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Opinion

Post-election reflections of hope 

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“Isn’t the practice of charlatanism quite popular among many of our politicians, who resort to scores of dirty tricks of the trade to keep their position, rank and status intact?”

And I wondered was it just another one not different from the others that have gone before? Let’s hope not, and those who are now in control will do their best, and not renege on what has been said and promised by them before the polls. No. I am not day-dreaming!

Even though there has been so much already written and spoken about it, the ‘election’ topic still heads the charts, so to speak. And I am sure that it will continue to do so for some time to come, for obvious reasons; and more so because of calamitous times the country is going through now, along with the rest of the world, all fighting an unseen enemy. Winning an election is one thing. Yet sensible, skilful governance of a country, in these trying circumstances, in particular, is another.

Once again, it was as usual, the too-familiar-to-us spectacle of giving promises and blaming the opposition for everything that went wrong and even right, when the others governed. This time however, the volume (both in loudness and size) of the usually voluminous verbal garbage flying back and forth was rather subdued due to that unseen monster, who is still out there, playing a game of hide and seek.

 The magnitude and nature of some of these promises that are given by our politicians, with such assurance and sincerity of purpose (doubtful) make one wonder: Where were they (I mean both the ‘promises and the promise-givers’) hiding all this time? And then who is the scoundrel that said ‘Sri Lanka’ is poor and very unfairly put it in the ‘Third World’ bracket? That is if one were to put a money value to many of those promises, he/she would no doubt be led to believe that our coffers must be full to the brim, allowing these political philanthropists to spend freely, even with nil or negative economic gains/returns for the country.

And we hope, against hope, that one of the pass-time favourites of many a politician in this regard, will be over soon, once and for all. It is the familiar scene of creating totally irrelevant and wholly unnecessary vacancies in the organisations under their control, and filling them with many incompetent henchmen of theirs, who are mostly square pegs in round holes, whilst often getting too big for their boots too. And to make matters far worse, they don’t sit still. They steal. And they stir. They help themselves to the cake with gay abandon and boundless greed, ‘making hay, while the sun shines. They spend their time in the offices, reposing in their cosy armchairs, planning and scheming what next and how much. They contribute absolutely nothing towards the development and improvement of the quality of services that their departments, ministries or other organisations offer. Instead, they choose to interfere with the matters of management, often leading to chaos, dissent and division amongst the staff, and overall deterioration of the efficiency and professional conduct of the employees of those establishments.

People will be watching, writing and speaking, in spite of the fact that it may be to no avail. Yet it is a worthy attempt to let the governors know the pulse of the society at large. And there will be telltale signs to see, whether the ship is sailing following the promised bearings or going off course.

So let’s wait and see. This may be just one more with another lot elected or maybe not.

The promised wonderland is yet to come. However, the elected always prospered irrespective of where they belonged: be it the governing or the opposing sides. Will the new governors break this now-many-decades-old, ugly dispensation and open up a whole new era of exemplary governance?

LAKSIRI WARNAKULA

 

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Opinion

A case study of graduate reality

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Date:14th September , 2020

Venue:Hikkaduwa Vocational Training Institute

Objective:The first day on the management of the training workshop conducted for the newly appointed graduates of the government

My Session that day was on “Introduction to management and implications”. On the first day, about 175 graduates participated and were given the following short case study, which I prepared as a practical activity.

Kelum and Sisira

Kelum and Sisira joined the public service in 2010. Both of them have the same degree from the same university. Kelum is from Kalutara and always arrives at work 30 minutes before the scheduled office hours. Kelum is very friendly with the people who come to meet him and he is always willing to help and directs the things he cannot do according to their needs. He is a great listener and uses the office phone professionally and in a friendly manner with great Public Relationship skills. Kelum is willing to extend his support for the people who come from remote areas to get the service from the office, and if they want to come back to the office he contacts them and updates them as he knows the value of time, money, and energy of poor people. Kelum, who is also the secretary of the organization’s welfare association, has donated blood eight times so far. He is always active in public affairs such as the institution’s sports festival and enjoys a very simple life.

