Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The struggle to get a point across when your audience is blinkered!

In the last two blog entries, I expressed my considered opinion on a matter, which was in Colombo Telegraph, and so I copied my post into that CT comment piece and looked at the liked and dislikes on it, to ascertain, how much people with agree with you or disagree with you.

In this case the disagreed number far outnumbered those who agreed. How does one interpret that. Would someone who agrees with you be less likely to put a like click and one who disagrees, more likely to put a wrong click? That could be the case.

Then when the comments still harp on the Nepotism as the main issue, one wonders whether the reader actually read the fact that this position had been vacant for so long, that unless anybody willing to take it was found, we would have our most important diplomatic posting unfilled. So here nepotism DOES NOT EVEN COUNT! If for example she was chosen within weeks of the previous incumbents departure, then even I would question the speed.

Having gone this long with over 50 people been considered and dropped as unsuitable, it certainly is not nepotism that is key here, as it should almost be out of the window by this time, and pray anyone will take up the post. I know in practice to be able to carry out your duties, you would have to spend at least 100,000 pounds sterling a year, and I am sure finding a suitable candidate willing to do this brings the choice down to a few fingers in one hand!

Therefore the article is mischievous as it only counts a second cousin as nepotism and does not consider all the other aspects of what is needed in this post by going through line by line and ticking the points. As the readership is incapable of seeing the big picture, only evaluating on one issue, namely nepotism, you have a problem in explaining your rationale of suitability. Further the meaning of nepotism is also called into question. In my case, I may have 150 second cousins and I probably at most see about 10 of them in any one year, and to exclude anyone of them on this count is frankly ridiculous to say the least, and how they could compare this relationship with Gota, who was MR’s brother is beyond the pale of our ignorant finger pointers!

This will be the last of the posts on this matter, but I had to get it off my chest, as I find most of the comments in the Colombo Telegraph relating to this matter quite prejudiced and distasteful. I agree one must respect others opinions, but when you can see despite your efforts at clarity, they don’t get the point that no matter how you explain it the point is not taken! Time to change tack and come up with some more worthy and constructive topics to take the country forward.    

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The vituperative language and vitriol of our commentators shows how prejudiced and divided our people are on political lines!

In my earlier blog entry, I alluded to the fact that after an 18 month hiatus, where Sri Lanka had failed to appoint a High Commissioner to London, we finally had a candidate who thankfully was not even in the running until the announcement. Since then the comments of those who are looking at means to attack the ‘yahapalanaya’ administration on this appointment has overwhelmingly been vitriolic. Read the comments in this link below:

This appointment has traditionally been a political one, where people close to the leader are usually appointed to this plum (as in prestigious) but extremely expensive. I have personal knowledge having been a family member of a previous High Commissioner and having visited the residence many times, though never stayed over, as I had my own place in Central London.

It all boils down to simple prejudice! One measures the suitability based on one’s own knowledge and experience, and it seems there is NO understanding of how ruinous it is on one’s own finances, if one is to do the job properly.

It was said that when Joe Kennedy was the Ambassador to the Court of St James, under President Roosevelt, he had to spend a big whack of his fortune to maintain the status, due to inadequate funding from the US Govt., you can imagine how much that has gone up now with the cost of living and entertaining in London these days. No wonder than the hugely wealthy Kumar Sangakkara not to mention the less affluent Rosy Senanayake actually refused this offer, not out of modesty, but simply out of selfishness!

I say suggest the alternatives and find anyone of them who is willing and able to take on the job. I know Faiz Mustapha personally when he was HC there, and he was saying how much he had suffered financially as a leading lawyer in Colombo, in coming and serving his country. No wonder that another person supposedly offered was Romesh de Silva who also felt he would lose out of his multi-million income in Colombo as a successful lawyer if he took on the job.

There is no doubt that Amari Wijewardene will also have to sacrifice her day to day management of her business to go to London, as whoever she delegates will not be a patch on her ability to run this, though her critics think it is easy!!

I wonder if she may change her mind due to the criticism. it certainly will be Sri Lanka's loss, the bigoted's gain, and Amari's bemusement on the fact that she has never been a fan of Ranil Wickremasinghe, despite the relationship, and none of the hate speech hoi palloi even know that fact, and would amuse the PM no end, as he will not tell the public that!

