Plus - Letters to the Editor

Is it still “Sinhala only”?

A Letter from one D. Sivarajah of Badulla published in your issue of August 21 caught my eye. He asked the very pertinent question as to why the fact that we have three languages and that every Sri Lankan citizen is entitled to receive official communications in the language of his/her choice, is blatantly ignored by Government departments.

Mr. Sivarajah isn't the first person to draw attention to this glaring anomaly. In a recent testamentory case my attorney filed on my behalf, I found lengthy legal documents issued by the Courts and requiring my signature, were in Sinhala. I had no cause for complaint since that is my mother-tongue, but I had a shock when I casually asked my attorney whether these documents were also available in Tamil and English. and received a firm "No" in reply.

They are printed only in Sinhala- all these years after Tamil and English were recognised as official and link languages, along with Sinhala! All directives issued by the Education Dept. come in Sinhala to Tamil teachers who have to ask their Sinhala colleagues to translate these communications for them.
Is there any Govt. department at which Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and other citizens can hope to be addressed in Tamil or English?

I was amused to find Mr. Sivarajah state the following: "In the recent past the Language Commission has implemented a new ruling which makes it imperative that Government departments and other enterprises print documents in all three languages, i.e. Sinhala, Tamil and English. Failure in following or adhering to this rule will result in the issuing of a Rs.1000 fine or three months imprisonment".

I believe the writer has inadevertently used the word "implemented", for the IMPLEMENTATION of laws and regulations is, as we all know, observed more in the breach in our country. It will indeed be hot news if we read one fine day that officers of the Courts, or Education Dept. officials or, for that matter, ANYONE, has been duly penalised for breaking this rule.

Anne Abayasekara, Via e mail

Indisciplined schoolboys cause damage to property

I am a young citizen of Colombo, and over the past 20 years I have seen your newspaper highlighting issues and helping to bring about positive change in the community. This is my very first Letter to the Editor, and I am writing to draw attention to a problem that residents of the Bloemendhal Flats in Kotahena face.

It is with great pride, as a young middle-class citizen who has only recently joined the working community, that I say I was able to collect enough money to purchase a vehicle for my family – our very first car. I do not use the car to go to work. I take public transport to save on expenses. I leave my car parked outside the block of flats where I live. A lot of residents’ vehicles are parked like mine.
During the holidays, schoolboys bring friends from other neighbourhoods and play outside the flats and cause damage to the cars parked there.

Our neighbourhood is turning into a hazardous environment. I have lived here for the past two decades. As a schoolboy, I played here with my friends but we never caused damage to private or public property.
Every youngster should have time to meet friends, play a game, and have fun. As a child raised here, I too have had my share of fun. But we caused no damage.

These young people can have their fun, but I would like to see them do so with respect to the residents. There is a playground, Ratnam Park, just a few minutes’ walk from the flats, where these youngsters can play as much as they want.

There have been incidents when the Police were called in and warnings were issued, but this has had no impact on the teens or their parents.I regret that I am unable to disclose my name or address, as I have to safeguard my family and my property.

Disgusted resident, Bloemendhal

Sadaqah, noblest of virtues

Food in plastic bags ready to be distributed to the poor ahead of the Ramadan festival in Indonesia. Reuters

In the holy month of Ramadan
Muslims perform Sadaqah,
As prescribed in the Holy Quran,
To gain merit from Almighty Allah.

Sadaqah is charity, noblest of virtues,
Preached by the great teachers;
Performed with sincerity and purity,
Helping the poor is charity,
The best way to perform Sadaqah
And get the blessings of Rahmatullah
Is to help the destitute and helpless,
Kith and kin, the disabled and the jobless

Sadaqah eases the misery of the poor,
Cleanses the heart and mind of the giver,
Brings a sense of goodness and peace,
As thriftiness will cease.

Charity at all times is Sadaqah,
Done to harvest the blessings of Allah,
In this noble act, what the right hand does,
The left hand should not fuss about.

Sadaqah is dominant in Ramadan,
For the poor expect a dole from every Mussalman;
Alas! The end of Ramadan sees the end of Sadaqah
As it fades away, earning the wrath of Allah.

Zakath, the fourth pillar of Islam,
Compels the rich to share their wealth in Ramadan;
This principle is a must for the rich,
For thus their wealth is further enriched.

For the Sadaqah and Zakath of every Mussalman,
The Quran says, theres Allah’s bounteous reward.
The best is the holy month of Ramadan
To reap the very best of awards.

M. Azhar Dawood, Dehiwela

Stop the sale of fruit juice close to the loo!

At the Pettah end of Bastian Mawatha, I have seen two vehicles parked on sides of the public lavatory – one selling ready- made fruit juice and the other selling fruits. I wonder why the PHI’s who are now checking on the quality of lunch parcels and the sanitary condition of hotels have turned a blind eye and allowed these vehicles to park in the toilet area and market fruits and drinks.

I request that these vehicles be moved away from this spot to a more conducive place. Hope, CMC’s Chief Medical Officer, Pradeep Kariyawasam will take prompt action to relocate these vehicles and ensure that vendors are not allowed to sell food items at these unhygienic places.

Mohamed Zahran, Colobmbo 3

Put up short histories of ancient temples

I recently visited the Degaldoruwa Temple in Kandy. There is a notice board in English outside the temple that gives a list of penalties for various offences committed on the temple premises.

Would it not be more to the point to have a notice board giving the history of the temple, and other interesting and useful information?

Foreign tourists come in busloads to visit the site. This should be done at all temples of historic value.

Pat Jayatilleke, Via e mail

9 years and road still not repaired

The Urubokke (Grade B) Road in Matara seems to be sinking. It is built on a canal bank that cannot support heavy vehicles.

Repairs to this road began nine years ago, in 2002, but work suddenly stopped. Will the relevant authorities please do something about this?

H. M. Premadasa, Urubokke

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