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Sunday, 2 February 2003  
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Miraculous cure for cancer

On Fridays at 9.30 a.m. over Rupavahini there is a program where an Ayurvedic Doctor who has cured several cancer patients are being interviewed.

Most of them had been on their way to death after obtaining all the possible western medicine. (The persons interviewed included persons who had been completely cured and parents of children who had been completely cured.)

Some of the patients cured had been suffering from Leukaemia. This physician appeared to be humble as he had been instructing the patients about the necessary precautions.

He once mentioned that camel milk was essential for a cancer patient but he said that it was not available in Sri Lanka and some of his patients had to import it from India at a cost.

A few minutes later a female caller volunteered to import this milk and distribute them free to all patients who required it.

I suggest that the Cancer Hospital which our cricketers intend building should be built and donated to this physician.

The government should take all precautionary measures to see that the royalties of the medicine he is giving should be with this physician and not smuggled out.

I feel that the treatment he has given to those patients may be what had been given to cancer patients thousands of years ago by the then Ayurvedic Doctors.

N. Weerasinghe, 

Sari monopoly - a response

I am simply horrified and shocked after reading the news item in the Sunday Observer regarding the above topic. Being a woman, educated and a feminist activist I am simply amazed at the narrow view expressed by a fellow citizen from Moratuwa, whom I believe is from stone age in congratulating the principal of a leading boys school in Moratuwa and expressing hope that it be carried out in other schools.

I am simply certain, not only women but liberal thinking educated men of the 21st century will be with me.

First and foremost we should condemn the unjustifiable manner in which the principal of a school took such a decision, and to have the audacity to compel the wearing of sari by mothers of that school. What right has the principal of a school to impose laws on parents?

There should have been a protest march against that stupid order. Is it that the educated parents of this school are scared of doing such protest for their rights and for the rights of their wives, sisters and daughters.

I think these gender-biased individuals should have a dress code for the fathers too, and insist that they come in 'National dress'. We welcome such a move!

If under the constitution and as according all international treaties and declarations which Sri Lanka has been a party, which clearly indicates that by sex a person should not be discriminated against what then is this?

It is time for the Minister of Education to step in and rule out this sort of biases, which are rising in our country. What a person wears is his or her business and all citizens should have the liberty and right not to be dictated to by pervasive-minded individuals who are gender biased.

Thanks to the initiative of our Prime Minister we see a ray of hope to solve the ethnic conflict, which had ruined our country for almost three decades. Is it that we want a new conflict based on 'gender' to raise its head?

I am sure if we don't 'nip it in the bud' this sort of patriarchal ideas that still prevail, which is the cause for oppression and subordination of women would spread its germs and destroy our nation.


'Son of the Land' - a response

Why did you come back after "....50 happy years in Scotland,...." to that country full of lies, cheating and humilation?

You lead the readers of your letter astray. You are not a Sri Lankan, you are a foreigner, who likes to get the benefits of Sri Lanka after being 50 years abroad. Why are you now crying when this deputy controller of the Immigration and Emigration Department duly did his work?

You are a liar when you are telling us that you studied 50 years your chartered accountancy. You went abroad, you studied there and you made your money there, while we were struggling and fighting with our(Sri Lankans) problems.

You are fussily writing down the dates of your visa - unnecessarily.

Isn't it the duty of the custom officers to look into the luggage, even if it is a 'solid', steel trunk of 69 years?

Go back to your Scotland where life is so different from life in our country. You are really an unwelcome guest here.

We love our culture and civility, we don't like persons with wicked tongues.

My dear, don't talk about your family, you left your family half a century ago.

You cannot imagine how angry we are about people like you. But come back to our country and retire here in peace and dignity.

Chaminda Dissanayake, 

High on devil's brew

The article entitled as above, which appeared in the Et cetera section of the Sunday Observer of 29.10.2002, does not specify the name of the illicit brew identified as Devil's Brew for some reason.

However, as succinctly borne out by the tenor and content of the article, what is adverted to therein cannot be anything else but the infamous illicit rotgut widely known as kasippu, which is verily a devil's brew.

Nevertheless, the stunning and poignant revelation in the article vis a vis the alleged ingenious liaison between illicit brewers and the so-called custodians of the law is certainly an eye-opener to the minister concerned, who should not remain oblivious, but hasten to take firm action forthwith to arrest this ignominious trend of affairs, which invariably brings the Minister as well as the governance at large to disrepute, besides giving an impetus to the illicit brewers to pursue their nefarious activity with virtual impunity.

Whether a clandestine nexus as alleged really exists or not, the fact remains that notwithstanding the sporadic raids conducted by the law enforcement officers kasippu menace has since flourished vigorously and proliferated like mushrooms to such stupendous magnitude that there is a copious supply of the stuff in every nook and corner of the country to meet the burgeoning demand. This dismal situation speaks volumes for the efficiency, honesty and integrity of the excise and police people, who are entrusted with the task of combatting this menace.

