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World Affairs








Flattering the Health Minister at the cost of patients

The Health Minister was appointed chairman of the executive committee of the WHO recently. Some are trying to portray this appointment as him being appointed as the head of the WHO. The head of the WHO is its director general. The government is fully aware of this fact.

Recently the government lost its seat in the UN Human Rights Council and to divert attention from this humiliation, the government falsely projected Minister Nimal Siripala’s appointment as that of WHO head.

On May 30, the acting director, Maharagama Cancer Hospital, who has been put there by the Health Minister, erected a large pandol to welcome Minister Nimal Siripala. It said "The hospital welcomes the head of WHO." There was a big party at the hospital. Expensive food was served allegedly with drug company money. The Minister and his supporters enjoyed this lavish party at the expense of poor cancer patients.

To get money from drug companies some consultants prescribe expensive drugs by their trade names. They give the mobile phone numbers of drug sales representatives and ask the patients to buy the drugs from them. Poor patients don’t have a choice but to buy these drugs at exorbitant rates from these sales representatives.

In public, the Minister ‘fights’ for the rights of the patients. But in real life the story is quite the opposite. These are the two faced politicians of our country.

Concerned Doctor

Practice is better than preaching

Lord Buddha became a universally revered noble personality because he addressed a common cause — fear and sorrow suffered by all.

His enlightenment revealed that the root cause of sorrow and fear is in one’s tanha or avaricious attachment to worldly life. In an in-depth analysis of human psychological behaviour in Abidhamma Lord Buddha explains in great detail as to how tanha is born in oneself. The self composed five sensual organs in one’s body have been identified as the creator of attachment to worldly life and tanha accompanied with sorrow and fear.

Buddhist texts explain that at the moment of Buddha’s enlightenment after years of suffering and sacrifice, he declared with great joy "Ye carpenter I have discovered and destroyed all your material (five sensual organs and its effect on creating attachment in oneself ) with which you build the house of all sorrows and fear and as such I shall never be born again to suffer in Sansara" — meaning recurring cycle of birth.

It is the sensual organs which form a ‘unit’ of a person carrying various nominal identity labels such as racial, political, religious, caste etc. An individual may say I am a Sinhala Buddhist belonging to one or another caste as we often see in marriage proposal columns in newspapers. There are such divisions even within religious faiths organised under different labels.

The members of all these organisations are formed as groups to promote and protect their own interests. Naturally in protection and promotion there is always competition and fear of loss between groups, leading to conflict, and clashes.

Today in Sri Lanka there is a bloody war created on the basis of political and racial divisions, one competing with the other to protect and promote their interests. There is also a minor religious war breaking out and spreading fast to protect Sinhala Buddhist majority interests.

The Buddhist teaching is that tanha — avaricious attachment, always creates sorrow and fear in a positive background of impermanency — Sabbe Sankara Anichcha. That everything made up of matter is destined to destruction, is a scientifically acknowledged fact.

Although in Sri Lanka you can see Buddha statues in every nook and corner and his lofty teachings prominently carried in the media almost daily, the rate of crime, bloodshed, violation of law and order, corruption and anti-social activities are on the increase like never before, day after day.

There are even ‘fronts’ formed by some extremist Buddhist monks affiliated to political parties to protect their interests. They abuse public property and show scant respect for the laws of the country meant to establish law and order in society.

These persons in robes carry the universal message of non-violence of the Enlightened One at one moment, but praise and encourage war that brings death and suffering to a whole section of our citizens, and also incite others to attack those who do not fall in line with them, the next.

Selling the name of the Buddha seems to have become a part of their life purely for their existence and also for self gain, leading the country and the people to ruination.

What Lord Buddha expected from his disciples was "charaka bhikkave charikang, bahujana hitaya bahujana sukhaya," meaning ‘tour the world ye disciples carrying my message in the best interest of humanity.’

After listening to the preachings of these people and then observing their behaviour the Buddhists are more confused than ever.

Confused Buddhist

Churchill and MR

A recent newspaper editorial mentioned how Winston Churchill, England’s war time prime minister who won the war was defeated in the subsequent general election.  It further elaborated that our present President might meet a similar fate.

Another writer writing on the same subject said: "However, conditions that prevailed in England were more complex," and went on to argue that MR can survive here in Sri Lanka. 

