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M R: A President Lanka should be proud of
If the President bows to the dictates of the Constitutional Council to make
appointments, he will, in effect, be doing the menial work of men designated as
“Persons of eminence and integrity”. The moot point is, where such people are to
The country elected Mahinda Rajapaksa as the President, knowing full well his
capabilities to govern, having been in the political arena for many years. There
was nothing stupid in him like some of the other contenders. At a young age he
sided with Palestine in the fight with the improvised State of Israel. In an
expression of their gratitude they have named a street in Palestine after
Mahinda. China built the BMICH in Sri Lanka to honour Sirimavo Bandaranaike.
They however do not sport her name anywhere in China. The Portuguese, Dutch and
the British have left their insignia back in Sri Lanka by insolently naming
roads,bridges, buildings, churches, and what not after their governors, petty
road engineers, and other officials. .Though J. R. Jayewardena intervened to
save Japan from sanctions following world war 2, his name does not appear
anywhere in that country. Sri Lanka should be proud that Mahinda Rajapaksa’s
name appears in Palestine, the heart of the Middle East.
Sri Lanka would soon be amongst the economic Tigers of South East Asia if it is
peacefully permitted to be guided by the ‘Mahinda Chintanaya’ plan for economic
development. Some Opposition political parties and interfering world
organisations contribute to ousting the President for the satisfaction of their
nefarious targets. The IMF and the WB recently had the audacity to recommend
that the Government take steps to reclaim the country’s paddy lands and build
houses to house the homeless, hopefully to render Lanka a buyer of western
wheat, and having pauperised the country sell western paraphernalia to an
upcoming Asian country The work on roads, irrigation tanks, bridges is being
deliberately sabotaged and delayed, and the money squandered and the Government
A thoroughly anti homeland unpatriotic act to satisfy the petty ambitions of the
opposition and wolves amongst the international community, biding their time to
prey on the cadavers of fallen Asian countries. With SAARC being held in Sri
Lanka, the President has won the goodwill of the involved countries, and their
promise to assist in eradicating terrorism, a major setback in the economic
development of the country.
Malaysia and Singapore achieved economic eminence because of the hold and
interest that men like Mahathir Mohamed and Lee Kwon Yew took in the economies
of those countries. The 17th Amendment to the Constitution if implemented to the
letter will put paid to the direct influence of the President on the overall
development of the country and its economy. It is a surreptitious attempt to
empower Parliament which they believe has been reduced to a rubber stamp that
endorses the Presidents wishes .Now that the country has at long last, got an
illustrious President let its citizens make use of the windfall for the
betterment of the Homeland. The Constitution empowers the President to look
askance, at the barriers and inhibitions that surface, with no questions asked.
The President is acting constitutionally. Parliament is a drag on the rapid
forward march of the entirety of the country. The Prime Minister is the head of
Parliament. The President appoints the Ministers who adorn the House. They are
responsible for all development work; but all new propositions, by them, have to
be approved by Parliament.
In Sri Lanka the Parliamentary Opposition only stymies all propositions to hold
up work. It acts as an alien entity to entomb or delay work .The Parliament in
Sri Lanka is modeled on the British House of Commons. The difference is that the
Opposition in Lanka works to block and impede the work of the Government, to
gain political mileage .The opposing political parties have their eyes on the
next election, but not on the welfare of the country .In Britain politics is
different. The entirety of the House works for the Country. The Opposition only
points out the flaws in any Governmental proposition, and warns of probable
dangers ahead. The Opposition speaks in defence and the good of the country;
warning of probable pitfalls. However Parliament moves at a snails pace.
Margaret Thatcher, one time Prime Minister of Britain, found Parliament a draw
back. She wanted work done efficiently and quickly. Her impatience with the
slovenly and the laggard earned her the nick name, the ‘Iron Lady’. Tony Blair
who earned the pseudonym “Puppy” for trailing behind President George Bush of
the USA, found Parliament an impediment. The House, however could be a saving
grace for Prime Ministers who are hurried.
The Sri Lankan Parliament is, however an entirely tasteless, different cup of
tea. The classic case is of the Leader of the Opposition going around the world
on the hard earned money of the people of poor Sri Lanka warning lending
countries and banks, not to assist Sri Lanka in its development efforts, for
when in power, he would oppose the repayment of the loans.
