by Ashley de Vos
Reconciliation is a strange word with multiple meanings when applied in different situations and understandings, but mostly gravitating towards a willingness, a compromise to get together again. As such, it is a process that cannot be forced; it will always and should be a natural process. Four hundred years of colonialism introduced a need to move vertically and not on a horizontal plane only to satisfy false definitions of democracy, based on the divide-and-rule policy of the coloniser.
“Prior to colonialism, the Jathi-varna system in India had little, if anything, to do with race, ethnicity, or genetics. It is better understood as a set of distinctions based on traditional or inherited social status derived from work roles. Jathi is a highly localised and intricately organised social structure. One of the important aspects of Jathi, which was conspicuously overlooked by western Indologists, is its dynamic nature – allowing social mobility as well as occupational diversification” (Malhotra & Neelakandan, 2011, Schwab, 1984). Sri Lanka would have shared a similar vision.
This draconian political need based on ex-colonial recommendations to follow the African, the South African model as a methodology for reconciliation in Sri Lanka, is strange, as in the case of South Africa, reconciliation is between two distinctly different people. The Afrikaners who are predominantly White and of Dutch extraction, have been totally racist in their approach to living in South Africa. They saw the Black African as an inferior being to be used as a slave and treated them as such. The Dutch have a long history of slavery throughout their colonial occupation. Hence the Africans for decades were treated as the lowest of the low, and were beginning to believe what was been instigated. That was to be their lot.
Today, the traditional African tribes, living in South Africa, are forced to sacrifice their human dignity, to dress in colourful beads and dance semi-nude before the camera, for the titillated gratification of some frustrated foreign tourist. This is also a form of cultural slavery that has its roots in the very concept of Cultural Tourism promoted by the Bretton Wood twins, as a new economic break through theory, believed and unfortunately adopted copycat as a way forward, by “Experts” in many countries, including in Sri Lanka.
The Indian community in South Africa, arrogant and believing in their false superiority over the Africans, even though they themselves may have been taken across during the colonial occupation of the African lands, some even as slaves to work the sugar cane fields and as labour in the construction of infrastructure, looked down on the Africans as belonging to the lowest of the untouchable classes. An applied ruling based on a derogative concept judged firstly by the skin colour of the Africans. These Indians aided and abetted the British and white Afrikaner against the Black Africans.
Depicting Indians as “infinitely superior” to black Africans and using the racist pejorative “kaffirs” to describe them, is common throughout Gandhi’s early writings. He routinely expressed “disdain for Africans,” Gandhi described black Africans as “savage,” “raw” and living a life of “indolence and nakedness,” and he campaigned relentlessly to prove to the British rulers that the Indian community in South Africa was “superior” to native black Africans. This is spelt out clearly in “The South African Gandhi: Stretcher- Bearer of Empire” by S. Anand.
In an open letter to the Natal Parliament, in 1893, Gandhi wrote: “I venture to point out that both the English and the Indians spring from a common stock, called the Indo-Aryan. A general belief seems to prevail in the Colony that the Indians are a little better, if at all, than savages or the Natives of Africa. Even the children are taught to believe in that manner, with the result that the Indian is being dragged down to the position of a raw Kaffir.”(Gandhi – S. Anand). Over time some of Ghandi’s views may have changed, but he remained caste conscious to the end.
Offended and very rightly so, the students at the University of Ghana, Accra, actioned the removal of the Gandhi statue, installed on the campus by the government of India. Law student Nana Adoma Asare Adei told the BBC: “Having Gandhi’s statue means that we stand for everything he stands for and if he stands for these things (his alleged racism), I don’t think we should have his statue on campus.”
Can there ever be reconciliation? Whatever anyone says, we personally don’t think it ever possible. The final black uprising is looming on the horizon; it will arrive within a decade, nay earlier. This will see all white South Africans wiped out. Whether it constitutes a step back is for the Africans to decide. The Indian community will suffer the same fate. The South African experiment with reconciliation is not something that should be copied by anyone, it cannot last. It is but a short-term kite in the sky. It will fly only as long as the wind remains favourable and white, so to speak.
