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Port City on the Beira: looking a gift horse through its derriere

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by Jolly Somasundram

“I thought I saw a turquoise sea, billowing smooth and bright.

Wrong! It was an emerging Republic, a 700 acre wee sovereignty,

Passport and flag ready, she awaits an anthem, to enter the UN.

Defying scurrilous on-line disinformation, out of nothing came something.”

It has been done or has it? The Port City Bill has received overwhelming approval of Parliament, all amendments suggested by the Supreme Court were incorporated, so that a referendum or 2/3rds majority requirement were foreclosed. On the Speaker signing it, following due process, the Bill became law: it is within the constitution. But social media, for which truth is not a troubling issue, are carrying out a carping, personalised campaign of innuendo and insinuation against it. It would be useful to revisit the foundational bases for this law, to judge whether there is something genuine in their concerns or social media is merely flying someone else’s flag for advantage.

Natural harbours are created by nature, artificial ones by man. Both enclose the sea. Sri Lanka provided a wrinkle: a sea was drained, at a cost of US$ 15 Billion, creating a land mass on which six million square meters of built space will be erected, for commercial users. This collectivity is the Port City. The entire operation- of reclamation, building, and providing equity and debt finance- was undertaken by the Chinese: there were no Chinese loans given to Sri Lanka for this purpose, thereby leading her to debt enchainment and traps. Sri Lanka will receive half of the reclaimed land as a gift to her people. The balance, on which Chinese driven development will take place, was leased back to the Chinese for 99 years, an instance of one’s own product being back- leased. It will be managed by a corporate body headed by a very senior, experienced and highly respected Sri Lankan. This deal was riskless for Sri Lanka, for it was an asset created with no debt or funding from the Budget. Those who risk going far, would only know how far they could go! The reward of this deal came in aces. What was the catch? Punch drunk with debt blows and Sri Lanka on the fiscal ropes, Sri Lanka was not an enticing investment market. The public could not believe this deal. It was so good, it must be bad! Conspiracy theories sprouted. Social media referred to secret deals (if there were, how would they be known?). It had a whale of a time, broadcasting fake news- Galle Face Green will become a brown, they said, but a quarter mile of verdant green had already been added. The cliché, there is no free lunch, was widely bandied. Classical Latin vendors darkly quoted Aeneas, “beware those who come bearing gifts.” (Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.)

The fable of the Arab and the Camel was invoked, the Camel, given accommodation in his tent by the trusting Arab, used its vantage fulcrum point, to craftily mount a successful reverse takeover bid and later, dispossess the owner. This 700-acre transistor Republic- smaller than any municipal ward in Colombo – would be the first stop in making the country a Chinese colony, to be renamed Sino Lanka, they alleged.

There is confusion between rights of equity providers and of sovereignty governors. Lever Brothers, a British multinational, owns significant land parcels in Grandpass. They have managerial rights over company activities but these do not morph to exercising governance powers over Grandpass. Debt-equity swaps are a standard management tactic, to transfer risk from a debtor to owner, as Hambantota showed, but they are not equity-sovereignty swaps, like the Louisiana purchase of the US from France, a century and a half ago. In the Port City project there is no debt, all the equity is held by Sri Lanka. The Port City asset leased to China for 99 years is unlike Guantanamo, where the US forced Cuba to renounce sovereign rights over this parcel of Cuban territory to itself and in perpetuity too.

History repeats but, it is now claimed, with Chinese accents. 70 years ago, newly independent Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) was in dire straits as there was a severe shortage of rice. The Korean war was on and the price of rubber rose precipitously. Sri Lanka being a rubber exporting country was unable to take advantage of this bonanza because the US frowned on rubber trade with China. China countered with a win -win offer. She sold rice to Sri Lanka at a lower price than the market and purchased rubber at a higher price than what the market offered. The nay-sayers were aghast, “there is a catch in this. It is the first step in the takeover of our newly independent country by China,” they growled. The government, though a West oriented one, stood firm. The US retaliated by cutting off assistance under the Battle Act. Today, sanctions would be the retaliatory measure. These alarmists need only scan a map. A Chinese air fleet would take eight hours flying time to reach Sri Lanka with a refuelling stop in-between, a navy will take three days. Napoleon was defeated by General Winter in his abortive invasion of Moscow. General Distance with stretched supply lines, would prove an invader’s nemesis with respect to Sri Lanka. A successful invasion of Sri Lanka is a fantasy of unthinkers, futile as The Charge of the Light Brigade.

