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A dove or a hawk?
In the wake of the Air Force attack that targeted a LTTE leader hideout in
Kilinochchi on Friday morning causing the deaths of the LTTE “Political Leader”
Thamilselvan and his top aides, the several pseudo intellectuals, self styled
peace activists and of course the LTTE proxy TNA, have attempted to win the
sympathy of the international community, by airing the ludicrous view that any
future peace move has been dealt a fatal blow by the Sri Lanka government.
However, they have failed to point out any positive and meaningful move made by
Thamilselvan, towards the success of negotiations was in the abortive peace
talks held in Geneva, where he played a key role. On the contrary what observers
of the talks noticed, was flagrant violation of basic principles of diplomacy
and the placing of hurdles to obstruct the attainment of peace through
The division of the organization into “political” and “military” wings is purely
misleading. That is to show that the former is genuinely interested in peace and
the latter acts independently. In reality the political wing and the military
wings are inseparable, in that, the latter operates at the command of the
former. In fact the so-called political leader is the master mind of all
military operations responsible for the assassinations of Sri Lankans of the
highest calibre, including Tamil intellectuals and leaders like Amirthalingam,
Lakshsman Kadirgramar and Dr. Neelan Thiruchelwam. The fact that a mediocre
person like Thamilselvan was appointed as the political leader proves that the
LTTE and its supremo were not keen on a political solution.
The statements to portray Thamilselvan as a’ peace dove’ and a great political
leader and to say that his death was a blow to the peace process, are vain
attempts to absolve the terrorist leader of crimes committed against Sri Lankans
including distinguished members of the Tamil community. The case of Thamilselvan
permits us to imagine the calibre of the political leaders under a LTTE regime
in a separate state. The conscription of Tamil children on the order of the
“political leaders” has effectively closed any avenue for Tamil youth to enter
the political arena and guide the Tamil community as their leaders, on the path
to a vibrant democracy.
C. A. Lenin Divakara
Business Today rewards corrupt
In any country, one important objective of recognising and rewarding a leading
individual or institution, should be to publicise its qualities, achievements
and traits, enabling others to emulate and achieve similar heights. The
fundamental purpose of the Nobel Prize is just that, motivate and encourage
others to achieve greatness in the likeness of the winners.
But, sadly, in Sri Lanka, as in most happenings here, things happen in the
reverse. A classic example is the recent nominations of Business Today (BT) Top
What is significant here is that, of the Top 10, three are involved in the
business of Alcohol and Tobacco, whose products have actually become major
social problems in our country, being root causes of many suicides, family
breakups and anti social behaviour in people. On the one hand, Government is
bringing in legislation to control smoking and alcoholism, because of the
extremely harmful effects and, on the other hand, leading business magazines are
heralding them as corporate leaders to be followed by others.
In addition to the harmful and anti social side, two of the companies are
accused of having defrauded this country billions through exercise duty scans,
fraudulent and corrupt activities involving transfer of government owned lands.
The inquiries are proceeding with the companies involved not uttering a word
denying anything. If BT were to do its rankings in this manner, totally
disregarding the ethics of carrying out the business, it is only a matter of
time before their honours become reviled or ridiculed, than respected. It is
rumored that already some major corporates have politely declined to be honoured
in this manner. The sooner BT changes their rating criteria, the better for
D. N. L. Philips
Do TV commercials on national cricketers do justice to their
If there is any single category of Sri Lankans which has brought fame and honour
to the country, it is our national cricket team. By being selected for the ICC
award, for the ‘Spirit of Cricket’ they have earned international recognition,
not only for their cricketing prowess, but more importantly, for their
outstanding conduct on and off the field.
This special recognition alone truly demonstrates, that they as a team, have
been worthy ambassadors even contributing immeasurably to diminish the adverse
effects of the well orchestrated propaganda aimed at tarnishing the image of the
country. Indeed the nation is much indebted to these few talented gentlemen.
As far as the youth are concerned, the senior cricketers, particularly those who
have performed admirably for many years, have become role models. They are even
idolized. Their success brings joy to millions; failure often leads to
consternation, despair and shock. They are specially honoured in their villages
and home towns. They attract the attention of all, wherever they go and whatever
This wonderful image and reputation that they have built with so much toil,
discipline and sacrifice also needs immense strength of character to be
preserved and sustained, particularly with the pecuniary attractions dangled
before them. One unsuspecting, innocent slip could seriously dilute this hard
earned status. Often have we seen celebrities in world sport fade away
ignominiously for this reason..
