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Private sector pensioner under a cloud

Majority of employees of State corporations, including mercantile/banking sectors in general, save their monetary proceeds i.e. EPF, ETF, Gratuity Payments etc. received on their retirement at commercial and savings banks for the evening of their life.

Hence, they have to contain themselves with interest paid by the respective bank on their deposits. Unlike Government pensioners, they are unable to voice their grievances in harmony.

In the event of falling the rate of interests paid on their fixed deposits, these elderly people have no option than to suffer silently, while payments of the State service pensioners continue unaffected. Furthermore, their payments are increased from time to time to commensurate with the rising cost of living.

In fact, an ex Government servant receives a monthly payment equal to the salary he drew when he was in service, whereas the income of private sector employee who had contributed to EPF/ETF throughout his career is less than 40 per cent of his previous remuneration per month.

Although the elders saving scheme introduced by the NSB a few years ago is a very munificent innovation, current rate of interest (11 per cent) paid on this deposit is not adequate against the brunt of rising cost of living.

In this context, it is evident that the Government should see the possibility of increasing the rate of interest paid on the above saving scheme which is exclusively meant for elders, at least by 2 per cent for the benefit of thousands of hapless Senior Citizens who are solely dependent upon the interests paid on their fixed deposits.

Since these pensioners do not get sufficient money to make their ends meet, they are compelled to seek employment at private organisations even after retirement, thus depriving the opportunities for young people awaiting jobs.

We often hear about woeful tales of senior citizens losing their entire assets when they deposit money at unreliable financial institutions with the hope of getting a higher monthly income.

It is happy to hear that the present Government is planning to introduce a magnanimous pension scheme for the benefit of the self-employed personnel as well as who are engaged in various trades.

It is a prime obligation of the State to equally treat every segment of elders who have rendered their services to the country in their earlier part of life.

Trust the Government will seriously think over this acute problem, and take early remedial measures to enable thousands of these grieved elders to keep their heads above water.

R. M., Kalutara.


The Da Vinci Code

It is not surprising that the film 'Da Vinci Code' has been banned by President Rajapaksa, and not permitted to be shown even on TV Channels. It is very rightly so, as the film as well as the book attempts to destroy the basic beliefs in Christianity.

Christians have always held as sacred the life of Jesus Christ, and have adored and revered him for centuries as their God and Saviour.

His death on the Cross has been upheld as the greatest sacrifice anyone can make for those who followed Him. Independent observers all over the world have never hesitated to pay tribute to Jesus Christ for his sense of dignity and never failing mercy amidst the cruel sufferings he was enduring on his three hours on the cross.

He hardly faltered in the mission. He was sent by His father to lay down his life for those he loved in order to win their salvation. In different ways, the world has paid its own tribute to Jesus for his unparrelled sacrifice on the cross.

Even the soldier at the foot of the cross, soon after Jesus died, did not hesitate to pay his own tribute - his own acknowledgment of Christ as God when witnessing the events that took place after the crucifixion exclaimed - "Truly this was indeed the Son of God".

What the film and book are attempting to do is to bring discredit to Jesus Christ - to lower his great image - to lower him in the eyes of his followers. The film and book refers to Jesus Christ as having married Mary Magdalene and having children.

Almost the whole Christian world has been immediately up in arms against the producer for bringing up something outrageous and unworthy - unbecoming of the producers - to attempt to take away from Jesus Christ the holiness, the greatness of his life and also that He was God.

The producers attempt to get away from the outrage and the blasphemy they committed by saying this was a story - one of fiction. This was hardly an explanation for the grave insult - the grave wrong - they have done to the Christian world - the ridiculing of Jesus Christ.

The producers must understand that Christianity is a Way of Life for the Christian. He has down the centuries accepted Christ and his teachings. The lives of Christians have been built on the basic beliefs they have accepted and endured for centuries. It has been a part of the Christian living.

They have seen the power of Jesus Christ in their living - his blessings - his graces - all of which have been experienced by the Christian in his living. For the Christian, Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life - He is the author of life - the beginning and end of life.

It is therefore unfortunate that the producers of both the film and book should have attempted to cast unworthy aspersions on the beliefs of Christians by attempting to ridicule the image of Jesus Christ. The production has been built up on the pure imagination of the producers.

It does not have even an iota of acceptable evidence to prove their grave allegations that Jesus Christ had married Mary Magdalene and even had a son. It is even the producer's imagination virtually running riot in a desperate attempt to present something to justify his grave allegation.

MAURICE LORD, Colombo.


Buddhism and meat eating

I refer to the letter by Shelton Pieris on the above subject published in the Daily News of 8.5.2006. Shelton Pieris refers to the large number of insects killed by farmers to protect their cultivation.

In ancient Sri Lanka there was always a reserve close to the cultivation especially for birds to feed on. The birds got used to eating what was on the reserve, leaving the crop in the farm safe.

There was, however, no similar means of controlling insects but even today no farmer tills the land on a Poya day, in order to save the insects being killed at least on that day.

In any event, basically, it is all in one's mind. I spend a few minutes daily in saving the lives of ants on my desk and elsewhere too. I also feed them with little crumbs of biscuits. I must be trampling on many ants when I walk.

Here, if I hurt the ants , it is not with intention. I used mosquito mats earlier, but now I don't. I switch on the fan when I go to sleep and the fast blowing drives away the mosquitoes.

I am a total vegetarian and this land blessed by nature and the compassionate thoughts of the Buddha towards all living beings, I would urge others too with compassion and kindness in their minds towards all living beings to do the same.

ANANDA DHARMAPALA, Kelaniya.


Kalubowila Hospital Physiotherapy Unit

It was a senile disorder again that made me seek treatment at the Therapeutic Unit of the Kalubowila Hospital and in there, was to see the courteous and committed service that the Para Medical Officers render the traumatised that call over for treatment.

Good mannered and dedicated service, which is a rarity in the public service today, should not be allowed to go without being written about, hence these few lines in the form of an appreciation.

The striking phenomenon is the arrangement that is in place for the patients not to feel frustrated, neglected or overlooked, for they, almost immediately, come under a care of a therapist who personally observes that the required treatment which differ according to the nature of the trauma is rendered and regulated be it an exercise, massage, heat or light or other natural force.

These officers without exception are an ever-smiling and a benign team with that balance of temperament - a desired excellence that make a therapist what he or she is.

It would be a fair comment to say that the supervising officer is an epitome of discipline and example with his amiable presence, keen observation, directing his staff and maintaining an exemplary co-ordination - thus sustaining the principle that human resource management surpasses all the other physical resources in an organisation.

U. WIRASINHA, Kohuwala.


Rescheduling school and office times

One of the main reasons for bringing back the time difference to 5 1/2 hours is that the Government felt schoolchildren should not wake too early and grope their way to school in the dark.

Now by bringing the school starting time from 8.00 a.m. to 7.30 a.m. the situation will continue. I am surprised that it did not occur to the policy makers.

Olitha Gunaratna, via email.

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