|Thursday, 8 November 2001|
Alas, psychologists are now wondering how the so-called dissidents have acquired instant wisdom to unearth the said to be unwise policies of the Government to which they were once married with full faith. If their secrets of becoming intelligent all of a sudden are researched into, it will definitely throw light on educational research providing valuable information for the teachers to make their weak students bright in no time.
This must also go to the Guineas Book since their have not been any such findings for transmogrifying the students' intelligence from one stage to another in a day's time.
Presumably, they might have learnt from their own experience. The movement launched for uplifting the living standard of the people at the grassroots level drastically improve due to the efficient administrative ability of one self-praised talkative wiz kid.
The poor people who found it extremely difficult to make both ends meet suddenly began to build their own mansions because the person in charge of the movement pocketed out from his own purse in such a way that finally what remained for him is only a small house which has only four rooms. The majority of the people are very sympathetic to him because while they were leading a heavenly life their leader was trying to install a small hut in a bog. Probably, this suffering must have created new brain waves for him to realise the dark patches of his own psyche and to see the "green light" on the other side of the fence.
Imposing tax on the essential goods in order to bring down their prices for the poor people to live a better life can also be regarded as a new economic theory. This intellectual was so eloquent about the advantages of his new tax scheme that the very next day all the prices of all the goods doubled. His policies were so pragmatic and practical that the black marketeers raked in money putting more burdens on the poor.
To the dismay of the general public, he did not seem to have an iota of wisdom to see that his much-vaunted economic vision was tightening the belt of the poor. When the dream-Leader of the Opposition strained his rusted brain to topple the Government, enlightenment struck this wizard to realise that what he was doing was inefficient, and to back up the conspiracy to end the promising blue-red association.
Another associate of the famous seventeen years' inglorious era, who was naive enough not to know how much an acre of land cost then looked for greener pastures in the blue.
He was virulently criticising the political hand that fed him when suddenly acute cleverness appeared from no where to see the same person as the Zeus of his heavenly kingdom that would, according to his all the hallucination, be established on this land.
His naivety was once proved when he was at a loss to understand the symple arithmetics to identify the figures at a counting centre of a cleanly fraudulent election, and the votes had to be counted and recounted until he got the number which he could comprehend.
It would be quite interesting to study how these illusionary political actors became visionaries overnight. Politics has never contributed to develop theories of intelligence, and this is therefore new ground for the psychologists, particularly those in Sri Lanka, to explore and to expound. However, it has to be done quickly for they can become in no time naive again.
ANIL PAGODA ARACHCHI,
It is regrettable to find the new found saviour of the UNP, Professor G.L. Peiris squabbling about the legality of the pay increase granted to Government employees and pensioners to ameliorate their conditions. One is reminded of his truly UNP mentality although he had hoodwinked the PA and the President for seven long years. Does he not know that the President under the J.R. Constitution can exercise her powers for the good of any sector of hte population?
Does Prof. G.L. Peiris expect the PA Government to harass the employees as under President J.R. Jayewardena in 1980? The government employees and pensioners have nto received perks and privileges and also huge sums of money from racketeers, bookmakers and loan sharks as some of the renegade MPs are believed to have received.
Prof. G.L. Peiris has now suddenly found that the President cannot take correct decisions after serving her for seven long years. That means he had all along ignored this state of affairs and clung on to power. If he had any conscience in him he should have resigned long time ago.
This is a lame excuse to justify his behaviour in bowing to the whims of racketeers, bookmakers and loan sharks.
S. WEERAKOON ,
For three long years, I was fighting a bitter battle with the Pensions Department and the Divisional Secretariat at Dam Street to obtain my Unreduced Pension and Pension arrears but, to no avail.
A number of letters were sent but, not a single letter war acknowledged, nor a reply sent.
In desperation I went to the Secretariat personally and spoke to the female subject clerk. She told me to come another day, as she needed time to trace my personal file.
I went there again another day. The subject clerk told me that she had gone through my personal file and found that I have already been given my Unreduced Pension and Pension arrears.
I was flabbergasted, because I knew for certain that I had not been given the Unreduced Pension and arrears.
While mulling over my dilemma, I got a bright idea. Why not appeal to the President as a last resort. With all her State duties will she intervene on my behalf.
I accordingly wrote to her Excellency on May 10 with copies of correspondence I had with the Pensions Department and the Divisional Secretariat.
I received a copy of letter dated May 28, 2001 which she had sent to the Divisional Secretariat requesting them to take suitable action with regard to my case.
And hey presto! I received my Unreduced Pension the following month (June, 2001). I had to wait another two months before I could get my Pension arrears, which I received on 7th Sept. 2001.
I was interested to read Dr. W. B. Wijekoon's letter (DN Oct.23) stressing the importance of maintaining one's personal health records. Unfortunately, the failure of patients to keep their own medical records is only one symptom of a people who are reluctant to take responsibility for their own affairs, be it their physical health, their financial health or the well-being of their families.
The general idea among the people of this country seems to be that the government (or any other "authority" they are dependent on) owes them a living and should look after them from the cradle to the grave. They regard the government as a massive milch cow with one teat for every citizen. Consequently, they keep changing governments in the fond though vain hope that each successive government would do better at fulfilling all their needs than its predecessor.
This is perhaps due largely to the dependence mentality created by decades of handouts of free food rations, free education, free health services, free irrigation water, free mid-day meals, free school books and uniforms (not to mention the numerous subsidies on consumption) and other goodies that we simply cannot afford, but which self-seeking politicians have vied with each other to hand out, especially just before elections.
