Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Human Satisfaction – The importance of place as opposed to ‘things’

It is important to place some faith in the latest report with evidence that, "in measuring human satisfaction, which should be surely what we all should be aspiring to in this world, until we eventually give up the ghost and die, that to ask ourselves what is it that gives us a satisfying life?" This is supposedly better achieved from places rather than things.

Does that explain the fixation of our citizenry in going to places like Kataragama as a place of pilgrimage to pay homage, so that in that place they get a level of contentment from the surroundings, or doing the obligatory religious observances there. I don’t know the answer, but it sure seems that they get more fulfillment from that than from other material items in their possession. Of course I then presume that different people have a particular place that gives them this desire or contentment.

It is important to understand human feelings, needs, aspirations, and mood that one is in and how does one get a better sense of worth, of contentment and of fulfillment?

This report seems to place importance on places, that possibly give you happiness and therefore it is rational that we all gravitate to places where this is optimal to us within the constraints of our lives. If we are not wealthy enough to go overseas, we may get more satisfaction from visiting a place in our own country and relaxing there if we find that place relaxing, soothing or whatever feeling we are after. In short the feel good factor

This finding proves a point and further reinforces even the Buddhist philosophy that material possessions don’t necessarily give us what we are looking for, instead the location we find ourselves in may be just as if not more important than the things we possess.

I am still unsure that when they say places, if we are truly happy in a place, a location or even the home we are living in, then one could argue that nothing else will give you as much pleasure, so we don’t have to pursue this dream of pleasure when  in reality we already have it where we are.

Just think about it. It means that once we find a place we are truly contented in, then we are able to forego some other material items which pale in need, and want, in favor of the location we find ourselves in. It sure is a philosophical question and answer session, that should focus us to achieve our personal desires that may not require a huge investment of money. 

Merely the art of managing on what we currently have to suit the moment, especially if we have no guarantee that our locational experience that gives our happiness, is in fact not permanent and only fleeting! This is further evidence of the importance of choice to make us feel good.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Austria’s new head of Government (Chancellor) Sabastian Kurz is just 31!

Foreign Minister at 27, now the new Chancellor elected yesterday, is proof that youth can turn the tables on old style politics and bring about change. After all most people who voted for him were older than him, and trusted in his ability to run his country.




Even the Guardian link above,  alludes to the reluctant respect of his audacious gamble that paid off. We need a person in Sri Lanka who is willing to take an audacious gamble. Any takers?

So how about it Sri Lanka? Wouldn’t it be a REAL breadth of fresh air to have a PM in Sri Lanka who is under 30? After all William Pitt the younger was the Prime Minister of Great Britain at age 24 in 1783 and served for nearly 19 years as PM.

Unfortunately in Sri Lanka – Those who are even 45 are considered young by our establishment. So old geysers are sent to The World Festival of Youth and Students held in Sochi, Russia, between 14th October and 22nd October as a testament to that point, that we have NO ONE under 21 in this delegation. After all students should at least be under 21, considering I graduated from University when I had just become 21.

It begs a few questions! Is the time ripe to introduce new ideas of statesmanship in Sri Lanka that has failed with experienced Politicians? YES

Should be look for a potential leader from Under 30s? YES

Is there an obvious candidate for that slot at present? NO

Can we find someone who can take up this mantle within 5 years? YES

Then what are we waiting for? We can now look for a talent pool of 10,000 young people between the ages 16 and 25, and train them in what it takes to create a youth leader who could lead us in 2025, needing the popularity, charisma, intelligence, utter confidence of his or her incorruptibility, and one who is a visionary who puts Country first, in preference to Race, Caste, Religion and Self.

Sri Lankans are extremely talented people, whose talents are usually only exposed, harnessed, encouraged, and developed by the Private Education Establishment. These brilliant youth, do not currently see opportunities available to them in Sri Lanka and so leave to make their fortune or their mark in foreign countries because the establishment is archaic, promoting mediocrity instead of meritocracy. We can reverse that trend by ensuring that the elite National schools develop well rounded youth with an overall interest in obtaining the skills to be pragmatic and practical and a vision for a goal to achieve, so they can then be armed with the needful to achieve that goal for the Country. This is NOT pie in the sky. All we have to do is be the enablers to permit them to achieve those ambitions and goals without delay. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Bullying of local businesses by powerful foreign owned entities in large state contracts in order to make super profits.

