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|H.R.M. Awards - 2010
What about awards to union leaders
The widest publicity has been given in the print and electronic
media to ‘The H.R.M. Awards 2010’, which is being organised by the
Association of H.R. Professionals of Sri Lanka in partnership with
The H.R. Professionals have to continuously and persistently face
many challenges and have an unenviable task of maintaining a balance
between the corporate objectives and the aspirations of employees
which are manifested through the union leaders. The H.R.
Professionals and Trade Union Leaders have reciprocal
responsibilities and obligations. Human Resources Management and
Development is not the sole monopoly of H.R. Professionals.
It is a fact that in Sri Lanka trade unions which were intended
to protect the workers, regrettably became tools in the hands of
self-seeking selfish individuals, some of whom have not hesitated to
sacrifice the country and workers. However, there have been and
there are today union leaders who have acted in an exemplary manner
in the performance of their roles as union leaders. Some have acted
with admirable restraint, adhering to a code of ethics and a code of
moral rectitude. With their exemplary conduct of the union
activities, they have ensured industrial peace, while effectively
facilitating social integration. The P.,R. Professionals, who are to
be rewarded and recognised, would not have achieved this if not for
the peaceful labour environment. It is accepted without any dispute
that harmonious industrial relations is vital for increased
production and Human Resource Development. Some union leaders, I am
aware, have in fact innovated strategies to conciliate and placate
their membership and prevailed on them to act with responsibility,
particularly during the period enterprises were experiencing the
global economic crisis which caused untold pain of mind to employees
and their families. Some union leaders have co-operated with
Management during the economic recession and consequent
restructuring of business operations in an admirable way.
While it is appropriate and fitting to recognise the H.R.
Professionals and reward them for their efforts, there should be a
way of also recognising and rewarding those union leaders who have
made a significant contribution to the process of Human Resources
Development and National Development. What is needed today is not so
much adversarial trade unions but a sense of partnership in economic
enterprises which inevitably will lead to Human Resources and
National Development. The efforts of the union leaders who have
contributed towards this in an exemplary and admirable way should be
recognised and rewarded. Accordingly the Association of H.R.
Professionals and the Sri Lanka Institute of Personnel Management
should endeavour to identify the union leaders who have excelled in
their roles and arrange to appropriately recognise and reward their
Sqn. Ldr. J. T. Rex Fernando, SLAF. Retd
|President’s help sought
I have a
few times watched on Action TV the gross negligence or don’t care
attitude of some government officials despite of directives from the
Presidential Secretariat instructing them for necessary action.
Since I have fallen into such a state, I am publishing this open
letter for the kind attention of the President anticipating prompt
I published two letters in an English newspaper in April 2005 and
August 2007 drawing the attention of the authorities concerned about
the intense heat inside the Public Library - Kotahena, describing it
to be a ‘furnace’ even around 6 p.m. The cause being the roof is
concrete and all four sides of the wall are exposed to the sun and
the front side windows covered with glasses. The visitors including
children and the staff could be seen often mopping their sweats
exuding from their faces and hands. Fans are fitted but they add
more misery to that warmly enclosure.
I suggested that the glasses be removed and windows be fitted with
wire mesh so that not only the heat would get dispelled but also the
wind that blows from the Hettiyawatte Port area would enter making
As usual, ‘officers at the top’ in the CMC did not take any action
to make the necessary changes. Thereafter, I have written to many
officials regarding this matter.
This matter has been dragging on though I have spent my much time
and money without success to get this library ventilated.
After all, if we cannot finally get anything reasonable done by the
PS where else are we to go? Simultaneously, it is imperative that
the President call for an explanation for this inordinate delay.
|Shortfalls in labelling requirements
I understand that according to the labelling requirements of the
Food Act and Consumer Protection Act in Sri Lanka, it is sufficient
to declare the ‘generic’ name of an ingredient in a food item
instead of the specific name.
A classic example to quote in this regard is where the term
‘emulsifier’/ ‘stabiliser’ is used instead of the specific name
‘gelatine’ by practically all the manufacturers of curd, yoghurt and
some ice-creams in Sri Lanka.
Practising vegetarians the world over including those Buddhists and
Hindus in Sri Lanka would not knowingly consume any product that
contains ‘gelatine’ and /or ‘animal’ rennet (in contrast to
vegetarian or microbial rennet) as found in most brands of cheese
available in Sri Lanka.
I would like to also highlight the fact that it is unfortunate
that many vegetarians are not aware of the fact that gelatine and
rennet are slaughter house by-products, viz, gelatin being obtained
from animal bones, connective tissue and tendons of animals that are
slaughtered while the rennet used in the manufacture of cheese
unless it is specified as of plant/microbial origin, is obtained
from the stomach of killed calves!
In developed countries such as the United Kingdom (UK), Australia,
the United States of America (USA), Singapore etc., all the popular
consumable ‘dairy’ and other products detail/list all the
ingredients used in those products, with particular reference to
gelatine and rennet.
