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|My granddaughter needs answers
|My granddaughter attends Sunday Dhamma School, accompanies her
mother to temple on Poya Days to observe “Sil” and also listens to
Dhamma sermons on TV every morning and while waiting for the school
van, asks me the following questions to which I have no answers.
a) She says, in her Dhamma school, the priest has taught her to
clasp her palms and place on her forehead when reciting the
“Namaskaraya” (Namo Thassa Bhagawatho, Arahatho Samma Sambudassa)
but the priests who come over the TV do not do this. Some recite the
“Namaskaraya” without bringing the palms together, some do so by
bringing the palms together and place on the chest. What is the
b) Some priests wear yellow robes, while some wear nigger brown,
brown or dark bluish brown. What is the correct colour of the robe
which Lord Buddha instructed the monks to wear?
c) Some priests, when they preach Bana, wear the robe fully covering
the body, while some wear with one shoulders open. What is the
accepted manner, Lord Buddha has instructed?
d) Some priests gesticulate as if addressing a political meeting
rather than the serene, calm composure. Is there a code of conduct
on this matter?
This is certainly not an indictment on our Buddhist monks but what I
fear is that my granddaughter may in time to come give up Buddhist
way of life, which she may feel is not consistent. If that happens,
we all have a responsibility and we have to accept the blame
inclusive of Buddhist monks. Shouldn’t the priesthood set an example
and be a model for them to be respected and revered?
|In the service of workpeople
for 92 years
When the ILO Headquarters building in
Geneva was ceremonially opened in 1926, three persons who happened
to be the Chairman and Vice Chairmen of the Governing Body - Arthur
Fontaine - a Government representative (French), Jan Oudegeest - a
worker representative (Netherlands), and Jules Carlier - an employer
representative (Belgian) opened the gates and walked into the
building led by Albert Thomas, the first Director of the ILO. Others
present at the historic occasion followed. This action symbolised
the principle of tripartism which is characterised the World
Tripartism means the involvement of three parties. Thus, in the
worker or labour related field the three parties are the worker, the
employer and the Government. In economic activity or in production
these three parties have different interests for a common purpose -
production of goods and offering of services.
A living wage, security of job and safe and healthy working
conditions are the primary aims of a worker when he gains
The employer who invests capital expects to maximise profits,
keeping wages as low as possible and holding production costs down
often by ignoring minimum health and safety requirements at
workplace. This applies to the manager as well.
The government has to safeguard the interests of the community at
large - to provide the people with goods and services at reasonable
and within the reach prices - whilst having concern for the employer
interests and safeguarding workers’ rights.
The reconciliation of these three different interests for evolving
workable compromises at institution or industry level for the
efficient, smooth and viable functioning of an enterprise is
necessary. This approach is administrative pluralism and helps
reconcile conflicting views through dialogue and common approach to
problems and issues.
The tripartite approach is symbolic of the ILO conference as well
which is held in June every year. Each member country could send
four delegates - two representing the government and one each from
workers’ and employers’ organisations.
The Governing Body of the ILO elected by the conference also has
representatives of the worker, employer and governments and having
14 each and the governments 28.
It is to the credit of the ILO that it is the only international
organisation that has representatives from workers’ and employers’
organisations and governments sitting together discussing common
The ILO, therefore, in promoting tripartite consultation is only
ensuring the improvement of working conditions and industrial peace
through the joint efforts of the worker, employer and the
The workers, to effectively participate in the tripartite system as
envisaged by the ILO, should have strong and well organised unions
and a knowledgeable leadership. New technology and automation which
need to be introduced to meet international standards and
requirements will influence wages, working hours and conditions and
employer-employee relationship. The workers represented by trade
unions should as such be ready to meet these changes and challenges.
Worker education is the answer.
The trade unions should train their members in bargaining and
negotiations as well as in other trade union activities and social
problems facing modem society. This requirement cannot be ignored
for the well-being of the workers and the labour movement.