Of course just as there is nothing called a free lunch, these freebies come at a price. They are given at the expense of investments in developments schemes to create new wealth and infrastructure in the country. When will we in this country grow up and take responsibility for our lives, not just for our medical records?
Maintaining complete and up-to-date personal medical records as recommended by Dr. Wijekoon is however, only one facet of health care which medical practitioners are naturally more concerned about. However, we need to encourage people not only to keep their own medical records in good order, but also to take responsibility for their own health and well-being as well as that of their families.
They should take control of their health management using all the resources and resource persons at their disposal. This would include educating themselves and their families about proper nutrition, good hygiene, the importance of exercise, recognition of potential hazards in the home and workplace and the necessary precautions to be taken, early recognition of symptoms of dangerous conditions, regular medical check-ups, and the health care resources and services available. Such health education should be started in schools so that caring for one's health becomes second nature to children as they grow up.
Doctors in ancient China were paid a monthly retainer by their patients as long as they were healthy. Payment was withheld whenever a patient became sick and resumed only once he or she became well again. The doctors were consequently more focused on keeping their clients in good health than in treating disease once it struck. Of course, such an approach would not be practicable in the modern day and would perhaps be opposed by most doctors. Nevertheless, it is something for us to wistfully think about!
Kingsley A. de Alwis ,
Three years have passed with the commencement of road widening project overlooking the Dodanduwa Bridge re-construction site. Gutters were laid on both sides of the widened roadway which are nearly three feet deep. Concrete slabs were laid at house-frontages according to the requirements.
A human problem was also created as ten slabs were laid at the entrance to the old Galle-Colombo road which houses the Harbour Development office -- the office of the bridge reconstruction project and the regional survey office plus a few residential quarters. Government vehicles, cabs, vans, bull-dozers, push cyclists motor cyclists, and pedestrians pass-over these ten slabs of concrete everyday. The open gap on the Colombo side of the entrance needs about three more slabs to solve a human problem.
A motor cyclist, a push cyclist and a woman pedestrian fell into the gutter at different times in spite of the lights that were burning. The latest victim, an elderly female who got her ankle dislocated in the fall was unconscious for nearly 18 hours before turning to normalcy.
It is time for the road development authority to redress this needy human problem.
HERBERT DE SILVA ,
The prices of weekend newspapers both Sinhala and English are beyond the reach of the average reader today. The price of a weekend paper has gone up to Rs. 30 now and a large number of readers have ceased to buy them since they are unable to spend such a large sum on a paper in addition to daily sky rocketing cost of living. It is very easy for the newspaper organisations to increase the price, rather than seeking some other ways of cutting down their cost of production.
The printing authorities should negotiate with the Govt. to get a reduction of duty on news-print import to help the readers. If not this will be a direct tax on the knowledge of the average man of this country. We must encourage the reading habits of our people and not to discourage it. In India it is very cheap and within the reach of the average man.
D. E. ABEYWEERA ,
There is dissatisfaction among the public at large pertaining to the exclusion of GST when settling motor vehicle insurance claims. They are of the opinion that this is being done by the Insurance Companies without the knowledge of the Dept. of Inland Revenue.
I wish to clarify the following:
By his circular dated December 22nd, 2000, the Deputy Commissioner (GST) has advised all Insurance Companies to follow the procedure pertaining to insurance claims.
le: when insurance claims are submitted by the insured company, unless a GST Invoice is raised by them the GST element need not be paid by the Insurance Company.
For eg: Say, a Company "A" whose motor vehicle has met with an accident receive a bill for Rs. 120,320.85 from the garage which has repaired the vehicle. The breakdown on the said Bill would be:
Repair charges - Rs
The Insurance Company does not have contractual liability towards the garage. If company "A" is registered for GST, it has to raise a similar invoice in favour of the Insurance Company and would receive the full claim and the GST element has to be paid to the Dept. of Inland Revenue by "A" accordingly.
If Company "A" is not registered for GST it cannot raise a GST Invoice and therefore insurance claims would be settled without the GST element.
It would be interesting to note that Company "A" will be liable for GST of Rs. 12,500 on the claim bill and would be entitled to a credit of Rs. 12,500 embedded in the repair bill, provided the vehicle involved was used to make taxable supplies. For eg: if it was a car used by directors or officers of the Company, GST input credit cannot be claimed. le: Company "A" will lose the Rs. 12,500.
Similarly, individuals who are not in a position to raise GST invoices have to forego the GST embedded in their repair bill. This situation I admit is unfortunate. However, Insurance Companies could very well pay the Insurance claim in full even if GST invoice was not raised by Company "A" or an individual (not registered for GST) without claiming input credit when setting their GST liability with the view to maintaining goodwill or securing business.
Recently, the Chairman of Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation had announced they were not deducting the GST element when settling motor vehicle insurance claims. le: they are bearing the GST burden voluntarily.
In passing I wish to state that it is not correct to criticize the Insurance Companies when they are acting in accordance with the direction issued by the Dept. of Inland Revenue. The proverb "It is not fair to curse the arrow when the archer is to be blamed" fits appropriately in this regard.
KANORJI ANGARE ,
It has been a mystery how any Tamil could vote for or support the UNP in any way after government goons guided by voter lists burnt Tamil homes in July 1983. Now we know.
Many Tamils decided then to separate themselves, and they believe now that only the UNP will give them Eelam.
It has been the normal practice to announce the results of postal votes first as the counting of postal votes is taken first. I am of opinion that announcing the results of the postal votes separately becomes confusing to the listeners. Therefore may I suggest to the Commissioner of Elections to announce the results when the final counting (postal and normal votes) is over on electoral basis.
T.J.V. SILVA ,
Produced by Lake House