The Sunday Leader

Has This Lot Gone “Over The Top?” In Terms Of Outright Arrogance?

Recent news reports about the performance of this government, collectively and its separate elements up to and including the Chief Executive, makes one shake one’s head in puzzlement. That puzzlement does NOT stem from the disorientation that might come from having spent better than three decades in an “orthodox” democratic country before returning to the Miracle of Asia.
You have a man, Thilak Karunaratne, who speaks to the fact that he was arm-twisted into accepting the Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission making statements that simply accuse the very Chief Executive whom he considers (considered?) a trustworthy friend pushing him out of a regulatory role where he was expected to “clean house”. His crime?  Trying to do just that!
You have a politician on the stump in the recent provincial election campaign exhorting his supporters to “be not afraid” because they will be saved from the consequences of committing capital crimes if those crimes are committed in the promotion of the ruling party’s interests.
You have Mervin Silva threatening to interfere with the rituals of a Hindu temple, rituals that are considered sacrosanct by adherents of that religion.  With no admonition, contradiction or even attempt at defusing such inflammatory rhetoric from On High  Shades of the mosque attack in Dambulla?
You have haphazard, god-only-knows-why actions by the Elections Commissioner, pecking away at inconsequentialities in a rotten-to-the-core bunch of Provincial Election campaigns.  Given, by his own admission, the (again) monumental contravention of every election law still on the statute books, why is it seemingly inconceivable that this man should have, at least threatened to cancel the polls or their results and compel a government which was brazenly contravening every election law on the books to go back to square one in the process?  Wasn’t this the only threat that was likely to get the attention of those concerned for even one fleeting moment?
Ah! But no, serving the rulers of the Miracle of Asia must take precedence over every principle of decency mustn’t it?
For those who keep appealing to the deity or deities for justice and the rule of law to return to this country, I have news: divine intervention in matters of this nature is rather a waste of time when one considers its track record.  Just in case, let me also remind you that, since time immemorial, recourse to slitting white roosters’ throats, dashing coconuts, looking heavenward while screaming imprecations has had little or no effect on those against whom such efforts are directed unless of course by some happy coincidence misfortune befell those visiting hell on earth to the citizenry at that time!
The reality is that Citizens Banda and Somawathie are on their own.  Only they can do something to fix the hell into which they are being ushered while all kinds of circuses are being promoted to obscure the ugly facts of life and the direction in which those facts are driving Sri Lankan life.
Do not expect the more thoughtful of your more well-to-do and secure citizens to have a massive outbreak of pangs of conscience and mount a campaign to relieve your misery.  They are too damned busy feathering their own nests or safeguarding what they already have and are too petrified by the prospect of losing even that to ever run the risk of doing anything to jeopardize their relationship with the powers-that-be.
For those of more militant mind-set, might I remind you that martyrdom does not come with a “morning after” component.  If you are done in, you are done for and, unless you are masochistic enough to be satisfied with the outside chance of being a footnote to early 21st Century Sri Lankan history, that’s not a fate to be contemplated.
Oh! But how about the “international community” and its humanitarian impulses? Recent history, even to those not given to reading and contemplating it, should speak for itself.  We’ve had the international “Tut-tut” Brigades quite regularly utter their platitudes about the need for democratic practices, the rule of law and all those wonderful things that are taken for granted in their own countries. However, it seems that when there is the prospect of a new round of neocolonial exploitation our potential saviours suddenly discover the virtues of “engagement,” aka collaboration, with dictators of any kind, as long as they are ready to indulge the propensity for profit that those self-same saviours might want to exercise.  Neville Chamberlain and Marshall Petain might be the most vilified of European politicians in recent Western history but their philosophical progeny seem always to be just around the corner!  Consider and contrast what one of our American “saviours’” has had to say in cables dug up by Wikileaks with his recent “engagement” strategies vis-à-vis our government.  Apart from philosophical contradictions, it proves that Mr. Robert O. Blake’s hypocrisy truly has no limits. And don’t forget that his views are representative of US foreign policy with regard to Sri Lanka.
We are on our own folks and the ultimate irony is that the only real light illuminating the end of this particular tunnel is really being shone by those who seek to envelop all of us in darkness: the current Sri Lankan regime.
Contradictory? Perhaps, but read on.
I don’t subscribe to the theory, increasingly put forward by those who claim an authoritative knowledge of recent South Asian history, that what happened within and to the Royal Family of Nepal will be repeated here. While there is certainly a logic to the expectation that the path of untrammeled corruption and venality will lead to internal conflict, disintegration and chaos I don’t think that is the most likely denouement to our current predicament.
A more erudite journalist than I recently pointed out Sri Lanka’s increasing dependence on the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). There could be a very serious downside to that cosying up to a country that singularly lacks anything resembling principle in the conduct of its affairs, foreign or local. The PRC has been worse than the worst capitalist bandit in its absolute commitment to achieving its own narrow economic objectives irrespective of any other considerations.  Because this has coincided with the development of so-called infrastructure (harbours in their String of Pearls to protect their oil supply routes) or cultivation of vast extents of African land (to meet their food production needs), in the recipient nations, those nations have been only too ready to accept such largesse, particularly since it has helped to cover up their own monumental corruption. This was also predicated on a belief, some would say “wishful thinking,” that China would continue to be immune to any international financial downturn, something that is currently being debunked, with even the manipulated Chinese growth figures proving a cause for major concern all over the world.
Also, at the end of the day, there is a price to be paid for historic violence and cruelty.  In fact a journalist known for her depth of historical and political knowledge detailed this in a recent piece on the removal of immunity from criminal prosecution of dictators. Those individuals who believe that they can indulge in financial rape and pillage and worse and walk away unscathed certainly aren’t reading history as it unfolds. If they did they’d know that members of the Argentine junta who were responsible for the word “disappeared” assuming a new meaning are being brought to justice despite their having been accorded complete legal immunity not so long ago. The same is true of Guatemala where, famously, a head of Amnesty International said they couldn’t launch one of their letter-writing campaigns on behalf of Prisoners of Conscience because the Guatemalan government took no prisoners!
Those who are making history of the most violent and unpalatable kind need to know that they are not going to be immune to the future fall-out from that very history! If that reality dawns on those running white vans, stealing artifacts from our National Museum, robbing the national treasury, doling out our financial lifeblood to kith and kin, perhaps it will give them pause.  Or are they too ignorant to even see that obvious writing on the wall?

