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The Taming of the Shrew a la Sri Lanka

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A series of videos have been doing the rounds on the internet showing a so-called actress screaming her head off and venting her anger at series of people that included a journalist and a minister (as far as I could make out), I simply couldn’t handle decibels involved, not to mention the language! So, I didn’t listen for very long. I gather this was about attending a “forbidden” party during a lockdown and the repercussions thereof. From the tone, volume, and language of this diatribe, it seems to imply that this breaker of social discipline who violated rules in place to try and stop the current, raging pandemic in the country, was right and the criminal was the journalist and all others that the invective was directed at.

Could this happen ANYWHERE else in the whole universe except in this crazy misbegotten island that was once considered the pearl of the Indian ocean? The answer is a definite, unequivocal NO! Nowhere else in the world are criminals and lawbreakers given so much airtime and “followed” by so many people. Is it because the people are so damn foolish or because they have nothing else to spend their time on or divert their attention? More on that later, but right now to address the matter of giving attention to idiots, is it not up to us the general public not to propagate this rubbish? Don’t we understand that putting this on the internet, it serves to build an image of our country and our society? Are there no limits to indecency, vulgarity, and pure unadulterated thuggery in our country? A taming of that shrew and general education in civic responsibility to the majority of the country is long overdue.

Talking of diversions, is this simply a diversion by the rulers to change the focus and attention from the raging pandemic and sheer mind-numbing bungling that has gone on in handling those affected and the inoculation process? It seems that the PM is a wannabe actor, and he treats the whole situation unfurling around him as a teledrama enacted for the entertainment of the more crass-minded and moronic members of his vote base. A farce enacted with maximum dramatic effect to keep the rumblings of discontent at bay. After all, punishment has been meted out and even in the face of loud and dramatic protests, allowed, as in keeping with the pristine democratic ideals of our beloved peoples’ democratic republic, punishment has been meted out…as far as we know. After all, it was on the internet, therefore it HAS to be true.

More on diversions and perversion of justice, what about that ship that was brought into our waters when it had been rejected by a number of other countries? That could also be construed as a diversion that went horribly wrong. Or are there more sinister connotations involving huge sums of money in maritime insurance claims and salvage issues? The almost irrevocable damage to the environment will never be understood by the cretins who gave permission to allow this to happen. They will also never be held responsible, prosecuted, or even named! A century to reverse the damage is probably outweighed, in their demented judgment, by a percentage of the hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims and environment damage claims that may ensue, going into their pockets. I am told some of the personnel involved went to a very prestigious school in the suburbs of Colombo. Be thou forever, at least the environmental damage will!

I continue to follow the online conversation thread, put up by the unsung heroes among our doctors and other medical professionals who are fighting this pandemic from behind the scenes. Their trials and tribulations continue but may I take this opportunity to thank all those who responded with biscuits, cell phone reloads, and other incentives to the hard-working ambulance drivers, porters, and other “minor” staff of the Central Province hospitals. Please look at helping the other regions too as these people are vital cogs in our war against the pandemic.To go back to the medical professionals. Why do they continue to be ignored? Why do simple requests for the training of more personnel for testing purposes, basic equipment to facilitate more accurate and faster results continue to fall on deaf ears? Meanwhile, grandiose projects for highways costing billions of dollars are being put in front of the public. Who is going to use those roads should they ever materialise? The ruling families and their Lamborghinis? For the general populace may be all dead!

As for the Port City and its ramifications, I have not been able to really understand what the act passed in parliament entailed, simply because no newspaper or any other journal has cared to summarise what it means to the denizens of the Pearl. Are we really going to have a Chinese governed province in our country? Surely not? I wish some CREDIBLE person or organisation would deny that!

Finally, a heartfelt and sincere RIP to Laki Senanayake that uniquely talented individual with the courage and panache to live his life the way he chose to. I have watched him in awe and with a certain degree of shock (coming from a highly conservative background myself) right throughout my life. He was closely associated with my favourite aunt; Ena De Silva and I also ran away (at 6years old by catching a taxi!), once, from an art class he was teaching with Cora Abrahams! He once lived in my house in Kotte and no doubt created some of his masterpieces while living there. Laki, bare-bodied, batik-saronged and fluted, you will be sorely missed by your silent admirers’ and your loss will constitute another huge deficit in the pool of talent and intellect of our beloved Pearl.



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Opinion

Online education – an alternative

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By Dr. Rasanjalee Abeywickrama

Education is a weapon that can improve one’s life. It is a most important tool that helps to spread knowledge in society, which is a most noteworthy benefit of Education. Furthermore, it acts as a medium that transfers knowledge from one generation to another.

Education helps to boost a country’s economy and society; therefore, it is a milestone of a nation’s development. It offers knowledge and skills to the populace, while shaping the personality of the youth of a nation. Education is generally considered the foundation of society which beckons economic wealth, social prosperity and political stability. Economic and social status depends on individual education, since it contributes to individual capability in managing the quality of life. The main purpose of education is to prepare and qualify them for work, to play their part in a country’s economy, as well as to integrate people into society by teaching them the values and morals of society.

Education, for a child, begins at home. It is a lifelong process and determines the quality of an individual’s life. Education improves one’s knowledge and skills, and develops personality and attitude. Students must be equipped with knowledge and skills which are necessary to participate effectively as members of society and contribute towards the development of shared values and common identity.

The COVID-19 pandemic is still haunting the human race and it will be completing its horrible journey of two years within another five months. It has changed the whole world and lives of each and everyone around the globe. There cannot be anyone who has not been affected by this virus at least once, economically, physically and psychologically. While man is busy planning to go to Mars, this microorganism is busy taking the lives of millions on earth and taking away all the freedom which man had on earth, including the freedom to breathe. While it has affected all the sectors and trades, education is one of the most affected sectors.

There are several ways this virus has affected education. The loss of livelihoods of thousands of parents has caused a financial crisis and education of their kids has been affected, dramatically. Schools remained closed for much of the time, since March 2020. Kids were unable to go to school continuously, at least for one to two months, for over 15 months now. Physical engagement with peer groups and teachers is completely hampered due to shifting to online education, where kids will only be able to talk to each other and to the teacher through a screen which looks so artificial. It does not provide the actual interaction, which is essential, especially for kids in primary grades and early childhood education.

Some kids are at least fortunate enough to gather some knowledge through online platforms as they have access to relevant electronic equipment and network connections. Sadly, kids in low income families are not fortunate enough to obtain such facilities. Some kids who were supposed to be in Grade 1, during the year 2021, have not yet been to school for at least one day, but applications are already called for year 2022 Grade 1 school admissions, which shows how much time, from their early childhood education, has been wasted. This would adversely affect all of them as early childhood education is not solely about developing learning and writing skills, but about social engagement and social development, via engaging in activities with peer groups.

Education should enhance cognitive, social-emotional and behavioural dimensions of learning. It should also ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all, wherein no one is left behind. This has become a challenging task with the ongoing pandemic situation. Though online education is not the best option, it is the only option available for kids of this generation. But there are many practical issues related to access to laptops, desktops, smartphones and internet connections. In many areas, kids have to climb trees to get internet connections. Huts have been constructed on tree tops to enable kids to follow online classes. Therefore, we need to look for better and more effective ways to continue the education of kids.

The most effective way to handle this issue of online learning, at the moment, is to telecast educational programmes, in the morning or afternoon hours instead of repeat telecasts of teledramas, TV shows or any other entertainment programmes. If all the national TV channels can work towards this, it will offer a practical solution to the problems associated with online education. Since all children are at home these days, it is an efficient way not only to educate them, but also to reduce the damage caused to their brain development due to watching unsuitable content on TV. Even radio stations can help in this regard.

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Opinion

The country they saved

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Many YouTube videos are accessible on the Internet, which show interviews with retired/injured soldiers who were with the Sri Lanka Army during the period 2005-2009. They proudly talk about how they fought, how they got injured, how they re-joined the battle, after recovery, and how they saw their friends and higher officers get killed. Without any sadness in their voices, they show their wounded limbs and blinded eyes. Most of us who were not in the battlefield, too, can be somewhat satisfied by thinking about our much lesser contributions – donation of blood, donation of money towards various funds such as “Api Wenuwen Api” (although not sure what happened to those), helping families of soldiers, etc.  

Many would now feel sad about those injured soldiers and the ones who made the ultimate sacrifice to safeguard this country, when seeing how this country is managed by some politicians, who claim that they were the people who saved this country.

 

B P

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Opinion

Special rules for UK-SL MPs cricket

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The High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to the UK, Saroja Sirisena, responding to a call by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, met the Speaker on May 24 at his office at the House of Commons, while the Lion Flag fluttered in front of the House of Commons on the occasion. Our lady diplomat, as per The Island report on 31st May, proposed and, ‘…both agreed that a friendly exchange of cricket between the members of the two Parliaments would be a fine opportunity to celebrate there shared love of cricket.’

Being concerned of the risk of conversion of the gentlemen’s game into a “Parliamentarian’s one”, shall we propose an amended 13-point set of rules applicable only to our legislators.

1. “Scrap retired hurt” phenomenon altogether as they will never dream of ‘retiring’, worse they do not understand what ‘hurt’ means.

2. Out!, and back in the pavilion, can be re-called by the Captain under “National team player” to the middle, to continue batting.

3. Ministers, who rush Bills for speedy enactments are best suited as Pace bowlers, but they will have to compete with ‘swing both-ways’ experts.

4. Talented ‘googley’ bowlers are in abundance, but English MPs are good readers of the googley; more prudent choice would be a specialist ‘Chinamen’, [there is no dearth of them either], further, the opponents do have little experience in facing them and would naturally be extra nervous to hear the first syllable of the word.

5. Sixers should be banned altogether, for they being highly skilled masters of the art will effortlessly hit every ball for a ‘SIX’.

6. Sledging, supported by familiar un-parliamentary vocabulary can be used excessively, as the opponents will not understand them, however, as a precautionary measure, the stump microphone should be disconnected from commentary.

7. Media should be allowed in the field to get voice cuts blaming the opponents, after every bungling by themselves.

8. English team has done their ‘home-work’ using freely available data : will demand free access for Agents of Bookies at the Lanka dressing room, with the idea of winning the game easily. However, such motivation can be countered by displaying 11 ultra-luxury SUVs on the grounds [as prizes for the winners]

9. A special sitting of the House prior to the match, to propose and pass a handsome match-fee for the players, would be an added incentive.

10. To compensate for their lack of experience and knowledge in playing on a level field, a ‘20%’ [a familiar numerical] bonus of runs or wickets can be granted.

11. In fairness to the Englishmen, any attempt to play a Dil-scoop using more familiar hands, minus the bat, should not be allowed.

12. The two field umpires plus 3rd, 4th umpires and match referee should be provided with special security in the event of a loss to the local team.

13. The moment the English side appealed against a Lankan batsmen, before the Umpire delivered his verdict, the bodyguards should rush to the field to prevent untoward incidents happening.

KKSP

 

 

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