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Beauty and the bounteous beast; Cheerless X’Mas



Cassandra is not only vicious-mouthed but she also has a wickid wickid strain in her brain. She often gloats over others’ justified downward floats.

Beauty gets too avaricious

That spot poetic intro above is a preface to Cass’ sharp comments on Bahraini-Sri Lankan beauty queen turned Bollywood star now being questioned by the Indian police on her intimate link with con-wizard Sukesh Chandrasekhar. The list of gifts she received from the fabulously wealthy rogue and her intimate expression of thanks to him are out for everyone to hear and see. She must have thanked him day and night because his gift-giving was not only to her but to her sis in the US, a car, and two sports cars to her parents in Bahrain. See where beauty of face and form have led Jacqueline Fernandez, on two prongs of publicity: One of coming on top in Bollywood, so full of beauteous, talented home-grown creatures; the other of shame and utter disgrace. Cass supposes she won’t receive much of a punishment by law, only a downgrading worldwide or wherever her name and face are known. (Cannot add fame here.)

She is truly to be looked down upon for being not only a cunning gold digger, willing to sell herself and her soul for magnificent pottage, but she is a liar in the face of the law. She denied knowing anything about Sukesh C, let alone knowing the man himself, but once photographs of her kissing the bearded Johnny appeared, the gifted cat and all were out of the bag and made public. She has now Judas Iscariot-ed herself and agreed to cooperate with the Enforcement Directory in its investigations. The horrendously expensive horse, Siamese cat, Tiffany bracelet, Cartier bangle, diamond earrings, top brand handbags and shoes gifted to her will probably have the conman crucified for acquiring money through vile means.

Will she be able to ride her horse, pet her cat, wear all that stuff and enjoy (as we say) with her conman-endowed family? Maybe. But her reputation is gone with the conman. It was reported that she ran to Salman Khan the moment the conman gossip was whispered. Wonder whether he told his early protégé and whatever else, ‘I’ll be there for you,’ or ‘go lie on the bed you have made for yourself, alone this time’.

Cass does not consider herself defamatory or mean, not at all libellous, in what she has written. She feels justified because here was greed bringing down a woman who could be, and was admired. Pride goeth before a fall. In Jackie’s case pride was joined by avarice, and the notion she was above being toppled from her stardom. We do not want our country to be named when she is spoken of because our country has already earned a stinking name, due to the insatiable greed of most politicos and top bods.

Methinks, Jackie would fit well into the present Cabinet where greed for wealth and material possessions induces snatching whatever opportunity that comes their way. Jeff and Mutt voted a recent gold chain snatcher as fit to be an MP. We all know their reason. It may even come to pass that dethroned from Bollywood, Jackie, hoping to head to Hollywood, may decide to return to her parent’s country to roost and altruistically ‘serve the people’, propelled by young politicians. She may even be nominated outright, slapping the public, as has often been the case before, by inducing a Ministerial sycophant to step down to accommodate her. Other local beauts have made it at the polls. A Cabinet post could be created for her, of Beauty and….(whatever). Better sounding than Minister of Clay and Pottery; shorter than some of the titles of State Ministers!

Applause to graduates

We need to present garlands, and bouquets if women followed their male co-students, to the graduands of the Colombo University whose graduation ceremonies were held at the BMICH. Cass relishes the scene she sees through her third eye of imagination, built on the photograph in the newspapers, of the Colombo University Chancellor, the vociferous monk in robes, also ex-prez of the Nurses Union, seated with scrolls or certificates in hand to present to passing graduands. They did pass him, but without even a passing glance at him. The new graduates descended the stage crowned with pride at expressing their disapproval of the President’s choice of Chancellor. This they achieved with dignity and stupendous impact.

Come to think of it, this monk has not uttered a squeak since his appointment to Chancellorship. Remember how he summoned the media to his temple daily so he could publicly berate the government, the Prez and the Rajapaksa clan? We also remember the stinging slap we, as citizens of this country, felt when his appointment was announced. What diabolical hypocrisy lies covered by a saffron robe, discrediting the entire Bhikkhu Sasana and Buddha Dhamma.

