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|Faces that destroy natural beauty
Natural beauty is a need for the mental health of a society. Walls
and fences are used as boundaries for protection of houses,
institutions and business premises. Lampposts too are a main
infrastructure needed by the society to provide light during the
absence of natural sunlight. All these infrastructures cost money
and are necessary part of our day-to-day life. People work hard to
colour wash these structures in order to keep them clean and
pleasant to look at. Unfortunately today most walls and lampposts
are decorated with the posters of those who are contesting in the
upcoming election. Most of these faces are of those known to the
society by way of newspapers, or television.
The funniest part of it is the fact that most of those photos on
the posters have been taken at least 10 years ago. Most of the grey
hairs and the wrinkles are hidden. Why should one go to the extent
of putting up pretty pictures on the walls, is it another way of
saying that they know that the rest of the community is stupid
enough to vote based on the good looks?
Please spend this money instead to tell the people as to what
your vision is for our country, which you yourselves have almost
ruined. The public is more interested to know as to what you plan to
do in your electorate, because their children are hungry and without
much hope. Please do not try to insult the public by assuming that
they are fooled by your good looks.
Looking at faces of people that they consider to have ruined your
lives is a huge stress on them. So for better mental health of the
society, please remove all your smiling faces from the walls, fences
Dr (Mrs) Ajantha Perera
Chairperson, Association for Consumer Action
|Presidential Poll Result - An SLFP Victory
Prof. Wiswa Wamapala’s (P.W.W.) piece with the above title in one of
our popular dailies is to my mind the best piece of writing on the
Elections of January 2010 .
This writer is personally happy with P.W.W.’s thinking since he and
the present writer are two of the four who read Political Science at
Peradeniya of the Batch of 1960. All of them sat at the feet of
Peradeniya’s Greats A. J. Wilson and H. A. de S. Gunasekera. That
Political science Batch also had the Asia Foundation Visiting
Lectrurer from the U.S. Dr. George Lerski of Polish origins who had
to leave Poland because he was a Jew.
My response to P.W.W.’s contribution on this subject of January
Elections and S.L.F.P. victory is as follows.
I fully endorse P.W.W’s thinking. After all in 1956 still at school
we did applaud the M.E.P. victory of that year.
That writer Tarzie Vitachchi said it all in his work “THE BROWN
SAHIB”. Although Ceylon gained Independence from the British in 1948
it could be said that it was not a true Independence. For a class of
persons prepared by the British through their Education provided in
Public Schools were the Leaders of 1948, and thereafter for a few
Ceylon’s earliest Prime Ministers D. S. Senanayake and his son
Dudley and thereafter Sir John Kotelawala all came from the same
class in society. On the other hand in 1956 S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike
although from the same class of leaders of the 1948 - 1956 period
was the chairperson of the Sinhala Maha Sabha. Thus he had his feet
on the ground where Ceylon was concerned. Also as the Minister of
local Government in the State Council of 1936 he was in touch with
the Ceylon of his day.
So the M.E.P. of 1956 with the support of the Forces that Howard
Wriggins refers to in his book, the Sinhala Village School Teacher,
The Ayurvedic Physician, The Notary Public, The Buddhist Monk, the
Peasant, The Worker and the Student won the Elections of that year.
It was a coalition known as the M.E.P. which had the S.L.F.P. The
V.L.S.S.P. and the RP,.
The year 1956 saw the Postal Peon Themis winning one of the three
seats in Colombo Central. D. G. William of the L.S.S.P. Chief Waiter
at the G.O.H. in the Senate.
The silent Revolution of 1956 with the use of the ballot made the
Sinhalese in the south regain the Independence that they lost in
1505 when the Portuguese arrived in Ceylon.
The Parliament of 1956 produced therefore the Paddy Lands Bill and
the opening of Banks known as The People’s Bank.
Sadly, in 1956 because of it’s slogan “Sinhala Only within 24
hours” helped only the Sinhalese to regain Independence. However, S.
W. R. D. Bandaranaike attempted to make Tamil also with the
Bandaranaike Chelvanayagam Pact. But, because of the pressure the
Buddhist Monks and the J. R. Jayawardene led Opposition,
Bandaranaike tore up the Pact to please the Buddhist Sangha.
Since the break down of the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam Pact there
have been other attempts to address the issues of the minorities.
For example the Dudley Senanayake Chelvanayagam Pact. Sadly, none of
these Government made pacts were implemented because of the failure
of the Opposition to support the Government of the Day to solve the
problems of the minorities.
