Was Ms. Vijayakala Maheswaran Wrong? – Column 04 of From the Palmyra Peninsular to the Rest of Sri Lanka | තල් අරණින් ලක් දෙරණට


This post was original written for Colombo Telegraph. You can read it at https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/was-ms-vijayakala-maheswaran-wrong/ and join the discussion as it has a wider audience than my blog.

For most of you, this could be stale news. But I thought of writing this piece even at a later time after Vijayakala Maheswaran’s controversial speech. My first hand experiences in the North since June this year made me write this piece. Being 6 months in the North on and off (at least 3 weeks per each month) won’t be enough for me to come to a right conclusion about the subject but I would report what I saw. I don’t speak Tamil but can manage with the little English I know and sometimes in Sinhala as I found many people I meet in the North can speak some Sinhala. Besides, I think I am good at the universal language, the sign language 

I have no connection or whatsoever with the then State Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, Ms. Vijayakala Maheswaran. I even didn’t know if such one ever existed before her speech came to the limelight. But with all those hullaballoos about her “controversial” speech at Veerasingham Hall Jaffna on July 02, 2018, I thought of reading the full English translation of her speech “for the heck of it.”

Apart from the controversial and illegal part of “reviving the LTTE,” I don’t find anything wrong in what she talked in the rest of her speech. Ms. Maheshwaran must be really lucky not to be in jail for talking about reviving a ruthless terrorist outfit that dragged the country back to the Stone Age, literally. If this speech was made in any other sovereign state, she would have been counting the bars in a cell by now. But Sri Lanka is a funny country with funnier constitution which is less funny than a Kushwant Singh’s sarcastic column! I would refrain from making any comment about judiciary here as, at this age, I don’t have much time left to be in a secluded cell for several years. I have better things to in my life.

Velupillai Prabhakaran, the slain leader of the LTTE Terrorist Group – Courtesy – https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/ltte-chief-prabhakaran-exdeputy-was-raw-mole-book-335249-2016-08-15

About child abuse/rape/killing which Ms. Maheshwaran talks, she is right. It is true these were not committed by the Sri Lankan military but mostly, the people of the neighborhood were the perpetrators. (There are some allegations that Ms. Maheshwaran herself tried to save one such accused of the high school girl Vidya rape and subsequent killing being, I don’t know.) What I do know is that the post-LTTE era has compromised the rigid law and order which had been implemented in the North by the terrorists. So, naturally, maybe the people might think that the “known devil” was better.

Raped and murdered high school student Vidhya and the accused perpetrators of the crime – Courtesy – http://247latestnews.com/category/sri-lanka/page/23/

It was the same with the extensive substance abuse by the youth and the men at large in the North. The LTTE was trafficking drugs to sustain their organization but they did not sell them in Sri Lanka, well, at least not in the North. Drug trafficking was one of their main ways of illegal fundraising to the so called “liberation struggle” but they ensured the drugs would not make their way to the North. But now, after the conclusion of the bloody war, one can read from the press that large hauls of drugs are being captured by the police and the Special Task Force (STF) in the North and East. I myself have seen numerous times the youth spend hours under street lights in Jaffna just loitering till late hours of the night. I cannot see what they do but I just have a friendly word or two and find most of them are intoxicated. I don’t think this happened during the LTTE era.

Leaders of the
Deshapremi Janatha Wyaparaya Terrorist Group – Courtney – https://www.facebook.com/Deshapremi.Janatha.Viyaparaya/

Terrorism should be condemned at any level, but didn’t the women in the South themselves kind of “approve” the rigid jungle laws implemented by “Deshapremi Janatha Wyaparaya” – the terrorist unit of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) for that matter? People, especially women, love to see the men being controlled at least by a terrorist outfit if the authorities cannot do their job any better?

A haul of cannabis arrested in Jaffna – Courtesy – https://www.tamilguardian.com/content/sri-lankan-navy-seizes-835kg-cannabis-jaffna

I am not a legal expert. But as everyone knows damn well, atrocities were committed from both sides during and the immediate aftermath of the war. There is no point in harping on these forever. A government military has to abide by the international ethics of war no matter how hard it is. They will be forced to retaliate when the opposite happens from a terrorist group. But this is why a state military is trained how to become a professional military. One cannot justify an illegal retaliatory action a state military commits by pointing at a ruthless terrorist or guerrilla group’s heinous acts. This is where the state military has to draw the margin. A terrorist organization has the luxury of ignoring international war ethics. This is why they are called “terrorists.” So, the better thing to do is to forgive and forget. There are allegations and reportedly, hard evidence too, of atrocities committed by both the military and the terrorists according to what I read, hear and see. So, why not we go to a South African model Truth and Reconciliation Commission in which all parties are pardoned and integrated to the society? It is never too late, even after 9 years of conclusion of war.


Truth and Reconciliation Commission, South Africa
Members of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission—including Dr. Alex Boraine (second from left), deputy chair; Archbishop Desmond Tutu (centre), chair; and Rev. Bongani Finca (right), commissioner—at the commission’s first hearing, April 1996, East London, S.Af.
Courtesy – https://www.britannica.com/topic/Truth-and-Reconciliation-Commission-South-Africa/media/607421/140426

I am not the best person to comment on Ms. Maheshwaran’s complaint on Thenmaratchi not being named as a separate district. The same is requested for Kalmunai by the Muslim politicians. My personal view is that there are more sensitive things to pay attention on at this stage rather than creating more divisions on demands of this nature. First, let us work on what we can agree, and then the rest. Let’s not complicate things anymore. Enough damage has happened for three decades and let’s forget some of not-so-important issues.

Thenmaratchi Map – Courtesy Google Maps

Maybe I am wrong, but I cannot rule out the possibility of a long term plan by the authorities to weaken the youths and the men in the North by getting them addicted to drugs and then their “possible” revival with an armed struggle could be foiled in a cheaper way. This happened to the Chinese under the British rule during colonial times. It could happen here too. But, then again, I have never seen any Sri Lankan leader designing such long term plans for anything good or bad. They just want to see the results before the next election comes after 5 to 6 years and reap the cheap benefits by that time. So, long term planning is the last thing one could expect from such shortsighted leaders I guess.

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Nanda Wanninayaka’s Presentation on “ICT and Automation for Rural Development.”


Nanda Wanninayaka at the International Conference on Information and Automation for Sustainability (ICIAfS) – 2018.
Nanda Wanninayaka at the International Conference on Information and Automation for Sustainability (ICIAfS) – 2018.

Following is the succinct transcription of the presentation on ICT & Automation for Rural Developmentmade by me (Nanda Wanninayaka),  at the Galadari Hotel in Colombo on December 22, 2018 at the International Conference on Information and Automation for Sustainability (ICIAfS) – 2018.

“Good evening everybody. I am not certain as to why Dr. 
Thrishantha Nanayakkara invited me to do a presentation at an Engineers Symposium as I am not an engineer but only an artist.

I usually do not do my presentations with Microsoft PowerPoint because they say, “Power corrupts and PowerPoint corrupts absolutely.” Therefore, let us watch this video made by volunteer Pakistani artists who visited the Horizon Lanka Foundation in 2015 as it is played in the background, with a reduced soundtrack while my speech goes on.

We started Horizon Academy in Mahawilachchiya 20 years ago and now, we have branched out to 5 villages in Anuradhapura, Nuwara Eliya and Jaffna districts providing English (and other languages), ICT (and other technologies) while entertaining extracurricular activities such as playschool, fine arts, and sports.

We utilize local and foreign volunteers’ contributions extensively in our teaching. Local university students, young professionals from the IT industry and other areas of interest teach the students free of charge during weekends and also, scores of foreign volunteers teach the students during weekdays. These are still largely untapped talent that has enormous potential to take education in Sri Lanka to the next level.

