The Sunday Leader

Walls Come Tumbling Down And Its Beautification At Any Expense

Oo la la! Walls have been knocked down around the city with no Humptys crumbling to bits. A mite naked some places look, like the Cinnamon Gardens Police Station and the Thurstan College sports field along Stanley Wijesundera Mawatha.
The pavements are being redone with a particular kind of tile and strips of light pink in the middle. Is it only these sites that are going to be made naked of covering walls and given new pavements or is the cosmetic process intended to spread to re-make Colombo to aspire to be Asia’s showpiece of a garden city?  At what price is this beautification; at what cost to the municipality or country and at such an inappropriate time when infrastructure, houses and wewa bunds have been destroyed by the recent floods.
I thought there is a bee in someone’s bonnet while another opined the tile maker and road repairer were making a fast buck. Well and good if we have the money for such cosmetic improvement; well and good if there aren’t more needy areas that cry for attention. Menika shudders as she thinks of hospitals minus medicines, farmers with their entire crops destroyed; children in schools without chairs to sit on, and here we are spending millions on beautifying the roads of the city…
Menika remembers a friend whispering in her ear that those stately trees along certain roads in Colombo 3 and 7 are being cut – not because they are infirm or a danger to people but because the notion of beauty tolerates no trees. What is Rukrekaganno doing if the rumour whispered in Menika’s ear is true? Menika mutters it’s not a bee that’s in the bonnet but a swarm of them.  She finds it difficult to fathom the reason behind this new hurried destruction and construction. Nothing is told to the public, of course.
Macbeth’s “The very firstlings of my heart, shall be the firstlings of my hand” seems to be a VVIP motto. And as Menika pronounced earlier, the city seems to be only for the very rich, the dictators and tourists. The poor man and you and I — middle class clods — will have to find hiding places or we will be exterminated as spoilers of the city.
But hold your horses if not your breath! Is the same being done to the premises of the homes of the very high and mighty? Are those high walls coming down? Are their fronts with perhaps a VVIP strolling in his garden to be made seeable to the hoi polloi?  Menika suspects otherwise. They need guarding though it has been loudly announced the war was won by the Prez and his brother, the Secretary of Defence, and equally loudly proclaimed we are now a country of peace. Why the bloody hell are those raging vehicular cavalcades careening around waving all and sundry into drains and roadside ditches if the LTTE is vanquished? Does an ambulance still follow the two most important such persons?
Reminds me of Teckla now self christened Thushari, a grande dame of fashion. How she paints her face; the more the wrinkles, the more the rouge, foundation, mascara et al. Face is something that catches attention but look into her eyes and you see evil there. She camouflages the window to her soul (bah!) with eternally donned designer sunglasses. Her wrinkles are not laughter lines; they are incisions of hate and envy. So cosmetic layers may beautify but the rot remains. In like manner, it is so much better if some of the evil in the city is eradicated without so much being spent on superficial beautification.
Literal garbage was removed, now eliminate metaphorical garbage like Vermin and thugs and stupidos in seats of power. Bring down the racketeer and the fleecer of men, the tout and the sexual predator. Demolish totalitarianism and the tentacles of power creeping even into homes. If the interior is evil what purpose has exterior beauty?  Tch Tch! Not done at all! A friend of our sweet country is on a shooting rampage of genocide. Col Gaddafi whom our government or the executive wooed with ardour and was rewarded with money and oil or promises thereof has ordered his people who protest to be shot dead dead dead. They never had their human rights respected, now there is scant regard extended to God’s word of doing as one would be done by.
The tyrant has grandly announced: “I will fight to the last drop of my blood.” He can mouth that, safe in his palace with guards crawling around like lice and he determined  to hold onto his created throne until the public is browbeaten to submission and the morgues and prisons overflow with humanity. Menika interprets that as Gaddafi saying: “I will fight until all of the blood of the Libyan people is shed.” Then he will continue ruling and pass on the crown to his son with only the army and a few straggling stooges or the decrepit populating his land. Like the parallel lines of longitude and latitude, parallels can be drawn with other nations.  Egypt had a self appointed near king and an heir. Where are they now? Algeria’s autocratic head was thrown out. Now it’s Gaddafi’s turn. Will this virulent disease of uprising die down or travel further east?
Poor Paba! That is not sincere. Meniks is mouthing an inanity. She had been watching the tragi-comedy of a teledrama screened on TV news. Here was this good actress who earned her way to TV viewers’ hearts. Then she got ambitious and won a parliamentary seat. Good for her and fair and square, even her winning the second highest manapes in Gampaha with idiot voters. Then she dances and prances, or was it sings her way to becoming a mega star. Then comes the betrayal – won on the UNP ticket and voted with the government on the 18th.  The grapevine, very strong in small Sri Lanker, had it that her husband wanted the reward offered and beat her physically to have her say Aye to the undemocratic 18th. People said, Aney pow. Not now. Meniks for one has lost sympathy for this political climber. She has to behave with decorum, being a law maker to the nation. If her hub was a wife beater she should not have offered herself as a rep of the people, or else she should have prevented a widely known scandal that her hospitalization has caused. Of course the person who attacked her has wrought maximum damage – to her face which so far was her fortune, brains not evident and head shown to be totally vacuous in a TV interview that was aired some months ago, and re-aired much to her ire.
Conclusion: what a nation state we are in. Parliamentarians being exposed for love dilly dallies, parliamentarians tying innocents to trees and saying it’s a game and parliamentarians being at the receiving end of physical harassment; this last, we are sure, for monetary gains or jealousy caused by spousal roving eyes. Ah well! Menika curls on her couch and prepares to be entranced by the gentlemen on the cricket field. How wonderful Sanga and his men are! (Thank goodness he does not mouth the ‘our boys’ stuff.) He is eloquent and the team so good to watch. Only fly in the ointment are politicos who try to steal the limelight and lose miserably, but cause much ado in the pavilion due to high security chaps.

1 Comment for “Walls Come Tumbling Down And Its Beautification At Any Expense”

  1. angulimala

    Oh Dear!!

    One week we are grumbling that despite the end of the war, no walls are coming down

    Next week we are grumbling that walls are coming down for the sake of a decent-looking city and we can’t quaff our G&T’s in peace due to the noise of the great unwashed on the street – a noise formerly filtered effectively by our high walls

    Meanwhile, some others are gleeful that Colombo has been selected an ‘unliveable place’ by a magazine that purports to be financial in nature. God knows whether THEY get their qualifications from to make such pronounciations. !!

    Clearly, you just can’t win either way

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