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’’If you do not know English, why don’t you speak in Tamil,’’ RW tells Tamil activist


27 June 2023 02:06 pm - 43     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


President Ranil Wickremesinghe asked a Tamil activist in the UK to pose a question in Tamil when it seemed he was struggling to raise a question in English.

The activist, during an event in the UK, urged the President to address humanitarian issues in Sri Lanka before focusing on other issues.

The activist also opined that he does not believe the Government in Sri Lanka was democratic.

The President responded by saying he could not understand what the activist was trying to say and asked him to speak in Tamil if he does not know English.

Wickremesinghe said that he knows Tamil.

The activist then began to speak in Tamil and English but was cut short by the organizers.



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  Comments - 43

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  • Anthony. R Tuesday, 27 June 2023 02:20 PM

    LOL, thoe rude, Mr Bean lives up to his name. Oh,la,la,

    Reza Tuesday, 27 June 2023 02:25 PM

    Ranil checkmated the bogus activists have not even been to the north or even speak Tamil.

    VJ Tuesday, 27 June 2023 02:35 PM

    Sarcastic as usual.

    Max Tuesday, 27 June 2023 02:41 PM

    Seems the so called "activist" has done his "duty" in order to get his share of Francs!

    Love LK Tuesday, 27 June 2023 02:51 PM

    We all must learn all three languages and it will be good for all. After language skills is useful to all.

    L Jaya Tuesday, 27 June 2023 02:52 PM

    Yes, I agree. If one cannot speak in English, speak in their own language. This applies to our politicians as well. Bandula G taking to Russian media in connection with AEROFLOT, MY3 in Philippines and Kaputa explaining aircraft taking off.

    Lanka putha Tuesday, 27 June 2023 03:06 PM

    He is absulately corret and both parties should know each others language. No harm and it will be an advantage. Thanks president.

    Tariq Tuesday, 27 June 2023 03:11 PM

    Very good. Teach the Tamil Diaspora in France and Canada a Lesson Ranil. They learn, earn and easily take the conventional route of migrating to greener pastures and then criticise the Sri Lankan government.

    Dee Tuesday, 27 June 2023 03:19 PM

    Now this is enough for people to start calling him a racist!

    Punchi Tuesday, 27 June 2023 03:26 PM

    If a Tamil activist existed in our paradise and was pertinent to ask our president a question on human rights he would end up being food for the fish is the seas surrounding our blessed isle

    BuffaloaCitizen Tuesday, 27 June 2023 03:47 PM

    He did not want to answer the question, because he is bound to get stumped with his answer. What can a country which is second in the world for having the highest number of mass graves and unsolved killings state? So best to throw it back cunningly that he could not understand the question, even though many could to a certain extent.

    Buddhist Tuesday, 27 June 2023 03:51 PM

    So Ranil did not have the decency to ask the organizers to allow the question to be presented?

    Keerthi Tuesday, 27 June 2023 03:58 PM

    what a smart way to dodge a question for which he does not have an answer

    Mahila Friday, 30 June 2023 02:27 AM

    Importantly, as the proverbial adage goes, "Do as the Romans do, when IN Rome" is enlightenment and emancipated thinking!!?? So "when in PARIS (France) learn to do as Parisians would – French" – Public engagements!? Activist been "THINKING IN FRENCH, SPEAKING IT OUT IN 'ENGLISH', like most Sri Lankans (even when in Sri Lanka to impress uninitiated in 'SINGLISH') – THINK IN SINHALA, SPEAK (Grammatically erred content, which is convoluted English (Singlish) most times!!?? at times end up, sentences with "No"!!!?? Speak/Understand French" when interacting with PUBLIC including Sri Lankans domiciled!? Or have Translator!!?? Remember, SOME have been from August 1983 -> 2023, almost 40 years!!?? That activist must have been "THINKING in French, speaking it out in 'English', enable HE to comprehend!!?? Like most Sri Lankans back HOME, do to impress uninitiated companions, ('SINGLISH')

    Mandayan Tuesday, 27 June 2023 04:33 PM

    OMG, Our President was saying this in France where they don't give a damn about English. The guy is fluent in French and how can you expect fluency in English?

