We have seen in the last few weeks ministers and officials complain
that in the North and East there is a shortfall of rain. Agricultural
activities have come to a stand still as a consequence. But there is no
need for alarm. There is available expertise in drilling deep wells from
which water can be obtained.
We already have deep wells that go in about 100 to 300 feet. But in
this instance we require deep wells that can deliver water from deep
reserves about 1000 feet. Such deep water wells have been supplied to
India to overcome possible famines. Today water shortage should be a
thing of the past.
Let the Minister apply to the U.S. Authorities for assistance in
setting up a few deep water wells as in India and the shortage of water
will be a thing of the past. As a few wells can feed a large areas it
will revive agriculture. The tanks can be filled up again. I hope that
the authorities will take immediate action and relieve all the damage
Scratchings, writings and drawings on various surfaces exposed to the
public eye such as walls, rocks, desks and even in some toilets
throughout the world can be described as graffiti, although this word
has many connotations. Some of these are informative and historic such
as the Sigiriya graffiti while others may take an obscene form. But all
of these collectively convey some meaning and therefore they can be
described as a primitive medium of communication which even the cave man
made use of by making drawings and scratching on the walls of the caves
in which they sought shelter from the rain and the sun.
In modern times most of these scratchings or graffiti are found very
much on furniture and the walls of universities, schools, educational
institutions and other places where the public gather and all of these
exhibit the feelings, frustrations, failings and the aspirations of
specially the youth of the country.
Even though throughout the centuries a great effort has been made to
preserve some of these well known graffiti such as the renowned Sigiriya
graffiti no serious effort has been made by civilised man to preserve
other forms of graffiti. As such some of these appear and disappear
without much notice. Nevertheless they form an important component of
the literature and communication of the country and they are also of
much psychological significance.
Most of these graffiti which include scratchings, short writings
(usually in verse) and rough etchings on various surfaces are seen in
our universities which are always patronized by the nation’s most
educated and the most gifted youth drawn from various strata of society
spread throughout the country. However, most of these graffiti, though
interesting, go unnoticed by the society at large. But the fact remains
that the thoughts, behaviour and life’s philosophy of the educated youth
of this country could be best understood through the medium of these
writings and scribblings.
Even though these graffiti have a literary, psychological and culture
value it is quite surprising that no one has ever cared to make a
serious study of them except of course describing them as the work of
the idle minds of some frustrated elements in our society. However we
cannot deny the fact that some do really appreciate some of these
appealing ‘writings of the walls’. If we care to classify these we would
find that most of these writing, specially in our universities, are on
the theme of love and many others are based on themes of mundane
importance and many of them are written in blank verse in Sinhala and a
very few are written in English.
These graffiti would surely form an interesting study for anyone
interested in sociology and early literary forms and like everything
else in the world the development of graffiti too has a long and
fascinating history. The forerunner to graffiti are the scribblings of
various forms and during the very ancient times pre-historic man and the
cave man scribbled lines and crude etchings on the walls of the caves
and stones to express some of their emotional feelings like love, hate
However these scribblings are of much historical, cultural and
sociological importance and they throw much light on the history and
development of the human race and they provide us with a very good
background for the study of the then social conditions.
Even in modern times whenever some people get the chance to scribble
or write on some surface exposed to the public eye they do not hesitate
to do so. Some of these scribblings such as one’s name, address etc. are
seen in public places such as universities and schools and even in buses
and trains. At the same time some elders as well as the youth revel in
etching obscene drawings in public places. Specially during election
time and during big matches these writings on the walls appear
throughout the country very often marring the otherwise beautiful
landscape and the country has to spend a large sum of money to erase
them after these events.
While no one can say for certain when this act of graffiti or
writings on the walls began there is no doubt that its origin dates back
to the pre-historic times long before man developed the unique art of
writing. So the next time you see any type of graffiti – be it obscene,
literary or otherwise, try to understand the message it tries to convey.