Mahathir Mohamed of Malaysia spent a day or two in Sri Lanka on the invitation
of the business community. At a talk to which he was invited he clearly told his
audience, that to govern efficiently a little bit of authoritarianism was a
vital ingredient .The architect of the 1978 Constitution would not have
envisaged the amendments that only serve to stultify governance. Having drafted
it, he smacked his lips and said that when it was approved and became law, he
was empowered to do anything that crossed his mind. All he was deprived of, was
to make a man turn woman, and vice versa. Articles 32 and 35 of the Constitution
guarantees the Presidents’ powers Mahinda Rajapaksa should bravely go his way
not caring a farthing for the impediments that ambitious calculating nincompoops
seek to place in his way.
Not implementing 13th Amendment a violation of the
Some of our politicians and their supporters have stated that calling for the
implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution will undermine the war
effort and those who advocate such a move are ‘unpatriotic’. They seem to forget
the oath they took which is to uphold the Constitution. Therefore it is the
responsibility of all the members of the national assembly to implement the 13th
Amendment. There failure to do so is a violation of the constitution they have
pledged to uphold.
All of us stand in contravention of the constitution by not implementing the
Those who say otherwise should re-read the oath they took-before calling others
‘unpatriotic’. Our country has been blighted by twenty five years of conflict
and we may overcome terrorism through military means, but the root cause needs
to be tackled which is the oppression of the Tamil people and the minorities.
Let us be very clear they have been betrayed and have lost confidence in the
Southern Leadership since 1956. The Sinhala extremists caused this problem
through their lack of sympathy, understanding and today we have terrorism
because of them.
As a first step we should immediately implement the 13th Amendment which does
not require a referendum or a two thirds majority. Its implementation will give
confidence to the minority parties, and the people would learn how provincial
councils work and that it will not result in a unitary state nor separation. We
in Sri Lanka seem to misunderstand the word Federalism. The problem is that it
was first mooted by the Tamil politicians as a fair arrangement between the
communities. Sadly it is ingrained in the Sinhala psyche that it equates to
separation. Federalism is not a bad word as suggested by some . In European
Countries and even India, Australia, Malaysia to name a few have a Federal
system where they enjoy the concept of power sharing. We need to eliminate this
misunderstanding among the people in the South. If we do this, then I believe we
can move forward and the final recommendations of the APRC too would be properly
Pensioners Forgotten and Neglected!
Bank’s Anniversary Celebrations -
Anniversary celebrations are held by Institutions especially to honour and
reward past employees for their dedicated services through which it was possible
to reach this milestone, but it is regrettable to note that Banks in the country
which boast of making Billions of rupees in profits every year, are completely
neglecting and ignoring their past employees, on whose blood sweat and tears the
Institution was built to the present prestigious position. These past employees,
who joined the Bank during the infancy, worked almost like slaves on poor
salaries and working conditions and did not enjoy the very many perks and
privileges which the present employees enjoy today. Hence, these pioneers should
be adequately honoured on this occasion.
The salaries of staff are revised every three years from the year 1988, but the
pensions are not concurrently revised and as a result the pensioners are given
only a beggarly increase, that too, after years of agitation and as a result
wide and amazing disparities exist between the pensions of those in the same
grade retired before 1988 and after. Further junior officers retired recently
are drawing a pension more than two to three times the pension drawn by the
senior officers a few years back. This amounts to degrading and devaluing the
devoted services rendered by the seniors.
The pension anomalies of the government servants have been rectified up to
January 1997, by implementing the government policy as stated in the Mahinda
Chinthana as follows:-
a) Pensions will be increased in line with increase in salaries.
b) Revision of pension by eliminating anomalies to enable pensioners to live
The Banks, too, should have implemented this policy but have been delaying the
implementation giving various excuses. It is also rather disappointing to note
that even after the passing of the Protection of the Rights of Elders Act no
2000, 7 years ago, still the elders have not been given due respect and honour.
Under this Act, affluent children, who neglect their parents could be
prosecuted. Similarly, wealthy institutions, which neglect their past employees
and depriving their legitimate rights, should also be prosecuted for violating
Pensioners who are senior citizens are now a ‘Protected Species’ and under this
Act no one should hurt them. Anyone who hurts an animal which is classified as a
‘Protected Species’ can be prosecuted and a similar severe punishment should
also be given to those who hurt these protected ‘Human Species.’