I am referring to the previous issue in a general sense, to highlight a very real problem in small countries, that have monopoly suppliers, for state contracts. These monopoly suppliers, that have set up business entities in developing countries, have the resources to do so, knowing that as a monopoly, they can exploit that position in monopoly pricing, as there are NO other suppliers.

In sophisticated contracts where alternative suppliers are not available, such as in the supply of highly specialized gases for the health sector of a Country, the state has NO option but to accept the only supplier’s price. It is therefore possible that even if the price is high when comparison with foreign competitors supplying in other countries, there is NO choice but to accept that tender price. The only alternative to the state is to set up their own company in competition, and if they are able to manufacture and sell at a lower price, then so much the better.

It is unlikely that the state is able to grow a business of this nature, and should instead encourage the Private Sector to create a competitor, in the hope of reducing the price of their purchases. Of course NO private sector manufacturer will want to set up a company to manufacture, unless they have reasonable assurance that the hospital sector will purchase their output. Gas for Hospital Patients MUST be of a higher quality than the same gas for say an Acetylene Torch, as one deals with human lives and the other is used for welding purposes only!

This creation of competition should be built into public policy, where there is NO competition. One then begs the question, that is ONE company was promised business, in order to create competition,  then with regard to pricing, should there be upper limits on pricing, irrespective of what the previous supplier was charging. What then if the previous supplier decides to under bid on the order at a lower price? should the tender be awarded to the lower bidder, as they want to loss lead this year, to ensure the competitor does not come on the scene?  later they will be able increase their charges to a much higher level, safely knowing that there is NO competition.

What happens when the new company and the old company join hands in pricing and decide not to compete on certain contracts, so the other gets the contract at a higher price? This is called price rigging.  Withholding from the tender, to benefit each other, is a practice common in the Sri Lankan business space, that often the Government has had to pay a huge price for their essential requirements at higher than necessary prices.

It is common in Construction Contracts, that the approved contractors DIVI-UP the contracts (by not competing, or putting a high price) quoting high prices, and sharing the loot amongst themselves, which then means the Government pays a much higher than needed price and the public lose out on this transaction.

WHAT MECHANISMS ARE IN PLACE to ensure equity in pricing?

The main point to note is that the procurement committees of large state contracts, must be aware of prevailing prices of these essential supplies, so that there is NO obvious collusion between suppliers to fleece the Government by agreeing on bidding strategies that end up costing the state the more than is necessary.

Otherwise collusion can result in paying over the odds for such supplies. Even if there are outwardly two independent bidders for a contract, it is difficult to prove or disprove collusion. Further if there is NO collusion, but one supplier believes the only option would be to purchase the competitor, giving an instant monopoly pricing advantage, what does the state do in this regard?

Both the above practices are common in Sri Lanka and the State in fact pays a huge premium over and above what they should have in fact agreed to. There is often corruption involved in bribing procurement committee, or other officials to sweep these situations under the cover, so it does not get picked up by media and blown up into an embarrassment of allegations.

It looks like the Government must establish, technical evaluation committees of qualified and skilled people in their fields to independently comment on these prices quoted to ensure they are NOT fleeced, in the way that the history of Sri Lanka is replete(filled) with such incidences cropping up every day.

In order to encourage healthy competition, in some instances because the barriers to entry are extremely costly, there may have to be some private public partnership, or threat thereof to call monopolistic companies to heal!

In an economy with Economic Freedom, independent competitors can enter into the market if they believe their pickings in a situation of monopolistic pricing, can be had, by them being able to bid lower to gain the business. However in instances such as this in Sri Lanka, it is a known fact that when these threats emerge, the Monopoly Supplier, purposely under bids at a much lower price, to drive this new entrant out of the market forever. Unilever with their immense reserves and marketing and branding power have been known to always resort to these practices, when they believe competitors are about to emerge, and there are many startups that have gone under due to this.

