Shift Parliament to Waters Edge

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					                                                                                                                                                                                              Monday 27th October, 2008          9
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Major General
Shift Parliament to Waters Edge                                                                                                                                                                    Janaka Perera
    Mr Gamini Wikramanayake is a man                                                                                                          engage in the gentlemen’s game of golf
of original ideas. I am aware of several                                                                                                      which can teach them patience if nothing
such ideas of his. One such beneficial                                                                                                        else. If they feel despondent or depressed,
idea was depositing suitors deposits accu-                                                                                                    they could go for a swim.
mulating in kachcheris interest-free in                                                                                                           You might ask what about the present
bank passbooks where they earned inter-                                                                                                       Parliament building. Gamini W opines it
est. If unclaimed, as many of them often                                                                                                      should be converted to a Presidential
do, they provide additional revenue to the                                                                                                    Palace where the President can meet with
Government.                                                                                                                                   his officials and ministers. It will spare
    I once had trouble with the G.C.S.U. on                                                                                                   the rest of us of the hoi polloi the dreaded
one of his bright ideas, namely, to dis-                                                                                                      road blocks and traffic jams when these
pense with the subject clerk system. I was                                                                                                    eminent personalities are heading to and
forced to issue a circular that clerks                                                                                                        fro from the present the President’s office.
should not make minutes in files. The                                                                                                         The present Parliament building has all
G.C.S.U came on me like a ton of bricks                                                                                                       the facilities for both entertainment and            Justice should not only be done
and threatened a general strike if the cir-                                                                                                   recreation and the valuable files no             but also be seen to be done.
cular was not withdrawn.                                                                                                                      longer in use can be stored in the base-             I refer to your editorial published
    In the context of current local events,                                                                                                   ment made fire-proof, water-proof and            in the October 24 edition of The
he discussed with me the Waters Edge                                                                                                          rat-proof for any public spirited person to      Island and wish to reproduce a state-
case. What bothered him was that here                                                                                                         initiate legal action against former             ment made by you as follows: “Some
was a great asset with extensive ball-                                                                                                        defaulting heads of state and government         of the Opposition parliamentarians
rooms to accommodate 3000 people, sever-                                         Waters Edge, Colombo                                         at a later date.                                 are insisting that Maj. Gen. Janaka
al halls, a first class kitchen plus a golf                                                                                                       Similarly the ministries could be            Perera was not assassinated by the
course thrown in. And the newspapers                The Supreme Court has ruled that the       tives and they can also entertain all their    shifted to Jayawaradhanapura and the             LTTE”.
were reporting that Parliament is being         land on which Water’s Edge stands must         constituents there at the taxpayers’           name changed to Mahindapura so as to                 Even if this is true of some of
threatened by floods with a committee           be used only for a public purpose it was       expense.                                       get rid once for all the distasteful memory      the Opposition parliamentarians,
appointed to look into it. The Parliament       acquired, namely, for flood protection. So         There is a bar in which they can           of J.R., who destroyed our democracy by          the vast majority of right thinking
apparently has no money to undertake            Gamini W. suggests that Parliament shifts      regale themselves after verbal battles in      introducing the presidential immunity            people, who had the highest respect
renovation and rehabilitation of Water’s        to Waters Edge.                                the chamber. What better facility than a       and the proportional representation sys-         and regard for the late Major
Edge      into    a    new     House      of       It has a fine kitchen which can turn        bar to relieve their tensions and bury the     tem of voting.                                   General and who had pinned their
Representatives.                                out excellent meals for our representa-        hatchet after fisticuffs. They could also                            R. M. B. Senanayake        hopes on him to put an end to ethnic
                                                                                                                                                                                               conflict, thuggery, corruption and
                                                                                                                                                                                               violence and bring about an era of
Defeat your anger                                 More on Sri Lanka not a Sinhala country                                                                                                      peace and stability to the nation,
                                                                                                                                                                                               opine that there is a major suspicion

- a response                                          Dushy Ranetunge goes on
                                                  to assert that the shrines in
                                                                                     the name Ceylon changed to
                                                                                     Sri Lanka.
