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|Overseas pensioners driven to
|It is now more than a year, when the Director General of
Pensions in Sri Lanka without giving any notice, stopped the monthly
pension payments from November 2009 to all overseas pensioners
without stating any valid reason.
I have been writing on behalf of my wife, who is a Sri Lankan
Government Pensioner, PN 111714, since December 2009 and again a new
sets of forms were issued to open new savings accounts with People’s
Bank, Queens Branch, 38, D. R. Wijewardena Mawatha, Colombo 10.
These documents were duly certified by the Sri Lankan Consular Bandu
Dissanayake (Melbourne) who came to the Clayton Community Aged Care
and signed all these forms, and we are most grateful to him, since
my wife was unable to call at his office.
I sent all these certified documents through my nephew who is
living in Mount Lavinia in June 2010, who handed them over
personally to the Deputy Director of Pensions, Maligawatta
Secretariat, Colombo. Since then he had visited the Department of
Pensions, Western Province Provincial Council Pension Branch,
Colombo Kachcheri, and People’s Bank, Queens Branch several times in
the sun and rain, and has not been successful.
When my nephew called at the Colombo Kachchri Dam Street early in
August 2010, he was told that the cheque with arrears had been sent
to the People’s Bank Queens Branch from the Colombo Kachcheri yet
the bank has not received any payment at all.
My nephew called at the Colombo Kachcheri again and during this
period it appears that the file is missing or misplaced and the
officer had apologised to my nephew for that.
In view of the above situation, I had no choice but to make a fresh
application and forward through the Sri Lanka High Commission,
Canberra on November 17, 2010. Once again the Sri Lankan Consular in
Melbourne Bandu Dissanayake came to the Clayton Community Aged Care
to sign these documents for which I have to thank him.
How long will my wife have to wait to draw her pension, now it is
13 month late?
Recently, I met several Sri Lankan pensioners, who had gone to Sri
Lanka after the new regulations were issued by the Director General
of Pensions, to draw the pension at the People’s Bank, Queens Branch
had to open a new Savings Account with one condition, “Pensioners
should personally attend the bank to withdraw money when he/she
visits Sri Lanka”.
Having taken three weeks’ to one month leave to draw the pension
at the bank, and meet old friends and relations in Sri Lanka
overseas pensioners’ efforts have been a total failure, as they were
pushed from one department to another, and after several visits and
at the Provincial Council Pension Department, where the respective
pension files are kept in custody.
The officers attached to the record room of the Provincial
Council Pension Branch are fully aware that the overseas pensioners
have a limited time to get things moving, visiting friends, and
relations and if they find no inducement is forthcoming, they only
say your pension file is missing or misplaced and the matter ends.
The average pension of a Sri Lankan pensioner living in Australia is
about Rupees ten thousand (Rs.10,000) and if he or she retains their
pension for a period of one year, there will be Rs.120,000
accumulated in a Sri Lanka bank account. If the pensioner wishes to
withdraw his/her pension, then a return air ticket will cost between
AUD1,200 and AUD1,300 which is the equivalent to Rs.137,000.
What about the old and feeble who have passed the biblical three
score and ten (70 years)? Some are in Elders Homes and these people
should be given some concession as at present, some pensioners are
living with their children and others with their in-laws. Can they
ever go to Sri Lanka? Will these category of pensioners ever get
their pension or perhaps in the next world!
The government departments are working at a snail pace due to red
tape, weak administration at the top level.
Dogs can bark, but the caravan moves on. Bribery and corruption is
the order of the day at all levels in Sri Lanka.
|No two sisters as wives at
Reference the article captioned
“Uncooperative first wife” appearing on the Features page of a
Saturday’s edition of the Island wherein it was mentioned that a
person has been carrying on an affair with the sister of his wife,
who was abroad and when this extra-marital problem landed at the
Kalutara South Police Station for a solution, it was reported that
the Policeman had said that according to the Muslim Marriage Law, a
man of Islamic faith can marry four women.
