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Term on Security Council far more beneficial

I do not know why since 1961, Sri Lanka has not been a non-permanent member in the United Nations Security Council. Sri Lanka has been a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council only once, i.e. from 1960 to 1961. When you compare with the other SAARC countries, if I am correct, India has been on the Security Council six times, Pakistan four times and even Nepal twice.
According to reliable sources, Sri Lanka had tried several times since 1961, but had invariably withdrawn in favour of either India or Pakistan and in 1995, in favour of South Korea. It was reported that Sri Lanka withdrew in favour of South Korea after accepting the promise of 10,000 jobs for Sri Lankans in that country. Offering of 10,000 jobs would have been attractive at that time when there was unemployment but serving a two-year term on the Security Council would have brought Sri Lanka far more significant and valuable benefits specially during the 30-year war with LTTE terrorists.
Since then, I do not think Sri Lanka had ever announced its candidature and started a campaign. It is high time that Sri Lanka should immediately announce its candidature and mount a campaign when the next non-permanent Security Council seat for South Asia is vacant as it would be advantageous for us specially when there is a panel appointed by the UN Secretary-General to probe accountability issues in our country during the end of the separatist war in May 2009.
Hope the Minister of External Affairs will make a note of this lapse and definitely announce and mount a campaign for Sri Lanka’s seat in the non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council when the next opportunity arises.
CM de Silva


Plight of poor pensioners

The pensioners are the senior citizens of this country, most of whom had rendered an honest and a dedicated service to this country during their period of office for the promotion of development and maintenance of services. However, it was observed from the last budget that they have been shabbily treated and they are unable to make an impact on the government to win their demands.
Most of the pensioners entirely depend on their pension to maintain themselves and their families. With the increasing cost of living, they find it extremely difficult to meet their commitments. Most of the pensioners are sickly due to their old age and have to spend a substantial percentage of their pension to meet medical expenses regularly.
Some of the pensioners and retired persons who have their committed pension funds and provident funds in fixed deposits of banks are now getting less and less income through interest receipts as the Bank Rate is falling very frequently.
Although the Central Bank policy is to promote the share market by attracting private savings, most pensioners and aged retired persons are not capable of investing intelligently in the share market as there is an element of risk involved. I, therefore, make a humble appeal to the authorities concerned to make a reasonable rate of increase to pensions and also to remove the anomalies prevalent in the pension structures.

Dickson Nettikumarage


Agriculture Centre serves no purpose

The Agriculture Centre at Halkandawila, Payagala has become a white elephant due to the callous attitude of its employees.
The farmers of the area are facing immense difficulties when visit there to obtain the services of the office. Especially, the fertiliser distribution is not done properly in due time. Hence the farmers have to buy the required quantity of fertiliser from the black market at exorbitant prices.
The farmers have made many complaints to the higher authorities regarding this sad situation but no remedy is forthcoming.


Trees painted in psychedelic colours

Would you believe if anyone tells you that there are trees growing in Sri Lanka, whose trunks are not of the usual colours - brownish black or blackish brown - whatever you may opt to, to describe it? I have noticed in a garden of a palatial residence down C. W. W. Kannangara Mawatha, Colombo 7 the trunk of the huge tree there has been painted milky white and so is the colour of this residence.
In another place down Bauddhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 4, a tree trunk has been painted yellow. I saw the trunk of a tree painted purple in yet another place. The colours, I noticed, that had been chosen are the once that are on the buildings facing/adjoining these trees so that it is in sync with the background. Some of the trees had designs painted on it. That is, the tree trunk painted in one colour and circles painted in another around the protrusions or rather the nodes, to use the proper botanical term.
I don’t know whether I’m wrong when I say we, Sri Lankans can outdo other nationalities when it comes to creativity!
Mohamed Zahran


The beggar’s lesson

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 WB Wijekoon


First world’s facebook

The legitimacy….of backroom back-stabs
Between knaves and knights
Of evil secrets and threats?
Re-shuffle….a worldly step.
Irene De Silva


A great personality

He was the father of the Sri Lankan nation
Don Stephen Senanayake was his name

He studied at St Thomas’ College
Though he was born in Botale village

He was not a diligent student
An his brother, Fredrick brilliant

Left school in grade eight
In boxing and wrestling, he showed his might

Took a keen interest – in planting
Attending to his father’s estates – visiting

Joined the temperance movement of his brother
Ceylon got rid of alcohol later

There were riots in nineteen fifteen
British rulers imprisoned D.S. soon

In riots Stephen was not involved
Though other Buddhist Sinhaha leaders found

He was interested in social welfare
Took to politics with very much care

First took place in the Legislative Council.
Later he was elected to the State Council

He was the Agriculture and Lands Minister
Colonisation he attended to with no motives sinister

In nineteen forty-six he founded the UNP
A very good organiser, of the party, was he

Became the Prime Minister in nineteen forty-seven
Got independence in forty-eight through negotiation.

