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News Features  


 

How to use the National Flag

By Edward Gunawardena
The Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs needs to be commended for at long last issuing a code of regulations regarding the proper use of the National Flag. However, it is not stated as to what extent these regulations can be legally enforced.
Admittedly, respect for the National Flag must come naturally in the same manner that the National Anthem is respected. These should be habits drilled into the people from their early schooldays.
The biggest insult to the national flag is to dump it into a public waste bin or to be left in roadside garbage heaps to be swept and removed by
municipal trucks.
This is what we see after days of national importance; ego on Independence Day, when many households, and motor vehicles display the National Flag.
The foremost reason for this is because on such occasions either at the government’s request, or because it is fashionable, rich or poor all want to fall in line.
When people want to display the National Flag because it has to be done, it is understandable that they look for a cheap product. Business establishments ever ready to cash in have provided the solution. Once or twice a year they provide millions of cheap, disposable National Flags printed on polythene film. Even schoolchildren are compelled to bring these to wave and greet politicos attending the thousands of National Day celebrations spread island-wide.
The National Flag is not an ordinary piece of cloth. It is something special. It is an object of veneration and respect. In most countries, it is not even made of any inferior fabric. The material universally used is the special cotton, loosely woven fabric known as bunting.
In the context of the above, the highest respect the government can give the National Flag is to with immediate effect ban the printing of the National Flag on polythene film. The use and display of National Flags made of polythene should be made a punishable offence.