It’s a bell… it’s a rocket…..oh wait it’s a Christmas tree! All of us have seen pictures of the tallest Christmas Tree in Sri Lanka. Some say its an amazing achievement and some think its a huge waste of money. However this letter to the President written by Mr. Asoka Weerasinghe of Gloucester, Cananda is sure to interest you, especially the lyrics at the end.
Honorable Maithripala Sirisena,
President of Sri Lanka
Galle Face, Colombo 1
CC;Hon. Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka
His Grace Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith
Dear President Maithripala Sirisena:
Re: Sri Lanka’s Tallest Christmas Tree on Galle Face Green 2016-17
I hope in your daily briefing you have been informed of the latest chapter and verse of your Minister Arjuna Ranatunga’s Tallest Christmas Tree in the World saga which is on Galle Face Green in the shape of a rocket as if it is about to take off in to orbit.
This 12 million-plus rupee ill-conceived venture is now been challenged by the newly formed Catholic Movement in Sri Lanka.
It’s President Chirantha Amarasinghe in his letter to Alistair Richards, Global President, Guinness Book of World Records in the UK, says:
“ As a Catholic Movement in Sri Lanka we would like to inquire as to how the builders claimed that Sri Lanka’s tallest Christmas Tree was the tallest artificial Christmas Tree in the world.
“To be classified as a “Artificial tree” it should have ornaments and green fir. I also note that in the record set by China, it is clear that the tree was covered with green synthetic foliage. However, the Sri Lankan tree does not have any such ornaments or foliage. It has a green mesh which does not depict the natural fir requirement. The metal structure of the tree is completely visible (evidence attached), and the shape of the tree looks like a bell (more say it looks like a rocket) rather than a Christmas Tree”.
With all the concerns that Chirantha Amerasinghe of the Catholic Movement of Sri Lanka has pointed out here is the cake that beats it all.
Some smart Alec of your Yahapalanaya Government had the cheater’s audacity as Chirantha Amerasinghe reported to Alistair Richard of the Guinness Book of World Records thus, “Also a board (photo wall) was made available at the tree for people to take pictures with Guinness World Record Logo, as if you all have already given the tree as the tallest in the world Certificate.”
Mr. President Maitripala Sirisena, this is not classy, this is embarrassing, this is cheating, and this is humbugging and it is certainly not good for your ‘Yahapalanaya Good Governance’ window-dressing which is pocked with hood-winking and scandals. I hope you will take serious note of it, look into it, and rap the knuckles of this smart Alec, and don’t try to cover his/her behind with a Velcro taped ‘it’s OK’ happy lungi to legitimize its insolence.
I agreed absolutely when the Archbishop of Colombo had initially objected to the construction of the Christmas tree saying it is a waste of money which could have been put to better use. But, then, Mr. President, your Prime Minister and a Minister ignored his wisdom, twisted his arm to make him renege his earlier thinking, and continued wire meshing this Tree, and spent 12 million plus rupees constructing it. And it has been challenged again, now by the Catholic Movement of Sri Lanka and I being a critic of this project, I loved it.
You know what, Mr. President, the Arjuna Ranatunga’s Port’s group feeling the winds of objection blowing their way on their project quickly tried to cover their behinds by announcing that this was a project promoting Religious Harmony in the island. All what I could say was that it was a barrel full of Jardi, smelling up, up towards heaven. Perhaps your Prime Minister and your Minister of Ports could explain their thesis how this wire-mesh Christmas tree could bring about Religious Harmony which incurred a colossal expenditure of 12 million -plus rupees. Would they be kind enough to explain to us I’d love to hear their defence of their thesis.
Surely, Mr. President, you didn’t expect your gamme minissu who count their cents to buy a loaf of bread for their night’s dinner, pay a bus fare and get over to Galle Face Green to look at this miracle Tallest Christmas Tree according to Minister Ranatinga would provide them with the magic of Religious Harmony which the majority of them haven’t experienced such religious dis-harmony any way. For goodness sake, give these poor gamme minissu a break.
Mr. President if ‘Religious Harmony’ was their intention I am surprised that your two bright-eyed smart Cabinet colleagues couldn’t come up with a better and a creative way to spend that money for religious harmony by helping the poor and needy. And there are hundreds of them in your neck of the woods down Ganewela, Dambulla and Polonnaruwa that need help, whom I met early last year. And you all go and blow over 12 million rupees on this project for a handful of people to get their names endorsed in the Guinness Book of World Records. It’s pathetic, isn’t it?
Try this for size Mr. President to promote Religious Harmony. The Yahapalanayos could have put together, thousands and thousands of Multi-faith Good Will Hampers which would include – a loaf of bread, a coconut, small packets of rice, dhal, curry powder, sugar, tea and salt, a small bottle of cooking oil and a small bottle of clean drinking water.
The hamper?burlap bag could have been silk-screened with the symbols that represent all major faiths in the island, and perhaps a slogan on Interfaith Harmony in Sinhalese, Tamil and English and distributed the hampers at remote villages and towns. Each distributing center should have been manned by four members of the clergy of Sri Lanka’s major religious faiths garbed in a saffron robe, a Cossack with a white collar starched towards heaven, another in a vetti and an orange wrap and three stripes of ash across the forehead and the last one in a crocheted white skull cap and a white thwab.. Mr. President, that 12 million rupees would have gone a long way to promote religious harmony in this multi-religious island . That would have been a simple, but a rewarding exercise. But one thing is for sure, this act would not have bloated the ego of your parliamentarians. And I say tough tiddy! But I am confident that you would have come up with an excellent idea to use that 12 million-plus rupees to promote Religious Harmony in the island. But you Yahapalanayos blew that opportunity having accommodated the ego of a few. Tough!
Apparently, they are going to dance around the Christmas Tree singing a song similar to Brenda Lee’s Rocking around the Christmas Tree with new lyrics when the questionable Tallest Charismas Tree in the World will come down. No doubt you three will be asked to participate. Here is the celebratory song with an apology to Brenda Lee –
‘Rocking around the Christmas tree
at Arjuna’s Christmas party hop,
million pine cones are hung
where you can see
and Maithri and Ranil want to stop.
They will get a sentimental feeling
when you hear voices singing,
“Let’s be jolly with bottles of toddy
we spent twelve million rupees for this.
Rocking around the tallest Christmas tree
they say is for Religious Harmony,
who the hell cares that poor have food
or the Archbishop is in a foul mood.
What matters is that
we got our names in the
Guinness World Record book,
who the hell cares whether
they have clean water to drink
Arjuna has his tallest Christmas tree. Look!
So let’s rock around the tallest Christmas Tree
at Sri Lanka’s Christmas party hop,
with a million pine cones hung
for all to see
and tourists are amazed at
this silly foolishness and
being curious they want to stop.
Asoka Weerasinghe (Mr.)
Courtesy of Lanka Web