I do not have any prejudice nor am I insulting anyone and I clearly
wish to state that I do not suffer from any complex.
I personally feel the truth is always the absolute truth and whether
you like it or not, no one can hide the truth.
Our roots, our home, our culture and our heritage are the greatest
values and influences in any human being’s life and it is this blend,
product or final outcome which has a final influence in our society.
I feel we have totally missed the bus, as I am ashamed to mention
most of us are not on the footboard when it comes to culture, heritage
What has happened to most of us is that they suffer from a complex,
as many try to do certain things just because others do even when they
cannot afford to do as many call it in Sinhala sobane.
They do not live according to the basic guidelines of our religion,
since religion has taken a backstage of only preaching and not
There are many reasons contributing to this factor such as poverty,
upbringing, education, religious background, examples shown by
politicians, law and order, Western influences and many who have become
instant rich overnight by some gimmick short cuts.
I see certain newspapers publishing photographs of their parties
which some call it bash or high society?
I feel this is self-advertising to upkeep their ego.
Our young generation should be taught to live a very content life,
where religion is given great prominence and especially harmful rubbish
food being totally discouraged.
I feel every school should teach our culture and our heritage from
kindergarten to Advanced Level.
We see TV shows where many individuals having their collar up, hands
in their pockets, feet crossed over each others speaking in singlish.
I propose we should have mental health programmes shown at prime time
conducted by psychiatric doctors who could render immense service to the
young and old or else we will be heading from no man’s land to a land
obsessed of immoral.
LI KUANG SHU -
Since time immemorial wars have been waged, resulting in the
acquisition/retention of territory, at the expense of numerous lives.
Time has healed many such wounds both physical and mental, inflicted on
those fortunate to be alive, but the scars remain.
Mother Earth is inhabited by Homo Sapiens, possessing powers of
reasoning, alas, an egoistic few, have for reasons best known to them
conspired against Governments in power and invaded other lands, most of
which have resulted in death and destruction on an unprecedented scale.
Whether these wars are justified or not is another issue. But in one
such instance, the battle of Solferino, in 1859, between the Austrians
and the French, paved the way for the formation of the International Red
Cross, thanks to the initiative of a Swiss Banker Jean - Henri Dunant,
who wrote a report about the horrors he had seen and one of the few
‘positives’ subsequent to war.
Taking a walk down memory lane is time consuming, but let us reflect
upon that which, the 34th President of the USA Dwight David Eisenhower
said in a speech in Washington, on April 16, 1953.
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired
signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not
fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
There have been several articles appearing in various daily news
papers on property investments.
These had been directed at the housing and residential market with a
bias towards the condominiums in an effort to influence demand for
apartments or flats. Unfortunately, the claims borders on exaggerations
sans factual basis such assertions borders on unethical, more
importantly, ignores inter alia, economic factors such as effective
To understand what is happening in the property market, one has to
travel back in time.
In the early part of this decade there were two factors which had an
enormous bearing on every aspect of life - one was political and the
other was natural. The political factor influenced expatriate funds to
pour into Colombo property investment and the tsunami brought an influx
of Non-Governmental Organisations into the country.
While the former financed the condominiums’ construction, the latter
created a tidal wave in the rental market - the dollar rentals paid
where the tourists found cheap accommodation in comparison to hotel room
rates was adopted as the norm and the Non-Governmental Organisations
spent an enormous amount on housing their staff in an effort to house
the people who lost their homes to the tsunami.
Expatriates partly financed condominium construction, as a result,
the contractors developers were able to make enormous profits with the
professionals aiding and abetting.
This ability to make profits meant that they were willing to pay
enhanced prices to lure the land away.
This is the background to property investment and the difficulty the
property developers presently find themselves, of course triggered by
the macro-economic factors which we would like to refer to as specific
risks which cannot be diversified.
The property market in Sri Lanka is very resilient specially because
the residential sector for housing is a basic utility.
Housing as a vehicle of investment had never been considered due to
political and legislative treatment of housing as a social need.
Secondly the cultural conception that rent payment is a capital waste
and also the family patronage found in the Lankan tradition.
However since the Rent Act of 1980 and the subsequent amendments
along with the Condominium Act enabling ownership of flying freeholds
gave rise to absentee land-lords and others who became land-lords on the
back of gains made by the conversion of land into liquid cash.
The developer wouldn’t have been in this trouble but for the latter
Eventhough, the institutions not only created effective demand but
also had an enormous influence on the supply of stock, basically,
drawing on the same savings. There lies the distinction from the
collapse of the property market in the UK in 1974 (The banks in the UK
increased property financing from 71 million Sterling Pounds in 1970 to
1573 million Sterling Pounds in 1973).
