Does Sri Lanka REALLY Need a Federal Solution? – WAR CRIMES


I know a lot of atrocities must have happened during the war, especially towards the last few days of the war. There could have been killing civilians, raping women, robbing valuables from fleeing civilians, etc. During the ancient wars, this was called “the spoils of war.” Killing men, raping women, enslaving children, looting treasure were part and parcel of war.  It is true that the modern-day wars should be fought by keeping with the human rights accords, etc., with least damage to the civilians. But this is the last thing one could expect during a war. There are no such things called “war crimes” for what happens during a war. War itself is a crime and the smart thing to do was (and is) to take every effort to prevent a war, not to let a small misunderstanding to grow into a national issue and develop into a full-scale war like the late president Mr. J. R Jayewardene and his successors did. What I believe is there is nothing glorious about a winning a war, especially if it is fought with your own countrymen. The most glorious thing is to live in peace with every ethnic groups.

Sri Lankan Soldiers helping the Tamils Trapped in the War Zone in Civil War Sri Lanka – From http://www.defence.lk
Shoba, commonly known as Isaipriya was a Sri Lankan Tamil journalist and television broadcaster for the terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Her death in the final days of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009 is mired in controversy with allegations that she was captured by the Sri Lankan military before being raped, tortured and murdered.

Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part X – ORATORY SKILLS


Nanda Wanninayaka nanda.wanninayaka@gmail.com   

Jokers (and jerks – including Mr. Anura Dissanayaka) apart, there are two mainstream candidates in the run-up to the presidential election on November 16, 2019. Well, whether you like it or not, it is Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (GR) and Mr. Sajith Premadasa (SP) who are the frontrunners for the contest and the others are just vote spoilers.

In my last 9 marathon articles, I was comparing and contrasting the two main presidential candidates’ strengths and weaknesses in 9 areas of concerns in alphabetical order. This 10th and the final post deals with how ORATORY SKILLS of the duo would influence the voter. Read Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part IX – NEPOTISM for the previous post. 

ORATORY SKILLS

I am glad that I just managed to compile the last of this series of posts a few hours before the election campaigns come to an end by midnight. Not that this little post of mine is going to make any difference in the voter’s choice but I am happy that I could accomplish my task.  

When it comes to oratory skills of presidential candidates, I am totally disappointed with the way they go about it in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan politicians have repeatedly shown how low they can go in throwing mud at the opposite candidates rather than targeting his or her policies. Hardly anyone even reads policies of the candidates. Putting a document of policies forward has become just a formality over here whereas in the West, the policies play a major role in gauging a candidate or his party’s direction for the next few years.

The next big drawback is the endless undeliverable promises the candidates make during the election campaigns. Unfortunately, even though the voter has been fooled many a time since the Westminster style democracy came into the picture, nobody learns it seems. Sri Lankan voter has been fooled by the prime ministerial and the presidential candidates with promises ranging from “rice from the moon” to “8 pounds of grains” to “a loaf of bread at 3.50 LKR” to “free Wi-Fi access” to the masses. The voter knows what happened with those promises yet for all, the voter still is gullible to similar ridiculous promises.

Gota

Gota never was a career politician. He was an officer in the army, an IT professional and a secretary to a ministry who doesn’t necessarily need the ability to make lengthy speeches. So, he never was comfortable in addressing large gatherings, taking questions from the media, taking part in debates. He was more of a presenter in small scale meetings. He knew it and so did the voter. But he tried to show something he was not by trying to become a big orator. Instead, he should have openly expressed at the very beginning of the campaign that he has no interest or the capacity in making speeches to give gallery a go and stuck with his way of communicating he proved he was good at. Besides, Sri Lanka has had leaders who were great orators such as Mr. S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike, Mr. J. R. Jayawardene, Mr. R. Premadasa but whether they achieved much for the nation remains a big question. So, Gota’s inability to talk eloquently has become a plus point as the voter has been listening to useless lengthy speeches for ages. Gota is a doer, not much of a talker