Many White South Africans have realised that the writing is on the wall and are migrating to create a new life for themselves in New Zealand, Australia, and the UK and even to Georgia in the previous Soviet Union. However, the open invitation from New Zealand, Australia and the UK seems to be running into problems, due to the migrant’s dissimilar and non-adoptable behavioural patterns, inconvenience to integrate and the willing creation of close knit ghetto communities built around their inter dependency. It will not be easy for the Afrikaner in any of the new countries as they will miss the African slave to help in whatever they hope to do. As for the experiment in Georgia, it is hoped that it would be successful.
The American exercise of integration, based on reconciliation, even after two centuries has still not worked, as there is no truth or sincerity in the process. They had a President who claimed to be black in colour. So what? That has not improved the general level of the African American people compared to the rest. A few have benefitted while being the routinely discriminated against, poverty stricken; the black community, driven into ghettos, still waits. It is a very long wait for the Martin Luther King’s dream, immobile, a stillbirth; will it ever come to fruition? Chris Hedges in his recent book, “America, The final tour”, referred to “the country being of a mindset that stems from a violent disposition, a war mentality based on promoting a brand of unsustainable ultra-consumerism”. Will the poor continue to be exploited and remain poor? Of course, they certainly will, and according to the grand (sic) scheme they have to.
The mass migration out of the disgusting slums in the eastern cities in the US around 1870s prompted and encouraged the new American migrants to go west to today’s mid-west and further to California. In the process, they decimated the first nation tribes and robbed them of their lands with the help of treaties that were not worth the paper they were written on. These tribes were eventually forced into enclosures called reservations and to ominous drunkenness. The “change-the-(native)Indian- and-save-the-man” policy has robbed them of not only their rich culture based on a deep respect for nature but also their traditional lands, their burial grounds and their rightful place in history. Today, they have been relegated to a subordinate tier in the American society lower than that of the African American.
Unfortunately, the African American who is of greater use to American society will continue to be used with a carrot of false promises dangling in front? While the globalisation experiment referred to by Henry Kissinger, “globalisation is the Americanisation of the world” will continue to spiral. This mass global consumerisation is being further encouraged by the corporate banks with their issue of credit cards, luring those unfamiliar with handling bank credit into a spiral of debt. These innocents carry on merrily paying the minimum, often forgetting that there is a heavy penalty accumulation taking place.
This spiralling debt will eventually engulf the poor in the world, leading to their suffocation and death and an eventual crippling of the traditional banking system. In the past decade, instead of making savings, big business greedily allocated all profits earned, amongst themselves and their shareholders, or in the purchasing of new projects, with little concern for a rainy day. The rainy day has arrived. This will eventually lead to their self-destruction, even begging their governments to prop them up.
The countries whose economies depend on the continuous development of endlessly superior and more sophisticated weapons of mass destruction, will continue to do so. Driven by an insatiabile hunger, a prerequisite would be to frighten the more peaceful countries on the looming of an eminent imaginary enemy or to promote and generate a tyranny, all to ferment and create markets for this merchandise. Even if it entails the starting of wars in specially selected oil rich or strategically located parts of the world, usually far from their own, destroying all normalcy, on a false concept of democracy.
The Western hegemony has a different definition for democracy. A definition that is blinkered on what they as countries do, but at the drop of a hat would be willing to point their fingers in a predetermined direction. Always finding fault with and bullying the smaller more vulnerable and weaker nations, in the process promoting their own idealistic belief of a totally insincere concept, of what democracy is.
After the forced disruption, once they install their puppets and move in, the motive is to install their contractors, to gain free access to exploiting valuable resources that rightfully belong to the people and the nation in the countries under siege, and not to the leadership in these countries.
They will even encourage the leadership to partake in this robbery. This will be the biggest war that will eventually be deposited on the doorstep of the manufacturers of these weapons. A trajectory works in mysterious ways; it has a homing instinct and eventually returns.
While we cannot accept the South African or the US model, both favourites of the Internationally funded NGO community, which sit at the base of the table eagerly waiting for the scraps that may fall their way. Both foreign-based models will surely not work for Sri Lanka. In both examples, one side with presumed superiority is vehemently disinterested in compromise, especially, in their despised disinterest in the other. They expect the other side to accept all their demands and meet requirements.
The world encompassing predominant media hype on the corona virus has thrown a blanket over the more serious issues. The ex-colonial British, especially as they still live in an illusionary superiority even after the loss of empire and believe they are still a lead colonial in charge, will go a step further. They will use promises and rhetoric as a tool to trap a disoriented and obligated refugee society to vote for them at the next elections. They are playing a dangerous short-term game in displaying an acute desperation, in choosing whom to support, when and where.
