Colombo, Gender, Media and Communications

Celebrating sexist, lewd live television in Sri Lanka

When I overhead someone talking about the dramatic finale of Swarnavahini’s Megastar reality show I wanted to know what had happened since I had seen a few episodes of this bizarre show – where arguments and insults that fly freely between the judges and contestants is as much the draw as the singing skills of participants.

I checked to see what footage was available online and when browsing websites, and was horrified to come across a video of a comment by Minister Mervyn Silva about fellow MP and contestant Upeksha Swarnamali’s performance. Mervyn Silva expressly notes that he was so charmed by Upeksha’s attire he wished he was an infant and could be breastfed by her. The host of the show, Kamal Addararachchi, is seen to giggle at this outrageously derogatory comment. This, to be clear, is a programme broadcast live on public television.

I’m not a fan of Upeksha’s, but I was embarrassed for her and offended. I won’t comment on Kamal Addarachchi’s lewd behavior on stage because pandering to Mervyn Silva’s antics and comments is par for the course on this show. The video clip shows Rosy Senanayake, also a judge, noting that the comment really wasn’t funny and was uncalled for. Just watching the way Mervyn reacted to her demonstrated again that he does not have an iota of respect for women, or for that matter common decency.

After watching the video I ended up reading quite a few reviews and articles about the show and the comments made by viewers. What appalled me was that not in a single place, except in an article in the Daily FT which said that the Minister had made a rude remark at Upeksha, could I find anyone referring to this horrendous incident and saying it was offensive or wrong. In fact from the little I did manage to find, people found it funny.

This for me is a new low for mainstream journalism in Sri Lanka. When did sexist, lewd and offensive behavior broadcast live on public television be accepted as normal? Why is such behaviour condoned and promoted by the media just for the sake of popularity and ratings? More importantly, why hasn’t anyone taken up this issue with the TV station or sought to flag it for public debate? What Mervyn said was downright revolting. There is something tragically depraved about the way people perceive this incident, and by extension, it scares me that this is a reflection of the true mentality and regard the majority have for women in this country. Men and women are equally to blame for this, and as a woman I’m ashamed that we have let this sort of behavior slide over and over again, to a point where we don’t even see anything out of the ordinary when incidents like this occur.

This particular incident and people’s reaction to it, in my opinion, is exemplary of the state of the country today. We can’t stop the likes of Mervyn Silva expressing his true colors, but why give a platform for and condone repeatedly incidents where people can be publicly humiliated for the sake of a twisted notion of entertainment?

  • Arosha Bandara

    I missed this bit when I watched the online clips of the show on Sunday. It is particularly galling to watch this behaviour of Mervyn Silva having first seen him berate the Kelaniya Samurdhi officer about ‘Sadaachaaraya’ before tying him to a tree.

    It is also telling that even the live audience didn’t object to the language used even though they were quite willing to show their displeasure at the final outcome of the contest.

    Swarnavahini should receive a formal rebuke and be forced to make a public apology to Ms. Swarnamali for allowing this to be broadcast. Oh no, but wait a minute that would assume that we had an independent agency with the teeth to enforce something like that.

    Small miracle indeed!

  • Chaminda WEERAWARDHANA

    A slice of ‘Sri Lankan Life’ in Rajapakserite Lanka….

  • Banda

    Unfortunately, what he said seems to be what is on the minds of most Sri Lankan males.

  • longus

    This a result of being unware of what abuse is, as most Sri Lankan women tend to react timidly to abuse. The above is a good example. When the victim of this verbal abuse by the moronic minister reacted only with a shy smile and a “nod of disapproval”, in the typical Sri Lankan way. Even Rosy was making her point with a half-smile which shows her amusement (at least she said something, though!) at Dr.Moron’s “joke”! How can women who have no self respect defend other victims of abuse? The first comment by Dr.Moran was not so bad and it seems he wanted to poke fun only. The compere, Kamal the “re-aquitted rapist” asked the inappropriate question from the Minister Moron expecting a lewd remark from his gutter-mouth.

    In the subsequent verbal attack by the Moron, Rosy tried to leave the matter when it became too much for her, showing her weak attitude to abuse. She,Kamal and Dr.Moron don’t stand alone in this typical Sri Lankan (Lanket) behavioral pattern of sexual depravity. The typical Sri Lankan male(Lanket) is a frustrated, depraved pervert, and anybody who is not, can be considered as an exception to the rule . And the typical Sri Lankan woman is timid giggler who is game for any Moron. (any woman who is not can be considered an exception to the rule.

    May be another good influence of continuous bombardment by three great religions day in and day out!

  • SD

    Dear Longus,

    This is sad indeed. I do feel however, that Rosy did the best she could under the circumstances. She maintained her dignity while clearly expressing her disdain. It is not clear how ugly a confrontation with an ill-mannered brute like Mervyn Silva could turn into and it might only have resulted in her losing her own dignity. I’m sure her hindsight must be chastising her for having shared a platform with this imbecile in the first place.

  • SD

    Swarnawahini should not only issue a formal apology, but refrain from giving a public platform to individuals like Mervyn. It is not “western decadence” that will erode our societal fabric. It is glorifying buffoons like this who will have an unfathomable impact on the minds of the younger generation.

    The moral of the story seems to be acting the warlord, under the protective vigilance of drug addled thugs, will garner enough votes from an adoring public to elevate you to a ministerial position, enabling you to participate on national television so that lewd remarks can be made for the amusement of the hooting, raucous crowd which elected him in the first place.

    Surely, a first class role model for children to grow up admiring.

    Yet, the Rajapakse government continues to tolerate this half-wit because loyalty is a far more valued trait than integrity, civility, intelligence or any other kind of virtue. We can only wait and see where rewarding loyalty over all else will take us.

  • longus

    Chaminda WEERAWARDENA

    Don’t forget Mr.Dayasiri Jayasekara is (still!) an opposition M.P.!

  • dingbat

    All you “Journalists/media” are alike. You write/telecast/portray, whatever the “mob” cheers for. All words Iromi, no action.

  • i dont understand Sinhala that well, but did i get this right?: Did Upeksha say, “Bohamas Sthuthi” in response to what Mervyn said. God.