The Bank of Ceylon- the leading State Bank in the Island - highest ranked in Sri
Lankan Bankers’ Almanac with the largest asset and capital base, should also be
not only the leader in the field of customer base and other operations but also
claim the leadership in honouring their past employees, who were the pillars for
this miraculous growth. The Bank will be celebrating its 69th year on August
1st, 2008 and hope the present Chairman and the General Manager will rectify the
past injustices to pensioners and honour them, so that other banks could follow
It is nice to note that in the Jaffna and Vavuniya district those in service
honour the pensioners every year by entertaining with lunch and presenting them
with a token award for their past services. Hope the other districts will
emulate this noble policy implemented in the Jaffna district and establish a
healthy and a cordial relationship with past employees, which will lead to a
dynamic growth of the Bank.
As ‘Justice delayed is Justice denied,’ so also pension delayed amounts to
pension denied. It is rather tragic to note that due to a long delay of nearly
three years of waiting, some of senior pensioners, including the immediate Past
President of the Pensioner’s Association, have departed this world without
obtaining their arrears of pensions.
Hope on this 69th Anniversary of Bank of Ceylon, all the past the injustices
done to the pensioners will be rectified, so that the pensioners will also be
able to join the celebration with arrears of pension before their final
departure from this world!
Scientific data on Ramazan
The Holy Month of Ramazan is round the corner and you will see many people
predicting the new moon in various ways and at various times. I would like to
present the following scientific data for publication in your esteemed newspaper
so as to remove any discrepancies, conflicting facts or claims or opinions which
causes so much confusion in a community.
The details are as follows:
The Ramazan New Moon rises on August 30th, 2008
Date: Saturday, 30 Aug 2008
Apparent Sunset: 18h 19m 25s LT(local Time)
Moon Rise: 05h 24m 38s LT
Moon Set: 17h 58m 34s LT
Sunset-Moonset: -0h 20m 52s
Here you can see that the moon sets 20 minutes, 52 seconds, before the setting
of the sun. So the new moon has to be sighted before the sunset, which
is very unlikely.
Date: Sunday 31 Aug 2008
Apparent Sunset: 18h 18m 56s LT
Moon Rise: 06h 15m 27s LT
Moon Set: 18h 41m 42s LT
Sunset-Moonset: 0h 22m 46s
Here the moon sets 22 minutes 46 seconds after sunset.
Hence the Evening of 31st August 2008 (Eve of 01st September 2008), will be
deemed to be the First Moon of Ramazan whether the moon is sighted or not.
Monday, 01st September 2008 Morning - The Ramazan Fast begins.
The Shawwal New Moon (Which announces and connotes the end of the fasting
period) rises on August 30th, 2008
Date: Monday 29 Sep 2008
Apparent Sunset: 18h 03m 29s LT
Moon Rise: 05h 43m 26s LT
Moon Set: 17h 58m 55s LT
Sunset-Moonset: -0h 04m 35s
Here you can see that the moon sets 4minutes 35 seconds before the setting of
the sun. So the new moon has to be sighted before the sunsets, which is
Date: Tuesday 30 Sep 2008
Apparent Sunset: 18h 02m 59s LT
Moon Rise: 06h 30m 17s LT
Moon Set: 18h 40m 07s LT
Sunset-Moonset: 0h 37m 09s
Here the moon sets37 minutes 09 Seconds after sunset.
Hence the Evening of 30th September2008 (Eve of 01st October 2008), will be
deemed to be the First Moon of Shawwal, whether the moon is sighted or not.
The Eid-ul-Fitr - The Ramazan Festival, therefore, falls on Wednesday, 01st
This scientific data could be verified from any meteorological authority,
anywhere in the world.
Meat, a cause of infertility?
Dr. D.P. Athukorala is hell bent on proving that animal protein is bad for human
beings. (The Island- August 16, Opinion page). Earlier, he tried to quote the
Quran without proper knowledge and was shown the truth that Islam does allow and
even orders animals to be slaughtered for consumption of meat by human beings.
Now, he comes out with another confounding argument, and I wish to know where he
picked up these figures? I do not understand his figures at all and they do not
sound scientifically acceptable. He says:
“This study was done on 18,555 women trying to become pregnant,” which means
that, the study is done on sub fertile /infertile population. That itself shows
the results cannot be used to make an assessment of an average population.
