Sunday, 12 May 2002  
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Post office sans First day covers

I called over at Ambalangoda Post Office on the April 29th to purchase a 'First Day Cover' with the stamp issued on that day to commemorate our late President Premadasa.

To my astonishment, I was informed that there were no 'First Day Covers' available at this special grade provincial post office. I am not at a loss to understand why these 'First Day Covers' are not made available at least to the provincial special grade post offices, as the outstation stamp collectors cannot come all the way to Colombo, when these special issues are made.

Ambalangoda is an important provincial town where a very large number of schoolchildren may be stamp collectors, as a hobby.

Lionel L. Leanage - Ambalangoda

Valentine Day celebrations

A news item in the daily papers stated that three Venerable Mahanayaka Theras, viz. the Most Venerable Madihe Pannasiha Maha Nayaka Thera of Amarapura Maha Sangha Sabha, the Most Venerable Udugama Buddharakkhita Maha Nayaka Thera of Asgiriya Sect of the Siam Maha Nikaya and the Most Venerable Wewaldeniye Medhalankara Maha Nayake Thera of the Ramanna Maha Nikaya had jointly sent a Sandesaya to H.E. the President requesting her to ban Valentine Day celebrations to prevent the corrupting influence of such practices on the present day youth.

In fact one newspaper displayed in almost a whole page of pictures, a most disgusting contest held on 10th February 2002 in the open on Parliament grounds, watched by several hundreds where young girls dressed in 'skinnies' with the upper body including arm-pits coated with liquid chocolates, being licked by young men; the winner of the contest was to be the one who finished first the licking of his choice of the young girl.

What more ugly obscene public scene could there have been to celebrate the so-called Valentine's Day? Can any one in sanity say that such public contests will not sexually corrupt young girls and boys and lead them to more sexual orgies in peaceful Sri Lanka? What actually are the organizers trying to portray?

Are these not clearly against the Sinhala and Buddhist culture of the Dhammadvipa? Does this not lead to the destruction of the 3rd precept of the pancasila in Buddhism? Are not these deplorable practices that encourage innocent girls and boys to lead to promiscuity and sex orgies which have increased beyond limit in religious Sri Lanka?

Recently there were two letters in the press criticizing the Venerable Maha Nayaka Theras for the aforesaid letter to the President. One letter was by one Abeyratna from Nugegoda while the other was from R. Silva from Mabole. They point an accusing finger on the Maha Nayaka Theras, alleging that it is not part of their duty to interfere in such world wide celebrations. What the Maha Nayaka Theras are attempting to do is to prevent the deterioration of moral values by such deplorable practices under the guise of Valentine Day celebrations, which too are anathema to our Sri Lankan Buddhist culture. These two correspondents are attempting to tell the Venerable Maha Nayaka Theras that they must strictly adhere to propagation of Dhamma. These two gentlemen are only displaying their ignorance of the duties of the venerable Maha Nayakas to propagate the Dhamma. Little learning is no doubt dangerous.

Maharagama Sasana Sevaka Samitiya.

The shame of it!

We see so many letters and protests, especially by the JVP and our communists, against Palestinian-bashing by the Israelis. However, it is unbelievable that nobody in this 'Buddhist' land has ever thought of protesting against Tibetan-bashing by the Chinese!

Surely, we should be in a state of permanent denunciation against the harmless, peace-loving Tibetans being swallowed up by the Chinese dragon, to be digested at leisure, without disturbance from any quarter? What is happening in Tibet is a continuing outrage! The Palestinians are expected to retaliate with whatever weapons are at hand. But the Tibetans? They had and only have their prayer-wheels to brandish in defiance.

Is not the case of Tibet the ultimate exposure of the hypocrisy of the UN, the self-acclaimed international police force of the Americans and ourselves.

Prema Ranawaka-Das

Self controlling governance system

It is almost unbelievable that Sri Lankan politics has changed from a disgusting show of arrogance, confrontation, thuggery and vulgar show off to act of peace, dedication and honest interest towards the benefit of the country.

However much one may have good intentions, new brooms do sweep well but with time, certainly get wasted - unless maintained properly. Power certainly corrupts - besides, in politics it is not the will of one or two people that matters - rather the personality, character and aspirations of a gamut of politicians.

Therefore, while it is going well, it is essential that the well-meaning leaders of today set up limiting rules for future politics and limits and rules of conduct of all politicians in such a way that no one, including themselves can break them or word around them towards mismanagement.

We saw the absurd situation of one man's folly of Executive President ship practised by another thrusting untold hardship on the whole country with absolutely no way out for anyone, except by the painfully long hard exercise of elections. The country must learn from this and must make sure that history does not repeat itself. The system must be changed in such a way every citizen should have a say in the governance in some sense, and when majority of good people wish for something, it should be possible to bring about the change. The Parliament, the Opposition and specially the Intelligentia and the powerful in the society should be able to wield some sort of control over the politics and politicians.

In other words, governing the country should never be in the hands of a chosen few. While the chosen few continue to run the country there should be a checking control over them in such a way that the ruling ladies cannot sink into corruption and thuggery, even if they want to.

If the present laders want their good work to continue, to reap results in the long run they must start thinking of lying down self controlling devices to the political system - now itself, before the power starts corrupting their subordinates. They must make sure that corruption cannot get the upper hand even in future. Tall order, true, but it has to be done and this is the one and only time to do so.

Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai,- Dehiwela 

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