The post of High Commissioner in London An open letter to Sanga
Posted on August 26th, 2015

By Mario Perera

Dear Sanga,

Just a few days ago, speaking at the farewell offered to you on the cricket field, H.E.The President, made to you a generous offer, being the post of High Commissioner in London. Later in the day, at a press conference when questioned on the topic, you assessed your situation. You humbly mentioned your lack of experience in that particular field, and the need to discuss the issue further with President Sirisena. The latter clause indicated that you intended to pursue the matter.

As one who has followed your cricketing career from the beginning, as well as your tremendous personal development in the process, I have few comments to make regarding the subject. I for one would thoroughly dissuade you from accepting the presidential offer. You are totally capable of functioning in that post with dignity and honour, having all the trappings to emerge as an outstanding diplomat. That is not the issue. What is in issue is the price you will have to pay for it. What is it then? Well to my mind, should you take that post you will be confronted with situations compelling you to renounce to the noble ideals you set for himself throughout your cricketing career, which are profoundly embedded in the unique declarations you made during the ‘2011 MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture’. Here are the relevant paragraphs of your famous speech:

In our cricket we display a unique spirit, a spirit enriched by lessons learned from a history spanning over two-and-a-half millennia. In our cricket you see the character of our people, our history, culture and tradition, our laughter, our joy, our tears and regrets. It is rich in emotion and talent. My responsibility as a Sri Lankan cricketer is to further enrich this beautiful sport, to add to it and enhance it and to leave a richer legacy for other cricketers to follow.

I will do that keeping paramount in my mind my Sri Lankan identity: play the game hard and fair and be a voice with which Sri Lanka can speak proudly and positively to the world. My loyalty will be to the ordinary Sri Lankan fan, their 20 million hearts beating collectively as one to our island rhythm and filled with an undying and ever-loyal love for this our game.

Fans of different races, castes, ethnicities and religions who together celebrate their diversity by uniting for a common national cause. They are my foundation, they are my family. I will play my cricket for them. Their spirit is the true spirit of cricket. With me are all my people. I am Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim and Burgher. I am a Buddhist, a Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity. I am today, and always, proudly Sri Lankan.

I was deeply impressed by an impassioned anonymous comment in this regard that I read in ‘Cricinfo’. Here it goes: Please Kumar, do not accept the offer that you have received from the politicians. You don’t need their crumbs, you are bigger than any of them, regardless of which side they come from. Keep your dignity, keep your ethics and keep your principles that you so well adhered to all this time. Never even think of getting into politics, there are so many other noble ways that you can serve this country that you are so proud of. All the best. This view I whole-heartedly endorse.

Indeed politics is NOT the place for you as a Srilankan international beacon. A diplomatic post be it of the highest category would make you, our ‘one in all and all in one’ star, a partisan individual voicing the principles elaborated within a government ministry. They will make you espouse a political ideology, forcing you to twist and turn facts to suit your political mentors. You will be compelled, though unintentionally and unwittingly, to play which could seem to those with entrenched views, to be even racial and religious cards. You will have to take positions that compromise your status as the voice of Sri Lanka.

Furthermore you will by necessity find yourself in company of peers in the trade wallowing in the same quagmire. You gloriously proclaimed yourself to be Buddhist, Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity, and really and genuinely being a true Sri Lankan. The moment you accept to be a High Commissioner, you will be clothed by the very same tailors, though reborn in another time and clime, who once out-fitted up a legendary emperor for a parade among his subjects.

I would hate to see you demean yourself by joining a service that has long lost its luster. Just look at it squarely and you will appreciate what I state. It is a refuge for everyone other than quality individuals. The highly publicized brawl at a diplomatic gathering which ended with the previous High Commissioner in London being slapped and kicked (while on the ground) by the official supervisor of the foreign Ministry, a man not worth his salts and with a proven criminal record, now languishing in the dungeon. This same Foreign Service was clustered with individuals posted there for everything else other than capacity and competence. Even amorous relationships with higher echelon politicos was deemed sufficient ground for such appointments. Things might take a more positive turn in the years to come, yet the service itself will bear its stains far beyond your lifetime. We would not want our brightest sporting star to be incorporated into such a scarred body.

