|Tuesday, 10 February 2004|
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In the 1980s when we were students, carrying books was not at all a burden. Some of my classmates used to carry their books in their hands, suitcase or cloth bags and travelled by bus or on foot.
It is worthy to note that the weight of the books increases as the grades advance. This causes constant strain on the student's physical structure and results in stress.
Text books have not been tailor-made to suit the students' age. For each and every subject 3-5 exercise books along with a text book is used. Teachers don't seem to be kind enough to specify which book should be brought: i.e English: writing/dictation/essay writing/workbook/reader, therefore all the books pertaining to the subject are taken daily, which is highly unnecessary.
Furthermore, it has been mentioned by the Director of Education (Sinhala) North-East Province "Yes we understand the situation... we might be able to accept some of the suggestions... but to consider such suggestions parents have to establish a major people's forum through the mass media, highlighting the gravity of the problem and finding solution for them.
In this regard the mass media has a big role and they should assist the general public by providing the people an opportunity to raise their voice".
So, Dear parents as the famous Sinhala saying goes "Andanna ona Kiri errenda" (As all Sri Lankans have been), this is our turn to cry out that our childrens' books are too heavy, in order that we get a solution even in the year 2004.
FLORENCE PAGE, Hendala
It was reported in the 'Daily News' of January 6, 2004 that professor G. L. Peiris, speaking at the closing ceremony of the students guidance and advisory workshop held at Visumpaya stated "If society encourages people to ignore injustice, that itself would create conditions for expansion of such practices".
Well said Professor, this may well be the writing on the wall. The warning has come not a day too late, when one considers the prevailing sad situation in this regard in the country, where crime and corruption seem to be the order of the day.
A recent classic example is the unwarranted assault on P. D. Siriwardene Divisional Secretary, Bulathsinhala, who was accorded a arousing welcome by his office staff and the people of the area when he returned to report for work, after the strike was called off, the strike was a result as a protest on his attack. However what is most surprising is the fact that not a word was mentioned as to any effective action taken by the concerned authorities to bring the culprits to book. Is this not an act where injustice has been tolerated?
In this connection it was also mentioned in the same news report that was published in (DN Jan 2) those responsible for this dastardly act had tried to influence the doctors at the Bulathsinhala and Horana Hospitals who had treated Mr. Siriwardene, to indicate in their medical report that the latter had been under the influence of liquor at the time of the attack. No such remarks were made for obvious reasons.
The doctors concerned should be admired for not being brow beaten. Their exemplary conduct is a tribute to the medical profession and a source of pride to their colleques.
One hopes, that with a permanent I.G.P. in the saddle, the law will be applied to the letter and injustice will be a thing of the past, no longer tolerated. If I am not mistaken I think it was Edmund Burke, the eminent jurist, who said "In order that crime and corruption may flourish, it is only necessary that the good remain silent". A challenge to all right thinking persons who have the welfare of the country at heart.
BEN COREA, Wattala
Eng. D. L. D. K. Wijewardena has pointed out causes for the enormous losses suffered by the Sri Lanka Railway and suggested some remedial measures. No doubt railway fares should be raised to a reasonable level. But there are some bold suggestions to which any sane ordinary Sri Lankan cannot agree. It is clearly pointed out, that a major reason for these losses are due to import of unsuitable rolling stock and engines.
One remedy given is scrapping the long distance railway service. Railway caters to such a wide cross-section of society with majority being the low income group who want to save much as possible from their travelling expenditure. Apart from them, it caters to middle class and few upper middle class too, not forgetting the foreign tourists who undertake a frail journey to see the unpolluted countryside. Scrapping the long distance services is a stab on the back of these mainly low wage earners.
Such remedial action is unwarranted, while the people responsible for importing unusable and unsuitable rolling stock, parts and engines remain unpunished. Surely there must have been a lot of fishy and questionable dealings involved with these imports and many higher people must have earned millions at the expense of poor Sri Lankans. Ours is a country with a lot of bureaucratic procedures, so why are the culprits not caught and imprisoned and their assets taken over by the government.
Do poor and ordinary Sri Lankans suffer all the time because of the wrong doings of decision-makers who enjoy high salaries and perks and authority? Why not their pensions be suspended? Why not the cases be given to CID for investigation? Poor citizens have a right to know why they suffer and what went wrong with railway. If action is taken to punish them, it will serve as a deterent, too, preventing such fishy dealings in future saving billions.