I, therefore, appeal/urge that our Authority of the Food Act and
Consumer Protection Act insists that every ingredient used in the
products manufactured in Sri Lanka, with particular reference to
dairy products such as curd, yoghurt, cheese and ice cream, is
listed for otherwise bona-fide/practising vegetarians would be
consuming gelatine and/or animal rennet for no fault or sin of
Professor M. Sivasuriya
|Pronunciation and meaning of Etisalat
A dawn of a new era has arrived in Sri Lanka as the United Arab
Emirate’s telecom giant launched their brand Etisalat in the local
market. The launch was preceded with the logo only (minus the name
and the pay-off line), which is called a teaser campaign in
advertising parlance, printed in the background of the news items
appearing in the newspapers. This culminated with the front pages of
most of the newspapers being printed in two shades of green which
are the corporate logo colours of the telecom company on the day of
the launch. Many of the readers would have thought that the
newspapers have changed the format/colours or could have got the
impression that it was part of the forthcoming election campaign for
the opposition party.
This letter is written, of course, to convey the meaning and the
most appropriate pronunciation for the information of the announcers
of the electronic media in particular and others who may be
interested. Many of the readers will not know the correct
pronunciation because the word is, of Arabic origin. The meaning of
“Etisalat” is “communications” and should be pronounced as “Ith thi
saa laat”. It’s currently pronounced as “Athisalaat” by all the
announcers of both radio and TV. One may argue that it is a proper
noun and that a variation doesn’t matter but if one is aware of the
correct version why not pronounce it right.
Our media has reported “but sadly only a handful of Trinitians
were present in the grounds to witness the victory. Not even the
school boarders were present.”
These words were stated in the context of the recently concluded
Trinity/Thomian cricket match.
The present writer as a boarder remembers travelling in the old
Trinity bus with Banda of Blessed Memory at the wheel to Mt. Lavinia
to witness the Trinity/Thomian cricket match of that year. He can
still picture Nimal Maralanda who captained that team coming to the
bus and thanking us boarders for having come for the match. On the
Trinity side that XI had other than Nimal Maralanda, Malsiri
Kurukulasuriya, Senaka de Chickera, Canto Pieris and Jayantissa
Ratwatte just to mention the five persons who were awarded the
coveted Trinity Lion that year. On the Thomian side it was Michael
Tissera and his boys.
That Saturday morning, on which we travelled to Mt. Lavinia, The
Daily News of that day carried a banner headline on the sports page
‘Roles bowls the Thomians out.’ If Arasaratnam who had moved from
Mt. Lavinia to Kandy had not dropped that vital catch the Thomians
would have been all out on Friday.
In 1959, this writer as a Monitor in charge of one of the boarding
houses in the Junior School had to take all the Junior School
boarders to Asgiriya to watch every match.
The culture that was prevalent when this writer was in school has
certainly changed. For in 2007 when the Trinitians played the
Thomians at Mt. Lavinia, this writer went to watch the match. He met
the then Principal Rod Gilbert of Trinity and asked him why as to
only the parents of the boys playing were at the match and not the
boys of Trinity?
However, several old boys like Douglas Nethasinghe, Ana
Paranavitarana and Balasuriya were there.
Can today’s Trinity go back to the ways of the boys of the good old
days of the school and be there to support their cricket team? Can
this be done? Is today’s Trinity capable of doing that?
C. E. P. Kumarasinghe
115th Birth Anniversary of my
I recall down memory lane ever since my happy childhood
Monumental patience sacrificial attitude perfect fatherhood.
A guiding star radiating values, a touch of rare dignity
Like a fountain quenching thirst, to me eldest of ten siblings, a
Ninety three fruitful years, well past Biblical Span nonagenarian,
Par excellence performed seven stages indomitable spirit
Admirable sterling qualities adorned many grateful generations,
Yeoman service standing monuments seventy-five years, in field of
Dedicated veteran teacher, strict disciplinarian, remarkable
A legend in your time versatile in Latin, French, English,
Mathematics, a journalist
Old Richmondite under Rev. Small, Devout Buddhist exemplary
Gifted talents rare calibre, genius genuine integrity.
A popular name from eighteen to ninety three milestone sans
An epitome of simplicity in brilliance, personality worthy of
Symbol of commitment, polymath enriched countless illustrious,
Without you they would have lost their way, gone astray.
Divine heart soaring Tolerance, Forgiveness, Togetherness
Imprinted in sands of time seeds of your Righteousness
Until your demise flocking together we’re birds of a feather
We’re today how you nurtured us to be loving and respecting each
Two days before your departure to blissful eternity peacefully
I sat beside you feeding something you relished cheerfully.
Like a minstrel angel overflowing with immense adoration
I recollect your blessings still guiding me amidst relaxation.
