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the Editor carry the full name and address of the writer, even if it has to
appear under a pseudonym. This applies to all email letters as well.
The Island newspaper of September 6, carried a front page news item, wherein
Vasudeva Nanayakkara calls for “meaningful steps to curb corruption.” The
Finance Ministry too appears perturbed that corruption is on the rise. Political
parties and labour unions use the prevalence of bribery and corruption as a
handle to castigate the incumbent Government. Only a dictatorship may succeed in
giving effect to a drive to suppress corruption. Even Hitler had to offer sops
to build loyalists around him to help him govern. It was the same with Stalin of
the Soviet Union. Bribery and corruption is what moves the world. To live people
want money. In ancient times goods were bartered. Whether it was money or goods,
the more that was offered greased the path ahead. That is an animal failing. The
tiger in the forest will feast on its kill and growl at any animal that
approaches. When it has had its fill it leaves the carcass for other flesh
eaters. The animal will share only with its young. So also the human animal.
First choice is for the young. Society is so corrupt that men and women too are
bartered or sold. Amongst people it is mostly for the upkeep of a family, or a
purported family. Storing up for future needs! The more one has the more secure
Corruption can never be suppressed. It is an integral part of human existence;
for the more one has the smoother is life. Religion preaches otherwise but it
does so in default, for it is contrary to human nature. Did not someone make
money, as a commission, on the fighter planes and bombs that rained over Iraq?
‘Commission’ is a euphemism for corruption in the corporate world, but not so in
the market. That is a payment for labour or interest on invested money. Without
corruption in the corporate world the economy of a country will grind to a halt.
1 %, 2% or 10% is what greases the capitalist economy. Capitalism has come to
stay. No other method could survive. Variants have been tried out, but the
bedrock is capitalist, for all humans are naturally acquisitive.
It was that innate instinctive acquisitive behavior that saw the appearance of a
Marcos in the Phillipines and his wife Imelda who stacked up shoes in a cubicle,
but never wore any. In Bangladesh Khaleda Zia leader of the Bangladesh
Nationalist Party and Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League the country’s two
biggest political parties, with massive popular support though they and other
top leaders are being accused of corruption. The lesson is that corruption is a
way of the world, that even the masses do not single it out for criticism.
Labour officers prey on the private employer. A bribe or a payoff gets the
private sector moving smoothly. A paid holiday in the salubrious climate of
Nuwara Eliya or what is misnamed as an educational tour to some far off land
where every known pleasure is paid for surreptitiously, or a lecture tour to the
US, the home of the ILO on labour relations in Sri Lanka. The recipient of the
‘all paid’ invitation to lecture, returns a changed man weighted with a ‘better’
understanding of the view point of the Employer, smoothening Employer - Employee
relations. No one dare classify it as corruption. The corporate world greases
and oils it way through the simple device of corruptive spending. It is a part
of the entire capital layout. However the business world periodically draws a
smoke screen to cover its tracks. Public lectures on “Transparency in Business,”
“Countering Bribery” Building Integrity” to mislead the audience, to believing
that the corporate world is untainted. Auditing companies have sprung up, and
produce a clean certified balance sheet and the shareholders and the tax
department are satisfied that the business house has proceeded smoothly. The
balance sheet will show a profit of 5 % but 15% has been stashed away incognito
somewhere. It could well be the ‘Cut’ that was split up between the auditor and
other in the know of the cover up . Any attempt to unravel the misdemeanour will
be time and money wasted, for that is the way of the business world.
Recently a map appeared in a Sunday newspaper displaying corruption in the
corporate world. Countries most prone to corruption were depicted on a map.
Glancing at the map one sees Switzerland the home of the Swiss Bank appears lily
white. American business that functions on ‘commissions’ is off white. Could it
be that the cartographer was bribed by an interested party in the corporate
sector? Corporate stability will be fostered only if the_ country turns a blind
eye. The ‘Mahinda Chinthanaya’ development plan is attracting much money and
inflationary trends are visible in the economy. Roads, bridges irrigation tanks
and other water ways are being dredged and damages repaired. Foreign companies
have undertaken the work, supervised by Locals. Rumour is rife that bribery and
corruption is in full sway. Stop it and all development will cease or at best
move at a snails space. Even the blood bank has pathetically fallen victim.
