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|Insane desire for nakedness
|Amazing and disgusting news today (25.9.2009) in a national
newspaper is that there is move to organise hiking in the nude in
Harz mountain in Germany.
Why is this desire for nakedness in today’s world? We see this even
in Sri Lanka now - the youngsters and sometimes even the not so
young seem to be wearing less and less. What we wore as the lingerie
seems to be the dress of choice at today’s parties! Even the saree
is worn with the breasts exposed.
Recently there was a spectacle of wedding dress at a bridal show
where the bride was wearing hardly anything and her flower bouquet
was coving the little pieces of dress she was wearing. What is the
groom, the bride’s parents and the groom’s parents thinking? Here
there is a girl starting her life in all seriousness of sharing
herself with the groom and on the very first day what she does is to
expose herself to all and sundry? Where is the modesty which is part
of all religions of Sri Lanka? Aren’t we following the perverted
norms of the western world, knowing jolly well where it has landed
them? Don’t we all know the depths to which the indecency and
immodesty has pushed that society?
Another place this is apparent is the hospitals, strangely. The
hospital staffers including the doctors, nurses and minor staff
keep, scolding the patients, specially the Muslims, when they opt to
wear a shawl or a hijab. They insist that all the patients wear a
hatte and redda dress. Many non-Muslim patients too have expressed
disgust in wearing hatte and redda and exposing themselves to the
men who visit the wards - be they staff or visitors.
I remember when I was DMO at Akurana hospital, my non-Muslim
staff used to scold the women when they were not decently covered
when the men visited the ward. What had happened to the code of
By this way the bodies of the female patients are exposed to all and
sundry. After all most of these staff are mothers and fathers. Would
a decent mother or father like to get their own daughters be exposed
like this? Would the doctors and the nurses like to work with hatte
and redde in the wards?
This is an impingement of the human rights of patients. Either no
men except the doctors - should be allowed into the ladies wards or
the patients must be allowed nay, asked to wear modest clothes.
I hope saner council will prevail in future and we will return to
the modest values of our ancestors, irrespective of our religion,
race or cast.
Dr Mrs. Mareena Thaha Reffai
|Beware of tricksters
|One of my patients came a little late one day and apologised
saying she had to go to the police station. When inquired she said
when she was getting out of the church, two men came in a three
wheeler and asked her to get in saying that she had to go to the
police station. They had also told her to remove the gold chain she
was wearing and to put it into the handbag she was carrying. After
driving for a little distance they had said it was not necessary and
asked her to get off the three-wheeler.
Of course, the poor lady found out that her gold chain was
missing when she looked for it.
The President got rid of the terrorists but another kind of
terrorism is still out there. That is taking the unsuspecting Tamils
for a ride on the pretext of the Police wanting to speak to them.
The word ‘Police’ terrifies them and they do anything they are asked
to. This way the good work done by our forces and the government is
taken advantage of by unscrupulous elements and made a mockery of.
So everyone out there, Tamil or otherwise, warn your women folk,
no police officer can ask them to come along without being
accompanied by a lady cop. And, even then, they can always refuse
until someone of theirs accompanies them.
Dr Mrs. M.T.R
|Mistakes by commercial bank
|Unlike in the good old days, there is hardly any manual work now
in banks. For banking transactions, it is just a matter of feeding
the required data into the computer and then the system
automatically does the rest by generating the documents, letters
etc. that are to be sent to the constituents. The computer printouts
that are sent to the clients do not bear any signature and it is
clearly stated that a signature is not required for the letters
/advices as they are computer generated letters/documents etc.
the context of the above, most bank officers have a very little load
of responsible work that has to be done. As they are not under much
pressure, it is their bounden duty that they ensure that the data
that is fed into the system has to be dead accurate.
