The Sunday Leader

Age of ‘Sereppuu Soup’

Age of ‘Sereppu Soup’ not of Enlightenment. There is a pithy Sinhala saying about pundits: Pundits can’t cross an ‘Eh- danda’. To those not acquainted with rural life or the Sinhala language ‘Eh –danda’ is a tree or log placed across a stream which has no railing or a form of support for those who walk on it to cross the stream.
The pundit on coming to an ‘eh-danda’ will find many reasons why it shouldn’t or couldn’t be crossed lest he falls into the stream. But sturdy farmers of even little children go across it quite effortlessly.
Our favourite humourist, American writer Ogden Nash too had a wonderful two-liner on the subject. ‘Here’s a good rule of thumb: Too clever is dumb’.

GL as Pundit
Our thoughts went out in this direction when we considered the plight of one of the most outstanding pundits of our time Prof. G. L.Peiris, the External Affairs Minister (Foreign Minister). Deservedly he should hold this portfolio. But he is under severe attacks from many quarters for no valid reason. The Foreign Minister as any other minister has to carry out the policies and directions by our omnipotent, omniscient president, Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Peiris’s voice is HMV (His Master’s Voice) and everyone knows it. Why then is he singled out for attack? He is no doubt the most outstanding pundit of our times. Son of Glennie Peiris, a former director general of foreign affairs and hailing from one of the wealthiest families, Peiris can stand on his own academic qualifications that outshines the rest. On ‘sweeping the board’ at the prize givings of his old school S. Thomas’, Peiris entered the Law Faculty of the University of Ceylon where he scored a First Class, won the prestigious Rhodes scholarship to Oxford and was awarded a Ph.D. at Oxford. He held the posts of the Professor of Law and Dean of the Faculty of Law of the Colombo University and was also its Vice-Chancellor.
The learned pundit then did something which pundits normally won’t do. He to ok to politics. Chandrika Kumratunga made him a National List MP, Minister of Justice, Deputy Minister of Finance, Minister of External Trade, Minister of Ethnic Affairs and Minister of National Integration. He then fell out with President Kumaratunga and crossed over to the UNP bringing down her government. In Ranil Wickremesinghe’s government, he became the chief negotiator with the LTTE on the National Question along with the Four Co-chairs of the Western Powers. Now once again he is the Foreign Minister of the Rajapaksa regime.
Our interest in the learned professor whom we have known for some time is to determine how and why such a man of erudition and intelligence who speaks with care and intelligence on sensitive issues – like a person walking on eggs – should now provoke such hostile criticism in certain sections of the press and even within his own ranks. The answer in our opinion is found in the issue why pundits can’t cross eh-dandas And in Ogden Nash’s observation on the Rule of Thumb: Too clever is to be dumb. For example petty fogging lawyers simply cannot stand the academic punditry and legal erudition of Peiris.

Dayan Jayatilleke
There is another diplomat who at the moment is in hot water and falls into the same category as G.L.Peiris: Dayan Jayatilleke. Jayatilleke has a First in Political Science from Peradeniya, winner of a Fulbright Scholarship, holds a Ph.D. from Griffith University in Brisbane, a don in the Department of Political Science of the Colombo University and above all, as Ambassador to Geneva, 2 years ago, resoundingly defeated a resolution sponsored by Western Powers condemning Sri Lanka for violation of human rights. He was the toast of the ruling party regime for some time but Jayatilleke— as we Sri Lankans say— has a penchant for ‘kicking the bucket’. He was the dog house for sometime but bounced back and is now in gay Paris – probably enjoying himself – but was kicking his heels there for being kept out of Geneva while the action was on last month. Jayatilleke’s career was much more varied than that of staid Peiris. He was a proclaimed Communist, an admirer of Josef Stalin and Fidel Castro and was even the first accused in a conspiracy to topple the government of President Jayewardene.
He was no walker on gentle eggs like Peiris. He prefers to throw them at his targets. Jayatilleke is now in hot water for refurbishing the Parisian residence at much cost to the state and the riot act is being read out to him for violating ARs and FRs. Certainly no way to treat an ambassador who once saved Sri Lankan from ignominy.
The trouble with both pundits we have realised is that they do not realise that being naturally too clever or posing off as a clever person in these times is imply asking for trouble. In this age and time everyone sympathises with failure but not with success. They will congratulate you with one hand and plunge a knife into your back with the other.