Where there is money the high flying vultures will swoop down to feed on the
cadaver. Top management will not counter corruption, for they are the purveyors
They are the top thinkers who plan out the surreptitious pathway. Cunning and
covert manipulation is what characterises the skilled Manager and the CEO. It
has been suggested that Companies should place anti bribery policies and
processes high on the agenda. That will be a well thought out facade behind
which the corporate world could masquerade. Let the country acquiesce to the
phenomenon of corruption, for man’s nature will not change, he is acquisitive
like all life. The State should not enter the fray to curb corruption, for only
corruption will act as a goad and stimulant to keep the economy going on a fast
forward mode. Without corruption to grease and oil the Capitalist System there
will be no development. The more oil in the palms of Management the faster will
engine of growth travel. The MP Somawansa Amerasinghe and those organisations
and individuals who pose as thinks tanks had better rethink the nature of the
capitalist economy. The tax department too is corrupt. New methods to rake in
revenue to the State coffers have to be assiduously brought into operation to
finance the development drive the Government is engaged in.
Who is governing the country?
Isn’t it strange that we the countrymen have to undergo the trouble of going to
the courts for every single thing the government decides upon? Garbage on the
road? Go to the courts. Silisili bag? Go to the courts. Duty on light bulb? Go
to the courts.
Surely. Who is making these dumb decisions? Who is the wise man who decided the
government should impose duty on the ordinary light bulbs? Did he think money
grows on trees? (how we wish it does. It does only for the politicians). If the
people had the money for the long life bulbs, of course they will buy it. If
they cannot afford it, slap a tax on them!
This is what happens when we have unqualified people trying to run ministries.
At least let them ask the ones who know. Isn’t there something called
brainstorming and discussions in the ministries? What are the so called advisors
and economists and policy planners doing?
The Parliament decisions are becoming a joke now for the common man has to trek
to the courts which is no easy task to educate the Ministers, even a simple fact
such as putting a price on the silisili bag is only fattening the supermarket’s
owners and placing a higher burden on the common man!
So it looks like now the courts do the governing of the country- unfortunately
through a long tedious process.
Dr. Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai
Love germinates slowly, but steadily
It grows slyly and blooms gradually
Then it flowers healthily and vibrantly
Evoking vivid, resplendent sentiments
To bear fruits of imagination in due course
Once it’s mellowed in one’s heart
Secretly it peeps out from the heart
Aiming to penetrate into another heart
Touching smoothly her or his heart
All at once it paces in the heart
Next moment to lurks in the heart
Surreptitiously to kindles in the heart
Like a tinsel flickering in the heart
Surely warming the inner cockles of the heart
Suddenly it freezes in the heart
Whisking us away from another heart
In a trice it wakes up in the heart
Endearing us to another heart
Now it treads on the outer heart
Titillating the memories in the inner heart
Again it dwells in the niche of the heart
Causing a thorny sensation in the heart
Then it’s incandescent like a beacon in the heart
Fanning beams of passion in the heart
And resembling again a shower in the heart
Dousing the flames of wrath in the heart
Frequently it strolls leisurely in the heart
Internalising lofty ideas into the heart
Transcending parochial emotions in the heart
Adding new dimensions to the human heart
Love fills our heart with sympathy
Love fills our heart with empathy
Love fills our heart with pity
Love fills our heart with compassion
Dispelling ill feelings of hatred and indignation
But, alas! when it drifts away from the heart
It pains and pricks our human heart
Slaying our soul and spirit eternally,
Leaving us alone in tremendous loneliness
As a Buddhist myself, I feel ashamed and embarrassed at the statements being
made by and the actions of certain of my co-religionists particularly the monks
who have now become full-time politicians.
Those who are expected to emulate Lord Buddha in tolerance, humility and loving
kindness are today exponents of everything opposite, and what is so sad is that
it is the monks in robes that are preaching and practicing what is completely
the anti-thesis of Buddhism.
Now they demand higher status, preach intolerance, and even incite attacks on
other faiths and their followers, and are seen not only travelling in luxury
cars, some even importing, buying and selling such vehicles, opening personal
bank accounts etc.
Emulating some of these senior monks the younger ones, particularly in the
universities indulge in disorderly behaviour growing their hair so that as soon
as they pass out they can discard the robes for shirt and trousers and seek
Its time sincere and genuine Buddhists join to cry halt to these dangerous
trends which threaten not only to bring disgrace to our religion but even pose a
danger to the faith itself, when we have people in robes behaving like Mervyn
Silva and his goons.
S. T. Godakumbura
Book Fair: For Whom?
Come September, people of all walks of life look forward to the International
Book Fair held at the BMICH. I being one, dutifully started out this morning to
visit the Book Fair, browse around and pick some books.
As I turned my car towards the entrance gate of the BMICH, a Policeman stopped
me and asked if I had a car pass to which I replied “no” and asked him why I
needed one. He replied that the car park was only for the stall holders and that
I should go and park behind the BMICH. I then proceeded to drive as directed to
find a relatively small parking area already full and cars parked along the road
and the sidewalks. I told my wife who was with me that this is ridiculous and
went back home.
Look at the irony of the situation; the Fair is held for the public and
obviously the parking areas in the BMICH are for the public to conveniently park
their vehicles and buy what the vendors have to sell (as was the case in all
previous years). But this time the vendors/stall holders have the convenience of
parking their vehicles inside the premises and the poor public have to drive
around and find a place to park to go and buy the books of the vendors!
I wonder who came up with this bright idea to inconvenience the public.
Oh and by the way, they are also charging an entrance fee this time adding
insult to injury.
An avid Reader
Time for Ranil to go
The result in the Central and Sabaraganmwa Provincial Council results show
more than a victory for the government, a kind of final “No Confidence” in both
the UNP and the JVP. Of course there has been the victory for the government. In
the battle against the Tigers and this they have used every way to bring to the
notice of the people. Owing to this, all the burdens the Government is now
unleashing on the people seems to have forgotten by the people in the North
Central and Sabaraganmwa Provincial Councils. This of course is all due to the
ineffective campaign that was carried on by both the UNP and the JVP. The result
was another walkover for the government. No doubt the Government is screaming
that this victory was even a confirmation of the popularity of the government
notwithstanding as they say the propaganda by the opposition against it was
rejected by the people. It is not that the people do not understand the grave
situation now building up in the country by the failure of the Government to
arrest the burdens now being heaped on the people. It is purely because both the
UNP and the JVP failed to present the wrong doings of the government effectively
the people. The right methods were not employed to explain this to the people.
It is due to the lack of leadership in both the UNP and the JVP, the government
has been able to romp home once again. The government will no doubt be
strengthened by its victory, and this will encourage it to keep on conducting
further elections as they certainly feel that the present opposition is no
opposition. For the government, today’s opposition is even a blessing.
This is due to government’s inability to make the people understand the grave
problems the people in this country and the government’s lack of concern for the
Here more than anybody - it is the UNP that should now be openly blamed. We can
safely write the JVP off – they are just dead. Once again Ranil Wickremeslnghe
as Leader has not faired enough to make any impression on the voters. He has now
failed for long enough, and if he continues he will have only more defeats in
store for him. The UNP today is a national need to restore the rights of the
people. It has stood for the people. It is even today recognised as the only
demoratic party in the country. Today we see how the hopelessly bad leadership
of Ranil Wickremesinghe has failed the UNP. He can see it clearly for himself.
Can he ask for anything more for himself? He should now gracefully bow out and
make way for another leader before it is too late. In fairness he should without
any hesitation now step down and allow somebody else to take over the leadership
without any further delay. One hopes the UNP has learnt enough lessons with its
continued inability to make any headway. There is no time for dilly dallying -
enough has been lost. There should be no attempt to appoint Committees to look
into what has to be done. It is time the UNP realised how it has failed the
country by having Ranil Wickremesinghe as its leader. This is the need of the
hour. The country and its people are losing everything they have stood for. It
is time therefore for the UNP to heed the cry of the people and appoint a new
leader. By all means let them thank him for what he has been, but in today’s
context he must go.
Stop violating pedestrians’ rights
The vast majority of people who use our roads are not vehicle owners. Yet
municipal authorities, transport engineers, architects and the police give
little attention to the needs of this majority. Cities are planned around cars,
not people and their needs. Although more people are killed or injured in road
accidents every year than in terrorist bombs, and cars are responsible for so
many other calamities, there has been no public discussion on this matter. As in
the case of discussion on other common issues, it has been displaced by the
overriding concern for “national security.”
Today in Colombo the elderly, the disabled and young children are too frightened
to step out of their homes. The space available to them has diminished.
Pavements are a rarity, and those that exist are usually broken, increasingly
occupied by parked cars or by hoardings and billboards. Walking for many is
becoming impossible. It is not uncommon to see pedestrians forced to walk in the
middle of the road because the pavement has been taken over by luxury SUVs and
the adjoining road area is one huge puddle of stagnant rainwater. As for
crossing major roads, this is a nightmare even for able-bodied people. Not only
do vehicles never stop at pedestrian crossings, but it never occurs to the
Police that they should stop and prosecute drivers who do not respect the rights
of pedestrians at such crossings.
Common sense, leave alone human decency and compassion, calls for cities that
are not only made safe for vulnerable people but give incentives for such
healthy activities as walking or cycling. But these activities have become
impossible in a culture where owning a car is a sign of a person’s social
Take the marine drive in Colombo, for instance. It has been in existence for
several years now, but not a single stretch of pavement has been built on it or
on any of the roads linking it to the Galle Road. The current northern terminus
of the marine drive- Glen Aber Place was, until this year, a quiet neighbourhood
in which children would play cricket in the evenings and their parents gather
outside their doorways to talk with one another. This community life has been
destroyed at one stroke. At the height of the morning traffic there is no space
for residents to walk up to the Galle Road, and impatient motorists are
constantly on their horns as if the road belonged to them. Even some buses have
been directed by the Police down this road, creating massive traffic blocks and
more noise pollution. Surely the authorities can give more attention to curbing
the privatisation of public space by car and bus owners?
But who are the authorities who determine and effect policy in this regard? That
seems to be the Number One problem: nobody takes responsibility. Written
complaints about this to the UDA, the Colombo Municipality and the Traffic
Police have all fallen on deaf ears. In private conversation, everybody “passes
the buck” to the other. The lack of transparency in government means that
citizens are left wondering to whom they should direct their complaints. I am
told that the traffic Police congratulate themselves that pedestrian casualties
have reduced in the city of Colombo in the past year. The obvious question they
fail to ask is: is this reduction due to fewer people getting out on the roads
for fear of their lives? If that is indeed the case, then what kind of society
are we creating for future generations?
Is it not in our collective interest for the transport engineers, health
ministry officials, environmental activists, urban planners and Police to come
together to formulate and enforce a common policy that will make our towns and
cities safer, cleaner and simply more friendly places for all who live in them?
Dr. Vinoth Ramachandra,
Kesara Lal Wanigasekara
It is with a deep sense of grief that I write these words of our beloved friend
who passed away in September last year. Leaving a whole world of friends in
sorrow, he passed away at a private hospital due to a terminal decease which was
discovered a couple of years before his death. Anybody who associated Kesara
even for a short while will bear testimony to the agony his family and friends
are going through and the silent thoughts are engraved in their hearts since his
Though it is said that time is a great healer, I still am wondering whether it
is the case here. When the doctors confirmed the death of our beloved friend the
shock waves that ran through our hearts made us wordless for a while. Words I
know in the language are not enough to describe what his loss means to most of
his friends and also to his family. I still wonder whether the huge void created
by his death could ever be filled by anybody.
Kesara always had deep sense of humane qualities and never forgot the poor and
the underprivileged, and his friends. Kindness was stamped in all the words he
spoke.. Sincerity was his theme in life and his clean way of handling matters
won the implicit trust of all his friends and associates. The most admirable and
endearing feature we all loved to be around him was his sense of humour.
People of noble virtues are hard to find and Kesara was a man of deeds than
words. His prime concern and priority were his family and the business and he
always had time for any of his friends.
Although it is twelve long months since the demise of our beloved friend our
hearts still hurt so much when we go to his office which was once filled with
joy, happiness and fun.
All your friends are haunted by those lovely memories and have had to bear the
emptiness your demise created. Kesara, have a nice and pleasant journey; we pay
our tribute to a truly remarkable friend.
Late Mr. Suganadasa Atukorala former principal of Nalanda
A dedicated educationist with a vision
Eminent educationist Mr. Suganadasa Atukorala passed away on Saturday 18th
November 2006. The demise of Mr. Atukorala who rendered yeoman service to the
field of education at micro as well as macro levels is a grave loss to the
Late Mr. Atukorala who was born on 12th November 1921 in Matugama, was educated
at Ananda College and graduated from the University of Colombo. He joined the
noble profession of teaching and commenced his long stay at Ananda Sastralaya
Mathugama where he rose to the post of Vice Principal. Subsequently he served as
the Principal of St. Mary’s Mathugama and Takshila Horana. He took over Nalanda
in 1969 and served there until 1982. Afterwards he was appointed Chairman of the
Library Services Board from where he retired after an efficient, effective and
productive long innings of almost forty years in public service.
During his fourteen year tenure at Nalanda, Mr. Atukorala did a lot to improve
infrastructure facilities, absorbed teachers with skills and competence in to
the Staff in order to enhance children’s quality of education, introduced new
concepts to improve teacher – student relationship and furthered extra
In 1972 Mr. Atukorala invited Mr. Oruwala Bandu to teach Russian language to the
A/L students. This visionary step was the turning point, which paved the way for
many Nalandians in that golden era of the Soviet Union to join leading
Universities like Moscow, Lulumba and Minsk. Nalanda boys had the distinct
advantage over the other aspirants for those scholarships, as they were value
added students who were conversant in the Russian language.
He got so engrossed with Nalanda and decided to shift his entire family from
Mathugama to a location which was only a step and jump from Nalanda. Later he
domiciled in the same locality. His beloved wife who predeceased him, Mrs.
Hemalatha Atukorala too joined Nalanda Staff from Ananda Sastralaya Mathugama.
His son Upul who was one class my junior graduated from Peradeniya as a Civil
Engineer and later earned his Masters and Doctorate from the British Colombia
University, Canada. Daughters Savitri and Gayatri both are Vishakians. Savitri
is presently serving as Consultant Pediatrician at the General Hospital Kalutara.
Gayatri decided to fellow the footsteps of her parents and currently serving as
a Graduate teacher at Nalanda.
Although Mr. Atukorala left Nalanda in 1982, he continued to be our own
“Disapamok Acharya Thuma” until he became very feeble a few weeks prior to his
demise. Present and past pupils, parents, present and past teachers, past
Principals and present Principal; every now and then sought advice from Mr.
Atukorala on critical issues. Mr. Atukorala very willingly parted advice through
his wisdom and knowledge. Mr. Athukorala attended the felicitation ceremony for
him on October 8, 2006 which was his last visit to Nalanda before becoming too
ill to be active any further.
I consider myself very privileged to have been a student under his able
leadership. He reiterated the criticality of quality reading to acquire
knowledge power. Whilst adding value to Nalanda, he never forgot Mathugama. Mr.
Atukorala made use of his network of friends and pupils in various key positions
in good faith to help people in his native area. He was humble. Simplicity was
his hallmark. He followed the Gandhian style of Leadership. He was a beacon to
Nalanda and Mathugama. Vicissitudes of nature over took him after a long spell
of four scores and five.
His funeral was held on November 22, 2006 amidst a gathering of galaxy of
Nalandians, including His Excellency The President of Sri Lanka, World Best
Cricket Captain, Best Schoolboy Cricketer of the year and Best in A/L results –
2006; who are all Nalandians.
Third month remembrance bana and dana pinkama was held mid February 2007.
May Mr. Suganadasa Atukorala attain Nibbana!