In complete contrast to the above, the officers of a leading
commercial bank in the suburb of Colombo where I had maintained a
close rapport by maintaining several types of accounts for the past
eight years have blundered by making several errors by not adhering
to the basics in been accurate in feeding data into the system. All
bankers and the clients very well know what withholding tax is. This
is, if I am correct, is a 15% deduction on interest derived from
fixed deposits which are remitted to the Department of Inland
Revenue. This applies only to tax payers and to those who earn more
than Rs 300,000 as interest from deposits during a calendar year. At
the time of opening a fixed deposit account, a declaration form duly
signed is taken to determine whether this withholding tax component
is to be deducted or not. I opened two fairly large fixed deposits
at this particular commercial bank in August 2008 and wanted
interest to be credited monthly to my current account together with
the withholding tax certificate to the effect that I do not earn
more than Rs 300,000 in order to exempt me from deducting
However, when I received the annual renewal notice, a computer-
generated-advice at the end of one year, I was astonished to note
that the despite my declarations furnished this particular
commercial bank had deducted withholding tax from the interest
I also wish to emphasise regarding another mistake made by the
same commercial bank when I opened the fixed deposits. Thinking that
I may need money for future family commitments, I requested for a
permanent overdraft facility to my current account amounting to 90%
of my total deposits, which I could avail myself from my current
account if and when necessary. I was once again surprised when I
received my current account statement for the month of September
2009.The discrepancy was identified by me instantly as I had been
charged the same rate as permanent overdraft interest despite the
rates for the fixed deposits had been reduced. Here too the officers
had failed to feed into the computer the correct reduced rate of
interest to be charged on my permanent overdraft in relation to the
interest paid for my fixed deposits. I have since met the officers
at this particular commercial bank and got these omissions rectified
and my refunds are pending. They knew that they had made the
blunders which caused me a tremendous pain of mind. I had no option
and hesitation in uplifting my fixed deposits and cancelling my
permanent overdraft facility spontaneously. I am refraining from
mentioning the name of the bank as it would definitely tarnish the
image of this reputed commercial bank. However, it is my fervent
hope that all accounts at this branch and at all in their network of
branches are perused to bring redress to many ignorant valued
clients who may have been similar victims, who have chosen this
commercial bank as their preferred bank. This is a warning to all
other commercial banks, state owned banks as well and to authorities
of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, that these mistakes are not
|Govt-funded sterilisation of dogs
|As of 2008, starting in the Central Province, veterinarian teams
have been sterilising dogs in a couple of provinces, for which the
government pays the veterinarians.
The decision by the government to sterilise dogs to control dog
population to replace the previous method of killing dogs to control
dog population in order to curb rabies is a direct result of the
promulgation by President Mahinda Rajapaksa of non-killing of dogs
since June 2006, for which I and millions of Sri Lankans would
always be grateful to him, just as much as we are forever grateful
to him for having rid this country of terrorism.
I have not had any responses to many letters I have written to
the authorities regarding a proposal I have made to make the current
government-funded dog sterilisation programme a sustainable,
effective and accessible programme to all dog owners in the country,
avoiding fresh animal welfare concerns that arise owing to ad-hoc
sterilisation of dogs with no accessible post-operative services.
Do we want to solve this problem of rabies or do we want to keep
it going as yet another proverbial beggar’s wound, incurring huge
amounts of further money to pay for rabies vaccines, for both dogs
and people? It is laudable that human deaths owing to rabies have
been brought down in Sri Lanka (at a huge cost of providing vaccines
to both dogs and humans), but I believe like most others that no one
should die of rabies, which is a highly preventable disease.
Ever since animal welfarists, especially and most prominently
Sagarica Rajakarunanayake of Sathwa Mithra, continued to argue for
non-killing of dogs as a method of rabies control, promoting the
only humane method of dog control, surgical removal of the
reproductive tract (i.e., sterilisation), I wished to find a model
to conduct dog sterilisation across the country in a cost-effective
and systematic, and, most importantly, in a sustainable manner.
