As suggested by Dr. Weerarathna, investing in alternative energy
sources must be given serious thought. This obviously is a long term
approach. (Reference DN May 30).
In the interim, what is more important is to have a oil price
stabilisation mechanism. Sri Lanka is not the only country in the world
that has been vulnerable to increasing world market oil prices.
However regretably, Sri Lanka is the only country that has a history
of failed opportunities when it comes to finding a pragmatic solution to
the current energy situation. In the past, most of the policies were
introduced to win the vote of the average people and the national
development plan was ignored.
Providing a fuel subsidy was one such measure.
However the futility of this was amply demonstrated when the fuel
subsidy was removed becasue it was not feasible for the treasury to
continue with this huge fuel subsidy indefinitely.
The short term and a consumer friendly solution to this crisis is the
introduction of oil hedging.
Other countries have successfully implemented this process. However,
again in Sri Lanka, everything is politicized and so was the hedging
Since 2002, I tried to discuss the process of introducing the oil
hedging process. Due to lack of understanding among the policymakers,
this never got off the ground. However, recently, the present Chairman
of the CPC took up the challenge and faced the challenge of implementing
the long neglected oil hedging project proposal.
Unfortunatley though, once again the wrong hedging strategy was used
and the benefits of the trial hedge programme remains a matter for
In Sri Lanka, annual fuel consumption grows by an average of 3 per
cent. With proper policies in place this can be reduced.
In this connection, as I have discussed on many an occassion,
haphazardly increasing the oil prices is counter productive as it has
failed to provide a solution to the nation's energy problem.
There has to be a three pronged attack in which, introducing oil
hedging, creating consumer awareness and seeking alternative energy
soruces must be given priority with no further delay. Failure to do so
will lead to unprecedented economic crisis.
We are witnessing a scenario of confusion and uncertainty due to the
Australian Cricketer Adam Gilchrist's using of a Squash ball to enhance
his batting performance. Let us consider the background to the whole
First the AI (Amnesty International) carried out a campaign using
foam cricket balls to discredit Sri Lanka and discourage and demoralize
the Sri Lanka team.
AI demanded that we play by the rules. We Asians know what they were
aiming at; to divide our countries on ethnic, religious and other lines
and thrive on it.
AI and most of the NGOs would have to close office if we are united.
In fact that was what happened when we entered the final round.
They may have left the West Indies in disgust! Now who had broken the
rules then? Why the AI silent now? Is this not against human rights? The
violation of human rights of all the Cricket playing nations?
When we hark back to the 1996 World Cup, one could remember the
Australian and West Indies team's refusal to tour our island on the
ground of the LTTE terrorist attacks.
Our Master blaster (on foreign policies) the late Lakshman Kadirgamar
had to advise the Australian Government that we would treat the attempt
to sabotage our hosting some of the matches as a hostile Act.
Then the Indian and Pakistan Cricket teams had to come to our rescue.
Also late Mr. Kadirgamar uttered the famous saying that shopping is for
Sissies in regards to some Australian cricketers whose one excuse for
refusal to visit the country for their inability to do shopping in Sri
Lanka due to possible terrorist attacks.
Mr. Kadirgamer who himself being a famous athlete who set some Sri
Lanka records in Athletics and also a past president of the Oxford
Union, had to pay the supreme sacrifice for his forthrightness and
fearlessness against injustice as he was murdered at his own home by the
LTTE while he was holding the Foreign Minister's post.
It is ironic that as per the expert on the activities of terrorists
in Asian region, Rohan Guneratna (based in Singapore) had accused the
Australian Government, turning a blind eye for more than a decade for
the LTTE activities of fundraising, procurement such as remote control
devices and light aircrafts (which was used to bomb vital economic
centers in the night of the World Cup final match while the Sri Lankan
team was batting.) It is strange why those big nations do not treat this
as equivalent to 9/11!
Apart from the above injustices, the infamous Darrel Hair (who had
now filed legal action against ICC for his dismissal) accused our Star
Spinner Murali as a Chukker. Murali had to undergo severe mental agony,
harassment at match venues in Australia and numerous Medical tests to
prove his innocence.
We, Sri Lankans and our Cricketers had forgotten and forgiven those
who perpetuated those crimes and injustices in the true spirit of the
game. We take the winning and the losing with a balanced mind. But in a
world where (increasingly) truth by small nations are ignored by rich,
powerful nations by their shear economic strength, we have to cry foul.
Hence we expect the ICC to give a fair ruling on this issue, so that
the standard of Cricket would not slide down to the lowest depths.
The ICC should clearly indicate whether it is illegal to use a
foreign object to enhance a player's batting performance. This should be
done considering the governing rules in existence.
If ICC declares it as legal, then it should be allowed in all the
future international tournaments for all the participating teams.
In the thirties and forties when I was a schoolboy, all the teachers
were punctual, finished the syllabus for each subject before the end of
year examinations, had extra classes on Saturdays, if the syllabus was
not finished (Reference DN May 26).
All the teachers had to submit notes of lessons - a sequential
narrative of how the subject would be taught and completed during the
school year, before the year commenced, to the principal.
School inspectors really inspected - we students were periodically
aware of a gentleman who came into the classroom and sat behind to
observe. Inspectors went through notes of lessons and modified them in
consultation with teachers.
We loved our teachers and worshipped them on the first day of each
new school year and had the greatest respect for them, lifelong. We were
taught that parents come first, teachers come second and God comes last
in our lives.
Also, that education is the most important thing in life and that
everything else is secondary. There was no 'automatic promotion' - those
who failed sat at the back of the class during their 'repeat year'.
They left school early if they could not 'make the grade' and sat for
various examinations held for recruitment to the public service, or
joined the private sector.
Veterans from 'big schools' and affluent families, became 'planters'-
then a lucrative 'profession'. Those of us who did well at the SSC went
on to pass the London Matric to qualify for 'medical entrance' or
without it for other university streams, at the HSC exam.
Teachers RARELY took leave - if they did, they finished the syllabus
with extra classes in the afternoons - we had two sessions 8 to 12 and 1
to 3.30 - or during holidays. There was no private tuition. Now it is
said that teachers 'teach' only at tuition classes and not much at
school and that they take leave to teach at private tutaries.
The system has to change drastically, if we are to produce good
educated citizens. At present, only those who can 'swim against the
tide' by virtue of intelligence and application, 'make the grade'.
Others fall by the wayside and rebel against the system and
It is shocking that around 50 per cent have failed in the O/Level.
The nation is losing as a whole.
It appears that those who cannot teach - due to lack of knowledge and
proper qualifications are being appointed as teachers. An O/Level simple
pass in English is supposed to be sufficient to teach English. Those who
were 'volunteer teachers' without qualifications, are being 'made
permanent'. All this has to change.