I could go on and on on this theme. Just permit me a few more observations. The word ‘High Commissioner or Ambassador’ would set many a mind awhirl, especially that of being Sri Lanka’s representative to the Court of St. James. Yet when the initial fluttering subsides and the oasis vanishes from our visual horizons, what remains is the desert. A country cannot become bigger than what it is through its extensions in foreign capitals. When the American ‘sun’ shines its rays spread over and affect the entire earth. What radiation does the Sri Lanka ‘sun’ have? This lack of importance, significance and relevancy affects the morale and the working of all our embassies, and naturally our ambassadors. The basic sentiments that assails one and all are neglect and boredom. They meet that menace each his own way: some do sight-seeing and tourism; other feather their nests in every conceivable way. One very famous ambassador to a country among the top four had a table tennis set up installed in a public place of the Embassy, and spent his time playing pim-pom with whomsoever was available to partner him. To tell you frankly partners were never missing. Given the size of our embassy buildings, please get rid of any nascent idea of constructing a cricket pitch in there for your pass-time activities. I do not think you intend going there to bowl a maiden over!”

What I and like-minded persons expect of you is that you be a living icon of the aspirations the country holds most dear to its heart. You should continue to aspire to being the man you projected before the world in your ‘Cowdrey’ speech, as above race and religion. Entering diplomacy is entering politics. Make no mistake about it. You will be compelled to take sides and very soon be submerged in race and religion controversies. Over there you will be batting against and battling vicious even murderous spin especially the illegal deliveries of the ‘diaspora’. You will be forced to hear as Kipling once wrote, the truth you have spoken, twisted by knaves to be a trap for fools. Do not put yourself in a position where you will have to watch the things you gave your life to, broken, and stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools. Once that happens, there is no escape, no redemption. They will leave indelible marks on your character and personality. Do not forget that it is the evil that men do that lives after them.

Sanga, abide your time. As the Latin adage says: festina lente (make haste slowly). You have already achieved international glory, recognition, and fame. You have added luster and glamour to the name of the motherland. Your star is on the rise. Do not turn yourself into a falling star by accepting this post, though the offer in the mind of the giver was generous and gracious. Offers will come your way that will meet your aspirations. Your role in life, indeed your destiny, is to help this country shed its racial and religious tags and rise to the sense of being one nation. Your role is that of a healer of minds and hearts. You yourself could not have put it better than when you said: With me are all my people. I am Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim and Burgher. I am a Buddhist, a Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity. I am today, and always, proudly Sri Lankan. Sanga, your destiny is not to become entrenched in partisan positions. Your destiny is to display a unique spirit, a spirit enriched by lessons learned from a history spanning over two-and-a-half millennia. Your destiny is to make the world see the character of our people, our history, culture and tradition, our laughter, our joy, our tears and regrets.

Sanga, my final words to you are those of the Latin poet: prospera, procede, et regna: prosper, proceed, and emerge victorious. You bear on your shoulders the deepest aspirations of your motherland the realization of which is beyond the scope of politics and diplomacy.

Mario Perera

Kadawata

30 Responses to “The post of High Commissioner in London An open letter to Sanga”

  1. Independent Says:

    I don’t endorse Mario’s advice.
    True, Sanga is someone beyond those positions be them political or diplomatic. However, if everyone who supports the phrase “With me are all my people. I am Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim and Burgher. I am a Buddhist, a Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity. I am today, and always, proudly Sri Lankan”, then we will end up seeing all the crooks, racists and thugs take those important positrons.
    How then are we going to make the world see the character of our people, our history, culture and tradition ?

  2. dhane Says:

    Dear Sanga Mario’s advice is acceptable. You are world class Ambassador already by yourself. Non of present politician from the Extreme top to Minister in charge Foreign service has your qualities. They are liars and trying to take advantage of your high position to their own advantage. Therefore do not become “Paid Servant” and bend your head to those 3rd class politicians of various in character.

  3. Sarath W Says:

    Sanga, you are an intelligent person and with a legal background it must be obvious to you what the president is up to. As we all know by now he has lost his creditability and is trying to score points by using you, one of the most loved, popular and a respected Sri Lankan. The appointment of Monty Penasar as the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka shows what the Brits think of Sri Lanka. The regime change specialist have achieved their goal to take Sri Lanka away from Chinese influence and put under Indian control and that is the reason for the Brits to have Monty to represent them in Colombo. As we all know Monty’s loyalty is to India, not to Britain, an Indian will always be an Indian. So Sanga, if you take this posting, you will be working for the enemies of Sri Lanka, not for your people as you said in your “Spirit of cricket” lecture.