The answer in this case is Consumer Rights Laws, to encourage competition, and state intervention to enforce fair completion with a view to abandoning monopolistic pricing, as the likelihood of collusion when few players are present is very high, and without good technical evaluation of costs, fair prices are not obtained on state contracts. 

One must always be cognizant that in small markets, economies of scale and good pricing can only be achieved by monopolies. Therefore the integrity of the technical evaluation committees, and their knowledge on pricing issues, and assistance from UNITED NATIONS agencies to assist the smaller countries, in getting a fairer deal is necessary if the public are to be served better, at reasonable costs, without being fleeced. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Nudge Theory wins the Nobel Prize for Economics - It is time to use this theory to usher in a new era

– so how will we use Nudge to Nudge out the old and replace with the new?

Professor Richard Thaler now ageed 72, at the University of Chicago has been awarded this year’s Nobel Prize for Economics for his theory behind, Nudge the best-selling book he co-wrote. The citation says for, “a more realistic analysis of how people think and behave when making economic decisions”

“Nudging stems from the field of behavioural economics, examining how gut instincts can often overrule rational choices, in which Thaler is regarded as a pioneer”

Here are some links for those interested in reading a little bit more about this theory which is truly fascinating and wait for it, and my hypothesis as to how we in Sri Lanka can “irrationally” use it to our advantage!

I will not go into the minutiae of this theory, except to say that if this is true in how we elect our leaders, then it surely is an irrational choice and we have to be nudged away from our selections WHICH WE KNOW IS WRONG and we keep saying it is the lesser of two evils and we therefore perpetuate an order that we despise, complain about and in the end SHRUG our shoulders saying we can do nothing about it.

NO LONGER my dear friends. We MUST use this theory to learn how we change the status quo, which we must. If there are like-minded people who want to give it a shot, let’s try and put it into practice to nudge our docile electorate into believing they can actually make a change in this democracy by making an attempt first at discovering the alternative to the present predicament and then doing something about establishing this alternative in our country, so we can all feel better about ourselves that we in this era managed to do what for 70 years has eluded us! 

How can we forgive ourselves for perpetuating a culture of corruption and greed of the few, ruling over the many in a shameless game of musical chairs, where the same set of drifters have banded together in the so called Parliamentary Democracy of ours to slowly but surely squeeze the life blood of the nation. Not any longer, and NUDGE is the word to nudge in the new, by placing a clever agenda to the people. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

I spent a week at home, without going anywhere – Time still flew by

For a whole host of reasons, including the fact that my driver was sent back to the office, leaving the car here, I was stranded at home in Ratmale for a whole week. It turned out to be Serendipitous no less!

I had purchased all the supplies needed for food, and kerosene for the lamps at night, and so was not at all worried. I had a list of things to get done, and so was not short of a to do list nor short of reading matter if I had time for that. I was also armed with my Butterfly Bible, another for the birds, and a further one for the reptiles and such like. I already have my heavy book on Mammals of Sri Lanka that is kept here, so apart from my book in amphibians and one of dragon flies I had not acquired I had what I needed in case unusual creatures decided to visit me.

There was the added bonus of fishing in the pond at my home in case I was short of my supper, but I did not need that, and instead the fish was salted and dried to be taken back to eat!

The first week of October is one of the driest periods in the area, the elephants come in the evening to bathe and drink water in the lake next to the property, and it is quite hot. Mercifully the wind was still fair for it not to feel stifling, and cool enough in the evenings and nights to require to be covered by a sheet when in bed under a mosquito net.

With no electricity, and hence no fridge or fans that people in these areas take for granted, anyone not used to this climate may think I am a sucker for hardship, when in fact it was anything but. Ironically, me who is unable to live without a fan in the western province for even a moment, quite happily and without complaint, manages to survive in this extreme heat without it, as it is dry heat and with the shade and wind blowing constantly, gives me a breeze that is pleasant.

SO when various visitors dropped in unannounced they were quite pleasantly surprised how I managed to live with all my windows and door open, with no cupboard even shut, as due to various wood expansions, I am even unable to do the basic shutting of some of them, and so without any concerns.

