Touria Prayag's Blog

L’express Weekly, 15 April 2011

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on April 18, 2011

pdf Weekly 15 April

The Soodhuns
of this world

Our dear minister of commerce and industry, Showkutally
Soodhun, has once again proved his mettle: 100% pure
stone age! Charging along like a steam roller and brimming
over with primitive connotations, he takes out the
heavy artillery against Rajesh Bhagwan by accusing him of being
…a woman. Losing face with what he meant as perhaps the worst
insult in his repertoire, he tries to backpedal by fl oating the idea
that he meant it as a compliment. How nice of you, sir! And in case
one were looking for a real insult, how about the expression, “enn
vrai soodhun”. It needs no explanation and there is unlikely to be
any ambiguity.
Well, while one of our lady MPs took this opportunity to study
her fi ngernails, perhaps fi nding it hard to hear from her soundproof
caravan, and others said nothing but then again they never
do, we commend the ladies who zeroed right in on the Honourable
Soodhun and showed that they could give as much as they took.
They plied him with protests which forced him to withdraw his
unfortunate comment.
Thank you Nita, thank you Sheila and thank you Françoise.
You really are the best men in that Legislative Assembly.
Once the word “soodhun” has entered our common parlance, I
would like to suggest that we vary its use according to the degree of
the insult offered. For MPs who are slowly coming out of the Stone
Age, like Vasant Bunwaree, for example, we could use the expression,
“enn tigit soodhun” for, when addressing the speaker, he talks about
MP Nita Deerpalsing in these terms, “I’m well-aware of what she has
said.” And “She can do so herself…” You will not have failed to notice
that while all the male MPs are entitled to be addressed as “Honourable
Member” or “Honourable Minister” (don’t forget to sound the ‘h’), the
females in the Legislative Assembly have to make do with ‘she’ until we
come out of the Stone Age.
In the middle of this debate about what manners should have
been taught at home and at school, we should not forget the central
issue which has triggered the entire furore: the project of the control
system to regulate the activities of bookmakers. Why was it frozen?
How much did it cost the taxpayer to abandon it half-way through?
Above all, whether there was any pressure exercised on the ministry
of Finance to do so, if yes by whom and if not in whose interest was
it to abandon the project? Questions which, naturally, Mr. Bunwaree
dodged one after the other and which, no doubt, Pravind Jugnauth,
when he is back and has to answer for his decisions himself, will
skirt with the same arrogance. It seems that the Legislative Assembly
is now a forum for asking questions which will remain forever
unanswered. Some will hide behind the ICAC about issues which
the latter has no business even investigating and others will simply
answer the questions which were not asked. The smart ones will use
the forum to go off on a campaign-style tangent until the speaker
stops them and their time to answer is up. For accountability, we
could hardly do worse.


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