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|Police Force admired for
It was a rainy day in November and I had the luxury of a late
morning wake up. After a hurried morning tea, I picked up two
newspapers on my way and was at the nearby super-market to buy some
items including the morning bread. Carrying the parcels, my papers
and the umbrella battered by a relentless downpour I hurried home.
After entering and turned back to close the gate, here I am facing a
smiling ‘cop’ who is trying to hand me over some thing concealed
under his rain coat. It immediately crossed my mind of the traffic
lights I flouted yesterday evening amidst torrential rain, that I
believed I escaped the attention of the traffic Police and was
cursing me for that unnecessary urge to beat the traffic signals,
apparently for no compelling reason. But the smiling cop politely
handed me over one of the news papers I seemed to have dropped on my
way home and remarked, “You did not hear my calls and I followed
you”. It was such a pleasant surprise and by the time I got the
presence of mind to invite him in, he was on his way.
Often we talk about our Police Force for all the wrong reasons
but when you think carefully I feel we do not offer due credit and
respect for this vital institution and its officers that form the
backbone of our safety network. Of course, there are many exceptions
to any such an assertion, nevertheless we need to carefully consider
the constraints and difficulties confronted by officers that
comprise the Police Force and are mindful of these difficulties.
For example, as law abiding citizens a police station, is
certainly a place that we like to keep at bay as far as possible and
will avoid a visit unless it’s a real necessity. Losing my license I
was compelled to lodge an entry in a Colombo police station and
whilst waiting for my turn I was amazed to see the familiarity of
several people who seem to visit the station to register complaints
that appear to be for somewhat frivolous reasons, yet the complaints
were registered in the same manner and in detail like any other
complaint and it occurred to me that Police officers often carry a
work load we seldom appreciate and even cognizant of. When my turn
came, I made an academic enquiry about this fact that confirmed my
thinking that any complaint will receive methodical attention and
also need to be investigated and dealt with.
Another area of heavy “complaint traffic” is in relation to white
collar crime that appears to be rampart such as returned
checks/non-payment of debts etc, that I witnessed when trying to
register such an incident. The documentation and procedures involved
are so voluminous and complex, yet receive meticulous attention from
the officers concerned that I am sure must be taking such an amount
of time and effort that we often fail to realise and empathise. In
most such instances, I realised that incomplete documentation on the
part of the plaintiff causes the resultant delays but the blames of
delay often attributed to the investigating Police. The
administrative difficulties that arise due to sheer largeness of
this gigantic social institution may be another reason that
contributes to its managerial complexity.
Hence, I feel that most of us who do scathing criticism of this
force/institution mostly do so rather impulsively or without really
appreciating the difficult circumstances under which most of such
officers function and at times even driven by perceptual biases.
Certainly we need to make objective critique of the wrongdoings of
any officer yet my point is let’s be very objective in doing so and
also without painting the entire force with the same brush because
of an individual unpleasant experience of some one known to us. My
belief is creating a positive attitude of our Police Force will only
enhance their esteem, motivate and empower them for better service
to our nation.
Also let’s not forget the inherent and deterrent effect of Police
presence, often under hazardous conditions of inclement weather and
at late hours in the day. Areas such as of traffic control and
traffic lights and in the case of driving under the influence of
alcohol have immeasurable preventive value testifying the wisdom of
“an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. It is also noted
with great satisfaction and deep gratitude the recent initiatives of
our IGP against such menacing social disasters such as drug usage
and other harmful addictions that, no doubt, will write an indelible
chapter in the golden era that dawned after peace reaching our
Finally, I wish to conclude with a remark made by one of my dear
friends “Can you imagine the chaos if Police do not function for a
day?” With a force numbering nearly 60,000 officers this is
certainly worth taking a note of.
Chamindra De Silva
|Correct path to real happiness
is my personal experience in living that I go through a great deal
of physical suffering in the midst of occasional joys and pleasures
in my relationship with people, things and events. I realise that we
need to be constantly aware of the impermanence of things and
unsatisfactory nature of life we live in, suffering exists in
reality. Worry is suffering, agitation, aversion, frustration and
disappointment is suffering and is an inseparable part in life. But
naturally desire of all living beings is to be happy and free from
suffering. We simply don’t know where to find true happiness.
Lord Buddha teaches that our minds are clouded with ignorance,
greed, jealously, hatred, delusion and we seek happiness in the
wrong place. The key to real happiness lies in understanding and
mastering the mind. Cultivation of the mind is the key to happiness.