                                                                                                                           He also talks of a Tamil
                                                                                                                       Perumal becoming a
                                                                                                                                                         time of the Portuguese inva-
                                                                                                                                                         sion, we had a simple Lion flag
                                                                                                                                                                                               that it could be someone other than
                                                                                                                                                                                               the LTTE who was responsible for
                                                  Tissamaharama may have                 Then he talks of foreign-     Sinhalese. Here again he          depicting a yellow coloured           this heinous crime which has result-
     I crave the indulgence of the Editor         been constructed by a tribe        ers and Roman Catholics sit-      seems to lack common sense.       lion majestically holding a           ed in depriving Sri Lanka of a
to publish my response in The Island as           such as ‘Nagas’ and not            ting on the Sinhala kings’        A person can always change        ‘sword’ in its right front paw        proven future leader.
a reply to Specialist Dr. C. Weeraratne,          Sinhalese, citing Magama           throne. It is true, some of the   his/her faith (religion), but     pointing upwards. This was                Unfortunately, unless and until
who has enlightened us by her letter of           and Kelaniya as examples           Sinhala royalty were forced       how can anybody change            the national flag used until the      the Government conducts a speedy
23rd on the subtleties of controlling             where the ‘Naga’ tribe had         to embrace the Roman              his/her birth race or nation-     British rule and once we              an impartial and independent
spontaneous anger by resorting to con-            lived in numbers. Strange.         Catholic faith by the             ality Never can a Sinhalese
                                                                                                                            .                            gained independence from our          inquiry into the issue, which will
stant practice, while concurring with             He does not seem to under-                                                                             colonial rulers the ‘Union            prove beyond any reasonable doubt
my contention of harm done to society             stand the long history of this                                                                         Jack’ was lowered and the             that it was the LTTE and no one else
at large due to sudden anger.                     country He appears not to
                                                          .                          “..We do know and we concede that we                                ‘Lion’ flag’ hoisted.                 who committed this atrocity, this
    I am mainly speaking of ordinary
mortals like me who form the majority,
                                                  know that the Helaya became
                                                  Sivu Helaya somewhere in
                                                                                     now live in the Democratic Socialist                                    Independent Ceylon’s first
                                                                                                                                                         Prime Minister, the ‘Father of
                                                                                                                                                                                               doubt will keep simmering in their
faced with immense hardship in life               the 1100 to 1500 B.C. due to       Republic of Sri Lanka, called Sri Lanka -                           the Nation’, D. S. Senanayake,             What better way for the
and find it impossible to follow at least         the tribes mentioned above.                                                                            heeding to the appeal of some         Government to win over the hearts
the five precepts, in this age of people          And it was the Sivu Helaya         but one should never forget the cherished                           Tamil and Muslim dignitaries          and minds of these aggrieved people
alienated from religion worldwide due
to its abstruseness in following only the
                                                  that later came to be known
                                                  as ‘Sinhale’ by the time of
                                                                                     and adorable past, in which we reputedly                            of the time appointed a com-
                                                                                                                                                         mittee consisting of all nation-
                                                                                                                                                                                               than for it to conduct an independ-
                                                                                                                                                                                               ent inquiry and prove beyond doubt
moral code.                                       the chance arrival of the          excelled other nations in the feats of                              alities to design a ‘national’        it was the LTTE terrorists who were
    The core part of religion is relegat-         Portuguese on the western                                                                              flag to represent the interests       definitely responsible. This way the
ed to the limbo of imagination.                   coast of Sri Lanka. The for-       engineering, particularly irrigation engi-                          of the minorities and hence           Government can prove that its
                                                  eigners simply because they                                                                            the orange and green strips in
    At a time where the mass media like
                                                  could not pronounce the            neering.”                                                           front of the lion in our flag.