Singapore is also facing a fraying or the downside effects of the original experiment into secular living. Will it lead to success or to the destruction of the original vision, is to be seen. Canada instead of protecting and supporting the preservation of the first nations in their own countries, spend time in an inferiority based, superior pontificating in the affairs of other nations, in an attempt to entice those living in cultural ghettoes in Canada to win votes in their own district elections.
Considering the above, is there a Sri Lankan model? Yes! There is, but the success in implementation of such a model is hampered by a myriad of self-centred individuals who call themselves, “politicians”, who aspire to use the people they allegedly represent and are expected to serve, for their personal ends. Many see the neo-colonial use of this human asset and its virtue as a lucrative building block for their own survival in this quagmire of sick politics. These politicians need to keep a constant flow of rhetoric, for without the statements they make and the tension they create they will have no role to play to sustain their ego. Without this rhetoric, the ‘generous’ funding by International NGO’s will also come to an end.
As an alternative, we should be looking at a Sri Lankan model that keeps out false prophets and gives people the freedom to interact across the board and learn to live together again. As categorically stated by Dr Abdul Kalm, an eminent past President of India, “A nation is greater than its politics “. In Sri Lanka misplaced arrogance blocks a clear vision.
All who have been displaced due to forced ethnic cleansing should be returned to their original homes; this should not be limited to one group only. The Sinhalese and Muslims displaced in the north should be resettled in their original environments. As in the past, we still hope to see Matara Bakers in the forefront of breadmaking in the North. Those displaced in other parts of the island should also be encouraged to return. Those who have gone abroad will never return, as they and their families now enjoy the economic benefits of their new life. However, they will be routinely enticed to continue to fund and drum beat in their chosen foreign lands, to maintain their status, and to keep the original investment that never produced the promised and envisaged dividend, continuously afloat.
The work of Prof. Kamani Thennakoon, University of Colombo is significant. Her DNA studies, “Comparing both the Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamils, show no large genetic difference, suggesting that both populations have a common ancestry native to the island”. These data have led the team to conclude that contemporary Sri Lankans share very close maternal ancestors.
Race is usually seen as biological, referring to the physical characteristics of a person, while ethnicity is viewed as a social science construct that describes a person’s cultural identity. Ethnicity is created by linguistic, religious and cultural differences rather than by genetic differences. The study indicates no genetic difference between the Sinhala and Tamil speaking community living on this island.
However, there is a difference in the DNA of South India. Even the Tamil spoken in Tamil Nadu is different, it has evolved over time. The Tamil presently spoken in Jaffna has remained static and has its roots in an early form that stems from the 7th – 9th Century. Does this have another interpretation? A well-known scholar’s original thesis, may hold a clue.
In Sri Lanka, the DNA studies show that, we are all one people divided by two languages, forcibly kept apart by location and ego-seeking neo-colonial politicians. A recent statement by Daya Gamage showed that 58% of Tamil speaking people drawn from the north and east are living amongst the Sinhala speaking community in the rest of the island, amongst a very tolerant community. A narrow fragmented false domestic wall, that divided a single people like the bifurcation of Germany after World War ll has been created, nurtured and kept alive by the egotistical neo-colonial politician.
The new condescension of the Islamic population has a short memory; it is a recent foreign influenced input that has blinkered thought. They have forgotten that it was a benevolent Sinhala king that in the 16th C, who invited the Moors to live amongst the Sinhala in the hill country to save them from the persecution by the Portuguese, and even permitted them to marry Sinhala women, giving them access to a broader understanding of a cultural matrix, when they partook in the temple rituals and even offered dana to the Sangha. Robert Knox, during his exile in the Sinhala village, spent his time and earned an income from crocheting skull caps for sale to the Islamic population living in the vicinity of his village. (To be concluded)
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‘Professor of English Language Teaching’
It is a pleasure to be here today, when the University resumes postgraduate work in English and Education which we first embarked on over 20 years ago. The presence of a Professor on English Language Teaching from Kelaniya makes clear that the concept has now been mainstreamed, which is a cause for great satisfaction.
Twenty years ago, this was not the case. Our initiative was looked at askance, as indeed was the initiative which Prof. Arjuna Aluwihare engaged in as UGC Chairman to make degrees in English more widely available. Those were the days in which the three established Departments of English in the University system, at Peradeniya and Kelaniya and Colombo, were unbelievably conservative. Their contempt for his efforts made him turn to Sri Jayewardenepura, which did not even have a Department of English then and only offered it as one amongst three subjects for a General Degree.
