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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.

 

Debate on abortion
The article in The Nation Eye page 2 of February 7, 2010 prompts me to record my observations on how or why the author is promoting the criminal act of abortion:
1. What is abortion?
It is the illegal termination of a pregnancy or simply said, causing the death of a pulsating living human entity known as a foetus.
2. Who seeks abortion?

Invariably, the fairer sex whether spinsters or married are the victims of clandestine involvements resulting in the animal instinct overriding normal rational behaviour and being coerced or seduced by glittering promises even of wedded bliss and star spangled castles in the air.

When usurped, cry “foul” and worry about the social stigma of bearing an infant out of wedlock. Here then are the materials where the abortionist reaps a bountiful harvest in catering to these unfortunate beings.

Why should mankind move to mitigate such actions?
Wrong doers must suffer the consequences of their misdeeds. Legislature must hand out severe detrimental punishment. The print media can be instrumental in deterring rapists, if such people are pictured in print.
The author questions whether “The right of the mother too is violated, if she is not allowed to take a decision about her own body. Perhaps she does not see the woods because of the trees.

Illegal abortion has nothing to do with the mother’s body but is the termination or death of another living being tantamount to premeditated murder.
The mother’s body may be termed: “A victim of circumstances” of her own sensualities and vagaries. If cohabiting was ecstatic then the mother’s right is to bear the consequences and not jeopardise the infant in her womb.

However, it certainly is a strategic move to combat unsafe abortion if the four inter-related activities given as collating, developing, translating and assisting in the development of programmes and policies can take root.
I do not agree with the autosuggestion of “many religious extremists” being brought into the fray. All clergy whether Buddhist, Catholic, Hindu or Muslim will speak of good and identify that which is evil so that people may follow the precepts of wholesome living.

I am of opinion that Frances Kisling has been quoted out of context, qualified by the authors own interpretations.
Gender based violence, intimidation and harassment of women should be addressed at a different forum to determine means and methods of intervention and detrimental punishment for rapists; which, if severe enough, will remove the requirement of illegal abortions.

The print media regularly reports that young school going children are victims of rape.
Parents of these unfortunates should take the blame for negligence in having failed to execute their duties in safeguarding their offspring. Until and unless parents act with responsibility and protect their children they will end up being victims of rapists.

A. I. de Valliere
Colombo 5

 

Absurd law kills life
A guy lies on the highway or pathway victimised by some unfortunate incident, unconscious or unable to move himself apparently needing medical attention. A crowd gathers, watch the victim for themselves in his serious condition and murmur something. Yet, nobody ventures to save him by dispatching him to the nearest state hospital. Private hospital will never admit such cases as they will be forced to involve with the relevant or different departments unnecessarily.

Because the person who sympathetically attends to save a precious life will be interrogated by the law enforcing authorities in such a way that he would feel that he took a passing snake into his possession. Sometimes he has to attend the courts too while he is having his own problems to solve. Employers will show no mercy to their employees in attending to others’ matters by granting leave for them.

Owing to this pathetical reason such victims have succumbed as they were not immediately rushed to the hospital.
As the existing law relevant to this sad situation averts a citizen to help a fellow citizen at the time of the latter’s battle with his life. It is time that the Ministry of Justice nullifies this ludicrous law - a law that penalises a person who volunteers to assist a victim struggling with his life.

I published a letter on this matter requesting the authorities concerned to focus their attention to this in an English Daily in the year 1989. But after over 20 years I have to publish this letter due to the following reason.
Like in Sri Lanka, in India too such laws exist and as such nobody lends a helping hand to those who are dying on the roadside. This has been a great concern to the people there. People have died on public roads without being taken to hospital by anybody for fear of the law that compels the do-gooder to confront various problems.

While watching Indian news on their TV channel, I learnt about their Supreme Court annulling such laws thereby letting anyone to volunteer to take any victim to the nearest hospital and thereafter relieved of his responsibility and the state authorities to make their own investigations. Though late, a welcome decision to save future lives.
I strongly feel our government will consider what has been stated here and give the opportunity to the people to save the life of a human being struggling for his life as in India.