The pure mind is motivated by loving kindness, generosity, and
wisdom. We are governed by and dominated by self-destructive forces
and greed within our mind. They cause suffering, dissatisfaction,
frustration and pain – here and now in this present life, as well as
in the lives that lie in the future.
As long as we have a reasonable degree of freedom from sickness and
poverty, we can be happy to a certain extent under almost any
condition. In modern life, mind is constantly subjected to
defilements and delusion.
Nothing is permanent and for that matter, death is certain -
disease, decay precedes death. Mind departs and body remains.
Suffering springs from a worried and unhappy mind. Most of the
diseases are psychosomatic.
Concentration of the mind, mindfulness, mental and emotional balance
in this chaotic, neurotic and ill balanced world is the solution.
Virtue, concentration and wisdom cultivated in one’s self leads to
peace, tranquil and happiness. Generosity, detachment, contentment,
loving kindness, compassion, patience, forgiving, non-delusion
should be replaced with wisdom, insight and understanding and see
thing in the real perspective.
With the blessings of the triple gem may you all be well and happy!
|Ex-MPs enjoy special pension privileges
A government servant has to work for ten years to qualify for a
pension, but has to wait till after the completion of the age of 55
years to draw the pension.
An MP, on the other hand, is eligible for a pension after just five
years of being an MP and can draw the pension immediately after that
period i.e., he need not wait till he is 55 year of age to draw the
pension. While being a pensioner, he can contest once again and come
back as an MP and enjoy all the perks enjoyed by an MP. He is also
entitled to a parallel increase in the pension every time the
sitting MPs get salary increases where as government pensioners get
no parallel increase in the pensions when government servants are
granted salary increases. Very often they don’t get even what is due
All this creates a big anomaly and discriminates against government
pensioners who are thus denied equal rights guaranteed by the
Constitution. Will the Pensioners’ Associations or some other public
interest group such as an NGO step into seek legal redress?
A. S. Abeywickrama
|Crime on the march as never before
When you open the pages of the daily papers, you read horrendous
stories of gruesome murder, horrible tales of rape of young girls,
married women and sometimes elderly females; confidence tricksters
playing their dirty games, well-planned highway and bank robberies
in broad daylight and abductions of high and low profile individuals
for ransom money.
The rate of crime has increased by leaps and bounds in recent times.
This is a slur on a Buddhist country where the majority is
peace-loving. I believe the country enjoys the second highest rate
in crime in the world. This is indeed a sad state of affairs in a
small country which has recently emerged victorious after
three-decades of LTTE terrorism.
If little Sri Lanka can conquer the world’s most brutal and barbaric
terror group, I do not think it is a formidable task to tame the
criminals who are at large all over the country, roaming and
terrorising the defenceless people, and committing heinous crimes
for variety of reasons. These criminal elements know that they can
get away from capital punishment because it is a dead letter
although exists in the statute book. Non enforcement of the law has
given the criminal elements an upper hand to commit sordid crimes at
the expense of the innocents.
It is very unfortunate that successive governments have not taken
the initiative to enforce the death penalty. As a result, hardcore
murderers, their acolytes, aided and abetted by army deserters are
having a field day. They are aware that they can go scot-free after
accomplishing their murderous mission. How many of them are spending
their lives as guests, some as ‘special guests’ in state prisons?
There are, of course, individuals facing various terms of
imprisonment for committing minor offences. They should be shown
leniency and brought under a programme of reform and rehabilitation
to play a useful role in society. On the other hand, those
criminals, who plan and execute cold-blood murders, sometimes even
with the connivance of the law enforcement officers, should face the
music. The murderers of Sarath Ambepitiya are ‘guests’ of the
It is my humble opinion that the leniency of the law in our judicial
system is a contributory factor for the escalation of crime in the
country. The death penalty was suspended by successive regimes for
reasons best known to them. This lacuna has paved the way for the
notorious characters to go on the rampage and perpetrate criminal
deeds on the innocent members of the public with reckless abandon.
All the past years, we witnessed the blood-curdling deeds of the
heartless terrorists. Today, there are no such horror stories thanks
to our President and the heroic forces under the brave commanders.
There is a great sigh of relief among the people everywhere in the
country for this unique achievement.
Now is the opportune moment to nip in the bud the escalating crime
rate. Peace loving people earnestly look forward to the president
and his government to show the political will and the courage to
bring the hangman to the picture, and relieve the citizens from
reading nauseating crime stories reported in the media daily from
every corner in the country. It is this regime that has the
wherewithal to beard the lion of crime mafia.
