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All communities should give priority to the motherland

Sri Lanka is a country where Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers, Malays and so many others have made it their homeland. During British Rule when it was Ceylon, every citizen was faithful to their motherland. After independence everything turned upside down. The cunning politicians took the voters for a ride — they hoodwinked the masses with big lies and 90 percent of the politicians filled their pockets in whatever way they could.

The world’s most powerful Americans who hated the black people not so long ago, have rallied round the newly elected President Barack Obama as their leader although he is from a minority group.

The majority group accepted the verdict of the people. The Americans in large measure have put country before self.

In the recent Mumbai mayhem the Indian cabinet ministers accepted ‘moral responsibility’ and resigned. They did not wait for the Supreme Court to throw them out.

The JHU does not mind the high cost of living and the killing of people. What they want is to mark time till they complete the five-year term to get their pensions. Even a highly qualified government servant has to put in 15 to 20 years of service to get a pension. It is time we realised what our priorities are.

Disgusted Citizen


Power and water issues in the suburbs

Power failures in Kottawa have been a regular occurrence for many years. This happens almost daily. The power supply is off during the day for periods ranging from 15 minutes to as much as four to five hours. As a result of which the residents are put to much inconvenience. Food in refrigerators get spoilt, school children cannot get on with their studies, and valuable electronic items are damaged due to the failure or drop in power.

I together with some other residents wrote letters to the area engineer and supervisor of the CEB a few years ago, but there has been no response. After several letters to the Minister of Power, an engineer from the City Office with the local supervisor called on me and their explanation was this: "We do not have necessary spares for maintenance in spite of our requests to Head Office for spares. Besides the transformer for this area is overloaded and needs replacement."

My question is, if this is so, how come so many new high-rise buildings, factories, shops, garages, timber merchants who use power-saws all day get connections? From where is the power obtained? Besides these officers and employees are very rude and take revenge if any report is made to the authorities.

These areas are satellite towns of Colombo and are populated to a great degree. The CEB makes no bones about increasing tariffs and taxes but what service is provided? What has the minister of power got to say?

There is a similarity when it comes to water supplies as well. Without any advance notice the water is turned off at the whims of the Water Board officials. What I wish to spotlight is the hazardous method of placing water meters at places where either they get easily damaged or the PVC piping is torn apart.

It is not unusual to return home after a day’s work to find there is no water on tap, even late in the evenings. If not, in order to give water connections to some other area the entire supply to several areas is cut off and the excuse is that they are doing maintenance work.

All in all, the basic fact is that all the essential services are in the hands of misfits whose only idea is to work in an office but with no clue as to what service is! Graft and corruption are becoming a way of life in this country. If a government cannot provide and maintain the basic necessities of the nation and choose to ignore all the incompetence that is spotlighted then it only speaks of the poor leadership. This letter is sent in the hope that some action will be taken to remedy the situation.

Brian Jansz


A new meaning for ‘humanitarian’

The word ‘humanitarian’ has been given a new meaning, one which is the very antithesis of its original. Words, no doubt, do and should undergo change in their connotation, nuances and emotive associations. It has to be a natural process. Extensive use of a language in literary and creative activity, scientific writing, research and communication, would expedite the pace.

Such change is evidence that the language is living and virile. But the transformation that the word ‘humanitarian’ has gone through has not followed this natural process. The new usage was seen initially in government communiqués and the pages of the government propagandist material. It has obviously been conceived in the perverted mind of some state media scribe and later copied by the kept media.

Some of the recognised meanings of the word are ‘caring, gentle, compassionate, and civilized.’ All its connotations are mild and never tainted with those of violence, misery or suffering.

Ironically, the word in its new sense is used to describe the ongoing war. The war is called a humanitarian operation, because it is ostensibly being fought for the good of the Tamil people to ‘liberate’ them from the oppression of the LTTE. Regardless of the suffering it causes to the people in the north, the war is described as humanitarian. Whether the majority of the Tamil civilians perceive the state armed forces as liberators or oppressors, is immaterial.

The real objective of the war is to ensure that the writ of the sovereign government extends to all parts of the country. This is the duty of any sovereign state and is understandable and justifiable.

There is no doubt that there is a humanitarian aspect connected with the present operation, which is the humanitarian aspect in the ordinary sense of the word. The civilian population caught up in the ‘humanitarian operation’ in fear of their lives want to escape the wrath of this very same ‘humanitarian operation.’ They leave their homes, taking with them whatever belongings they can, looking for safer places, which in most cases is under the shade of a tree.

Cyril Ruberu


Investigate all government owned business undertakings

While reading your editorial comment on the hedge scam, one sees that you have also focused on a wide spectrum of business which are, as you have said, for no earthly reason owned by the government. Patronage remains the reason why a plethora of corporations continue to operate inefficiently eating up public resources.

