Trending among elites and commoners | Daily News

Trending among elites and commoners

Saman with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Minister Gayantha Karunatileka and Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayake
Saman with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Lands and Parliamentary Reforms Minister Gayantha Karunatileka and Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayake

He has been known as a wordsmith but the lyrical side of senior journalist Saman Athaudahetti has mostly been in the dark. Now the poet in him has been brought to light via a book of lyrics penned by the lyricist. Titled ‘Why Were You a Flower Untouchable Yet So Fragrant’ (Malak Une Ei Nuba Mata), the book comprises the most well known lyrics written by Athaudahetti.

Another book authored by Athaudahetti, ‘Wandering with Pleasure Along the Roof of the Universe’ (Sakwala Piyasa Dige), the fourth book in a series of the ‘Beauty of Travel’ publications, too was launched at the event. The official launch of this book was held in China and Japan last month.

The book which was written in Sinhala language is his second on China. It features detailed information on history, culture, religion and social development of southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region as well as his travels in east China’s Shandong Province. His first book on China was ‘Wandering with Pleasure along the Silk Road Route.’ It was published in 2012.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ministers Sagala Ratnayake and Gayantha Karunathilake graced the book launch which was held at the BMICH. Speaking at the event Prof Sunil Ariyaratne said that readers got to know about the real picture of modern China through Athaudahetti’s ‘Wandering with Pleasure along the Silk Road Route.’

Athaudahetti is a well known media personnel, poet, song writer and the Additional Media Secretary to the Prime Minister. He has traveled in China extensively. He went to Tibet in 2007 and 2016 and stayed there for almost a month. During his trip to Lhasa and Shigatse in Tibet, he had a chance to encounter the people and the local family life. Such experiences have enriched his two books on China.

“However, these two books are poles apart. ‘Wandering with Pleasure along the Silk Road Route’ is very entertaining while ‘Wandering with Pleasure Along the Roof of the World’ is more towards the political side. The most important lesson he brings forth in this book is the straight actions that the present Chinese President has taken to combat theft and bribery. It was a thought he had been harnessing before he came to power and once he became the president, he was true to his word. Athaudahetti witnessed the steps which were taken against all those who engaged in theft and bribery during his stay in China.

The law for such acts is passed by political science and law management degree holders. Apart from combating bribery and theft, steps have been undertaken to stop further acts of theft and bribery from occurring in the future. The public is being educated to eliminate such actions. The Chinese president also got the maximum support from the media to put his plans to actions,” Prof Ariyaratne said.

He noted that another striking aspect of the system is that the public was able to call a hotline and complain about any personal or official problems they had. Around 200 call centres had been established to receive the calls and solve these issues. The centres received around 6000 problems to solve each day. If the issue cannot be solved immediately they would ask for a span and then give an answer as a means of solving the issue.

“They have set a record by solving 60 lakhs public issues since 2008. Many official and unofficial NGOs exist in China. The Chinese government believes that issues like poverty, environmental pollution, the energy crisis and other social issues can be solved with the help of NGOs,” Prof Ariyaratne said.

Seasoned lyricist Kularatne Ariyawansa said that Athaudahetti’s role as media personnel has outshone his role as a lyricist.

“The Sinhala literary scene has suffered a great loss due to this reason. However, Athaudahetti has finally done a certain amount of justice to himself by launching ‘Why Were You a Flower Untouchable Yet So fragrant’,” he said adding that Athaudahetti still has the capacity to fulfill poetry enthusiasts’ requirements and enrich the local literature with more songs.

Athaudahetti has penned many well known lyrics including Sunil Edirisinghe’s ‘Kavurunda Oba Mage’, Amarasiri Peiris’ ‘Malak Une Ei Nuba Mata’ and ‘Iri Thalunu Vala Udu Viyan Yatin Mudu Tharuka Athirille’, Gunadasa Kapuge’s ‘Kavuruth Ennathi Kavuruth Dannathi Malpethi Ihirunu Mal Paare’, Malini Bulathsinhala’s ‘Akikaru Himiyane Mavak Se Rakimi Oba’ and Athula Adikari’s ‘Silara Sitha Nayana’.

“Though he has penned many timeless lyrics Athaudahetti has little concern about making himself public when his work becomes a hit.

That is his nature. Though he has worked closely with one of the most prominent political leaders in the nation for 26 years, nobody has pointed a finger at him. He has trodden with the elites yet not lost his common touch,” soprano Kishani Jayasinghe expressed.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe purchasing books

Audience at the event.  Pictures by Malan Karunaratne


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