23 September 2014

The true confessions of Mahinda Rajapaksa and Xi Jinping

President Xi Jinping of China came to town.  He was accorded a splendid welcome and one might even say ‘unlike any given to any head of state in recent times’.  China, after all, does not interfere in the way India, the USA and other Western countries do (all the time).  China means business, literally, whereas the other countries mentioned prefer playing politics thinking perhaps that this would make business easier.  In the end, it’s business as usual, outsiders walking in, taking whatever they can, creating markets for their products and services and generally walking out with a lot of bucks. 

If it’s all the same then ‘small mercies’ are what tilt the scales in favor of one or more over the rest.  China leaves well alone.  That’s not what India does.   That’s not what the USA does.  Both these countries don’t have a moral leg to stand on and yet they talk as though they not only walk straight but can best Usain Bolt in a 100m dash.  No wonder the regime calls India a ‘friend’ but considers China a bosom buddy. 

So Xi Jinping came. He met his counterpart, Mahinda Rajapaksa. The two talked.  We believe that they also chit-chatted in a parallel universe.  Here’s how that conversation went.

‘So Mahinda…may I call you Mahinda?’ Xi began and the Sri Lankan President guffawed and said 
‘See Xi, it’s a privilege for me to be on first-name basis with you, but I thought the correct word was “comrade”!’

‘We have moved on, Mahinda.’

‘Of course, of course, I see, I see, Xi.’

The two cut to the chase thereafter.

‘See, Xi, what’s easy about working with China is everything is clear and upfront.  You call things by their name.  There’s no beating around the bush.  You want something, you ask for it; we want something, you give it.  It’s not so with India.  It’s worse with the USA.’

‘Really?  Can you elaborate?’

‘Well, they use a carrot and stick method; they try the do-this-or-else method.  With them there’s what’s said and what’s unsaid and no amount of translators and interpreters can decipher what’s what. ‘

‘Yes, that’s true.  Now we want business and we mean business.  We want contracts and we talk contracts.  We want a foothold and we are prepared to pay for it.’

‘That’s the thing.  It’s easy.  Upfront.  The ganudenuva is neat. Clean. No frills.’

‘What’s gaanudunuzhingzhingzhing?’

‘Ah sorry Xi.  I forgot that you don’t know Sinhala.  But don’t worry, very soon we’ll all be speaking Chinese!  It means give and take.’

‘Ah!  I see.  So is everything ok?’

‘Couldn’t be better!’

Xi just smiled and said ‘You seem pleased and it pleases me, Mahinda!’

‘You don’t know how thrilled I am.  With you as my friend, I can do anything.  You know, I even reduced fuel prices and reduced electricity tariffs!’

‘What?  What has that got to do with my visit?’

‘Well, it has to do with the Uva election, really, but I felt so good and you being here boosted my confidence so much I just felt like going overboard!’

‘Mahinda, you are crazy!’

‘Xi, that’s the thing about me.  I do what people least expect me to do.  But I am no fool.  I am not asking you to fund an election campaign or give a grant that I can distribute among the people so they’ll vote for me or my party.  But what people don’t realize is that the very fact that you are here will worry India so much that they’ll want to do something more than what you’ve done.  Modi will be dying to visit Sri Lanka.’

‘Mahinda, you are a genius!’

Just then the phone rang and a presidential aide announced, ‘Your Excellency, a call from Delhi.’

‘Tell that I can’t talk now because I am in the middle of a serious meeting with President Xi Jinping!’

‘Mahinda, you rascal, you!’ said Xi shaking with laughter.

*All this in parallel universe of course. 



T.Knd said...

I wouldn't be surprised if they conversed that way! Only part different is that reduction of the gas prices wouldn't affect Uva PC for the most of the part given that people wouldn't reap its benefits within 3 days. That is more of a midterm plan which may get its results on the next general election for instance.
Brilliant work and very plausible!