The four popular artistes,former Miss Sri Lanka and popular model Gayesha Perera, famous singer Ginger, Popular actress Ruwanthi Mangala and Malsha Kumaratunga, daughter of Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga who faced the Nomination Board of the SLFP recently revealed in an interview with Daily Mirror why they decided to enter politics and what they would do if they get elected.
Famous singer Ginger (Judith White)
I’m a Galloping Horse
Famous singer Ginger (Judith White) faced the SLFP Nomination Board and is getting active in the on-going election battle. In an interview with Daily Mirror, she revealed why she wants to get involved in politics and what she hopes to do if she gets elected.
Q.WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN POLITICS SUDDENLY?
This is not a sudden decision. I have been in every nook and corner of the city of Colombo and I have been working with MP Duminda Silva from 2004. Everything needs to happen at the correct time and I think this is my time. People need some one to vote who is accessible. So here I am.
Q.ANY PARTICULAR REASON FOR YOU TO JOIN POLITICS?
As I said earlier I have been with MP Duminda Silva during his campaigns. He invited me so I also decided that it is time for me to join. Nobody speaks any good about politicians nowadays. I am not saying that everyone is bad. But there are some who are not even accessible and that people do not get an opportunity to talk or discuss their matters. I am an entertainer and they know me for years. They see me all the time. They can reach me any time.
I would say that this is an opportunity that people would not get for their lifetime. That is to elect someone who is known and knows about them well.
Q.DO YOU THINK THAT YOU CAN CHANGE THE IMAGE THE GENERAL PUBLIC HAS OF POLITICIANS?
Yes, that will be my duty. I want to change the image the people have. People do not have to think twice in voting for me because I am well- known. Someone like me can make a change. Always being the “black sheep” in the family, I can make a change. And if I get elected I will be a “black sheep”. I will do what is there to be done immediately and will take action whenever the necessity comes.
Q.WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE TO BE IN POLITICS?
This was the exact question which many people asked me when I entered the music industry twelve years back. I believe it is all about making a difference. Same applies to politicians. It is what I can do for people what really matters, and make them feel that we are with them.
Q.WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE WESTERN PROVINCE IF YOU GET ELECTED?
I have many plans. I would fight for the rights of the people. I would start with places and areas which have been forgotten by others. Even in Colombo, there are many things to be done. I will focus on them. I will provide service to everyone from infants to the elderly. I will take action when any urgency arises, I will not postpone things. You know I would not stay at one place. I am a working horse and I always gallop.
The most important thing is to strengthen the hand of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his development process. He needs someone trustworthy and who is wiling to work for him as he can not check every minute detail. We should be there for him.
Q.MANY ACTORS, ACTRESSES AND OTHER FAMOUS PERSONALITIES WHO ENTER INTO POLITICS TEND TO CHANGE THEIR ATTIRE. WHY DIDN’T YOU CHANGE YOURS?
A very good question. Many people asked me why I did not wear a saree on the day I went to face the Nomination Board. I am a simple person and people have seen me in this way for years. If I change my attire at once then that will be something to discuss about. I believe it is the person’s inner-self and not the outer appearance that matters.
If I wear a saree and come with my braids it will look like Bob Marley wearing an “ariya Sinhala suit”. I do not have to change. People know me well.
Q.THERE SEEMS TO BE A TREND WITH MANY ARTISTS TO ENTER POLITICS. ARE YOU ALSO GOING ALONG WITH THIS TREND?
No, I do not going along with the trend. It is that I feel that this is the best time for me come out and do a service to people. But one thing must be understood. Our neighbouring country India has produced many politicians who were former actors and actresses. For example Jayalalithaa who was an actress has become a powerful personality in Tamil Nadu. There are many others who have created some sort of difference.
Yet my appearance in politics is not because of the trend.
Q.POLITICS SEEMS TO BE A GOLDMINE TO MANY. IS THIS ONE OF THE REASONS FOR YOU TO ENTER POLITICS?
I am not a pauper. I have a decent income as an entertainer. Excessive amounts of money and power will not take you anywhere. What is necessary is to work for the people.
With my beauty I will fight for the country
Former Miss Sri Lanka and popular model Gayesha Perera faced the Nomination Board of the SLFP recently. As an aspiring politician she shared her thoughts with Daily Mirror as to why she decided to enter politics.
Q.WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO ENTER POLITICS?
I want to serve people. I was not born in a bed of roses. I know what people go through, their sorrow, tears. My mother had to struggle with poverty in bringing me up. As a person who can hear their heart beat I thought I should work for the people.
Q.WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE MUST VOTE YOU?
I have represented 20 millions of people when I represented Sri Lanka at the Miss World contest. I marked Sri Lanka’s name when I won beauty pageants, especially when I won the title Miss. Personality in 2011. As a person who has taken Sri Lanka’s name to the International arena, I think I am eligible to contest.