It was the institutional money which drove the market there as in
Of course here, there is no development land tax to add water to
quicken the dousing.
But one factor the developer failed to take cognisance is the
cyclical nature driven by the supply and demand what we are experiencing
today is this phenomena, of course, exacerbated by macro-economic
conditions obtained created by prioritising the needs of the country,
which has effectively prevented the developer institutions influencing
both supply and demand.
Into this equation came the valuer to gain patronage had to conform
the bid prices and compounded the issue.
The other factor the developers have failed to grasp is that the
supply is a product of town planning.
Failure on the part of the planning authority to understand the basic
does not make planning irrelevant to society and therefore the
Unfortunate it is, that developers exhibit ignorance and planners opt
to ignore economics of land use.
The value of land is a product of planning permission and the public
use of land (in the form of roads parks, schools etc.) sustain value.
Private development creates capital and profit for individuals but
also creates social costs which has to be borne by the community so for
the tax charged by the UDA. Whether such taxes have the desired benefits
does not negate the need for such a tax.
Finally when one considers the aforementioned factors which initiated
the demand, there was a failure on the part of the developers to assess
the risks attached to the sustainability of the demand at such level,
given the limitations driving such demand on the one hand and the
ability of the financial institution to maintain such levels of
influencing both supply and demand on the other.
In this and the failure to foresee the impending over supply has the
basis for the slow down. The market to move the mortgage conditions have
to improve, the market expectations of bottoming of price must be
fulfilled and the inflationary trend in core inflation has to come down.
None are likely to occur in the near future. No amount of
hypothecating the cost increases is going to equate cost to value.
The ultimate factor the investor will rely on is the value, what
income or utility one expects out of investment obtaining that value,
should decide the capital out-lay.
SRIMAL DE MEL -
I wish to open the eyes of the Environment Authority and the
Municipality the following problems that people in and around College
Avenue in Mount Lavinia have to face with.
When going to the beach hundreds if not thousands of people have to
pass garbage at the end of the road before the railway crossing.
It is shocking to see the very people who come to the beach in
luxurious cars, bring their garbage with them and dump these there
without any shame or consideration for the others.
It is sad that people who care so much about their health by
breathing the fresh air on the beach do not think about the stench, and
the ugliness of it.
It is dangerous for the children as stray dags are attracted to the
rubbish and also breed mosquitoes. The very air they want to enjoy are
deprived to the others as the air becomes polluted by their garbage.
The Municipal Council is quite good at collecting garbage from
doorsteps but people will put their rubbish anywhere other than their
houses. They will cross the road and dump garbage at other poeple’s
doorsteps after the garbage vehicles collect and leave.
This is unhealthy for everyone and it does put tourists off and the
country gets a bad name all because of few uncivilised, uncaring selfish
people. It is time people are educated.
Another thing may be to name and shame them. If it is necessary to
get them to clean the place up or fined the cost of cleaning.
I do hope the environment officers and the Municipality will do
something about this. It will be helpful, if bins with covers are set
Another thing is, these people should be made to take their garbage
back with them to their houses and dispose of it from their houses.
Also educate the school children not to dump even a toffee wrapper,
orange peel on the road. It needs to start from childhood.
Every citizen can help when they see something being dumped to tell
the dumper “you have dropped this” and give it back. I have seen this
happening in other countries.
Generally in the advertisements of State vacancies, specially in that
of Armed Forces, the salary structures too are mentioned. But an
advertisement that of Sri Lanka Army in a certain daily of March 1 under
eligibility states that the applicants should be unmarried but the
salary has not been mentioned.
If the salary of a married Captain could be stated as Rs. 44,126
inclusive of all allowances, why not that of the bachelor officer be
mentioned to apply without any confusion in the mind?
At least the eligibility age of marriage should have been mentioned
for the self-assessment of their future financial position.
There are eligible and courageous youngsters to join the Army and
save the Nation, yet there is a family for him to feed facing the
present adverse Cost of Living.
Over to you, Director of Personnel Administration.
NAZLY CASSIM -
Avoid offering presents or money to school principals or teachers
when admitting your children because all principals and teachers are
drawing salaries from the Government.
In Sri Lanka, we have free education, thanks to Dr. C. W. W.
Kannangara, the Father of Free Education.
Principals and teachers should clearly remember that they should
never accept money or presents or any such things either in the form of
material or cash or whatever from parents or guardians of children, when
they are admitted to schools.
They should clearly refuse them because teaching is not a job, it’s
only a noble profession which deserves the respect, dignity and social
concern of the entire nation or the country.
H. L. SUNIL SHANTHA (Teacher of English)