  • Arosha Bandara

    @Aachcharya – you are right in noting that Upeksha thanked Mervyn Silva, but from her body language it is clear that this is more out of forced politeness than an acceptance of everything that was said. Besides, when put in this position by the guy who can tie a person you a tree and then get an affidavit that was all your own idea, I don’t think there are many people who would have objected that vociferously. I agree with SD that Rosy did the best she could to show that this was unacceptable without getting into a shouting match.

    @Dingbat – I don’t understand your criticism of Iromi. This article highlights a significant lack of decency in Sri Lankan television – particularly significant given that this show is targeted at a family audience. I applaud Iromi for bringing it to people’s attention – I for one will be writing to Swarnavahini to lodge a formal complaint. Hopefully this story will get picked up by other media and prompt others to do the same so that Swarnavahini will be forced to broadcast an apology.

  • Suren Raghavan

    Dear Iromi,
    I am not sure whether Swarnamali or any one representing her has objected to this unacceptable public incivility of a Sinhala Buddhist minister so far? 

    Further she says ”Bhoma Sthuthii”- thank you very much to Mervin

     Does not this show that you or anyone will not have a civil agenda for liberalism in Sri Lanka, as long as the civilian themselves accept the status as it is?

  • The Mervyn Silva

    The Iromi,

    I am very disappointed to be hearing what you are saying. Please remember that the Mervyn Silva is sexy, not sexist. The whole country is thinking that. Not only the Kamal but even the president giggling when I am making the sexy noise. Are you telling that president also sexist because giggling? We are all knowing theat the president cannot be sexist or racist or any of those horrible things people in the Groundviews are always making noise about.

    In Siri Lanka today there is a simple truth to be remembering. The president is the Man. The Mervyn is the otehr Man.

    Please be understanding this. Face the ruth, the facts and the reality of your mother’s land. If you are having the problem with that please be leaving this side and go to another side and tell the peoples in that side what is sexist. We are very tired of people making the smart comment when we are trying to close down the university!

  • dingbat

    Arosha,

    iromi doesn’t need to bring it to the peoples attention, it was telecast live for the whole frikin country to see.

    Since this telecast, all sorts of media martyrs seem to be shouting their lungs off. But its just sound. NOTHING BEING DONE. This isn’t the first time Dr. Silva has done these sort of things openly. Have you seen anything being done?except for all the media hype. Are you honestly saying that the so called mighty media is helpless? cant they do anything?

    Iromi and other so called “media martyrs” are doing the same thing as swarnavahini. While swarnavahini caters to the darker tone of the mob, iromi and friends are catering to the lighter side. Both are pop mongers.

  • Chee Lanka

    “Rosy did the best she could under the circumstances”???

    Did she, really? As a progressive woman, I certainly don’t think so! The grand finale is NOT the only one in this show that lacked common decency. There were many other instances on-screen as well as off-screen. Swarnavahini didn’t care as long as they show was popular on the ratings.

    If Rosie had any self respect, and if she is true to her public positions on integrity in public life, Rosie should have RESIGNED as a judge the moment fellow judge Mervyn tied a hapless Samurshi worker to a tree in that notorious incident many weeks ago. But she didn’t. Why? That’s the bigger question we have to pose to Rosie.

    Rosie is no less a hypocrite than all other politicians – whether blue, green, red, purple and other hues. We are dismayed, but not one bit surprised. In the murky and dirty world of Silly Lankan politics, Rosie can go far…

  • Gamaya

    I looked at this incident a bit differently. In this article the sequence of the dialogue between Kamal Addaraarachchi and Mervyn Silva is not clearly stated. This is how it goes. Mervyn says that if he happened to meet Upeksha when he was young his life could have been changed. That’s all he said. Then Kamal went on saying that, I suggest that you could have been a baby (atha daruwek) beside Upeksha. I seems like Kamal made this comment expecting a “kata kedichcha kathawak” from Mervyn. Sure enough Mervyn went on saying, what’s wrong if I could become a baby, I could have got breastfed from Upeksha. So in my opinion, Kamal very cunningly brought Mervyn in to the trap. I blame Kamal for creating an inappropriate situation. But Mervyn should take responsibility for what he said as he is not a minor. But I have to give some credit to his role as a judge in this program. I watched at least the last 10 rounds of this show. To Mervin’s credit, I should say that his judgment and comments on the participants performance was quiet valid and he had been becoming a civilized person through this program until he made his indecent comment in the finale.

  • SD

    Dear Suren,

    RE: “I am not sure whether Swarnamali or any one representing her has objected to this unacceptable public incivility of a Sinhala Buddhist minister so far?”

    Why do you consider Sinhala-Buddhism to be relevant to this issue? This has more to do with the Rajapakse regime embracing loyal, groveling warlords than with Sinhala-Buddhism. These are probably the kind of people who did the dirty work in the past and the govt. cannot get rid of this vermin because of a debt of gratitude. Why else would anyone tolerate this kind of bad PR?

    The Rajapakse motto seems to be to reward a form of primitive in-group loyalty over all else. This actually worked very well for them during the war, without which the whole effort would have collapsed in its early stages. Consequently, it worked out very well for the country too, because we’ve at least managed to get rid of that LTTE menace.

    How it will work for the Rajapakse’s in the future however, is something to observe. It will probably work for them. But will it work for the country?

  • Zororeturns

    Iromi, haven’t you heard about MEDIA FREEDOM and FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION?

  • NILAMAL

    Kamal Addaraarachchi throughout this programme has been trying to show that he is more quit witted and clever. This is usually a bahaviourial pattern of those who feel that they have not achieved enough in life, feel that ther is some emptyness and seek to fulfill their desires through insulting or disgracing others.
    It was further more evident when he was trying to trick Shirley Vyjayantha many an occasion. Mervyn is a different kettle of fish all together and he revels in using his equally sharp wit but unfortunately Kamals trick worked and disgraced MS more than Kamal who was the culprit lurring MS to a corner shooting his mouth before the Brain could.

    No denying that the whole episode was ochestrated by Kamal’s behaviour but MS should not forget he is Minister and should know how to behave in public respecting both the men and women equally. Rosy trying to earn brownie points out of the situ only gave it a sexist twist which till then was a simple joke to a leading question by Kamal. What ever one says it’s the listeners own twisted mind that can make it either sexist or innocent.