Pedagogue at Ananda, Nalanda, Trinity Colleges, Principal Kosgama
M.V. decades ago
Devoted noble profession, vital personal matters had to forego
On your l15th birth anniversary with profound obeisance, huge debt
I offer this humble tribute at thy sacred feet with great magnitude.
Castle of fame built by 3-D Syndrome Determination, Diligence,
Reputed Samaritan regardless of reward, unstinted principles in
By virtue of myriad meritorious deeds performed in Sansara
May you my beloved father attain the Supreme Serenity of Nirvana!
By Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon
A forthright and fearless
Dr H.N.S.Karunatilake, former Governor of the Central Bank of Sri
Lanka is no more. He passed away, peacefully, at his residence in
Colombo on Sunday, January 24, 2010. His funeral took place on
Thursday, January 28, amidst a large and distinguished gathering of
current and former Central Bank staff, professionals and his
Dr Karunatilake was Governor of the Central Bank for relatively a
short period of nearly three and a half years from 1988 to 1992.
However, his whole career that began in 1953 had been with the
Central Bank, where he held senior positions like Director of
Economic Research and Senior Deputy Governor, prior to his
appointment as Governor. After relinquishing duties as Governor in
July 1992, he was appointed as an Advisor on Banking and Economic
Affairs to the Ministry of Finance and his long career in the public
sector ended with his retirement from this post in 1994.
His tenure as Governor, though short in length of time was
characterised by many a significant development in the Central Bank,
mostly resulting from progressive measures taken on his own
initiative. The activities of the Bank were strengthened and
focussed in line with its objectives as enumerated in the statutes.
Institutional and capacity building within and outside the Central
Bank was given high priority. The Central Bank’s commitment to
development work was intensified and regional offices were directed
to play an active role in facilitating the extension of credit to
agriculture, small and medium enterprises and cottage industries and
for generating self- employment opportunities through banks and
other financial institutions. As part of this effort, network of the
then Regional Rural Development Banks were expanded to areas that
were not adequately covered for delivery of credit and other banking
Dr Karunatilake, a graduate in Economics from the University of
Peradeniya in 1952, proceeded to London School of Economics for his
postgraduate studies and obtained MSc in Economics in 1955.
Subsequently, at Harvard University he obtained a MA and MPA and in
recognition of his academic achievements, he was also appointed as a
research fellow at Harvard University. He obtained his PhD from
University of London. He was an outstanding scholar and a prolific
writer who contributed in no small measure to economic literature by
way of several books, articles and book chapters, mainly on the
economy of Sri Lanka, published over a period of nearly 50 years.
In 1960s, he was a visiting lecturer in Economics at the
Universities of Peradeniya, Colombo and Sri Jayewardenepura. He was
one person to whom the credit should go for pioneering the
introduction of higher degree courses in Economics and Business
Administration in the Universities of Colombo and Sri
Jayewardenepura and teaching Economics in the Sinhala medium. He had
served on the Boards of a large number of research institutions,
Universities, financial institutions, commissions and other state
and private sector bodies. He held the office of the Chairman of the
Presidential Committee on the Gem Industry and the National Credit
Coordinating and Monitoring Committee. He was also the President of
the Society for International Development (Sri Lanka Chapter) and
President of the Sri Lanka Economic Association (SLEA).
My memory traces back to the early 1970s when I first met Dr
Karunatilake while I was a student at the University of Colombo. He
was a visiting lecturer in Economics and I attended the lectures
conducted by him on comparative banking systems and international
finance. A few years later, I established professional contacts with
him while he was the Director of Economic Research at the Central
Bank of Sri Lanka where I began my career as a young Economist in
Besides my professional affiliations with him at the Central
Bank, I worked very closely with him in the SLEA as General
Secretary while he was President. The SLEA was formed in 1985 and
its founder President was Dr Gamani Corea. Dr Karunatilake and I
were both founder members. I was elected to the post of General
Secretary in 1988, while Dr Corea was President. In the subsequent
year, Dr Corea stepped down and Dr Karunatilake was elected as
President and he continued for nearly 10 years as President of the
SLEA. During his tenure as President, the SLEA was very active and
its publication, The Sri Lanka Economic Journal was issued regularly
on biannual basis, in addition to a special series of publications
on the economy of Sri Lanka. Several seminars and public lectures
were conducted on many themes of contemporary significance to the
economy of Sri Lanka by the SLEA, under his leadership and guidance.
Dr Karunatilake was known for his strong personality of an
exceptional nature and for being forthright and fearless. He had his
own style of doing things characterised by excellent time management
and remarkably high efficiency in finishing any task he undertook to
He was a patriot and a devout Buddhist. Even after his
retirement, he dedicated his full time to the Central Bank for which
he served for nearly 40 years with highest respect and regard. His
own publication “Fifty Years of Central Banking” to mark the 50th
Anniversary of the Central Bank provides ample evidence for his
commitment. He is remembered for the great service rendered to the
Central Bank and the country.
May he attain the eternal bliss of Nirvana!
K. G. D. D. Dheerasinghe