At Horizon Academies we offer “edutainment” rather than the boring teaching methods used in traditional classroom-based education offered at public schools and at private tuition institutes. There is no point in repeating the public-school syllabuses, textbooks and past examination papers targeting term tests and national level exams which are once again repeated at a faster pace at private tuition classes all over again. We do not even touch those at Horizon Academies. We don’t assign homework to the students. We teach in a natural environment outside classrooms. Kids play, walk around the village, go bathing/swimming in rivers and lakes, go shopping, watch movies, go on field trips & so forth with the teachers and they learn languages and technology while doing such entertaining and exciting activities. Horizon Academy’s tagline is “The Edutainment Academy of Sri Lanka.”

Thanks to these non-conventional methods, the sons and daughters of farmers, laborers, fishermen & traders ended up being software & network engineers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers and professionals in other fields. Now I am very happy to hear them speak better English than I do. They have built houses, purchased vehicles and have married early (unlike waiting till the mid-30s like me), they have become totally independent at a younger age.

We at Horizon Lanka, use a lot of modern technologies for teaching. We use the internet, emailing, Instant Messenger (IM) programs, smartphones for teaching in innovative ways. We covered Mahawilachchiya with a village-wide free unlimited Wi-Fi mesh network way back in 2006, 10 years before the present government introduced limited free Wi-Fi to some hotspots in cities in Sri Lanka.Wi-Fi Mesh Network in Mahawilachchiya – English
Wi-Fi Mesh Network in Mahawilachchiya – Sinhala

We invited Mr. Lalith Weeratunga, the then Secretary to the President, in his capacity as the Chairman of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) since he helped getting the permission to deploy the network in Mahawilachchiya during the war time and in addition, he was a well-wisher of Horizon Lanka for a long time.

When he visited Mahawilachchiya to officially commission the free Wi-Fi network, we trained 3 girls & 3 boys who were 11-year-olds to do the presentation in English by utilizing laptops and slides. Mr. Weeratunga was pleasantly surprised and reported this to the then President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksaabout how effective & progressive Horizon Lanka Foundation was in education and technology in Mahawilachchiya. President Rajapaksa, in his capacity of the Finance Minister, included a proposal into the national budget of 2007 to allocate 100 million LKR to replicate Horizon Lanka model academies in each 300 + Divisional Secretariat Divisions in Sri Lanka. The budget was passed with a heavy majority but alas! Not a single cent came our way to Mahawilachchiya or elsewhere as a very obnoxious Sri Lankan IT professor exercised his despicable powers over the President and sabotaged the whole plan. This odious man died a few months later but did enough damage before exiting the planet.

We did not ask for the government’s help. But I know Mr. Weeratunga, in all honesty, & sincerity, desired to help and this was the reason he influenced the President. But what happened was a total tragedy for Horizon Lanka, when the government and media published this “100-million-LKR allocation” story all our regular donors came under the impression that Horizon Lanka was now well funded & taken care of, hence they diverted their help to other organizations and we were the ultimate losers.

When I was absolutely convinced that the “100-million-LKR” promise was false   (like many similar ones) and we had already lost our regular donors, I spoke to one of the officers at the Presidential Office and inquired whether I could publish a story on our website about the broken promise so that the rest of the world & our former donors would become aware of what exactly took place. But he stated something to the effect that if I did that, I would be considered as a “persona non grata” who discredits the government and will be dealt with. Well, we all know what this meant during those times.

The end result of all this being; Horizon Lanka Foundation’s funding dried up and all the good work was downgraded, eventually having to close for 3 years before we resumed it in 2014 with hardly any money in the bank account.

That, my dear friends, reminded me of one of the most famous quotes by the late American President Mr. Ronald Reagan. He said, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”R

Therefore friends, if you want to do anything for this country, do it before the government messes it up. 
Thank you very much for your attention.”

Dr. Thrishantha Nanayakkara
A part of the audience at International Conference on Information and Automation for Sustainability (ICIAfS) – 2018 

US and THEM – Flash Floods in the Northern Sri Lanka and the Aftermath – Column 03 of From the Palmyra Peninsular to the Rest of Sri Lanka | තල් අරණින් ලක් දෙරණට|


This post originally appeared in Colombo Telegraph. Visit https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/us-them-flash-floods-in-the-northern-sri-lanka-aftermath/

The news about the North being badly affected by flash floods last weekend did not appear in the Sinhala and English press till 48 hours as far as I saw. Not even the websites that publish rubbish gossip immediately after some minute juicy news were worried about what is happening to the people in the North. Most parts of the North have 4G, 3G or at least 2G and anyone can get pictures and videos in a few seconds. But not even those Facebook heroes were interested in doing something to our brothers and sisters in the Up North. Do we want to have North – South division once again?

When a natural disaster happens in the South all TV Channels and Radio Stations collect relief aids and deliver them to the affected with much fanfare in a rat race to say “We did it first” and crave for increasing their ratings for their media houses. But I don’t see that urge this time. Now don’t say that the media houses in the North don’t cover this type of catastrophes in the South in their media. If we are the so called “majority” and the Big Brother, don’t we have to take the initiative to extend our support to the “minority” Little Sister? Isn’t this the right moment for us to show our love and compassion to them?

This is high time we forgot the “US and THEM” attitude and become “WE” instead.

I can’t do much. All I did was contacting the chief monks of Mahawilachchiya and Tantirimale so that they could mobilize the villagers and muster some relief aid and deliver it to our friends in the North. They did it during tsunami in a big way. I am sure they will do it this time too even though they underwent a long drought and have nothing much to offer. But they have compassion. I am sure you all have it too.

I talked to a friend of mine in Kilinochchi, Miss Dekala Murugesu, a young volunteer who does a lot to uplift education in the district with some supporters in the Diaspora. She directed me to Mr. Raj Sivaraj, the Divisional Secretary of Kandawalai who does the coordinating part of relief aids. He says the government has taken care of food needs and all they need is things like sanitary stuff, soap mosquito coils, toothpaste and tooth brush, disinfections, cleaning liquid, rubber slippers, exercise books and other school supplies, etc.  Do not worry about food.

According to the people I talked to from the North, all three armed forces are doing a commendable job and the people highly appreciate them. The armed forces can take care of rescue missions, urgent needs, etc. but now it is our duty to help with the other needs of the people.

Please call Mr. Raj Sivaraj, the Divisional Secretary of Kandawalai on 077 8446465 and on Whatsapp number 0094778446465 for more details.

All the photos here were sent by Mr. Raj Sivaraj.

A part of this story’s title “Us and Them” was stolen from Benjamin Zephaniah‘s poem “Us and Dem.” Zephaniah is my favorite contemporary poet.

7 Myths about Jaffnites – Column 01 of From the Palmyra Peninsular to the Rest of Sri Lanka | තල් අරණින් ලක් දෙරණට|


INTRODUCTION 

I started writing a column with my firsthand experiences in Jaffna from November 01, 2018. You can read, comment, contradict or clobber my writing if you like and I will allow them as long as they do not defame someone (or something.) Also, if you try to promote hatred, racial abuse and antisocial sentiments, I will have to moderate them. But you are allowed to construct a sensible dialog on my posts.

I would be grateful if anyone who reads the column could translate this to Sinhala and Tamil as well. Please let me know if you are ready for this on a voluntary basis or for a payment.

Thanks,

Nanda Wanninayaka

This is the first post … … …

Nanda Wanninayaka – (Column 01 on November 1, 2018 – From Palmyra Peninsula)

I agree with the fact that being in Jaffna for the last three months doesn’t make me a suitable analyst to make generalized comments about the Jaffnites – the people in Jaffna, Sri Lanka – a word coined by some random journalists and writers in their articles in Daily News and reminded me by my good friend Sunil Rutnayake from Kandy.) But being here since last July to date – even though I made some sporadic visits to Anuradhapura, Nuwara Eliya and Colombo during the said three months period – gave me some insight into the lives and lifestyles of this strangely attractive piece of land in the Northern Sri Lanka, Jaffna, the capital of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka.