  • Minoli

    A friend of mine had written personally to Mrs Soma Edirisinghe and Buddhika Kulasekera of the unruly behaviour and lewd comments made by Mervyn Silva. No action or reply was received but he was given the opportunity to carry on regardless. The lewd remark on the last day was the icing on the cake. Being a woman Soma Edirisinghe should have known better about this vulgar man.

  • Arosha Bandara

    @Dingbat,

    So it is your position that we should stay silent and accept that this type of behaviour is ‘normal’?

  • The Mervyn Silva

    The Gamaya,

    Very true. I am falling into trap. Al the time I am falling in to the trap people setting up for me. When I tie man to mango tree also I am falling into the trap. They are putting man there near the tree with rope. What am I to be doing?

    I am still very innocent man, like the atha dharuwa. I am thanking you for pointing this out to the Groundviews peoples.

  • bagawan

    It is a sad day for ALL WOMEN as Rosy was proxy to these lewed incidents. When she was confronted whether she would sit with Mervyn as a judge she proudly said she has no objections. Now she was has to be paddled in the same boat with Mervyn and Upeshika. God save our women.

  • bagawan

    PITY ALL WOMEN and Rosy shame on you because you did not object to sit with Mervyn as a Judge. You proudly said so what Mervyn’s other activities are no concern to you. Now you paid the price by sitting with him mind you, you were an Ambassador to Malaysia and to come and sit cheaply as a judge for this even was your own seeking. And Upekshika you too should have used the slipper but you also changed colours from UNP so your character is the same as Mervyn God help all women from shame

  • This is an absolute disgrace by Swarawahani. Disgrace to the maximum.

  • I saw it agaian and again and the behaviour of Kamal was shocking. Really shocking and I am suprised that this station is keeping people like Kamal. About Mervyn of cousre this is saintly talk. He has no quality whatso ever. Also I am suprised that Upesheka said ”Thank You” to Mervyn after him telling her that he wishes he was an infant to suck here breasts. She says Thank You. What has our patliment come to. Only Rosy seems to have some quality on that stage.

  • Dilkusha

    Absolutely disgusting!

  • Dr. Mervyn Silva

    The people who don’t no a joke only blame me here! Don’t you remember when you are going to school how you joke and tease girls? Who say it is abuse? Who say? They may be not knowing to joke with girls! I don’t hide my face when I want to tell something! I am open person. This girl Upeka never has a problem with my comments! Never! That is why she thanked me for my joke! Why, I told she is good in singing, no? These “sobana” people who write here are “lie holes!” You can see. I live in Colombo 7, and I see how these Colombo 7 people who write here treat their wives! They call them f..b.. and very baddest of all words. But that is not abuse or any bad thing because they tell it it English! Kunuharupa are told in the face of the lady by the gentleman and she laughs! Because it is told it in English! Aaaannna Dekkada? If Mervyn Silva told an English filth to Rosy, she will laugh only! That’s why now I am starting to tell her the English words I know, so she will like it!

  • Leonard

    Hi all,
    I am ashame that we are governed by this type of Walaththayas. I congradulate Rosy for her remarks. If this has happened in a Western country people would have demanded the resignation of Mervin from the parliament too. However sri lanka is a so called buddhist country where you are not responsible to any superrior authority. you can say anything and you can do anything.

  • Tim Gomas

    Dear friends, those who perhaps feel as I do while reading the article and the comments given here,

    In some european countries, there are strict laws imposed against keeping fierce biteful dogs. They are asked dogs to wear those MUND SCHUTZE- hard cover mouth covers- I think Mervin silva should be ordered to use such cover when govt sends him to public places- his appearences before the public should be restricted- to whom we can ask to impose any people friendly laws, while the govt in power including so called king himself appoint people of this grade to destroy the nation at present and the generations to come in our mother land.

    No talks about respect prevailiing lanken culture, gone are the days we the lankens had respect one another – while this sort of president made ministers can only bring the harm to all of us.

  • dingbat

    Arosha,

    Sadly it seems your two lone brain cells are not working today. *sigh*

    Either you cant read, or understand what you read.

  • Velu Balendran

    @SD,
    Talking of getting rid of that LTTE menace, it is said that during their governance in the North a woman fully laden with gold jewellery could walk the deserted streets alone even in the middle of the night without a worry. Of course the Sinhala chauvinist PR press will want to work on this and bullshit it. But go ask people what kind of law and order and common decency was on display there then and what they are now especially in the South. What happened to this unfortunate girl – whose honour I would want to defend as a sister – simply would not happen in a Tamil cultural setting. The pedestal on which we Tamils are conditioned to place women is so high based on many millennia of reverence to womanhood drummed into our psyche from childhood by our vast literature that it is simply unimaginable for anyone brought up as a proper Tamil to behave in the lewd manner we witness here. How dare some people even accuse the poor girl and Rosy of complicity, instead of demanding castration of the presenter and the judge! Shame on all of them, as that also speaks volumes.

  • N

    The Sri Lanka police arrest young couples holding hands because it is ‘indecent.’ The police women and children’s bureau removes hoardings it deems ‘indecent’ yet here is an example of a public servant (term used very loosely) being both indecent and harassing to a woman caught on live TV and there is not a peep from the so called custodians of legality and morality in this country. Isn’t it ironic that Akon is threatened with death for a couple of seconds of a video clip but there is no similar outrage for this? The majority of the people of this country have sunk to some abysmal depths to find this entertainment.

    BTW what’s with the Rosie bashing? I thought she did pretty well taking Merv the Perv on.

  • SD

    Dear Velu,

    RE: “What happened to this unfortunate girl – whose honour I would want to defend as a sister – simply would not happen in a Tamil cultural setting.”

    Of course, Tamils are the epitome of cultural development! It’s been bred into them through the millenia! To think that anyone would try to pass off this scarcely veiled racism as legitimate social commentary 🙂 Kindly refrain from lumping yourself together with the rest of the Tamils, most of them are decent people, not some nut jobs with delusions of inbred grandeur. Call yourself an Aryan Tamil or something, so people don’t get needlessly confused.

  • The Mervyn Silva

    The Velu said,

    “Talking of getting rid of that LTTE menace, it is said that during their governance in the North a woman fully laden with gold jewellery could walk the deserted streets alone even in the middle of the night without a worry.”

