The last few days have seen all our TV Channels ‘going to town’ and boring their jaded viewers with endless doses of new Ministers displaying their piety and domestic bliss when assuming office. As an old government pensioner I remember the era, not too long ago, when Ministers and senior officials [I was one of the latter category] “assumed duties” they just walked into their office, had a briefing from the Chief Clerk and proceeded to clear the accumulated files in the ‘In’ tray. No religious blessings were ever chanted during office hours. Religious activities were conducted in temple, churches, kovils or mosques. Monks, padres, poosaris and moulavis came to office only to discuss mundane problems such as permits and boundary disputes. As for wives, their husband’s office was ‘terra incognita’. Their sole ‘official’ function was to accompany their husbands to the Public Services Club or school prize-givings.

The recent practice of assuming duties preceded by priestly prayers and flanked by wife, children and, when available, grandchildren – all before TV cameras, is a shameful display of hypocrisy and ‘boru shoke’. How sadly have the standards of our public conduct sunk!
I have written and spoken about these shameful displays on many occasions – to no effect. Alas! Mine is a voice crying in the wilderness.
Tissa Devendra