The new government seems to be going in the right direction. President Maithripala Sirisena slowly but steadily is showing that he is truly a man from Polonnaruwa, a villager, and not an actor who plays the role. He seems to be a true follower of core Buddhist principles of humility and indifference in contrast to those who organised Buddhist preachings every Poya Day but simply didn’t bother to follow what was there in the noble discourse.
All the official events so far attended by President Sirisena have been devoid of pomp and pageantry. President Sirisena’s first official address to the nation from the Temple of the Tooth Relic was anything but grand. Clad in his usual white sarong and tunic, the President addressed the large crowd gathered for not more than 5 minutes.
Though the speech was brief, it contained all that the intelligent people in the country wanted to hear. He didn’t deviate from the new government’s 100-day programme and renewed his pledge not to stand for the Presidency again. President Sirisena’s demeanour was neutral. It seemed that he had taken the election win according to the Buddhist philosophy. He wasn’t rejoicing. He seemed to be well aware of the duties and responsibilities lying ahead and maybe was humbled by them—a trait of a true leader.
Meanwhile, the event was minus dancers, drummers and all other sorts of stage performances, to the disappointment of many pseudo-artistes who earned a buck for organizing events, supplying the dancers etc. for the previous regime. Certain so-called artistes thrived during the past five years by catering to the megalomaniac requirements of the previous regime. Two young artistes, who identified themselves as the voice of the youth, were seen busily making money, organizing events and providing other support services to the regime more than creating music. A dancing group, which commercialised dancing to despicable extents, was also seen dancing to the tunes of the regime till they go out of their breath.
In this light, we hope that the Independence Day that is falling on February 4 will also be celebrated in a simple but dignified manner, emphasizing the value of freedom and liberty more than anything else. Friday Forum, a citizen’s group consisting of eminent figures in the country recently requested the new government to keep the Independence Day celebrations simple without ‘major military and military hardware demonstrating parades, floats and the use of school children.’
“The occasion should promote new standards of simple and disciplined lifestyles,” Friday Forum noted.
The new government’s decision to limit the number of vehicles in VIP convoys to a maximum of two to three vehicles is also a step in the right direction. It is indeed refreshing to see how VIP convoys now follow road rules and stop at traffic lights and zebra crossings, without being a menace to the public.
It is clear that the new government has raised the bar. They have already set a few benchmarks for the better. We hope they will continue on this path, which could trigger the much-needed socio-political transformation the country has been lacking since the end of the war in 2009.
USE OF SCHOOL CHILDREN ! we have seen school children scorching in the sun for hours and hours to lead the processions. OTHER than their OWN school functions, lets not allow them to participate in political functions. PARENTS NOTE.
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