National unity the need of the hour
strife is o'er, the battle done; these words from a
favourite hymn echo again and again in my mind. Is the
strife really over? Are we really free to travel the
roads and to have freedom of expression?
my belief that the way to national unity is not through
hordes of unruly people on roads shouting filth against
communities and individuals or in insulting posters of
political opponents. This is the time to win hearts and
influence people by meaningful deeds and not by mere
have to stop thinking that every Tamil is an LTTE
supporter or that the other minority communities are not
Sri Lankan. This country belongs to us all, and not only
to the Sinhala Buddhists. We have to build up an
atmosphere where any Sri Lankan can occupy the highest
office in the land like Obama did in the US.
begin with, the Sinhala and Tamil New Year should be
renamed National New Year. Name boards of roads should
be in all three languages, official letters from
government departments should be in all three languages.
Racist groups; particularly those within the government
should be barred from making racist statements and
remarks which incite hatred between ethnic groups. They
continue to make irresponsible statements far beyond
subjects within their purview.
Children starting from the kindergarten should not be
separated into classes according to race. Years of war
has made us lag behind the rest of the world in a myriad
spheres. If we want to move alongside if not ahead;
there are changes which have to be made. The time to do
this is now while the war euphoria is still alive.
up to the majority to be magnanimous; whether we like it
or not. English is an international language and can be
the unifying one. Sinhala is spoken only in Sri Lanka
and predictions by authorities are that it will die out
in a couple of decades. There is something radically
wrong with our education system when we insist on 'Sinhala
Only' in education and when young people seek jobs, they
fail in their attempts due to a lack of knowledge of
task ahead is immense, time consuming and needs the
support of everyone. Ridiculing opposition
parliamentarians is not the answer as they are needed on
the road to recovery. Thousands of disabled and injured
soldiers need rehabilitation and occupation. The same
attention has to be given to the IDPs.
would like to quote from a statement made by the
Anglican Bishop of Colombo, the Rt. Rev. Duleep Chickera.
As an Anglican I am proud that he has not lost his voice
like some others who are like tame poodles; deaf and
blind when lies are told about religion.
'Consequently we require a visible shift from sympathy
for the IDPs to an affirmation of their rights and
dignity as Sri Lankans.
persons cannot lose their rights as Sri Lankans because
they were trapped by the LTTE in the Wanni. In fact,
they crossed over at great risk in a courageous
demonstration of their right to movement as Sri Lankans,
and this must be recognised.
the travails of war and displacement that prevents them
from producing documentary evidence does not make them
any less Sri Lankan than the rest of us. But if a
lasting solution to our larger and more tragic conflict
is ever to be reached we need to engage in two more
first is to overcome the tendency to see ghosts of the
LTTE in every Tamil. If not an entire community will be
held under surveillance for the rest of their lives,
some of whom will inevitably be drawn into the next
Tamil militant resurgence. The second is the need for a
just and speedy political response to the grievances of
the Tamil people. These grievances must be heard and can
best be articulated by a cross section of independent
Educational programmes in schools and in the electronic
media would do much to inspire children and to change
attitudes in those with a racist outlook. I was visibly
shocked recently when an educated young woman commenting
on the arson attack on a TV station said that it didn't
matter as the station was pro Tamil.
kind of attitude among those who should know better,
will only hinder progress and unity and has to be
changed. Assaults, attacks, murders and abduction of
journalists have to stop if we want to be recognised as
a civilised nation. Unsolved murders have to be solved
forthwith. The queues for visas have increased during
this past week. This is not a good sign as it shows a
sense of insecurity even after the war victory.
must take a look at Singapore which is an excellent
example. It was the vision of one man- Lee Kuan Yew -
who relentlessly pursued his objective till he succeeded
in converting his dream into reality. Singapore is the
best example of a multi racial society of equal
citizens. There, a person's contribution is recognised
and rewarded on merit, regardless of race, culture,
language or religion. It reminds us all what a cohesive
multi racial society can achieve.
Kuan Yew undoubtedly had the decisiveness and political
support to override grassroots prejudice to advance his
country's interests. This is the time that those in
power can make these changes here before it is too late.
Meritocracy above all else must be the name of the game.
Perhaps our tragedy has been that we have had too few
Lee Kuan Yews and too many 'I Con Yous!'
Ilica Malkanthi Karunaratne
The road less travelled
"And it rained.
the drops of water
washing away the sins,
the tears of a thousand lives,
as I watched them
from a white sky
and drench me
in its forgiveness."