                                                                                                                                                                                               hands are clean and the accusations
TV propagate anger through cheap pop-                                                                                                                                                          levelled against it are unfounded.
ular operas/teledramas, discussions               world ‘Sinhale’ correctly,                                                                             This was gracefully accepted          This in turn could then pave the way
entailing arguments depicting anger               called it ‘Seylan’.                Portuguese rulers. They did       become an Englishmen, a           by the then minority leaders.         for the vast numbers of the follow-
                                                      During that time, the          reign for short terms.            German, a Chinese or a                In conclusion, yes we do
manifested in various forms, where                                                                                                                                                             ers of the Late Major General to
                                                  locals called the land ‘Lanka’         No foreigner ever reigned     Japanese and vice versa.          know and we concede that we
even the Buddhist monks participate in                                                                                                                                                         unite with the Government and give
                                                  due her numerous natural           in Ceylon until the                   He adverts to the Lion flag   now live in the Democratic
vituperative politics, how can we                                                                                                                                                              them 100 percent support in their
                                                  resources, beautiful scenery       Nayakkars of Malabar were         of King Dutu Gemunu and           Socialist Republic of Sri
expect ordinary laymen to control                                                                                                                                                              fight against these terrorists.
                                                  and above all the smiling peo-     invited by the then Kandyan       stresses that it was carried      Lanka, called Sri Lanka - but
anger?                                                                                                                                                                                             Once having proved its case, the
                                                  ple. After the British cheated     chieftains to become their        right through to the last King    one should never forget the
       When we interact in society with                                                                                                                                                        Government will be completely jus-
                                                  the Kandyan chieftains and         king, because the last Sinhala    of Kandy, Sri Wickrema            cherished and adorable past,
conflict of       interests, anger is                                                                                                                                                          tified in branding anyone in the
                                                  took over the reins of govern-     King, Sri Weera Parakrama         Rajasinghe, and insists there     in which we reputedly
inevitable. I think only extraordinary            ment, they called this coun-       Narendrasinghe, did not have      were two strips to represent      excelled other nations in the         Opposition who still tries to white-
people can lead an anger-free life.               try Ceylon - which stayed          a child to be enthroned. That     the minorities. Absolutely        feats of engineering, particu-        wash the LTTE or continues to point
    The best solution is to adopt a reclu-        until the time the 1972            is how Sri Vijeya Rajasinghe,     wrong.                            larly irrigation engineering.         a finger at the Government as trai-
sive life in a lonely forest.                     Constitution, Democratic           the first of the four Malabar         The earlier Lion flags                                              tors and take severe action against
                                                  Socialist Republic of Sri          kings was installed as the        adorned the ‘Lion’ in many               Ranjit C. Dissanayake          them.
                        W. Ariyasinghe            Lanka was promulgated and          King of Kandy   .                 stances/shapes. During the                       Battaramulla                            Desmond Z. de Silva

                               Aba - Amarasekara and Weerawansa
     The film Aba has at least done       Russian Thought from the               even traditional rivals can occa-     of every opportunity to insert a      a film is acting, it gives a whole    society, does not have any com-
 one thing important. It has              Enlightenment to Marxism”,             sionally find themselves fighting     Christian symbol into the film,       new meaning to the concept of         plaints against the film.
 exposed the so-called champions          which greatly influenced the for-      a common enemy.                       but because Mr. Anthony is try-       subtext.                                  Does Dr. Amarasekara believe
 of the Sinhala Buddhist cause,           mer to realise the important role          The main problem with Aba         ing to narrate a Biblical story           It is this attempt to say that    that the film Aba represents the
 who have failed to sever links           played by culture in one’s             is not that Mr. Anthony has used      using the characters and events       what the Mahawamsa contains is        society?
 with the Western Christian               thought.                                                                                                           a Biblical story that effectively         Is it only the novelists that
 Modernity, and we can see many               Dr. Amarasekara is unable to                                                                                   prevents the director from por-       should do hard work to depict
 of them are either absolutely            appreciate the significance of the                                                                                 traying necessary heroism, even       society but not the film directors?
