Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Finally HIGH TIME TOO – HIGH COMMISSIONER – United Kingdom
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!