Vesak is revered by Buddhists all over the
world. In Sri Lanka it is celebrated on a
large scale all over the country. This Vesak,
Colombo city saw a multitude of celebrations
with many pandals and dansalas offering food
and drinks to the general public for merit.
The writer traversed all over
city taking in the pandals, and other
celebratory 'acts' by the public,
governmental and private institutions alike.
Many were the 'wonders,'that were on display
to a gaping general public eager to enjoy
the glitter and largesse dished out for
One particular act was shocking, and
original to say the least. A Kollupitiya
based massage parlour, bar and karaoke
lounge was enticing the Vesak sight-seeing
public to their dansala by means of
scantily clad Chinese and Thai women waving
the Buddhist Flag standing next to a sports
car with local girls in tow. They were
indulging in very lewd and questionable
behaviour, much similar to the sexually
charged pole dancing with the flag pole
attached to the Buddhist Flag.
These women were openly welcoming patrons to
their dansala run by the club, by standing
in the middle of Galle Road, and almost
every vehicle turned in to the by-road
leading to the club, mostly out of
curiosity, as vice and Vesak, have never
before been coupled together for maximum
effect, and the publicity generated was more
than any advertisement could provide.
was experiencing a traffic jam as on New
Year's Eve. It was evident that all law
enforcement personnel of every rank and
stature who turned up to view this scene
turned a blind eye, and were even partaking
of the paan and parippu dished out. Anyone
can be bought. It is just a matter of how
Now the question is, is this the norm? Is
this nothing special to talk about? Why are
these so called Vesak related acts going
unchecked? Where are the JHU stalwarts and
the watchdog priest turned politician who
always makes a hue and cry about the Buddha
image being misused, Buddhism desecrated,
generally talks crap about other religions
while advocating racial and religious
disharmony among the many ethnic and
religious faiths here in Sri Lanka?
The JHU is a joke. Were they sleeping after
a good feed on this thrice blessed night and
were their henchmen too deaf and blind to
report this Soho style Vesak act? Over 10,
000 people on average, mostly students on
bicycles, were seen drawn towards this place
like a magnet and without doubt planning to
return once Vesak is over to indulge in
In-house short-let rooms were reportedly
rented out by the hour catering to the
massive demand. Let us face it. Even a
person of ill fame can invoke merit by
giving paan and parippu during Vesak and
simultaneously give the public a taste of
the flesh by doing the sexy pole dance with
the Buddhist Flag. What a sight to see. I
doubt the money generated by ill-fame would
turn into clean cash by converting a part of
the daily take into bread and dhal.
It is time some standards were set and
guidelines followed. It is time someone did
something. But what and by whom? Wake up to
reality people. The propagation of Buddha
Sasana is the last thing on the authorities'
minds. Nobody cares when their pockets are
full. Barking watch dogs do not bite. My
Vesak trip into the city was, well, Buddhu
Ammo, interesting. This was one happening
The question is - Was the promo for Vesak,
Conductor assisted pocket picking in buses
The increased activity of pickpockets in
buses in the Colombo and Nugegoda areas, is
creating a dangerous situation for
commuters. Backed and even assisted by the
conductors, these pickpockets working in
groups of two or three, mostly target women
and older commuters.
I have personally witnessed three such
incidents in the short space of a week where
the gang was thwarted by vigilance or luck.
In two cases the conductor turned nasty and
even threatened the victims with the
prospect of violence to follow for daring to
In this regard, the practice of displaying
the bus or coach number on the inside front
panel, seems to have been done away with. It
should be re-introduced by the police as a
compulsory requirement so that a victim can
immediately contact the police with the
vehicle number so that quick interception
can be made to recover the lost money or
I hope that the police superintendents of
the different areas will take this step to
protect the commuters.
It is a sad commentary on the prevailing law
and order situation that these thugs operate
with such impunity and perhaps immunity from
Is govt. responsible for bomb blasts in the
The Sunday Leader last week carried a news
report captioned "18 civilians killed in
Wanni blasts." This report quotes Military
Spokesperson Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara as
saying that no information has been received
in Colombo yet about these blasts and that
the LTTE was totally responsible for
incidents that take place in areas under
Information about civilian casualties in the
north is always slow to reach Military
and there is nothing unusual about this.
