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The Right is DEAD!

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BY RAJITHA RATWATTE

Fromoutsidethepearl.co.nz

The long awaited once postponed General Election is finally over in NZ. Jacinda Ardern (pronounced aarrdoon) and her labour party have won the biggest victory in 50 years! Now we all knew she would win, but she postponed the election once to give it more fairness and credibility due to Covid outbreaks. This we thought would give the opposition a chance. It didn’t, in fact the opposite may have happened when the educated voter realised that this was playing fair and voted even more overwhelmingly in her favour.

Labour now has 64 seats and can govern on their own, impossible they said under the prevailing MMP system of Aotearoa. The main opposition party has 35 seats and have lost some of their strongholds, especially among the farmer communities which hitherto were strong conservative (read as white dominated) seats.

The showmen and those who act on TV always get a following in these days of media dominance and ACT party who has a leader who jumps out of airplanes and takes part in public dancing contests has got in with 10 MP’s. This worthy named David Seymour and with a countenance that reminds one of the rarer types of Apes in this world, didn’t even know the names of the 10 people who would go into parliament with him, when first asked!

The tree huggers have a strong following in Aotearoa and they now hold 10 seats in parliament. This includes the highly populated Auckland Central seat that has been won by an extremely young, brash, woman whose pure aggression and confidence seems to have appealed to the denizens of the inner city. Labour and the Green party have been traditional allies and it is expected that, though Labour does not need partners and have a big enough parliamentary majority, they will form a coalition with the Green party and govern. This will give them 74 seats in parliament and an unassailable majority. However, pandering to the often-ridiculous demands of a party with more penchant for theory than the actual practice of same, may prove more trouble than it is worth. It may also slow down the rapid progress in certain areas of the economy already hampered by the massive debt brought about by Covid-9.

That decision is up to our fearless leader and her caucus and may sanity prevail! The parliamentary right is decimated, the left now dominates in Aotearoa.

The Maori party who were annihilated in the last election, with no parliamentary representation, are struggling (at this point with final counting incomplete) to win one seat. If they do get in, they may be offered a portfolio in the Government coalition as token acknowledgement of the minorities is essential.

The old fox of NZ politics, Winston Peters, a man of Maori Origin but heading his own party, dubbed New Zealand First, looks like he is finally out of parliament. After 35 years, unable to secure enough party votes to breach the MMP threshold, last times QUEENMAKER; it was the NZ first MPs’ who after they joined Labour gave the labour, green, first coalition a majority to rule at the last election, seems to be out in the wilderness. The last Government’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister has not been classed in the same category as his boss and totally discarded by the vote base. A couple of neatly timed insinuations of financial wrong doings, combined with his uncompromising stance on reducing immigrants, may have been the deciding factor in the minds of, dare I say it, what looks like a “brownwash”, when one looks at the mindset demographic of this elections voter. Personally, sad to see “Winnie” go, his knowledge and realistic uncompromising outlook towards the shenanigans, theatrics and Bull Shit that forms most of what goes on in Parliament will give the exponents and perpetrators of same, a free licence!

As far as the conduct of the election goes; it was possible to vote for up to 2 weeks before the final election date. There were polling booth in every neighbourhood and a person could vote when out for his constitutional or if he arrived early at a child’s school at pick up time. As a result, almost 2 million voters had already cast their vote by election day. Convenience, combined with the voters having already decided which way to vote, may have been reasons but this meant that counting of these early votes started on the morning of the 17th. Polling closed at 7pm on Saturday the 17th of October and the Jacinda landslide was already a fact within the hour!

We don’t know even if we have an election commissioner in Aotearoa and no press coverage was even given to where the votes were counted! Thugs and violence, before after and during the electio totally unheard of!

Will we ever reach such standards in the Pearl? Hesitate, before you lose heart O citizens. When I last drove down the Southern Highway and was able to travel from Kadawatha to Galle without even changing a gear let alone breaking, horning and screaming at private bus drivers, I never thought that would be possible either!

We have BIG expectations of Jacinda Ardern and her new government. There are pressing problems. Unemployment, lack of housing in the main cities, child poverty, a moribund bureaucracy unable to react and make decisions in keeping with the first world standards that are claimed as Aotearoa’s’ right, just a few. Expectations such as these in an economy crippled by Covid-19 are not possible for anyone but a magician. A Magician who is dealt a HUGE slice of luck. The slice of luck may be the huge parliamentary majority, but magic has to be harnessed in the form of recruiting from the huge base of retired immigrants with the type of experience in dealing with problems and numbers of people that this tiny country of five million people can never relate to!