In truth someone would have suggested her name, and he would have resisted, and just to shut the eager beaver's imploring, may have reluctantly agreed, knowing of all those names presented, she would actually do the best job! Now take that for a fact!

Its time the readership realizes this blog has more real news of value than any of the other sources of news!


I have NO inside knowledge of how her name was proposed, or who proposed it, but after an 18 month absence and a search high and low, where all those who were asked refused the position, I am told that the Chairperson of Swadeshi Industrial Works, a successful FMCG manufacturer of the popular Kohomba Soap and Rani Sandalwood Soap (my choices) amongst other brands, namely Ms Amari Wijewardene has been proposed as the SL HC to London.

Amari is one of the most successful women entrepreneurs, Sri Lanka has produced, who has grown her father’s business into what it is today, in a highly competitive field, where the Unilever Brands with the huge advertising and marketing budgets dominate the space. I was therefore not amused at the sort of uneducated comments from the Colombo Telegraph cacophony of parrots, which you can read from the link below, that accused the PM of nepotism!

I know the information below is of no relevance except in informing the public of who she really is! Her Great Grand Parents  on her Mothers, and Fathers side were Tudugalle Mohandiram Don Philip Wijewardene, a descendent of King Parakrama Bahu VI of Kotte, and Helena Wijewardene, born a Christian (an arrack renter’s daughter) who reconstructed the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihare.

A little known fact is that she is currently the Chief Dayakaya(f. dayikawa) of the Kelani Temple. Ranil Wickremasinghe is the Chief of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihare Dayake Sabha and Dammika Atygalle, the Basnayake Nilame of the same. Her both grandfathers being brothers, and the two eldest sons of Helena, means she has more Wijewardene inheritance than most, and she reverted to her maiden name after marriage.

All devout Buddhists know that Swadeshi sponsors MORE Aloka Poojas at Temples than most other institutions, be they Wijeya who does, Tantirimale, Upali Group does Sithulpahuwa, Lake House who does, Mihintale, Swadeshi does Kelaniya, Devundera Shri Vishnu Devale, Dambedeniya Raja Maha Vihare, Sabaragamuwa Maha Saman Devale in Ratnapura, Kiri Vehera in Kataragama amongst others.

The article above gets their facts completely wrong in true Sri Lanka journalistic traditions, as she is NO aunt of Ranil or Ruwan. He mother Ira and her father Donald are first Cousins of Ranil’s mother and Ruwan’s father, which makes her second cousins of both of the above. SO when it comes to family bandism or nepotism if we stretch it to that level, in a small island of Sri Lanka, looking for those capable and willing to do the job, outside the circle is sometimes hard to find, and I challenge someone to suggest someone better who will take the job, as it involves spending one’s own money, if one is to make the most of the connections in London, and does the required PR job to the extent necessary in the current Honeymoon period that Sri Lanka is going through with the British Establishment.

Frankly NO career diplomat can do this particular job, and it always has been a political appointment just as it is for the UNITED STATES too! The Ambassadors sent to London especially from the Commonwealth from all parts must be able to communicate with one another, to make the posting a successful one. It is important for Sri Lanka foreign policy to have a Businesswoman, representing her.

Critics said how Nonis marketed his Mackwoods Tea while in London, and that Amari will try to do the same! If you take that tack I would tell her to go to Unilever and fight their unfair trade practices at the heart of the Unilever Offices to show them that using their predatory pricing to kill home grown outfits like Swadeshi and the new products and perfumes they are bringing on, and battle head on with the deep pockets of Unilever is a David and Golliath battle. She has battled Unilever in Sri Lanka, she deserves to go to London and fight them there too! What Aloka pooja has Unilever sponsored? Time they sponsor the lot Amari!

Hey Media cut her some slack please and give her a good write - up as I am the only fair and unbiased write up I have so far seen to date on the matter of her appointment.

WE MUST BE PROUD that we are sending a successful Businesswoman to London, and we can cut the critics in the media in one swoop with her pluses that outnumber her minuses. So stop your broken record of Nepotism and judge your criticism fairly.

