|Wednesday, 28 July 2004|
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It was very recently reported in the newspapers that the Japanese are the people who lived longer lives than those in the world. Their traditional lifestyles have led to that situation. The Japanese who ate rice, fish and soya sauce, got protein from 'Tofu' (a meal made from Soya). Their life, according to Buddhist values, has encouraged this lifestyle.
As a result of modernisation, this society has become a very busy and competitive one. Many young people in Japan have got used to consume fast foods. Today, they refrain from taking traditional foods mainly rice and fibrous food which was a balanced diet in the past.
It is said that hamburger which is a popular western diet has become popular among youth there, in addition to other fast foods. The Japanese girls in their twenties are reported to be heavy smokers. Westernisation, in this way, has resulted in the contraction of various deadly diseases such as heart-ailments, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.
Another newspaper also reported that the Chinese also have become very heavy smokers and medical reports show that they get their life spans shortened by 10-15 years due to heavy smoking.
It is obvious that Japan and China are the nations that comprise a major portion of the Asian population. In the name of industrialisation and westernisation, they are unfortunately faced with great challenges in this way e.g. contracting deadly diseases while getting their lives shortened.
I think we, as Sri Lankans, have to consider this problem very seriously. This is nothing but a precaution for us, because some people here also are prone to adjust their lives according to western values.
The habit of drinking 'Kola Kenda' for most of us has to be encouraged rather than consuming artificial drinks. The number of boutiques that sell 'Kola Kenda' specially in the urban areas seems to be an ample testimony to this social demand. In spite of this trend, it is - saddening to think that our younger generation has made it a habit to consume fast foods and drinks having become victims to business gimmicks. 'Mellum' which was a very popular and nutritious food in our villages in the past, is not in our diets as most of the housewives think that it is troublesome in cooking and preparation.
If we, as Sri Lankans, do not take suitable steps in preventing our young ones from falling into the habits of consuming fast foods, we will run the risk of contracting the deadly diseases in the same way that the Japanese are in danger. However, the examples have been set by the Japanese society to the Sri Lankans to get rid of this menace if we are wise enough to think seriously.
I am eighty-four years and fortunately my memory has not faded away yet. I vividly remember the days of yore when members of the Ceylon Civil Service (CCS) commonly referred to as Civil Servants, who belonged to a select band of dedicated public servants, highly intellectual with an exemplary sense of duty, honesty and integrity, who believed in selfless service sans personal gain, being in charge of the administration and execution of Government policies and performing their functions to perfection without fear or favour.
The Permanent Secretaries to all Ministries were Civil Servants and their advice and guidance on all important issues was appreciated by the respective ministers. Illegal gratifications, commissions and undue influences were unheard of, and right was might and never vice versa.
I know of instances where the Permanent Secretary disagreed with the Minister concerned but was never reprimanded or shown the door in contrast to what would have happened today. So cordial was the relationship between the Minister and the Permanent Secretary. Secret underhand manipulations to upset smooth governance had no place in this set-up and as a result the country was never in a state of turmoil.
Tragically in our country, the old order changed yielding place to new, resulting in the gradual degeneration of values and all that was considered good. Instead a new breed of politicians whose sole purpose was self survival and self help at any cost, came into existence. Discipline, devotion, dedication, vital ingredients needed for the prosperity of a nation, were thrown to the winds.
Workers in all grades became shirkers. The strike weapon is used by all categories of workers from the highest to the lowest to obtain their demands, the chief demand being higher wage and lesser work. The sufferings that the poor masses are subjected to, by such strikes is of no concern. Any proposal to bring discipline into the ranks and improve the economy of the country is met with severe opposition.
A good part of our economy has been devoured by a meaningless war lasting over twenty years. In addition, the demand for funds from the treasury are increasing and our country's coffer can ill afford to cough out the necessary funds. Yet white elephants such as Provincial Councils, Commissions, and various other boards involving a colossal expenditure have been introduced for no apparent reason except to swell the number of political mercenary supporters.
The Urban District Councils and Village Councils of the past with a limited number of members elected on the Ward basis, rendered a yeoman service at a comparatively low cost.
The poor turn out of voters at the recently concluded Provincial Council elections is a clear indication that these councils were redundant and served no purpose except being an additional burden on public funds. At the polling station where I voted, only 700 out of a possible 2,500 cast their vote.
Today our island sometimes referred to as Dharmadeepa is becoming a Adharmadeepa infested with murderers, rapists, bribe-takers, criminals, drug addicts and other inhuman human beings.