Use your idle assets Jacinda, after all your best asset is your people!

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Opinion

Amend Cabinet decision on new Rajagiriya – Nawala Canal bridge

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The Cabinet, at its meeting held on 09.11.2020 granted approval for the construction of a new bridge across the Rajagiriya-Nawala Canal (Kolonnawa Canal), connecting Angampitiya Road, at Ethul kotte, and School Lane, at Nawala.

As a resident of Nawala, I would like to make two proposals in this regard. One is to reconsider the suitability of the proposed link between School Lane and Angampitiya Road to connect Nawala with Ethul Kotte. The second is to make an additional link between Narahenpita and Nawala, by constructing a new bridge across the Kinda Canal, which flows past the Wall-Tile Showroom on the Nawala-Narahenpita Road and the McDonald’s outlet at Rajagiriya. This will provide a direct access from Narahenpita to Ethul Kotte, and at the same time avoiding congestion on Kirimandala Mawatha and Parliament Road, during peak hours.

The decision to construct a bridge, linking Nawala and Ethul Kotte, is commendable, but the selection of the site for the bridge needs reconsideration. Once Ethul Kotte is linked with Nawala, through Angampitiya Road, and School Lane, one would expect a substantial increase in the volume of traffic on these two roads. Located on School Lane is the Janadhipathi Balika Vidyalaya, a popular girls’ school in the area. Even at present, the area around School Lane has heavy traffic comprising mostly school vans and other vehicles bringing children to and from this school, in the mornings and afternoons. Linking School Lane with Ethul Kotte will make this traffic situation worse, causing congestion.

A better option is to connect Ethul Kotte with Nawala, by constructing a bridge, linking New Jayaweera Mawatha in Ethul Kotte, with Koswatta Road, in Nawala. A by-lane, branching off from the Koswatta Road leading up to the canal, at an appropriate location, could be used for this purpose. On this link, only a short distance of roadway about 250 m, needs to be developed, whereas the School Lane extension needs development of at least 700 m of roadway. Earlier, motorists used Koswatta Road as a shortcut to access Parliament Road. Now, turning right, at the Parliament Road junction, is not permitted, and hence, there isn’t much traffic on this road at present.

One advantage of extending the Koswatta Road, to Ethul Kotte is that it could be linked in the other direction, with Muhandiram Dabare Mawatha, on the Narahenpita side, providing a direct route for motorists coming along Thimbirigasyaya Road to go to Ethul Kotte. With this link, it will be possible for traffic to avoid both Parliament Road and Chandra de Silva Mawatha, Nugegoda, the only two access roads to Kotte, from Colombo, available at present.

To complete this access, it is necessary to construct a bridge across Kinda Canal, linking Galpotta Road with Muhandiram Dabare Mawatha, after extending both roadways up to the canal. This area is still not developed, except for a reservation made for a playground on the Nawala side. A new roadway, which is only about half a km distance, is necessary, and this could be built without any problem linking these two roadways. Galpotta Road could be linked with Koswatta Road via Ratanajothi Mawatha, which crosses the Rajagiriya–Nawala Road, at Koswatta Junction.

The construction of these two new bridges, one across Kolonnawa Canal and the other across Kinda Canal, will provide a direct route from Colombo to Ethul Kotte, via Muhandiram Dabare Mawatha, Galpotta Road, Koswatta Road and New Jayaweera Mawatha. This link will reduce congestion, at present experienced on Kirimandala Road and Parliament Road.

 

Dr JANAKA RATNASIRI

Nawala

 

 

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Opinion

A tribute to my mother-in-law

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Appreciation

My mother-in-law, Mandrani Gunasekera, nee Malwatta, passed away peacefully in our home a few weeks ago. The funeral arrangements were complicated by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic situation, and the resultant weekend curfew in Colombo.

It is a privilege for me to reflect on my mother-in-law and her role in our lives. Vocationally, she was a practitioner of one of the noblest professions on earth, that of being a teacher, with the responsibility of educating and molding young lives. First in the public-school system, then overseas, and finally in Colombo’s leading international schools. As someone who topped her batch at the Peradeniya University, teaching was an unusual and perhaps unglamourous choice, but it demonstrated her commitment to the service of others.

In private life, she, was a mother to two daughters, one of whom is my wife, and their strength of character are a tribute to her. Her four grandchildren, including my two sons, are, I am sure, left in no doubt, that their mothers were raised in the home of a teacher, with a strong commitment to both education and discipline. I saw first-hand, that my mum-in- law, was an enabler and facilitator, guiding and molding her family. Her eldest grand-daughter, Thisuni Welihinde’s wedding late last year, was a milestone for her and we were never sure who was more excited, the bride or her grandmother.