We in Sri Lanka even in the villages are afraid of our neighbors let alone strangers. So everyone sleeps in their homes at night, locking all their doors and windows, in suffocating conditions, under asbestos sheeting in mini ovens, envying my open lifestyle as I hardly go into any of the two rooms I have in the house, but spend my time in the verandah of my home, with anyone passing by able to see me asleep or awake or eating or any of the activities I engage in the course of the day.

Today, I had Mr Galappaththi, who dropped in his bike, on his way back after inspecting the site, he hopes to rent out to MAGA to take soil for their construction on which he hopes to profit by the difference between what he charges MAGA and what he has agreed with the property owner he would pay for a cube of soil extracted. His task in all this is to arrange the necessary permits from the relevant Government departments to have the soil extracted and to get the customers contract signed off to extract soil, and ensure that they keep their side of the bargain.

Then I had another visitor, Ushan Herath the son of one of my neighbors, who after graduating from the University of Visual & Performing Arts, many years ago, has finally landed a job with the Western Provincial Education Department, in a school in Wattala to teach ART from Grades 6 through to 13.

We spoke about the waste of years for the job, where the Government was NOT able to all this time fit into a school, while the requirements were there and shortages were apparent, purely because of bureaucracy and inertia of state employees in NOT ensuring their jobs are done in a manner that assists the community.

This brings to the fore the critical weakness in the state sector who don’t know what their responsibilities really are, and that as a result, they don’t go about fulfilling their responsibilities and so the public to whom they are responsible pay the price for their incompetence and no one pulls them up, nor have for so long, so it is a case of doing as least as possible for them to survive, not understanding that it is simply treason, for which they must be held accountable. As most state employees engage in this wholesale deception, no one is pulled up, and about 1M people will have to fired for incompetence if the Public Sector is run efficiently.

We discussed a new strategy for him to teach his students, that will make ART interesting to the student in a way that will make him or her excel in his chosen field by doing what they like and at the same time showing them what is possible with their skills in the world out there, in order for them to earn a living, in creative arts, rather than merely being enslaved by a syllabus that is no longer relevant to them despite the veneer created by the state that they have now begun to change the curriculum to one that is towards employment and vocations rather than theoretical applications that have no meaning in reality. It is quite obvious how the people are still being misled by rhetoric, when reality is STILL far removed from what is being pontificated upon in platforms and reported verbatim by a slavish media who are unable to accurately evaluate the truth from fiction.

The realization that in every corner of our land BIODIVERSITY is unmatched in scale and variety. This was the lesson to me in this week’s sojourn.

My FB page is testament to the surprises of the week, and shared with all
I suppose when one is forced to spend some time fixed in one place, one gets into a routine and is able too appreciate one’s surroundings like no other. Further as I effectively live in a verandah open to the elements and to the world of forest, and animals therein in front of my eyes. I more clearly than at any other time am aware of all that happens around me. Fortunately the noise pollution form the local temple with of key loudspeaker that comes out at 4.50am every day, was not functioning this time and so the birds and animals as well as yours truly were blessed without that noise pollution that such peaceful surroundings should not have to contend with.

I hope the local priest has finally seen the light and error of his ways, that he cannot subjugate all living things to his will, unwillingly.

The butterfly species this week were unmatched, I had not noticed so many varieties before. I don’t know if it time of year or the fact that certain flowers are in bloom, that attract them. Then for the first time I saw the swamp hen chicks, that I had not known existed before. I have not seen any photos of them before, and those little black fellows that emerged in a row was a once off luxury that did not return. Perhaps it is a rare sight, and I don’t know where the parents are hiding them as I cant even find the adults who were around a few days ago.

The monkeys, giant squirrels and water and land monitors were active as they usually are always, with no surprise.

Of course this time for the first time I saw a green common katussa that turned color three times in a space of about ten minutes which I managed to photograph, and upload on FB to show my friends what it is like, and how extreme they are change their colors to suit their surroundings.

With the reference books to hand with me it made it more easy, and the boys who were staying here were finally reminded of what they had taken for granted, that when you least expect it, there are surprises and they have names and value and interest in the FB world from people from all walks of life.

