The Sunday Times on the Web Letters to the Editor

17th May 1998


The government's favourite bogeyman

I read your report on the Army's recruitment plans over and over again. I cannot see anything in your article that the government should have taken umbrage and fussed so much over.

It is the norm for governments (UNP or PA) to always blame the press for their incompetence. Unfortunately that is what was/is happening in this country. Just as the UNP under J.R. Jayawardene and Premadasa blamed the free media particularly "The Island" and "Times", it seems that "The Sunday Times" is also this government's favourite bogeyman. Tsk Tsk.

It is normal in countries at war including the United States to hold recruitment drives for school leavers. There is no need for a government to explain that to anyone. It is their prerogative to carry out recruitment drives whenever and wherever they deem it necessary.

Your article reported last Sunday(3rd May) that the schools were targeted to recruit school leavers quite clearly.

If the dastardly Tamil Tigers misreported it, then the Foreign Ministry, and the Govt (mis) Information Departments should have acted fast and instantly to check, verify, re-read the original report, and issue a counter attack immediately. It is always the Tigers who send little children to their deaths and not our boys.

We who have lived in the west (who spent some of our own resources countering Tiger propaganda), know how many canards the Tigers spread every day.

The Propaganda personnel of the Government must constantly be on their toes, not only to counter Tiger lies but also to be pro-active. I must say except for a few such as Minister Kadirgamar, the government's efforts have been quite "key-stoneish", crude, unprofessional and reminiscent of the efforts of those discredited old communist regimes of yore. There is a lack of professionalism and competence here. And some of their attempts at propaganda have been nothing but juvenile laughable stuff.

Pity that those in power in Sri Lanka are the only ones who believe their own sycophantic wishful thinking (that goes for UNP or PA).

Will they never learn?

We are sick and tired of this constant insult to our intelligence by our politicians green or blue or red, elephantine or chair...........

Mano Ratwatte

Nuclear bombs on Vesak Day

India explodes three nuclear bombs,
On Vesak day the anniversary of the Buddha.
The Buddha was India's Prince of Peace,
Whose teachings still guide millions of Buddhists.
Mahatma Ghandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru,
India's modern leaders believed,
In peace and nonviolence.
The B.J.P. is leading India towards war.
India and Pakistan cannot afford war.
Millions of Indians and Pakistanis,
Do not even have safe water to drink.
Poverty alleviation must precede nuclear bombs.
The United Nations must intervene,
And persuade India and Pakistan,
To stop production of nuclear bombs and missiles.
Let there be peace in South Asia.

Lionel. J. Seneviratne

Mount Lavinia

Don't be fooled by guarantees

Guarantees are cheerfully provided by many establishments in the country, particularly in relation to electrical items. What I have learned is, that in the event one needs to invoke these guarantees, the cheerfulness very often turns to surliness, and the guarantee is not worth the paper it is printed on.

To cite a specific instance, I purchased an electronic item from a long established and what I (mistakenly) believed to be reputable, Electrical shop on Galle Road Bamabalapitiya. The item was recommended by them as being the most suitable model for my needs and they also provided an electrician (at an extra charge of course) to do the wiring and plugs at my residence. The unit malfunctioned within three weeks. I (confidently) took it to them for a quick repair, replacement or refund.

The shop refused to do any of these, denied any responsibility, and wanted me to take the unit to the manufacturer. When I went to the manufacturer, they spoke to the shop and asked why they had not replaced the unit as per their instructions, since it was virtually brand new. The most surprising response from the shop was "what if it was a TV? - do you expect us to replace those as well if they break during the guarantee period'...!

Prospective TV buyers - beware. I had wasted my entire Saturday on this matter.

The main point in my writing, is to warn the general public who are reading this, that a guarantee is not always what it seems and ask these readers for any advise they would care to give on any consumer protection legislation which may be available to protect buyers from being swindled by psuedo-guarantees provided by unscrupulous dealers.

Power Guard


Mother Lanka - Why mournest thou?

Sinhala, Tamils, Burghers, Muslims -
Whatever nationality you be;
Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Islamism
are all God's children you see,
Now the chaos in my bosom, in my bosom that lie.
Makes me sad, wail, mourn and cry.
This unending war has drawn apart;
My children: thus causes me an aching heart.
Strikes, picketing - a very common game today,
Doctors, nurses too heartlessly have joined the play.

Death tolls in hospitals rise high each morn
The Nightingale oath - Oh where has it gone?
Bombs here, bombs there, bombs everywhere
A safe place to rest - Can you find anywhere?
Mother Lanka belongs to all - that is why?
Peacefully must you live - not let mother sigh or cry.

Who can aid you at this hour?
None but the Great God who has such power
With trust and confidence the Great God meets
Your repenting hearts place at His Feet.
Out will stretch that Divine, Holy Hand
To touch, to touch your dear native land,
War, strikes, unrest will soon fade away
And peace and harmony will come your way.
Peaceful, perfect, undivided Mother Lanka will shine
Once more: With the help of that Hand that Hand Divine.

Ms Norma Perera

Buddhists no see and the Anglicans no See

I refer to the item by M. Mallika Wanigasundara about the Church of Ceylon and their new development plans and the objections raised by the Buddhist organisations. In the first instance I must thank Ms. Wanasundara for her impartial, forthright and fair report. Unfortunately I can't say the same for the Buddhist Organisations. Buddhism is a democratic and fair play philosophy. At no time has the Thathagatha preached against any religion. He was not satisfied, so he went out and sought a system or path whereby one could deliver oneself or find a way to happiness and redemption. The Thathagatha was never against this or that.

Unfortunately the Buddhist organisations are opposing the right of another religious body to put their house in order. Is this correct? Let the Church of Ceylon organise itself, and it has to happen as now the Bishop of Colombo is an erudite scholar (and a Pundit in Buddhism to boot) and a man of social bent. It only behoves him that he would set about reorganizing and making adjustments to suit the present times. If there are only dioceses in Lanka, namely, Kurunegala and Colombo any one will agree that it must be a vast See under each Bishopric. The Roman Catholic Church I believe has, Colombo, Galle, Kandy, Chilaw, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Jaffna and Ratnapura and so on. Why should we Buddhists object to the Church of Ceylon. Let us not only preach tolerance but practise it. There are Hindu Kovils coming up all over the place. The Buddhists do nothing but become Anti but what are we pro. It is a clear case of the Buddhists No see and the Anglicans no See.

Let us Look at the products of the Anglican schools. They have produced E.W Perera, D.S Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake, F. R. Senanayake S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, W. Dahanayake, M.D.H. Jayawardena , Gamini Dissanaike, Gamini Wijesekara, P.C. Imbulana, Jack Kotalawela, Sir Tikiri Banda Panabokke and T.B. Panabokke (Jr.), R.S Pelpola, E.L Senanayake, M.W. R. de Silva. E.B Wickramanayake, Lakshman Kadirgamar and Jayakody, Gen. Anurudha Ratwatte, Batty Weerakoon, D.B Wijetunga and so many others who have graced our legislatures, also products of Roman Catholic schools like Mesdames Sirima and Chandrika Bandaranaikes and the Late R. Premadasa. The list is endless. Have any of these persons behaved in an un-Buddhistic manner? There are others from non-Buddhist ( but not affiliated to any religion) schools like Sir John Kotalawela, J.R Jayewardene, Ranil Wickremesinghe, Anura Bandaranaike and R.G Senanayake etc.

Non-Buddhist schools have produced even Mahanayakes of Asgiriya etc.The Head of the Vajirarama is an old Benedictine. The Head of the Asgiriya Chapter leased the famous Asgiriya grounds to Trinity, an Anglican school, even the present and past incumbents of the Dalada Maligawa and custodians of numerous Devales (Basnayaka Nilames are from Non-Buddhist schools). I believe that the President of World Fellowship of Buddhists is from a Christain institution from the deep south.

Has Anglican education in Anglican schoools made monsters of the persons mentioned above? Why has this Dhammadeepa not produced a Head of State from a Buddhist school? Even the late Gamani Jayasuriya was from a non-Buddhist school. Let the Anglicans create more Dioceses and have more Bishops. It is their business and their right. If any Anglicans wish to object, it is their business and a home and home match.

Milroy A.P Bulathsinhalage

Colombo 5

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