Why people shouldn’t fear ‘Mr. Talent’ - EDITORIAL

These are days when people are working hard to make ends meet; even when the spouse is employed too. With regard to those frequenting the corridors of power, they too are working immensely hard to be in power when the next government is formed. 

There was a recent meme (an image, video or piece of text) on Facebook which portrayed two candidates who are likely to bid for the presidency at the next big election. The one with a love for nature photography was saying ‘It would be my way only and there is no asking questions’. The other was saying the total opposite. He states in the meme, “Ask any question and I’ll give the answer again and again till you understand”. Great talent is needed to remain as a politician who wields power in the future because this is an era of discourse; not one of orders. 

Recently this writer was browsing through a video posted on youtube where an advertising guru is heard airing his thoughts about hard work and working with talent. He said that he preferred if an artist or designer said that his talent was utilized in a creation. He said that he disliked the phrase ‘my tiring efforts went into this production’. Creative people don’t like to associate the word tiring where talent is used. 

It seems like people with loads of talent still feel that they can use them and make a decent living by remaining on this ‘sun-kissed’ island. The ones who lack talent and are comfortable doing a day job are quickly immigrating. These immigrants while living in their chosen countries don’t complain about putting in the extra-long hours at work. 

Sri Lanka is not a country where one can prosper through hard work. This is of course a general statement made by this writer. When you see a large number of television channels and all those sub-standard tele dramas you can easily fathom that these artistes are driven to ‘slavery’. This is of course baring the oldest television station on this island which believes in presenting the audience with quality productions using the talent of ‘everybody’ who they employ. However, the problem such talented artistes might encounter is being unable to live with the earnings that they generate through their limited engagement in television productions. Many years ago a sculptor worked in collaboration with the state and put his talents to good use in making a monument to reminisce about the Aranthalawa massacre, which took place in 1987. One big piece of that monument is the bus on which the monks were travelling on that fateful day. The sculptor used the bus, cement, paint and his talent to create the monument. When the time came to be reimbursed for the work done, the government official in charge of the project asked “Tell us how much we should pay for the cement bags that were used in the construction”. What about the price the authorities must pay to acquire his talent or expertise in sculpturing? 

Even the JVP is now reluctant to speak about their old comrade, the late Rohana Wijeweera. He was a leader with many talents. He had leadership skills plus great oratory capacity. He was witty too when speaking and had the talent to predict the future. Much of what he said about the Indo-Sri Lanka relationship is now turning out to be true. At the time of being in captivity and just before facing death he had been immensely tortured. There is a reference to this in JVP literature ‘post’ insurgency. Bracing the torture of pain he had posed several questions to a high-ranked military official about his party and politics. The official had struggled to answer the questions. It’s hard to find talented people in politics.  

In very recent times we saw the aragalaya (protest) teaching us many lessons. A good many of those involved in the aragalaya didn’t have the talent to produce a worthwhile result. Finally, a man who never set foot in the protest site emerged the victor. That is his talent. 

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