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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.

 

Is Nobel Peace Prize this time a mock-prize?
Either because the Nobel Prize Committee, entrusted with the task of picking up a suitable person for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 had run out of deserving contenders or because they wanted to change the way they had been acting in the process of selecting a Nobel Peace laureate until this year, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the US President Barack Obama. Ostensibly, he got the prize for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation among peoples.” The Nobel citation sounds so grand that people who do not know what he has achieved (that`s to say, nothing) since getting elected to the top job in the USA, will hold their breath and exclaim, ’Wow! What a great man President Obama is!’ But, unfortunately for him, those who are so ignorant about him are few and far between, if at all.

I, a big fan of President Obama, however, think he has been awarded with the wrong prize at the wrong time. I think so because, after nine months since being elected, he doesn`t seem to have achieved any of his campaign goals. We remember he promised ‘change’ over and over again while he was running for president. However, until this very moment, all we have seen him doing is keeping the status quo. This is true in the case of Afghanistan and Iraq which the US forces are still illegally occupying. This is true in the case of inmates in the Guantanamo Bay detainment facility. For technical problems as Whitehouse says or for some other reason, he is yet to shut down the infamous detainment facility in Cuba.

Writing to The Nation on October 11, 2009, freelance journalist, Malinda Seneviratne observes pointing to the contrast between President Obama and the other Nobel laureates this year, “…..We are talking, ladies and gentlemen, about lifetime research, commitment and integrity against campaign rhetoric and a firm commitment to do the by-hook-or-by-crook with respect to plundering territories, exploiting people, securing and expanding markets….” (emphasis mine). Seneviratne, I feel, could hardly have expressed his displeasure more eloquently. What`s even more important here is that his sentiments are more or less shared by people all across the globe.

President Obama`s being awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize this year, I think, does detract from its unquestionable reputation as the world`s most prestigious prize. In fact, it looks almost like a mock-prize considering what the US troops have been doing in Afghanistan and in Iraq during the past nine months, as it were, under his command. Whereas he has taken some measures to ease tensions between Moscow and Washington and has persuaded Teheran to sit at the negotiating table to discuss its nuclear ambitions, there has not even been a sign of progress yet. Against this background, it is perfectly reasonable for us to wonder if there had not been more deserving candidates. But, now that the die is cast, our reasoning is not going to change the matters in the slightest. Still, we cannot ignore the fact that the other Nobel Peace laureates like Jimmy Carter, Aung San Su Kyii, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela had achieved this prestigious prize through a long commitment to an ideal often through hardships. Mother Teresa won it for what she did for the poor, the sick, and the defenceless. Dalai Lama was awarded with it as he was a symbol of peace. In my opinion, President Obama is nowhere near these great people whom the world venerates not because they won this prize but because they did something for the world. And I certainly appreciate his humility in his admission that he didn`t deserve it.

Now that he has been awarded with the Nobel Prize, it is still not too late for him to take the right path and bring the promised change and show it to the world that he certainly deserves the prize he has got in advance. Let`s wait and see if he is going to live up to it and whether the honour of this prize will be safe with him. No doubt, the prize will not make things any easier for him.

Jayashantha Jayawardhana,
Faculty of Business Studies and Finance,
Wayamba University.

 

Sri Satya Sai Baba’s 84th Birthday
‘My greatest miracle is my love’
Bhagavan Sri Satya Sai Baba was born in a small village called Puttaparthi in South India on November 23, 1926. Strange things happened at his birth. Musical instruments and the drums in the house started playing automatically. When the baby was kept on the bed, a cobra lying underneath left the bed.

Even as a child he abhorred the killing of animals and refused to eat flesh. He revealed exceptional qualities of wisdom, compassion and generosity. He offered his lunch to schoolmates who had nothing to eat. Even as a child he performed miracles to surprise his playmates.

Swami says: “Love and save the motherland: Do not hate or hurt the motherland of others.”
“Love all men without distinction; know that mankind is a single community.”
The watch regulates the time of the Universe. The word watch is made up of five letters i.e. W-A-T-C-H
Watch your Words
Watch your Action
Watch your Thoughts
Watch your Character
Watch your Heart
Sri Sai Baba does not give prominence to miracles. He says, “My greatest wealth is my love. People speak about my power and my miracles, but my greatest miracle is my Love. All should show this Love. Only then, will there be oneness.

