It’s All A Matter Of Time; Or Is It
There are expiry dates on everything you may have noticed. Your can of fish, or on the premise that you can afford it, your tin of corned beef even, have expiry dates. You simply must use it by then or else it is gone forever. Life is like that too but most people who are on an acquiring binge do not always appreciate that there really is an end – that there is a time moratorium in force. Colonel Muammar Gaddafi would never have considered in his forty plus rule over Libya that a day would come when he would be kicked out of office.
None of the journalists who ever met him would have had the temerity to ask the Colonel whether in his nightmares he had even a dream of being kicked out of office as he was and we can safely presume that the Colonel expected to die as the de-facto King of Libya. For Colonel Gaddafi his time period was a little over 42 years.
Closer home I often wondered just how it was that Prabhakaran was making steady progress. He started almost immediately with a murder. He then went on a killing spree. Thousands upon thousands of unarmed, innocent men women and children died. And yet he seemed all set to be a Head of State. He was on a roll. The President of Sri Lanka had even given him arms in a very strange twist of fate. The International Community had got involved and the LTTE seemed to be on the road to victory and the much cherished for hope, ‘Eelam’.
Prabhakaran clearly was unaware that there was a time limit. Conversely if he was aware he displayed scant appreciation of “It’s All A Matter Of Time”. Prabhakaran’s horoscope must surely have included this ‘Raja Yoga’ period. Clearly that period ended sometime in November 2005.
Kings – or indeed Presidents and Prime Ministers or dictators for that matter – are never born as Kings. They start life with a possibility like everyone else. They may like Prince Charles have the possibility that one day they may ascend or inherit the role. In Prince Charles’ case it is unclear whether his ‘Raja Yoga’ has already started and is now on a downward slope or whether he will ultimately be King Charles. It has been a long time in the making and judging by Queen Elizabeth’s James Bond aided arrival at the Olympics Stadium in London, Prince Charles may well have to wait considerably longer.
His Royal Highness will well be aware too that ‘Mummy’ can appoint her grandson to succeed her – leaving HRH out of the loop. It really is a matter of time. Of course it is debatable whether Prince Charles himself considers that he has been living his ‘Raja Yoga’ period for the past 59 of his 63-year existence on earth.
Sajith Premadasa springs to mind. The politician from Sri Lanka’s area of rapid development – sometimes known as Hambantota – is invariably presented as a possible emulator of his father as President of Sri Lanka. His period of favour may well have come and gone but with the latest changes made by the leader of the party he belongs to if his favoured period has not quite arrived, it is bound to take at least six years longer. Sajith Premadasa apparently may well be learning the words of “It’s a Matter of Time” – especially the line which may refer to President’s House – “It’s a matter of time before I go back there, A matter of time before I go home”.
Some of course have seen their time come and gone before their very eyes. Gamini Dissanayake was widely hailed as a ‘great’ leader until he was dispensed with. Given the many contours of politics in Sri Lanka Naveen Dissanayaka is unlikely ever to attain what appeared to be within his father’s grasp.
The most striking example of what Time as a role plays is best seen by examining the Bandaranaikes from Horagolla phenomenon. The rather dandy SWRD arrived back in Sri Lanka and went head-on into a ‘sinhalisation’ of his entire image. When his plans were cut short by a group of persons who included a Buddhist monk, incongruously his widow entered her very own ‘Raja Yogaya’. Propelled from the kitchen to Temple Tress so fast that Usain Bolt would have sat up and taken note, Sirimavo enjoyed the highest position of Sri Lankan life. Fame and possibly fortune followed her in the aftermath of her adversity.
She however paid scant attention to the fact that the people were suffering and that her time was nearly nigh. When it came she was booted out of office and thanks to dear Dicky even lost her civic rights for a while. The Bandaranaike Prince however had singularly failed to achieve the maximum possible under this ‘Raja Yogaya’.
Anura Bandranaike had all the right ingredients. A superior education, wealth, both his parents ruled the country, later his sister too would emulate her parents but time clearly had expired for AB – and time lost can never be recovered. Nor did AB ever recover from his self-inflicted poor political decisions. Instead he paved the way for a new dynasty who had had very little option but to rely very much on “It’s A Matter Of Time”.
So as people in general acquire the trappings of wealth, as they acquire power and position, as they import everything from cocaine to heroin from diamonds to potatoes and platinum to copper and they indulge in a whole plethora of activities – legal, illegal and some that fall somewhere in between – as they bring with them new meaning to the concept of pump and dump and as they ignore the early-warning systems of public interest litigants, disgraced Generals and wanna-be Presidents and the exhortations of Buddhist monks and Islamic Lebbes and Cardinals all appear to be utterly ignorant of time. That everything on earth has a time and a place.
The prime properties acquired, the Eton Square homes, the stocks, the shares, the warrants and the rights, the undeclared foreign currency and the Patek Phillipes and the rather dodgy degrees, the diamond encrusted time pieces received as gifts, the Lamborghinis and the Hummers, the iPads and yes even the iPhones and the smart Dells and the high end fashion collections from Hermes all are apparently so bedazzled by their quest for the Promised Land that they have forgotten that it really is “All A Matter of Time”.
The Ladies and Gentleman of Sri Lanka are not in a hurry. They know it’s all a matter of time.