The President, spends a little over an hour on a Poya morning,
listening to a Dhamma sermon, and thereafter engages in the usual
administrative activities of the state.
It is well-known that this has been his routine since becoming Prime
Minister. What a beautiful example of commemorating the special
significance of the day, but not failing to fulfill his obligations to
Mother Lanka, as her 'caretaker'.
It is an accepted fact that we Sri Lankans 'enjoy' too many holidays.
In fact we have the largest number of holidays when compared with the
rest of the world.
This of course affects adversely the smooth and efficient functioning
of statecraft and the economy of the country. Successive governments
have made attempts to rectify this situation, but without an acceptable
In the year 2012 the declared public holidays amount to 26, but as
two events coincide on April 6th, viz. Good Friday and Bak Full Moon
Poya, the number is reduced to 25. As eight commemorative events fall on
Saturdays or Sundays effectively this is further reduced to 17 holidays,
apart from the Saturdays and Sundays. Strangely, banks have declared
three additional holidays for themselves.
Holy Prophet's birthday 'holiday' (February 5) and the day following
Wesak Full Moon Poya Day 'holiday' (May 6) respectively happen to fall
The Sri Lanka Banks'Association cites the Shop and Office Employees
Act to justify the declaration of a holiday in lieu of any Public
'Holiday' (excepting full moon Poya) falling on a Sunday, as a
fulfillment of a statutory obligation; however, according to Section 7,
Sub-section 2 of this same Act, even though a holiday has to be declared
in lieu, one does not necessarily have to close the banks, if it is
agreed to pay the stipulated remuneration for employment on the day so
declared to be a holiday!
Since we have a five-day working week, we will be 'holidaying' for
almost another three and a half weeks.
Can we, a developing nation afford such a large number of holidays?
Scrutiny of the list of holidays shows that there are only two days
that are common to all sections of the society, i.e. the Independence
Day and the May Day. To this may be added another eight days considered
to be of the highest importance to all our ethnic and religious groups:
Thai Pongal, Sinhala and Tamil New Year (2 days), Vesak (2 days), Poson,
Ramazan and Christmas.
Apart from the Independence Day and May Day, on the days of Thai
Pongal, Sinhala and Tamil New Year, Vesak, Poson, Ramazan and Christmas,
there are large scale religious observances, social events and/or family
This group of ten could form our 'National Holidays'.
The remaining Poyas, Hadji, Prophet Mohammed's birthday,
Mahasivarathri, Deepavali and Good Friday could be working days, with
the exception that the first two hours i.e. 8 to 10 be spent in an
activity devoted to the significance of that particular day's event.
Thus it will be seen that this proposed system as well as taking a
cue from our President, will curtail the number of holidays and increase
the number of working days, thereby helping the country's smooth
administration and economy, as well as promoting understanding and
appreciation of each other's cultures.
DR. L. A. W. SIRISENA
The general public should be warned of the latest racket via e mail.
Recently I received an e mail from a friend working for a leading
newspaper claiming that she came to Spain on an official visit and that
her hand bag was stolen with all the cash,travelers cheques and the
The mail claimed that the Sri Lankan embassy has agreed to issue
temporary travel documents but claimed she needed money to settle the
hotel bill and for the air ticket. It has also mentioned that if I am
able to assist her, I was to reply immediately so that I would be
informed of a Bank account number to remit the money urgently required
by her to get back. On checking with her family before rushing funds to
Spain, it was found that this lady had never left for Spain. Her e mail
had been hacked and these bogus appeals have been mailed to selected
A similar e mail was received by friends of another person who
travels abroad regularly. They were convinced and made arrangements to
remit some money but at the last moment someone had the foresight to
call his wife and the husband who was supposed to be in Spain answered
the phone. It was then that he realised that his e mail has been hacked.
The public should be alert on this latest racket.
I wish to suggest the CGR and the relevant authorities to connect the
bridges which are inside the Fort and Maradana Railway Stations to those
of the main road bridges just outside the stations for the convenience
of the commuters.
A large number of people who come out from these stations could make
use of these connecting bridges as it's easy to cross the roads.
