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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.

 

Strike the bus strikers

Private Bus Operators (PBO) exploit the commuters and sling mud at the government of the day.
They inconvenience the workers, schoolchildren and others either by wild-cat strikes, when their crew is assaulted by public or Police.
They have the courage to create problems to the public and the state whenever they wish to do so. In many instances a 100% increase and after intervening by authorities concerned they are happy with the 50%.

Thus, they have been thriving well in their business. I remember when Police wanted to nab speeding or reckless drivers waiting in mufti, they opposed and it was dropped. No doubt, they have understood well that every government is scared of them.
Fortunately, the incumbent minister of transport seems to be bold enough to confront any threat or whatsoever of the PBO.

Therefore, in order to suppress their whims of inconveniencing the whole country, I would suggest the following for the minister to consider on them.
When PBOs declare a strike, the government should allow office workers of state institutions a grace period of one hour for their arrival and one hour early for departure and request same from the public Sector too.
At the same time, all state buses and trains should be put into operation, providing security if necessary in certain areas.

Only then they will learn a lesson, of finding it extremely difficult to pay their finance companies and, with some excuses will resume their services.
Last but not the least, the PBOs should not be allowed to increase the fares of Rs. 6/- ticket under any circumstances.

Nazly Cassim
Colombo 13

 

Water under the bridge

This is to bring to the attention of both, the chief administrator for Colombo and the chief engineer of Road Development Authority (RDA) that the cross road (the name board says School Lane) under the bridge, which one has to go through, either from Jayantha Weerasekera Mawatha to Sri Vajiragnana Road or vice versa is full of potholes, more often than not filled with muddy water. The concrete slabs placed to cover the drain are very uneven with some of the slabs tilting up and some down. The railing alongside the drain under this bridge is also incomplete, the railing starts from the middle and ends towards Jayantha Weerasekera Mawatha.

Road users get sprayed with the muddy water in the potholes when vehicles go over these potholes. The appalling condition under the bridge causes a lot of inconvenience not only to children attending All Ceylon Thowheed Jamaath Madrasa - a Muslim Religious Seminary down this road, but also to the patients going to the National Centre for Nephrology, Dialysis and Kidney Transplant and the adjacent Colombo Central Hospital and any other passerby as well.

The area under the bridge is also very gloomy and request something be done as painting it in white and/or providing some illumination. The CMC should get a private company to put up a backlit display board advertising their products/services or install an illuminated road signage.
May I request the Municipality to spruce up this area for the benefit of all the users of this road? Incidentally, when I was passing this way yesterday morning, I was reminded of the song, a perennial favourite, “Water under the bridge” by Olivier Newton John.

Mohamed Zahran
Colombo

 

Subservience

Long years under Portuguese, Dutch and British rule-chiefly the British that administered with an iron fist, has dulled the capacity of the government servant and the administrator to think. He is the victim of rules and regulations, that have long last their relevance. He continues to tread the beaten track; sticks to the rules and regulations; but makes no contribution to any social advance. He remains a plodder. As an administrator, should he not think? No, he is just stuck in the mud that he wallowed in for years. Truly pitiable! He dare not rectify the archaic laws and practices.

The British were adept at fining offenders, for the money went to the British Crown if the fine was not paid the offender was jailed, like any malefactor or criminal for it was the Sri Lankan citizenry who were taxed to maintain the prisons. It is time that our rulers opened their eyes and not be subjected to antiquated laws and practices. Guided by the Mahinda Chintana Lanka will soon blossom as the foremost country in Asia. Then, should not administrators adjust, adapt and fall in line, to hasten Lanka’s advance to shine, as it was once known, as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, under the rule of kings. Cannot our administrators, gird their loins, step out, and look around, rather than tread the same path when new avenues have opened up. Cloistered complacence, smug reticence and diffidence should be cast away for the ethics of yesteryear has dramatically changed and a new order prevails. The above is only the preamble. What is suggested is that Lanka should, adjust and adapt. Why should marihuana be banned, when it could be licensed like alcoholic beverages which if taken in excess could devastate?

