What is the most lucrative career option available on the Sri Lankan job market? Which occupation offers the best perks, the most prestige, the highest job-satisfaction, the finest benefits, and the best pay? Yes, we know; it does seem rather impossible to single out one solitary job out of all the potential candidates out there (doctors, lawyers, engineers etc), yet we have done it. After giving the matter much serious thought, and carefully analysing all factors of numerous jobs available, we have finally come to a conclusion; the best career you could possibly follow in Sri Lanka is that of… a politician.
Now before you leap to your feet and start dialling the lunatic asylum, do hold on. We most assuredly aren’t mad (or drunk. Or high), and if you give us a minute we can prove our point. In fact, we have carefully compiled a small list of points that are guaranteed to convince you that we are quite undisputedly right. So without further ado, here are five reasons why you should (or should have) become a politician.
1. You Don’t Need Any Educational Qualifications. At All.
One maddening aspect about jobs is that they all require some educational qualification or the other. It’s frustrating, wearisome, and utterly absurd (what on earth does your education have to do with your job, huh?), but that is, unfortunately, the way things are. A doctor requires a fancy medical degree, a lawyer needs to get through law school, a teacher should undergo teacher training… even a pizza delivery boy requires O/L qualifications. Really, it’s enough to put anyone off getting employed. But don’t let that get you down; we’re here to tell you that hope still lives. For, in Sri Lanka, there is one career path that shines above the rest, one job that blessedly requires no diplomas, no degrees, and no qualifications whatsoever… politics!
It’s true! It doesn’t matter if you’re a law graduate, O/L qualified or if you dropped out of school in 3rd grade, there is absolutely no minimal requirement at all. Everyone from the highest academic to the completely unschooled is welcome into the fascinating world of politics with open arms, and no one is going to judge you at all! So if you are one of those people who are too lazy to study, or think that a sound education is overrated, then politics is the place for you.
That said, if you want to be a politician, there are a few things that might work in your favour. For example, brawn is definitely valued over brain. A history of thuggery, an entourage of goons, a thick skin, and the ability to lie through your teeth are also definite plus points. If you don’t possess them, worry not, these are minor skills which can easily be developed with practice.
2. You Can Get A Rs. 70 Million Car, Just Like That
Buying a car is no easy matter. To most of us, it entails years of hard work, earning and saving before our bank balance displays enough figures to afford us a car. And to add to matters, vehicle prices have now gone through the roof, so that the dream of owning a car is fast becoming a distant one to many.
However if you’re a politician, getting yourself a car is about as easy as getting your groceries. In fact ‒ get ready for this, folks ‒ you can get a free vehicle worth up to Rs. 70 million right off the bat, just like that! That’s right, we said Rs. 70 million, and yes, it sounds nuts, but if you’ve been reading the papers these days you’d know that it’s the gospel truth. This alone is enough reason to join politics!
A word to the wise: some simple-minded civilians might accuse you of lavishness, profligacy, and brazen extravagance, but don’t let that get to you. Sure, the vehicle costs more than two or three good-sized houses, the country’s economy is in a deplorable state, and we have just suffered a series of disasters like the floods and landslides, but as a politician, you are working for the country. Anyone with half a brain should realise that these vehicles are necessities rather than luxuries. Besides, with the Sri Lankan roads being in the awful state they are, how the heck could you efficiently carry out your ministerial duties without a Rs. 70 million car?
As an aside, some might point out that the rest of us mortals manage to navigate Sri Lankan roads perfectly well in normal vehicles. Do not let this sway you. You are a politician for crying out loud, what do they expect you to drive? A Maruti?
3. You Get To Be On TV
Have you ever at some point or the other dreamed of being famous? Have you ever pictured yourself on TV, gesticulating forcefully as you speak about the perversion of the world, the terrible state of the nation, the changes you wish to make? Have you ever envisioned your face filling whole pages of the newspaper (especially during election time), head turned artistically to a side, wearing an expression of noble refinement or smiling assurance as you promise to make the country a better place? If your answer is yes to all these (don’t be shy folks, feel free to admit it; we’ve all had strange aspirations from time to time), then politics is the place for you!
And that’s not all; you also get to share your good judgment, wisdom, and ideas with the people of your country. Our politicians have an unshakable reputation for perceptive insight, erudite suggestions and little nuggets of wisdom. The best example we can come up with is that time when Minister Wimal Weerawansa called for a boycott on all American products like Google, McDonalds, and Coca-Cola. It was a brilliant, fail-safe proposal, one which would have completely crippled the American economy and brought the mighty country to its knees; but unfortunately, the government did not implement it. We really have no idea why, but it’s a shameful waste of a brilliant idea. Perhaps it was because the Americans attempted to kill him.
4. You Get To Have A Pet Baby Elephant
Remember that time when you were kid and you always dreamed of having an exciting pet? Remember those days when you fantasized about fierce lions prowling around your bedroom, a leopard dozing on your mango tree, or a zebra grazing in your mother’s flower beds? Well, we don’t have any lions or zebra over here; but what we do have are elephants. And if you are a politician, you get to have a baby elephant of your own!
Owning an elephant is often seen as a symbol of prestige and status, so it is a fitting pet for a righteous and noble politician. Of course, it’s not exactly legal to capture baby elephants from the wild, but you’re a politician for crying out loud! You toil and strive for the betterment of the nation, working tirelessly, slogging away day after day with no thought for yourself; can’t the country spare you one measly little pachyderm in return? And what the heck do people mean by saying that the elephant won’t be happy? The little critter has a Sri Lankan politician as its owner for heaven’s sake, of course it’s happy! And if it isn’t, well… it should be.
However, we must warn you that this perk is not always accessible. Unfortunately, its availability pretty much depends on who runs the show at the top. The present regime, for instance, doesn’t seem to look too kindly upon owning elephants. Spoil sports.
5. You Get To Act Like A Five-Year-Old
Adulthood is a tedious business. Sure, you get to own a bank account, legally drive, and wear heels, but being grown up is just so tiresome. You must take responsibility for your actions, act with dignity, integrity and decorum, and develop a set of interior rules and inhibitions that act as a brake on your more immature impulses (like when your snotty colleague is driving you up the wall, and your first impulse is to sock him one, but you can’t because you’re an adult, and adults simply don’t do stuff like that).
However, things work a bit differently if you are a politician. You see, politics gives you the freedom to let go of your inhibitions and act on impulse; in other words, you get to go back to toddlerhood. For example, if things aren’t going the way you want them to, simply punch the offender in the gut. Someone making statements you don’t like? Get him in a headlock! Parliamentary session not to your liking? Grab the mace and make a run for it! Who gives a fig for etiquette and decorum? Civil conversation and negotiation never resolve anything, but action of this sort does.
To put it in a nutshell, being a politician means that you get to act like a five-year-old whilst retaining all your adult privileges (driving license, bank accounts, credit cards etc) at the same time. Of course, you might lose your dignity in the process, but who cares? You can be a kid again!
Now if that isn’t a perk, we don’t know what is.
6. You Get The Finest Singaporean Healthcare
Got some head injuries after that last shoot-out you were in? In need of a medical check-up? Don’t worry about it; being a Sri Lankan politician automatically entitles you to the finest healthcare facilities you can get… all the way in Singapore. And the best part? You don’t have to pay a cent for it!
Of course, the more finicky people of the country often question this. What entitles a politician to such luxury? Is healthcare equity a farce? And most importantly, when the Health Minister himself flies off to Singaporean hospital for a medical check-up, what does this say about the state of our local healthcare? We’re not really sure about the answers ourselves, but we presume it has something to do with the fact that when you become a politician, you slowly evolve into a superior being with a physiology far more complex than that of our humble commoners’ and completely beyond the scope of our local hospitals. Since we obviously have neither the doctors nor the facilities capable of handling the complexities of your system, you will probably be flown off, post-haste to Singapore if you so much as sneeze. Sure, this costs quite a nice sum of cash, but heck, you need to be in perfect health if you are going to help run a country.
However, a word of warning; we must point out that Singapore might not be the best place if you’re suffering from memory loss. Former MP Duminda Silva still appears to be missing a certain key memory.
7. And Finally… You Can Do Anything You Want, Whenever You Want
Yep, you read that right. You can literally do anything you like, at any time, no questions asked. Of course, being a noble politician as pure as driven snow, there is no chance that you’ll ever do anything questionable, but as pure and honest as they are, we do concede that politicians are human beings (albeit superior ones), and human beings are subject to mistakes. So basically, you can (by mistake of course) cheat, lie, swindle, steal state funds, misuse state funds, kidnap people, assault people, threaten people, and tie people to trees… and get away with it. Sure, you might get caught, but that’s just a minor hiccough. The most you will suffer will be a few days in the prison hospital (politicians have this uncanny tendency to fall ill at the moment of arrest) before being released on bail. And really, at this point, you would have developed such a thick skin that a few days in remand wouldn’t unnerve you in the least.
These are just a fraction of the perks a Sri Lankan politician enjoys; there are lots more we can dig up if we put our minds to it, but we didn’t want to overdo the thing, or make it sound too good to be true. So have we proven our point or not? Do these five little arguments have you convinced that being a politician is the most rewarding job available in the country? Do you now find yourself wishing that you had joined politics instead of doing that medical degree? Well, don’t bang yourself on the head about it; it’s never too late to start. And if you do take our advice and ever make it to parliament one day, do drop us a line and let us know how you are doing. Or perhaps we might catch a glimpse of you in the news as you rugby-tackle your colleague in parliament, or get into the prison bus.
Featured image credit: Awantha Artigala