  4. Sarath W Says:

    Sanga, if you accept this post, are you prepared to work under a low life like Ava Mangala?

  5. Independent Says:

    Good people should be brave enough to take up challenging positions. It doesn’t mean that they should be ready to compromise their values, rather they should work towards making those values work for them to beat the odds to make the country more liveable than current dire state. This is the only way out.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    Although Sanga is better than Rosy S after Mario’s reasoning I agree with him.

    Mario has been in foreign service and he knows the internal dynamics.

    Particularly so because Sanga will have to work under MANGALA!!!

    Absolutely no way.

    Best thing lets appoint another joker for this post. Only a joker can represent the joker land SL.

  7. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    DEAR SANGA !!!

    I greatly appreciate your sense of humility, when you said that you do not have the necessary expertise in that area of Diplomacy, to be a High Commissioner, and that you will have to further discuss with the President. You are an INTERNATIONAL ICON in cricket, and your beautiful achievements in life is not to be compromised with a political handout, however much ‘Rosy” it looks. You are worth thousand times more than that.

    The President is suffering from a tremendous inferiority complex. If he thinks that a village grama sevaka can become the President of the country, why cant you become HC UK. Did he for a moment think that you have never been in a foreign service appointment before. No ! because he knows very well that these Top foreign service jobs are given on the concept of Nepotism, and MOSTLY political discards of their families, and friends.

    Well Sangha !! if you want a cushy job in your retirement, tell the President to give you a Deputy Job, so that while you eat, drink and Party with top foreign Diplomats, you will have exposure to what foreign service is. This is a period you can really enjoy, FREE OF ALL EXPENSES. THE DECISION IS TOTALLY YOURS SANGHA. TAKE THE RIGHT DECISION.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    Torturing soldiers for saving lives and country is NOT acceptable.

    This eventuality should be stopped. It should not happen to saviors of SL.

    “https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8izBsfYSd7Q”

  9. SenaD Says:

    I think Sanga would be able to make the his decision on his own after dicussing with his family without any further advice from others, but I thank you Mario Perera for expressing the sentiments of many a Sri Lankan.

    However, I do hope it would be a categorical no.

    His saying “With me are all my people. I am Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim and Burgher. I am a Buddhist, a Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity. I am today, and always, proudly Sri Lankan” means exactly what it says so clearly.

    Crooks, racists and thugs are already in important positrons. If Sanga accepts the offer it would be merely a case of Sanga also joining that lot.

  10. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    LORENZO !! The subject here is {{{{{SANGA}}}}}

    What has this got to do with ”’toturing of soldiers for saving lives””

    May be that your mind was in a state of confusion.

  11. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Susantha Wijesinghe, Lorenzo is right so is every one, but what none of the comment writers and article writers do not know is how to understand dis-information. Sanga is not an idiot to go and work for the mentally unstable Mangala!

    SenaD thanks for your comments that is how it should be. Yes it will be NONO!

  12. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    Yes Lankahuthra !! You are the only one who knows how to understand dis-information. You must be in the same category as Mangala.

  13. Lorenzo Says:

    SW,

    The TASK of our foreign ministry is to do what foreign powers say. They tell us to torture our soldiers, send them to HAGUE but release Tamil terrorists.

    Sanga will be doing the same UNDER MANGALA if he becomes SL HC.

    Remember Sanga praising soldiers in the UK in his famous speech?

  14. aloy Says:

    “Best thing lets appoint another joker for this post. Only a joker can represent the joker land SL.”

    Joker Lorenzo is joking about SL people. Is it because what he expected did not happen?.

    I think Sanga is intelligent enough to decide for himself; if not he could not have come this far.

    On a different note I read an article through ‘Infolanka’ that Ekneligoda’s wife being involved in a discussion with ‘Nisha’ and some other diplomats about her husband’s disappearance. Tamil Guardian says it is about the use of chemical weapons by SL army. Maithree should find out whether this was the case. If so Nisha et al should not be allowed to meddle with our affairs anymore. More over whether or not SL army used chemical weapons Sinhala cartoonist should not get involved in exposing state secrets. Time to stop the Eknaligoda drama if it is going on the wrong direction.

  15. LANKAPUTHRA Says:

    Susantha Wijesinghe, what took you so long to equate me to Mangala, you should have done this long time ago! What ever way you write you are a paid comment writer. I am not against it. Please make as much as you can. Your analogy is excellent. All the readers can see it well. I never claim that I am the only one who can understand dis-information. I have read lot about Lorenzo, and I don’t think it is his real name! He wrote against MR’s wife, things that were not true. He hates MR family. This was going on since 2009.