It is because the British licensed their alcoholic beverages produced in Britain and were exported to their colonies that foreign liquor is stilt imported draining out capital that could be directed to developing local beverages. Marihuana would have been a dose competitor, hence the British fine. Remember, it is only because Dr N. M. Perera intervened that a brewery exists. Under the British, tapping of a coconut inflorescence was prohibited for the sap when mature served as an intoxicant, which would compete with whisky. Why place impediments in the way, when there is money in marihuana? It is not habit forming, unlike alcohol. Marihuana leaves no hangover. If in doubt why not appoint an investigative committee of honourable men? Why are gamblers rounded up? That too was a British gimmick that fined simple people and packed the money home to their Queen, while they played roulette and bridge, a card game when money passed under the table. Was it not a British practice to fine gamblers or imprison them. Why harass a woman who seeks to abort her fetus, of her flesh and blood? Is not her Human Right? Open your eyes ye administrators. Humanity is in search of freedom which was denied by warring Nations. Why not have a good look at prostitution of both male and female? Is it not a human need clamped on humanity by the ill conceived institution of monogamy? Until a few decades ago both polygamy and polyandry prevailed in Lanka. It was an honest approach to a human need. France caters to that need by licensing bordellos, which are medically supervised to prevent the spread of diseases it religious bias that frowns on licensed brothels. What humbug amongst the priesthood that pretends to be celibate, and makes title children the victims of their perverse and vicarious desires. Sex a basic need of the animal world has been made immoral by strictures placed on a natural practice.

The massage clinic is a ruse that proliferates in the absence of licensed brothels. Deceit, humbug and hypocrisy propel him to subversive behavior and acts which militate against honesty and purity which harms society. Society needs to take a good hard look if want to get close to God!

Denzil Perera
Dehiwela

 

‘Fat tax’ in Germany

It is indeed surprising that with all the development and progress taking place, countries are seeking to resort to ingenious methods of taxation. Not too long, our own Minister of Health made a suggestion that the state should not treat patients with alcohol-related ailments in state medical institutions.
There were several responses, the most convincing being that the state promoting the liquor industry to keep its coffers filling.
Perhaps taking a leaf out of Sirisena’s book, a conservative MP in Germany has opined that ‘overweight people should pay higher taxes in order to cover the extra costs they create for Germany’s healthcare system’. The arguments, as reported in The Island of July 24 are very much similar to the arguments that our Health Minister put forward to support his suggestions.
The Germans appear to be a little wiser than us. They do not go to discourage people from drinking. It is well known that beer is a part of the German diet. No German government will want to embark on a suicidal course trying to stop alcohol consumption. What they want to do is to combat the health hazard of obesity.
This is what Sri Lanka should also consider seriously. If over eating by the affluent and those who have the luxury of subsidised meals can be prevented it will certainly reduce the government’s food imports bill. But there appears to be a serious hitch.
Such a law can never be passed by our parliament. The majority is overweight and will not want to be victims of a ‘Fat Tax’!

Edward Gunawardena
Battaramulla

 

Necessary medicines

The drugstore attached to the General Hospital, Kalutara-Nagoda, was in ablaze and caused heavy damages recently.
Since this mishap, the poor out door patients and the inmates also have to suffer immensely.
Most of the essential medicinal tablets used by diabetes patients and heart patients are not available at all now. The poor patients have to buy the needed medicines at exorbitant prices from the pharmacies.
The public wonder, why the Director of Health services attached to the Nagoda Government Hospital is not paying any heed to replenish the necessary medicines to serve the neediest people.

C. M. Kamburuwala
Payagala

 

‘Devil’s workshop’

Social economy that be little child’s play
Narco, nicotinism and liquids laced
Repressed emotions and anger?
The school of thought remains
Don’t cut thy nose to spite thy face
Try an authority or religious orders.

Irene de Silva
Colombo 5

 

Appreciations


Lakshman Jinadasa

Man of deeds than words

It is with a deep sense of grief that I write these words of our beloved friend who passed away few weeks ago. Leaving a whole world of friends in an untold sea of sorrow, he passed away at a private hospital. Anybody who associated with Luxman, who many affectionately called “Jinna”, even for a short while, will bear testimony to the agony his family and friends are going through and the silent thoughts and the wound that was engraved in their hearts since his demise.
Jinna always had a deep sense of humane qualities and never forgot the poor and the underprivileged. So was him to his friends. Kindness was stamped in all the words he spoke and every step he took. Sincerity was his theme in life and his clean way of handling matters won the implicit trust of all his friends and associates. The most admirable and endearing feature we all loved to be around him from our childhood was his simplicity. People of noble virtues are hard to find and Jinna was a man of deeds than words. His prime concern and priority were his family and the business and he always had time for any of his friends. All your friends are haunted by those lovely memories and have had to bear the emptiness your demise created. Jinna, have a nice and pleasant journey; we pay our tribute to a truly remarkable friend.