Nazly Cassim
Colombo 13

 

Scribbles on walls

After dropping my son at Zahira College, I was passing T. B. Jayah Mawatha aka Darley Road where I saw on the parapet wall the following text in Sinhala viz. “generalwa vahaa nidahas karanu” ( release the General immediately). And further down the road, I saw posters on the same wall and most of it were partly torn and disfigured. This letter is not a request to the government to release the General or otherwise, but to inform those scribbling on walls, poster-pasting to desist from doing so, as it is an eyesore. With the General Election scheduled to be held on the April 8, 2010, one can expect graffiti, posters and et al appearing on bus halts, walls, overhead bridges and every nook and corner. Hope the government will bring in stringent legislation by way of fine or imprisonment or both on the culprits for spoiling the beauty of the environment.

Mohamed Zahran
Colombo 3

 

Stones in kidney
S. R. Balachandran [Island 27.01.10] has documented symptoms to identify the presence of stone formations in the kidney and the key reasons for stone formations. In the Western medical treatment, the last option after drug and other applications will be the removal of the stones by surgery. But the writer is aware of an Ayurveda Physician in Kalutara South who has cured many patients with the dropping of the stones with the out flow of urine after the application of his own home made medicine.
Ayurveda Physician P. B. Samarasena, No. 98/A, Old Road, Kalutara South has cured Dr Arthur C. Clarke according to the written testimonial given by him and other letters given by several Western Medical Practitioners of the treatment and the cure without surgery. Writer is also aware that he is a pupil of the Ayurveda Physician late P. A. Odiris Perera who several decades ago cured with the dropping of the stones of many patients including a foreign Viennese Medical Specialist who was attached to the local hospital.
Thus, for stones in the kidney and for prostrate problems, those who are willing to trust the Ayurveda treatment without subjecting to immediate surgery could consult the Ayurveda Physician P.B.Samarasena. He could be contacted on Tel. Nos. 034-2224409 or 034-2236782 (residence telephone).

Kasi Silva

 

Give priority to the rural sector
I whole heartedly agree with Malin Abeyatunga (Nation of January 31, 2010) that the President should be more grateful to the rural sector and uplifting their living standard should be treated as the priority number one.
One mistake that the United Front Government. (1970-1977) did was to give priority to people who voted against them when giving jobs in banks and corporations. The final result was that the people who earlier voted for the UF Government and the opposition people who benefited from the government defeated the UF Government.
The war took 30 years. It is foolish to think of obtaining support from Tamils and Muslims at least for another 30 months. The Sinhala saying is “Thiena Hakura Rakagenna”.

Nimal Rajakarunanayake
Nugegoda

 

The morning after.....

My body lies over the ocean
My body lies over the sea
Incarnation in creativity
Rich..... in history.

Irene De Silva
Colombo 5

 

TRIBUTE

85th birthday of Sakuntala

Most senior SLFP woman member
December 16, was the 85th birthday of Sakuntala Tissainayagam, a direct descendant of King Sangili Kumaran, the last King of Jaffna. She was born on December 16, 1924. She is the daughter of the late T C Rajaratnam C.B.E., O.B.E., lawyer and statesman, founder member of the United National Party and Chairman of the C.W.E and the Chairman of the Ceylon Malayan Tobacco Company and the Chairman of the Ceylon American Mission. Her elder brothers were the late Justice T.Wanam Rajaratnam, former Judge of the Supreme Court and SLFP National List Member of Parliament and the late T.J.Rajaratnam, High Court Judge.

She is the widow of C.R.Tissainayagam, a Civil Engineer who was later the Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Highways. Her only son Mohan Tissainayagam is the Managing Director of International Distillers (IDL), a classical music enthusiast who has sponsored Art in Sri Lanka. Her eldest daughter Devika is married to Dr.Vaithiasegeram who has a medical practice in New Jersey.Her younger daughter Menaka is married to Dr Mahan Selvaratnam.

Sakuntala had her early education at Uduvil Girls School and graduated in Arts. Possessed with a pleasing personality and strong willed, she administered her estates with a firm dominating smile whilst expressing a soft tone in her speech which is never declined. For her, the role of lifestyle is her son. Her son, according to her, could do no wrong. Her son was always right. She would be furious with anyone who would contradict her son.

Sakuntala has been a social worker, a silent friend who is available to anyone in distress. She has helped so many from Avissawella where her father started his practice and the Canal Row in Wellawatte where her father had a mansion.

Anyone in that area would know her as ‘Engineer Nona’ as her husband was an engineer. The ‘Engineer Nona’ was a close associate of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. In fact, Mackie and Barnes Ratwatte (Mrs.Bandaranaike’s brothers) had often visited the Tissainayagams at 22, Canal Lane, Colombo 6 during the turbulent times experienced by the Bandaranaike family. Until the 1983 riots she lived with her family at No.22, Canal Lane, Colombo 6. When her house was attacked by the mob, she voluntary opened the doors of the house for the mob to take everything. The house was later sold and given to charity to the very mob that attacked her house. When she was queried as to why she did it she said they need the money more than we do. She now lives with her son at Queens Road, Colombo 3. She has been blessed for her charity. She is the most Senior SLFP woman member alive.

Giving is a placid kind of river
In which one bathes to exercise the heart.
Underneath the smile of the giver
Lies deep an unsuspected sunken treasure
In channels far too changeable to chart.

Charity is like an unsung anthem
Harmonising everything we see.
A gift can be a work of silent witness,
Remembrance, reverence, unsought forgiveness,
Intention, labour, time, philanthropy.
The worth is measured only by redemption,
Yielding nothing but the grace to be.

Dr Levins T.C.Rajaratna

 

Appreciations

The Dr P. R. Anthonis I knew

An exceptional surgeon with modest ways

I had the privilege of getting to know the late Deshamanya Dr P. R. Anthonis personally, when I took my father for medical treatment in the mid 1990s. Incidentally, my father and Dr P. R. Anthonis were almost of the same age being in their mid 80s during that period. Amazingly, Dr Anthonis was looking so much younger for his age. I wish to relate an incident when my father was in need of urgent medical treatment, Dr Anthonis advised me to take my father direct to Ratnam’s Hospital so that he could call over no sooner a special function which he was to preside, was over. When he rushed to the hospital and met us thereafter, the first thing he mentioned in an apologetic manner was, “I am so sorry for being late, I just could not get out of the function earlier than this” and he rushed towards my father. It was close to mid-night and to my surprise, he lifted my father from the bed and asked me to give a helping hand to get him over to the operating table, to attend to the urgent medical treatment, without making any attempt to call for an attendant. This proved not only his confidence as an outstanding doctor both physically and mentally fit at an age of 85, but also his genuine desire to attend to a patient in distress, and also his exemplarily quality of humility and sincerity.

Born on January 21, 1911, his academic achievements were of par excellence and he still holds the record of obtaining the highest number of prizes at St Peter’s College as well as at the Medical College Colombo. In 1945, he proceeded to the United Kingdom where he was successful in the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, passing both primary and final examinations in the first sitting, thereby not only creating a record at the Royal College of Surgeons but also became the youngest Fellow of the College. Further, Dr Anthonis’ contributions to the nation as a whole are most outstanding. He was Chancellor of the University of Colombo from 1981 to 2003 (longest served Chancellor), conferred the highest National Honour, Deshamanya in 1986 and then bestowed with the title, Vishwa Prasadini. The College of General Practitioners of Sri Lanka presented Dr P.R. Anthonis the ‘Pride of the Medical Profession of Sri Lanka Award’ in 2005, the highest award one could achieve in the medical career in Sri Lanka.