M. Azhar Dawood
|Half-hearted attempts to curb vices
Some of the so called learned people make some comments which, to
say the least, are hilarious.
Recently one university don wanted to test the girls for their
virginity. He did not know whether there is such a test in the first
place. Thank god, common sense prevailed among the doctors, but
imagine, if some nincompoop has come forward to test them and give
verdicts what catastrophic results would have followed. The girls,
for no fault of their own, would have been branded for life!
If the vice chancellor wanted to impose decency and chastity among
the university students, this is not the way to go about. Let him
educate the students and inculcate in them a sense of responsibility
for their lives.
Then there was this declaration that those who are afflicted with
diseases related to alcohol drinking will not be given free
treatment in the hospitals – as if drinking alcohol is the one and
only crime. What about the HIV due to promiscuousness, how about
venereal diseases due to prostitution, what about the drug addiction
related diseases? The list is endless. And to top it all, it is the
government which gives the permit for the taverns. So, on the one
hand, they are given permission to drink and on the other hand, they
are punished for drinking.
And how are they going to determine the disease is related to
alcohol drinking? One can get the same disease – say cirrhosis by
having had hepatitis. Or addiction by taking drugs. Even an expert
can never say with certainty what is due to what.
The same goes for the effort to block out the scenes on the TV when
someone picks up a drink to drink – irrespective of whether it is
alcoholic or not, the irritating boxes come up. All other sins, such
as obscene language, killing, stealing, adultery etc. etc. are
allowed to be watched. As if stopping alcohol will make our society
Somewhere in the hierarchy there is concern about the alcohol habit
of our country but all these efforts are half-hearted attempts to
curb this menace. If they are really serious about abolishing the
habit for once and all, totally abolish alcohol from the society. We
certainly will be a richer society by money, health and most of all
morals if only someone has the guts to do it.
Sometimes back there was news that wearing the seat belt was to be
strictly enforced. But that was the end of it. Then there was the
effort to stop jay walking – a few were taken into task and then
promptly it was forgotten. Well, if there was genuine concern for
the society these would have been followed up. But then who cares
anyway? This is Sri Lanka.
Dr Mrs Mareena Thaha Reffai
|Credit card merchants flout the basics
It was only just over three decades ago that our state-owned banks
commenced the credit card facility to their constituents. However,
the constituents of globally-renowned banks and reputed financial
organisations were able to use this product for their convenience
for quite sometime. At present, the usage of the credit is very
common, primarily, for their benefit of not taking the risk of
carrying physical cash and secondarily for convenience in purchasing
a high valued commodity. It all depends on the cardholder’s option.
All credit cards at the time they are handed over or taken
possession of have to be compulsorily signed on the reverse with the
cardholder’s usual signature on the white strip allocated.
All credit card merchants have been properly educated and instructed
by the related bank officials and those officials in the respective
credit card institutions the correct manner in which to accept
credit cards from clients for purchases at Super Markets, Sathosa
Outlets, SLT Regional Centres and various other organisations where
payments could be effected for various other services as well.
However, despite educating these merchants with all the necessary
advice and precautionary measures to be taken, all of them totally
flout the instructions by not adhering to the basic rules as
instructed by the related banks/institutions. They never verify the
signature the client places with that on the reverse of the card. I
am aware of so many who entrust a third party to purchase their
needs from a super market by giving their credit cards which are
I am an ex-banker and transact almost all my dealings via my
prestigious credit cards. At all places where I transact business
with my credit card to date no merchant has dared to verify my
signature placed on the bill with that appearing on the reverse of
my card. However, there is just one exception. The teller ladies who
accept our cards for payment of bills at the Regional
Telecommunication Office Ratmalana make a thorough scrutiny to
verify the identity of the cardholder before the payment is
accepted. All other credit card merchants should be educated and
On the contrary, when a genuine cardholder makes an inquiry to find
out the balance or any other information about his/her card over the
phone several questions are posed requesting for vital information
such as NIC number, billing address, last deposit made, the present
credit limit, mother’s maiden name, the profession etc. After a lot
of harassment only clearance for the query is answered. In the event
a client fails to deposit the minimum payment on the due date,
reminders via telephone calls are given and the cards are kept on
hold until the minimum payment is made.
