| by Pearl Thevanayagam
(May 7, 2014, Bradford UK, Sri Lanka Guardian) From the President downwards the parliamentarians are obese to say the least. Of the 100 or more parliamentarians you can count on your fingers those who are slim and fit. Prof. G.L.Peiris, Ranil Wickremasinghe and Wimal Weerawansa have so far managed to keep their waistlines trim. Donning the national robe is a shrewd way of masking the over-indulgence of parliament food by our politicians such as Nimal Siripala de Silva, Tissa Vitharana, S.B.Dissanayake et al.
It is not a pretty sight to see the President and Douglas Devananda baring their bodies at temples and It is no wonder Douglas is a bachelor and Mahinda spends most of his time in Temple Trees or Janadhipathy Mandiraya whereas he could be beside his equally corpulent wife. Pity the one time beauty queen who has gone to seed and is way past her sell by date. Shirani Rajapaksa can hardly drape her saree without corsets and her mammaries cannot compete with those of Hema Premadasa’s.
It was no surprise and it is with great sadness this writer heard that Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran had been admitted to the hospital following a hear t attack. He was sporting a rather excessive stomach and at his age he was crying out for a coronary. Sumanthiran for his relatively young age has a belly which spells heart disease anytime. Ditto for Douglas Devananda and Suresh Premachandran.
Those who are fit to govern are not fit and those who are fit cannot govern. Oh tempore more.
Having said that, the parliament canteen which provides subsidised meals of a seven course lunch for the already bloated MPs and reporters, it is about time it makes them pay their full cost towards lunch.
From henceforth it would be prudent on the part of the parliament caterers to provide lunch comprising kola kanda, hath mallung, rathu hal buth, karawila, kiri-ala and a wee portion of meekiri with a dash of kithul pani for dessert. On a benevolent day they could have Jaffna lagoon crabs, murunga white curry and pumpkin and karththakolomban mangoes for afters. Members and media should pay the full whack upfront and no credit allowed.
This is our national menu as W.J.M.Lokbandara, then minister for indigenous medicine, who sent his own children to international schools which fed them with pizzas and hamburgers prescribed during Premadasa times. His suggestion that children should be fed koli-kuttu plantains instead of apples and grapes did not cut much ice with the media since a wag asked how one could give his children koli-kuttu when it cost two rupees.
No wonder that in the afternoon sessions the politicians doze off and barely take note of decisions and recommendations of national importance. Perhaps the temples should have desisted from offering pongal which is a veritable source of killer cholesterol. The lunch served in parliament is a seven course meal consisting of both eastern and western cuisine comprising choice chicken and beef, fish course (nothing less than thora malu when salayo is sold at 50 rupees per 500gms), wattalappam, jelly and ice-cream among salads and vegetables. In the nineties this lunch cost just five rupees.
When you see politicians with pot bellies and police personnel who are obese and panting to catch culprits and unable to chase miscreants then there is something amiss in the rationale of feeding those who already receive exorbitant amount of salaries and perks in the form duty free cars and bodyguards.
This extravagance is at the expense of the earnings and tax of the ordinary citizens who twiddle their thumbs and wait in earnest the price of food commodities such as samba rice, chillies and onions would come down so their families could be fed and not indulged as our politicians.
Citizen Perera, Appalillai, Vandenberg and Mohamed voted for these idiots and freebies to rule over us and they should pay their penance. Sunil Perera of Gypsies fame sang that irrepressible song , “I don’t know why” about politicians who when entering politics were like katussas (lizards)and after winning became moras (sharks).
Barack Obama, David Cameron and Vladimir Putin keep fit and do not over indulge like our politicians. Their citizens are well-fed.
Legislation should be in place for future politicians that their bodyweight is in keeping with those of the average citizen. We can close one eye over their educational attainments since imbecility and lack of intelligence never precluded politicians from attaining higher positions in the cabinet and foreign service. This year should be declared the year for eliminating obesity among our politicians since we are dependent on them whether we like them or not.
And it does not bode well to anger the voter who is struggling to have one decent meal a day and soon it could be on par with the case of the fruit vendor in Algeria who caused the Arab Spring.
(The writer has been a journalist for 25 years and worked in national newspapers as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)