The Rice-Rubber agreement has lasted 70 years with no adverse repercussions. It was renewed periodically by every government, irrespective of ideology. The same anti-China arguments offered then, were now dusted and re-presented. But the international situation has changed. A Thucycydian trap has inserted itself. What happens when an upstart power challenges a long established one? The US superiority is in hard power- land, sea (750 bases all over the world, some nuclear armed), undersea, air, cyber, nuclear and space. China’s counter was soft power, build infrastructure all over the world, a dire need if the third world were to benefit from development. The Port City furore is all about geo-politics, of a change of power relations, whether a numero uno would let itself get downgraded tamely without resistance.

The US used its superior public relations repertoire to denigrate China by instilling fear of the Chinese Dragon swallowing innocent Sri Lanka, the Arab and the Camel fable re-furbished. Social media provided the billboard.

Anything is permitted for debaters. For them,

To be or not to be, is not a question,

But a continuing answer.

The time has come to talk of many things,

Whether pigs have wings?

These debaters are eternal talkers of the ‘could’ (the possible), but not of the ‘can’ (doable) or making the doable an ‘is’ (done). Only a century ago did human beings grow wings to fly. Perhaps, eventually, pigs too may get air borne! Just seven years ago an entrepreneurial chance was offered to Sri Lanka, to get built a Port City. The central issue was how, a ‘Could’, be made to become a ‘Can’ and later, an ‘Is’. The challenge was taken. Rewards go only to the venturesome, whether in life or in love. The losers, chagrined, then take recourse to social media, with gossip, unsupported accusations of corruption, abuse- the fox and grapes- and fake news. Social media played the Game of Losers: they lost. Their opposites- past masters- played the Game of Winners: they won and handsomely too.

When new projects are proposed, professional contrarians and fundamental rights lawyers are attracted to them, like blue bottles to rotting protein or gossipy social media, to gain carrion comfort. Columbus had a trying time getting acceptance to go West, to an unknown land mass. This was the time when Flat Earth was the prevailing cosmology. The question was posed, what will happen at the end of the outward journey? When the Gal Oya scheme was proposed all the Left political parties opposed it, saying the reservoir will silt in twenty five years. If the current social media were in existence then, they would have talked of deforestation, environmental degradation, rights of those living in the this doomed habitat- the Vedddahs. If these protests were heeded, one could imagine what Amparai would be like today. With the wave of new independent countries post- 1950, the UN wanted to set up regional Economic Commissions. One was proposed for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE). The headquarter location was offered to Colombo. Sri Lanka turned it down. Bangkok grabbed the chance.

“No” is the ugliest word in the vocabulary of development. It gives power to those who do not take responsibility for their decisions like the ECAFE one. It is against entrepreneurship, it conspires against innovation. The cost of projects undertaken could be measured but not the cost of projects not undertaken, caused by the fall of the kaduwa, no. No is reactionary, it congeals existing social and economic structures to an unchanging permanence which induces a violent revolution to dissolve. No Bungawewa!

