Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 29 March 2015





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

cat'S eye

Hello! I am Menika from Yatinuwara, a division of the Kandé-uda-pasrata. I was brought up conservative – to be meek, mild and subservient. No strong personal opinions; no talking freely to males; no expressing personal views.

My job in life was to serve the different patriarchs of the extended family – Aatha, Appachchi, ‘Mage Mahattaya’ and Putha, with sundry Maamas and Kudappachchis to be respected. I obliged but now I am free, FREE, free like a bird, free to do as I like. I use my freedom to cast my curious eye all round. I even express ideas, so here goes.

Bloated Cabinet

The stunner of the week was the appointment of sundry SLFPers to the Cabinet as Ministers, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers bloating the Cabinet to 40 Ministers, 14 State Ministers and 23 Deputy Ministers.

That adds up to 77! Maybe double seven is lucky to the selectors, but not lucky for us - the people of this country. We have to support them! And the less said the better about most of them! The yahapalanaya promise was 25 Cabinet Ministers with a couple of others of lesser status; while an erudite strongly critical editor (The Island - 24 March) proclaims 15 would do.

There is a very useful English word to explain such as this benefit to some, dilemma to others – EXPEDIENCY. Yes, it is expedient for the government to rope in willing SLFPers to the government to make it a – whatjacallit – national government. ‘Expediency’ is dictionary defined as: “When something is helpful or useful in a particular situation, but sometimes not morally acceptable”.

Now does not that definition hit the nail on the head in the context of my use of the word as a move by the yahapalanaya government? Menika won’t go into the rights and wrongs of the government move since she is not competent to do so, not knowing exactly how the cabinet cookie rises or crumbles. But she does know about some of the new ministers.

The very day after the announcement was made that S B Dissanayake was made a minister; i.e. Monday 23, TV news had it that his brother was escorted to the police station and remanded due to death threats he spouted. The police apparently went slow over the arrest until mobs carrying placards demanded it. We also know how rejected SB was by university students, even lecturers, when he was Minister of Higher Education in the former regime.

A lady given the honour of being selected to the expanded Cabinet was obviously a devoted supporter of the ex President. Sycophancy was the word that came into mind as we blushed deep red when we saw her on TV and newspaper photographs going down on her very knees in obeisance to Mahinda Rajapaksa as he sat with others on a platform at a meeting. I think she even touched his toes in reverence!!

There she was, this Pavithra, collapsing and bundling herself in front of the entire audience and in view of those seated beside the Prez, her posture raising her derriere rather embarrassingly. The worst was the Prez did not even acknowledge her obeisance by the least gesture, be it a glance at her kneeling self or a ‘hondai, hondai’ at least.

Rightly he should have arisen from his seat and stretched a hand in acknowledgement. Not he to do this since even he recognized and pooh-poohed (in this instance) self-centred, sycophantic pooja.

But there was a heartening news item that warmed the cockles of the heart. Pictures on TV and newspapers showed many pregnant women at meetings being assured of nutriment in the way of a monthly bag of supplies and Rs 2000 for their entire ‘waiting’ period and thereafter too when nursing the newborn. Now that is an exemplary act of grace and gratitude to mothers.

That definitely is an idea of our new President: benevolent, concerned about the less well-off citizens of this land and helping in the sphere of health and nutriment. He sure would have been encouraged by two of our women Ministers: Thalata Athukorale and Rosy Senanayake.

A woman when pregnant needs extra attention, leave alone concern. Admittedly, it is a natural occurrence - expecting a baby - but there are attendant psychological quirks during her nine months of expanding girth. In our village in Yatinuwara, as I am sure it obtained in other Nuwaras and villages, there was a fuss made about dola duka.

Some expecting women made a huge song and dance about this. I know of a lady of means of long ago who got a dd for champagne. Can you imagine that! I was a mere kid but had extra expanded pores on my body which absorbed all conversations, particularly those whispered with heads bent close. This conversation between Amma and aunts sunk in my mind.

This was soon after WW II with restrictions galore. We hardly had enough rice to eat. So her husband, from a remote Dry Zone station had a Colombo relative make contact with the Purser of a berthed ship to purloin a bottle of the said exotic alcoholic drink for the elite lady. Poor baby in her innards! How it would have squirmed in the womb awash with liquor.

They say a mere glass of wine affects the foetus. The dd condition does affect all and sundry; the mild and take-it-as-it-comes women devour a raw mango or make themselves some achcharu; the mean and calculating make hay while their longing lasts and ask for this and that. Maybe the western blonde asks for diamonds at this time!

Three sincere cheers to the losers

Coming back to news of the last week, we Sri Lankans can pat ourselves on the back for taking in good spirit the defeat of the eleven plus wielders of willow who came back to the Island knocked out of the World Cup series at the quarter finals.

We really are sensible. “Oh they played fine games. They were sporty. So what if we don’t always win? See how Sanga that perfect player and gentleman put us on the cricket map again with his scoring centuries left, right and centre.” And the women fans who almost outnumber the men drooled: “Aiyo, he is so hamson. Can’t say he is 38 no?

Why aney is he leaving the team? Seems to be at the top of the form,” which somewhat confused Menika. She pictured Sanga standing on his wooden chair in class which was a punishment meted out: Stand on the form you bugger! in boys’ schools while girls were sent out of class and had to write lines.

Which brings another thought to Menika. Y-e-e-s. Sanga is a Kande-uda-rata man and he would surely have been ordered to stand on the form by masters of Trinity College.

It was a predecessor Trinitian – Gamini Dissanayake - who got membership for Sri Lanka in the prestigious group of A1 cricketers. Some who were in our recent cricket admin nearly spoilt our name for ever. Fortunately here too Maitri prevailed and somewhat cleaned out the cricket stables.

Ah well! This is Sri Lanka! A land like no other, mercifully not pretending now to be the Miracle of Asia!


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