new 'Peirisian' doctrine
had a feeling deep inside us that the Professori would have no
difficulty at all in vaulting effortlessly over styles and hurdles
of the cross-over.
were my colleagues at a press conference last week trying to nail
him down on his previous pronouncements on constitutional concepts
such as 'Federalism,' 'Unitary State,' 'United State' etc. In
cricketing terms he 'effortlessly stroked them through the covers,
with grace and elegance leaving the fielders standing.'
father of the Oslo Communiqu‚ which proposed a 'federal solution,'
who had a great many people from Washington
through European capitals to Tokyo
Colombo 7 liberals, dancing in joy and Mahinda Rajapakse and
his Dakune Kollo breathing fire and brimstone when cornered by
pressmen, simply asked: 'what do these mere words - 'federalism,'
'unitary state' etc. mean? All this amounted to a mere brandishing
of words whose meanings were vague and undefined.'
true professorial arrogance he dismissed them all with the saying:
'Today, the intellectuals and experts worldwide agree that the terms
such as federalism and unitary state have no meaning and are
indistinct at best.'
was vintage G.L. Peiris who swept the boards at the STC prize
giving, First Class in Law from the University of Colombo and BCL
(Oxford). Never mind what the Bible says: 'In the beginning was the
Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.'
words, GL had solemnly and piously stated two to three years ago,
had no meaning today. Most probably the Professor will justify
himself with references to the ancient Greek
philosophies of Aristotle , Heraclitus, Plato and modern day
theories of Bertrand Russel and the like on words and
basis of what he now says appears to be that the 'Peirisian'
thoughts of yesteryear on 'devolution,' 'federalism,' 'unitary
state' need not necessarily have the same meaning (an academic
expression for plausible deniability) of what was meant earlier.
the ordinary man on the street - Somapala and Punchi Banda - all
this is hard to comprehend after understanding and believing in the
Mahinda Chinthana. So when we met an old student of the Professori
in the Law Faculty we invited him to our waterhole to clear our
brains and get a deeper understanding of the Peirisian philosophy.
golaya of the guru too appeared to have lost his powers of reasoning
after trying to follow the new thinking of his guru. He, like Martin
Luther King, had a dream, he confessed and went on to relate to us,
was seated at the feet of his guru with his former comrades while
the guru was lecturing to them and saying that the old
constitutional concepts he had taught them were mere words -
brandishing of words.
student had then queried: 'Sir, according to your new theory, can
the public who elect politicians be equated to politicians because
politicians can go against the wishes of the public when they so
desire and continue to govern?'
reality this does happen, the Professori had admitted.
Student: Sir then could it be said that 'democracy is government of
the politicians, by the politicians, for the politicians?'
angry Professori had then asked the student whether he had been sent
by the nutty geophysicist Silva of the Jathika Chinthanaya and
threatened to walk out but had been persuaded by his students to
continue the lecture.
student had asked: Sir, what is your solution to the ethnic problem
now? Military or through negotiations? Do you think the Rajapakse
government is attempting a negotiated settlement through military
operations in Vaharai and other regions of the Eastern Province?
As I have explained before, terms such as 'military solution'
and 'political solution' are mere words. They have no meaning in
I am from the Eastern Province and I can tell you that military
action means a hell of a lot for the people there. They are being
killed. no homes. Why didn't you push for military action with Ranil?
What is peace and war? Peace is a mere interlude between war. War is
a mere interlude between peace. For the sake of record I am for
You were for Chandrika Chinthanaya, Ranil Chinthanaya and now
Mahinda Chinthanaya. Are all this one and the same to you?
Sir, why not propose a democratic, fascist, dictatorship of Eelam to
resolve the problem?
Are you mad? Democratic fascist dictatorship? These are basic
Contradictions very similar to Federalism, Unitary State, United
State, no Sir?