However, the Brigadier's stance that "the
LTTE is totally responsible for incidents
that take place in areas under "their
control" is untenable as it cuts both ways.
Anyone who supports this position would also
be bound to accept as equally valid the
logical corollary that "the government is
totally responsible for incidents that take
place in areas under its control."
Therefore one is forced to conclude that it
is the government and not the LTTE that
should be held responsible for all the bomb
blasts that have become a very regular
occurrence in the government controlled
How the stock markets work
It was autumn and the Red Indians on the
remote reservation asked their new chief if
the winter was going to be cold or mild.
Since he was a Red Indian chief in a modern
society, he couldn't tell what the weather
was going to be. Nevertheless, to be on the
safe side, he replied to his tribe that the
winter was indeed going to be cold and that
the members of the village should collect
wood, to be prepared.
But also being a practical leader, after
several days he got an idea. He went to the
phone booth, called the Weather Bureau and
asked, "Is the coming winter going to be
"It looks like this winter is going to be
quite cold indeed," the meteorologist
So the chief went back to his people and
told them to collect even more wood.
A week later he called the Weather Bureau
again. "Is it going to be a very cold
winter?" "Yes", the man replied, "it's
definitely going to be a very cold winter."
The chief again went back to his people and
ordered them to collect every scrap of wood
they could find.
Two weeks later, he called the Weather
Bureau again. "Are you absolutely sure that
the winter is going to be very cold?"
"Absolutely," the man replied. "It's going
to be one of the coldest winters ever."
"How can you be so sure?" the chief asked.
The weatherman replied, "The Red Indians are
collecting wood like crazy."
This is how the stock markets work!
They are murderers by another name
Where have all the Nightingales and
Hippocrates gone? Not a single day passes
without letters to the editor appearing in
the local press highlighting devastating and
heartrending news, and news reports in the
daily papers about the disgraceful behaviour
of the doctors and nurses.
What noble professions these are. I cannot
imagine why these doctors and nurses behave
like terrorists and murderers. After all
they reached prestigious positions using
public funds. They are people who reaped the
benefits of the free education system thanks
to Dr. C.W.W. Kannangara.
The most recent heart breaking incident was
the strike by the nurses and doctors at
Ratnapura Hospital causing the deaths of six
patients including one child and three
infants. How heartless, malicious and
malevolent these nurses are? Have they got
hearts of stone to lock up the cupboards and
drawers containing drugs and essential
medical equipment? Aren't they hypocrites?
Aren't they murderers to have struck work
and held the lives of poor patients to
ransom just over the transfer of a male
nurse? The irony of all this is that a
Buddhist priest who should be humane and
benevolent is at the helm of the nurses'
The Minister of Health seems to have made an
announcement that he has already ordered an
inquiry into this matter and also has
decided to ban strikes in the health sector,
which I think will never see the light of
He will appear on TV and make statements to
newspapers. But these will only be political
utterances just to get away from the
prevailing situation. This is not the first
time that the doctors and nurses have held
the poor patients to ransom. This should
Please Mr. Minister of Health, save the poor
patients who cannot afford to go to private
hospitals where they would have to pay
through their noses. Their only saviour is
the General Hospital. I do hope that acts of
this disgraceful nature will not become a
regular feature in the long run.
Dear doctors and nurses, please look after
the poor patients of Sri Lanka and you will
earn merit by doing so.
Some supermarkets sell vegetables such as
onions, potatoes etc. weighed and neatly
packeted at no extra cost.
This looks so clean and neat, and makes it
so easy for the customerto pick up what they
want. They need not wait in the queue for
these itemsto be weighed. It also prevents
too much of handling by some customers who
keep throwing the vegetables around and mix
them up in the process so that the vegetable
shelf looks as if a storm has hit it, so
much so one does not feel like 'fishing' in
More of the supermarkets should follow this
practice of packeting.
It would be even nicer if the supermarkets
packet these in re-sealable packets so that
it will be frugal as the customers can
re-use the packets, reducing the garbage
Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai