Good things often come in threes. Sun, sea, sand. Test, ODI, T-20. Paang, parippu, pol sambol. Even these examples come naturally enough in three sets of three items each… there’s something about the number that rounds things off – if not to perfection, at least to a sense of completeness.
So much so that the four (aha, a break with the magic number?) major religions practised in the land have the numerical figure in their respective pillars, precepts, and philosophies (I couldn’t resist putting three Ps in there!).
The triple gem of Buddha, Dhamma, and Sasana in Buddhism; three chief deities of the Hindu pantheon – Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu; three levels of faith – Islam, Iman, Ihsan – for the Muslims; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in Christianity.
Today I want to focus on a trio of threesomes, so to speak, which comprise the good, the bad, and the ugly of life as we know it in Sri Lanka these days…
I don’t mean the college. If I did, I’d probably list it under ‘bad’ for the nonce, recent Bradby victory notwithstanding. But respice finem – let’s look to the end, shall we?
Three good things that bless our benighted existence in this demi-paradise, this other Eden, this fortress built by nature for herself:
Politics: Being the art of the possible, which if taken to a logical conclusion by pragmatists with their eye more on the common good than the main chance, will result in a benefit to the public of the res publica: the republic. But, if possible, more power to the people. Please.
Religion: Being the science of the impossible, which if taken to its illogical consummation by spiritualists with their feet planted more firmly on the ground than their hands raised to heaven, will ensue in an expedient coming of the eschaton: that kingdom of which it is said, “may it come”. And, as perhaps best envisaged, less of the fundamentalist faiths that crucify or cry jihad against all outsiders, pagan or heathen.
Tradition: Being neither art or science, but the custom and ritual we carry everywhere with us because it has been always done thus, whether we know rhyme or reason for it – and even if, or especially as, the heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing. Also, if it is a matter of the mind, it doesn’t matter if you don’t mind it.
I don’t mean the ad agency. If I did, I’d probably list it under ‘good’, although there are those who would ask whether anything good can come out of advertising!
Three bad things that curse our cussed life in this blessed plot, this earth of majesty, this realm:
Crime: From petty pickpockets to parliamentary pettifoggery, it’s rampant – and proliferating apace. Where’s that bent copper to politely enquire, “Hallo, hello, hullo; what’s going on here, then?”
Corruption: For the welfare of the few, the wellbeing of the multitude has been sacrificed on the altars of mammon. So who’s minting the moolah?
Cost of living: To each his – or her – own… if only they could afford it. What price consumer relief and protection?
I don’t mean the cabal comprising the power behind the principality. If I did, I’d probably leave them under ‘ugly’, and if you know whom I mean you would possibly agree…
Three ugly things that make living unbearable in this sceptred isle, this royal throne of kings, this seat of Mars:
Nepotism: Because where booty is, there the cronies gather. If only we can redeem the ancient Graeco-Roman practice of adopting nephews as our legal heirs and successors, and training them in the requisite arts and sciences, so that our legacies might not be corrupted by mere filial, familial, or friendship ties…
Racism: Because as all good rationalist know, race is a myth… an ugly untruth about our essential selves and who we are; a question that has been answered so blatantly wrongly and unjustifiably, that the outcome is a disgrace to the face of people, tribes, and tongues. Ethnicity, thy name is mud!
Patriotism: Because it is the last refuge of scoundrels, a phantom with the appearance of a prince – but behind the posters and placards and poetry, there is nothing. Not even pity… and there’s not even poetry in the pity any longer.END NOTE: The writer wishes to apologize to the immortal Bard of Avon for butchering his beautiful lines from Richard II, Act II Scene I. What can I but say in sorrow, sweet Swan of Stratford, but that it was the act of a man who has seen the way of the world… and canst but barely constrain himself to Shake a Speare at it!!