday experiences of common people. They wrap it i big words to give it an academic look. But the rubbish stays the same.

      These social ‘scientists’ should be asked to take a mammoty and and go and work with the people in the paddy fields. They will learn better then.

      • 1
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        NonAcademic, I see a sinister reason behind your attack on Sira.

        I studied with him at Walsmulla Maha Vidyalaya and I know he is a clever man. Look at how he writes in English now, despite his birth in to the rural, non-English knowing poor class in deep south. You must celebrate hard sloggers like him, even though there maybe gaps in their sophistication.

        Keep it up Sira.

        • 0
          0

          Good to hear that you studied at Walasmulla Mama Vidyalaya Karu. Like to get in touch to catch up,,,after a long time,. Siri

          • 0
            0

            Siri Gamage,

            thanks for coming down to leave response to each.

            I ve got a request, why not you try to formualte the article using much more simple terms if your motive is many to understand the message ?

            I have the feeling yours and those of DJ (the guy who betrayed us CT readership lately and got posted to Russia as srilanken Ambassador) sound not easy to get immediately you start reading them.
            Anyways thanks for your great efforts.

      • 0
        0

        Dear Non Academic,

        So I should not analyse, write on social issues? Instead go and work with the people. Have you done this? What did you learn from such experience. Please tell us so we can understand a different picture.

    • 2
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      ER
      You are confusing between a mechanic/electrician and an engineer.
      *
      No Engineering Faculty of repute trains its graduates in practical skills. There was, however, a substantial mechanical workshop (+ carpentry shop) training component in the BScEng (Ceylon) degree programme up to 1968.
      Engineering is too vast a field for a university to train students in every key practical aspect.
      One acquires the necessary abilities during industrial training and later on the job.
      PhDs vastly differ in content, and being good in mathematics is no guarantee of a PhD. Except in a few theoretical fields, PhDs are about problem identification, analysis and solution. It demands considerable creativity, depending on where one acquires a PhD from.
      AKD was the first to supervise a PhD in engineering in the country. The person he supervised did very well in the field of electric power, and is most appreciative of what he learned through his research.
      *
      Industrial experience for an academic is valuable to inform students of the relevance of what they learn in lectures and labs.
      *
      What do you consider as prerequisites to become a political analyst or theoretician?

      • 0
        0

        SJ,
        .
        Faraday was not an engineer. He was not even a technician or a mechanic. He was a bookbinder’s assistance. But the Laws developed by Faraday are used by EE guys even today. But of course, we all cannot be Faradays.
        .
        I agree with you to a certain extent with what you have said. But what I want to say is that unless we have a love or passion for our work, then we are no good. It should not be just a way of making money. I remember once the son of a friend of mine, studying to be an EE, coming to me for help on control theory and I was trying to get him to appreciate the fundamental stuff. He told me, ‘Uncle just give me the formula. No need to go in to all that theory’. Astonishing! But perhaps that is what you do today. Use some software to do the needful. Perhaps as an EE dinosaur, I am wrong and outdated.
        .
        .
        A Professor of EE once wrote in an article that reactive power just something that is imaginary and does not have any physical significance. Another wrote in an IEEE article that it is a result of the magic of mathematics. None of them had any idea of the chaos that reactive power can cause in a real power system under certain conditions.
        .
        Today, there was some news that an EE student had repaired the Anuradhapura train that had broken down in a jungle area. Where technicians had failed, he managed it in 20 mts. That is my kind of EE guy!

        • 0
          0

          Edwin Rodrigo:

          The goal of the engineer is to design and optimize a system. The goal of the technician is to implement the system in a real-world setting. The engineer’s job is more difficult because he is doing more than repair work. He is finding the best materials and trying to predict how the system will behave when subject to different forces. The technician can also make predictions, to some extent, but the engineer can do it much better, because the engineer is trained in quantitative analysis. Not all of these predictions have a practical application but some of them are very important. For example, every semiconductor device (basis of modern computing) uses quantum field theory, while GPS is an application of Einstein’s relativity. Similarly, chaos theory and Fourier analysis can help us to develop systems that will predict events like a tsunami.