    I want to ask the Velu, what is Tamil woman doing fully laden with the golden jewellery in the middle of the night on deserted street? Where is husband? Where are parents? Brothers? This is sounding like very scary situation for not only woman but also woman’s husband.

    I am very happy the army went and liberated the north and the east also. NOw no Tamil woman having to walk the streets fully laden with the jewellery, not even in the broad daylight. So many soldiers and even Sinhala peoples to protect her. Jaffna not deserted anymore.

    Please tell your sisters. Now nothing to worry. Get the jeweley and and come out to the streets. Jaffna side is in the safety zone now.

  • dingiri

    However outrageous this man has been in the past I personally would not want to hang him or castrate him on this particular transgression. One needs to understand the program, Its audience, its protagonists before we judge this crude remark. The man didnt grope her or violate her. He just made a mildly sexually explicit remark after being baited by the compere. His initial comment was in fact quite respectful. My only criticism is that the producers should have chosen a slightly more feisty lady who could have given as well as she got. Rather than this one who just blushed demurely and said “thank you”.

    I wanted her to say…

    “Honorable Minister, Only a cad like you would get sexually turned on by suckling your mother’s breast as an infant”

    It reminded me of the Sachsgate affair in the UK where Russel Brand and Jonathan Ross invited a guest (Manuel of Faulty Towers) on their radio show for a phone interview. But when they called him they got his answering machine into which Ross blurted out that Brand had slept with his granddaughter! The ensuing banter between the two devided Britain and caused many weeks of disection and analysis in the media. Roughly half of Britain was outraged beyond words. The other half was tickled to tears for its sheer impromptu genius. Brand apologised and resigned immediately. Ross later lost his £6 million a year job with the BBC.

    The lewd transcript:
    http://darknorthblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/sachsgate-affair-transcript.html

    A later interview with Brand on newsnight:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/newsnight/9052567.stm

  • dingiri
  • Krish

    Velu Balendran,

    Please don’t bring Sinhalas into all of these. While this episode (which I didn’t read fully) isn’t a good thing, blaming Sinhalas is very irresponsible. Regarding the Tamil culture that you talk about, I don’t agree. Just to go Tamil Nadu and you can find that things aren’t that great for women either. If your woman in LTTE controlled area went to Chennai even in broad daylight in Chennai, in no time will she be robbed. So, please avoid generalizing people based on an incident.

  • ordinary lankan

    Silence

    for Rosy and Upeksha and others who regret this whole thing – some familiar words of advice

    asevanaca balanam
    pandithananca sevana
    pujacha pujaneeyanam
    etam mangala muttamam

    recognize the human being behind the clothes, titles and act accordingly

    should we give anymore publicity to this clown?

    Groundviews – what ab a policy of complete silence as far as this man is concerned – notoriety and publicity seems to go together why not ignore him?

  • SD

    Dear Gamaya,

    You do have a point when you say that the real slimeball is slipping away unnoticed while attention is focused on the usual cad. Kamal Addararachchi was egging Mervyn on and Mervyn, like clockwork, responded with an unsurprising pavlovian response. In fact, Addararachchi could not contain his mirth at the discomfiture the poor woman was put into. Now, that, is despicable.

  • Sri Lankanism

    Yes, Velu Balendran, the Tamil community values women so much, they sent them off to blow themselves up as suicide bombers. And they love females so much that they kill their own baby girls (female infanticide).

    Nice.

  • longus

    My Dear Velu

    “The woman, fully laden with jewellery”, may have been going to an LTTE camp to give the gold to them, as she was ordered to do!

    You must surely be an admirer of Taliban!

  • ordinary lankan

    MS is a product of the executive presidency – nothing more. without it he would be a simple idiot not a national one …

    yet there is a silver lining – and it has something to do with the war ending.

    Fighting and arguing must go out of fashion while a great majority of our brothers and sisters in the North and East are getting back or trying to get back to the ordinary business of living – as a country we are returning to normal life – of course this is relative but still we have the space to move into constructive gear

    fighting did not work – and it never does – but intelligent revolt – and non violence and calm resolute fidelity to the path of goodness and truth will ultimately pay off

    this is the natural law dynamic I am counting on – all the checkpoints and VIP’s whizzing past will soon look silly – very artificial – as we all get back to the business of real life

    fighting makes no sense – as for the politicians and media – we have to tolerate them like children – they must grow up on their own – that is left to them – no mothers milk for them – its too late now – they are mostly past the age of learning

    but first we need to get out of this bad habit of fighting and blaming – never helped – never will

    welcome to the truth that you can only change yourself – and your world with that …. mervyn !! ha ha not a chance –

  • Suren Raghavan

    @SD ( Mahacharya, Acharya or Kathikacharya whoever u r)

    I break my own rule of responding to those who have no bloody sense of guts to write their own name (cowereds!)

     Yes it’s important to show that Acharya Mervin Silva is a Sinhala Buddhist minister of the Maha Bauddha Mahinda chinthanaya for 

    1, He claims that is one
    2. He claims he is a relative of Dutugamunu the Great Sinhala Buddhist
    3. He represents Kelaniya where G/Buddha preached for the 3rd time and declared Sri Lanka to be a Buddhist land (Mahavamsa chapter 1-2)
    4. Sinhala Buddhists have voted for him
    5 Sinhala Buddhist who goes to temple the majority and the owners of this island have failed to stop this Acharya
    6. Sinhala Buddhists like Champika Ranawaka and Ven Arthuraliye are part of this joke and they sit with him in the parliament 

    I can give more reasons if your care

    Mervin is not destroying Tamil or Burger culture (because they are any way bad) but he is destroying the Nirmala Buddhu Dhama

     I honestly think you problem is not Mervin’s behaviour but a Tamil questioning and critiquing it Please see yourself in the mirror and try to smile if you can

  • SD

    Dear Suren,

    RE: “I honestly think you problem is not Mervin’s behaviour but a Tamil questioning and critiquing it Please see yourself in the mirror and try to smile if you can”

    No Suren, I have no problems with you or anyone else exposing the foibles of any individual as they please. But what you have done is to claim a cultural affiliation to the actions of an individual. This I’m afraid, is the very kind of stereotyping which causes so many problems. With a few minor modifications, the absurdity of your statement can be shown thus.