He calls only a few out of thousands who go to Sai Baba’s residence (Prasantha Nilayam) to receive his Dharshan, i.e. blessings. Professor Anil Kumar has given an explanation for this. “There are many answers to such questions. The first is that Bhagavan is Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Omniscient. Therefore, he knows who, where and why to call. All this is decided even before Dharshan. Secondly, Bhagavan’s calling of devotees depends on many factors. One reason is the urgent need of the hour. If a person has to undergo an operation or a person’s relative is seriously ill, then that person has to have an interview.”

Swami says “Every deed performed, do it in my name. Every person who passes near your path, give them the sweetness of your smile. Give freely the nectar of your cup of happiness, of kindness, of blissfulness. Give the warmth of your Love. Extend your hand as I extend mine to you.”

Pram Deldeniya Lalitha Kala Shiromani

 

Banking announcements
The achievements, the developments, the success and growth of banks are the result of the efforts of the Chief Executive and staff of the banks. In private banks it is the Chief Executive who makes public announcements of their achievements and receives awards and trophies on behalf of the bank. The Board of Directors may at times initiate new concepts but more often the Board of Directors grants approval to proposals initiated and submitted by the Chief Executive and the management. Exceptions could very few and in most instances the proposals are the initiative of the Chief Executive.

But in state banks the politically appointed Chairmen in order to announce their presence and importance for the last few decades had taken over the responsibility to make announcements relating to the successful events of the state banks to the press and accept trophies and other awards and appearing on TV relegating the Chief Executive and other Senior Management Executives to become spectators. The helpless Chief Executives and the rank and file members of the staff watch in complete state of bewilderment the robbing of their achievements by the politically appointed Chairmen. Sometimes the Chairmen have been in their seats only for a few months but represent the bank to make announcements and accept awards and appear on TV or newspapers as if they were responsible for achievements. But in private banks for over decades it had been the practice of Chief Executives making all public announcements and the Chief Executive or the delegated Officer/Executive accepting trophies and gifts on behalf of the bank and the working staff. The Chairman and Directors were aware of their responsibilities, duties and their role in relation to the achievements of the working staff. But a new Chairman and Directors were appointed to a private bank not because the bank’s standing or financial position had been weakened but because the parent group had faced setbacks and the account holders of the bank in fear attempted to withdraw the deposits and the Central Bank’s timely intervention appointed new Directors and averted the situation. The bank apparently has made its customary progress and the indications are that the effort of the Chief Executive and the staff has been rewarded. Achievements are mobilized by the efforts of the branch staff and the Chief Executive and key officers that initiate the mobilizing effort. But in newspapers for sometime the new Chairman’s photograph appears on all related matters and takes the credit relating the achievements of the staff from public attention. If this trend continues perhaps before long the efforts of the staff may fall and progress and the success of the bank greatly affected.

The private banking culture and the spirit of private enterprise should prevail and for publicity and image angel portraying should be avoided by persons who are not accustomed to private enterprises.

Banking Vigilance

 

Lacking in basic amenities in Kotahena
The Municipal dispensary at Kotahena situated in a part of the market complex was demolished many months ago and the patients in and around Kotahena have to go to the dispensary at Gintupitiya walking a long distance. There are no signs of reconstruction of it. How long will the Municipality take to build the dispensary and serve the patients of the area?

In the adjacent building, which houses the library and reading room, there is no employee now to supervise the library and give out past newspapers of even few days old. Readers have to go to the Public Library in Cinnamon Gardens to refer to a copy of a past newspaper.
The upper floor where the reading room and the past newspapers are kept has no ventilation and gets very warm. The readers are put into great inconvenience as a result.

The cause of this is that the Municipality has not provided the necessary funds for the library’s maintenance.
It was during the time of Omar Kamil as the Mayor that this new building was opened, just before the last Municipal election. Kamal is now the Administrative Authority of the Council. Will Kamal look into these two matters and see that the building for the dispensary is put up soon and the dispensary to function without delay, and that the needs of the library and reading room are provided immediately?

