It is infuriating to have to hear those meaningless words “aththa vashayen” (actually, as a matter of fact) used and abused day in, day out in this thrice-blessed land of ours.
If there is an “aththa vashayen”, then it must follow that there should be a “boru vashayen.”
If one speaks the truth, why use these words at all? If you speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, then there is no need to bray “aththa vashayen.”
In politics, as in war, the first casualty is Truth, and the value of Truth was first taught me when I attended an interview for admission to Royal College, Colombo.
I had been a Thomian for well over six years when my father decided that I should sit the scholarship entrance examination to Royal.
The viva voce board comprised the then Principal of Royal, G. C. A. Corea, the Vice-Principal Mr. Gulasekharan, and a few senior members of the staff.
The first question Principal Mr. Corea put to me was: ‘Tell us, Master Wijekoon, why did you decide to leave our rival school and join Royal?”
My reply was prompt: “Sir, my father is a station master, and he finds it very difficult to send me to a fee-levying school.
That is why I have decided to join the non-fee-levying school, Royal.”
Mr. Corea seemed pleased (and somewhat taken aback) at my plain and truthful answer. “Son,” he said, “you have spoken the raw, naked Truth, and today you will learn your first lesson at Royal, and learn it right now – the value of telling the truth.”
Mr. Corea looked at the Vice-Principal and the other staff members and asked them if they had any questions for me. An emphatic no was the answer.
Mr. Corea looked at me approvingly and said: “Son, I hereby grant you the scholarship and enrol you as a student of this school.”
That day I realised the magic that there is in truth. And that is how I came to be a Rajakeeya Thora Maaluwa.
On another occasion, a friend from Jaffna, who also believed in telling the truth, was attending a university entrance viva conducted by the then Vice-Chancellor, Professor Mylvaganam.
“Why are you selecting medicine as a career?” the professor asked. Without batting an eye, my friend said: “Sir, that is where the money is.” No more questions. He was taken into the university.
Such is the magic of truth.
W. B. Wijekoon,
Used tyres and empty shells pose a risk
The state is going all out to fight the dengue mosquito, while overlooking two of the deadly mosquito’s biggest allies: the kurumba and thambili sellers and the cycle repair shops.
Vendors haphazardly throw empty kurumba and thambili shells, and with the rains these empty shells fill with water and the dengue cycle begins.
These vendors should be given strict instructions on how to dispose of kurumba and thambili shells. They could either chop the shells into pieces or bury the shells.
Cycle repair shops are also encouraging mosquito breeding when they stack used tyres in the open. When the rains come, the tyres fill with water, and the dengue cycle starts.
On the so-called ‘crimes’ of Sarath Fonseka
Just about everyone is talking about the predicament of the former Army Commander, Sarath Fonseka.
Religious leaders have in one voice called for the release of our war hero. In this connection, special mention should be made of the speech given by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, who gave a forceful address at the Aquinas graduation ceremony.
The Anglican Bishop of Colombo, the Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera, and the Ven. Madululuwawa Sobitha Thero have asked for fair play and justice, not pardon. The people are looking to the judiciary to dispense justice.
Sarath Fonseka has been charged in a matter regarding the awarding a tender. But let us remember the war-time circumstances when that tender was offered.
And what about the other members of the Tender Board? Are they not culpable too?
If it is a Cabinet-appointed tender board, then shouldn’t the Cabinet too be held responsible?
Visa-on-arrival facility must go
Thank you for highlighting the “Blatant Abuse of Visas-on-Arrival” facility (Sunday Times, Page 1, October 17).
I fully endorse the government decision to scrap the visa-on-arrival privilege for visitors from overseas, except in the case of residents of Singapore and the Maldives.
We should stand up as a proud nation and allow special facilities only to countries that reciprocate.
While we offered a visa-on-arrival facility to 82 countries, including India and Pakistan, Sri Lankans must obtain visas to visit those countries.
The travel trade should understand the situation and not lobby against the government decision. Most countries, including India and Thailand, are keen to attract tourists to their shores but still do not allow the visa-on-arrival facility.
We are already suffering the consequences of our present visa policy. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sri Lanka has 225 recognised refugees and 250 asylum seekers who came to this country using the visa-on-arrival facility.
Dr. Lucian Jayasuriya,
Argument for the death penalty
In 1977, the late president J. R. Jayewardene suspended the death penalty, as part of his vision of building a “Dharmista Samajayak” (righteous society). But the death penalty was not expunged altogether from the Statute Book. The death penalty may be reintroduced if there is a need for it.
Meanwhile, crime and violence are constantly on the rise. Murder, rape, contract murders and other crimes have reached unprecedented levels. Law and order and the rule of law are being undermined by crime, violence and terror.
The restoration of the death penalty is being seen as an answer by those who are genuinely concerned about the nation. Yet some are against the move.
Let us create a “Tharmadaweepa”, free of criminals and criminal activities. Let us be free to live in peace and harmony – and with dignity.
P. Herbert Mendis,
“Kept waiting all day for NIC” – Response
I refer to the comments made by A.B. Gamage of Pitakotte, in the Sunday Times of October 24, in respect of my humble tribute to Jagath P. Wijeweera, Commisioner for Registration of Persons who fully deserved it in my opinion.
I too am a senior citizen, 75 years of age, with serious complications healthwise with a frail anatomy. I travelled from Matara to Colombo with a nephew of mine who was kind enough to offer me a lift and had to return as early as possible. So, I explained my unfortunate predicament to the Commissioner himself who sympathized with me and obliged with the early issuance of the NIC.
The compassionate Head of Department may have acted on his discretion when he was convinced of my dire need. Is there anything wrong in it ABG?