Citizens' Mail | Daily News


Citizens' Mail

A suggestion to the next president

Several candidates are contesting for the position of the next President. Very powerful propaganda campaign is going on supporting the candidates. Candidates are giving hundreds of promises. Some of the targets given in promises can be easily achieved. Some are very difficult.

All the candidates promise to improve the internal security of the country. This is not a difficult target to achieve. We have a trained Army, trained Navy, trained Air Force and a trained Police Force. So it is not difficult to achieve this target. No additional funds are necessary.

All are promising to make Sri Lanka an industrial country. This is a very difficult target to achieve. We need new technology, trained technical staff, investors, machinery and a very big amount of money to do this. Lot of hard work, dedication, determination, political will is required to do this. This is a difficult target to achieve.

To achieve most of the targets the support of the people is required. Consider making Colombo a beautiful city and managing the garbage. These targets cannot be achieved without the support of the people. Making Sri Lankan airlines a profitable venture is also an election promise. Support of the people is not required for this.

Support of the people is required to do the agreed radical changes. The new President will have lot of support from people during the first year in office. After that the support will go down. That is our experience in local politics.

One of the candidates will win the election and will become the next president. The next president should do the agreed radical changes during its one year. He has the maximum support from people. There will be not much resistance.

If important things are not done within the first year, it will be very difficult to do them later due to various reasons.

The next president should make use of this one year period to achieve most of his targets.

D. Weeratunga


Country’s desperate needs are not talked about

Are the presidential candidates focussing on our urgent problems and needs or are they moving at a tangent dodging the main issues in a cowardly manner?

Taking a few of these, foreign exchange drained on unnecessary imports of brand new vehicles, recently the President had requested for more foreign exchange to import cars. Granting car permits and VIPs using high powered limousines to move about in this small impoverished country for the comfort of rulers oblivious to the country’s needs.

Does anyone speak about improving public transport? Hardly, because they travel in 1800 cc luxury. Agricultural and economic development they say in vague terms without a target or focus on production, export and industry.

How could it be improved with so many holidays? None of them has any plans for it. Japan is a leading exporter has only seven holidays for the year. We have thrice that number.

The misery of the past seventy years is bound to continue it appears from the writing on the wall! And the oblique statements these leaders make to mislead the voters.

Tudor Wickremasinghe

Colombo 9

Reverence where it’s due

I hasten to congratulate you for your excellent editorial titled ‘Clergy in Politics’ quoting the forthright bold action of Election Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya:

“Election Commissioner, Chairman, Mahinda Deshapriya who has already enforced a clamp-down on the use of places of religious worship for political campaigning, has gone one step further and banned the active endorsement or attacking candidates during Bana preaching sessions, Buddha Pooja, Catholic mass, almsgiving, Jumu’ah prayers, Kovil Poojas and other religious programmes in places of worship”. Not only has the Commissioner of Elections has asserted his official authority, but he has also made aware to all those who belong to religions, especially the Buddhists, the despicable state the clergy has fallen, thereby bringing the religion to disrepute. We have seen, especially some Buddhist monks directly involved in politics, holding Bodhi Poojas, distributing Sil Redi, thus canvassing for a particular candidate at the last Presidential elections.

A famous monk sent monks on ‘Pindapatha’ to collect money to pay a fine imposed by courts on misuse of government funds. Also, a monk allowing his temple premises for a political party office. Numerous such cases could be cited of clergy misusing their religious positions to support political parties and politicians.

It is a mockery to see clergy, performing certain religious rights on politicians – placing holy relics on their heads, inviting to place holy relics on elephant back at Peraharas, wrapping holy shawls etc., when the recipient is not worthy, thus making this holy religious right worthless, and the function, hilarious. To illustrate how far the clergy has belittled religion, let me relate my own experience.

I went to my local famous temple (I refrain from naming the temple) and requested a piece of Pirith Noola to be taken for a child who was ill. The monk concerned refused and asked me to come later as he has other work. When I complained to the chief monk of the temple, who is no more after a tragic death, and recognised by the state as well, said tying of Pirith Noola has become a nuisance and hinders other work. What other work, I do not know except religious matters, which includes tying Pirith Noola. That is how far our clergy has entered active politics.

It is my personal view, although the well-meant, being a Buddhist country, provision in the Constitution which says ‘The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights….’ It has made the Sangha hand over the responsibility of preserving, fostering, and promoting Buddhism to the State, and in return expects personal favours which politicians take advantage by granting such favours to influence voters. If this responsibility is solely entrusted to the Sangha, they would concentrate fully for what they have donned the robes for. Our politicians have been fooled by monks saying that ancient kings took advice from the Sangha and this should be adhered to now as well. Can present monks be compared to those of olden times with wisdom?

It is my firm belief that a disciplined clergy brings a disciplined society and thereby, peace, harmony and prosperity in the country.

To conclude, let me quote from Dhammapada Loka Vagga (The World) verse 1

Hinamdhammamnaseveyya – pamadenanasanivase


(Do not serve mean ends. Do not live in heedlessness. Do not embrace false views. Do not be a world-upholder)

G. A. D. Sirimal


What is a right action?

