Sri Lanka’s pornography (Kama Kala) industry has held Colombo’s largest ever rally to demand increased government funding. The event was organised by the Kama Kala Shilpi Peramuna – an umbrella organisation representing Sinhala, Tamil and Dutch language sectors of the industry. The KKSP threatened to support the opposition at the upcoming election if its demands were not met.
Calls for funding increases by various industry groups have become a regular occurrence as Sri Lanka’s budget surplus edges towards its first trillion. Yet this is the first time such a demand has been combined with a specific political threat.
The KKSP’s boldness stems from a recent Asau Asau poll which indicated that Kama Kala industry could influence a government changing swing at the ballot box. With crucial lower house elections just months away, such a forecast has translated into considerable the political clout.
Yet nothing is what it seems in Sri Lankan politics. The dynamics beneath the smog of political Theatre is far more complex. Sri Lankan voters are notorious for deliberately misleading pollsters. The poll result was based on an analysis of responses to a complex question set aimed at weeding out deceptive responses. Independent analysts have voiced different conclusions from the raw poll data.
The KKSP gave no hint of such uncertainty at its rally. The event was broadcast live to large screens set up at local rallies held throughout the island. The organisation had lined up an array of opposition MPs to address the vast crowd gathered at Colombo’s ironic Lipton Circus. The lack of a single government MP was a clear signal of brazen partisanship.
The rally climaxed with a speech by KKSP president and Kama Kala icon Miss Nangi Nona. Ms Nangi rose to fame in the title role of the 1983 hit “Ah Nangi”. Its box office record broken only by the subsequent releases of the “Ah Nangi” franchise: Ah Nangi 2, Ah Ah Nangi and the critically acclaimed “Aney Nangi” ( 2010 ‘s the highest grossing Kama Kala hit).
In a speech repeated interrupted by cheers of adoring fans, Ms Nangi attacked the governing United National Freedom Party/Lanka Libertarian Party coalition for their “obsession with budget cutting”.
The main thrust of Ms Nangi’s argument is that the Kama Kala industry had “rescued” Sri Lanka from demographic disaster. She claimed that the Kama Kala industry’s social service programs, such as free live demonstrations for school leavers, had reversed the spiralling drop in the birth rate. “If we didn’t show how its done, who in this conservative minded country would?” asked Ms Nangi to deafening roars of approval from the crowd. She also asserted that the industry had “saved” a generation of impressionable young men and women from the “clutches” of homosexuality. Ms Nangi described these as “essential services”, needing expansion through increased government funding.
The villain of Ms Nangi’s speech is the economy minister and Lanka Libertarian Party leader, Valipullai Vijayveera (refereed to in the press as Mr.V or VV depending on a media organ’s political orientation). She described the minister as a soulless number cruncher obsessed with inflating the budget surplus at the expense of social well being. She specifically called on the voters of his Matara electorate not to re-elect him. Analysts had expected such pleas would be ignored in Libertarian strong holds such as Matara and South Jaffna. Yet cheers from the crowds watching live large screen broadcasts of the rally throughout both electorates suggested an unforeseen political shift.
This is a worrying trend for the government. The small Lanka Libertarian Party holds the balance of power in the lower house. A LLP loss in any of the swing electorates of Dehilwala, Jaffna South, Galle City, Iranamadu or Hambantota, will leave the UNFP without a majority and a viable coalition partner. An outcome that would pay the way for the opposition All Ceylon Liberal Congress (ACLC) to cobble together a coalition of its own.
Online, the use of social media for the events and it’s surrounding issues is seems as a watershed in Sri Lankan politics. The site terranvista.org applauded Ms Nangi for “defending cultural workers from right wing fiscal structural violence”. The Centre for Alternative Policy Consequences issued a statement saying that the KKSP is leading the way in creating “new modalities of a post capitalist socio cultural political narrative — free of market imperatives”. However veteran Kama Kala industry observers as well as political analysts have pointed out that the KKSP’s influence is not so clear cut.
According to respected analyst Dr Thuduwa of CJ Analytics, Sri Lankans are not single issue voters. While they may cheer for Ms Nangi, they historically vote based on the outcomes of implemented government policies. MPs win or lose seats based on the policies they backed in parliament. The KKSP’s campaign has triggered an unprecedented jump in volume of MP voting records download from the parliament website. Downloads of data sources independently reviewing policy outcomes have also seen a record increase, A trend indicating that voters are closely scrutinising their politician’s policy choices for the next election.
Another factor is the instability within the ACLC. Its leader, Mr L.E Froy is better know for his ultra combative speeches and personal attacks (particularly against Mr.V) than for any coherent policy. He has not placated fears that he will be able to create let alone lead a coalition government. Both these factors have led mainstream analysts to predict a win for the UNFP/LLP coalition.
Such trends have enabled Mr VV to characteristically laugh out loud at Ms Nangi’s claims. The minister is expected to outline the government’s case at an upcoming luncheon held by the influential Pooneryn chamber of commerce. The anticipation over his response had giving this normally sedate event an air of excitement that even Ms.Nangi would envy.
–Dissociate Fake Press