        • 0
          0

          ER
          My view is not that an engineer needs to a university product.
          How you define an engineer is the issue.
          How many engineers are ‘EE guys” of the kind you described?
          What about instances where a technician has sorted out problems that escaped engineers?
          What makes you think that a professor in a field has to be always right in every utterance in that field?

          • 0
            0

            When I said EE guys, I was talking about Elec/Electronic guys. In the case of the train problem the so called EE guy was just a student.
            .
            I agree that Eng need not be University products. NAJ perera a former Chairmna of CEB come s to my mind when I think of this. he was an NPQ (Non Professionally Qualified) engineer. He was a great guy as AKD would agree. You ask “What about instances where a technician has sorted out problems that escaped engineers?”. NAJ is a good example of that.
            .
            I talked about Faraday before, which shows that I am not fixated on a Univ degree.

      • 0
        0

        S.J, and Edwin,
        There are two kinds of engineers,
        1 .Those who are interested in engineering (e.g. valve radios) as kids and then take up the subject (or not, depending on their A levels) . Those with bad results become good technicians and even engineers later.
        2. The studious ones who do nothing but study, get good grades, and then are pushed into engineering by proud parents. These guys can talk for weeks on the properties of nuts and bolts but wouldn’t be able to get the spare wheel onto their cars without the help of category 1.

        • 0
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          Old codger,
          About his Dhamma Buddha says ‘Ehipassiko’ – come and see, in other words, practice it yourself and judge yourself. He said, Dhamma is for practicing and practicing only and not for learned debates, discussions and doing research. There is a difference between knowing and understanding. Today the idea is to learn and know something until the exam and then forget it. However, if one understands the principles, the knowledge is stamped in the memory and one is less likely to forget.
          .
          The same idea applies for engineering education. An engineer is also trained to identify problems and provide the best solution for them. The procedure is similar to that of solving a puzzle. In fact, the two things are so similar that some engineering education institutes use puzzle-based education extensively.

          • 0
            0

            ER
            Most science is about problem solving.
            The point is that there are the worked example type of problem solvers and creative problem solvers.

        • 0
          0

          OC
          Where would you place eminent engineers who belong to neither category?
          You are close to ER in his notion of an engineer.
          *
          Btw, there is little to talk about ‘properties’ of nuts and bolts, as they are hardly designed since they got standardized and mass produced .

    • 1
      0

      Edvin,

      Engineers can have a broader world view, like other professionals, based on deep reading of theory and whats going on in society. To my knowledge Kumar is known for his familiarity with Marxist-Leninist theory (of change/historical materialism). So it is not a sin to read economic and social theory, comoprehend,articulate and apply to contemporary situations

      • 0
        1

        Dr. Siri, Oh yeah! Is that what he has done here? I did not realize that, that is what he has done because I did not read even one complete sentence of his or your articles.
        .
        Sorry Doc, if you say that, that is what he has done. No harm done. No harm done, because not many would read it, Out of those who read it, many would find that it is written in Greek or some such language would not be able to comprehend it.
        .
        .
        For these reasons I agree with you that it is not a sin. May be I am still cross with him for giving he 2 out of 10 for the Hg Arc Rectifier. Time to forget that, don’t you think?

        • 0
          0

          ER
          “May be I am still cross with him for giving he 2 out of 10 for the Hg Arc Rectifier.”
          There are guys to whom I gave 0/10 in CW, including the one whom I told that I could not give anything less than that.
          But none bore a grudge.

          • 0
            0

            SJ, you say, There are guys to whom I gave 0/10 in CW, including the one whom I told that I could not give anything less than that. But none bore a grudge.
            .
            You are trying to compare Apples and Oranges. Those guys had no reason to bear a grudge probably because they did not know what to do with their time. My case is quite different. Anytime I spent on preparing a coursework was time that could have been better spent having fun with my fan club in Sanghamitta. If that is not a reason to bear a grudge I don’t know what is.

            • 0
              0

              Why are you placing yourself above other guys who spent time that they could have better spent not necessarily at Sangamitta?
              *
              Are you an apple or an orange?
              Did you try challenging AKD about the 2/10? Perhaps not.
              He was open to correction. He may have explained the mark to your satisfaction or improved the mark.

