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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.

 

Trade savagery
Using Trade as a political weapon is crass blundering stupidity. A savage, barbaric practice of villainy and inequity. The West meaning the European Union too in years gone by sucked the lifeblood of Africa, Middle East and Asian countries using the gun to get them fall in line.

Still traces of the wild, uncivilised, barbaric desire to suppress other people lingers on. It has not fizzled out as seen in Afghanistan. Civility in their relations with the coloured races is yet to dawn as seen by the gaffe of Prince Phillip at a reception at Buckingham Palace. Cloistered royalty that was responsible for the backwardness of the inhabitants of its numerous colonies believe that cannibalism still exists. History books in Britain have blotted out, the cannibalism of the British. Australian Aborigines use the boomerang to hunt and not spears! The boomerang is still a mystery to the West. Since Papua, Borneo and the other islands won independence, their economies have grown sans British exploitation, leaving behind their past cannibalism, which Britain was fortunate to jettisoned years earlier, thanks to the wealth that rolled in from its colonies.
The LTTE was a manifestation of the Western propensity to grab lands and proselytise to win over the subject populace. The LTTE was initially fostered by the Norwegians.

Indian Estate Tamils cautiously avoided falling into the trap laid by Norway. Soon the West joined for its nefarious needs, pretending as is their wont, to be good Samaritans. The European Union condescendingly offers the GSP + concession, if Sri Lanka obediently adheres to the Human Rights standards set by the West. It commenced with the Sri Lankan soldiers that suppressed the 27 year battle with the LTTE that warred for a separate sovereign Tamil State within sovereign Sri Lanka, being accused of rape of Tamil Sri Lankan females, by no less a person than the roving Secretary of State to the American President Obama When that canard was debunked as an unfounded accusation the EU has stepped in with an investigation of Sri Lanka’s Human Rights status. It raises the probability of the probe being a crafty cover of its own HR record of pillage and plunder down the ages. Portugal, Holland and Britain ransacked and ravaged Sri Lanka. Robbing and carrying away valued artifacts of a 2500 year civilisation. Even the jewel studded throne of the last king of Kandy was spirited away to be proudly showcased in a museum depicting their prowess in subduing other nations. A barbaric sentiment!

Now the EU, savagely gives Sri Lanka a “Fair Chance” to “Redeem itself”. The EU even promises ample time and opportunity to respond and remedy the situation, thereby arriving at a level which will permit the EU to reconsider the grant of GSP+ concessions. A haughty savage pronouncement. The EU is at liberty to do as it pleases! Sri Lanka refuses to be savaged. Sexual assault and rape by the US and EU fostered by its leaders remain a slur on those countries. Is it an attempt to blacken Sri Lanka that the savage report has been prepared? Sri Lanka has no Oliver Twists as rising capitalism in Britain had. Police violence and torture, if it does exist is not Government sponsored. It is a recurrent problem the world over. Guantanamo points to the USA. If underage children labour, it is against the Lankan Labour Laws and may be resorted to by the hapless poor Sunknown to the State. All children of school going age receive free education. Using trade to savage a developing country is grossly unethical. The Mahinda Chinatanaya for the development of Sri Lanka will not have ‘poor’ but all citizens will be a satisfied lot. The bad dream of Western exploitation will peter out and Lanka will reign as an Asian economic tiger, with the assistance of its friendly countries. The West is welcome to trade with Sri Lanka with no strings attached. Press Freedom which is a quandary to the West was freely permitted and still is but its journalists cashing in by furthering the terrorist cause, the State, conscious of the worldwide harm that being done to Lanka keeps fair surveillance, and that is being interpreted by its enemies as suppression of the media.

Ivor Samarasinghe
Dehiwala

 

Negligence of the Healthcare Authorities
Ashathi Wasana Prematilake, an eighth grade student of Minuwangatte M.V. in Wariyapola is reported to have died following her being administered with the rubella vaccine. In March, this year Peshala Hansanee, a student from S. Thomas’ Balika Vidyalaya in Matara also died under similar circumstances. The disciplinary action against the medical officer whose negligence had led to Peshala`s death was initiated only after Ashathi Wasana`s death, that`s seven months after that tragic event. It seems to us that the infamous Ministry of Healthcare has conducted such a thorough investigation into her death that it has taken seven months for them to bring the culprit to the book. While we sincerely congratulate the Ministry of Healthcare on its latest success (assuming that the doctor in question is not a scapegoat) we are simply curious whether there is a relationship between the start of disciplinary action and Ashathi Wasana`s death. We learn that Minister of Health Nimal Siripala de Silva has ordered a comprehensive, impartial investigation into her death but we also remember he did quite the same thing upon Peshala`s death.

Now it has transpired that Peshala had died of ‘anaphylaxis’, a severe allergic manifestation, happening only in cases of one in ten million. The healthcare officials, we know, have long been given to quoting statistics, particularly when they want to show it to the public that they are not to blame. Perhaps, they do not know that statistical parameters are merely estimations arrived at subject to various limitations and can rarely present the true picture. I grant, however, that there is no alternative to it. But, it is not very ethical for them to cloak up their negligence in statistics which may console the unsuspecting public.

