Colombo, Politics and Governance

Colgate, Signal, smiles and politics: From Clinton to Chandrika and Queen Mother’s rotten teeth

Chandrika’s winning smile, Mahinda’s wide grin and Clinton’s leer at Monica’s underwear speak volumes than their political agenda.

Then who would listen to an ageing toothless cur of a politician or the late Queen Mother with her rotten teeth when Colgate and Signal herald the new millennium not with promises of a better future but a better and impressive look with two fine sets of gnashers. Case in point is Tony Blair vs Gordon Brown; Blair wagged his tail at Dubya and sent his troops to Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein based on baseless dossier that it had weapons of mass destruction whereas Gordon Brown withdrew troops from Iraq but who had the most support from voters? Blair of course and we all know why. It is to do with his conniving smile and Brown and his crooked yellow teeth cannot muster the same support from his voters however much the latter is strong on economic policy and shows more transparency than Blair.

Asoka Ratnayake is still the best the Colombo elite would surrender their teeth to for rejuvenation. I am still smarting from the horrendous crime committed by the Egyptian dentist who left a gaping hole at the side of my upper canine after I forked out £194.00 and not a day passes by without my swearing to drag him through all the Small Claims Courts in the UK and make him squirm.  In the early days of my youth I was at a discotheque and right across the dance floor was this extremely handsome young man. I quite fancied him and darted knowing looks at him and in reply he walked over to me and asked for the next dance. I shrank back in horror when he bared his horrible teeth that I made a hasty exit from the disco.

Just look at the comments on Groundviews, Lanka Guardian and  Transcurrents.  Dayan, Sara and H.L. D. Mahindapala take the lead when it comes to responses and I think it is their winning smiles among other things. I have not got that close to observe Sara’s or Dayan’s  teeth in person but from videos I have seen  they really have good teeth ergo smiles. No offence meant. These are two dashing lookers apart from their debating prowess and of course their intellect.

Dentistry and orthodontics pervaded politics since the Russian aristocratic women including Rasputin’s Czarina lover had their teeth blacked to beckon the masses into subservience.

Take a look at Karikalan if he is still around  or Douglas’s grin and you would walk away with a feeling they have still got you in your throes whether you like it or not.

Until  I met Karikalan I thought he was a demon I should not encounter in the next millennium to say the least. He threw me with his disarming smile, white teeth sparkling, although he was surrounded by body-guards with lethal weapons and I was treated to a right royal lunch of venison curry, venison hodhi and tomato salad with rice amidst a scarcity of essential goods my Rs 500.00 I offered to the children peeping through the window where we were dining could not compensate.

When I asked him whether the LTTE bombed Central Bank he grimaced first, the body-guards stood to attention and I thought I was a goner. The he flashed that smile again before he replied, the body-guards relaxed and I knew I could return to Colombo after all.

Sometimes during interviews I tend to be mesmerised by the interviewee’s smile and in the process forget to write down precious quotes such as, ‘eight hundred hectares of trees would be cut down to build the new model village named Pachagahapura’ or ‘we will invade every country which has an Al Qaeda suspect’.

Take the late President Premadasa and his charming wife Hema for example. It is in a journalist’s vein to hate any politician in power. But when I met the then First Lady, her smile was so genuine as she invited me to accompany her to Anuradhapura to offer saffron robes to Bhikkus that I found myself not only nodding my head in agreement but seriously contemplating going with her.

Which brings to my mind a true account of a nursery school teacher who during the religious lesson asked the little cherubims who gives them food and shelter and makes the trees grow. Promptly came the reply in unison, “Pemadasa.” Now Premadasa was someone whose smile alone would convince you that Janasaviya Funds were in the bank and not just promissory notes not unlike the bonds Sirimavo issued in 1971 when she confiscated lands from those who owned more than 50 acres per head. The difference between the two is the latter did not smile often and she did not win a second term in office.

Politics is not all about your beliefs.  The populace rely on promises and not fulfilment of these promises whether you believe in the power you voted for or not as long as you flash that smile practiced in front of the mirror, on shop windows and on your shiny boots.  I might be scraping the bottom of the barrel to find ways and means for our politicians to get elected. Nevertheless I now feel that I am well qualified to offer sagely advice for those who failed to make it to the corridors of power in the by-gone elections.

Practise your smiles and get those gnashers attended to before 2016.