8 Comments for “Has This Lot Gone “Over The Top?” In Terms Of Outright Arrogance?”

  1. There is a greater threat to China.If the economy of the west go down where does China expect to export to? Cheap low in quality plastic toys to Sri Lanka will not suffice to keep it going.Remember what happened to Suharto when the bubble burst? Then only will both the UNP and the SLFP ( if there is one still in existence) will come to learn of the damage they did to our economy by selling off the state investments.Of all the investments ( nearly 150) that were there, of which some 125 were sold, only 3-4 are functioning. The Distilleries, Lanka Milk Foods, lanka Wall tiles _ Thanks to the UNP and the SLFP and that fool Jatasundera. Not all state investments were loss making. The Sugar Industry always reported a 25% profit margin until JRJ started to put finger into it.The problem with the State Sector was that no proffessional from the sector was ever made a Director. Ranjan Wijeratne made a security guard a director.I wonder whether he would have done that at Plantation Company? Some of the Directors I came across include a Karawadu Mudalali,a Pimp ( sorry never a prostitute) , a Tailor,a professional drunked, The people who return these political jokers will come to know of their sins soon.

    Getting back to the original topic Price Water house had recently reported that US business is getting back to US. With Obama back it will continue.Then only China will face the music.

    • Emil van der Poorten

      Upali Wickremesinghe
      Thank you for that most enlightening information. It’s a pleasant change to read something informative and not just abusive!

      • Richie

        Upali, you are spot on about Lanka but China has not put all its eggs in one basket. Chinas leading export market is the EU at 33% of its exports while US a mere 17% (by the way Wal-Mart manufactures only 30% of its goods in China)

        China a far sighted nation has invested heavily in South America, ASEAN and Africa for exactly this eventuality which is don’t buy made in China. The western created problem which is just surfacing within China is a semi civil war and South China Sea aggression both linked together are its biggest nightmare.

        Lanka’s problem is similar to Graft India Dynasty Rule as the core.

