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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.

 

Curves have made a comeback

Curves have made a comeback, says the caption in ‘Features’ in a recent Sunday journal. Journalists indulge in rapturous announcements to attract readers. Both sexes are captivated, though it is the curves of woman that is the cynosure.
Curves never went away. Feminine curves cannot, will not and should not go away, for that will spell disaster to the Race. God, the creator never clothed Adam and Eve though he could have. He had a purpose. Having created the two, all he did was to summon them and say, “Go forth and replenish the earth.”

A delightful order! Adam obediently kept peeking at Eve’s curves and before long Eve gave birth to Cain. Adam was so enamoured by Eve’s curves that Abel was born to her. Cain peeped around and soon took a wife unto himself. Having in due time taken in her curves, she gave birth to Enoch. Enoch ogled at the curves of a neighbouring girl, and she bore Irad. Looking and peeping continued and Lamech was born. He was so flustered by the irresistible curves around him that he took two wives and so life goes on with males taking in the curves of females, and obediently adhering to God’s order to Adam and Eve.
As time went on, curves assuming a more fastidious demeanour were classified as, thin, fat, buxom, winsome, engaging, rounded, luscious, soft, tender, delicate, sexy and a plethora of epithets, categories and designations.

Women’s curves took on a baffling deportment to be seductive, alluring, beguiling and voluptuous thus making the male lust after the feminine figure. That gave rise to an industry: Designers of feminine wear - a money spinning trade. The tailor and the seamstress were born. At the commencement reams of cloth were needed to embellish the curves, for it was believed to be requirement of modesty and chastity.

A Victorian fad was to inveigle and seduce the male by covering. As man advanced culturally, disposing Victorian pretense girls shed their cover and bountifully displayed uncovered curves. Less cloth displayed more making the work of the tailor more onerous and fastidious. Working with less cloth made tailoring more hazardous, imperiling the work of the tailor, for women needed their alluring, fascinating and captivating curves to peep while simultaneously distracting the viewer from the disagreeable features: A tedious assignment for the tailoring department for they run the risk of being shunned by fastidious females.
The clothing industry is truly a gold mine for the innovative tailor. Woman’s secret desire is to look like Venus, Diana, Cleopatra, Bathsheba or any goddess of beauty.

Western women displayed and now sit beside the men. When bigotry is dispensed with by progressive, advancing society the equality of man and woman will be accepted unquestioningly with the torso of the female respected as being that of the mother of humanity. Religion is to blame for the displacement of the woman from her exalted pedestal. Secularism will put her back.

Ivor Samarasinghe
Dehiwela

****

Letter from a father

In 1973, I got a Nuffield Foundation Fellowship and proceeded to England with my wife and two children.
The United Front Government was in power at that time and it was the height of the era of shortages, bread queues, and the infamous “haal polu”. Things everybody found so frustrating, but had to grin and bear. But my wife and I did not have to. We had got this rare chance to get out of the country (a very difficult thing at the time with all kinds of restrictions on travel abroad) and after a lot of soul searching we decided to settle down in the U.K.

We conveyed our decision to my father in Sri Lanka and he wrote back to us.
His letter made us change our minds and return home. My father was then 97-years-old and a very sprightly 97, I must say. He read widely, smoked cigars, enjoyed the occasional brandy and was very active and was healthier than many people half his age. Of all his faculties, only his hearing was slightly affected. Here is the magic letter sent to us by my dear father, that changed my fate and up-to-date I have not regretted that decision I took based on my paternal advice.

Dr. W. B. Wijekoon
Nawala

****

“My dearest son and daughter,

I received your letter last week and was quite surprised to read about your decision to stay back in the UK.
There is absolutely no harm in going round the world as a tourist, or to educate oneself, but when one thinks of people deserting the motherland in search of pleasure and material comforts, such people are hardly patriots: I would call them “stateless” or destitutes.