The ILO as far back as 1924 adopted a recommendation concerning the
opening of facilities for the education of workers and it continues
to be active in this field and conduct worker education. programmes
to achieve that end.
The over-riding objectives of the ILO have been Social Justice. It
has adopted 188 Conventions and 200 Recommendations up to date, to
achieve that objective. For peace and prosperity could be achieved
only through the enshrinement of Social Justice. And Social Justice
would mean a social order without the existence of a minority living
at the expense of the majority. It being so the ILO, it is evident,
is marching forward in its quest for social progress and social
Upali S Jayasekera
|Water consumers unreasonably
I moved into the occupation of present premises late last year. I
give below the details of the billings in a tabular format so that
anyone can see the discrepancy in the billing and how the Water
Board is trying to overcharge the customers. The meter number is
0608005790 and the water bill is in favour of the previous owner.
The average consumption of my household is about 17 units for a
month. As per the Water Board tariff, if the meter reader visits
monthly and the billing is done accordingly, the total number of
units consumed will be about 122 units as computed in the table
above and the amount I will incur will be approximately Rs.2,077.60
(Rs.296.80 x 7 months) whereas the total amount I have to pay now
has skyrocketed to Rs.6, 544.36, an overcharge of Rs.4,466.76.
A written complaint was made on April 8, 2010 on receipt of March
bill for 59 units but to date I have still not received any redress.
I wish to draw the attention of the Minister of Public Utilities and
Chairman of the Water Board as to how the customer is being
unnecessarily and very indiscriminately burdened by the Water Board.
I would like to know, if the meter reader fails to visit on or
before the due date and in case, the house is closed, how is the
consumer supposed to be billed?
Anver A Azeez
|Discard politics; espouse
|I humbly and most sincerely appeal to the United National Party
to kindly give up their kind of politics and join hands with Mahinda
Rajapaksa (The Second Father of the Nation, the first being Hon. D.
S. Senanayake) and develop this beautiful, now peaceful country with
its wonderful people who deserve nothing better and nobler than that
task, for the benefit of future generations of this thrice blessed
The Tamil parties should be patient for a little while longer and
let President resolve that problem too just as the way he did with
the terrorist problem, what the whole world thought was impossible
I request the JVP to either honourably give up politics altogether
or join hands with President once again or find another country to
continue their useless politics.
This country, in my opinion, does not need any more politics in the
Dr W B Wijekoon
|Display official identity
It is reprehensible that in certain government departments, the
employees, who are to assist the callers for getting certain matters
attended to, do not wear the necessary official identity cards.
Perhaps they may be lying in their drawers safely.
All categories of public servants, who have to be met by members of
the public seeking advice and assistance, should be required during
hours of duty to display on their dress (on either side or centre of
their chests) the official identity cards. Even when a public
servant goes out of his office to visit a residence for an inquiry
or for other purpose of the government, he/she should be displaying
his/her official identity card.
Identity cards should be certified by the Head of Department. It is
suggested that a prominently encircled spot containing a distinctive
reference number be provided in every card so that a citizen can
conveniently note it for any complaint.
I submit that salutary measures as suggested above are required in
view of prevalent frauds, scams, bribery, corruption and other
scourges in this country.
|Counter service at banks not
Leading private banks operating in the Colombo city having over
four to eight/nine counters are not at all equipped with their staff
at least in five counters to serve their customers. Only two
counters are in operation during busy hours. After all, these
different banks were awarded for ‘Best Banking’ continuously for the
past 10 years.
When it was referred to the Manager of the Cash Counters, the answer
was curt ‘short of staff’. As a result, the customers have to wait
in long queues for hours.
I appeal to all the Regional Managers of these private banks to have
surprise visits to their branches in the Colombo city during the
rush hours - between 9.00 am and 11.00 a.m. and 1.00 pm to 3.00 pm
Also it has been observed that at the most of the counters, the
‘Counter Closed’ boards are displayed. I trust that higher
authorities of the banks will take immediate action to improve their
counter services to their customers.