Saying “yes” to a postage stamp Port City has developmental benefits, a sea change of the land where the sea had been drained. The investment is very high. To be able to pay the interest on loans taken by the Chinese, instalment payments and have a modicum of return on capital, the Port City cannot depend on cultivating turmeric, green chillies, setting up garment factories or exporting domestics. It has to go very high tech with high value addition serving overseas markets. A matured Port City is not for this century but the next. As much as the determining economic activity of this century is Information Technology, the next would be Artificial Intelligence (AI)- in which robotics will have a major part to play- cryogenics, global financial innovation where economic activity is a 24 hour business cycle following the sun in its progress from East to West and East again. In none of these activities has Sri Lanka significant experience. The Sri Lankan work force entering the job market are journeymen, making their daily journeys to homes of politicians in search of permanent, pensionable government unsackable jobs. The Port City will be a training ground for high paying jobs in high tech, jobs having international demand.

There is downside too. The lubricant coursing through Port City’s different functions and parts is cold cash. The Port City will have a different culture where cash is king. There will be cultural costs where value is determined by cash not morals. Port City could become a cesspit like Havana under Batista. The governing board has to keep a laser eye peeled to prevent it.

Change is necessary for stability. Sri Lanka, instead of getting involved in Thucycydian dialectics, should clearly survey the current scenario through unprejudiced eyes. Spurning China is monumental folly. China is becoming a superpower. The Port City project is giving Sri Lanka an opportunity to prepare herself for next century’s strategic commitments. Decisions taken now will determine whether she will be an exporter of domestics, which brings her, her highest foreign exchange earnings or a Singapore, who, when she was ejected from the Malaysian Federation had to import drinking water. Today, she is the third highest exporter in the world of oil products, though she does not have a drop of oil.

Will Sri Lanka be a Nepal or a Singapore?



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A call for confidence in Rajavasala

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The government is highly cheerful about the defeat of the SJB’s vote of no confidence on Minister Gammanpila.

It was able to display its two-thirds power in Parliament. Those smaller parties that are aligned with the Pohottuva such as the SLFP and Wimal Weerawansa’s NFF and others remained fastened with Pohottuva power. The new message after the SJB’s defeat is that the people are wholly supportive of the increase in fuel prices. In fact, they have been voting to support the new fuel prices, and thus Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa does not have to do anything about it. Forget all that talk about how that price increase would not have happened if BR had been in the country, or that he would reduce it in a couple of days in office.

The record of no-confidence motions in our Parliament from 1948 is certainly different. Many such motions have been defeated, but the wider and deeper messages they carried have remained with the voters, who did what was necessary when the time for a larger national Vote of No-Confidence came their way.

This is the first big issue that Sajith Premadasa faced as leader of the SJB. There was somewhat of a challenge to him with the presence in Parliament of his former leader, and continuing UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, who did try a green twist to the motion by trying to amend it to read against the whole government. Such twists and turns in politics can only be expected when persons who are wholly defeated by the voters in an election, the entire party and himself included, enters the House through the backdoor of the National List.

What this no-confidence motion brought before the people is much more than the rise in fuel prices. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, and the government’s flagrant misuse of quarantine regulations to forcibly grab and transport trade union, civil rights, and political critics and opponents to a lock down centre in the North, combined with the continuing protests by farmers without necessary fertiliser, there is a rising mood of public discontent with the advancing power of the Rajapaksas. Here are some of the real ‘confidence’’ issues facing the people.

Does Pohottuva think the public are wholly supportive of the presidential pardon to a murderer convicted by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court? What about the three others who were also convicted with the same person? Is the public cheerful about such a pardoned, but not freed of crime – person, being appointed to head a major state institution on housing development? Is housing to be a sector of increasing political manipulation, much more than it was when Wimal Weerawansa, as Minister of Housing and Common Amenities, was at play in that sector, with luxury housing for relatives?

By the way, Weerawansa was a loud and strong opponent to the no- confidence motion against Minister Gammanpila.

There is currently some confused thinking on the silent protest carried out by teachers on distant teaching through the internet. The vast numbers, in several thousands, who participated in the public call for action by the government on the long-standing teacher demands, did show the necessity for action.

