|Monday, 12 May 2003|
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It is no doubt a regular feature to observe that great prominence and emphatic publicity is given by the local television stations to various acts of crime. In fact certain television stations have allocated separate sections and specific time allocations in their news bulletins, for providing publicity to crime. Whether the relevant authorities have taken such action, with sincere intentions of curtailing crime or eradicating same for the benefit of our society is questionable.
Making the general public aware of grisly criminal activities of the country, may be the duty of the television stations, but whether it is extremely necessary to show the dead bodies of victims due to such gruesome acts of violence, is an important aspect the relevant authorities should address their minds to. A few days ago, the blood-stained dead bodies of three youngsters assassinated on the bund of the Kelani river at Peliyagoda were shown to the public. Television channels which were prohibited by law to show smoking or smokers some time ago, are now permitted to show dead bodies!
Does this type of undesired and unwanted publicity to crime make minds of the young generation more tough, callous and hardened to follow such criminal pursuits or does this type of gruesome and gory scenes of crime sadden the minds of the younger generation is a valid question, the relevant authorities should answer. Are the kind of murders and assassinations of various types shown on foreign television channels on a regular basis?
I am of the view, that the authorities responsible for the compilation of news bulletins should give priority and prominence to acts of generosity and kindness in helping the aged and orphans etc., as the younger generation on seeing such acts will be motivated to act similarly, which will help our society.
NALAKA WEERAMAN, Ethul Kotte
The Public Service Commission (PSC) is becoming an obstacle to good governance. This is because of the undue delays in appointments and transfers of public officers. I give below some instances of problems that are faced by the Ministry of Health.
When a medical administrative grade post falls vacant it takes 6 months or more to fill it when the Ministry of Health requests permission to advertise a post, clarifications are sought commonly. When one clarification is given another is asked. The points given by the interview board appointed by the PSC itself is routinely queried. The PSC sometimes even alters the marks given at the interview! Because of this posts remain vacant for long periods, e.g. the post of the Director, Medical Supplies Division remains vacant for about 6 months.
The annual transfers of medical officers for 2003, which should have been effective from January, have not been finalized. The PSC is now seeking the concurrence of all Governors.
Post interns who completed internship in September 2002 are still waiting for appointments. They remain in the stations where they did their internship. They are paid but have little work. Meanwhile the institutions that need their services are deprived. This is mismanagement.
DR. LUCIAN JAYASURIYA, Formerly Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health
According to the main news item in the Daily News on May 02, on a report from US State Department "the LTTE is likely to transform itself into legitimate political entity." The news would make every citizen in the South and the North equally happy and elated on the LTTE position revealed by the State Department. US updates its news on global intelligence every minute. Many influential world nations provide reports critical value to US State Department for the purpose. Hence the US latest report could be assumed as predictably correct and reliable.
Sri Lanka has come a long way from the Memorandum of Understanding and Peace Talks. This should give enough confidence to LTTE leadership to engage in direct dialogue with the government even on matters of any misunderstanding that could arise. Peace process is a broad-minded, gentlemanly negotiation in a 'give and take' atmosphere and with understanding running deep into the minds of the negotiators and people.
International community helps Sri Lanka, facilitates Peace Process, aids to rebuild devastated war zones and rest of the country, helps introduce an acceptable system of governance and even supervise and management and efficacy reconciliation etc. but to expect their interventions for every turn and twist of our Peace talks is hardly warranted. Silence is not always golden.
It could at times lead to intricate suspicions and misunderstandings to be hard frozen. Both the Government and LTTE should marshal peoples support for peace, reconciliation and development and save energies on fund-raising, procurement of weapons recruitment of soldiers etc. Peace is thousand times more valuable, more constructive and more meaningful than war. The people countrywide are delightfully hopeful and optimistic on the return of LTTE to Peace Table.
LIONEL GULAWITA, Diriya Foundation
I went to the Colombo Tamil Sangam in Wellawatte recently, after more than a year, to donate some books to the library. I was very delighted to see a well-stocked and well-kept library efficiently managed. There was pin drop silence in the study room which was fully occupied with about fifty students studying silently and diligently. A room adjoining the reading room was being prepared for a children's library to be opened soon. Another portion in the same floor was remaining to be completed which might be added to the library after completion.
I was agitating for some years for a better library building and service in Kotahena, as I had done in the case of the Public Library many years ago. A new library building was constructed and opened in February last year. Today whenever I go to the library I feel gratified to see students occupying all the seats in the study room and engaged in studying. Most of them are poor students who do not have any facilities in their homes to sit down and study. May the authorities in our country realise the importance of libraries and provide more libraries thro ughout the country not only with reading facilities but also with studying facilities.
ARUL, Colombo 13
I refer to the illustrated article captioned, "Keeping Sri Lanka Accident-free" by T. Perimpanayagam, incumbent President of the Ceylon Society for the prevention of Accidents (CESPA).
Unlike most policemen, who give up their interest in police work upon retirement, Mr. Perimpanayagam, one-time DIG (traffic) continues to render yeoman service in Road Safety activities even in retirement. His article given publicity to in your issue of 29th April, 2002, certainly deals with an aspect of driving which is most important in present-day traffic on the road.
As I had hitherto known, the safe distance to be kept when following a vehicle is yard for every 1 mile per hour the car behind is travelling at. However, it would seem easier to keep that distance by car lengths, instead, as illustrated in the article under reference, and it is the recommendation of the Geneva Convention too, according to Mr. Perimpanayagam. Keeping those recommended distances are, of course possible outside urban areas.
However, in the case of traffic within city limits, where vehicles go buffer to buffer, one should exercise anticipation, Concentration and Consideration, the last-named being most important. There also seem to be other considerations to be remembered. They are the seeing distance, the thinking distance, the braking distance and the stopping distance; there is a time lag between each of those exercises too.
It was the late Capt. E.B. (Tabby) Murrell, who once told me that, if a driver hits an object in front, his licence should be forthwith cancelled unless it fell from the sky.
Incidentally, Capt. Murrell was initially Instructor to drivers of the London Transport Service. During World War II, he was in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) to train drivers of the armed services. In the post-war period he and his wife ran a driving school here.
I was once relating what he told me to a friend with whom I was travelling, in his car, when the friend promptly questioned me as to what could fall from the sky. At that moment I could not give him an adequate answer; but strangely, as we proceeded along Galle Road, a framed election poster that had been suspended on a tree along the centre median of the road, came floating down and rested on our car bonnet! No further explantation was necessary.! It is, after all, hoped that more articles of practical value, by Mr. Perimpayayagam will follow.
C.S.A. Fernando, Moratuwa,
I was saddened to see persons clad in the Saffron Robe (Cheevaraya), who appeared to be members of the Sangha, parading in May Day rallies. The May Day is meant for the workpeople to militate against suppression of workers' rights and demonstrate their unity in the process.
The Sangha do not fall into the workers' category, who draw a wage for a living by selling their labour, and the Sangha cannot put up demands that cover material benefits as they have to renounce them on becoming a Bhikkhu. It is the politicians, especially of the not so left, no doubt, who have dragged the Sangha into politics and thereby brought indiscipline into the Bhikkhu Order, which amou nts to political bankru ptcy.
Politicians and political parties should leave the Sangha alone and the Sangha, in turn, should keep out of party politics, limiting themselves to the role of being advisors on national issues, thereby keeping to the dignity and decorum expected of them.
UPALI S. JAYASEKERA, Colombo 4
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