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I refer to the letter of Sunil Vijayapala - Australia (DN Oct. 11) Sri Lanka is making a forward choice in formulating newer forms of Government based on older historical patterns which is more appropriate to our nation. We do have a glorious pre-colonization history, and a strong culture to be proud of.

However I would like to point out that at the time the Anglos spread their system of Government in Asia and other countries round the globe, it was in no way a 'filthy' society as some of it is nowadays. The Anglos who came to our shores two centuries ago were from societies of strong religious and ethical values and of admirable cultural backgrounds.

After the world wars, some of the Western society crumbled because of their beliefs in total freedom of thought, expression and ideologies. However, this has also given a rise to a sense of more openness to other races, cultures, ideas and religions - here are societies willing to learn from others.

I am glad to live in a liberated country and will take what is positive and welcoming from them.

Due credit should be given to our colonial past which is also an integral part of Sri Lanka's society and history.


Thank you Mayor of Maharagama

How often do we complain and fuss about stuff that is not right, but hardly ever say a good word when things are done and accomplished.

This is one instant, like that. I take this opportunity to say thank you to the Cancer Hospital and the Mayor of Maharagama Urban Council.

I reported recently how the waste water was polluting the Daham Mawatha Road and how the road was turning into a sink hole.

It's not even a week and both the problems have been fixed. If you have able and willing folks at the top, things can be accomplished.

I was only the voice for the voiceless and now they are a happy bunch.

It's no longer an eye-sore or a hazard. We need to be very greatfull that this problem has been fixed in no time.

We really appreciate your cooperation and your swift response. Thank you once again and we salute you for your cooperation.


Improving tourism industry

I have been reading with interest, several opinion pieces offered on behalf of the hospitality and tourism industry in Sri Lanka and the strife it finds itself in, under the present war conditions. As a former employee of the industry in the mid 1990's while in Sri Lanka, I can claim to have some insight into the workings of the industry and the associated issues that impact on where it finds itself now, as indeed it has at intermittent periods in Sri Lanka's contemporary history.

After the heady peak periods of tourism in the latter 70's and early 80's, Sri Lanka suffered the now well-known peak and trough roller-coaster ride that was locked into the events of the North-East war and resultant adverse publicity in Western 'generating' countries.

Since the advent of the 'rest-house' chain for domestic tourism of the ordinary classes, the modern hospitality industry, which was developed with the foreign tourist and foreign exchange in mind, has mainly depended on corporate business to fill the off-season lulls and war-induced troughs in tourist arrivals.

The average Sri Lankan is not comparable in economic terms, to the average Western tourist. Hence, there is a huge gap when compared to, say Malaysia or Taiwan, for example, as they are always able to fall back on the 'local' in tough times. There is an added complexity to our problem in Sri Lanka.

Many industry professionals have always regarded themselves as 'just below' the status of the foreigners, purportedly as they often spoke a European language, had visited or trained in such a country, and the 'local' had to be of an 'executive' class to be considered an equal.

The public servants in the relevant Government departments were no better, with allegiances to political entities and self-development rather than in cultivating a viable industry which guaranteed respect to local customers with discretionary wealth.

It is too late to blame the ills of the industry to Government or the cultural environment which discriminates against 'locals'. On the one hand, the status of the local traveller needs to be elevated.

Professionals in the industry need to be trained, not only in technical and management skills but in recognising local potential without bias from a 'kalu-sudda' mentality. Government must also work towards establishing greater ties with emerging markets in Asia and Latin America which are not as sensitive to perceived security threats as Western countries are.

Some examples of countries that may be specifically targeted are South Korea, Taiwan, China, India, Brazil and Poland.

Finally, as a universal principle in any industry, the elevation of 'merit' above all other considerations, will greatly help Sri Lanka achieve the prosperity that our Asian neighbours seem to have. Then we would also be able to have pride in our own, and not have to wait for the charity of the West.