In 2006/2007, I did a sterilisation programme in the Udunuwara MOH
area as a pilot study, covering several villages, and found out that
in each village the number of owned female dogs is only about
10-25%. I also noted that there were no community dogs in the
typical villages, but that there were about 10-25% of community dogs
(mostly females and a few mange-ridden, disabled old males) in
semi-urban villages, which obviously are the litters produced by the
owned female dogs. So the clear need was to sterilize these 25%
owned female dogs in villages across the country.
In the report I made on the pilot project I suggested that this
small number of recurrently puppy-producing female dog population be
sterilised in the first round and proposed that veterinarian teams
be recruited to each MOH office across the country to conduct this
work. I presented the data I had gathered to the Health Development
Council (HDC) meeting of the Ministry of Health on March 29, 2007
and proposed the recruitment of veterinarian teams to each MOH
office. At this meeting it was acknowledged by the Director General
of Health Services that the health sector needs veterinary surgeons
not only to combat rabies but to provide support dealing with other
zoonotic diseases spreading in the country.
Prior to that, I made the same presentation to the PDHS
(Provincial Director of Health Services)/Central Province, Dr.
Shanthi Samarasinghe, to begin sterilising dogs in the Central
Province using my MOH model. With all due credit to Dr.
Samarasinghe, she initiated a province-wide sterilisation programme
in February 2008, the first ever province to conduct dog
sterilisations using government funds. Unfortunately, the programme
deviated from the original proposal of only sterilising the owned
female dogs in the first round.
The ad-hoc government-funded sterilisation programme conducted in
the Central Province and now underway in Sabaragamuwa and several
other provinces will not, in my opinion, touch even the tip of the
iceberg, as the culprit owned female dogs are not being targeted in
each village systematically. I understand that mostly male dogs are
My biggest fear and concern are that the authorities will
eventually pronounce that sterilisation as a method of
dog-population control is not successful and propose that they may
have to go back to killing of dogs. I must stress that if the
present programme does not provide sustainable results (and my firm
belief is that it will not if we continue in this manner), the fault
is not with the policy of sterilising dogs but the current method of
application, which does not target the relatively very small number
of culprit dogs, systematically, or have follow-up programmes.
The Minister of Health has recently said that there is a shortage
of veterinarians. I pointed out in several letters to the
authorities that the government trains veterinarians at a huge cost
and when they pass out from the university, they have no jobs
waiting for them, unlike the Medical graduates.
If these veterinarians are recruited to MOH offices as teams (of
four perhaps) to conduct the dog sterilisation programme, they would
definitely be able to sterilise the puppy-producing owned female
dogs in each village of their MOH area systematically and conduct
follow-up porgrammes. The huge monies (billions) that are now
allocated for the government sterilisation programme can be used for
the salaries of these veterinarians and then the cost for the
government would only be the drug cost (like in the medical
service). The biggest bonus would be that the programme would then
provide sustainable results cost effectively. The service will be
reachable to all dog owners too, unlike now. There will be
responsible veterinary surgeons to attend to post-operative care of
the dogs, also unlike now in some instances, and follow-up
sterilisation programmes can be done.
I do hope that this proposal of recruiting veterinarian teams to
each MOH office would be taken up by the Minister of Health and
implemented islandwide before the money allocated for sterilisation
is spent for a programme that will not touch even the tip of the
iceberg, I repeat. If we sterilise small percentage of culprit
female dogs, so well protected and looked after by their owners, the
community dog population will become a highly manageable dog
population, thus making the need for a large number of dog catchers
too (another set of workers the Health Minister says they are short
If the billions allocated for the sterilisation programme is to
provide sustainable results, the government-funded dog sterilisation
programme should be converted to a day-to-day service accessible to
the people as proposed above and not continued as a mere numbers
game for some veterinarians. The ideal institution to provide this
service is the MOH office, which is the only state institution that
reaches each and every household.
Over to you Minister. Please consider recruiting salaried
veterinarian teams urgently to MOH offices to conduct the
government-funded sterilisation programme.