I say so because it has been established that the vaccine had been administered to Peshala despite her mother`s letter that the child was allergic to milk products. Because the medical officer had ignored this information, Peshala had to pay with her life. The cause of Ashathi Wasana`s death is yet to be established. However, it is obvious that, as in the first case, the vaccine had been administered to her despite her mother`s letter stating that she (Ashathi Wasana) was allergic to pineapple, beef and pork. Again, we suspect it was negligence on the part of the MOH that caused her untimely death. While it is necessary that a comprehensive investigation be conducted and the culprits be punished, the healthcare authorities must realise that it cannot restore the dead to life. Therefore, we call for the healthcare authorities to act with caution, care and responsibility.

Also, because of this second death, the parents will be more apprehensive about having their children vaccinated against rubella and the like, which may possibly hamper the progress of the national immunisation programme; should it happen, it could lead to the outbreak of many epidemics that would involve dire consequences. So, steps should be taken to allay the parental apprehensions and reassure them that the tragic incidents like these will not be repeated. Also, the medical officers who are found guilty of criminal negligence should be severely dealt with. Apparently, there is yet another aspect of this problem: the All Ceylon Government Medical Officers` Association (ACGMOA) has questioned quality of the vaccine administered to this child. The vaccine in question is said to be without a date of manufacture and a thermo seal. We wonder if it is not mandatory for the manufacturers of these vaccines to mention the date of manufacture and the date of expiry and seal it safely. If it is not, we believe, it should be made mandatory. One death is bad enough. But, things have grown worse with the second death. The healthcare officials need to ensure that there will not be a third death due to the same cause.

Jayashantha Jayawardhana
Faculty of Business Studies and Finance
Wayamba University

 

Take care of your health
The top five cancer causing foods are:
1. Hot dogs - Because they are high in nitrates. The Cancer Prevention Coalition advises that children eat no more than 12 hot dogs a month if you cannot live without sodium nitrate.
2. Processed meats and bacon - Also high in the same sodium nitrates that are found in hot dogs, bacon and other processed meats which raise the risk of heart disease. The saturated fat in bacon also contributed to cancer.
3. Doughnuts - They are cancer causing double trouble. First they are made with white flour, sugar, and hydrogenated oils, then fried at high temperatures. Doughnuts may be the worst food you can possibly eat to raise your risk of cancer.
4. French fries - Like doughnuts, French fries are made with hydrogenated oils and then fried at high temperatures. They also contain cancer causing acryl amides which occur during the frying process. They should be called cancer fries, not French fries.
Chips, crackers, and cookies - all are usually made with white flour and sugar. Even the ones whose labels claim to be free of trans-fats generally contain small amounts of trans-fats.
Brain damaging habits
1. No breakfast - People who do not take breakfast are going to have a lower blood sugar level.
2. Overeating - It causes the hardening of the brain arteries leading to a decrease in mental power.
3. Smoking - It causes multiple brain shrinkage and may lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
4. High sugar consumption - Too much sugar will interrupt the absorption of proteins and nutrients, causing malnutrition and may interfere with brain development.
5. Air pollution - The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our body. Inhaling polluted air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain, bringing about a decrease in brain efficiency.
6. Sleep deprivation - Sleep allows our brain to rest. Long-term deprivation from sleep will accelerate the death of brain cells.
7. Covering the head while sleeping - Sleeping with the head covered increases the concentration of carbon dioxide, and decrease concentration of oxygen that may lead to brain damaging effects.
8. Working your brain during illness - Working hard or studying while sick will lead to decreases in effectiveness of the brain as well as damage the brain.
9. Lacking in stimulating thoughts - Thoughts are the best way to train our brain, lacking in brain stimulation may cause brain shrinkage.
10. Talking rarely - Intellectual conversation will promote the efficiency of the brain.
The main causes of liver damage are:
1. Sleeping too late and waking up too early are the main cause.
2. Not urinating in the morning.
3. Too much eating.
4. Skipping breakfast.
5. Consuming too much medication.
6.Consuming too much food containing preservatives additives, and artificial sweeteners.
7. Consuming unhealthy cooking oils. As much as possible reduce cooking oil when frying, which includes even the best cooking oils like olive oil. Do not consume fried foods when you are tired, except if the body is very fit.
8. Consuming overly done foods also adds to the burden of the liver. Veggies should be eaten raw or half cooked. Fried veggies are to be finished in one sitting. Do not store.
We should avoid these bad health habits in order to be healthy.

V. K. B. Ramanayake

 

TAX IMPOSITION ON ELDERLY PERSONS
A letter captioned ‘Pensioner Senior Citizen’ appeared in three newspapers, Island, Sunday Nation and Daily Mirror requesting the Finance Ministry and the Tax Department to allow the concession granted to exempt from income tax payment on interest earnings up to Rs.200,000 from any type of deposit account maintained in any bank approved by the Central Bank. The exemption is currently enforced on interest earnings up to Rs.200, 000 from special deposit accounts maintained only in state owned banks.