Sadly, in 1971 Front failed to listen to the cry of the southern
youth who took to arms and attempted to crush them. The rest is
As I write this response I am aware of the news of the night of the
8th of February 2010. The arrest of General Sarath Fonseka.
In the backdrop of the 26 of January 2010 Polls as P.W.W. rightly
states the S.L.F.P. won the battle. Of the 14 million voters 10
million voted and out of the 10 million, 6 million cast their
ballots for Mahinda Rajapakse and 4 million for Sarath Fonseka. The
4 million voters were from the North except for Kayts the Eastern
Province, the Vanni Colombo and Nuwara Eliya.
What does this S.L.F.P. victory mean in the context of the realities
and the brokenness of Sri Lanka today?
Moreover, another popular daily has carried the Banner Headline
“Mahanayake Decries Fonseka’s Arrest”. How will the S.L.F.P. victory
of January 2010 handle/manage this new reality.
Can the S.L.F.P. victory overcome all these problems?
This essay is in the nature of an engagement and not meant to be of
the type of confrontation. Therefore, may we the people of Sri Lanka
who are part of the problem and therefore part of the solution rise
above petty party politics and resolve all our problems in such a
manner that all our people from Point Pedro in the North to Dondra
Head in the South, can live in peace, with justice for all.
|Billboards on pavement
day as I walked on the pavement along Havelock Road, Colombo 5, I
was horrified when I had to stop for a billboard of a politico which
had been erected on the pavement blocking the pedestrian movement.
In recent times, billboards have been springing up on one’s own
front yard without any consideration for either the pedestrian or
environment. This, however, takes the cake! Slap-bang, right in the
middle of the pavement.
The public has every right to know who gave permission for this
board to be erected. Is it the CMC? Or is the RDA? Or is it the high
handed action of the politico himself! Whichever it is, these are
State Agencies which are supposed to look after the welfare and
safety of pedestrians. Are they doing their job?
R. de Silva
|Public servants and politics
A public servant or a state official is an employee of the state
paid from the Consolidated Fund or the State. Accordingly, a staff
grade officer in the public service, an ambassador (political
appointees inclusive), a consultant attached to a ministry or the
Presidential Secretariat, technically, fall into the public servant
category. Such state employees cannot engage in political activities
in terms of the Public Service Regulations. They are not political
party employees. It has to be so to ensure that they discharge their
duties without favouritism, discrimination and political bias. When
public servants and law enforcement officers have political bias
with allegiance to political parties, they cannot act independently
and as a result the public will suffer and justice will not prevail.
It is no secret that public servants, police personnel and
members of the armed forces directly and indirectly involved
themselves in party political activities at the last Presidential
Election. In fact, police officers had put up cut-outs in front of
police stations under their names. Disciplinary action should be
taken against all such public servants, police personnel and members
of the armed forces, whoever they are, whether they were engaged in
political activities for the government parties or the opposition
parties. Otherwise, it will amount to political victimisation of one
category whilst extending favoured treatment to others who have done
the same. Nevertheless, it does not seem to be happening as it
should. It appears that only those who worked for the opposition
candidate are being penalised which is unjust and unfair whilst
undermining public service discipline. Then again, that in turn,
amounts to breach of discipline by heads of departments and
government institutions, due to their failure to take action against
those engaged in political activities for the government party. All
public servants, police personnel and members of the armed forces
should be treated alike and there should be no favouritism or
discrimination shown, otherwise, the already politicised public
service will go from bad to worse and the country will suffer.
Due to political patronage, corruption and indiscipline have
taken root in the public service and political henchmen rule the
roost. The President should intervene immediately to stop the rot.
Upali S. Jayasekera
|Parliamentary elections and violence
I agree with the salient points raised in your editorial of February
14. As you have pointed out, we have to bear in mind the economic
development of the country. It cannot be achieved without political
stability. This is the need of the hour.
We are going to have a parliamentary election before the New Year.
To conduct a peacefully election there should be a serene
The arrest of Gen. Fonseka has created ill-feeling in both camps
and it is increasing day by day.
The present agitations, protests and other political activities
going on all over the country has caused much damage to property,
injury to people and even deaths.
This, in return, is ruining the economy apart from the political
As advised and advocated by the Mahanayakes of all Nikayas and other
religious leaders, Gen. Fonseka should be released without delay.
We have passed about 62 years since Independence from foreign
rule and therefore, we are a mature nation. The political leaders
should follow the example of other independent countries like India,
England, Pakistan, and think of our beloved country forgetting our
political differences. The leaders of all political parties are all
experienced mature leaders and should act wisely.
The President is requested to direct all concerned to create the
atmosphere to conduct a peaceful election.