A K Gnanakanthan
A gentleman held in high esteem
Willet Fernando (Willet to his friends and close associates)
passed away on September 28, 2010 peacefully, ending his battle with
a sickness he didn’t know what it was. I will be failing in my duty
if I do not put pen to paper for a few words in the form of an
appreciation to a soft spoken man who was like a brother to me and
to his colleagues for a long time, loved by all who knew him well.
He was 78 years at the time of his demise and was a gentleman held
in high esteem by one and all for his valuable services rendered to
Moratuwa Sports Club from 1978 to 2008 as its hony general secretary
and was also the secretary of the Moratuwa YMCA for a short period.
I met Willet in 1980, when I was elected a vice president of the
Moratuwa Sports Club and at that time he was the general secretary
of Moratuwa SC and supported me to the hilt. He was of tremendous
assistance to me and to the club for well over two decades. His
devotion to the club helped me and the club to organise 14
International cricket matches at Tyronne Fernando Stadium between
1983 and 2001.
Matter of fact, he rendered assistance to me on major public
relations and community service projects I carried out for the Lions
Club of Moratuwa in the past and even when I happened to be its
president in 1988/’89, irrespective of not being a lion.
I gave up the presidentship of the Moratuwa SC in 2001, after
serving the club effectively and meaningfully as president for
exactly two decades, unanimously elected uncontested for those
twenty years. During the said period the club faced many obstacles
and setbacks, but Willet stood in solidarity with me and other
office bearers, even when undesirable hooligans ransacked, looted
and completely burnt down the club in 1987 at the time of the peace
accord through sheer cussedness and pure jealousy. Matter of fact,
Willet helped immensely to rebuild the club in a short time and we
managed to put the club back on its feet and cricket blossomed to a
peak with top players turning up for the club and became one of the
best cricket clubs in the premier cricket tournament conducted by
the cricket board.
Willet was attached to the Ministry of Higher Education (projects
division) and was a very popular officer and had the expertise in
the division he worked. He also worked at the Import & Export
Department, Govt. Supplies and the Pill Project, Technical College
as a very honest, capable and a diligent officer well respected by
Besides, Willet was not only sincere but was honest too which is a
rare commodity in clubs these days, now that cricket is
commercialised to the hilt.
He was an unassuming and down to earth person, always ready to help
not only his friends but everyone who came to him for help.
Talking of his family Willet lost his beloved wife Lorna when his
two sons were kids, however, he managed to bring up his sons well,
educated and guided the eldest Sumith to be in an affluent and
leading furniture contract businessman, married to Vaasu a dynamic
young buisiness-minded lady and both of them are blessed with two
sons, Gimhan and Devhan, while his younger son Pradeep is in Event
Management business, having qualified from the Ceylon Hotel School
in hotel management.
I had the opportunity of seeing him just one week before his demise,
after my return from overseas and Willet was very happy to meet me,
and told me that he was having an unbearable headache that won’t
settle, and he told me that the AGM of Moratuwa SC for 2010 is just
weeks away and that he intended to become President, to save the
club from a disastrous situation it has fallen into, by initiating
important changes. I wished him well. But alas, just a week from
that day Willet passed away peacefully at a private hospital and
sadly his dream of becoming the President of Moratuwa Sports Club
Thus a void has been created in the club never to be filled, for the
club is now facing a parlous and sorrowful situation according to
some members, past cricketers and the public of Moratuwa.
I am quite sure that a few life members of the club also know the
fact that Willet was interested in becoming club president to re-organise
the club to its past glory. The stalwarts of the club could pay a
glowing tribute to Willet by getting together to cleanup the
deteriorating mess, by driving away the undesirables, if any, who
have crept into the club, to have an effective administration for
Moratuwa SC to be a force to be reckoned with, in cricket in Sri
Lanka once again. That was his only desire and dream which I believe
some of the senior club members knew very well.