For reasons of personal convenience many retired persons over 70 years of age maintain accounts in private banks and that mainly because the state bank branches are overcrowded for no fault of the banks, but that some persons place a higher degree of confidence in state banks because of the direct involvement of the government. The concession is a windfall to pensioners drawing a pension below forty thousand and where the only other income is from the interest earned from deposit accounts. For pensioners not dependent on their children or receiving an income from business investments, the cost of living, cost on private medical consultation and charges on reports and drugs, and three-wheeler travelling charges for medical consultation being on the high side, for senior citizens over 59 years as defined by the Tax Authorities all possible concessions should be granted to relieve them from financial constrains.

The Secretary to the Finance Ministry could allow the concession for the period 2008 to 2009 with a Gazette notification and a publication in all newspapers in all three languages. Senior citizens are paid 1% more on the published rates for deposit accounts but some banks the additional 1% is not paid for those who request for monthly interest payment and for low deposit accounts. But pensioners desire monthly payment of interest with the additional 1% irrespective of the amount of the deposit. The 1% of interest over the prevailing rates should be increased to 3% for the 2009 to 20 10 tax period for senior citizens.

And for the period 2009 to 2010, the government should consider to increase the tax free allowance to Rs.450,000 from the present Rs.300,000 considering the costs and expenses to an average family. And for pensioners over 70 years of age with only the pension income below Rs.45,000 and the interest income from deposit accounts or without a pension lives only on the interest income, payment of income tax and withholding tax from deposit accounts maintained in any bank could be exempted and the revenue loss is marginal.

If a pensioner or a mercantile employee drawing a monthly income of about Rs.25,000 to Rs.300,000, has to pay income tax and those who drawing a monthly income from the government over Rs.25000 need not be exempted which deprives an income to the government.

Amor Patriae

 

DILAPIDATED OVERHEAD BRIDGE
The overhead bridge across the railway line proximity to the Maggona railway station, which is almost 100-years-old, is now in a dilapidated condition and on the brink of collapse.
This bridge situated on the main way, leads from the Galle road to the most ancient St Mary’s Catholic Church and its parish villages at Maggona. Thousands of devotees, school children and commuters use this road daily.
The residents of this area made appeals to the relevant authorities to renovate this bridge as soon as possible but to no avail.

C. M. Kamburawala
Payagala

 

APPRECIATION

Viji Weerasinghe of Royal College
A gentle man and gentleman
It is two years since Vijitha Weerasinghe, the esteemed and respected “elder statesman” of Royal College left us. Tempus fugit – as he would have said. He was fond of saying that. He was associated with Royal for over 70 years, first as a pupil, then as a teacher and a Deputy Principal and finally as the Vice President and Advisor of the Royal College Union – the old-boys’ arm of the Royal College. We who were taught and guided by him disagree – he will be associated with Royal until the last breath of the last Royalist taught and guided by him leaves the face of this earth.

He was a unique man – lean and hungry looking, when we came to know him – but no conspirator like the other well known character described thus. On the contrary, he was a gentle-man and a gentleman with a kindly disposition who liked classical western music, good quality tobacco and a quiet small drink on his own in the evenings, listening to his beloved western classical music. He had that rare ability to walk with kings and keep the common touch. He was a vast storehouse of knowledge regarding English language and Literature, Latin and the History and the lore of Royal College. In his younger days, he had been an orchid enthusiast with a reputation for scientific growing of orchids – sought for advice by many others in the field. Despite the slings and arrows of life he exuded joie de vivre! Vishunusharman, the ancient pundit from King Sudharshana’s court would have had a man like him in mind when he said

Kavyashastravinodena kalo gachchathi dheematham
Vyasenena cha moorkhanan nidraya kalahena va
(Wise men spend their time in the study of enjoyment, of sciences, literature and poetry: fools in vice, sleep and quarrels)

After his retirement from College in 1997 at the age of 70, he immediately took up duties at the Royal College Union as its Advisor, while being a Vice President of the Union. Series of my predecessors had the good fortune of having him as the resident éminence grise; gently guiding them when required, smoothening ruffled feathers when needed and occasionally belling the cat too! Many Principals of the College sought his advice and guidance – including the present gentleman who readily credits Weerasinghe for the assistance he gave him. I had this advantage only for about three months.

Very soon after my election in July 2007 to the august post that I hold, he passed away, on October 31, 2007. It was and is an irreparable personal loss to me. With the 175th anniversary of the College next year and a series of events planned for the occasion his advice and guidance would have been a great source of strength to me. His mere presence would have given me strength as the presence of a father gives strength and courage to a son. I know that this is not only true about me – many who bore office at the Royal College Union unhesitatingly will say so. Even those non-Royalists who came to work with him have this glowing feeling about him.
May he flourish – wherever he is.

M Rizan Nazeer
Honorary Secretary
Royal College Union

 

 

 

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