V. K. B. Ramanayake
|An innovative idea
Today morning, on my way to office, I noticed at the end of T.B.
Jayah Mawatha (formerly known as Darley Road) towards Maradana, a
display board with the entire date set for the month of January, a
macro version similar to what you see in a 12 page dates only wall
calendar, installed on the pavement. This board has the name of a
janitorial company on the top and for the border luminous, multi-coloured
sticker has been pasted. I think that it would have better if the
display panel is installed at eye-level of an adult and not on the
ground as it has been done now. Hope the advertising agency / the
company responsible for handling this advertising will take note to
either install it at eye-level or slightly enlarge the display panel
for the ensuing months. Anyway, a novel idea, for passers-by to know
Bishop Swithin Fernando
A pastor par excellence
Bishop Swithin left us in early December 2009.
Had he lived, on January 12, this year he would have been 92 years
I first met Bishop Swithin in 1965 when I was a student at the then
Divinity School at Bullers Road and the Bishop was the Vicar of St
Michael’s, Polwatte. Since then I have been in touch with the
Bishop. Since my ordained life began in the Diocese of Kurunegala,
when I was in Kandy and other places of the Diocese, I used to meet
However, it was when I moved to Colombo in 1989 that I really got
to know him. He and his late wife Gwen were part of the Cathedral
Family, where I worked.
In fact, he was the Assistant Curate at the Cathedral when I was the
Dean. During those years he was my spiritual adviser. So I used to
spend a lot of time with him. Bishop Swithin was a very good
listener. A Pastor par excellence. Whenever, he knew that I was
feeling low, he came to visit me, spend time with me and never leave
without anointing me with oil. In fact, he used to tell my staff at
Kithu Sevana to give me a hot cup of malted milk for me to sleep
well. Such was this man of God.
He was all this and much more, because of his inner life and
spirituality, Bishop Swithin with some of us still alive belonged to
the old Anglican formation, which nurtured us and moulded us in the
saying of the Daily Office.
We were brought up, to ring the bell and say morning prayers and
evening prayers. The Bishop never missed the Daily Office. When I
was at the Cathedral he used to be with us when we said our Morning
Bishop Swithin had his early education at Prince of Wales,
Moratuwa where he completed the London Matriculation. His Anglican
Formation was at the Colombo Divinity School. He was made a Deacon
in 1942 by Bishop Douglas Horseley. In 1944, he was appointed a
priest by Bishop Packhenham Walsh. Bishop Swithin was ordained
before the formation of the Kurunegala Diocese. So he began his
ordained life in Kandy. Thereafter he worked in Galle and Baddegama.
He was in Gampola when the Diocese of Kurunegala was formed. Thus he
was a part of the clergy of that Diocese in 1950. Of all the clergy
present at the Trinity College Chapel on February 2, 1950, Bishop
Swithin is the last one to leave us.
From Gampola he moved to the Diocese of Colombo and served in
Borella and Polwatte.
From Polwatte he went on study leave to England. He was made the
Archdeacon of Colombo in 1971 by Bishop Cyril. He succeeded Bishop
Cyril in 1978. On his retirement in 1987 he was made Canon
One of the many things that I will treasure about Bishop Swithin is
the time we used to spend after the Eucharist on weekdays. In
keeping with strict Anglican discipline we did not speak till the
Eucharist was over. We used to meet outside the Chapel of Joseph the
Holy Carpenter at the Cathedral. Whenever cricket was being played
Gwen used to give us all the latest scores.
Thank you Bishop for having been there for me when I needed a
person. You were there.
Our prayers are for John and his family.
May the soul of the Bishop Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory. Amen!
A pleasant gentleman
Paranavithana of Mahal Varava passed away recently. He was an
ex-member of the Municipal Council, Boralesgamuwa. His father came
from Galle and built a house at Pannipitiya. They are related to the
late Senarath Paranavithana, a leading figure in Sri Lanka.
Asoka Paranavithana was a religious person who was a devoted patron
of the Buddhist temples in the area. He always had a pleasant
smiling face and I have never seen him in an angry mood. I knew him
for nearly 20 years.
At the latter stages he fell sick. Asoka Paranavithana is no more.
We cannot forget him easily as we never expected his sudden death.
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana!
M. G. Asoka Karunaratne
|Dr Gamini Attygalle
A gentleman with sterling qualities
It is very sad to
learn of the demise of a very outstanding gentleman with sterling
qualities and a Medical Practitioner. He hailed from the very noble
aristocratic Attygalle Family in Ratnapura.
