Force must be forceful | Daily News

Force must be forceful

D. V. Chanaka Dinushan Pictures by Siripala Halwala

Yearning for change with sympathy for his fellow countrymen is UPFA parliamentarian D. V. Chanaka Dinushan’s driving force. ‘Young Voices from Diyawanna’ features this second youngest parliamentarian in Parliament, who derives satisfaction from the wellbeing of those he helps.

Early life

Chanaka is a UPFA Parliamentarian whose father is Provincial Council Minister D. V. Upul. Chanaka was initially in the construction field and gradually moved to politics starting from being his father’s private secretary. He was later elected to parliament.

Chanaka went to Vijitha Central College in Dickwella. After O/Ls, he joined the American College of Higher Education, Galle Branch and from there went to the United States. He read his Bachelor’s at South East Missouri State University at Cape Girardeau for four years, studying Construction Management there.

“I want to thank my father for where I am now because he gave me a helping hand in politics and made inroads for me. People believed in me because I am my father’s son and that I would continue the good work. People trusted my father and did the same for me,” said Chanaka.

Sympathizing with the masses

A humanitarian at heart, he, like many of his fellow parliamentarian,s sympathizes with those who come to him.

“As a politician, the challenges I have faced in life have to do with empathy and sympathy. When anyone comes to me with a problem, it automatically becomes my problem. Their challenges and difficulties are my concern. Sometimes it is too much for me but I am getting used to it these days. It is very difficult, but when I find a solution for their problems, that makes me happy. So I sympathize with people,” maintains Chanaka.

Idle hands make idle minds

Being idle is a dangerous way to spend your life. Chanaka believes the infrastructure must be rectified.

“What I feel is that most young people become addicted to drugs and alcohol because they are idle. Sports activities are not developed in village areas. In certain areas, there are only a few sports. If the youths are not talented in sports, they have very few options and with so much free time on their hands, there is temptation to go on the wrong path. Therefore, sports should be developed to provide opportunities. In the United States, if you have talent, then you have the opportunities as well. But in Sri Lanka, we don’t have this. What we produce are engineers, doctors and lawyers. So these are limited fields. That is something we should change,” pointed out Chanaka.

Voice in parliament

Chanaka’s task is to raise a voice against crime. Having a seat in parliament, he wants to make full use of his position.

“Having a voice in parliament, the first thing I want to do is to stop corruption. I want to start from the bottom. Because I am still new here. I want to talk to people. I want to be a voice in parliament against corruption,” adds Chanaka.

Power

Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted is an apt phrase for what Chanaka says when it comes to power.

“Everybody is so greedy for power. Power is the issue. When some people receive power, they forget their roots and where they come from. People want more and more power and it is like a never-ending cycle. But in the end, when they see the results of their actions, it is too late.”

Hate crimes

There is nothing as disheartening as hate crimes. It shows a certain malice. Changing attitudes is something that is Herculean.

“Most issues in this world like bigotry and prejudice are because of language barriers. If the people had one common language, that would be a good solution for the problems in this world. In the United States one good thing is that everyone speaks one language there. I think people basically hate because of their warped minds. I don’t see any reason to hate people of a different colour. Fortunately, this is not there in Sri Lanka. There is no such racist behaviour in Sri Lanka.

“On the other hand, it is all about attitudes and how people think. It is also how they have been brought up. From childhood itself, if children grow up with racist attitudes, conflicts will continue. If children are not exposed to racist ideas from the beginning, then things will be fine,” explained Chanaka.

Youth’s role

Unifying the youth is what Chanaka wants against the threat of anarchy.

“The youth should come out. Certain youths are backwards and scared to come out. If the youth come forward, the mafia will go down. I want to change the minds and attitudes of the people, village by village. I want to meet people and meet youngsters and teach them how to change. If people are together, then the mafia will be scared. When we are separated they will grow stronger,” stated Chanaka.

Gun laws

One thing we don’t need in Sri Lanka is a gunslinger on our roads.

“I don’t think in Sri Lanka people should be allowed to have guns. Even without guns there are so many murders. When people get drunk they are out of control. In the US if any issue comes up, in two minutes the police will be there. But in Sri Lanka, it will take a long time. If people are allowed to have guns in this country, violence will escalate. If the system gets to the level where the police are super- efficient, then people can be allowed to use guns. But right now there’s no way that this can be allowed,” he said.

“If you take high school shootings in the US, this is because they are too young and they have guns. There should be an age limit for owning guns,” argued Chanaka.

Excuses to hurt

When a sociopath wants to hurt, he/she will find any excuse.

“Everybody should have the same rights. When you are born you are endowed with rights. When people want to perpetuate acts of violence, they try to find some excuse. Killing in the name of religion is unacceptable.”

Knowledge from the past

“In the past, there was a wealth of knowledge acquired by our ancestors. Some of this was more advanced than what we have now. If you take Sigiriya, it is amazing. In the past unlike today, there was no internet and thus the knowledge was not preserved in an advanced format like now. Some of it was lost since there was no digital way to pass it down. Now knowledge goes viral,” he pointed out.

Health is wealth

One thing we all must do is to be careful about what we put in our bodies.

“Healthy food intake must be taught in schools. People must be educated about health. In Sri Lanka, almost every child goes to school so there should be health education programmes. Then people will be aware of what to eat and drink,” said Chanaka.

Watch what your children watch

Recently in America, a little boy shot a little girl over a dispute about a puppy. Such abhorrent behaviour can be traced to what a child watches on media.

“Children also should be monitored when it comes to watching television. Even five-year-olds and six-year-olds are exposed to programmes on television and have access to internet. So there are no limitations on what they see. Television is somewhat controlled. But when it comes to internet a ten-year-old can pretend that he/she is 18 and view material. That is how it works without identification. A child cannot understand the violence. To him/her it is real. So when they want something they may kill someone to get what they want. A child’s mind cannot decide what is right and what is wrong,” clarified Chanaka.

Crime and punishment

The police and the courts need to make their presence felt a little more.

“Day by day, we see murders and rape cases. Crime is going up and it is all on the news. So there is a failure in the system. The way I see it is that the police should be stronger and more responsible. When you call the hotline, it takes a long time to get there. In the US, the police are there within one minute,” he said.

“Also in courts, the cases should finish hearing faster. Sometimes a murder case drags on for 10 years. Within those 10 years, he might kill again. So it is important to rehabilitate offenders,” reasoned Chanaka.

Culture

“Our culture is better than in the US but on the other hand, they are more developed than us. There everybody works from 14 – 70 years. The workforce in America is very strong. But in Sri Lanka, it is not that strong. Until you are 25, your parents take care of you and don’t really work. In the US, it is totally different.

“That is the good side. The bad side is that when you are independent, there is more chance of getting into drugs. But in Sri Lanka until around 25, you have parental protection,” said Chanaka. 


 

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