Ali Baba at Cricket and Politics

Gomin Dayasiri, Daily Mirror

Cricket did not bring fame and shame, as ousting terrorism did, by the euphoria and despair that followed. Cricket is a ‘small–time’ game played earnestly by eight nations, while most people on planet earth face lethal terrorism – overcame it by getting the act right, ignoring advice from roaming busybodies presently recipients of smaller doses and reacting worse than the long suffered locals. Triumph at cricket brings satisfaction to all residents in this island; defeated were not amongst the persons blacklisted as the LTTE or JVP- gives it a more universal appeal.

Ironically, Northerners at the receiving end of toxic terrorism never applauded the then leadership for getting rid of an enemy within. Instead Northerners rightly cursed: understandable – they were herded into barb wired security zones under the control of armed military men – life under the LTTE being their own boys was preferable- yet Northerners stand up to vote for Fonseka; mind you, staying away from the polling booth was an option not exercised. Leaves a sour note as to who are the northerners trying to punish? Themselves – Unless they join the mainstream and search for a lasting solution acceptable to all. Problem is in the North: Answer has to be found in the majority South.

Northerners believed that “little by little advancement” is the route to success, now asks for more and more without giving anything in return. That is ‘not cricket’ for the south, except for a few left behind leftists that spend their virtual retirement in the UNP.

Politicians need not make proper declarations to relevant authorities that enables looted assets from surfacing, frequent foreign travel and high class living abroad at public expense including entertaining friends and relations, acquiring hidden assets like vehicles and land as freebies

Watching cricket at Serpentine Road (Colombo Oval) and Maitland Crescent [SSC] reveal much from the days when cricket was played eagerly on ethnic lines segregated by clubs [Moors Sports Club, Tamil Union, Sinhalese Sports Club, Burgher Recreation Club] as was in British India. It was worse in India, played cricket as ethnic communities passing off as Parsees, Hindus, Muslims and Europeans – strengthening the divide and rule concept conceived by the British. None complained in an era when Human Rights was not in vogue, ultimate sophistication came from such as F.C. de Saram, B.R. Heyn or Dr. Rajan Chanmugam, secure in their club settings; still would not subscribe to outfits like Centre for Policy Alternatives, which turns a deaf ear unless there is a cash flow in a project.

Would a great liberal like Kumar Sangakkara (alienated accent for a lad locally educated with a permanent Sri Lankan address is harder on the ear than Michael Atherton’s authentic Cambridge flow!) permit cricket be compartmentalized on an ethnic divide or is it a genuine desire not to rock the boat by asking the clubs to make name changes while keeping membership doors wide open to all communities. Allow the old order remain it is tolerable.

Indeed shocked by the conduct of the local chapters of the ISIS or BBS – If Asath Sally or Wimal Weerawansa spoke English with a tidy accent would they be less misunderstood by the ‘so-called’ elite! No longer does the elite rule in cricket or politics.

Central Banks’ Bond Scam is a result of weak politicians being in poor company while watching friends enjoy the spin – offs of the free economy

Where would Chandika Haturusinghe have been, if not for playing cricket at the Tamil Union when his own school Ananda did not deem him fit for a place in the first XI before being picked for the junior national team? While SSC voted against their own club captain Arjuna Ranatunga (at a time not in politics) while the Tamil Union voted for him at the SLC elections. Was the Tamil Union punished for being genuinely cricket addicted? Surely officers of the past at the SSC, like Sir John Kotelawala or Dr. Oliver Medonza would rather opt to repair to the adjoining club (NCC) to have a quiet drink with a left leaning cricket loving Dr. N.M. Perera.

Getting back to base: has Ali Baba morphed into a fully-grown Rogue Elephant? Central Banks’ Bond Scam is a result of weak politicians being in poor company while watching friends enjoy the spin – offs of the free economy. That pales into insignificance, as these business hacks provide the politicians the needed luxuries – seeking privileges while lolling in the homes of politicians, having access to them and name-drops to gain social acceptability. Are they oscillating seeking no kickbacks?

What made rich politicians poor in the past while today – most not all – politicians are living amidst supreme comforts beyond their means? Answer is in the multiple –(a) Land Reform Commission laws restricted land to 50 acres, sending many rich land-owning politicians out of the arena. Agricultural land – owners were the mainstay in the then political structure, kept politics clean by selling land to run their fiefdoms – many preferred earning a name of a bankrupt than be called a scoundrel. (b) Perks and perquisites being the reverse benefit of being in new politics enables them to lead unaccustomed life styles. Politicians need not make proper declarations to relevant authorities that enables looted assets from surfacing, frequent foreign travel and high class living abroad at public expense including entertaining friends and relations – not affordable on home incomes and acquiring hidden assets like vehicles and land as freebies.

Is the Opposition spending time at the FCID by daylight and colluding with the government under floodlight? For their respective survival – Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa: must keep the other in a leadership position to make themselves look better? Imagine a situation where would either be placed, if the UNP/Joint Opposition welcomes a new comer for the leadership role? Rajapaksa or Wickremesinghe will have to step down from a side door for the want of a change in their party; remaining unchanged is to stay in contention at a coming election. The Tom and Gerry Show must go on.

Premier Wickremesinghe is a sure loser as he tries to unwind a manifesto for the next election incorporating contents that sure will not appeal to the voters in the south. He is out of touch with the aspirations of the common man. No hope for him, if he tries to usher political reform through the constitutional process that will rewind the people to make the centre still stronger on the rebound. He is a major cause for the rise and fall of the UNP. The only leader whose financial integrity is untouched in parliament is from the TNA.

In Sri Lanka politics evolve around personalities with no principles and the voters revolve around these personalities on a denial of options. Country is economically travelling downhill with or without GST; good people know the futility in entering politics for it’s a hellhole for the rightful decent

In Sri Lanka politics evolve around personalities with no principles and the voters revolve around these personalities on a denial of options. Country is economically travelling downhill with or without GST; good people know the futility in entering politics for it’s a hellhole for the rightful decent. Most don’t want to join bad company and live a life of shame and be ostracised by their peers behind their backs, and be deemed a ‘scoundrel’ whether in power or otherwise? Blame the people: not the politicians alone for not catching the worst of the errant by the scruff of their necks and throwing them out of politics. Instead People cheer them on day one and jeer them on day two: throw them out only to bring them back. Whatever the politicians do or dooms-day specialists say – our economy will not crash as we live in a resilient society amongst stoic people in a flexible environ. We may fall but never will crash.

Cricket and Democracy are the twin treasured legacies left behind by the colonialists. Cricket is criticized, that it westernises unconsciously the way of life of the people more than by all the readings of the Bible made by missionaries of yore. Rubbish: does not happen that way, political change came in 1956, 2009 and 2015 to Sri Lanka notwithstanding the presence of cricket in its many ways.

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