Purifying the stench which had, until this day, become a
symbolism of our life, and the fear psychosis that bred
hatred, suspicion and despair, the unending days of
watching blameless ones killed for no apparent reason,
wailing loved ones, and nonchalant news anchors bringing
us the same story, just different venues and set ups.
was how we had grown up for the past three decades, and
this was how we thought our lives would progress, if we
made it past the bombs. Those richer among us got their
visas made, went to foreign lands, married and settled
down. but those of us who had to make-do the best way we
could, lingered on, nearly always not of choice.
beautiful and blessed isle had become a breeding ground
of hatred, and blood: its beauty was instantaneously
forgotten, forfeited, and cursed. The curse prevailed
for long years; taking with it uncountable lives. hope
seemed a far off place, unseen and unknown. until this
euphoria flooded street upon street, as news that the
country had been rid of a phenomenon known only as
terrorism made it across, an unfamiliar emotion no doubt
engulfed the hearts and minds of a nation that had
become as of habit, an unemotional, pessimistic,
subdued, and submissive one. A nation that had, no
doubt, imagined a lifetime of fear ensconced in its
every action, in every move, a bomb blast in every town,
breaking news on every channel, a shaking of the head, a
quick call to loved ones to see if they're safe, most
often an equally quick sigh of relief, or not. this was
how they thought their lives would pass by...
as those of us who so indulged, get past the crackers,
the sweetmeats on the streets and the celebration, and
begin to settle down into routine once more, it will
appear that a completely alien concept will have to take
course: a Renaissance of sorts.
will similarly apply to those who, at this juncture of
military victory over the scourge of terrorism, felt,
not unnaturally, a sense of uncertainty and fear over
the manner in which things were progressing, fearing for
their rights, as they too return from a state of limbo.
The time then has come for both these elements to unite,
on common ground, rid themselves of any previous
prejudices and let the process of healing take its
a renaissance of the mind that is needed, one of the
spirit, of hopefulness, and belief. That we, as a
nation, can indeed move forward, with no bounds or
shackles to tear us apart. It is this moving of the mind
that can bring about miracles, make us hopeful of a
future where we would live and love together.
then tread this less travelled road, erase the
prejudice, and start. The time has come.
Weeping widows of the Bank of Ceylon
Bank of Ceylon widows are a marginalised lot. For years
they have been agitating for an increase in pension
which has fallen on deaf ears. The usual reply has been
that there was not enough money in the Widows' Fund.
Rohini Nanayakkara was general manager, Bank of Ceylon
she boasted to the print media that the Bank of Ceylon
reaped billions of rupees in profits. It would have
been a humanitarian gesture if some of it was directed
to the Widows' Fund. The icing on the cake was when the
employees of the Bank of Ceylon with 25 years service
were given a gold sovereign each. The widows didn't even
get the crumbs falling from the table.
they have hit the widows below the belt by not issuing
the yearly diaries. It is reserved for the pensioners
only. It was our husbands' sweat and tears that made
the Bank of Ceylon grow to its present heights. At that
time the salaries were very low and there was no
overtime payment. They left for work at 7 a.m. and
returned home sometimes after 9 p.m.
give this matter your urgent consideration for as senior
citizens the astronomical medical bills coupled with the
skyrocketing cost of living is making our lives a
nightmare. Over to you Mr. Chairman, Bank of Ceylon for
On behalf of Bank of Ceylon Widows
Funds for hearing aid
the article "Politicians main beneficiaries." by
Dilrukshi Handunnetti in The Sunday Leader of May 17.
Although the disbursements statement in the article
shows Mr. E.L.B. Hurulle (my late father) receivedfunds
for Medical Treatment the article's paragraph does not
mention it whilethe others are mentioned having received
as medical expenses.
late father received funds to procure an 'In The Ear'
digital hearing aid as he went deaf in one ear as a
result of the explosion in parliament in1988 which
killed District Minister Keerthi Abeywickrema, and
injured the late Lalith Athulathmudali and my late
would appreciate if this could be mentioned in the next
issue of The Sunday Leader.
regard to your response to the article written by me, I
am in no doubt that some of the legislators mentioned in
the list had justifiable medical expenses and made
parliamentary documents however, did not disclose the
specified reasons for the disbursement of money for any
of the listed MPs, except to differentiate between ex
gratia payments made for those who did not qualify for
the pension for parliamentarians and those who sought
financial assistance to meet their medical expenses.
such I was not privy to the extra details about each
payment made as the parliamentary records did not
include such details.