          • 0
            0

            It’s when children are 15, 16 or 17 that they decide whether they want to be a doctor, an engineer, a politician or go to the Mars or moon. That is the time they start having a dream, and that’s the time you can work on them. You can help them shape their dreams. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam (Past President of India and Nobel Laureate)

      • 0
        2

        Dr Siri, I tried again to read AKD’s article. It was like drinking a bitter Kasaya and I gave up with the first gulp. The man talks in riddles and to make matters worse, the riddles seem to be written in an alien language, which looks like English, but is not.
        .
        This is the problem with those theorists. Instead of simplifying things, they tend to further complicate the already complex issues. Once I invited AKD to my village in Matugama area. He was the honored guest of the temple priest and a cross section of the villagers. This was just after the defeat of MR, who still happens to be the hero of almost all the people in that area.
        .
        This is a lower middleclass agricultural community. I consider it as a model village worthy of emulation by other parts of the country. There are no big land owners. But each family has its own small rubber, tea or paddy plots. The temple was the center that brought together the whole community.

        I always wondered why they are such loyal MR loyalists. Of course, winning the war was a powerful factor. But there must be other factors too. I thought by interacting with them AKD would find out why. But no. This and other articles of AKD show that my efforts were in vain.
        .
        It is important understand the popularity of MR because it would be crucial in the effort of keeping the clan from recapturing power. To defeat your enemy, first you have to know who your enemy really is. This kind of complicated analysis would not achieve that.

        • 0
          0

          Hi Edwin,
          Thanks for the elaboration. To my knowledge(by speaking to people), I realise that the Sinhala Buddhists(lower-middle class, working class) have grievances(perceived and real). They do not see these being resolved by current leadership. Hence they look for it from Rajapaksas. Systematic sociological research with real people like small traders in Kandy, Colombo and elsewhere can unravel this phenomenon.But our social scientists do not do such research though they get funds from the government to do research(attached to the salary).Government also can do similar research but will they? Leaders think they know everything. We don’t have a culture where decisions are based on serious research unlike in other countries. Being a highly developed country, if you visit Singapore airport, they still do customer satisfaction surveys to further improve services.
          I am glad to hear about the village you mention and your curiosity to find out things.Perhaps we all need to simplify our writing style and avoid attacking writers personally.Instead debate facts.

          • 0
            0

            Dr Siri, Thanks for that sensible explanation. I would be honored if you could visit this temple with AKD when I take my vacation in Feb/March 2019. Besides the genuine hospitality of the villagers and the kindness of the Temple priest, who happens to be a relative of mine, there are other attractions like the Lunch arranged by the priest. (A sort of Dana in reverse).
            .
            I kept the best for the last. Their Karan Koku Maluwa is the best I have tasted and bears the pride of place in the menu, which normally is something like this:

            1- Sinhala Hale Batha
            2- Kiri Hodi
            3- Steamed Mannokka (manioc)
            4- All kinds of leaves
            5- Dhal curry
            6- Dry fish curry
            7- Karawala baduma with Bedapu miris
            8- Ala Thel dala
            9- All kinds of Game elavalu
            10- Malu Ambul Thiyal
            11- Thambapu Kos
            12- Polos Maluwa (done with two light fires, one below, one above). Cooking takes one full day.
            13- Hal Messo Beduma
            14- Papadam
            AND MORE

            AND OF COURSE, LAST BUT NOT LEAST my favorite, කැරන් කොකු මාලුව

            Dessert: Kevum, Athi raha, Sav dodol, Kiri Peni

            In short, it is a gastronomic delight.

            .

            • 0
              0

              Edwin,
              It is pretty clear why polos maluwa (no.12) is not available at my local eatery. It would cost an arm and a leg.

