The dark tower – a lighter loftier look after its initial illumination

Thursday, 19 September 2019 00:50 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS CAME ON AT THE LOTUS TOWER? Wait, what? Are you being serious? Do you mean in the midst of our sea of troubles – from addressing poverty to abolishing presidencies – a singular erection has stolen their thunder? (I promise not to make any more references to the laughable matter of phallic symbols adorning our skyline under the guise of a political emblem.)

But seriously! There is little – if anything – to smile about, you might feel. But here is a lighter take on the lofty edifice. If only to provide a little comic relief, one hopes. From all the hypocrisy, humbuggery and humdrum declarations about abolishing the presidency that has caught our attention these days…

This is probably what the major players in the feat – some might say ‘fiasco’ – that went down… er, came up – earlier this week, were thinking:

(Do be warned: This is an article in lighter vein… Neither the writer nor his editors bear any responsibility for the fevered thoughts we’ve eavesdropped on. Eh, what’s that? No, no, we weren’t using the Chinese listening post that came up recently to tap into what’s going down!) 

The president

“It is my duty to inform the people that this tower has come at a great cost to the republic. Where that Chinese company went with two billion rupees worth of our money has kept me awake at night for many moons now. Surely someone has made a lot of personal capital out of this…”


The people 

“Where has he been these many moons? China? The moon? Somewhere, over the rainbow? Surely someone is making a lot of political capital out of this…”


The former president

“This gentleman (NOTE: you might substitute a more suitable word as appropriate – or not) is talking through his hat. How can he say such things now when he turned a blind eye when he was my minister of health? These kinds of things are not good for one to bust a gut over like this. It could be injurious to the health. Wait till after the erection – I mean, election – I will tell everything about him also… hmm, on second thoughts, better not.”  


The former president’s crown prince

“Look at the beauty of that thing. So tall and long! May be hard also? Might be inspiring to meditate on it at the given time, no! These days I feel like I need it more than usual. Ah, what, appochchi – stop daydreaming and pay attention to the upcoming erection… I mean, election?”  


The prime minister

“This is a prime example of the kind of corruption that the previous government was capable of. The prime example of the kind of corruption that my government is capable of, you ask? Well, all you have to do is lower your glance and look a little to the west… See, that bank that is centrally located much lower on the public consciousness – I mean, skyline – now? Or just ask the president what my party and I are personally capable of, will you? After that rigged up presidential commission, he knows everything. About pre-election rigging. And premature – er, nothing. I am not telling anything about that to you. Anyway, my mandate is not to fight corruption; but to resist change. And I have resisted change so long and hard that I am quite limp right now. I am a traditional democrat, don’t you know?” 


The young pretender to the present prime minister

“I have built houses with my money borrowed from the state. My father built the state with his money borrowed from other houses. But these people are building their money from houses borrowed from other states – to impressively quote Lord Bosh-Tosh; but don’t ask who he is, OK?” 


Them financially-minded plutocrats who always look at the bottom line

“Never mind the costs. What’s the ROI? ROE? Royalty? Can you crunch up a KPI for me? (Also, get me a piece of pie and some coffee – extra strong, no sugar.) Where are we going to get those six million dollar tourists? Can we sublet the top floor to the IMF or ISIS or somebody until we recoup the losses – er, I mean rationalise earnings – we made/sustained on the hard loan from China?”


The mandarin at the relevant ministry in the People’s Republic

“We hear you! Loud and clear! Do you hear us? Listen very carefully. Ka-ching. There!”


Those pretty folks in Colombo with their cute social media attention span

“It’s so beautiful. So colourful at night, like a budding lotus in rainbow colours! Can’t they light it up by day, as well? Such a symbol of Sri Lanka’s peace and prosperity, aney… something for everyone – Nelum Kuluna for the boys, Nelum Pokuna for the girls; so nice of them…”


People in the street

“Not bad to look at. But if everybody keeps looking up like this, traffic congestion will never improve. And why do I have the feeling that by looking up at this like we’re doing, we’re forgetting something more important?” 


People in the suburbs

“It’s not visible because of all the condominiums and election cut-outs blocking our view of the Colombo skyline. Not that we’re very much interested, anyway. There are other things to look at. Just see the state of our roads after the floods, will you?”


People in the rest of Sri Lanka

“Tower, what tower? Is it like the twin towers, which we heard about recently only, but just one not two? Who lives in it: is it the president or the prime minister? Do you think we can make a one-day bus-trip to see what it’s like inside? Even on election day! Can you give us the address?”

(Journalist | Editor-at-large of LMD | Writer #SpeakingTruthToPower)