Sajith

Sajith, on the other hand, can speak literally till the cows come home, just like his late father used to be. I won’t call him a great orator as most of what he talks directly goes down as some of the most idiotic speeches made during a presidential campaign. In addition to that, he has the same shrill voice his dad had which is irritating to the listener. For me, Sajith’s voice is as irritating as that of the Hollywood villain Joe Pesci. Feel sorry to draw parallels here as one cannot expect every politician to have a deep booming voice like the former US president Mr. Barrack Obama had but at least Sajith’s advisors should have advised him to use less screaming and let the sound systems do the rest. But Sajith has the ability to attract people for his speeches especially from the villages and they might vote for him with the kind of promises he made during his campaign. This is a country where throwing mud, undeliverable promises and jokes of bad taste decide winners in politics. So, let’s hope for the best.

Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part IX – NEPOTISM


Nanda Wanninayaka nanda.wanninayaka@gmail.com   

Jokers (and jerks – including Mr. Anura Dissanayaka) apart, there are two mainstream candidates in the run-up to the presidential election on November 16, 2019. Well, whether you like it or not, it is Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (GR) and Mr. Sajith Premadasa (SP) who are the frontrunners for the contest and the others are just vote spoilers.

In these few articles, I am comparing and contrasting the two persons in question in 10 areas of concerns in alphabetical order. This penultimate post deals with how NEPOTISM would affect the rest of the country with one of these two ascending into power. Read Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part VIII – NATIONAL SECURITY for the previous post.  The next and the final post would be dealt with the ORATORY SKILLS of the two candidates. You can read it in the post Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part X – ORATORY SKILLS.

NEPOTISM

The origin of the term nepotism dates back to the 17th century. (From French népotisme, from Italian nepotismo, from nipote ‘nephew’ (with reference to privileges bestowed on the “nephews” of popes, who were in many cases their illegitimate sons. – https://www.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/definition/english/nepotism) Well, contrary to the popular belief, the nepotism these days also means favoring both family and friends, not only the family anymore.

Gota

Gota has the disadvantage of being at the receiving end as far as nepotism is concerned due to the long line of Rajapaksas that held high offices between 2005 and 2015, both as elected politicians and recruited officials in various government institutions. I don’t think the public complains much for Gota holding the post of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defense & Urban Development because he has accomplished the unimaginable in that capacity. But it is the other Rajapaksas – maybe except for Mr. Chamal Rajapaksa, the moderate member of the Rajapaksa dynasty – get most of the blame, not to mention the three sons of the former president Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa (jokingly referred as the Three Idiots.) People have reasonable fears that the same will keep happening if Gota becomes the president and you can’t rule out such a possibility given Rajapaksas’ past behavior, can you? This doesn’t mean that fear of nepotism should deny Gota a presidential term with his past achievements as a strict disciplinarian and successful execution of precise work. There is a big portion of the population that believes the country should run under a dictatorship to make things right and they think Gota is the one.

Sajith

Well, the Premadasa clan does not have a lengthy political dynasty that runs for several generations but the previous United National Party (UNP) regimes have repeatedly shown the other form of nepotism, giving undue and unfair advantage for the friends of the leader. This was proved right with the late presidents J. R. Jayawardene and R. Premadasa and the present Prime Minister Mr. Ranil Wickremesighe went berserk by favoring his friends whenever he became the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. So, with this type of past of the UNP, there are reasons to believe that Sajith also would give in to nepotism. I personally don’t believe who Sajith is trying to show he is as I can very well remember how humble his father R. Premadasa showed he was during his presidential campaign. Immediately after rising to power, his true color was shown by becoming the most ruthless leader of the country since Independence. So, there is a big possibility of history repeating itself.

Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part II – AGE


Nanda Wanninayaka nanda.wanninayaka@gmail.com  

Jokers (and jerks – including Mr. Anura Dissanayaka) apart, there are two mainstream candidates in the run-up to the presidential election on November 16, 2019. Well, whether you like it or not, it is Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa (GR) and Mr. Sajith Premadasa (SP) who are the front-runners for the contest and the others are just vote spoilers.

In these few articles, I will be comparing and contrasting the two persons in question in 10 areas of concern in alphabetical order. This post deals with the AGE factor of the two candidates. In my previous post, I discussed the ACHIEVEMENTS of the duo. Read it at Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part I. In my next post, EDUCATION of the two candidates will be discussed. Await the next post, Gota or Sajith? – The Agony of Choice – Part III.

AGE

One’s age will be another factor but this is always tricky. If you are too young to contest at a presidential election, he/she will be considered inexperienced and if he/she is too old, he/she will be considered both mentally and physically unsound for the job at the helm of the country to lead it forward. It is the way you present yourself that matters more than the real age at the election I guess.

Gota

Gota is exactly 70 years old by now, the same age in which the late President Mr.  J. R. Jayawardene became the prime minister of Sri Lanka. There is this universal argument that the leader of a country should be a young or middle-aged person rather than a person who is closer to the next world than this. The world is evolving faster with technology, new frontiers of economics, and emerging markets are the main concerns to develop a country. The leader of a country should be young and open-minded enough to welcome such changes. If Gota is elected for two consecutive presidential terms, he would be 80 by the time he leaves the office which doesn’t look good for the country or himself. Then again, a legendary leader like Dr. Mahathir Mohamad happened to come out of his retirement and he was voted in by the public as they believed the former still can lead the nation at the age of 93. So, Gota being an effective president cannot be ruled out even though he is 18 years older than his comparatively younger opponent. This is something I won’t predict at this stage as a lot can happen in 5 years if not 10.

Sajith

Sajith is just 52 and will be the second-youngest president after Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga who became the president at the age of 49. Sajith says he is energetic and dynamic but he has to prove it beyond just words. The downside of his comparatively young presidential candidacy is that he hasn’t been able to prove that he is mature enough for a 52-yer-old by his speech, action or behavior. I wonder whether he has enough time left to change the voters’ perception as we are only three weeks away from the big day. Besides, him telling the voters that he would work 20X7X365 has only earned him a sarcastic reaction by the public than doing any good for him. What Sajith has to understand is that what his father did (in going to bed very late and waking up very early) won’t excite the present-day voters as everyone understands that a human being needs sufficient rest and decent sleep. Working 20X7X365 means you are not organized. I think it is the high time Sajih stopped talking about working-20-hours-a-day drivel. I am not sure if there is any advisor to tell him to stop bunkum or maybe he just ignores the advice, just like his father used to and keep talking gobbledygook like this.

ප්‍රාදේශීය සභා, පළාත් සභා සහ පාර්ලිමේන්තු ආසන වෙන්දේසි කරමු.


මම දේශපාලනය ගැන යම් හෝ අදහසක් ඇතිකරගත්තේ ජනාධිපති ජේ. ආර්. ජයවර්ධන යුගයේ සිටය. මා ඉපදුණේ 1972දී නිසාත් ජයවර්ධන මහතා අගමැති වූයේ 1977 නිසාත්, මහවිලච්චියේ “ගිනිපෙට්ටි පාලමේ” අදටත් දැකිය හැකි ජනතා විමුක්ති පෙරමුණෙන් 1982 ජනාධිපතිවරණ කාලයේ නොමැකෙන අයුරින් ලියන ලද බව සැළකෙන “මිනීමරු ජේ. ආර්. පන්නමු” යන වැකියත් නිසාත්, ගුවන් විදුලියෙන් සහ (පසු කලෙක රූපවාහිනියෙන්) නිරතුරුවම ඇසුණේ, දැක්කේ ජේ. ආර්. ගේ කතා සහ රුව නිසාත් ඔහු ගැන මට ඇත්තේ නොමැකෙන මතකයකි. ඔහු දීර්ඝ කාලයක් තිස්සේ ජනාධිපති ධුරයේ සිටි නිසා මගේ හෝඩියේ පන්තියේ සිට අඹ යහළුවා වූ නවරත්න බණ්ඩා එකල හිතුවේ ජේ. ආර්. යනු පුද්ගලයෙක් නොව තනතුරක් බවය. 1982 ජනාධිපතිවරණය ආසන්නයේ ඔහු මගෙන් ඇහුවේ මේ සැරේ “ජේ. ආර්. කම” කාට යනු ඇතිද යන්නයි.