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                old codger, The fires I mentioned are I think, wood, coconut and other dara and definitely not gas. Even rubber wood would be fine. They have plenty of Dara in Matugama.
                .
                When Polos is cooked this way and left for a day, a brown colored juice oozes out and that is what makes it so heavenly.
                .
                Hey, now I have a good example of the difference between a PhD and a so called EE (Elec Engineering) guy. It is like the difference between a Colombo 7 lady who authors cookery books and the members of Kusum & Co. the Polos Cooking ladies of our village. I would not trade even a single hair of their heads for a dozen authors of Cookery Books.

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              I cant imagine, why today the monks cant be without fish/meat curries.

              In my days back in the country, few decades ago, my mother prepared SALAKA danaya almost every month and abiththayas kept coming to our place to collect them, there, we never saw her preparing any fish, meat or the like curries.

              Is that so, the monks have become carnivours with the time ? Even barbaric when thinking about BBS head or that monk from Mangalaramaya Mad Monk ?

              More they start with meats and fish, they automatically become behaving like animals. That may bethe relections we get to see today.

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                There are two aspects to this. According to the Vinaya, a priest has to accept whatever is offered. In his first Pindapatha after leaving lay life, all kinds of food were put in his begging bowl. When he tried to eat that, it is said that, he nearly vomited. It was a disgusting mix of food. being Prince made it worse.
                .
                There is a highly controversial theory that Buddha met died food poisoning by partaking a meal containing pork (Sukara Maddava). The word sukara means pig. Others dismiss this saying that Sukara Maddava is a type of Mushroom.
                .
                Nowadays, some monks specify the menu whenever they accept an invitation to Dana. Invariably this contains chicken and fish.

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    What is important is for those in authority to be sensitive to the needs and feelings of the people. That is why Jarapassa was booted in Jan 8, 2015, as well as the poor electoral performance of the ruling elite in LG elections. The root cause appears to be that there is no mechanism to recall the elected representative by the people although people are supposed to be sovereign in this country from May 22, 1972. I have noted that even in England, where the Monarch is sovereign (Now they claim in UK that Parliament and that includes the Monarch is sovereign) , electors can recall their MPs under certain circumstances. In my opinion, if ever there was a recall process, they would have thought twice before committing brazen acts such as the Bonds Scam.

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    “Text Book” Theories are in plenty to discuss the economic, social, political changes that have “Invaded” and “Introduced” by “Professors” of all types in collaboration with the crooked politicians. No doubt, the world order has changed and accordingly the life patterns of people have also changed. The value systems have changed and accordingly the social, economic and political systems and ideologies have changed. Simply put, a “Big Change” has taken place. The important question in this respect is: Have the PEOPLE in Sri Lanka developed their capabilities by making changes in their knowledge base, rational thinking and adjusted to make a living that suites them? Sorry to say a large majority are DEFICIENT and IRRATIONAL , in that, a very “FERTILE” ground has been found by the corrupt politicians and their cohorts in the respective “Professional” fields to “THRIVE” and make a “Good Living” comprised of all luxuries. Compared with the PEOPLE of most other countries in the world, the PEOPLE of Sri Lanka for the last 70 years and still CONTINUE to be VICTIMS rather than the MASTERS of change makers, and BENEFICIARIES of that change.. That is the reason for the failure of a “THIRD FORCE” to take shape and even that “Minority” who strive to make a change hasn’t been able to identify the STARTING POINT viz. “GRASS ROOT LEVEL” for the change. Instead they confined themselves to conducting “SEMINARS” writing “BOOKS” etc. Of course, there are SMALL TREMORS at this moment and hopefully it will gather momentum in the next few months left to usher in that much NEEDED and DESIRED change.

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      Douglas,

      if the professional middle class as a whole-including the lower middle class)is the beneficiary of change in the last 70 years as you claim, and indeed as the globalists claim, thrive and make good living, who have become he victims of change? Please elebortate so we can understand this aspect better.

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    The economy has hit rock bottom, our sovereignty is on sale by RW, strategic assets are given away to foreigners gradually, passes resolutions against one’s own country, punishes the army for destroying LTTE, NGOs rule SL…………and these Marxist clowns need special analysis to understand why people are turning towards MR….

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      “The economy has hit rock bottom, our sovereignty is on sale by RW, strategic assets are given away to foreigners gradually, “
      So what else is new, sach?

