World Affairs










Enter the Loan Ranger and Pronto

Those in their dotage and old age and may be some in their late middle age, will recall the Lone Ranger, his horse, Silver and his Red Indian sidekick, Tonto dressed in brown deer skin. Lone Ranger comics were my favourite and even Roy Rogers, the King of the Cowboys, Gene Autry with his guitar and hard hitting Tom Mix came in receding order.

I had paid dearly for reading Lone Ranger comics hidden in the desk and getting caught in the act. Hard pol tokkas and confiscation of Lone Ranger was the punishment. But this cowboy with the black mask fascinated me. He was the good guy fighting the rustlers along with Tonto and Silver. After doing his good deeds such as getting the sheriff to lock up the rustlers, he rode away to the horizon, bellowing: Heigh ho, Silver and way!

Campus Loan Ranger

Thoughts of the Lone Ranger came to my mind when memories went back to another ranger on the university campus. He was called the Loan Ranger. Even though the fellow was extremely pleasant and interesting, campus fellows ran away when Loan Ranger was cited. He was constantly in need of loans. His parents of considerable means gave him a good monthly allowance but Loan Ranger had a weakness for cards and horses.

The game he played with cards was booruwa, also called ‘asking-hitting’ by the English speaking, at the canteen table. Now this Loan Ranger had rotten luck. When he asked for a red card a black turned up and vice-versa. The horses he betted on in Sri Lanka and England often appeared to run the other way and if at all came galloping last of all. But Loan Ranger was a master of financial ‘operations.’

He played booruwa and betted on horses with his examination fees as well as his boarding fees. He managed to keep his head above water by not sitting for exams and disappearing from his lodgings with the boarding mistress crying out that he had not paid his lodging fees for months and disappeared.

Loan Ranger got into deep trouble and disappeared from Mother Lanka and was last heard of as a male nurse in London.

Enter the Presidential Loan Ranger

The fate of the campus Loan Ranger reminded me of the wisdom of a strict kindergarten teacher Miss Bay, who admonished us: ‘Neither a lender nor borrower be’ — not even an eraser or marbles.

Readers should pardon me for all this rigmarole about rangers Lone and Loan. To come to the point, my dear old teacher Miss Bay’s thesis now appears to be blown sky high after 60 years. We now have a Loan Ranger, the President — Mahinda Percy Rajapakse himself. He like the campus Loan Ranger knows how to get out of a financial crisis. Simply float a loan.

There are banks today all over the country. Where every stinking hooch joint that was in Colombo Fort in the good old days, there is a magnificent bank instead. Now what are banks for other than to give loans? They are competing with one another to give loans.

Saw what happened to Ranil Wickremesinghe when he objected to Mahinda getting a whopping $ 500 million loan? The bank simply coughed it out and no one knows where the money went exactly but the bank is not worried and Mahinda’s financial worries seem to be all over now. He is laughing all the way out of the bank.

Whose baby?

Ranil is asking how Mahinda Percy is to repay this massive loan at 8.5 percent interest or something like that. Well, it will be five years time when the repayment demand is made. If the sun shines on Rajapakse and company repayment will be chicken feed. Or if bad times come, he could even sell Hemin Lanka and some assets if the assets have not become liabilities. If things are really bad and Saturn has moved into the Seventh House, he then hands over the government to Ranil and he will be holding the $ 500 million loan baby with the interest.

Now my financial advisers tell me not to get too cocky and expect banks to cough up loans like that to me. I won’t even get a small loan after I defaulted on my housing loan, they say.


Now Mahinda has got inspired with the advice of that financial wizard PBJ who like Tonto of the Lone Ranger acts pronto and is called Pronto. Borrow till they bleed, Ranil will pay is Pronto’s motto. Now, Mahinda Percy is going on a Loan Range mission to fix the atomic mullahs. The Iranian brothers are swimming in oil but won’t give away a drop free. So why not fix a loan? Payable when able, possibly in Ranil’s time.

Serves those Yanks right putting all sorts of squeezes like human rights on Mahinda Percy. Medamulane Rajapakses won’t take things lying down. They don’t want him to fraternise with the atomic mullahs but won’t give him cash, not even a loan. Why did he spend all his youthful years promoting the Palestinian-Sri Lanka Friendship Society? These press wallahs call him Mahinda Arafat

In reality he should be Mahinda Arahat and support those Theravada monks whose heads are being bashed about by a military junta and please the Yanks. But that won’t get him the loan. Foreign policy he knows should be in one’s own interest and not in the interest of foreign monks. So Mahinda Arafat he will be and not Mahinda Arahat.

Pronto alias PBJ from Ibbagamuwa has served him well. So, Heigh ho Silver! And away to Iran for Loan Ranging.


I feel so sorry for our campus Loan Ranger now probably attending to bed pans in a London hospital. Those days loans had to be paid. 



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