Q.IF YOU GET ELECTED WHAT ARE THE PLANS YOU HAVE?
I have a separate agenda. I will especially work for women’s empowerment. Many women in this country face many mishaps every day. I want to work for them. I will be focusing on three areas. One is the dengue menace. I hope to work towards dengue prevention. I will be walking from house to house.
The second area I would focus is malnourishment. Some children even in Colombo suffer from malnourishment. I would work on behalf of them.
The third area I would focus is the well-being of women. Also with the experience and the knowledge I have, I would like to help produce beauty queens for the country.
Q.WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO CONTEST FROM THE UPFA? DID YOU GET ANY INVITATIONS FROM OTHER PARTIES?
I received many Invitations from various parties to contest. I am a member of the UPFA from the year 2010. I have been with MP Namal Rajapakse’s youth programme and I have been a part of it. Hence I decided to contest from the UPFA. Also I appreciate and respect our President Mahinda Rajapakse and his leadership. I want to be a part of his team and be strength to him.
Q.AS YOU KNOW SRI LANKA HAD PRESSURE FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY AT THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL IN GENEVA. IF YOU ARE ELECTED HOW YOU WOULD HELP THE GOVERNMENT TO DEAL WITH SUCH ISSUES?
As I said earlier I have represented twenty millions of people of this country in the beauty pageants. I have the capacity and capability to bring the message to the world. Our soldiers devoted their lives in bringing peace to this country. As a citizen and as a person who has represented the country it is my duty to appear on behalf Sri Lanka.
I think I am qualified to talk for my country. I will share one of my personal incidents. I was in Dehiwela town on the day there was a bomb blast in 1996. Until 2009 I had that shock in my mind that we might have to face this again. But after 2009, we are free to travel everywhere. People are happy and they live peacefully. I will do whatever it takes to take this message to the international community.
Q.HOW DO YOU SEE OUR TIES WITH INDIA? DO YOU THINK THERE SHOULD BE A CHANGE?
I think we have an excellent connection with India. Some of our actresses have made their way to Bollywood as well. I believe our relationship with India is well balanced.
Q.ARE YOU POSITIVE THAT THE UPFA WILL WIN THE ELECTION AND DO YOU THINK YOU CAN WIN?
Definitely the UPFA will win and I am positive about my victory. I have done my part already and I will continue to do my part. UPFA’s victory means people’s victory.
I have a lot of people around me who support me constantly. All I want is to request the people to join with us, help me to work for you and raise my voice for you. My victory is your victory.
Popular actress Ruwanthi Mangala
‘Being an actress is just like being a politician’
Popular actress Ruwanthi Mangala also wishes to throw her hat into the ring of forthcoming Provincial Council elections. She told Daily Mirror what motivated her to get into active politics and what her plans are for the people if she gets elected.
Q:WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO GET INTO POLITICS?
A: I had always maintained an interest to engage in politics since my childhood – being strongly influenced by my father who was very politically active. The decision to enter politics at this point was mainly in response to an invitation extended to me by MP Duminda Silva. I did not wish to disappoint him by refusing his invitation.
Q:WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO CONTEST FROM THE UPFA?
A: I have always been a supporter of the UPFA and I wish to contest from UPFA because this government has done a lot for the betterment of the future generation.
Q:WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD VOTE FOR YOU?
A: I believe the public should base their decisions on the actions of each candidate. I haven’t received the nomination yet but I am confident of the fact that people would support me if I was to contest. Their immense support has been made very clear through the many phone calls I have received since my appearance before the SLFP Nominations Board earlier this week. They have assured me of their fullest support and I am confident that they will accept me as their representative.
Q:DO YOU THINK IT’S JUSTIFIABLE FOR ARTISTES TO ENTER POLITICS WITHOUT A SOUND BACKGROUND OR KNOWLEDGE ON POLITICS OR GOVERNANCE?
A: I believe artistes are the most apt individuals to be appointed as representatives of the people because we are very close to people’s hearts. Even through the various roles we portray as actors and actresses, we give life to real life characters and therefore, we have a much closer and intimate understanding about battles of people. We know of people’s expectations and the same understanding might not be in someone who is greatly educated in politics.
Besides, being an actor is just like being a politician – we start our day at about 4 am and end it past midnight. It’s a hectic lifestyle and requires dedicated work, and I am certain I am up for the task.
Q:WHAT ISSUES DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE PRIORITIZED WITH REGARD TO THE WESTERN PROVINCE?
A: I will make a decision on which issues to focus on if and when I am elected. If I am elected to the position I aim for, I will personally visit the households of all my voters and inquire their issues and what they expect of me. Through a series of discussions I will figure out which issues should be prioritized in addressing.