JVP announcement

Almost all the voting public of (un)Free Sree Lanka will applaud the latest JVP proposal of “doing away with MPs’ pensions, maintenance of retired presidents, mansions for ministers, etc.” We do hope the etc includes new vehicles for MPs that turn out to be expensive limos. Of our leaders Dudley S, Kotelawela, W. Dahanayake, D.B Wijetunga and JRJ left office with no material handshake at all. And they were honest (even JRJ personally) and retired to near penury to live on meagre incomes. Not after them. Rampant corruption reared its Medusa head. Those who left the presidency from Premadasa onwards could afford to live fine. Consequently, retired Heads do not need the Treasury to support them. The JVP with this announcement alone will garner thousands, nay millions of votes come the next general election.

How to barely exist

So, many of the Diyawanna folk have gone abroad or to cooler climes for R&R. They hardly need such; it is the farmer, the daily bread earner, the health sector (not GMOA), even the housewife who need R&R, but keep having burdens piled on them, by the government, no less.


Dr. Godahewa smilingly announces in the print media of Wednesday, December 22, that “undue haste in banning agrochemicals caused irreparable damage.” But he diverts the blame from the Prez, weaving a fairytale about “someone’s decision to issue a gazette banning the import of agrochemicals.” Stop smiling Dr. G and catch and hang that someone. Elusive since there is no such someone. Cass heard the Prez announce that chemical fertilisers and pesticides would be banned forthwith and Sri Lanka would be the first country to do so.

A Presidential Committee finds “Change in gas composition main cause of explosions.”

The people responsible, including government top brass, do not seem to comprehend the severity of the issue, let alone commiserate or attempt to alleviate the huge harm done to the public, killing some, injuring others and starving most. The two crimes of fertiliser ban and tampered gas mix in cylinders are unforgivable and demand immediate punishment.

Cass saw pictures of the destruction caused in the Philippines by typhoon Rai. That is enraged Nature reacting to Man’s greedy exploitation and mean manipulation of her resources. It is a natural disaster and we feel great pity. But in our lovely country, more or less spared by nature’s wrath, people suffer due to the country’s own vile men. The suffering is fear of being blown up by a gas cylinder; unaffordable prices of goods and starvation due to reduced harvests. Cass turns Kuveni in her curses, joined by a 20+ million-strong chorus.

In the next breath, she wishes her readers as happy a Christmas season as is possible!

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UK support for govt.’s pragmatic reconciliation process



Lord Ahmad with GL

By Jehan Perera

The government would be relieved by the non-critical assessment by visiting UK Minister for South Asia, United Nations and the Commonwealth, Lord Tariq Ahmad of his visit to Sri Lanka. He has commended the progress Sri Lanka had made in human rights and in other areas as well, such as environmental protection. He has pledged UK support to the country. According to the President’s Media Division “Lord Tariq Ahmad further stated that Sri Lanka will be able to resolve all issues pertaining to human rights by moving forward with a pragmatic approach.” The Minister, who had visited the north and east of the country and met with war-affected persons tweeted that he “emphasised the need for GoSL to make progress on human rights, reconciliation, and justice and accountability.”

Prior to the Minister’s visit, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had announced in Parliament that his government had not violated nor would support “any form of human rights violations.” This was clearly an aspirational statement as the evidence on the ground belies the words. Significantly he also added that “We reject racism. The present government wants to safeguard the dignity and rights of every citizen in this country in a uniform manner. Therefore I urge those politicians who continue to incite people against each other for narrow political gains to stop doing so.” This would be welcome given the past history especially at election time.

The timing of Lord Ahmad’s visit and the statements made regarding human rights suggest that the forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, commencing on February 28, loomed large in the background. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will be presenting a written report on that occasion. A plethora of issues will up for review, including progress on accountability for crimes, missing persons, bringing the Prevention of Terrorism Act in line with international standards, protecting civil society space and treating all people and religions without discrimination.