1982 සිට මේ වනතුරු විවිධ මැතිවරණ රාශියක් පැවැත්වුණ අයුරු මට හොඳින් මතකය. ජේ. ආර්. විසින් ඇතිකළ තක්කඩි පාලනය සහ දූෂිත මැතිවරණ ගැන මට හොඳින් මතකය. ප්‍රේමදාස මහතා ජයග්‍රහණය කළ 1988 ජනාධිපතිවරණය කැරලිකාරී ජනතා විමුක්ති පෙරමුණ විසින් ජනතාවට තහනම් කළ අයුරු සහ මගේ උසස් පෙළ පන්තියේ මිතුරකු වූ කහටගස්දිගිලියේ හේමන්ත ඡන්ද බලයවත් නැති කොලුගැටයකුව සිටියදී, ජනාධිපත්වරණය දින වෙනත් ගමනක් යනවිට “දේශප්‍රේමී ජනතා පෙරමුණ” විසින් පනවා තිබූ “මුලින්ම ඡන්දය ප්‍රකාශ කරන දස දෙනාට වෙඩි තියනවා” යන මිනීමරු නීතිය නිසා වැදුණ වෙඩි පහරකින් අදටත් කකුලක් කොර ගහමින් යන හැටිද මතකය. අනුරාධපුරයේ සිටි යූ. එන්. පී. යේ තක්කඩි දේශපාලකයන් විසින් මැතිවරණ දිනවලදී මුදාහල භීෂණය නිසා කොතරම් මිනිසුන් වෙඩි පහරකා මිය ගියාද, තුවාල ලැබුවද යන සංඛ්‍යාලේඛන කොතැනක හෝ වාර්තාකර තිබේදැයි මම නොදනිමි.

ප්‍රේමදාස ජනාධිපතිවරයාගේ අකල් මරණයත් සමග පිං ජනාධිපතිකමක් ලැබුණ ඩී. බී. විජේතුංගගේ කාලයේදී බැරිම තැන යූ. එන්. පී මදකිපුණු අලියාට අන්තිමට චන්ද්‍රිකා කුමාරතුංග ඉදිරියේ දණනමන්නට සිදුවිය. “නෙළුම් කුමාරිය” සහ සාමයේ සංකේතය වූ චන්ද්‍රිකා ජනාධිපතිනිය වූ පසු වැඩි කලක් නොයාම පැවැත්වුණ කුප්‍රකට වයඹ මැතිවරණය නින්දිත ලෙස මහ දවල් කොල්ලකෑ හැටි ඔබට අමතක නැති යැයි සිතමි.