They were more interested in catching fish for their supper, a not unusual pursuit of teens and twenty somethings!

The real piece de resistance was the arrival of a lovely Green Emperor Pigeon who came close to be photographed in all its mottled green glory of various shades that did justice to the whole trip. 

In fact it confirmed that even the published works don’t have as much detail as I was able capture and share with the outside world. I know professional photographers, would stamp their photos with their names and take ownership of their brands. I am pleased if someone uses them, except for Getty Images who steal and sell them, and illegally charge others for my photos.!!!  

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I was thinking as I always do when I wake up between 4am and 5am each morning!

I posted on FB a link to an article by a University Professor that eating once a day is perfectly acceptable, and could aid in weight loss more than all the fad diets. So on my post with the link, I did say that I practice this once a day formula, but I have not been able to lose weight, but at least hold my weight steady, and as I do little exercise, partly due to my difficulty in walking, this is the way I know to keep from ballooning, as with age I am sure one’s metabolism slows down markedly.


In the same vein, in the post I alluded to the fact that I wish I had 48hours in a day to get through what I set myself to do for the day, and eating once a day saves at least an hour or two’s down time. With my intense energy, more mental rather than physical at this age, I am as a result, able to get more done. Further, I did say I get my regular dose of sleep, as I don’t wish to compromise on that, a minimum of 7 hours and sometimes 8, depending on how early I get to sleep. This allows me to function all day on top gear and manage on one meal to boot, usually dinner.

The other secret to success if that is what you wish to call it, is that when you begin work and you keep the pace all day, you just don’t have time to eat, let alone have a cup of tea, as the staff in my office will say, whenever they come into my office with a cup of tea, the earlier cup is not even touched, and I am so busy with something I even fail to notice them, and am concentrating on that task. I can keep up at that level for 12 hours non-stop, when I finally succumb to exhaustion and need sleep more than food to re-charge my batteries for the next day.

Ironically, with years of experience in many fields of work and interest, I believe I am at my peak of work performance as much of my writing on different topics would attest, more so than when I should have been at my peak in my early 20’s having just qualified as a Chartered Accountant in England!

Sadly though, my competency, knowledge and experience is NOT valued by anyone, and I am not in a position to begin a new venture of my own, like a money spinning business, as I don’t have the mental capacity now to stay the course on ONE subject as my interests lie in many areas ALL AT ONCE!

In short I am an ideas man brimming with new ideas from which others, honest people that is can make billions, and though some may sound of the charts, they are actually well intentioned, with a purpose with the long term in mind and not the short term a businessman would look at to get a return on his investment. It is therefore best to use it for policy planning for a country’s future course and with mentally bankrupt, opportunists calling themselves politicians who litter our landscape, it is beyond their comprehension. One IMPORTANT example of that is the need for a new capital city, a 20 year plan, at least 200km from Colombo!

This is not for the lack of connections, and the number of people in high places that I know, and who know of my diverse interests. It is the fact that everyone is trying to leverage their own personal agendas to get what they want, and so as I am lumped in the same mentality, it is a dog eat dog situation, where I need to fight with others.

Others on the other hand see their bread and butter at stake, and to that I am a threat, as many of my ideas, are of long term sustainability of a nation and don't care a rats ass to anyone'e personal wealth creation. It is therefore almost impossible to parley a good idea to people that matter as those who supposedly matter, are only interested in the matter they can get from any concept, as opposed to the general well being of a nation that I fear NO ONE I know really cares about.

I will continue to fight this battle in my blog, for posterity to judge my true intention, as that is all I can really do at this stage.

Those who know me personally, know I am one of a kind, nothing to be proud of in my book, as I am trying to merely see the benefit of every action on how it affects the general good and I am pretty clear of what that is, as it is simply for people, all people that is to attain a level of satisfaction of life that is higher than that of today's. Often it cannot be measured in rupees and cents, or GNP growth and even in the happiness indexes, as happiness and contentment is a very personal thing and each person must be educated in carrying out their lives to ensure they obtain a level of mental satiation that makes life worth living. 