So, I became bold enough to write about the 7 myths the people from the rest of the island have about the Jaffnites – or the Tamil community at large spread in the North, East, Central Sri Lanka and the rest of the country. I sincerely welcome you all to comment on my observations and correct me in the places where I have gone wrong. If I have hurt your feelings by writing what I think is right, I apologize in advance. I try my best to remain unbiased in this (and in the rest of my columns.) But the chances are that I would be biased to Jaffna and Jaffnites than to anything or anyone else I guess. I already have fallen in love with Jaffna and, as for falling in love with a Jaffnitee, it is too early to say. Don’t rule out the possibility either.

  1. Jaffnites are dark

I know it is not politically correct about being apartheidic at this age and time but as I was the one who was humiliated (more than the Great Nelson Mandela was) and denied of my true love 15 years ago for being “BLACK,” not even brown or dark most Sri Lankans are usually categorized when it comes to the complexion. My Nendamma-in-law to-be (she was not to be anyway) grossly opposed my romantic advances to her fair daughter from a small hamlet from Mihintale, Anuradhapura as my mother-in-law to-be flatly rejected me as she bluntly (and reportedly) told my sweetheart that the former didn’t want “black grandchildren” from a possible (unholy) union between her beautiful daughter and me. My poor girlfriend had the worst opposition a young lover girl could have from her mother and even though we continued a romantic relationship for merely a year, she had to leave me in the lurch as her mom correctly calculated that her son-in-law not-to-be had a fat chance of getting the complexion converted at least to brown if not to fair. I didn’t want to become a Michael Jackson by changing my skin color and that was the end of an otherwise sweet love story. (Anyway, I am happy and proud of my black complexion. I wish I were as black as an African dude and as strong as well.)

My Ex from Mihintale
My Ex from Mihintale

Coming back to the issue in question here, most people think Jaffnites are darker than the people in the rest of the island. This is a big mistake you all do. Spend some time in a small village, a semi urban tiny town or in Jaffna city and you would be surprised the rainbow of colors of cute young girls and women who are pink (රෝස පාට,) fair, orange (I would rather say තැඹිලි පාට – color of the king coconuts,) brown and occasionally dark too. But even the darker girls here have an inexplicable radiance only R. K. Narayan will find the right words to explain. I am no Narayan and not even Kushwant Singh for that matter.

A random photo of girls in Jaffna.
A random photo of girls in Jaffna. This will be replaced with a photo I take soon. Photo Credits: http://jhlc.mysch.lk/

Well, as for the boys or men here, I don’t care if they are black, white, orange, pink, green or even indigo color because I am not simply interested in them. All what I can say about the boys and men here is that they look very strong.

2. Jaffnites are studious

Maybe there was such time in the past. But not anymore. Maybe the three-decade-long bitter war that reduced Jaffna to rubble, students in Jaffna don’t seem that interested in studies as they used to be 30 years ago. I have heard my parents say that the schoolboys and girls in Jaffna study so hard by even putting their feet in a basin full of cold water under their study tables not to fall asleep during nights and read books with kerosene oil lamps after their hard days’ work in their farms. I wish that was the case today too but, unfortunately, it is not so anymore here. Here boys are looking for quick jobs and leave schools early. Girls are happy to end up as a cashier-cum-salesgirl in a mobile phone accessory shop – or even more common – end up as a machine operator at a garment factory doing the same boring job of stitching the same part of the same dress for eternity. Where are those doctor, engineer, lawyer, accountant, teacher, etc. aspirants that we were told by our parents to take examples as when we were schoolboys who had no such great dreams? I feel sorry for this situation and SOMETHING MUST BE DONE immediately before it is too late.

3. Jaffnites are rude

I don’t know how such a myth even came into existence. Jaffnites have been traditionally very humble people. This humility could well be mistaken by some less educated or arrogant people from rest of the island that these people are timid or should be suppressed or humiliated. I once visited Vigneswara College, Jaffna in 2009 or 2010 while I was working as a Consultant to the Ministry of Education, Colombo. The principal of the school was an elderly gentleman who was about to retire. He was so humble when welcoming me and kept calling me “Sir.” I told him very gently that I don’t deserve or want to be called a “sir” because I might be your son’s age and you are the one who should be called sir, due to your education, age, behavior. He was a graduate and a senior person in the educational field and I was (and am) neither. But I failed in convincing him and instead we both called each other “sir” and it ended up with such a lot of humor, satire and fun we both enjoyed to the hilt. He is not the only one who maintains this great quality of humility and don’t humiliate them for this good quality which is a rare commodity among most people in the rest of the country these days.

4. Jaffnites are unclean

Like this apartheid thing, this is an area I don’t like to touch but I think it is my duty to do the justice to these people in Jaffna who are very clean and also keep their houses very clean, may their houses range from palaces to shanties, but they are equally well maintained and kept clean and tidy. The village I mostly live, Maniyanthoddam has a lot of tiny houses in small plots of lands but they are incredibly clean. That doesn’t mean that there could be an exception or two, but they say, “The exception (only) proves the rule,” don’t they? So, folks in the rest of the island, come and see yourself, don’t trust me because I am in love with Jaffna and love is blind. Isn’t it?

5. Jaffnites are hard workers

Sorry, Jaffnites, I wouldn’t give you this credit. What I had heard was you guys are hard workers but things have changed a lot, haven’t they? I see a lot of teenagers, youths and middle-aged people just waste time with doing nothing. Teenagers and the youths are the worst of them. They spend the time by the roadside just glued onto their smartphones and ride big Indian motorbikes to break the speed barriers. But I get the feeling that these iron horses are possibly bought on lease – god knows how they pay the monthly premiums – and I hardly see any of them is engaged in any praiseworthy or productive work. I tried to find some of them jobs in Colombo where they can get jobs as apprentices in different trades and they will be paid a decent remuneration even during their trainee period and sometimes they would even get food and lodging in some cases, but they are not simply interested in. One cannot blame the war for everything and make it the scapegoat. At least we are a lucky nation to end the war for good in 2009 and after May 19, the day which the war was ended from the government’s side and “the guns were silenced” from the rebels’ side, not a single bomb was exploded. Take Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, (hopefully and sadly Iran next,) for example. In the above-mentioned countries expect the one within parenthesis, suicide bombs, car bombs, American and NATO bombs, Russian bombs go on weekly to daily basis. But, in Sri Lanka, after the day the war ended officially on that fateful May 19, 2009, the only thing that explodes in Sri Lanka is popcorn!

6. Jaffnites are thrifty

This fact (of Jaffnites being traditionally thrifty) also is hanging in the balance now. It is true that late J. R. Jayewardene’s unregulated and unnecessarily hastened Open Economic Reforms didn’t find its way to Jaffna in such a disastrous way it did to the rest of the country. Its chances of messing up the hitherto frugal lifestyles of the Jaffnites was low as the breakout of the Civil War in 1983 limited the open economic reforms do (un)desired damages to the Jaffnites. A long-standing closure of A9 Highway that connected Jaffna with the rest of the country also reduced the influx of not-so-necessary consumables to Jaffna but the illegal and unstoppable smuggling of (mostly counterfeit) consumer goods reached Jaffna through sea channels from Tamil Nadu. Still the non-availability of reliable electricity that forced the Jaffnites to run their modest and age-old vehicles and other electronic appliances to run with foul-smelling kerosene fuel and kerosene-fueled generators denied a full-scale thrust of electronic appliances upon the Jaffnites. I think the electricity from the national grid was not available for a very long time since the inception of the Civil War till it was restored after the conclusion of the same in 2009.

But the end of the Civil War and the consequent opening of the A9 road opened the floodgates of both necessary and unnecessary home appliances, electronic gadgetry, unaffordable and unmaintainable luxury vehicles that ate into the monthly salaries and seasonal income of the Jaffnites and not the ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa who ended the war, but the late president J. R. Jayewardene who introduced the open economic reforms must have had the last laugh at the Jaffnites. As a result, you see the Jaffnites also falling prey to highly consumer-driven lifestyles that don’t help themselves or the constant handouts sent by their overseas relatives. But there might be some people who still save money or invest money in gold jewelry like they used to in the past but I am afraid the numbers could not be that big. People here also go extravagant in spending now with the mushrooming vehicle sales, electronic shops and supermarkets that offer tricky easy payment systems and dreadful credit card based payments. Sorry folks! That is peace for you.

7. Jaffnites are hostile to the Sinhalese

This is the worst myth among the rest. The 30-year-long bitter Civil War hasn’t dampened the spirits of these gentle Jaffnites a bit. I don’t speak or understand Tamil and wherever I go I speak first in Sinhala (failing which English) to get directions, any other help and there are zillions of Jaffnites come and help me with broad smiles. Me being (or happened to be) a Sinhalese doesn’t make any difference to these warm-hearted people. Maybe I get even more help once they know I am Sinhalese and they help me in a great deal to get what I want. They even give me free rides in their bicycles, motorbikes, etc. The only question I can ask myself is, “Why the hell did we fight for 30 years and for what?”

  • This is by no means a post written based on scientific research and not a scholarly work at all. These findings are totally my personal findings and observations and not supported by a proper and longer study. So, you have the right to differ and object. Kindly do so under “comments” area below this post.

Mandelization of Ranil Wickremesinghe


Ranil Wickremesinghe

Ranil Wickremesinghe Photo Credits http://www.chatter.lk:

Nanda Wanninayaka

Ranil Wickremesinghe was never my hero. He wasn’t anybody’s hero for that matter I guess, especially those of his own party, the United National Party (UNP.) Politics was never his field of expertise or his field of interest. I have read somewhere when his uncle, the late president Mr. J. R. Jayewardene (JRJ) asked him to join politics, the former had flatly refused and said, “Please, please uncle. Politics is not my field of interest. Just let me be like this.” or something to that effect.

Well, Mr. JRJ has done several mistakes in his political life.

  1. JRJ politicized the then well-established civil service by giving the powers of the civil servants, especially the District Secretaries – who were then called “Government Agents” – and the Divisional Secretaries – who were then called “Assistant Government Agents” – to the conceited and corrupt bunch of politicians from the ruling UNP who were then called “දිසා ඇමති” (District Ministers.) The whole governing system was turned upside down as a result and the repercussions are seen and felt today than ever.

  1. Introducing the Open Economic Reforms in an unprecedented and hasty manner creating lot of chaos in the country which totally disturbed the lifestyles of the people. Local industries collapsed like a card of dominoes and the hitherto surplus of the balance of payment became a huge deficit and the whole country was submerged in a quagmire that never was able to get out of to date

  1. One of the gravest mistakes of JRJ was masterminding the notorious “Black July” in 1983 and letting his own UNP goons to kill, wound and loot the Tamils living in the South of the island. JRJ’s thugs did not stop at that but were given an “unofficial license” to rape Tamil girls and women. These heinous acts were understandably reciprocated by the Tamils who were the dominating ethnic group in the North and East of the Island. Being the all-powerful executive president of the country, JRJ never took the correct path of quelling this unwanted riots and what happened in the aftermath of this is the history.

  1. I think the worst mistake JRJ did for the country was getting this very lethargic and non-practical young man, Mr. Wickremasighe to the political arena. You don’t need any example as to show how disastrous JRJ’s decision was as you can see Mr. Wickremasinghe as the living example himself. He was never a decent public speaker. His body language while he does public speaking especially in the local language, Sinhala is so terrible and he becomes a bigger comedian than Mr. Bean the world famous comedy character performed by the British actor Rowan Atkinson. Moreover, Mr. Wickremasinghe never understood the heart or the pulse of the people in the country. Maybe at least some of his moves were meant to be productive to the country but the way he communicated those to the masses wasn’t convincing at all. It was easy for the opposition to make mincemeat of him of anything he put forward for the country due to this weakness of him. He was easily made the traitor of the country even when he tried his best to be the patriot. I don’t want to go any further describing this poor man, the biggest failure in Sri Lankan politics anymore.

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Ranil Wickremesinghe From http://dimg.zoftcdn.com

Instead, I will come to the root cause of the current issue of the sudden political destabilization. Let’s recap how the incumbent president, Mr. Maithripala Sirisena was brought to the wrong side of the presidential elections in 2015 as the common presidential candidate by the UNP-led coalition. They say politics make strange bedfellows but this queer union of Mr. Sirisena and the UNP-led coalition made the former in totally uncharted waters. It was apparent that the money, energy and the huge election campaign masterminded, funded and carried out by proxy actors locally was actually was done with the generous help of India, USA and some of the powerful countries in the unholy NATO camp that made the former Gramasewaka (village headman,) the president of Sri Lanka, something nobody expected to happen even in wildest dream before January, 2015. As expected, once elected, the president became a big joke, maybe a little less jocular than Mr. Wickremasinghe, his Prime Minister. Okay, let’s leave it at that.

The ex-president, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Machiavellian politician he was cracked up to be, cracked himself a few weeks ago by idiotically masterminding a constitutional coup that made himself the Prime Minister with the support of a minority group of unreliable MPs in the parliament by putting the country in the doldrums. He should have waited till the current parliament completed its mandate given by the voters. If it continued its full run, in one and half years’ time that was left to it, it would have crumbled from its inside. But Mr. Rajapaksa was so power-hungry that he joined Mr. Sirisena, the former’s arch enemy who betrayed Rajapaksa big time and robbed his apparently inevitable chance of being elected as the President of Sri Lanka for a record and a historical third time. The two unlikely pair joined hands after what looked like a constitutional gimmick that paved way for the President to appoint Mr. Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister of the nation while there was an incumbent PM who was already in office. This shouldn’t have happened under ANY circumstance. Mr. Rajapaksa should have weighed the pros and cons of the situation. But you cannot expect that type of logical reasoning from an experienced politician who trusted his “official soothsayer” than an opinion poll or two to test the waters and called a presidential election two years before the stipulated time and ended up losing his presidency two years shy of the allocated period.

By then, the incumbent Prime Minister Mr. Wickremasinghe was already immensely unpopular and the best thing to do should have been letting him stay in power for the rest of his office and wait till he faces the General Election which was already swaying to the Rajapaska’s newly created party, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), which was already the main contender and the fresh thing in the menu. But what megalomaniac Rajapaska did was something totally unacceptable ethically, politically and strategically. Mr. Wickremasinghe was at the receiving end as he messed up big time right from the beginning of his office and the UNP would have faced a humiliating defeat at the general election with dodgy Treasury Bond scam, corruption, inefficiency, ever-increasing inflation, monthly increase of price of fuel and the heavy tax burden on the public to sway even his traditional vote base to Rajapaksa’s camp, even though it would have been only an agony of choice for the voters to elect someone from both the mainstream parties. But Rajapaksa would have had an upper hand in defeating UNP-led collation even without the support of the president Sirisena and his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP.)

But everybody knows how power-hungry the Rajapaksa clan is. They are not the only megalomaniac clan in Sri Lankan politics.  Think of Senanayake, Bandaranaike, Premadasa clans too. This is part and parcel of the politics in the subcontinent and you can’t help it. But this time Rajapaksa did the worst gamble in his entire political life and he got the already unpopular PM out of his office and made himself the Prime Minister. The process was seen as something done by the president but we know what happens behind the curtains in the corridors of power in Sri Lanka.

So what has Rajapaksa got at the end? The good-for-nothing Wickremasinghe has become the “Mandela of Sri Lanka” now. Mr. Wickamesinghe didn’t have to waste 27 years in a prison to become Mandela. Only thing he had to do was continuing his idiotic governing style but both Sirisena and Rajapaksa “Mandelaized” the born-loser Wickremasinghe. Now he has got the sympathy of his traditional vote base which was drifting towards the Rajapaskas. Furthermore, Wickeremasinghe has become the doll of the Western powers and the Western media now and is the zero-turned-hero without much ado.

So, what have Sirisena and Rajapaska got on their plates? Going down the drain to the political dungeons of Sri Lanka? The chances are that even if you win this political standoff and survive the constitutional crisis, you will still be the at the receiving end of the public at large. Local and international media and the rest of the world will ensure you have a hard time and you will have to fight a Do-or-Die battle to cling on to power.