2005 දී දේශපාලනිකව ඉතාම අවාසි සහගතව තත්වයක සිටි එවකට අගමැති මහින්ද රාජපක්ෂ (කියන පරිදි කොටි ත්‍රස්තවාදීන් සමග ගිවිසුමක් ගසා හෝ) ඉතා සුළු බහිතරයකින් ජනාධිපති වූ ආකාරයත්, ඉතාම නිර්භීත ලෙස සහ මෝඩ ලෙස (වෙනම පැහැදිලි කළ යුතුය.) යුද්ධය දිනා ටික කලකින්ම ජනතාවට එපා වූ අයුරුත් ඔබට මතකය. සිය සෙල්ලක්කාර පුතුන්ගේ තුන් මෝඩ වික්‍රමයන් (adventures of the three idiots) සහ අඩුම තරමින් එක සහෝදරයකුගේ හෝ (කළ බව කියන) රාජ්‍ය දේපල කොල්ලකෑම සහ අසීමිත කොමිස් ගැසීම් නිසා වෙලාවටත් කලින් ගෙදර යාමට රාජපක්ෂ මහතාට සිදුවිණි. අන්තිමට දැන් ජනාධිපති මෛත්‍රීපාල සිරිසේනද සියල්ලම තමන්ට එදිරිව සිටියදී (against all odds) ඉතාමත් අපහසු ජනාධිපතිවරණයකින් ජයගෙන දැනට එම පදවිය දරයි.

මේ කෙටි ඉතිහාසය ඔබට මතක් කළේ වෙන කිසිවක නිසා නොව මගේ පහත දැක්වෙන කෙටි ෆේස්බුක් සටහනට ප්‍රතිචාරයක් ලෙස ඡන්දය ප්‍රකාශ නොකර සිටීමේ භයානක කම ගැන මට තාර්කික උපදෙස් දුන් හිතවතියකගේ ප්‍රතිචාරයට මම ලියන්නට උත්සහ කළ පිළිතුර දුරදිග යාම නිසා වෙනම බ්ලොග් ලිපියක් පළකළ යුතුයැයි සිතුණ නිසාය. මෙන්න ඒ මගේ ෆේස්බුක් සටහන.

“මහවිලච්චියේ ප්‍රාදේශීය සභා ඡන්ද උණුසුම.

 

මේ මහවිලච්චියේ තාවකාලික දේශපාලන පක්ෂ කාර්යාල දෙකක්. තියෙන්නේ බෝගස් හන්දියේ. එකිනෙකට මුහුණලා තිබුණත් තවමනම් “අං පටලවාගෙන” නැහැ. (අපහාසයට ලියූවක් නොවේ “lock horns” යන ඉංග්‍රීසි යෙදුමේ සෘජු පරිවර්තනයකි. | no offense meant. Just the direct translation of the term “lock horns.”)

මේ පින්තූරවල ඉන්නා කිසිම කෙනෙක් මා හඳුනන්නේ නැත. හඳුනාගත්තත් ඔවුන්ට මගෙන් වැඩක් නැත. මම තවදුරටත් මහවිලච්චියේ ඡන්ද දායකයකු නොවෙමි. මම මහවිලච්චියේ ඡන්දදායකයකු වුවත් මම ඡන්දය පාවිච්චි නොකරමි. මා ඡන්දය පාවිච්චි කළ එකම අවස්ථාව 2005 ජනාධිපතිවරණයයි. විනාශකාරී යුද්ධය අවසන් කළ හැකි යයි සිතූ අපේක්ෂකයාට ඡන්දය දුන්නෙමි. ඔහු එය හොඳින් හෝ නරකින් ඉටු කළේය. ඊට පසු මගේ ඡන්දයෙන් කාටවත් පලක් නැති බව දැනගත් හෙයින් ඡන්දය දීමෙන් වැළකී සිටින්නෙමි.”

මීට එම මගේ හිතවතිය දුන් ඇයගේ ප්‍රතිචාරය මෙතන පලනොකරන්නේ ෆේස්බුක් යනු වැසුණ වපසරියක් (closed environment) තුළ සිදුවන ක්‍රියාවලියක් නිසාත්, එම වැසුණ වපසරිය තුළ ඇය තැබූ සටහන මෙහි පළකිරීම සදාචාර විරෝධී යයි හිතෙන නිසාත්ය.

