MR’s supporters still beating the communal drum Few politicians in former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s clan thought that present President Maithripala Sirisena would come out of the presidential elections with a clear mandate. Or else everyone including the former president himself knew that they would lose, yet were in ‘denial’. Though his ‘Roads Economy’ was shown [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka

Letters to the Editor


MR’s supporters still beating the communal drum
Few politicians in former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s clan thought that present President Maithripala Sirisena would come out of the presidential elections with a clear mandate. Or else everyone including the former president himself knew that they would lose, yet were in ‘denial’. Though his ‘Roads Economy’ was shown as a sign of the country’s development, the country had been through a grinding economic slump, intercommunity and intra-community relations were at the lowest ebb, nepotism was at its zenith, people were tight-lipped and the whole country was in disarray.

According to the prevailing political atmosphere, it seems the UNP and its allies would win most seats at the forthcoming general elections.  The political campaign of Mahinda Rajapaksa and the opposition, as it vehemently did at the presidential elections, seems to be to rustle up the minority communities of the country with so-called ‘patriotic speeches’ by those who dragged the former president into the competition merely for their own political gain. Mahinda Rajapaksa still lets his supporters beat the same rhythm that callously eroded the vote bank of the SLFP and the coalition. The grievances of the members of both the Tamil and Muslim communities were such that they felt unwanted and cornered because of such chauvinistic statements, which finally resulted in the SLFP losing their votes.

The collapse of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government was a direct result of such chauvinistic and inflammatory speeches by his ‘golayas’ who can also be held responsible for destroying the SLFP for their personal ends. Mr. Rajapaksa’s government was preoccupied with mere survival, as these outsiders dug up trenches of intercommunal disharmony, which finally led to the minority groups leaving the party. What has happened to the support the party had from the Tamil and Muslim friends during the period of Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s regime? She had genuine love for the country and so was her love for the minority communities of the country.

President Maithripala’s vote bag was also filled by intellectuals who were disgruntled with the affairs of the previous government. The intellectuals including university lecturers laid out a credible plan at the last presidential election for educating the Sri Lankan electorate and changing their mindset so that the people could become politically aware. Though many of the adults particularly from the rural areas were not able to get rid of their emotional political ties, the youth, the cream of the nation, began thinking intelligently and became politically aware through the social media.

The UPFA’s attempts even today are to instil fear in the minds of the people by trying to show the ‘spectre of terrorism’ and fabricating unbelievable stories of the LTTE’s rise. These are indicators of how Mahinda Rajapaksa and other frontliners think of the general public. It is time they understood that people are more intelligent today and that they cannot be easily hoodwinked with empty slogans. Wanton indiscipline orchestrated by the leader and his supporters particularly during the past years boomeranged on them at the presidential election.

There’s very little difference in what Rajapaksa’s supporters do and say even today.
Anil Pagoda Arachchi

A beautiful country sullied by dirty buses and discourteous drivers, conductors
We had a marvellous time in Sri Lanka. People were very friendly. They love to offer food and were helpful wherever we went. Children with innocent smiles loved to play with us and wanted their photographs taken. We played football, cricket and went swimming with them. We loved your beaches, but it’s not clean around the beaches where rubbish is strewn resulting in an environmental hazard.

We have visited both the north an south with friends and seen how peaceful, how nice this country is. It was completely different from the stories we used to hear. My friend and I wanted to write this letter to the papers simply because we have travelled by bus and tuk tuks. But unfortunately these buses were so filthy, no wonder people fall ill and get all kinds of diseases. Most of these bus drivers were chewing betel and spitting out. Drivers and conductors wear dirty clothes and wear flip flops. The conductors clutch notes between their fingers and don’t issue tickets. If people ask for the balance, they just ignore them or abuse them.

