Sri Lanka is still Paradise to some; suspect resignation



Chaminda Wijesiri

Serendipitously, I tuned into YouTube and there appeared an interview with a British Buddhist monk who spoke excellent Sinhala with only a trace of an accent. I did not catch his name clearly since it was mentioned in passing but I feel it was Brithaniye Kassyapa now changed to Sri Lankave Kassyapa. He was interested in Buddhism from his early childhood and was ordained in Britain when 14.

He was now in his 50s, he said. He had been in this country many times and on pilgrimage in India twice. He said he’d come back after many years with the Covid shut-down intervening. This time he said he was here not for his benefit solely but to help people who he knew were suffering immense physical and emotional trauma due to the economic condition of the country.

With others helping financially and some even travelling with him, they had gone to a Thanamalwila village and distributed coconut seedlings and other such material so the villagers could help to rehabilitate themselves, even somewhat.

Why Cass writes about him is that he said Sri Lanka is Paradise to him. She adds though not every prospect pleases. He said the people are very friendly and gentle (!), and a sense of religiousness envelopes the country. He also said pure Theravada Buddhism resides here and we have preserved that doctrine.

Down to earth realities

It was ‘bees’ honey to the ear’ (translated from the pithy Sinhala saying) to hear the monk say this and to know he is a thinking, educated, travelled person who would not speak an untruth nor even pronounce an exaggeration. So, all is not irretrievably lost in this country of ours. It has been horribly polluted, grossly abused, reduced to penury, given a begging bowl to extend globally, made to get financial aid from countries that were far below us just a decade or half ago. But to some discerning persons, Sri Lanka of today is still Paradise.

The worst of our country plight is that it was degraded, made to land itself right down the ladder of countries in economic terms which influences almost all other spheres of Sri Lanka, solely by Lankans in positions of power.

Greed for money and power, prestige and perpetuation of family name; unadulterated selfishness; disloyalty to country and no concern for the Ordinaries of the country sent the country to bankruptcy and heavy debts to repay in the future.

Every time Cass hears of a natural disaster in any part of the world, and they occur with greater frequency due to global warming, she sighs a heart-rending sigh. Whyfor? Because Nature has been benign to Sri Lanka. Our disasters have been MAN-MADE, and by a few at the very top of the power grid: politicians and VIP bureaucrats. They have been named by the highest court in the land. But not shamed nor punished, nor illegally made gains confiscated.

To name but a couple: Keheliya Rambukwelle seemingly promoting the import of killer drugs; Gotabaya R destroying the agri and horticulture of the land plus tea with one stupid stroke of banning; Mahinda R impoverishing the county and getting it into vast debt with ego-bolstering white elephant buildings; those previously of the CB for overprinting money and not taking remedial actions to stall bankruptcy.

What about killings from Lasantha Wickrematunge to hundreds on Easter Sunday of 2019 – actually ordering the killing or encouraging the mass massacre, for personal political benefit.

So, this is the extra, most lamentable aspect of Sri Lanka’s downfall. Harmed not by Nature but torn horrendously by the hands of economic criminals, totally unconcerned about the welfare of the country and its citizens.

Easier to protest-shout than act remedially

A frequent slogan now is that People Power is more powerful than the power of people. Yes, proved correct in one mass drive – the Aragalaya. But Cassandra’s question is why don’t people rise more to solve our problems than they are doing now. And what are they doing now? Protesting on roads; shouting blame; demanding justice.

Are they actually working to remedy, or reduce the problems like food shortages and high costs? One instance: instead of massing in protests, why don’t these protesters help people to help themselves tide over these hard times by promoting self-help and assisting them? Why are people eternally thrusting begging hands forward and blaming the government and demanding this and that. Why not get down to earning more, utilising the land or their skills to grow more and produce more.

A different leap frog: resignation

Heard the translated-to-English speech made by SJB MP Chaminda Wijesiri in Parliament on Tuesday Jan 9, on his resignation. His stated reason: Cannot stand the criticism levelled at all MPS and the cursing of his children on account of his politics. Aney Appoi! His announcement was immediately followed by asked questions with a whisper of the word ‘money’. Cassandra has one question.

Why now? Why this sensitivity to crits and curses when Parliament may soon be dissolved? There have been previous incidents of severe criticism and cursing of those in Parliament and this sensitive MP seems to have borne them unconcerned.

Cass asks another question, this one from herself and the Ordinaries of the land. Why do we never take what most MPs say at face value? Why do we invariably impute devious reasons for their pronouncements and actions? Why do we disbelieve them and specially a man like Chaminda Wijesiri, who should be applauded for being a politician sensitive to people’s opinion of him and other MPS? Why does the phrase ‘dirty money’ get whispered? Cass does need to waste her time and her readers’ by giving reasons.

We’ll sit and watch the gymnastics that have started with the still to be officially announced elections of this year. The first high jumps are of those offering themselves as Prez of the Dem Soc Republic of SL. Then will occur the sittings on the fence, waiting for the highest bid, pole vaulting, switching sides, buying and selling and the conjoining of Parties. Chandrka makes up with Aiyo Srisena?!

Fun and games with the kapati suit the favoured sportswear, against the drastic cutting down of nourishment even from babies and starvation and simply being unable to keep up with the COL.