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Sri Lanka PM declares war on Derana over cat insult

By Our Political Correspondent

Feb 13, 2016 21:37 PM GMT+0530 | 5 Comment(s)

ECONOMYNEXT - Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Saturday slammed the private Derana television network for allegedly insulting opera singer Kishani Jayasinghe by likening her to a "female cat deserving a stoning."
 
Wickremesinghe said he would summon owners of the Derana station to explain remarks by anchor Sanka Amarajith who suggested that singer Kishani Jayasinghe should be stoned for "distorting" the popular devotional song "Danno Buddhunge."
 
Amarajith, who reads newspaper headlines on his television channel, tried to inject life into his mundane program by playing Jayasinghe's rendition for a full minute in a contrived attempt at drama to declare it  "caterwauling by a female cat."
 
He used the Sinhala word "baelali" (cat) which many heard as "balli| (bitch). Whether he meant cat or bitch, the insult was the same. It was coupled with a suggestion that she was deliberately singing in the operatic style to have bricks thrown at her.
 
"It is inauspicious to hear a 'baelali screaming' and in our villages people usually throw a brick (to chase it away).," he said accusing her of distorting the "original song of local singing great Amaradeva.
 
For Derana's Amarajith, Jayasinghe's rendition was an affront to his Sinhala Buddhist culture and asked his viewers why the authorities had allowed his beloved song to be mauled.
 
Derana's Amarajith may not have known that the song had been composed even before Amaradeva was born. There are reports that the song was composed in 1903 for the Sirisangabo play by John de Silva.
 
De Silva himself had been inspired by the music of Wilhelm Richard Wagner, a German composer. Many Christian schools in Sri Lanka had adopted the same music for their anthems before Amaradeva's rendition.
 
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe's tiff with Derana goes back to the station's alleged racist line which was criticised recently in parliament.
 
However, spokesman for the station said Sanka Amarajith has been suspended, and his statements did not reflect company policy.

The station also issued an apology to Jayasinghe and distanced itself from the theatrics of an ignoramus.
 
Wickremesinghe told a public meeting in Badulla on Saturday that electronic media could not use the airwaves to insult women who form 52 percent of the country’s population.
 
'We can't give a licence to a station that calls women balli (bitch)." he said. "They could have done this during the Rajapaksa regime, not anymore. We won't allow dogs to get TV licences and do "balu weda" (things that dogs do.)"
 
(COLOMBO, Feb 13, 2016)

 


 

5 Comments

  1. Jayasek February 16, 06:16 AM

    Talking about cancelling the license is not correct. That is a Rajapaksa tactic. Like what they did to Raja FM and Gold FM I think.
    However this man was sprouting typical hate and inviting a woman to be stoned. That is not religion, or music and certainly not Buddhism.Also his facts are wrong. They were just nationalist imagination like most nationalism and without reason.
    Danno Budunge is based on a Western melody and is sung in the soul style. if someone wants to sing it in the opera style so what? Music has no nationalist hate or borders.
    Danno Budunge was composed for by people like John de Silva based on a German melody according to available information. That before the Nazi ideas took root here. Nobody said at the time that he was desecrating Bhuddism for taking inspiration from a Christian or Western melody. No Christian said that either at that time or up to now as far as I know.

    You can watch the Hymn for Ceylon here based on the same melody.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?vODMTsQ8N9U

    Here are some of the lyrics

    On every soaring mountain
    O er every spreading plain.
    May all her sons and daughters
    Thy righteousness attain.

    Give peace within her borders,
    Twixt man and man goodwill,
    The love all unsuspicious,
    The love that works no ill;

    The mountains are still there and beautiful. But our hearts are ugly.
    A son is calling a daughter to be stoned. This shows how violent and 'ill' our society has become. WS Senior former Trinity College Vice Principal who wrote this had died in 1938.

  2. Parami February 16, 02:18 AM

    I also felt exactly the same way... Howling cat in our backyard. We feel it is insult to a song which has gained respect as religious song. PM should accept his blunder by organising this song.

  3. Anura February 15, 01:30 AM

    we should refrain from citing human misdeeds as dogs'.

  4. Femme February 14, 01:37 AM

    This kind of language is unacceptable. Thanks PM for taking a Stand

  5. Giabao February 14, 12:18 PM

    This is madness. Media houses have to address to the general feelings and thinking of mass population than what few who enjoy operas. I also feel that reference to throwing stones at screaming cats may be too harsh.... but it is in no way harsh as the comments made by Social Service minister about former lady president.

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