We have heard interested parties requesting the Opposition to support the Government. It is indeed a timely gesture. In many countries, the Opposition has given its support to governments at a time of political or financial crisis.
At the commencement of World War II, the Opposition of the British Parliament supported the Government, and Sir Winston Churchill of the Opposition was appointed War Minister, and the Allied Forces won the war.
Sri Lanka is in dire straits, politically and financially. The Government should invite the Opposition to support it. This should be done with honourable intentions. Unfortunately, the state media slings mud at the Opposition on a daily basis. This is not in good taste, and not good for the country.
This reminds me of a scene in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.” When the servants of the opposing houses meet on the streets, they draw their swords to fight. Suddenly, there appears that fiery soul, Tybalt.
Benvolio: I do but keep the peace: put up thy sword,
Or manage it to part these men with me.
Tybalt: What, drawn, and talk of peace!
P. A. Binduhewa,
JR could teach our younger generation a thing or two about everyday manners
Many, many years ago, my mother would recite the following words from a poem by George Herbert (“The Church Porch”):
“Be useful where thou livest, that they may
Both want and wish thy pleasing presence still.”
I was reminded of these lines recently, on the night of my daughter’s 20th birthday. Some of her friends had gathered in my study to watch a DVD. After the guests had all gone, I found my chairs all over the place, the lights blazing, and the fan spinning wildly.
The TV and the DVD player had not been switched off, and the movie disc was still inside the DVD player, the empty DVD flung aside. The plates the guests had snacked off had not been cleared, and a book that had been plucked off the shelf was lying open on the table.
Perhaps this was nothing to get huffed over or write home about, but it did make me think. Why is the younger generation of today so inconsiderate? Why are parents not training their offspring in everyday manners? Why are today’s youngsters not taught the important little things, like tidying up after they are done?
A friend of mine told a story, also going back many years, about how he hosted the late President J. R. Jayewardene, who was an overnight guest at his estate somewhere in the North-Western Province. My friend had prepared his house, and the room the President and his wife would occupy, as befitting a President – new towels, new bed sheets, squeaky-clean bathroom, and all that.
The next morning, after the distinguished guest had departed, my friend and his wife found the room as if it had never been occupied. The sheets had been stretched back to their original position, and the bedspread was carefully laid. The bathroom was spotless, not a drop of water even on the floor.
My friend marvelled that the President and his wife had taken the trouble to restore the room to the state they had found it. In fact, the President had seen to it that every servant in the house had been well tipped and personally thanked. Now that is class.
I follow this procedure, even in hotels abroad, to impress the maid who comes to clean up. I want the maid to know that a Sri Lankan spent the night there, and that he knew his manners.
We are all ambassadors of goodwill for our country.
If just one Parent-Reader took this letter to heart, I shall be satisfied.
Road rage and insane drivers
Much has been said and written about the terrors that await us on our roads, but to no avail.
As a commuter, I daily witness road rage and fierce, insane competition among drivers. The worst offenders are the private bus operators: drivers driving neck and neck and missing side-mirrors by a hair’s breadth, while hurling abuse at each other through the windows.
I see traffic policemen at key junctions looking passive and placid, as if waiting for a tragedy to happen to spring into action.
Footboard travel, though banned, goes on. And these buses go past the police stations of Mount Lavinia, Wellawatte and Bambalapitiya on a daily basis!
What the Traffic Police should do is board buses in mufti and confront errant drivers. A police hotline number placed prominently, such as above the driving seat, is a good idea, so passengers can call and complain.
Accident-related deaths caused by bad road behaviour have reached an alarming level. One wonders if road fatalities now surpass death from natural causes.
Valerie Y. Davidson,