Of course not at other people's expense where they are then unhappy! It is subjective though as avaricious people are difficult to satisfy, no matter how much wealth they may have or increase. So their means of real satisfaction may come from them realizing they have more than they need for a lifetime, and more, and they may actually find happiness and contentment by distributing their wealth in a manner that gives them more satisfaction than acquiring it.

We should always be only too aware of our instant mortality and live our lives so that we can try to be as content as practical under our own unique circumstances that no other person can truly understand, other than self.

A little philosophizing I know but positive thinking I hope!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

SURAKSHA – just one of many misconceptions before it even starts!

Suraksha was launched at Temple Trees yesterday, amidst 5,000+ students who have been bused in from schools, as fodder, to whom we are further burdening an already heavy legacy for their future. That is a criminal act.

After reading this below if anyone thinks otherwise, then I am afraid they are unfit.

This is clearly a case of leaders who will no doubt discover that they have shot themselves in the foot without realizing it. A case of votes for today, and country’s misery tomorrow! Also known as predictable government policy whoever governs.

This scheme launched by the Education Ministry, using coverage exclusively provided by Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation, as NO OTHER insurance company on earth would even bid for such a scheme, is estimated to cost Rs3Billion in premiums for the Government via the Education Ministry. This cost will rise and not fall adding to the already overburdened tax payer who had NO say in this matter, of whether the government should get involved in such a hairbrained scheme.

Don’t ever forget that anything that is free provided by the Government is at a huge cost to the Tax Payer and if our history is anything to go by at a considerably lower return on investment than private funding.

Just taking ONE example to make a point and in time I will provide more in this blog, for the reader to appreciate the level of unabashed deception, I will use the case of a parent to rushes his child to a private hospital in an emergency, passing the fully staffed government accident unit along the way! Because the Child has Rs200K hospital coverage under the child’s Suraksha insurance card/plan.

The bill presented by the Private Hospital is Rs200,000 and the parent believes it is covered, not understanding, not receiving and not bothering to check the fine print of the coverage provided. The insurance company says that they can pay on Rs50,000 as there are certain items on the bill that this policy does not cover, and stating the reasons, pointing to the fine print, perhaps giving very reasonable explanations thereon, that will stand in a court of law.

So the Rs150,000 will have to paid by him, and he is now extremely agitated about how he is to find that money to pay the hospital bill. Now had he gone to the Government Hospital and had his child treated free, the most he would have been asked to pay would be some medications that he had to get from outside, perhaps some tests, and channeling the same doctor privately outside the hospital. The total he may have to pay will amount to about Rs30,000 including an attendant to stay overnight in the ward for a few nights.

Judge for yourself how true this case is and comment if you feel you have a point to elaborate in this debate. After all remember this plan has been launched without any consultation and what if this is a scheme to give some back door money to the GMOA to further their private wealth at the expense of the government, you and I know nothing about? It is called a transfer of resources from the public sector to the private sector, STEALTHILY!

It is sad we live in a Country with few who have perceptive skills to explain what our elected representatives get up to in the name of good governance or marapalanaya, or any other name for that matter as they are all at it, by our foolishness in giving them the tools to pull the rug from under us without us even knowing.

So let us remove ourselves from this false sense of security that this BOGUS insurance scheme offers and turns this parent into GRIEF, an innocent victim, and the Govt. will then ultimately lose credibility, unless they expand coverage at a further ruinous cost to the Treasury just to save face from their incompetent scheme.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Another tragedy of our times, cloaked in sweeteners to fool the public with headlines – SURAKSHA insurance for School Children

Surely, one can only be assured that when the Education Ministry gets involved in doing ANYTHING other than truly preparing our intelligent, courageous, brilliant youth, to face the challenges of living in the period 2025 to 2075, there is a SCAM!

Sri Lanka Insurance Corporations (a state entity) has been FORCED to provide cover NOT knowing the true actuarial cost. (calculation of potential claims of a hitherto untested product) What is certain as a result of this scheme is that more of the public who would NOT use private health services, will now do so, effectively increasing the claims, resulting in future premium increases, which will be passed on to the policy holder the Ministry of Education and in turn the tax payer of Sri Lanka! The current estimate is that the cost will be about Rs3B per annum.

