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Whom to follow, traffic lights or traffic cops?

We seem to have umpteen number of traffic cops on the roads these days practically one every few yards specially in the mornings and in the evening. They are being trained very well to wave the hands to quicken the traffic. Watching them doing this duty perfectly gives a lot of insight into the mentality of these officers.

Some will keep waving them even when the vehicles are bumper to bumper and cannot even move an inch – wonder whether this waving motion actually speeds up the traffic at all. No one has done any study on this but someone at the top had decided this has to be done and – so be it – the practice goes on, whether fruitful or not!
The other amusing action is the attitude of the traffic police at the traffic lights. They just stand at the middle of the road and direct traffic quite contrary to the traffic lights. At some places these traffic cops are not quite visible and the motorist may not even realise that there is a traffic cop there and may accelerate when a green light is on only to find he has to brake suddenly. It is amazing we don’t have many accidents at these places! Either the traffic lights must be followed or the traffic cops – when both act contradicting each other it is quite confusing. A few cops just stand and watch and come into the field only when necessary, the wise ones.

The traffic from Wellawatte towards Mount Lavinia is very light in the mornings and very heavy in the evenings. The opposite lanes are hardly busy. Why not utilise one lane on the opposite lane to ease the congestion of traffic? In the mornings one lane on the land side can be cordoned off with traffic cones and used to allow the traffic towards Wellawatte and in the evenings vice versa.

Similarly, the action of the cops at the bollard at the Waidya road junction in Dehiwela for motorists to take a U turn, to turn into the side lanes, says a lot of about the intelligence of the officers. There are some officers who will think and let the motorists take a U turn if the oncoming traffic from Mount Lavinia is light. There are some even if that lane is empty will keep waving their hands (their trade mark) asking the motorists to move on, to turn only at the Dehiwela junction – adding more to the snail pace moving of the vehicles, not realising they are contributing unnecessarily to the traffic jam. No talking or reasoning is allowed. Only a bark to say move on!
Many a time the actions of the cops are totally unwarranted. Simply because they don’t think – it is as if they just do what they do, as if, they have to do something - anything! Or is it the feeling of being powerful to stop/direct vehicles as they wish for no reason at all?

It is good to have the traffic cops but they should act with a little wisdom and reasoning. They should be taught to think and act. Not just take their duty like a robot without rhyme or reason.

Dr Mrs Mareena
Thaha Reffai


Fish but at a price

Although there is a busy fisheries harbour at Beruwala and an abundant catch of fish is brought to the ashore daily, still the consumers have to buy the fish at exorbitant prices.
The Fisheries Corporation Centre operates in the Beruwala harbour premises has always insufficient stocks of fish while the private vendors have ample stocks even to deliver to various distant areas too.
This is obviously due to the manipulations of the private fish vendors in cahoots with the corporation employees.
Unless the Ministry of Fisheries takes any remedial measure, the ordinary consumer will not be able buy fish at reasonable prices.
C M Kamburawala


Big credit card discounts, a huge farce

I am writing this letter to advise all credit cardholders particularly housewives who are gullible to dirty tricks employed by the promotion of various supermarkets and outlets by using particular credit cards. All those gilded advertisements indicating big discounts is a huge farce which has gone unchecked by any decent authority in government or private sector. As to why there has been no authority either controlling or regulating the lies of these hawks is incomprehensible in this modern age.
If ever you see an advertisement promoting discounts from 5 to 50%, you can be sure that the 50% discount would be for some faded old balloons or some useless items.
Before you do your shopping, check as to what exactly is entitled to what discount or you will be saddled with a meagre discount or no discount at all because they all cover these up under ‘Conditions Apply’. It is always the poor sales girl or the cashier at these supermarkets and outlets that bear the brunt of the wrath of the customers. I have personally witnessed many angry customers berating these poor girls at the counter. In fact, I myself have been annoyed and have confronted them about this kind of robbery perpetrated by so called respected private sector companies.
So beware, especially during this season of these predators, who will brew everything possible to entice you part with your credit cards for purchases you do not want for which you have to pay enormous interests to the banks.
Nilmini Ranasinghe