You, my son, got this wonderful opportunity to go to the UK in the face of much competition. Many were the machinations and impediments you had to overcome. But those who awarded you the Fellowship had the fullest confidence in you, and that is why you got it. They believed that you would enlarge your professional horizons and return to Sri Lanka to place the knowledge so gained at the service of your country and her people. Heaven knows our country needs such knowledge. Take a good inward look, my dearest son and daughter, are you going to honour that faith and that trust, or are you going to turn your back on the people who gave you that Fellowship?

Whatever irritations, frustrations and even hardships there are in Sri Lanaka right now, remember they are temporary, that a new era will dawn. And this is the country of your birth, the country that nurtured you and gave you the chance to be what you are today. We are still groping for a national identity, still labouring to resurrect our old cultural values, our traditions and our heritage. After all, they had been suffocating under the enormous weight of foreign cultures and influences for almost four centuries. It is not going to be easy. It is going to take time. But it won’t help this debt¬-ridden poor country of ours if her educated sons and daughters flee to serve foreign masters and themselves.

This letter is a very human impulse, but it must be not stifled in the greater interests, that of our people and our country. A few must sacrifice for the good of the many and the ability to resist the temptation of dollars and pounds and the fleshpots of the West is the sacrifice you must make. This is the least your country expects from you. Anyway, my son and daughter, the decision is yours. Take my advice or leave it. May the blessings of the Noble Triple Gem be on you!
Your loving Father.
P.S. My father did not tell me how to live. He lived and let me watch him do it.

****

Pipe-borne water project not got off the ground

There is no pipe-borne water supply to the Kachchagoda area. The above area was surveyed several times and estimates were also prepared to lay pipes but the work has not been commenced. The project is seemingly neglected and abandoned by the relevant authorities.

Kachchagoda area is a developing rural area with road connection to the Matara- Katunayake Highway. People say that their appeals have fallen on deaf ears. We eagerly hope that the authorities will heed to our pleas.

C. M. Kamburuwala

****

Pension payment of Education Department

Teachers and other administrative officers attached to the Department of Education, perhaps, may be the only government servants who receive their first pension four to six months after retirement and that after much harassment requesting them to provide numerous documents either from schools they were attached or from the branches of the department of those areas. Up dating of the files of employees with required documents is the responsibility of the department and its officers and it should be also their responsibility to be aware of persons’ due date of retirement and to obtain all required documents before the date of retirement in order to fulfill the department’s ethical, moral and official responsibility to pay the retired person’s pension salary from the first month of retirement

The attitude of the department and its officers therefore has to be concluded either with motives of financial gains or harassment with ill-mannered ulterior motives. Specially for female teachers who have served in many distant places, visiting branches of the department in such places is not only inconvenient but also and additional harassment as the officers in that outstation department are in the uncompromising habit of requesting the teacher to come on another given date to obtain the document. Complains are of no avail as every chapter of the State Financial Regulations and Administrative Regulations will be quoted. If the last paid salary is known, on the approved percentage basis the first month’s pension salary should be paid, as is the practice in other government departments, local government bodies and even the state banks. But because of inefficiency and unconcerned attitude of the department, so far an efficient system of pension payment has not been introduced.

If a system is introduced to pay teachers’ pension speedily such step will prevent the suffering the teachers undergo without an income for long periods and often becoming a dependent on a child or relative in addition some being compelled to borrow from informal money lenders at high interest rates.

Amor Patriae

****

Dress of schoolchildren

A ‘Past Student’ of an unnamed school (Sunday Nation 14.06.09.) has taken interest and pains to make proposals to overcome the prevailing confusion on the need of a common school children’s dress in government schools. According to her knowledge, before 1980 the claimed ‘traditional dress’ for girls was not the common school dress. And the writer familiar with the school children’s dress having lived six years in Galle Fort up to end of 1919 where more than 70% were Muslims could confirm that all school girls irrespective of the nationality or religion wore the common white frock, knee high and a few girls of different denominations walking together could not be identified by nationality or religion from their attire or any other conduct. The dress of the girls was same in Colombo, Kandy, Kurunegala, Matara, Hambantota, Beruwala and in many other places where the Muslim presence was dominant.

