Letters to the Editor


Act of dictatorial arrogance
People vote political parties in and out of office. When a party is routed significantly, the losing party should listen to the people's verdict. In a democracy, truly intelligent leaders will be sensitive to the people's wishes.

Even if the constitution allows an Executive to appoint a cabinet, that right is only technical and limited to paper. It is not a moral right and it certainly is not a popular right. Any threat to dismiss a cabinet can only be construed as a conspiracy against the wishes of the people. Personal pettiness and animosity are no reason to make hollow threats which will not be supported by anyone. If investigations reveal impropriety so be it.

Ranil Wickremesinghe saw it fit to gracefully accept the verdict of the people in 1994, earning the respect of lifelong cynics. Similarly, the PA and the President will be respected more by the masses if they humbly accept reality and do not go around making asinine statements to cheer up the hoi polloi who make up their party base.

If this UNP-led government fails, the people will then elect someone else. Right now, the credibility of the Executive is at an all time low.

In a democracy the moral authority to govern, lies with those who have won the election. If the Executive President threatens to dismiss a Cabinet seven months after a government has been elected by the people, that is nothing short of a display of dictatorial arrogance, pettiness at losing, or an act of desperation.

If this government acts dictatorially or becomes repressive then the President can act in the best interests of the nation, but not because she finds it annoying or irritating. After all what is good for the goose is good for the gander in the give and take of politics. The PA and UNP have both indulged in that. To cry foul now is silly.
Mano Ratwatte
Via e-mail

No room
This is Sri Lanka!
My so-called 'native land'
But no inch of land
To be called my own!

I live in a rented 'room'
With my eight-year-old daughter
And my dear husband
Who is the only bread winner.

Even paying a two-year advance,
To get a room is a 'chance',
In the land, where we are born
Is it the fault of being born?
Who will rent a room forever?
No house-owner can do it forever
Is my family to go on the streets?
Isn't there anybody to give us relief?

With no permanent shelter
With no permanent address
Yet, I'm a born citizen
Of my motherland 'Sri Lanka'!

Would the authorities responsible
Sympathize with us miserable
Unfortunate, helpless creatures
And seek some solution to the matter!
A Citizen

Change name for the sake of peace
The MoU with the LTTE has brought about howls of protests. Such protests are owing to a couple of misnomers such as Liberation and Eelam.

The word "liberation" is being challenged by world leaders, intellectuals and clergy. Some label it terrorism while others claim it is an insurgency. Still others feel it is xenophobia. Whatever it was, since the Tigers seem to be pre-disposed to peace, it would augur well to change "Liberation" to " Democratic". "Eelam" could be changed to "Desham".

When these words are coined together they would read as "Democratic Tigers of Tamil Desham" (DTTD). This may be more tolerable.

If the LTTE is keen to take the path of peace, a name-change will not jeoparadise them but be a harbinger of peace.
Prins Jayasinghe

Disappointed Lankans in England
My family, like lots of other Sri Lankan families in Britain, awaited the arrival of the Sri Lankan team, with so much anticipation of class cricket. The British media had put the Lankans on a pedestal saying they had not lost a test match in the past so many games.

The performance in the initial match was pretty impressive with the first innings score well over 500, but the Lankans conceded a tame draw though they had the upper hand.

Thereafter, it was down hill all the way apart from a paltry win over India. When will Sri Lankan politicians and managers ever accept responsibility for their failures?

The Sri Lankan selectors must bear total responsibility for this dismal performance by selecting players well after their 'use by date'.

Winning against Bangladesh, one of the weakest teams in test cricket, does not prove much when the might of England and India could not be tackled. It is time the selectors did a far better job and the Sri Lankan cricketers played consistently better, game after game, if they are to make any impact at the next World Cup.
Jay Edwards

Define the stops clearly
"The train on No. 1 platform will leave for Matale. It'll stop at all stations up to Matale."
This is an announcement we hear at the Kandy Railway Station often. But is this adequate?

The rural Kandy-Matale line has two kinds of stops. Some are stations, others only halting places. Most trains stop at both stations and halting places. However, others stop only at the stations. Passengers have no way of knowing this and face many problems.

Therefore, railway officials should make the announcements accurately, for the convenience of commuters.
A. Prabath

In search of Lankan airmen
I read with much interest the article on the Sri Lanka Air Force Museum. It reminded me of my time as a Flight Commander at the RAF OCTU at Jurby in the Isle of Man.
In 1960, we had two Sri Lankan cadets on the course, one of whom was named Virasinghe. Unfortunately I cannot remember the other one's name except that it began with G. I often wonder what happened to those two fine young men who contributed so much to the course.
J. A. L. Crawshaw

Remember the men behind Buddhist revival
I wonder how many of those who have read the 19th century history of Sri Lanka have realised that we Buddhists are indebted to three great personalities who were pioneers in the movement to revive Buddhist education, though they were born to Christian parents.

When Colonel Henry Steele Olcott, an American-born Christian, arrived with Madam Blavatsky in 1880, there were 805 missionary schools around the country, as opposed to four Buddhist Sinhala schools - two at Panadura and two at Dodanduwa. Colonel Olcott formed the Buddhist Theosophical Society for the primary purpose of establishing Buddhist English schools to prevent Buddhist children from attending missionary schools to study English.

This Herculean task was taken over by C. W. Leadbeater who came to Sri Lanka in 1885. Strange to say, Mr. Leadbeater was a minister in an Anglican Church in England at the time. The first Buddhist English School was started on November 1, 1886 with Mr. Leadbeater as principal. He was the founder of the journal, "The Buddhist", which he edited. Four years later, he left the island.

The vacancy as principal was filled by A. E. Bultjens, a Sri Lankan who was born a Christian. An outstanding student of S. Thomas' College, he won the only scholarship offered to Cambridge University that year. He returned to the country with an honours degree in philosophy and religions, and became a Buddhist by conviction. He was spurned by the local church, discarded by his family and distanced by his friends. All this created the ground condition for Mr. Bultjens to take up the principalship. He also functioned as editor of "The Buddhist". It was during the time of Mr. Bultjens that the school started at Pettah, was shifted to Maradana and named Ananda College.

Meanwhile in 1884, Colonel Olcott made the British declare Vesak a holiday for Buddhists. He was also involved in the design and production of the Buddhist flag in 1885.

If not for the timely arrival of Colonel Olcott in 1880, this little island would have become "a little England in the Indian Ocean" by the beginning of the 20th century. Let us be grateful to Colonel Olcott and the others who saved Buddhism from extinction.
G.P. Dhanatunga

'Letters to the Editor' should be brief and to the point.
Address them to:
'Letters to the Editor,
The Sunday Times,
P.O.Box 1136, Colombo.
Or e-mail to
steditor@wijeya.lk or
Please note that letters cannot be acknowledged or returned.

Back to Top
 Back to Plus  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.