Association for Community Protection through Animal Welfare (KACPAW)
|Suspects killed in police custody
|“I’ll be judge, I’ll be jury,’ said cunning old Fury:
‘I’ll try the whole cause, and condemn you to death.’
Lewis Carroll – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
I was shocked to hear recently the news that 48 suspects had been
shot dead by the Police apparently in the acts of self-defence from
2005 until now. In almost all the incidents, the explanation given
by the police officers involved had been that the suspects in
question had tried to grab a weapon from a police officer and shoot
them and that they had opened fire at them in self-defence. This
might have been true in 10 cases at the most. Still, to me, this
sounds like something out of an American action-thriller. And the
discerning public, I don`t think, are so naïve that they will
believe in the explanations offered by the cops.
Further, only in 22 out of 48 cases, it has been established that
the aforementioned reason had led to the death of suspects after a
magisterial inquest. It has also been revealed that some cases had
been referred to the Attorney General while some remain unsolved to
this very date. Whatever the reasons for this may be, we have to
accept that the killing of suspects in the police custody is hardly
a healthy phenomenon.
Where a police officer has shot a suspect dead, unless it can be
established that the shootout had been started by the suspect in
question and that the police officer involved had acted in
self-defense, as far as I understand, it`s little less than a crime
and the officer involved shall be charged with murder. It is
important that such officers be prosecuted under the criminal law
itself. What I do not know, for sure, is whether this really happens
every time. I say so because I`m aware that some people tend to
(stupidly) sympathise with the cops who are reported to have shot
Particularly, in the wake of double murder in Angulana and the
alleged assault on an IT student in Malambe by the spouse and son of
a senior police officer (under the aegis of the latter, of course),
and the apprehension of Lakshman Cooray, formerly an SSP from
Gampaha (I guess he must have been cashiered) over his alleged ties
with the LTTE and his involvement in the assassination of Minister
Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, an outspoken critic of the LTTE, it is
mandatory for the IGP to make sure that the Police abide by the law
they are supposed to keep and that they do not take the law into
their hands and play the role of the judge.
The Police need to know that they only have to inquire the
complaints lodged by people, arrest suspects, interrogate them and
take statements from them and produce them before the court. They
have not been granted the power or the authority to punish suspects
no matter how serious their offences seem to be. It is only the
Judiciary that has the power and authority to pass judgment on a
suspect after a fair trial and penalise him or her in proportion to
the severity of his/her crime. But, it`s deplorable that,
increasingly, the Police seem to exceed their authority and act
little better than criminals themselves. Unless prompt measures are
taken to arrest this trend, I believe, it will spell dreadful
repercussions in the near future.
Faculty of Business Studies and Finance
|Sri Lanka Life and Rupavahini
|Sri Lanka Life [SLL] musical telecast on Rupavahini on Sunday
nights has provided the listeners with an unfamiliar musical cum
cultural impetus creating a strong attachment, enthusiasm and
devotedness to local music. For sometime in the recent past new
musical trends copying the western Pop music with noisy sound and
uninspiring lyric quality without an attached meaning or a related
mental image was the music loved by the young.
For those who appreciate such noisy music the opportunity was
provided by all television channels, with frequent telecasts to
satisfy the music love of the energetic young and thus creating the
impression that the young were not interested or keen to learn
classical music. There is no opposition to such telecasts and a
dislike of the appreciators. In this world of rush, speed and
noisiness late Bhikkhu Piyadassi of Vajirarama, Colombo in a booklet
on ‘Buddhism’ had written, “Music hath charms, they say, but for
many today, even music is not agreeable if there is no noise; the
louder the noise, the greater is the music to them.”
In such an atmosphere Sirasa for the first time conducted a
singing contest on Sinhalese songs and its success also evidenced
that many youth were learning classical and semi-classical music and
most of the singers sang with gentle rhythm and qualitative singing
which encouraged other TV channels to conduct similar contests
providing more opportunities for the young to sing in contests.
