Bus travails in excelcis

Every time I get into a bus, the music is on most of the time. It’s not just good music that relaxes your mind to face a busy day at work, but ‘baila’.
Just imagine a person, in the morning, getting into a bus that is fully-packed who manages to get just enough leg space to stand having to undergo the cacophony of loud baila music ripping your eardrums, while at the same time trying to manipulate your position in the bus without having to undergo the embarrassment of falling onto somebody’s lap? One has to go through it to know the feeling. It is sheer hell.
This happens daily on bus routes nos 107, 260 and 176 and those poor commuters who travel daily in these buses have to go through this torment like a prayer everyday.
With all this harassment comes the driver’s hectic driving. Brakes are applied haphazardly which can throw a person standing at the end of the bus to the lap of somebody seated in the centre. It would be a rare thing to find somebody who travels daily in one of these three bus routes not to have undergone such pyrotechnics.
On the 107 Elakanda bus route, the conductor keeps screaming right into your ears; “Hendala, Wattala, Peliyagoda, Stadium,” and then in the same breath “Kotuwa, Kotuwa” while all the time baila music blares its full volume.
It is just sheer hell travelling in these buses. The commuter is at the mercy of these “bullies” who callously disregard the discomfort faced by the commuters, most of whom are on their way to office or school.
The crowd inside the bus can be easily tolerated but not the music. Recently some very good laws were enforced by the traffic police; to fine drivers who let commuters travel on foot-board and also those who keep the buses too long at a stop. This move is highly appreciated but is there any law to stop buses blaring some horrible music which the commuter has no option but to hearS unless he or she is deaf.
Is music a necessity for a driver who is supposed to keep his full attention on the road? Isn’t it a possibility that his attention could be diverted, thus putting the life of the commuter at risk?Isn’t this a good reason for the traffic police to impose fines on buses playing loud music? The other day, the music was far too loud. Nobody had the guts to tell the driver to reduce the volume. There were many who were grumbling and cursing the driver but no one would dare tell him or the conductor to reduce the volume.
Having had enough of it I managed to signal the conductor to reduce the volume. To pacify me, he just touched the volume knob but did not reduce the volume and then gave me that, “who are you to tell me.” The journey was horrible. When I got off the bus I had a severe headache.
This letter is a sincere plea to ask the authorities concerned to bring a law forbidding these private buses from playing loud and uncouth music for the sake of the commuter who has no other way of transport and who would like a peaceful bus ride even if he/she has to stand on one foot.
Over to you Minister Fowzie!
K. Navaratne


Hospital business - patient vs shareholder

Being a specialist medical practitioner, the times are many when I am compelled to recommend treatment abroad to my patients when certain facilities are not available here. I know that a number of them who could not afford even India had the consolation of knowing Apollo was available for them.
With the ownership changes, that opportunity they had is gone. I request the GMOA and BOI that brought in this prestigious hospital to Sri Lanka to use their influence to prevent this happening.
What we must remember here is that it is first, a hospital and only secondarily, a business entity. Therefore, the usual company owing laws should not be blindly followed in this instance. It is also the duty of the Health Ministry that licenses the hospital, to see that status quo does not change. After all, hospitals are set up primarily for the welfare of patients and not for a few shareholders to make money.
If the Health Ministry cannot run their own hospitals properly with all necessary and latest equipment, they must at least protect the hospitals that are able to do so at a reasonable and affordable price instead of allowing them to fall into hands of unscrupulous businessmen.
Dr. Chandra Fernando


Darrel Hair at it again

Mr. Darrel Hair is at it again, this time against Pakistan. It does not take long for anyone to identify this man who has a tainted past and a disgrace to the game of cricket.
An interesting fact is that this man is only involved in controversies that surround Asian countries. So I hope the ICC and its match referee, Ranjan Madugalle, would see to it that justice is done rather than defend this racist in the face of mounting criticism that he is not suited to be in that elite panel.
In the words of that great man Don Bradmen, “It was the worst example of umpiring that I have witnessed, and against everything the game stands for.” This he said after Muttiah Muralidaran was no-balled by Darrel Hair in December 1995.
Enough is enough.
Praveen Kumarawadu