To me, she was always “Ammi” and having lost my own mother when I was very young, I was determined to treat my wife’s mother, as I would my own. After my father- in- law’s death, a decade ago, it was a joy to care for my mother-in- law, in our home. Ammi was retired and lived a life of leisure. Which was a good counter balance to our own lives, which always seemed to be so hectic and rushed. I also learned from my mother -in-law, that being effective did not come from being prominent.

Ammi was also regular at Church, every Sunday, and was also an active member of a mid-week ladies Bible study, and prayer group, who were also her group of friends. They always ended their meetings, with brunch if not lunch. It was special joy that we were able to celebrate her 80th birthday with a “surprise party” at home, with her friends, about six weeks before her passing.

Ammi enjoyed the simple joys of life, and of our home, whether it was meal times, the constant chatter and boisterous behaviour of her two teenage grandsons, our weekend activities or family vacations to most of which she accompanied us. She was also an avid rugby fan, especially of Royal College rugby, since her brother had captained Royal and now her grandson was playing. In fact, she used to attend many matches and the 75th Bradby encounter last year, held in the shadow of the Easter Sunday bomb attacks, was her last, to witness her brother honoured on the field with other past captains and her grandson take the field, as a junior player.

This strange Covid-19 pandemic year, and its unprecedented lockdown ,enabled us to spend lots of time together, as family. Our lockdown daily routine, which included lots of sleep and rest, was centered on the daily family lunch, either preceded, or followed by family prayer. Ammi became the most committed and enthusiastic participant in our family mid-day gatherings. It was a great blessing, in disguise, that enabled us to spend the last few months, with noting much else to do, but enjoy each other’s company. While we miss her, we have the hope that she is with our Lord Jesus Christ. Her favourite Bible scripture in Psalm 91, states “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High abides under the shadow of the Almighty …. and with long life I will satisfy him and show him, My salvation”.

 

By Harim Peiris

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Opinion

The Benefits of Homeschooling

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COVID-19 has changed our normal activities. What we were used to doing in 2019, is no longer a routine in 2020. In the midst of this pandemic the schools were closed down, and the decision to reopen schools by the Sri Lankan government and the trade unions speaking against it, made me ponder on an alternative.

Education in developing countries have often been a sensitive topic, Parents would leave no stone unturned to put their child to a ‘Big School’. How many of the classrooms in ‘Big Schools’ are capable of making seating arrangements by keeping a distance of one meter in accordance with the COVID-19 regulations?

Online Teaching has been introduced as an alternative, but isn’t there something better than that?

This would be the best time to introduce Homeschooling.

Homeschooling is where parents and guardians teach and groom their children. There are many parents capable of handling children and providing a comfortable atmosphere at home for a child to grow up and learn; there are parents who are skilled in particular trades and crafts, and teaching these to their children at a younger age gives the child an opportunity to be a skilled individual.

Several decades back the role of a Governess played an important role in upbringing children in Sri Lankan households. Many would have read about Helen Keller, a deaf and blind student who went on to be a graduate; she was groomed and taught by her governess Anne Sullivan, who taught her at home, this is a successful example of Homeschooling.

It is an arrogant attitude to scoff that parents groom their children into good citizens without sending them to school. Inferior Schooling and Teaching Methods have been a bane to a child’s psychology and mentally handicapping the confidence of a child. The truth is, schools no longer groom students, they have become Examination Centres, that judge the performance of their students through results.

It will be interesting to look into some of the criticisms made by sceptics on homeschooling. One is the subject knowledge of the parents; let’s be honest, how many of us use Titration in Chemistry in our daily lives, do we even want to try it? How many of us want to know the Chronology of the Kings that ruled the Country, has it ever disturbed us?

On the other hand, Homeschooling does not mean that teachers would no longer be needed, the teacher can play a broader role as a governess or a trainer to fill in the subject gaps that the parents are unable to provide for their child.

Another criticism is that children will not learn to socialise without schools. Isn’t Covid-19 regulations discouraging socialising by asking us to avoid public gatherings and maintaining a distance of 1 meter, isn’t socialising with a bad friend as disastrous as a deadly disease?

It will be interesting to see how the trade unions are going to respond to this if homeschooling becomes successful, as they will be the worst affected. But they could always become good Governesses or Subject Experts and play a guiding role in the homeschooling venture. This country now needs more Florence Nightingales to treat the sick and more Anne Sullivans to groom the kids.

 

HASALA PERERA

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