Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 14 June 2015





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

cat'S eye

Toodle dooing security and unlikely compatibility

I am sure that like this cat, you have been receiving emails of hot, hot news. I got one about the Prez knowing he is in danger and that those deposed from power are trigger-happy, not themselves per se but those who accompany them. Thus the great trepidation and indignation we felt when a member of the security division of the ex President accompanied MP Namal Rajapaksa to a meeting where President Sirisena was right up there on the platform. The security person had a gun with him.

President Sirisena is said to have announced these facts recently; namely that his life is in danger and he could very well be eliminated criminally. Menika shudders. A friend at dinner pronounced that once the ex Prez becomes PM, someone with good aim will shoot and get rid of the Maithri Prez and then the Prime Minister will very easily go that one step higher and re-occupy the throne. Menika shuddered more violently. Horrors! Unthinkable! But on saner reaction, deciding it was frighteningly possible.

The June 7 issue of a Sunday paper had a long article on the present President's toodle dooing security and causing even us the public headaches and shivers slithering down our spines. Like simplicity turning to simpleton-ness. The writer of that article very wisely said it was the duty of the President to be much more concerned about his personal safety and ensure that he has full protection and security around him. The writer faulted the President for retaining the old guard police or Armed Forces personnel, trusting them to do their job loyal only to the country and their conscience.

Dastardly crime

What conscience for most Sri Lankans nowadays, particularly those in the thick of things. Cannot the Prez remember how Indira Gandhi trusted her two Sikh guards and in spite of being warned after the onslaught on the Holy of Holies of the Sikhs at Amritsar ordered by her, she retained them? They murdered her as she was returning to her office from lunch at home. Could humans do such a dastardly crime - to kill a defenseless woman, frailer than before, when their duty was to protect her? Well the two guards did it, dehumanised by religious zeal or threatened to do the deed or suffer consequences. So our President simply cannot trust anyone. He has to have a new and tested set of security personnel close to him. Come to think of it, whom can he really trust? Menika makes bold to suggest he can trust only his atomic family and UNP Ministers of State.

A picture accompanying the aforementioned article was of the unassuming, gracious President fitting on shoes or sandals in a shoe shop, which means he was out with the hoi polloi. His car does not go in a frenzied posse with sirens screaming and gloved hands waving like crazy. His car is said to stop at traffic lights, on his orders of course. We admire his bravery and trust in human beings; both misplaced. He as President of this country needs to be extremely careful, suspicious and call for maximum security. The country depends on him and those who voted for him feel their vote was absolutely justified since he is becoming more and more the statesman we need - such a difficulty with all that medley of MPs, mostly blue, plotting and planning against him.

Think of the utter mayhem if something were to happen to him; think of the successful jubilation of those who wish to cause anarchy; and think of how in typical Sri Lankan fashion, people will gnash their teeth and mourn like crazy for a day or two, even a week and then forget the fiendish act and start singing hosannas to the new Head, demonic though he be.

Maithripala Sirisena is far from being an obstinate fool; far far from being swollen headed and full of hubris; and he will be considerate to his family and us who admire him and Sri Lanka that benefits from him being Head of the country. So let those who are in charge of his security impose restraint on him and protect him much more seriously and carefully.

No-Confidences Motions without end

This feline thinks that the Opposition's Motion of No-Confidence on the Prime Minister is a bovine move congruent to their behaviour.

Ranil Wickremesinghe's tenure as PM is so short with general elections soon to be. Also there is actually only one misstep in Ranil's performance - the Central Bank gaffe. The institution of the special Financial Crimes Investigation Division - the FCID - is approved of by the public who voted Maithripala Sirisena as Prez with the proviso he elects Ranil Wickremesinghe as his Prime Minister. So why bellyache now? The FCID was urgently needed to delve into corruption and go after those guilty of misusing the resources of the country with stupendous profligacy.

We witnessed helplessly how billions were spent just for Mahinda Rajapaksa to win the Presidential elections he called for early in January so his extended family and cronies would stay on in power. We saw billboards of the man strung up every few yards along all roads in Colombo; and heard of the tip of the iceberg of extravagant spending on dansalas at Temple Trees for all and sundry on all days of the week; sil clothes gifted to women in most parts of the island plus bags of consumer goods. We did not know about clocks and carom boards and all those other goodies then. In the common man's view the PM cannot be faulted for setting up the FCID; it's only those caught in its jaws and to be caught that fault it. The No-Confidence Motion is through petty SLFPers who for their very existence in politics cling to the satakaya while bending low to the President and assuring him of their loyalty.

A complementary pair of leaders

It was thus refreshing to get a political leader such as Mano Ganeshan, head of the newly formed Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) to say that "Maithri-Ranil are the best political pair this country has ever seen" in an interview in a newspaper on Wednesday 10. This cat, with the wisdom of her nine lives, agrees with Ganeshan whom she quite admires. Yes they are an efficient pair as the President and the Prime Minister of this country that emerged from a 28-year civil war to battle the ever-rising cost-of-living and poverty creeping upwards on the social strata while the ruling family and hangers-on were living extravagant lives.

Menika believes Maithripala Sirisena is the quieter and giver-into, while Ranil Wickremesinghe who cannot bear fools, recognises the strength of the President and gives him respect and his due place. He seems to sense and be aware of the steel within the President who conveys the impression of being soft and mild. They complement each other in their mental makeup and characteristics and in the way they wield power. Both work hard and both hardly seem to care what people say about them, least of all political fools. Their appeal to different target groups is also complementary and thus benefits the people of the land. The President appeals to both the locals and foreigners with his simplicity, apparent integrity and concern for the country. Ranil appeals to the foreigner and can hold his own with the highest foreign leader due to his vast experience in politics, education and exposure to worldwide influences. Where he fails is in his local PR and inability to smile with the hoi polloi. His boss makes up for it with his charm. They are good together for the people and the country.

Picture of the week

A newspaper on Tuesday carried on its front page a picture of Nimal Siripala de Silva, Opposition Leader no less, fast asleep at an SLFP rally to abolish preferential voting. To compound matters he was seated right next to the President and is not merely nodding but seems fast asleep. This cat has seen other pictures of this veteran SLFPer dozing or with his eyes closed at several public meetings. While Menika condones with him, her feline predilection to snatch a cat nap whenever possible making her share his desire to nod off in public, she feels he should stay awake at important meetings, especially when paparazzi prowl around.

This cat, Menika, invariably nods off when bana starts while she is in pious sil; only Sinhala bana does this lulling her to doze. So maybe the Opposition Leader gets drowsy-eyed when male politicians drone on. Or maybe he has too much night work. Don't imagine for a moment it is state business. He was wife-apprehended in his office long ago, on a day he was supposed to be nursing his Uva electorate, definitely not engaged in state work but otherwise pleasantly occupied. And we have his colleague and counterpart, the Blue Man who once said that a family of four could live on Rs. 7,500 for an entire month, shouting loud on this and that and mostly against the Prime Minister. Maybe he wanted the average Sri Lankan to live on salted water while he lived in luxury and all his children supposedly educated abroad, all on savings from tuition and the salary of a MP and sometime Cabinet Minister.

Ah well! To each his own!



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