05 January 2015

Have a free lunch on Election Day!


There’s going to be an election, we hear.  A presidential election.  A few days from now, if I remember right.  So the question is, what do we, as Kolombians, do on Election Day?  Some ideas crossed my mind, but before I get to them let me make some preliminary comments on this election.  From a Kolombian point of view of course. 

Do we really care?  No.  Not at all.  If this nation is a feudal estate, we are the lords and ladies.  The rest are serfs.  They do the hard work, we reap the rewards.  It’s as simple as that.  This is why I now feel that we have executed a fantastic coup, considering that there’s no Kolombian contesting but our interests are safe because the contestants will take care of them.  They have to sweat.  One of them gets elected.  It doesn’t matter who gets elected, either way it is scripted that our behinds are well covered. 

You see, we have reconciled ourselves to the fact that it is unlikely that this country will ever get a Kolombian ruler.  We are pragmatic enough to go with Plan B:  If we can’t get a Kolombian president, we get a yakko to think he/she is the real boss, get enough and more ego-boosts, frill him/herself to heart’s content but in the end ensure that we remain the untouchables that we are.  Elections, ladies and gentlemen, are like free lunches.  We get what we want without lifting a finger! 

So that’s already sorted.  We really don’t care who wins this election.  The only cause for concern is that Maithripala doesn’t have a Christian name, unlike Mahinda, who is also ‘Percy’ and at least in that respect qualified to get some kind of affiliated membership in our exclusive club.  No worries though.  We can live with a Mahinda, we can live with a Maithripala.  And, in case you are wondering, although we would have to migrate en masse if Duminda Nagamuwa or Sirithunga Jayasuriya won, there’s no chance whatsoever of that happening. 

Let us consider options for Election Day.  It’s a Thursday.  When the rest of the country kid themselves into thinking that they actually count, stand in line to vote thinking the candidate of their choice would actually represent them (and not us) in the hot sun or in damp weather conditions, we can do what we’ve always done: work.  Don’t confuse work with labor now. Our work is about getting others to work, doing very little ourselves and making sure that the bucks roll into our bank accounts.  We can do this in plush offices or we can put up our feet in our own drawing rooms, make a few calls, press a few keys on our smart phones and get the same result.

Most of us would give our non-Kolombian staff half-day’s leave to vote.  We can enjoy watching them scuttling off ‘to be counted’ (as though they were cattle) or we can take off ourselves.  We would no doubt pass a couple of polling booths and so we can watch non-Kolombians ‘exercising their franchise,’ the poor devils.  We don’t have to strain our eyes gazing on that sorry sight though.  We can go hang out with fellow-Kolombians in one of our favorite clubs. 

Some of us would no doubt celebrate the monumental charade by going as far away as possible from our relevant polling stations. To Galle, for example.  On the Southern Express Highway, for example.  To have ‘Avacado Prawns’ for example. 

Some will stay at home.  Spend some time with the family.  Watch a movie, using the pause-button to check how our investments are doing.  Sleep.  That’s an option too. 

The bottom line is, this election is not about us; at least not when it comes to the whole business of standing in line to vote, casting the vote, the counting of votes and the announcement of the winner.  That’s the hard work that others do.  We just sit back and relax, thrilled by the knowledge that the world has not changed – others work, we benefit.  

We are the leisure class and Election Day is as good as any to assert the fact.  It is unthinkable and even unfair for anyone to expect us Kolombians to rub shoulders with the riff-raff.  Not on Election Day. Not ever.  We have better things to do, alright?

So if you want to ‘sight’ a Kolombian on Election Day, get ready to be disappointed. I am putting the word out: ‘don’t dirty your manicured hands by fiddling with ballot papers and have some yakko official paint the tip of your index finger with a purple felt pen’. 

And by the way, just so you know I am serious about all this, I tore my ballot card. 

 Everyone takes note.  Some keep notes.  Some in diaries and journals.  Some in their minds and hears.  Some of these are shared via email or on Facebook or blog; some are not.  Among these people are Kolombians, people from Colombo who know much -- so much that they are wont to think that others don't know and can't think. This is the twelfth in a series published in 'The Nation' under the title 'Notes of an Unrepentant Kolombian'.

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