    Yes it’s important to show that [Acharya Mervin Silva]–>[Prabhakaran] is a [Sinhala Buddhist]–> [Tamil] minister of the [Maha Bauddha Mahinda chinthanaya]–>[Eelam] for

    1, He claims that is one
    2. He claims he is a relative of [Dutugamunu]–>[Sun God] the Great [Sinhala Buddhist]–>[Tamil]
    3. He represents [Kelaniya]–>[Eelam] where G/Buddha preached for the 3rd time and declared Sri Lanka to be a [Buddhist]–>[Tamil] land (Mahavamsa chapter 1-2)
    4. [Sinhala Buddhists]–>[Tamils] have voted for him
    5 [Sinhala Buddhist]–>[Tamils] who [goes to temple]–>[funded his campaign] the majority and the owners of this island have failed to stop this [Acharya]–>[thalaivar]
    6. [Sinhala Buddhists]–>[Tamils] like [Champika Ranawaka]–>[Pottu Amman] and [Ven Arthuraliye]–> [Balasingham] are part of this joke and they sit with him in the [parliament]–>[fiefdom]

    So do the actions of these individuals (Prabhakaran/Mervyn) somehow translate into a general indictment of the race? Should the above substition take place, would you still take it as legitimate social commentary?

    Your argument suffers from a spotlight fallacy and is basically irrelevant to the issue at hand. Oh, and you might want to take a look at that mirror too, for I don’t see much difference between those who use Prahbakaran to indict the Tamils and those who use Mervyn to indict the Sinhala-Buddhists.

  • ajith

    well, we are living in a world that nudity and sexuality use in every media to actract more and more odiance of both sex in a obvious or subtle way,
    mervin is right thats is sexually ok but morally wrong to some phoney gentlements

  • longus

    Dear Suren Raghavan

    It’s anybody’s bloody right whether to write his real name or not, and is of no concern to you.

    First of all you have to learn the meaning of ‘stereotyping’. That is:”an overly simple or exaggerated view of people based on their group membership”

    What you are doing here is that and that is wrong!

    Because in a similar way anybody can stereotype the Tamils and Hindus going by the actions of some who claimed to be the liberators of the Tamil people.

    Whoever thinks in these lines is nothing but an ignorant and pathetic human being.

  • ordinary lankan

    one for the faithful

    SEE THE BEST

    The best is hidden
    The crowd does not see it
    The crowd only sees
    The worst

    Gold waits patiently
    For a man with eyes
    To seize it
    And display it
    To the whole world

    Knaves will fool around
    Knaves must fool around
    Till one of us
    Strikes gold

    and one for Iromi and her ilk

    WHY FIGHT TRUTH?

    Why fight truth?
    When truth is all
    There is
    Fight your refusal
    To face the truth
    Hang all absent ideals
    Hang all dead ideals
    On the mango tree

    Face the truth
    Without concepts
    Without pre-conceptions
    Meet the truth head on
    In your heart

    Read the writing
    In your heart
    Dr Moron
    Is just a feeling

  • Suren Raghavan

    @ SD (still covering your actual face) and to this uninvited lingus (another masked dancer?)

    Ok it seems as at all other times, this discussion also finally boils down to the historicized dichotomies of identity politics.

    Whoever says that political (or terror actors) are independent of their immediate society perhaps need to familiarize with basics of power formation of a society at least at a structure and agent axis.

    Prapaharan was no individual political /terror actor. He like Mervin was a product of the immediate society and its power distribution or the refusal of it.
    Praparahan was the most violent thus the ugliest and the darkest form of the utterly frustrated Thamil nationalism. He was only a collective symbol of the majority Thamils who had no hope with the hegemonic Sinhala state. Anyone who thinking he was otherwise is still missing the analysis. All those who theorized, gave money and supported or even passively looked at it are parts of the terror history at different degrees
    Similarly how is that a hooligan like Mervin become so powerful and a social agitator? If the civic and political powers behind him are not supporting and promoting him? The elitist urban notion immediately to denounce Mervin as a mere ‘’bad egg” is the sure short cut of escapism without asking the hard questions.
    It is the historical force that creates monsters or mahatmas that should be studies and analyzed. Detaching the causes from the outcome is intellectual dishonesty and not social science. And this is the same logic that governs to think that with the burning of the body of Prapa’s body all problems in Sri Lanka have found permanent answers. Because they only see the symbols not the social forces behind.

    SD hw pathetic ( and even immediately racist)- is your counter debate, you think since my mane is Thamil I should not question Mervin and his popular Buddhist political project, You replace that with Prapa assuming that carrying a Thamil name will immediately corner me on the Praha issue. Sorry, narrow assumptions are always counter democratic and in fact are a social demonizing process. I have questioned/ citizens/ condemn the terror politics of Praha in public under the same name ( no pseudo abbreviations) during his megalomaniac glorious days. That is not because I am born into a Tamil family – that is the last reason -but because I am a democrat and a student of social sciences. Similarly I am condemning Mervin.

    Till the day the Thamils don’t repent of their narrow ethnic nationalism and till the day the Sinhalas actually become true Theravada Buddhists, Sri Lanka will travel on this painful trajectory. Mervin is a Sinhala Buddhist and he uses it for his political thuggery. Prapa was a Thamil Hinud and used those identities for his terror project. Denial dose not design destiny.

    I am sure you will respond (like you have for many others). Since you may enjoy the last word, go ahead. But the debate (if there was one) is clear.

  • longus

    Suren

    Finally you have told it in the ‘politically correct tone’ :

    “Till the day the Thamils don’t repent of their narrow ethnic nationalism and till the day the Sinhalas actually become true Theravada Buddhists, Sri Lanka will travel on this painful trajectory. Mervin is a Sinhala Buddhist and he uses it for his political thuggery. Prapa was a Thamil Hinud and used those identities for his terror project. Denial dose not design destiny.”

    This is what you should have told in the first instance! So, there seems to be no dispute at all! Well done! No hard feelings!

    -Lingus

  • SD

    Dear Suren,

    Ok. Since you’ve issued a clarification, I’ll take your word for it. You’ve heard the old adage, “Why attribute to malice….” (Hanlon’s razor)

    RE: “(still covering your actual face) and to this uninvited lingus (another masked dancer?)”