The public who may be even critical of the trade union action by the teachers are certainly not supportive of them being called ‘kaalakanniyo’ – miserable, wretched – even by a Cabinet Minister, whatever rank or status he may hold. Minister Rambukwelle could have turned many teachers, who may have preferred to be silent about their dispute on income and rights, to openly join the related trade union action. The Minister’s subsequent reference to teachers as ‘divinities’ certainly had little impact, in a land where there are unholy divinities, too.

The increase in the size of protests today shows a rise in the mood of opposition to the government. The public reaction to the ugly and shameful show of force against citizen protesters by the Police, against court orders, too, seem to have pushed the Police somewhat into the background. But we cannot be sure of that.

There have been many transfers and promotions of key police personnel, and the vacancy in the highest police post is not far away. Will the future actions on police management by the Rajapaksa Handlers send a new message on Police Brutality? Will the suspects brought to show evidence and are shot down, show an increase in the coming months? This is where public confidence in the government’s role in fighting crime and keeping peace will be on display, as the Rajapaksa Handlers move to more Family Power and less People’s Power.

More than two years have passed since that Easter Sunday attack on three churches, the deaths of so many, many more injured, families destroyed, parents gone and children lost, and the government still has to show the people the truth about this massive crime. The Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, has now given a one-month deadline for the President and the government to answer several key issues about this crime, which were key electoral promises of the Pohottuva candidate who is now the President, and the SLPP government of today.

The answers to these issues raised will show the confidence in the Sri Lankan government by the people of this country, irrespective of ethnicity, religion or caste; and the confidence in this country by the international community.

The defeat of the no-confidence motion on Minister Gammanpila should not be the stuff of worry for the Opposition in Parliament and the SJB. It is certainly a call to spread the wider message of no-confidence in a government that has failed in living up to its promises to the people.

The government may remain happy with its two-thirds majority in Parliament. But it certainly needs much more than parliamentary numbers to retain and build the confidence among the people. This is the real task of the Rajapaksa Power today. It has to move away from a Rajapaksa Senakeliya or Carnival, and try and settle down to Rajapaksa Service to the people, and not to themselves. A true call for Confidence in the Rajavasala, from those away from the Rajapaksa pack and players.

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How rebirth takes place

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(from THE BUDDHA AND HIS TEACHINGS by Venerable Nārada Mahāthera)

“The pile of bones of (all the bodies of) one man
Who has alone one aeon lived
Would make a mountain’s height —
So said the mighty seer.”
— ITIVUT’TAKA

To the dying man at this critical stage, according to Abhidhamma philosophy, is presented a Kamma, Kamma Nimitta, or Gati Nimitta.

By Kamma is here meant some good or bad act done during his lifetime or immediately before his dying moment. It is a good or bad thought. If the dying person had committed one of the five heinous crimes (Garuka Kamma) such as parricide etc. or developed the Jhānas (Ecstasies), he would experience such a Kamma before his death. These are so powerful that they totally eclipse all other actions and appear very vividly before the mind’s eye. If he had done no such weighty action, he may take for his object of the dying thought-process a Kamma done immediately before death (Āsanna Kamma); which may be called a “Death Proximate Kamma.”

In the absence of a “Death-Proximate Kamma” a habitual good or bad act (Ācinna Kamma) is presented, such as the healing of the sick in the case of a good physician, or the teaching of the Dhamma in the case of a pious Bhikkhu, or stealing in the case of a thief. Failing all these, some casual trivial good or bad act (Katattā Kamma) becomes the object of the dying thought-process.

Kamma Nimitta

or “symbol,” means a mental reproduction of any sight, sound, smell, taste, touch or idea which was predominant at the time of some important activity, good or bad, such as a vision of knives or dying animals in the case of a butcher, of patients in the case of a physician, and of the object of worship in the case of a devotee, etc…

By Gati Nimitta, or “symbol of destiny” is meant some symbol of the place of future birth. This frequently presents itself to dying persons and stamps its gladness or gloom upon their features. When these indications of the future birth occur, if they are bad, they can at times be remedied. This is done by influencing the thoughts of the dying man. Such premonitory visions of destiny may be fire, forests, mountainous regions, a mother’s womb, celestial mansions, and the like.

