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Hidden Reasons

Cassandra Cry: A Woman’s Jaundiced View of the Past Week



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Shan Wickremasinghe criticizes judiciously any politician and every party


Well! Well! Well! Page one of the Sunday Island of June 10 gave this jaundice-eyed dame plenty informational cud to chew and regurgitate in this column covering the week’s news from last Saturday to Thursday 14 June.


Censorship?


"President crosses redline, escalates tensions within coalition" blared forth the headline in the Sunday Island of June 10. It referred to our own Prez not the one in the White House of the US of America who is known for his presidential tantrums. Surprising no end to know that the patching-up achieved after the treachery of the No Con Motion between Number One and Number Two of this Island State was so temporary. Before the passing of the moon from full to full again, the back stab had been delivered, not directly to Number Two but to his brother. The censoring sword was thrust by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission against the TNL channel by sealing off one of its transmitting stations situated in Polgahawela. The worst move was that equipment was taken away, sensitive stuff that needs extra care and a certain temperature to be maintained, it is said.


This dame is not a couch potato, more so in the morning, and so she does not watch the TNL Channel. A relative has often told her to listen to the reading of newspaper headlines on TNL and the comments by no less a person than Shan Wickremasinghe, whom few really know is brother to Ranil W. He criticizes judiciously any politician and every party. Maybe the irritant was a recent broadcast where gems that were dropped by the presidential mouth were found to be contradictory; said one day, completely reversed the next. This was commented on, this dame was told, by juxtaposing what was said then and now. Crime?


What’s alarming is that the sealing order smacks of censorship, which was minimized by the yahapalanaya government. The RIT Act was passed and everyone was told there was no censorship in our land. But it crept in or was made to creep in. Journalists, even freelancers, came up against it. Thus the sword being used against TNL is a further deepening of the chasm between the two most important people in this land. Very unfortunate.


Ambassador to Moscow


Another surprising sub-headline in the Sunday Island of 10 June. "Dayan for Moscow?"


It is obvious by what Dr Dayan Jayatilleke writes in the local press and says over TV channels, mainly TV I in his weekly political analysis, that he favours Mahinda Rajapaksa and thinks little of the present government, less of its leaders and least about the coalition of UNP and SLFP. And he is tipped to be our ambassador in Russia. Give it to him, he is an intellectual with a high degree of diplomacy. But the jaundiced eye and prejudiced mind asks the immediate question Why so? Is it to silence the critic in him? Is it to capitalize on a trait he has shown of changing loyalties or is it as a hand of friendship extended to the Rajapaksas? Your guess is as good as mine!


Promise of a reduction


in taxes that burden Citizen Per-r-a


An observation by our PM was also on the newspaper page I refer to. "Mahinda Rajapaska pushed up SL’s dept to Rs7,3091 bn." To this dame this seems to be the first time out of electioneering time that our Ranil has voiced his opinion on MR’s extravagant spending. Yes, everyone knows the Rajapaksas spent gloriously, not their money, this dame hastens to add, but public money. Unforgiveable as the biggest amounts were on vanity constructions, to boost the ego by having the Rajapaksa name emblazoned on the name of the building. This dame has never stepped into the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, not only because she cannot afford the high prices of tickets for any show in this theatre but she also does not like the name, since it was Prez Chandrika Kumaratunge who negotiated the loan to build the theatre, which she infamously dubbed a piss pochiya – inverted!! MR says he will reduce taxes by 20% if he is in power. The very high debts this government has to meet is because Mahinda Rajapaksa built a never used airport, the largest swimming pool, a water guzzling cricket stadium and garden all in dry, often parched Hambantota and thereabouts. Is the entire former Green Path restored to the old name Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha or is a portion still Nelun Pokuna Mawatha?


But here Cassandra gets another droll thought. Not that this government is tightening its belt judging from tamashas and trips abroad and all that unnecessary expenditure. It’s us that have to tighten our belts to asphyxiation level.


Which reminds this complaining woman of a party thrown by a make-up artist or film dresser of royal grandeur. What’s the source of all that money is the million rupee question.


Million rupee cheques


Cassandra is not going to refer, except in passing, to persons in high places, two in particular: one a famed pole vaulter and the other, smart and handsome as they come. They got cheques they did not know from whom. At least that’s what the former said. The latter says he will give to charity the three million gifted him. Fat good that would do! As one panelist on Monday’s Face the Nation TV I programme said, if he was a charity, he would refuse the money outright! Cassandra cries that taking money like this from a disgraced company is not propitious. She foresees not bloodshed but a diminution of reputation. Not that that matters, we suppose, because politicians are like rubber balls – they bounce back; or like corks – unsinkable.


Cassandra’s comment is that no woman politician has received money from Perpetual Treasuries Ltd, or at least is now known to have received. Thalata and others are clean, non-bribable, but she has a sneaking doubt about a certain Mrs who is extra washroom conscious.


THE Special Bond


The daily Island on Wednesday 13 June, probably borrowing a Singapore headline announced that Trump, Kim formed ‘special bond’ in historic meeting. Why the inverted commas there? A global sigh of relief was surely heaved that the meeting finally took place between the two leaders who recently traded even personal insults. The two temperamental leaders met, shook hands Trump even placing his arm on the North Korean leader’s arm, and a pact was signed to ensure world peace and an erasure of the fear of the exchange of nuclear warheads. Cassandra’s mournful comment is we’ll just have to wait and see.


Cassandra (of epic tradition and prediction)


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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