Time to regulate private hospital charges

I recently channeled a consultant at a leading private hospital in Colombo 5 and obtained my appointment. A day or two later, I realised that I had a prior engagement from which I could not get out of, and decided to postpone e appointment by days.
The reason I had to postpone it by seven days is because the consultant was due only once a week! However, to my utter disbelief, the channeling counter demanded an additional Rs.300/- for making the change. The irony is that they would accommodate me without the additional charge but would list me as the last patient on the day. This is clearly another instance of the manner in which these so called ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’ continue to fleece the public.
There are so many complaints from the public about the manner in which these hospitals operate and sadly, there is no help to the public from anyone and they continue to bear the brunt of these unethical, unjustified charges. It’s no wonder that all these hospitals claim to have realised huge profits at the end of the year! Yet, they advertise themselves as ‘paragons of virtue’ whereas their hearts are akin to rotten apples!
Surely, its time the Ministry of Health looked at these ‘operators’ with some concern. But for the mess they are in, would any sensible person prefer to visit a government hospital for treatment? Unfortunately, they have no choice but to be fed to these ‘wolves’.
R de Silva


Pedestrians at risk without zebra crossings

As part of the accelerated development programme (Your tax rupees at work) of the city of Colombo, Galle Road - from Bambalapitya to Colpetty – one will not fail to notice that there is a hive of activity on account of the renovation being in progress. This is handled by the Municipal Engineer’s Department under the direction of Mahinda Rajapaksa as mentioned in the metallic board installed at the Bambalapitya junction.
One day, when walking down this road after lunch from Bambalapitiya junction towards Colpetty, I noticed four mini boards hung from the gantry close to Lindsay Girls’ School. The four boards with the narrations, in order, were Bus Lane, Traffic lane, Traffic lane, Merging lane. The “Bus lane” board was on the seaside and the “Merging lane” on the land side. I have doubts whether all the drivers and riders will see this. Therefore, I hope the ME Department /Road Development Authority/the Municipality or the authorities responsible, paint broken white lines demarcating the four lanes for the benefit of the motorists plying on this road.
Now, the road is wider than it was with the centre island removed and in the absence of zebra crossings I see people crossing all over the place risking life and limb inconveniencing both motorists and themselves. I suggest that traffic cops be stationed at a few points to help the pedestrians to cross the roads until such time the zebra crossings are painted.
Mohamed Zahran


“Barrack” Obama

Democrats been there, dawn that!
Codename: Mother may I.
Mother, may I step up or step down?
The world’s my barrack
Black flags for the rest.
God bless.
Irene De Silva



E W Balasuriya

Great sports promoter of Kandy

Last year in April, Kandy lost one of its most versatile sportsmen, sports benefactor, and philanthropist and above all a gentleman of the highest calibre, E.W. Balasuriya. Many seem to have forgotten the past glorious moments of Kandy rugby, but there are still a few who remember the part played by late E.W. Balasuriya, his invaluable services for sports in Kandy.
E.W., as he was popularly known, was a great lover of cricket and represented his school. He first played for Dharmaraja College, Kandy and later for Ananda College Colombo as an opening batsman.
He is the person who founded the Kandy Lake Club rugby team which later was changed to Kandy Rugby Football Club [KRFC] in view of the rugby’s top administrators stopping Kandy Lake Club from playing professionals in the team. E.W.’s Kandy Lake Cub was one of the finest sports organisations outside Colombo in the early days, adding rugger to there numerous other sports activities. At that time they played cricket, hockey, and also had iron sports.
Kandy Lake Club was founded in 1962, and this club reached great heights in sports. In 1963, it took up rugby and played in the “B” division. Some of the sports enthusiasts who backed and supported the club at rugby were Col. Stanley Ratwatte, Dr C.D.L Fernando, Dr Dago Gunawardene, Dr J.C. Blok some of the names which came to my mind. And the first rugby coach was Col. Sydney Ratwatte. Maurice Perera, National Iron Sportsmen Niyas Majeed led the first rugby side, the team was formed with products from St Anthony, Trinity, St Sylvester, Vidyartha and St Pauls. Except the Trinitians, rest of them had never played rugby at that time. In 1966, they became he “B” division champions.
Vidyartha’s T.B. Wijasinghe led the side in a few games and later was pulled by CR & FC. Farook Dole took over the leadership and led the side to become the champions. In 1967, he played for he first time in the “A” division playing the very first game in the “A” division against the defending champions Havelocks SC. They held them to a 3 all draw at Havelock’s Park, the second game was against CH & FC, that game was played at Maitland Crescent and that too ended in a 3 all draw. Then in the second round beat Haveocks SC at Nitawella. In their very first year of “A” division they were placed third in the league behind Havelocks SC and CR & FC. In 1970, a sad day to Kandy Lake Club came with a knockout blow from the rugby authorities of that time for playing professional players in the team.
Later in 1971, E.W. formed Kandy RFC which played in the “A” division up to 1973. Then on a suggestion made by late Dr K.B. Sangakkara, one time President of Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union, E.W. amalgamated Kandy RFC with Kandy Sports Club and played under one banner from 1974, they sported the Kandy Sports Club rugby jersey
[White jersey with the red Lion Logo] and wore the Kandy RFC stockings [Red and Black striped].
In 1975, E.W. became the President of the Kandy Sport Club. Trinity Rugby Lion Iswan Omar was appointed to lead Kandy Sports Club in 1975 having earlier captaining the KRFC in 1972 under the Presidency of E.W. Balasuriya. The team had a good season under difficult conditions with the competitors. However, this side qualified to play in the Clifford Cup Knock Out - Semi Finals at Havelock Park, lost to Sri Lanka Air Force S.C. late in the second extra time by 3 points. Then again in 1986, he became the President once again and this time, the team went up to the semi-finals of the R. Premadasa trophy tournament and lost.
He gave a big hand for cricket; in the 1960s, Kandy Lake Club had a top class cricket side, and was also good in hockey and weightlifting.
Although E.W. Balasuriya is no more his memory will remain forever in the minds of all those who knew his value, qualities and above all his sportsmanship. He will not be forgotten by the rugby loving public of Kandy. It is very difficult to find such an all-round sports promoter, who had the highest regard, respect for sports promotion in Kandy. It was he who organised the first cricket Test match at Trinity College Grounds, on a request made by late Gamini Dissanayake.
Hafiz Marikar