You have been sent by that nutty geophysicist Nalin Silva. and he
walked out of the class.
dream ended thus, concluded the former Law Faculty student leaving
us non the wiser except that he says that the student in his dream
resembled one Ranil Wickremesinghe who was also in the Law Faculty
thoughts on Freedom Day
yet another Freedom Day is about to come and go and your gopher
Sour-gin, despite the hype can scarcely get himself off the ground
let alone the Mihin contraption. The bottom line darling is that
while you may let fly on the telephone, you may let fly to Merv the
Perv, or you may even leave your fly open, but you don't seem to be
able to get the bally Mihin to fly.
may today have at Galle Face Green, column after column of
servicemen pounding the asphalt, giggly school girls twirling the
odd rabana, but we certainly are not to be entertained by stewards
and stewardesses coyly writhing before the cameras, personally hand
picked by the sour fellow for your private dandu monara.
me dearie it is a time to reminisce on the days of the old Raj, and
long for a time when the noblesse oblige of the red coat would cause
a romantic flutter in my endless heart. It is a time when I role out
the tongue and sniff at the ole snuff box to get rid of a good deal
of the perilous stuff that often weighs upon the nostril hairs on
the one hand - (what with all the dust from the constructions going
on) and on the heart upon the other hand.
to mawkish respect for tradition I do not often go about with a chip
on my shoulder screaming 'freedom is dead,'
'freedom is dead,'
but I do like to loll a bit on my easy chair with a cigar
snuggling between my lovely fingers on the one hand and caressing a
Moet & Chandon on the other hand.
dear what you can do with two hands if you really put your mind to
it. You should try it some time.
aristocrats are down trodden and misunderstood these days darling
and have few if any pleasures. It's not like the good old days
anymore. Everybody is against us. And while I have so far not taken
any punitive measures against you for foisting such a bally foul
piece of moth eaten verbiage like the Chinthana upon a decent
segment of society, I cannot promise to reign in my feelings for too
I was happy with all this independence stuff I would have enlarged
myself most courteously and generously upon the fawning public
tonight and drunk a pint or two with the riff raff. But my heart is
heavy dearie and you know why.
the red chaps are calling you the foulest bit of flotsam this side
of 1948. I thought it showed a nasty, narrow spirit, though I
couldn't say I was altogether surprised considering how churlishly
you seem to have treated the mammoty wielding comrades. After all it
was the Wee Wee types who helped you up.
don't know if you've ever been to the elephant show at the Dehiwela
zoological gardens of late, but if you do get a moment do take a
dekko, its awful fun. Nothing like the rumpus you had to undergo
with the green jumbos.
you will often see that the elephants kindly bend forward and crook
a knee rather helpfully in order to help their respective mahouts
place his flat foot on the pachdermalogical knee and climb on its
elehpantine back. For some reason I find that the red fellows did
for you much the same thing darling. Knelt down and crooked a bally
knee. And what do you do? Kick them in the shins. Oh well it's all
in a day's work for the Beliatte clan eh? All in a day's work.
what you might hear from the likes of Raa-jitha, and others is left
to be seen. Will they all turn out to be Merv clones and cringe
below sea level or will they venture out and take a dim view of the
Chinthana plan? Whether it be a 10 year plan or a 20 year plan one
thing can be said about it. It's a bally foul plan.
mean to say darling already you have us getting stopped by over
zealous uniformed chappies who recognising a good thing and an easy
source of income wiggles his infernal finger at a poor wench like me
smoking deliriously in a corner minding my own business.
you fail to understand dear is that far from the general populace
giving up smoking, with the likes of you and your family at the
helm, even little old grand mamas will take to drinking.
if the likes of Karu Jay, Profisori and the balding Mora suddenly
decide to run child like towards the Chinthana and embrace it you
will even have the Paradisian baby population crying out not for
milk but for gin and not bally sour-gin either. Happy Independence
ra for now.
Sleeping Dragon is awake and moving
during the days when China was one of the poorest countries stricken
by natural disasters such as floods and famine, while the communists
were fighting the warlords, China was viewed with much suspicion by
America and other Western countries.
turned into fear and even worse, as after the communists took over
and even today, after China is acknowledged as a world power, such
suspicion and fear remain.
headline of the September 6 issue of Newsweek last year: "Who's
afraid of China" reflects this persisting view.
month when China destroyed one of its own weather satellites
orbiting 500 miles above earth with a missile fired from the ground,
it sent alarm bells ringing in Western capitals including their
allies such as neighbouring Japan and Tokyo.
announcement made 12 days after the event was further cause for
suspicion. A statement made by the Chinese government that they were
not engaging in an arms race in space was of no avail and there were
protests from the Western powers and China's neighbours.
