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Letters


Readers please note it is essential that all letters to the Editor carry the full name and address of the writer, even if it has to appear under a pseudonym. This applies to all email letters as well.

 

Whether ‘the better side won’ is correct?
Even before the warmth of the rousing welcome extended to our cricket team on their return sans the world cup has died down, it may sound rather unpatriotic, treacherous and uncharitable to make even a little critical comment regarding them. However, if one is not a fanatical cricket fan, we begin to wonder whether our captain’s comment soon after the match that ‘the better side won’ is correct? Or was the triumph of India due to the lackadaisical, half-hearted approach to the game shown by our Team Captain downwards? (TV viewers like us felt that our team was playing in a target-less exhibition game rather than in the World Cup Final). Or if our captain’s body language while in the field was any indication, did some mischievous extraneous factors control our captain to play a docile role?

Where was that Kumar Sangakkara, who used to rather loudly direct his fielders, pat them every now and then to energise them and used to indulge in a bit of sledging even in an ordinary ODI? Why was Kulasekera, who eventually emerged as our worst performer with 64 runs and no wickets, permitted to continue bowling as much as 8.2 overs when he was being regularly thrashed to the ropes?

This match was also to be a farewell game for our cricket legend Murali, the all-time great in both forms of the game. In fact, our cricket-loving President in a message before the Team left for India had stated that we should win the Final as a tribute to Murali. However, Murali was treated as almost as a forgotten bowler, and was seen constantly racing down the field to prevent the hits to the ropes when Kulasekera was being mercilessly thrashed. When Murali who was treated almost as a ‘filler’ was given the ball late in the game despite his valiant efforts to ‘dry’ the ball (which by then was well soaked having rolled along the ground which had become quite slippery with the evening dew) wasting much energy he could not manage his magical deliveries. On that historic day as a fitting tribute to this legend, who has written our country’s name in letters of gold in the world of cricket, shouldn’t he have been given the opportunity to bowl the first over although normally a spin bowler is not made to open the attack?

All these doubts have been further strengthened after seeing the expression on our captain’s face when Dhoni and Yuvaraj Singh were joyously embracing one another after smashing the winning hit in that revealing picture that appeared in the ‘The Nation’ on Sunday 4 (P16). Could a losing captain wear the happy expression that adorned the face of our captain in that moment of immeasurable sadness to millions of game enthusiasts in the country who placed implicit faith and trust in our Team. May I ask you dear Editor whether the Foreign Minister of Pakistan also had Sri Lanka in mind when he advised the Pakistan Team on the eve of their match with India not to indulge in any form of match-fixing.

C D Mirando

 

Priceless Pettah

By D S Joseph
It is a bright sunny day as I get off the 101 bus in front of the Fort railway station. The traffic is congested but in this part of the city, it’s venial. I am set to make some purchases along with a friend from India