Construction will not cost much as these bridges are only metres away
from one another.
It is commendable that some action has now been taken to
prevent/reduce road accidents after the van-bus crash recently. Driving
has become stressful and dangerous due to the large number of vehicles
on the roads today. However the terror on the road must stop.
Needless to say, there are people being killed daily on roads. Apart
from the loss of precious lives, driving has become a nightmare. Drivers
- many of them break rules with impunity. Overtaking on the left is
common to many drivers. Many are utterly impolite and start hooting
their horns even when the signal light is still yellow - just about to
Road speed signs are few and hardly noticeable when traveling.
Most countries have these speed limit signs painted on the surface of
the roads. Some motorists drive on Colombo roads as if they are driving
on a lonely stretch at Bentota or Hikkaduwa. It is a miracle that more
people are not killed by these reckless drivers at these locations.
In many countries speed limit is strictly observed in the towns and
inner cities. Cameras are installed on the Southern Highway to catch
speed maniacs. Why not install them on our Colombo and outstation roads?
It is on these roads during the rush hours, drivers tend to speed to
overtake other vehicles.
DR VERGHESE CHANDY
As a New Zealand born Sri Lankan, I am proud of the progress in
service by Sri Lankan Air Lines. It was the best part of my trip out of
all forms of air transport that I took.
I stepped on board the Air bus A320 and I was immediately wrapped in
an ambiance of warm greeting and positive guidance.
Once we took off, the user-friendly entertainment utilities were
provided to the passengers and the plentiful comfort was delivered by
the friendly staff. Everything was excellent. Even when we arrived at
Bandaranaike Airport, the ground staff was friendly and helpful. They
obviously knew what they were doing. Keep up the good work SriLankan.
Kevinda Deshan Bandara
On week days in the morning along the Werahera Boralesgamuwa road is
a motorcade consisting of ten or more vehicles with "L" boards.
Discreet inquiries revealed that this is a driving test carried out
by the RMV Werehera branch starting at Werahera proceeding to
Boralesgamuwa junction and back a distance of one mile either way. There
are two examiners - one in the lead vehicle and the other in the last
vehicle. Interestingly all the vehicles are packed with passengers.
The many accidents reported daily reflect the standards that are
certified. I still remember the particular test given me 50 years ago
where I had to drive up a steep incline at Hultsdorf Colombo, stop and
place a match box behind the rear wheel and take off. It was a tricky
skill to avoid going backward. This exercise reflected the seriousness,
character and dedication of the Examiner to his job. Also I doubt if any
motorist or even current Examiners and Driving Teachers know what
Reverse Parking is.
In foreign countries, learner drivers who have passed their test are
issued with a temporary licence valid for six months. They are legally
compelled to have a "L" board attached to the front and back of the
vehicle for the duration of the temporary licence and must be accident
free before a permanent licence is issued.
On the other hand Road indiscipline and traffic offences are common
to notice due to the Police inaction.
Even the number of Traffic Police have been increased and provided
with vehicles with the latest equipment, it takes days to trace a
vehicle registration number. Also it takes hours for the police to
arrive at the scene of an accident.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's ten year national plan for a Trilingual
Sri Lanka (launched on 21 January) is an encouraging initiative.
Inspiring different communities to learn each other's languages,
along with the global language of English, will help to make Sri Lanka a
truly multilingual nation which nurtures and supports its diverse
linguistic and cultural heritage.
This far sighted initiative will also equip citizens with the
language skills they need for success in the global economy.
Dr Michael Milanovic
To ascertain the correct position of profit and loss in any
organization or establishment, it is essential to maintain proper
accounts and records, which should he audited annually.
Those who fail to maintain accounts and records cheat all
shareholders, clients, including the state and themselves. All
information in the balance sheet, including the bottom line, should be
the results of the accurate and true facts, and not those manipulated.
Accounting of capital and revenue expenditure, should also be
accounted properly preventing manipulation of overhaul results, similar
to the Cope findings of some plantations where the labour force has been
inflated, also for the sole purpose of manipulating the end results,
which in actual fact are not prevalent.