Letters to the Editor

27th January 2002

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A blooming shame

Oh fie on you, you hard hearted man!
Reducing brides to tears by imposing that ban.
December found bridal parties all in disarray
- Bouquets were delivered in different hues, to the mother-in-law's dismay!
Those who ordered tulips got daisy-chains instead
Some brides were adamant, and even opted not to wed.
"Think of the relations, just think of what they'll say.
We said, we're getting daffodils - now we've got araliya anney!"
The beauticians and importers were very much alarmed
Said that "local growers would never meet the demand";
Only dark colours are grown here, as the light ones attract disease,
And pastel shades are what brides want, so could the Minister please 
Lift the ban on cut flowers? And pander to their whims.
As a jasmine for the bridegroom would not be quite the thing.
...After all they're used to baby's breath and spray roses - anney sin!
Oh! Minister forget not us women, oh listen to what we say.
Or you may live to regret it, come election day!


Come down to earth

It was not long ago there was a baby boom in Washington. The American Research and Analysis Wing after careful study found that nine months prior to the date there had been a total power failure lasting two days in Washington DC.

Americans had been confined to their homes and bedrooms and had engaged themselves in the only recreation that was possible which was procreation. 

Back home in Sri Lanka, despite a change of power to have permanent power due to a misplaced over exuberance there continues to be power cuts. From all accounts it appears to be a permanent and longer affair. 

Whether there is power or no power, the Sri Lankan is not second to an American.

Meanwhile, there is another segment of Lankan society the so-called jetset who go for parties and dinners, patronise night clubs and complain of mixed up shoes and unmatching socks all the time. They too blame it all on power cuts. 

Of course, these people have not realized that with the on-going war, there is a fairly large group of young men and women with one or no legs to wear a single shoe or sock. Therefore, it is not too late to learn to light a single candle than curse the darkness. 

Let's start right now.

Claude Fernando

Keep lungs of Wellawatte clean

The Kinross beach is used by hundreds of people for walking, jogging, swimming, bathing and even lazing around.

On holidays and weekends, it is the refuge of several families for rest, relaxation and play. The children have a whale of a time building sand castles and dykes.

Many users of this beach near the Kinross Swimming and Life Saving Club are perhaps unaware that it is regularly cleaned, swept and maintained by Sampath Bank. This is laudable as this beach may veritably be called the 'lungs of Wellawatte'.

It would be welcome if the users of this beach throw in their might behind this project.

It is nature's gift to us and perhaps the only stretch of beach of its kind in Colombo.

S. Jeganayagam

Cushioning the sili sili menace

What's special about this cushion? It's an eco-friendly cushion stuffed with tiny pieces of polythene, yes, about 500 sili sili bags.

This innovative cushion is part of a campaign to minimise the environmental damage caused by the indiscriminate import, sale and use of tens of millions of sili sili and polythene bags in Sri Lanka. 

According to research the dumping of sili sili and polythene bags in drains and any open space has ruined Sri Lanka's soil. Since they are not bio-degradable, even a bag the size of just one foot, effectively damages the fertility of one foot of soil for a long time. 

When bags are thrown into drains, they cause major clogging and consequently the flooding of roads. They also become the breeding grounds for dengue mosquitoes. 

Even when these bags are collected and burnt, the fumes are toxic and could cause cancer. 

Taking all these factors into account, environmental groups have launched a novel project to cushion the impact of the damage. People could do it in their own homes. Just collect about 500 sili sili bags of any size, making sure they are not wet or dirty. Cut them up into small pieces with a pair of scissors or a knife and stuff into an inner cover made of old cloth. The outer cover could have an attractive design, perhaps with flowers or trees signifying its eco-friendly purpose.

The cushion could be kept on a chair or a sofa and its value in reducing damage to the environment would be priceless. 

Meanwhile, environmental groups in Sri Lanka have also called for consumer resistance in other ways. When you go marketing, for instance, carry your own cloth or paper bags. Supermarkets especially are known to give sili sili bags for every small item and housewives often come home with more than 10 bags. If a cloth bag is carried from home, the demand for sili sili bags would be less. With a drop in demand, imports too would reduce. 

Bangladesh recently banned the import of sili sili bags. The new United National Front government in Sri Lanka also took a step in the right direction when it banned the use of polythene for flags or other purposes at the special UNP convention held at the Town Hall grounds on January 12.


Killers at large while we live in fear

We, Sri Lankans, have the tendency to follow what foreigners do, especially westerners. This can be seen in the way we dress, have cocktail parties, go to night clubs etc. But we have not followed western standards with regard to our Police Department. 

I hope the new Interior Minister, John Amaratunga, will take action and solve the problems of the public. Police officers who solve crimes should be promoted as an incentive. 

My son, Niroshan, a final year medical student was brutally murdered and I was stabbed on July 6, 2001 at our home on Alfred Place, Kollupitiya. News reports stated that five police teams would be working on this case. The people who were taken in for questioning have been released because of telephone calls from politicians who were in power at that time. Now, six months later nothing has happened. 

Police and CID personnel who were investigating the case have been put on other cases. In countries like Canada, officers assigned to a murder case work on it till it is solved. Sri Lanka should follow suit. Then the public will be happy and the criminals will live in fear. 

If there is a dearth of personnel, the Minister could recruit more so that harmless people can live without fear. All are aware of the number of murders that remains unsolved. I appeal to Mr. Amaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to get the police to solve my son's murder case and give peace of mind to me. 

Dr. C. Srideva
Colombo 3

What keeps them out?

This is with regard to the solution to the mosquito menace suggested by Seetha Wanigatunge of Dehiwela. 

I hung bags at every opening and noticed that the large mosquito population which entered my premises reduced considerably. The exception was the smaller type, but they too were few and far between.

Before this, I could see a number of mosquitoes on the mosquito nets. Not anymore.

I wonder what keeps them out. Perhaps it is an ocular problem in flight by the refraction in looking at the water filled bags, which makes them turn around, who knows?

Has anyone an answer? 

Percy Dedigama
Colombo 8

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