An urgent plea on behalf of cancer patients
The premier Cancer Treatment Hospital is situated at Maharagama. Many cancer
striken patients from far flung places including tsunami ravaged areas in Sri
Lanka flock to Maharagama, many for only O.P.D. treatment or investigations, for
which they have to spend an entire day in the vicinity of the hospital.
A very compassionate Bikkhu who had his temple in close proximity to the
hospital had graciously given his small temple hall to house poor cancer
patients and those who accompany them. With the daily increasing influx of
patients the tcmple hall also was found to be insufficient. Recently, this noble
bikkhu passed away..
A group of very senior citizens in Maharagama banded themselves to form the
Maharagama Buddhist Society to resolve some of the urgent cultural and social
needs of the residents at Maharagama. The main focus of the Buddhist Society was
to address itself the problem of the transit cancer patients. Obtaining suitable
premises proved to be futile especially with the financial constraints besetting
the society membership. The government in recognition of the various social
programmes already completed by the Society, allotted a small block of land
adjacent to the premises, where the government was constructing a large
administrative block at Maharagama. The Society wishes to place on record its
sincere appreciation of the untiring effort made by the Minister, Dinesh
Gunawardena to obtain this land to the society.
Plans for a storeyed building with suitable residential facilities for the
cancer patients and those accompanying them have been approved and the
construction work on the foundation already commenced. The estimated cost is in
the region of about 30 million. The Buddhist society has no assets. It depends
solely on public support which had so far, been generously extended. But this
has been found to be inadequate.
The Association is striving to complete at least an essential part of the
building in order to relieve the dire needs of the desperate cancer patients.
Hence it was decided to launch out on a world wide fund raising campaign.
Following are some possible modes of contributions:
1. A lump sum payment.
2. An installment system spread over a period of time. These could be:
a monthly contribution (of whatever magnitude) directly to the bank, issue of a
series of monthly dated cheques sent to the treasurer to be deposited in the
bank each month.
3. Provision in the last will or otherwise to transfer some assets to the
4. Contributing a part of the massive collections made to stage various
ostentatious public functions, towards a charitable cause
5.Giving material support such as cement sand, iron etc
All monetary contribution can be sent to the account No. 101360000436 at the
Sampath Bank, Maharagama, Sri Lanka. Please include the necessary information so
that the Society can make an acknowledgement. The cheques to be drawn in favour
of the “Maharagama Young Mens’ Buddhist Association”.
The Society has already been incorporated as a Charitable Organisation by an Act
of Parliament (No. 1299 in April 1993) and also listed for tax concessions by
the Ministry of Finance.
All further enquiries re- to financial matters could be directed to the
treasurer, Mr. Gunadasa Aluthge 10/1, Vipassiyarama Road, Maharagama Tel:
Our e-mail contact is @ymbamaharagama org.
The web site, www .ymbamaragama.org -
After LTTE what next ?
The government of Mahinda Rajapaksa is riding high on the success of our
gallant, valiant soldiers and the fierce onslaught, indicates a sure defeat of
the LTTE. But will terrorism in this country ever stop? Mahinda Rajapaksa will
have to face another form of severe terrorism after LTTE terror is over by his
own political thugs and their goons and those politicians who have been charged
for criminal offences, if he deals with them, accommodates them, or carry on a
government of lawlessness by thuggary. In that event, the people will axe them
at the general elections by using their valuable vote, which will then result in
a blood bath, as maximum thuggery will be used to come back to power. It is
therefore prudent for Mahinda Rajapakse to take immediate action now, repeat
now. rather than shield them as in the case of Dr. Mervyn Silva, M.P. Deputy
Minister, the two Western Provincial Ministers, reported by name in the news
papers, Gamini Tilakasiri, Bethmage, and those who have been named by COPE for
corruption. Timely action now will deprive them of being nominated to stand as
candidates for the next general elections, for which the two main political
party leaders, Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mahinda Rajapaksa have a duty by the
country, if they are sincere in having an honourable set of MPs in parliament.
This also goes for those who sang a different song while they were in the
opposition, proving that they are self-seekers.