One might justify the former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (CBK) taking some of the Ministries from the then Prime Minister Wickramasinghe’s government in 2004 that ultimately led to an early dissolution of the parliament which brought CBK’s United People’s Freedom Alliance coalition get back the power in the House. At that time, the country was at a crucial crossroad with the unpopular peace deal brokered by the Norwegians and signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which was condemned by the majority of the country. Everybody thought that the country would be split into two which would create an inevitable border war.  There was no sympathy towards the then Wickremasinghe government as the sympathy of the public was with the CBK government. But at this time, there was no such immediate threats to the National Security of the nation. Even the so-called federal solution which was being demanded by the mainstream Tamil party, the Tamil national Alliance (TNA) was not to become a reality. The two main reasons the Wickremasinghe government had not to provide a federal solution was that it did not have enough time left to go for that even if they wanted and the second reason was that the country was not ready for it. Mr. Wickremasinghe being in power for 3 years of wasn’t able to convince the people, especially the majority Sinhalese, that federal solution was a viable solution to the long standing standoff between the majority and minority ethnic groups of the country. But as a result of this unethical and undemocratic overthrow of the Wickremasinghe government helped getting it the sympathy of the TNA and the rest of the minority parties as well making Mr. Wickremasinghe a lot more powerful than the Prime Ministerial powers he enjoyed and continue to enjoy to date being the de facto Prime Minister despite Rajapaksa is the official, yet, they say, the unconstitutional Prime Minister.

I am not a political analyst but I have lived 46 years in this Island and this is what I feel about this unnecessary quagmire the country is plunged into with this power struggle. Even if the Sirisena-Rajapaksa camp is to successfully survive the constitutional crisis, all what we can expect is the country would be thrown into a quicksand from the present quagmire and the public would be the ones who suffer. Everybody knows Lord Acton’s famous statement, Power corrupts and extreme power corrupts extremely. So, my compatriots, live with it.

බණ්ඩාරනායිකෙලා, ඇටපට්ටුලා සහ වන්නිනායකලා


රනිල් වික්‍රමසිංහ අගමැති, ජනපති නොව ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ අධිරාජයා වුවද මට ඉවසිය හැක. ඉවසිය නොහැක්කේ විදේශීය මාධ්‍යවේදීන් ඔහුගේ නම උසුරුවන විදියයි. පහත දැක්වෙන සාකච්ඡාවේ NDTV මාධ්‍යවේදියා ඔහුව හඳුන්වන්නේ “රනිල් වික්‍රෙමෙසිංගෙ” කියාය. එය කොහෙත්ම මාධ්‍යවේදියාගේ වරදක් නොවේ. රනිල් සහ තවත් බොහෝ ශ්‍රී ලාංකිකයන් තවමත් ඔවුන්ගේ නම් ඉංග්‍රිසි අකුරින් ලියන්නේ බ්‍රිතාන්‍ය යටත් විජිතවාදීන් ඔවුන්ගේ පහසුවට අපේ අයගේ නම් ඉංග්‍රිසි අකුරින් ලියූ ආකාරයටය. සේනානායකෙලා, බණ්ඩාරනායිකෙලා, කොටෙලාවලලා මෙන්ම ජයෙවර්ඩෙනෙලා අප රට පාලනය කළේ මේ නිසාය.

වරක් මට මෙරට සුකුමාර ගණයේ පෞද්ගලික බැංකුවක ගිණුමක් ඇරඹීමට ඇවැසි විය. සුරතල් පෙනුමක් තිබූ බැංකු සේවිකාව මගේ ගිණුම් අයදුම්පත්‍රයේ සහ වාහන බලපත්‍රයේ නිවැරදි ලෙස ඉංග්‍රිසි අකුරින් මගේ නම සහ වාසගම (NANDA WANNINAYAKA) සඳහන්වී තිබියදීත් උඩඟු ලෙස උඩදාගෙන වැරදි ලෙස (WANNINAYAKE) ඉංග්‍රිසි අකුරින් මගේ වාසගම බැංකු පාස්පොතේ මුද්‍රණය කළාය. මගේ වාසගමට ඇය හිතාමතාම කළ අපහාසය නිසා මම ඇයට ඉතාමත්ව කාරුණිකව කියා සිටියේ මෙවැනි බරපතල වැරදි නැවතත් සිදුනොවන ලෙසට තහවුරු කිරීම සඳහා මම ඉදිරිපිටදීම මගේ වාසගම සිය වතාවක් ලියන ලෙසය. ඇය එයට විරෝධය පෑ නිසා මම බැංකු කළමනාකරු හමුවී කිව්වේ ඔබේ බැංකුවට වැදගත් වන්නේ සහ නිවැරදිව සඳහන් කළ හැක්කේ මගේ මුදල් මිස මගේ නම සහ වාසගම නොවේනම් මට ඔබේ බැංකුව සමග කිසිම ගනුදෙනුවක් ඇවැසි නැති බවයි. මම වෙනත් පුද්ගලික බැංකුවකට ගොස් මගේ ඇවැසිතාවය ඉටු කර ගතිමි. මම ඒ බැංකුවේ ගිණුමක් ආරම්භ නොකළ නිසා ඔවුනට ඒ බැංකුව වසා දමන්නට සිදුනොවූ බව මම දනිමි. නමුත් සෑම ගනුදෙනුකරුවකුම වටින ආයතනයකටනම් මේ පණිවිඩය වැදගත් වනු ඇත. 

අඩුම තරමින් මගේ එකම එක ශිෂ්‍යාවක්වත් මම වාසගම් ප්‍රශ්නය කතාකළ පසු ඇයගේ වාසගම නිවරදිව ලියනු දැකීම මට සතුටකි. නිමන්දිතා තත්සරණී දිසානායක වන ඇය ඇගේ වාසගම ඉංග්‍රිසි අකුරින් ලියන්නේ දිස්සානායකෙ (DISSANAYAKE) ලෙස නොව දිසානායක (DISANAYAKA) ලෙසිනි

මම හිතන්නේ අපේ නම් ගම් නිවැරදිව ලිවිය හැකි පිළිගත් පොදු ක්‍රමයකට අපි යාවත්කාලීන වියයුතු බවය. මහාචාර්‍ය නලින් ද සිල්වා සහ ප්‍රකට බ්ලොග්කරු අජිත් පැරකුම් ජයසිංගෙද (Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe) මේ නම්වල අලකලංචිය ගැන මට කලින් ලියා ඇත.

 

Wasim and I – The Two Most Aggressive Cricketers on Earth


Aggressive Wasim Akram

Aggressive Wasim Akram

These are two angry men in the cricket field. First one is the legendary Pakistani cricketer Wasim Akram who ripped through the opposition batting line with his destructive reverse swing bowling attack, displayed unbelievable fielding talents by holding onto spectacular catches and went on to power hitting down the order while batting on his day. (Not to mention that epic 257 test runs not out from 363 balls against Zimbabwe at Sheikhupura in 1996.) Wasim was the most aggressive cricketer on the field I have seen in my entire life. Not even Saleem Malik, who was both fortunate and unfortunate enough to be Wasim´s captain during most of his career would be spared of the latter´s verbal assault if the former displayed any poor fielding off the latter´s bowling. The latter would ask something to the effect of “Do you need the ball to be size of a pumpkin for you to catch it?” which was even heard through the on-field microphones. That was Wasim. That was his commitment to the game. Wasim is my favorite cricketer of all-time.

