|Tuesday, 20 January 2004|
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I had the good fortune of seeing an extremely well made film after a long time when I happened to see Sumitra Peries' Sakman Maluva.
It was an example to other film directors on how to make films that are pleasing to Sinhala Buddhist audiences. Why I say this is because there are film directors among us of a certain kind who are ready to display in their films the nudity of their own wives to the whole world.
However, the pleasure I got in watching this film vanished by the doubts cast in my mind by a publicity trailer of a film to be shortly shown at this theatre. I should say something about that now. That trailer heralded the coming of the film Suriya Arana.
The film is a story about a monk and his small novice (Samanera) who are living in a forest hermitage. The theme of the film appeared to be the interconnection between the two monks. Yet some of the scenes in the film were enough to sadden many Buddhist hearts.
As I watched this film a doubt crossed my mind that one of the gems of the Buddhist Triple Gems has been subjected to an insult.
Once before this when I saw the films, Saroja and Punchi Suranganavi made by this same film director, I was left wondering whether these two were produced by the murderer Prabhakaran.
Giving us the idea of making children's films, the director engaged himself in a subtle yet emotional manner in a task of insulting the entire Sinhala people.
Purasanda Kaluvara was made in the same style. Just as Saroja and Punchi Suranganavi were made, the funding for the making of Purasanda Kaluvara, we know for certain now, was also the work of an anti-Buddhist and misguided group.
The sad fate that befell a brave soldier who is engaged in protecting the people and the politicians of this country, was the story of Purasanda Kaluvara. That the fate that overtook this soldier was the result of the terror unleashed by that murderous Prabhakaran was not depicted by this director.
Instead, it was no secret that the aim of the director was to break down the morale of the soldier engaged in a war to protect our country.
The international award given to this film was from the same international network engaged in feeding the world with anti-Buddhist ideas. Our Soma Hamuduruwo was destroyed by these same forces.
Why did this director choose for his third film, Suriya Arana, the roles of two monks? Their roles are a disgrace to the entire lineage of our Buddhist monks. In several scenes the little Samanera is shown displaying his nudity.
The Buddha has observed that to remove the robes of a monk entirely amounts to removing his monkhood. In particular in the cases of novices. In the same way no monk big or small should be treated slightly. Just as fire should not be treated slightly.
In connection with this a story is revealed in a biography of a monk who was held in high esteem, how he once dropped his inner garment while climbing a tree. In spite of the practice of his precepts for nearly twenty five years, this monk had to begin his monkhood all over again. These facts are known to Buddhists.
An actor in this film scolds a monk in filth and suggests that human flesh should be offered as pooja. Another actor in the role of a monk is shown as a dishevelled man in a beard and robes. Don't these actors know that these are actions that will earn for them the paapa karma of aananthareeya.
What is the result of making such films? Just as by making use of children in the Saroja and Punchi Suranganavi films, the idea was to put the blame on the Sinhala people and whitewash Prabhakaran.
Similarly, the use of Buddhist priests in films is to draw Buddhist audiences to the cinemas and give them distorted images of Buddhism and disgust them.
It is possible that the politically appointed public performances board of film selectors may have appoved this film. They also approve films of an obscene nature.
Therefore we have no faith in the judgment of fools. Accordingly, I propose that this film be screened before the guardians of this country, our erudite Buddhist monks, and obtain their approval prior to public screening.
Then we could come to the conclusion whether Suriya Arana is a real forest hermitage or some other notorious dwelling.
This takes my thoughts to a time when my close associate D. G. Somapala made a film. The focus of his film was on the beggars in our country.
In that film a certain mudalali plants some of these beggars at every important point in the city and lives on their earnings.
The role of mudalali was played by J. H. Jayawardena. In that role he wore a cross on a chain round his neck. Such a character role wearing a cross round the neck was objected to by the Catholic Church in this country.
Taking note of the objection the film director saw to it that a black patch occupied the place of the cross. If the 6 per cent Catholics in the country could get a thing like that done, I am waiting to see what the 80 per cent.
Buddhist population in this country and the 30,000 large Sangha fraternity are going to do with the Suriya Arana.
DAYAWANSA JAYAKODY - President, Helabima Sinhala Buddhist Organisation.
We have heard it said so often that the Prime Minister needs the portfolio of defence in order to continue the peace process.
That his government deliberately avoided by not addressing the key issues over the past two years in order that what we can perceive to be was a plan to give time and space for the LTTE to double its strength in its cadre contravening the MoU to which he and the LTTE were signatories.
It has been reported in the media that during this period 12 shiploads of arms have been smuggled in to which the Government turned a blind eye even though it contravened the MoU.