The UK government has consistently taken a strong position on human rights issues especially in relation to the ethnic conflict and the war which led to large scale human rights violations. The UK has a large Tamil Diaspora who are active in lobbying politicians in that country. As a result some of the UK parliamentarians have taken very critical positions on Sri Lanka. Lord Ahmad’s approach, however, appears to be more on the lines of supporting the government to do the needful with regard to human rights, rather than to condemn it. This would be gratifying to the architects of the government’s international relations and reconciliation process, led by Foreign Minister Prof G L Peiris.


In the coming week the government will be launching a series of events in the North of the country with a plethora of institutions that broadly correspond to the plethora of issues that the UNHRC resolution has identified. War victims and those adversely affected by the post war conditions in the North and livelihood issues that arise from the under-developed conditions in those areas will be provided with an opportunity to access government services through on-the-spot services through mobile clinics. The programme coordinated by the Ministry of Justice called “Adhikaranabhimani” is meant to provide “ameliorated access to justice for people of the Northern Province.”

Beginning with Kilinochchi and Jaffna there will be two-day mobile clinics in which the participating government institutions will be the Legal Aid Commission, Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, Office for Reparations, Office on Missing Persons, Department of Debt Conciliation Board and the Vocational Training Authority to mention some of them. Whether it is by revising 60 laws simultaneously and setting up participatory committees of lawyers and state officials or in now launching the “Adhikaranabhimani” Justice Minister Ali Sabry has shown skill at large scale mobilisation that needs to be sustained. It is to be hoped that rather than treating them as passive recipients, the governmental service providers will make efforts to fulfill their need for justice, which means that the needs of victims and their expectations are heard and acknowledged.

It will also be important for the government to ensure that these activities continue in the longer term. They need to take place not only before the Geneva sessions in March but also continue after them. The conducting of two-day mobile clinics, although it will send a message of responsiveness, will only be able to reach a few of the needy population. The need is for infusing an ethic of responsiveness into the entirety of the government’s administrative machinery in dealing with those problems that reaches all levels, encompassing villages, divisions, districts and provinces, not to mention the heart of government at the central level.

The government’s activities now planned at the local level will draw on civil society and NGO participation which is already happening. Government officials are permitting their subordinate officials to participate in inter-ethnic and inter religious initiatives. It is in their interest to do so as they would not wish to have inter-community conflicts escalate in their areas which, in the past, have led to destruction of property and life. They also have an interest in strengthening their own capacities to understand the underlying issues and developing the capacity to handle tensions that may arise through non-coercive methods.


Many of the institutions that the government has on display and which are going to the North to provide mobile services were established during the period of the previous government. However, they were not operationalized in the manner envisaged due to political opposition. Given the potency of nationalism in the country, especially where it concerns the ethnic conflict, it will be necessary for the government to seek to develop a wide consensus on the reconciliation process. The new constitution that is being developed may deal with these issues and heed the aspirations of the minorities, but till that time the provincial council system needs to be reactivated through elections.

Sooner rather than later, the government needs to deal with the core issue of inter-ethnic power sharing. The war arose because Sinhalese politicians and administrators took decisions that led to disadvantaging of minorities on the ground. There will be no getting away from the need to reestablish the elected provincial council system in which the elected representatives of the people in each province are provided with the necessary powers to take decisions regarding the province. In particular, the provincial administrations of the Northern and Eastern provinces, where the ethnic and religious minorities form provincial majorities, need to be reflective of those populations.

At the present time, the elected provincial councils are not operational and so the provincial administration is headed by central appointees who are less likely to be representative of the sentiments and priorities of the people of those provinces. In the east for instance, when Sinhalese encroach on state land the authorities show a blind eye, but when Tamils or Muslims do it they are arrested or evicted from the land. This has caused a lot of bitterness in the east, which appears to have evaded the attention of the visiting UK minister as he made no mention of such causes for concern in his public utterances. His emphasis on pragmatism may stem from the observation that words need to be converted to deeds.