Yes she travels to London at least twice a year, yes she is rich and Colombo 7, yes she is from a famous family, and yes she is part of the Laity of the Buddhist heritage. So what is wrong? 

She has the courage to take this thankless task of a London posting that few really have the CHUTZPAH to carry out successfully. I just hope the Foreign Ministry increases the paltry entertainment allowance of their London diplomats so that they are able to show off the Country, and who better than always ELEGANT Amari Wijewardene, the best dressed diplomat!

Monday, February 8, 2016

The UNP Working Committee – a bad hair day for all in recommending SF

Let us call a spade a spade. The Field Marshall still holds a rank and gets a salary and staff, and is already on a par of a cabinet minister. I have already made my position quite clear at the time he was elevated to the FM position.

In short I opposed it then, and I oppose it now. However it was given, and that was that. Now we add insult to injury by giving him an additional position, namely that of a Member of Parliament, where in addition to his salary of the Field Marshall he also gets another salary and another staff. That is frankly beyond the pale. It has nothing to do with envy or jealousy or any petty think like that, it is simply commons sense.

We are elevating a leader of a party which could not garner 30,000 votes at the General Election, an elevation into the National List. He can contribute NOTHING to politics, as he is clueless to date on the political landscape, with no amount of examples of his behavior at the hustings.

He suffered under Rajapakse unfairly and we all agree on that, but to put him there in front of the despicable Rajapakse who went back into parliament as he had no shame, is adding insult to the injury caused by the Rajapakse behavior. NO wonder that the SL political scene is farcical when we have people behaving in this puerile fashion.

It begs the question as to the quality of person in the UNP WC!!! It is said that arch enemy Wijedasa Rajapakse did not want him in Parliament and this was an effort of the anti Wijedasa mob to take aim at him. All this is fools paradise in a political game where the pawns are the people of Sri Lanka.

The PM said in no uncertain terms that the UNFG government will NOT bring in loses into the parliament and then I ask if SF is not the loser’s loser?

We all know he has a big ego, we also know that Anoma does not take any decisions without asking the General for the management of the Rana Viru Seva Adhikari which she heads as Chairperson. So he was in any case dictating terms already from behind.

Why cant an old soldier retire to oblivion after a job well done, rather than disgrace the days of life he has left, and his legacy, by making a fool of himself, especially as he does not realize himself what a fool he has made of himself!!! I ask the readers to decide based on the character, behavior of SF since he left the Army, and begin with by asking if even the FM title, with serving soldier status was warranted, considering it was something that was not given, but taken!!   

It is time the Govt. not only listens

but takes alternative advice from the professionals and put them in the spot to make the public investment decisions that they are now criticizing

The above link is to an article where the professionals are concerned that Good Governance principles are being brazenly flouted by the new Govt. effectively following in the footsteps of the previous discredited and corrupt administration of Mahinda Rajapakse in how they award tenders on very large capital expenditure projects.

I say challenge them and give them the contract to negotiate and manage, as they seem to be the know it all bunch who seem to criticize but whose talents have yet to be tested in practice. After all Guneruwan and Kumarage are transport experts who are expounding their ideas for the Megapolis Transport plan, and even there seem to be frustrated that their ideas are NOT being implemented.

Let us give them some responsibility so they can practice what they preach, and if they are right, the Country can save billions of rupees from their better management of the resources, hopefully devoid of the corrupt practices of the current tender process of senior ministers, bent on making as much money to line their pockets before they fall dead in their seats!!!

I am not commenting if they can do a better job than the jokers who are taking the Country to the cleaners, but I challenge both the PM and President to take over a big contract and prove they can do it much better at a much lower cost!

We are a nation of complainers, and finger pointing, the proof of the pudding is however in the eating, and let us eat the pudding that these pontificators are baking and look at the results.

I know through the last Govt. especially billions of dollars were spirited away, and it will take another 20 years to find what happened to it, and to apprehend the crooks who are still running around, some holding positions as Cabinet Ministers also. 

However, the people expect those who stole from the Country to pay for it, and I hope the law will finally catch them and punish them, so no one can feel they will get away with crimes, which if the past impunity was anything to be compared with, the perpetrators did not think that in a million years they would eventually be caught for their crimes. 

