03 February 2015

This ihapaalana stuff is driving me nuts!

Pic courtesy mysticpolitics.com
Kolombians are a distinct people from Colombo who know much -- so much that they are wont to think that others don't know and can't think. They have things to say.  A lot of things to say.  The entire country can learn from them. This is the fifteenth in a series published in 'The Nation' under the title 'Notes of an Unrepentant Kolombian'.  Scroll down for other articles in this series. 

I am a Kolombian so please don’t expect me to know the meaning of all Sinhala words that politicians toss around.  To be honest I hadn’t heard this word ihapaalanaya before Ranil and Chandrika baited Maithripala, as they say.  I made some discrete inquiries about the word from some Kolombians who knew a bit of Sinhala. 

But first let me tell you about my friend.  He’s not like me.  He is a Kolombian through and through, i.e. to the point that he takes absolutely no interest in politics.  He has properties all over the country, he has managers and accountants, watches movies but not television, listens to music but not the news, reads novels but will not touch a newspaper and avoids politicians like the plague.  When I told him about how Kolombians came through once again, he asked me ‘who are Kolombians?’  He’s THAT much a Kolombian; he doesn’t need a label and doesn’t need to know what’s on it. 

I said, ‘never mind, there’s a Sinhala word that people are using as though it’s the second word they learned after “amma” (that’s ‘mum’ by the way) and I don’t know what the hell it means.’  He was kind.  ‘What’s it?’ he asked.  ‘Ihapalanaya,’ I said.   He thought for a while and then explained.

‘If you break it down it would be iha+palanaya.  “Iha” would be a corruption of “hisa” or head.’

‘Aha!  Corruption!’ I said, smacking my lips.

‘No, that’s not what I meant.  “Corruption” in this instance means “alteration”.  Anyway, “palanaya” would be a reference to something that chops.  So “ihapalanaya” would be something that chops a head.  A head-chopper if you like.  But maybe you heard it wrong.  Maybe the word is ihapaalanaya.  “Paalanaya” means control.  So it would be head-control or more likely mind-control.  Anyway, I’ve already spent more time than I should on these silly things, so if you don’t mind, let’s just have a drink and watch “The Gods must be crazy”, shall we?’

I had got what I wanted and was not in a film-watching mood.  So I thanked him and went home.  I was worried.  It was the first time that I came across a Sinhala term that was superior to an English one.  ‘Good governance’ is so…so….what should I say….. ‘clinical’?  Now I am aware that part of Kolombian Self-Defense is to make anything bad sound good.  We pride ourselves in appropriating anything that is antithetical to our interests and if possible selling it back to our enemies as though we thought of it in the first place – like how the World Bank appropriated ‘sustainable development’.  I know that Good Governance is not what made it for us.  It was BAD Governance that LOOKS like Good Governance that works the magic. For us.  What’s good about good governance is that it covers up a lot of stuff that puritans would consider ‘bad’.  Like plundering resources, impoverishing communities, exploiting workers, white collar crime etc etc.  Good Governance allows us to have rules which only we can work around.  Or work under, so to say. 

What worries me is that yakkos might just have figured this out, hence a translation of the term that de-sanitizes it.  They might just have figured out that this whole good governance thing is an exercise in mind control.  There’s a part of me that says ‘if they voted for good governance thinking it is mind-control then our guys must have really, really, really brainwashed them’.  But that’s just me trying to calm myself.  I suspect (and this worries me a great deal) that they are taking us for a ride, making us THINK that they’ve been played for suckers.  Maybe they just want us to drop our guard.  Maybe they are planning to beat us at our own game of deceit, mis-definition, confusion and flipping-scripts. 

I worry, I really worry.  This ihapaalana business is not letting me get any sleep.  Actually I think it is a wake-up call for all Kolombians.  The yakkos may have picked up some of our weapons and there’s nothing to say they won’t use them against us.  Right now I don’t know who is controlling whose mind. Heck it took me a good ten minutes to convince me that I have not turned into a yakko. 

Things are not looking good, no sir, they certainly are not. 

Other articles in this series: