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Letters


Readers please note it is essential that all Letters to 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.

 

Country before dollars and not dollars before country

It is interesting to learn how patriotic our Sri Lankan expatriates are who are concerned not only about the road to prosperity of their motherland but also about matters, inter alia, our cricket. There have been many good suggestions published in our media for the uplifting and betterment of our image internationally. About the Indian Premier League scandal several interested expatriates had written and had been published in the media blasting Mahela under various captions like ‘Mahela - that’s simply not cricket’ etc, etc.

He has, very well spelled out the entire truth of the episode. This is, without any doubt, the correct view of every cricket-loving citizen of our nation. If not for cricket Mahela’s name would never have become a household name. The fame and the colossal amount of money he has earned to lead a very comfortable and luxurious life has been because of cricket, which should not be forgotten. He should not forget his humble beginnings. It should be country before self and not money before country. He should know to be patriotic and is mature enough to be more disciplined.

He is all out for greener pastures like our politicians. Well it is obvious that he is out for the extra millions in dollars, being not at all satisfied what he has already earned from cricket. How can he suggest seriously in postponing an important tour, which has been already scheduled and ratified by the ICC. Is he a decision maker or a high official of the cricket world’s governing body the ICC having a say to dictate to them. They should reprimand and fine him for the desperate unfair request made to reschedule the tour. They should even seriously think of banning him from Test cricket for his selfishness and greediness for a couple of millions of dollars.

As far as his cricket is concerned he was nurtured and groomed to be in this class that he is in. There are enough and more youngsters who are talented but kept in the doldrums who are lingering in the wilderness as the ageing cricketers are not willing to quit and call it a day to pave the way for the budding youngsters. Many deserving talented cricketers have quit prematurely as the veterans are playing for nearly two decades. Some of them still find contracts to play for tournaments abroad for money. Sanath Jayasuriya and Vaas played for the All-Stars combined team in the Hong-Kong Sixes. Both had confessed that they are resting and not participating in the ODI series against Zimbabwe. Why don’t they quit once and for all. They lack gratuity and dignity.
Coming back to Mahela, the end result of this dispute and issue would further diminish his popularity among the cricketing fraternity of this country which is already is at a low ebb. If he so much interested in collecting a fistful of dollars he might as well quit and play exclusively for the Indian Premier League. He cannot have the cake and at the same time eat it?

Sunil Thenabadu
Mount Lavinia

****

Please acknowledge donations

Many Sri Lankans residing in Victoria, Australia, who I met have expressed their disappointment that they have made donations to several charitable institutions in Sri Lanka, elder’s homes, orphanages, handicapped children’s homes, schools, etc. These institutions have written to them to make donations to keep their institutions.

Having sent donations to these institutions, donors are clueless of their contributions. Once they have received these funds by money orders, bank drafts, cheques, etc. that is the end, they do not have the common courtesy to acknowledge receipt of these donations sent promptly.

Several Sri Lankans living in Australia who had generously contributed towards the rehabilitation of the 2004 tsunami disaster are too disappointed and angry that their generosity did not reach the needy. They collected money clothes, food items, medicines, building materials, beds, tents, etc. but have found to their horror that these items had not reached the people they were meant for.
It is very important that these charitable institutions should remember that to get continued assistance, they should be in close touch with the donors and forward their annual progress reports, etc and acknowledge promptly any money or kind sent from abroad.
Perhaps this letter may catch the eye of these institutions.

F.A. Rodringo Sathianathen
Victoria
Australia

****

What happened to the proposed cancer hospital?

About three to four years ago, there was much hype of building a cancer hospital in the background of the premature death of the brother of a well-liked cricketer who had died of cancer. There was much sympathy to the young man and many millions were contributed. I was virtually forced to make a contribution in the air while on a flight from London to Colombo although I mentioned that the institution I was working for already made a handsome contribution. Since nothing is heard. I wonder whatever happened to this useful project! I have enquired from many cricketers and those involved with cricket administration and only managed to evoke a laugh. It will be interesting to know -

(1) How much was collected, and from whom
(2) Was the collection and disbursement of funds done employing due diligence under conditions of transparency
(3) Where is the hospital due to come up
(4) Has the project been approved and supervised by the Health Ministry
This is a good matter for the Press to take up particularly in view of corruption charges being hurled against each other by many involved with Sri Lanka Cricket. A formal statement will be in the interest of the public.

K. Arvind

****

Antics of politicians to threaten the Police

The front page of the Island of 19.11.2008 carries a prominent headline, “I will remove your trousers’. According to this report these words have been uttered to threaten a policeman who was performing his duty in the Parliament premises by no less than a parliamentarian himself. He had been coming out from a ‘Serene’ sitting of the ‘august’ assembly where the language used is ‘parliamentary’ and not from a fish market, gambling den, toddy tavern or brothel.

From my experience as a Senior police officer for thirty years, the threatening of police officers by politicians in this country began during the “Ape Anduwa’ time of the fifties - the time I too joined the service.

During this time there were several incidents reported to Police Headquarters where pavement hawkers had threatened to remove the ‘coats’ or ‘buttons’ of constables who were trying to keep order on the pavements. There were several politicians too who made such threats. But when a senior minister referred to the police as ‘polis ballo’, there was quite a stir in the Police particularly among the lower ranks. When this was brought to the notice of Prime Minister Bandaranaike by the IGP the, former is supposed to have laughed and remarked, “I say Abeykoon, just ignore the fellows..... they are worse than dogs!” Banda was a master at smoothening out ruffled situations.

The Oxford educated aristocrat had at about this time already been embarrassed by a similar happening at the Colombo General Hospital. A government MP had stormed into the operating theatre when an eminent surgeon was at work.
The MP had wanted to be with the patient a supporter of his when he was being operated on. Suppressing his annoyance, the surgeon had casually removed his surgical coat, given it to the MP and walked out of the theatre.

The stunned idiot of an MP had run behind the surgeon, apologised to him profusely and slunk away meekly.
Fortunately SWRD did not have to deal with a situation where an MP had threatened to remove the trousers of a police constable. With the occasional ribald wit that the Prime Minister had a reputation for he would surely have reacted with a guffaw and an apt comment loaded with innuendo that would even have tickled hardened policemen to laughter.

Policemen, as all know, are quite used to all manner of threats and insults from the social super breed of men and women called politicians. They are often addressed both in harsh and in civil language. They are even referred to as rogues or dogs. But the irony is that politicians cannot be without them. They want them in their houses, in their offices, when they travel and even to accompany their wives and children. There have been female politicians who even developed intimate relationships with them! But one doubts very much, whether any woman politician will ever threaten to remove the trousers of a policeman in public!

A pertinent question readers of this news item will be asking themselves is, why did the MP threaten to remove the officer’s trousers and not his tunic or buttons. After all it is the upper portion of the uniform that bears the insignia of office and not the trousers.

As someone who for thirty years endured the nonsensical, boorish behaviour of politicians, my advice to the Police is not to take the jokers seriously. The country is starved of entertainment and thankfully plenty of it keeps on coming by courtesy of the honourable members of the ‘circus of clowns’!

Edward Gunawardena
Battaramulla

****

Urotherapy

Regarding the full page news item appearing in the latest issue of the Nation paper, I, as a layman, cannot understand how  urine can cure diseases because it is excreted from the body as a waste product/toxic. According to Dr. Anthony, it is number one cure for cancer and if it is so, why shouldn’t the Maharagama Cancer Hospital make use of Urotherapy. Can any oncologist or anyone comment on the Doctor’s claim which for me sounds incredible!

Mohamed Zahran
Colombo 3

****

Commercialised Cricket

Cricket was called a ‘gentleman’s game’ in the good old days. It was played for the sake of playing and for the fun of it. Cricketers went broke playing the game. Nevertheless, the players and the spectators enjoyed the game. The cricketers were happy and contended and were respected and admired. Even after they were no more they were remembered and respected.

That is no more. Cricket today is commercialised. It is now a profession which brings in a lot money to the players and the administrators. Cricket is highly competitive and the players have to ‘do everything possible’, including cheating, to win the game. If a catch is grounded or if you nick the ball to the wicket keeper, you should not own it up but wait for the umpire’s decision and if the decision is wrong, keep silent. What matters is the win that brings in million of dollars. Cricket presently demands strength and unruliness as against grace and gentlemanly ways that was expected in the past.

Cricketers today rarely play for the country. They play for money. Bowlers attempt to break the heads of the batsmen more than the wickets. Intimidating tactics are considered virtues that bring in wealth, Sledging, abusing, growling on and off the field expose the emergence of uncultured and ungentle­manly behaviour among the players. Drugs and unconventional methods have been used illegally for performance enhancement. Cricket has become a bookmakers paradise with the players lending active support.
The Australian team is guilty of having introduced body-line bowling and rough tactics to the game in 1921 when playing England. That has since enveloped the game of cricket fully - a tragedy no doubt.

Some umpires have been racist or colour biased or simply biased, as a result of which cricket has been the loser. Standards have fallen.
Spectators turn abusive, cast insults, hurl battles and other objects at the players, battle players and spread ill-will. Players fear to lose matches.
A defeat will not only be a financial loss but also may result in facing the danger of bodily harm or having their home razed to the ground.

Cricket, or any other sport today, does not create goodwi1l between nations and amongst the players as modern values in sport revolve around money. They sometimes lead to orgies of hatred.
Mahela Jayawardena and some of our cricketers opting to play for money than for the country have therefore to be viewed in the context of the present day sporting values.

Coming to the cancelled tour, we should have selected a national team, dropping those who cannot play for the country. We may have lost the matches to start with but would have set a healthy precedent and played the leisurely game of cricket as should be played. That would have been a good investment for the future serving as deterrents as well.

Upali S. Jayasekera
Colombo 4

****

Academic Degrees, professorship and national honours

The letter by Mr. Edward Gunawardena on the above subject published in ‘The Nation’ (November 9, 2008) is worthy of note and most welcome at this juncture.
Every statement that he has made in his letter is, in my view/opinion, true and cannot be challenged or disputed by any honest right thinking person.

That it is the Universities and not the countries that award degrees is ‘sine qua non’ for every one to know. I would ,however, like to point out a small anomaly here: to’ illustrate this point at the time our batch qualified as doctors (1958) there was only one Medical Faculty of the University of Ceylon and we were awarded the degree MBBS (Ceylon) which we wrote against our names.

Since then there has been a ‘proliferation’ of Medical Faculties in Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka). So I totally agree with Mr. Gunawardena that doctors’ names appearing with the degree MBBS (Sri Lanka) is incorrect and that the name of that University in “Sri Lanka that granted the MBBS degree should be specified as for example NEBS (University Colombo). MBBS (University Peradeniya) MBBS (University Jaffna) etc.I am by following this principle, as pointed out by Mr. Gunawardena, that “those with degrees from dubious or unrecognised Universities or other educational institutes can be found out.”

It might be pertinent to point out here that even in the case of postgraduate medical qualifications, until quite recently, were awarded by different Colleges such as the Royal College of Surgeons of England (that is the FRCS (England) or the corresponding Royal College of Edinburgh (that is FRCS Edinburgh) or that of Glasgow (that is FRCS Glasgow) or Ireland (that is PRCS Ireland). Likewise the same thing applies to post graduate qualifications in Medicine, to mention the Membership of the Royal College of Physicians of London or Edinburgh, Glasgow or Ireland that is MRCP (London), MRCP (Edinburgh) MRCP (Glasgow) and the MRCF (Ireland).

However, in the case of Obstetrics and Gynecology, even today, there is only one Royal College. If Obstetricians and Gynecologists in the whole of Great Britain and so when writing his/her qualification as MRCOG (Gt. Brit), FRCOG (Gt. Brit.) or just simply MRCOG! FRCOG makes little or no difference unlike in the case of Medical or Surgical postgraduate qualifications!
I would rather not elaborate on what Mr. Gunawardena has stated on the award of national honours except to state Verb-sap - the Latin abbreviation for “Verbum – Sapiens” which means “a word to the wise is enough”!

Prof. M. Sivastiriya
Colombo 8

****

Tribute to Gamini Senadhira Sports editor and a gentleman par excellence

It would have been with profound grief, deep sorrow and shock when all those who knew Gamini Senadhira heard about his sudden demise a few days ago. To most of them it would have been a real shock, as they would not have known that he was taking treatment for a prolonged illness, which he kept as a secret. He was reluctant to worry his close associates, as he was a real gentleman. He divulged his grave illness only to a handful of friends and colleagues that he was taking native treatment. The native doctor who treated him had promised 100 percent that he could be cured. He had complete confidence in him. He told me, as a subordinate, the correct stand of his illness and his progress at intervals. He was 64 years old at the time of his death, a product of St.Benedict’s College,Kotahena. He opened batting with famous Ranjit Fernando with distinction and later played club cricket.

He was my mentor who taught me the basics of journalism particularly about sports, cricket in general. I met him through sheer accident. In the year 2002 I sent a fax requesting him to rectify a small mistake published in the Sunday Leader sports page. When I called him he wanted me to come and see him. He politely accepted the mistake made by another subordinate and made a plea to me to forget about it as he cannot embarrass a brother journalist and asked me whether I would like to join the Sunday Leader as a free lance sports journalist. He only had a chat with me and my C.V. was not even read. By then he had already got the approval from the Managing Director. He possessed a dynamic personality and unique attributes taking correct instant decisions at most instances.

