Dengue can be controlled only by galvanising  people The Daily Mirror editorial of July 7, about dengue control is timely and urgent. It is an absolute truth that dengue can be controlled only through the participation of the citizens. It should be a multi-pronged, sustained, 24 hour vigil by every single citizen of the country. [...]

The Sunday Times Sri Lanka



Dengue can be controlled only by galvanising  people
The Daily Mirror editorial of July 7, about dengue control is timely and urgent.

It is an absolute truth that dengue can be controlled only through the participation of the citizens. It should be a multi-pronged, sustained, 24 hour vigil by every single citizen of the country. If not the plan is doomed to fail. If we could eradicate Malaria surely we can conquer dengue too.

First of all there must be continuous education of the masses to bring about awareness of the danger of dengue. It is a disease which affects people irrespective of age, social status, area and immune status of the individual. It can only be eradicated by eradicating the mosquito menace.

Every single household, school, office and institute must be  reminded to look for possible breeding areas  of mosquitoes each morning before starting work. All radio stations, TV stations, newspapers and any other mass media must remind people of the danger and preventive methods. The country must be flooded with posters, leaflets and reminders in whatever way possible.

The campaign obviously has to be coupled with proper garbage disposal and looking out for breeding locations of the mosquitos. Housewives will be the best contenders along with other members of the family.

Many more public health workers have to be on the field to check on common areas and rather than hauling people into courts or giving  spot fines, persuasion of cleaning up and maintaining a clean environment must take precedence. Each lane, each area must be persuaded, for the residents to co-operate to take responsibility to look after their areas.

There are many plants which ward off mosquitoes and they are not expensive. People must be persuaded to grow them in their gardens. Sometime back a schoolboy came up with an ingenious, inexpensive method of controlling the breeding of mosquitoes using a plastic bottle cut into two. It was talked about highly and then the idea was dumped. Why not resurrect this novel way of killing off all mosquitoes?

Fumigation and spraying malathion are ineffective temporary measures. Similarly mosquito coils, mosquito mats or nets cannot actually help in total eradication.

This is a national menace so the nation must come forward to eradicate it.   This cannot be achieved by a few individuals or few departments. It cannot be sustained by an anti dengue week or anti dengue month. It can only be achieved by a long  term sustained effort by the government itself encouraging the whole nation to be part of it.

It sounds  hard but it is not – not if we put our heart into it.

Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai

Sickening state of state hospital toilets

I wish to bring to the kind notice of the authorities the condition of the toilets in all government hospitals.These hospitals are in a really filthy state, not cleaned and maintained properly.We come out with all sorts of infections if we use these toilets.

It is only the wealthy class of citizens in our country who can afford to enter private hospitals and all others have to seek entry to government hospitals. As a result the ordinary people of the country have to seek entry to private hospitals, that charge very unreasonable rates even at the cost of pawning their valuables.

If the toilets in government hospitals are clean and well maintained we will all definitely not hesitate to enter the government hospitals for treatment.

Why can’t the authorities ensure that hospital  toilets are cleaned at least thrice a day? They should be disinfected and maintained in a hygienic condition.

The doctors in charge of wards and the hospital director are basically responsible, to maintain these toilets in a hygienic condition, so that we, the citizens could patronise these hospitals.

Another question is why cannot the government control the charges of private hospitals ?

Even the Minister of Health is responsible.

But who cares? These politicians have the facility to travel abroad and enter very high class hospitals at the expense of public funds even for minor ailments!

Brig.Neville Fernando
Via email

We should learn from former colonial masters on how to hold a referendum

Whatever the outcome of the UK leaving the European Union the people of UK displayed that they are a vibrant democracy. Democracy at its best.

This is a good lesson from our colonial masters that we can emulate. The controversy that was there for sometime (whether UK should remain in the European Union) was referred to the people for a decision.

They campaigned for over three  months and it was mostly peaceful with the two mainstream parties supporting the remain campaign. However formidable the Conservatives and Labour parties were, the Independents were able to win an exit vote.

We should feel ashamed when we compare how we conducted ourselves during the infamous referendum we held in 1983.