I refer to the article by G. A. D Sirimal titled “We need to reassess the role of religions” which appeared in the Citizen’s Column on October 9, 2019.

In it, he related an incident where he killed a mosquito and justified this action (I am not sure whether the justification is an afterthought) on the basis of his conscience by saying that, that action saved himself and others from mosquito bites resulting in Malaria, Dengue etc.

Later on, he advises us to “Go by your conscience and not feel guilty”. Would he then approve of the Easter Massacre, for without a doubt those who took part in the Massacre did it with full conscience and with the self assurance that it was the right action? Yes, Angulimala killed 99 people, Hitler destroyed millions of innocent people and the atomic bomb massacred millions of Japanese people and all did these terrible acts with their full conscience and probably didn’t feel guilty either.

Unfortunately, Karmic Retribution, “You will be paid back with the same coin” will not be judging an action just because you did it by “your conscience”. That is the problem, unless one is prepared to pay whatever price that will inevitably follow all our actions, yes even our thoughts. With the greatest respect to you, everyone who follows your advice will have to pay that price.

Finally, you endorse the statement of Bertrand Russell and advocate us to use science as our guidelines. Yes, USA did just that and produced the atom bomb and devastated millions of innocent Japanese people.

Please be assured that this article is not written as criticism and I would be only too pleased if you could point out where my reasoning is in error.

Wathsala S. Dulanjalee


Choice of a profession or occupation cannot be legislated

Dear Sports Minister, you are now the only sports minister from the rest of the world, who is proudly claiming by your admission, that you have introduced a law that gambling and sports do not mix. Your efforts to give publicity to this age-old theory that sports and betting do not go hand in hand has been incessantly directed, at a particular past president of Sri Lanka cricket.

Your persistence, gives rise to doubts of purpose. Can you tell us how and why the members of the same family should follow the same profession? Can anyone legislate, compel every member of his family to consult other members, before embarking into a profession of his choice?

As a sportsman, having introduced hockey to Kotahena, in 1946, and initiated in 1948, the first hockey-playing club Young India in Kotahena, with the unceasing efforts of Camillus Nattar, a philanthropist who sponsored the Camillus Cup for hockey.

The old Bens and St Benedicts took to hockey several years later, having pinched half a dozen Ceylon caps, three brothers amongst them, creating a Guinness record, from the united youngsters which were formed in 1951 when “Young India” wound up. I am proud to state, that the initial background to these Ceylon caps was provided by the writer.

Now coming back to gambling and sports, tell us, Mr. Minister, why have the rest of the countries, who have been playing cricket long before us, failed to recognize that gambling and sports must be disassociated by legislation? Because they do not want to muddle sports with corrupt politics.

They believe that sports must be governed by sports bodies themselves. That has been an international practice. Sri Lanka has been reprimanded for having interim committees because it is tantamount to political interference.

I believe that all these countries are allowing their sports bodies to conduct their affairs in line with their respective parent bodies. They know that governments have more important matters to legislate than dabble on matters which have parent bodies.

This should be a matter for the ICC and the SLC. And not for the politicians who have tainted fingers and hidden motives.

Walter Fernando


The new president’s role

People of Sri Lanka must elect a president who shall:

  •  Place the welfare of the people before self, change the constitution and do away with the executive presidency as absolute power usually corrupts absolutely. The country should revert to parliamentary democracy as in India, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the UK.
  • Restore and uphold the absolute independence of the judiciary with no interference from politicians as that is the foundation of true democracy.
  •  Educate politicians to respect and obey the laws of the land just as their electors have to.
  •  Strive to eliminate all forms of political corruption including abuse of position and power, bribery, nepotism and political vengeance.
  •  Enforce strictly and with no exception declaration of assets by politicians before entering parliament.
  •  Refrain from indulgence in luxury motor vehicles, luxurious accommodation and lavish entertainment at public expense because hundreds of thousands of citizens eke out a mere existence with no employment, poor housing and poor nutrition.
  •  Endeavour to improve the plight of the poor and the weak. A nation is truly great only if it cares for the welfare of its weakest citizens.
  •  Put an end to the national disgrace of Sri Lankan women working in the Middle East in virtual slavery.

Will Sri Lanka ever get a great statesman of the calibre of the late Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore who transformed that tiny island nation from its post-war third world status to the great country that it is today?

W. Y. Rambukwelle

New Zealand

(Dual Citizen)

Haven’t human beings encroached on elephant reserves?

The Reservations are only on paper and no action is taken to stop encroachments by humans in areas reserved for elephants. No Action Talk Only, NATO, is the actual policy of the government. We are a nation of talkers and not doers. How many encroachers have been charged in the courts of law?

The authorities should tell the public whether they are enforcing the Elephant Reservations without indulging in mere talk. Who is in charge of the Reservations? Will such authority tell the public how many encroachers on Reservations have been charged in the courts? Even villagers who encroach should be charged.

I have worked in these areas and know-how poorly the Reservations law is enforced for fear of displeasing politicians who support the errant villagers.

R. M. B. Senanayake

Former Government Agent





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