|Monday, 21 April 2003|
Please forward your letters to email@example.com in plain text format within the e-mail message, since as a policy we do not open any attachments.
I am shocked to hear two Central Bank officials who participated in the "Kadaima" of ITN on 23/03/03 say almost in unison that putting one's savings in a bank is risky. With regard to the Pramuka debacle, these two officials seemed to be using the Banking Act as a shield to hide their professional negligence.
At this moment I do not want to go into details of the Banking Act, but in brief it gives broad powers to Central Bank when dealing with a situation like Pramuka. But however, it is meant to safeguard the depositors and not bungling bureaucrats of the Central Bank. These officials have taken clause by clause of the Act and twisted it to safeguard themselves.
I think it's high time the government brought in a new legislation such as "Depositors Act" to safeguard innocent depositors from these bureaucrats of the Central Bank.
If immediate measures are not taken by the government to rectify this situation, the collapse of our Banking Industry won't be far away.
L. S. GUNASEKARA - Pita Kotte
We are living in a money driven society that human values continue to erode everyday. I read and hear shocking news of Rape, Robbery, Murder, Assault and many other violent crimes everyday.
I have been closely following news reports of implementing the death sentence which all citizens fully agree. Instead of just passing an amendment in the Parliament, all citizens would appreciate if it is implemented sooner than later as when people say "Prevention is better than the Cure". Just by sending a convicted criminal to jail, problems will not come to an end because the criminal has the opportunity to strike again once he/she is released. If some one commits a crime he/she does not deserve to live.
There is another alternative when executing a criminal which is done by using a 'Lethal Injection' apart from hanging and the electric chair. It's time Sri Lanka learns to stand on her feet. For those of you who might think imposing a death sentence is against human rights, I would like to ask them this question "If the US and Saudi Arabia can execute thousands of criminals, why cant we?. For how long are we going to live with among a bunch of criminals?. My dear fellow Sri Lankans, think about it...
MADHUWANTHI TENNAKOON - Colombo.
A frequent question raised in newspapers today is the issue of whether there should be a dress code for women.
While the conservative factions of society are bent on making the traditional saree, the national attire, the more liberal minded of us are strongly opposed and outraged by this idea. Is it possible for 4 to 8 metres of woven fabric draped around a woman's body to cause such public debate and furor? "Get out of my comfortable blue jeans and wear a saree to work, never!" declared one young lady I questioned.
Let's begin by taking a look at the role of the average 20 to 35-year-old Sri Lankan woman today. She generally holds down a full time job, is probably married with kids and is expected to function as a kind of "Asian superwoman".
The fact remains that most Sri Lankan husbands while proud of their educated, career-oriented wives, still expect them to revert to the role of a "domestic goddess" after 5.00 p.m.! The average working woman is caught up in a whirlwind of activity in the early morning rush to get to work. Draping a saree and seeing to various pleats and tucks is likely to be the last thing on her mind in such circumstances.
Also in today's working environment, women have moved into professions that were dominated by men earlier such as medicine, engineering and architecture. There are even female three-wheeler drivers now! In such fields, traipsing around in a restrictive length of fabric would be simply impractical.
Nevertheless the saree is our traditional female attire. It is a garment of much sensuality that hugs body contours and brings out the best in the female form. It has also recently become very fashionable in the West with the current influx of Indian music and all things Asian. Girls today do not hate the saree. On the contrary they love it as much as their grandmothers before but opt for more practical attire for work.
The saree is now preferred for special occasions such as weddings. "I love dressing up in a saree for a function, it makes me feel so glamorous", said a colleague of mine.
The whole process of choosing the right blouse, the perfect shoes and complimentary jewellery are all part of the fun of the get up. If you were to wear it everyday it would become a mundane process just as eating cake everyday would make you sick! Changing with the times is what it is all about. A rigid dress code for women would force them to suppress their individual style of attire and be a violation of their basic rights.
Some of the most brilliant figures in the world have very eccentric styles of dress that reflect their personality. We cannot go back in time but must move forward by reassessing our traditional values. The saree too must evolve with the times.
After all has anybody brought up the subject of a dress code for men in Sri Lanka and would they be willing to forego their shirts and trousers for an "Ariyasinhala suit" for work? It would be very unlikely and quite hilarious to imagine too.
So let's keep our perspective here and let the ladies decide what is appropriate for them.
SONANI HAPUWATTE, Moratuwa.
Dr. Roland de Silva, an archaeologist, and the president of the world body of the International Council of Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), is reported to have said at the recently held International Buddhist Conference in Colombo; "visits to Buddhist sites should not be commercialised tourism but an exercise for spiritual self-purification". This is of relevance to all human beings, be they white, black or brown; be they local or foreign.
There are many tourists/foreigners who are very keen on learning more about Buddhism and therefore, visit temples and places of archaeological interest instead of sun and sand, drugs and prostitution.
In Sri Lanka just the opposite is happening as my story below will reveal. This is a disgrace to the great religion and to the rich cultural traditions of our country, often boasted as the cradle of theravada Buddhism.
Just last week, as the tourist guide book prescribes, I took to the beaten track of visiting Embekke, Lankatilleka and Gadaladeniya, all not far from Kandy.
Alighting from the bus to do the short walk to Embekke, I met an Italian couple who had travelled in the same bus from Kandy. On the way we talked of many things - from white-breasted kingfishers, pepper and coffee to short-age paddy that is also grown in the Po basin of northeast Italy from where they originate.
Then we walked from Embekke to Lankatilleka where a priest was at the door to the small shrine room with a ticket book in hand. He demanded Rs. 200 from the two of them for entry. The foreigners were reluctant (I believe they were budget travellers). The priest then sternly asked them to "get out" (just in those two words). I was very ashamed of this but did not want to get into an argument.
This is an ethical question. Why should I, a national, be allowed free entry, and they, because of their skin colour be asked to pay? Is this how one fosters a religion? If I were to visit St. Paul's cathedral in London will I be asked to pay an entry fee? Or at Kew Gardens, a different fee to that of the English because my skin colour is brown?
After all England is also in financial difficulties. In this country every tourist is ripped off to the marrow wherever possible.
This is where Sri Lanka is missing the bus. We want easy money at every opportunity and turn a blind eye to the morals on the way, touts and pimps included.
From Lankatilleka we moved on to Galadadeniya. Here an energetic young man sporting an identity card managed to palm off two tickets to these two. I do not know who he was and whether he had official role to play either at the temple or as an officer of the Archaeology Department. May have even been a con man, a glib talker, giving a share of the takings to the temple.
It is time for the Minister for Buddha Sasana to take note of these disgraceful unbuddhistic activities and have them stopped forthwith.
The right to enter a Buddhist temple whether of historical value or not, without having to pay money for such entry, should be the fundamental right of every citizen of the world, be he white, black or brown.
Interested temples may be encouraged (or helped) by relevant authorities to prepare little brochures giving the history and cultural importance and also stating that any donation (no matter how small) for its upkeep will be graciously accepted. If there is even a notice to say that donations are welcome for maintenance, tourists will part with a dollar or two most willingly. This is what religion is all about.
SANDA KELUM - Mt. Lavinia
Road Development Authority commenced widening of W.A. Silva Mawatha about three years ago.
This work is never ending.
Many buildings were demolished for this purpose. The road is full of debris, heaps and heaps of earth and bricks. All the trees have been cut. Scorching sun of the mid-day is unbearable, extremely unfriendly, like the Arabian desert. This is a big environmental disaster. The entire area is full of dust. The residents are suffering. They are subject to caugh, cold and respiratory deceases. Small children are getting asthma.
The electricity and telephone poles have not been shifted so far. There are open pits and man-holes everywhere. Hence, the road is dangerous as there are so many death traps.
We accept that the Government is doing something useful. However, everybody will be happy if the road work is completed fast.
I hope the Road Development Authority will consider our plight and complete the road project soon. Do not delay it. Do not prolong it. Also please plant some shady trees to compensate the trees uprooted by the authorities.
R. SERASINGHE, Wellawatte.
Many road accidents have taken place mostly involving push-cyclists and motor cyclists, especially at nights. One of the main reasons for these accidents is the cyclist travelling without lights.
Other motorists find it difficult to observe the cyclists without lights, which results in accidents and inconvenience to other road users.
About two or three decades back no cyclist could travel at night without both front and rear lights.
I presume relevant laws are still in force in this regard.
However, the Police do not seem to take any action against such errant cyclists. It would be in the best interest of the general public that the Police enforce the laws with regard to vehicles travelling at night without lights as it was done in the past.
I earnestly appeal to the Inspector General of Police to take serious notice in this and take corrective action as soon as possible.
CC - Rajagiriya
The opening of private radio stations broadcasting in the English medium has indeed done Sri Lanka a lot of damage. These private radio stations have promoted American Coca - cola culture with a vengeance. Announcers speak with American accent, the music played is junk music and the culture promoted is satanic.
However, our SLBC kept its original superb standard of a mixture of programmes ranging from religious culture of all four major religions of Sri Lanka Viz. Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Muslim programmes to popular accepted music and even to classical music.
We now observe that even the SLBC is now slowly but surely drifting towards this culture by their announcers also drifting to speak with American accents and broadcasting advertisements in American style like the private radio stations.I hope that the authorities will bring back the SLBC to its original glory when it was in the hands of the late respected Livy Wijemanne.
SAYBHAN SAMAT - Rajagiriya
Figuring high these days are the peace talks
Meetings are held according to a Memorandum of Understanding
Let's leave no room for donor countries to be sceptical
We've gone through the mill for too long a time,
- LLOYD FERNANDO
Produced by Lake House