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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.

 

Mothers abandoning their children

The rate of mothers abandoning their children is alarming. We had two cases of mothers throwing their children into rivers and recently one handing over hers to the authorities. How many more undetected, unreported cases are there?
It had not been unusual for mothers abandoning their illegitimate children but now it is grown-up children. This state of affairs says a lot of where our society is heading.

On the one hand, people are losing hope. There are many single mothers eking out a living on meagre income and still surviving, sometime bringing up their children to be excellent citizens. Often they survive on working at others houses as maids washing clothes, cooking or even taking children to school. Many a neighbour or a distant relative will provide minimum food for the family on days they don’t have enough. So how come, these mothers could not find even such a job? What is the reason for such hopelessness?

What is the solution for these? Remanding the mothers and handing over the children to the Social Service Department is never going to solve the problem. Even the best run orphanages cannot provide a mother’s care and love, however poor she is. The government and or the society must provide some facility for the mother to be able to look after the children. We may be seeing only the tip of the iceberg. If we do not look into this matter in detail seriously now itself, surely we will end up having a really sick society where no one will be responsible for the future generation.

We must assess the possible reasons for this situation. One may be that the men are becoming less and less responsible. Drinking, gambling and drugs are contributing factors. But the most important factor is the absence of controlling authority. Each area must have a controlling authority on such cases which will call the father of the children to account for abandoning the responsibility. Knowing Sri Lanka, if we make it the responsibility of government authority it will truly and surely be abused with bribes and corruption. So the best authority will be the religious authority. Each area temples, churches and mosques must be made to be responsible to question and guide people.
Will we take measures to stop the rot early or will we, as usual, leave it to become an uncontrollable monster?

Dr Mrs Mareena Thaha Reffai
Dehiwela

 

Judge blundered at Derana Dream Star Finals

The Derana Dream Star Season (2) Finals consisting of three finalists, pruned out of 41,700 contestants was held amidst a large gathering of distinguished invitees at a glittering musical extravaganza at the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium on April 24. All those who followed this Dream Star Season 2 are well aware that this well patronised programme which was telecast over the Derana T.V channel every Saturday and Sunday at 8.30 p.m. over the past one year very similar to that of season 1 held previously. I have followed this wonderful event closely and had the opportunity of watching even the live recordings during both seasons as it evoked so much of interest and enthusiasm. The amount of effort put in by the producers, technical staff, judges, presenter and the musicians was enormous and unbelievable. They should be commended, acclaimed and hailed to unprecedented heights, barring the biased acts and peculiar attitude of one particular judge who made a mockery of the proceedings by blundering at numerous times by hurting the feelings of the talented innocent keen contestants who were all novices/amateurs.

The preliminary rehearsals were held in various parts of the country until the 72nd contest for the convenience of the participants with singing ability by gauging the talents at a number of rounds who were selected by the judges to be eligible to sing on the huge stage. Every week depending on the votes received via SMS’s one contestant was eliminated for not having received sufficient SMS’s from the viewers, which is the nature of this reality show too. It need not be emphasised and elaborated for those who are familiar with the rules and nature of this competition that all three judges make comments immediately after a singer completes his or her song. These comments sometimes tally or otherwise differ slightly. However, one particular male judge had blundered on numerous occasions by making nasty comments which he could have easily avoided by expressing them in a lighter vein. He had confessed that the others in the panel might or might not agree with what he said but he had boldly made unjustifiable drastic comments which had made many contestants embarrassed and bewildered, thereby losing the confidence of the viewers for the much needed SMS’s. The contestant, who came third in the final, sang an English song at a round when the number of contestants was to be reduced to 5, on the way to the final. He made very drastic comments by saying this singer totally ridiculed the tune of the song, which made all hopes disappear for him. However, the viewers thought otherwise by sending him the required SMS’s. Although the singer was in a state of shock, he was not eliminated by the viewers who sent enough SMS’s for him to proceed to the next round of 5.This is enough conclusive evidence that this particular judge had erred while making comments. If a contestant sang to a slightly different pitching or tone he made a big fuss as if he is well conversant and has mastered music in all areas. He should have realised through his extensive experience in this contest that all contestants were just novices/amateurs. He had made many contestants to suffer mentally via his unjustifiable rude comments. Having been an ardent follower of this contest these unwarranted comments linger well in my memory.