He was educated at Wesley College, Colombo 8. He excelled in his
studies, sports and other extra curricular activities in college. He
was successful in the University Entrance and he entered the Ceylon
Medical College, Colombo 8 for his Medical Studies. He got through
the MBBS (UK) and specialised in Anaesthetics. He served as a
Medical Practitioner in several provincial hospitals and Colombo
General Hospital, and treated patients very kindly which is a very
rare quality. He got married to one of the daughters of a very
respectable family in Miriswatte Walawwe, Kamburupitiya, Matara
namely, D. Walter Wijewardane and Kalyane Wijesinghe Wijewardane.
The couple has very outstanding son, Dhammika Attygalle, who is a
group Director of Upali Group of Companies which was founded by his
very patriotic charismatic and illustrious fearless uncle late Upali
Phillip Wijewardane, whose prestigious name known the world over.
The late Gamini Attygalle did social, cultural and religious
services to the community in the areas concerned. His illustrious
patriotic and charismatic son Dhammika Attygalle renders great
services to the area, community and Kelaniya Rajamaha Viharaya,
Kelaniya whose family the custodians of the Rajamaha Viharaya for
generations since the Dutch period.
May he be born among us till he achieves Nibbane in his journey in
Annicavata sankhara. Uppada vaya dhammino
Uppajjitva nirujjhanti - Tesam vupasamo sukko. – Dhammapada
Transient alas are all component things
Subject are they to birth - and then decay
Having gained birth to death, the life flux swings
Bliss dawns when unrest dies away.
Capt. L .B. Lanka (Wilbawe) Jayaratne
Mrs. Iranganiedevi Seneviratne Jayaratne
Priest Samuel Patrick
He led the Tamil chant
On World Cancer Day - February 4, 2010 - with its slogan ‘Cancer
can be prevented too’, SP as we called our very much loved colleague
in the ordained ministry was called Home. SP joins the many who have
died because of this terminal illness.
I first met SP when I as the Director of our Cathedral Institute
had to meet him since he sought ordination in the Diocese of
Colombo. This meeting with SP led to the Bishop’s Ministerial
Advisory Committee (MAC) seeing him. We discerned that SP had a
sense of vocation. It was our recommendation that he shall go to our
ecumenical Theological College for formation. At that point SP
wanted time to reflect on his life/vocation etc. This he was
In the meantime, we had a new Bishop. SP was seen by him and the
rest is SP’s story as a member of the ordained ministry, as a
Non-Stipendiary Minister (NSM). By the time SP began his formal
training as a NSM I had moved from the Cathedral. However, being one
of the Examining Chaplains, I was invited by those responsible for
activities to teach SP and his batch Liturgy and Worship. Looking
back to those classes I wonder as to who taught whom and who learnt
what and from whom. SP was a good student, very keen to learn and he
brought to the class his life’s lay experience of being a faithful
member of his parish church in Polwatte.
SP walked the talk for he certainly was a jewel in the crown of
the area of Gospel and Culture. With his God given gift of music he
led worship in a very relevant manner. He had a good voice and led
the Tamil chant beautifully. He also composed music, words etc.
Of the three in his batch, he was the only one who did the practical
assignment I had set the class as part of Liturgy/Worship.
Despite his very responsible work at Senok and the need to take
care of his wife, her mother and also his sisters, SP made time for
Polwatte. SP never ever said ‘no’ to work. From Monday to Saturday
morning it was at Senok. The weekend was for Polwatte. SP also took
weekday services and Bible Studies.
SP was full of life. He always had a smile and a word for all those
whom he met in church. By invitation I was part of the Polwatte Team
for months in the 2006 - 2008 periods. SP was a great team man. He
always appreciated something well done.
During those years at Polwatte I suffered from depression and SP
was a wonderful friend in need. He was always keen to make certain
that I was happy in my cottage and that I had a good meal etc. I
found it hard to accept SP’s illness. SP’s ordained ministry was
only from 2006. But as a lay person he was a servant of God in his
home parish of Polwatte.
Since he was by profession an Accountant he was used by his
church in this area too. He also served this church as a Youth
Chaplain. SP was a good Pastor, a very keen student always willing
to learn. He had his own inner life. On Sundays at Polwatte he was
there long before the time of the Service to be still and know that
there is a God. He was also proficient in all three languages.
SP I am sure that when you slipped into that deep sleep never to get
up again you would have heard those words “Well done SP”.
Not only will Polwatte miss you. But all of us of the community of
the Ordained also, for you were a very caring person.
Shirani and her mother and SP’s sisters will always be in our
thoughts and prayers.
May your portion SP this day be in peace and the dwelling in the
May you rest in peace and rise in glory!