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Citizens' Mail

Unscrupulous advertising schemes

One major widespread technique that manufacturers and service providers resort to for promoting sales of their products or services is the announcement of winning chances of lotteries/prizes varying as millions worth cash bonanzas, foreign tours, pilgrimages, vehicles, motorbikes, foot cycles, washing machines etc, for adults: many child-centred items such as toys, play equipment, stationery, school bags, electronic calculators, tabs, laptops, mobile phones for children (the list is endless). This is carried out in the form of competitions which last for long periods until a high volume of sales and profit target is achieved while others are seasonal as the New Year, Christmas, school holidays etc. We can see this movement so frequently these days.

How to enter the competition and qualify for winning instructions are as follows: collect as many as bottle lids in the case of beverages and give them to the dealer, send as many as labels from product packets, sachets etc. There is a draw after the targeted income is snatched from the helpless customers who have no way of checking if the draw is honestly conducted. The telecom service companies are also resorting to these money-spinning schemes throughout the year. Why should they offer millions of prizes to a handful of lucky winners at the expense of millions of customers? What they should do is to provide a better service to the customers at reduced costs or prices of their products or services.

Their common catchphrases/slogans are “buy more and get more winning chances”, “The more you buy it the more you win”, “Hurry up you may be too late”, “Don’t repent”. These prize-winning competitions/opportunities are often published by national or multinational companies (or agents, producers, importers, suppliers) of soft drinks, beverages, milk powder, yoghurt, chocolate, cheese, biscuit, soap, toothpaste, cosmetics, reload phone cards, electronic items and whatnot.

These money-making schemes are, to a great extent, targeted at housewives and school children who are easy to fool and fall prey to these schemes unsuspectingly. Fancy lies and fairy tales are fabricated to attract children to take part in these prize winning competitions through child based advertisements. Finally, the winners are these unscrupulous businessmen themselves making the poor customers the losers.

Would the Ministry of Trade and Commerce and the Consumer Affairs Authority consider to ban these false money-spinning schemes as the pyramid schemes were banned some years back?

M. B. Navarathne
Kottawa

 


Cardinal’s call for banning of religious political parties

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, who was applauded for saying Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country has now come up with a jewel of a suggestion by requesting the newly formed government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa when after giving evidence before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry probing the Easter attack, has said: “There should be only one line ministry to look after the interests of all religions”.

This request is truly in keeping with pure democracy as in democracy religion is a hindrance as it enforces a set of legal and societal principles. Separation of religions and the state is required to protect freedom and ensure equality. I would go one step further and say, let religious institutions transact business like any other institution or persons on material requirements such as seeking permission to hold a ceremony in a public place, use of loudspeakers etc. and confine their activities mainly for the spiritual upliftment of their devotees.

We have experienced how religious leaders intrude into government business, which is not in their realm of activities. The provision in the Constitution “CHAPTER 11 -BUDDHISM 9 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 the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Article…” which is absurd, should be deleted from the statute as our religious prelates, especially the Buddhist clergy, taking advantage of this provision, expect the State to sponsor and foster Buddhism, which should be the main duty of the Sangha/Sasana.

Isn’t this provision overriding what Buddha Gauthama intended in setting up the Sangha and we the lay Buddhist pay homage and seek guidance by saying Sangan Saranan Gachchami. What does Sangha mean? Sangha is a group of four or more people who genuinely reach Gauthama Buddha’s teachings – The sublime Dhamma. Politicians too seek favours, in return, from the clergy by granting whatever they requested, be they religious or personal seeking employment for their kith and kin in foreign or local state institutions, to influence the Buddhist voters, to be in power. Haven’t we seen how the Buddhist clergy insisted on the introduction of Sinhala Only act, not allowing SWRD to formulate a system by consulting the minorities and come to a workable solution. The main or the only cause for the lamentable situation this country is facing today is the communal cry seeking a separate state for Tamils in the North after the loss of lives in the thirty-year bloody LTTE war.

It is earnestly hoped the present government under the leadership of President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa will seriously think of revealing entirely this obnoxious provision in the Constitution, when the proposed new Constitution is framed, for unity, peace and prosperity of this country and also to save Buddhism by handing over the responsibility of fostering and protecting Buddhism to the rightful Sangha. Else allow them to perish along with Buddhism and await the arrival of Maithri Buddha, as we Buddhists are made to believe.

To conclude, here is what President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa should be to be a just guardian of the law as enunciated by Buddha Gauthama – Dhammapada – DHAMMATTA VAGGA – THE JUST OR RIGHTEOUS – Verse 2 – Asahasena dhammena – samena nayati pare

Dhammassa gutto medihavi – dhamatttho ti pavuuccati

The intelligent person who leads others not falsely but lawfully, and impartially, who is a guardian of the law, is called one who abides by the law (Dhammattha)

GAD Sirimal
Boralesgamuwa

 


Trains unfriendly for ladies

The present new passenger carriages of long distance trains are about 4 feet up from the platform which makes it extremely difficult for most of the commuters to get in and get out. I have seen at Ragama station, how difficult for ticket holders, especially ladies to board the train because of its height. I hope the new Minister in charge will look into this, since most ladies do not want to travel by train due to this problem.

Wimal Devasiriratne
Kadawata

 


The joy is in giving

Sometimes financial assistance is sought by parents or families by publishing in the press for the purpose of medical expenses that require huge amounts for treatment either locally or abroad. When learnt about of what sickness a patient is suffering or whose life is in danger, it is sad and painful to read and see the picture of the patient, specially of children. The expected amounts are in lakhs or million in rupees and those who need are the poor or mostly the middle class people. The advertisement is repeated either for lack of funds received or regretfully for no response at all.

Life is precious and none can value it. Therefore, those who can contribute should assist for a worthy cause like saving a life.

Lakhs of employees can contribute, even a fifty or hundred rupee, and send it through their employers. Thousands of owners of shop businessmen or establishments can send at least two or three hundred rupees. Management of big companies could do so in thousands of rupees, banks can generously contribute and apart from them their well paid staff could add their contributions too whenever such desperate cases are published. Priests of temples, kovils, churches and mosques could greatly involve for this meritorious acts. All these people should think for a moment how would they feel if someone of theirs is in such a situation is writhing in pain or fighting for life?

All religions preach to do charity and help towards the needy as nothing is taken when reaching the grave. The Great Alexandra’s request was to put his hands out of the coffin for the people to realize that finally he takes nothing with him. There are some people who are earning not only for themselves and their children but for number of their generations too without spending towards worthy causes. Joy will be endless in the minds of those who will even give a toy to a little boy in the street.

Last but not the least. Sri Lanka has talented doctors in different fields who can cure a patient who suffers with whatever disease or save a life at a crucial moment. But unfortunately, necessary medical equipments are not available for them to handle such cases.

Instead of borrowing millions of dollars in the name of development and filling their pockets too why not borrow and import the essential medical equipments to our hospitals to serve the poor and suffering patients. Citizens should be alive to see whatever the development of the country is!

As read in the newspaper the Ministry of Health making arrangements with the Treasury to purchase urgent drugs for the cancer hospital for an amount of Rs.1 billion is highly commendable.

Nazly Cassim
Colombo 13


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