Skip to Content

Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 74

Portrait of an NGO “yes-man” – a late reply to ........

[b]Portrait of an NGO “yes-man” – a late reply to Mr. S. Hattotuwa[/b]

By H. L. D. Mahindapala

I welcome with relish Mr. S. Hattotuwa’s response in the Lanka Academic (May 25, 2005) to my “Profile of NGOlogists haunting the landscape of Afro-Asia” published in the Asian Tribune (May 13, 2005).

This is one debate that I do not want to miss for all the tea in China, Sri Lanka and Africa. I must apologize for the delay though. This delay would not have occurred if Mr. Hattotuwa sent his response to the Asian Tribune where it all began. I wouldn’t have missed it then. But that is not important now. What is important is to locate where he stands precisely each time he flounders in the fog of his own verbiage. His words run round and round in inane circles of sweeping generalities. Of course, he fancies that his foggy-foggy verbosity amount to some kind of superior style. I’ll come to that later. But first let me examine some aspects of his defence of NGOs – one of the acronyms that fall among the other four-letter words in the English vocabulary. In the process it is necessary to evaluate both the dancer (in this case Mr. Hattotuwa) and his kolam dance.

At the outset he states that it is a “cause for great mirth” to him to be included among the other NGOlogists. As a polemical aside, I must make it clear to him that this is written partly to wipe the grin of “great mirth” off his face.

Before I go any further let me emphasize that there is one common factor we share. We both agree that “polemics is a useful tool in examining issues”. Besides, the cut and thrust in polemics adds a liveliness to the issues discussed and it is in this spirit that I approach his response.

In this essay I will be dealing with only a few main points which may extend to some of his irrelevancies as well. For instance, he says: “I do not know the basis for his claims that NGOlogists (ah, that endearing term again) avoid such debate…” Though this can be dismissed as an irrelevancy it can also be considered as a serious admission of his ignorance which limits his competence to comment on Sri Lankan NGOs.

Share this