JAYANTHA SAMARASINGHE, Kotte
Prisons Commissioner Rumi Marzook is alleged to have been threatened with death by the underworld for his moves to rid the prisons of illicit drugs, fire-arms and cellular phones in possession of the thugs in prison.
The Prisons Chief is undeterred and fearless to do what is morally and legally right. The nation will cheer such officers who are scarce today. They are the contrast of thugs, brats and criminals who run away as cowards and hide as sheep from the law, society and friends. Their 'heroic' acts fall flat on the ground and earn the wrath, shame and humiliation of the people.
Those criminals should realise that they too, will have to pay one day for their sins and crimes within this birth itself either with death, money, shame, prison terms, feeling of insecurity or eternal fear of being caught.
No salvation for them from the moment the crime was committed. "Cowards die many a time and the brave dies only once."
E. M. G. EDIRISINGHE, Dehiwala
It was that servile thinking that gave evidence before Donoughmore Commission not to grant 'universal sufferance' to locals considered uneducated and unrefined to enjoy democratic right of vote that eventually emerged to negotiate Independence with the British in the late forties.
These WOGs' attire was 3-piece European in appearance and their minds more white-skin worshipping and survile than British expected.
That accounts for unpublished Defence and Foreign Affairs agreements that were signed behind the Independence Act which later Premier Bandaranaike abolished after 1956!
All this was evident from the absence of a National Flag and a National Anthem which came to be adopted years after Independence since they were satisfied with "God Save the King and Union Jack" until then.
When King George VI passed away in 1952, then G. G. Lord Soulbury summoned the Cabinet of Ministers to swear allegiance to the present Queen Elizabeth II on the steps of old Parliament, the Union Jack and Lion Flag were still flying side by side atop Parliament's flag mast.
When Premier Dudley Senanayake attended the Coronation that followed in London, arrangements were for him to travel with South Africa's apartheid Premier Botha in the same chariot No. 12 as running No. 13 was considered hoodoo!
When the Palace learnt that Premier Dudley was getting ready to return home in protest, last minute make shift ad hoc arrangements were made to avoid an otherwise ugly incident!
It was thereafter to the credit of Premier Dudley that the practice of flying Union Jack & Lion Flag side by side, a legacy from his beloved 'father of the nation' was abandoned.
That being the origin of our Independence, we cannot grudge for what it is today after 56 years.
W. SAMARANAYAKE, Maharagama
There have been many newspaper reports about the type of 'Dances' presented by state organisation to promote Sri Lanka abroad.
It is an open secret that opportunities for our Cultural troupes to perform abroad is given only to a particular dance troupe which perform dances far from our traditional dance forms. The dancing girls who perform these items wearing dresses that show more of their bodies than cover them may please the eyes of the audience but they do a lot of damage to our culture.
The Diyawadana Nilame of the Dalada Maligawa is reported to have told at the meeting held to award certificates to traditional dancers, that the traditional dancers of today do not get their due place in the field of performing arts.
No other country would send dancers other than those who perform something which portrays their culture except for Sri Lanka. Will Thailand send dancers from Pat-pong to promote their country? Truly Sri Lanka is a land like no other, there is no doubt about it.
INOKA TENNAKOON, Kandy
It is a well-known fact that the University students get involved in ragging, violence, sabotage, protest etc. Ragging has taken the centre, stage of the university students and the outcome has had several repercussions.
In the similar manner, all sorts of violence, protests and strikes by the university students have brought untold disrepute to the institution and to the management authorities of their high institutions. To overcome these difficulties, it is suggested that the authorities take a written undertaking from the new entrants who wish to enter the universities that they will not participate in any kind of aforesaid acts and if they do so they will be expelled from the university forthwith without holding any inquiry, taking any disciplinary action or appointing committees to go into the offences or to any such bad behaviour.
This will also make the students realize that when they pass out and go for employment they will have to sign such agreements with their employers prior to their taking up duties giving an undertaking that they will not violate the rules and regulations of the Organization or the Company as stipulated in the letter of appointment.
M.T.A.P. Fernando, Rawatawatta
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