Taking for the object a Kamma, or a Kamma symbol, or a symbol of destiny, a thought-process runs its course even if the death be an instantaneous one.

For the sake of convenience let us imagine that the dying person is to be reborn in the human kingdom and that the object is some good Kamma.

His Bhavanga consciousness is interrupted, vibrates for a thought-moment and passes away; after which the mind-door consciousness (manodvāravajjana) arises and passes away. Then comes the psychologically important stage –Javana process — which here runs only for five thought moments by reason of its weakness, instead of the normal seven. It lacks all reproductive power, its main function being the mere regulation of the new existence (abhinavakarana).

The object here being desirable, the consciousness he experiences is a moral one. The Tadālambana-consciousness which has for its function a registering or identifying for two moments of the object so perceived, may or may not follow. After this occurs the death-consciousness (cuticitta), the last thought moment to be experienced in this present life.

There is a misconception amongst some that the subsequent birth is conditioned by this last death-consciousness (cuticitta) which in itself has no special function to perform. What actually conditions rebirth is that which is experienced during the Javana process.

With the cessation of the decease-consciousness death actually occurs. Then no material qualities born of mind and food (cittaja and āhāraja) are produced. Only a series of material qualities born of heat (utuja) goes on till the corpse is reduced to dust.

Simultaneous with the arising of the rebirth consciousness there spring up the ‘body-decad,’ ‘sex-decad,’ and ‘base-decad’ (Kāya-bhāva-vatthu-dasaka).

According to Buddhism, therefore, sex is determined at the moment of conception and is conditioned by Kamma not by any fortuitous combination of sperm and ovum-cells.

The passing away of the consciousness of the past birth is the occasion for the arising of the new consciousness in the subsequent birth. However, nothing unchangeable or permanent is transmitted from the past to the present.

Just as the wheel rests on the ground only at one point, so, strictly speaking, we live only for one thought-moment. We are always in the present, and that present is ever slipping into the irrevocable past. Each momentary consciousness of this ever-changing life-process, on passing away, transmits its whole energy, all the indelibly recorded impressions on it, to its successor. Every fresh consciousness, therefore, consists of the potentialities of its predecessors together with something more. At death, the consciousness perishes, as in truth it perishes every moment, only to give birth to another in a rebirth. This renewed consciousness inherits all past experiences. As all impressions are indelibly recorded in the ever-changing palimpsest-like mind, and all potentialities are transmitted from life to life, irrespective of temporary disintegration, thus there may be reminiscence of past births or past incidents. Whereas if memory depended solely on brain cells, such reminiscence would be impossible.

“This new being which is the present manifestation of the stream of Kamma-energy is not the same as, and has no identity with, the previous one in its line — the aggregates that make up its composition being different from, having no identity with, those that make up the being of its predecessor. And yet it is not an entirely different being since it has the same stream of Kamma-energy, though modified perchance just by having shown itself in that manifestation, which is now making its presence known in the sense-perceptible world as the new being.

Death, according to Buddhism, is the cessation of the psycho-physical life of any one individual existence. It is the passing away of vitality (āyu), i.e., psychic and physical life (jīvitindriya), heat (usma) and consciousness (vinnana).

Death is not the complete annihilation of a being, for though a particular life-span ends, the force which hitherto actuated it is not destroyed.

Just as an electric light is the outward visible manifestation of invisible electric energy, so we are the outward manifestations of invisible Kammic energy. The bulb may break, and the light may be extinguished, but the current remains and the light may be reproduced in another bulb. In the same way, the Kammic force remains undisturbed by the disintegration of the physical body, and the passing away of the present consciousness leads to the arising of a fresh one in another birth. But nothing unchangeable or permanent “passes” from the present to the future.