It is Winston Churchill who said, “The maxim of the British people is business as usual.” That is an understatement when you enter the busy markets at Pettah.
Commodity markets have been in existence since the Sumerian Civilisation in Mesopotamia.
The bazaar in Pettah is probably as old as the city of Colombo itself. There are two areas in India, Ahmednagar and Thiruvanathapuram (Kerala) where you find two markets called Pettah! Retail trade is a vital element in any metropolis. You cannot be rapid as you walk along the pavements.
We make our first stop to browse for some DVDs. The selection of English, Tamil, Sinhala, Hindi and an assortment of foreign language movies is so vast. This is supplemented by a range of music DVDs.
My attention is drawn to a man with unkempt hair. He has innovatively hung many sunglasses and spectacles on his shirt, for sale! Yet, another man follows behind, covered in leather and synthetic belts.
My friend is looking for shoes. The little kiosks specialising in footwear are even selling branded shoes at very competitive prices.
We cross the road and walk into the area commonly known as the World Market!
Diligent traders have their own vernacular phrases, enticing you to buy. The stalls with transverse beams are juxtaposed with clothes from casual to elegant, with no provision though for a fit-on room.
My friend complains to me that the prices are not veracious. A fat brother is seated amidst a pyramid of bags, which one can, as he claims, use for school, office, adventure and overseas travel.
Being an avid reader, I walk into the bookstalls (both new and second-hand) where an unpretentious elder has for sale even old Gazettes and periodicals from authors who are now on the other shore.
We stop to refresh ourselves with a fruit juice. This is made with such speed and dexterity by a man who has silver rings on all his fingers!
My friend buys a small screwdriver - This particular shop has all the gadgets from electrical to garden tools.
We proceed towards Main Street, which is a bargain hunters’ paradise where they also specialise in “ever-silver ware.”
A mystic looking man attired in orange is selling bracelets to ward off evil spirits and invoke good luck. I think that this exercise was totally mendacious.
Our final round is at the vegetable markets where they also sell fruits.
We pass a stall where there are live hens and ducks and even a turkey. The man behind the counter promisingly sharpens his knife!
We are somewhat tired as we board the train to Dehiwela.
At Pettah, traders from all ethnicities and religions live and do business together, giving a new meaning to Integrated Communities.
I’m very thankful to my beloved father, who has shopped here for more than four decades and thereby instilled in us the right attitude in spending our money wisely, whilst teaching us the finer points in bargaining.
A shopping experience in Pettah will also help you understand the reality of life and the boundary between wants and needs.

 

His contribution to Buddhist education immense
At a time when Sri Lankan children were deprived of Buddhist education due to Western religions being forced upon them, Sri Sumangala Maha Nayake Thera together with Col. Henry Steel Olcott and Srimath Anagarika Dharmapala established the Vidyodaya Pirivena and started many Buddhist schools in many parts of the country like Ananda, Mahinda, Dharmaraja to save our future young generation.
He established the press, Lankapahana in Galle in 1862 for printing Buddhist literature. The Ven. Thera was born on January 20, 1827 at Hikkaduwa. He was baptized and named Niculas. He received his higher education from the Parama Dharma Cetiya Pirivena, Rtmalana.
The Maha Nayake should be remembered as the pioneer of Buddhist education in Sri Lanka, and his contribution to Buddhist education is unparalleled.
The Ven. Sri Sumangala Maha Nayaka Thera passed away on April 29, 1911.
We should be very grateful to the Maha Nayake Thera for establishing the Buddhist Privena, Vidyodaya and first Buddhist schools and regard him as the pioneer in Buddhist education in Sri Lanka.
V K B Ramanayake

 

Thorny Side of Life

Everyday has a depressing story to unfold
Making us feel like the runt of the litter
Reminding us that life not beer and skittle
Wars, riots and environmental destruction
Unleashed by those ferocious animals
Masquerading on this planet as human beings
Wallowing in a mire of deception and hatred

Sable backdrop painted by an invisible enemy
Ruthless monster known as ‘mother nature’
Metamorphoses into countless shapes
Quakes, floods, bush fires and cyclones
There to offer only spine-chilling stories
Leaving a trail of destruction behind
Not caring for those with tear scalded eyes.

Bhagavadas Sriskanthadas

 

Electricity bill payment instructions vague
Instructions for payments by cheques are not clearly mentioned on the reverse side of the monthly electricity bills, i.e. in whose favour the cheques should be drawn, where other monthly bills from the National Water Supply and Drainage Board and Sri Lanka Telecom clearly indicate on this matter.
So many consumers find it very difficult whenever they come to pay their bills at the Electricity Board. I appeal to the Chief Accountant of the Ceylon Electricity Board to amend the monthly bills in future before sending them to the consumers through their billing personnel.
A K Gnanakanthan

 

Part I

International Labour Organisation
In the service of workpeople for 92 years
Ninety-two years of dedicated service to the workpeople as at today is the proud record of the International Labour Organisation or ILO as it is better known.
When the foundation stone was laid to the headquarters building of the ILO in Geneva, a scroll was placed with the foundation stone which read in Latin:
‘If you wish for peace, cultivate justice’
It is this principle that the ILO has upheld since its formation in 1919. In fact, the ideals and principles of the ILO have remained the same as those advanced and defended by the Labour Movement throughout the world. The emergence of this world body and the impact it has had internationally is a fascinating story.

