Monday, August 29, 2016

Full Employment – follow up to the earlier post! Eating too many lotuses?

Here I am in Ratmale, a small farming village near Minneriya, surrounded by forests and tanks all around. The harvest is in, and I cannot find anyone to thatch the roof with Coconut fronds! (Pol Athu)

All it takes is just 4 people, working for 5 hours together to thatch this roof. Everything else is already in place, and rafters are ready to accept the Coconut Fronds. The payment for this is Rs1,200 for each person which is the going rate here at the moment. Though it is the daily rate, even if the work is finished in 5 hours one has to pay the daily rate. THERE IS NO ONE AVAILABLE TO DO IT!

See link to my post on full employment for some of the POSSIBLE reasons.

We have idiots calling themselves, economists and pontificating for the last 70 years and they have NOT been able to get it right. Shame on you, all of you!

What does it tell you? People are otherwise usefully and productively engaged in work that earns them more that this daily wage, and I may have to raise it to Rs2000 for 5 hours work before I find any takers. That means the uneducated villager needs to be paid more than a qualified doctor to work here in the jungle!

It was Sunday yesterday, even the Govt. servants are at home. If they want to they can earn a little extra by working on their Sunday, after all they don’t break a sweat in their jobs anyway, doing the minimal work and wondering into their job whenever they want! You have heard many moonlight even during working hours. Obviously they must be earning more than enough on their day jobs that they do not wish to earn an extra buck.

Sri Lanka needs a new economic theory for her growth. Money is NOT the only factor here, and if it is to get people to work the amount one has to offer does not make the work economical, unless you are able to borrow from foreign banks and Countries, and pay high salaries to give people jobs, that do not produce anything, like the previous administration overloading the Public Sector with 1Million people at a huge cost to the rest of the Country, to say nothing of having to pay debts to foreigners just so that people can call themselves Public Servants and actually lead the public a dance, when they go to them for public service! This is the common complaint, but does anyone have the brains to find a solution.

We as a Country need at least 100,000 mental health Councilors to administer to the mental well being of our population, that is NOT even taken into account in the 250,000 vacancies. Maybe we can re train some in the Public Service, so no one really loses out, but finds alternative and MORE REWARDING employment.. The problem is that too many are too lazy that they do not want rewarding, they just want to sit and lol about day dreaming and draw a salary. We MUST CHANGE THIS MINDSET - Mental Health Counselling anyone!!!!

There are NO quick fixes, we either import 500,000 people to fill the vacancies resulting in the consequences that may bring, or we drastically cut the public service to grow the economy. I trust the readers have heard the cry from the Construction Industry for workers from overseas to fill vacancies as there are no locals wanting or capable of filling them.    

Sri Lanka is at full employment – Politicians, Pundits & Public want you to think otherwise!

Ask yourself? We all know we cannot find basses, we cannot find housemaids, we cannot find farm workers, we cannot find people capable of working in hospitality, construction, garments, machine operators, now even competent drivers! IS THAT NOT FULL EMPLOYMENT?

The fact that there are people without jobs, waiting for what they want, not what society has places for is NOT the problem of Govt. it is simply a problem of the seeker being unable to modify his demands to suit the environment he is in.

We are lotus eaters, thinking that there is a perfect job for us to do, and until we can find it, we will not take it. It is just THOSE PEOPLE who form the so called unemployed. Tragically there are graduates who we have educated with our taxes who feel the same, and that society owes them a living.


With 250,000 vacancies, the PM is dreaming in Technicolor saying he will provide 1Million jobs. Please change the policy as follows:

“I personally know people you would consider to be poor, with NO qualifications whatsoever, who can only be tempted to go to work, leaving home, if they can be promised Rs50K a month minimum.”

This phrase must be memorized by all. It is the point at which our lotus eaters are willing to exert any effort to enter the labor market. Why? This Country and the Politicians have Set a Bad Example, by giving people Govt. jobs, where they do nothing, earn big, and even get a pension at the end of it. Can you beat that?

Yes, Sri Lanka has an excess of Lotus Eaters, Public Servants, Three Wheeler Drivers (500K more than we need) Security Forces, and non-working moms by choice. Public Servants and Forces are a drain on the Govt. Expenditure!

The $64,000 question any Economist MUST ask is, how the above, can be put to productive use, so that they actually contribute to the growth of the Economy, and add to well-being of the people who live here, so that as a Country, we don’t have to send people overseas for slave labor, and we return to being a Country that takes care of all its people in a fair manner, not favoring any class! 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Another way to look to improve our quality of life in the land of the LOTUS EATERS!

A very dear person, and a mother of a close friend from a prominent family just passed away, and I did not go from Minneriya to funeral as it was held the same day. I said I would come to the Dana, but then was told they are NOT having one, and will provide a meal for the needy.

It got me thinking, as I have written extensively for 8 years in this blog, on ways to improve the quality of life of those who live in Sri Lanka. I have seen the phenomenal waste of money Sri Lankans like to make a habit of in areas that are NOT obligatory, but really discretionary, but society has deemed obligatory.

Even this word discretion has been bastardized, I know not why, to suit societal norms, that are indirectly quite illogical, and non-sensical.

As I said earlier, in a Dana whether it is a 7 day, 3 month or 1 year and the future ones in memory, are usually carried out at home, following the Bana, more as an obligation preceding to indulge in gross orgfest!

The poor host in villages is left with more sugar, and powdered milk (the standard offering in these instances) all imported, than they know what to do with. This will no doubt hasten their deaths as diabetes and poor nutrition are the biggest NCD pests affecting us Sri Lankans today.

So when the huge bill of the caterers, even in villages who take the orders for the food, where people seem to feel obliged to fill their plates and waste the food uneaten and therefore thrown out, a unforgivable waste. This additionally pauperizes the grieving family, who have undoubtedly lost a source of income, as the dead person was most likely to be the breadwinner, who succumbed to a heart attack or cancer unable to cope with the stress and strain of life. The implication being that an older person who dies may get away with it, as there are few of her vintage to come, and so the crowd is less anyway, and by implication the bread winners death results in a far greater perceived obligation, and people deemed necessary to attend.

When one therefore evaluates the quality of life(QOL), the pain of obligation being removed, definitely improves the QOL of those who don’t have to carry this burden. This obligation is also on close relatives and friends of the deceased and their families, to come to the event, sometimes from afar adding to their burden to fulfill the obligation. Then the pressure on the dead person’s family to invite those, who if NOT invited maybe slighted by not receiving an invitation, is another burden.  This is a triple whammy against these people on the Quality of Life Stakes!

I just picked this example to show that some of our obligations and duties in society, have resulted in a poorer QOL. SO a simple rule of thumb to improve the QOL index of those who live in this resplendent Isle, is to do what you like, and want, and NOT because is it is expected of you under some unwritten obligation.

The person is dead dammit let him rest in peace without his family being subjected to further trauma.\

What a difference a word change makes to life, dump obligation, and replace by optional, DONE and DUSTED – Lets DO IT!!!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Finance Minister’s Vision in Today’s Lankadeepa. (MAGE DAKMA)

As Edited by Chaminda Munasinghe of Lankadeepa! The Finance Minister has a weekly column in the Lankadeepa, and I presume as he is short of time to write it himself. He could be making a call to the journalist about what he wants to say, and the journalist writes it with the FM not knowing what was written under his name! Someone correct me if it is done another way.

Anyway the subject was the question “adyapanaya venasak onada?” or Do we need a change to our Education System?

In the body of the letter he says that it costs the Govt. Rs4M to train an Agricultural Graduate who DOES not use this training by going into Agriculture and use productive and latest developments to make farming efficient.

He goes on to say that the Teaching Carder (presumably of the State) is currently 235,000 and there is a shortage of 35,000 teachers. Note my blog entry yesterday, where a potential graduate teacher is waiting in the wings to for a placement!

He also refers to the area of Logistics, where he owns a company in this field, and says that the State System does not produce Graduates in this field, where as there are many vacancies for graduates, and only a small number qualify in the Private Sector, presumably, and are snapped up by Logistics Companies!

Of course the misguided government line of forcing students to stay in Education for 13 years of formal school education is also parroted in this prose.

All this goes to show that they are aware of the problems, but have been hitherto unable to provide a practical and TIMELY solution to the problem of fulfilling the education needs of the Country with Graduates NOT being able to match their skills with their desired employment. 

This goes to the heart of my argument that ALL our graduates enter Universities to follow courses, that they are HIGHLY UNLIKELY TO BE SUITED TO DO as a career, and therefore the state waste’s its limited resources in training those people in the wrong fields, forcing US TO FACE THIS HUGE EMPLOYMENT MISMATCH, namely, there is NO ONE to fill the needs of the Employers who now have 250,000 vacancies, whilst there are possibly the same amount of people waiting for employment, but who can’t get it, as they are in the Public Sector, where there is a supply that exceeds demand!

Youth Empowerment – gobbledygook of two newspapers! FT and Mirror! THE EDITORS OF THE TWO PAPERS PLEASE TAKE NOTE

Youth Empowerment – gobbledygook of two newspapers! FT and Mirror!

The same article though different versions appeared in the FT and Daily Mirror yesterday, 22nd April 2016. I attach the links to the two articles, one has the authors name in the Daily Mirror and the other in the FT does NOT! In the printed version of the FT however the authors names are also in the FT! However when one reads through both there are significant differences in the body of the articles, and it is possible that the FT article suffered severe Editorial changes, which necessitated the removal of the authors name. This is only speculative on my part.

What is particularly interesting is that the references to the Ministry of Finance is only in the FT article where it goes to say as follows about this Ministry:

“Its high-handed arrogance, inexperience, incapability and autocratic interpretations to suit its pettiness have created unprecedented issues for the Government. Could that lead to distrust, apathy and the destruction of the present Government?”

Please tell me how this ties into the National Youth Empowerment Policy!

The paragraph below appears in the Daily Mirror and NOT in the FT

“Due to numerous welfare schemes that had been in operation, Sri Lankans are by nature lazy. They need quick money and do not like hard-earned money. They prefer joining the public sector thinking that they could make ill-gotten money and take life easy to improve their living standards.”

In short both articles need a re-wording and change of subject matter, though both end up saying we need a Youth Empowerment Policy. I COMPLETELY disagree. We need to empower our youth, but not by a National Policy, but by educational practices, that relate the real world to the make believe world their parents appear to feed them with.

I sincerely request the Editors of both newspapers to read the articles as published in their papers and determine if the author was having a bad hair day or worse!

The OLYMPIC SPIRIT – A lesson for our Youth

The Rio Olympics were over this morning our time here in SL, at the closing ceremony, that was televised live on Channel EYE.

In my view the significance is that 87 Countries won medals, with 10 Countries winning Gold for the first time, and included, Fiji for Rugby sevens and Puerto Rico for the women’s singles in Tennis, a wholly unexpected delight to them.

It is about participation. Qualifying for the Olympics alone was a feat let alone participating and winning a medal. It is about effort, dedication, hard work, and a bit of luck. Being hail and hearty on the day, all play a part. It is hard on all those whose expectations were dashed. They are the ones who will have sleepless nights about what might have been. It is no difference to exams, especially the students finishing their A levels this week, whose life at school seemed with this goal ONLY in mind. It is NOT the end of the world. I am planning on a series of seminars with youth to explain to them, that it is actually a blessing in disguise not to gain entrance into the Sri Lankan University system, as the previous blog entry will illustrate, as one’s misplaced hopes may not materialize.

I wonder if anyone realized that the President of the International Olympic Committee spoke in French, even though he is a German. That is because English and French are the only official languages of the Olympic Movement, and along with the language of the Host Country of a particular games, are the languages used for the announcements.

While English is universally understood as a link language internationally, it is anachronistic to have French being used, when hardly anyone at the games understands it! However that is the way of the world right now, and there is NO campaign to hurt French pride!

This then follows that the two principal English speaking Nations of the World, The United States and the United Kingdom, (for the Olympics they use the word Great Britain to prevent confusion) came first and second respectively.

It was a stellar effort on the part of the UK which is the first Country to Host an Olympics, where they bettered their medals at the next one. That is an especially creditable achievement for a Country of 65M people. The US coming on top with NO Russia to threaten their dominance was expected! After all they have 324M people as the third most populous nation. China with 1378M is still the most populous, so they must be disappointed with their 3rd spot on the medal tally. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ambulances and Emergency Response - Nationwide today, will save lives immediately

If proof was needed of our imbecilic Rulers and the Public Servants we had to wait for India to make the offer for us to accept or refuse an Ambulance Service.

Please read my blog entry here on April 6th 2013 on my simple suggestion for A NATIONWIDE EMERGENCY RESPONSE SYSTEM ALONG WITH THE USE OF THE 224 Ambulances received then, I don’t know if it was a grant or if we have paid for them. Tell me how many are now in service over three years later.

Please read it and see how far advanced the idea was and how practical and simple it was then to cover the Country. We are now covering just some areas in the Southern Province with 35 Ambulances given by the Indians! 

We are making such a song and dance about it and the Politicians are making hay about an idea that came from across the pond, when this idea was already incubated better than its current approach, but no one took it seriously. Why oh why do we always have to wait for foreigners to make the suggestions and come up with the money!

Of course I fault the GMOA who if they really believed in the Hippocratic Oath could have saved about 3,000 lives at least by now, but then we still have to teach these greedy traitors about the Oath they have purported to follow, and they do anything but! Foreign educated doctors now serve in the outstations, not local.

It was they who wanted to put the spanner in the works on this Indian project because the idea did not come from them. However I don’t think they have enough brain cells to come up with ideas that save money, for the Country, as they are so busy looking for ways to make money for themselves.

Read the article in the Sunday Observer this week which horrifies me that there are Ambulances just rotting when people are dying on the roads for the lack of them. Why is NO ONE IN AUTHORITY DOING SOMETHING ABOUT MAKING THIS A NATIONWIDE SERVICE IMMEDIATELY. It is not that we are short of ambulances surely. We have enough health service staff to be trained on ER.

Which then leads me to the other question, where the Doctors of Sri Lanka DO NOT want someone other than a Medical Practitioner to manage the Health Ministry. Every hospital in the west is managed by Hospital Administrators who are NOT doctors. They are better at it, and if we gave them the task of managing our health care, being cost conscious they would have had a nationwide ambulance service already! 

Doctors what have you got to say? I am sorry you guys are just no good! Its a crime we educated you free, you see, 

Good things are not FREE, and free things are NOT good, like you. 

To my SL Educated doctors reading this from the US, how about banding together and sending a bunch of ambulances and more importantly a team to run it in the way I recommended over three years ago. It will reduce the health care cost and rehabilitation cost immediately.  

The misconceptions of our youth – we can change their mindset – let us try

I spent a whole day on Saturday on the Liya Diriya program, which is a women’s empowerment program to assist women in achieving their individual life goals, by identifying what it is they want, and showing them a path on how they should go about achieving them. We visited 8 of our Societies in this Divisional Secretariat Area.

One of the people I met was a girl in her 20s who is a graduate in Philosophy from Peradeniya University, who has actually done nothing in the past 3 years since graduation, awaiting a teaching position in the State Sector. I was quite incredulous about this, and asked her to come to my office on Monday, and I would try and see what advice I can give her.

The first thing I told her was that we the tax payer has funded her four years of education at a sought after University, and as she did not have to pay personally for her education, she has obviously not valued it, and so is not repaying to society, what she has received from society. The argument being her mindset would have been different had she taken a loan to fund her education, and then had to repay this, she would definitely have undertaken some form of employment to repay her debts, by now.

What she said was that she wanted to become a teacher, and on the first attempt she DID NOT get the required marks at the exam for teachers appointments, and so she missed that chance, and later as she moved home, the exams had been held already, and she is still awaiting the next exams for teacher appointments in the current area. What a load of COBBLERS if I ever heard of it!

A level LOGIC is a subject she likes and one she would like to teach at a school once she gets an appointment. She has no idea when this might be, and her parents are happy to feed and clothe her as they believe that is the best job for her, and is also a plus for marriage material too!

I asked her why she did not go to a local TUTORY of which there are many here, for a temporary job to help out in a class, in an administrative capacity for a tuition master teaching LOGIC at A levels. Then she will get some idea of how this subject is taught. She can then further be convinced or reject her life goal of teaching this subject and broaden her horizons further, and explore possibilities that she has hitherto shut out from consideration. Apparently her parents will not approve of this! I told her to explain to them, why this is something to consider UNTIL she achieves her goal, and the logic behind going that route, no pun intended.

I told her as a student of philosophy, she has had the advantage of being able to understand thought and evaluation, and if she had used that to choose to stay home for three years actually doing nothing, as a matter of choice that was the best alternative for her! 

If that was so and she can justify it to herself NOT me, that is fine, except that the State has invested a sum in her education, and does she not have a duty to repay the state (as in Society) for this education in SOME WAY, only she knows how.

Obviously, these are thoughts that have not entered into her mind, having studied in Sinhala, and not broadened her mind into learning English from which greater possibilities can be opened, and a new world of lifestyle choices presented.

She did knowledge that looking back. at her school career, the number of teachers who were clearly NOT qualified to teach were many. She did not get the required marks for the teaching exam, as it is another exam (like all others) that you go for tuition classes to pass, as they train you in how to answer the stock questions that come up. So, though it maybe general knowledge, it is always a small subset that is being asked, therefore hardly being GENERAL! And she had NOT attended these classes.

The obsession with classes, and tuition before any exam in life, as those classes, merely prepare you to pass the exam, giving its format that is easily learnable by rote tuition, leaves me to think that in all Public Positions, teaching, govt. service, and the forces, those rote learners who attend classes only get admitted, perhaps not the best people for the job, just good at memorizing and hopeless at logical deduction!

Little wonder then that we encourage a society of zombies who will believe anything that is fed to them, by Papers, Radio and TV as well as in the bully pulpit. This subset of people rule over the creative, logical, intelligent, entrepreneurial and productive subjects, forcing them into being submissive, to their whims and fancies. This creates a society where anyone with any sense will leave, as those of lesser intelligence prevent their advancement. This in a nutshell is the story of Sri Lanka.

It is our duty to cut this vicious cycle by handing over education to a trust, that the Govt. cannot interfere with so are unable to use political machinations to fill vacancies, that recently made a mockery of the whole system, yet again. Until the capable, clever, and desirous of teaching people come to the profession, we can never produce a workforce that is up to the task at hand.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Procedure IS REQUIRED for issue of Death Certificates

It is farcical to know that here in Sri Lanka, that you cannot bury or cremate without a death certificate, and worse, you cannot do the normal procedures of handling the affairs of the deceased until the death certificate is obtained.

If one reads the link, if the Government Analyst has NOT been able to ascertain the cause of death, a death certificate CANNOT be issued. Everyone agrees that the person has died, and his body is there as evidence, so why don’t they issue a death certificate so that the next of kin can get on with the normal arrangements.

The death certificate MAY state that the Cause of death is yet unknown, and that is up to some investigation, and that is acceptable for paying out of certain life insurance policies. Further if there is some foul play that resulted in the death, then the Death Certificate may give some indication that the Body cannot be cremated as it may be required to be exhumed for future investigation if the need arises. Further certain body parts may be held for investigation, if there is cause to do so.

Lets face it. You only have to read the link to the actually incidents that were reported in last Sunday’s Times, to realize that it is ridiculous for people to suffer due to the natural delays at the Government Analysts department, which can be due to many different reasons. Sometimes due to the lack of scientific testing equipment, it may be required to send samples overseas for investigation as to the cause of death, as it could result in a crime being committed or some similar unknown event that requires further investigation.

A person is dead and if there is evidence of death ISSUE A DEATH CERTIFICATE, and issue a cause of death certificate later if the cause of death is uncertain. IT IS IMPORTANT that the decent, civilized procedure is adopted so that the next of kin can get on with their lives, if someone dies, and not have to suffer doubly due to PROCEDURAL issues of State, that may take a long period of time that has NOT relevance to the needs at hand as illustrated in the particular cases used as examples in the link above.

If the rules change, there is a likelihood that the Toxicology reports may take even longer as there will be no one chasing them up, and if there is a murder enquiry, even the murderer could have died by the time the report is issued. BUT THEN! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

AIRBNB – The largest HOTEL CHAIN IN THE WORLD that does not own any hotels!

Sri Lanka is JUST waking up to the existence of Airbnb, which is a tourist accommodation site on the internet, that is sufficiently sophisticated that those seeking relatively low cost accommodation on their visits are able to sift through the alternatives, to make a determination on the likelihood of acceptability for the price offered, and make a visit, to a place they may not have otherwise gone to.

There are hundreds of locations listed on Airbnb in Sri Lanka with 99% not being registered to provide tourist accommodation. Of the hundreds of places, ONLY a few are currently receiving guests, and that is mainly in large cities like Colombo and Kandy where accommodation is scarce, and expensive.

Usually payment is made via credit card upon making the confirmed booking, and a 20% fee is deducted before the balance is paid DIRECT into the provider’s bank account. You can imagine with over 250,000 rooms being taken daily, how much revenue this organization must be making on a daily basis, with money coming in daily, and they are then able to rapidly expand the service throughout the world.

The problem now is that authorities in various areas are made aware of potential revenue that is NOT being raised from these sources, and are trying to regulate this service. For example, if I live in an expensive apartment complex, and my next door apartment is always being let out on Airbnb, the strangers coming and going next door, from all over the world, at all times of the day and night, maybe a real problem! In fact it may be a nuisance, and my quality of life may deteriorate, just because the person owning the next door apartment wants to make some money, renting his apartment this way.

So what do I do? Complain to the authorities that a residence is being USED ILLEGALLY as a business. (NO different to brothels being operated in luxury flats)

It is then up to both the local government & the apartment management to regulate this activity. Apartment management can set up CONDO RULES that prohibit Airbnb usage, and insist on minimum rental periods if apartments are rented out. Local authorities on the other hand may insist on licensing these places for a standard or variable fee, so that some kind of tax, hopefully not more than 2% of the gross rental value is charged, so it will NOT act as a deterrent, but permit some kind of regulation, and policing, to safeguard other residents in the area from inconvenience and disturbance. Just look at Colombo today, and you find tourists emerging from registered and unregistered accommodation everywhere! says on its website, “book homes from local hosts from 191+ countries and experience a place like you live there!”

Many people who have vacation homes in vacation hotspots, now use this facility to justify owing a vacation home, which they only use say for 60 days of the year, and so on days one does NOT occupy, you can put it out on airbnb for letting to all comers. They can therefore cover the cost of ownership, a superb way to own!

Of course you may have heard how some people have trashed homes by using this facility, so you would have to have your own security or servants to ensure that the house is being carefully used. Further the owner can comment on the guest after the visit to identify the good and bad guests, thereby attempting ONLY to let to people with a good track record of using airbnb. In similar vein the guests can also comment on the service and accommodation, warts and all, so that readers looking at reviews will know what to look for, and make informed decisions on the potential accommodation, prior to booking much like the reviews of hotels that we have become used to on various hotel booking sites.

As usual, our authorities will look at this when they finally wake up that there is in fact such a facility where 1,000 + places are listed, and try to squeeze some revenue from all 1000, even if about half have been listed, but have yet to see any guests take them, as they neither have reviews, nor have any bookings or blocked out dates, when going to see availability, a good indication of there being NO demand.

I just hope that once the Colombo Municipality wakes up to this phenomenon, they know the meaning of common sense!

They will be made aware of this by the very hotels who are losing business JUST because there are alternatives, and possibly better accommodation available for a cheaper cost. The CMC then, will suddenly make unreasonable demands on hosts, try to tax guests, and kill the goose that also lays golden eggs, as you have now opened an OPPORTUNITY for tourists who DO NOT WANT TO USE hotels, to use alternative accommodation  and may even encourage greater spending locally on food, restaurants etc, 

If they were staying at expensive hotels, it is often the overseas tour operator who makes most of the money, as the room that retails for US$200 is sold to them by the hotel at US$50, and of the US$100 per day equivalent airbnb room charges, only US$20 goes to airbnb and the local host gets the rest, helping both the economy and giving a tourist better value for money, that may see a repeat visit, and perhaps even a longer visit! 

It may also pump more spending money into the local economy, benefing Sri Lanka overall. This is therefore an appeal for the local govt. NOT TO BE GREEDY, when you finally wake up to it! Learn the pros and cons, study this phenomenon and look at Country first in making decisions, which should encourage this form of accommodation that will provide value addition directly to the people and perhaps also improve the quality of housing stock as a by-product of this new travel experience!  

Friday, August 12, 2016

The marriage made in heaven in now not even one of Convenience!

We who were involved in working very hard to overturn a ruthless, and lawless regime, where all wealth created were directed at the hands of a few, believed that when the YAHAPALANAYA govt. came to power, there would be a new beginning, a new DAWN if you will, which has failed to materialize.

Professor Razeen Sally outlines the factors that have taken place very succinctly in his article in the FT today, and is well worth reading, and I show the link here:

Frankly the state of the UNION is very distressing, and there are NO saving graces in the horizon, for us to believe things will improve.

I for my part, know we can get back on track, but that it involves, both the President and the Prime Minister agreeing on the terms of reference, and NOT indulge in petty political gimmickry that has resulted in them pulling the Country in different directions instead of the ONE PATH.

Then it is merely a matter of getting rid of the time wasters, and rogues and putting some professionals in about 10 key areas with the blessing of both leaders, and carry out the instructions, WITH THEIR AUTHORITY.

It is that simple. After all, why is it so difficult to run a Country with a population that is hardly bigger than Greater Chennai region in Southern India?

All it needs is a person who can implement the Government’s agenda, and be sufficiently strong to steam roll over the objections of politicians whose demands are merely to their small electoral following, as yours is to the demands of the body POLITIC or the WHOLE COUNTRY to be precise.

Unfortunately there are many people of that caliber, however the people surrounding the leaders DO NOT wish to give them passage, being concerned about their survival which could come under scrutiny, as it is not justified, upon close inspection, and the leaders will realize that they have actually been all this time, the reason why policy implementation has NOT begun.

I am expressing the frustration of all who hoped that we were finally on a road to our destiny that is our birthright, and we are so near to that but still so far! The catalyst of change has come and gone, and now it is the Tsunami that will come.

The Prime Minister is putting the cart before the horse! – Human Capital

So what is this horse I am talking about? It is the basic foundation for Education which he did not even allude to in his speech at the Human Capital Summit, and nothing will come of it unless this most important area is tackled, if we are EVER to achieve the sensible goals the PM has set for himself.

I will elaborate on the detail below, but let me first take issue with some of his basic tenets. The link is to the FT headline by its Editor, of the essence of the PM’s message:
The PM has said that Sri Lanka has three specific strengths, namely Geographic Location, Strong Parliamentary Democracy and Human Resources. The latter two are only in theory, firstly we have a tradition of Parliamentary Democracy, but we have people littering parliament whom I will not even employ as a security guard, which goes to show how much trust I have in them, who have collectively ruined this Country since independence. There is NO challenge at all to this premise, no matter how hard the PM tries to defend his co-parliamentarians and the supremacy of Parliament over all other forms of power.

Then let us go to the matter of Human Resources. It is simply the infant child that is born that is the best on earth. From day one we begin the process of ruining it. We fail to give proper nutrition, unlike in the days of the Kings where they were well nourished. Then we favor the male child and completely make a mental mess of his mind, into believing that he is somehow special, and ruin him in the process. They are at 35 years, still being hand fed by their mothers. This must stop at 10 at worst, possibly at 5, without someone walking behind the child trying to feed him!

The girl child is subjugated to the kitchen scraping the coconuts for breakfast of pol sambol and rice, without being taught the nutrition of Bathala or Kiri Ala or even Manioc for breakfast. NO NO, NOT RICE, especially white polished rice, it is simply poison destining her to a life time of diabetes before she can even talk.

Then comes the most important period of the child’s life, namely pre-school. We leave our children with a neighbor, or a relative, or a pre-school which someone with an extra room has set up. They are at best child minders, where in Japan the kids are taught the 5 S system, which sets them up for life on how to behave and clean up and clear up after them, and be disciplined in everything they do.

Until we invest in pre-school, the Prime Minister is only expressing a wish. I am expressing reality here. This is where the emphasis of State Resource Allocation begins. I have yet to see any words uttered from our educationists on this.


So what I propose is this. If this is not done, all this 13 years of education is for naught. I, by the way agree on 13 years, but that includes the 2 years of pre-school being the most important and by 16 after 11 years of formal school, the child will be in a position to determine where their future lies. Forcing kids to be in school till 18 is a crime if they can get their start-up going in their verandah at 16! Ask any of the world’s entrepreneurs and they will agree. The PM is a Politician.

After that it is work study, where a profession or vocation is the way to go, and those who wish to engage in further study can also do so, but OUT OF CHOICE, not compulsion that the PM proposes in the new Education Act.

I trust the weaklings around the PM (also known as the concrete ring of Neanderthals, frightened of being outed for their incompetence),   who prevent him from hearing the gems of wisdom from the people of the hinterlands, will at least pass this message to him that it is worth training and paying a pre-school teacher Rs100,000 a month, than giving the same to a College Lecturer, as a more beneficial social benefit to society, and will achieve the goals he has set for SL.

Just ask Stiglitz, Soros or Hausman (all of whom have been giving gratuitous advice on what ails SL) and all will unanimously agree with me on this point.

I would also like to bring in the need to teach the children at least to be bi-lingual or better tri-lingual, so we can well and truly maximize on our natural talent for languages that our bright young infants are born with. See link to a BBC article on languages being a catalyst for improving brain power. Our mothers in the Middle East learn to speak Arabic in just three months!

It is an article I would sincerely recommend my readers also take into account if they do not know about it already, and pass on the PM for consideration.

For all the bullshit discussed at the HUMAN CAPITAL SUMMIT, they all amount to a hill of beans UNLESS CONCRETE ACTION ARISING FROM COMMON SENSE SUGGESTIONS ARE IMMEDIATELY IMPLEMENTED. Mr PM only you can push this with all you have got. DO IT!

I have summarized what is wrong with our Human Resource and why they cannot meet the global challenge, I am sure NOT one of the pundits at the summit yesterday or today, would have even made a passing reference to it. 

Little surprise then that I have not wasted my time hearing “MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING” by attending the summit!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Finding a job on your own or asking your parents to find you a job!!!


As if you have to ask! However you will be surprised which way it works, and why it is NOT good, both for the job seeker and for the person who has agreed to help the job seeker, to ask someone else to fix you with one!

I am constantly involved in assisting people find jobs, and I am not in my best mood when I am asked to do so, and pestered in this regard to help. Why?

My worst fears have now been given added reinforcement. In my experience, when I have found a job for someone through a contact of mine as a favor to a friend, co-worker or member of my staff, usually for a job for that person’s relative, I want that person to perform well, so the employer who is helping me out will feel that my intervention actually helped him get a valuable employee! Further it will help me place another person who is similarly in need of employment.

The reality is somewhat different. There are some instances where the people performed well, and that too after a good hour or twos explanation of what the job entails and what is expected of them, should they get the job. I have also stressed their leaving the job without explanation, will only prevent another person from getting a job in that establishment from my recommendation. In most of the instances, where I personally did not know the recruit, they left it within a year.

So it was when I was at a Forces Camp the other day, and I was asking the recruitment person about his experience of getting quality recruits. Firstly, he said preference was given to people who come with letters from senior forces personnel or other VVIP, for them to accommodate their requests, out of deference, and ONLY the remaining are filled from the applications called for in the normal way.

Whilst the overall dropout rate in the first year of intake is about 30%, those who come with a letter drop out at double the rate or 60% .  Today, recruitment has to be more selective as the level of desperation of filling vacancies is less. Another factor is that the certificates presented to fulfill basic requirements are mostly bogus! 

Those who are chosen after an extensive interview process, and after questioning the aptitude of the person for the job or training period, have a much lower rate of dropping out, as they are more confident of what they want, and are sufficiently empowered to seek employment on their own, which shows a level of maturity. The huge cost to the Tri-forces, of lost training expenditure, as well as able recruits being denied entry due to this preference must be explained to the job seeker in advance, so that this practice can be reduced, if not eliminated entirely.

I am only too aware that even in the Private Sector, many people are recruited through recommendation of an employee, most often because some form of undertaking is given of the bona fides of the recruit, and his family background.

However we must have other means of evaluating the potential trustworthiness of a recruit selected cold! We may due to this preference prevent a capable person from joining our establishment, and only in desperate situations resort to “a friend of a friend of a friend syndrome!”

Elaborating further on the point made earlier where inadequate certificates of competence are shown, to get the job, one ends up with people recruited for the kitchen who cannot cook, electricians who could kill themselves and set fire to the whole camp by not knowing their “live from neutral” and so on! In short people lie to get the job, and are found out once recruited and the consequences there on can be even more embarrassing to the person who helped to get the job!

If one read my previous blog entry, one would realize how this is tied to that by the thread of the need for some kind of empowerment program to determine aptitude before anyone JUST seeks a job, any job etc. Anyone asking me to be given any job is a disaster waiting to happen. He cannot do anything in short, and is one who has NOT been weaned from his mother’s milk. (another word is Mama-tities)

This empowerment, this confidence building process MUST be done at schools before the person leaves. That is the ONLY point one can capture the person to engage him in understanding what it is he is capable of doing, and how he could go about getting what HE WANTS, not what his parents want or what he thinks he wants.

I have now resorted to speaking to potential employers when I send someone over for an interview, that it is they who are interviewing and they must use their own criteria of selection, and I am only sending an introduction so that this person MAY BE OF BENEFIT to their company, and the risks of recruitment are theirs. I therefore will not be disappointed if they are not suitable and don’t get the job!

Its funny I have written extensively on this topic of matching job vacancies with people who are capable of filling them, and a HUGE part of this process is for the STATE to spend some resources in LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT as part of a school leaving program that gives the tools necessary to make this MOST important lifestyle choice. This is a win win situation for all concerned. Lets do it!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Education – what is the objective? We should redefine what we mean by it!

Each day we have numerous articles on what is wrong with the Education System, and I attach a link to an article which is the most common analysis of what is wrong, namely that “Children must be taught how to think, NOT what to think”

Frankly this has been the broken record for 70 years since the Kannangara Education reforms, making education accessible to all. We simply have NOT corrected the mistake we made then, by not teaching the teachers well enough to develop a person suitable to live in the environment of the day.

Education therefore is not a fixed format, like arithmetic, it is fluid, and needs to adapt to the ever changing world. We HAVE NOT adapted, and so are still in at best the 20th Century, where the 21st Century has long surpassed what education means in a highly sophisticated, technological age, with internet, where ALL our youth are adept at using Social Media, and are NOT EDUCATED to use it to their advantage, let alone understand the revolution that they have been blessed with.

So I propose to redefine what EDUCATION REALLY MEANS. It is simply a means of arming the person with the tools necessary to survive in the environment of the day (present) and prepare him or herself to foresee the future, and make plans to adapt to the ever changing landscape, so that they can function in that TIME AND PLACE!(FLEXIBILIY)

I meet 18 year olds on a daily basis coming to see me, with very sophisticated smart phones with short battery lives though, where I only have an old Nokia with ALL lettering rubbed off on its keyboard, but whose battery life still lasts longer than the Apple I phone 6 (hope that the I phone 7 will at least be able to match this 2010 Nokia Model!) That is why I can adapt to live without electricity in 2016!

They want a job, but they cannot give me a resume with even their phone number and email address on it, for immediate contact! Today, the Resume (CV) must have both, otherwise I will assume the person is NOT educated, even though the CV has a long list of Computer Qualifications. My challenge then is that you are NOT educated, as you don’t know how to get a job, as you have NOT been taught how to think. If you were taught how, you will realize that whoever you give your CV to, MUST be able to contact you for an interview ASAP. So answer any call!
If I cannot get through on a first ring, I may not call you again, as I will call the next person on my list for interviews and NOT try to get back to you. If I email you, I expect a reply within minutes, or at least by next morning at the latest, whether you are still interested OR not! (If interested you must say you can come at a moment’s notice to be interviewed, to convince me that you are the right person for the job)

So this is what education means. This is what people lack, and this is what needs to be communicated effectively. “To repeat then, Education means your ability to know what you want, know how to get it, and how to communicate effectively to get what you want.”

People mature at different ages, due to the economic environment and surroundings they live in, and so it is NOT at a particular age that one has reached one’s level of perceived EDUCATED STATUS. I would like to however strive to give the tools needed BY THE STATE so that a boy or girl at age 16 is sufficiently well informed to make this lifestyle choice.

I strongly believe that it is at this age that “FREE STOPS”, and then it is either full or partial scholarships for the gifted, talented, economically deprived or differentlyabled, and payment for any further knowledge gathering, be it by way of loan, parental contribution, or work study program.

The State’s obligation to you is then quite clear. It is to “Give you the tools of empowerment to make lifestyle choices, from which you fashion your future.”

All your expectations and demands from the State as a right STOPS RIGHT THERE. If the state so chooses, it can in the Country’s interest offer incentives, which you may take. One such is that if you commit to work in a rural area, clearly defined for a period of 10 years, your Medical Education will be paid for by way of scholarship, the continuance of which depends on your performance at each year’s exams to get to the next level. It is the Country that decides, to prioritize and incentivize depending on the policy that the Country wishes to adopt, NOT YOU.

If my formula is universally adopted, we can in time, eliminate unemployment, reduce job vacancies dramatically, ensure that our youth are in employment in a field of their choice, and the Country can achieve its Policy goals of development in Industries deemed appropriate to them in their present level of development and resource allocation, and optimization for the benefit of all the Countrymen. This is the only HOLISTIC way to look at Education.  It can be adopted without delay.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Pep Talk to a recent graduate from the State University System - actual letter just sent!

                                                                             Kumbuk Pokuna
8th August 2016


Let me first congratulate you on obtaining your Management Degree from Japura University, which you collected last week. I sincerely trust that you were able to have your parents from your home in Mahavillachchiya, with you to attend your degree awarding ceremony, so they would see that their sacrifice has begun to show results. Whatever other people think of Farmers, I put them at the highest position in society and I live here in a farming community, and have seen some from here who have gone and obtained their degrees at various Universities in Sri Lanka.

You now have a long and winding road ahead and it is called LIFE, and I can only wish that you achieve the goals that you have set yourself.

I am not going to write in detail about myself, except to attach my current Resume, just so that you have a point of reference of someone else’s career path, full of bounces, twists and turns, to get an idea that nothing is as smooth as one hopes!

The world has changed so much in this 40 year difference between your beginning and my ending, and the decisions I would take today, would be vastly different to those I took back then. The choices were limited then, and it was done with those opportunities available. Today, technology and choice have greatly expanded, and to choose from this mass of possibilities, what the correct choice for you will be is your challenge.

Fluency in English will further expand the HORIZON globally for you to go for employment overseas. Just quoting an example of Vietnam: a country that 30 years ago was far behind Sri Lanka, has now overtaken Sri Lanka by miles, that now their exports are more than 150% of their GDP where Sri Lanka’s has fallen to just 15% of GDP. In short Sri Lanka is a failed state, due to the poor management of our economy by those who we have elected to RULE over us in the past 70 years, and the sooner we stop venerating them, the sooner we can emerge from this carnage.

Even more ironic is that many Sri Lankans have gone to Vietnam to manage Garment Industries, using their experience here, as well as run Tea Estates, a new Agro Industry they developed, which makes their cost of production of tea, 25 % of ours. Further, many Sri Lankan Companies are setting up operations in Vietnam to take advantage of their opportunities and someone like you could work their temporarily to make your fortune there.

It is under this background that you have now embarked on your professional journey. I will advise you to get as much varied experience as you can, as it will help you in making choices in what it is you would like to do in the future.

As you may know over 30% of Sri Lankan qualified chartered accountants live and work overseas as that qualification is in demand. You are intelligent, so you will be able to grasp the concepts, and systems, as well as the new technology in this fast paced world to excel in your chosen profession.

Don’t forget that luck also plays a part in life, in being at the right place at the right time. So do not get disheartened when sometimes, you don’t get what you want, even though you deserve it. “Better luck next time” is the way to accept it.

We can never achieve everything we set out to do, and along the way you can change your direction, but always have a goal, preferably, a short term, medium term and a long term one so you can focus on a target you want to achieve.

I will mist likely work for the next 5 years in areas of interest to me, and retire here to Ratmale, (I still don’t have electricity in my home here) to write a book or two based on my life experiences. If possible, I will also like to organize seminars and courses on empowerment of Youth, as I believe much of their problems arise out of a lack of understanding of capability and opportunity.

What I mean is, that due to the poor quality of our Education in Sri Lanka, students at age 16, when they should be making serious decisions on what they should pursue, have NO concept of life, vision, what they have an aptitude for or interest in. If they do, they don’t know how to leverage that into a career.

If I can help this age group in understanding the opportunities available, and how they can go about grabbing them, then I can feel I have returned something to society, from the experiences, I have been fortunate to gain. At least a few in Sri Lanka can benefit from another’s path. There are over 250,000 job vacancies in Sri Lanka today, without capable people to fill them, when so many are looking for work in fields that have no vacancies. This is partly due to the laid back lifestyle of many who are risk averse, and have no concept of goals and what is needed to achieve them.

To quote from a recent example, I arranged for 6 youth from this area, to take jobs in a production factory in Biyagama as Machine Operators. They could earn around Rs40,000 a month with overtime, and I had arranged accommodation, and showed them, how after paying for food, accommodation, clothing and mobile phone costs, they could easily save Rs25,000 a month, as long as they did not indulge in alcohol or smoking! On the morning when they were supposed to take the Bus to Colombo, they did not go! Why? Because all wanted to go fishing in the local lake instead!

If that is their real choice, then that is fine. However no one owes them a living. They should NOT expect someone else, be it the Govt. to provide them with employment as a right in their own area. It is better at the age 16 to show them the way, and if they want to be fishermen in the local lake then it is their choice, or if they want to be machine operators in the City, that is fine too. Empower them either way is the motto!

We are fortunate to live in the most beautiful Country on Earth. However we who live here are destroying it. There will be nothing left for the future if we continue at this pace of destruction. I believe the most important thing for survival is the availability of “Pure Water” “Poison Free Food” and “Clean Air”, nothing else matters. We have forgotten the basics, as being the ultimate “HUMAN RIGHT” along with the prevention of the destruction of the Environment. It is simply the basis of these few building blocks that we should build our “New Constitution”, nothing else matters as they will all fall into place like a jigsaw if the aforesaid are enshrined as rights.

Sadly, no politician, in or out of power, understands this simple desire, as they are only interested in self-preservation and enhancement, and these basics, lead to their irrelevance.

Our future can ONLY be secured by people ruling us who have a genuine love for the Country, and put Country First before even themselves. Only then will Sri Lanka survive to the next century. 2500 years of history, will NOT mean anything if we are unable to survive till 2100.

We are the past, you are the future. The future is in the hands of your generation to take up the challenge.

Best Regards and once again Congratulations in beating the odds and succeeding.