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Boru Shoke

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Boru Shoke

Post by Backstage on Tue Sep 27, 2016 10:19 am


Boru Shoke
by V. P. Vittachi
Boru Shoke (vainglory) was an expression SWRD Bandaranaike often used. It is an exact description of the most destructive flaw in our national character.
2. I was watching a schools’ Do You Know contest on TV the other day and I was struck by the fact that every time a child got the correct answer the compere said ‘pilituruwa nivaradhi’ (not incorrect). What he should have said was ‘hari’ (correct). Why he did not do so is an example of our national penchant for the polysyllabic. Four syllables are better than two. This is pure boru shoke.

3. This craze for the polysyllabic is well illustrated in our road names. Mawatha is preferred to ‘para’. The English equivalent is ‘road’ but that has only one syllable. So we transliterate the Sinhala word ‘mawatha’ even for the English version of the road name.

4.The panjandrums who name our roads are obsessed with one clear aim - to make names that cannot conveniently be written on an envelope. Thus Dharmapala Mawatha (7 syllables) became Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha (12 syllables). This was not long enough, so they made it Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala Mawatha (14 syllables). This road was once called Turret Road (3 syllables). Deans Road (2 syllables) is now Pujya Baddegama Wimalawansa Himi Mawatha (16 syllables). A long-suffering public ignores all this gobbledegook and continues to write Deans Road on their envelopes. This mania for polysyllabic road names is hilariously illustrated in the case of Aluth Mawatha (New Road) in the North of Colombo. The road names called it ‘Aluthmawatha Para’ (a rare instance where Para is preferred to mawatha). The English version is Aluthmawatha Road. So the meaning of this road name is ‘New Road Road’.

5. Incidentally, it is a remarkable fact that the residents of Colombo 7 are scrupulously exempted from this craze for changing street names. Ward Place, Rosmead Place, Barnes Place, Horton Place, Maitland Crescent, Gregory’s Road et al are all sacrosanct.

6. Boru Shoke has always been with us but it was when JRJ became president that it took a quantum leap. He was only an elected politician transiently in office but he went about the place proclaiming he was king in all but name and he put his head on a coin. He claimed that he was the successor to the British monarchy! (Actually, it was the modest William Gopallawa who succeeded Queen Elizabeth as head of state in Sri Lanka.)

7. A retired Senior Deputy Governor of the Central Bank told me this story. The Bank decided to bring out a commemorative volume to mark its 50th anniversary. The frontispiece was a group photograph of the cabinet of ministers that was in office at the time the bank was started. D. S. Senanayake was described as The Right Hon. D. S. Senanayake, Prime Minister and JRJ was described as The Hon. J. R. Jayewardene, Minister of Finance. As a courtesy a proof copy was shown to JRJ who struck off the words ‘The Hon’ in front of his name and inserted ‘His Excellency’ in their place. A new low in boru shoke!

8. JRJ’s successor R. Premadasa, too, put his head on a coin and went even further — he built himself a regal throne on which he would be seated when receiving foreign dignitaries (no doubt to their acute embarrassment).

9.How many ministers do we have in the cabinet? 30? 40? 50? The surprising answer is none. We have only honourable ministers to be pronounced as one word. Public servants, even in office minutes or indeed in ordinary conversation do not omit the ‘honourable’ when referring to their ministers. During her 1970-77 term of office Mrs. B. once decided that governance should have a human face and decreed that the word ‘honourable’ be dropped from the title of ministers and that ‘Your Honour’ would be a sufficiently respectful term to be used in addressing judges of our superior courts.

10.Dropping ‘honourable’ was a non-starter, nobody took the blindest bit of notice, and honourable ministers continued. But the change to ‘Your Honour’ in the courts was accepted and was in use till JRJ became president. He restored the status quo ante in double quick time and m’luds came back to our courts. In the USA, counsel often address a judge in open court merely as ‘Judge’ without giving offence, though ‘Your Honour’ is more usual.

11.About a year ago I read in the papers that a doctor in a government hospital had slapped a nurse. Her offence was that she had addressed him as ‘doctor’ instead of ‘sir’. I do not know whether the doctor was suitably disciplined by his superiors because nothing further was reported in the press. Obviously, the poor man was suffering from a deep-seated sense of personal inadequacy.

12.Everyone who has served as Mayor of Colombo has glorified himself as’ His Worship, the Mayor of Colombo’. This moth-eaten archaism from Britain was discarded in that country long ago.

13.A Clerk to the House of Representatives, (presumably not liking the term ‘clerk’) got his designation changed to Secretary-General of Parliament. This is a malapropism, a misnomer, a howler. The Commissioner-General of Income Tax has several Commissioners of Income Tax under him. The Director-General of Customs has many Directors of Customs under him. The Director-General of Health Services has several Directors of Health Services under him. The Inspector-General of Police has an army of Inspectors of Police under him The Secretary-General of Parliament has not a single Secretary of Parliament under him. But Secretary-General sounds more impressive than ‘clerk’. Correct would be Secretary of Parliament, but that has no boru shoke. What we call Municipal Commissioners are in the UK called Town Clerks. Clerk used to mean a scholar, an intellectual. Christian priests are Clerks-in-Holy-Orders. The designation of the official who signs currency notes in the UK is ‘Cashier’.

14.Emily Dickinson, a quiet, self-effacing spinster and a great poet, wrote these lines:

15.I am Nobody, who are You?
I hope you’re Nobody too.
Good. That makes two of us
Don’t tell - they’d advertise, you know
How dreary to be Somebody
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog.
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Re: Boru Shoke

Post by Yin-Yang on Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:39 am

The name is just only one symptom of the decease.

How about;
Bigger and longer vehicles
Bigger and longer phones
What else you want to make bigger and longer


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Re: Boru Shoke

Post by Backstage on Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:00 am

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Re: Boru Shoke

Post by yellow knife on Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:53 am

Once I was designing a Logo for a small company.. While discussing with the entrepreneur I asked him how do you evaluate a person, in the same manner a customer will evaluate you/your company...

He said " I evaluate a person by the vehicle he use "


Recently I was discussing with a businessman who said he paid 16 million tax for his new vehicle. I asked him that the vehicle he is already using is a new one..

He said he should have used that money for the business than on vehicles which just show off his status.. But unfortunately our ( business ) success is measured by the vehicle  we use...

So he has to be successful every year...


Meanwhile in USa

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Re: Boru Shoke

Post by Backstage on Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:09 pm

The vehicle and the shoes, for further clarification to make sure you are not the driver.
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Re: Boru Shoke

Post by කිත්සිරි ද සිල්වා on Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:09 pm

Look at our wedding ceremonies and even මළ දානේ. Very Happy
කිත්සිරි ද සිල්වා
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