LTTE should take responsibility

The Mawil Aru annicut incident has created many new problems in this country. If the LTTE had not created the Mawil Aru problem, many hundreds of lives could have been saved. They are the ones who should be blamed for all the sufferings and loss of lives that is taking place at present.
The Mawil Aru annicut problem was a creation by the LTTE to divert the attention of the armed forces and to capture Muttur but that was a failure for them. Next they tried to capture the North but that, too was a failure. The LTTE is now frustrated and seeks to divert the attention of the people from the North and the East they killed Kethesh Yoganathan, the deputy chief of the government peace secretariat. Next they attacked the Pakistan High Commissioner to create something big in Colombo. The armed forces should be on alert about this.
The Mulaitivu incident where sixty youth got killed in a jungle camp from aerial bombings by the Sri Lanka Air Force. The LTTE first said they are school children in uniforms. Others say a different story. We don’t know what is true. Because of this incident it has said it will take revenge.
It was the LTTE that brought Rajapaksa to power. Everybody knows this. Now, why are they blaming him? Even if Ranil was in power, the LTTE would have acted in the same manner. They called him the cunning fox. By their actions and speeches for the past 25 years the LTTE is making the Tamil people more and more desperate.
As long as their leader is in the Wanni bunker and as long as his family is in London, he will never achieve Tamil Eelam. It is better for him to go and join his family and leave the Tamils alone.
A citizen from Vavuniya


Who is our real enemy?

A question we need to ask ourselves is who really is our enemy? The recent escalation in violence is viewed by many from different angles. Tragically people are not thinking as Sri Lankans.
The UNP is quick to remark that the period of the CFA created a “no war”, “no violence” and “no checkpoints” situation. True… but it did also pave the way for the terrorists to nicely travel throughout the country and carefully plan how they would strike next. Now with the likelihood of rough times ahead the decision to enter into a war situation lies in the hands of the Government and no one else. Not the men in robes or any other party.
 We have gone through three wars and each war was followed with a “return to the negotiation table” and another stalemate situation creating puppets out of our armed forces. Negotiations are good so long as both sides want to negotiate and reach a compromised solution. But when the perpetrator is resolved in his bid to create a separate homeland what purpose do negotiations hold and most importantly for whom? Negotiations have provided only an interim period of “volatile peace” despite any proclamations made by the Nordic peace monitors
No one wants to advocate war but then we have come to a period where we need to really question who our enemy is.
The 1988-89 period saw the surfacing of the JVP revolt which was answered with a simple strategy by the late Ranjan Wijerate; identify the enemy and destroy him. No foreign nation ever stopped it and even the Sinhalese wanted these rebels completely annihilated from society. The task done, years later the JVP had to change its stance and give up the strategy of forcibly coming into governance.
Another thing that we need to remember is that there must surely be a great difference in what Prabakaran wants and what the men domiciled in the Western world holding foreign passports, want. We are more than aware that Prabhakaran has corrected the infamous theoretician Balasingham, about some matter of fact remarks made without prior consultation with the LTTE supremo. The LTTE living in foreign shores have a different agenda and it is definitely different to that propagated by Prabakaran. But both cannot do without the other and find themselves complimenting each other.
Having gone through over 20 years of a very dangerous game of give and take it has only led to thousands sacrificing their lives in vain and enough is enough. It is time for the Government to tell its people what it plans to do.
 An all-out-war if it must happen means that the people are in for some rough times ahead. People must be prepared for this. However, the Government and its ministers must realise first that whatever happens, it should not mean rough times for the people and luxuries still for them. The Government must first show leadership through example then they will surely receive the respect of the masses.
 Shenali Waduge