A laudable move
The decision taken by the Government to relocate
casinos and nightclubs operating in the vicinity of schools is a
salutary step that will win for it the praise and approbation of
parents as well as the public at large.
Today these casinos have spawned a gambling industry which
could have a detrimental effect on our long cherished values. It
is also at variance with the country’s predominant Buddhist
faith and a blot on the hitherto staid and sober cultural ethos.
It is no wonder that President Rajapaksa who hails from a
milieu that underlines the value of unostentatious living and a
respect for Buddhist precepts had looked askance at this casino
culture that could only erode the hitherto serene fabric of
Announcing the decision at the closing ceremony of the Esala
festival in Kandy, President Mahinda Rajapaksa called on all
citizens to join hands in his efforts to rid the society of all
defilements and corruption and protect the younger generation
from undesirable forces.
The President also announced moves to strengthen existing
laws to prevent the admission of minors into night clubs. That
the highest of the land has taken upon the crusade in the battle
against evil influences augers well for the well being of the
Already a decision has been taken to obliterate obscene
websites that have been corrupting young minds. It is hoped that
the mission of the President to rid the young of corrupting
influences would achieve the same success as his Mathata Thitha
Today under the prevailing laissez-faire culture the younger
generation is increasingly being exposed to various vices and
Parents and guardians have little say in this regard. Time
was when schoolgoing youth were under strict regimentation by
their parents with deadlines imposed on their time of arrival at
Those were the days when close tabs were kept on children by
their parents and their whereabouts closely monitored. Parents
were also particular on the company kept by their offspring lest
they go astray and there was constant liaison between the
parents and the schools to monitor the academic progress of
Today things are different with children often left to their
own devises while parents are caught up in the rat race. No
supervision is made on the children or their conduct and
In any event it is doubtful whether the children would
respond to parental admonitions any longer with the prevailing
permissive culture that has debased and distorted all values
that were held sacrosanct in the past.
The rapid transformation of society ushered in by the open
economy also had its impact on the value systems exacerbated by
the inflow of drugs and other evils as an adjunct to this
Experimenting with drugs became commonplace while the liberal
spirit also opened avenues for other forms of vice and
indulgence. Liquor shops mushroomed in every corner shattering
the deep religious ambience that prevailed.
Casinos and night clubs followed often under political
patronage. These casinos were called upon to bankroll political
campaigns giving them carte blanche to operate with impunity.
The society at large got sucked into this new milieu of
unbridled liberalism which put paid to all value systems.
The new order also sapped off all sensitivity among the
public which gradually became anaesthetised to the suffering of
their fellow brethren. This was amply demonstrated in our
attitude towards the conflict.
The partying and carnivals in the South went on full steam
ahead while our soldiers were laying down their lives in the
battlefield. Not a thought was spared to the villages massacred
in the outposts.
True, in the present day it is impossible to live a
cloistered life hanging on to old value systems.
The world has shrunk to such a degree that we all are sucked
into its orbit. Today the reverberations of globalisation cannot
But there has to be a degree of balance and circumspection.
We cannot allow the permissive culture as it is witnessed today
to ride rough shod on time honoured values and perspectives.
There is a need for striking a balance. It is this balance
which obviously the President wants to instill into the flagrant
lifestyles under this permissive culture.
It is hoped that the President’s call for a disciplined
younger generation would strike a responsive chord among all
concerned and lead to the control of extravagance while adhering
to time honoured values.