This scheme is therefore very foolish, no doubt dreamt up by uneducated politicians to foo the uneducated public in the continuance of their political agenda.

Where are the journalists? There is no one to educate the people and the politicians of this folly, I suppose they have to be aware of the con first beforehand and there is no one to do that either.

Think about it, if this money is allocated by the Education Ministry, to be spent on a WELLNESS program that is practiced in other countries, though it may not win votes as it would be improve the health of the said School Age Students, it will provide returns 10 X times or more than the cost. Wellness means improvements in hygiene, nutrition, exercise and sports for physical health, behavior modification and training in handling stress and unexpected life situations. (will also reduce the high suicide rates of teens in Sri Lanka)

The proposed Insurance scheme will inevitably increase in cost, as the benefits that are believed to be available will not be on offer if one reads the fine print of the policy, and so in order to pacify an increasingly belligerent public who have been conned, the Govt. will demand more leeway and benefits, for political expediency, (votes) which will drive up the costs further.

Was this the thinking of those who designed this scheme to benefit their longevity? If this was done at the expense of the nation it is called Treachery and the sentence is death. So why are they being lauded by the people, press and patriots?

This is a case of the blind leading the blind, where the blind, deaf and senile rule! Time to restore sense back into public policy where none exists.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sir Peter Hall – The Giant of British Theatre (22nd Nov. 1930- 11th Sept. 2017)

To me it was sad to hear of two Old Persean’s  dying within two weeks of each other, and I have written in my previous blog post about Sir David Tang the inscrutable raconteur, highly networked individual, who owned China Tang Restaurant in the Dorchester, who was my dorm mate a few years older than me, who died on 29th August.

From my very first day at the Perse, I was informed in NO uncertain terms of the Old Persean who won a scholarship to the Perse, Peter Hall the Theater Director and the Founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company, as possibly the greatest product of the Perse School in Cambridge of our times.

My English teacher or so I was told, had ONLY given Peter Hall an A in his class, over a 30 year career of being the head of English at the Perse. So that must have meant something, someone quite special.

I have shown the links to the various articles below and the last one in the Daily Mail is fully worth reading if the reader wishes to choose one.

However what I remember of him was his direction of the 1974Classic film Ackenfield, http://www.akenfield.com/  with the cast from the village,  based on the (true stories with some name changes) book by Ronald Blythe, who was also from East Anglia describing the lives and history of those there. http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2015/10/ronald_blythe_s_1969_book_about_his_hometown_akenfield_still_resonates_in.html  of a travelogue of East Anglia, where my school was and from where Peter Hall emerged as a son of a Station Master of modest means.

His sheer output of work in all these forms of the performing arts, is a testament to his prodigious work ethic and indefatigable spirit, and brilliance a word because I fail to find a more suitable word to describe this genius. I am really glad that the Perse was able to sow the seeds of this Brilliance that, by giving him a scholarship and then it extended to Cambridge University that further developed his talent.

His four marriages meant that he was too exuberant a person for one wife only, and his actress daughter Rebecca Hall is also a testament to one child he leaves behind, in whom some of his talents have rubbed off.

The world is a loser by his demise but his dementia in latter years meant he has been out of the public eye for many years. Oh one only wishes  one had just an iota of his brilliance with all the faults as staging a play, acting in one, or directing one with a genius mind, something only those who were able to appreciate his productions, and act under his direction in the National Theater and elsewhere know, and miss out on.

A person who is interested in the British Theatre cannot fail to appreciate the contribution that Peter Hall has made to it, and new ideas he has brought to bring theatre to the masses. After all he insisted that the State Funds some of these projects and institutions, so that this talent both of the people to perform and others to enjoy this culture can be preserved, and enjoyed by the masses to improve our quality of life.

When times are hard sometimes we receive a lot of pleasure from the performing arts, music, dance and theater and the visual and audio bliss to the senses is NOT something money can buy.

In this context I wish we in Sri Lanka today, are able to get our people in all areas involved in the appreciation of the performing arts, but contributing to its resurgence as the talent is there, but not being harnessed to the pleasure of all due to short term goals of petty and selfish people who rule over us, who want to keep out citizens enslaved to their own ideas that are frankly BANKRUPT.