Wake up Mother Lanka, wake up from your slumber before it is too late, and do the needful and instil a fresh sense of honour and shame to the minds of your sons and daughters.
G. D. PERERA,
I have read in the press that 939 victims of Black July '83 recommended by the Presidential Truth Commission, are being compensated by the Government. I wonder what percentage this is of the total number of victims and on what basis they were selected. My family was also victimised in July '83.
We were rendered absolutely destitute and did not receive any compensation at any time. All we got was a loan from REPIA to rebuild our house which we are still repaying.
In the first two weeks of the aftermath of Black July when we were still in a daze, we were driven from pillar to post getting our ID cards and making a report at the Police Station. This report together with the photographs of the burnt shell of our house is sufficient proof of our loss.
It is the custom to compensate all victims when there is a catastrophe perpetrated by the elements of nature or by unlawful elements. There are many instances when even people of means have been compensated.
One wonders why only in the case of July '83 compensation is on a selective basis. I have ample reason to believe and to prove I am eligible for compensation although the Presidential Truth Commission is unaware of my existence and vice versa.
The development and prosperity of southern and northern people should be the number one priority for any Government to regain and retain power as it is they who will decide which party will be in power in the centre.
Although we regained independence from the British almost 50 years ago, no Government had concrete plans to develop the north and south. This has resulted two rebellions in 1971 and 1988 in the south and people craved for equitable distribution of resources.
The saga of Southern Development Authority (SDA) with electrified railways, Kataragama railway extension and a mini Singapore in Hambantota is over and no patriotic Government thought of building a feeder port at south where we witness 250 ships, crossing daily in the worlds busiest sea lane.
There were plans made to construct a harbour in many instances by previous Governments but they were nullified by interested people in powerful naval hubs in the region by offering various incentives to those in power. Although there is a major power in South East Asia, Indian ships has to circle Sri Lanka to sail from Calcutta to Bombay and they have decided to dredge palk strait in Mannar in order to overcome this deficiency.
This big Indian project will cause major ecological disaster to Sri Lanka especially to northern region. The Indian President and Prime Minister's offer of Indian line of credit in millions of dollars should not be contrived as a bribe to soften our opposition to this gigantic Indian palk strait dredging program.
PROF. ROHAN RAJAPAKSE,
The Education Department officials responsible for initiating a program for introducing into school curricular activities to inculcate ethics and civic consciousness ought to be highly commended. But then a politician was responsible for officially launching this important program in Gampaha. Name a single politician possessing such values.
What should be done is to make use of schoolchildren to inculcate ethics in politicians. Provide television sets in every school and make it mandatory for school children to watch proceedings in Parliament. For this purpose the proceedings in the Parliament should be broadcast live.
The awareness that school children in millions are watching them over television will improve the behaviour of the hooligans in Parliament.
The Education Department officials also need to be highly commended for the full page newspaper supplement 'Strengthening English eduction in schools'.
From any point of view, crime is a social problem and all societies look upon crime as a critical phenomenon, no matter how frequently it occurs. In Sri Lanka there is a high rise in the crime rate which goes unabated. Everyday we hear of murders, robberies, trafficking in drugs, frauds, child abuse, sex offenses, sale of illicit liquor etc., which have a serious impact on the social life of the saner community.
The public cry to re-introduce capital punishment has fallen on deaf ears of politicians and the law enforcement officials. In most cases, political interferences has prevented the arrest of criminals and bringing them within the arms of the law.
As reported in DN September 26, 2003 the JVP member Chandrasena Wijesinghe says: "But law enforcement authorities are not allowed to work independently. Some politicians have taken the law into their hands. They do not allow Police officers to conduct investigations impartially" A. Vinayagamoorthy (TULF) says: "The underworld criminals and Army deserters seem to be very close to the politicians." If this is the position, what justice can we expect under the law?
In China, judicial executions are carried out for murder, rape, arson, bank robberies, embezzlement of State funds, drug addicts and peddlers and plotting against the State. Executions are carried out by a firing squad in public, within 7 days of the death sentence being passed, whatever the social or political status of the convicted person.
If such punishment is good for a country with 1.2 billion people, what is wrong in our implementing it as a positive approach to combat crime?
The NGOs are said to be against the implementation of capital punishment in Sri Lanka. They are not concerned with the rise in crime. In Sri Lanka, bribery and corruption, indiscipline, lethargy, dishonesty and similar evils reign supreme.
If the Government takes a serious view of the situation act honestly, much of the flaw in administration can be prevented.
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