Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 20 September 2015





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

[cat’S eye]

VVIPs go a-visiting and a judgement is passed on us

Cats usually spit venom and human felines make catty remarks. This Sunday this cat is sitting pretty and purring as she has a couple of bouquets to hand out.

She listened to the address by Minister of External Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera at the UN Office in Geneva at the sittings of the UNHRC last week. She was proud of what he said and how he said what had to be said.

There was a total absence of bumptious cocking a snook (it has been done that way before) and obsequious asking for pardon. He stated facts and that this government at least is ready to contract business with the UNHRC. No more postponements, useless gerrymandering and avoiding issues.

We ordinary folk who watch eagle-eyed, were in agreement with his statement. So there goes Menika’s first bouquet. The second is to Ranil Wickremesinghe and wife Maithri.

In a foreign country, a visiting dignitary, particularly from a small country like ours has to cut a figure. There is no denying the fact that seen impressions are very important. If I may be personal, our Prime Minister always looks very good in his western suits.


Thank goodness he does not don the national costume just to please people! Now there is an air of distinction about him with the lines on his face (probably some worry) and his hair pepper and salt. He always carries himself with dignity. This our people comment adversely on as aloofness in our milieu.

But on a State visit, that stance is necessary.

Our PM is clever, honed on political maneouvering and suave in political discourse. His discussions Menika is not competent to comment on. Professor Maithri Wickremesinghe complements him well. They are a couple who are good to see and good to talk to, even to do business with, Menika supposes.

The Indians particularly are very conscious of educational advancement so a professor accompanying the PM was wonderful. She looks dignified and gracious in her mostly white clothes and landing in New Delhi, TV pictures showed an elegant flow of shawl and long shirt and baggy trousers.

This leads Menika to tell a tale. She received by email the fact that Prof Maithri Wickremasinghe had attended a launch of a book or some such event at the BMICH. Arriving late, she and the friend she was with, opted to take seats in the balcony for fear their late entry would disturb and distract. On gathering for tea, the chief guest approaching her said he had not seen her. Then her explanation and perhaps an apology for arriving late. A rose to you, Professor, for your quiet dignity and going against the recent tide of proud VVIP behaviour, which we hope is permanently stemmed.


Which reminded Menika of an incident an year or so ago when the Symphony Orchestra conducted by a foreign artiste put on the boards part of an opera. (Names and titles do not matter in this narration). The conductor or director explained the scenes as they were musically presented by the orchestra. So he said the next scene would be music played when a couple of horsemen would ride in. And sure enough when the drums and such like were in predominance, human hoof beats were heard. First Lady Shiranthi Rajapaksa came in escorted by two women security persons and four booted male escorts. They marched right to the front, deposited her in the front row, and the males marched back.

Menika, forgetting her genteel upbringing and laying aside her finer feelings hissed loud and clear: what is this? A latecomer is not allowed to slip into even a last row seat at a symphony orchestra performance, but needs to wait for an interval.

Maybe the lady VVIP was not aware of the commotion she would cause but surely the security personnel should have (rightly) assured themselves that no bomb or stab in the ample back would be attempted in the Ladies’ College auditorium with a distinguished audience present, not one of them knowing that her Ladyship was to attend the performance.

Coming late was bad enough, making all that din was unforgiveable. Fortuitously, the barging in was at the correct moment when the music played was to herald the arrival of horses. And mares, let’s add.

See the difference. Menika is sure it won’t change as regards the simpler, sincerer and more educated personage centre-staged in the anecdote.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, metaphorically threw a bomb at our government and thus at us, all Sri Lankans. In his report he said the SL judiciary lacks capacity to undertake a probe into war crimes and human rights violations thereafter.

The judiciary is much improved from the time a judge favoured by the Rajapaksas was installed, the 43rd Chief Justice unfairly impeached. But it seems to be deemed wanting still. There have been in-country complaints about the Attorney General and his department. The UNHRC states the security sector needs urgent reforms.

Not good

Menika makes no comment. Thirdly, an enhanced UNHRC presence is proposed with a special hybrid court set in place. Not good, not good at all. But inevitable. What skirmishes the previous government indulged in, what vacillation. An ordinary cat like yours truly cannot help but say, speaking from gut reaction, which often is correct, that some of our actions invited such stern measures. Even a personal insult carries weight in the end since it is human beings, however objective and fair they may be, that the country deals with.

We hung our heads in abject shame when Mervyn Silva, then a favourite jester cum Man Friday in the court of the Rajapaksa’s, proposed marriage to Ms Navi Pillai when she arrived here on a fact-finding or feeler-extending visit. She was UNHRC High Commissioner then. You don’t make grossly vulgar statements like this, which to some in this country was a huge joke.There was also too much rhetoric from the previous government. And this sentence passed on us is the result. It is fervently hoped that our new government will cooperate fully with the UNHRC. It is not a come down, but a necessity to extract the real truth from what has been dug up and to exonerate the government of gross violations unlike the LTTE who were into every crime in the book.



Daily News & Sunday Observer subscriptions
eMobile Adz

| News | Editorial | Finance | Features | Political | Security | Sports | Spectrum | World | Obituaries | Junior |


Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2015 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor