Friday, March 23, 2018

Talking about Ambulances

Have the people forgotten about how the GMOA opposed the 1990 Ambulance Program from India? NOT ONE WORD NOW AGAINST IT!

Is anyone contesting that these Ambulances have saved numerous lives? The intention is to spread it around the Country.

What are we waiting for? More Indian Money or Ambulances!


Is there anyone in Sri Lanka proactive enough to suggest/implement/ demand that we use the present stock of Ambulances, already owned by the Ministry of Health to IMMEDIATELY roll it out nationwide, without delay? It seems not!

It is obvious, when it comes to saving lives, Sri Lankans are definitely not in a hurry!

Let another 4,000 die on our roads before someone wakes up. Thanks to the Ambulances, the Road Kill of Humans has not gone up. At least it has stayed the same. Are we waiting for it to go up, before we roll it out Nationwide? and then see NO change, and then the POLICE will take the credit for no increase in Death’s on the road, when it was the Ambulances stupid!

These are the dichotomies we are faced with every day in dealing with the Sri Lankan psyche, so irrational and nonsensical that saner people just don’t bother anymore.

So why am I bothering?

You ask me, the same question, about anything else, as it does not affect me, so why bother?

What if it is YOU in the accident, praying that SOME AMBULANCE will come to take you to hospital, and not a good Samaritan who will pull you out and break your spine doing so or transporting you incorrectly in a bad posture in a three wheeler and leave you paralyzed for life.

These are real issues, not imaginary ones, and reasons for, if you are still looking for one, (if you think I am a stark raving loony) as to why I blog. Please some good Samaritan, come to my aid, I will think you help with the next step.

I blog to question the accepted order of things

It is surprising how many years later they are taken up and acted upon, with varying differences of course

I am not a wizard of any sorts! If I see something that can be improved, I have an opinion and I write that on my blog, for anyone to take it up, and hopefully fine tune, amend and run with it, that is act upon, by implementing.

This blog therefore contains over a thousand entries written over 10 years with the sole purpose of getting people to think, and of course even debunk my rationale, but at least it presents a point of view that may need to be taken up, sooner rather than later.

The single driving goal of this blog has been and is, to improve the quality of life of the people who live in Sri Lanka, and my own ideas, based on my many years of experience in different fields of employment, in different continents, and gained from reading, interacting and with people from all walks of life.

Many of these ideas come to me in the morning, after waking up from a dream at about 3am and I try to type it before I forget it, as often, ideas come to me and leave my brain within minutes, and if I don’t jot it down or type, it just goes away never to return.

To give an example, many years ago, about 3 years before the 1990 Ambulance Service was brought in to Sri Lanka, I had physically seen about 300 ambulances on Galle Face Green lined up, so that a huge Tamasha could be televised with publicity, for the then President Rajapakse to hand over the keys to drivers, or hospital administrators of the hospitals which were going to receive them, and that night I woke up after a nightmare, seeing all these Ambulances caked in rust and of NO USE.

I woke up in a sweat and I typed my suggestion of them being used immediately to save lives, going the site of accidents, to perform ER and remove the injured to the nearest hospital that has accident and emergency services.

At that time Sri Lanka had 2,500 Ambulances dotted all over the Country, how many of which were road worthy or manned, I did not know, however their main purpose was to ferry patients in various stages of illness from one hospital to another. AMBULANCES were never used to go to accident scenes, something I had always associated with Ambulances, having lived in the West for 33 years. I had seen many instances of them attending emergency situations, to say nothing of the many hospital dramas like ER, that filled the TV screens in those countries during prime time.

The RUST nightmare was explained because having lived by the sea I know a car left uncovered for 12 hours will start corroding. So when it comes to public property open to the elements for the TAMASHA, the sycophants around the President did not care that the Ambulances were corroding every second they were standing on the Green by the Sea, and so doing that just to satisfy the vanity of one, was not a price worth paying for numerous deaths subsequently, due to this foolish act. (A nit-picker would say how do you know anyone died?)

I would genuinely like to know how many of those Ambulances I saw about 6 years ago, are currently roadworthy, to prove or disprove my contention! However it is without hesitation, that I will say that 48 hours in Galle Face may have resulted in deaths of patients due to the non-availability of those ambulance, resulting from RUST.

That is the kind of lateral thinking I engage in and try to inform my readership. We had sufficient stock of Ambulances then to offer a Nationwide Emergency Service, for accident patients, which by now could have saved thousands of lives. We are only now rolling out this service throughout the Country and had the Indians not intervened and been generous in their support of this, none of our home grown leaders would have taken the initiative in the interests of the people. They are now fawning over the airwaves taking credit!

That ambulance article is in this blog, just one thought of many, and when people find fault with facts and say I am too free with the facts, disproved or unproven, or not scientifically correct, I agree that is correct.

However these are ideas of thinkers! They need to be studied by those who are good in researching and implementing after evaluation. I am a free thinker, who gets a few Eureka moments in a day and I share it with the world, without trying to do that which I am not skilled at, namely, to work it to the end for profit!

So for those who nit-pick on every word, I write, to spread IDEAS that may improve the quality of life. That is why I blog. The implementation and cost benefit analysis should be left to the specialists. There is NO FONT of such ideas presently for Sri Lanka, out there in the cloud, and I am merely filling a void. If there are other sources, prey tell me, not think tanks though!

It is a thankless task, most are common sense, and often I refer to a link on the Net for illustration, or to tie it to reality, however the act of blogging here is purely altruistic, with no personal gain expected. I meet many people who have read some article of mine, and am surprised when they tell me, as I had forgotten I had even written on that issue. However, that gives me great satisfaction, if just a few can make use, for the greater good.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Reverse Osmosis Systems (RO water) – Do little to alleviate CKDU

– we must get to the heart of the issue, not just sticking plaster to stop a nose bleed!

It appears that Reverse Osmosis systems in the Rajarata are the rage. Temples, Schools, Community Centers have been supplied with RO systems, by well-meaning NGOs and charitable organizations as well as CSR projects of well-known companies.

It has been thought that the water in the Rajarata and similar places was contaminated by heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic, flouride and cadmium, as the hard water there tested for traces of heavy metals, seem to show this in the water. This was then pointed out as the PROBABLE cause of the CKDU epidemic in the Rajarata.   

I have a home in the Rajarata, almost in the thick of high incidence of CKDU, where Medirigiriya is but 10km away from my home. While, the tank in my village of Ratmale is fed by a rain fed tank, and my well from which three villages come to take their drinking water uses the water table created by the Tank, Medirigiriya is cultivated by the Kaudulla Tank, which has water filling it from Kandy via the Mahaweli and Polgolla, that is Hill Country run-off, but now with the advent of the Moragahakanda Project is able to get that water via a canal that comes from the Minneriya Tank that can also be fed from Moragahakanda as well as the Polgolla water.

My previous blog entry: alluded to excess consumption of tainted rice from highly toxic fields as the probable cause, due to the evidence of the hot spots where disease was prevalent, so no amount of RO water is going to eliminate the core problem.

Yes drinking more water flushes the kidneys and is a recommended means to improvement of health. However the removal of the goodness of micronutrients which are also essential in cleaning the body of these unwanted metals, is NOT in the RO systems that are being installed.

There are private RO systems that have been heavily advertised, as being able to retain essential micronutrients, but we need some proper independent study to determine if what is retained is sufficient or is in keeping with the levels obtained in normal water, that people drink, as a minimum!

So please DO NOT FOOL our innocent rural population into a FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY, by thinking that the 25cents a liter they pay for their RO drinking water is going to solve their anxiety, as it is a CRUEL HOAX.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

If we eat American RIce for two years in areas of high incidence of CKDU the disease is reversible - and a MILLION lives will be saved

Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown Etiology – CKDU a totally preventable ecological disaster – Kamal Gammanpila, PhD and MPhil, DIC @ the OPA auditorium on Wednesday, 21st March 2018 @ 6pm

What an eye opener of logic from this distinguished scientist – He believes we are wasting resources in tackling the symptoms and not the disease per se, and so we are setting up Sri Lanka for a disaster and at least a Million deaths from Kidney Disease in the next few years, UNLESS his fears are addressed and proper scientific thought is used to eliminate factors, and concentrate on the main factor or factors, upon a process of elimination.

In his opinion, one has to have an engineering mind, as well as a medical one, and agricultural know how, to determine the probable cause for CKDU and use reference to similar occurrence in other countries to further prove his hypothesis.

Simply put where the three factors below all meet, we have kidney disease, and they are, Water from Hill Country Run-off for irrigation, Diet & a Pattern of consistency of this diet over a long period of time, and certain growing conditions of agricultural staples in this case rice, all play a part in this impending disaster, and where these three factors all together/ come together you have the perfect conditions on which CKDU can thrive.

He has studied this subject only for 4 years, and has approached it from the point of view not of Medicine, or Agriculture, but as an Engineer who is able to come down to a common denominator of conditions to explain the prevalence of Kidney Disease in some areas and not  at others.


Over decades forest cover has been removed and tea has been grown in the Hills, and fertilizer rich in phosphates have been used over an extended period of time to improve yields. Due to top soil erosion, and waterflows thereon, the rain water, eventually finds its way into the rivers that flow downstream and to the agricultural areas of the Rajarata,

Farmers use enormous amounts of water to grow paddy. He showed a statistic that showed a staggering amount of liters of water to produce one KG of paddy. The cadmium that runs off from these fertilizers, settle on the farmers soil. Water drains down into the soil leaving cadmium deposits far higher than recommended amounts remain in the soil and some times, Arsenic and Lead also collect, making it a triple disaster, leaving completely degraded soil, with a HIGH concentration of these heavy metals.

These farmers then grow paddy in this highly contaminated soil, and within the village, consume the rice they have grown, exclusively, and purchase little or nothing from outside instead of rice as a staple.

Added to this, it is common practice that farmers parboil their home grown rice. When you par boil, not only the cadmium in the grain remains, but also the cadmium deposits in the husk when boiled with the husk prior to milling, will leach any cadmium to the rice itself.

Even though many vegetables grown in similar soil will also contain high concentrations of these same heavy metals, as people only consume much smaller quantities, as compared with the rice they eat, the total cadmium ingested is from eating a lot of rice, compared with limited quantities of other items.

Over time, the increased concentrations of cadmium, which the kidneys clean from the body, will be so much that the kidney just cannot cope with the more than normal amounts of cadmium that average people in the Country consume and clear out of their systems.

With the production of Albumin, in larger quantities, irreversible kidney disease takes place, and medications and dialysis, merely delay the inevitable, BUT DOES NOT reverse the damage as it does not truly address the real causes, in order to eliminate it from one’s diet, before the kidney damage is irreversible.

He quashed the myths about not drinking sufficient amounts of liquid to flush the system when the farmer becomes dehydrated as not being the principal reason for this disease, but which could hasten its speed as the integrity of the kidney is put under pressure as there are not sufficient fluids to flush the out the impurities.

He further emphasized the fact that micro nutrients are also lacking in people’s diets, and this lack can also aid in the speed of the onset of CKDU, but not necessarily be the cause of the disease.

He pointed out that people in urban areas of the Rajarata, are not as badly affected because they have a choice of food intake and don’t usually eat ONLY rice grown by them alone, but would favor no rice based products, diluting the concentration of rice for consumption. That is why a person from Colombo, though including Polonnaruwa rice in his diet will not develop CKDU as he does not simply eat only rice from a particular area. He wanted to say that a varied diet of foods from all over the country will then dilute the regional influence of a particular item of food.

He used the example to say that the water that fills the Senanayake Samudra in Gal Oya does not have run off from the Hills, though it is in the foothills of the Namunukula Range, as there is NO  proportionately large run off from rivers as water merely gets absorbed into the soil and may eventually get into the water table downstream, but that is after filtration and not run off. The Hills off Bibile and Nilgala are not heavily into tea and there is virgin forest that protects the run off, and merely provides the rain water falling there into the Samudra. This is the reason the the Ampara Farmers who use the same fertilizers in similar proportions and have used this for a long time, do not get CKDU and the soil concentration of Cadmium is lower than in the Rajarata.

He also showed graphs and diagrams, to show that in a small area, if people eat rice consistently from land irrigated from rain fed tanks, the incidence of CKDU was less than from Hill Water Run off fed tanks, where the Mahaveli waters are channeled into the Rajarata.

He touched on the Glyphosate issue, as it is a weedicide, and said that studies do not show it results in a high production of Cadmium, and in that sense is NOT as toxic as it is made out to be lately, where there is a ban, but in his opinion will NOT do anything to reduce the catastrophe of CKDU.

He also showed that Nelum Ala contains a high concentration of Cadmium, but as people do not eat it as frequently as rice, it is not of such a high concentration that enters the blood stream, because one does not consume it at similar levels to rice.

He is now conducting an experiment in a small area of Anuradhapura, to prove his hypotheses by getting people in a high affected area to all eat the food that is provided for them by is organization or foundation, and not eat the food they previously ate from what they grew. He could then show that if with the lower concentration of cadmium ingested, any worrying sign of CKDU, could be reversed as the kidneys can now function in the normal way to remove the normal level of heavy metals in acceptable doses as permitted by the WHO.

If one is to IMMEDIATELY address this concern, and not wait any longer for action, until the problem is investigated and solutions found, he suggests that farmers are told NOT to eat the rice they have grown, and for them to have say Australian Rice provided for a few years, just to see if the CKDU threat is reduced, because fewer are actually developing Kidney Disease. This will provide conclusive proof that it is the DIET STUPID.

That will make it easier once the evidence is shown and the jury deliberates, to impose drastic restrictions of a pattern of consumption to reverse the disease.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

It is an insult to say that 60+ is unfit to hold a position in Public Service

The news today that the Secretary to the Police Commission, Ariyadasa Cooray had been made ineligible to hold his post, because he is over 60 see link below, is simply beyond the pale, and no one is making an issue of it.

As one who is over that age myself and at the peak of my reasoning and deductive power at this age, able to pull 12 hour days in the office without as much as a drop of water during the whole time, and as alert at the end of this 12 hours as I am at the beginning, can see how people half my age are simply unfit to work as they need fuel throughout the day, compromising their productivity alarmingly. It is not age stupid! It is simply being functional, some 20s are not!

Unless this is used as an excuse to relieve him of his duties, and in typical Sri Lankan way you remove a person and give a crass reason for so doing, instead of the real reason, then I am able to believe that there may be a behind the scenes rationale but are throwing the book of age for a legitimate way around.

However if we have to resort to underhand means to achieve these objectives, it calls into the question the very institution we MUST have faith in if we are able to get some semblance of governance out of a systemically corrupt institution such as the Police Force.

We know how some of the recruiting was done, and the political meddling that took place to put many people into the Police Force in order to have one’s own political carder to defend one within the Police Force for years. The Police Commission was set up as just one arm of the Good Governance Motto, to show that there must be some independent adjudicator to do what is right.

It could be argued that the Police Commission made the recommendation of who should be the IGP, but I cannot remember the facts, of whether their recommendation was accepted or if the President was able to override that, but on reflection the present IGP on all counts is acting more like a person who likes to be in the limelight, spot light, but not in the light of the people, who expect more from him. Trust this was an aberration of low probability!

In this age of Social Media, where a mockery is made out of madness, this news today is also fodder for cartoonists taking the mickey out of the Police Force now, when ageism has become the order of the day. All of you will reach this age and do not want to suffer injustice. We must fight this reasoning, as absurd.

POST SCRIPT - extracted from Ada Derana News

Secretary of National Police Commission removed

Secretary to the National Police Commission N. Ariyadasa Cooray says that he has been removed from the position.
Speaking to Ada Derana, Mr. Cooray said that the commission informed him today that he has been removed from the post due to him being overage. 
He said that he was informed in writing following a special discussion held at the commission today (20). 
According to the 09/2008 circular, public sector employees reaching the retirement age of 60 can be allowed to continue their service until the age of 67.  
Therefore, Mr. Cooray says that he could rightly continue to serve until September this year. 
However, he says that he has been removed citing the 03/2018 circular regarding the retirement of public servants and other public sector employees on reaching the age of 60. 

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Women’s participation in the labor force is insufficient! – blame the men

In an economy that is SO desperately short of labor for the jobs currently available, there is a lot of publicity given to the statistic that in Sri Lanka, women’s participation in the labor force is less than for comparable economies.

We know that in general, women carry a disproportionate share of the burden of bringing up a family, which leads to additional pressures both in terms of doing oodles of unpaid work in the house to take care of the family, and the pressure to keep down a job, and contribute to the household finances.

How many men have told women that once they get married to them, they should give up their career to bring up the children? Sometimes, a woman may give up a job or vocation in which she is earning more than the spouse in order to bring up her, children, ONLY because the spouse does not take his share of family duties as a given, and insists that she gives up her ambition.

So given all this, when we expect women to enter the workforce and in the case of those working, in order to retain them in the workforce, we need an attitudinal change especially on the part of the husband, when it comes to sharing in the housework and sharing parenting responsibilities. Without this basic need, it is unfair to expect women’s participation to increase.

Ask any HR manager of a garment factory, what his problem is! He will immediately tell you that the bulk of his labor force, especially when the factory employs women, who are boarded and not live in the vicinity, is that they are working to collect money for their wedding, and as soon as they get married they are most likely to leave the employment and in today’s context it is becoming exceedingly difficult for them to find replacements to take their place.

The number of vacancies in the Garment sector is increasing exponentially due to this and many are forced to close and relocate to countries such as Bangladesh and Vietnam and now Myanmar due to this shortage. We cannot increase wage rates in order to retain them, as they compete with other countries, and export prices have to be competitive in order to sell to their third country customers. It is in areas of environmental sensitivity that companies can have a competitive edge and hold on to a high wage labor force, if they have some unique product characteristic that is of marketing value to their customer.

WE must also be cognizant of the cost of education and the waste of that cost if that HR is not put to productive use, as far as an economy is concerned. Sri Lanka has a double whammy problem of training doctors in the public sector free of charge. It is both the fact that a high proportion seek greener pastures overseas, forsaking the country that sacrificed much to give them a valuable education, but also of some female doctors who give up medicine upon marriage and the birth of their children, with few going back to practice, years later, once they become empty nesters. It just does not happen.

These are very real economic costs of female education and I may sound like a sexist here, but the Country must be able to accommodate, the needs of women who have this pressure and provide that which is needed to retain them in the workforce, to which they are trained, and not let them go easily.

Of course our childcare arrangements are not sufficiently sophisticated to allow day care facilities in all workplaces and child minding after school, as schools end at 1.30pm in order that women are able to participate fully in the work force for the benefit of their family to rise up in economic and social terms, and only then to benefit the economy, which merely follows when this objective is achieved.

Now there are significantly more women going to State Universities over men. As it costs them no tuition fees, the cost of their education is not of concern to them, so if they do not make use of their education for the long term, but merely use it as leverage in getting a spouse only, that too is a waste of state resources.

I propose a loan scheme, interest free, not only to the private sector, as has just been proposed, but also to the public sector, so that a quality education is received by all, when the Universities have the necessary resources to give it, people will then only follow courses that they expect to benefit from. Presently they merely enter University just because they obtained entrance and in many cases not because they wish to follow that course of study to work thereafter. No one appears to be addressing these issues, as they are political hot potatoes, politicians wish to ignore, at their peril, or more rather the peril being the Country’s as a whole, which suffers due to this system outdated thinking.

Why not turn all the concepts on their head, and teach children from the pre-school stage, that men and women are equally capable of doing any job and not create stereotypes as is done at present in many fields. I know great progress has been made already, and more needs to be made, but once these barriers (in the mind- see my last blog entry) are gradually discarded, we will not need to have quotas for women in politics.

It is anathema anyway to have quotas and many men more suitable to be represented, now find they have had to make way for women with NO political base in the community, that can distort civic minded ness. A HOT TOPIC now!  

We are simply as usual pointing out the problem with no one determined to solve this problem, both for the benefit of the women, sometimes by empowering them, and in other cases changing the mindset of people. Either way, unless you want an influx of foreign labor, this has to be addressed without delay, the economy is about to grind to a halt and all areas of labor productivity including the above topic, all need to be addressed and solutions implemented. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

First identify there is a problem – The need for 50,000+ mental health counselor’s in Sri Lanka

I am involved in the administration and management of a women’s empowerment project in a local community, as we offer the advice of a Mental Health Counselor to those who wish to avail themselves of this resource.

I am afraid to say that few actually make use of this resource, and we the organization take great pains to pick this lady from her home and provide her a confidential space from which she can meet these clients and then we provide transport to her home while paying her a fair fee for a day’s services. We only provide this service on an as needed basis, so all our members know of this.

I was talking to this lady for a long while today, and talking about the whole aspect of counseling, and she is one with about 12 years counseling experience in the bag, who ONLY presently works 2 days a week, at a BOI company in the Katunayake FTZ fairly close to where she presently lives. The company appreciates the value she provides and provides her transport, and she has worked there for a long time. The company provides, counseling services to their staff, most of whom are women from distant parts who are boarded in the vicinity of the FTZ. I am told they face numerous pressures both a push factor from their homes in rural parts, and serious challenges in living in rooms and lodgings in the zone.

She also mentioned that she is attached to another organization, that assists women in helping them manage their time, lives, and build confidence as well as attempts to empower them to take control of their lives and be independent. I am told unless money is offered to come, the attendance at these sessions is also very low.

In short, society has a huge problem of dependency, where there are expectations that the State provide certain services and funds as of right, however, apart from that people are not encouraged to improve their lives by their own actions, and use the resources available to them to do. There is somehow a lack of belief that it is the attitude of people that needs to change, and there are resources available for them if they know where to go and who to ask, but are culturally either afraid to ask, or are dissuaded from seeking help.

I cannot pin point what the real problem in seeking help is, but the first matter that needs a look at is introspection, to determine how content or not one is about one’s life, and secondly, what if anything one needs to do to in order to free themselves of their issues, if indeed they are not content. What I discover is that many people are of the feeling that their suffering is part of their destiny.

This acceptance that there is NOTHING you can do about getting over it, is at the heart of people not believing there is a way out of their present predicament. People therefore unnecessarily suffer in silence due to this belief that is tragically inculcated from birth and leads to making lifestyle choices that result in envy, greed, spite, and all manner of jealousy against people they perceive as being more fortunate, or having that which they do not have but wish to have.

This is a philosophical question best answered by thinkers, but I firmly believe much of the problem in human society today, and it is a Global phenomenon, more pronounced in the Sri Lankan psyche, that there is NO release from suffering in this life, as it is either due to some bad thing in a past life, or in this, and it is fate that one cannot climb out of and conquer one’s inner demons.

This belief has allowed the population to be manipulated by people who see this weakness in humanity in Sri Lanka, and use politics or religion to manipulate their thinking to enslave the mindset, and not release them from bondage.


Most of the baggage we carry in life, is in the mind, and just think of how light you will feel if you are able to be relieved of this weight we unnecessarily carry. If we prioritize on what is important, we can concentrate on that which makes our lives better, and not delve too much in that which keeps us enslaved.

Who are the losers in this process? An analysis of the losers will lead the reader to the reason why those very people who have a responsibility to take people out of their misery, are NOT DOING THEIR JOB, and instead are engaged in mind games aimed at their own self destruction, as enslaving a person eventually leads to the enslaver eventually losing the enslaved, who becomes nothing more than a leach dependent on you or your message to keep you in a symbiotic relationship that goes nowhere, while the world of the free around you goes from strength to strength right before your own eyes.

The world takes this route, and you are left behind, wallowing in your self-pity, you are left either being miserable, and get satisfaction out of the misery of others, or when you do something to contribute to their misery (burn shops and homes of innocent people you supposedly despise, as an example of this trait) and you eventually, without realizing it, are going against what your religion teaches you, effectively to do good, and you will be rewarded ONE DAY.

This analysis then is at the heart of why we need Mental Health Counselors to remove/banish our demons, and show us the way, by nudging, coaxing and behavior modification methods aimed at satiation. (feeling content/ satisfaction)

Of course that is not to say,  in our culture there are so many means from which to achieve a sense of fulfillment, like meditation, yoga and following the true teachings of our respective beliefs, which are rarely explained by those to whom we presently go for succor, hence the suggestion to short circuit this by using counselors trained in identifying each person's needs and assisting in finding a permanent or temporary solution to that.

THE WHOLE PURPOSE IN LIFE SURELY IS WHAT? Body and Mind being in synchronization leading to a fulfilling life in the short period we have left on earth.  

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Family History – Ancestors – Family Trees – sometimes it is better not to have one!

Whether we like it or not many family trees are male centric, so who our father is our grandfather is or our great grandfather, sounds more important to the inquisitive than the female of each generation! Rightly or wrongly.

Genealogists, love family trees and so it is with ours, on one line in particular that Michael Roberts had commissioned one for the descendants of Charles Henry de Soysa, of which there are over 3,000. The compiler took on the task innocently out of interest, not realizing how fraught it was in getting the required information from each branch of the family.

I think CH de Soysa had 7 sons and 7 daughters and so it was considered easier to divide the responsibility to 14 issue, and get people within each to complete it so then it could be combined. Some information is public, others are private, and some information is so private people do not want to divulge or be made public as they may not want other family members to know.

This can include multiple divorces, unmarried spouses who then beget technically illegitimate children, and more over adopted children and own children sometimes grace the same family, some knowing they are adopted and others not. Some are ashamed, others don’t want people to know their previous liaisons! Others still if divorced with no issue, do not want any reference to a wife in the first place, and would rather be shown as single, or only the wife they would want to recognize.

These are all reasons why the Tree will not be complete, and if others fill it in without the consent of each individual to be named in the Tree, makes it impossible to compile in a rational way, especially as a sociological study.

Don’t forget with the de Soysas I know many who have married within the family, some marrying between different generations as is quite normal as the ages of the 150+ grandchildren of CHdeS would have been at least 50 years apart! I would guess if not 40 for sure.

This is simply an irreconcilable dilemma, and all compilers usually are family members WHO SHOULD NOT be singled out for blame in doing something they honestly believe is for people’s overall benefit in the long run, before it is impossible to compile as soon many in the know, the last of the great grandchildren of CHdeS are no more as now I don’t believe any grandchildren are alive anymore. 

So let us cool down chill out and let the games begin, and let the shit merely fall and lie where it lies, without getting too hot under the collar!

For the record in my personal circumstances, just for the interested parties in such matters, as I am writing this in Genealogical terms, my Four Great Grandfathers are as follows:

Father’s, father’s father!  William Jayatilleke Hulugalle, who lived in Lihinigiriya Wallauwwa near Pothuhera in the Kurunegala district was descended from the Hulugalle’s of Hulugalle near Nickeweratiya and descended from Ratemahattaya’s responsible for administering the Wanni region (edge of the Kandyan Kingdom) The WASAGAMA was Semasinghe Navaratne Wanninayake, and who were supposedly from the Andhra Pradesh in India, having come to the island in the sixteenth century at the same time as the original Portuguese Settlements. The Wallauwwa or ruins are no more, but his grave is still in Lihinigiriya along with his wife Rekawa Kumarihamy.

Father’s mother’s father! Thomas Henry Arthur de Soysa of Regina Walauwwa, which is known now as College House on Thurston Road, is the only remaining family mansion I can see today. That thanks to the University College acquiring it at some point and left it and maintained it in the state almost unchanged to date, as part of the Senate House of the University of Colombo, today. He was one of CHdeS son’s was the first local to start a Bank, but ended up bankrupt. He is buried with his wife, who died at 29, Regina Perera Abeywardene of Closenberg, Galle, at Kanatte in Borella.

Mother’s Father’s father! Mahamarakkala Kurukulasuriya Patebendige Perera of Moratuwa, who ironically is buried three graves from CHdeS in Moratuwa, was a teacher, and father of 11 children.  He however claims descent from the Kuru Caste of India, who fought the Pandyans and were warriors of India, and came in the boat with King Vijaya and his 700 merry men when he was banished by his father in Bengal. They as became sea fairers and that is how the Mahamarakkala name comes and may have been fishermen since that time, converting perhaps to Catholicism when the Portuguese came in the 16th century and then to Anglicanism from the British three centuries later. He is a Calisterite who is descended from the famous Calistoris Fernando.

Mother’s mother’s father! Edmund Clarke de Fonseka, was a wealthy plumbago (graphite merchant) who had his own graphite mines and from the money he earned had thousands of acres of Coconut mainly in the Kurunegala District. My mother was born at home, his home called Arcadia, in 1930, which is now where over 100 homes have been built in Rosmead Place, such was the extent of land he had there. His wife was a friend of Queen Mary, the mother of George the VI, and he donated/built a whole wing at the Star & Garter Home for the Soldiers Sailors and Airmen in Richmond upon Thames in the UK. He is buried with his wife at a family burial plot at Borella Kanatte, but died a bankrupt having lost all his wealth in the Great Depression when the Graphite prices collapsed. So my Grandmother his only daughter, who was promised the biggest dowry of the century at that time, marrying my Grandfather in 1928, gave it all to pay the debts of her father, leaving her destitute as a result.

The point I would like to make is despite all this very illustrious past, my father and my mother inherited nothing. No land no money, and nothing from their respective parents, despite rumors to the contrary. So we don’t owe any of these ancestors anything, except the genes we have inherited for what they are worth!

It is values that their parents who inherited nothing, my father side especially because whatever was due to my Grandfather on my father’s side was denied as he married outside the cast, a Kandyan Govigama from a proud Kandyan Heritage marrying a Karawa Girl, and the aforesaid Karawa Girl was just a teacher at the deaf and blind school in Ratmalana, they had to bring up their 7 children the hard way. As mentioned again my mother’s side, my Grandfather, a London Educated Civil Servant with no wealth suddenly found the dowry he was promised disappear like a mirage and to bring up their 6 children from his income as an honest and diligent Government Servant all his life.  

Charity then was taught as a right of the better off to take care of the less well off, by grandparents who had to build their own lives, with no assistance from theirs, who taught the importance of family unity and togetherness. From this background beget my parents who had the same values, who from the time I can remember have done more than their fair share to help those less well-off to get a leg up in life, with numerous testimony of their generosity and assistance I am learning of even today.  

It is this feeling of empathy with our fellow man, fellow citizen and fellow country-men that drives me to help, those I believe are more deserving of my help, and it is this that has resulted in my disposing of more than half my income in the past three months, and perhaps before also to such people who I believe that rupee could be better spent by!

It is not as if I have any more than a few thousand in my current account and nothing on deposit, but due to the fact that I am at my peak in active life, I feel I have nothing to fear, as somehow the pleasure of giving is something greater than the pleasure of keeping or spending, and one day my personal needs may be somehow managed when that need and time arises, God Willing of course.

It is this sociological essay on life that I would like to impart to the reader of a life that has no regrets, and a true privilege to have had an illustrious ancestry of no VALUE! But parents of immeasurable example, to follow in their footsteps.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Dilemma confronting the Nation – realistically how can this problem be resolved? EASY, just read. It’s easier than you may have thought.

If one reads two articles in the Colombo Telegraph completely, and also analyze the comments and look at which have clicks on the red and greens, one can come to a few conclusions, that will not go away until there is some coming together of minds in order to solve these basics and misunderstandings, if we are not to explode into another self-destructive war that will last another 30 years, until it is resolved one way or the other. It will pauperize the nation in the self-destructive way wars have of destroying countries. See Syria if you want a recent examples of self-destruction and complete ruination. RIGHT!

The links to the articles referred to above are:

While these articles are likely written by a Sri Lankan Muslim and Tamil who have emigrated out of the Country due to their inability to live in the way they would like to live in Sri Lanka, they are nevertheless expressing a dispassionate fear amongst Sinhala people, which may not be true, but the feeling is real.

So when some say they feel that within a few years the Sinhala Race will disappear, it is a true feeling amongst people, particularly Sinhala (speaking only Sinhala) Rural population, who are not exposed to the internationalization of the world. This is further exacerbated by the local clergy who come from similar backgrounds of poor families who have sent their children to be monks.

While I know wealthier communities also have people who subscribe to these views, it is the broad base of rural and poor person, and hence their families who have taken on this fear of being overwhelmed by foreigners that is at the heart of the problem. These people are easily led astray by their leaders.

It was beyond the pale when full page Advertisements of the SLPP referred to the wholesale takeover of everything in Sri Lanka by foreigners, encouraged by the present Government as a reason to vote for them. Who is kidding who when it is a clear dig at the non-Sinhala part of society, that is taking over all the economic power bases of the Country. It touches a raw nerve in docile and poor people who feel powerless to do anything to change what they see happening before their own eyes. It is clear that instead of understanding that everyone has a chance to improve oneself, with favors to provinces it is simply cast aside.

It is important that we have proper teaching methods of history to show people that no one is pure and of a pure race, so that the Sinhala ness of anyone living in Sri Lanka is not that old, and we can trace our ancestry to people from all over the world in just the past 500 years due to intermarriage and what we are today is merely a product of a mix which gene testing will prove conclusively.

That therefore is the myth of the pure Sinhala Race, which uneducated people are led to believe because the more educated clergy say so, as they must respect what they say. It is easy to disprove this myth, but the hold that the clergy have on the people is not one they wish to give up, and so perpetuate the myth.

Don’t mix this with the language itself that has evolved into the wonderful Sinhala language, which due to insular reach of scholars, has not spread the word that it is a truly unimaginably great language, that can be spoken in verse if necessary to encourage scholars to learn this language, in order to truly compare and contrast and inform the world how much it should be preserved.

No one to my knowledge is doing this and to do this one needs to be able to communicate fluently in international languages and go to international forums to publicize this, so we have Muslims and Tamils and English and Japanese studying Sinhala Language and Literature as Academics, instead of just the Chinese who are studying it to gain a foot hold in Sri Lanka to take us over.

So for the moment let me summarize the conclusions here.

I have debunked the pure race stigma of the Sinhala, and we should understand that there is NO race called Sinhala from the past, just a bunch of people who subscribe to the fantasy of being Sinhala for some sort of feeling of power or insecurity, pick whatever you want for your own pleasure. They are dominant.

Similarly there is no Tamil race, nor is there a Muslim race, they are all myths and if you look at the English race and the speed with which it is being blended with Asiatic, African, Europeans, you are merely left with the English language and not an English Race at all.

Then you are left with just the Sinhala language. If you want to say that Sinhala people are those who speak Sinhala as their mother tongue, defining them as Sinhala is acceptable as a term of definition and a Muslim person who speaks Sinhala as the mother tongue should also be considered Sinhala.

The primacy of the Sinhala language SHOULD NOT BE confused with Religion be it Buddhism or any other religion. That belief system must be separate, it should be personal and so you debunk the Sinhala Buddhist Myth.
Now you come to the all-important task of unifying disparate racial groupings of dubious origins, and debunk various religions of various ages, all into the Nation Hood which is the whole purpose of the moniker of being Sri Lankan.

To that vision, every person living in Sri Lanka MUST subscribe to, if we want to grow this Country to the potential that the creator has bequeathed us. Then we must all keep our religion, practices and beliefs aside for personal practice and build a Sri Lankan identity that creates a unique brand of Sri Lankan ness.

In truth, the Sri Lankan national dress may have to be re-designed as there is NO real Sri Lankan National Dress. If we consider the dress that SWRD adopted it was to define him as a Sinhala and Buddhist leader and NOT as a Sri Lankan. Don’t forget he was baptized a Christian and changed his religion more for political gain and not for understanding the true greatness of the philosophy of Theravada Buddhism, in the way it should be practiced as a practitioner.

So if we adopt a dress code that is comfortable for men and another that is comfortable for women and can be worn (cloth and jacket) without suffering heat or impracticality, then this dress of being Sri Lankan can be adopted by all religions and races for a special purposes, or all the time, like the Burmese Sarongs! Here even Muslim people must adopt that over the use of Arab dress which is alien to Sri Lankan Muslims anyway, but which has been wrongly adopted by many in Sri Lanka as being some sort of Religious Statement.

I believe this kind of thinking will go a long way to allay the fears of the Majority community who feel they will be overwhelmed by Arabs, speaking in Arabic, when all Muslims can live quite easily according to the teachings of Islam without adopting any dress or language that is not Sri Lankan. Their route to the afterlife will not be made more difficult, I will argue it will make it easier as Islam is a religion of compassion and what is more compassionate than living in harmony with thy neighbor.

I don’t honestly see a problem of integration, while keeping one’s own religious beliefs private, and procreation is merely a fact of ability education and need, and that should not be guided by religion. After all 90% of Muslims only have one wife, and those who have more than one in reality are defying Islam if they don’t treat all their wives exactly equally in ALL respects, so no one should get into a huff about that religious right, as most polygyny Muslims go against their own religion anyway.

So let us all rejoice in the path I have made for a Nation that is United, with no particular group asking for their own areas, power bases, or language rights over others, and instead be able to put on our passports and National Identities just the fact that we are Sri Lankan and nothing else. Citizen of Sri Lanka.

I will ideally like the abolition of all Political Parties based on religion, or race as that only creates DIVISION and not unity.

I will also like the abolition of religion based schools, as that isolates one group from the other. Just look at how integrated International Schools are with all races and religions learning under one roof, with all aspiring to reach Harvard, and many do, while the current state system is still vying to get into a state university where a degree does not even assure oneself of a job. Quotas for regions from where the students come from, creates division. 

The latter simply perpetuates mediocrity, and sustains poverty, and does not promote knowledge and globalization, so one can truly be comfortable with one’s place as a citizen of Sri Lanka when compared with the rest of the world and come to one’s own conclusion that there is NO other place other than Sri Lanka that one wishes to live. That should be the whole vision for a united Sri Lanka.

It is simple, and so self-evident, why can’t all these so called divisionists, racists and island mentality bigots, see this in plain sight?

This is not so clear to people who have not been able to shed this noose of Divisive Politics that has entrenched this society in their grip of interest groups with their own agenda that differs from the other person’s agenda and so they are simply engaged in fighting tooth and nail for their own quarter in our society to take the larger slice of the cake. Let’s simply turn this mindset on its head.

When you have a Sri Lankan identity you don’t have to worry about any particular group taking the larger slice, as all are equal. In this state who loses power? The Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim clergy all lose out, as people will forsake their commands in favor of the greater good called Sri Lankan ness FIRST. They will inevitably come around and change their regressive stand.

It is a challenge that is as hard for a Muslim as it is for a Buddhist to adopt, but ADOPT they must in order to become united. UNLESS we collectively look inward and accept each other’s faults we cannot correct what is wrong in our thinking and progress so that we will all benefit from this Diamond Mine of a Country that is simply throwing diamonds by the ton into the sea, on a daily basis, just to spite ourselves and feel good in doing so and remain hungry!

So let us PUT ASIDE OUR BOGUS DIFFERENCES and UNITE FOR A COMMON CAUSE of being the world’s most fortunate people, living in a land that needs nothing from anyone to enjoy its BOUNTY and BEAUTY.

Monday, March 12, 2018

We can bridge the gap of disconnect – only if we remove politics from humanity – our present crisis of National Identity

Different meanings of ANTHAWAADAYA (Fundamentalist/Extremist)

We can go back into history to attempt to explain some of the dynamics at play today in the way we in Sri Lanka feel, act, and behave, none of which amount to any sense of Nationhood, and all point to our own particular corner of identifying with our own particular community, and their feeling of betrayal, most notably by their own leaders as in political or religious leaders, who both have agendas that appear more personal than of putting the interests of the Nation front and center of any debate.

So let me start with the debate in parliament on Friday, 9th March, all facts extracted from the reports in Saturday’s Lankadeepa Sinhala, and if I am wrong in taking that information as reported, forgive me if those facts themselves have been misreported, I can only go by what I read.

Harsha de Silva, a UNP Minister, when speaking in Parliament about the present crisis, asked Dinesh Gunewardene of the Mahinda Faction or the Joint Opposition to stay behind a little to listen to what he was saying, as DG was attempting to leave the chamber when he was speaking. The unsaid part was that DG had his say, and was of no use listening to what Harsha had to say.

He was trying to say that Buddhist Fundamentalism, has been given succor by the Joint Opposition, and given strength by their recent success at the local government election, which has been the precursor to the current indiscriminate violence against innocents. Of course the Joint Opposition will NOT accept this label, washing their hands of any connection. It is clear that while knowing that their constituency is the very people harboring feelings of resentment against the Muslims, (justifiably or not) come overwhelmingly from the very people who voted for the BUD in the last election.

They harbor the hope that if the JO was in power, they would take steps to neutralize fundamentalism in its tracks.

Then Harsha to be fair, also accused the Muslims of harboring Fundamentalists, within their midst, directly reflecting what his own constituency was telling him, nothing else, where they felt that the rise in their economic power, has given them the confidence in demanding more rights, or at least showing their strength in the Halal issues and a more extreme form of Islam as reflected in the teachings in mosques, influence by the Wahabi faction of Islam over the years.

Then once his speech was over, when Mujibur Rahman another Colombo MP from the UNP got up to speak, Harsha was leaving the Chamber, and this MP also hollered out to Harsha and asked him to stay to hear what he had to say.

In essence he told the Chamber, that Harsha was wrong, that there was NO fundamentalism in the Muslim community, and he was only using that term incorrectly to blame the Muslim community, and justify the actions of the Sinhala extremists against innocent Muslims. He had also said earlier that he was ashamed of being part of the UNP, in this Government, presumably because they too were holding anti-Muslim views and had not taken action sooner to help the Muslim community when this issue was brewing, to take steps to nip the issue in the BUDD as soon as it occurred.

Now all this was after confirming that the initial cause of the crisis, the alleged WANDA PETHI (sterilization pills) were in fact lumps of starch or flour.

If you follow the drift, all these people referred to above were merely representing their own constituency feelings as politicians, far removed from reality, as it pertains to what leaders should to resolve conflict. All three constituencies have an agenda, the JO to regain power, the UNP to clearly blame the JO for fostering this festering anti Muslim feelings, to gain power, and blaming them for causing this riot, while the Muslims, who see that the Sinhala constituency are finding reasons for the violence are looking at Fundamentalism as the cause of all this mistrust, when they tell their leaders to tell the people that they do not engage in Fundamentalism.

All the parties are wrong here, and Sri Lankan nationhood is the loser.

They must all agree to meet outside of chamber representing their own constituency and put prejudice aside and determine what really is the need of the hour? In order to put everyone’s minds at rest to solve this crisis, and prevent it from becoming an even bigger problem, what needs to be done?

So let me try and untangle this unholy mess, so we can see some light, and go in that direction of this light.

Every community must bear their share of the blame here, and in the end it boils down to how the economic pie is distributed. In short it is a question of economics, and power that comes through wealth. Wealth is power, as power can be purchased if there is wealth, as you can buy people with your money in this world. Everything has a price, and we resent people who use their money to buy influence no matter what that influence is, or if it is used for the right or wrong reasons, we don’t like it, and instead of looking inward, we look outward

The problem then is not with the successful community it with the less successful community in any society. So the successful community do not think there is anything wrong with them, it is with those that resent them, and even more so those, they point as being fundamentalists, who stoke this resentment.

So just how Jews in Cairo who were discriminated against by the Muslim Egyptians, due to their success and economic power, which finally led them to leave, is just using one example, to pick on a racial or religious minority for the sins of the majority.

A particular trait of Theravada Buddhism is the power of the Clergy, who demand that their following for charity to assist in building and maintaining increasingly more lavish temples, is cause for some of this resentment. While Buddhism abhors the accumulation of wealth for personal use, as one is supposed to find Nirvana, by not being attached to anything worldly, Islam main precepts is to follow their strict pillars of faith, which does not say anything about abandoning wealth, and only in helping their poorer brethren.

So just think about it, Buddhist charity goes to make Temples, and priests powerful, not contributing anything to the wealth of the flock in any sense, and not even encouraging its acquisition and further the sin of killing any living thing. Islam on the other hand puts human beings as the only God’s creature, and helping other human beings as being the most noble of deeds that they help their community to improve their lot, resulting in a community that grows not just in population, but also in wealth.

Is it hardly surprising then that the Muslim community numbers are rising, along with their wealth, and therefore their power in relation to what it was 30 years ago? NO

So there is your answer. Resentment that with power, and the influence of Wahabism, there is a gradual shift to their behavior, dress, needs and demands. It is normal that when a community grows, their political influence grows with it, partly to preserve their status in the community, and to permit them to flourish. It is NORMAL. They must understand that others think differently.

I had a very wealth friend of mine tell me she felt uncomfortable that some Muslim women in full black covering, were looking at her very disapprovingly, for the way she was dressed. She said they were staring at her. She was angry that she in the majority community would be made to feel that way, a classic sign of Majority thinking in a minority way, a sure fire way to stoke resentment. Now she will not go throwing stones at a Muslim house, or not buy from a Muslim shop, but would subscribe to banning of the black dress in Sri Lanka.

As long as you have people you can point to from a different community as being different in the way they behave, you have a recipe from problems, further accentuated by growing political power in numbers, which many people feel is removing Sinhala Buddhist Hagemony from Sri Lanka, another myth that is being perpetrated. It is easy using facts and figures to convince a docile flock that this is in fact true.

So what gives? Compromise. The Muslims in Sri Lanka must understand that there is this feeling of resentment, it is not going to go away, merely by prognostications to the contrary. Change in practices will allay their fears, even if some are rather far-fetched solutions. Fear is stoked by people for personal gain and political power, unless steps are taken to neutralize them.

We must understand reality. The power of the Muslim community is rising. Their wealth is rising exponentially when compared with the Sinhala community. It is not the fault of the Mulim community that their wealth is rising, and it is not the fault of the Sinhala community that their wealth is not. It is simply the way people feel about wealth. So it is wrong for the Sinhala community to take revenge by looting and burning property, in short breaking the law, as it is a silly and destructive option, that in the end they have to pay for as the compensation paid is also paid by the whole community from taxes!

Another painful fact is that the Police Force is overwhelmingly made up from the Sinhala Community, subscribing to this racist view point of their leaders, as Mahinda Rajapakse stuffed the Police Force with his loyalists, not professionals. This means that in a future conflagration, Muslims cannot rely on the guarantee of the Police to save their property from being destroyed.

In life it is the art of compromise, and they must (that is the Muslim community) learn a few things from the tiny minority communities of various Muslim and Hindu sects, who thrive in Sri Lanka and are under the radar. Whether it is the Sindhis, Memons, Borahs, they are primarily businessmen who don’t use their religion to show their power. They quietly acquire their wealth, and know how to invest, and they employ 500,000+ Sinhala and Tamil workers with little resentment against them in the workplace!

Muslims should learn a few home truths. Mujibur Rahman said his wife doesn’t cover her head, then, you can be a good Muslim, without. He should tell his community to learn to live in peace and harmony, without an outward show of their power, that could irritate the host community. The host community MUST understand that on the other hand maintaining the huge number of Temples in Sri Lanka is actually pauperizing them unfairly, and they should help the Temple less, but instead their less fortunate neighbors more, to gain merit.