The manners in which he acted in the finals and made comments arouse some major concerns and suspicion. This live telecast was watched with great interest by millions here and many Sri Lankans scattered around the globe via the Derana website. When the ultimate winner, the only female contestant sang the first song he almost got up from his seat and started clapping which was something he was not supposed to do as a judge. His duty was to comment on the song sung by her. The most appalling and the shocking act he did when the winner completed her third song was to openly comment that he had never heard and seen such a performance by even any professional singer in the annals of music in this country. How will the professionals in this field feel about the comments made so abruptly? Was he not aware that so many acclaimed singers have won international awards having made Mother Lanka proud.

We all give credit for the performance of the winner. But to say it at such a vital moment when there were two other contestants waiting to obtain SMS’s from the viewers was definitely a distinct disadvantage for them particularly as this was a highly competitive contest. This judge had erred and faltered by being biased is the opinion of all the followers of Derana Dream Star Season 2 and this has been the topic spoken of by many. It is the fervent hope of the writer that the acts of this judge are closely scrutinised by the related authorities of Derana T.V. and he be expelled from the panel forthwith. This judge should be made to make an open apology for making biased comments in the same TV channel.

Sunil Thenabadu
Mt. Lavinia

 

Why do men get so angry?

Reference the letter captioned “Why do men get so angry?” appearing in the last week The Nation newspaper, I think Dr Reffai, first and foremost, should have lodged a complain at a police station against the DIG for using foul language against her. She also should have identified herself as a Consultant Surgeon. It is also advisable to place a small board/sticker with the text – Doctor / Name of Hospital - on the windscreen of her car. This will, in the future, prevent or at least minimise to some extent the harassment she has to undergo faced with a similar situation.
Hope, the Secretary of Defence will get those responsible to organise some training programmes for the Forces to guide them as to how they should conduct themselves in order to build a good rapport with the public, as otherwise they will bring discredit to the entire Armed Forces. At the same time, all the women’s organisations should express their condemnation for the despicable conduct of the DIG with a member of the fairer sex.

Mohamed Zahran
Colombo 3

 

Pension lost

I am a resident of Melbourne, Australia since 1976 and had been receiving a pension from the Sri Lankan Government for the past forty years or so. My pension was credited to my cheque account in the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank every month and was spent on charitable payments with no interest earned or any part of it being sent to me in Australia.
Suddenly, with no intimation to me at all, my pension was stopped in December 2009. A friend referred me to a web site where it stated that I would have to re-apply for my pension and that I would have to open an account in People’s Bank if it was to be credited to a bank account there. Also, I would have to come to Colombo personally to draw out any money from that bank account. I opted to have the pension sent to my bank in Melbourne and sent all the forms and attachments to the Director of Pensions on February 4, 2010. However, up to now, I have received no reply from the Pensions Department nor received my pension for December, January, February and March.
If the Pensions Department does not intend paying me, why do they not say so rather than delaying payment? Is it correct, in principle, to deprive me of my pension that I have earned after a long service for the Sri Lankan Government? What about the legality of stopping my pension without any intimation to me? Can any of your readers help me with this problem?

A pensioner
Australia

 

Pathetic state of Mahanama Road, Panadura

There had been no development work done by the relevant authorities to Mahanama Road, Panadura for the past 10 years, causing terrible inconvenience to the residents.
There are about 20 houses where mostly professionals dwell and it is a stretch of only 200 metres, which connects the new Galle Road to the old Galle Road. This road could be considered a very vital passage for motorists and pedestrians to go across from the old road to the new road and vice versa. In addition, buses of route number 142/2 from Moratuwa-Panadura ply on this road. This should be stopped immediately and an alternative route such as Galle Road should be suggested to ease the traffic congestion at Mahanama Road. The students and parents of Lyceum and Leeds International schools as well as St John’s Primary and Mahanama Vidyalaya utilise this stretch as their most convenient access road.

