Amusing Rambo-like contradictions: According to Eric Ellis, reporting in The Sydney Morning Herald, (22/9/2007), p. 44, flying into Colombo’s civil war on a tourist-less Sri Lankan Airlines flight, the three plugs in the inflight magazine from the country’s investment board extolling the island’s corporate virtues were arresting, if not amusing:
• "generous fiscal incentives";
• "transparent legal system"; and
• "one of the most liveable countries in Asia".
A government for sale: "Generous fiscal incentives" seemed an apt advertisement for Sri Lanka’s public service, for this seems a government for sale;
• Police posts along Colombo’s locked-down corniche were sponsored by a leasing company;
• a steelmaker advertises on the checkpoint to the city’s besieged military HQ, which is frequently infiltrated by Tamil Tiger separatists intent on blowing up the brass.
Cult of personality of the President;"The growing cult of personality of the President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, is plastered all over the central bank’s offices, though its governor insists he and the bank are unflinchingly independent. The statistics tell their own story:
• interest rates at 18.3 per cent;
• inflation at 16 per cent; and
• a money supply that grew by 17 per cent in April to finance the escalation of an unwinnable war.
Lanka has just eight kilometres of motorway, and infrastructure Churchill would recognise as new. When last here, in April, I saw the war frighteningly up close.
ack-ack lights the night:"When the board switched off the power, Colombo was immediately bathed in light, and the HQ of the National Intelligence Board, Sri Lanka’s MI5 and "high-value target", blazed brighter than most. A gun tower barked into action 50 metres from my room in the Galle Face hotel. Its ack-ack lit the night, as excitable grunts on the tower blazed away Rambo-like at nothing in particular, including the hotel".
The Sydney Morning Herald, 22/9/2007, p. 44