In the foregoing case, the thought experienced before death being a moral one, the resultant rebirth-consciousness takes for its material an appropriate sperm and ovum cell of human parents. The rebirth-consciousness (patisandhi vinnana) then lapses into the Bhavanga state.

The continuity of the flux, at death, is unbroken in point of time, and there is no breach in the stream of consciousness.

Rebirth takes place immediately, irrespective of the place of birth, just as an electromagnetic wave, projected into space, is immediately reproduced in a receiving radio set. Rebirth of the mental flux is also instantaneous and leaves no room whatever for any intermediate state (antarabhava). Pure Buddhism does not support the belief that a spirit of the deceased person takes lodgement in some temporary state until it finds a suitable place for its “reincarnation.”

This question of instantaneous rebirth is well expressed in the Milinda Pa񨡺

The King Milinda questions:

“Venerable Nagasena, if somebody dies here and is reborn in the world of Brahma, and another dies here and is reborn in Kashmir, which of them would arrive first?

“They would arrive at the same time. O King.

“In which town were you born, O King?

“In a village called Kalasi, Venerable Sir.

“How far is Kalasi from here, O King?

“About two hundred miles, Venerable Sir.

“And how far is Kashmir from here, O King?

“About twelve miles, Venerable Sir.

“Now think of the village of Kalasi, O King.

“I have done so, Venerable Sir.

“And now think of Kashmir, O King.

“It is done, Venerable Sir.

“Which of these two, O King, did you think the more slowly and which the more quickly?

“Both equally quickly, Venerable Sir.

“Just so, O King, he who dies here and is reborn in the world of Brahma, is not reborn later than he who dies here and is reborn in Kashmir.”

“Give me one more simile, Venerable Sir.”

“What do you think, O King? Suppose two birds were flying in the air and they should settle at the same time, one upon a high and the other upon a low tree, which bird’s shade would first fall upon the earth, and which bird’s later?”

“Both shadows would appear at the same time, not one of them earlier and the other later. “

The question might arise: Are the sperm and ovum cells always ready, waiting to take up the rebirth-thought?

According to Buddhism, living beings are infinite in number, and so are world systems. Nor is the impregnated ovum the only route to rebirth. Earth, an almost insignificant speck in the universe, is not the only habitable plane, and humans are not the only living beings. As such it is not impossible to believe that there will always be an appropriate place to receive the last thought vibrations. A point is always ready to receive the falling stone.

 

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Dual citizens; shocking rape cases going unpunished

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I have a bone to pick with my co-Friday columnist who writes from across the ocean about the Pearl. In his July 16 column, he writes at length on dual citizens entering the Sri Lankan Parliament while retaining citizenship of another country. He lauds it in no uncertain terms, while most of us natives, living in our motherland, oppose the move that was introduced in the 20th Amendment. He writes: “A Dual Citizen is back as a national list member of parliament. Now, this in a country that passed legislation that banned dual citizens from entering parliament. This of course is something I was and am vehemently opposed to …”

The previous ban which he ‘vehemently opposed’ he pins on the Kaduwa syndrome – inferiority complex; frog in the well mentality; “fear of intimidation, fear, and revulsion of learning anything new from others”. Cass labels his reasons tosh! He goes to the extreme of writing: “The only good thing that has happened is that a dual citizen is back as finance minister, no less. … Our entire national list should consist of qualified dual citizens who have experience gained from the first world.” The implication here is that all our Sri Lankan citizens holding only Sri Lankan passports are no good against dual citizens who to him are nonpareil, more so legislaters. Thus, he casts aside as useless all those holding higher qualification gained mostly locally and are loyal to the country. They to him are less in ability, qualifications, broadmindedness than those who escaped to foreign countries when the going was bad and now return when it suits them. I present sole citizens like Champika Ranawaka, Eran Wickremaratne and Harsha de Silva and very many medical professionals and agriculturists who have shown they are pre-eminently qualified in their several fields, and loyal to Sri Lanka too.