        Pakistan/ India produce 16% of the world’s geniuses while China 18% and most of these folk commit suicide because they have no opportunity. After WW2 50% of all defence research in the US has and is being conducted by Pakistanis/Indians

        • Richie Thanks.The point is taken.Let us get back to sri Lanka.Neither the UPFA, the UNP, the JVP seem to be able to formulate a solution to our problems.I feel that there are only a few problems and the rest are ramifications of that. Our major imports are oil, sugar and fertilizer. The much politically maligned University system had developed an alternative to the import of oil.This was done by the Post Graduate Institute of Agriculture nearly 4 yrs ago.This work had been ignored by all.The problem of import of sugar can be solved within at least 8 years.We have to encourage paddy cultivation as it can not only feed man, but also be a base for animal feed and alternate source for petrol and diesel. There are cheaper, and to use much maligned cliche, local solution to this.We have installed thermal power plants with a degree of efficiency 30% ie for a Rs 1000 spent only Rs 300 is recovered as energy, while in the EU the return is 90+% ( This is reported by Thomas Blakeslee and American Scientist, We suffer power cuts and high power tarrifs purely because the Hydro reservoirs had not been desilted. It said that the holding capacity had dropped below 50%.We have not adopted measures to reduce silting in the reservoirs- drive along the Kandy – Victoria reservoir road and observe the exposed soil surfaces.This is the same problem in the NCP.This happened because Dr. Jatasundera sabotaged the the GOSL’s planning function by staffing it with economists, all the staff from the other specialities were removed over the first few years as Secretary Planning. Economists cannot spotlight specific technical matters .SBDissanayake says that the Universities should generate funds. True.The Universities can only provide the answers but the Govt should provide the background to implement them. That is what is meant by overview. The Commissioner of Patents must take an active part to push patents to International markets.He is sleeping. Let me be more specific . On 20.12.2002 I filed five trade mark applications.Since I did not receive a response, I wrote to him personally under registered cover on four occassions – no reply – no action. Then about four years later he writes to me about one label,threatening to make my application void. My reply was ” “nice to see that you have got out of your deep slumber. Thanks, but the registration is of no interest to me at this moment” I also met karunaratne , after fixing an appointment over a matter of filing an international patent application.He told me that I could get a copy application from his office and directed me to a particular officer.When I contacted him, this officer said that there is nothing called an international patent, but there are ways and means of achieving that target. That is the type Patent Supremeo we had.The story goes on and on

  2. Emil van der Poorten

    Upali Wickramasinghe
    You need to put what you’ve said in your most recent comment into an article to the newspapers. I expect that The Sunday Leader would be interested. This is valuable information that needs far wider dissemination.

    • Richie

      Upail, Australia an exporter of rice has changed over to vine because of water shortage. 2035 US will not import Oil. Richest man in India is a bombay porters son (he gives a toss to any politician) Pop bought shares in terylene and left $2 billion when he died.
      Economist and Social planners have given the west a bitter pill. Goldman Sac’s, Rothschild advised both Ireland and Greece. It’s the same everywhere and Lanka is worse because it blindly/knowingly follows the folly.
      The US and EU are not transferring high tech work to China and India because of copy right fraud and refusal by both Indian and Chinese government’s to bring in the laws.
      What is important about patent right is that one has to police it and that calls for large investments. Copycats are like flies and fly by night outfits so you may not be able to claim from them but can stop them from reproducing under that name however, they pop up again.
      As a kid I remember Levies spending 100’s of millions policing ASEAN to the advantage of Wrangler so Levies was dearer than Wrangler. Samsung manufactures for Apple but they were successfully prosecuted by Apple in the US to the tune of billions. Every 4 seconds a computer program is made in the world and that is faster than baby boom and some find it difficult getting even a dollar until they find a seller who sells it for ten. My family has had its own problems in the UAE of Malayale’s copying us every day and selling it next day at half price. At the end we found a giant US collaborator (he was our competitor there) who had it all to police but by that time about 20 years of frustration caused by copycats we were exhausted (we produce a dozen originals or more per day) so we moved into something else.
      You could try searching this site it provides you even with a book let for download. You could then register with the cheapest EU nation then Lanka will follow you like a shadow. Remember there is at least one solution to a problem. Chinese see things upside down like the yogi ha ha. Good luck.

      • Thank you Richie.It was nice on your part. Late Ray Wijewardena gave me the same advise, find a party to join with. Do not ever patent anything unless you have the money.Thanks again

    • EvdP. Thank you very much. I have been writing to the papers about the cock over the Planning Ministry over the last eight years or so.Finally I gave up.What I have not written about is on the power supply. In a country where a 1st class from Peradeniya, CCS and an ex International civil servant writes a book on a fight that is supposed to have taken place over 1000 yrs (?) ago, providing ball be ball swing of the sword and when the introduction of that cheap rag is honoured by two claiming to be Emmeritus Proffessors. what possibility is there that the contents of my article will be considered with the seriousness it deserves?.The problem with that so called fight was that the person who was killed was 75 years old and the Killer 25 yrs old. The people of Anuradhapura protested and they say that protest was put down after killing nearly a million.The million dead were called animals.
      Having said that I will prepare another letter.

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