Citizens' Mail | Daily News


Citizens' Mail

Banks refusing to accept soiled local and foreign currency notes

Recently I returned from a foreign trip having represented my company on a promotional tour.

As to be expected I carried a substantial amount of foreign currency with me. In certain places, including foreign airports, hotels, shops and restaurants I used them, often receiving the balances in small notes.

On my return when I tried to deposit these monies at my RFC account the local bank found several small foreign currency notes which had small smudges, tiny tears and ink markings which they refused to accept. On inquiry, I was told that during the period of the Governor of the Central Bank of the former government, he wanted to have only clean currency notes in circulation and brought these restrictions on banks accepting soiled notes.

This is hilarious and may even provide psychological insight into the workings of the minds of our hierarchy who are generally immersed in dirty money and behind the scene frauds! To them, a struggling citizen cannot get a soiled note replaced at a bank, but the top bureaucrats/politicians are allowed to make millions in dirty money!

In a foreign country, when you use a $ 50 note to purchase a coffee you cannot be examining the balance (currency notes) given minutely while other customers are waiting in line.

Even when this happens with Sri Lankan currency notes within the country, the banks refuse to accept them. As a result, there are thousands of citizens possessing rupee notes they cannot use. So what happens here? The customer (obviously a Sri Lankan) loses a part of his hard-earned money. The money (value) he has with him cannot be used or replaced as the commercial banks refuse to accept soiled notes on the instructions of our Central Bank! The customer is not responsible for the tiny soiling of the currency. He has only received them in the process of a hurried transaction. Sometimes a certain amount of damage can be caused to currency even while the notes are in a small wallet in your pocket. I checked this online and learnt that in India, every Bank is obliged to replace soiled currency notes with undamaged notes and this bank obligation extends to even to a non-customer. The Reserve bank will replace the soiled notes collected by the commercial banks.

Surely, the Indian Reserve Bank cares for its people, and does not want the Indian Citizens to lose a part of their money because it is in the form of soiled notes!

All Reserve Banks have arrangements with international clearing houses to accept soiled foreign currency notes, as long as they are legitimate and not forgeries.

It is time that our Reserve (Central Bank) bank also gets active on behalf of the blameless citizens who end up possessing soiled currency notes (foreign and local). They should come down from their ivory towers and look at life in the street with realism.

Jayantha Weeraman


A philosophy misunderstood

GAD Sirimal, in his letter to the editor on October 9, poses a question: whether we need to reassess the role of religions. This is written from the Buddhist point of view as he has already presented the rationalist’s view.

Sirimal relates his experience of being compelled to kill a mosquito (dengue or malaria) and asks whether he has broken the first precept of pansil. The most simple and straight forward answer is “Yes”- if the intention to kill, the means and the act had been completed. However, it should not be treated as bad as killing an elephant with a ‘hakkapatas’. Also before I go any further I would like to comment on his statement, “as a Buddhist recited in the morning, when praying at the statue of the Buddha in front of my home.” Sadly, Sirimal cannot claim to be a Buddhist just because he has ‘prayed’ in front of the Buddha.

I would like to make a similar argument as cited by Sirimal, which would delight him. Eskimos are compelled to kill seals, brutally, for food and the survival of their families. Should they not go to heaven for feeding their families? The explanation I can give is that Eskimos are born as Eskimos and compelled to kill gathering more and more of akusala kamma because of the past kamma that they had acquired. Unlike Sirimal, I was not compelled to swipe at a mosquito on the day in question and I presume that the good kamma I had acquired prevented me from being in a similar situation.

Sirimal makes a sweeping statement on the other precepts too by saying ‘the same goes for other precepts’. Mercifully he stops at the second precept in his examples. I wonder whether he practices the same belief with respect to the third precept on the grounds that the ‘need justifies the means and the act’.

KC de Silva


Why we support a political party?

There are many strong supporters of political parties. Why we support a particular political party? What are the benefits?

