“After requesting govt. to scrap Speaker’s traditional budget dinner, SJB has grand five-star do same night.” — The Island
Almost 15 years ago (I believe it was in 2006), Sri Lanka hosted a global confab attended by media personnel. The then Media Minister, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa invited all participants, local and foreign, to dinner. There was food. There was music. There was no alcohol.
Now at one point, Sunanda Deshapriya, the then Convenor of the Free Media Movement, took the microphone and made a short speech. Apparently a ‘journalist’ in Jaffna had been killed. Now it must be remembered that at the time there were lots of terrorists masquerading as journalists. We don’t know if the said journalist was an LTTE. Let’s assume he was not.
Sunanda said that given what had happened, it was not possible for him (and his pals) to ‘attend a party.’ They got ready to leave.
The late Ajith Samaranayake, who died a few months later, happened to be there. He of course supported Sunanda’s position. A fellow journalist told him, ‘Now if the issue is about being so aggrieved that it is not possible to “party” then those who leave THIS party have no moral right to go drink somewhere, right?’
Ajith immediately said ‘yes.’
However, when the ‘boys’ left the event, Ajith followed them.
They took the party somewhere else. They drank. They had fun.
In short it was a big show. A big sham.
Almost 15 years later, we have a repeat of sorts.
The Samagi Jana Balavegaya, self-righteously, demanded that the traditional dinner hosted by the Speaker at the conclusion of the budget debate be scrapped. Reason: ‘funds spent thereon could be channeled to provide relief to pandemic-hit people.’
Wow! So noble of them. Let’s take a pause to bow low before the moral posturing.
What do they do next? Well, they attended a dinner at a five star hotel in Colombo!
Of course they could argue, ‘that’s a private party, it’s not public funds.’ Granted. However, could they not have told the party-giver, ‘sorry pal…we can’t come…may be you should use the bucks to feed the hungry, get some PPEs, fund some Covid-vaccine research, test the various miracle cures etc.’
Maybe the ‘other party’ was more fun. Less formal, perhaps. Wh’TEVER.
A bunch of jokers. That’s it.