Though Islam allows polygamy, which has many a rule governing
same to comply with, making it well nigh extremely difficult or
rather discourage to opt to tie the nuptial knot with more than one
woman, it will be of interest to know that it doesn’t allow to have
two sisters as wives at the same time. Either he has to divorce one
or he may marry only after the death of one of them. This is the
ruling as per the verse (Chapter 4 Surah An-Nisa’ -The Women, verse
23) in the Holy Quran which says:
“Forbidden to you (for marriage) are: your mothers, your
daughters, your sisters, your father’s sisters, your mother’s
sisters, your brother’s daughters, your sister’s daughters, your
foster mother who gave you suck, your foster milk suckling sisters,
your wives’ mothers, your stepdaughters under your guardianship,
born of your wives to whom you have gone in - but there is no sin on
you if you have not gone in them (to marry their daughters), - the
wives of your sons who (spring) from your own loins, and two sisters
in wedlock at the same time, except for what has already passed;
verily, Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”
|Home gardening competitions promote
Due to the recent wide spread destruction caused by rains and
flood, considerable damage had been caused to agricultural land and
properties depriving common man the means of income from their plots
of vegetable and fruit trees.
These people depend solely on the income from their vegetable plots
and fruit trees and they are now left destitute losing their means
of providing their poor families a square meal.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa after defeating the ruthless terrorist
leader Velupillai Pirabhakaran and his gang of followers has begun
to reconstruct the war-affected area by providing relief by way of
food, housing and striving to unite the nation under one flag.
In this circumstance, a home gardening competition to encourage
growing vegetables and fruit trees will no doubt contribute its
might towards the reconstruction of the economy and help ordinary
man to lead debt-free life.
I suggest the competition should be confined to only home gardening
of each Pradeshiya Sabha area, excluding the large scale
agriculture. Only way to make it successful is to offer incentives
by way of cash prizes.
Over 3000,000 coconut trees in the Matara District affected by
blight are to be cut down and destroyed to prevent the spread of the
disease. Cutting down and clearing coconut lands to construct houses
should be completely banned. Cutting down hundreds of coconut trees
for large scale housing schemes is a criminal act, considering the
price of coconuts today, each nut costing Rs.58. Only those affected
by the blight should be cut down only after obtaining permission
from a very senior Agricultural Officer.
Immediate and top priority should be afforded to this home gardening
programme to promote agriculture.
|Road widening not properly done
The roads in Wellawatte had been broadened by removing parking areas
and curbs. However, still the signs of the old curbs are visible due
to the uneven areas being left as they are. Even when the traffic is
very congested, still most motorists tend to run only in the usual
two lanes and there are very few who drive on the edges where there
is enough space for another vehicle. Habits die hard indeed.
However, the uneven surface due to the gullies and newly cemented
areas maybe another reason why motorists are reluctant to venture
into these areas. If the Road Development Authority takes interest
in smoothening the roads and making the surface on the same level,
probably the traffic jams, which we see day in day out specially
during the rush hours, can be reduced at least a little.
Dr Mrs Mareena Thaha Reffai
|New visa procedure hinders tourist promotion
The Department of Immigration and Emigration is going to introduce a
new visa procedure and it will be commenced soon.
According to the new system, there are no more granting of visas on
arrival to hereafter at the point of disembarkation although two
nations have been exempted from the visa requirements. They are
Maldivian and Singaporeans. As per this method, other nationals have
to obtain prior visas from Sri Lankan embassies or consulate offices
in their respective countries.
But there are no embassies or even a consulate office in some of the
Western countries to obtain an entry visa to Sri Lanka. In such
circumstances, the British High Commissions were allowed to issue
visas on behalf of Sri Lanka previously.
Now their attitude has been almost changed, though we were enlisted
and considered as a Commonwealth country.
According to my opinion, the newly introduced visa scheme is not
conducive to the promotion of tourism.
C. M. Kamburawala
|Renowned physician Jivaka during Gautama
Illegitimate son of much sought courtesan
Salawathie of Rajagaha
Gave the newborn, sans hesitation to a slave woman away from
She placed the infant in a cane basket’n left beside a garbage
Disappeared as the wind leaving the innocent babe to its destiny.
