Diet sheet for parliamentarians The media carried a news item describing the eating habits of Buddhist monks. Bear in mind that they have just one meal a day. I wish to comment on the “spread” our representatives get for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea during Parliamentary sittings. Breakfast comprises hoppers, string hoppers, pittu and bread, and the [...]

The Sundaytimes Sri Lanka

Letters to the Editor


Diet sheet for parliamentarians

The media carried a news item describing the eating habits of Buddhist monks. Bear in mind that they have just one meal a day.

I wish to comment on the “spread” our representatives get for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea during Parliamentary sittings. Breakfast comprises hoppers, string hoppers, pittu and bread, and the curries that go with them. Ninety per cent of the people of this country have these items for their breakfast and even dinner.

We understand that Parliamentarians are asking for things like cornflakes and imported bees’ honey. Not long ago, these very persons were eating stale bread and a pol sambol, and perhaps a banana at most, for breakfast.

Millions go to sleep without a proper meal, while our Parliamentary “chappies”, forgetful of their past and blasting the Western world at every opportunity, are following Western lifestyles.

How about a vegetarian diet for our Representatives, and a jogging session on Parliament grounds?

Gamaya, Malabe

Moral recovery is need of the hour

What this country needs now, more than ever before, is a revival of the M.R.A. – the Moral Re-Armament Movement – the international moral and spiritual movement started in 1938 by Frank Buchman. Since 2001, the movement has been known as Initiatives of Change.

At a meeting of 3,000 in pre-war London, on May 29, 1938, Frank Buchman launched his Moral Re-Armament campaign with these words: “The crisis is fundamentally a moral one. The nations must re-arm morally. Moral recovery is essentially the forerunner of economic recovery. Moral recovery creates not crisis but confidence and unity in every phase of life.”

It is not easy in these times to find individuals completely insulated from any kind of politics, people who stand up for right, people who are unbiased. People are saying that this is a country “WHERE WEALTH ACCUMULATES AND ONLY MAN IS VILE.”

Delays to address our moral turpitude will only spell DOOM.

Prince Casinader, Batticaloa

Who should pay for mistakes in the NIC?

Every Sri Lankan adult should have an NIC, or National Identity Card. This may be one reason the Postal Identity Card, issued once upon a time by the Post & Telecommunication Department, has become worthless. Except for students taking the GCE O/Level, no one bothers to obtain a Postal Identity Card.
I still have a family member’s 57-year-old Postal Identity Card, issued on June 28, 1955, and which expired on June 27, 1958.

To obtain an NIC, you have to submit an application form obtained from a Grama Sevaka. The applicant must also submit copies of his/her birth certificate and photographs. The birth certificate is needed to check whether the name, date of birth, place of birth have been filled in correctly.

A few weeks later the applicant receives his/her NIC and the copy of the original birth certificate, only to find that the name is not written as it is in the birth certificate. The application form was filled in Sinhala. After going through the form, the Grama Sevaka, put in his signature. Are those who work in the NIC department unable to read Sinhala? Are they all English educated?

They should have some sense of responsibility and take an interest in their work. They must not forget that they are public servants. The applicant has to submit a fresh application to get an NIC. Will the NIC Department cover the cost of getting a new NIC?

M. S. M. Farook, Rammalaka

A woman’s place in Buddhahood

I wish to make a few points with reference to the letter headed “Attaining Buddhahood : Is gender an obstacle?” (Sunday Times Plus, December 2). The writer asks, “Is gender an obstacle to becoming a Buddha?”  May I re-phrase the question thus:  “Can a woman attain Buddhahood  in a life as a woman?” The answer, according to the Buddha Dhamma, is no.  In clarifying this position, one can do no better than quote from the Bahudhatuka sutta of Majjima Nikaya.

In this sutta,  Samma Sambuddha responds to a series of questions posed by Ven.  Ananda on how a bhikkhu could become skilled.  One of the questions was about what is possible and what is impossible.  Among phenomena described as “impossible” is the question of women becoming a Buddha.  The reply went thus: “He understands,  it is impossible, it cannot happen that a woman could be an Accomplished One, a Fully Enlightened One – there is no such possibility.”

In explanation, Ven. Bhikku Bodhi noted that “this statement asserts only that a fully Enlightened Buddha always has the male sex but does not deny that a person who is now a woman may become a Fully Enlightened Buddha in the future. To do so, however, she will have had to be reborn a man” (Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha). In the context of suffering in Sansara, the gender issue pales into insignificance.
The manner of respect extended by a nun to a monk was the first of eight conditions Samma Sambudda  imposed on nuns before permitting the establishment of the Nun’s Order.

 Mantriratna Panditha, Colombo 8 

Every day is like doomsday for us poor pensioners

The December issue of “Sahana”, the official monthly bulletin of the All Ceylon Government Pensioners’ Association, highlighted the solemn pledges made to rectify the pension anomaly of the pre-2006 pensioners. The bulletin also referred to the assurance President Mahinda Rajapaksa gave when he invited pensioners to Temple Trees a few years back. It also referred to the niggardly pension increase given in the last Budget.

There is no reason to doubt the President’s sincerity in what he says. I read the Wanasundara and Seneviratna and Ekanayake reports, which recommended a pension increase corresponding to the salary increase of Government Servants. That was at the end of 2007.

Those who sit in the Grand House by the Diyawanna Oya do not feel the pangs of hunger. They enjoy beef, mutton, pork, imported golden syrup, premium brand cornflakes, Australian honey, Silver Tips Green Tea, and so on, all paid for by the tax-payer. Politicians and their children travel in a Lamborghini, while we suffer “bada gini” (hunger pains).

Politicians shamelessly spend public money on themselves, with no thought for the masses languishing in misery. Senior citizens who fall sick cannot afford life-saving medication. Medicines have reached dizzy heights. An ECG costs Rs.2,500. Those who retired before January 1, 2006 cannot survive. A staff officer who retired before this date receives a monthly pension equal to the monthly salary of a peon who worked under him.

I expected to become extinct with the Mayan Apocalypse Doomsday. I thought the world would end on December 21, and with it the travails and traumas of modern day living. Alas, that was not to be.
Penurious pensioners, you will have to keep agitating and crying for a better morrow.

Nanda Nanayakkara, Matara

Interpreting the Constitution is Judiciary’s privilege 

We are keen spectators of the tussle going on between the Judiciary and the Legislature. As laymen we know that Sovereignty lies with the people of Sri Lanka. We cannot all sit in Parliament, so we exercise our sovereignty by electing representatives. As a safeguard, we have enacted a Constitution to ensure good governance. We expect our elected representatives to work within the framework of the Constitution.

As a further safeguard, we have entrusted to the Judiciary the interpretation of the Constitution in case of disputes. However, it appears that our elected representatives have taken over the task of interpreting the Constitution. Our delegates say that they are supreme, not the Judiciary, and are therefore not prepared to accept interpretations given by the Judiciary.

Where do we stand now as a people who exercise sovereignty? If the Parliament is above the Judiciary and is not bound to accept judicial decisions, then should we as the people who exercise sovereignty accept judicial decisions and appear in courts when summoned? Surely, we are supreme, and without us none of these institutions would be there.

A. G. Weerasinghe, Gangodawila

Share This Post

comments powered by Disqus

Advertising Rates

Please contact the advertising office on 011 - 2479521 for the advertising rates.