Dual citizens left the country for whatever reason, mostly escaping a sinking ship for better prospects even as second-class citizens. Then they had the bug of nationalism arising in their breasts. This when it suited them; when it was opportune for them to return to their country of birth. They seize the opportunity to be recognised, elevated, lauded; and return from obscurity in a foreign country to hosannas sung by loyalists and promoters of dual citizenship like Rajitha Ratwatte. If they are so loyal and want to serve their mother country, why don’t they give up the citizenship of the country chosen for emigration and become solely Sri Lankan citizens? Oh no, they keep a safety branch handy for escape – to obscurity though – when things get too hot here. Even Basil Rajapaksa took plane to the US immediately after his brother’s defeat at the 2015 presidential election. Now back with several brothers in high power, nephews included; in short, a government mostly by the Family, it is ideal for Brother Basil to return and to boost his return, such loud singing of hosannas and prediction this Knight with superhuman powers will kill the dragon of economic bankruptcy that is poised to devour poor Sri Lanka. He may even banish the virus that has overpowered the entire world. We Ordinaries will wait and watch.

It is no to persons like medical interns who got their entire education- high school plus medical – at government expense and then scooted slyly to greener pastures immediately after getting their MBBSs. This closed door also to those who fled punishments or change of government or jumped the ship they thought was sinking or scooted for whatever expediency. However, those who felt they had no hope of career development in this country or went for higher studies (when local universities were closed for long or did not accept them) and then decided to stay back in the host countries as citizens are welcome back as even dual citizens since their return is prompted by caring for parents and siblings left behind, or wanting to settle down on birth turf and benefit the country with foreign money and expertise gained. Some highly qualified, medical professionals mostly, revisit Sri Lanka and give immense help free of charge. We welcome them wholeheartedly and are grateful. But not those whose motives for returning are purely selfish.

What particularly irked ole Cass were these two statements of Rajitha Ratwatte writing ‘From Outside the Pearl’. “The only good thing that has happened is that a dual citizen is back as finance minister, no less” and “our entire national lists should consist of qualified dual citizens who have experience gained from the first world.” I won’t deal with the first statement. How can he judge whether it is the only good move of government until Basil delivers the prediction of saving the country? Then the promotion of dual citizens to Parliament – “qualified with experiences gained from the first world.” I mentioned how some of these come back to help us but never as politicians or into politics. Those who come into the political arena so far have not advertised their higher qualifications and some have experience in petrol pumping if not dish washing!!

Rape rears its medusa head

We have been hearing and reading about a 15-year-old girl sold for prostitution by her mother and used by the many including some high persons. The case is out in the open and due punishment may be meted out. Another case was highlighted about a younger girl and I was told that social media highlighted a father who abused his two daughters and is in hiding now. Words fail ole Cass to express how reprehensible these cases are: unbridled perverse sexual desire and greed for money; two conditions rampant now. Cass nearly fell of her chair when she read the first page news item in The Island of Wednesday July 21. “National child protection policy not implemented for 21 years, says COPE.” Rather usual in this Paradise Isle gone rotten. But what followed both inundated Cass’s heart with deep sorrow followed by raging fury, though useless. A beautiful, typically dressed 16 year old Tamil girl – Ishalini Jude Kumar – is featured in the article “who succumbed to injuries caused by a fire in the residence of lawmaker Rishad Bathiudeen at No 410/16, Baudhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7.” Stunning. Shocking beyond words. Cass believes the rape and suspects it was continuous but never will accept the self immolation.

This particular MP and former Minister has had two previous allegations against him – the destruction of parts of a forest bordering Wilpattu to build houses for his supporters and association with some Easter Sunday carnage suspects.

Rape and molesting children are extra extra-nasty social evils. The perpetrators must be severely punished. In Saudi Arabia it was said that stealing was punished with hands amputated so…

Cass leaves you on that note – to mull over as Sri Lanka is saved by the Hon Basil R and we get back to being Paradise.

 

 

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