I don’t know how many people can appreciate why I noted this post, as it is to show what a man can do to change he course of history, and we in Sri Lanka desperately yearn for prodigious talent to emulate the likes of Amaradeva and others of his ilk, to maintain our culture, and bring the pleasure therefrom to the masses who are now merely sunk in musical shows of lesser talent, with no long term goal of reclaiming our heritage despite the pious words of the pompous~


Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 30th 2017 – My school mate and fellow Boarder @ The Perse School in Cambridge, Sir David Tang died today @ the Royal Marsdan Hospital of Liver Cancer


Here is a report from the UK Guardian, which does not flatter wealth, so could be relied upon as unbiased and unflattering!

Sir David Tang, the Hong Kong socialite, businessman and unlikely latter-day champion of the NHS, has died aged 63.

Tang, who divided his time between Hong Kong and London, where he was a feature at A-list parties and known for his spiky column in the Financial Times, had liver cancer.
In one of his final columns for the paper he wrote a moving tribute to the NHS hospital at Hillingdon, west London. Its medical staff helped to prolong his life earlier this month after he was flown by private jet from the French Riviera when he suffered a haemorrhage.

Tang, who mixed with the rich and famous and counted members of the royal family as his friends, wrote of his admiration for the NHS staff and his gratitude at being treated by the NHS rather than a private clinic as planned. “I will howl and hunt down anyone who dares to question the NHS,” he wrote.

He was educated at the exclusive Perse school in Cambridge after being sent from Hong Kong to England at the age of 13 unable to speak English.

“My mother always told me that the UK provided the best education in the world, to which I now add the best hospital care in the world,” he wrote.

He added: “I am glad I have paid my taxes in this country – before with reluctance, but now with alacrity. I hereby demote Asclepius and genuflect to Nye Bevan, founder of the NHS.”

Tang founded the high-end fashion brand Shanghai Tang in 1994 and ran a string of private clubs and restaurants. He was knighted in 2008 for his philanthropic work both in Britain and Hong Kong.

He was a critic of the authorities in his native Hong Kong and expressed fears for the island’s plight under Chinese rule. In a speech last year he accused its leaders of “hugging most of our somnambulant tycoons, and that elephantine Communist party in China”.

The UK consulate in Hong Kong tweeted that he was great friend and partner of the consulate.

He was also major patron to the London Symphony Orchestra. In a statement, it said: “Having entertained the orchestra and our guests at several of his establishments, his zealous attitude to life and generous personality will be fondly remembered.”

Tang had been planning to throw a farewell party next month at the Dorchester hotel in London after learning he only had a few months to live, according to Ewan Venters, chief executive of the luxury department store Fortnum & Mason.

“Personally, I think the world is a little duller for the loss of David and at such a relatively young age,” Venters said.

Tang’s friends included the late Princess Diana, model Kate Moss, with whom he was often photographed at parties, and the Australian actor Russell Crowe.

Prince Andrew’s ex-wife Sarah Ferguson told the Evening Standard her 30-year friendship with Tang changed her life. “He made castles in the sky for my girls and I, we travelled the world together,” she said.

In a 2007 interview, Tang was asked how he came to know so many notable people. “You mean how did they know me?” he replied.

He is survived by his British-born wife, Lucy, and his two children by a previous marriage.

For anyone interested here are a few more links, the Daily Mail has the most photographs of his numerous friends in high places!

To Conclude:

He was always flashy, even at school, where if he came at 13 NOT knowing any English, by 16 he had a posher English accent than even the Royals, who are a little common as far as aristocratic accent goes. His chauffeur used to pick him up in the family Rolls Royce. He was impeccably dressed in those days as well, so his 'joie de vivre' was infectious, and I thought I may one day bump into him, but sadly that never happened, just to recall some old times. He was planning a farewell at the Dorchester on September 6th to meet his friends before he died, but sadly he could not make it to his final date! It is clear he had a full life, and he was able to leverage his wealth and talent in the way he wished. 

A legend in his time.