Be that as it may, the government cannot possibly escape the onus of eradicating the kasippu menace, which has been plaguing the country for so long at any cost without placating the brewers.

I spoke to a cross-section of the kasippu imbibers inclusive of both blue collar and white collar workers. They all asserted in unison that they have no penchant for this poisonous rotgut, but the prevalent circumstances have driven them to it in the absence of a better affordable drink.

Police too cracked down on toddy tapping, which eventually disappeared altogether. In the concomitant circumstances kasippu, the devils brew emerged to fill the vacuum thus created. Since there is no option available, those, who need an alcoholic intake to unwind and get over the fatigue after the day's hard work are naturally constrained to resort to this poisonous hooch fully knowing that it is nothing but a health hazard and enrich the brewer, who prospers without paying a single cent by way of tax, while the government spends public funds to treat patients with kasippu related ailments. This is the fact of life we all live with.


Clearance of foreign cargo

For many years when I was working abroad both in the Middle East and finally in Australia, I sent gifts to my family in Sri Lanka, on many occasions, and to my dismay, I was informed by my family not to send goods to (such and such a Company), but send it to some other place. However, it appeared that the next place was no better than the earlier one and subsequently I stopped sending goods to Sri Lanka, as they had a hard time clearing the goods.

I was told that the wait was long, the people demanded money and when they were given what they felt like giving, the labourers etc insisted on more, and it became unbearable. So I decided to bring everything when I was coming on vacation and cleared it myself, there too with a lot of hassle and also with small items missing.

By the time I left the Cargo Services Warehouse, I was sick and tired and thoroughly disgusted as the paper work was too much, and furthermore, I had to go from room to room (sometimes more than twice) to get the signature/s of particular individuals. Frankly it was a very painful experience.

A few weeks ago (on December 9), I had to clear a box which my children sent from Australia, and this was sent through an agent in Australia - Transco International Cargo Service (Pvt) Ltd, whose warehouse is situated in Alwis Town, Hendala. To my surprise, the service rendered by the entire staff including the labourers, forklift operators, Customs Officers etc were just fantastic and there was no hassle delay, shortages and also demands for cash.

I was so happy that when my children phoned me from Australia to ask me about the goods, I told them to send goods always through this service and I also informed all my friends and relations who sent goods to their loved ones here, to do the same.

Happy Customer

Japan Friendship road

The Road Development Authority should give priority to complete the Japan Friendship Road at Sri Jayawardenapura, Kotte.

The old Japan Friendship Road is under water and in a dangerous and urgent state of repair. The new road constructed at an enormous cost is completed. It has only to be tarred or provided with a surface finish. If this is done it would be great relief and help to the residents not only of Kotte but also of Madiwela, Thalawatugoda, Pannipitiya, Hokandara and other neighbouring towns.

Another major factor to be considered is that if an emergency occurs within close proximity to the Parliament, to get the patient to Sri Jayawardenapura Hospital will not be easy.

We the residents of Kotte urge the Minister of Highways and Members of Parliament to intervene in this matter and expeditiously resolve this problem.


A bouquet

I wish to thank the Kohuwela, Mirihana and the Kandy Police stations for their efficient work, through your esteemed newspaper, resulting in the swift recovery of my official car, which was stolen recently from the car park at the High Level Plaza, Delkanda.

The Mirihana Police to whom the loss was reported first, promptly alerted police stations in the adjoining areas. The complaint was made at the Kohuwela Police Station, as the location of the theft was in their territory, and the vehicle was recovered at Kandy, by the OIC Crimes and his team, on valid information passed on to them by an alert and civic minded citizen. That was a good example of Police co-ordination and public co-operation with the Police.

I wish to place on record that the OIC Kohuwela Police and his team in the Crimes Branch headed by Inspector Prasanna Silva were most helpful in this instance.

Whilst many government offices are provided with modern equipment and air conditioned working environments, police stations still continue to use ancient equipment.

V. Jeganathan, 

Humanity the ultimate mechanism for "Federal System"

"The peace process" is a great sign of peace and tremendous effort on the part of everyone in this island. No doubt this is the last chance we have to solve the long lasting conflict between two major ethnic groups in the country. What I am trying to raise is the point of humanity, it is very important to have human rights issues being taken up for the next round of peace talks in Thailand.

Each and every person has a right to life by virtue of our humanity. because we are born free in this world. This basic human rights concept is enshrined in the 1948 universal declaration of human rights recognizing the freedom, justice and peace in the world. So, this should be the basis for us to reach any consensus in whatever form it may be. We should claim our rights recognizing that there are others in the society who have rights as we do. So, claiming rights should be in accordance with the recognition of the correlative human responsibilities of each and every person in the society. If we can see the world through this kind of frame we won't find any discrimination like racism, ethnicity and so on.

Therefore we need to have common understanding of these rights and responsibilities at all levels in the society.

Speaking only for people of your race, caste, class or whatever, is in a way again discrimination. What we want to do is to have a holistic approach focusing on the people's inherent dignity to live worth.

