We should set an example before advising others. I would like to inform the people about some action taken by us on important issues. At this year’s Navam Perahera we distributed a leaflet indicating that on every full moon Poya day, we would conduct a small ‘Mal Perahera’ with the participation of children. We conducted [...]


Let us not waste, but live simply


We should set an example before advising others. I would like to inform the people about some action taken by us on important issues. At this year’s Navam Perahera we distributed a leaflet indicating that on every full moon Poya day, we would conduct a small ‘Mal Perahera’ with the participation of children. We conducted this Perahera on March 22, but the leaflet campaign did not bring good results.

We see that in our country, people are able to take a day’s leave on Friday, have their days off on Saturday and Sunday, taken another holiday on Monday and have five full days off with the Poya holiday on Tuesday March 22.
It is not just in March. But in other months too, people take a day or two leave and enjoy a long holiday.
There is freedom to live a life of leisure. To be rich is also leisure. If you speak to people working in hotels, they say they get a bigger ‘tip’ from locals than from foreigners. We are glad to hear that. To give or donate is something meritorious. During Vesak and Poson we see a Dansal at every corner.

We were involved in some development work at Urumutta in Akuressa 36 years ago. At that time people hunted pig, iguanas and peacock and other animals and ate their flesh. Today it is not happening. There is a devale in honour of the deity Rajjurubandara and thousands of devotees attend service every Poya. They believe their needs are met there. When I went there on March 22, I saw many small Dansal on the way. They prepared lunch with 40 to 50 bags of rice and had a rice Dansala. They offered the Dansala like offering a Dana to the Maha Sangha. My meal too tasted nice.

We have religious ceremonies in all parts of the country. Saadu! But there was also some bad news. On March 23, the ‘Lankadeepa’ reported that a 65-year-old mother was raped the whole night in a field at Mattegoda. The same day another paper reported how a man had raped a daughter with the help of a friend. The girl’s grandmother had also helped them. Are these news items correct? But since details of the Grama Niladharis are given, we are compelled to believe them. Such crimes are happening in Sri Lanka. If so, we should punish the miscreants to protect the children and elderly.

We grow up from our infancy with the help of our elders. We should be grateful to them. If we forget to show gratitude, it will be disaster for us. If you cut a tree you must plant not one but several in its place. We have the means to do so. In certain countries at funeral houses people fry and eat pumpkin seeds. They say pumpkin has a soothing effect to drown your sorrow. That may be the reason why we have a pumpkin dish at funeral houses.

In earlier days people dried and preserved items like jak seeds and pods and made use of them as food later. We must learn to preserve items like jak, coconut, breadfruit and use these as food. Sri Lanka is perhaps the only country where people wait for almost everything from the Government. It was a blessing when they did away with the ‘coupon’ and the ‘rice ration book’. The Government should not levy excessive taxes on essentials but tax in such a way that it will not cause additional burden to the ordinary people.

Many farmers benefited by the fertilizer subsidy. There were many who made ‘quick money’ from this. Fertilizer can be made out of dolomite, phosphate, sea shells from the beach, lime sea sand, river sand, soil, vegetable matter, animal and human refuse, discarded food material and so on. If the Government wants to do away with the fertilizer subsidy it should do so, just as it did away with the rice ration book. The Government should educate the farmer on how to use alternative organic fertilizer.
We import our household implements and tools such as mammoties, axes, knives and so on. They have no quality certification. The Government should revive blacksmith workshops which have gone into ruin and encourage them to function. Then in a few months we can produce our own household tools.

Today a coconut sapling is Rs. 100. Other plants too are the same. There is a move to remove the local seeds and growing material from the market. From the tiny plant all planting material is imported. Jasmine that is required for weddings, funerals is now being imported from India or Thailand. Money to import these is spent out of funds generated by our own people who are working in difficult conditions abroad.

The tourist industry can, sometimes be a white elephant. Many tourists come here and stay in houses instead of hotels. The payments for this are made to the foreign bank account of the householder. The money doesn’t come here.
There are of course honest businessmen too involved in tourism. We don’t need to punish everyone because of a handful of rogues who are fleecing the country. We should have some monitoring committee and tourism must generate employment. If the Government wants to develop tourism, it should increase the facilities for tourists. If any injustice is meted out to tourists, the offenders should be found and punished within 24 hours.

Many shop keepers, drivers and guides play out tourists. This should be stopped.
The Government is now saying that the nation is in debt but a good period would dawn soon. The Government should make every effort to settle the debt and make the nation debt free. Gangaramaya was instrumental in starting the GST (Goods and Services Tax). We are sorry that it is being increased to 15%. The tax was started to meet an emergency in the country then. Increasing the tax shows we are continuing to have emergencies. It is useless offering patch work solutions to problems. If there are problems, people must be properly educated and action taken.

People must be woken up from their laziness and encouraged to perform better. Private enterprise should be protected. Just because people ask for more, the Government should not direct private sector to increase salaries, but help it to increase its productivity. The Government should not impose more taxes on the private sector.

People are keen to stand on their own feet.
Let us prepare our fertilizer at home. We will then not have poison in our food. Those who preach let them say that good health is wealth. Let the clergy advice people what to do. We all regret what happened to Ven. Sobhitha Thera. We gave our advice at the time, but it was not heeded. Now he is no longer with us.

We should show a film on Felix R Dias Bandaranaike. People have forgotten what he said and did. At that time the law allowed only three sterling pounds to go abroad. But Felix Dias Bandaranaike, allegedly went to England even for a cataract operation. We should have been there then.

Let all beings be happy and live in good health. Cast away animosity and live in peace. Let us help others to settle their grievances and live in peace. Then there will be harmony. We should not only think of our vote but do our duty and develop this gem of a country. If we rise up on our own and develop without being beggars we will be successful. Simple living is necessary. Let us not spend extra for weddings and funerals but be simple. Let us not forget the younger generation. If you want our advice please write to:

No. 61, Sri Jinarathana Road, Colombo 02. Telephone 2435169, 2327084. Fax 2439508

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