Apart from that, I have plans to focus attention on equality for women and preventing violence against women. If I am elected I wish to meet the President and draw his attention on strengthening and increasing punishments given to those charged with abuse of women or children.
Q:DESPITE PARTICIPATION, WOMEN HAVE SUCCEEDED VERY LITTLE IN IMPACTING THE FIELDS OF ARTS OR POLITICS. WHAT SORT OF A DIFFERENCE DO YOU PLAN TO MAKE?
A: This is a peaceful country gearing towards prosperity. We are blessed with a good leadership and the masses, particularly the women are now living without fear. Besides being an actress, I am a wife and a mother and I have managed my household affairs perfectly. Similarly, I believe I will be able to deal with the challenges of my political career.
Q:POLITICIANS AT PRESENT ARE FREQUENTLY ACCUSED OF ENTERING POLITICS IN EXPECTATION OF THE PERKS AND BENEFITS THAT FOLLOW IF ELECTED. WERE THE PERKS AND BENEFITS ONE OF THE FACTORS YOU CONSIDERED IN DECIDING TO ENTER POLITICS?
A: Majority of the politicians have been branded as cheats and liars as a result of failing to keep the promises they made to the public prior to being elected. But I can guarantee, I will always stay true to my word; in fact, if I am elected I would give up my acting career in order to channel my full focus on serving the people.
Malsha Kumaratunga, daughter of Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga
‘I did not enter politics to entertain myself’
Malsha Kumaratunga, daughter of Minister Jeevan Kumaratunga faced the SLFP Nomination Board hoping to be selected as a candidate for the forthcoming WPC elections. She explained to Daily Mirror why she wants to be elected to office as a provincial councilors and what she expects to do if she gets elected.
Q:WHAT PROMPTED YOUR ENTRY INTO POLITICS AT THIS POINT?
A: It was a plan on the cards. Following my graduation, I returned to Sri Lanka with expectations of laying the foundation for my political career. As an initial step, I began working as my father’s personal assistant for nearly two years and even afterwards continued to assist him because I believe in on-the-job training as it opens up chances to meet people and obtain an up-close understanding of their issues and expectations.
I also believe that this is the ideal time for my entry into politics as my intentions are genuine and I have a sound educational background that would help my interest in serving the people.
Q:WHY DO YOU THINK PEOPLE SHOULD VOTE FOR YOU?
A: I am not demanding anything from the people. But they need to know that their valuable vote should be cast on behalf of an educated individual with genuine intentions to make a difference; someone with a true claim to be their representative. I believe my genuine intentions will reflect upon my work and would offer an incentive for people to make a choice to vote for me.
Q:DO YOU BELIEVE THAT BEING A POLITICIAN’S DAUGHTER IS A QUALIFICATION FOR YOU TO ENTER POLITICS?
A: Even during the Nominations Board interview on Monday, it was repeatedly mentioned by the board members that my father had not even mentioned my appearance before the Board at least through a casual phone call. I wished to make an impression and make my case on my own and my father too agreed that I should convince the Board on my own, regarding my ability to contest at the upcoming provincial elections.
Being linked to a political family does have its edge, but my decision to enter politics was not a naïve choice I made to simply keep myself occupied or to entertain myself. I am thankful for the impact that I would carry due to my familial political connections but I don’t wish for it to become my whole identity.
Q:WHAT ISSUES DO YOU BELIEVE SHOULD GET PRIORITY AT THE WPC ELECTIONS?
A: I am planning to carry my message to the masses based on three main points – strengthening gender equality, improving living standards and helping people achieve a life free of poverty and providing accessibility to education for every child.
Q:DO YOU BELIEVE THE GOVERNMENT HAS FOLLOWED THE RIGHT COURSE OF ACTION IN RESPONDING TO WAR CRIMES ALLEGATIONS AND IN DEALING WITH THE RISING PRESSURES FROM THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY BEFORE THE UPCOMING UNHCR SESSIONS, ON ACCOUNTABILITY ISSUES?
A: I believe the government won the war fair and square and did so in order to safeguard the citizens of this country. The defeat of the LTTE was for the greater good and I believe the government has adopted the right course of action in grappling the international pressures.
Q:WHAT ARE YOUR COMMENTS ON THE PARTICIPATION OF WOMEN IN POLITICS IN SRI LANKA, IN COMPARISON TO THE GLOBAL SITUATION?
A: I believe Sri Lanka is in a relatively better position when speaking of female participation in politics. But it can improve. Some 52% of our population is females but the political representation in comparison is disproportionate. Moreover, although certain sections of the media might attempt to portray the participation of females in politics as a battle simply among the few females, the actual competition is much more intense as at present. It is only about 15 female politicians who have been elected to local government bodies in comparison to some 300 male provincial councillors.
(Courtesy: DM Online)