Here you are pressing the button to remind us as to what happened from 1972 to 1988, with one particular government owned business undertaking. It was one state owned entity which deflected the eye of scrutiny entirely by the corrupt strategic distribution of patronage among all concerned in the far-flung scope of its operations, which included the Ministry of Industries. A matter for surprise that none other than the head of the GCEC who saw through the strategy which made the public asset a lucrative source to defraud the national wealth for a few who were in control could not halt the leviathan within his lifetime.

The minister failed to see the rat scampering in his domain corrupting even the incorruptible. The gang failed in the attempt to purchase the asset for themselves. They were stung by the invalid valuation, which permitted a multi-national to snorkel in to spend a mere Rs. 60 mn for an asset worth several hundred millions.

There is good enough reason for an investigation of all government owned business undertakings.

Sunil Wijendra


The hedging catastrophy

Corruption Watch Convener, Shiral Laktilleke, along with UNP MP, Ravi Karunanayake, and Ven. Thiniyawala Palitha Thero, and all the related supportive personalities, deserve deep appreciation and congratulations by the general public, for all their efforts in unearthing the hidden facts and the relevant information pertaining to the hedge scam.

If not for this exposure and timely action resulting in the Supreme Court judgment, the financial terrorists of the present regime would have created a horrendous financial catastrophe in the country.

Congratulations for preventing that and the Supreme Court for once again rescuing the country.

Meanwhile, it is also being suggested that the same course of action be taken in relation to the Mihin Lanka issue, which has already been exposed in detail with relevant data as per The Sunday Leader of November 30.

An Appreciative Citizen


Colombo’s filthy markets

While every corner in the city of Colombo is being developed on par with the modernisation taking place all over the world, the state of public markets within the Colombo municipality leaves much to be desired. Almost every single market in an appalling condition, posing health hazards to the users of these places.

To my knowledge, the Pettah vegetable market and the Wellawatte markets have seen no improvements since the 1950s.

I refer to the article "Living in Wellawatte" by Thilaka, which appeared in The Sunday Leader of December 7, which portrayed real life in Wellawatte. Nobody ever cared to bring to light the state of the Wellawatte market, leave alone the wayside vendors, where fish and vegetables are sold under unhygienic conditions.

Inside the market itself, we are forced to do our purchases tolerating the obnoxious smell and the filthy floor. The meat and the fish stalls are the dirtiest I have seen. Do we have to keep on purchasing the food we consume under these unhygienic conditions, while the CMC collects its council taxes regularly, ignoring the needs of the residents?

Kanagar Raveendran.

 Tribute

Herbert Lakshman Fernando

Legend in his own time

Herbert Lakshman Fernando of Moonvalley Estate, Kundasale is a principled philanthropist.

He is one man unafraid of meeting words with deeds.

The oldest living member of the Kandy Sports Club, Herbert was an undaunted ruggerite cum adroit hockey player. A planter by profession, Herbert left for England three decades ago. Assuming duties as Assistant Secretary in the National Council of the YMCA, London, he embarked on rehabilitating 68 nationalities under one roof, a remarkable task indeed. Considering his social welfare work and strict discipline, Herbert was given a berth as Senior Administrator at the Horticultural Society of England.

Herbie was made both the accredited representative of the National Council of YMCAs in Great Britain and a British citizen.

Subsequently joining the Central Methodist Church, Preston, Lancashire as senior community worker Herbie rendered yeoman service in pioneering a safe haven for girls and boys aged 16-24, who had been rendered homeless.

Back in the motherland, Herbie joined Trinity College Kandy, his alma mater. His elder brother Lionel was a former principal of Trinity. But Herbie joined after his brother’s tenure of office was over.

Donating a handsome amount to begin with and then through prayer, Herbie undertook the task of concreting the Junior School compound. Mobilizing parents, students and members of the OBA, he ardently went about it.

Again, in a lively gesture, Herbie donated 300 books of English classics to Trinity. They are currently housed in the Junior, Middle and Upper School libraries. Furthermore, he brought choice sports equipment from the UK which he donated to the college.

Moreover, to Trinity’s Middle School Herbie donated an exquisite trophy in respect of The Most Promising Student of the Year in memory of his brother the late Lionel Fernando. Again, in memory of his sincere friend the late Quentin Israel, the celebrated ruggerite and coach, Herbie donated to the Junior School challenge cups to be presented to the Most Promising Student and the Best All-round Sportsman of the Year.

Installing the public address system and the security light arrangement for the Trinity Junior School was Herbert Fernando’s brainchild.

Herbert Fernando was brought up in a God-fearing Christian atmosphere. Therefore, he is benevolent, meticulous and religious. On November 8, he and his amicable wife Claudia dedicated to St. Paul’s Church, Kandy their invaluable house situated at Kundasale. It will function henceforth as St. Paul’s Eventide Home. It was a long-felt need of the Church.

Well done, good and faithful Herbert!

 


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