Our Man in London was dressed appropriately when he met the Queen

Apropos your comments on the attire worn by the Sri Lanka envoy in the UK when he met the Queen (“God Save Mother Lanka”, Sunday Times, December, 4 this year), there is mention of “tuxedo”. This is an American word and not likely to be used by the Palace. Surely they would prefer to use the British term, “dinner jacket”?

In any case, the tuxedo or dinner jacket is only semi-formal, and is not appropriate attire for an Ambassador or High Commissioner presenting his credentials at the Court of St. James. In my view, if such a diplomat is not wearing his national dress or full dress service uniform, then he should wear formal Western evening dress, which should include a black tail coat with trousers to match, having a double braid running down the length of the trousers (trousers worn with a dinner jacket have only a single braid). The white shirt should have a starched front and a wing collar. The bow tie should be white and not black. The footwear should be black patent leather shoes, and the hat should be a gibus or an opera hat, that is to say, a collapsible top hat.

This type of formal evening wear is not the preserve of Britons only but is worn even in such diverse countries as Japan and Brazil. So, if our High Commissioner was clad in this manner when presenting his credentials at the Court of St. James, Sri Lanka should indeed be proud of him!

Colonel R. Harindran (retired)
Colombo 3

Pensioners and the poor could have benefited from Rs. 500 million wasted in Games bid
When considering the colossal amount of money spent on the failed bid to host the Commonwealth Games extravaganza, the old adage, “It is folly to be wise where ignorance is bliss”, comes immediately to mind.

After spending nearly Rs. 500 million on this unsuccessful exercise, the Governor of the Central Bank, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, boasts that by contesting the image of Sri Lanka has been highlighted among world leaders. The sole intention, according to Mr. Cabraal, was to bring in more funds as investments and bolster the Sri Lanka economy by hosting these games. That too, in the year 2018, six years in the future, by which time a good number of the politicians who clamour to boost their egos, rather than to bring in prosperity, would be not among the living.All this tax-payers’ money was spent in a failed attempt to host the Games at Hambantota, and has only gone to fatten the image of some front-line runners who organised this lost cause, not for anticipated national development.

The Caribbean Carnival is over, and the more than 160 lucky delegates who took part in this wild-goose chase must be reminiscing about their trip at the poor rate payers’ expense. Surely this enormous sum of money, wasted in vain, could have been spent on a worthy cause, to improve the lives of the downtrodden masses or to bring some relief to the poor pensioners who undergo untold hardships with their meagre pensions.

Sri Lanka became famous in the world community when Sirimavo Dias Bandaranaike became the world’s first woman Prime Minister. Of late, Sri Lanka was the focus among world leaders when President Mahinda Rajapaksa annihilated the Tamil Tigers, ably assisted by his brother Gotabaya Rajapakse and the able Army Commander Sarath Fonseka.

With his proven ability, the President should have been more prudent before engaging in this lavish exercise. Let us hope that saner counsel will prevail among our politicians in future.

Lionel Caldera

Wood and cane would make good vegetable containers
Much confusion and concern has arisen from the order to transport vegetables, fruits and other products exclusively in plastic crates. The farmers’ and the transporters’ problems should also be considered. While there may be an advantage in transporting produce in plastic containers, the authorities should also consider other types of container, made of materials other than plastic.
Wooden containers are less costly, and can be turned out by a village carpenter. For many young people, this could open up a new avenue in a small sector manufacturing. Baskets made of local cane or even imported cane would also make good containers for produce.

In the early Eighties, a few organisations turned out wooden crates to transport bottled products. A few entrepreneurs and some banks provided loans under the SMI loan scheme operating at the time.
Considering the plight of the vegetable producer, who has a low income and few alternatives. More time should be given to resolve the problem.

Kasi Silva
Via email

Numbering Expressway junctions is the way to go
At last Sri Lanka has its first, long overdue Expressway, which is already proving a tremendous success. However, to bring the roadway to international standards, a few things need to be considered.
All international motorways, highways and expressways have inter- section numbers, known as junction numbers, to identify the exits. These numbered junctions are a great help when you are planning a trip or directing someone to a destination. Simply mention the number of the junction as the place to turn off the highway, instead of using a long winding name.

Up to now, our E01 Highway has only eight junctions. These can be numbered 1 to 8. Motorists remember a number more readily than a long-sounding name. Once the highway is extended to Matara and Hambantota, there will be many more junctions to remember.

I wish to make another point. Motorcycles are totally banned on the Sri Lanka highway. As a frequent motorway user abroad, I noticed that motorcycles are allowed, and are quite capable of reaching highway speeds. Although mopeds are banned, motorcycles of more than 100 ccs are allowed on British motorways, and powerful motorbikes ply the US expressways.

D. Kulasiri Ranaweera
Pelawatta, Battaramulla

Name Park Street after Ray Wijewardene
The first death anniversary of Vidyajothi Dr. Ray Wijewardene was observed on December 13. The late Dr. Wijewardene was the inventor of the now popular hand tractor, then known as the “Landmaster.”
While still a schoolboy, attending S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia, Ray Wijewardene built his first aircraft – a “flying flea” of French design – using material he found at home.

In 1960, Ray built a miniature one-man auto gyro that could be dismantled and packed into two bags.
Ray Wijewardene was on the boards of many institutions, and was Chairman of the Tea Research Institute (TRI) and Vice Chancellor of the Moratuwa University. It would be a worthy tribute to this great son of Sri Lanka if Park Street, where he lived, is renamed “Dr. Ray Wijewardene Mawatha.”

Sujeewa Panapitiya

Dissecting animals put Ray off Medicine
Ashok Ferrey's account of Ray Wijewardene cooling his four postered canopy bed with the unit of a domestic fridge evoked a memory. Mr. Wijewardene had designed and invented the world's first two-wheeled hand tractor, patented world-wide as the Landmaster.

I was assigned the product for Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations. Browns would handle the sales along with their money-spinner, Massey Ferguson tractors. When he donated in 1963 a cardiac machine to the General Hospital in memory of his eminent surgeon-father, I was at hand for the presentation ceremony.

When the white cloth covering the body of a person in the operating theatre was removed, I observed several tubes protruding from the mouth and nostrils. My sensibilities were jarred and I went over to the distant wall to relieve myself of the agony. A minute later, I heard a whimper to my left. It was Ray Wijewardene. He too could not take in the scene.

It was then that he explained to me that his father had wished for him to take to Medicine.
The great man of many noble achievements could not follow in his father's footsteps because of his antipathy to dissecting frogs and mice in the school laboratory.

Sharm de Alwis
Via email

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