The value and service rendered to motorists and pedestrians by this road has been ignored and neglected by the related authorities is indeed very pathetic to understand. This road although not motorable is utilised for convenience by over 500 motorists who ply on this road daily despite the potholes which are found in abundance on this road, which is now not conducive at all to motorists owing to its dilapidated condition.

Another hazard is the flooding of houses after heavy showers of rain, which is due to the absence of a proper drainage system. The drains have not been cleaned for some time, which creates this situation. It is time that attention is drawn to these severe drawbacks the residents face and immediate remedial action is taken to bring redress to them who are all tax payers.

A resident

 

An exotic island

Feathers of a different nature
Flock and twitter
Betwixt sea and sky
Shoals shimmer and surrender
Against human instinct
Herd rest with the tide
Betwixt exotic and extinct
Pray, whose isle?

Irene de Silva
Colombo 5

 

                                                                              Appreciations                                                                   

Junette Audrey Tissera

She honed our values

I have always felt that writing appreciations about people who have passed on bear the elements of a ridiculous exercise, because the subject never really gets a chance to read them. We write them nevertheless – for ourselves and others who are similarly bereaved by the passing of a loved one. We write to share grief, to celebrate a life and to remind ourselves and others of the footprints left upon our lives by those who have passed on to a different realm. Appreciations then, are of cathartic value; selfish and self-indulgent in a way. On the other hand, they are written because they will not be held back. This is especially true of those special few who are truly unforgettable; individuals who leave indelible mark on our memories and our consciousness. I write because I can never forget Aunty June (Junette Audrey Tissera). Her son Dirk and daughter Simone were childhood friends of mine. Her husband, ‘Uncle Michael’ is one of the finest human beings I have ever had the privilege of knowing. Simone married my oldest and most trusted friend, one I have known since Kindergarten at S. Thomas’ College, further cementing the bonds between her family and myself. Aunty June was the kind of person who was always there for you. That sounds clichéd. She was so much more than that. She was the kind of person who stood steadfastly beside you when your whole world was collapsing around you. She expressed herself plainly, even when she spoke the truths you were most afraid to hear. She was a devoted wife and mother and she rejoiced in her grandchildren in the way a woman who has lived a rich and soulful life can; she was proud of her whole brood and watched over them all; motherhood being the very essence of her being. And she lived her life in a way that it was not only her immediate family who will miss her. Aunty June made it impossible for anyone whose life had been touched by her remarkable personality to be indifferent to her passing, her endless absence. By her death, we are all impoverished: her beloved family, her friends and all those lost souls she took in, to scold, to nurture and to set right on life’s journey. If there is any consolation to be derived from moments such as this one, it lies only in the fact that Aunty June lived a good life.

She married a man who remains a greatly respected gentleman, who cared for and loved her until the very end. They shared a lifetime of happiness together and raised children who have grown up to be people of great heart, integrity and high ideals, full of grit and determination. Like their parents, they are simple and rare human beings. The hallmark of the Tissera family is that they are staunch and loyal friends. Something that struck me at Aunty June’s funeral was that there wasn’t a single politician present. Just their people, friends, relatives, decent people whose lives they have touched in one way or the other, and always for the good. I myself have been touched by their kindness and their humanity at a time when my world seemed to have fallen into pieces around me and few were willing to acknowledge that they knew me. Yet Aunty June and the Tissera family proved to be the exception and stood beside me so stoically that I never wanted for comfort or friendship. I will remember their loyalty and warmth forever. Aunty June often came to see her son play for S. Thomas’. The running joke (exaggerated) was that everyone in the ground and outside it would know the moment her son Dirk got out even if they had their eyes closed, because she would start the car and race away, revving up the engine for all to hear. That was all, her ‘involvement’ in her son’s career. Uncle Michael captained the country. He was once Chairman of the Selectors. And yet, at no point did either of them plan careers for their children. All they wanted was their children to be decent human beings and responsible citizens, and this in a country and a time when parents leave no stone unturned to further the interests of their children. By hook or by crook. That’s the name of the game. That was not the way the Tisseras operated. Aunty June just revved up the engine of the car. That didn’t get Dirk anywhere. It just took her away from a bad moment and it helped take Dirk to a better place. Aunty June left her mark on our lives in many ways. She honed our values; she taught us to take life’s ups and downs sensibly. By her example she taught us duty, love, responsibility and loyalty – lessons I learned as a boy that have served me well in times of adversity as a man. We will miss Aunty June, her unique personality and her bubbly exterior. It is impossible to write the depths to which we will all miss her. Extraordinary human beings are like that. They rob us of words when they go. She will rest in peace, for if anyone deserves eternal rest, it is Aunty June. We are poorer, all of us, and especially Uncle Michael, Simone, Dirk, Varuna and Sueli, for her loss.
I wish for them strength. And the protection of the Good Lord.

