|Tuesday, 13 January 2004|
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Recently it was reported that some youth who were trying to migrate illegally after paying 40-50,000 rupees were caught by the police and were thrown into jail. We Sri Lankans are always very good at quick solutions to problems without eradicating the root cause.
We must think why these men were trying to leave illegally paying such large sums of money. On one hand even with that amount of money, which is usually borrowed on large interest or raised by selling the last family treasure - they cannot find a job here.
On the other hand, they are lured by the agents who obviously had been successful in sending at least some others for jobs abroad.
Now the question here is - should these youth be put in jail? This is adding insult to injury. Rather the agents should be caught and put in jail. Shouldn't the youth be given the opportunity to go legally - so that they earn some legitimate earnings.
Instead of throwing them into the jail and making them more frustrated and pushing them into learning a few tricks of how to become a criminal, we should look at their situation more practically - analyze the reason why they are compelled to do this.
It is the fact of our system - which does not provide opportunities for these youngsters to earn a few halal bucks - which pushed them to seek illegal means - let's rectify this.
It is said that some 18 billion is to be spent on rebuilding of Iraq - why don't we send our youth after training them in carpentry, masonry and other handy work, to work and earn there? Would any politician come forward to look into the possibility.
DR. MAREENA THAHA REFFAI, Dehiwela.
The main difference we saw with the late Soma Hamuduruwo was, he was not preaching but was talking with people about their problems about their weaknesses.
He mainly said that for a good life, good people and a good country we should follow the five precepts. He did this fearlessly without trying to please anybody.
There are many priests, not only Buddhist priests even others and laymen who are capable of doing this. Two laymen we see with these qualities in our TV fora are J. R. P. Suriyapperuma and Dr. D. V. J. Harischandra.
People and media can bring these priests and laymen (and women) together to fill the void created by the demise of Soma Hamuduruwo.
They may also have been encouraged to carry on a mission like this by the way an entire nation paid its respect to a person who selflessly worked towards to create a just society and happy homes.
But, media should refrain from playing the double game of talking about culture, good behaviour etc. in one programme/page and showing the navel of half clad women or the young (school going age) children dancing like worms cut into two in the next.
DESHAPRIYA RAJAPAKSHA, Colombo 6.
Several cabinet ministers created false expectations in the mind of public servants and pensioners leaving them on a four figure salary increment. Even after the presentation of the budget in the parliament the so called veteran politicians still dance to the tune of four figure increment.
It is the general view of the salary earners that an increment should not be granted based on salary or pension scales because a person who draws a salary or pension of Rs. 12,500 and another who draws Rs. 3000 has to pay the same amount of money to purchase 5 kilos of sugar, flour and dhal.
Market value of food items, bus fares, electricity bills, water bills, telephone bills, medical bills, postage fees are not categorised according to the pension and salary scales.
Salary increments are granted to ease the burden of the sky-rocketing Cost of Living which is similar to all public servants and pensioners.
Numerous appeals made by the pensioners have not been recognized by the Finance Minister for the past two years and now he wishes to appoint a Salary Review Committee to review the recommendations in the Tissa Devendra Salary Commission report, which was published in mid 2002.
No doubt, the Finance Minister will appoint another two committees to review the recommendations at the coming Budgets.
Please understand that 10 per cent salary increase has not given any relief to the pensioners.
MAHINDA NIHAL PERERA, Moratuwa.
Ajith Fernando in his letter requests the Buddhists not to grieve the death but to accept karma. But, kamma is two-fold kusala and akusala. That means we have to accept both fortune and misfortune with equanimity as they are our own creations in consequence to our own good or evil deeds.
Mr. F. calls himself a Sinhala Buddhist which I am not. I am a Buddhist. At most, I may be a Sri Lankan Buddhist. I am a Buddhist totally out of racist flavour attached to the term Sinhala Buddhist. Sinhala is racist, and the Buddhism is universal.
Further, he reminds us to realise the impermanence of life as the Buddha preached. In fact, that is what we all are striving for during our sojourn in samsara. What the Buddha discovered is the eternal truth unshakable by any force in heaven or on earth.