People should be careful in their comments
Apropos the many newspaper reports and letters on The
Golden Key scam.
democracy every citizen has the right to his/her opinion
but, I am prompted to reply to the letter written by
Brian Jansz published in The Sunday Leader of May 10.
Whether or not The Sunday Leader is the "unofficial
journal of the UNP" as claimed by His Lordship the
Bishop of Ratnapura, is another matter.
however, surprising that Jansz has chosen to pick on
the Bishop of Ratnapura for criticism. His Lordship
should, in fact, be commended for having placed on
record his indignation.
Lordship had the magnanimity of giving a breakdown as to
how the monies earned as interest from this deposit are
spent. If that does not satisfy you dear Jansz, what
will? From where the monies came cannot be judged by
anyone - "Judge not and ye shalt not be judged." (Mathew
Chapter 7 Verse 1).
Venerable Buddhist monks have been discreet and not made
a big brouhaha of the deposits made by them at GK, Dear
Jansz, to refresh your memory, it is only because
Buddhist precepts preclude them from dealing with money.
It is for this reason that dayaka sabhas are appointed
to Temples, to deal with matters pertaining to its
finances. However, as far as I am aware, no such rule
applies to the Christian faith.
depositor at The Golden Key myself, it is my personal
opinion that the publication of the names of depositors
and amounts deposited in itself is 'unethical' and
against all norms of good journalism, thus deviating
from the Code of Practice of The Editors' Guild of Sri
society we live in today, where thuggery, threats and
intimidation is the order of the day, where would we
depositors stand the day we are repaid our deposits?
Needless to say, having had our names published in the
newspaper, we would find the best of the underworld on
were a depositor you would have understood the trauma,
anguish, agony and pain of mind that we depositors, most
of whom depend solely on the income generated from the
deposit are undergoing.
obvious that Jansz is not a depositor at The Golden
Key, and therefore immune to the anguish and sufferings
of, not only the depositors like the writer, but also
the Staff of GK who have not received their remuneration
since January this year.
Therefore, it would be advisable for all those who do
not claim a stake in GK to either keep 'mum' or confine
their epistles and advice to more familiar terrain,
where they are stake holders.
is an embarrassment to note the worldly ways of a part
of Christianity which embraces the principles of
pecuniary investments, what would one have to say about
the worldly ways of a part of Christianity which
embraces the principles of adultery? (Mathew Chapter 5
Verses 31-32 - Mark Chapter 19 Verses 11-12). It is a
matter of "Fools rushing in where angels fear to tread."
The Ceylinco Group mess
Ceylinco Group of Companies headed by its chairman, who
acted as a benefactor, good samaritan and saviour have
led the people down the garden path, thus, exposing his
People, after serving the government or private
institutions for long years have invested their
pensions, gratuities, E.P.F. and other life long savings
in the Ceylinco Group to withdraw in a time of need or
during their dotage.
F & G
Property Developers and F & G Real Estates have failed
to pay the monthly interest to their investors since
December 2008. Although the investors have not been paid
their monthly installments since December 2008, the
Ceylinco Chief had been paid a gratuity of nearly 26
millions from the F & G capital, which was spotlighted
in the media. One of the senior directors of Ceylinco
Shriram who had played out billions of rupees from the
assets of the company and had transferred the assets in
his wife's name to get out of the legal issues has
divorced his wife, as a part of his plan.
Deputy Chairman of F & G has mismanaged the Group's
assets and has squandered the capital by leading a
princely life. He has recruited his young sons who are
not so qualified and also inexperienced, as directors,
paying them princely salaries and giving them luxury
cars, free petrol and other fringe benefits. While he
and his cronies lead princely lives, the depositors have
been reduced to paupers.Some of the depositors have sent
their children abroad for higher education and they are
unable to remit the money abroad for the upkeep of the
of these depositors live in rented houses and pay the
house rent from the monthly interest. These unfortunate
persons have been ejected from their houses for non
payment of rent, while some have postponed their by-pass
surgeries. Cancer patients who solely depend on the
monthly interest have been deprived of drugs badly
needed for their survival.
Entrepreneurs have stopped investing in ventures or
improving their existing enterprises, which will result
in ultimate retrenchment of staff, thus making the
government unpopular and also affect money circulation
specially in the Western province adversely. It is thus
prudent for the government to intervene in this problem,
as it is apt to create social problems without allowing
the relevant parties to go into protracted litigation.
Patron F & G Depositors' Association