Wednesday an Associated Press report said that the US Congress was
demanding 'an aggressive US response' to Beijing's test of a
satellite-killing weapon. There was evidence of anger and wariness
over China's economic and military aspirations.
preceded a Congressional advisory panel that planned to take up on
Thursday the challenges facing US-China relations this year, the
dating back to the days of its Middle Kingdom, has been very
secretive about its affairs of state and this secretiveness remains.
This may be a part reason for the suspicion and fears, and the other
may be Western prejudices such as Nostradamus' predictions of a
'slant eyed race taking over the world.'
America and its Western allies have now been compelled to accept the
reality of China which has been maintaining an extremely low profile
in international affairs in the past two decades despite its growing
economic clout. Some analysts explain this on the basis of Deng Xiao
Ping's strategy of concentrating on domestic economic growth lest
the country's efforts will be wasted on acquiring international
year China announced to the world that it was stepping out into the
international arena. An Indian correspondent has noted this
announcement in The China
which proclaimed: 'Make no mistake, this sleeping dragon has
awakened from its centuries' long slumber. China is everywhere.'
January 27 Economist referring to the anti-satellite test notes:
'China's aim is to signal to America and its prot‚g‚s in all
Asia - Taiwan and Japan especially - that it has
ways of countering the space based technology on which
America's armed forces rely so heavily.
worries that its strategic nuclear arsenal could be rendered useless
by an American missile based system with space based components. The
anti-satellite test may not prove that China can thwart such efforts
but it can certainly complicate them.'
the Chinese have been at great pains not to antagonise the United
States in other international issues, it has stood firm on Taiwan
which it has claimed to be a part of China. Taiwan has alleged that
China has 900 missiles on its coast facing Taiwan.
satellite test firing could be a signal from Beijing to all
concerned that those defences would not be jeopardised.
of China's influence in recent years has been witnessed in Central
Asia, ASEAN region, Middle East and in the African continent.
week China's President Hu Jintao took off on a12 day African tour of
eight nations. It is his third such visit to Africa since 2003 and
is aimed at deepening political and economic ties.
this tour he will announce writing off debts owed by African nations
as a part of a billion dollar package to help fast rack development,
it has been reported. China hosted an African Summit in November
last year and offered $ 5 billion in loans and credit.
Chinese Foreign Minister visited the West African countries of
Nigeria and Morocco and also Kenya. The Prime Minister Wen Jiabo
visited seven other African countries.
push into Africa may be seen by Western powers as an attempt to
replace the geopolitical influence the former colonial powers still
have and that of America now.
is now in the process of wooing energy rich and industrial resources
rich countries in Asia, Africa and even in Latin America. These
countries are targeted for their energy resources as well as markets
for Chinese products.
year a summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Council comprising
- Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhastan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and China
- was hosted by China. This five year old organisation is a powerful
alliance between Russia and China and controls a greater part of the
oil and gas reserves of Central Asia.
leads this organisation and has offered $ 900 million to other
members in the form of loans to buy Chinese exports.
has taken a lead role in directing ASEAN affairs and is now in the
process of re-opening a dialogue with Japan after a torrid period of
relations under Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
has already brought back North Korea to the negotiating table for
nuclear disarmament talks and is maintaining good relations with
Middle Eastern countries which are the main sources of its oil
supplies and even with Israel.
last December acknowledged the economic clout of China when Treasury
Secretary Hank Paulson led nearly half of the cabinet of George Bush
to what The Economist described as to pay tribute to 'China's rising
modest Chinese describe their rise from abject poverty and squalor
in just 50 years as 'The peaceful rise of China' and its diplomatic
objective as a 'harmonious relationship.' Underlying these
understatements is the fact that it has now the largest foreign
exchange reserves in the world: one trillion dollars!
cross and to double cross
was the evening after the day before. Paradise Club was unusually
packed for a Monday evening when I entered my favourite watering
hole. Siribiris, the bar keeper handed over a letter addressed to me
personally at the club.
was about to open it as I surveyed this hive of activity, as the
clich‚ writers would say.
holding centre stage as it were, was Kandiah (call me Ken)
Vinasapathi, formerly of the Ceylon Civil Service, now prolific
letter writer to editors' columns and bearer of glad and sad
tidings. All around him sat habitu‚s of Paradise Club and some
unknowns, deeply engrossed in the tales told by Kandiah Vinasapathi.
say Pachoris," called out Kosala Kehelmala, wheeler-dealer
extraordinaire, who will get you a T56 automatic rifle at the drop
of a hand grenade or fix a contract at the going commission rates.