Towards this end, the Police, the judiciary and most importantly the media
should work relentlessly. The Police without delaying filing action, the
judiciary, by imposing the severest punishment and not being lenient as in the
case of Dr. Mervyn Silva’s fraud case, the media should keep on reminding the
people by publishing the progress made at the findings, even facing death
Let not Mahinda Rajapaksa betray the people who had placed implicit faith on the
‘Mahinda Chinthanaya’ and the heartfelt prayers of the clergy, Pirith by
Buddhist monks, mass by Christian prelates, poojas by the Hindus and prayers by
Islamic ulemas can save this nation from a dire future.
“Raja Bhawatu Dhammiko”
Galle Fort the 38th World Heritage Site
Although many letters to the Editor and articles have been written on the
problems Galle Fort the 38th Heritage site is facing, no meaningful steps have
so far been taken to put an end to the destruction and deterioration that is
taking place. At least Mr. Mubarak’s recent letter should jolt the authorities
and the people from the slumber and apathy that we have evidenced.
The need of the hour is to put an immediate end to foreign purchase of the prime
property that Galle Fort is. It is akin to selling family silver for a
short-sighted monetary gain.
Can a small country like Sri Lanka afford to alienate land, for that matter, an
invaluable portion of it to foreigners?
A critical analysis of the foreign purchase of land and property in this
cherished monument reveals that it has not brought any significant benefits in
its wake either to the people or the country.
As we learnt, hardly any purchase has been subjected to the 100 per cent levy.
Moreover, the foreign run hotels and motels do not benefit the country by way of
foreign exchange, as we understand that they are invoiced overseas by the owners
or their agents.
Most of the foreigners who have purchased properties do not live in the Fort
permanently, nor have they made any noteworthy contribution to the social or
cultural welfare of the locals. The few who live there lead an exclusive and
detached life from the rest of the society. Some of the properties bought by the
foreigners have been put up for re-sale. Such buying and re-sale induce
suspicions of money laundering. Some houses are inhabited by only males and this
creates doubts amongst locals about gay activities.
Most hotels, motels and bars have sprung up in highly residential parts of the
Fort. In some cases, they have been opened in close proximity to places of
worship and schools.
Renovations and reconstructions of buildings are carried out with scant respect
for neighbours rights and privacy. As Mr. Mubarak rightly alleges, the Galle
Fort is gradually losing its old world charm in the midst of the hustle and
I conclude with the fervent hope that this and the previous letters highlighting
the problem of this world renowned monument do not go unnoticed by the
authorities. Lets save the only world heritage site in Southern Sri Lanka from
being converted into an exclusive foreign enclave.
Declare Colombo a ‘noiseless city’
The using of horns on motor vehicles of any type is banned in most big cities in
the world. Even big Indian cities are ‘noiseless cities’. This is because noise
pollution has become serious health hazard in crowded cities. In spite of this,
Colombo continues to be one of the noisiest places in the world and this is no
exaggeration. It is those of us who live by main roads who suffer the most. It
is the responsibility of the young and energetic Minister of Environment to take
the initiative to have Colombo declared a ‘noiseless city’.
The Supreme Court and the new champion of citizen’s rights ourrespected Chief
Justice, has ruled against noise pollution caused by the abuse of loudspeakers..
He must now step in and ban the use of car horns and exhaust pipes. Believe it
or not some buses are using alarms used on trains. This too must be stopped. The
Police will act only if the Supreme Court gives a ruling.
As we unfortunately live close to a mosque and two Buddhist temples, we cannot
express our gratitude to the Chief Justice for the peace we enjoy now thanks to
his ruling on the use of loudspeakers. As a result, we are now not awakened at
5.00 am nor do we have to suffer all night chanting. I say this even though I am
a Buddhist, because disturbing a neighbourhood does not help us acquire any
merit) It is time our Buddhists understood that Buddhism is ‘Sila’ (morality),
‘Samadhi’ (meditation) and ‘Bhavana me Pangna’ (achieving enlightenment though
meditation). The discourses of the Buddha should
perhaps be recited in Sinhala for the people to understand and practice, not
merely chanted in a ancient foreign tongue: there is no room for mantra in
This letter is to please request the authorities to put an end to the air horn
menace. If you are unfortunate to live alongside a bus route in the city you
will be subject to incessant
loud ear splitting horning which has caused many of us senior citizens
to fall ill. So the air horn must be banned.