    Gunapalan Savarananthan Tuesday, 27 June 2023 04:50 PM

    You even do not understand Sinhala - Talking about Tamil? What a funny man you are?

    M Fernando Tuesday, 27 June 2023 05:29 PM

    Ranil thinks he is the British Raj where everyone in the world must speak English...

    sss Tuesday, 27 June 2023 05:29 PM

    wow he does not know English? Does not he know that in Sri Lanka we consider knowing English as the solution to all the mundane issues such as jobs, food, housing etc. etc. Since independence, for all important positions , including highly technological positions, English proficiency has been considered as the most important qualification. This has resulted in taking Sri Lanka from second best in Asia (at the time of independence) to rock bottom and having to beg for assistance from countries like South Korea and Japan who could not care less for English

    Mahila Wednesday, 28 June 2023 04:46 AM

    FRENCH IN FRANCE ‘CARE 2 HOOTS’!!! One would get misdirection, if when visiting France, dares to enquire from the French in France, dares to pose the question in 'Old Blighty' ENGLISH!!!?? Unlike majority of cases, enquiring in Tamil from Sinhalese in the South!!?? Not very funny!!!???

    Lion Tuesday, 27 June 2023 05:30 PM

    He knows every thing ,the other day he tried to teach archeology to the top boss of that institution ,this time he might start a English class . Looks gotha has taken in charge of his old brain

    Pantha Kumaran Tuesday, 27 June 2023 05:44 PM

    Our President is trying to show the public in South he is following the footstep of his uncle JR. A person who came from back door for this job is a failed stateman.

    Nimal Tuesday, 27 June 2023 05:56 PM

    This man thinks he is above all. This is an unprofessional act. If he couldn't understand what he says there is a diplomatic way to say it. If I talk like that to someone in the place I work in the UK, I will get fired. This shows the unprofessionalism of our leaders and he gave a bad impression.

    L De Silva Tuesday, 27 June 2023 06:08 PM

    There are times when you just gotta love RW's sense of humour wit and impeccable timing!

    Maxwell Tuesday, 27 June 2023 06:36 PM

    Come on Ranil, If you can’t even understand a Tamilian English accent how can you even start to understand the aspirations of their population? You too have a strong Singhalese accent in your spoken English and that doesn’t matter because you are not an Englishman. Be sensitive to who you are and stop playing to the Gallery in a white man`s forum as if you are one of them. As a senior statesman there are much better ways to address an abusive question from the audience than this.

    Common man Tuesday, 27 June 2023 06:50 PM

    Reconciliation in name only.. ridiculing someone isn’t a great start whether his comment was genuine or not.. you can see when he looks around for other’s reactions after making the comment that he was dodging a question by ridiculing the speaker

    Kumara Tuesday, 27 June 2023 07:06 PM

    I understood his question. If Ranil did not understand his accent etc then he is entitled to ask to repeat or ask the question in another language which both are better or more familiar with. I do not know why media wants to make this a big issue other than to get answers from Ranil's mouth to the question.

    DOT Tuesday, 27 June 2023 07:11 PM

    Too harsh PM!

    Gamini Wednesday, 28 June 2023 01:08 AM

    If he thinks the world is run by English he is loooong outdated. This is 50 year old thinking. I still meet people of this nature who are now close to their grave. He is not fit to run a country never mind even as a village head.