My Mother Emma Kumarasinghe

Eulogy in memory of fifteenth year death anniversary

Remembering dear angel, my mother, your fifteenth death anniversary
In obeisance I offer this humble eulogy for a lady truly exemplary
Old good Spherdian faithful to alma mater she says a blessing
She hailed from a respectable Kandyan family from Gampola so appeasing.

Countless benefactions at Dematagoda Mallikaramaya, Borella Dharmagaveshi
In youthful zeal prominent dayaka punctual in sun or rain was she.
A loyal devout Buddhist unquestionable boundless integrity
Helped the needy generously expecting nothing, purely for charity.

Like a fountain quenching thirst, to me she was in disguise a deity
Guiding star, radiating values with a ray of lucid dignity
When troubles thicken in heavy or mild matters of adversity
She took us under her wing, wiping tears consoling in undisturbed serenity

Soaring in your humble heart Forgiveness togetherness
Imprinted in the sounds of time your straightforward righteousness
We recall how your lovingly wholeheartedly nurtured ten of us to be
We owe you that unfailing gratitude as it should be.

Virtuous minstrel angel with glowing super maternal love
I still feel your unstrained smile greeting me, symbol of unmatched love
Extraordinary great grandma lost to the next generation
Your tenderly, graciously, sprinkled genuine appreciation.

Through fields of memory I recall your monumental tolerance, true motherhood ways
An angel on earth, embodiment of simplicity since my happy childhood days
Each day with courage you left us lasting unshaken impressions
Par excellence you performed seven stages of effortless life, epitome of warm mannerisms.

‘Emma’ affectionately addressed by my loving father his only possession
She was the driving force of his noble teaching profession.
Forever enthroned in my heart soft spoken spiritual lady
May your sansaric sojourn be free from hindrances in every way.

Dasa masa urekathwa - Posethi uddikaranang
Ayudeegjan vassasathan - Mathupadan namamahang

- Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon


Ronali Mendis de Silva

She was keen to work with children

Ronali succumbed to a massive heart attack recently. She was married to a Baptist Minister Heshan de Silva. Ronali has left behind not only Heshan and others but also her children, the youngest being two months old.
I first met Ronali soon after she left Bishops College as a member of the Bishops Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC). I still vividly remember that interview she faced as a person seeking ordination in the church and she was very keen to work with children. Therefore, we sent her to Hambantota to do fieldwork. It was then that she met Heshan and married him. The rest of Ronali’s life was confined to the Baptist Church as a spouse of a Baptist Minister.
I kept in touch with them because Heshan was one of my Pilimitalawa students. It was only a few days before her death that we at a Pilimitatawa past teachers’/ past students’ lunch that we referred to Ronali’s new baby. And subsequently I met them briefly when marketing.
So, it was certainly a shock to learn that she had suffered a heart attack at her grandmother’s thanksgiving service at which Heshan had preached.
We shall always thank God for Ronali and her very brief life and ministry. Heshan and the family and the others can certainly be rest assured of our love and prayers always.
May her soul rest in peace and rise in glory! Amen.
Sydney Knight





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