The Sunday Times on the Web Letters to the Editor

20th December 1998


No time for me

Mummy come and see my doll
Can't now baby, I'm sweeping the hall
Mummy I've painted this picture for you,
Come sit with me, paint something too
I'd love to darling, in a while,
I've got these telephone bills to file
Mummy come be with me in bed,
Until I sleep please feel my head
Can't now baby, I'm going out for
Dad's office party and he'll shout
If I am late.
Daddy come play some cricket with me
I can bat like Jayasuriya watch carefully and see
Can't now son, to the Docks I must go
The Surveyor is coming, I've got these items to show.
But now I find they've grown up and
Broken ties that bind,
Are married now and on their own
And I am left here all alone
Hoping they'll find a moment free
To spare to spend some time with me

- Geoffrey De Zylwa

Let us give the link language a boost

To reach a lasting peace and through a political solution by weakening the terrorists through war has come to be an accepted proposal now.

Since Minister G. L. Peiris has at a recent function stressed on the importance of identifying the people of various communities taking the language as an aide, I hereby enumerate a few salient points in this regard for the consideration of those in power.

Public servants were previously paid an incentive allowance to improve their language knowledge. Even though then the Tamil language special provisions were in operation the short-sighted policy of fostering Sinhala only in a scenario where the Sinhalese constituted the majority did a great dis-service to the country.

The non-Sinhala people merely by learning Sinhala have made it possible for themselves to work in any part of the island while 95% of the Sinhala public servants could serve or live only in the Sinhala areas.

A similar scheme like the one in operation now to bring together the many sections of the population has to be drawn up. For those recruited through Sinhala an examination at the GCE (O/L) level in Tamil and vice versa has to be held and successful candidates paid an incentive allowance.

Those obtaining a weak pass be considered for a half payment of the incentive allowance. The scheme instead of being limited to various grades must be thrown open and needs to include the private sector too.

Varsity entrants compulsorily will have to pass or acquire a weak pass in the second language in future Teaching of the second language has to be given a new look.

The earlier schemes flopped due to the short-sighted methods adopted.

Officers who have grasped the importance of the second language programme have to be employed in this scheme. Schools in urban areas have to be drawn into the scheme. Those candidates successful in the second language at the GCE (OL) Exam have to be given additional marks at the University Entrance Examination. A weak pass should be given 2 marks, an ordinary pass 4 and any position above, 5 marks.

Additionally a weak pass in English which is a link language, should be made compulsory for those seeking university entry.

A system of assigning added marks, at the University Entrance Examination has to be drawn up. This apart from imparting an English knowledge to those aspiring for entry to University would help school leavers to gain a knowledge of the language.

U. Liyanagunawardana

Why this stepmotherly treatment?

It is nearly two months since the power supply to the entire Batticaloa district was stopped by the terrorists. This has resulted in the disruption of the pipe borne water supply as well.

Though it was announced through the government print media that generators will be provided to generate power and water bowsers will be used to supply drinking water to the district, this looks a forgotten promise along with other such promises. The entire eastern population is facing immense hardships due to the power stoppage.

Apparently we have a newly appointed Governor for our part of the country. Has he taken any action regarding this problem? I am lost for a genuine reason why a person who does not even know the day to day problems of the common man in the east, be vested with this responsibility. There is no need to decorate a chair with public money without efficient governance. Is there government control as claimed at all?

We in the east would like to remind the authorities, do not show step motherly treatment and shove the entire east to an irrecoverable state of chaos. Act now and bring in normalcy before it is too late.

A Resident

Peace offer: chance to thrive on chaos

I read with a sense of humour about the LTTE leader's offer for peace talks and various Colombo based Tamil leaders' response to it. Yes they said we must jump into this golden opportunity! It's the last chance for peace.

Then they talk about third party involvement.

These are all familiar rhetorics. We have had third party negotiations. Those were enormously favourable to LTTE. They even air dropped food to Prabhakaran to save him. Finally what happened? They even blew up the third party mediator.