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    Dr. Siri Gamage: Thank you. I request you to read through my comment once again. I did not mention of a “Middle Class” that was the “Beneficiary”. In contrast, I said the PEOPLE rather than be the “Masters” of change makers and “Beneficiary” have become the “VICTIMS”. How the PEOPLE have become the “VICTIMS” was also explained in saying that they are “DEFICIENT” and “IRRATIONAL”, that which provided a FERTILE GROUND for the (Note: the next few words are the most to be important and most relevant) “Corrupt politicians and their cohorts in the respective “Professional” fields to thrive and make a Good Living comprised of luxuries”. Haven’t I classified those “Professionals” with the use of the word “COHORTS”. To be exact and understand such “COHORTS”, just direct your attention to the recently concluded court case of Mr. Lalith Weeratunga. One more pending case is that which to be tried in Special Courts – relating to Dr. Nalaka Godahewa. There are many more and you know all of them. They were the “BENEFICIARIES” I mentioned and the “VICTIMS” were the PEOPLE ( of all classes) of their actions who unfortunately are “DEFICIENT” and “IRRATIONAL” in making correct choices. Hope you understood what I said in my earlier comment.

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    Is unp is a capitalist party, what a bullshit , what was the size of srilankan economy before 2005 only 20 billion USD , what was the per capital only 1000 USD , these are the performance card of governments before 2005, the small poor party like unp did not have an ability to uplift the countries economy at least up to 15 billion USD can be a capitalist party, the unp is only a poor party which has done a janasaviya mixed economic system in srilanka. There were only one business super capitalist party formed in srilankan history , that is slfp of mahinda, why we are saying that they brought the srilankan economy from 20 billion USD in to 80 billion USD, in just 10 years, per capital from 1000 USD to 4000 USD in just 10 years ,they brought foreign direct investment of 1600 million USD in 2014 which was less than 200,million before 2005, the slfp of Mahinda economic master brains and the architects of 80 billion economy are the only super capitalist party Ever formed in srilanka. Is unp has or had a business class ,they always identified and said pettah traders as their business class, the srilankan high ranking business class only formed after 2005 ,this business class are die heart supporters of slfp of Mahinda whether they are in government or opposition ,we saw this business class in shangrila,80% of the English speaking middle class and upper middle class are the another die heart supporting group of slfp of Mahinda , this people are coming by branded vehicle and vote for mahindas slfp, that is why slfp of Mahinda winning places like kaduwela or kesbawa by 50000 vote majority .is this people will care the poor parties like JVP or unp. See the this we called slfp of Mahinda as super capitalist party .

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    So do not compare the poor party like unp who unable to uplift the countries economy with slfp of Mahinda, what is fact to show that unp is a capitalist party there non capability of uplift the economy at least up to 15 billion , so please come out of this illusion bullshit to say unp is a capitalist party who never done an capitalist economy like architects and master brains of super capitalism in srilanka the slfp of Mahinda. Unp is a poor peoples party but trying to compare by small group of people as a party like slfp of Mahinda. Slfp of Mahinda the powerful super capitalist party ever formed in srilanka , they are showing all the capitalist icon in their rule. Can any one show any capitalist quality of unp or any other party other than slfp performed during their rule, how can party does not see a economic size more than a 15 billion usd can be a capitalist party please stop this illusions.

