Our government, which is neither a dictatorship nor democratically
elected, has a prime minister at its head and is run on a variation of
the parliamentary system.
The prime minister is not chosen by popular vote. Instead, once every
four years, on the day when our botanists tell us that the coconuts
have fully ripened, all adult citizens (everyone 13 or older is
considered to be an adult) gather in the coconut palm patch on the east
side of our island's plateau region (see geography
). We all stand there patiently waiting for coconuts to fall. We are prepared
to wait months if necessary; our botanists aren't very good at their jobs.
The last person to be hit on the head by a coconut becomes the prime minister
for the next four years. The second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-last to
be hit join the cabinet. The next 20-last to be hit become backbench members
When we made contact with the rest of the world and learned about other
political systems we seriously contemplated becoming a democracy. After
careful consideration we rejected the idea because our system saves us
the considerable money, aggravation and antagonism involved in
elections and the results are no worse, and often far better, than
those achieved by democracies.
The jobs of prime minister, cabinet minister and, particularly,
backbench member of parliament are part-time positions. Its light workload is a result of our
constitution, which has been reproduced on the front of small postcards
and distributed to all citizens. The constitution strictly forbids the
passing of any laws other than the following:
- Don't kill. (Exception: Killing fish for human consumption is allowed.
Killing other animals for use as food would probably have been permitted,
but there aren't any non-human animals on our island so no one thought
to enact that exemption.)
- Don't steal. (Exception: Stealing the intellectual property of non-Shalampaxians is allowed. See the arts.)
- Don't lie. (Exception: It's acceptable to tell ugly people that they aren't
ugly, but only if they are bigger and stronger than you.)
- Don't use force against another person. (Exception: Sadomasochism is allowed
between fully informed, consenting adults as long as it takes place in
private and does not result in a lot of noise (our walls are thin, see
architecture). Boxing is considered to be outrageously silly and barbaric
and, therefore, is not allowed under this exemption.)
- Don't pick your nose in public. In private is fine, but no exceptions in
Many people consider that last one to be too frivolous to be included in
a constitution, but most of us find public nose picking to be gross, so
we decided to leave it in.
Due to our numerically and physically puny population — just 4,242 diminutive
people (see demographics) — and our island's tiny landmass (see geography
which doesn't leave room for the government to build roads or any other
infrastructure except our one house (see arts &
architecture-house), fiscal matters pretty much take care of
themselves. Therefore, because our parliamentarians are not allowed to
pass any laws, there isn't much for them to do. Consequently, running
the government consists of little more than gathering once or twice a
year to whine and complain about the deplorable weather.
© Copyright Klebanoff Associates, Inc. and Joel Klebanoff, 2007-2012. All rights reserved.
Shalampax and Shalampaxian are trademarks of Klebanoff Associates, Inc.