This very same government, despite the mounting pressure after the killing of Gamini Dissanayake began peace talks later to find they were ambushed by Prabakaran immediately after the talks began. What is this talks again? This is a person who blew up one of the world's most venerated place of worship (Dalada Maligawe).

Politicians can be taken for a ride repeatedly by the same person or for that matter different persons. Alas! When do we learn from history? Yes we were taken for a ride by the Portuguese, then by the Dutch, followed by the English.

The so called peace deal may seem a better deal because our military and political leaders do not have a vision and strategy to defeat Prabhakaran militarily. Due to lack of vision, strategy and leadership many battle hardy young men of the Army have sacrificed their lives.

So for those who lack the charisma and attributes and battle acumen, the peace deal is another opportunity to thrive on chaos.

A Sri Lankan

Is there no other humane solution?

I write in response to the letter sent by "A Resident" of Colombo 13. I was deeply saddened by the desire of this person to see the Authorities at the Municipal Dog Pound intensify their daily rounds.

Is there no other way to handle this problem of stray dogs? Surely there must be some other, more humane, solution? No living being should be put through the sort of awful pain - and subsequent death - a dog would undergo if it meets its death at the hands of the Dog Pound Authorities.

I implore you not to lend any more space in your newspaper for people to propose harm to defenceless animals.

Sharni Jayawardena
Colombo 5

To ban liquor is not the answer

I read the opinion sent in by E M G Edirisinghe of Dehiwala, regarding banning of production, sale and the consumption of liquor. Consumption of Liquor has been with us from time immemorial.

The government just cannot control social behaviour using laws and legislation. We all know too well that the United States paid a heavy price in the middle of the century, trying to do just that.

I mean the rise of ruthless gangsters like Al Capone, organised crimes and terrible blood spills. Let's hope history doesn't repeat itself here in Sri Lanka.

Banning liquor is not the solution to the problems. Let us educate our fellow humans of alcohol abuse and addiction. The next thing you might want to do is, ban sex to curb sexually motivated crimes. Let us introduce tougher laws against crimes committed in any sense.

Importantly we fail as parents to educate our children about sex, alcohol, drugs etc. at a very early age.

We just let them find out themselves. That's disaster!! Parents, gather up your courage to speak about these with your children.


We have enough dissension

Thank you for highlighting the opposition of animal rights groups to the proposed Halal bill. I wish to add that the Sri Lanka Vegetarian Society is also strongly opposed to any attempt by the state to recognize Halal slaughter as some form of legitimate activity. Sri Lanka's Constitution gives foremost place to Buddhism; to recognize this cruel form of slaughter would be completely at variance with that objective.

Hindus and Buddhists will oppose this strenuously and this might even create religious dissension in the country. We have enough dissension as it is and we think it will be disastrous to create another cause for conflict in this unfortunate country. As President of Sri Lanka Vegetarian Society, I wish to express my sense of horror at this sad development.

-Prof. Mahinda Palihawadana,
President, Sri Lanka Vegetarian Society

They lie and then go to Parliament!

There is a law in the land against perjury, which even a layman knows. If someone was to give a false testimony a lie-he or she will be sent to jail for doing so.

Strange though it may sound, if a politician tells a lie, he or she goes to Parliament! That is the sad situation in our country. If someone can draft a legislation to send politicians to jail for lying to the people that would be just great.

But since such legislation has to be enacted in Parliament itself there doesn't seem to be any hope of it coming through.

As parents, the first thing we teach our children is not to lie and that it is morally a horrible thing to do. Haven't the parents of these politicians taught them this very simple thing when they were kids? Another question that pops to my confused mind is that whether these politicians as parents, teach their children not to lie. Or do they teach them to lie so that politics can become a family business!

Really I am ashamed when my children ask me why politicians lie so much. This is an absolute disgrace in our society and I am sure it will destroy the fabric of our society if it hasn't already.

Unfortunately all that we have in this country is a bunch of greedy power hungry politicians. We don't have leaders. That's our tragedy. And to hope for a statesman in today's context is only a pipe dream. That's sad!

Ashraf Karim

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