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    Both articles were with some presumption that Dead-Lefts have a solution for Lankawe and willing to market it. As usual because they both are lefts, they could not agree on the basic matter whether class analysis is required to wipe out “Old King Populism”. Better would have been if had started with Don Stephen Populism, who in fact directed the country to this direction and father of the ultimate creator “Old King Populism”. Prof Kumar’s contention is Old King Populism is basically pours oil into burning racism in Lankawe. (Remember though Prof. Kumar is calling “Old King Populism”, with his fancy word, Old Fraud never got it beyond 43% for 15 years.)He did not say Ranil is not a capitalist or Old King is not a Socialist, the well known facts. But he accepted their main policy is opportunism. Ranil broke up with West and went to China to borrow to feed his own white elephants. But, Old King’s white elephants are much more rainbow colored than Ranil’s White elephants so Sinhalese are calling for Old King’s white elephants. Dr. Siri is so inclined to dismiss “Old King Populism” because he is mad that Prof. Kumar had called his educated, intelligent labor class as Old King’s back lickers. In fact a large part of his heart is still melting for Old King. Then, he wants to blind his eyes, raise the balance and giving verdict “Yes Socialism is weightier than Capitalism to solve Lankawe’s oppressed workers. (Is there any workers in Lankawe? I thought they all in Middle East- Dr. Siri must propose his theories to Saudi, who employs them) Though he believes lefts are still have solutions to the damage Neo-liberalism did to Lankawe but he is not sure if Neo-liberalism or globalization have ever touched Lankawe. (Isn’t even Prof. Kumar believes that and he denies that anybody have ever said that than him?-any that how the lefts are.)

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    Can somebody answer to this question “Is Hangbangtota, Port, Mahinda Bachan Naked International Air Port, Suriawela Stadium, $18B Foreign Bank Account is hiking the dollar or the 10,000 Rs increase the office workers got, the cars parliamentarians imported, new local high ways and the CB looting is hiking the Dollar?”
    Before one look at a man’s class and start to analyses, the simple thing is to look at that man and check where is placed by his life, what he could have achieved and what he like to do. If man can achieve bachelor’s degree, society has to provide colleges for him to do that. If want to have PhD, then it is his own endeavor, because society cannot experiment with that when he has no capacity for PhD. If man has capacity to possess $500 and he has that but like to possess only $300, he is going to donate the $200. If a man has capacity to hold only $300, but has $500 he is going to lose the $200 in gambling, prostitution or drinking. If you appoint a peon class man as the CEO of the company, within a week all other employees will be getting him buy Biriyani parcels in the lunch time. But if you have had put a CEO class as peon, in a year he will have the leashes of all employees in his hand. So important thing is what their capacity is, where they are and what they like to do. The society has the obligation to provide for its member only up to what is due for him. Society is not a herd of sheep you to feed all of them on the conveyer belt. (But there are some issues. Society cannot allure the elderly, children and under certain circumstances women too into the competitive labor. Society need to care for them. )

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    A flourishing university in the middle of the town didn’t part with any of its benefits to the municipality cleaner. There is no point in proclaiming the society failed to take care of the education that is why he is doing the cleaning work. The society may not be able to stop him cleaning and push him through the University with a Badiudeen’s PhD.
    Society still can improve his cleaning work instead of hand using tools-, so he too can live healthy happy life. If somebody wants to have their children admitted in International Schools, it is not society’s problem. But the Society has to make sure the teachers coming to public schools are not exam cheaters and they are not leaving in the school time to the market to buy Fish and vegetables. Lankawe’s government’s workers efficiency is 30%. What imbecile would want to change Lankawe into to socialistic country and hand over all industries under these 30% efferent workers? Are these two PhD are proposing something for Lankawe or they are just trying tell something like “You know, we have PhD, We know better than you all!”.

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    Dr. Siri thinks he is doing better than Prof. Kumar. There may be something material in that. Because, once in a while, even the Angoda patients would be wondering if they do think something more straight than Prof. Kumar. So we cannot help on that. But let’s see: Dr. Siri indicates education or better living condition may discourage the Sinhala Buddhists flocking with Old King for his Populism; but does he honestly think so? I don’t think so. Do you think if you wash and dry a water buffalo from the mud pool and put it on the bed, it is going to feel cozy & remain there? If a man wants free Biriyani and Kasippu that is what he wants. India was rated as 43% educated; which communist uplifted to the current 67%? When was Lankawe getting freedom, it was standing next to Japan in education (81%). Where hell it has gone now? Is the Dr. Siri’s answer going to be it is the Don Stephen’s capitalism made them to forget but while American constitution in Japan made then to study more hard and beat America on education? Come on guys, now Lankawe is claiming 99% of citizens are educated. Then for what the heck those piglets are following their mom to cess pool instead of finding a decent job? Is that Dr. Siri’s argument that if NM might have bargained with American president for more rice when he ran Lankawe to wreck, they might have learned to do some jobs? When NM ran the country to wreck with borrowed Russian communism, it was Northern farmers created the miracle with Home Garden, until JR burned it in 1977 Pogrom.
    As per Sumanthiran, 99% voted for constitutional change in 2015. Now he is campaigning for JVP’s 20A in the South. Where the hell all those Joint Comedy Club Communist are gone? Is that people mandate for those communist or not? The truth is these “Valathu Kuraigncha” (வலது குறைஞ்ச) Lefts’ talk is only mirage, nothing real!