This is not the Age of Enlightenment where philosopher kings rule. The story of Diogenes the cynic and Alexander the Great is worth recalling.
Diogenes the eccentric philosopher lived in a tub in a market place and the young Greek conqueror, Alexander, who admired Diogenes’ philosophy called on him and asked him what favour he could do for Diogenes. Diogenes was sun bathing at that time and he had said; Yes you can do one favour, stand out of my sunlight. Alexander, the world conqueror had replied: If I am not Alexander I would like to be Diogenes.
If Diogenes was living in this happy isle he would probably have been picked up in a White Van for his remark. Clever people should realise that this is not the Age of Enlightenment. This is the age of ‘Sereppuu Soup’—Drinking soup made by boiling sandals of the rulers. A. J. Ranasinghe, the great admirer of President R. Premadasa, vowed publicly that he would drink ‘Sereppu Soup’ of President Premadasa. Clever professors and academics, whether they like it or not, should realise that the Age of ‘Sereppu Soup’ is still with us.

15 Comments for “Age of ‘Sereppuu Soup’”

  1. Daya Godage

    have been reading recently that this columnist is one of those who has been colonised in the mind.

    Now I am convinced because he refers to the Rhodes scholarship as ‘prestigious’ by habit and to Alexander as ‘the Great’ by the same habit.

    Rhodes was a murderer of Africans as the world has never seen before or since, and he was a closet homosexual. Nothing prestigious about the scholarship named after him. Even Bill Clinton was a Rhodes ‘scholar’.

    Alexander was made great only by a stupid Indian king who gited him with elephants after his first attempt to invade India was repelled by an army backed by elephants the horses of Alexander couldn’t take on.

    That king reminds of corrupt journalists in Sri Lanka who are selling the country to coloniaists, for a dram of arrack or two and transcripts of phone conversations supplied by the CIA & other foreign agencies. Think information about ordering a taxi intelligence?

    Keep pouring out your ‘prestigious’ opinion. You prove your character. From what we have seen, you are not even pale like Jansz. Why boot lick then for arrack?


    • @Daya Godage
      It’s time for you to brush up on western history. Alexander was considered ‘Great’ even before he invaded India.
      Could you honestly tell us what Rajapaksa would do if he was told by some academic in Sri Lanka to, “Stand out of his sunlight?”
      People like you, Dr.Rajiva Wijesinghe, Dr. GL Peries and Dr.The Yarn fall into the category of “Useful Idiots.” Click the link given below to find out who a useful idiot is…

    • For truth and against thuggery

      It would be interesting to know who supports you financially while you pour out this rubbish.
      The “prestigiousness” or otherwise of the Rhodes Scholarship has NOTHING to do with Cecil Rhodes as you know (or should!) .
      As an obvious homophobe, I would suggest you check out the sexual preferences of the man who was elected in 1956 as PM of Sri Lanka. I know a senior government servant who left this country because of the “attention” he paid him!
      The difference between those “coloniaists” (sic) and those such as you who are being purchased for a bottle of Black Label is that one is a Sri Lankan supporting the local brew while you are being bought for a foreign product1
      Talking about “transcripts of telephone conversations” it would be interesting to hear transcripts of those between you and your masters (in White Vans?) before you write your godayatic rubbish to this paper.
      Why don’t you stick to Your Masters Voice, the Daily Noise instead of boring us with you crap?