The next curse if one might call it that, are the exhausts of busses and
lorries. There are no silencers anymore. Surely vehicles were fitted with
silencers to ensure less sound. Vehicle owners now seek to emit maximum sound by
removing the silencers and fitting some other gadget.
We appeal to the President to put an end to this infernal menace, by declaring
Colombo a ‘NOISELESS CITY’ like the other big cities of the world.
“Minister asks WHO to intervene to stop brain drain” -a
An article in the English newspapers of 28th January 2008 with the captioned
subject has triggered this response from the writer. To give an idea to the
reader on the subject matter the first two paragraphs of the article are stated
as reference (quote): “The World Health Organisation (WHO) and countries to
which doctors from third world countries go for training, must ensure that the
doctors return to their homeland, Healthcare and Nutrition Minister Nimal
Siripala de Silva said. Speaking at the seventh Executive Committee Meeting on
Budget and Administration being held in Geneva, Switzerland, de Silva said
doctors from third world countries go abroad for training and never return after
completing the training.” (end quote)
It is true that Sri Lanka has invested an enormous amount of finances on free
education through which the vast number of our qualified engineers, doctors,
nurses, lawyers and others holding high posts in the administrative sector have
benefited. Therefore, it is a great loss to a nation, if qualified medical
officers were to find “greener pastures” simultaneously while obtaining further
training overseas. This is a prerogative of the individual alone and fences
cannot be put in place to prevent such things happening. In today’s
commercialised and materialistic world, the natural human instinct would be to
look for better opportunities both financially and technically as and when the
opportunities do arise. The concerns voiced by Minister Siripala de Silva are
naturally a cause for concern.
The “intellectual treasures” we have in Sri Lanka in the form of experienced and
highly respected medical officers both young and old, need to be treated with
the utmost respect and dignity. Needless to say that this dignity and respect,
must also be shown towards all specialized personnel in the sciences (both
medical and engineering), arts and culture, history and legal professions. The
wealth of a nation is not judged only by the financial resources that we have as
reserves, but mostly by the educated experienced intellectuals we have who are
involved in all aspects of “nation building”, who voluntarily and with
conviction will give of their best towards the upliftment of their motherland.
The medical profession is an extremely important field in any country no matter
whether it be rich or poor. Those who enter the medical profession do so for a
number of reasons. Sri Lanka is very fortunate to possess a vast wealth of
experienced, highly qualified and reputed Medical Officers who are equal to any
qualified officers in their own fields of specialisation from any part of the
world. Their dedication is highly commendable.
Having said that, we must also see why countries like Sri Lanka have a problem
of “Brain Drain”? Most Sri Lankan professional including Medical Officers have a
genuine love for the profession and the service they are rendering to our
society. Whose responsibility is it then, to ensure that our professionals do
not leave their motherland and move on to “greener pastures”? The answer of
course, is the state, which holds the prime responsibility.
Where has the state faltered? The truth is that political interference and
unprofessional handling of administrative situations within the field, have
created many divisions within the profession to facilitate the exit of the much
needed “brains” which can be utilised towards servicing our nation.
Unfortunately for our nation during the past 30 years, just as much as we have
seen a so called “open economic policy” where open competition is given a lot of
encouragement, political interference into the administrative affairs of the
public sector has become so rampant that it has left a large number of public
servants including Medical Officers frustrated. It is this reason that leads to
an exodus of professionals out of this country. If our leaders know how to
respect professionals then there will be no need for ministers like Nimal
Siripala de Silva to appeal to world bodies like the WHO to help stop “brain
drain” from our country! Politicians are not gods; they are human beings with
lots of shortcomings. Therefore, leave professionals to do their work without
hindrance, but offer the maximum opportunities for them to do research and
development in their own fields. They will then remain in this country and serve
Sri Lanka with pride!
Ramani D. Wickramaratne