A video put out by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office confirms a positive approach with regard to engaging with the Sri Lankan government. In it Lord Ahmad says “the last three days illustrated to me that we can come together and we can build a constructive relationship beyond what are today with Sri Lanka. We can discuss the issues of difference and challenge in a candid but constructive fashion.” Lord Ahmad’s aspiration for UK-Sri Lankan relations needs to be replicated nationally in government-opposition relations, including the minority parties, which is the missing dimension at the present time.

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Yohani…teaming up with Rajiv and The Clan



I know many of you, on reading this headline, would say ‘What?’

Relax. Yohani, of ‘Manike Mage Hithe’ fame, is very much a part of the group Lunu.

But…in February, she will be doing things, differently, and that is where Rajiv and the Clan come into the scene.

Rajiv and his band will be embarking on a foreign assignment that will take them to Dubai and Oman, and Yohani, as well as Falan, will be a part of the setup – as guest artistes.

The Dubai scene is not new to Yohani – she has performed twice before, in that part of the world, with her band Lunu – but this would be her first trip, to Oman, as a performer.

However, it will be the very first time that Yohani will be doing her thing with Rajiv and The Clan – live on stage.

In the not too distant past, Rajiv worked on a track for Yohani that also became a big hit. Remember ‘Haal Massa?’

“She has never been a part of our scene, performing as a guest artiste, so we are all looking forward to doing, it in a special way, during our three-gig, two-country tour,” says Rajiv.

Their first stop will be Dubai, on February 5th, for a private party, open-air gig, followed by another two open-air, private party gigs, in Oman – on February 10th and 11th.

Another attraction, I’m told, will be Satheeshan, the original rapper of ‘Manike Mage Hithe.’

He will also be a part of this tour (his first overseas outing) and that certainly would create a lot of excitement, and add that extra sparkle, especially when he comes into the scene for ‘Manike Mage Hithe.’

Yohani and her band, Lunu, last performed in Dubai, a couple of months back, and Satheeshan, they say, was the missing link when she did her mega internet hit song – live, on stage.

There was a crowd to catch her in action but it wasn’t a mind-blowing experience – according to reports coming our way.

A live performance, on stage, is a totally different setup to what one sees on social media, YouTube, etc.

I guess music lovers, here, would also welcome a truly live performance by Yohani de Silva.

In the meanwhile, I’m also told that Rajiv Sebastian plans to release some songs of the late Desmond de Silva which he and Desmond have worked on, over the years.

According to Rajiv, at this point in time, there is material for four albums!

He also mentioned that he and his band have quite a few interesting overseas assignments, lined up, over the next few months, but they have got to keep their fingers crossed…hoping that the Omicron virus wouldn’t spike further.

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Multi-talented, indeed…



Thamesha Herath (back row – centre) and her disciples (students)

We all know Trishelle as the female vocalist of Sohan & The X-Periments, so, obviously it came to me as a surprise when it was mentioned that she is a highly qualified Bharatanatyam dancer, as well.

What’s more, she has been learning the skills of Bharatanatyam, since her kid days!

And, to prove that she is no novice, where this highly technical dance form is concerned, Trishelle, and the disciples (students) of State Dance Award winning Bhartanatyam Guru, Nritya Visharad Bhashini, Thamesha Herath, will be seen in action, on January 29th, at 4.00 pm, at the Ave Maria Auditorium, Negombo.

Said to be the biggest event in Bharatanatyam, this Arangethram Kalaeli concert will bring into the spotlight Avindu, Sithija, Mishaami, Nakshani, Venushi, Veenadi, Amanda, Sakuni, Kawisha, Tishaani, Thrishala (Trishelle), Sarithya, Hewani, Senuri, Deanne and Wasana.

In addition to her singing, and dancing skills, Trishelle has two other qualifications – Bachelor in Biomedical Science, and Master in Counselling Psychology.

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