|Wednesday, 15 October 2003|
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I was the compere at a recent fashion show at a Colombo five-star hotel where twenty-five graduating 'students of fashion' presented their 'creativity' based on the theme of "Sri Lankan Identity".
The show unfolded with each student presenting collections inspired by Sri Lankan identity. One particular collection was titled 'Dagaba'.
The script I read out ran thus: "Dome shaped Dagabas represent Buddhism in Sri Lanka. My inspiration is drawn from the Buddhist Philosophy the path to higher mental and intellectual attainments. This collection is based on the shapes of Dagaba".
I was firstly appalled and stunned, and then fuming, when the collection opened with a model appearing on the catwalk dressed as a 'dagaba'.
She wore a white bell-shaped skirt at the bottom of which was affixed "floral offerings", a brief top with a 'pinnacle' mounted atop her head. In her hand she carried a lit lamp. As she walked down the catwalk swaying her hips to the music, it looked as though a dagoba was walking towards the audience.
I thought this was sickeningly horrendous and insulting to Buddhism, to say the least, and, amounts to gross sacrilege. Fashion has obviously got to be creative but should never be permitted to make a mockery of any religion and its symbols.
I would have been equally appalled to see the Shiva Lingam, the Crucifix, the Crescent Moon, the Rosary and other such religious symbols, held sacred by followers of those respective religions, made a mockery of.
I later found out that many others too in the audience had been shocked and angry at this spectacle, which insulted Buddhism and masqueraded as 'creativity'. Allowing anyone to insult Buddhism or any other religion should never be condoned is my firm belief, and I believe those reading this will agree with me whole-heartedly.
KUMAR DE SILVA,
At a recently concluded Bimstec expert group meeting held in Kandy the Minister for Tourism Development is reported to have said that frontier formalities such as Visa requirements should be liberalised especially among member countries.
Sri Lanka for its part has done away with the visa requirement in respect of nationals from 76 countries but very few countries have reciprocated.
In contrast Thailand which is the country which initiated the Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand Economic Council has more than Tripled the visa fees - which was Rs. 750/- to Rs. 2500/- soon after the recent visit to Sri Lanka of the Thai Prime Minister.
We urge the Thai authorities to permit Sri Lankans to visit Thailand without visas or at least revert to the previous visa fee of Rs. 750/-. At present over 35,000 Sri Lankans visit Thailand annually compared to a little over 6000 Thais who visit Sri Lanka.
I agree with what has been stated in a letter on the above subject (DN Oct 3). Having retired from government service after thirty six years of loyal service in Postal, Probation and Health Services I have seen how the services deteriorated from the time I joined to the time I retired.
As things are it is impossible for a supervising officer to pull up or advice a junior officer because the defaulter will go to the politician of the day and the supervising officer will be punished in some form and not the wrongdoer.
This flexi time will be some thing like the old saying 'Panina Rilawunta Inimang Badinawa Wage'. There is another suggestion to give a quota of work for the day but who will fix it? And the person who fix the quota will get fixed if the quota cannot be finished in half the time.
Most government officers have their breakfast, lunch, and tea in office in addition to a rest time to have a short nap or chat and all these will be considered by the officer and a strike or a protest backed by an opposition politician will upset the plan. Why not introduce the punch card in addition to the signature please.
M. N. DE ZOYSA,
Produced by Lake House