In spite of this reality, some Buddhists cry and weep when someone dear to them dies because that is the nature with all puthujjanas (people who are prone to worldly pleasures).
To whatever religion one belongs, we have not attained the higher status spiritual tranquility to bear up loss and gain with equanimity.
E. M. G. EDIRISINGHE, Dehiwala.
I am happy to note that the President and the Prime Minister are acting on the same lines as any sane person. "Country before self". These two states persons have by their recent act given so much hope for the future of this country.
However irrational sound boxes keep emanating strange sounds. This is nothing new, as these elements from both sides have been known for their opportunistic ways, "still trying to fish in troubled waters".
They are shouting from the roof tops that they are willing to sacrifice their lives for the country. I wonder whether these jokers know what sacrifices are? How many thousands of men, women and children from both the country and the LTTE have paid the supreme price.
Unfortunately some of them did not even know what they were dying for. Yet, these mindless people want war. Do they know what war is? Getting into a white cloth and banion they go around the country shouting war.
The mental and physical agony of war is not mentionable. The mental and physical agony, then the waiting that paralyses one. To see brave men whimper like little children - some going off their minds etc. etc. This is the depth of war.
However, this does not mean that the Government should give in to the preposterous, outlandish demands of the LTTE. But everything have to be considered before the final. It has to be a quality decision.
Quality is always a result of effort not by accident. Heroes are never born, they are made.
MAJOR S. MERVYEN DUNUWILLE, Andiambalama.
Ever wondered why Sharon does not use his American supplied helicopter gunships as often as he used to in his relentless pursuit of the final solution of the Palestinian problem?
Well, the news is that Israeli airforce personnel have refused to carry out orders targetting civilians though that's what they had been doing all along since the tyrant Sharon came to power.
As if this was not enough to upset Sharon's plans, news of soldiers refusing to serve in occupied Palestine have added to his woes.
Sharon has managed to send Israel's economy in a downward spiral, with tourism reduced to a trickle.
This among Israeli atrocities against a hapless civilian population has prompted 20,000 Jews to migrate to Canada in the past ten years, according to Channel News Asia.
With the Palestinian birth rate almost triple to that of Israeli Jews it looks like Israel's population is about to change in favour of the Palestinians. Bear in mind that a substantial number of 'Israeli' Jews reside in America, including former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In a situation like this if an election were to be held in the 'only democracy in the Middle East' giving the Arabs, both Jews and Christians, the right to vote they would constitute the majority in the Knesset.
That is if free and fair elections were held unlike the one in the most 'powerful democracy in the world' where George Bush became president after he lost the elections!
Given the firmly large number of Jews in the Gush Shalom and the Neturai Karta favouring a peaceful co-existence with the Palestinians, it is possible that Edward Said's dream of a multi-cultural and multi-religious Palestine might just come true.
Also a multi-party pluralism with the Sephardim Jews forming a party of their own to seek representation in the Knesset will add that much dynamism to a vibrant democracy.
Since its formation Israel has been ruled by the Ashkenazi Jews - who form the ruling class. The stumbling block is the so-called 'Road Map' promoted by America calling for a two state solution.
And if the situation gets worse for Israel you can be sure the United Nations might step in at the behest of the US and bring about a two state solution, with the Palestinian state resembling the notorious Bantustans of the former racist Apartheid state of South Africa.
HAMEED ABDUL KARIM, Wellawatte.
Promises made by Ministers both of the PA and UNF to rectify the anomalies have fallen on the ground and trodden by them.
Most of the pensioners who retired prior to 1990 are long dead and buried and even their wives may not be among the living. A handful of the pensioners who are still living are unable to exist with the paltry pension they receive.
I take this opportunity to call all the pensioners who retired prior to 1990 to turn up at Galle Face Green on February 4 at 8.00 am. I will request a couple of ambulances from the Red Cross and also a couple of undertakers to be present in case of emergency.
Let us also make a sit-down strike. We will not receive our demands if we do not go on strike.
Let us take examples: The Railway, The Electricity Board, Government Medical Officers, Health Department Employees, Petroleum Corporation, all their demands were met after they launched the strike. So why not we the pensioners.
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