“Doctorates” from Colombo, Russia, China and Thailand and the “Doctorate” from Australia

Pursuing genius

(Sunday Times)

My dear Green Man,

I thought of writing to congratulate you when I heard that you had gone Down Under on an official visit where you were also awarded an honorary doctorate. I am wondering how it must feel to have two ‘doctors’ in the same household- although one is not only a doctor but also a professor!

I must admit all this came as a bit of a surprise because we heard about this doctorate business only at the last minute. It came as even more of a surprise when we heard that the doctorate was in law and for your contribution to what they called ‘economic, educational and human resource reforms’.

I can understand why you kept this a secret, Green Man. The last time one of our leaders went to a foreign university and tried to give a speech was when Mahinda maama wanted to address the Oxford Union. He had to cancel that due to ‘security reasons’. You didn’t want a repeat of that, did you?

Pardon me, Green Man, but I am a bit suspicious about people with doctorates related to law. Take a look at GL, for instance. He was first with the Blues, then the Greens, then Blue again and now he is with the ‘other’ Blue camp. After getting your doctorate, I hope you don’t turn out to be like him!

I was also wondering why they chose to give you a doctorate in law. I know you have many achievements to your credit, but I can’t remember you doing much in the field of law. And, you know what, I think someone else heard that you were given a doctorate in law and got a bit jealous!

I know you must be puzzled but let me explain, Green Man. After two long years in office, Maithri dropped a bombshell this week, saying he wanted to reveal a secret. No one had asked him to and he was not even talking to an audience of lawyers – I believe he was opening a hospital somewhere.

Maithri then told us how Mohan had come to see him soon after he took office and promised to ‘do anything’ if he was allowed to occupy the chair he stole from Shirani. Maithri said that was when he realised how the courts had been functioning – and that was when he decided to remove him.

Now, I don’t for a moment doubt what Maithri tells us because that was how we all thought things worked back then. However, for Maithri to suddenly tell us this story now, I think he too wants to be recognised for his ‘services to the law’ and probably wants a doctorate – now that you have got one!

Be that as it may, Green Man, I was wondering why you were suddenly recognised with a doctorate, by a university in Australia at that. What they told us was that you were being recognised for your services to ‘economic, educational and human resource reforms’- and now, I think I know why.

Take your contribution to the economy. I think you have done a lot to popularise our knowledge about the economy. Before you took office, no one knew anything about the economy. Now, even a child studying for the ‘pahey sishyathvey’ knows about Central Bank bonds- ah, what a change that is!

The same goes for our understanding of the tax system. Previously, most people thought ‘VAT’ was a brand of liquor. Now we know that it is a tax and that even the price of an egg hopper is affected by it. So, it is no wonder that they wanted to give you a doctorate for your services to the economy!

They have realised that you have contributed to educational reforms too. Under your watch, you have introduced a new system of school admissions – where ministers hang themselves in the offices of principals to get children admitted. And, when they get to university, most students are on the streets!

As for human resources, who but you could manage to lead a team of ministers of Greens and Blues who are constantly bickering because they hate each other? They have done very little and their numbers keeps growing but you have kept them together, although you promised us a Cabinet of 30!

So, Green Man, your doctorate is richly deserved but you have a long way to go. That is because your good friend Mahinda maama has a better record than you on this score too: he has four doctorates to your one. And just so you know, his doctorates are from Colombo, Russia, China and Thailand!

Yours truly,

Punchi Putha

PS: On your return from Down Under, you need to be careful, Green Man. Who knows, Carlo might say that your doctorate should not be recognised at all and the GMOA might want to know what training you have had to get this degree and claim that you ‘bought’ this degree after paying money! And who knows, Maithri might even appoint a committee to study the issue!