කෙසේ හෝ, මම මුලින් ලියූ කෙටි මැතිවරණ ඉතිහාසය ඔබ හොඳින් විශ්ලේෂණය කළහොත් ඔබට දැනෙන්නේ මැතිවරණ වලදී ඡන්දදයකයන් ඒ සඳහා වැය කරන කාලය සහ රටක් ලෙස මැතිවරණ පැවැත්වීමට වැය කරන විශාල ධනස්කන්ධය සැබවින්ම බලාපොරොත්තු ප්‍රතිඵල ලබාදේදැයි සිතාබැලීම වටින බවයි.

ඔබ කැමති (හෝ අඩුවෙන්ම අකමැති) පුද්ගලයන් හෝ පක්ෂයන් බලයට පත්කළ පසු 1948 සිට මේ දක්වාම බලයට පත්වූ පුද්ගලයන් සහ පක්ෂ ජනතා කැමැත්ත හෝ මැතිවරණ පොරොන්දු ශත පහකට මායිම් නොකරන බව ඔබට පැහැදිලිවම දකින්නට පුළුවන. ජේ. ආර්. ජයවර්ධන වරක් පැවසුවේ “ මම මිනිසුන්ට ඇහුම්කන් දෙනවා, හැබැයි මම කරන්නේ මට ඕනේ දේ.” (I listen to people but I do what I want.) මෑත කාලයේදී නෙළුම් කුමාරියගේ සිට සුපිරිසිදු මහත්මයා (Mr. Clean) දක්වා අයත් ඊට පහළින් ඇමති, මැති, පළාත් සභිකයන් සහ ප්‍රාදේශීය සභිකයන් කරන්නෙත් මෙයම නොවේද?

මේ සියල්ල සලල්කිල්ලට ගත්කල මගේ සීමිත දේශපාලන සහ ආණ්ඩුක්‍රම ව්‍යවස්ථා දැනුමත් සැලකිල්ලට ගත් කළ මට හැඟෙන්නේ නිකං අපරාදේ ජනතා මුදල්, කාලය සහ සම්පත් විනාශකර මැතිවරණ පවත්වනවාට වඩා වඩාත් වැඩදායක වන්නේ පහළම මට්ටමේ සිට ඉහළම මට්ටම දක්වා සියලු මැතිවරණ වෙනුවට එම සභිකයින්ගේ තනතුරු වෙන්දේසි කර වැඩිම ගණුම්කරුවාට ලබාදෙන එක වඩාත් වැඩදායී සහ කාලෝචිත බවයි. මෙය කියවන ඔබට තදවීමට පුළුවන. “ජනතා පරමාධිපත්‍ය” වෙන්දේසි කළ හැකිද යන්න ඔබ ප්‍රශ්න කළ හැක. ඒත් ඔබ මම දෙදෙනාම දන්නා කරුණ නම් එහෙම කෙහෙම්මලක් තිබුණානම් මහබැංකු කොල්ලය වැනි මගෝඩි වැඩ කරන විට ඔබට ඔවුන්ට දඬුවම් කිරීමට නොහැකිවුවත් ගෙදර යැවීමට වත් හැකි විය යුතුය. සුපිරි ප්‍රජාතන්ත්‍රවාදී බලතල තිබෙන රටවල එහෙම වෙන බව ඔබ දන්නවා ඇත. මෙය recall election (also called a recall referendum or representative recall) ලෙස ස්විට්සර්ලන්තයේ හැඳින්වේ.

