The well intentioned Minister of Health has placed a proposal before
the Cabinet of Ministers which appears to be a 'knee-jerk' reaction or a
quick fix for a perennial problem with the medical profession.
He has threatened to send the offending doctors to 'difficult areas';
if detection of miscreants and the punishments are carried out without
fear or favour, I am sure the difficult areas will be overstaffed in a
matter of days! Surrounded by a large number of seemingly knowledgeable
medical administrators who revolve round him like satellites around
celestial bodies one could be excused for expecting a well thought out
solution rather than this ludicrous one!
For clarity I wish to lay down some issues which do not seem to have
received due attention because they have been completely overlooked, or
their magnitude under-estimated:
(a) Grade Medical Officers are not the only ones engaged in Private
Practice (PP) during working hours. The biggest offenders are the
reputed specialists such as Obstetricians and Surgeons who fix cases for
delivery or surgery during normal working hours.
Specialists in Government service delay the onset of labour occurring
during the night or postpone casualty surgery in the night, so that they
can get a good night's sleep; but if these cases occur in the private
sector, they will quickly attend whether day or night! Thus, they
deprive the patients in the State sector of their services during the
day as well as night.
Surgeons too do likewise and often attend to 'cold' cases even during
normal working hours. Both these types of specialists, needless to say,
are ably assisted by the State sector anaesthetists!
(b) Flying Squads should target private nursing homes too for
perpetuating these farcical activities and catch the sharks in their
The Private Health Institutions Act should enable flying squads to
enter these institutions to check whether the normal working hours are
adhered to. The private institution should be charged for aiding and
abetting such immoral practice.
Of course, there should not be any hindrance for legitimate service
as in cases of genuine emergencies for the performance of which prior
permission should be obtained from the Director of the State hospital.
It must be emphasized that the private sector, at least in Colombo,
has enough specialists in all specialties to cater to its needs.
(c) The Ministry of Health seems to have completely ignored the
University Teaching Staff who engage in PP with gay abandon. Should not
they too be subjected to similar constraints as far as PP is concerned?
Many of them are also seen engaging in PP during working hours,
neglecting their teaching and service commitments.
Of course, one would expect that the concurrence of the Ministry of
Higher Education will be obtained. One wonders how they will be punished
as they can be transferred only to another university with a medical
faculty! In other words to congenial stations.
The film, 'Aksharaya' evokes many questions. To begin with, it has a
mystifying title. Does it recall the fiery Letters of the Law (Which has
a religious connotation) and how law enforcement authorities are
protecting those letters of the law in their private lives?
What are the ingredients that make an artistic film and what is the
line that divides art from pornography?
Further questions: Why have laws to protect the environment from
pollution and why have laws to prevent child labour, all of which are
directed at protecting the physical aspect but not specifically the
Why indeed allow powerful law enforcement authorities to engage in
incest and other crimes, that bring down destruction on themselves and
others by their sordid spill-overs, but equally why allow the powerful
film media to make a vulgar expose of such activities and cause another
deadly spill-over? Will it not affect the tender minds of children by
leaving nothing to their imagination with regard to the film's powerful
visual imagery? Is an 'adult only' label adequate protection? What about
the print media taking up the theme in their all too clear comments and
video film piracy which nullify the 'adult only' safeguard.
Does 'Aksharaya' defeat its purpose of making a social comment by
playing to the gallery, keeping an unerring eye riveted on the film's
box office returns?
I do not intend viewing the film and welcome the lawyers for Human
Rights and Development taking effective steps to prevent our decline
into another worse than Sodom and Gomorrah 'avante gard' society,
burning with the fires of lust and hatred and aksharayas.
A word of friendly advice to film makers such as Handagama. Think of
a fire escape for the younger generation.
I feel constrained to write on the disturbing episodes being
currently viewed on TV. I am repulsed by the submissive stance of the
victim, a woman, in an Indian TV drama, at the subterfuge, deception and
brainwashing, at the lack of coming out with the truth about the husband
of the protagonist and his sadistic behaviour day in day out.
The second TV drama, set in the South of the island in a different
era shows likewise, moonstones behaviour on the part of a woman, her
daughter, her son all part of an elitist, educated and affluent class of
people. The victims accept the situation.
The young lodger (a relative), keeps mum about the sadistic bullying
and abuse of a young child.
The young wife accepts the hatred and continually she is subjected
to. The husband deceives his wife with a mistress. His behaviour towards
his son is abnormal. I feel strongly that the talented young boy actor
should not be exposed to the behaviour of psychologically distributed
adults even on the screen. It is immoral and unethical.
In these days of empowerment of women and all the lobbying against
child abuse I wonder why all this is inflicted on the viewer,
sociologically too, class demarcations are seen servants who are more
human than their mistresses and masters are treated inhumanely.
The films are disgusting. we do not expect romantic fairy tale
endings but this kind of film makes the viewer part of an abuse
lifestyle which appears to be acceptable to society. please put an end
to all this horror in a society which is already debased and corrupt.
I shall be thankful if the General Manager of Railways, or Minister
of Transport attend to the following shortcomings at the above halt.
(1) I and many public servants travel very often from this halt to
Panadura. Trains change the platform without any announcement.
I have missed the train, because there is no time to walk across and
go to the other platform.
(2) I brought this matter to the notice of the officer at this halt.
What he said was that there are no facilities, lighting, sound system,
(3) Sometimes the counter is closed and people cannot buy the
(4) It will be a great service to the public, if the authorities take
action immediately to provide these facilities and put an end to this
With reference to an article (May 1) "In search of the lost city of
Kotte with Douglas Ranasinghe" we wish to state that it was almost as
intriguing as a Tarzan movie of yore, although there were a few
stretched points and crossed wires.
Tissa Abeysekera's description of Galoptte Road, (not Para) for his
information, as a 'Miserable, insignificant, disfigured roadway' is a
Maybe he was referring to the nameless, ten foot wide, muddy bylane
with about 5 houses which Ranasinghe lived down, which is off Galpotte
Road and would fit this description.
On the contrary, Galpotte Road is a well lit, well maintained main
road, lined with beautiful houses and gardens of the rich and famous and
the infamous; but all residents who will rise to the occasion with one
voice if the need presents itself as was evident in the not so distant
As for the writer's wish, "To see him standing in the form of a
statue somewhere at the entrance to Sri Jayawardenepura, looking
wistfully at his beloved city of once-upon-a-time," we would endorse
such a move wholeheartedly if only Galpotte Road would be left alone.
May we suggest it be cast in Bronze for posterity, and be placed
reverently in a glass case to prevent crows desecrating the memory of
this son of (shall we say) Kotte.