  2. Simple Sydney

    Don’t know who you are DG but your response is nothing if not a vicious tirade that has its roots in envy and jealously heaped on two individuals who have way surpassed anything you could ever hope to attain. After all , who has ever heard of Daya Godage.

    Re Gamini , i have known him from days of Mount Lavinia and he has always been a man of high principles. Don’t always agree with all he writes but re principles and integrity anyone who knows him will vouch for that.

  3. Aru

    If everyone boils old shoes and slippers and drinks the precious liquid we could definitely beat the rising cost of food. I am sure our chefs could come out with some interesting recipes that could earn them doctorates.

  4. Seran Senguttuvan

    Prof GL Peiris is the target of a cheap conspiracy to get rid of him by a gang of sycophantic nimcompoops – very likely at the stance of their bosses. The entire relentless effort appears to be orchestrated also by a former politico – thrown out
    by the people and who was an absolute disgrace, under performer and
    was parasitic to the extent he used to regularly entertain his friends at breakfast at his office at Horton Place with breakfast from the Hilton, GLP has overstayed
    his time and is now a virtual washout.

    Dayan, on the other hand, is academically competent but a poor diplomat.
    The earlier victory at Geneva was not due to his effort but more to the fact India
    was very much with us then. His overkill performance against the Israelis – that earned a rebuke from a senior Israeli official flying here to complain against his
    non-diplomatic behaviour – was the cause of his then fallout. His present predicament is being too close to GLP. Making too many enemies within and outside is not the hallmark of a good diplomat.


  5. R.Yogaseelan

    GL&Dayan are real pundits,horribly failed as politicos,b’cause they were thirsty after sereppuu soup of MR. So they are drinking!

    • Poo Raja

      So, we all can be Monday morning quarterbacks. The Raja clan did not send any R’paksas because their beanie brains are occupied with tortuous land snaffling deals, dollar commissions and other kickbacks from drug dealers and rest of the goons. So, these pundits couldn’t perform then who could have done it better? We need answers b’cose we knew the q’tions very well.

  6. Cry-Lanka

    Very well said Gamini. You are a brave guy. Superbly written artcle yet some garam masala missing cos you dont attack the regime like those days for misusing these pandits for their benifits. I meant the family’s benifit who cares the country.

  7. Bruz

    Politics are not the best profession for these two well educated gentlemen. Even if they are real patriots,they should remember that they are trying to defend a brutal regime,which is trampling the nation with fake democracy,fake patriotism,fake sovereignty & fake Buddhism. These men don’t fit into this Mafia & God Father
    culture politics of today’s Sri Lanka.

  8. Sangaralingham

    what you say bright at one time fail to maintaintain it due to opportunism and honour but with no sense of duty to the society where you born and educated which is varied divergent politically astute but not powerful enough from the evil elements across the land

  9. Gave me a lot of pleasure reading, funny, informative, relistic, phiosophical.

  10. Now they want an escapegoat, and excuse for failure
    First they blamed the West, then India, after Samarasinghe, now this
    Madamulana doctrine only effective in SL

    If the credit goes to India (and noy Dayan) then so should in the present situation. Even Russian ambasador gave advise. We dont want to do the proper thing, then start blaming others

  11. Absolutely fabulous article, funny, informative, realistic, phiosophical !

    Those who hate a great philosopher or emperor because he is Greek should, or dont like a western education should then remain a ‘godaya’, using only the language of some genocide invader of beastiality origin, dont use computers, just be thrilled emperor Asoka killed many Indian Kalinga’s, you sick brain you hate because you are a reject and colour conscious because you hate your dark skin and too weak to see through and raise above.

    South African have risen above, forgiven and have not retreated to the jungles, no eternal blaming also. Only you sick bigots with your foreign culture you confuse as native culture because some one else can excell in cricket and not stck in elle.

  12. Daya Godage


    Not a Godaya, but knows as much about journalism as van the pooten does!

    Go back to your NGO and do the bidding for your full caste relatives.


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