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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.

 

Optimism prevails in post-war Sri Lanka

Our island nation is sixty-three years young, having gained freedom on February 4, 1948. The country has emerged from the grip of the monster of terrorism that bedeviled the nation for well over three decades. This unsavoury chapter was the result of pseudo-nationalists who promoted communalism and racialism, and governed the country according to their personal agendas since independence. The so-called leaders from both sides of the ethnic divide stand accused for planting the seeds of communalism in this once peaceful and united country.

We have been silent spectators to the tragicomic dramas enacted in the political firmament by our representatives. We were witness to the agony and misery of the countryís citizenry during these turbulent times. Fortunately, there emerged a leader who brooked no nonsense. This is the second year the country is celebrating independence after the elimination of ruthless terrorism.
The nation owes a debt of gratitude to our dynamic and determined President who set aside all opposition from all quarters, locally and globally, and offered a political leadership through the dedicated security forces to emerge victorious, giving us the much needed peace, so essential for harmonious living and development. A patriot and a humanist to the core, President Rajapaksa is embarking on a unique mission hitherto unprecedented to bring prosperity to Mother Lanka.

I love Sri Lanka more than our leaders, some of whom have been crooks and nincompoops. Most of them are power hungry, greedy, corrupt and self-centred. I am not inclined to politics and hold no brief to any political party. This country belongs to all racial groups. I deplore those who advocate that the National Anthem should be sung only in Sinhala. This would hurt the sentiments of our Tamil brethren.

Now that the government has eradicated the barbarity and brutality of the terror outfit, let us unite and march forward to see a prosperous Sri Lanka in which everyone could share the fruits of peace and plenty. However, there are obstacles on the countryís march to development. You cannot speak of development unless you cure the cancer of bribery and corruption so rampant in our public institutions. Even our politicos are in the dock with reckless spending, malpractice, mismanagement and other financial frauds in the institutions that come under their purview. Monitoring them becomes and imperative need.

It is also incumbent on the part of the government to root out crime and violence which have escalated in recent times. The activities of underworld and drug barons should be nipped in the bud for a violent-free society. On the other hand, the menace of alcohol and illegal drugs are threatening to ruin the youth - the lifeblood of the nation, and whose contribution is significant for the development of the nation. So do the incidence of rape and abductions which are reported daily in the media. The perpetrators of these vices should be brought to book and dealt with a firm hand with positive, punitive action.

Drastic situations need drastic remedies. To the government that saw to the successful ending of terrorism, tackling of crime, corruption, rape, etc. would not be a formidable task if every member of the government put his/her shoulder to the wheel. We have a stable government to gird its loins to cleanse these Augean stables with a greater sense of commitment and dedication to bring about a vast change in the landscape of Sri Lanka to be a miracle of Asia.

May the fragrant flower of PEACE bloom in every comer of this beautiful country! May there be unity in diversity. We all belong to one country, one nation under one national flag. Let us be honest, true to our conscience and stand steadfast to contribute our might to reach the cherished goal of development. This is my humble wish for this yearís independence of our once battered and brutalised island nation.

M Azhar Dawood

 

Craze for cowboy films of yesteryear

We look back with fondness and nostalgia with lingering thoughts of the scenes of horse-riding cowboys with muskets, rifles and other arms in very colourful scenes of sun-setting in the cowboy films that we have seen at various theatre halls some decades back.
Some of the memorable films that I have seen are Three Musketeers, Man in the Iron Mask, Coscican Brothers, Beauogeater, King Solomonís Mines, and The Magnificent Seven. Other interesting films that I can remember are James Bond films and Relic Hunter and not to mention the films like the Red Indian and the Whites Confrontations.
A few of the actors that I can remember at this distant time are Tyroll Power (Coscican Brothers) Gary Cooper (Beauogester), Chuck Norris, Burt Lancaster, Randoff Scott and Tia Career.
These films are well shot and are perfect at all levels as Hollywood is one of the pioneering film production locations. These films gave us septuagenarians, octogenarians, nonagenarians a thrilling time which still linger in our minds with pleasure.
I think the copies of these films could be obtained from the American Embassy and the British High Commission which should be available in their archives.
Mahinda Chinthanaya has done everything possible to lead us a happy and contended life in the evening of our lives. Hope the Rupavahini Corporation and other TV channels will do the needful to make us, the senior citizens, see these films once again.

