The Sunday Leader

Sirisena Takes On Flying Bras And Govi Amudes

by Gamini Weerakoon

President Maithripala Sirisena displayed some of his hidden talents as the old year drew to a close. He showed that he could handle flying bras on the CR&FC green and Goviamudes (span cloths) in Colombo Fort with dexterity.

When Colombo’s chattering class went into high gear about randy Colombo girls flinging their brassieres at the crooner Enrique Iglesias after paying stupendous amounts to hear him on the CR&FC green, Sirisena who had nothing to do with flying bras or Iglesias moved in fast and breathed fire and thunder at the show and all those connected to it. He as president would not permit those beholden to foreign cultures to besmirch ours and he would not permit them to walk naked on the streets, the president declared.


Human rights and bras

‘Aiyo is this Yahapalanaya?  He is interfering with our fundamental rights of expression. Why can’t he mind his own business? A coy liberal minded cutie, whose staple diet is Facebook, Twitter, etc., etc., complained to us.

Sirisena, the far seeing politico who dethroned a potential ‘generalissimo for life’ obviously couldn’t care less about the liberal minded cutie’s opinion or her defence of the fundamental human right to fling bras. He saw the bouncer coming as they say in cricketing lingo and acted fast. With the chattering classes agog with flying bras it was inevitable that his mudslingers, stonesligners, etc. would attempt to fling the flying bras on his face. He could hear the slogans in the making. ‘Here is a man who spoke against casinos blaming Mahinda for it and tagging an invasion of call girls from China and the Far East with the casino move. Now he is encouraging live orgies at public concerts, etc.’ He envisaged Sil robes (given at state expense) and saffron robes hitched up for long marches demanding his head for desecrating Sinhala Buddhist culture.


Whip the slingers

Sirisena moved fast. Much before propaganda apparatchiks such as those from Heluven Karamu were demanding public whipping for bra slingers, Sirisena had condemned such shows in all severity and declared them non grata taking the wind off their sails.

Whatever the political reason that motivated President Sirisena on strong action against bra slingers, rights activists may question why no such concern is expressed against slingers of rotten eggs, spoilt tomatoes or even stones? Is bra slinging immoral and more deadly forms throwing not immoral?

We could not venture in depth into the bra-slinging at the premier rugby playing club lawns but according to some unconfirmed reports bras were distributed to the crowd to be thrown at the performer, it being a done thing in rock concerts of some celebrities.

Is the bra something immoral not to be flaunted about in public? But it can be a very handy political instrument to assail a rival in diverse ways in a prissy society.


Govi Amudes

In contrast to the hullabaloo about hurling of bras, the appearance of farmers – sturdy young and the old decrepit – recently on the streets of Colombo Fort in their amudes (span cloth) in broad daylight raised scarcely a whimper of protest by moralists, prudes and politicians. They were certainly a scandalous sight and if any man were to appear in this state under normal circumstances, he would certainly be prosecuted by our police for indecent exposure. The amude exposes the masculine body to the maximum possible extent and even beyond.TV and newspapers had a field day but no objections were heard. Why?

The reason is partly historical, cultural and also pragmatic.

The amude is the working dress of the farmer who has to spend long hours sunk in the mud of paddy fields. His body is spattered with mud, often from head to toe and no dress other than the amude can serve him better.

Sigiriya cave with a bare breasted apsara

His community has been highly honoured from the days of the kings and topped the ranks of the services below the monarchs’ courtiers. Besides the rice he produces has been and still is essential for the survival of the nation.

Tradition has it that a goviya (farmer) taken off the field and washed of his mud is fit to be placed on the throne.

Thus no one will dare strip the goviya of his amude although the youth of today are less inclined to don this flimsy garment and would rather prefer sports shorts or something alike.

Besides the Govi caste is said to be extremely big – if not one of the biggest with the largest number of votes.

President Sirisena himself is one of them from the rice bowl of the country in Polonnaruwa. He very prudently gave into their demands on the price paid to paddy and demands made on fertilizer, etc. when the amude wearing farmers walked barefooted in the streets of Colombo Fort. The challenge of the amude is now no more to him.


Puritans and bras

But the bra issue- not only flinging bras at international performers- has deeper implications. Were the protests confined to hurling of bras or was it an expression against the freedom to expose feminine beauty? Did the heat generated against bra throwing (Thana patiya as the latest Sinhala lingo has it) an expression of puritanical anti-sexism?

The crashing of the plaster from the roof of an ancient Sigiriya cave with a bare breasted apsara on it was a protest against this puritanism by the Sigiriya ladies, says a watcher of the celestial ladies on the walls of Kasyapa’s abode.



8 Comments for “Sirisena Takes On Flying Bras And Govi Amudes”

  1. raj

    srisena should not have made this public. Instead, he should have let the law enforcement to detal with the situation. If there is a law prohibiting this behaviour, they those did can be prosecuted. If not, it is not matter of srisena. Please mind your business.

  2. raj

    there are many gangs, drug leaders, and other crimes that exists within sri Lankan society. President should address those issue. He does not speack out agains poverty among sri Lankan, or suffering of Tamils or discriminations against tamils and poor.

  3. Psycho

    Let’s introduce our form of sharia, with moral police and the lot.
    Chop off boobies of bra throwers and ding dongs of organisers.
    Castrate Nepotists so that vermins would not procreate and continue the saga.

  4. andrew pitugala

    The pioneer of the “Amude” was the late Mr. W. Dahanayake who as an MP walked into Parliament in an amude. I believe it was under “Mrs B’s” govt. and his protest against cost of living if my memory holds good.

  5. chimpa

    We should have a very independent view about the Bra issue, considering our culture. Therefore there shod be a limit.

  6. Jason Fernando

    To me, these people or organizers have not done anything immoral, THAN our so called politicians…corruption, kidnapping, kappa, and always in white dress to please the public……Bra Slinging is always better than these mud slinging on the people who voted for you to build this great nation Sri Lanka.

  7. Now the goigamaya cannot claim amude, when the bathgamaya and the ancient deviya (now wahumpuraya) also has a right to it.

    This is a serious cultural issue, needing a long-term solution; water has to be denied to this poisonous (kidney) field & new lands cleared for the methane yield.

    Tradition is in the Galpotha, not the recent valpotha.
    Sigiriya is tradition, now is sedition, so this is treason !!!

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