Gamini Senadhira had been in the sports arena as a Sports Editor for nearly four decades having worked for many popular newspapers. He had been at the Sunday Leader since its inception. In addition to performing his duties as the Sports Editor he voluntarily shouldered other duties like administration and transport and at all times worked tirelessly with dedication and sacrifice to the institute. He delegated authority to precision and gauged the capabilities and talents of his subordinates. He worked in the institution in unison with the entire staff and made it a cohesive unit

. He not only had a close rapport with all employees at The Leader Publications Ltd. but also with all Editors of all other newspapers and earned respect from all. His pleasing disposition to the staff and also to all journalists in general endeared him to win a large circle of friends. He always tried his best to comply with reasonable requests made even by strangers in carrying stories having substance. Anyone who needed his help had very easy access to him. He was very punctual and never made hollow promises .The void left through his demise cannot be easily filled. The Managing Director and the Editor of his employer will mostly feel it. His demise is very irreparable to his wife, two sons, grandchildren and the in-laws as he was very attached to his family, which was everything to him.
May the turf lie softly on his soul!

Sunil Thenabadu
Mount Lavinia

****

Only in humour?

Streets that meet
Mile-long names
Titles that befit
List of shame
Kidnapping brethren for a “homeland”
Sports like terrorism
Sends one round the bend.
 
Irene de Silva
Colombo 5

****

                                                                                              Appreciation

Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Vianney Fernando

His guidance and contributions are immense

His Lordship Bishop Joseph Vianney Fernando, Bishop of Kandy, celebrated the Silver Jubilee of his Episcopal Ordination on the 21st of May, 2008 at the Kandy Cathedral where he had spent ten years as the Vicar General and prior to that as a schoolboy at the adjacent premises of St. Sylvester’s College. The birth of St. Anthony’s College Kandy in 1854, took place at these very same premises and prospered for 74 years before moving to its present home at Katugastota.

Many appreciations and tributes were written and published during and after the Episcopal Silver Jubilee highlighting the spiritual, intellectual and humane achievements of this wonderful servant of God, Bishop Vianney Fernando. This reflection however is to set down the huge role of influence His Lordship has had on the growth and sustenance of St. Anthony’s College Kandy and to express gratitude and appreciation of all Antonians, young and old.

Initially it was as Vicar General for the Diocese of Kandy that the then Rev. Fr. Vianney Fernando began his association with St. Anthony’s College. Those were turbulent times when the then Bishop of Kandy was compelled to hand over the educational section of this institute to the Government. As this was a unique situation, it demanded extraordinary measures to be set in place for future governance, and Rev. Fr. Vianney Fernando had a role to play in structuring an administrative policy between the Government and Church. Nearly thirty years on, these policies are still in force resulting in St. Anthony’s College being the only Government Boys’ school that has continued to have a Catholic Priest as its Principal.

It must also be said that even prior to his ordination as a priest, two very prominent Antonian personalities were the influential forces behind his chosen vocation. His mentor was Rev. Fr. Lawrence Hyde osb, the first Principal of St. Anthony’s College after the shift to Katugastota, who was also an Old Antonian. Then the great builder at the Katugastota premises, Rev. Fr. Theophane Wickramarathne osb, was responsible for sending him to the seminary to become a priest. The fact that he was consecrated Bishop at the grounds of St. Anthony’s College was a fitting tribute to these two very Revered Priests.

After his Episcopal Ordination in 1983, Bishop Vianney, by virtue of his capacity as Bishop of Kandy, became the overall Church authority in the joint management of St. Anthony’s College with powers to appoint or remove the Principal in conjunction with the Ministry of Education. Dubbed the “Gentle Giant of Kandy”, he has built a solid base over the last twenty-five years for a satisfactory administrative process between all parties involved in running the school, commanding respect from all.

The Old Boys’ Associations of College have found him to be their guiding-hand in all matters. The Colombo Branch of the OBA in particular, has worked very closely with His Lordship who is also the Patron of the Association. Despite his many commitments in Sri Lanka and abroad, he has always found the time to meet with delegates of the Association and give ear to their suggestions and proposals or even grievances and advice or support them accordingly. The OBA (Colombo Branch) has played a vital role in the development of infrastructure and facilities for the young Antonians, none of which would have been possible without the guidance and support of His Lordship, Bishop Vianney Fernando.

In 2004, when the College celebrated its milestone of 150 years, he was a major source of encouragement to the Principal, staff, students and old boys, being involved from the inception in planning and setting out an appropriate programme of events and being present at all of them. His guidance and contributions were also great attributes in the successful production of the ‘Sesquicentennial Publication’ by the Colombo Branch.

In appreciation of the major contributions he has made to the success of both our Association and our Alma Mater, the Colombo Branch of the OBA has arranged a ‘Thanksgiving Service’ to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of his Episcopal Ordination, at St. Theresa’s Church Thimbirigasyaya on December 1, at 6:30 p.m.

****

 

 

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