Non-auspicious times and a bit on Britain
No less a person than the previous President Mahinda Rajapaksa has
proclaimed that the times selected by astrologers as propitious for the
start of the New Year on April 13 around 7.00 p.m., the hearth to be lit
at 8.06 and the first meal partaken of at 8.58 at night, was incorrect.
The colour selected for donning while lighting the hearth and eating
the first meal – green - was also pronounced inauspicious and the
accusation made that the times and colour were selected with a political
agenda in mind.
To this cat all this is tosh. Who told the Ex- Prez that the times
selected as auspicious were really inauspicious? Was it the astrologer
who advised him to go for elections two years before the due date,
promising him that his rajah yoga or whatever was intact and invincible.
If one of his principal stooges or both of them of the Jt. Op made
this announcement and accusation, we would have brushed it off as all
sound and fury signifying nothing. But when the Prez who won the war for
us and saved the country makes a pronouncement, we need to give it due
notice, if not credence.
My objection to this fuss over a trivial matter is that the world
watches us, hears or reads our news. And how would a pronouncement like
this go down in developed countries?
Will they surmise that we are no better than a witchcraft-nurturing
banana republic of the deepest Africa? Will people consider us so
stone-age backward relying on astrology and depending on the position of
the planets for the country’s well-being?
Mr Rajapaksa could have done his New Year rituals at Carlton House or
wherever in times selected by his sastharakaraya, instead of making this
Sense and dignity
This feline anticipates with ill-foreboding and shame, the happenings
come May 1. Two blue parties parrying against each other with
accusations, one pure blue and the other tinted with pink; one in Galle
and the other in Colombo.
In contrast, this cat purred with satisfaction and pride, yes pride,
when she listened to an interview of the TV I Hot Seat man and Kabir
Hashim, Minister of Enterprise Development, a newly created ministry.
Here is a politician who surely brings kudos to the country when he
is abroad and is a pride to the nation.
He spoke so sensibly and with much gravitas that one felt proud to be
Sri Lankan. He dealt with a whole host of questions and emerged
convincing and sincere.
He is one among many bright, clever, well-spoken UNP Ministers, at
least three others who should have been ministers but had to be
satisfied with deputy ministerships, to accommodate SLFPers in the
Cabinet. Incidentally, he is a Trinitian and a Royalist.
Four score and ten
This feline is truly Sri Lankan but has strong streaks of Anglophile
and Indophile in her, making her a striped specimen. She’s been given
much grist for her semi-alignments in the recent two weeks. First she
was sent a whole slew of marvellous pictures of the Cambridges in
There were Prince William and Katherine being received in the Taj
Palace Hotel Mumbai; spending probably an entire half day with slum
children and then having a huge party thrown in their honour by a Trust
headed by the Duke, the British High Commission and the Hotel.
Kate who wore a brilliant blue dress embroidered in India, its
matching shawl too, outshone even Aishwarya Rai Bachan. They said they
would give a new memory at Agra. What was referred to was the lasting
memory Diana, Princess of Wales, gave the public when she sat forlorn in
front of the monument to love, to emphasise the neglect she felt from
her husband, Prince Charles. So unfortunate.
Her son and daughter-in-law promised a better picture and they kept
their word. The couple posed beautifully in front of the Taj Mahal
immediately before leaving India after a couple of days in Bhutan.
And the Queen of England is 90 years old, celebrating her birthday on
April 21. It will be officially celebrated in June. She is great, no two
words about that.
Her reign has surpassed that of Queen Victoria, her direct ancestor
who became queen at 18 in 1837 and died in 1901, the longest reigning
British Monarch, also titled Empress of India.
The present queen has been on the British throne for longer,
ascending it at age 25. She’s active and very much in the saddle, with
her much older husband almost keeping pace with her.
You may wonder why I write of such members of the British Royal
Family. Maybe it’s a throwback to viewing the better side of
colonialism. We who studied in missionary schools had a taste of the
better legacies of British rule some time after the Brits left our
shores when the sun set on the Empire. The principals we had, mostly
Irish, were so gracious and appreciative of Ceylonese people they came
in contact with – parents and teachers.
They had discipline with an understanding of children and teenagers,
though they were spinsters. They were completely fair-minded. English
they bequeathed us, and decency and good manners. Hence the shocks we
suffer seeing the antics of some of our politicians who are our leaders.
SWRD and his policy of Sinhala only; education suffering as each new
minster took over; degradation of standards of heads of schools and
teaching faculty; sheer indiscipline in universities and ragging most
These are dire disappointments to us who knew of better times. We
have seen such and may see them in the future too. But issues are being
addressed. Recently a conference was held to eradicate the menace of
ragging of university freshers. The Prime Minister very boldly put most
of the blame for its continuance on Vice Chancellors and staff, both
teaching and administrative.
And thus we hope conditions in the public domain and in schools and
universities will improve. Whatever said and done, this feline has faith
in yahapalanaya and is anticipatory of improvement coming to us.
As Minister Kabir Hashim said: Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has
plans for the betterment of the country and wants his ministers to
implement them fast.