Krishantha Prasad Cooray

..........................................................................................................................................................................

J.E. Abeyratne (Mervyn)

Always content with what he had

Dad being born in Baddegama, a hamlet in Galle district, to a family of seven with two boys and five girls and educated at St Aloysious’ College Galle had come to Colombo for occupation and joined the then Chartered Bank and subsequently joined the People’s Bank at its inception. However, Dad’s liking had been to join the Police, but as he had not met the standards of the measurements in height, had opted to join the bank. This might have been one of the reasons for him to back me, when I joined the Police, and to help me right long until his demise. Even on the date he passed away few hours before called me and advised me that I should submit my thesis in time.

Having married to mum from Colombo had served his tour of duty in Ambalangoda, Chilaw, Thalawakele, Ratmalana and Colombo prior to being attached to the Headquarters of the People’s Bank. By this time, he and mum had been blessed with two boys and three girls and had settled down at College Street, Kotahena. This is how my brother and I went to St Benedict’s College and my three sisters went to Good Shepherd Covent. Subsequently we moved to Hendala.
My Dad’s career at the bank had not been a bunch of roses as similar to any other occupation, where he had to face many challenges and had taken up all those ups and downs in life having his head above. He had been an ardent devotee of true Christianity and always trusted the Lord and had been highly involved in church activity wherever he had been stationed.

Dad had been our strength of courage and wisdom where he took part in all our affairs from the kindergarten to our adulthood. This is normal to any family from a father’s point of view, but what matters over here is that he never parted off with us, even when we took up our own professions and settled down with married life. He stood with us, but not to interfere in our life, instead to support us morally and when necessary financially and had been our Mentor at all times. It rings a bell where whenever we had to face exams in our own professions, Dad would be the first to buy books related to the subjects and would even go to the extent of reading them and highlighting the important areas for our easy perusal. This was not only to us; he had the same approach to all his grandchildren and also readily helped whoever needed his services. This dispossession of his character was so great where he helped our relations and friends in whatever possible manner, when he was at the peak of success. Dad was always entertaining and happy-go-lucky person, where he was always content with what he had. He was always thoughtful of the future and his responsibilities. Never had he neglected any of us.

Dad being a nature lover took us out to most of the important and nice locations of our motherland during our school holidays. He was a committed physical culturist where he trained himself regularly to keep fit. Even during his eve of his life he was following a set of exercises in keeping with his age.
Dad, you did very much to us, beyond the expected standard of a father to us and there is no single day passing without you being remembered and your life span of 78 years had moulded us to have our own heads above in whatever turmoil we may face in life.

Your sudden demise to be with the Lord though was hard to take up, we having understood the reality in life with the exposure given to us by you, did our best to get things organised in the best possible manner to show our respect and gratitude in resting you at peace with the Lord until we all meet up in Heaven one day.
On this June 1, 2010 we would remember your 79th birthday and on June 3, 2010 it would be three months since you have left us to be with the Lord and on this day we would be in prayer especially for you and would give alms.
Thanking you Dad for all what you did to us and assure you that we shall live up to your expectation in true spirit of Christianity.

Noel Abeyratne

 

 

 

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