V K B Ramanayake

 

Cricket stadiums need better facilities

There is absolutely no doubt that Suraj Dandeniya, the Chairman of the Organising Committee for the ICC World Cup venues would have had to face an unbelievable uphill task in connection with the completion of activities connected in reconstructing and upgrading the Kettarama International Cricket Stadium, the construction of the new stadiums at Sooriyawewa in Hambantota and in the completion of the already built new International Cricket Stadium in Pallekelle. All stadiums should be completed in conformity to the conditions laid down by the world governing body of cricket, the International Cricket Council, where all venues should be on par with the other international cricket venues of the Test playing nations.
It is pertinent to mention that the followers of the game are yet to see the infrastructure facilities available to the players as well as the spectators at the Sooriyawewa and Pallekelle venues. However, those who have witnessed One Day International matches at the Kettarama International Stadium were subjected to a lot of inconvenience due to the lack of minimum infrastructure facilities, like the all important toilets facilities for ladies in particular, pipe borne water, IDD facilities, TV monitors to watch replays and proper ventilation as the there was a lack of ceiling fans. It is the fervent hope that these essential infrastructure facilities are made available, if not done up to now. This should be the case in respect of the Sooriyawea and Pallekelle venues too.
If these suggestions are implemented, it will no doubt bring glory to Sri Lanka for not only hosting the World Cup fixtures but also would delight the foreign spectators with our infrastructure facilities, who will be present in their numbers at these venues. I was a spectator at the 2002 Champions Trophy Final played at the Kettarama International Cricket Stadium. I was amongst several Indian fans including ladies who had flown in, to witness the final. I felt ashamed when they asked me where the toilets were and about the IDD telephone facilities etc. If the organisers have not been able to make available these facilities, there is still time to attend to the essential needs in respect of infrastructure facilities. It should be known that the spectators are not asking for air conditioning and VIP treatment but the basic needs as the game of cricket is not only for the affluent.

Sunil Thenabadu

 

Sri Lanka -The Land of My Birth

I wish to sing the praises of Sri Lanka at the 63rd Independence Anniversary of our Island nation whose rich and bountiful national resources and tourist potential should be harnessed along with agricultural and industrial production as to arrest our biggest bugbear - the soaring cost of living which affect the most important part of manís anatomy - stomached and which most often leads to the unpopularity of governments.


Sri Lanka, the land of my birth
An emerald isle on mother earth
To her Mother Nature very kind
Visitors here everywhere will find.

Lanka admired for her scenic beauty
Kind, smiling face and her hospitality
Fauna and flora they are in plenty
Letís enjoy these in calm serenity.

Called the Pearl of the Orient
Beauty shines like diamond brilliant
Lanka an island in the Indian Ocean
Going all out for tourist promotion.

Set foot the Enlightened one
Preached hatred, enmity to none
Evil, malice, greed, anger letís shun
In this beautiful island in the sun.

Oh! This tropical land of Buddha Dhamma
Boasts of ruined cities, dagabas, Yala and Kumana,
Menik, Nilwala, Kelani and Mahaweli Ganga
And saffron-robed monks of Maha Sangha.

Lord Buddhaís dhamma priceless possession
Maligawaís Tooth Relic another audition
Greenery palm-fringed beaches a qualification
My Mother Lanka to be a tourist destination.

Sri Lankans adherent of noble religion
Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam
Our religious leaders made a call clarion
For inhabitants to be united, peace and calm.

Bygone days noble kings reigned supreme
The Lion race is Sri Lankas cream
With rich glorious heritage and traditions
Now, earning praise, glory and admiration.

Sri Lanka, the land of my birth
The Garden of Eden, my native land
May there be peace, goodwill on earth
Pray I, a citizen of this sun-kissed land.

M Azhar Dawood

 

The political bible

Wikileaks testament
Weapon of mass communication
Sans exoneration
Of modern art of wars?
Better fought without a thought.

Mrs Irene De Silva

 

Teaching has become a tiring job

Teachers in state-run schools, where classrooms consist of students numbering more than 45, find it unbearably difficult and uncomfortable to work in. Primary class teachers, who most often face this unfortunate situation, are critical of their day-to-day workload, such as marking of studentsí exercise books, written work, assignments, homework, and even managing the classrooms which are mostly overcrowded to the maximum student load.
Some hardworking teachers-in-charge of Grade five Scholarship classes are said to be very reluctant and fed up of working due to unnecessary parental interference and criticism. Such fingering also happens when such schools organise sports meets, concerts, English Day programmes and various other competitions and functions where the parentsí co-operation is needed.
The most unfortunate and shocking occurrence taking place in most of the jam-packed classes is that too many slow learners and weak students are automatically neglected and become less regarded by teachers who are expected to cover up all the subject components in the relevant syllabi within a limited time frame.
I hope this letter would be an eye-opener to the relevant authorities.

