Time to think how our education system has served us and failed us “It is dangerous to be too good,” said Sir Winston Churchill on the untimely demise of Mahatma Gandhi. In the process of the current agitation what would have happened if force was used at Janadhipathi Mandiraya, the stately residence of the Executive [...]


Letters to the Editor


Time to think how our education system has served us and failed us

“It is dangerous to be too good,” said Sir Winston Churchill on the untimely demise of Mahatma Gandhi.

In the process of the current agitation what would have happened if force was used at Janadhipathi Mandiraya, the stately residence of the Executive President of Sri Lanka? It would have secured the safety of a centuries-old historical building of the first citizen of the country.

If such a criminal intrusion was at a private residence, the resident has every right to shoot the invader under the penal law of the land in self-defence.

This basic defensive action was not taken by the Executive President of our country. Remember his directive to his personal security cadres “Don’t shoot”.

The security forces had the option to militarily contain the Aragalaya, which were demanding that the Executive President resign. The Aragalaya succeeded for 100 days due to the fact that it was sanctioned by associations of professionals and targeted the weaknesses of people.

The incessant demand made to the government by arrogant protesters to give and give and give forever (Diyaw, Diyaw syndrome… a chronic behavioural syndrome) everything free of charge from womb to tomb with no contribution, shows the weakness of the people at large.

On July 9, 2022,  what did we show the world? Where were our years of free education since 1944 spending billions of rupees? The Mahajanaya was certainly not dressed nor did they look like beggars or paupers. They were a section of our society.

The educated youth thought that our national flag was a covering sheet. Teachers, what values did we teach our nation? At the very least, to respect our national flag? Or to get a few more marks at grade 5 or to get the correct Z score at the university entrance.

Never mind getting out of the university even after nine years, our well-meaning government will fund and send these students as leaders to topple the government. After spending billions of rupees on free education, we perceive that we have built a nation which cannot appreciate a painting, cannot respect other people’s property or even has no respect for our own national flag.

We must think twice about our education, how much it has served us and how much it has failed.

Sita Yahampath  Via email

Historic Nuwara Eliya  Church that the Queen visited is 170 years

The Holy Trinity Church in Nuwara Eliya is celebrating its 170th anniversary today with a special service of thanksgiving this morning at 9.

Construction work on the church was completed in 1852 by the members of the local garrison of the 15th Regiment under the supervision of Major James Bunker and the church was consecrated by Bishop James Chapman in the same year.

Since past members of the Hill Club, Nuwara Eliya, are buried in the church graveyard, there is much interest shown by the club in the maintenance work of the churchyard and the garden.

Along with the exodus of British planters after independence there were foreseeable changes taking place in the clubs and churches mostly to the strict rules that had been in place to safeguard the interests and traditions of the British.

One significant change was dispensing with the ‘seat holder system’ . Today, people from all walks of life, from any community can worship in this church, side by side.

The pipe organ which is still in use at the church was donated by two Garrison officers.  Two of their grandchildren who are RÁF officers have been coming over to Sri Lanka periodically to carry out maintenance work on the organ at their own cost and expense. The antique pipe organ still plays beautifully. Mrs Loos who was a Roman Cathólic played the organ for many years and today, a few interested young worshippers carry on the tradition.

During her last visit to Sri Lanka, Queen Elizabeth II visited the Holy Trinity Church and the beautiful stained glass window she gifted in memory of her visit was installed in the side chapel.

A lively Tamil congregation functions alongside the English/Sinhalese congregation and a united tri-lingual service is held every month.

The Vicar of the Church is Rev. Charles David.

Brian Perera  Via email

No system will work due to limited fuel sent to sheds and rationing

Kanchana Wijesekera continues to hold the important Ministry of Power and Energy.  His latest introduction of the so-called Fuel Pass QR Code follows previous attempts to bring in some system to fuel distribution –  a token system, number plate and now this.

The Minister proudly announced that more than three million vehicle users had registered for the QR system.

Yet although vehicle drivers accepted the idea, shed workers who were not aware of using smart phones to check on the QR code, pumped fuel according to the number plate system with the allocated last digit on the relevant days of the week. It was only after four days from July 25 that the QR code was made mandatory for the last digit.

On Friday, July 22, my vehicle having the last digit 6, I drove to the closest shed (Ceypetco) and joined the queue. News was that the bowser had reached the shed around 11 a.m. I patiently waited in a slow moving queue till 8 p.m. and was about 200 metres from the shed when the news came that the fuel at the shed was over.  Cars, three-wheelers and motorcycles who were in the queue turned back to their homes, including myself –  83 years old.

When I was in the queue, I noted that around 6 p.m., another parallel queue was building up to obtain fuel for the following day.

My days to get fuel are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  I would have been in the queue on Monday 25th, but very long queues had already formed at all the sheds in Moratuwa from Sunday 24th, so I decided, considering my age not to join the queue.

My car has a fuel tank of 45 litres. Before these problems occurred I used to fill my tank and use the petrol for a month. But with this rationing system I receive for Rs 7,000 only 15.5 litres which is 1/3 rd the capacity of my fuel tank. So it is natural that a large majority of vehicle owners will be in the queues on the allocated days.

So Mr Minister, though your intention was to provide fuel for vehicles without queues it is unfeasible due to the limited quantity of fuel sent to the sheds and also rationing the amount of fuel to be given to vehicles. This results in the vehicles joining the queues in the 2 or 3 days allocated.

Announcements of fuel ships arriving on certain dates is of no use, unless regular delivery is established providing sufficient fuel to satisfy users and thus preventing fuel mafias siphoning fuel and selling a litre at Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000.

This rationing system
causing queues has resulted in:

1) 25 persons dead in queues.

2) Seven lakhs without employment.

3) Nine lakhs of families who had three meals a day now reduced to only one meal, causing malnutrition to the children.

4) Three wheeler drivers dependent on their daily earnings for their families cut off.

5) Power cuts daily extending more than 3 hours causing losses in export affecting factories, hotels and restaurants, thus causing loss in export earnings.

6) The tourist industry ruined, unable to earn valuable dollars.

 Eng. B.R.O. Fernando  Via email

The destructive Executive Presidential system must go

 The much controversial ceding not only of the presidency but the country as well by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who apparently messed up everything under his authoritarian rule, is definite food for thought to all patriotic citizens and professionals to seriously consider the damaging and destructive effects on both the country and its citizens of the present Executive Presidential (EP) system.

Late President J.R. Jayewardene who pioneered the introduction of EP in Sri Lanka, once proclaimed that the powers vested in him were such that he only could not make a man a woman and a woman a man!

It is quite obvious now that the so-called ‘super powers’ have been widely misused during the last four decades or so by most past presidents, resulting  in the present perilous economic situation –  massive foreign and local debts and untold hardships which we all experience in full measure at this moment in time.

Also, almost all past presidential candidates were vociferous opponents of the EP during their election campaigns but once victorious, always found reasons and causes to continue with it! Moreover, the Sri Lankan constitution has been tinkered with as many as 20 amendments already, to satisfy mostly the whims and fancies of the presidents in power. Sri Lanka with its presidential system has become another classic example of how not to govern a country!

In short, the priority at the moment for both the new President and the new government, no doubt, would be to ease the suffering of the people as much as possible by providing adequate supplies of the basic essentials like gas, fuel, power, medicine, fertilizer, milk food etc.

Secondly, as a prelude to abolishing the EP, the provisions in the 19th Amendment should be reactivated as early as possible during this interim period.

With general elections predicted no sooner the country reaches a semblance of stability, it would also be very simple and cost effective to conduct simultaneously a referendum to decide on the EP, as required by the constitution.

The results of such a referendum are a foregone conclusion as the majority of citizens already want it abolished which would compel the new government or for that matter even the opposition, to provide the necessary two thirds majority in Parliament as required respecting the sovereignty of the people.

That could be the first and foremost major system change to begin with.

M.R. Pathirage  Kolonnawa

Renewing FDs: CBSL has to be more senior citizen-friendly

In some developing countries and especially in developed countries in the West, caring for elders is a top priority. These countries have put in place various methods to make the life of senior citizens more pleasant and hassle-free.

There are ramps in every public building for wheelchair users. Even in public transport, buses are fitted for the convenience of senior citizens.

But sad to say, in Sri Lanka, senior citizens are given step-motherly treatment. Can a wheelchair user be taken in public transport? How many public buildings can they access? How many banks have the facilities to attend to those in wheelchairs?

As if the sufferings of the seniors are not enough, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has added to their anxiety by asking senior citizens to come personally to the bank to renew the special SS Fixed Deposits. The CBSL should first check how many banks in Sri Lanka can attend to them and have the necessary facilities for them.

Considering all the inconveniences the senior citizens have to face, the Central Bank should come up with an easy method to solve this problem.

I suggest the senior citizen authorise the particular bank in writing to renew his /her special SS Fixed Deposit. This authorisation letter could be handed over to the bank by a family member of the senior citizen.

To make things easier, perhaps the CBSL can devise a form to be filled by the account holder.

CBSL – over to you.

 B. Joseph  Hendala,Wattala


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