An Angry Nanda Wanninayaka

An Angry Nanda Wanninayaka

The second one, me, nowhere close to Wasim, the legend but, is a hugely brushed-off cricketer in my own small village cricket club. I must probably have been the bowler who took the most number of wickets for my team but was never considered as a bowler because I didn’t bowl fast (enough.) I used my head than the body when bowling and captured an average of 5 wickets in two 10-over per side match an evening. Fast bowlers like my own younger brother Aruna, Samantha, Donald, Sanath were considered as the best bowlers but all of them except Donald conceded a lot of runs as they delivered more no-balls and wides than legitimate balls. My brother was the undisputed “No-ball King” those days. But all these bowlers were good bowlers given the reason that they had to bowl with a tennis ball on an uneven grassy pitch, not even on a mat. But I was sidelined during the inter-club matches as I did not bowl fast (enough.) Taking wickets constantly during practice matches was never considered as a qualification to bowl during inter-club matches. I was a bad fielder at the beginning and dropped many a catch but later improved myself a lot and hardly dropped a catch after I learnt the techniques of holding onto a catch while watching cricket commentaries on TV. When it comes to batting, I was a bad batsman and hardly scored 10+ in an innings. Then again, I learnt batting techniques on TV and then improved myself. Despite the strong protest of my own younger brother, I promoted myself to the prestigious position of the opening batsman and lasted almost all 10 overs while the batsmen from other end collapsed like cards of dominoes. I didn’t go to big hits unless it was very needed towards the latter part of the innings and all I did was trying to last the full quota of 10 overs allocated for a team. All I knew was that the team that batted all 10 overs always won, mainly thanks to no-balls and wides that came as bonuses. This was why I opened batting and went on to bat all 10 overs on more often than not. This doesn’t mean that I occasionally got out for a duck, perhaps on the first ball.

Keeping that all self-promoting nonsense aside, all I wanted to say is that even though I cannot compare myself with my favorite cricketing hero, legendary Wasim Akram, we both were equally aggressive players, if not more, on the field. We both fought till the last ball to win a match, not to save a match.

Now both Wasim and I are retired and I still enjoy him as a commentator, He might not be as lively as Ravi Sastri, as eloquent as Rameez Raja, as crazily fast as Harsha Boghle or as technical as Sunil Gavaskar as in the commentary box, but the soft-spoken Wasim has a great sense of humor and a stylish language in commentating. But all I want to see great Wasim is as a player for the eternity. Such pace, such strength, such talent, such commitment, such perfection, such anger, such aggression, such glamour, you will never see from anyone but Wasim.

Well, last but not least, Wasim Akram’s career was constantly tainted with controversies on and off the field and err … … … so was (and is) mine. 

Wasim Akram Celebrating a Wicket

Wasim Akram Celebrating a Wicket

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram  Celebrating After Taking a Wicket

Wasim Akram Celebrating After Taking a Wicket

Wasim in Action

Wasim in Action

Wasim Akram  Bowling

Wasim Akram Bowling

Wasim Akram  Bowling

Wasim Akram Bowling

Wasim Akram  Bowling

Wasim Akram Bowling

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram Roaring After Taking a Wicket

Wasim Akram Roaring After Taking a Wicket

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram Batting

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram

Wasim Akram Encouraging Shoaib Akhtar

Wasim Akram Encouraging Shoaib Akhtar

Wasim Akram Celebrating a Wicket

Wasim Akram Celebrating a Wicket

A Resting Wasim Akram

A Resting Wasim Akram

Nanda Wanninayaka Batting

Nanda Wanninayaka Batting

Nanda Wanninayaka Going for a Big Shot

Nanda Wanninayaka Going for a Big Shot

Nanda Wanninayaka Making Field Changes of the Opposition While Batting :-)

Nanda Wanninayaka Making Field Changes of the Opposition While Batting 🙂

Nanda Wanninayaka Hooking

Nanda Wanninayaka Hooking

Nanda Wanninayaka Taking the Guard

Nanda Wanninayaka Taking the Guard

Nanda Wanninayaka Waiting to Hammer a Short Ball

Nanda Wanninayaka Waiting to Hammer a Short Ball

Nanda Wanninayaka Teaching this American Guy Colin Himes to Bat

Nanda Wanninayaka Teaching this American Guy Colin Himes to Bat

Nanda Wanninayaka Cricket (7)

Nanda Wanninayaka Installing the Dismantled Wicket

Nanda Wanninayaka Teaching Miss Bára Molnárová from the Czech Republic to Bowl

Nanda Wanninayaka Teaching Miss Bára Molnárová from the Czech Republic to Bowl

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda-Wanninayaka-Cricket-Coaching-2

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda-Wanninayaka-Cricket-Coaching-3

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda-Wanninayaka-Cricket-Coaching-4

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

Nanda-Wanninayaka-Cricket-Coaching-5

Nanda Wanninayaka Coaching the Cricketers in Maniyanthoddam, Jaffna, Sri Lanka

 

මහණ වන්නේ ඇයි?


funny buddhist monk

පහතින් දැක්වෙන්නේ සති කිහිපයකට පෙර යාපනයේ සිට අනුරාධපුරයට බස් රථයකින් පැමිණෙමින් සිටි මා හට සිදුවූ පුංචි සිදුවීමකි. වවුනියාව පසුවී ටික දුරක් එනවිට බෞද්ධ භික්ෂුවකැයි කිව හැකි (එහෙත් නානසාරටත් වඩා තග් පෙනුමක් තිබූ) භික්ෂුවක් බස් රථයට වඩින ලදී. “ඉස්සරහ හන්දියෙන් බහිනවා” යැයි උන් වහන්සේ කොන්දොස්තරට කියූ නිසා මම පූජ්‍ය පක්ෂයට වෙන්වූ අසුනේ සිටියත් බස් රථයේ ජනේලය අසලට තවත් ලන්වුණේ ළඟ බහින හිමිනමක් තවත් ජනේලය ළඟට යවා අපහසුතාවයට පත්කළ යුතු නැති බව සිතුණ නිසාය.

හාමුදුරුවෝ: මෙහාට වෙනවා. මම මහණ වුණේ ඔය සීට් එකේ යන්න ඕනෑ නිසා තමයි.
මම: අපේ හාන්දුන්නේ මමනම් හිතුවේ ඔබ වහන්සේ මහණ වුණේ සංසාර ගමන කෙටි කරගන්න කියලයි.
(බස් රථයේ සිනා)
හාමුදුරුවෝ: ඔය මහත්තයා බෞද්ධයෙක් නෙවෙයිද?
මම: ඔබ වහන්සේ බෞද්ධයෙක්ද?
හාමුදුරුවෝ: ඇයි පෙන්නේ නැද්ද සිවුරකුත් දාගෙන ඉන්නකොට?
මම: බෞද්ධයන් කියන්නේ ඔබ වහන්සේ වගේ නොහික්මුණ අයටනම් මට බෞද්ධයෙක් වෙනවට වඩා ISIS ත්‍රස්තවාදියෙක් වෙන එක හොඳයි අපේ හාන්දුන්නේ.

(බස් රථයේ දැඩි සිනා)

අපේ හාමුදුරුවෝ අමු කුණු හබ්බ කියමින් බස් රථයේ සිනා හඬ මැද්දේ සිය ගමනාන්තයටත් කලින් බස්රථයෙන් බිමට වැඩම කරන ලදී.

හෝව්! හෝව්!! දැන් ඉතින් තලේබාන් බෞද්ධයෝ කලබල වියයුතු නැත. ගිහියනට ආදර්ශයක් විය යුතු බොහෝ යතිවරයාණන් වහන්සේලාගේ සාමාන්‍ය හැසිරීම මෙයයි. (මෙයින් බොහොම සිල්වත් සහ අතිශයින්ම නිහතමානී යතිවරයන් වහන්සේලා නැති බවක් අදහස් නොකෙරේ.) නමුත් ඉවසීමෙන් ක්‍රියා කර අප වැනි පුහුදුන් මිනිසුන් ඔය කියනා හරි මගට ගන්න නම් මුලින්ම උන් වහන්සේලා නිවිය යුතුය. බුදුන් වහන්සේ අංගුලිමාලට (හෝ ආලවකයාට – හරියටම මතක නැත) නවතින්න (නිවෙන්න) කිව්වේ මුලින් උන්වහන්සේ නැවතීමෙන් (නිවීමෙන්) පසුවය. එහෙත් අපට නවතින්න (නිවෙන්න) කියන්නේ මෙවන් IRCකාර තලේබාන් නිකායේ තෙරුන්නාන්සේලාය. බෞද්ධාගමට අන්‍යාගමිකයන්ගෙන් තර්ජන ඇතැයි කියමින් බෙරිහන් දීමට පෙර මේ තලේබාන් හිමිවරු නියාමනය කළයුතුය.

