Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 27 September 2015





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

cat'S eye :

Big Apple here we come!

What a sharp and very welcome contrast President Maithripala Sirisena's trip to New York was/is to address the UN General Assembly from those undertaken by the former President. MS travelled with just the few really necessary persons, probably taking a commercial flight.

According to news reports, those who went along with him are: Mangala Samaraweera (FM); Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe; Mahinda Samarasinghe - Skills Development Minister, but more importantly diplomat; and Minister D M Swaminathan. (No favouritsm, all fair and square). Pictures of his departure showed Arjuna Ranatunge only one half step behind him but newspaper items mentioned only those I have cited here as accompanying the Prez.

Maybe Arjuna R was there to wave goodbye. Mrs Sirisena was not seen in the picture nor mentioned. So probably she did not accompany him. It seemingly is not in her nature to doll herself up and accompany her husband, the President, just because it's a free trip.

How was it in previous years when Mahinda Rajapaksa's travelled to address the UN at this time of the year? The contingent grew larger and larger, more family members were included and entire suites of the Waldorf (or whichever very upmarket hotel they stayed in) was booked for the Sri Lankan group.

In such sharp contrast then to the Indian delegation which was comparatively small and booked into a reasonable hotel. This cat used to spit venom in a certain newspaper but was made to shut up by warnings a white van could call at her doorstep. More than fear, what shut her lamentation was that it was simply useless.

No one took the slightest notice of public opinion, least of all the ex-Prez who did just as he wanted. So tickets to New York and back with fun over there were distributed freely to those who showed extra licking-slipper-ability and flotsam and jetsam as his mood took him. The only precaution was not having cameras with too wide ranges.

Only he, his Lady, and a couple of others were shown in the entourage. His eldest son accompanied him often and once we espied Sashi Weerawansa in the group going to a closer destination. She surely would not have gone as a Lady in Waiting, so what was the justification for her being included in the official list of visitors?

Vehicles were hired from a certain agent so each member or couple was given free unlimited travel, certainly not from the hotel to the UN building. They scattered themselves all over: shopping, casino visiting, eating and drinking.

We now hear of one bod, VVVIP who apparently spent much of his time luxuriating in his hotel bed, munching and imbibing the best and watching the worst videos that cost the world - all astounding bills paid by the government of Sri Lanka.

So Haramanis paid from his water tax, Jane Nona from the sugar she bought and most others from amounts deducted from salaries, even pensions. Never mind at all that there were people starving at home. This spendthrift bod has got his due desserts - remand jail food, though I am sure he wangles better. FLASH: he is out on bail.

Describing the scattering of members of the contingent that accompanied the previous Prez to the Big Apple, my informant cited gembo patau jumping all over the place when released, when he emailed me about the junketing of the vast number taken across in a chartered plane, no less.

Present frugality

All that has changed, and what a mercy! Though the size of the Cabinet of Ministers, Deputies and State Ministers of yahapalanaya was a depressing shocker, at least Maithripala Sirisena has not taken along drug dealers, ethanol importers, bookies and fluffy nonentities who were favoured previously. He will never do that.

This cat is reminded of an actress cum model who said she contested a PC election because Namal Aiya told her to do so, though she could hardly address election meetings in Sinhala. Well, she accompanied the said Aiya and the then Gov of the Central Bank when they went somewhere - Trinidad? - to submit the SL application to hold the Commonwealth Games here, some years ago. Such people come in useful in more ways than one - one being to dance in a line with hands on the shoulder of the person in front.

We used to call it the Conga in our school days. Correct this cat if the name is wrong for that long dancing line. Memory is not the forté of felines.

Ha Ha predicament

Poor dear Hirunika was in a pickle. No, not having to decide on a husband nor which side of Parliament to sit on. She has made firm decisions and commitment on these two issues. Her problem, which she aired publicly, was how to address Mahinda Rajapaksa now that he is a mere MP just like her and others who warm seats in the House by the Diyawanne.

Was she to address him as Manthri Thuma, Sir, or former President (Hitapu Janadipathi)? What a cross to bear! Well, there were plenty people to help who SMSed or emailed a column in the Daily Mirror.

One suggested she go back to addressing him Deveni Thaththa (or whatever) she pronounced when sitting cheek by jowl with eldest son Namal, very cosy and all that. She did say Rajapaksa Snr was a second or foster father to her when her father was so tragically murdered in a street brawl like in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

The comparison fitted then. Anyway, what this cat wants to make out is that humour is alive and kicking in this land of ours, though we are burdened with a near hundred Ministers and Deputies and Lesser Ministers to support!




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