Lifestyles of politicians and the life of an artist

Sri Lankans are easily attracted to the lifestyle of successful individuals, but rarely do they wish to put in long hours to emulate those feats. Here some fishermen are seen engaging in the perplexing task of checking their nets; an activity which is a must to ensure a large catch at sea

  • Few common factors are found when analysing careers of politicians and artistes; the present generation engaged in these two professions are all out to earn maximum money during their careers
  • There are so many performing artistes who took to politics; some of them were in parliament till very recently, but most of them failed to make any impact in the field of politics 

A politician’s ‘life’ is often hectic. It has to be; because he has to serve the people who elected him to office. But we also see the ‘lifestyles’ they live and often envy them. Talk about our lawmakers having hectic lives, there are some who are the opposite, are lazy and not worth the salaries they earn. 
The outside world sees Sri Lanka as an island. Tourists dream of coming here on vacation and experiencing the lifestyle of islanders. But they have their lives to live. That’s when they get back to their motherlands when their vacations conclude. 
The fisherfolk in this island have their seasons to go to sea. In the off season, nothing in terms of catching fish is possible. Fishermen can be seen mending their nets and repairing their boats. Fishermen are seasonal ‘creatures’; they hunt during the season. But lawmakers are not like that. They hunt when they see opportunity. And opportunity is a phenomenon that never knocks twice on your door. Lawmakers know this and that is why they hunt throughout the year. 

We have been troubled, time and time again, when we get to hear the issues between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen. There are so many stories reaching us about what happens in the troubled waters in the North. The crux of the matter is that no islander can lead a peaceful life because there are so many outsiders eyeing your ‘treasured island’. Given India’s importance in the Indian Ocean and status in South Asia, our lawmakers also won’t wish to get into the wrong books of Sri Lanka’s big brother. There are so many documentaries and short films made about the Northern Sri Lankan fishermen and also their Indian counterparts on these lines. These productions dig deep into the lives of fishermen, but the unseen political hands playing around can be observed if the audience is intently focused. There are votes for the taking as long as the India-Sri Lanka fishing issue exists. 
A good number of lawmakers saw their lifestyles being upgraded since the economy was thrown open in 1977. The honest lawmaker became very dishonest in double quick time. The political hierarchy encouraged that. The Ranasinghe Premadasa Government tried to change this lavish spending on projects and enjoyment of perks by lawmakers. Premadasa encouraged hard work and enduring hardships for the purpose of producing results. He advocated the hardworking culture of a labourer to any aspiring lawmaker. Ambitious lawmakers soon fell out of favour with him. The lawmakers who opposed him would have sighed with relief when the ‘the poor man’s president’ was assassinated during a May Day rally 31 years ago. Late President Premadasa’s life was one of dedication and his lifestyle was also simple. 
Everybody in the coastal belts of Sri Lanka are not engaged in the fishing industry. For most of them, fishing is a choice. Hence, the lifestyle that’s associated with this trade is embedded into their life and culture. The reason to highlight this point is because there are people who don’t get to engage in their dream occupation. There are doctors who have gone into early retirement to pursue a peaceful profession like being an artist. But these stories are heard from parts of the world outside Sri Lanka. 

This island is a place which spoils an individual for choice if he or she takes to politics. We had a tuition teacher specialising in economics who quit a lucrative teaching career and stepped into politics. We still really don’t know why he did that; probably because a lawmaker enjoys so much power and if he or she wishes to, can be immune to the application of the law. ‘Getting away scot-free’ is a phrase largely used with lawmakers. 
Sri Lanka is getting ready for two elections; the Presidential Elections and Parliamentary Elections. If both these elections are taken into account, the likelihood is for the Presidential Elections to be held first. Regardless of how overly ambitious the old brigade is, this economically choking nation is eager to see new faces in politics. There are so many performing artistes (Actors) who took to politics. Some of them were in parliament till very recently. But most of them failed to make any impact in the field of politics. There are a few common factors found when analysing the careers of politicians and artistes. The present generation engaged in these two professions are all out to earn the maximum money during their careers or tenures in office. There was a time when both these professions demanded individuals to make a deep study of the subject of their choice if they were to make any career progress. 
Those deeply engaged in Sri Lanka’s art and cultural industries are busy   organising felicitation ceremonies for artiste Ravindra Randeniya, who completed 50 years in cinema recently. Literature associated with Randeniya reveals that he is an avid reader and was a dedicated student at school. Though he didn’t qualify for university, he made a long and fruitful journey in the world of cinema. Film fans and professionals in the industry are known to value the opinion of Randeniya because he has always been a keen student of cinema. The only wrong decision he probably took in his 79-year-old life would be the short three years he dabbled in politics. He awfully regrets that time spent in politics. 
Sri Lankans get carried away when they see the ‘lifestyles’ of achievers or any member of the affluent community. Largely the majority of people in this sun-kissed island hate to live the life of a hardworking achiever. When an award winning artist or artiste says, “I prefer to be associated with the phrase ‘the life of an artist’ and not the ‘lifestyle of an artist’”, we know what he or she means.  

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