    Mahila Wednesday, 28 June 2023 01:16 AM

    Comical Ranil, conveniently forgot he's in Paris, France Mainland Europe and NOT, The UK and asked the guy to speak or question in English!!? This is like asking “Residents of Mahiyangana to ‘speak or ask’ question in English”!! As this meeting was held instead in Paris, France, activist would have been well conversant in FRENCH due to daily usage!!! RW, the ‘self-portrayed and perceived all-knowledgeable on “International Affairs and Connections” should know how French despise English!? Therefore if activist had been Parisian – “for YEARS” – would’ve been LESS conversant in English – lack of usage of ENGLISH”!? That was "COCK-A-HOOP", ‘creative convenient situation’ to evade an unpleasant outcome!!??? RW should have asked him to ask ‘question in FRENCH, someone translates to RW - English!!!? STRATEGIST, MISSING Ingredient – “COMMON TOUCH”!!!?? “UN-ELECTABLE” – Case Proved without doubt- except 2004 !!!???

    N. N. Perera Wednesday, 28 June 2023 01:51 AM


    dv Wednesday, 28 June 2023 03:37 AM

    This statement , of rejecting the way English is spoken by another and making the speaker feel inferior is a line from a by gone era ..and not ever in French speaking France ..or it is way of dodging the question ?

    Maithree Jayawardane Wednesday, 28 June 2023 04:59 AM

    Is he running short of options for optimisation like his predecessor, outsted Gota, who asked that English teacher candidate to speak in English without advising her to apply and face the interview? These are attitudes of somebody who plays managerial rolls not of a president.

    Ama Wednesday, 28 June 2023 05:18 AM

    Activist was easily defeated and humiliated by the genius!!!. Diaspora will now get private English tution.

    Tom jones Wednesday, 28 June 2023 07:26 AM

    Don’t laugh and ridicule the Tamil person for speaking to the President. At least gave him a hearing. Ignoring the demands and voice of the minorities has resulted in bankruptcy in this country. Sinhala only has ruined this country. Good educated,intelligent ,professional buddhists are all leaving this country because there is no hope in this country.

    Muthu Wednesday, 28 June 2023 09:19 AM

    Looks like RW does not understand English. What part of the question did he not understand. Clear tactic to avoid answering the question

    Seqi Wednesday, 28 June 2023 09:35 AM

    This would have been OK if the Sri Lankan President had asked in Tamil or French.... clearly needs to do his homework..... shows he has little class.

    MirakRajBanda Wednesday, 28 June 2023 02:03 PM

    First of all, RW lied he speaks Tamil but we never heard he ushered word in Tamil in his 50 year politics, on the other hand, the journalist posed the question spoke fairly good English and he was clear enough about the question he posed. RW was really uncomfortable with the qeustions in regards to ethnic issues home or abroad.

    Cherath Wednesday, 28 June 2023 02:59 PM

    Ranil Wickremesinghe's English is at best Pidgeon English. He speaks English like Sinhala with 'no?' at the end of most sentences. At least the questioner was eloquent in at least 3 languages at average level. Ranil always pulls the humiliation card when he cannot provide a meaningful answer. Cheap!

    Jimmy Wednesday, 28 June 2023 10:39 PM

    Not many who speak English as their first language won't understand Ranil's English. He had the guts to ask someone to speak in Tamil as he couldn't answer the question he understood. If they didn't understand, decent professional people would repeat the question to ensure their understanding was accurate. Ranil, on the other hand, decided to leave without answering. The reason was that he couldn't answer a good question.

    Ranil Wednesday, 28 June 2023 10:40 PM

    I give Ranil credit for not stating something like, "I say, shit down maaan! Do you want me to teach you either English or Singlish without becoming history".

    Solomon Thursday, 29 June 2023 12:02 AM

    Your inappropriate comment and sarcastic look at the moderator indication of your pig headed arrogance. The fact that Srilankans both Sinhalese and Tamil cannot speak proper English is the result of your bankrupt polices in ruining the country over past 75 years. Your sarcastic laugh should be directed at yourself and the set rogue politic ians.

    lol Thursday, 29 June 2023 12:44 PM

    Ranil only understands the royal college English :D

    Dr. K. Gunaratnam [Skin Specialist] Friday, 30 June 2023 10:30 AM

    Mr. Wickramasinghe now you are talking too much, and it means your life time is getting shortened. Control your words until then.

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