Sri Lanka Life had taken a further animated stride by introducing
in its telecast an opportunity for two musicians with two
instruments to display the skills they had learned. Instrumental
orchestral arrangement music of a focal orchestra is never heard on
our TV and thus the SLL two-member attempt was a rewarding vision.
It is such a great success that many duo musicians had created new
rhythms some based on folk and ‘vannam’ rhythms receiving the
appreciation of the knowledgeable and learned panelist and at times
the female panelist either sang or recited the original folk and
Thus it is suggested that Rupavahini could after the end of the
event process and issue DVDs on the performance of the duo
instrumentalists. The performance appreciation is greater in a DVD
than in a CD and watching and listening to a DVD should encourage
other youths to engage in learning to play an instrument without
some youths engaging in damaging habits in the use of drugs and
alcohol. It is also suggested to telecast most of the instrumental
performances during its major programmes.
|An appeal to Anagarika Dharmapala Trust
|The Anagarika Dharmapala Trust, Maha Bodhi Society, Colombo 10
appointed me by letter dated February 26, 2007 to serve in the
Dharmaduta Service in India for three years, but I fell seriously
ill after serving for one year and eight months at the headquarters,
Kolkata as a result of an attack of falciparum malaria. On medical
advice, I was admitted urgently to S. V. S. Marwari Hospital,
Kolkata and underwent treatment for five days. On hearing, my
relations brought me back to Sri Lanka.
As soon as I arrived, I was rushed to Asiri Hospital in Colombo
05 and at least 10 medical examinations and consultations etc. were
done costing about a lakh of rupees borrowed on urgent grounds.
It is nearly nine months since my letter of January 27, 2009 sent
to the Anagarika Dharmapala Trust but not even an acknowledgement
was received in spite of a registered reminder dated March 26, 2009.
This is a grave situation on the part of a reputed Buddhist
Institution and Anagarika Dharmapala.
This appeal is not to compensate me at all but to have a sympathetic
financial assistance to continue medical treatment.
W. Rathana Thera
Ananda Buddhist Meditation Centre
|Inordinate delay in personal foreign cheque
|All commercial banks in Sri Lanka whether state or otherwise
have established their corresponding banks scattered throughout the
globe to help in the realisation of any type of foreign bank draft
or personal cheque for assist their clients to obtain the value
equivalent in Sri Lanka rupees when foreign drafts or personal
chqeues are deposited and also for other trading transactions..
the case of International Money Orders and Foreign Drafts most banks
purchase them and give immediate credit equivalent in Sri Lanka
rupees at the prevalent exchange rate to the account holder even if
the beneficiary is a non-customer. The commission charged is a very
nominal amount, which is undoubtedly an extremely a worthwhile
In the case of personal cheques drawn in foreign currency the
cheques are collected and accepted to be credited on realisation.
The normal time taken for this exercise in almost all banks is
approximately one calendar month. The beneficiary has no other
option but to wait for this stipulated period to obtain the proceeds
in Sri Lanka rupees. It is pertinent to mention in all instances the
personal cheques drawn in a foreign currencies is debited to the
drawers account in an overseas country within five working days. The
cheque in question is sent on a collection basis to the
corresponding bank in the foreign country of the client’s bank in
Sri Lanka via an efficient courier service. It is difficult to
understand that with more innovative modern technology available
that exists now, why all banks whether state owned or otherwise keep
the client over here waiting for three more weeks or more after the
personal cheque in question has already been debited to the drawers
account to obtain the proceeds equivalent in Sri Lanka rupees
It is time that those responsible headed by the authorities
Central Bank of Sri Lanka take the initiative and advice the banks
to reduce the inordinate delay that is prevalent for a very long
time in order to bring redress to those who deposit personal cheques
drawn in foreign currencies which have been given to the kith and
kin to meet urgent expenses and for immediate commitments
|For the Students` Union/Council of Wayamba University and for
all our juniors
Keep up your good work, young comrades.