    Hmm, perhaps there’s an element of cowardice, but my main reason is laziness. Anonymity allows me to run my mouth off without making sure my brain is in gear. You on the other hand, are not thus privileged.

    RE: “The elitist urban notion immediately to denounce Mervin as a mere ‘’bad egg” is the sure short cut of escapism without asking the hard questions.”

    I think there is some truth in what you say, but you’re on a slippery slope. Would you use “Sinhala-Buddhists” as the demarcation of your initial generalization in academic discourse? The specific problem with your usage of the term, is that by saying “Sinhala-Buddhists”, you were in effect, suggesting that Sinhala-Buddhist morality alone has failed, thereby “socially demonizing” a particular race.

    Therefore, you would have to specifically draw a connection to Sinhala-Buddhism, and the country’s social and moral failure. Or else, you would have to cast a wider net, or use a different term. I am sure most on this forum would be willing to be enlightened on the issue, should you make a sufficiently convincing case. That was my initial question also, to which you responded with needless vitriol.

    RE: “SD hw pathetic ( and even immediately racist)- is your counter debate, you think since my mane is Thamil I should not question Mervin and his popular Buddhist political project, You replace that with Prapa assuming that carrying a Thamil name will immediately corner me on the Praha issue.”

    Oh dear. Please don’t debase the discussion, unless the cap fits. The logic of my example is applicable regardless of the group. I chose the Prabha example because you had no compunctions about “socially demonizing” the Sinhala-Buddhists. I’ve accepted the clarification you’ve issued since, for the afore mentioned reasons.

  • ordinary lankan

    First an important self-correction

    my earlier post referred to a Dr Moron – I would like to correct it as Dr Mervyn with an apology since I would be abusing my anonymity otherwise

    Second I liked Suren Raghavan’s para in quotes below:

    “Prapaharan was no individual political /terror actor. He like Mervin was a product of the immediate society and its power distribution or the refusal of it.Praparahan was the most violent thus the ugliest and the darkest form of the utterly frustrated Thamil nationalism. He was only a collective symbol of the majority Thamils who had no hope with the hegemonic Sinhala state. Anyone who thinking he was otherwise is still missing the analysis. All those who theorized, gave money and supported or even passively looked at it are parts of the terror history at different degreesSimilarly how is that a hooligan like Mervin become so powerful and a social agitator? If the civic and political powers behind him are not supporting and promoting him?”

    This probably defines the starting point of an impartial analysis – and i hope we can take it fwd from this point onwards –

    celebrated deviance indicates some social discontent – a pre-existing flaw in social and emotional health – just like an illness shows some imbalance

    it does not let the individual off the hook – but colours the context round him

    Please continue dialogue without moving into sidetracks – if I may say so

  • Suren Raghavan

    @ SD, Lingus and this ordinary lankan

    I don’t know about you but I am not a retired person looking for an audience to engage. Instead I am a fulltime researcher and a lecturer. I dont have to write on GV for my next promotion. Engaging in narrow debates with those who are unable/unwilling even to mention their names proper amount to a self – ratifying social masturbation. So this will be my last on this. Whatever you want to call it.

    Comparatively, I admire political thugs like Mervin and Duminda Silva than to you. Because, those hooligans stand by what they say and do. In contrast you want to see changes but don’t wont to pay the price for it, at least by writing your real name. Presumingly you three are members of the Sinhala (and Buddhist?) majority thus who have the powers to form goverments, comparatively privileged (because you have time/computers/internet and English language) refuse to take a stand even in a cyber forum like this. It shows the moral decay and the normative narrowness of our mainstream society.

    It is decades ago Martin Luther King Junior said: ‘The immorality of our time is not the bad deeds of the bad people but the silence of the good people.’ Did we not become the silent observers of an ethnic carnage like 1983? No Sinhala, that I know of even to date had confessed that s/he was burning homes and people in 1983. All I have heard (and experienced) is the stories how bravely and kindly the Sinhalas looked after their Thamil friends. So then who came and burnt the peacefully coexisting Thamils in Colombo? Who then murdered the Thamil doctor who treated his Sinhala neighborhood for years?

    Aliens- right? Was the entire Sinhala/Buddhist civilization and its values were hijacked by a few thugs under the influence of kassippu? Then that must be a very fancy and fragile civilization. My point simply is this.

    Mervin is a product and reflection of the contemporary Sinhala politics and the way it uses political Buddhism to that end. (For your comfort I will say that Prapa and his tigerish terror was a mirror reflection and product of the extreme Thamil separatist nationalism) So without having the honesty to deconstruct those historicized political realities, naming and shaming Mervin become a NGO project that is trapped in the triangle of Colombo 3, 5 and 7.

    To your question whether I could tell you how Sinhala Buddhism contributed to this end, well my friends do your homework. It is no point of discussing Beethoven or Mozart if you don’t know the difference from C to A on a box guitar.

    Anyway since you asked and it is a request: here is a sample
    Read
    HL Seneviratne – The work of Kings, S J Tambiah – Buddhism Betrayed, Richard Gombrich – Theravada Buddhism in SL , R A H L Gunawardene – Plough and the Robe ,
    If you do not like these scholars because they mostly lived in the west (and therefore not valid?)

    Read Ananda Abeysekara – Colour of the Robes, Chandra De Silva -Buddhist Just war Theory in SL, Parakrama De Silva – The Anthropology of new Buddhism in SL, if you are still unable to see the connection read the PhD thesis of these Sinhala Buddhists:

    Sassanka Rambukwella – The Buddhist Nationalism in Literature
    Nisansala Sirimalwatte- Sinhala Nationalism and its Buddhist Influence
    Ven Rangama Chandavimala – The violence of Theravada against Abeyagiriya in Ceylon

    Daniel Kent – Buddhism within the Sri Lanka army, during the war
    Christine Scheble – The Myths in Mahawamsa (the last two are Suddasa so you may well reject them)

    There is no democracy without debates. So I debated. But there is no debate without democracy either, Democracy is a human social virtue that starts with honesty and intellectual pursue. When one has neither , only Mervin Silvas will rule their political culture

  • SD

    Dear Suren,

    Clearly you haven’t being following these debates at all, but display a wealth of prejudice and assumption and keep making fallacious ad-hominems. I hope this is not your standard of argumentation and debate at university. As I said earlier, my anonymity lets my buffoonery off the hook, you are not thus privileged.