Does e-ticketing in Sri Lanka Serve its Purpose?


A Railway Ticket in Sri Lanka

A Railway Ticket in Sri Lanka

Printed e-Ticket the Railway Department Issue to the commuter

Printed e-Ticket the Railway Department Issue to the commuter

The message you get once you buy the e-ticket through your mobile phone.

The message you get once you buy the e-ticket through your mobile phone.

Does e-ticketing in Sri Lanka serve its purpose? In the first picture you see a regular paper ticket issued for train commuters by the Sri Lanka Railway Department (more commonly known as Sri Lanka Railways (SLR)), which is littler than a credit card. in the next picture you see a printed version of an e-ticket the same department issues at the counter once you show the e-ticket details that is sent to the commuter’s mobile phone by the said department. It is bigger than an A5 paper!!! The very purpose behind the e-ticket system is to reduce the paperwork and make the ticketing process faster and more efficient. Not to mention the ease for both the department and the commuter. There shouldn’t be any paper work at all since there should be a way that the department can confirm the authenticity at the railway station itself with using technology. If they still insist on the papers, shouldn’t the e-ticket be reduced at least to the size of a credit card?

(Also see the image below and read the paragraph below it.)

Railway Department's Train Schedule with False Information

Railway Department’s Train Schedule with False Information

Above is the screenshot of the Train Schedule published online by the same department in its website. Here it says the Intercity Express train (number 4022) has first, second and the third-class tickets. But this is false information misleading the unsuspecting commuter. There is no 2nd or 3rd class compartments in this train. I checked and double checked with the department a short while ago. See how a tourist feels once they trust the department website and go to the station with the false information.

As far as I know, it is the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), the apex government body for ICT-related developments, that spent huge amounts of monies granted by the World Bank and the South Korean government for creating, maintaining and updating these government institutions’ websites. But it looks like that money was wasted than invested.

ICTA was a well-planned institution established by the then U. N. P. government which came to power in 2002 for a very short period. It had a vision, goals and a well-thought-out plan which was designed by the professionals and experts in the field. Unfortunately, once SLFP-lead coalition government came into power in 2005, things changed. When Mahinda Rajapaksa became the Prime Minster and took the ICTA under his office, things went worse and once he became the President of Sri Lanka and took the ICTA under the President’s Office, things even deteriorated. President Rajapaksa changed the original master plan designed by the experts and started interfering into the ICTA’s domain. He ensured the race, religion and the allegiance to the ruling party are the criteria to the staff selection, funds disbursement and what not? Professional staff members were replaced with the ruling party’s henchmen (and henchwomen for that matter.) The utter waste and the lethargy became the norms at the ICTA to stay. The ICTA was formed with a young CEO in the capacity of Mr. Manju Hattotuwa with the right qualifications and an open mind towards the constant changes in the field of ICT. But, the ruling party installed a very old, cunning and vile carnivorous dinosaur whose knowledge in the field in question was obsolete as a result of old age and utter incompetence, as the Chairman of the so-called apex government body for ICT-related developments. Earlier it was the CEO of the agency who ran the agency productively and the post of the Chairperson was more of a formality if not ceremonial. But the obsolete dinosaur first got Manju out of the ICTA and changed the agency from a private sector-model efficient organization to a lethargic government department. (Not to mention the couple of buffoons installed as CEOs of the agency from time to time who came nowhere close to Manju in terms of public relations, efficiency and productivity.)  So, when the dinosaur died of old age, the position of the Chairperson went to a lady who new anything but ICT. The dinosaur reduced the ICTA to rubble but this ignorant lady ensured the rubble became dust.

The SLR website is only one tiny example when it comes to incompetence. Almost 99% of the other government institutions’ websites are equally obsolete and hardly serve the very purpose of launching them at the expense of the taxpayer. Those websites are also obsolete with eons-old information, email accounts that are not checked, contact numbers that don’t exist anymore and links that don’t work from the very day of creating those websites. Most of the responsible officials in the said institutes use Yahoo! Email IDs let alone Gmail IDs if not for the email IDs with domain names of the institutions! Furthermore, you have to call those officials and tell them that an email has been sent and it is high time they checked them. That is “e-Sri Lanka” or “Digital Sri Lanka” for you and your tax rupees are at work!!!

Professor Rohan Samarajiva, the Chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka

Professor Rohan Samarajiva, the Chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka

At least now the agency is chaired by a non-corrupt, efficient and experienced futuristic visionary in the capacity of Professor Rohan Samarajiva who won’t be fooled by flattering or sycophancy. So, Sir, it is your time to make things right at the ICTA if it is not too late as yet.

පැය හතක් බලා සිට අනුරාධපුර ශික්ෂණ රෝහලෙන් ටිකට් එක කපා ගතිමි.


hospital-visitors

මුලින්ම කිවයුත්තේ මේ ලිපිය ලිව්වා කියා කිසිම වැඩක් නොවෙන බවය. මේ ලිපිය ලියනවාට වඩා ඒ වෙනුවට ඒ වෙලාවේ වෙනත් වැඩක් නැත්නම් යු ටියුබ් එකෙන් රාජිත සේනාරත්නගේ කතාවක් ඇසුවානම් හොඳය.

මම ගිය සෙනසුරාදා රෝහල්ගත වූයේ සති පහක් තිස්සේ පැවතුන උණ රෝගය නිසාය. පස් වතාවක්ම රජයේ රෝහල්වල OPD වලින් බෙහෙත් ගත්තත් සුව නොවුන නිසා මහවිලච්චියේ ග්‍රාමීය රෝහලට ඇතුළත් වුණෙමි. එහි සිටි වෛද්‍යවරිය කාරුණිකව පැවසුවේ මහවිලච්චිය රෝහලේ රුධිර පරීක්ෂණ පහසුකම් නැති නිසා අනුරාධපුර ශික්ෂණ රෝහලට මාව යැවීමට සිදුවිය හැකි බවයි. අපෙන්ම  එකතු කරන බදු මුදලින් මෙවැනි සරල පහසුකමක්වත් සැපයීමට ග්‍රාමීය රෝහලකට පහසුකම් ලබා නොදුන්නත් මැති ඇමතිවරුන්ට (xx) අමාරුවටත් සිංගප්පුරුවේ මවුන්ට් එලිසබෙත් සුපිරි පෞද්ගලික රෝහලට යවා ජනාධිපති අරමුදලින් බිල් ගෙවීම ගැන මමනම් මොකුත් නොකියන්නේ එතුමන්ලාට අපිට මෙන් රස්තියාදුවීමට හෝ ජනතා සේවය අනතුරට හෙළා එතුමන්ලාගේ සෞඛ්‍යයය සමග සෙල්ලම් කිරීමට බැරි බවහොඳින්ම දන්නා බැවිනි. (සෙල්ලම් කරනවානම් සෙල්ලම් කල හැක්කේ ජනතාවගේ සෞඛ්‍ය සමග අප තේරුම්ගෙන බොහෝ කල්ය.)

මහවිලච්චිය රෝහලේ වෛද්‍යවරිය පැවසූ පරිදිම තවත් උණ රෝගියකු සමග ගිලන් රථයකින් මාව අනුරාධපුර ශික්ෂණ රෝහලට යැවිණි. අනුරාධපුරයට යෑමට මගේ කිසිම කැමැත්තක් නොතිබුණේ මින් පෙර කිහිපවරක්ම මෙලෙසම අනුරාධපුරයට යැවුණත් එහිදී ලැබුණ නොසැලකිලිමත් ප්‍රතිචාර සහ ප්‍රතිකාර නිසා සිය කැමැත්තෙන්ම රෝහලෙන් ඉවත්ව ගෙදර යාමේ සුන්දර අත්දැකීම් තිබුණ නිසාය.