Admittedly, we felt smaller and insignifi cant,
As we stood before the pandal,
The fruit of your collective labour,
For days on end,
And felt kind of envious of you too,
Because you’d done, and perfectly well,
What we’d believed,
To be next to impossible.
Keep up your good work.
In our days, the progressives who led us,
Feigned to engage themselves
In addressing more serious political is sues,
Which, according to them,
Left them scant time and little resource,
To do simple beautiful things,
As you’ve done.
Keep up your good work,
Because (I think) it’s infinitely more im portant,
Than organising a picket, starting a lec ture boycott,
Inciting riots, besieging the Dean’s office,
Or staging a sathyagraha at the gate,
Which, the dumbest passer-by,
Blind to the facts,
Blind to the attendant circumstances,
Would deride or chuckle at.
Keep up your good work,
But away from the power-hungry impostors,
Who pretend themselves
To be firebrand socialists,
Because the pedigree of true socialists is mixed now,
And their ideology adulterate.
Keep up your good work,
And in your mind the fact,
That water can douse the reddest firebrand,
In the blink of an eye,
And that the ideology is no more fixed,
Than a clock’s pendulum.
Keep up your good work.
Deal with the irreconcilables with tact.
Never throw away the hot potatoes
That are otherwise edible.
Keep up your good work.
And avoid invective and sensational polemic,
That rarely pays in the long run.
Keep up your good work,
And learn to tolerate rather than battle.
The wounded world wants no warriors now,
It only needs diplomats.
Faculty of Business Studies and Finance
|Had warmth in abundance
|Far beyond the stars
My soul is longing to go
There beyond the stars
To a better place I know….
I heard my four-year-old grandniece Shaha singing these phrases from
the ‘Singing Nun’. I thought of my dearly beloved husband Lhareef.
This is the appropriate place for him.
He was a devoted and loving husband who had a strong will power and
sheer determination to face the ups and downs of life. He always had
a positive mind and nothing bothered him in moving forward, onward
and upward. It was this attitude that made him bear his illness for
six and a half years, trusting in the Almighty
Many are the sweet memories that I have of our years together. We
travelled to Europe, London and Dubai and even went on a pilgrimage
to the Holy City of Mecca while he was ill. When Dubai opened its
ice rink, Lhara and I were there taking part in all the games. We
enjoyed ourselves thoroughly in Europe and London exploring famous
places all by ourselves with the help of road maps. He was a music
lover and in Austria he made a visit to the humble abode of Mozart.
We witnessed a dinner theatre and in Salzburg we toured the places
where ‘A Sound of Music’ was filmed and we winded up singing popular
songs from the film, much to the amazement of others in the bus, who
later joined us.
He was a son of the former City Coroner A H M Ismail and Mrs
Ismailand. He was the sixth in a family of eleven. He would
humorously say that there are five above him and five below him. The
middle order has now collapsed.
Lhara was so loveable, understanding, calm and patient. He was so
popular with my relations and friends and most of all, my only
brother and sister. Having a genuine warmth about him and generosity
in abundance, he was there to put himself before them and guide them
always. Forever thoughtful about others, his life was full of loving
He was a loving a proud dad to our son Imran Hasan and daughter
Imara Mariam. He gave them a beautiful childhood. The happiest day
in his life was when Imara married Matheen Khalid and Lhara was
glowing as he walked with the bride on his arm.
He always told me to bear in mind that whatever transpires, one
must understand the reason why things happen. He said I must always
keep smiling, and be nice to everybody, not to take unpleasantness
seriously, or pass judgment on others but to forgive and forget. He
said that everyone has problems and need help however possible. He
always said I should carry on my social service, be dedicated and to
move forward by the Grace of Almighty Allah.
Darlo! I am so glad I was your wife. I also take this opportunity
to thank each and everyone who helped us in our time of bereavement
and also to Dr Jayantha Balawardana for his care, support and
Through the darkest skies
I can see a heavenly glow
Far away… far away
Beyond the stars……..