Forerunner
The Swiss government in 1880 proposed that an international treaty on factory legislation be agreed upon but there was no immediate response from other European governments. However, 10 years later, in 1890 representatives from twelve industrial nations met in Berlin at which conference certain international standards on employing persons were set. The Berlin Conference suggested that children under 12 years should not be given employment or made to work and women and boys under 14 years should not be made to work in mines. Other proposals were accident insurance and safety and health regulation. These recommendations or proposals were, however, not acted upon underlying how labour was treated at that period of time.
In 1896, another similar conference was held in Brussels attended by those who were interested in labour welfare but that conference too had little impact on the introduction of labour legislation by governments. What is however significant is that the Brussels Conference laid the ground for the emergence of the International Association of Labour Ligislation in 1900. This Association which established a secretariat naming it International Labour Office was financed from contributions made by governments and interested persons. This International Labour Office set up in Basle is the forerunner to the present ILO.
The International Association of Labour Legislation held two conferences in 1905 and 1906 in Berne at which two conventions prohibiting the use of white phosphorus in manufacturing safety matches and prohibiting night work for women in factories except in small establishments were adopted. The adoption of these two treaties was the beginning of common international responsibility for labour legislation affecting work life on a world basis. The work of the Association was halted in 1914 with the outbreak of the First World War.

ILO emerges
After the First World War, at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, with the formation of The League of Nations, the International Labour Organisation was established under the provisions of the Peace Treaty.
The League of Nations ceased to function with the intervention of the Second World War but the ILO continued its activities from Canada and returned to Geneva at the end of the war and became more representative. As at today, there are 184 member states including Sri Lanka.
The ILO is thus older than the United Nations itself and is a Specialised Agency of the world body.

Upali S Jayasekera

 

Appreciation

Eulogy in memory of Shri Sathya Sai Baba

The most prominent Spiritual Hindu Guru, Bhagawan Shri Sathya Sai Baba so charismatic.
Transformed millions of lives gone beyond animal level, his Dharmic teachings realistic.
Passed away due to cardio- respiratory failure, three weeks in hospital, peacefully
For a miracle, devotees congregated worldwide in different places, with special prayers virtually.

Known endearing as ‘Swami’ almost by all devotees across the globe
His noble service to mankind beyond comparison, integrity needs no probe
Always dressed in saffron coloured long robes, with Afro style hairdo never-disshelled
Conducted myriad charitable schemes from his Ashram Puttapathi, populace marvelled.

Outstanding indomitable, spiritual figure India produced this century
Born to kindle loving kindness sans discrimination, to all humanity.
Major spiritual guru, educator, philanthropist, cultural icon in India
An inspiration to people of others faiths, not only in his motherland, India,

He declared his present life as reincarnation of Shirdi, former holy man in India
Then popularly known Shirdi Sai Baba of Maharasta, Nothern state in India
He built an empire of schools ‘n centres worldwide that spread His spiritual influence
To lead human community to the path of Peace, taught the lesson of humanity ‘n reverence.

Devoted great deal of attention, time, to matters pertaining to healthcare and education
His super speciality hospital with eleven operation theatres free service in dedication.
Curing ailments beyond capabilities of mainstream medicine with occasional miracle
His contribution in the field of education, healthcare, single individual feature remarkable.
Devotees in 178 countries, 1,200 Sai centres in 114 countries no exaggeration
85 year old phenomenal personage, with a sixth sense, selfless service, unwavering dedication
Followers believe he possessed supernatural powers to conjure objects from thin air
Visit devotees in dreams, cure terminal illnesses, remember past lives, not just nightmare

Operated drinking water schemes, universities for males ‘n females, a museum, a planetarium
Thousands of prayer centres across the globe to stir innate divinity in man to the maximum
Eight years later He’ll appear as PREM SAI millions of devotees convinced
By virtue of countless benevolent contributions to mankind May this wish be attained
Sai Ram!

Kumari Kumarasinghe Tennakoon

 

 

 

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