He further says:
*Those with one serving of meat a day had 32% infertility
*Those who consumed the most animal protein were 41% at greater risk of
*Women with the highest animal protein intake had a 39% increased risk????
*Those with highest vegetable intake had a 22% decreased risk of infertility.
Does this make sense? Not to me. What is the difference between “most animal
protein intake” and “highest animal protein intake”? Why the difference in the
results? What is highest vegetable intake? Decreased rate as opposed to what?
The average normal population?
People who eat meat also eat vegetable. So one should counteract the other. So
the whole theory falls flat.
Going by these results, the Muslims should have the least amount of children,
and he knows it’s not true. And, going by these results, Sri Lanka must be one
of the most infertile countries, for 95% of Sri Lankans, irrespective of their
religion, eat meat. Surely!
I would respectfully ask the respected doctor to let us know which medical
journal published such unfounded study results.
Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai
I am the almighty relative intermediate
Of everlasting evolution absolute
Baptized ceremoniously and solemnly
As vibrant Sweet Mother Nature
I created the picturesque environment
Instilling its rhythm secretly
On a day in the distant past dormant
Keeping everything perfectly orderly.
I bestowed diverse lush vegetation
Fresh air and water for sanitation
Among other myriad things in proportion
For biological life for its proliferation
I expected my loving children
Man and copious animals alike
To live in harmony indefinitely
Playing respective roles properly
Protecting the equilibrium eternally.
But, Alas! against my aspirations noble
Driven by thirst and lust insatiable
For comforts and ease innumerable
Rapacious, pugnacious man capable
Caused a vast change unbearable
Using modem science and technology
Born from the theory of fragmenting totality
And deformed the whole precious ecology
Inviting the monstrous havoc blindly.
Consequences are now profusely terrible
Abundantly die daily living beings miserable
Trapped in floods and cyclones horrible
In addition to quakes and conflagration
The logical end result of ill configuration.
I am really disappointed thoroughly
Weeping in silence incessantly
Witnessing the destruction crystal clearly
Failing to end this tragedy completely
My only wise child ‘Seattle”
Branded as a savage illiterate
By many so called sophisticated
Is no more to see the devastation
I am exulting today hesitantly.
Oh! my dear prodigal child Human
You have neither salvation nor solace
Unless you invent modes of production
Evolving from nature friendly sciences
Unifying my integral parts cohesive.
Vettivel Ramachandran lived his life
Ramachandran, better known as Rama by his colleagues, and Ramanna by the younger
folks, returned to the island along with his wife Pavalam, having spent six
glorious months of holidaying in the company of his children in U.K before
succumbing to the vagaries of fate on November 28 last year, after a fatal fall
in his newly acquired apartment off Boswell Place, Wellawatte. His sudden demise
spread like wildfire sending shock waves to his friends, associates and
relatives, and more so among hundreds of his bank’s retired colleagues, who held
him in very high esteem.
Though a brilliant student at St. Peters College, Bambalapitiya with exceptional
talent in Mathematics, he chose a banking career at the tender age of eighteen
against the wishes of all his teachers, yet with the blessings of his father who
had a premonition of not living long, and felt that the son should take on the
mantle of looking after the family of mother and three young siblings.
Having joined the Bank of Ceylon as a clerical hand, he gradually rose in
position and in the process carved a name unto himself as a quick learner and a
much sought after officer by the higher ups of the Bank. His immense popularity
was mainly due to his easy way of approach in dealing with both figures and
faces. As officer - in - charge of Supplies Department he had been an easy going
officer with a more flexible and imaginative approach together with an
unassuming smile that adorned his face at all times. As Accounts officer of the
Northern Provincial Office he has to consolidate figures submitted by all
branches of the province and when irregularities or lapses are detected he was
never in the habit of calling for explanations or reprimanding anyone instead to
guide the officers responsible with more data and directives. His duty was not
to find fault but to guide everyone with a friendly approach. In addition to his
official duties he played the role of a good Samaritan and sincere guide to many
of his colleagues who had left the bank for good and were domiciled in many
Western countries by helping them to obtain their Superannuation benefits and
other forms of relief in the form of medical assistances which they were
entitled to. To many he was like a saviour and they worshipped him.