Until his demise, the late Deshamanya Dr P.R. Anthonis was a member of the Board of Governors of the Colombo YMBA. He became a member of the Board of Trustees of the Bambalapitiya Vajiraramaya Temple. Being a neighbour to the Vajirarama Temple, he immensely contributed towards this valuable Buddhist institution well known for the propagation of Buddhism worldwide. As a matter of appreciation and gratitude for his outstanding services to the nation and to the Vajirarama Temple Bambalapitiya, we, the Board of Trustees, obtained his consent to award scholarships to bright and deserving GCE AL students of five schools in the neighbourhood of Vajirarama Temple under ‘Deshamanya Dr P. R. Anthonis Scholarship Awards’. He most willingly accepted our request. The Board of Trustees was successful in awarding 150 of scholarships awards in two years amounting to over Rs 1.00 million. Some of the key sponsors included Deshamanya H.K. Dharmadasa and Dr Lohitha Samarawickrama, Deshamanya Emeritus J. B. Dissanayake and Prof T. Hettiarachchi, two former Vice Chancellors of the University of Colombo.

His simplicity and modesty in spite of achieving such high standards in academics, Noble Profession as the best Surgeon in Sri Lanka and his invaluable services to the University Administration and other various associations for several decades, did not change him, and was still the humble person ever willing to help any person in need of assistance irrespective of his or her social standing.
Even with rapid modernisation of the automobile industry, he still preferred to use his Morris Minor until his demise, setting an example how one could be happy and have a crystal clear mind, if one acts according to his conscience and firmly stand by principles and ethics in life.

Incidentally, even at the age of 98, he was carrying out complicated operations very successfully. In his last wish, it is also understood that he had made a special request to make his funeral arrangements as simple as possible. This is how he lived his entire life being humble and simple until his demise at the age of 99 years and 11 months.
The Late Dr P.R. Anthonis in his sansaric journey has no doubt accumulated much good Karma in previous births which gave him the opportunity to live such a precious life with outstanding services to the society. The late Dr P. R. Anthonis did set an exemplarily example not only to the persons of his noble profession, but also to all others whom he knew, being a unique citizen of Mother Lanka of the present era.

May he attain Nibbana!
Anura Serasingha
Colombo 8

 

The Reverend Fr. Dalston Forbes, OMI

A priest with great ecumenical vision

Death has taken away from us our ecumenical friend Fr. Dalston.
Before I had the great joy of meeting him I had learnt about his academic achievements. As students at the University of Peradeniya we were aware that Fr. Dalston had obtained a First Class Pass in his BA (Cey.) doing a General Degree. The rest is history about this wonderful Priest of God.
Although he was at Ampitiya as Rector and I was in the Anglican Diocese of Kurunegala till 1989, I did not really get to know him.

It was when I had to move to Colombo that I struck a friendship with Fr. Dalston. His brother Ray who adorned our Foreign Service was my neighbour at Bauddhaloka Mawatha. So I was introduced to Fr. Dalston when he was at Mattakkuliya. From then onwards till his death I kept in touch with him.

I do not consider myself a theologian but Fr. Dalston taught me to think theologically and invited me to work with him in the Sri Lanka Association of Theology (SLAT). Thus I got to know him very well.
Although our two Churches left the Western Catholic Latin Church at the same time, with the English Reformation and the Counter Reformation, the two Churches had a number of issues dividing them. However, Fr. Dalston’s discipleship was such that he was prepared to break the rules and participate in Anglican and ecumenical acts of worship.

As the Dean of our Cathedral in Colombo I was thus able to invite him not only to preach the Word of God but also to co-celebrate and preside at the Eucharist with me. On all those occasions I invited him to give the formal blessing. Such was Fr. Dalsoton’s ecumenical vision.
He was also a regular participant at the Annual May Day Mass of the Christian Workers Fellowship, (CWF). In this, he followed the example set by that great Bishop Leo Nanayakkara.
As I read his obituary in the newspapers I went to Kohuwela to say my farewell to this great friend. I was sad not only in that I’ve lost a friend but in a sense he was alone in that Chapel for there was no one to keep vigil.
However, thank you Fr. Dalston for your ecumenical vision. We shall miss you in this age of division.
May he rest in peace and rise in glory! Amen!

Sydney Knight

 

 

 

 

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