As a Past President of the club, I too would be extremely happy if
the club stalwarts use common sense to resuscitate the ailing giant
in its dire need to glorify the club with a clean administration
which is Willet’s desire and all Moratuwites.
Willet, a gentleman to his fingertips, will be missed dearly by all
his friends, family members and loved ones and especially the
Moratuwa Sports Club.
I thank and praise God for Willet’s life. He is now in the nearer
presence of his Lord and Master. May he rest in peace and rise in
‘De mortuis nil nisi bonum’.
Chrisantha de Silva
A teacher who epitomised the
I was shocked and saddened by the news that my beloved teacher
Arisen Ahubudu had passed away. Many a Sri Lankan of the older
generation knew his name for his scholarly skills. He had given
names to many children in the new generation; each name with a
meaning that one was expected to live up to.
He was someone who had influenced my life as a young student at S
One might think that this Sinhala scholar may not have suited the
college culture. But he was, in fact, a guiding factor in instilling
the college traditions in us.
Ahubudu taught from grade 7 to Ordinary Level classes. His style of
teaching was what we call ‘out of the box’ today. As soon as he
enters the classroom he draws pictures across the black board. The
pictures included figures of kings, stupas and different ancient
scenarios. With these pictures, which he drew under two minutes, he
was able to draw our attention to him.
He was an excellent artist and his illustrations were lively and
intriguing. Then he would relate the story pertaining to the
drawing. Most often the stories were about a king or something from
our history. He told us about kings such as Dutugemunu and Dhatusena
and their dedication to the country, religion and the people. His
stories also included ancient cultivation practices, irrigation and
the commitment of the leaders of our country. The stories which
lasted for about six to seven minutes touched our minds and hearts
creating a deep sense of affection and pride towards our language,
culture and country.
He did not ever have to shout at us to get our attention. His mild
mannerisms and gentle way of addressing us together with his
exemplary appearance made us want to listen to him. I feel that he
was the one who sowed the very first seeds of patriotism in our
minds. His vision on patriotism was all about being community and
not communal minded. Our forefathers who were the main characters of
the stories he narrated, always placed country before self whether
they went to war, made stupas, had trading with other countries or
developed irrigation systems.
He was able to strike that fine balance in his stories by
highlighting the exemplary character traits of these heroes and
heroines and not just giving a false sense of pride of being
Sinhalese. Even when he told us stories about the fight against the
British Empire, he instilled no anger or animosity in our minds. He
ensured that we never became ‘label patriots’; citizens who would
call them patriots, yet act contrary to the supreme notion of
patriotism. He also introduced the concept of farming for
self-sustenance to us. Once again he showed us our duty and
responsibility towards the country’s future.
I have been guided by many disciplinarians in my life. But none was
gentler than Ahubudu. I still wonder how he commanded attention and
respect, kept the students quiet and still stole our hearts and
minds without ever having to be strict with us. He was a different
type of character; non-threatening and soft-spoken but extremely
effective as a teacher. I cannot recall a single day when he
punished us. He addressed each of us as ‘oba’ (‘you’ in its mildest
and most respectful form). There was no necessity to send anyone to
the Warden or give any sort of punishment. The reason was not that
we were great students but because he was a great teacher; great
because in his presence all the students behaved well.
I will never forget the ‘sloka’ (Pali and Sanskrit stanzas)
through which he imparted deep philosophy to us. I still recall
those stanzas from my memory effortlessly thanks to him. These
stanzas simply taught us the way to live in this world. He always
gave us much more than the syllabus or the prescribed subject
matter. Arisen Ahubudu went above and beyond his line of duty to
give us more. Come to think of it, he never had a ‘line of duty’. We
never made a mockery of his stories or thought it was a waste of
time. From the moment we realised that this teacher was getting us
on track to face life’s challenges, we followed him. It was his
guidance which helps many of us today to move with people from all
walks of life.
