Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get More Ludicrous..!
I have on previous occasions referred to laughter-inducing (if it wasn’t at the expense of the public purse!) proposals to import camels and ostriches into this country with a view to catering to the more exotic elements of the tourist trade. However, you may breathe a sigh of relief on that score because I promise not to ride either the ship of the desert or that large flightless bird on this occasion, mostly because I don’t know where they’ve been hidden in anticipation of being produced at some politically appropriate tamasha in the future. A book launch, perhaps?
Let me instead seek to remind you of what can only be described as the current regime’s ability to provoke amusement in other quarters. Some of it could, accurately, be categorised as ‘black humour’ and, given the monumental arrogance of a government that doesn’t give a tinker’s damn for what its subjects are experiencing, that’s to be expected.
In the field of sports medicine, ‘miracle cures’ notwithstanding, ‘Dr’ Eliyantha White has disappeared from public view. The man, as far as investigators into such things were concerned, did not have the legal right to practice medicine. However, this proved no barrier to his doing exactly that, using as his business address, no less a place than the Plumeria Palace, it seems. Not only that, to all intents and purposes, he did appear to have not only the protection but the endorsement of those that mattered. Not even the fact that his prescribed medication had led to the banning (by the World Anti Doping Agency – WADA) of an athlete with international ambitions caused him even the slightest discomfiture, leave alone prosecution for what is, in very simple terms, a criminal offence – practicing medicine without a licence. In case you’ve lost the plot here, the guy was not only practicing medicine illegally but had prescribed a banned substance to an athlete.
Repercussions? You’ve got to be kidding! ‘Dr’ White appears to have simply faded out of the public eye and into the woodwork. Nothing further has been heard from him or about him from his erstwhile patrons and patients, none of the latter among the ‘dear departed’ I hope! Do you remember that hoary old saying that goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” Might I suggest that this is proof positive of the accuracy of that aphorism and how it can be applied to shield one from what used to be “the long arm of the law?”
Earlier in the history of this regime, there was the spectacle of a man who was accused of running a pyramid (Ponzi) scheme being put in charge of the country’s primary instrument of financial governance where (surprise! surprise!) the first thing he did was disband a special unit which only shortly before had been set-up to investigate this very Ponzi enterprise! Want more? How about changing the manner in which the Cost of Living Index is calculated so as to show that there is no increase in the cost of living despite soaring prices of essentials? Let it not be said that, even if our geniuses lack brains, they lack ‘b…s! Of course, all of this reached something of a crescendo when this same individual led a troupe of Sri Lankans on a West Indian junket where, in the interests of Sri Lanka getting the Commonwealth Games, they danced the nights away lubricated by suitably high-priced beverages and in appropriate (female) company to boot! If the expression had not already been coined, “The Life of Riley” would have read “The life of ……………..”
Then there was the response to the theft of irreplaceable items of national historical importance from our National Museum. The Regime reverted to its standard strategy in explaining what, under most circumstances, should have been done in a simple and straight-forward manner. That strategy reads, “Circle the wagons and shoot outwards in as many directions as possible.” One “official response” had it that nothing of value had been lost because those items that had been stolen were mere replicas. However, an immediate contradiction to any suggestion of honesty and accuracy in this story was the offer of a huge reward for the return of the items! Then, not to miss an opportunity of taking a shot at the “International Community,” it was pointed out that the British Museum contained infinitely more valuable local artefacts that the British had ‘appropriated’ during the time they ruled what was then Ceylon. Comparisons between the theft in question and colonial ‘appropriations’ bring to mind that old saying that refers to “the price of tea in China.” However, it obviously didn’t occur to those making what was patently an effort to create obfuscation of monumental proportions that such totally inappropriate comparisons were “pushing the envelope” beyond the bounds of credibility. Of course, none of the main-line newspapers paid the obvious contradictions the attention they deserved, leave alone the connected stories circulating about golden swords and their possession giving eternal suzerainty to their possessors! That would hardly have merited attention which seemed directed to the scantily-clad, third-rate cheerleaders at the Carlton Sevens rugby fete! One must get one’s priorities right after all, mustn’t one?
Then there is the airline-setter-upper with a less-than-sterling background who now seems to spend a disproportionate amount of time looking over the shoulder of a man who is renowned as the only PhD-qualified nanny to a Royal Family. He was reported to have made a special trip to London to check out all the arrangements for the President’s recent visit there and came back to report “all clear” in that regard. However, there was a little contradiction here: Our Beloved Leader’s (OBL’s) keynote luncheon address ended up being cancelled, providing a significant amount of egg on Sri Lanka’s collective face! In case no one has noticed there is a significant skill set required for operating at this level of international relations compared to that which the man brought from his previous professional pursuits, whatever those were!
Can it get much funnier? You bet. All you’ve got to do is give it another day and another tale will turn up. And if the “mainline media” is too chicken to print matters of amusement involving our ruling clique, check out the electronic ‘Kalay-Paththara’ for your daily entertainment. Considering that pretty much all of it consists of entertainment costing the taxpayer oodles of money, the term “Black Humour,” comes to mind again. It certainly is rubbing more salt in our national wound because, to state the obvious, the joke’s on us!