H L Sunil Shantha

 

Beacon lights needed to help fishing
The fishermen, who set off for one-day fishing on their wooden canoes and diesel engine boats on their return journey from the sea, face many hazards and accidents when they try to land due to the absence of beacon lights along the beach.
Specially, the fishermen of some fishing areas in Beruwela such as Payagala, Diyalagoda and Maggona always experience these difficulties. Hence, it would be an immense service to these fishermen if sufficient beacon lights are fixed along the beach to guide their vessels.

C M Kamburawala

 

APPRECIATIONS

Professor Charles Dahanayake

Let us remember him

Professor Charles Dahanayake, Emeritus Professor of the University of Kelaniya passed away an year ago after an unfortunate accident. To those of us, who had the privilege of making his acquaintance, he was indeed a most warm-hearted and an unassuming academic, a very special kind of person, a person of rare substance. Those who have had the good fortune to have studied under this great teacher have borne witness to his commitment, which to many was undisputed. People reached out to Prof. Dahanayake easily because of his unassuming manner.

Prof. Dahanayake had his early education in Galle and later at Ananda College from where he entered university. He obtained four distinctions at the University Entrance Examination, a record at that time. This brilliant student did Physics Special at the university, took a first class and won a Commonwealth Scholarship to read for his doctoral degree at the University of Bristol where he came under a Nobel Laureate, famed Physicist Professor Cecil Frank Powell.

After completing his doctorate, he returned to Lanka and joined the academic staff of the University of Peradeniya. While he was a Senior Lecturer there, he won a Smith Mundt Ė Fullbright Fellowship for post-doctoral research at the University of Rochester, New York. He returned to Peradeniya in 1967 and in the same year moved to the University of Kelaniya where he established the Physics Department and accepted the position of Professor of Physics.
In 1971, he was appointed the first Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Kelaniya. He was also the founder president of the Institute of Physics of Sri Lanka and a founding member of the University Grants Commission. He was also a past president of the Sri Lanka Association for the Advancement of Science in addition to being a member of a large number of professional associations. Professor Dahanayake also had a number of publications to his credit and worked with some of the most famous names in his field.

Despite this most impressive academic record, his greatness lay in his humility which was an example to us all. He was indeed unassuming to a fault. He was a Buddhist who lived as a true Buddhist should - rituals were not for him, Buddhism to him was Metta (loving kindness) Karuna (compassion) and Muditha (Equanimity) and its fundamentals tenets, Sila (morality), Samadhi (meditation and control of the mind) and Pagngna or the acquiring of understanding or wisdom through Meditation. He was after all a Scientist and a Physicist.
Though an year has passed since that fateful day, he lives in not only in the hearts of his wife Tilaka, his daughters, Rachitha and Punitha and son-in-law Rohan, his immediate family, who will miss him most of all, but also in the hearts of all those who knew him, for we have lost a friend and an intellectual with whom we interacted with profit. He was indeed an inspiration to us all.

May he attain Nibbana!
K Godage


Allan Eustace Gunawardena

A true gentleman and a great man

February 5 of this year marked the 96th birth anniversary of my grandfather, and January 27 marked 14 years since my grandfather went to rest in the arms of Jesus. These sad anniversaries give me a moment to pause from the crazy, breakneck pace of daily life and reflect upon his life and my relationship with him because not only did he play the role of a grandfather, but also during my early formative years he played the role of a father figure to me. There is so much to share, and therefore it is a formidable task to capture the essence of his life here on earth in this limited space.

First, he made my childhood and my teenage years delightful and memorable which are ever etched in my memory. He found time to take me to school each morning, and bring me home in the afternoon, to take me for scout training on Saturdays, and for tennis lessons on Sundays. The memory of my fellowship with my grandfather during my childhood and youth is infused with vivid recollections and unforgettable experiences we had together during those years.
Second, he was a true gentleman - a rare breed in this day and time. He taught me by example the principle of forthrightness, of telling the truth, paying your debts on time, standing up to your principles even if that meant facing up to inconveniences. I appreciate the honest, clean example that he set for me to follow. He influenced me to look at my life from a much more positive perspective, to enjoy each and everyday, and contribute to society.

My grandfather was a great man. His commitment to God, church and family was peerless. He loved everyone and everyone knew he did. During the latter part of his life, circumstances did not offer me the chance to be closer to him. I was deeply saddened to hear his demise, and my inability to be by his bedside during his last days.

Ever loving grandson

 

 

 

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