I am a frequent and regular visitor to the island and have been
watching with alarm the rapid deterioration of road use standards in the
Quite obviously the Traffic Police must accept responsibility to a
great extent as regretably the majority of Police officers of all ranks
appear to have little knowledge of trafic regulations.
Why do we regularly see police officers on traffic duty overriding
traffic lights for no rhyme or reason. The message to the motorist is
clear; âWhen the light is Red use your discretionâ. There is no question
of using discretion when the light is Red. When the light is Red, Stop.
As a result of this Police indiscretion, there is a great deal of
sounding horns and rude gestures, if a motorist stops for a red light.
This happens all the time; turning left in to Park Road from the
Kirullapone end of the new Base Line Road; turning left in to Polhengoda
Road from Baseline Road are just a few instances.
A new practice by the officer on duty at Thimbirigasyaya junction is
when the light is green for traffic from Thimbirigasyaya Road to turn
right in to the Main Havelock Road, to let traffic proceeding towards
Thunmulla junction along Havelock Road which is stopped at the red
light, to proceed through. An accident is inevitable entirely due to the
folly of the Police.
Some time ago on one of my previous visits, before the introduction
of Uniflow, one morning a car had quite correctly stopped at the
Colpetty traffic lights, behind the white line with a good clear view of
Imagine my amazement when a police officer on duty walked up to this
vehicle, tapped on the window and asked the driver to pull the vehicle
forward, beyond the white line onto the pedestrian crossing.
Absolutely no purpose was served, and the reason for this move
remains a mystery.
Similar mindless traffic controls are observed all the time. Some
times the traffice lights are not correctly balanced. eg. traffic from
Baseline Road. turning left into Park road should be able to filter all
the time except when traffic from Baseline Road is turning Right into
Park Road. The answer is to correct the lights; Not to over-ride them.
Then there was this very recent notice in the press that
motorcyclists carrying children on the petrol tank will be prosecuted.
This should have been enforced from the very beginning. However what
about the infants being carried by their mothers, precariously clinging
onto the rider with one hand and the infant with the other.
If this is an offence, as it surely is, has any one seen a
motorcyclist stopped by the police. There appears to be the mistaken
impression that three-wheeler drivers who earn their living from their
vehicles, should be given a certain amount of leeway.
Similarly motorcyclists, who are less affluent than the motorists
should be allowed some leeway in getting maximum benifit from their
At the end of the day, we are lowering our standards and accepting
what is second best. This unfortunately is not limited to road rules,
but is a way of life.
P. DIAS - New Zealand -
The World Cup Cricket is (again) over and done with. When there are
winners, there are losers. The wise way to experience contest of
physical, verbal or mental skill is enjoying the display, indifferent to
outcome. But universally, because it is contrived by vested interest,
vicarious pleasure from contest is exploitation of feeling dormant in
the duality of consciousness.
Vicarious pleasure (or grief) is an imaginary feeling, from
experiencing a feeling of pleasure (or grief) through the feelings or
actions of another person. When someone hits a six, we share in his
exhilaration. When a suicide bomber kills âothersâ, it brings joy to the
others. Included in this structure of vicarious feeling, is a multiplier
There is a range from dignified experience to such as football
hooliganism. The multiplier is an individual factor, dependent on
internal things as values and external things such things as say,
betting a million rupees on the outcome or on the effort to witness
So we often see bizarre behaviour from someone else hitting a ball.
Reflect also on risks to life some take to get and give pleasure to
others such as in mountain climbing, diving, photographing and in the
thrill of watching success or failure.
At the end, empathy in death of a loved one brings vicarious despair,
also involving the internal and external multiplier. Why is this? The
complete answer is given only by one man - the Buddha. I have no
intention here to go into his exegesis. I merely want to submit the
experience of âvicarious feelingâ for quiet contemplation.
KINGSLEY HEENDENIYA â
I am pleased that Bobby Pereira (DN April 25) took the time to
explain the apparent contradiction between âThe Book of Disciplineâ
where monks are allowed to eat meat or fish and the Buddhist precept of
non-violence against all beings.
Unfortunately, the explanation for the contradiction does not clear
the uncertainty whether Buddhists can or cannot eat meat. I agree with
Pereira that it is a common courtesy to respect the alms-giver for
offering food for the hungry.
I will go further and say that it is also a common civility to offer
foods, so that monkâs sensitivities are not disturbed. But, the ultimate
decision to consume food is up to the person who receives the alms.
To draw an analogy, I had been offered alcohol many times. If I truly
believe in my Islamic faith and the prohibition, I wouldnât drink it. I
would simply refuse to drink even if I am disrespectful to the host or
even to my parents. It is my choice what I eat and drink.
Therefore, when Gautama Buddha allowed the monks to eat meat and fish
with certain restrictions, it is difficult for us to accept that the
monks didnât have a deeper understanding of the precept of non-violence
to all beings. After all, the earlier monks were directly tutored by
Gautama Buddha himself!
It is interesting to note that there are exceptions to eating meat in
Buddhism - tiger, dog, snake flesh, etc.
The reason for the exception is because meat (cattle, goat etc.) and
fish were not prohibited. If not, why do you need exceptions if all
meats were prohibited? Isnât the tiger a living animal like cattle? The
answer is simple - the Gautama Buddha knew the distinction between what
is allowed and what is not.
In Islamic faith, we have a somewhat a similar dietary rule called
âHalalâ (cattle, poultry, fish are permitted) and ânot Halalâ (tiger,
snake, pig etc. are not permitted). The Gautama Buddha is wiser and
discerning than most people give credit for.
Going back to my Islamic faith, I believe that there was no
contradiction in Buddhism.
To make a clear distinction between cruelty to animals and
slaughtering animals for food, Prophet Muhammad is reported to have
âOne who kills even a sparrow or anything smaller without a
justifiable reason will be answerable to Allah.â When asked what would
be a justifiable reason he replied, âTo slaughter it for food - not to
kill and discard it.â
I believe that the current misunderstanding over eating meat is due
to the over-zealousness of some followers who are hell-bent on pushing
their radical opinions on others thinking that they are somewhat on a
higher moral ground than others. What they donât realize is that they
are going down the path of radicalism.
Buddhism teaches us to take the middle and a tolerant path. The
problem with people of all faiths, including Islam, is that they follow
religion as part of their cultural background without pondering over
what their belief represents and how it relates to their day to day
Repeating what is said many centuries ago without knowing its
significance is the primary cause of the mess the world is in today.
There is so much to learn from all faiths by comparing notes. So many
misunderstandings and misinterpretations can be corrected.
TUAN RIZA RASSOOL â
USA - via email
I fully agree with the fact that Ranjith Fernandoâs cricket
commentaries are very passive and at times detrimental to Sri Lankan
cricket. (Reference DN April 28).
For example, in his final burst of commentaries in our match against
England in the super eight, he cut a very poor image of himself by being
totally disoriented when Dilhara Fernando bowled out Boparan, by calling
the event a four! Was Ranjith Fernando trying to be abnormally impartial
or was he trying to lick the boot of the British Raj!
Also once realizing that Sri Lanka has won the match, he called both
Dilhara and Boparan heroes.
How can there be two heroes? By that comment, was he trying to please
the English also?