Punctuality, they say, is the politeness of princes. Ahubudu was
a right royal prince for he was always punctual. It was his way of
respecting others. He was simple, friendly and affectionate. His
priority was teaching and his personal life was secondary. If there
were issues, the teachers brought them up at different fora but
never at the cost of children’s education. What he wanted and what
he dedicated his life for is to ensure that the younger generation
became citizens of worth. He was thus connected to his students.
He was also a lyricist who penned meaningful songs such as ‘Lanka
Lanka’ to promote patriotic feelings among the young and the old.
His songs, written in the 50’s and 60’s, awakened the nation and are
still popular. Even through his songs he was teaching the values of
our culture and history without insulting other ethnicities.
Teaching was in his blood. His knowledge on astrology, numerology
and language was so great that people constantly sought his advice
when they had to name a child, a project or a business venture. Many
of the projects launched by successive governments have been named
by him such as ‘Maga Neguma’ and ‘Sisu Seriya’.
Many of his students have risen to highest ranks in the field of
politics, media and a vast range of other professions proving that
the foundation that he laid in their lives has been solid. Unlike a
majority of our teachers, Ahubudu constantly kept in touch with us
long after we had left school. A few people, whom I met at his
funeral including those who called me to pass on the message of his
demise, requested that I write an appreciation of this great son of
Sri Lanka. It is indeed a very sad occasion for all of us to know
that he is no more. And the vacuum he has created can never be
filled. Today as always, I salute him for the nobility he showed us
and the humility with which he taught us.
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana!
S.V.D Kesaralal Gunasekera
Death Anniversary of T B Ilangaratne
Whatever did by TBI all
Born on 27/2/1913 TBI
Died on 21/5/1992 TBI
The humaneness of TBI
We remember sincerely our TBI
Doyen of the S.L.F.P. TBI
Common man’s TBI
Heart & Soul of TBI
Endeavoured to give by TBI
An improved social standard by TBI
Determination & Dedication of TBI
Honesty & Sincerity of TBI
Made him the true TBI
Politician of the calibre of TBI
Whatever did by TBI
Whatever actions by TBI
All for the Nation, by TBI
Neither let us nor forgets TBI
Dynamic TU leader the TBI
TU dignity advocated by TBI
No matter what happens to TBI
Did the duty to TU, by TBI
MP or Minister TBI
Whatever the status of TBI
“Simplicity” of our TBI
Was the primary motive of TBI
Literary of TBI
Village & the Villager of TBI
Was not forgotten by TBI
Given the due place by TBI
Critics National & I ‘nat. of TBI
Made hue & cry for TBI
Smiled, at them by TBI
Shamed, the critics by TBI
Inimitable ways of TBI
Exemplary life of TBI
Late Tamara, the Wife of TBI
& the four children of TBI
Made the full life of TBI
Gentleman of par excellence TBI
Disciplined politician TBI
Undaunted, come what may TBI
Stood for the cause by TBI
Kept his cool unshakably by TBI
The devoted Buddhist TBI
Supreme Bliss of Nirvana to TBI
Our prayers are for you, TBI
This is what we could give you now TBI
Thanks for all what you did, TBI
Daya Nihal de Silva
I see you still…
Why did stars above
From the mortal’s land?
Long before the ripe old age.
The final journey
was as quick as a flash
Just as you desired -
No pain, no decay
For us to cherish you
In that unmistakable element…
Time had not barred
Your laughter of warmth,
Your charm and charisma,
Spun in a magic
Only you could fathom…
When I feel you beside me
In testing times
Giving the strength
To reach soaring heights,
When I feel your love
Your mettle- a buffer
Against all odds in life,
I do not wish
Your Samsaric journey,
For I need you beside me
My aatha precious,
In many more births
of this mortal world….