He is known as "Fixer" to friends and foes alike.
my friend, you are numero uno, a genius," said the genuinely
excited Fixer. When Fixer speaks nobody else does. Even the
redoubtable Ken of the CCS is severed in mid-sentence.
Fixer what's all the excitement about," I asked. "What
have I done this time?"
have you done, man? Who says the President of the Democratic
Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka does not listen to the people. If
you have mouths, speak now," went on Fixer surveying the scene
like that chap in the poem, Ozymandias or some such name. "Or
forever remain silent."
by the bucket
why are you telling me this," I inquired puzzled by this
men Pachoris, two weeks ago you wrote that you told the Minister of
Disinformation, Aliboru that having 40 per cent of government MPs as
ministers is undemocratic and unfair by the other 60 per cent. There
should be much more. Your point was well taken. You see the
President and his royal retinue took you very seriously. Now 90 odd
per cent of the SLFP chaps are something or the other after
yesterday. You are an important man Pachoris."
at the table applauded. Then it spread like ripples in a pond and
even those who heard nothing in a distant room were clapping because
others were doing it.
applause was growing faster than the cabinet and drinks were coming
to me by the bucketful. How the ministers would have envied me had
they been there. Such instant popularity without even having to rent
a crowd or ask Herr Doktor Mervyn Silva to lend a hand.
knew beforehand about the size of the cabinet, didn't you,"
asked Puli Pachchathanni, poet laureate of Pungudativu and Messiah
of Marrs Hall when Kandiah and he were contemporaries in the first
years of Peradeniya University.
did you know that Arjuna Ranatunge would be ignored after all that
he did for Sri Lanka winning the World Cup and all that?"
inquired Kesara Kasalagoda, Royal College and SSC.
challenged the kings of cricket and walked off the field. Maybe the
Royalpakse's will challenge them too at some stage," opined
Para Pathiam, the mathematician from Mannar and the terror of the
he was not the only one ignored," cut in Dr Andy Ansabage,
guest of Kandiah. "It is like a triple injection. Three 'R's
were left out - two Rajapakse's and one Ranatunge. I wonder why. One
more Rajapakse would hardly matter now."
they've got their own back on the Bandaranaikes. Anura has been
banished to the wilds hasn't he? What is he to do with this national
heritage, eat it?" asked Ken Vinasapathi
he can safeguard it, destroy it or sell it, if he knows where to
find this heritage," interjected "Fast Cash" Mansoor,
foreign exchange dealer and casino raja, supporter of all pakshas,
chaps," intervened poet Pachchathanni, a former high ranking
administrator himself. "Whoever prepared these ministries did
not know a donkey from a buffalo."
mean some ass did it," I asked tentatively not wanting to
interrupt Pachchathanni when he is about to take off on the wings of
is a cultural minister and a national heritage minister. Where do
you draw the line?" the poet went on as though he hadn't heard
me. "If you take away national heritage, whatever that means,
the cultural minister is left with nothing but that intermittent
nadagama in parliament and some mentally adolescent Andare dipping
into the Cultural Fund."
is correct," piped in Vinasapathi a former government agent and
ministry secretary. "Whoever drew up this ministerial mess
should be declared a national heritage and handed over to Anura to
preserve as best as he could -- above ground or even under like
those Egyptian mummies."
for the road
then," argued "Fast Cash" Mansoor in a moment of
conciliation in keeping with his doctrine of playing all sides,
"the presidential clan had to accommodate those malcontent
mammals, some of them on their last legs, who crossed over."
was not just a cross. There were also a double cross and even a
triple cross if you look at their political backgrounds,"
but why do you need five non-cabinet persons designated ministers of
"Nation Building," asked Kehelmala after several minutes
of unusual silence.
thought it was time to call it a day. I downed my drink and a long
sigh escaped my lips.
my friend shows the state of this nation. It takes five ministers to
try and put it together and a full cabinet minister to integrate it.
This is the paradise we lost."
that I put my hand into my pocket for my wallet. It was then that I
realised there was an unopened letter in my pocket. Well that will
have to wait a while.