Before Independence, most Sinhalese school children in Kandy, Anuradhapura, Kurunegala, Matale, Ratnapura and many other districts wore to school the ‘Lama Saree’, a very attractive dress which the British principal of the newly formed Buddhist Girls School Mahamaya (1932) adopted as the school dress the ‘lama Saree’. But with Independence or thereafter a girls schools adopted the white school uniform dressed knee high and any disputes or unhappiness seems not have surfaced. And some girls peddled in their cycles to school.

The writer of the letter ‘Past Student’ has sincerely suggested that Muslim children wear the new headdress up to the school gate, a suggestion to overcome the situation. Adults wearing a Middle Eastern dress or any other dress of any other country of any nationality is not an issue but remembering that some private institutions have designated dress in their work place; but to create one country and one nation concept now enunciated by the President it may be prudent for Muslim religious dignitaries and Muslim educationalists to allow the former system of common white school uniform worn knee high in all government schools. Private schools are at liberty to have for girls and boys a dress of their own.

The new dress believed to have been authorised, by circular by the present Leader of Opposition when he was Minister of Education without an exhaustive study of the school dress systems that prevailed before Independence. Of course, people are now aware how he signed an agreement with the LTTE surrendering many common rights and privileges exclusively to the LTTE, which would have caused a division of the country.

Not withstanding the above revelations the newly introduced dress deprives the schoolgirls to engage in sports activities. But Pakistan Women’s Cricket Team dressed in the same manner as other national teams engages in international cricket. Sania Mirza, the Indian Tennis International and Muslim women from many African Muslim countries participate in numerous sports activities dressed like women of oilier nationalities. Even in Iran an agitation prevails to relax some of stringent rules enforced on women and in France, Muslim girls are not allowed to wear the headdress in the classroom and should we deprive the Muslim girls the privilege of participating in sports? If Susanthika, a girl from a village could win an Olympic medal, a Muslim girl if given the opportunity might emulate her. Mohamed All Isphahani, a student of Asian International Schoo1 of 14 years of age had won three swimming events dressed like other participants.

The dress enforcement mainly affects the semi-urban, village and children of not influential parents. And the ‘Past Student’ has thoughtfully suggested that past students and the Muslim female minister reveal to the public the dress they wore to school. The writer in addition would request mothers who were students attending schools while living in Galle Fort before 1980 to declare the dress they wore to school. Then sanity should prevail, the thoughts are not on national or religious sentiments but to ensure that children of any denomination will feel a common respect among them and greater harmony prevails.
Conscious citizen

****

Cricket and advertising

Reputed commercial organisations at great cost sponsor cricket match telecasts over TV for viewers to watch the cricket matches mainly from their houses. But the TV authorities conniving with other advertisers to earn an additional income unethically and unprofessionally telecast advertisements abruptly interrupting the flow of events. Often before an end of an over and while the last ball being balled, but before a fielder has not yet thrown the ball to the wicket keeper or as a catch is taken near the boundary but batsman out is still running or the umpire has not moved at the end of an over. Advertisements are telecasted to the annoyance of the TV viewers. A TV viewer being deprived of the cricket scenario will not be inclined to purchase or use the advertised product and the advertisers are not benefitting from cricket advertising.

Of late, most viewers immediately as an advertisement appears, shifts to another channel to view a telecast much pleasanter and that does not annoy the viewer. The growing anger has resulted in some and the numbers are increasing to refrain from using the products advertised which unethically interrupts the viewers. A reasonable time gap before an advertisement is telecast is essentially necessary and within the period of a match, some [40 overs] advertisements are telecasted more than 40 to 50 times but the safety of such products would not have gained higher safety valve.

Many students and those involved in school cricket and even those who represent cricket clubs watch the matches over TV and if they are allowed the privilege of listening to the comments and observations made by the commentators their knowledge of the game and mainly the omissions made by the players would be beneficial to them.

