The Dressing Down of the Century: President Sirisena’s Scathing Sermon to his Captive Cabinet

Darshanie Ratnawalli’s Pithy Translation of President Sirisena’s Speech to His Present Cabinet … with some asides on the reception among his captive audience

Associated with our victory in 2015 there were many aspirations, hopes, wishes of the people. During the past three and half, almost four years, there were many victories and positive achievements we engendered as a government. At the same time there were harmful, inauspicious, undisciplined, wretched and lawless things that happened as well (Ranil W shrugs shoulders with impatient look of hauteur on face). While we can celebrate the good things, we must also join the people in bemoaning the lost opportunities. The pledges of our manifesto started getting violated from the moment the first Cabinet was appointed after the victory. The manifesto said the subjects and ministries should be assigned on a scientific basis, and a board of experts were appointed for that purpose. However, I don’t know if that file was even glanced at in making appointments. (Champika smiles contemptuously, like a civilised and noble leader forced to listen to driveling of an uncouth cur, who doesn’t maintain the decencies of polite society.)

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Sangakkara’s MCC Lecture and the Rajapaksa & Wickremasinghe Governments’ Failures

Shamindra Ferdinando, an old essay in Island, 24 January 2017, with this title The day Kumar Sangakkara felt humbled. Unpardonable failure to capitalize on ‘Spirit of Cricket’ lecture” …. with highlighting emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi

Sri Lankan cricketer, Kumar Sangakkara earned the wrath of the war-winning President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government for his hour long “Spirit of Cricket” lecture at the July, 2011, Sir Colin Cowdrey Lecture at Lord’s. Some politicians and officials depicted the lecture as a frontal attack on the then government. Those who had resented Sangakkara, for being critical of their conduct, cleverly deceived President Rajapaksa. They propagated the lie that the cricketer was challenging the government and was working with the Opposition.

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The Political Struggle in Sri Lanka: Three Pugilists … Hattotuwa … Chandraprema … Philips

ONE. Sanjana Hattotuwa:  “Musical Chairs,” Island, 12 January 2019

The appointment of a new Army Chief of Staff. A fresh denial around the use of chemical weapons. The denunciation of a civil society protest against mainstream media supportive of the constitutional coup, not by members of the SLPP, but by those in the UNP and government. A photograph of a former President, the incumbent and the Prime Minister, comfortably seated next to each other, enjoying or at least at a musical show. Newspaper headlines and reports framing dire warnings by the former President, who true to form, relies on the capture of emotions over fact or principle. In just the second week of January, we are presented with the template for what the year ahead holds. It is not looking good, but despite the obvious anxiety, I continue to maintain, is counter-intuitively rather beneficial. The greatest contribution of the constitutional coup to conversations around the grasp of Sri Lanka’s democratic potential was to place in the open and very clearly, who stood for what and where. This endures.

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Our Wonderful World: The Mammals of Ceylon Brought to Life

Burton K Lim in © 2015 American Society of Mammalogists, www.mammalogy.org ……

…. reviewing  A. Yapa, A. and G. Ratnavira  2013. The Mammals of Sri Lanka. Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka, Department of Zoology, University of Colombo, Colombo 3, Sri Lanka. 1,012 pp. ISBN: 978-955-8576-32-8, price (hard cover), Rs. 7500.

The last comprehensive book on the mammals of Sri Lanka was compiled 8 decades ago when the island nation off the coast of India was known as the British colony of Ceylon (Phillips 1935). A sumptuously illustrated opus that updates and exceeds this earlier monograph was published last year with text exquisitely written by Asoka Yapa and color plates artistically painted by Gamini Ratnavira.

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Economising via Gleaning. Ancient Practices for Today’s World

Item in THE ECONOMIST,  Christmas Special, entitled Gleaning. The return of gleaning in the modern world. How much can an ancient practice do to alleviate hunger?”

AT THE SALON in Paris in 1857, Jean-François Millet exhibited a painting called “Des glaneuses” (“Gleaners”). It caused a scandal. Millet had long made a point of painting peasants at their labours, but this big canvas was his strongest provocation. Into a decorous world of silks and parasols it introduced rough women, plump in their homespun skirts, rumps in the air, grubbing for ears of grain dropped after the harvest. One critic complained of “ugliness and…grossness unrelieved”. Another said it made him think of the scaffolds and pikes of the Terror of 1793.

Millet had seen the women differently. He found them dignified, doing their work in a sanctifying late-summer light, companions to his peasant “Angelus”. In this, as well as their humble roughness, he caught the essence of gleaning.

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Lakshman Gunasekara’s Reflections on the Political Turmoil in Late 2018: Three Essays

Lakshman Gunasekera

ONE. Lakshman Gunasekara: “Politics vs Constitutionalism,” in Horizons, 9 December 2018 …

When the Bandaranaike International Memorial Conference Hall (BMICH, what a mouthful) began hosting conferences in those old-fashioned 1970s, we, the ordinary citizens hadn’t a hope of freely strolling into its premises (let alone its halls). One needed a conference invitation to enter the gates and some ‘delegate’ or ‘media’ tag to enter the main hall or ‘committee rooms’ (as they were quaintly termed then). Today, in our lower-middle-income country comfort zone, people are constantly streaming in and out of the BMICH, for weddings, exhibitions, conferences, convocations, concerts and seminars, all at the same time (and I am sure there is romance in those verdant gardens).    Continue reading

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About Mahinda’s Failure and A Mahinda Pronouncement

I = NA deS Amaratunga: “Can Mahinda Rajapaksa reform himself?”  in Island, 10 January 2019

Mahinda Rajapaksa is currently the most popular politician. He earned his popularity by saving the country from certain destruction and then launching a gigantic development drive throughout the country including war ravaged North and East. Yet many were the mistakes and misdeeds which resulted in his unexpected defeat at the presidential election in 2015.

mahinda raja 1

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