He fell down while riding a police mare
On twenty second March in fifty-two – an incident normally rare

In the heart of Colombo on Galle Face Green
Many, in the morning, may have seen

Came from a village and reached great height
He died at the age of sixty-eight

D. S. our Prime Minister, never we forget
Who loved and developed the country – with might.

(References from “KIDS” section of the Nation Newspaper)

Gunasekera Hiripitiya


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 to them.
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?
AS Abeywickrama



Bandulasena Prathapasinghe Ratnayake

Eulogy to past president of IPM

Joined Mineral Sands Corporation in 1970, graduate trainee, administration
After graduation at University Peradeniya, taught at Educational Institute, in determination.
Bandula, an energetic robust worker soon turned administrative officer
Couple of years later promoted in Palmodai Factory as a Personnel officer.

Hailing from a respectable family “Prathapasinghe’ deep down South.
Met lifetime partner Lalitha Tennakoon from Kandyan hills, then a youth.
After sometime joined Oils ‘n Fats Corporation as Personnel Manager
Bandula next joined National Savings Bank as Asst. General Manager.

Later appointed as Deputy General Manager of the bank
To join Volanka Ltd as Personnel Manager, disgusted Bandula left the bank.
Left Volanka, turned freelance consultant in Industrial Relations
Functioned as Inquiring Officer in domestic disciplinary inquiries in various organisations.

In 1959 best A/L student at Richmond College Galle, Gold Medalist sans emulation,
With loyalty ‘n integrity held numerous positions in Private ‘n Public sector organisations
Within a short period became a pillar of strength to chosen field
Overflowing zeal, zest to reach high standards, ways rather mild.

Bandula’s involvement at IPM reveals illustrious career in Human Resource management
Served as one of the early members of Institute in the Council of Management.
Chief organiser of all seminars, funds raising activities in enthusiasm
Introduced novel resources, far-sighted Bandula full of genuine humanism.

IPM became his second home, Suntel Medal in 2005, stalwart in dedication
His creative unmatched abilities, gifted brilliance, no limitation
Among his friends ‘n colleagues well respected in the MR fraternity
Loving father, devoted husband, true friend, family life wrapped in unity.

As he wished his body handed over to Medical Faculty, Colombo University
Self-made Bandula’s departure at 68 after a brief illness, a deep vacuum untimely.
Some policies introduced by him at IPM hounoured ‘n still followed
For his strict code of discipline, creative abilities, he’ll be remembered.

Remembering March 25th 2011 your first Death Anniversary
I offer this tiny tribute as a token of friendship in sincerity.
Indeed a man of unfailing patience, transparent genuine generosity
Never gave up obstacles to reach desired goal colleague trustworthy exemplary.

To his beloved wife Lalitha, loving daughter Indika, Sathyajith his son
I extend my deepest sympathies, on this profoundly inconsolable occasion
Only the actions of the past smell sweet and blossom in the dust
Follow your father’s sterling qualities for future, to truly just.

By virtue myriad meritorious deeds perfectly performed
May whatever you wished for in Sansara be attained
Never be hampered by whims of unkind Karma in Sansara
Bandula may you attain the Supreme Bliss of Noble Nirvana.

Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon


Charles Henry De Soysa

He was one of the wonders of God

The commemoration of Charles Henry de Soysa’s 175th birth anniversary falls on March 3, 2011. It was commemorated as usual by his descendants and the hospitals and schools he built for the nation. The students and staff, both past and present of both Prince and Princess of Wales Colleges always remember and revere their founder who did his best to ensure that the youth of his hometown would have the priceless gift of a good education.

