of trap laid by New World rulers
Amidst the euphoria that surrounded the latest bandwagon headed
by the Prime Minister and his closest ministerial and other advisors
as they rolled on to Britain as their first stop, soon to be followed
by the USA, one wonders at the ultimate price Sri Lanka will have
to pay in real terms.
Will we also
suffer a similar fate as that of other countries under the grip
of the New Rulers of the World, as brilliantly analyzed and documented
by John Pilger, in his book of the same title? His credentials,
by the way, as an independent, investigative journalist, whose lifetime
of factual reporting is unquestionable, have been acclaimed by the
cognoscenti of the world.
Sri Lanka has all the necessary ingredients, available in abundance,
to justify any action to further the cause of 'democracy', as defined
by the new rulers, on their terms. There is the special bogeyman
of 'terrorism' that has acquired a hydra-headed significance since
September 11, 2001.
mismanagement of state resources, strikes, a volatile political
situation, natural disasters, an ever-rising crime rate... you name
it, we have it!
We may not have a prize as significant as oil reserves to be exploited,
the thinly camouflaged real reason for the invasion of Iraq, behind
all the rhetoric of 'getting Saddam' or the now blatantly, exposed
myth of weapons of mass destruction. Nor do we have the distinction
of being like Indonesia (which according to Nixon) with its 100
million people, was the greatest prize in South-East Asia. We do
not even have the dubious honour of sheltering Osama bin Laden and
his Al Qaeda adherents, as in Afghanistan. But we do have strategic
importance and this pearl, still commands a very, great price!
payment takes various guises and can be made alluringly attractive,
through 'free trade' agreements, foreign aid and investment, soft
loans, favourable quotas for exports, technical advice and equipment,
military expertise and others too innumerable to mention. Apart
from all of these somewhat concrete items is the fulsome and liberal
back-patting, which Americans especially excel in and which some
of our unwary ministers reciprocate and seem to positively delight
in lapping up.
Even at this somewhat late stage, it is hoped that the Prime Minister
and the other leaders of our nation will act responsibly and not
fall into the same trap from which we will not be able to extricate
ourselves, as other Third World countries have learnt to their cost,
blame the doctors
Patients heaved a sigh of relief as government doctors called off
their strike after the Health Ministry took steps to resolve the
salary anomaly. If the ministry had seen things in the right perspective
and promptly attended to the doctors' problem, this strike could
have been averted. The whole country rapped the doctors but they
are not to be blamed. It is the government which should take the
and minor staff in hospitals are dedicated workers in the government
sector. You have to be a patient to know how dedicated doctors are
towards poor patients. Doctors make many sacrifices and spend as
much as 16 hours by the bedside of patients. Most doctors do not
have time to spend with their family and friends or enjoy a home-cooked
meal. So should not they be given a better deal?
On the contrary,
take the case of the so-called leaders we elect. Their behaviour
is atrocious, yet they get a fat salary, numerous perks including
duty-free vehicles and sumptuous meals at a highly subsidized price.
licence: SLTB driver asks, "What is it?"
bus of the Ruhuna depot knocked down a woman killing her, close
to Panadura. At the inquest, the Coroner asked the driver whether
he had the revenue licence and insurance certificate of the bus.
The reply was that he had never seen any such document in his 20
years of experience and if they did exist they would be in the depot
A vehicle should carry its revenue licence, insurance certificate
and driver's licence. If the vehicle is for passenger transport,
the conductor should have with him the conductor's licence too.
If a driver fails to produce these documents, he violates the fundamental
laws of passenger transport.
and LTTE massacres
Now that the Bindunuwewa massacre case which was given wide publicity
has been concluded, it is hoped that the government will activate
law enforcement agencies to implement the 200-year jail term imposed
on LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
is wanted by India in connection with the slaying of late Prime
Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Similarly, in fairness to the men already
sentenced to life over the Bindunuwewa incident, it is hoped that
the UNF government will set in motion the wheels of justice against
the cold-blooded murderers of the 600-odd policemen tricked into
surrendering by Anton Balasingham.
The people who
collaborated in this mass-murder and the policemen who exposed the
Millennium City safe house and unmasked its operatives, a majority
of whom have since been slain by the LTTE, should also be brought
to justice. Then the people will be reassured that the UNF government
acts fairly and impartially.
of a lifetime
stood paying homage
At Sankassa and climbed the steps
To the top, we thought Lord Buddha
Was there with us.
Saranath where Buddha preached
Was reached after two and a half hours
And amidst ruins of splendour all round
There was meditation and offering without a sound.
At Isipatana deer park with coloured lights
We sat down to chant a Sutra dressed in white
In the Sutra we intoned the noble truths
Which give us comfort in all our woes.
From Saranath to Ganges we made our way
Passing paddy fields of green stretching miles away
The boatride in the holy river
Was an experience that would last forever.
Buddha Gaya, the holiest of holies where we observed sil
Had white-clad people paying homage
We went in perahera round the Bo-tree
And meditated till our minds were set free.
Kushinara, Buddha's last resting place,
Moved us beyond measure
Deeply venerated and honoured
Determined we left to live the religion.
Lumbini where Lord Buddha was born
Had sal trees scattered here and there
We saw the pond where the queen had bathed
With the statue of a goddess and an elephant white.
Sravasti was our destination next
Where Ananda Bodhiya stood supreme
We lit lamps and recited gathas too
Invoking blessings on every one.
by ad hoc water cuts
During the drought, the Water Supply and Drainage Board announced
that it would impose a four-hour water cut from 8 a.m. to noon,
warning that it might be extended if the drought continued. The
water pressure in Kalatuwawa area was reduced at 7 a.m. and by 7.30
a.m. it was so low that water did not come off a tap seven feet
above the level of the meter.
About a month
later another water cut was imposed from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and from
6.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Who is responsible for these arbitrary interruptions?
Are the opening and the closing of main valves left in the hands
of labourers or untrained workmen? Are there no officers to ensure
that water-cut hours are properly implemented?
Those who have
overhead tanks are not affected but the brunt is borne by ordinary
consumers who have to depend on water pressure. Even those with
overhead tanks are deprived of water if the pressure during the
day is inadequate to carry the water to the tanks.
With rain flooding
a third of the country, are we to believe that only Kalatuwawa has
no water? Over to you Chairman of the Water Board.
It is disappointing that the Lotteries Board is now levying a 10
percent tax on the first, second and third prize winners. If a person
wins the first prize of Rs. 10 lakhs he will only be given nine
lakhs after a deduction of one lakh. This is unfair and amounts
at all levels are entitled to import tax-free vehicles. Why is it
that the lottery winner is being taxed?
S. D. Weeratunge
24 - a good example
Strikes, lack of equipment and a shortage of medicines seem to be
the norm in many government hospitals. But Ward 24 of the Kalubowila
Teaching Hospital is an exception. The ward is spotlessly clean
and the staff, especially the doctors, are good and kind.
V. R. Amarasingham
it tight, till the official toilet opening
The Kandy Municipality demolished the public toilets at the Clock
Tower bus stand and constructed a new building some time ago. But
for some reason, the new toilets have not been "officially"
opened. It may be that the municipality is waiting for an auspicious
time or the availability of the Mayor for the official opening.
This is causing inconvenience to the public.
With the Esala Perahera round the corner, large crowds are expected
in Kandy and the municipality will build temporary toilets on a
priority basis at important locations, at the ratepayers’
expense. It is pertinent to ask why this public toilet at the Clock
Tower bus stand has not been opened. Could we have some answers
from the municipality?