As an ardent follower of the game, and as a sincere admirer of our cricketers,
it is in the backdrop of the above mentioned statement, that I have begun to
wonder how prudent some of them have been, in permitting their honoured national
image status to be exploited by advertisers in T.V. commercials. Crudely
produced ‘spots’ portraying even the much respected Captain and Vice-Captain as
immature kids, being repeatedly bludgeoned into the ears and eyes of viewers is
to say the least irksome, irritating, and vulgar. How silly indeed, it is to be
compelled to see over and over again the captain and vice captain,. hurriedly
and gleefully delving their hands into a basketful of ice to grab a crown cork
that flies off a bottle top!.
Advertisers, if they are true professionals, should have created a ‘spot’
incorporating the dignity and decorum these two have come to personify in the
world of sport; and not make them look like two frolicsome monkeys.
Make way for thugs on the highways!
I frequently drive on the Colombo Kandy Road, and have noticed that many of the
buses, lorries, vans, three wheelers and motorcyclists that ply on this road,
are a law to themselves. What I cannot understand is, that these drivers have
obtained their driving licenses after passing a theoretical examination
conducted by the government, as well as a practical test in driving. The
examination is mainly focused on how to drive and obey traffic rules and signs,
and how best they should follow the rules and regulations when using a public
In spite of these requirements, most drivers after obtaining their license,
conveniently disobey all road rules when they are driving. It is very
regrettable that these rules are being blatantly abused by these drivers before
the very eyes of the police officers who turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to such
abuses. Occasionally two policemen who stand by the wayside, nabs an errant
driver, but others follow with the same mistake without being nabbed.
My suggestion is that Traffic Police should perform their duties of ensuring
that no one disrespects the law, and caution the road user, rather than nab a
stray offender wasting time making notes and issuing him with a fine notice,
while the other drivers guilty of the same error go scot free while he is busy
taking down notes.
Once a license is obtained they are called competent drivers and should obey and
adhere to all road rules when they are driving on public highways or by ways. I
believe that the majority of drivers who drive buses, lorries and three
wheelers, are school dropouts and comes from undisciplined environments. That is
why most of these bus drivers exhibit their ignorance and behave like thugs on
public roads. The easiest way to get a job for these school dropouts is to get a
driving license through a driving school. If one is to trace the background of
those drivers who meet with such accidents as reported in the media daily, it
would prove that they are mostly school dropouts or persons with a background of
bad moral values.
I am aware that there are drivers who cannot read or write, but posses a driving
license. When such persons are entrusted with a vehicle to drive they cares very
little for other road users. It has become a common sight at road junctions to
see three wheelers parked blocking access to by lanes and roads. This is often
done in the presence of the police. They do not care for the pedestrians and
other road users and are a law to themselves.
I have frequently noticed that the bus drivers who ply along Kandy road are the
most indisciplined. They toot the horn for no valid reason, drive in the most
dangerous way and are a source of danger to other road users. They also harass
the lady drivers by unnecessarily flashing the hazard lights, thus creating
unwanted panic for other road users, overtake other vehicles by going on the
wrong side of the road, and then veers the bus back to the extreme left, to pick
passengers, obstructing on coming traffic.
That is the reason for frequent head on crashes of vehicles driven by these
uneducated thug drivers. They not only behave like thugs but create unwanted
traffic jams too.
It is time that we formulate a system to have a set of disciplined drivers who
obey the law of the land in respect of road rules and regulations, respect other
road users in driving and parking and ensure the safety of the public who are at
the mercy of motorists..
Over-zealous PPAs exploiting students and parents
In the recent past there have been many protests by parents of school children,
about teachers and past pupil associations in schools, which compel parents of
students to purchase entire books of tickets for various so called fund raising
projects in the school
It is true that School Development Societies and PPA’s of schools need funds to
develop the infrastructure of the school. But they should not try to be over
enthusiastic and try to do many things at the same time.
A popular girls’ school in Bambalapitiya, has just commenced the construction of
a swimming pool. Well and good. But under the guise of raising funds for it, the
OGA of the school organise various fund raising events virtually one, every
month or more.