Ironically, the most dogmatic defence of this exclusivity came from Colombo, where the pioneer in English teaching had been Prof. Chitra Wickramasuriya, whose expertise was, in fact, in English teaching. But her successor, when I tried to suggest reforms, told me proudly that their graduates could go on to do postgraduate degrees at Cambridge. I suppose that, for generations brought up on idolization of E. F. C. Ludowyke, that was the acme of intellectual achievement.
I should note that the sort of idealization of Ludowyke, the then academic establishment engaged in was unfair to a very broadminded man. It was the Kelaniya establishment that claimed that he ‘maintained high standards, but was rarefied and Eurocentric and had an inhibiting effect on creative writing’. This was quite preposterous coming from someone who removed all Sri Lankan and other post-colonial writing from an Advanced Level English syllabus. That syllabus, I should mention, began with Jacobean poetry about the cherry-cheeked charms of Englishwomen. And such a characterization of Ludowyke totally ignored his roots in Sri Lanka, his work in drama which helped Sarachchandra so much, and his writing including ‘Those Long Afternoons’, which I am delighted that a former Sabaragamuwa student, C K Jayanetti, hopes to resurrect.
I have gone at some length into the situation in the nineties because I notice that your syllabus includes in the very first semester study of ‘Paradigms in Sri Lankan English Education’. This is an excellent idea, something which we did not have in our long-ago syllabus. But that was perhaps understandable since there was little to study then except a history of increasing exclusivity, and a betrayal of the excuse for getting the additional funding those English Departments received. They claimed to be developing teachers of English for the nation; complete nonsense, since those who were knowledgeable about cherries ripening in a face were not likely to move to rural areas in Sri Lanka to teach English. It was left to the products of Aluwihare’s initiative to undertake that task.
Another absurdity of that period, which seems so far away now, was resistance to training for teaching within the university system. When I restarted English medium education in the state system in Sri Lanka, in 2001, and realized what an uphill struggle it was to find competent teachers, I wrote to all the universities asking that they introduce modules in teacher training. I met condign refusal from all except, I should note with continuing gratitude, from the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, where Paru Nagasunderam introduced it for the external degree. When I started that degree, I had taken a leaf out of Kelaniya’s book and, in addition to English Literature and English Language, taught as two separate subjects given the language development needs of students, made the third subject Classics. But in time I realized that was not at all useful. Thankfully, that left a hole which ELT filled admirably at the turn of the century.
The title of your keynote speaker today, Professor of English Language Teaching, is clear evidence of how far we have come from those distant days, and how thankful we should be that a new generation of practical academics such as her and Dinali Fernando at Kelaniya, Chitra Jayatilleke and Madhubhashini Ratnayake at USJP and the lively lot at the Postgraduate Institute of English at the Open University are now making the running. I hope Sabaragamuwa under its current team will once again take its former place at the forefront of innovation.
To get back to your curriculum, I have been asked to teach for the paper on Advanced Reading and Writing in English. I worried about this at first since it is a very long time since I have taught, and I feel the old energy and enthusiasm are rapidly fading. But having seen the care with which the syllabus has been designed, I thought I should try to revive my flagging capabilities.
However, I have suggested that the university prescribe a textbook for this course since I think it is essential, if the rounded reading prescribed is to be done, that students should have ready access to a range of material. One of the reasons I began while at the British Council an intensive programme of publications was that students did not read round their texts. If a novel was prescribed, they read that novel and nothing more. If particular poems were prescribed, they read those poems and nothing more. This was especially damaging in the latter case since the more one read of any poet the more one understood what he was expressing.
Though given the short notice I could not prepare anything, I remembered a series of school textbooks I had been asked to prepare about 15 years ago by International Book House for what were termed international schools offering the local syllabus in the English medium. Obviously, the appalling textbooks produced by the Ministry of Education in those days for the rather primitive English syllabus were unsuitable for students with more advanced English. So, I put together more sophisticated readers which proved popular. I was heartened too by a very positive review of these by Dinali Fernando, now at Kelaniya, whose approach to students has always been both sympathetic and practical.