Mrs. I. Weerasinghe
Via email

Volkswagen cars from Kuliyapitiya factory would be fine for MPs

Further to I. Marambe’s letter in the Sunday Times of July 3 asking MPs to learn from their counterparts from India and UK, if I remember correct the government only delayed the decision to import cars till the end of the year. Once the year is over we will see the BMWs, Benzes on the road.

We were also told that very soon Volkswagen cars will roll out from the Kuliyapitiya factory. Why not give free Volkswagen cars to all the MP s without discrimination? My own experience in using a Volkswagen car for more than ten years was that the cost of its maintenance was low and it was  a hardy car ideally suited for MPs to travel to their backward electorates.The public will gladly endorse this suggestion .

If the Volkswagen car coming out from Kuliyapitiya is a Beetle then it does not need water to cool the engine.

Via email

Dhanak: Have a re-run of this must-see family movie during the holidays

The article carried on “Dhanak” in the Sunday Times Magazine a fortnight ago prompted  my sister and I (two elderly ladies) to watch this children’s movie screened at Liberty Lite. We were so glad we made that spontaneous decision to go that Tuesday morning because it is such a wonderful film not only for the young but also for the whole family.

We enjoyed the dances, the vibrantly colourful  Rajasthani costumes and the humour which kept everyone laughing all through. It was a treat to see the natural environment of Rajasthan.

Projecting trust in a world of goodness, the story touches everyone’s heart. It is fascinating to watch how Chatu, a cheerful,cheeky and high-spirited visually impaired  eight-year- old boy is totally cared for by Pari,  his 10-year- old sister. She is his eyes and his best friend.

From the time of the parents’ demise the two children were taken care of by their paternal uncle and his wife. Though the uncle is kind to them, the aunt is not.

After seeing a poster where Shahrukh Khan had appealed to people  to donate  their eyes, Pari is determined to meet Shahrukh Khan with the hope of fulfilling her promise to Chatu that he will see on his ninth  birthday.

One night Pari decides to run away taking Chatu in search of Sharukh Khan so they  walk for miles and miles in vast Rajasthan with utter determination. In their long travels, they meet so many different people  -some who help them and some who cheat them– Somehow the two innocent children are magically protected and ultimately Pari is able to fulfil her promise to her brother .

‘Dhanak’ has won a number of awards, proof  of how good a film it is and naturally credit must go to Nagesh Kukunoor, the main man behind “Dhanak” and to Manish Mundra, and Elahe Hiptoola as well.

“Dhanak” is full of goodness and humanity and obviously will influence the young minds. It would be good if school authorities encourage their students to see it. Re-runs during the holiday season in July/August woud enable families to enjoy it all together.

Via email

An unwarranted concrete construction in the middle of the road

The Mattakkuliya Colombo Road has been widened to connect the Hendala road, parallel to the Colombo- Negombo main Road, to meet the development needs of the area. Although it will be a blessing to ease traffic once it is completed, construction has been delayed considerably.

Road users and traffic police manning traffic in the morning and evening know very well that the heavy flow of traffic in the morning is towards Colombo-Fort and evenings towards Hendala-Negombo. Knowing this situation the police allow additional flow on either side depending on the need of the hour.

However even before the road has been completed, a hurried paved concrete construction has come up in the middle of the road dividing it, taking road space and depriving the police of using an additional lane on either side to allow a smooth flow of traffic during peak times. This action will compromise the very purpose of widening the road, since the road is now likely to have a single lane, as most often vehicles park on either side of the road. This concrete divider is also a waste of money. The middle white line segregating the left and right lanes would have been sufficient. It is practical and found to be successful on many Colombo roads.

We request the RDA and the authorities concerned to reconsider this unwanted concrete construction on the middle of the road.

A. Weerasekera
Via email

The way we treat our ‘servants’!

Politicians say they are the servants of the people.

How we treat our servants is a world record. This should go to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Even the very rich countries of the world do not treat their servants like we treat our servants.

We travel by bus and we provide our servants the most expensive cars in the world.

When we are sick we go to the nearest government hospital. But when our servants are sick they can go to the best hospitals in the world.