    Most of the presumptions you made are flat wrong. In addition, there has been a massive thread which specifically discussed the issue of Sinhala Buddhism and its effects. Why not read those instead of wasting time on us having to answer baseless, prejudiced assumptions?

    RE: “Did we not become the silent observers of an ethnic carnage like 1983? No Sinhala, that I know of even to date had confessed that s/he was burning homes and people in 1983.”

    Well, it’s a crime, how many people would admit to it? Secondly, it appears to be an elaborate rationalization, possibly stemming from a sense of guilt. This kind of denial is quite common. Just talk to any Tamil person and tell me how many people think of the LTTE as “freedom fighters”? As a social scientist, you don’t even need to be asking the question. Comforting fairy tales are the norm in our species.

    FYI, and your prejudice aside, there are many average folk (not just Colombo 7 or whatever) who confess to a feeling of guilt for the happenings of ’83! That’s a bit hard to know when you are making pronouncements from afar and have never met ordinary Sinhalese folk eyeball to eyeball. However, those feelings have unfortunately withered over time, thanks to the LTTE and because we are now looking at a new generation, who were not even alive when said events took place. Good luck trying to guilt-trip them into budging an inch.

    What I wanted to know was, how you connect Mervyn Silva today, *now*, in *this day and age* to Sinhala Buddhism. You are the mirror image of TT, pointing to *Tamil racism* as the initiator and considering everything else afterwards to be based on those grounds. If this is the kind of bland, reductionist analysis you make, may your personal favourite deity help your students.

  • Suren Raghavan

    SD

    Now this is becoming personal too farI would respectfully ask to you stop abusing my character under the freedom of cyber writing. I know the editors of this site and will not hesitate to take need action

     You say  ”who confess to a feeling of guilt for the happenings of ’83! That’s a bit hard to know when you are making pronouncements from afar and have never met ordinary Sinhalese folk eyeball to eyeball.”

     I live in Colombo- Mt Lavinia to be exact, it is only for a while I am here for my research. I studied at Gurukula M. V and Ananda College both Sinhala Buddhist Schools – under Bhikkshus i did my Subhashitha readingI was the secretary to the Sinhala literature society… I can go on  

    and u who have no effing guts to write your name don’t talk of (eye) balls and me not meeting ordinary Sinhalas. this shows your undeniable abysmal ignorance and preconditioned mind

    ask Ven Bagddegama Samitha, Ven Siyabalanduwe Wimalarathene, Ven Degalle Mahinda and 1000s of others who knows little of actual politics of SL about my meeting ordinary Sinhala people.
     I have slept with the Sinhala brothers in Pothuwila during the LTTE attack there and shared their pain and horror we spoke of peace when LTTE was gunning down every different opinion.  Ask any media /cultural personality with some standing about my work, be it Nanda Malini, Asoka Handagame or anyone from the Political faculty of Colombo Uni 

    So please stop this.    it is hurting to know that there ppl like you still out there and we can’t do anything about it

  • longus

    Suren

    You look like a very angry man! Do you normally swear at people who say, “Good Morning!” to you?

  • SD

    Dear Suren,

    I’m sorry if I’ve hurt your feelings. What makes you think I wish to paint you as some villain? I don’t think you are. I laud your courage for writing openly and your willingness to put your name behind it. Don’t take things too personally every time some random guy on the Internet says something. Take a cue from Dayan. Anyway, I won’t continue this little “discussion” with you any further. Take it easy mate and have a good day!

  • ordinary lankan

    Dear Suren

    do you think – your given name is your real name? a name is only a concept – a label that is used for identification

    it performs a function – and beyond that it has no use

    you seem to be quite attached to your name – I am not

    and my name here has a great deal of truth

    I try to live by the doctrine of no self (not self) and for this purpose OL suits me fine – I have no desire to be known – and that is part of my lifestyle.

    I made a humble request – and I can see that there is too much dust raised for there to be a sane discussion – so lets wish ourselves better luck next time

    you have very good credentials – I wish you luck – and please dont take this the wrong way

  • ordinary lankan

    If you cant hold your emotions
    emotions will hold you
    and shake you like a dog
    shakes a bone
    (violently)
    words shoot out
    making heroes and villains
    dont blame a soul
    blame emotions
    we are not in charge friends
    we are all bones in the grip of a mad dog

    and that dog has no doctorates
    but it holds the whole world in its grip
    kick you up, and
    dash you on the ground

    oh waht suffering
    when the intention of life
    messes with your own

  • ordinary lankan

    Oh and please forgive me for a small footnote

    all the books that Suren cited – I have read some of them – am pretty sure of the narrow compass of those books – they take political buddhism and assume that this dominant form is the only buddhism or only representative form of buddhism in this country –

    but parallel to political buddhism is spiritual buddhism – and this is actually on its way up now – it is not loudspeaker driven so you do not hear it

    for every 20 books on political buddhism there is ab one solid book on spiritual buddhism – read Michael Carrithers – Forest Monks of SL

  • @ ordinary lankan

    I will bet you my last “humanitarian” rupee that you are not an “ordinary lankan,” but an “ordinary Sinhala Buddhist lankan!” Its people like you who have turned a beautful country like this into a Dystopia!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dystopia

  • BalangodaMan

    Pseudonyms
    ————
    Not criticising Suren, who I have no doubt is who he says he is (and applaud his courage) – but there is a Mervyn Silva in this thread. He is also a ‘real person’, isn’t he?

    The drawback with using a pseudonym is that you can’t cite/claim any ‘real life’ authority you may (actually) have, only confine oneself to solid argument. Equally, (and this is my point Suren) you can’t do that even if you use your real name because you could be anyone using ‘a real name’ – the name of a real reputable person but who has no inkling that he is apparently in a cyber-debate on Groundviews!

    Therefore, ‘real name’ in online discussions is of no actual value IMO, and nicknames allow people to express views freely, particularly if ‘freedom of expression’ is inadvisable or even dangerous, or illegal.

    There are times when the message is important regardless of who is expressing it.

