10 September 2011

Malinda Seneviratne - next president of Sri Lanka

I am un-common, not in the sense that I am a rare creature, but I stand in opposition to the notion of a ‘common candidate’ or a candidate that professes a love for a collective and pledges to alleviate some or all of their miseries. I am ‘un-common’ then in that I am not common or, more precisely, not about ‘common’. I am, in other words, about me. About myself.

I am in this not for nation, not for that amorphous entity that is frequently prostituted on the political stage called ‘the people’. I am in this for the benefits that would accrue to me if elected President of Sri Lanka.

I am convinced that I am the ultimate ‘real deal’ because I promise nothing to those who have the right to vote. I am not interested in doing them any favours. I am in this race because I want power. Plain and simple.

I want power, but I don’t want money. I don’t want a salary because I earn a decent enough income by writing to newspapers. I don’t have a steady job but I am not unemployed. I don’t need bodyguards because I don’t believe I would be a threat to anyone.

I am not in this to correct institutional flaws and deliver better governance arrangements. Frankly, I wouldn’t know how to go about it. I am not in this to develop the country. I think that if the country is left alone, it will figure out a decent and better way of improving the lot of the people.

That, however, is something that people should worry about. Not my job, not my purpose.

I am not interested in bringing down the cost of living. I just adjust my consumption patterns to tide over hard times but I am not recommending this to anyone. I am not interested in resolving the unemployment problem. I am a beneficiary of free education, free health and all kinds of subsidies. I’ve been mollycoddled enough by the people and although I don’t have a permanent job, no EPF or ETF, I think I am a big boy and don’t have a moral right to demand a job. Therefore, I don’t see why I should worry about providing job opportunities.

Am I concerned about things like sovereignty, territorial integrity and democracy? Well, yes, but I worry enough about such things already. I don’t want to include these things in my manifesto.

Let me reiterate: I am in this for myself. There are things I want to do which I believe I could do if I were President. Here goes:

In my life, I’ve loved, I’ve clowned around, done certain things, not done other things, have encountered the ata lo dahama in various forms at various times, seen certain things, heard things, tasted and touched. There’s a universe that is totally foreign to me but I don’t lose any sleep over this fact.

I have things to say. There are things I want to tell other people. I do this by writing to newspapers and talking to people I encounter, some known some unknown, some in specific contexts and some thanks to randomness. Not enough for me.

I am tired and need to retire, but before I do, I want to tell as many people as I can all that I need to say. Yes, it is about me. I can’t count on random people randomly reading what I write in newspapers now and then. I want to do it all in one go.

Promise No 1

My purpose then, is to become President so I can address the nation on national television (all channels if possible) on 12 occasions in the course of 6 weeks. I can’t think of any other way to reach the kinds of numbers I would capture in such a short period of time. I believe this would only be possible if I became the President of this country.

The following are the questions that I will reflect on when I address the nation once I become President:

1. Didn’t you know that the revolution begins with poetry and that it ends with the abandonment of love?

2. Does the season of illusion end with a thunderclap or is it gnawed away slowly by the rodents of doubt?

3. Do skyscrapers exchange knowing glances or raise eyebrows about rats and embezzlement that live and die in their stomachs?

4. When the mountain asked the river, ‘what did you do to my children?’ did the river reply, ‘I took them to their grandparents?’

5. Did the night notice how the mirror looked at you while you were asleep, and how the shoes took a walk wearing your skin?

6. When we wear the clothes that are demanded of us, do we stuff our unhappy skins in a trash can or turn them into drums beaten to unfamiliar rhythms?

7. If the insults and humiliations of all time were woven into a cloth would not the tapestry wrap the earth many times over?

8. If the world’s nostalgia were amalgamated and given tangible form, would we obtain paradise or an aberration we will never embrace?

9. If all the short change in short-changed transactions were gathered would we still have enough to satiate the world’s greed for all time?

10. Is eternity a lamp with a purple flame or is it trapped in a matchstick that will not ignite?

11. If the grape is made of wine; am I made of you?

12. Do I find myself somewhere among the pages I’ve spilled ink on or when my words demand the freedom to return to their sources?

Promise No 2

I will resign the moment I finish my 12-hour tele-drama, if I may call it that. I would, by this time, have arranged for my closest rival to be made Prime Minister. He will most likely replace me at the point of my resignation. I will then retire to grow vegetables and write poetry that will never get published.

Asset declaration
I have Rs 1,700 in the SANASA Development Bank as of November 17, 2009 (and a cheque for Rs 12,000 that I am yet to deposit). I own Rs 100,000 worth of shares in the same bank. I own a 52 perch block of land with a three-bedroom house in Polgasowita (purchased through a bank loan that will hopefully be repaid by the year 2022), three beds, four cupboards, a dining table and few other household items jointly with Ms. Samadanie Kiriwandeniya, some books, a laptop, some clothes, a toothbrush and a razor.

Symbol, colour, campaign slogan etc:
I will contest as an independent and will try to secure the symbol  ‘mirror’.  
My colour will be ‘colourless’.
My campaign slogan, Mama venuwen mama (I for myself).

My name, by the way, is Malinda Seneviratne: the un-common presidential candidate

Courtesy: Daily News - 18 November, 2009


Anonymous said...

You are an agent of the Rajapakse regime, supporting Sinhala Buddhist Aparthied regime and nothing else.

You cannot trust anyone inlcuding UN, US and similarly Tamils cannot truth the Sinhala racists.

Please demand for an International independent investigation t find the truth as the sri Lankan regime is not capable of investigating independently.

Malinda Seneviratne said...

At least I have the guts to write under my own name and darling, I love you...how can I not, having got under your skin! Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Thought some big shot in TV or a university Don was more becoming. More perks, less headaches, probably lasts longer and you can say more in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Haha. Funny article. But it’s about trailblazers therefore all the very best.