Finally, retiring in the Managers grade as Accounts Officer of the Banks
Northern Provincial Office, with an unblemished reputation of forty two years of
record service he devoted his entire life from then onwards up to the time of
his death to helping those in need of his help, and participating in all events
of people he knew and more specifically that of his retired colleagues. Besides
these admirable personal qualities, his old residence off Fernando Road then was
hive a of activity with friends and relations flocking to see him from far and
wide to be guided and helped in obtaining their travel documents to go abroad.
He undertook these tasks ungrudgingly accompanying the old and the disabled to
the passport and visa offices as well as to the respective embassies too. Rama’s
humane approach in helping the needy knew no bounds and his philosophy of life
was to be of service to everyone who needed assistance be it to direct a patient
with complications to the correct physician or advise someone as to which lawyer
he should consult in sorting out legal problems or to which Bank and the name of
the officer who should be approached in expediting a specific banking problem
On his return to the island he lost no time in calling on many of his friends to
inquire into their state of health and that of their kith and kin. Likewise he
rang me up and when told that he was not in the best of health, promising to
drop-in the next day. Alas, that day never came to pass by. That fateful fall
had snatched from our midst a hale and hearty personality who had been a tower
of strength in the lives of very many.
May he attain the eternal bliss of Modsha under the feet of Lord Krishna, the
incarnation of Rama of Ramayana.
A. R. S. Mahalingam
Siripala Senadhipathy, an outstanding
Mr. Siripala Senadhipathy, a teacher administrator, social worker, devoted
Buddhist and a true friend passed away on June 14, 2008. Born in Kandana, he was
68 years when he passed away after a short illness. A brilliant student of De
Mazenod College, Kandana a promising athlete, he participated in inter school
basketball competitions on several occasions. Having completed his school
education he joined the Ministry of Education as a science teacher.
During his long service as a teacher he sacrificed his luxurious life with
enormous wealth left for him by his affluent and philanthropic parents. He was a
teacher trainer, coordinator in administration and a senior instructor when he
He was called Siripala or Senpathy by his close friends. The name Senpathy was
bestowed on him with a real meaning as it symbolised, the inborn talent he was
blessed with in leadership and oratory. As a student he held the position of
President in the Literary Association. In the schools he served, he was an
organiser in various projects. As a Buddhist he rendered a yeoman service,
serving in Dayaka Sabha of Sri Jayawardhanaramaya Hapugoda, Kandana, holding the
position of Honorary Secretary for six continuous years.
In 1957, we were in GCE (O/L) class at De Mazenod and only 5 Buddhist students
out of 30 observed atasil at Jayawardanaramaya Hapugoda on Full Moon Poya days.
Siripala was our group leader and his mother was also very supportive of our
programme. Our class teacher late Dr. Watson Mendis, a devoted Catholic, visited
us in temple and encouraged us. Kandana being a Catholic dominated area, with a
few affluent Buddhist families was highly benefited by the service of
Senadhipathy family. Siripala as the secretary of Dayaka Sabha, organised a
pilgrimage for devotees of the area. It was a very popular annual event in
Kandana. Another expensive and popular work he did annually was the Vesak
decorations and illumination hung in his spacious garden. He started this
interesting event when he was a school boy. I still remember, we Buddhist and
Catholics participated in erecting a pandol, in Siripalas garden opposite his
ancestral home. Those of us who joined in this project, are today doctors,
engineers, scientist, teachers businessmen and politicians who are very
successful men in society.
I came to know Siripala in my school days at De Mazenod. We studied together,
underwent teacher training together served as teachers together and our true
friendship and interests remained unchanged until his sudden death. Watching
national and international cricket matches, taking part in religious activities,
were our common interests. “Sugath, get up Jayasuriya is in action,” was a
message received at 3 a.m. one day, when an international match was in progress.
Siripala was very fortunate to have a simple and very understanding wife.
Once Siripala told me his wife took care of him just like his mother did when he
was ill.. He was ill for a short period but he endured his illness with patience
and understanding and was never depressed.
I was away from the country for a considerable period of time. In all there
years I have never missed receiving the beautiful Vesak cards and reports of his
annual pilgrimages. It was his pleasure to take the devotees not to famous
places of Buddhist worship, but to the less famous but important religious
Siripala or Senpathy is no more physically, but memories of him will always
remain in our minds.
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana!.