|Sunday, 4 January 2004|
Which way year 2004 ?
by Jayanthi Liyanage
Ven. Baddegama Samitha Thera, Member of Parliament, Galle District:
In the year 2004, we hope for a peaceful life in a developed Sri Lanka, with no fear of suspicion among people. I think we have wasted enough time talking about this. The time has now come to activate all facilities to usher in such a period for the country.
Goodwill, which is to be fostered among all people, should not only be at the topmost but also at the grass root levels. Those who obstruct the spreading of goodwill among grass roots are the politicians who make irresponsible statements and the priests who preach rash opinions. I am asking the preaching seats of the temples, churches, mosques and kovils not to preach what could create conflicts.
The 21st century is considered to be the century of wisdom for Sri Lanka. We must breed in our next generation the knowledge of languages and information technology and other technological know-how and the love of reading. India hopes to be a super power in 2020. The saying goes that when it drizzles in India, we, in Sri Lanka, start sneezing. As such, the least we can do is step close behind India in this venture.
We must awaken all our people who are still in slumber. From the very night of December 31, all the ethnic communities in Sri Lanka must put behind everything which hindered our progress and look towards a better future.
Rev. Fr. Ernest Poruthota, Parish Priest, St. Mary's Church, Dehiwela:
In the year 2004, we are on the verge of peace between ethnic groups in the North and the South. This must be cemented by the sacrifice of opinions of political parties in the common interest of people, for peace among people. The second aspect of peace is the co-existence of religions by the willingness and goodwill of everybody, exercised in the manner of "Live and let live" policy. The third is that no Christian organization must ever induce people to their religions by any inducement of money or otherwise.
We must realise that we are a multi-religious world and also a multi-religious nation.
Prof. Thissa Kariyawasam, Professor of Sinhala and Mass Communication, University of Sri Jayawardenapura, and Chairman, National Library and Documentation Services Board, who recently received an award from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs for his contribution of writing, in both Sinhala and English, to the field of ritualistic dancing in Sri Lanka.
The world, as a whole, has many countries which are different but they have to work together. The westerner now has to go in search of other markets than the west, to sell his products. When the east and the west can get together, I cannot understand why people in Sri Lanka is divided into so many different groups of people. Preserving our indigenous culture, we have to move along in the lines tread by other countries.
What happened in other countries 30-40 years ago, are happening in our country now. Our religious and political leaders, educationists and parents must think about their role in the future, looking at what is happening in other countries. We must realise where we are and set goals for the future. But we cannot do this, if we do not go together.
Prof. Sharya Scharenguivel, Associate Professor, Law Faculty, University of Colombo, who is also engaged in social services projects of children's and women's rights:
My resolution for the year 2004, specially in my primary concern of academic work, will be to do whatever I can today and not to put it aside for another day.
We tend to postpone issues, rather than deal with them immediately and when we do it, it is a way of getting out of tackling issues. We generally tend to feel that if we do not face issues, they will go away. A lot of issues in the State sector tend to get postponed, with the solutions coming late. Such postponement only leads to further discontentment with the system. In University life, one has to deal with issues as they arise. One cannot come with an answer much later, say, in three months time.
Chamuditha Samarawickrema of TNL, the presenter of the religious programmes Daham Suvanda with Ven Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera, and Nena Pahana with late Ven. Gangodawila Soma Thera.
He won the first-ever Sumathi award for the Best TV Presenter in 2002 and the Best Young Programme Producer in 1999 for his TV programme Jana Handa. If a person wants to make a resolution to better himself, a special "day" such as the Mother's day or the Valentine's day is not necessary. If he really needs to change, even this moment would do. But since our people like milestones, let us consider January 1 as another turning point for ourselves to emerge as a people who could challenge the whole of Asia as a gracious nation, a congenial and tolerant people and an economically prospering, peaceful country.
Right now, we are fumbling ahead in semi-darkness, without exactly knowing where we are going and why we are going there. Sri Lanka's people and rulers alike must clearly understand what we are doing and why we are doing it. Going beyond our usual new year resolution of a peaceful and prospering society, we must be able to pinpoint where the dangers lie in our path, in an economic, ethnic and religious context, to emerge as a respectful nation. We must understand where we went wrong last year and make that lesson a foundation to build our future life.
Vijaya Nandasiri, stage/tele drama actor/producer, who was conducting his customary annual Bodhi Pooja at Kiri Vehera, Kataragama, with his wife, stage/tele drama actress Devika Mihirani and children:
Peace for Sri Lanka is what every artiste hopes for. Without peace, we will not be able to do anything we are planning for the future. I hope that in the year 2004, Sri Lanka will become a peaceful country because then only we will have a psychological environment conducive to facilitating and encouraging all our creative activities.
As the 2004 activities, I have already decided on one film and two tele-dramas by Shiva Gurunathan who directed "Ethuma", the satirical tele drama.
I will do all that which is in my power to contribute something meaningful to the performing arts of the country. There are many teledramas and stage plays based on serious themes. But humour draws audiences quickly and makes it easier to reach them and take a message to them.
Produced by Lake House