Sustainable Energy Authority

It is good to hear about the attempts to greater utilisation of sustainable energy like wind and sun light etc. (Reference DN Oct. 12). However, to create an Authority to do so is little bit a questionable proposition. I have been involved with working with an Authority in Sri Lanka some years back and I have got first hand experience to commet about functional efficiencies of such Authorities.

I was also involved, as an expert of an international team, in the evalution of the wind energy program in Sri Lanka which was then implemented with finanacial support from the Royal Government of the Netherlands.

My contention is that the money spend in creating a new authority could best be utilised by creating development fund to support such new ventures. A revolving subsidy program through an existing bank(s) could be launched to help support the development, installation and servicing the wind mills throughout Sri Lanka.

After all it could be manufactured at any workshop without incurring very heavy overhead costs. It will also provide opportunities for tranfer of technologies at the very grass roots level of the merging economy. It is also difficult for me to understand what kind of 'authority' you need to do this job?

There are no administrative or technical barries, including research and development, in the popularisation of this kind of simple mechines. If further research be needed then a research grant should be an instrument to handle that part through a University where there is a Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

One other thing that is not so very clear to me is how the energy going to be trapped? If it is mechanical, well then it may perhaps be used for lift irrigation purposes. According to the evaluation we did, it was observed that such lifted water be used to produce high value crops such as chillies, onions, beans etc.

If the energy is to be converted to electrical energy then the output could vary in intensity (varying voltage) depending on the intensity of wind. That will have enormous technical problems in storage (unless use to heat up water) as well as feeding in to a local/national grid.

As I see it having or not having an authority is not the question but having an in-depth understanding and a strategy to put in place is the most important thing. If that is worked out, it could perhaps be handed over to the private sector without incurring high costs of running an inherrently inefficient Government authority.

For this to happen one has to have a comprehensive stock of knowledge of host of variables impacting on such energy generating systems.

More importantly, if an Authority any way is created, it is paramount importance for it be blessed with the full authority of carrying with the job. A 'half baked cake' should never be the ultimate product.


To be or not to be

The question of Dual Nationality arise, only, if the foreign passport holder of Sri Lankan origin, decides to return to his/her mother country?

One could live and remain, without resorting to seek and hold another nationality, remain without any hindrance, in any country in the West. Laws and regulations does not make you a second class citizen, for the cause of holding your original citizenship.

Infact, this is an area where discrimination is none. The only problem for Sri Lankan passport holders always remained when wanting to travel - entry visas, especially for non EU countries etc. This is just an administrative matter, anyway!

To seek one's birth rights with those extra 'pieces of silver', and the state itself, inturn, willing to bargain a deal for the better or the worse, in accepting back the 'prodigal son/daughter of the bygone soil; sometimes is disheartening news.

Why bother/ed with the new citizenship? Wasn't the old better, even that time? A Sri Lankan you are; A Sri Lankan, you remain to be. 'To be or not to be,' that is the question?


Signing of the MoU

Things beautiful and worthwhile can happen even during times of trouble.

This is definitly a historic occasion.

Both the President and Mr. Wickremesinghe have shown great leadership qualities for the sake of the country.

May God Bless their efforts to bring peace to our dear country.


Government and opposition to work together

This is what any country needs. Why should there be an opposition. If some people have a different view they can put it to the House and those who agree can vote for it. It needs not be a 'party' decision.

Many years ago there were no parties. All worked together.

This is the only way we can march forward and set an example to other countries too where there is continuous bickering amongst and between parties. Congratulations a thousand to our President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

May he live long to reap the benefits of his great ideas.


Salaries of Ministers

That is a very sensible idea.Why should Ministers get fatter salaries than others. After all they get elected to serve the people. Of course they should be allowed special 'grants/allowances' for any special work they have to do.

Everyone must realise that they are serving the people. It is the poor people's money they are using. They are not elected to fill their pockets. We have for years heard of the 'waste/misuse' of money by politicians - who start with nothing and then build mansions for themselves.

Though living in foreign countries there are many Sri Lankans who are generously spending their hard earned money to help our poor people, because we know how much suffering the poor are going through in our motherland.

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