I hope then that, in addition to the texts from the book that I will discuss, students will read other texts in the book. In addition to poetry and fiction the book has texts on politics and history and law and international relations, about which one would hope postgraduate students would want some basic understanding.
Similarly, I do hope whoever teaches about Paradigms in English Education will prescribe a textbook so that students will understand more about what has been going on. Unfortunately, there has been little published about this but at least some students will I think benefit from my book on English and Education: In Search of Equity and Excellence? which Godage & Bros brought out in 2016. And then there was Lakmahal Justified: Taking English to the People, which came out in 2018, though that covers other topics too and only particular chapters will be relevant.
The former book is bulky but I believe it is entertaining as well. So, to conclude I will quote from it, to show what should not be done in Education and English. For instance, it is heartening that you are concerned with ‘social integration, co-existence and intercultural harmony’ and that you want to encourage ‘sensitivity towards different cultural and linguistic identities’. But for heaven’s sake do not do it as the NIE did several years ago in exaggerating differences. In those dark days, they produced textbooks which declared that ‘Muslims are better known as heavy eaters and have introduced many tasty dishes to the country. Watalappam and Buriani are some of these dishes. A distinguished feature of the Muslims is that they sit on the floor and eat food from a single plate to show their brotherhood. They eat string hoppers and hoppers for breakfast. They have rice and curry for lunch and dinner.’ The Sinhalese have ‘three hearty meals a day’ and ‘The ladies wear the saree with a difference and it is called the Kandyan saree’. Conversely, the Tamils ‘who live mainly in the northern and eastern provinces … speak the Tamil language with a heavy accent’ and ‘are a close-knit group with a heavy cultural background’’.
And for heaven’s sake do not train teachers by telling them that ‘Still the traditional ‘Transmission’ and the ‘Transaction’ roles are prevalent in the classroom. Due to the adverse standard of the school leavers, it has become necessary to develop the learning-teaching process. In the ‘Transmission’ role, the student is considered as someone who does not know anything and the teacher transmits knowledge to him or her. This inhibits the development of the student.
In the ‘Transaction’ role, the dialogue that the teacher starts with the students is the initial stage of this (whatever this might be). Thereafter, from the teacher to the class and from the class to the teacher, ideas flow and interaction between student-student too starts afterwards and turns into a dialogue. From known to unknown, simple to complex are initiated and for this to happen, the teacher starts questioning.’
And while avoiding such tedious jargon, please make sure their command of the language is better than to produce sentences such as these, or what was seen in an English text, again thankfully several years ago:
Read the story …
Hello! We are going to the zoo. “Do you like to join us” asked Sylvia. “Sorry, I can’t I’m going to the library now. Anyway, have a nice time” bye.
So Syliva went to the zoo with her parents. At the entrance her father bought tickets. First, they went to see the monkeys
She looked at a monkey. It made a funny face and started swinging Sylvia shouted: “He is swinging look now it is hanging from its tail its marvellous”
“Monkey usually do that’
I do hope your students will not hang from their tails as these monkeys do.
Little known composers of classical super-hits
By Satyajith Andradi
Quite understandably, the world of classical music is dominated by the brand images of great composers. It is their compositions that we very often hear. Further, it is their life histories that we get to know. In fact, loads of information associated with great names starting with Beethoven, Bach and Mozart has become second nature to classical music aficionados. The classical music industry, comprising impresarios, music publishers, record companies, broadcasters, critics, and scholars, not to mention composers and performers, is largely responsible for this. However, it so happens that classical music lovers are from time to time pleasantly struck by the irresistible charm and beauty of classical pieces, the origins of which are little known, if not through and through obscure. Intriguingly, most of these musical gems happen to be classical super – hits. This article attempts to present some of these famous pieces and their little-known composers.
Pachelbel’s Canon in D
The highly popular piece known as Pachelbel’s Canon in D constitutes the first part of Johann Pachelbel’s ‘Canon and Gigue in D major for three violins and basso continuo’. The second part of the work, namely the gigue, is rarely performed. Pachelbel was a German organist and composer. He was born in Nuremburg in 1653, and was held in high esteem during his life time. He held many important musical posts including that of organist of the famed St Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. He was the teacher of Bach’s elder brother Johann Christoph. Bach held Pachelbel in high regard, and used his compositions as models during his formative years as a composer. Pachelbel died in Nuremburg in 1706.
