Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 24 July 2016





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Mahendran in Singapore and a new dirty word

I was lamenting (to myself) the fact that there never is any good done by the government that is highlighted in the press or on TV news. We have such short memories and minds that grab the negative, never or seldom the positive. Then I saw that the President had similarly lamented at a meeting somewhere.

He had asked why the media reports negatives all the time about the present government and never gives footage, let alone a mention, of the good done, the projects undertaken. I am a mere dash of sand in the vast seashore of media people, but as I said, I had entertained the same thought and have also mentioned the good achieved.

Why? Because I am definitely a feline with good eyesight who usually sees the glass half full. Being modest and knowing my station full well, I did not shout what we, as silly schoolgirls, proclaimed when two voiced the same idea: Great minds agree!

Positive TV

Now this cat noticed a response to the President’s call for more balanced reportage. On Tuesday, July 19, MTV, in its TV news program at 9.00 pm, had a segment titled National Development News in which was reported the construction of the last reservoir in the Mahaweli Accelerated Scheme being inaugurated recently – the building of the a reservoir to benefit the districts of Matale, Polonnaruwa and Trincomalee.

There had been an ancient, king-built wewa as a feeder to the Elahera Canal, gone to disuse. Now that was being renovated and a new wewa built on the old site offering not only irrigation but hydroelectricity to the national grid. This is System G.

So it’s three cheers for this re-attention to the Mahaweli Scheme which was shelved by the previous government in its two terms of seven years, as probably too green for them to continue it. That’s politics in this land of ours.

The new wewa will be constructed under the direct supervision of the President, a man who knows full well the Dry Zone’s eternal thirst for water.

There were, from some time back, also reports of Sajith Premadasa’s speeches and, now, reportage on TV of his new village building programs in Hambantota and elsewhere.

His speeches are music to this cat’s ears because, with full lunu ambul, he castigates the previous regime. “They built palaces with swimming pools and gyms for themselves, a useless cricket ground and stadium spending billions; the money could easily have been used to construct not one village but many for the homeless.”

“How true!” this cat purred in unison.

Ho-ha about Mahendran

Tuesday, July 19 night news also showed Bandula Gunawardhena with his sleek waves sleeker than ever and G. L. Peiris waxing strong on the Prime Minister having taken Arjuna Mahendran along with him to Singapore.

This cat who admittedly is akin to those three monkeys when it comes to criticism of the Prime Minister, bristled with indignation. Why, she mewed with teeth bared: “Who and who did President Rajapaksa take on his several sojourns abroad?”

The question is more succinct when worded different: “Who did the Ex-Prex NOT take when he went on his official trips overseas?” Often at least twenty extra would be added at the last moment, increasing totals to eighty to fill the chartered planes he commandeered.

He took Sashi Weerawanse once (or may be more times) and she definitely did not go as Lady-in-Waiting to Shirani Rajapaksa. Too hoity toity for that!

These extra merry makers were camera shy, so we really did not know exactly who accompanied him overseas. But we do know that when he was wont to go to the Big Apple to address the UN, he took about eighty people and the moment they landed, they took off in different directions in the vehicles hired for them. Money was no consideration then; and bods of no importance were included in the jaunts.

This feline sees no great harm in the PM having taken Mahendran along. He is a top economist, of Singapore – a Singapore man as it were, and having much more worthwhile clout than some stray politician.

The strong crit is that the PM is favouring his friends, his schoolmates. So what? If they are qualified and will contribute to discussions and have knowledge and pertinent info about the subject matter of the trip, they should be taken. And don’t you forget that the teams taken overseas on business are lean, carefully selected and of help in negotiations. The President and Prime Minster do not repay loyalty and sycophancy with trips abroad as was done during the previous regime. More important, cameras focus on the departing contingent and we the public see how few go along, who they are, and on commercial flights. Very recently, a VVIP close to the PM travelled economy class on an official visit.

New dirty word – ‘Committee’

The word bandied about most vociferously these days is the word ‘Committee’. The setting up of a group of people to study a matter/situation/event and come up with a report is what a committee does in the sense it is shouted about. On Monday, July 18 three eminent people faced four journalists from Maharaja Organisation’s News First on the Face the Nation program.

The word ‘committee’ was spoken about, derided, even spat upon and laughed at. The two recently set up committees that came up for strong censure was that first constituted of three lawyers to study the so called CB bond scam and the more recent one to dig up the dirt and settle the dust, as it were, of the coal scam.

This feline seemed to agree with the panelists. She speaks no further since she does not know enough to comment. But the important point that came through was that there is now freedom of speech; sharp criticism of the government and its leaders is allowed and probably through such outspoken, knowledgeable people, the voice of the public too would be given exposure.

Of course one thing must be kept in mind: it is so easy, and enjoyable too, to shout about those in power and criticize their every move, but they are working to get the country out of a tight corner, economically mostly, so do give them time.

What riles people most is that the PM goes on regardless. This cat, in her gut, feels he has a plan to better the condition of the nation and he needs time and qualified and loyal people around him.

So he takes scant note of people who are forever criticising him and no note at all of people such as those who pronounced very seriously that a family can live on Rs. 2,500 a month and, a senior academic who is supposed to have addressed a minor MP with a respectful ‘Sir’ when he, the academic, was in the Rajapaksa Cabinet!! Thus has this cat heard.

- Menika


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