It is my fervent hope that immediate precautionary action would be
taken by the related bank personnel and other officials in financial
institutions to advise the credit card merchants not to flout the
basics, but to adhere strictly to the instructions furnished when a
credit card payment is accepted and more particularly to be more
lenient when inquiries are made by genuine cardholders as they have
to hang on to their mobile/land phones for a fairly long length of
time to obtain the necessary information. When this serious
discrepancy was brought to the notice of the credit card
institutions, the answer given was that the merchants have been
properly educated in this regard a typical Sri Lanka answer to a
grave matter of large magnitude.
|Dangerous sea bathing
One night when I took my family and my nephews / nieces to the
Galle Face Green, I did see small children bathing by sitting on the
beach, maybe on the presumption that they will not get drifted away
into the sea when they are in the seated position, and enjoying
getting washed by the waves. I told my wife and the others who were
with me that in the event of a sudden powerful wave striking these
children, the tragedy these children have to face.
When I just looked around, there were no coast guards in this
particular area which was also gloomy - it is where a bridge has
been put up very recently. All I saw was a notice board to warn that
bathing between 6.00 am to 6.00 pm is prohibited. I suggest that an
additional notice be put up warning small children not to risk their
lives by sitting on the beach and bathing. I also recommend that
coast guards should be present and also be on alert even when small
children go to wash their feet, to carry out rescue operations in
the event of any tragic circumstances.
Nine decades ‘n
three years well past biblical span
Performed seven stages fruitful, a perfect smooth plan.
Admirable sterling qualities, rare calibre nonagenarian.
Indomitable spirit par excellence, yeomen service, humanitarian.
Seventy-five steady years in fathomless field of education
Adorned, moulded, elaborated many a grateful generation
A popular name from eighteen to ninety-three no serious lamentation
Dedicated, veteran, pedagogue, disciplinarian, personality worthy of
A legend in your time versatile in Latin, French, German, English,
Mathematics ‘n more
Old Richmondite under Rev Small illustrious career, never known a
Your legacy of spirituality ‘ll live forever encased in our aching
Countless warm memories wrapped in filial love’ll never ever part.
Until your peaceful departure ten of us flocked together, like birds
of a feather
We’re today how you nurtured us to be caring, sharing, respecting
I recall down memory lane, you a polymath, a guiding star indeed,
For many young ‘n old, lost their way, gone a stray, desperately in
Two days prior to your serene demise, to blissful eternity
I sat beside you feeding, something you relished with ample
Like a deity in disguise overflowing in immense adoration
I recollect your heavenly blessings still guiding me amidst
Reputed teacher at Ananda, Nalanda Colombo, Trinity in Kandy,
Principal Kosgama MV decades ago.
Responsible devoted profession, vital personal matters purposely had
I offer this humble tribute at thy sacred feet with immense
On your 116th birth anniversary in profound obeisance, a huge debt
To be your eldest daughter in Sansara, in my solitude my only wish
I consider it a divine blessing in Sansara, a unique solemn bliss.
By virtue of myriad meritorious performances in Sansara.
May you my loving father attain Supreme bliss of noble nirvana!
Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon
|What the beggar taught me
The year was 1958. I was a final year medical student; the value
of one cent was respectable then compared to its value today.
A beggar squatting on a pavement begged of me for some money. I gave
him one cent! This is what he told me. “Mister, plug your back with
this coin, then you can save all what you eat too! “
That day, I learnt a great lesson in life. If you gift or give, for
God’s sake give properly and adequately or do not give or desist
from giving at all.
Dr W. B. Wijekoon
|Power-sharing a way forward to development
The Archbishop of Colombo should be congratulated for his
thought-provoking convocation address at the Graduation Ceremony at
the Aquinas Catholic University. He in no uncertain terms has
critiqued the 1978 Constitution and the very strong shift to
Reading between the lines one could hear the Archbishop say very
strongly that the sharing of power is perhaps one of the ways of
healing wounded Mother Lanka. Although a weekly writer in one of our
popular papers has gone public by stating that the 13th Amendment is
the problem and not the 18th Amendment. People who make opinion in
this country must come clean and accept the need for
decentralisation of power.
Dr Shelton Wanasinghe, a very well accepted public servant speaking
at a public meeting several years ago said that sharing of power is
vital to develop Sri Lanka.
The fear that a Northern Province with a legal position to share
power can turn to India is only a pie in the sky for New Delhi will
never ever support any movement towards separation. So, it is
necessary for the Sri Lankan electorate to put this thought behind
us and learn to share power with the province so that the country
could be developed. This can be done in such a way that we remain a
united land. Over to all who want a united Sri Lanka and development
in all the provinces.