These are the people that I’m going to vote for on Monday. My main criteria are 1) do I think they’re good people 2) do I think they’re smart and 3) do I think could effectively yell at them if they’re messing up. Basically decency, intelligence and accountability.
Harsha was actually one of the first people I remember meeting in Sri Lanka. He worked at my dad’s company and I was live blogging a conference. This was 2004 so it was a bit novel for the time. I remember Harsha coming up to me with this goofy, genuine grin. He was interested in the technology in the way a geek is and you could see that sort of thing was fun for him. I’d say he is a geek, which I mean as high praise.
As a geek, he is interested in numbers, in data, in facts and he has become a highly adept user of social media. He’s a good person, he’s an educated and skilled person, and he’s a geek. I think we need him in Parliament. This is honestly the one politician where people on Twitter could freak out and he would care. I like and trust Harsha but if he’s messing up, I like having that leverage.
I know Eran also, but less well than Harsha. I know his family a bit and the ones I know are good people. What I find appealing about Eran is that he’s educated and that he built a professional career outside of politics. A lot of people treat politics as a business, but I think Eran has only lost money on it. Which is great.
After studying up to Masters at the University of London, he worked at Citibank in Sri Lanka and then helped setup NDB Bank and served as its CEO. He also served as the founding Chairman of the ICTA. I think he has experience with management, with building and changing organization cultures and with numbers. Which is kinda good experience for a MP to have. That would all be useful if he were not a decent man, and I think he is. He has no marks against his character and I think he’s actually turned down money for his campaign if he didn’t know where it was coming from. While he’s not as sensitive to Twitter as Harsha, if he was messing up I’m confident that he would hear and care.
I’ve heard a lot of criticism leveled at Eran for his association with the Assemblies Of God Church. That Church was founded by his father Colton Wickramaratne and I think his brother is still a preacher. I’ve been there and I’ve read Pastor Colton’s biography and I can tell you it’s not a cult. They’re definitely Christian and I honestly think any religion (that isn’t your own) looks a bit strange up close, but as a practicing Buddhist I don’t find it hostile or threatening. If you have questions about AOG, honestly, just go and have a look. They’re there every Sunday.
Honestly though, I find the anti-Christian sentiment bubbling around to be very uncool. I honestly find that sort of hatred and fear to be anti-Buddhist. Especially in the Colombo district, find my anyone that doesn’t have a Christian in their family or among their friends. I think Eran will protect the practice of all of our faiths and his religion shouldn’t even be an issue.
But back to the core point, I think Eran is a good person, I think he can handle the complexities of the job, and since he has a good reputation I think he would be very responsive to criticism, in the interests of preserving it.
I’ve never met Rosy Senanayake, but she seems cool. I think she’s a good person and I think that she has worked her way through the Provincial Council and now Parliament. She has served also served as High Commissioner to Malaysia.
Throughout her career she has worked for young people, women, children and migrants. She has been especially active on issues like reproductive health. I think that we definitely need far more representation for women in government. A country where women aren’t empowered is a country where half the workforce isn’t really online and we do live in a country where women don’t have the same rights to walk the streets un-harassed, or to public spaces in general – including Parliament.
We need more women in power and I think Rosy is a good representative. At the same time, I think she’s a good representative for everyone. She has also worked in the media for a long time and I think she does depend on her public image. If she messes up, I think she would feel public pressure and I think that she would be accountable.
So, those are my votes. They are all from the UNP, which means I’m also directly supporting Ranil. I do think Ranil is intelligent, I think that he’ll work well with the President to move the country forward under a fair and less corrupt government. I think Ranil could be a bit better in the accountability department, but what to do. I still way prefer him and the UNP to the atavistic, bitter and divisive people around Mahinda.
Whoever you’re voting for I hope you stay safe on Monday and I hope that this spirit of decent democracy continues, and that we continue to hold our public servants accountable, even after the election