Inside the buses, the drivers’ areas are dusty, obviously not cleaned for a long time. In this beautiful country, the government should take care of the ordinary people who travel by public transport. The buses should be cleaned, regular health inspectors should check these buses when they start in the morning for the sake of public health. The Ministry should be concerned about this. Private and state buses should show videos on how buses are clean worldwide and the courtesy of drivers and conductors towards passengers.
Love your country !
Mark and Jenny

It’s heat and sound and little light
I am a regular viewer of the news at 9 p.m. on TV. I hasten to add I do so in order to be entertained and not enlightened!
It is degrading to see the speakers, mostly ministers and their ilk, behave as they do. Dignity and eloquence are conspicuous by their absence.
They rant and rave with finger-wagging, fist-shaking and all sorts of contortions.
The more the movement, the less the content. More heat and sound than light, are thrown on the subject!
Dion J. Walles
Colombo 6

The voter and a corrupt society
The Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka specifically stipulates that the sovereignty of the country rests on the people. The voter is therefore the king maker. At every election, be it Presidential, Parliamentary, Provincial or Local Government the voter plays the most pivotal role.
We are in the midst of Parliamentary hustings. The king maker, the voter has shot in to prominence. The country has witnessed the spectacle of how this king maker who exercises his vote brings a party of a person into power. The voter fades into insignificance soon after the election. The Parliamentarian takes over and gets into the saddle.
Hitherto it has been a history of corruption and accumulation of wealth by questionable and / or ill-gotten means. This has been made possible by the voter who exercises his vote. If the party of the person builds the empire on ill-gotten money by means of this election through the vote of the voter, then it follows that the vote carries a monetary value. If so it is high time that in this corrupt-ridden society, the voter should be permitted as a democratic right, to sell his vote for valuable consideration. The voter can then call the tune before voting to auction his vote to the highest bidder and be satisfied that he has also got something in the circumstances stated above.
Therefore he can be a shareholder in a corrupt democracy since anti-corruption efforts have miserably failed in the country.
Geetha Jayasundara
Colombo 8

A heartfelt thank you for a great service

In an era where the slightest lapse in a public service institution leads to severe criticism amidst media publicity and protests while good deeds are forgotten or just taken for granted, it is nothing but fitting that the admirable work done by the Cardiology Unit of the General Hospital be acknowledged and publicly acclaimed.

My wife, amidst reservations expressed by many well meaning friends and relatives referring to the conditions and facilities available there, decided to enter the General Hospital for corrective action on a heart condition. It may also have been considered infra-dig by some, to enter the General Hospital as opposed to a private Hospital.

These reservations were proved wrong. It is with great pleasure that my wife and I wish to acknowledge the committed and selfless services provided by the hospital staff, especially the doctors and the nurses.

The preliminary tests and check-ups were done with the minimum inconvenience and delay. The processes of registration and admission were done smoothly and clinically. There was strict discipline in managing visiting times and patient care. The attention to detail and the cheerful enthusiasm and professionalism shown by the doctors and the nursing staff would make any Sri Lankan proud of the human resources in the medical profession within the public sector.

While running the risk of being castigated if one mishap were to take place, every aspect of the hospitalization, treatment and discharge of the patient has to be carried out with a great deal of precision. People rarely seem to appreciate the fact that doctors do not have a life of their own. In between the interviewing of the patients, to diagnosing their cases precisely; conducting necessary tests; doing their ward rounds and attending to emergency and critical patients at all times of night and day, they seem to have very little time for family lives. This was not only our observation but also the consensus of opinion among the other patients of the ward at the time.

A special bouquet to all the senior doctors at the Cardiology Unit who were professional, dedicated and caring. Unfortunately individual names cannot be mentioned due to ethical reasons.
Desmond Z. de Silva


 Shell comb to forget Silver severe half sarees stumbled, 

Along weirs of the field,
A line of cranes raised their naked feet
Freshened dew drops,
To their heaven;
The sacred hut of mud and daub, ringed
by mountains.

The bell went, hands at forehead like
a bud of lotus,
Following their master with utmost respect,
Ready for the next, heard the rustling;
At once all on feet, appeared in front;
The Omniscient Hero,
‘Ayubowan Mahatmaya’ chanted in chorus
‘Ayubowan Lamai’ realized each at a glance,
The shell comb glistened in their eyes,
With loving respect.
They turned to their schedule with
the splendid voice.

The so-called uniforms pour out,
From the iron cart like a flock of rooks,
To the nosiest ‘concrete kingdom’,
Pealed all over the Pali stanzas with the bell,
They whispered….
The so-called teacher enters,
With all embroidery and masks,
Says ‘good morning’ adjusting the folds,
Sound the same pinching another.

Suneetha Padmini Pathirana


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