At least during the matches with Pakistan sanity should prevail and it is not only the batting, bowling and fielding that the viewers desire to watch but also many other incidents relating to the game. Shortened advertisements telecasted at the bottom should ease the issue. But if the TV stations think in terms of income the advertisers will regret.
Libran

****

Felicitating Minister Nanayakkara on his 56th birthday

If any person gets an opportunity to use his inborn talents in practice in a field that he is skilled, it will be the biggest blessing to him and society. Minister of Agriculture,
Hemakumara Nanayakkrara is such a fortunate person as he has chosen agriculture as his profession and fortunate to become the minister in charge of the subject of agriculture in the country.

Today, we felicitate the 56th birthday of this great individual who has devoted his life to the development of agriculture in our country, especially at this juncture when agriculture has come to the forefront as the saviour for all of us. We hope and pray that the Minister will have all the blessings and strength to carry on with the task of agricultural development that the country will have plenty of food to feed its people and improve their livelihood and share the benefits of a noble, free and independent society.
Hemakumara Nanayakkara was born to a family of well known landed proprietors from Mihiripenna, Metarambe in the Galle District. His parents, Francis Nanayakkra family, were well known philanthropists in the area and they had had several children, and among them are Vasudeva and Hemakumara Nanayakkaras who became well known political figures in this country.
Hemakumara started his primary education in the village school at Mihiripenna and later joined Richmond College, Galle for his secondary education. Having interest in agriculture from his early school days, he joined Aquinas College of Education in Colombo and pursued a Diploma Course in Agriculture.

His parents having come to know his skills and interest in agriculture provided facilities for education in the USA. He was enrolled as a graduate student at the University of South California, USA.
His thirst for learning could never be stopped and from the time he returned to the country, he began to search for other local institutes which impart higher education in Agricultural Sciences. Undoubtedly, he found the best institution at that time, the Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture at the University of Peradeniya. He enrolled for a degree in research at this institute and obtained a Master of Philosophy.

The Minister had a vision for agriculture and a vision for himself, that competency is the secret of success and began to undertake further studies on agricultural sciences. He is presently pursuing a doctoral degree in organic farming at the Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, an up and coming field world over for sustainable and healthy food production.
Hemakumara Nanayakkara is a national minded person and had great love to share his abilities to develop the nation. For the first time, he entered Parliament in 1989 from the Galle District.

In 2002, he was appointed as the Minister of Agricultural Technology and Crop Productivity. Currently he is the Minster of Agriculture and involved in enhancing agricultural productivity and livelihood improvement of the farming communities.
Due to his background knowledge on agriculture, he has been able to understand the nature of development needed for this sector. The Minister has an exceptional ability to work with other officers of the Ministry, universities as well as the private sector. He is a person who listens, not to leave anyone annoyed, but shares the vast store of knowledge with others on an equal platform. He is most talented in inter-personal relations, an asset to his future activities.

Hemakumara Nanayakkara firmly believes in the future role of youth as agriculturists entering farming as a profession. He has taken many initiatives to encourage youth by organising youth groups and training them on the skills of farming. Furthermore, he has also organised youth exchange programmes with the University of California, USA, The Netherlands and Israel. These will be extraordinary opportunities for youth to learn modern farming techniques which will be the future profitable business ventures. Hemakumara Nanayakkara is well known for his outspokenness in the Parliament, media discussions as well as in public meetings. He is duty conscious, absolutely honest and has never been selfish. As a result of this, many occasions could be cited where he was denied of high level positions. He has never been involved in corruption, and is completely against waste of national resources. This is the type of leader and politician that we need for this country in the future.

Hemakumara Nanayakkara has lived a clean life, a tee-totaller and vegetarian, an example to many people of this country. This lifestyle has helped him to be aware of others’ needs and services to society. To pursue such noble principles, he has been successful in grouping people of similar thinking, resulting in establishing Jathika Urumaya and Maubima Swayanpositha Foundation. These are social service organisations working at grassroots level with the poorer segments of society. The Minister’s initiative in developing home gardens in the Galle District is one such activity that has been popular among the people of Galle.
Hemakumara Nanayakkara is a great leader, the type of person this country needs for its future development. On this birthday we wish him health, wealth, happiness and success in all future endeavours.

Prof. H. P. M. Gunasena

****

 

 

 

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