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Saturday, 1 June 2013






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A local newspaper columnist recently highlighted the sacking of the U.S Internal Revenue Service (IRS) chief and admonished Sri Lankan powers-that-be to behave the same way, and not allow any witch-hunts against political opponents. Apparently the U.S IRS head, Mr. Steven Miller, had deployed the powers of his office to ensnare erring members of the Republican opposition. Our columnist, a Colombo lawyer, stated that in Sri Lanka there is a breakdown in law enforcement, and some amount of State encouragement for public officials to persecute those who are opposed to the government.

The U.S as the fountainhead of all virtue -- now that's a familiar refrain, if ever there was one! The U.S system is supposed to be squeaky clean and streamlined, and functional in the manner of a well oiled machine. If this was true, the sun would probably be rising from the West tomorrow, and it's worth the simple question why.

When there was a meltdown on Wall Street and a resultant financial crisis that generally hit the poor with home mortgages etc., U.S President Barack Obama vowed to cleanse the system. He was elected for precisely that essentially in his first term -- the joke was that 'they hire the blacks all the time to do the dirty work'. The situation was that dire.

Barack Obama promptly went on to swell the ranks of his Treasury with precisely the same folk that caused the Wall Street collapse in the first place. Timothy Geitner and the rest of the team, had worked for and benefited immensely, and sometimes dubiously, the fat cat companies such as Goldman Sachs that were deemed 'too big to fail.'

Notwithstanding the glaring conflict of interests, these people were appointed - and they were responsible for the bailout that got these 'too big to fail' concerns out of bankruptcy and imminent collapse.

The poor and the affected got nothing -- or next to nothing. Obama's appointment of regulators right from within the ranks of the culprits that caused the meltdown, was unprecedented.

Yet, the Ravi Pereras that are our columnists this day and age, are blissfully ignorant of these realities. They say we should look to the U.S -- and no doubt the rest of the 'wholesome and well regulated Western economies', in order to build our model!

Quaint, this monumental ignorance, and this phenomenal desire to deify the white skin, and genuflect before the altar of 'Western good governance.'!

Correct -- everything is not working to clockwork precision in this country, in terms of regulation, enforcement, and general good governance. But, show us where it works like that - certainly, it cannot be anywhere on this planet.

But it suits the narrative of the Western educated, and the shrill Colombo opinion makers on the make to make us believe that there is somehow, particularly now, a gigantic failure in our systems in place of good governance, regulation and law enforcement.

Most of these people fond of such theses, want regime change anyway -- they feel left out, in the main because their favourite party representing the business oligarchy is not in power.

What can anybody do about it? Does it mean that they can pretend that the system does not work and shout out from the rooftops about it, and make the people believe what's patently false?

Granted that the 'system' needs repair in some places, and that there is much that's wanting in certain areas of governance and administration -- but this is the citizens' existential reality in most countries with a comparable history of being under colonial rule, that are incrementally coming out of a period of administrative malaise.

But these things will change. They need time. But to believe that there are pure and effective systems in the West which we ought to emulate here, is such a lot of servile, unrealistic nonsense. Sometimes, the systems we are told to emulate are the most rotten, with the corruption so subtle that it's almost too hard to discern. If somebody wants to give this country an example of good governance and administrative accountability, in any case, he would have to find a better example than the United States!

On My Watch

President completes 43 years in politics:

New Bonds of Sino-Lanka Friendship

The completion of 43 years in politics is no easy achievement, and President Mahinda Rajapaksa who reached this milestone in his career on Monday 27, found himself in the marking this event amidst of the biggest show of friendship by China, the new economic giant in the world. It was a memorable way to mark an important anniversary,

Full Story

Under Sri Lanka’s Big Roof

From 1958 to 1966 Plesner was the chief architectural partner of Bawa (1919–2003), the master builder of mixed Sri Lankan Muslim and European ancestry who has become a cult figure to those who believe that the lessons of the Modern Movement should be more sensitively adapted to indigenous cultural traditions. Along with his own estate and a large number of other private houses, Bawa designed some fifteen hotels throughout Southeast Asia that were hugely influential in showing how tropical resort architecture could move away from generic Hiltonism without recourse to kitschy folklorism

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