Next day, Prince Abaya, son of king Bimbisara riding through the
Sighted crows encircling a tiny bundle beside a garbage heap in
Immediately stopped his carriage to investigate bundle in basket
On seeing newborn babe, in loving kindness took it away as his own
Soon infant was named Jivaka kumara Bhacca
Meaning adopted by a Prince, will to live denoting Jivaka
Lived in place amidst enjoying all comforts many a privilege
However, one day after questioning his father found truth of his
Jivaka began studying medicine under renowned Sage Atreya Taxila, in
The training lasting eleven years, took him only seven years, worked
His first patient daughter of wealthy nobleman suffering with severe
headache for seven ars
Rendered services cured maiden permanently no further fears.
The second patient his own grandfather, tumour in stomach, king
Though treated by great physician’s failed, tumour removed by genius
Next operated two tumours from a rich merchant, friend of King
In no time won reputation, great royal physician, during time of
Once Gautama Buddha afflicted with stomach ailment prepared medicine
Applied on a blue lotus, requested Gautama to inhale essence
emanating in perfection
The discomfort soon vanished, ultimately became an outstanding
disciple of Buddha
Donated as a retreat for rainy season, inherited mango grove to
One day, Prince Abaya revealed Jivaka was his own son
Unknowingly adopted the child in sympathy’n overflowing compassion.
Eventually Prince Abaya built a royal palace with many a comfort
But Jivaka continued his dedicated services to an unfathomable
Two discourses delivered by Buddha known as Jivaka Satta
Buddha established rule, monks should sweep compound of monastery at
request of Jiavaka
Responsible for bringing Ajasattu to Buddha after patricide, brutal
Jivaka’s fame escalated, ministered patients sacrificing much time.
Far-sighted Jivaka thoughtful physical health of Gautama ‘n
disciples, no limits
When offered celestial robe, mark of respect Buddha delivered
discourse on the merits
On listening to discourse on immense merits accrued by Jivaka
Attained the first stage of serene sainthood, Satapana.
By Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon
He was a devoted Buddhist
Haridas Mudiyanse, Mourovia Place, Pannipitiya passed away
recently and the funeral took place at the Kottawa public cemetery
amidst a large gathering.
I met Mudiyanse in 2005 as he came to his new residence close to my
home. In fact, he became a close friend of mine. He was a religious
minded person who was a benefactor of the Buddhist Temples in the
He was a prominent figure in sports. He devoted his time and wealth
for the uplifting of the Buddhist Temples in the Ambalantota area.
He was a very kind-hearted person.
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana!
M. G. Asoka Karunaratne
He took Sunday worship seriously
Death has taken away from us our friend Vernon Mendis. Vernon
died on Wednesday, June 23, 2010. His mortal remains were cremated.
Those, who knew him in the Foreign Ministry and thereafter, will
have their own stories to relate. Mine is the story from the Church
where Vernon belonged to. It was my great joy and pleasure to have
met Vernon about 21 years ago when I moved to Colombo to work. He
was then a member, a faithful one of the Cathedral in Colombo where
I worked. Later on Vernon moved to St Michael’s Polwatte.
Vernon’s formation was such at home, and through education and the
church that for him Sunday attendance was a must. So Vernon had his
own inner life and spirituality.
As a person prepared properly for confirmation he used to come to
Church giving himself enough time to be on his knees before the
service started. After service he did not run away but fellowshipped
with those in Church. Hence the significance of those who were
present at the thanksgiving service at the Cathedral.
During my time at the Cathedral, Vernon also used to take part in
the service by reading lessons and doing the prayers. I also worked
with him on the Celestine Fernando Memorial Committee of which he
was a very significant member. At the meetings of that committee I
got to know him at a different level.
Looking back at the life of Vernon Mendis it could be stated that he
belonged to a generation of Christians who took their Sunday worship
seriously. We will always thank God for Vernon for his commitment,
discipline and values.
His wife, the son and daughter-in-law and all others can certainly
be sure of our prayers for them.
May the soul of Vernon Mendis along with the souls of all the
faithful departed rest in peace and rise in glory! Amen.