All this augers well for the future, but a few brave decisions must be taken now to ensure survival of Sri Lanka for at least the next 50 years!

I hope the people finally realize the concept behind a National Government

The prime minister finally explained that in this technological era, a party of one, namely the UNP governing the Country is superfluous, it has to have all the jokers, and I for one think it is high time the TNA also joined, though thee JVP is ideologically completely out to lunch in this menagerie. The token gesture of the singing of the National Anthem in Tamil, deserves reciprocity of the TNA agreeing to be wedded to the National Government, rather than be tied! To the Diasporic Bigotry of ex-patriate Tamils, (expatriate Sinhala people also have diasporic bigotry and is not singularly a Tamil one)

It is therefore quite clear that this so called United Opposition, of the MR faction, only get traction within the Country, when they highlight the race card, and frighten people into believing that Tiger terrorists have been released from custody, while intelligence officers who saved the nation from Tamil separatism have been incarcerated! It is time the followers of MR, and there are too many right now for comfort, realize that their leaders are just imploding with the last bit of gas left in them, and that for a Country to look forward to a bright future, we MUST put our past prejudices aside.

I find it a constant irritant trying to explain the concept of the National Government to the UNP stalwarts around the Country, telling them that the PM promised that this would take place. Granted there are rogues of the past administration in the National Government, but equally there are rogues of the UNP also in this Administration, so a rogue is a rogue, no matter what color they are.

We must eviscerate the Govt. from the rogues, but who do we put in their place? We have not identified competent to replace them, and it is time we identify them and create a pool of deserving people, and bring them into positions of management and authority on a methodology that is acceptable to all.

Only the PM can understand that, the days of two party, or for that matter party politics is a thing of the past, but it is still difficult to wean the older generation from that which we must. Let us go forward with a positive attitude to what is going to be a revolution in thinking, and change to suit the times. Let us hope the working committee of the UNP which is still dogged by dogma, but little in enlightened thinking, will also realize their inadequacies and change with the times, for the benefit of the future of the UNP if it is ever to have a future! 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

What is the missing link in “Yahapalanaya?” – The Fourth Estate

Lets face it, we would not have suffered for 10 years under the MR rule, if the Media at least took their responsibility seriously. They let the side down, and were bought over by simple things like lap tops and interest free loans.

They did this whilst even Parliamentarians, like the charismatic, and Sinhala speaking Raviraj was killed in broad daylight in front of the British School with impunity by forces personnel who just followed orders from above, and no guessing who gave the order. These are people who could easily unite Sinhala and Tamil people, and Rajapakse had NO INTENTION of doing this, as his whole formula to fool people using the race card will fall flat, and so would he!

We all knew the story then, but it was the duty of the media to tell the truth, but they did NOT. We are paying that price even today. When you have a bunch of lunatics calling themselves the Joint Opposition with almost all of them having blood on their hands, the Media smugly still dares NOT breathe a word against their actions.

When will the Media grow up and realize that the Rajapakse hold on the hinterlands is merely because of ignorance and the Media hand in keeping them ignorant. It is time to educate the rural folk to see good and evil and right from wrong. We have seen what ignorance can do to people, at least educate them on the facts and let the people decide what they want. Now we don’t give them the facts, the media feeds them lies, and then what do you expect?

The current jokers in power are NO angels either, but lets face it they now fear the law, they know they will finally be caught and incarcerated if they try to brake the law. Therefore things are better in that respect.

Granted that the guys in power have no brains and are foundering like idiots, but then only idiots seek election as the people voting for them don’t know any better. Until the people are more intelligent we will continue put people who are incapable of running their homes, balancing household budgets with earnings and not profits of crimes into parliament. Those who come because they have money anyway just have more money than SENSE, that is the alternative lot.

So it all boils down to a return to a powerful 4th Estate. It is only here that the female gender can put all males to shame. They were the people courageous enough to take MR head on, and it is time their voice is given more prominence to report the facts in all the Newspapers. It is time the charlatans of the TNA, as well as the Joint Opposition and some of the also rans in Govt. are exposed as frauds out to steal the hard earned money of the people for their own ends!