Letters to the Editor


Muslim representation inadequate
A meeting was held at the Akkaraipattu Divisional Secretariat Office on November 23 to discuss recommendations to the sub-committee on the de-escalation and normalization in the north and east.

However, there was no adequate Muslim representation at this meeting, reflecting the ethnic ratio of the community in the Ampara district, to express their grievances effectively.

Many issues related to the Muslim factor were taken up with the participation of only one Muslim representative in the government delegation though there were eight LTTE members to represent the Tamil community. The Muslims of this area feel that they have been marginalized and discriminated against though they are predominant in this district.

This has added to their fear that they would be totally sidelined from the peace process though both the government and the LTTE assure them that the Muslim aspirations would be met when a final solution is reached.

The Ampara District Muslims feel that the peace process should not be biased towards one community at the cost of another.

It is the responsibility of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress which has been identified as the sole representative of the Muslim community to ensure adequate Muslim representation at peace talks and related forums. It should discuss this matter with the government and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and allay Muslim fears.

If the parties to the conflict are really committed to peace, they should not try to suppress the views of the other by means of military threats. The SLMM as the facilitator of the peace initiative must ensure that such things do not happen.
Abu Fathima
North East Muslim Assembly,

Castrate the clone doctor
First cloned human being
will arrive in January
says Italian gynaecologist
Severino Antinori

DNA from a male nucleus
fused with a female egg
implanted in mother's uterus
expected to generate first human 'Dolly'

With human cloning
obsolete organs dangling and idling
males of the world will unite in saying
"castrate Antinori and sever Severino".
- Captain (Retd.)
Ranjith Wettewa

Protect local coconut industry
We coconut growers are glad to hear that the government will not import coconuts.

While private traders were selling coconuts at prices ranging from Rs. 18.50 to Rs 20, the Coconut Cultivation Board headed by its Chairman Lincoln Fernando was making coconuts available to the public at Rs. 13.50 at several weekend polas.

Now, thanks to the Plantation Ministry and the Coconut Cultivation Board, Sathosa outlets will be supplied with nuts at Rs. 11.50 which will be sold at Rs. 14.95.

These nuts will be made available from our own coconut plantations. The coconut industry is a major industry in this country and to import coconuts would deal a severe blow to the industry, affecting both growers and workers.

The coconut is a vital component of the daily diet. To reduce production costs and increase production at home is surely the answer rather than promoting foreign coconut markets at the expense of our own industry.
Coconut Growers

Trinco's good Samaritans
I was a member of a group of retired teachers that toured Trincomalee during the weekend November 30-December 1.

After reaching Trincomalee from Colombo at

1 p.m., we were stranded on "Skyward Lane'', leading to the beach, with our bus almost sinking in the sand.

The bus was pulled out with the help of beach boys and police officers who commissioned two tractors for the job. We are grateful to those who helped us and responded to the call of Uppuveli police officers Pradeep Nishantha, S.A.S. Siriwardene, Piyaratne, Sriyananda and Wanniarachchi.

I have no words to extol the gallantry of these men who spent almost five hours without food or drink in the service of 65-75 year old teachers who were helpless.

I have to say they refused even to take an honourarium. We should be proud of these men.
R.I.T. Alles

Wither the weather: Whither English?
The weather forecast in the special Sinhala news programme 'News Station' telecast over 'Rupavahini' on Saturdays at 8 p.m. is preceded by the prominent title 'Wither the Weather'.

It is okay if their intention is to wither the weather away, whatever it means! But obviously that is not what they intend doing!

One is at a loss to understand how glaring errors of this nature, which should be obvious even at a cursory glance to anybody with a basic knowledge in English go unnoticed and unrectified.

In a way it is not surprising when one considers the plethora of Sinhala grammatical mistakes committed specially by the news readers.

Being the premier electronic media channel, Rupavahini should be much more concerned and careful about the accuracy of what they dish out to the viewers and listeners.