We must always think about the motherland. A political party should always work in a way to develop the motherland. We must vote for the party that can improve our country. We must see how capable a political party is. We must support the party capable of developing our country. Some people support a political party because his relation is contesting from that party. This is wrong.

You must always think about the country. Many people work for a candidate with the idea of getting a big position in the government when they win the elections. This is not good. Do not think about the personal gain. Think about the country.

People working for politicians thinking about the country are real lovers of the motherland. Others who work for politicians thinking about personal benefits are selfish.

So think about the country when you support politicians or political parties. Do not be selfish. Love your motherland. Do not allow the foolish and selfish politicians to destroy our motherland. It is our responsibility to protect our motherland. When you do politics with the intention of getting personal gains, you are a traitor. When you do politics with the intention of improving the motherland, you are a hero.

D. Weeratunga


Pondering on a pardon ponder

We as a nation are absolutely horrified at the latest corrupt and questionable decision by the President to consider pardoning the convicted suspect Jude Shramantha Jayamaha. What stupid reasons he has given - ie the President as a youngster, being bullied and struck with a broom stick; what relevance this has, to pardoning a ruthless murderer, no one knows. Also credit is given to the said murderer for having completed a degree in prison! What about the victim?

She was in the prime of her life and was so brutally murdered. Imagine what her loved ones would have gone through and are still going through up to date, having lost this young, beloved member of the family to a ruthless, heartless and most wicked murderer. This convict was dealing in drugs in prison too, so how can he be considered for release due to good behaviour?

He is known to have been very violent, even before this murder. The victim’s family has given a very informative statement in a daily newspaper. It’s shameful, indeed, to realize this exercise to pardon is purely in return for a handsome financial consideration? After all, the murderer’s family are extremely wealthy and as we are reminded time and again, money talks. We are ashamed to have this range of corruption within our society and our government. When can we have true leaders of integrity and high thinking?

This is a desperate plea for justice.

S. de Alwis


The only message of Buddha and Jesus

I refer to the article by D. Weeratunga “Living according to the teachings of religious leaders” which appeared in the Citizen’s Column on October 2. With the greatest respect to you sir, what actually is the message of the Buddha and Jesus? In a stunning incident that happened in Sydney, the Buddha Himself changed my whole life and pointed out that the only, I reiterate only, purpose of a human life is to termite the process of Samsara here and now. This was confirmed by Jesus with the most stunning statement ever to come out of human (?) lips “First you find the Kingdom of Heaven within you….”

I go so far as to say that if one is not prepared to devote one’s whole life (what better example than Prince Siddhartha Himself) to that one single purpose, then for Him the word of the Buddha and Jesus are irrelevant.

Sorry sir, we don’t need the Buddha to say all that you have advocated for us to do in your article. As I pointed out in my article “Need for reconciliation” as long as there is a temple, a church or a mosque, it does not matter who says what, it is only a matter of time before the next disaster. It is inconceivable that the Buddha and Jesus would have stated two fundamentally different ultimate truths. It is the long white gown and the yellow robe that has divided Sri Lanka with the inevitable conflicts which will remain forever if we do not acknowledge the ultimate sameness.

Can Nirvana be found in a temple or the Kingdom of Heaven found in a church? Both are “within you” which makes a church and a temple redundant. The only alternative is to make everyone a Buddhist or a Christian or a Muslim like in Bhutaan where everyone is Buddhist and hence no trouble.

Please understand that this letter is not written as a means of criticism but comes from someone who can see the next generation torn apart which will be so, as long as we differentiate ourselves as Christians, Buddhists and Muslims etc.

Dr. Asoka Thenuwara


Visit Sri Lanka's Largest online shop. Over 125,000 unique categories such as Fresh Flowers, Cakes, Food, Jewllery, Childrens Toys and other Sri Lankan e-commerce categories. Low delivery cost to most cities here and free delivery in Colombo.

Add new comment