  16. Lorenzo Says:

    Aloy,

    No bigger joker than you in the joker land where AVAMANGALA is the foreign minister and Batalanda Run-nil is the PM!!

    We all know Mr Charming who is a new minister of the UNF-FAG govt. was involved in the Eknelikoda case. Guess what the ministry he is getting!!!

    (Best ministry to interfere with the investigation).

    DOWN WITH YAMAPALANA UNF-FAG!

  17. Independent Says:

    May be Sanga can change Avamangala to real Mangala.
    Someone want to promote hopelessness, negativity, uselessness, depression so that Military Takeover will be seen as the only hope. Behind that hope hides the hope of Ealam.

  18. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    LANKAHUTHRA !! I ONLY REALIZED IT, WHEN I SAW THE MODERATOR HAD DELETED YOUR COMMENTS WITH IN-ACCURACIES, TRYING TO MIS-LEAD THE COMMENTORS IN THIS FORUM. TRUTH TAKES TIME TO BE REALIZED. YES, I MUST TELL YOU THAT I GET PAID MONTHLY BY THE SSA.

    LORENZO !! You should have, in your first comment given the same elucidation, you have now given with a TWIST, in your second comment. IAM NOT A POTERGEIST. I have noticed that earlier too. YOU KNOW HOW TO TWIST AND WRANGLE OUT OF A DIFFICULT SITUATION. DONT LOSE YOUR CREDIBILITY. I SEE THAT MANY ARE CALLING YOU A JOKER, BECAUSE YOU ARE CHANGING COLOURS LIKE A KATUSSA. TRY TO AVOID IT PLEASE. I HAVE BEEN ON THE SAME WAVE LENGTH WITH YOU AT TIMES.

    ALSO LORENZO, PLEASE DONT SAY ANYTHING DISPARAGING ABOUT SANGA. THE READING PUBLIC WILL NOT ENDORSE YOUR INSINUATIONS AGAINST HIM. ME TOO, I DONT LIKE IT. CAN YOU REMEMBER, I EVEN APPEALED TO ANANDA NOT TO BE TOO HARSH ON YOU ?

  19. aloy Says:

    Lorenzo,

    I did not vote for any of them and left SL on early morning of election day. I think the crown just fell on RW’s head as people did not have any other choice, but may not ast more than the two years SLFP have given him. To my mind his problem is that he thinks only those who have gone through the mill (Royal) are worthy of holding any good post. If he listen to the other ‘Royalist’ from Polonnaruwa, Maithree this time he might last longer than that. If that happens who knows he might end up being the next president too.

  20. Independent Says:

    Susantha,
    May I claim ownership of calling our LTTE friend “Bodilima”. Katussa does not change colours.
    Sanga was trying to build bridges between communities. LTTE is not happy. They promote separatism. I am sure you know that.

  21. Lorenzo Says:

    Kithsiri,

    “He wrote against MR’s wife, things that were not true. He hates MR family. This was going on since 2009.”

    Once again, NOT TRUE!

    Please don’t make these FALSE things here.

    I do hate some things done by some of them but I don’t hate the people. They are way better than the disaster president who started the war in 1983.

    SW,

    I didn’t blame Sanga. Far from it. I want Sanga NOT to become a pawn of MANGALA by accepting this joke appointment.

    BTW what happened to that vote count disparity? What was the outcome?

  22. Independent Says:

    Good. I report . You decide.

    “disaster president who started the war in 1983” – Lorenzo. August 26th, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    “1983 was a Tamil-Tamil affair. Singhalese had nothing to do with it.

    – Lorenzo – July 23rd, 2015 at 7:40 pm

    ” July 1983 riot was STARTED by Tamils to get international sympathy. Soon it got out of hand. – Lorenzo July 24th, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    “1983 was done by TAMILS to go to Europe and Canada as refugees. Make no mistake. It was NOT done by the Sinhalese. It was FOOLISH of Chandirikka to apologize for something SL didn’t do.”