Yes indeed things are more complex here than was in the UK. Churchill fought a war against another country with the backing of all countrymen.  Here in Sri Lanka MR is fighting a war within the country against another section of the population which backs the LTTE.  Like Churchill, MR did not receive a 100% mandate from the people of Sri Lanka to stage all out war.

Remember how he won the presidential election by a flimsy margin, with the help of the LTTE as alleged by his own supporters? Now he is running the government by robbing MPs from the UNP and other parties, by giving them handsome rewards.  We know how he won the recent elections — using government thuggery plus the LTTE’s breakaway TMVP’s thuggery.

If a fair election is held even now MR will lose — more than 50% of the people do not want an all out war but want a peaceful solution to this problem.  Some rulers like the war — it means more money for them; their men get 10% commissions from arms deals. 

Now it transpires that Gotabaya Rajapakse has his own security firm filled with ex-forces personnel close to the SLFP and some army deserters as well. This came to light when a case was filed recently. However it has been subsequently withdrawn for some reason. 

These security firm personnel equipped with arms and ammunition will be an additional force to be used in the forthcoming elections to suppress the opposition — so MR will win of course.

But all the people cannot be deceived all the time.  According to Buddhism — all bad things will come to a bad ending.  Those who live by Dhamma genuinely (not show offs) will be protected by the Dhamma; those who live by the sword will be destroyed by the sword.



Second biggest joke

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICASL) together with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have announced the launch of the Code Of Best Practice On Corporate Governance, which in their words is considered a "best practice benchmark" for public companies.

Considering their past history I am amazed that these two bodies have the audacity to talk of corporate governance. A complaint was lodged with the ICASL in August 2005 alleging professional misconduct on the part of two local affiliates of international audit firms involved in the privatisation of the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation.

The COPE report also accused these two firms of fraud. Although the Ethics Committee by a near unanimous vote (10 - 0 and 9 - 1) adjudged that there was a prima facie case of professional misconduct which warranted a disciplinary inquiry as mandated in the ICASL Act, the council of 16 members has stalled this inquiry for more than a year. What corporate governance is the ICASL talking about when it covers up blatant fraud?

The chairman of John Keells Holdings (JKH) has been found by the Supreme Court to have acted in collusion with the then chairman of PERC and acted fraudulently to defraud the state of massive sums of revenue in the privatisation of LMSL. Although the Supreme Court has directed the SEC to take action against the directors of JKH under the Companies Act, nothing appears to have been done.

The SEC faces possible contempt of court charges. In this situation does the SEC have the moral right to force their brand of corporate governance down the throats of law abiding public listed companies?

The launch of the Code Of Best Practice On Corporate Governance by these two bodies is the second biggest joke of this decade after the awarding of a "doctorate" to Mervyn Silva.

Anil Fernando



Ashvini David Felix

A tribute of love to a precious daughter

Six years ago, we never knew the day we least expected was drawing near and you were going to leave us, to go back to your heavenly home, to be happy forever.

We did all we could to save you and keep you close to us, yet, Jesus knew what was best for you. We thank God each day for the most beautiful life he lent us, to love you, take care of you, till he wanted you back.

Ash, you did bring so much sunshine, joy, love and peace to our home. Daddy and I were blessed to have a daughter like you; religious, kind, caring, thoughtful and responsible in every way. You took care of your only brother Munesh with such love and protected him. We thank God for giving us the opportunity to watch you achieve all you did in your short life on Earth. You were a keen student. What happiness you brought us, and we thanked God the day you obtained eight distinctions in your O/Levels. You then went on to complete your marketing degree. What joy we felt when we saw you on your Graduation Day and on all your special days.

With your God given talent in art you excelled in holding your art exhibitions and helping the needy with the proceeds. Many a home have your paintings. Your fond memory will live on. Thank you for beautifying our home as well. At every turn we see your paintings. It helps us carry on.

Life will never be the same without you Ash. But we know for sure we will meet again never to part.

Till then we pray God gives us the strength to carry on. May you have your eternal rest.

Your sorrowing Mummy, Daddy and Munesh

SSP K. S. Kadigawa

The late SSP K. S. Kadigawa was a recipient of the prestigious Oak Leaf for Distinguished Services during World War II.

The recent death of the ex-Royal Air Force paratrooper, the only Sri Lankan recipient of the prestigious award of the Oak Leaf for bravery and distinguished services in South East Asia in the World War II, brings down the curtain on another chapter of our police service as well as the illustrious career of a highly decorated and a respected officer — SSP K. S. Kadigawa.

I was deeply saddened when I heard of his passing away at his ancestral home in Kandy recently and even sadder that due to circumstances beyond my control, I was unable to attend his funeral, which I am told, took place within a matter of hours according to his wishes.

He is survived by his devoted and caring wife of so many moons as well as the three loving daughters who were seldom seen and rarely heard of in police circles. In reality, his family, upon which he doted, was the source of his strength, inspiration and success. Indeed they were his world.

I was privileged to serve under the man whom I regarded as an officer and a gentleman of class and finesse, when he was superintendent in charge of Hatton District in 1968.

A dynamic personality renowned for rigid discipline, he epitomised dignity and decorum in and out of office. Yes, his career was marked by uncompromising honesty and proven incorruptibility.

Dispensation of justice in spirit and letter of the law was his forte and such personal attributes contributed to the development of character, which earned him the confidence and the respect of his superiors, subordinates and the public alike.

He served the nation as well as the colonial masters when there were tremendous challenges facing the world. Indeed the world, particularly our country, was in the grip of daunting challenges. Challenge requires men who are more than a hundred percent committed, dedicated, disciplined and passionate about their goals and objectives, and I make bold to state without reservations that Kadigawa possessed such characteristics.

He was never flattered by authority and neither sought to flatter it. Instead he combined simplicity with a basic humility. There was serenity in his spirit, which appealed to his family members and the world at large.

There were times he suffered the ignominy of injustice largely on account of professional jealousy, but he bore no ill-will, no bitterness or malice toward any man. He took pride in the virtue of his honour, which was non-negotiable come rain or high water, least of all political intrusion, especially at a time when such words impinge upon us heavily.

Kadigawa despised wanton inroads into police operations, especially by some pig-headed politicos. They were tactfully dealt in a searing manner yet without offending the Penal Code.

Let me then add to the list of fine officers mentioned recently in an article by Sharm de Alwis, that were picked from the cream of students from Royal, STC, SJC, Trinity Colleges etc. for recruitment to the inspectorate by Sir Richard Aluvihare — viz. Neil Weerasinghe, Jim Bandaranayake, N. M. de Silva, Schokman and others. I also recall the names of E. L. Abeygunawardene, John Attygalle, A. C. Lawrence, David Senarath, S. H. P. Samarasinghe, L. M. P. de Silva, Hughbert Bagot, Tony Mahat, Rodney Kitulegoda and Upali Seneviratne and many others who were renowned for incorruptibility and hand picked for the inspectorate during the same vintage years.

If only Sri Lanka could spontaneously produce men of character in the mould of officers like them, then it would have true homeland security instead of bureaucratic and political hassles that have caused havoc in our police service.

Kadigawa was a source of inspiration and wisdom. I will always remember his words: "Brick walls are there for a reason" and "Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted." I loved his incredible zest for living, the steel in his character, his passion for police work, his brand of humour and his sense of fun.

When I was overlooked for my rightful promotion, he called me to say that he was sorry about the fact, but his one liner said it all: "Carlyle, when you cannot change the cards you are dealt with, then you just have to deal with the way you play your hand."

Many are the anecdotes I recall during my tenure under his command. Just to mention one, I remember that after an inspection of my station he observed thus: "The station is in good order and the OIC seems to have a grip of the state of crime in the area and his men. He should go very far in the service."

As fate would have it, we had a very senior DIG who was no good with the Queen’s language and he completely misread the last line of Kadigawa’s comments. Hence the following order was made by this DIG: "IP MailScanner warning: numerical links are often malicious: D. C. de Silva transferred from Talawakelle to Talaimannar, with immediate effect."

On seeing it I interviewed the DIG and all he said was: "I say Silva, your SP wants you to be sent very far in the service and so Talaimannar is the furthest I can think of."

On hearing this, old Kadigawa hit the roof and the rest is history.

Kadigawa’s passing away reminds us of the teaching of Lord Buddha: "The uncertainty of life and the certainty of death." What matters most is that he lived purposefully and he lived life to the fullest.

May the Lord give his beloved wife and children the strength and the fortitude to tide over this period of sadness and irreparable loss.

Good bye and God bless you Sir, and may you rest in peace.

Carlyle de Silva



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