|Monday, 3 November 2003|
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Condominiums are mushrooming in Wellawatte and Bambalapitiya, without any concrete concern for the environment and adequate facilities like water, electricity, sewerage and roadways.
Attractive advertisements and brochures are published to entice the would be buyers of these condominiums, promising, a peaceful living, with an environmental blossoming with a serene atmosphere.
Unfortunately, this is not the truth, buildings are not completed within the stipulated period, adequate and convenient parking space is not provided as indicated in their brochures. Fire escapes and fire extinguishers are not provided.
When complaints are made to the property developers of the shortcomings, their response is minimal and inadequate. Most of the developers bite more than they can chew and thereby, buyers of these condominiums suffer considerably. The finish is far from satisfactory and invariably leaks and other inadequacies are experienced.
Most of the developers enjoy BOI status, but, are the benefits passed on to the buyers?
Unlike in this recent past, no control is exercised by the authorities concerned to restrict the height of the apartments, constructed on the seaside. Unrestricted heights, prevents the free flow of the sea breeze previously enjoyed by other house owners, and traffic jams are the order of the day on the roads leading to these apartments. Imagine an addition of 100 apartments on a road meant for 50 houses.
Unless, positive steps are taken by the authorities concerned to ensure conformity of the law and the promised facilities as per the brochures, the buyers of these buildings will be left at sea, perhaps like the seagulls, to find for themselves.
A.V. - Colombo 6
The former IGP who was quick to reward policemen of Wellawatte Police a sum of Rs. 1.58 million for recovering stolen goods to the value of Rs. 1.5 million retired without rewarding the police personnel involved in the detection of a large amount of heroin a few weeks earlier.
Let us hope at least the acting IG will reward these police personnel, and also divulge the names of the other police officers involved in this large-scale drug racket.
Usually it is the small fry such as the drug peddlar or police constable who are caught and not the big sharks.
TILAK FERNANDO - Colombo 6
"The DN article of October 14 on 'An opportunity for scientists to explore the state of Nibbana' contradicts basic teachings of Lord Buddha and science as well. The mind states of Beta, Alpha, Theta, and Delta, given in the wrong order in the article, relate to human brain wave frequencies, which a human being experiences during awaken, semi-sleep, and deep sleep stages. A person may display a flat ECG response when he reaches Delta state during deep sleep or during "meditation," where the deep sleep state may be simulated.
Nirvana is a state which is absolutely different from any of these mind states. Lord Buddha was very explicit that Nirvana is a perception-less(sangna nirodha) and a mind-less (chiththa Nirodha) state. The person who practices the correct path of meditation reaches a wisdom state called 'sanskarupeksha' or the wisdom of equanimity.
The person who perfects this level of wisdom will experience, through the two intermediate wisdom states of 'anuloma' and 'gothrabhu', the Blissful Nirvana. However, such a person who progresses along this path does not need any measuring instruments to assess his progress.
The infallible measure is his growing equanimity towards the phenomenal world, the degree of felt selflessness, and the growing 'love without attachment.'
The thirsty, who drinks a cool glass of water knows whether his thirst is quenched or not, and there is no need for a second party opinion or instruments. The Guru can guide but the experience is an inner phenomenon. The state of Nirvana is a Bliss for experiencing and not a measurable phenomenon.
What US scientists have measured are physiological effects of meditation such as lowering of oxygen consumption and rejuvenation of organs during meditation.
Heisenberg, in his principle of scientific uncertainty, which is now known as the Uncertainty Principle of Heisenberg, declared that when man attempts to measure increasingly subtle things, the inaccuracy of what is being measured increases.
The inaccuracy is caused not only by the limitations of instruments used, but also because the consciousness of the person who measures influences what is being measured!
Thus, the content of the article in question contradicts the Buddha's teachings and modern science as well."
SUNANDA - via e-mail
I was compelled to write this letter after reading the highlighted letter "Tourists and cultural Triangle" by S. S. de Silva (DN Oct. 17). I recently visited Hong Kong for the first time, saw how much effort they take promoting tourism and let me compare tourist promotion in Hong Kong and Sri Lanka. Soon after arrival at Hong Kong International Airport the foreigners are received by smiling young ladies and handed over with a free set of full-colour booklets and brochures kept in an attractive small carrying bag, per visitor. These colourful printed matter comprised with an up to date map of Hong Kong, description of places of interest and visit, how to get about in Hong Kong, a complete shopping guide with some discount vouchers, a guide of periodic activities in town with timetables, suggested tour packages with prices, and it was an A to Z tourist guide.
The Tourist's Map of Hong Kong seemed to be renewed and published once in two months which contains general information about Hong Kong such as population, language, climate, currency, entry regulations, customs allowance and airport departure tax. In this publication under 'The Art of Shopping' and shopping tips it states "Be prepared for some good-natured bargaining.
Offer less than you are willing to pay" which is self explanatory as to how they protect and educate the tourist about the city. I was interviewed five different occasions with a questionnaire carrying six A-4 pages during my six day's stay in Hong Kong by young personnel employed by Hong Kong Tourism Board and was presented with souvenirs each time as a gesture of spending my time. This was for them to make a data base with a view to develop their tourism further. Although we do not have facilities/opportunities in shopping and recreation like Theme Parks etc available in Hong Kong.
I believe we have better opportunities of tourist attractions which we do not properly market! Only the tour groups are informed of our cultural heritage and other aspects but the individual visitor has been utterly neglected. Why can't we have our own Tourist Promotion Counter at the B.I.A.?
It's time The Cultural Triangle, Handicrafts Board, The Ceylon Tourist Board, Sri Lanka Tea Board etc. should join hands, reconsider of "penalties" dumped on tourists and make them at least "reasonable". The national carrier SriLankan Airlines can also play a vital role.
The Tourist Board should look around to observe what other counties do, towards promotion of tourism in our motherland.
BANDU GUNARATNE - Nugegoda
I wish to comment on the letter under the above caption (DN Oct. 20). When Columbus led the Spanish Expeditions, he tacitly justified all the atrocities committed by the conquistadors by declaring the aim of his mission as "Gold for my Sovereign and Souls for The Church".
The Portuguese did likewise in Sri Lanka, mind you during the presence of the Jesuits and the Franciscan Friars and the like. That is colonialism.
The followers of Judaism believing that they are "God's Chosen People" discriminated against all those who were not within the cover of their ethno-religious mind set.
When Dravidian invaders pillaged Buddhist Temples they did not attempt to evangelise by any sort of coercion. There is no evidence to prove that Buddhist Missionaries used force to win over converts and were hand in glove with any invading force.
Thus to justify the efforts of contemporary missionaries who believe in what they consider as "revealed faiths" by reference to Emperor Asoka's Missions to Sri Lanka is reprehensible.
Buddhism is not a way of life, nor a mere philosophy nor a religion but a teaching expounded to achieve one's deliverance from all unsatisfactoriness from an understanding with deep penetrative insight all conditioned phenomena and any missionary zeal expended with that end needs no coercion or inducement.
ALBERT P. WICKRAMASINGHA - Kalutara North
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