Some of us are paid a monthly salary of Rs. 30,000. But to maintain one of our servants we spend about Rs 40 lakhs a month.

For a holiday we hire a van and go to Anuradhapura or Kataragama with our family and spend about Rs 30,000 as our total expenses. But our servants go to Singapore or Thailand for holidays.

We live in a house where the rent is about Rs. 15,000 a month. But for our servants we spend several lakhs of rupees per month to provide a house.

Our servants’ telephone bills, electricity bills, water bills, etc  are paid by the people.

But we have to pay all our bills.

Is this the correct way of keeping servants? If you think it is, let us continue this system.

If you think this is not correct, let us change this system to a more reasonable and a better one.

D. Weeratunga

What a welcome change it was to have such a deputy minister as chief guest

We had the privilege of having Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Harsha de Silva as the Chief Guest at the 6th Anniversary Celebration of the Lanka Association of Building Services held on June 11.

We were informed by the  Minister’s office that Dr. de Silva would arrive at 6.15 p.m for the meeting scheduled to start at 6.30 p.m. While we were waiting at the main entrance to the hotel to receive the Deputy Minister, he arrived in his car, seated in the front seat, with no escort vehicles, blaring horns and pushing all other road users out, possibly with just one backup vehicle which too was pretty inconspicuous.

After arriving at the function, the Deputy Minister patiently waited till the function started at the scheduled time. When his turn came to make the Chief Guest’s speech, he delivered a brilliant, totally a-political and very appropriate speech which also outlined the need to have a direction in which the country should go with respect to economic and other policies.

At the conclusion of the meeting, Silva excused himself as he had to attend to another function. When we escorted the  Deputy Minister back, it was found that there was a minor delay for the vehicle to arrive.

At this point Dr. de Silva requested us to return to the function to continue with the rest of the activities and that he would wait in the lobby till the vehicle arrived. Our insistence that we wait till he  left was very politely,  but firmly, turned down and we had to go back leaving the Deputy Minister by himself and waiting for his vehicle seated in the lobby of the hotel like any ordinary citizen would do.

Wijitha Perera
Via email

Even in these times, there are angels of mercy among us

It was  the morning of January 25, this year.  My son Dilip told his wife Niranjali  that he  had an appointment with the  British Council  and that he was going there  by bus.  The next thing she knew she was receiving a phone call from an unknown caller to say “A gentleman has collapsed on the road  near the British Council. Can you come immediately?”  She contacted my daughter and they both left at once to Colpetty.

Later, we found that the staff of two offices near the British Council has seen my son collapse and had rushed to the scene to try to be of assistance.  First they had contacted the police and also tried to send my son in a vehicle to the hospital. Then because of the urgency of the situation, one of them took his phone from the pouch at his waist, saw a number that said “Home”, and dialled immediately. They also dialled the last number dialled on his phone  and informed that person through which a doctor friend of theirs was also contacted and sent to the scene.

Meanwhile a policeman passing by had dispatched my son to the Accident Service of the National Hospital  in a three wheeler. When my daughter and daughter-in-law arrived at the scene, they were informed of this and the policeman handed over all his possessions to them.  When they arrived at the hospital they were informed of my son’s death. (We were told after the post mortem, that   a blood clot had entered his lung, and when that happens the person cannot breathe, and that this often results in immediate death.)   The trishaw driver and a policeman stayed with them till evening to assist them in all the official inquiries that had to be done. The police officer assured them he would help to clear all the paper work that day itself so that my son’s body would not have to be kept overnight in the mortuary.

The purpose of this letter is to spread the word around, that in this world we live in,  a world filled with so many incidents of murder, rape, abductions, theft from vulnerable people and other atrocities,  there are people who are indeed angels of mercy who have a strong sense of civic consciousness. The shock of my son’s death was severe and we cannot understand why it had to happen. But we are comforted that in his last moments he had people around who tried to help him and that no one tried to harm him or take advantage of his helpless situation.  I thank the God above for protecting him from all harm.  We who are left, myself, his wife, my other son,  and my two daughters, and all who knew and loved him, console ourselves that he is now in a far better place and we will be together with him again and till then God will be with us in our time of sorrow.

Therese Motha
Via email

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