K.R. Pushparanjan
Mt Lavinia


Malsiri de Silva

Her laughter will continue to ring in our ears

Malsiri or ‘Mal’ as she was fondly known to all, was a Very Special Lady! She worked with us at Rumours Salon for over two decades, joining at a tender age of 19. She had the most bubbly and amazing personality which drew both young and old alike to her. It was just a matter of time before her clients and colleagues warmed up to her fun loving ways, often playing practical jokes, teasing and tagging names onto hers and she would always laugh along with them. She had a gift of the ‘humane touch’ which endeared her to everyone. The words of that song “a star that burnt so bright not only through the night, but constantly” would describe her to a T! She had that special quality to light up any room she walked, with her lively presence and her infectious laughter would soon have us all joining in. She excelled in Hair & Beauty Culture and was in great demand with her clients who were extremely selective. She could breeze through any difficult situation by drawing on her special ‘people skills’

Though life dealt Mal some hard knocks, it never showed. She had the knack of facing it with a smile! Malsiri had a great ‘social conscience’ and only some knew her sincere efforts to make a difference amongst the less privileged and less fortunate. She would often fed the poor and needy, visit the sick and lonely, was determined to inculcate in her young son Yannik, these same values. His birthdays were often celebrated feeding inmates of a home for destitute children. She would take him along when visiting an abandoned, disabled child she had literally ‘adopted’ in a hospital in Colombo, where she fed him home-cooked food and taught him letters, numbers etc. on a weekly visit. She carried out this meritorious task till she migrated to Australia. We are sure that she would have performed many such tasks which we were not privy to. We bid her a fond farewell when she left ‘Rumours’ for Australia for greener pastures overseas, knowing how much we would miss her. She never failed to call her friends to wish them on their birthdays and even on other occasions just to ‘keep in touch’. Sadly, we did not realise how little time this special star had to burn in our lives. However, her warm qualities are sure to live on in her young son Yannik, to whom she was a wonderful mother and a role model.

Malsiri’s sudden and early departure from life at such a young age has left all of us who knew her in a deep state of shock and utter sadness and we will miss her very dearly. Yet Mal will live in our hearts as an incredible friend who made a huge difference in all our lives. Her infectious laughter will continue to ring in our ears.
We are all so proud to have known such a great human being and we thank God for her life that touched all those who were fortunate to have known her.
May her soul rest in peace!
Her dear friends at Rumours


Suren Peiris

A well-read person

On March 17, we remembered our friend Suren who left us on the eve of Easter last year.
My meeting Suren was due to the fact that his wife Thanja works for our Church at the Centre and also because the Peiris family worshipped at the Cathedral when I was on its staff. This relationship developed because of my interaction with the family. In keeping with our training and work, there were those pastoral visits.
Over the years, this Priest-Church member relationship grew into a friendship. This was enhanced by various other factors like my moving into Swarna Place where Suren lived and thus becoming a neighbour and also my being Chaplain of the school where Suren’s son had his early education.

When I look back at the visits to Suren’s residence, I wonder who gained from whom and what. Suren was always prepared to sign legal documents for us being a Lawyer that he was. More than his legal expertise, he was a person who read widely and therefore able to hold his own when many an important subject was discussed. Suren not only shared his thoughts but also was able to pick a book, turn to the correct page and quote the relevant section.

Since he knew that I was also interested in books, whenever I mentioned a book he immediately made a note and made it a point to give those books as gifts. Thus my library has books on the 1978 Constitution, a book on Indira Gandhi and a book by his friend S. L. Gunasekera. In fact, Suren went beyond giving the book he made an appointment with S. L. Gunsekera for me to discuss that book.

Of course, we had our differences. He was the first one to telephone me and say thank you for my contributions to the press. And whenever he disagreed with me he used to tell me that he was writing a piece criticising my thinking in the press. Therefore, when one morning I opened the papers, the Daily Mirror carried a banner headline in the opinions page with Suren taking a very strong stand against my thinking.

Suren had his own concept of divine. Therefore, he came to Church with the family. However, he was struggling with the person of Christ. In our many discussions he found it difficult to accept Jesus as God and Man. Of course, he was thus in good company for there are many who are struggling with this.
In our theological discussions, we also discovered that for Suren because of his inability to accept the person of Christ he was of the opinion that Christ was not the only way to God. He said there are other roads to God but all of us ultimately search for and seek God.

Whenever Suren went overseas, he always made certain that he brought a gift for me. It was always a personal gift in keeping with my taste. The gifts that he gave on various personal occasions were not only in keeping with my taste but also in keeping with the clothes I wear.
Suren was a family man. In his own way he related to his wife, son and daughter. He had very strong convictions about family and friends and other persons.

He was very upset with the premature death of his sister and his mother in her old age. Suren had for his parents two persons who adorned the Fourth Estate in our land. Thus it was natural that Suren walked the talk as a child of that home. Sometimes it is not very easy to write about someone who was close to us. Although I went straight from the Easter Service to pay my respect to Suren and to be with the family on Easter Sunday 2009 it has taken almost one year to pen this appreciation.
I am sure that during these months Suren would have been missed by many a person and certainly by Thanja Brindhi and Sharen who can also be assured of our prayers and love.
May the soul of Suren and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace and rise in glory!

Amen
Sydney Knight

 

 

 

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