Arul

 

Reminiscences of my brother Rajah Kumarasinghe

I recall down memory lane since my happy childhood
In uncorrectable ways you were the pride of true brotherhood
Never’ll the aches in my heart fade ‘n vanish away
Profound sorrow bitter heart burns’ll remain, forever sway.
Till memory fails your absence felt day after day
How much we miss you nor tears or words could ever say
Undying nostalgic memories stand engulfed in my painful heart
Par excellence you played lovingly many a heavy part, so smart.
Numerous awards won for extraordinary talents outstanding
Reputed boxer, a celebrity, teetotaler, integrity abounding
Though after a brief illness your demise bound belief
Loved ones aghast deeply stunned, we in unbearable grief.
Extended generous selfless hand to needy, less fortunate,
Without you they wouldn’t have become so fortunate
Regardless of reward meritorious deeds in silence for charity
Your sincere attitudes expecting unity, lucid harmony, no disparity
A few decades ago won prestigious titles for body building, weightlifting
Respected honoured personality cynosure of manhood over flowing
Never proud of achievements rare calibre unassuming
In you humble heart forgiveness, togetherness loving kindness soaring
May his only son, Roshan, with countless blessings of deities
For a fruitful life acqure his gentle father’s sterling qualities
A pillar of strength instructed many unto justice
Never pompous arrogant, ever ready by nature to sacrifice.
This sentimental tribute I owe with gratitude at least this way
Sathya sai devotee lives in cheer in your lips as you passed away
By virtue of myriad meritorious deeds performed in sansara
May you my loving brother attain the supreme bliss of Nirwana.

Kumari Kumarasinghe
Tennakoon

 

Appreciations

Sarath Ambepitiya
Civil society endures an irreparable loss
Many years ago, an eminent and highly respected Queens Counsel said “In the field of justice and fair play right is right and wrong is wrong….the two can never meet….To compromise the two takes an elastic conscience….such men should be shunned for they are the bane of society.’’ You stood firmly by this priceless saying and yet paid dearly for it. Five years beyond, that tragedy continues to be bravely borne by your grieving family, whilst civil society endures an irreparable loss. In an era where the once erect pillars at Hulftsdorp appear to be struggling to remain upright, you left behind a stamp of professional integrity worthy of both memory and emulation.
We salute you Sarath in death, as much as we admired and respected you in life. We continue to share the intense pain and heartache that your dear wife, Vajira and son, Sithira have endured since that fateful day in 2004.

May you attain Nirvana!
Your classmates
Royal College Group of 59

 

An ode to a sister - Sita
We did as many trips to Bharata Boomi
To tally with the voyages of Sinbad
Sometimes with others in tow
But more often - just you and I.
We worshipped.as many do
At all the renowned shrines
And went farther, where few go¬ –
Mookambikai, Mahanandhi at Nandiyal,
Shantha Durga, Athi Shankar / Sri Saratha and many more.
We took many a perilous risk -
At Hogenakal where the mighty Kaveri
Cascades from Karnataka into Tamil Nadu
You were keen on the mega boat ride
But couldn’t go down to the river;
I made you sit atop the crag
And inch by inch, helped you
Slide down to the Water’s edge
And into the enormous round “Vallam,”
Which spun wildly in the swift, swirling currents;
The booming rapids jettisoned a spray
Making the air cloudy - and oh so scary!
But we came home safe.
Boating in the deep, dark waters of Kodai Lake
We said to each other
It was a foolish risk when kith and kin
Knew not where we were -
But we came home safe.
Cruising on the Santa Monica in Goa
Down the River Manduvi, to where
The waters mingled with the Arabian Sea - and back,
In the gloaming hours and after -
But we came home safe.
A nasty fall in the temple city of Madurai
A row of twenty bikes came down with you
And again in Madras, on the side-walk of Mount Road,
But you sprang to your feet with never a bruise-
And we came home safe.
The last joyous trip together was in ’97
The cool, healing falls of Courtallam
Left you ironically with phlegm in the lungs
But we came home safe,
India, never again you said!
Years lapsed with nary a thought
Of the country we loved so much;
Then a few years ago you asked me
How about one last trip? I said No,
But, you went this year, without me And never, never came back.

Thilaha

 

G. Kalyanaratne
A prominent social worker
G. Kalyanaratne of Katukurunda, Pannipitiya, passed away recently. I came to know Kalyanaratne somewhere in 1985 and thereafter he became a friend. Thereafter, I met him frequently as he became a committee member of Vadihiti Nivasaya at Hokandara Road, Pannipitiya.
He was helping to the Buddhist temples in the area. At the same time he was a prominent figure in assisting Athu Perera Vedihiti Nivasaya. He was a religious minded person and had always been in calm mood. He was moving with his friends in a very cordial manner. In fact, I never expected his sudden death so soon. As a result of his sudden death we lost a sincere friend. Actually that type of people is very rare in the present day society.
May he attain the supreme bless of Nibbana!

M. G. Asoka Karunaratne
Pannipitiya

 

 

 

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