So let's grow humanity within ourselves. Let us join together to promote and institutionalize the good governance in the society keeping humanity constantly in our minds.

Chaminda Punchibandara, 
Faculty of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya

Fragmentation of coconut lands

This refers to a letter written by 'Affected coconut land owner, Kurunegala' Sunday Observer of Jan 5. For some reason he has remained anonymous. He has written in response to my letter.

I think that fragmentation of coconut lands, for housing purposes, is not the answer to population explosion. There are so much of other lands, such as uneconomic and crown lands, to solve the housing problem, instead of clearing productive coconut lands, which not only earns foreign exchange but also meet the domestic requirements. Today, the wholesale market price is about Rs. 12,000 per 1,000 nuts in situ. Retail price is around Rs. 20 per nut.

No expertise knowledge is required to understand the extent of damage done by cutting down coconut trees to find land for housing projects, giving room, for the price hike of coconuts. Productive coconut lands should not be converted to barren housing projects. When it solves one problem, it creates another.

People who deal with land sales are only concerned with the locality and not the damage done to the plantations. This is fact and not fiction. For example, leave the hands off from fragmenting coconut lands, and see the result. However, the damage has already been done.

The writer says that "in coconut lands, boundary fences have to be maintained and weeding has to be carried out at proper times". This has nothing to do with fragmentation, because they are part and parcel of any plantation, where maintenance is the maxim.

In the past there were droughts, pest infestations, unfavourable weather conditions affecting coconut plantations. But, there was nothing like the present crisis. Why cannot the Coconut Cultivation Board or the Coconut Development Authority or the Coconut Research Institute, look into the damage done to coconut estates due to haphazard fragmentation? The "Kapruka Investment Project' can also assist in this.

I do not, want to make fragmentation of coconut lands as a controversial issue, tax my time and energy and the valuable space of the newspaper to highlight the quantum of damage so done.

Aryadasa Ratnasinghe, 

Is consumption of meat essential?

There is a misconception in the minds of some people that humans should eat meat and that eating meat is essential for a healthy life.

There are millions of vegetarians in this world who lead much healthier and longer lives compared to non-vegetarians. In United States alone, statistics show that there were 9 million vegetarians in 1989 according to North American Vegetarian Society (Christion Science Monitor, 18-04-1990). The highest number of vegetarian's are found in India.

From anatomical and physiological point of view man has not been created to eat flesh as illustrated by the following arguments.

Human beings have large molars with small incisors unsuited for meat consumption but, ideal for consumption of large quantities of vegetable matter.

We have flat teeth like vegetarian animals unlike sharp teeth of flesh - eaters. Some people suggest that the existence of canine teeth proves that we are adapted to eat meat. In gorillas and gelid baboons who are vegetarians, canines function as defence weapons and not to eat meat.

Human hands are different from the hands of flesh-eaters who have claws.

Humans and vegetarian animals have gastric juice with low acidity suited to digest vegetarian diet unlike flesh eaters who have gastric juice with very high acidity (i.e. very low pH) suited to digest flesh.

Humans and all vegetarian animals have very long intestines suited to digest fully, nutrients in plant foods. On the other hand, flesh-eaters like the tigers and lions have very short intestines which allow rapid excretion of decomposed material released during digestion of meat. But when human beings consume flesh, these decomposed products are not excreted rapidly due to presence of very long intestines, thus causing chronic diseases of gastrointestinal type such as carcinoma of the large gut, which are quite common among non-vegetarians.

Vegetarians including all vegetarian animals sweat to cool the body unlike flesh eaters who pant to cool the body.

Humans sip water unlike the flesh-eater who laps water.

Humans and all vegetarian animals do not gulp down food unlike flesh-eaters who gulp down the food they take. Vegetarians are predominantly sweet-toothed unlike flesh-eaters who have preference to fatty food. Humans have large brains able to rationalise unlike small brains of flesh-eaters who are less capable of adaptive behaviour.

Vegetarians are less prone to carcinoma of intestine, ovaries and testes as compared to meat-eaters. Vegetarians are less prone to other chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes,gall stone disease, obesity (over weight) and psychiatric illnesses such as alcoholism when compared to meat eaters.

Coronary heart disease (heart attacks) which is the biggest killer in Sri Lanka and all other developing and developed countries is not common among vegetarians as vegetarian food does not contain cholesterol unlike animal products which are full of cholesterol. Vegetarian diet also contains mostly unsaturated fats which lower blood cholesterol level, unlike saturated fats (which increase the blood cholesterol level) contained in animal flesh.

It is common knowledge that high blood cholesterol is the leading risk factor of heart attacks. As mentioned earlier coronary artery disease is the biggest killer in all the developing and the developed countries.

The consumption of vegetables fruits, nuts and grains which contain all the proteins, fats, minerals, carbohydrates fibre and vitamins we need, should be our priority in order to lead long and healthy lives and to prevent chronic diseases such as heart diseases, hypertension, stroke, diabetes mellitus and cancer which are common among meat eaters.

Dr. D.P. Atkorale

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