Pachelbel’s Canon in D is an intricate piece of contrapuntal music. The melodic phrases played by one voice are strictly imitated by the other voices. Whilst the basso continuo constitutes a basso ostinato, the other three voices subject the original tune to tasteful variation. Although the canon was written for three violins and continuo, its immense popularity has resulted in the adoption of the piece to numerous other combinations of instruments. The music is intensely soothing and uplifting. Understandingly, it is widely played at joyous functions such as weddings.
Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary
The hugely popular piece known as ‘Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary’ appeared originally as ‘ The Prince of Denmark’s March’ in Jeremiah Clarke’s book ‘ Choice lessons for the Harpsichord and Spinet’, which was published in 1700 ( Michael Kennedy; Oxford Dictionary of Music ). Sometimes, it has also been erroneously attributed to England’s greatest composer Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695 ) and called ‘Purcell’s Trumpet Voluntary (Percy A. Scholes ; Oxford Companion to Music). This brilliant composition is often played at joyous occasions such as weddings and graduation ceremonies. Needless to say, it is a piece of processional music, par excellence. As its name suggests, it is probably best suited for solo trumpet and organ. However, it is often played for different combinations of instruments, with or without solo trumpet. It was composed by the English composer and organist Jeremiah Clarke.
Jeremiah Clarke was born in London in 1670. He was, like his elder contemporary Pachelbel, a musician of great repute during his time, and held important musical posts. He was the organist of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral and the composer of the Theatre Royal. He died in London in 1707 due to self – inflicted gun – shot injuries, supposedly resulting from a failed love affair.
The full title of the hugely famous piece known as ‘Albinoni’s Adagio’ is ‘Adagio for organ and strings in G minor’. However, due to its enormous popularity, the piece has been arranged for numerous combinations of instruments. It is also rendered as an organ solo. The composition, which epitomizes pathos, is structured as a chaconne with a brooding bass, which reminds of the inevitability and ever presence of death. Nonetheless, there is no trace of despondency in this ethereal music. On the contrary, its intense euphony transcends the feeling of death and calms the soul. The composition has been attributed to the Italian composer Tomaso Albinoni (1671 – 1750), who was a contemporary of Bach and Handel. However, the authorship of the work is shrouded in mystery. Michael Kennedy notes: “The popular Adagio for organ and strings in G minor owes very little to Albinoni, having been constructed from a MS fragment by the twentieth century Italian musicologist Remo Giazotto, whose copyright it is” (Michael Kennedy; Oxford Dictionary of Music).
The classical super-hit known as ‘Boccherini’s Minuet’ is quite different from ‘Albinoni’s Adagio’. It is a short piece of absolutely delightful music. It was composed by the Italian cellist and composer Luigi Boccherini. It belongs to his string quintet in E major, Op. 13, No. 5. However, due to its immense popularity, the minuet is performed on different combinations of instruments.
Boccherini was born in Lucca in 1743. He was a contemporary of Haydn and Mozart, and an elder contemporary of Beethoven. He was a prolific composer. His music shows considerable affinity to that of Haydn. He lived in Madrid for a considerable part of his life, and was attached to the royal court of Spain as a chamber composer. Boccherini died in poverty in Madrid in 1805.
Like numerous other souls, I have found immense joy by listening to popular classical pieces like Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary, Albinoni’s Adagio and Boccherini’s Minuet. They have often helped me to unwind and get over the stresses of daily life. Intriguingly, such music has also made me wonder how our world would have been if the likes of Bach, Handel, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert had never lived. Surely, the world would have been immeasurably poorer without them. However, in all probability, we would have still had Pachelbel’s Canon in D, Jeremiah Clarke’s Trumpet Voluntary, Albinoni’s Adagio, and Boccherini’s Minuet, to cheer us up and uplift our spirits.
The Tax Payer and the Tough
By Lynn Ockersz
The tax owed by him to Caesar,
Leaves our retiree aghast…
How is he to foot this bill,
With the few rupees,
He has scraped together over the months,
In a shrinking savings account,
While the fires in his crumbling hearth,
Come to a sputtering halt?
But in the suave villa next door,
Stands a hulk in shiny black and white,
Over a Member of the August House,
Keeping an eagle eye,
Lest the Rep of great renown,
Be besieged by petitioners,
Crying out for respite,
From worries in a hand-to-mouth life,
But this thought our retiree horrifies:
Aren’t his hard-earned rupees,
Merely fattening Caesar and his cohorts?