Hopper theory applied to Ravi K
Posted on February 3rd, 2018

by C.A.Chandraprema Courtesy The Island

The 70th anniversary of our independence is being celebrated today in less than satisfactory circumstances. Firstly, the whole country is in turmoil with an unstable government, a dysfunctional administration and a debt burdened economy. The unrest in the country is visible on the streets and on top of all that the country is in the middle of an election. The invitation of members of the British Royal family for the 70th anniversary of our independence may be seen by some as singularly inappropriate and this was being made fun of by a document purportedly issued by a “Welcome Committee of British Royals” to Sri Lankans on how to conduct themselves before the royal couple. Men were instructed to be always attired in tie and jacket in the presence of the royals, to abstain from wearing any head gear in their presence, to avoid being seated while they are standing, or speaking loudly in their presence. Men were instructed to bow in their presence and women to curtsy in the old colonial fashion.

The natives were also instructed never to touch the royals as this was a punishable crime. When this authentic looking document first appeared on several websites, the government rushed to disown it and say that it was a fabrication. Even though the government says it was a fabrication the lingering suspicion remains that it may have been authentic because it seems to be so in keeping with the character of the present day government. This is a country where our son of the soil President from Polonnaruwa met the Queen and came back to tell the awestruck yahapalana natives that the Queen had deigned to shake hands with him with her gloves off! This was soon followed up with a photograph of Mrs. Sirisena the first lady curtsying in the colonial fashion before the Queen in exactly the same way as instructed in this purported fabricated document. So despite the government denials it will be very difficult to dispel the suspicion that document was authentic.

Be that as it may, this document did provide the country with some comic relief in trying times. Even though the invitation of British royals for the 70th anniversary of our independence will be the butt of jokes for a long time to come, it as to be said in all fairness to the British royal family that this country was better governed under the British than it is now under the natives. Another matter related to the 70th anniversary celebrations of our independence that was made fun of over the social media were rehearsals for the ‘laptop dance’ – girls dancing with laptops – that was to feature in today’s parade. This could not be denied by the government because there were videos of the rehearsals. Trust this government to always make the wrong gesture at the right time. What kind of a mind can conjure up a laptop dance? This was no different to trying to sing ‘Danno Budunge’ in Western operatic style at a previous Independence Day event.

Ravi K gets a hopper feed

Ravi Karunanayke, the beleaguered Assistant Leader of the UNP suffered another serious setback to his political career last week when his party asked him to step down from his party positions until he was cleared of the charges which emerged against him as a by-product of the bond commission hearings. There would naturally be many people in the party who would hold that Ravi Karuanayake was now a liability to the party because giving him nominations next time, would expose the entire party to a barrage of negative propaganda that they could ill afford. While such a reaction is natural and only to be expected, there is an element of scapegoating in all this. If it stopped at simply asking him to resign because the charges against him were causing embarrassment to the government and the party, that may perhaps have been ok because such things do happen in politics.

But today, President Maithripala Sirisena, the very man who Ravi K did so much to bring into power, actually accuses former President Mahinda Rajapaksa of not having come to vote against Ravi K at the no confidence motion against him! Ravi K is now such a pariah to this President that anyone who does not vote against Ravi is an enemy of the people! Now we see the President going around the country telling the public that he had told Ranil Wickremesinghe not to make Ravi K the minister of finance but that the PM had not listened to him. Ravi K is now learning the hard way that if you lay with dogs, you will have to inevitably get up with fleas. A man who could betray his party and colleagues of 40 years will think nothing of betraying his colleagues of less than 40 months. Apart from Managala Samaraweera, who does not have much say within the UNP, it was Ravi K who was most instrumental in persuading Ranil to step aside in favour of a common candidate.

It has been stated by two yahapalana websites Lanka e News and Lanka News Web that it was Ravi K who gave the Maithripala Sirisena campaign its first Rs, 50 million when they were without any funds during the first few days. The websites said that at that time nobody had asked him where he got that money from. To this day, the only things the yahapalana government has to show for its three years in power are the economically disastrous but popular steps taken by Ravi K such as increasing the salaries of government employees by Rs 10,000, reducing the prices of fuel, gas etcetera. While the yahapalana government claims the credit for what Ravi K did against better economic counsel they now shun him as a liability. While having increased government salaries and reduced the price of fuel as promised in Maithripala Sirsena’s presidential election manifesto in order to pave the way for the yahapalana side to win the 2015 August parliamentary election, it was Ravi K himself who had to clean up the mess by increasing VAT and all other taxes to meet the extra government expenditure.

Needless to say, even though increased salaries and lower fuel prices were popular, increased taxes were not. So yahapalana speakers openly claim credit for the former and pass the latter off on Ravi K. After Ravi K was made to resign his portfolio, this writer heard one yahapalana MP stating that the increase in VAT and other taxes had made the government unpopular and that Ravi K was to blame! What we are seeing here is the kind of betrayal that one reads of only in Jathaka tales. The Jathaka tales were meant for moral instruction with both villainy and goodness being exaggerated to bring home a point. However, the kind of betrayal and villainy that we are seeing with regard to Ravi K in real life outdoes anything in the Jathaka tales.

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