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    The problem is not the capitalism ,see management skills shown by the master brains , architects of the highly neo liberal business party the slfp of Mahinda ,they are purely a supercaitalist business party , the entire high ranking business class and upper and middle class are with them. See their economic performance they made countries economy from 20 billion USD in to 80 billion USD in 10 years, made percapital from 1000 USD to 4000 USD in 10 years, brought 1690 million USD foreign investment , see the infrastucture development ,urban development they have done, these every thing was done the one and only capitalist party ever formed in srilankan history the slfp of Mahinda the highly liberal open market policy makers and architects. This is a clear witness that capitalism is not a wrong concept , it is a well advance concept. The problem here in srilanka is the poor parties like unp has introduce them self as capitalist parties. Is the small poor party like unp is a curse for capitalism since what unp know about capitalism , if they are unable uplift the country economy at least up to 15 billion can they be a capitalist party, unp is only a party has done small socialist party style janasaviya socialist mixed economic system of Jr or premadasa, did they form or had a business class like slfp of Mahinda , in srilanka unp has 23% vote base 90% of this vote base are poor and very lower middle class . unp has done some thing for agriculture segment in srilanka, agriculture is not indication to become a business party like slfp of Mahinda . so please come out of this illusion , do not blame capitalism by seeing a poor party like unp does not know ,doing or done any thing about capitalism .

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    Tamils are attacking Siri left right and centre. Typical of them.

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      Kolla
      All Tamils? Only Tamils?
      Mallung is not even typical. He is here to amuse us.

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    It is better to have a rich life and proper food, superb business enviorment ,three April bonuses by working in a blue chip company under Hitler rule of top level capitalist government of slfp other than starvation, no food, no business , no money , no bonus nothing under socialist poor mixed economic janasaviya system of poor innocent unp rule.

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      common man

      Have you ever heard of SLFP government run by the weeping widow and her merry men from 1970 to 1977, you would have experienced exactly what you describe, starvation, no food, no business , no money , no bonus nothing, ……………………..

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        he is talking about SLFP of MR, you fool

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    Mallaiyuran the racist, go and fly a kite. Have you passed O’L? My Siri has two doctorates

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    Mallaiyuran the racist go and fly a kite You kidding, Don’t you?

    I didn’t laugh at lefts. After all they have PhDs, ( most are in some unwanted fields so they walk to the left.) But do you know the most whirling gossip around the city? Lankawe lefts are regrouping! Do you know why. It is because of the Lankawe! Lankawe economy is so powerful so it has made the lefts to regroup in Lankawe. It not the monetary value attracted them, but it is the dollar number! So even the left are now thinking they can give hand to fix the economy. THE LANKAWE ECONOMY ! THAT IS WHAT I WAS LAUGHING AT! LEFTS WANT TO FIX IT If you have a hurricane lamp at home don’t throw it away. You how useful lefts have turned out to be?

    Do you have any jobs at your home like singing “BYE BYE THOY THOY” or even grinding the rice flour in the wooden motor? I have two three lefts with me handy!

    First the world deported all the prisoners to Australia, now Lankawe, did it to all the unwanted lefts.

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    Siri Gamage, isn’t it lot simpler if we refer back to Dickens. In David Copperfield “Mr Micawber’s recipe for happiness is:
    “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.”
    Neither our government no our people get that simple truth.

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    Mallayuren, answer my question. Have you passed O’L?

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    Koshila

    The correct question to ask from Mallayuren is whether he passed Standard 5?

  • 4
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    Fight between Mallayurne and Koshila is fascinating. we are watching

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