| by Gamini Weerakoon
( January 08, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Nikang Kangkendiriya B.A. (Unemployed) was in a deep depression. ‘Tell me uncle, the best way of committing suicide’, he asked.
How I became his uncle, I am completely unaware of, but in these days men with grey stubble on their chin and women with missing teeth keep ‘uncle-ing’ me. I let Nikang’s reference to his claimed relationship to me pass without comment.
‘I have not attempted to commit suicide and if I had successfully done so, I wouldn’t be here to advise you’, I pointed out but Nikang was not in a mood for humour or logic. The poor fellow needed counselling.
Prepare for the future
‘In our formative years, we must prepare ourselves to meet the challenges when we are adults. Tell me whether you learnt to play cricket in your early years because today cricketers are the best paid professionals.
Did I play cricket in my early years? I played with ‘pol pitthi’ bat and ‘kaduru’ balls in the ‘gamme’ (village) school with stolen bats and tennis balls in the middle school and with real bats and leather balls in the upper school, claimed Nikang.
But did your father help you? We mean standing the cricket coach drinks and all that? Nikang got angry. ‘My father contributed Rs 10,000 for the principal’s car, bought enough drinks for the coach daily, so much so that the coach got cirrhosis and my father too developed liver complications.
Fortunately, the coach died after I got into the 1st X1 and my father recovered. On leaving school I joined a club and did fairly well, scored a century or two but these ‘gamme’ boys now in ‘tie-pie’ who are the selectors, ignored me’’. I could not pull any strings, I had no political catcher to promote me. I am a revolutionary JVP type… Anyway I don’t want to be a cricketer now,’ Nikang declared.
Nikang’s decision to give up cricket was because his information was that cricketers are not paid their full salaries regularly, no bonus last year. Cricketers are ‘Clean suit empty pocket’ and those ‘tie-pie’ types in the cricket administration are pick pocketing cricketers, he contended.
But there is now a new Board of Control appointed, will things will improve? ‘Aiyo, what for the telling, laughing also coming. Same arrack in new bottles no?’ was Nikang’s verdict.
Join the Army
Then, why don’t you join the Army? You will be on top of the pops. Rana Viru and all that. Salt of the Earth our lords who think they own our earth?
‘Aiyo, no’, screamed Nikang.They will put me into the scavenging section of the CMC and call me Environmental Research Officer or something like that. Besides I am a revolutionary. I have hundreds cheering me at the Fort Railway Station car park and at Lipton Circus. I in the army would be like giving ‘Kassata Kos Atta’ ( Dried Jak seeds for Coughs).
If that’s not OK, why not continue with your education and go for a PhD – even though they now call the PhD, Pingang Hodena Degree (Dish Washing Degree).You can be a university don enjoying all the perks.
‘What perks?’ asks Nikang. Every week the dons are pleading for better salaries. They can afford to give military training to unwilling undergrads but can’t give a decent salary to university teachers.
A brainwave came to me. Nikang why not be a private ‘tuition teacher’—a ‘Tuition Sir’. Plenty of prospects. There is one such cabinet minister right now.There is also an international tuition mudalali looking over private tutories with Cabinet rank. Besides the potential of the Thathvaya (status) just imagine: a single class of 100 students paying Rs 50 per hour would be equivalent to Rs 5000 per hour—matching the rates of medical mudalalies in private hospitals and even the black coated Hultsdorp gentlemen.
Nikang rejected the proposal. ‘I am a revolutionary. I give lessons on Marx, Lenin, Engels, Trotsky, Che Guevara and others free’. I will never charge for teaching.
Be a dissident
What about being a politician? Be a JVP dissident or even a UNP dissident.
‘Chekay, Chekay’ says Nikang. JVP dissidents are said to be Rajapaksa party inspired. UNP dissidents are said to be Mahinda Rajapaksa inspired.
Then are all dissidents Rajapaksa inspired? Of course says Nikang.Look at some in the Rajapaksa frontline: Sarath Amunugama, G. L. Pieris, Mahinda Samarasinghe, S. B. Dissanayake, Rajitha Senaratne, Bandula Gunawardena, Keheliya Rambukwelle, Johnny Fernando, Gamini Lokuge etc., etc., etc. and from the JVP Wimal Weerawansa. Soon Rajapaksa will be swamped by UNP dissidents and Ranil may one day take control of the UPFA because most of the UNP dissidents have not severed the umbilical cord with their former party.
Be the president
Nikang was becoming impossible. So we suggested: ‘Why don’t you prepare to contest as the executive president? You can visit temples every day carrying trays of jasmines and being blessed by the Sangha under the glare of state TV lights, appear on state TV daily and front pages of ‘Fake House’ publications and other former independent publications that have caved in, gobble kiributh and kavun as much as you like, pack a Mihin Lanka plane with friends and cronies to any country you wish to, hob-nob with world leaders and genuine royalty, blackguard the West for Chinese funds to flow in, stay in the best hotels in the world at state expense with so many other perks What better job can you get? You can contest as an Independent like Wickremabahu and be free of party shackles.
Nikang refused. I will never want to be president because I have so many brothers, cousins, nephews, nieces and the like and they will come flocking in from all corners of the globe when I win. They will begin squabbling for ministerial posts, ambassadorial and even judicial appointments. I will not appoint friends or relations to any important post in the government Nikang vowed.
‘So if you don’t accept any of these suggestions what will you do?’ We asked in exasperation.
I have been thinking about it and I have decided to sit the GCE-AL Examination again even though I have a university degree. Maybe I sit for subjects like political science, home science, art and Sinhala and I will get four A’s in Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Biology like what happened recently. Then I will apply for foreign scholarships and when I get one vamoose from this country for ever.