 silent about this immensely con-         Mahawamsa in the present con-                                                                                      though Mr. Weerawansa has not         Why doesn’t Dr. Amarasekara,
 troversial film or supporting the        text and consequently how badly                                                                                    only misconstrued Aba as a hero-      who advocates that the novelist
 film or its director in one way or       the anti-national forces are try-                                                                                  ic film, but also almost entirely     should have a social conscious-
 the other.                               ing to vilify the Great Chronicle                                                                                  based his appreciation of the         ness (samaja vinnanaya), give
     What      these     modernist        in order to make it irrelevant for                                                                                 film on heroism, which is not         the same advice to the directors
 Sinhalese, whose survival is             the present era.                                                                                                   present but absent in the film.       of cinema as well?
 mainly ensured by the existence              Dr. Amarasekara might not                                                                                          It is true that Mr. Anthony’s         Dr. Amarasekara has found
 of Prabhakaran rather than the           know       that    Dr.    Sumathy                                                                                  paternal love has somewhat            fault with the critics who have
 hegemony of         the Western          Sivamohan is very much femi-                                                                                       spoiled the plan of drawing par-      ignored the cinematic value of
 Christian Modernity, are inter-          nine, but the point I want to make                                                                                 allels between the Mahawamsa /        the film.
 ested in is building a Western           is that the fact that the film has                                                                                 Deepawamsa and Bible stories,             Does he say that there are
 Christian Modernist state (even          left both of them cold and                                                                                         because the actor who plays the       pure cinematic works, which do
 though some of them like to call         untouched at the end of film                                                                                       role of Panduaba had almost           not convey any message to the
 it a post-modernist state) that          must be food for thought for the                                                                                   reached the age of sixteen years      society?
 largely belongs to the Sinhalese.        ideological darling of the former,                                                                                 by the time the film was pro-             It may be argued that any
     From        Dr.      Gunadasa            Mr. Wimal Weerawansa, who                                                                                      duced but it should not prevent       film is counterfeit but what is
 Amarasekara’s article published          has argued in his lengthy article                                                                                  us from deciphering Aba in order      important is how the public
 in The Island of 23 - 10 - 2008, it is   published in the Divaina of 05 -                                                                                   to read the subtext.                  receive the film and what
 clear that he too has decided to         10 - 2008 that the fact that certain                                                                                   This is especially important      impact it can have on society It.
 join the bandwagon of vindicat-          anti-national NGO elements are                                                                                     because it is Dr. Amarasekara’s       looks as if Dr. Amarasekara
 ing Mr. Jackson Anthony.                 up in arms over the film prevents                                                                                  blindness to the Christian image      had already done what one and
     Dr. Amarasekara may have             us from advocating that Mr.                                                                                        of the film that has prevented        only sane man, whom he has
 coined     the    term      Jathika      Anthony has created the film                                                                                       him from recognising the rea-         described in his article, ulti-
 Chinthanaya, but his inability to        based on anti-Sinhala Buddhist                                                                                     sons behind the disjointed nature     mately decided to do, but what
 emancipate himself from the              motives. Not even Marxists, let                                                                                    of the film, which he himself has     is regrettable is those who have
 Western Christian Modernity              alone Sinhala Buddhists, can be        A scene from Aba                                                            mentioned. While it is not very       resigned to the fate of having to
 fully, which is mainly responsible       guided by the famous Arabian                                                                                       clear whether he has now depart-      accept the fake (Bol Pilimaya)
 for keeping him chained to real-         proverb, “the enemy of my              Christian symbols quite unneces-      in our chronicles.                    ed from his initial stance of real-   as the genuine (Gal Pilimaya)
 ism, has prevented him from              enemy is my friend”, without           sarily and unjustifiably within           That is why Prof. Nalin de        ism, it is interesting to note that   are trying to project themselves
 going beyond the literal meaning         considering the context and it is      the film. The film contains           Silva wrote to the Divaina just       Dr. Amarasekara, who always           as Gal Pilima.
 of Jathika Chinthanaya, which            hard to believe that Mr.               Christian symbols not because         after the release of the film that    says that a novelist should por-
 can be linked to Andrzej                 Weerawansa, the seasoned politi-       the director has been careful         not only the cast but also the film   tray society and the novel should               Narada Wickramage
 Walicki’s book “A History of             cian, has not yet experienced that     enough to identify and make use       itself is acting and I believe when   be a realistic interpretation of                     Bandaragama

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