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|Selection blunders cost us
|When Aravinda de Silva was elected as the new Chairman of the
Board of Selectors, SLC, all cricket followers were happy,
anticipating eagerly a drastic change in the selection pattern,
which ultimately became a real stalemate, exactly like what the
pattern of previous selections panels’ decisions. Of course, when
the reigns of the Chairman was taken over, Aravinda made certain
stern comments in the media that drastic changes would be made,
especially in regard to the picking of the 15 member squad for the
Cricket World Cup 2011, focussing attention on our future cricket.
At several press conferences and in the print and electronic
media he stressed on selecting a unit comprising of youth blended
with experience is what would be selected. Ultimately, regretfully
only the usual experienced players most of whom who had not
performed consistently were chosen with the youth more competent
completely neglected. This was the monotonous pattern that existed
even before for a long time.
The seniors did ever like talented and performing youngsters getting
groomed and being included in the team. They never wanted to break
the monopoly but to stay on and on at the expense of youngsters. So
many talented youth were deprived of playing for their country owing
to the policy of all selection panels in the past, although they had
performed admirably in our domestic tournaments.
On several occasions, ‘The Player of the Tournament’ was not
considered for selection. Once a Chairman of a previous Interim
Committee also disagreed why ‘the Player of the Tournament was not
selected’ and hence there should be something wrong with the
selection process. The selection of the present squad is ample
testimony to his statement. The squad has no surprises very
unfortunately and it when scrutinised resembles a Test squad rather
than an ODI squad for the ICC World Cup 2011.
From the squad of 15 selected it would have been prudent to include
Sanath Jayasuriya, Chaminda Vaas, Dinesh Chandimal (who is a dashing
batsman cum wicket keeper having notched an ODI century in only his
2nd ODI), Mahela Udawatta by omitting Charmara Silva, Charmara
Kapugedera, Rangana Herath and Dilhara Fernando who was only a
bench/water boy in the entire tournament. The former has only played
only a handful of ODI matches and latter would have mentally
suffered for just hanging around by napping.
Even Thilan Samaraweera should not have been included having
played only a very few ODI matches. Thilan fought his way into the
side saying he cannot be branded as only a Test player. The Indian
counterparts, who are definitely much more knowledgeable, omitted
Test players of the calibre of Rahul Dravid and V V S Laxman from
the ODI squad. Chamara Kapugedera who has never scored a century in
87 ODI’s, has had a very bleak batting record and a low average is
persisted, had been included perhaps with the backing of a powerful
element which is very unjustifiable. His inclusion has caused an
obvious injustice to the talented budding youngsters disproving and
defying Aravinda’s own logic which he preached.
If Aravinda’s desire and intention was to groom youth, why did he
fail to do justice even to include a single talented youngster
barring Thissara Perera who performed admirably. The present and
past selectors have ruined the careers of so many youngsters. This
selection panel is just one like bold ‘Mavan Atapattu’ named ‘headed
by a joker’ at a press briefing in Australia when the Chairman was
Ashantha de Mel. The foursome named above, Thilan, the two Charmaras’
and Rangana Herath together with Dilhara should be axed from our
future ODI squads and should be replaced by budding talented
youngsters as confessed by Aravinda, if we are a force to be
A huge damage/blunder has been made flouting all promises made by
the new Chairman of the Selection Committee in selecting a squad
with experience and youth as confessed by the new Chairman of the
Selection Committee, as only a single budding talented youngster was
included in the final 15 squad which was made in a mighty hurry when
inter provincial tournaments were in progress. It is indeed pathetic
for our future cricket. The colossal loss in the World Cup final
could be attributed to playing an only 50% fit Murali, Charmara
Kapugedera and excluding Ajantha Mendis for Suraj Randiv who was
flown to India only on the previous day to play for the final.
|Muslims not in conflict with
Sri Lankan Muslims are peace
loving-people. They are not in conflict with any community although
they were the most affected in the North and East being driven away
for the loyalty they showed to the successive governments and the
opposition for the division of the country.
This is a tradition they have followed from the time of the
Sinhalese kings. They have fought many wars against the invaders
along with the Sinhalese soldiers. Therefore, their love for their
motherland is second to none and their patriotism is unquestionable.
Having all these cast iron-credentials as an asset to the community,
to be insulted by an UPFA parliamentarian en masse, as reported in
The Nation, the entire Muslim community of Sri Lanka demands an
apology from this politician.
He seems to be angered by a few ignorant or idiotic Muslim
youngsters that have supported Pakistan during the recent Sri Lanka
vs Pakistan match played in Colombo.
This parliamentarian has totally ignored the fact that this is just
an isolated case while the entire community solidly stood with the
country’s team. I know many of my Muslim friends, who went hoarse,
after shouting their throats out for Sri Lankan team not only while
playing against Pakistan but any country for that matter!