අනුරාධපුර ශික්ෂණ රෝහලේ වාට්ටුවකට මාව ඇතුල්කල නමුදු මට ඇඳක් හෝ ඉඳගැනීමට පුටුවක් හෝ නොතිබුණි. මටත් වඩා අපහසුවෙන් සිටි දුබල සහ  වයසක රෝගීන් බිම වාඩිවී හෝ වැතිර සිටිද්දී මට ආසනයක් බලාපොරොත්තු වීම වැරදිය. ඇවැසි නම් හඳුනන වෛද්‍යවරයකුගේ, හෙදියකගේ හෝ රෝහල් කාර්යමණ්ඩලයේ කෙනෙකුට ඇමතුමක් දී මට අවශ්‍ය අවම පහසුකම් හෝ ලබා ගැනීමට හැකියාවක් තිබුණත් එවැන්නක් කිරීමට හිත හදාගැනීමට බැරිවීම මගේ පුද්ගලික දුර්වලතාවයක් විය හැක.

සුපුරුදු පරිදි පැයකට වඩා බලාසිටිමුත් රෝහල් කාර්යමණ්ඩලයේ කිසිවකු මා වෙත පැමිණියේ නැත. (හදිසි අනතුරු වාට්ටුව සහ දැඩි සත්කාර ඒකකයන් මෙසේ නොවනු ඇතැයි සිතමි.) පැයකට පමණ පසු වෛද්‍යවරයකු මා කැඳවා මගේ රෝග ස්වභාවය සඳහන් කරගනිමින් ඇවැසි පරීක්ෂණ සහ ප්‍රතිකාර සඳහන් කළේය. තවත් කාරුණික රෝගියකු ඔහුත් සමග ඔහුගේ රෝහල් ඇඳ මා හා බෙදාගැනීමට ආරාධනා කළේය. මෙතැන් සිට සිදුවූ කියාවලිය විස්තර කරමින් ඔබගේ මෙන්ම මගේද කාලය නාස්ති කිරීමට නොයන්නෙමි.

සඳුදා පැමිණි විශේෂඥ වෛද්‍යවරයා මගේ පරීක්ෂණ ප්‍රතිඵල බලා මම සුව වූ බව තීරණය කර රෝහලින් බැහැර කළයුතු රෝගියකු ලෙස නම් කර මට ගෙදර යාහැකි බව කීවේය. මම නැවතත් ඔහුගෙන් විමසා එය තහවුරු කරගත්තේ ඔහු මොනවා කීවත් ඔහුගේ කණිෂ්ඨ වෛද්‍යවරුන් පිස්සු කෙළිය හැකි බව මම අත්දැකීමෙන් දන්නා නිසාය. ඔහු මගේ ඇස් පරීක්ෂණය සඳහා අක්ෂි වෛද්‍යවරයකුට යොමුකළ හැකි බව කිව්වත් මම එක හෙළාම එය ප්‍රතික්ෂේප කළේ හැකි ඉක්මනින් රෝහලෙන් පිටවී “මගේ සෞඛ්‍ය මමම බලාගත යුතු බව” මට හොඳින් වැටහී තිබුණ නිසාය.

සාමාන්‍යයෙන් “ටිකට් කැපීමේ මහා පින්කමට” රෝහල පැය දෙක තුනක් ගන්නා නිසා මම නැවතත් සුපුරුදු පරිදි පොතක් කියවමින් සිටියෙමි. නමුත් පැය 6ක් ගතවීත් මගේ “ටිකට්” නොකැපූ නිසා මම ප්‍රධාන හෙද නිලධාරියාගෙන් ඒ ගැන විමසීමි. ඔහු කිව්වේ ඒ වන විට සේවයේ නියුතු වෛද්‍යවරියන් දෙදෙනාම අලුත් නිසා වෙනදාට වඩා වැඩි වෙලාවක් යන බැවින් මගේ වාරය පැමිණෙන තෙක් වාඩිවී සිටින ලෙසයි. එහෙත් වෛද්‍යවරියන් දෙදෙනා කොපමණ අළුත් වුවත් ඔවුන් “අකුරු දන්නේනම්” පැය 6ක් යනතුරු මා රස්තියාදු නොකරන බවට මට මඳ හෝ විශ්වාසයක් තිබුණ බැවින්, මම හෙද නිලධාරිවරයාගෙන් කාරුණිකව ඇසුවේ අඩුම තරමින් මගේ “ටිකට් එක” වෛද්‍ය වරියන්ගේ මේසය මත තිබෙනවාද නැද්ද යන්නවත් මට සැකහැර දන්වන ලෙසයි.

මම හිතුවා හරියටම හරිය. වෛද්‍යවරියන් ළඟ මගේ “ටිකට් එක” නොතිබුණි. හෙද නිලධරයා එය ජයග්‍රාහී ලෙස ඔහුගේ මහා පොත් රාජයාගෙන් එළියට ගත්තේ ඔහුගේ අතපසුවීම සම්බන්ධයෙන් නිකමට හෝ සමාව අයදීමක් තියා කනගාටුව පළකිරීමක් හෝ නොකොටය. එය වෛද්යවරියන්ගේ මේසයට යැවිණි. එකිනෙකාට මීටර කිහිපයක් ඉදිරියෙන් සිටින අනෙකාගේ මේසයට “ටිකට් එක” පැය 6ක් නොගියේ ඇයි වැනි මෝඩ ප්‍රශ්න ඔබ නොඇසිය යුතුය. පැය 6ක් තිස්සේ මේසයෙන් මේසයට යන්නට පෙරුම් පුරමින් සිටි මගේ “ටිකට් එක” වෛද්‍යවරිය විසින් තවත් පැයක් පමාකර ජයග්‍රාහී පැය 7ක ප්‍රමාදයකින් පසු අවැසි රාජකාරී කර මට ගෙදර යාමට අවසර ලැබුණි. (ඒ වන විට රාත්‍රී 8.00ටත් ආසන්න වී තිබුණි.)

රජයේ රෝහල්වල ඇති සේවක හිගය අපට අවබෝධ කරගත හැකිය. ඒ නිසා ඔවුන්ට වැඩ අතපසු විය හැක. වෛද්‍යවරුන්ට, හෙද හෙදියන්ට, තාක්ෂණික හා කාර්මික ශිල්පීන්ට මෙන්ම සුළු සේවකයන්ටත් දරාගත නොහැකි වැඩ ප්‍රමාණයක් ඇති බව බැලූ බැල්මට පෙනේ. එහෙත් මේ කිසිම සේවක වෘත්තීය සමිති මාධ්‍ය සාකච්ඡාවකදී, උද්ඝෝෂණයකදී, වර්ජනයකදී සේවක හිඟය ගැන මේ කිසිවකු කතා කරනවා මම දැක නැත. (මා වැරදි නම් නිවැරදි කරන්න.) අලුතින් සේවකයන් බඳවා ගැනීමට ඇති විකල්ප ක්‍රම සහ සේවකයින්ගේ වෘත්තීය ශක්‍යතා දියුණු කරන අටියෙන් රජයයන් ගෙන ආ ක්‍රමවලට විරෝධය දක්වන්නේ මොවුන්මය. ඉතින් අපිත් (බදුත් ගෙවා) පැය 7ක් නොව දින 7ක් වුවත් ප්‍රමාදවී “නිදහස් වෛද්‍ය සේවයේ” ස්වර්ණමය පල විඳිමු.

(මේ ලිපියෙන් ඉතා අපහසු තත්ත්ව යටතේ බොහෝ කැපවීමෙන් සේවය කරන කිනම් මට්ටමක හෝ සේවකයකුට හෝ වෘත්තිකයකුට රිදවීම මගේ අරමුණ නොවේ.)

My earlier posts about government hospitals.

  1. Sri Lankan Government Hospitals Online