His unsurpassed record of philanthropy reaching out to the landless, the homeless, fields of education and health all prove that he was a visionary far ahead of his time.
What would our revered ancestor have thought of the world we live in today? I have no doubt that he would have reached out to his fellow beings in distress and done what he could; using his own resources to give them relief. Nurtured in discipline and Christian principles, he thought of service to the community, and to the individual; purely in terms of human need.

As his great granddaughter, I look back on Charles Henry’s example as an inspiration with a great deal of pride. It is interesting to note that his philanthropy was mainly in the fields of religion, agriculture, education and health. His era, although infinitely more genteel and refined than ours, was a time when bias and prejudice dominated most minds. But narrow peripheries were simply non-existent with him and he reached out to whoever was in need irrespective of caste, race or creed or whether his help was appreciated, misunderstood or misinterpreted. This record is still unparalleled.

Great Grandpa Charles Henry was reputed to be the wealthiest Ceylonese of his time who lived in an era of gracious living, elegance, gentility, peace and contentment. He inherited wealth, which he worked hard to increase although he could have lived in an ivory tower; serene, inviolable and far removed from less fortunate beings and reality. His business acumen and astuteness took him into new fields and he was one of the first Ceylonese to venture into planting coffee and tea.

The coffee crash did not affect him as all his eggs were not in one basket. He owned 74 plantations and several valuable residential properties. His success enabled him to ship his own tea to markets abroad. He was the first Ceylonese banker and a founder member of the Ceylon National Congress.
As descendants of this great man, we are reminded of him almost daily. His statue stands tall and erect at De Soysa Circus; many roads that we live on are named after him as he once owned the land these roads stand on. Alfred Place, Alfred House Gardens, Charles Place, Charles Way, Charles Circus are among these. There are still standing some beautiful houses which once were his or built by his sons on land given to them by him. Lakshmigiri, Samanela (which now houses the British Council), College House, ‘Morven’, the Deaf and Blind School Ratmalana, Ward 8 of the De Soysa Hospital for Women, which is part of the original hospital donated by him to the country and

the Golf Club, N’Eliya and a Clubhouse in Kandy. It is up to us to do what we can to see that these beautiful old houses are maintained and not pulled down. They are national treasures. The MRI was gifted by the De Soysas’ to the nation, as were the hospitals of Lunawa, Panadura and Marawilla. He gifted several acres to the government to build Alfred Model Farm. This area has been sold and named Model Farm Road. It is sad that what remains of palatial and historic Alfred House no longer belongs to the family.
My father once wrote that his grandfather’s life read like an incredible fairytale. I recall that as a child I would never tire of hearing about his banquet for the then Prince of Wales when he visited our country. I was told that the entertainment provided that night were three separate items in all three languages; English, Sinhala and Tamil which again proved his vision far ahead of his time.

He never sought publicity or fame for his generosity, unlike the present when much fanfare and publicity herald acts of charity. He used his own money for charity and didn’t cheat anyone of theirs’. His standards were very high in demanding punctuality, integrity, discipline and dedication but his own life too, was a shining example of all this which was easy for his employees to follow..
Among the many legends related about him is one that ten percent of his vast income was used for contributions to all religions, while the rest went towards development of his empire of interests. His largesse to one and all was wide and varied and reached out to all parts of the country. This includes gifting paddy fields and houses to 100 poverty stricken farmers in Walapane, building several churches and temples, Hindu kovils and Tamil schools in Jaffna. All these were built and endowed by him.

His philanthropy reached outside Sri Lanka too. The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, Brompton Hospital, Royal Free Hospital, Victoria Chest Hospital, the hospital for accidents to Dock labourers, all benefited through his generosity. My father, while doing an internship at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, was pleasantly surprised to see his grandfather’s name on a plaque, stating his generosity.
When we look back in retrospect at Great Grand Pa Charles Henry’s life, it is indeed astonishing that he was a man who transcended all barriers in his life. He was not merely a philanthropist, not merely an entrepreneur but was something much nobler than all this. His foresight was remarkable which make him a phenomenon not only in his time but beyond it too. He was undoubtedly one of the wonders of God, our creator. His greatest possession was his modesty, his greatest gift was philanthropy and his greatest occupancy was service to God and man. Sri Lanka badly needs men of this calibre today.

‘The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.’ - Longfellow
Ilica Malkanthi Karunaratne




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