Now, they have organised a variety entertainment called ‘Sisu Rengum’. The idea
behind it was that it should be a forum to bring out the talents of the very
young kids. The .organisers have arranged for shows on three consecutive
evenings, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The little children have to be brought to school by the parents around 4 or 4.30
p.m. and they have to be in their costumes until the end of the show. The show
usually ends well past 9 p.m., which is well past the bedtime of these five and
six year olds. The parents are also virtually forced to purchase tickets, sell
banners, advertisements etc.for these shows.,
Doesn’t the Education Ministry keep a tab on these so called fund raising
I suggest the Ministry issues a circular limiting the number of such
events/projects per year.
Ms. U. P. Fernando
RIGHT OF REPLY
Article on Vivienne Goonewardena
I draw your attention to the short article on Vivienne Goonewardena as part of
the feature on ‘Women in Governance’ on page 7 of The Nation Eye supplement of
Sunday October 14 2007 (http://www.nation.lk/2007/10/14/eyefea7.htm)
I was surprised to read that the above article appearing under the byline of
staff journalist Ayesha Wijeratne is a condensed verbatim reproduction of an
appreciation that I wrote in 1996 (http://www.rootsweb.com/~lkawgw/vivienneg.htm)
and that was uploaded with my permission on the Sri Lanka Genealogical Website
which presumably is your journalist’s source.
You may compare both items to verify for yourself that the wording and
construction of narrative is identical but has been edited for length in the
version published in your newspaper.
While I have no objection to material made freely available on the internet
being reproduced in your pages without prior permission, I do take exception to
it being passed off as someone else’s work, without due acknowledgement to the
author and the original source.
I am sure you will agree with me that the professional integrity of both
newspaper and journalist are unneccesarily impugned through lazy journalism and
poor respect for journalistic standards such as in this instance. As a regular
reader of your paper and sympathiser of its editorial perspectives I am doubly
Sir, I kindly request that your newspaper discusses the seriousness of
plagiarism and respect for author and reader alike with your staff writer, and
that a suitable clarification appear on the same page in the next issue of the
paper crediting the source and the author for that particular item.
Perhaps the Press Complaints Commission Code of Conduct ought to be amended to
set our procedures on use of material downloaded from the internet in light of
recent unhappiness over the Sunday Lakbima News pillaging of blogs for feature
stories as well as my own experience?
Reporters note: We wish to inform Mr. Skanthakumar that the byline of the
journalist concerned was published inadvertently on the relevant page. It was
not a deliberate attempt to take credit for another’s work and merely a
typographical oversight. We sincerely apologise to the author and regret any
pain of mind caused as a result of our error.
If VIPs are in danger, stay at home
In the present context, heavily guarded politicians are in no way a national
asset. If they are in so much danger, that they cannot move around in public
places, without being accompanied by 10 to 15 guards each and so many pilot and
escort vehicles, then it is better they stayed at home. Just imagine the amount
of money spent on these servants of ours. They beg for our valuable votes and
come to power, to serve us but, once elected, they loose their thick skulls and
serve themselves, and also their kith and kin.
These politicians hugely inconvenience the public. They also are a threat,
because most of their security guards carry automatic weapons pointed at the
These politicians should not come out, as their presence in public places itself
threatens the ordinary citizens. It has become a matter of prestige for these
‘servants’ of ours to move with 10 to 15 uniformed security personnel carrying
If these politicians feel so threatened they should not come out in public
places... It has become a status symbol for them, as some of them were just riff
raff, before being voted into power. The more security personnel around them,
the more prestigious they feel. It is obnoxious, that ordinary people are forced
to stay on the sidelines and are prevented from walking on even the payments,
when these ‘servants’ of ours pass by.
The other problem is that roads are completely closed and even pedestrians are
not allowed to stay on the roads, as they are pushed into by-lanes, when the
more powerful ones are moving. What a mess? Even HE the President should not
come out to cut ribbons and lay foundation stones, inconveniencing the public.
If he really has to come out, better to use a helicopter, after all he is the
These security personnel are more required in operational areas than guarding
our politicians here. And even the vehicles these security personnel travel,
could be put into better use in operational areas.
The bottom line is that if our politicians are so scared, they should stay at
home, without inconveniencing the general public. HE the President should set
the example. The ordinary citizen curses these politicians everytime the roads
are closed for them to move round.
Brig. (Retd.) Neville Fernando