I write this letter with a heavy heart after losing six close family members, including my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, nieces and nephews. They drowned on April 24, 2011, in an accident that occurred at the unprotected bridge in Kottaliya in Mannampitiya, Polonnaruwa.
The bridge is narrower than the A11 highway on either side. There are no speed breakers on either side of the bridge, and there is no protective railing along the bridge. If you are unfamiliar with this road, you can very easily end up in this death trap.
The Road Development Authority (RDA), which built and maintains this bridge, is totally unmindful of the dangers the bridge poses to motorists and travellers. It is this negligence and indifference that has led to so many fatalities in this man-made danger spot.
The driver of the ill-fated vehicle in which my relatives were travelling was unable to make way for the vehicle coming from the opposite direction, because of the narrowness of the bridge, causing the van to plunge into the river. All six passengers were trapped inside the van. The only survivor was the person driving the vehicle -- a Sri Lankan doctor based in Oman. What a terrible, and unnecessary, tragedy.
Who is responsible for this tragedy? Was “cost” the reason for putting up an inadequate, unsatisfactory bridge with no protective railings? If so, then money seems to be more precious to the authorities than human lives. There have been many other tragedies at this same spot. But who cares? This is Sri Lanka.
I. A. Hammeed,
Cruel vehicle tax is driving us nuts
The additional tax on vehicle imports is a cruel tax. It is cruel to the poor vehicle-needy. A case in point is my case.
I have always owned and used a vehicle, going back to 1955. I am now old, over 80 years, but my wife and I need a vehicle. We live on our own, separate from our children, who are not readily available to drive us around. I drive, and when I cannot drive I pay someone to chauffeur me around.
I sold my car in March. It needed a lot of re-hauling that was much too costly for me. I was considering a small car, purchased on order, at an affordable price. I paid an advance to a car importer and got on the waiting list.
I am now told that I will have to pay the company an extra Rs. 300,000. I had budgeted for an all-inclusive price of Rs. 13 million, but now I am put out of gear and thrown off balance.
There is no way I will find Rs. 300,000. I can only appeal to the Government to grant me some relief. May the Minister of Finance have mercy on us. I believe there many out there in the same plight.
Prescription for channelled doctors: Don’t keep your patients waiting
Not once have I been able to meet a “channelled doctor” at the time given on the appointment ticket. There must be thousands of patients who have had the same experience.
The reason is that 99 (if not 100) per cent of doctors engaged in channel practice are late to work, as a rule, not by minutes but by hours. Meanwhile, the patients have to wait for hours, sitting or standing in packed corridors, after paying hard-earned money for an exorbitantly priced appointment.
Our question is why give a time the doctors cannot keep? When the ticket says 1.30 p.m., the doctor turns up at 3 p.m. These channelled doctors waste our time and our patience.
Worse, some of these doctors do not even examine a patient properly. When the patient walks in, he sees the doctor ready, with pen on paper, to write the prescription, even before hearing what the patient has to say. The doctor seems eager to get rid of the patient as soon as possible in order to see the next patient, who is treated in the same way. The doctor who sees 60 patients in one hour in this manner must make amazing amounts of money!
Dear doctors, please be punctual, and write your prescriptions legibly.
The term Lord
Buddha is universal rather than Gauthama
This is in response to the letter on the subject of using the term Lord Buddha or Gauthama Buddha. Using “Gauthama Buddha” is quite in order, provided all the people who read English prose are educated scholars in Pali and Sinhala and that they are able to understand that the term ‘Buddha’ indicates the noble qualities embodied in the Enlightened One. No other explanation, prefix or suffix is necessary for such people.
However, what about the vast majority non Sri Lankans who have no knowledge of Pali and Sinhala. How can they change the term Lord Buddha? “Lord” means, ruler, master, nobleman, in the English dictionary. It is a term to denote adoration and reverence.
Therefore using this prefix “Lord” for our great teacher is the most appropriate word. Even in Sinhala books the words Gauthama Buddha are not found. What we often find are “Budurajun’, ‘Buduhimiyan’, ‘sarvagyan vahanse’ etc… Therefore using the term “Gauthama” could cause confusion, not only among foreigners but also among our schoolchildren who are making every effort to learn English.
Dr. D. Malwatte Mohotti,