    Lorenzo – July 22nd, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    “6 Tamil ASPs including Colombo in July 1983. It was a Tamil set up to go to Canada. It worked. But now Afghans and Iraqis live in Toronto more than Tamils. Future Tamil generations will have names like Iqbal 3/4 Lingam, Ponnambalam Hussein, Jeyalalitha Farook, FatHimaMareena Renganathan.” –
    Lorenzo Says:

    Lorenzo July 18th, 2012 at 11:44 pm

  23. Independent Says:

    Good people here call him “AvaMangala” , “mentally unstable Mangala” and one LTTE bugger use the phrase “Only a joker can represent the joker land SL” to insult our motherland though insulting him.

    But I report and you decide.

    නාමල්ගෙන් මංගලට සුබ පැතුම්

    2015 අගෝස්තු මස 25 19:48:49 | අකිල බද්දෙවිතාන

    විදේශ අමාත්‍ය ධූරය සඳහා නැවත වතාවක් පත්වුණු මංගල සමරවීර මහතාට හිටපු ජනපති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ මහතාගේ පුත් හා පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී නාමල් රාජපක්ෂ මහතා ට්විටර් ගිණුම ඔස්සේ සුබ පැතුම් පණිවිඩයක් නිකුත් කර ඇත.

    ‘යළිත් වතාවක් විදේශ ඇමැති ධූරයට පත්වූ මංගල සමරවීරට සුබ පැතුම්‘ යනුවෙන් එහි සඳහන් වේ.

  24. asoka2468 Says:

    Sanga please watch out ! Sira will stab you in the back. Better stay away from Sira and the gay crowd.

  25. SA Kumar Says:

    How then are we going to make the world see the character of our people, our history, culture and tradition ? World see ? do not worry about world ,see your self as Lord Bhudda said . be mother Lanka our self We do not need proof others.

  26. SA Kumar Says:

    “With me are all my people. I am Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim and Burgher. I am a Buddhist, a Hindu, a follower of Islam and Christianity. I am today, and always, proudly Sri Lankan”,- Well done Sanga !!! We Mother Lankan proud about you . All thanks goes to your Parents & family machang !

  27. cassandra Says:

    We’ve been long lamenting the fact that in recent years, many appointments to ambassadorial positions have been made seemingly based on family connections, without regard to whether or not the appointees were fit for those positions. Indeed, in some cases, some appointments were made even when the appointees were clearly unsuitable. So, it is good to see that, in offering the position of HC to London, to Kumar Sangakkara, the President is at least breaking with that unhealthy precedent. And it is also good to see KS’ contribution on behalf of the nation publicly acknowledged.

    That said, however, it would seem that the President and his advisers have not really thought things through. KS is an intelligent man, he’s smart and there is no doubt that he won’t make an ass of himself as HC in London. And of course compared to some of our recent appointees as ambassadors he will be streets ahead. But from an objective perspective, the country needs to ensure that in ‘key’ overseas capitals like London, Washington, New Delhi and the like, it is represented by the best available talent. These are stations where good, experienced, career diplomats would seem to be the best candidates for appointment.

    KS has, with commendable candour, acknowledged his lack of experience in this area. In saying this, he has unwittingly shown up the President and his advisers. This is something they should have realised in the first place, instead of putting KS in a very awkward position.

    KS is in an unenviable position. Let’s hope he will not take a decision that he will live to regret.
    In the meantime, let’s say Thank You to him for all he has contributed in the national cause. He’s done the country proud, and our good wishes go to him for success in all his future endeavours.

  28. Fran Diaz Says:

    I too would like to thank Sanga for turning down the HC post in the UK. He has, through his honesty, exposed a serious flaw in the way Govts of Lanka tend to appoint people to high positions. Sometimes govts give high posts as rewards for some talent. Rosy S. also turned down the same post – in her case, why was she even offered that post, other than for her looks ? She has gone on record as saying that the ‘Sinhala/Buddhist identity must be wiped out of Lanka” (may not be same words, but same meaning).

    Time for govt of Lanka to grow up and act mature, and not treat the country like their backyard. Respect for life and people needed here, not fawning over foreigners and foreign lands.

    Teach our people to think and take pride in the local good/life supportive ways only, and world good/life supportive ways
    only.

  29. aloy Says:

    Fran Diaz,

    Rosy did not have any previous experience in diplomacy but she did some excellent work as HC to Malaysia. She was able to access all top politicians or the dignitaries there and get things done. How ever I do not know when she made the statement that you mentioned. Apart from that she has the qualifications to be HC to London if Sanga turns down the offer.

  30. SA Kumar Says:

    army used chemical weapons Sinhala cartoonist should not get involved in exposing state secrets. !!!

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