The media also reported that the Norwegian government shipped the state of the art communication facilities to the LTTE with the full knowledge of the government.
The Prime Minister is now going to announce publicly his intention to withdraw from the MoU brokered by Norway that he signed with the LTTE without the consent of Parliament and the President.
Since both Parliament and President are not signatories to the so-called MoU neither the President nor Parliament can be faulted for his intended withdrawal from the so-called peace process.
The whole country knows the limits to which the President went in power sharing all of which the Prime Minister has rejected. In any case what kind of logic is it to say that the Prime Minister needs the defence portfolio in order to talk peace that was never talked for two years?
In view of what took place over the past two years and the events that led the President to sack the Norwegian head of the so-called peace process the public has reasons to be apprehensive if the defense portfolio is returned to the Prime Minister.
The JVP is on record to having said that they will bring in a motion of impeachment of the President if she handed over the defence portfolio. In such an event the entire UNF will gladly vote for it.
L. JAYASOORIYA - Via email.
We have heard of 'quacks' in the Medical profession, who irresponsibly play with the precious lives of innocent people.
Now we have another breed of 'quacks' who, in the guise of great educationalists, are conducting a lucrative business in the name of 'International School'!
These so called International Schools have sprung up like mushrooms in every city, town and even in the villages. I am sad to say that these quacks are not only ruining the future but also blasting the careers of innocent children.
The persons at the top of these quack institutions call themselves, 'Chairman', 'Managing Director', or 'Administrator' (though not qualified for the job). They employ, as teachers, fresh school leavers without any training or even a scant knowledge of the English language.
They also employ retired old timers, long passed their sixties, and who are not with the present trends of teaching methods. These poor people are duped to accept a pittance as a salary.
In such a set-up how could we expect our children to achieve a decent education? Moreover, they have the audacity to circulate propaganda handbills through the parents requesting them to distribute the handbills among their friends, to canvass and promote new admissions.
One such 'Administrator' in Negombo goes a step further by distributing handbills condemning the functions and methods of education in Government Schools and accusing other International Schools of exploiting parents and amassing large sums of money. This is a case of 'the pot calling the kettle black'!
All parents are desperate to give their children a good education. They are being unwittingly lured by this kind of propaganda mainly because of the following reasons:
a. Failing to get admission to Grade one in a prestigious Government School.
b. The age limit for admission to Grade one in a Government School is, a child has to complete five years of age on or before January 31. A child born, even on February 1 is refused admission. Hence, a child so deprived, has to languish in his home or in a nursery school for one whole year.
c. Parents who had been deprived of an English education due to the Sinhala Only policy or for any other reason, during their young days and knowing the disadvantages of not knowing the English language are keen to educate their children in English.
It is dishearting to observe the Ministry, or the Department of Education turning a blind eye on these bogus educationalists.
They are selfishly exploiting and playing with the lives of our children whom we fervently hope and expect to see as intellectuals and leading citizens of the future. At least now, I earnestly hope the Authorities would step in and taken stringent action to curb the activities of these 'Quacks'.
P.B.N - Negombo.
For the past two years on January 1, the Chairman of a large Government Organisation of agricultural nature distributed school books to the children of all employees under his management. This was done on his own expense which cost his purse around Rupees One Hundred and Fifty Thousand.
This is done in memory of his demised mother who had been a school teacher in the past.
The Chairman who is a staunch present government supporter has at no stage discriminated any one of his staff members although all these staff members were supporters of the previous government and they were found employment by the previous regime.
The point that is intended to stress here is that it is very rare that a politically appointed Chairman is in good rapport with the opposite party members.
Further it is also very encouraging to note that this Chairman is very friendly with the past Chairman who was also a staunch supporter of the previous Government.
Every occasion the distribution of school books took place at the Head Office, the present Chairman made it a point to invite the past Chairman who has set a good example to all those who are engaged in politics that "if there is a will, there is a way".
We anticipate this type of good examples set by other very powerful managerial politicos, so that the other minor staff under their management will not only benefit from such action but pave the way for better political activities in an organisation and in the country specially in Sri Lanka where the political rival parties are at each other's throat to take revenge.
M. T. A. P. Fernando - Rawatawatta.
Why should we protest about the appointment of a foreigner, an Englishman (I believe) as principal of a Sri Lankan school? After all, we are so entirely dependent on foreigners.
Just look at our "Peace process", stage managed in every respect by Norway, our entire economy dependent on the World Bank and our cricket team being coached by an Australian!!
No. This is as how it should be. Also, don't forget that the "best schools" are now "international schools" and the only locals in these schools are the janitorial staff! God bless us all, as the young cripple said to Mr. Scrooge!
K. SOYSA - Hikkaduwa.
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