Wither the weather! Whither English?
N .P. Karunadasa

Congratulations Dehiwela Police
I take this opportunity to highlight an excellent job done by Dehiwela police, a few days back.

At a time when the Police get blamed for the slightest offence, it is the duty of every right thinking person to bring to the notice of the public 'acts' such as this that would nullify to some extent the 'bad image' the public has about the police and its officers.

One night when my wife and I were relaxing watching the T.V, we heard a thundering sound which really threw us a couple of feet up! The next moment immediately after I came back to my senses I noticed that the middle window glass in the lounge had shattered and within minutes it was in pieces. I ran towards the gate in seconds followed by my wife and son. We noticed two men standing about 20 feet up on the road and one was shouting in filth and was admitting that it was he who did it and telling me that he is not scared of the police and if I inform the police he would kill me etc, etc.

I immediately recognized the man and to make a long story short: this person undertook to do some work in our garden but, as he didn't complete the job I had to pay him half the agreed amount that he willingly accepted.

However as we could not gulp down any more of the verbal diarrhoea, we locked up the gate and closed the main door and sat down trying to bring our senses back to normal. It did not take even five minutes, another stone was thrown and the second glass of the window was broken to pieces. A shower of stones damaging the lower roof of the house followed this and for the first time in my life I felt how helpless one could become when faced with a situation of this nature. The entire neighborhood was awake watching this 'drama', but no one dared to confront the 'thug' who went on a 'demolition contract'. Bin Laden hid after bombing the WTC but this 'Bin' openly admitted and started to demolish our property that gave us shelter for twenty years, in front of a shocked audience, who themselves were helpless.

During this period we managed to contact the emergency number of the Dehiwela police and believe it or not the mobile patrol of the Dehiwela police appeared on my doorstep within five minutes! We offer our humblest gratitude to you sir, the OIC of Dehiwela police who is an officer and a gentleman, the inspector who settled the conflict displaying the highest standards of conflict resolution, and to the entire staff who paved the way for us to live in peace with dignity.
Neville Perera
Mt. Lavinia

Zheng He: More on that great Chinese warrior, voyager
While thanking Dr R H Wickramasingha for enlightening Sri Lankan readers regarding Zhen He, I feel I must be doing an injustice to the great Chinese admiral, explorer and diplomat if the following facts are not elaborated to Chinese antiquarian connoisseurs.

Zheng He was born on 1371 in Kunyang in China's southern Yunan province. His parents were of Mongol-Arab descent and he was a Muslim. When Yunan province was recaptured by Chinese forces of the Ming dynasty in 1382, Zheng He was captured, castrated and sent into the Chinese army. Zheng He aided Chung Ti, the Prince of Yen to become emperor Young Lo (Yung Lo). As a reward for helping him, the emperor named him Grand Imperial Eunuch and changed his family name from Me to Zheng.

Zheng first set sail in 1405 with 62 large ships laden with treasure and a 27,800-man crew. The fleet visited much of southern Asia, including Indochina, Indonesia, Malacca, Ceylon and Calicut. At Palambang in Indonesia, Zheng's fleet defeated a powerful Chinese pirate who was taken to Nanjin for execution.

His second expedition was between 1407 and 1409. He sailed westward across the Indian ocean and again reached Calicut on the Indian Coast. Throughout his seven subsequent voyages he created trade opportunities and extended maritime and commercial influence in regions bordering the Indian Ocean. His voyages had surpassed all previous naval experiences in the world and opened trade and diplomatic ties with more than 35 countries. They were instrumental in encouraging emigration that was the basis for Chinese colonization in south east Asia.

This great explorer, second only to Magellan and Vasco da Gama, died in about 1433 on the return trip during a stopover in Calicut. Legend claims his body was never returned to Nanjin for burial. Historical records indicate that he died between 1433 and 1436. His carefully drawn nautical charts were destroyed and one surviving chart which shows his Sumatra to Hormuz voyage has been translated to English.
K Jayalal Perera

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