Kelum’s friend Sisira also comes from Kalutara. He always comes to the institution late and it has become a habit. It’s not a problem for him. He also proudly states that he is a graduate and constantly compares himself with others. He constantly scolds some of his subordinates, calling them “idiots.” Also, friends say that Sisira has taken huge loans from financial institutions and is stuck in a debt trap by taking more loans to pay it off.

 

Expectation case study as

1. To educate Participants on some of the concepts related to management, such as planning, time management, communication, leadership, financial management and literacy, customer satisfaction.

2. To awaken the minds of the newly appointed graduates through socialization (with teamwork as a group) focusing on “attitude ” factor

3. As a practical activity, breaking away from traditional lectures, group discussions enhance the “sense of team spirit” and the ability to “present” oneself in front of a group of people.

I have seen their commitment to the preparation of group presentations and discussions for the activity, with enthusiasm and passion . The question we were asked in connection with this case study is how each group comprehends the case study, identifies the management concepts in it, and how to apply it to their lives. To our amazement, those graduates meticulously studied and presented the given case on “Kelum and Sisira” . They went ahead of our expectation and came with a critical analysis of work-life balance, motivation, interpersonal relationships, organizational hierarchy, social responsibility, authority, discipline, internal marketing of ethics, performance appraisal, and so on. This is all about high order thinking with ” Synthesizing ” in education! . Moreover that was one of my best sessions, which I experienced and enjoyed in the last two decades as a teacher.

 

Conclusion

Even if one passes the highly competitive Advanced Level examination, it is a challenge to enter the national universities in Sri Lanka. My observation, at Hikkaduwa, has a clear indication of the ability and talent of Sri Lankan graduates. The business consultant, Rasika Kaluarachchi, who lectured with me, said that polishing this gem (with better KSA – Knowledge, Skills and Attitude) is a task that leaders need to do. That should be one way in which we can achieve our sustainable economic growth for mother Sri Lanka!

 

Prof. NALIN ABEYSEKERA

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Opinion

‘Pol’ @ Rs.100

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The alarming news of Rs.100/- per coconut appears in all newspapers and politicians have ‘Gone to Town’ to impress the public, and hide the mismanagement of authorities to avoid such an increase in an essential item of food.

They seem unaware, or ignorant, of the reason for such an increase. In my view, the new trend in converting coconut to coconut powder by manufacturers, has brought about the shortage in the open market. These manufacturers buy almost all mature coconuts, at auctions, or from large producers, leaving only small coconuts for day-to-day buyers, thus there is a shortage; resulting in a price hike. In fact, I bought two small sized coconuts at Rs.75/- each at the local boutique yesterday, though not fully matured.

Authorities should see a way to reduce the price and at the same time not crumple the manufacturing industry. The packetted Coconut Milk Powder eases the working mothers of the time taken to grate fresh coconuts on a ‘Hiramane’. The only disadvantage is, we miss our POL SAMBOLA and grated coconut for our MALLUM’

CK
Boralesgamuwa

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Opinion

Jackals in protest

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There were recent reports about jackals (Nari or Hivallu) attacking villagers. Even nations, and boxers, know that attack is the best form of defence and so do animals, including cobras and other crawly creatures, like serpents. So, it is obvious why these jackals have attacked villagers. They, too, like to live and let live, if left alone, unlike ferocious animals, like leopards and tigers. Jackals are mainly scavengers and not man-eaters. There are no foxes or wolves in our country.

As recently as 65 – 70 years ago, in places about 25 – 30 miles away from Colombo, howling of jackals could be heard in the night. As children lived 27 miles out of Colombo, and frequently heard these howls, and our elders would ask us not to be frightened.

This was in the Gampaha District, 11 miles inland from Negombo and even then fairly well populated. Of course, there were the village drunkards and our neighbour was one of them, and we heard him bursting into songs, practically every night, after a good tot of kasippu (there was no kudu then). Whether the jackals were joining him, or howling because they were disturbed, we do not know.

The main reason, as I could see, why these innocent animals attack the villagers is due to the village “Chandiyas” trying to impress the other villagers that they are brave men, by going in groups with big poles. Now it is easy to see who the real culprits are. These Nariyas can’t afford to go on demonstrations carrying placards and blaming their MPs and government officials, unlike the two-legged Nari, even though there are some MPs and officials who belong to their own species!

ND

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