Do not imagine that a scribblings hand always shows an empty mind.
To lack the verbal skills in English of Kumar Sangakkara or a Russel
Arnold is not surprising, but the problem is that some of our
cricketers, when chosen as the Man of the Match or rewarded for their
individual performances at cricket matches and are called upon by
international cricket commentators to comment on cricketers’ playing
skills and their individual performances, stutter and speak incoherently
causing embarrassment to themselves, the interviewer, as well as to
those who watch such Presentations. Very often the commentator has no
option other than to cut short the interview.
Such embarrassing episodes in recent times, have become a common
occurrence at Match Presentations.
The lapses on the part of some of our cricketers are obviously due to
their unfamiliarity with spoken English as the cricketers unlike
formerly, are drawn from schools and homes where English is hardly
spoken or not spoken regularly. This situation should have been duly
noted by our Cricket authorities and remedial action taken by them, but
as usual when it comes to the needs of our cricketers, cricket officials
have been wearing blinkers and as a result, they have failed miserably
to address such problems of cricketers.
Such embarrassing moments could have been avoided had our cricket
authorities taken timely action by providing our cricketers with a crash
course in Spoken English handled by a competent and experienced tutor in
It is high time that, at least now, our cricket authorities acted
responsibly to save match Presentations from becoming an ordeal for some
Sri Lankan cricketers of today as they find it difficult to express
themselves clearly in English and make themselves understood.
I thank Nazly Cassim whom I have never met before for highlighting my
father’s past “Ceylon Police Gazette” Notification Part II No. 3895 of
March 28, 1928 on the above caption in the ‘Opinion’ column in the Daily
News of April 10, 2012.
I am the youngest son of ex-Ceylon Police Sergeant No. 598 Ahamath
Packeer Ally referred to in the article. He served for 36 years as a
First Class Grade Sergeant and was awarded the Imperial Service Medal by
the King in 1925. His grandfather Cunchier was Quarter Master Sergeant
in the Ceylon Rifle Regiment. His father C.R. Packeer Ally was a Lance
Corporal in the Ceylon Rifle Regiment. His son A.G. Ahamath was Sergeant
2489 in the Ceylon Police. This family had rendered continuous service
for four generations according to the Police Gazette notification .
With the reasonable assumption that the authorities are neck-deep in
tackling our age-old problem of cleaning up nauseatingly besmeared
bespattered toilets, an article from one of our popular dailies caught
my eye in that a municipal council in Sweden has put forward a motion
that all males should use toilets seated down especially, the urinating
aspect. This seems out-landish probably, yet, one has to admit that
seats can never be used in our toilets because of the indiscriminate and
the non-aim (sic) of our uninformed users.
The councillors also pledge efficient bowel movement along with
negated prostate ailments. This may be a big break-through with no other
practicable approach. Why not an all-out effort and campaign in the city
only for a start, with big illustrative suggestive posters and placards
at all crucial points.
During the recent past several deaths were reported as vehicles met
with accidents at railway crossings which are not protected. The
electronic media flashed such news and the scenes were almost
unbearable. Billions of rupees are being spent for road development for
the convenience of motorists and the public. Why not spend to save the
lives of people by introducing some form of barrier at railway crossings
As an initial step a villager could be employed on a temporary basis
to work from six a.m. to six p.m. for a monthly wage of 15 or 12
thousand rupees. At night, the flash of a train will give the necessary
signal for the workman to get active. As many accidents have occurred at
bends which could not be seen due to trees and bushes covering them,
such areas should be cleared even if there are protests bu the owners.
For a long period of time postage stamps of the Rs. 2.50 value
denomination has not been available in the country. These stamps are
mostly used at Land Kachcheries and Courts as prescribed for searching
matters. Now, two or three stamps have to be used to cover the value of
the Rs. 2.50 stamp. This is certainly a waste of money for printing less
denomination stamps. The authorities concerned should rectify this