In the meantime, the MP should not forget how the entire Pakistani
spectators, nearly 30,000 of them, supported Sri Lanka their hearts
out in the 1996 World Cup final, played in Lahore, Pakistan. There
were not more than a few hundreds Sri Lankans in the pavillion but
the Pakistanis did the job for us.
The then Pakistani prime minister the late Benazir Bhutto, while
presenting the cup to captain Arjuna Ranatunga declared an
additional cash award of US $ 100,000 from the Pakistani government
which was equal to ICC’s stake then. Arjuna in his speech paid a
glowing tribute to the Pakistani spectators for their enthusiastic
support for our team.
We also cannot forget the military aid we get from Pakistan and
we remember how one of their diplomats narrowly escaped an attempt
on his life, in Colombo, by the LTTE terrorists, because of this
assistance we were afforded.
This MP’s threat that ‘housing in Colombo for the Muslims will
not be considered by the government in the future’ is something
ready deplorable. We are sure that this is not the policy of the
President or the government or even the UPFA. Our President’s policy
is to maintain excellent relation with Arab and Muslim countries has
paid rich dividends by way of aid without any string and employment,
which is our top foreign exchange earner now. I wonder whether this
MP is aware that All Ceylon Jamiyathul Ulema, the Muslim religious
body, made an appeal to the Muslim community to support our team.
It explained that our religion compels on everyone to show his or
her allegiance towards his or her country. As Muslims we are duty
bound to stand by our country under any circumstances. Just because
a few foolish fellows were ignorantly failed in their duty, it is
not fair for the MP to paint the whole community en masse with the
The Muslim community has already taken action to identify the
very few who were ‘unpatriotic’ and have already reprimanded them.
However, we are really disturbed to see the MP’s extremely harsh
statement not respecting the sentiment of the community. He is
trying to have a ‘storm in a tea cup’. In the meantime, we commend
the SLC chief for playing down the issue and dismissing it by saying
‘it is only a sport and you are free to support a side you fancy’.
We are one hundred percent behind our team and looking forward to a
repeat performance of 1996! Good luck boys, our thoughts are always
with you. God bless you all!
S H Moulana
|Travails of pensioners
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.
|Slanting newly installed trash
No one will fail to notice these days that small plastic buckets
mounted on metal pipes are being installed on the pavements close to
bus stops, at entrances to private roads/ lanes. These are meant to
be used as trash bins for the road users to dispose of toffee
wrappers, ice cream cups and other throwaway items.
This, I think, is part of the government’s effort to keep the city
clean. I noticed that in the process of fixing these poles, the
pavements have been dug and these poles have not been rigidly fixed.
These poles which would have been fixed vertical as already started
tilting and one possible reason could be that the digging has not
been deep enough!
I saw at one place the plastic bucket has gone missing with the pole
only remaining. In another place the garbage was partly jutting out
from the base of the container. I also would like to raise the
following queries in respect of these newly installed plastic trash
Shouldn’t the size of the plastic container be a bit bigger?
Shouldn’t there be a lid on top? As otherwise, crows are pulling the
trash out from these containers. Shouldn’t the installation be much
stronger? Preferably it should have been done free standing with a
heavy base whereby digging of the pavement could have been easily
This is to request the janitorial company which has won the tender
and entrusted to execute this installation to do a good job with the
balance installation of these trash bins without comprising on
|Long for pipe borne water for
The National Water Supply and Drainage Board has
not provided pipe borne water so far to the following areas, namely
Peththa Waththa, Gomarakanda and Panikkigoda in the Beruwala
The residents of the above areas have made so many requests to
extend the water supply line from Payagala-Galle road to these
densely populated rural areas since the inauguration of a new
regional office at Payagala North.
Now almost seven (7) years have lapsed, still the Board has not
woken up from its deep slumber to this crucial issue.
C M Kamburawala
Willingly helped the less
I lost my precious and beloved son in the early hours of December
28, 2010. Even though we all knew he was terminally ill, the moment
of departure was not anticipated. No mother can anticipate such
things or find it easy to come to terms with that eventuality. It
was the same with me when my third son, Sidath passed away.
Of all my sons, it was Sidath who spent the most amount of time with
me. He even observed sil with me because he felt I was very careless
and might have a bad fall. He stopped me from using public transport
and always insisted that I go in a taxi. It was not just about
helping his mother navigate safety the infirmities that old age
brings. He had a larger purpose.
He wanted me to attain a higher level of understanding, in terms of
the teachings of the Buddha. He wanted my sojourn through sansara to
be brief. He would observe on many occasions that what was important
was not the reading of the dhamma but its practice. He often told me
that I had read enough and knew enough. He used the word pragna or
wisdom very often; so often that we sometimes affectionately called
Sidath called me ‘Raththaran Amma’ and always told me not to worry,
that he would always be with me and that he would never leave. In a
sense, he hasn’t but that is not a source of comfort but one of
pain, perhaps because I didn’t ‘practice’ enough. That’s what he
He was never one to complain. Through all the difficulties he faced
in life and most of all through the terrible pain he suffered on
account of his disease, Sidath never complained. He was not one to
trouble anyone. He never showed his pain. He didn’t whimper or
groan. He didn’t even sigh.