  • ordinary lankan

    PresiDunce Bean …

    nice name …

    I remember a game we played as children called bang bang – you see a person on the other side and shout bang X or bang Y and that person is out of the game

    is it your habit to likewise attack anyone who seems to have something to do with buddhism as a sinhala buddhist – and someone who has created dystopia on top of that?

    I mean we are used to overreactions on this thread – (they do provide some light relief) but how does the term sinhala come in? I have referred to buddhism and that is of course re a point raised by Suren …

    please – as BM advises – use solid argument

    the rest is hot air – and that will not be accepted – so it remains to your credit alone

    time for another verse

    politics when abused
    ceases to be politics
    religion when abused
    ceases to be religion
    refer to abuse as abuse
    call a spade a spade
    not what the spade
    comes into contact with

  • longus

    Dear Sure Raghavan

    Just an after thought to what you said earlier…

    ” Engaging in narrow debates with those who are unable/unwilling even to mention their names proper amount to a self – ratifying social masturbation.”

    That ‘self ratifying social masturbation’, I must say, is a very creative expression. And also, it is my favourite past-time too!

    It is lke the ‘intellectual intercourse’ we see here, isn’t it?

  • ordinary lankan

    listen to this song – you might come to know the singer

    ITS THE EGO FRIEND

    Light cannot penetrate
    The darkest rooms
    Of the self
    Hold the light away from you!
    Get excited!
    About Mervyn Silva
    Denounce the label that makes your blood boil
    Assert your credentials
    Strong and true

    Blindness
    Is not to see the self
    Not to see the emotions
    Not to see the driver
    Of your bus

    When you don’t see the driver
    You cannot see people
    And you don’t see the human being
    How can names help you?
    When you don’t see the human being?

    Why waste time?
    With all this nonsense
    Why this idle chatter
    Is it insanity we like to spread?

    Just have another look
    At our own behaviour
    In this thread
    Who indeed is really fit
    To throw a stone at Mervyn Silva
    And if there is one so fit
    Will s/he actually stone him?

    Understand the challenge
    Of Prabhakaran
    Understand the challenge
    Of Mervyn Silva
    The challenge is for us to get fit
    And grow up
    Its not about them friend
    It’s about us…

    And by the way
    We did not meet the real challenge
    Of Prabhakaran yet
    Killing the body
    Did not kill the ego
    The ego we all share
    Its the ego friends…

    The ego makes Mervyn and Kamal suffer
    Just as much as you and me

  • longus

    ordinary lankan

    Good try at poetry!
    As you say
    ‘Ego’ is an illusion
    I am not telling it
    just because Buddhism says so
    It is a made up thing
    in our mind,
    but it’s useful
    for our survival
    (that’s why we have it!)

    You can console yourself
    when you lose
    your money, kith and kin
    and your honour
    by thinking
    “it’s not me!”

    Because in the end
    even the biggest ego
    turns into dust!
    as king Alexander realised in his death bed:
    when he asked that his hands should be hanging out of his coffin
    to show that he was leaving empty handed

    As Omar Khayyam told:
    “we come like the wind
    and go like the wind”

    So we are to sit back
    passively?
    Looking at all the villians and scoundrels trample us?

    That is why there should be ‘social action’
    which is lacking in Sri Lanka
    maybe a result of passivity
    When you said earlier:
    “MS is a product of the executive presidency – nothing more. without it he would be a simple idiot not a national one …”
    this lack of ‘social action’
    is very evident………

  • Belle

    Longus,
    The whole idea of leaving the ego behind does not entail taking no action. It is NOT about living a passive life. Rather it is about taking action that is not motivated by self interest, or the quest for power and glory. That is the path to true thought, to brilliance, to sanity, as Ordinary Lankan conceives it.

  • longus

    Belle

    We can quote people like Ghandi, Mandela or Martin Luther King as not having any self interest in what they did, but on the other hand isn’t their ego that was fed or inflated by their seemingly “selfless” actions?

    In the final analysis they may have fulfilled a need to boost their ego, though it was not obvious!

    Like Sri Edmund Hilary climbing the Mt.Everest;it’s the sense of achievement that motivated them;Another form of ‘ego’!

  • ordinary lankan

    I come wading
    out of the flood ….

    the people that you mentioned – Gandhi, Mandela and King – and of course many others both famous and not so famous are different … they are following a pricipled and ethical course of action – their means is their goal. as you know – it is always today and it is always the present that we are dealing with. In that present the false dichotomy between means and ends is destroyed and we stay focused on selfless motivation and selfless action here and now. the reward is the freedom of action that is generated – not the fruits of your action which you renounce.

    Gandhi identified the renunciation of the fruits of your actions as the key point in the Baghvad Gita and also as the path of non violence… In fact without non violence there is no real change. when change is forced it is always dependent on external enforcement. only self regulation and self discipline is sustainable.

    Ego according to a famous Tibetan Master Trungpa has to be worn out like the heel of your shoe – journeying from the world to liberation – it is essential for psychological survival – and this of course is important – that is until you identify ego as the true driver of certain habitual thoughts and feelings and learn to isolate it – starve it sometimes …

    a little esoteric may be – but we ought to discuss ego much more – SL is a superb case study – THE EGOISTIC SOCIETY

  • longus

    ordinary Sri lankan

    Without thinking about the final goal, you simply follow the rules…
    But, the goal was always in your mind, wasn’t it?
    Gandhi’s goal-independence, Mendela’s-Black Rule, King’s-Equal Rights
    Buddha’s- Eradication or Suffering
    While reaching that goal you may live in the present tense
    but it doesn’t amount to a ‘renunciation of the fruits of your actions’.
    Not at all!

    That’s why I told that their sense of ego may not be in the wealth, power or glory.
    But the sense of achievement.

    ‘I had a dream; I reached the mountain top”
    It’s self-delution only, to think that they had renounced the fruits of their actions!

    Buddha did it for himself. Whatever you call his achievement was.
    “I found the builder of the house; destroyed it”
    That was of course a non-worldly achievement.

    You know that for various people the meaning of ‘achievement’ may differ.
    For Gandhi, it was political. For Buddha it’s about finding the thuth.
    Without a goal any action becomes a random movement only.
    To think like that is fooling yourself only!

  • Utterly disgusting.

    And to think he is allowed to govern us..!

    A cheap, silly show – it should be scrapped.

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