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Who/What is Michelle Bachelet?

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By Gamini Seneviratne

Despite the claims/confessions of Australia and the GDR (refugee) and the USA (trainee war criminal) she’s a citizen, primarily, of Chile, which by the way, has a population of which two-thirds are Roman Catholics – roughly the same as that of Buddhists in Sri Lanka.

She is a woman of many accomplishments and to acquire them she has, over time, secured the help and support of forces that at first sight one would consider were mortal enemies. Her story includes passages such as those in the fictions spun by Tamil asylum-seekers.

It would not be unkind, given Bachelet’s status as a champion of ‘human rights’ who has also chosen to wield the weaponry employed by the Vatican in its ‘Inquisition’ in the – er – multi-enlightened Europe some centuries ago, to note that the standards of proof demanded by Bachelet are as variable as those that had been applied to and by her throughout her career as a politician in Chile.

Or as non-existent as those of Darusman’s ‘Commission” – in whatever sense one chooses to construe that word.

Bachelet’s father had been a middle-level functionary (above that of, say, a superintendent of the stores maintained by our Food Commissioners in the bad old days) when Allende came to power via an open election. He had died a year later, supposedly in custody and supposedly as a result of brutal assaults by Pinochet’s forces.

Such treatment must surely have been of the same order as the brutality of the personnel of our armed forces towards innocent Tamils who perpetrated murder and mayhem on civilians here. Bachelet has claimed that “She was yelled at using abusive language, shaken,” and both she and her mother were “threatened with the killing of the other”.

That was Bachelet’s version of what Pinochet, one of the more monstrous criminals of the last century, had done to supporters of President Allende who was executed by the USA, the prime seekers / saviours of Democracy.

Pinochet – surprise! – had allowed Bachelet’s brother to emigrate to Australia and within a year enabled the sister and the mother to obtain ‘asylum’ there.

Bachelet had secured her socialist credentials by moving on to East Germany where she secured also the first of her three marriages.

Her second ‘marriage’ was to a left-winger who was accused of trying to assassinate Pinochet. In running for President then, Bachelet declared that she did not share that lover’s political views.

Her next husband was an unabashed fascist supporter of Pinochet. She has had not the least hint of a squirm for going for training in the USA to the headquarters for field training for all the war criminals in south America, the OAS, by the master war criminal of ‘modern’ times: the USA.  

That’s quite a nice C.V. for someone bent on punishing a Buddhist nation that overcame terrorists who were, and continue to be, well-funded by ‘Christian’ groups that have come to sport much egg-in-the-face following the semi-official ‘Presidential’ actions of Donald Trump. As Cardinal Pell put it a couple of months ago, “Trump is a barbarian, but he is our barbarian”.   

Let us see how the cookie crumbles with Joe Biden – he at least has educated women who are also aware of the sorry state of the world we live in, as clearly Michelle Bachelet is not, by his side: Jill Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Alexandra Ocasio Cortez and many others are.



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Opinion

Alan Henricus- A Stalwart Sportsman Of Yesteryear Passes Away

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Alan Henricus (10-Feb 1933 – 26 Nov 2022)

by Hugh Karunanayake

Alan Henricus the youngest of five outstanding sporting brothers who represented their school Royal College, and their country then known as Ceylon, passed away a few days ago. He would have been 90 years of age if he survived up to his birthday in February next year.

The Henricus brothers grew up in Kohuwela where their father a former Feather Weight Boxing Champion of Ceylon lived. He served as an administrator of the sport first as Hony Secretary of the Amateur Boxing Association of Ceylon and later as its President. He helped build the Baptist Church in Nugegoda and was its Treasurer for 25 years. The road leading to their property was named Henricus Mawatha in honour of this outstanding family.

Alan represented Royal in Boxing, Athletics and Rugby, and won school colours in all three sports. He was also a school prefect, highly respected and regarded by both his schoolmates and staff. The family consisting of five brothers and two sisters were all nurtured in the best sporting traditions of colonial Ceylon. Eldest brother Barney represented Ceylon in boxing at the Empire Games and won a gold medal winning the feather weight title. The next, Basil, held the national record for 100 yards sprint and I believe his record still stands. He also represented the Havelocks Sports Club and All Ceylon at Rugby. The next brother George, for many years the Master Attendant in the Colombo Port was also a champion boxer, as was Derrick the fourth in line.

Remarkable sportsmen such as Alan reached their great heights from a base of raw innate talent fostered by regular training and a disciplined approach to life. When I was a 10-year old schoolboy I used to watch with awe and admiration Alan doing his training run at 6 a.m in the morning, jogging all the way from his home in Kohuwela to the Havelock Park and back on most weekends. Alan was senior to me in school by about three years and in those days that was an age gap filled with respect and admiration for a senior student. To us younger kids the high achieving Alan was a hero.

I recall in one Public Schools Athletics meet for the Tarbat Cup, either in 1950 or 1951,Royal College was able to obtain a total of 15 points only, and were never serious contenders for the trophy. However the 15 points that Royal earned was almost single handedly collected through Alan’s efforts. He won the pole vault event, was first in the 120 metres hurdles, and was a member of the 4 X 400 metre relay team which won the event. Although the Tarbat Cup was won by another school, the assembled gathering of Royalists carried Alan shoulder high around the grounds!

From school he was selected for training as a Naval officer cadet in Dartmouth in Devonshire in England. Fellow Royalists the late Norman Gunawardena, and Humphrey Wijesinghe were among the cadets who were selected for Dartmouth together with Alan. On returning to Ceylon after his naval training at Dartmouth, he served the Royal Ceylon Navy and its successor Sri Lanka Navy for several years until retirement. On retirement from the Navy he served for a short period as an Executive in a Mercantile firm in Colombo, before migrating with his family to Australia.

The stint at Dartmouth would carry many precious memories for him, as that was where he met Maureen the love of his life. On migrating to Australia in the 1970s Alan joined the Royal Australian Navy which he served with distinction as Lieut Commander. On my migrating to Australia in 1984 I met Alan and Maureen at a Sunday luncheon hosted by the late Brendon Goonratne. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship, and Alan and Maureen remained very close friends of ours.

Over the years we used to meet every three months at lunch at the Rosehill Bowling Club organized for old Royalist Seniors through the initiative of Chandra Senaratne. Other social engagements over the years have strengthened our friendship, and it is with deep distress that I heard of his terminal illness about two months ago. I rang him immediately and he was stoic as ever, the brave naval officer that he was. He said in no uncertain terms that he was not seeking to extend his life on this earth, and that he would wait in his home until the final call.

Alan’s departure marks another severance with the old Ceylon we knew, and its traditions and honorable ways. The Last Post will be played at his funeral at the Baptist Church, Epping on Friday December 2 at 3pm. He is survived by his dear wife Maureen, sons Andrew and Richard,, daughter in law Caroline, and grandson Ryan.

“The song is ended but the melody lingers on “

Farewell dear Alan.

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Opinion

Controversy Over Female Teachers’ Dress To School

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Our country and its people always get involved with unnecessary things which is of no interest to the majority of people. The latest debate in this never -a -dull -moment country (as always for the wrong reason) is the dress the female teachers are expected to wear to school. This is something that should be decided by the Ministry of Education in respect of the teachers of government schools.

I recollect when we were students the majority of female teachers wore saree to school. Then there were several teachers who wore frocks. These were the Burgher ladies. And there was no problem at all. I am not indicating this to show support that the teachers should be left to decide on their dress.

Now the strange thing about this controversy is that Buddhist monks have got involved in the debate and they are trying to determine the dress that teachers should wear. They do not seem to realize that the teachers must pay for the sarees. And they need to possess several sarees as they cannot wear the same saree over and over again. Given the monks get their robes free from the dayakayas, they should never get involved in matters of this nature, even though the female nurses may be happy to have one as the president of their union!

This controversy, if settled in favour of the teachers being given the option to decide on the dress and if they wear various types of dresses, the students too might get a bright idea to wear anything they want rather than the uniform that they have to wear at present.

It might be a good thing if the Ministry of Education could decide on a uniform for female teachers in Government schools. Some private hospitals, private firms and Sri Lankan Airlines have uniforms of their own and one could identify them easily. If there is such a uniform in saree and blouse for teachers in government schools, everybody outside too would be able to identify them as teachers and give the respect due to them.

However, this is not the time to worry about dress for teachers when there are children who do not get a proper education and suffer from malnutrition. It seems our rulers always get their priorities wrong, and this always affects the country and the people adversely. First, the teachers must do their job properly so that the schoolchildren do not have to attend tuition classes. We hear that sometimes only one teacher is available, and as a result the children keep away from attending school.

HM NISSANKA WARAKAULLE

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Opinion

Dr Shafi’s daughter

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Just read on WhatsApp about the daughter of  famous Dr. Shihabdeen Mohamed Shafi. I do not like to even mention why he became famous or infamous. His daughter after several years of rejection and trauma has passed GCE (OL) examination with Eight As.

The persons who generated disaster to an innocent family used it to gain positions as President, Ministers and MPs. Teachers and student friends of Dr Shafi’s children too insulted and rejected them as dirt. Has anyone of  these people apologized to this family for their suffering?

B Perera

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