He was a very good chess player, but that’s not all he could do. He
could sing very well. I remember his friends organising a sing song
and a dinner for him. He was the singer. His favourites were the
songs of Milton Mallawarachchi and Gunadasa Kapuge.
Before he fell ill he used to sit in front of an open chess board
and contemplate games and positions late into the night. He had
stopped taking part in tournaments a long time before. When I
mentioned this to him he said that he did not want to bring glory to
himself but that he wanted to help a few outstanding players improve
their game. With this in mind he travelled all over the country
helping children who were really talented.
He was a good banker, but he never waned to be tied down to one
place. His last employer was a very religious person and Sidath
helped him build hermitages and living abodes for bikkhus. He was
the mediator who looked after their needs. He used to take lots of
poor patients to doctors who were his friends for treatment. Yes, he
would go out of his way to help anyone, especially the less
Sidath was a good father to his beloved son Devin. While it is true
that all parents love their children but his love for Devin was
rare. So was Devin’s love for his father.
It is three months since my son left me. He is as present, as loved
and as beautiful as the first day I set my eyes on him. He would
tell me that I have to employ pragna, recognise the incomparable
truth of the Buddha’s words, accept that all things are transient
and strive to shorten my journey through sansara. There is no lack
of striving. And yet, I am a mother and he is my son. Perhaps my
journey will be very long, longer than he expected or would wish.
That’s because he was a different kind of human being and different
kind of son. I wish him the same, because I am a mother. Because I
am his mother.
May you attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana, Sidath!
Knew her personally and
worked with her
Agnes Bojaxhiu, being Mother’s birth name was born on August 26,
1910 in Yugoslavia. In 1928, she left home to become a Novice of
Loreto and in 1931, arrived in India
On her way to India she had a brief stay in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).
In India, she took the religious vows of poverty, chastity and
obedience and was given the name by which the world knows her,
Mother Teresa. As a Sister of Loreto she taught at St Mary’s School
in Calcutta for several years. While teaching Geography to the
elitist girls, the young Sister fell in love with “the wretched of
the earth” in Calcutta.
Hence her leaving the Roman Catholic Sisterhood of Loreto and
seeking the permission of the Vatican to begin a new Congregation of
the Missionaries of Charity, which was approved by a decree of the
Pope in 1950. Since then, the Congregation has expanded and moved to
almost every continent in the world. For her work she was awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize, the Magsaysay Prize and the Bharat Ratna.
When the Pope visited India in the 1980s, he left for her and the
Congregation the car that he used in India, which she raffled and
used the money for her work thus, being obedient to her vow of
The present writer knew her personally in the latter part of the
1960s. Then the writer was undergoing formation at the then
Provincial Seminary of the Church of India, Pakistan and Ceylon.
The writer with other students was in the same neighbourhood of the
Parent House of the Sisters. During that period of formation, the
students of Bishop’s College, Calcutta, as a part of their formation
related to Mother and the Sisters and also worked with the Brothers
of the same order in Calcutta.
The students of that era with the Brothers got up early in the
morning and before lunch visited the people in Calcutta with whom
the Brothers and Sisters worked.
There were a few significant areas of work.
1. Working with the urchins at the two big stations in Calcutta –
Howrah and Sealdah.
2. Working with the lepers in the colony and on the streets of
3. Working with the migrants in the city of Calcutta ended up in the
slums brewing illicit liquor.
4. Working with the Sisters and Brothers looking after those at the
point of death at the Kali Temple in Calcutta. They were people
picked up by the Sisters and Brothers from the streets of Calcutta.
It is strange but true that in the Temple dedicated to Goddess Kali,
the deity of destruction and death, the Mother, her Sisters and
Brothers gave even at the point of death meaning to life in and
through their love in the context of the reality and death and
Looking back at those days in Calcutta with the Mother, this writer
is thankful for that formation given by the Mother. The writer kept
in touch with the Mother till the very end. On a visit to Calcutta
he was able to visit the Mother. She was at prayer in the Chapel,
for her life was based on the Blessed Sacrament, her inner life and
After her time in the Chapel she saw the writer, spent a few minutes
and left him with the words, “A child learns to love, under God, and
gives till it hurts”.
Thus, following the Mother’s life and reading her words as a part of
daily devotion, the writer was able to work out his own inner life
Thanks to television, one learnt about the Mother’s death soon after
the tragic end of Princess Diana. The Mothers funeral in Calcutta
spoke volumes. Not only the people of Calcutta but the persons of
the whole world mourned the death of this Woman of God. Thus, it is
significant that her Church is in the process of making her a Saint.
May her soul rest in peace and rise in glory! Amen.