ඔබ පත්කරන ජනතා නියෝජිතයන් කරන්නේ ඔබේ කැමැත්ත හෝ අකමැත්තට ඉටුකිරීම පසෙක තබා ගමේ බෝක්කුවේ සිට මහා පරිමාණ ව්‍යපෘති දකවා සියලුම දේවල් ව්‍යාපාරික අරමුණුවලින් අනුව බව අපි දැන් හොඳින් පසක් කරගෙන සිටිමු. ඉතිං නැති ජනතා පරමාධිපත්‍යයක් ගැන කයිවාරු ගහනවා වෙනුවට මම යෝජනා කරන පරිදි ප්‍රසිද්ධ වෙදෙසියේ ඉහත තනතුරු වෙන්දේසි කර ඒ මුදල (කොල්ල කනබව දැන දැනත්) මහා භාණ්ඩාගාරයට යවා ඉහළ ලංසු තැබූ අයට බලය දී දැන් මේ ඉන්නවා වගේම බලාසිටිනු හැර අපට කළ හැකි යමක් තිබේද? ප්‍රසිද්ධ වෙන්දේසියේදී අනිවාර්යයෙන් මුදල් විසිකළ හැකි අය බලයට පත්වනු ඇත. ඔවුන් ව්‍යාපාරික අරමුණු අනුව රට පාලනය කරනු ඇත. දැන් සිදුවන්නේත් එයම නොවේද? ජනතා පරමාධිපත්‍යය නම් ටොෆි කොළය ඔතා අපිට දෙන්නේ තුට්ටු දෙකේ බුල්ටෝ එකක් නොවේද?

(මේ ලිපියේ සමහර තැන්වල වරහන් තුළ ඉංග්‍රීසි වචන යොදා ඇත්තේ එහි අදහස සිංහලෙන් හරියටම යෙදුවාදැයි මට සැකයක් ඇතිවුණ අවස්ථාවලදීය. සිංහල සහ ඉංග්‍රීසි භාෂා දෙකේම ප්‍රාමාණික දැනුමක් මට නැතැයි සිතමි.)

The Singapore Story – Lee Kuan Yew


The Singapore Story - Book Cover

The Singapore Story – Book Cover

I finished reading ‘The Singapore Story’ by Lee Kuan Yew few days back. It was nearly 700-page book. But I could read it at a stretch since it was an inspirational story and it is written in a very simple, yet effective language. The book is about LKY’s childhood, youth and how Singapore became an independent state and LKY’s role in it.

Singapore Map

Singapore Map

LKY’s childhood is interesting. He had been a brilliant student but his education was disturbed during Japanese occupation of Singapore during the World War II. But he was lucky enough (or courageous enough rather) to complete his education in the United Kingdom and become a lawyer. Not only that, he was able to become the Prime Minister of Singapore at the young age of 35.

How LKY aligned people, trade unions, and his political party (People’s Action Party – PAP) towards winning elections is amazing. He is a smart, shrewd and cunning politician. He gets the support of the communists to win the parliament elections and then drops them when they become a nuisance. He survives coup attempts by his parliamentary colleagues as well. He never loses hopes for Singapore.

Map of Malaysia

LKY mentions Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in several places in the book and also admires her. The way he describes his travels is very interesting. His travel accounts to different African nations to promote Malaysia are fascinating. He wants Singapore to become a part of a new country that was being formed with integration of Federation of Malaya, Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah regions. (Brunei later pulled out of the plan.) The new country was to be named Malaysia. Though LYK works hard for integration, later Mr. Abdul Rahman -the Tunku- the Chief Minister of Federation of Malaya decides to keep Singapore out of Malaysia for fear that LYK will one day become the Prime Minister of Malaysia. But LYK’s goal is different. He only wants to ensure that the Singaporeans will get equal rights within the state of Malaysia which they are not going to get as the Tunku tries to give priority to Malays in Malaysia over the rest of the nations. Once Singapore is snubbed by Malaysia, Singapore automatically becomes an independent state. The book ends there.

What I most liked about the book was that the author even highlights the negative remarks others have made regarding him without considering the damage it does to his image. In fact the facts in the book become more reliable due to the very reason.

The way how LKY developed Singapore to today’s status is not discussed in the book. It is in another book called ‘From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965-2000.’ Must acquire it as soon as possible.

The problem I have is that why did our late president, Mr. J. R. Jayawardene, with a 5/6unprecedented power, fail to do what LKY did in his country.