I read with interest the article titled â€˜The evolution of an ethnic
identityâ€™ (Reference DN March 8) by Tissa Jayatilleka, good friend of
mine from the Peradeniya days. I was also a student of Prof. Indrapala.
As an Australian citizen born in Sri Lanka, I am deeply saddened to
see the chasm that has developed between the Tamils and the Sinhalese.
I feel at the early stages of this new millennium, it is time we move
from narrow constructs of national identity derived from ethnicity
It is time we understand that the Sri Lankan identity need not be a
unitary one - we are all layered identities and every aspect of who I am
enriches me in different ways - I am a Sri Lankan, Tamil, Hindu,
Australian woman who is an educator, who loves music and dancing the
list can go on.
From Prof. Indrapalaâ€™s and Tissaâ€™s arguments, it is clear that it is
time we build a bridge between people based on things that unite us, our
commonalities rather than dwell on obvious differences such as
Ethnicity has never stood in the way of forming close relationships
with the people in my life. my many friends from Sri Lanka have so many
things in common though some may be Sinhalese and some may be Tamils.
May be we should focus on how to help build bridges and not on
digging deep trenches between communities.
I agree that some money is needed to be spent on advertising tourism
in Sri Lanka. That part of the strategy is pretty good. (DN Jan. 27).
However, the most important part of tourism is to look at the ground
situation in the country. This is where most of the improvement should
come in on the basis of a strategic plan.
We have been talking about importance of tourism over the last so
many decades but we have not been able to attract even one million
tourists a year.
If we want more tourists to come we need to improve our standards.
This does not mean that more and more of five star hotel chains to be
built but lots of other things.
Of them, we got to be able to implement law and order in regard to
traffic management and general law and order, assurance of security at
all times at the bus interchanges, railway stations, parks, religious
places, historic sites and other leisure sites including the beach and
Another important aspect is to seriously look at the hygienic
standards of hotels and restaurants. It is sad to mention most of the
people working in many restaurants have had no training whatsoever on
Last year when I was visiting Sri Lanka I walked into a well known
restaurant in a major city and I was about to be served a Chinese roll
by the bare hands of the waiter? I shouted at him and walked away from
that restaurant having complained to the manager!
Very little attention is paid to the maintaining and cleanliness of
the toilets in most of the restaurants, including those in the capital
city (my first hand experience). You need to have some standards for
these important utilities.
Look at the situation in regard to the modes of transportation. Most
of them are operating with severe overloads. In the buses and trains
there is absolutely no room for getting in or getting off.
There appears to be no rules and regulations to control the carrying
capacities of the various vehicle types.
Of course, some argue that the tourist would not use the public
transportation systems and therefore who cares!
No, that is not acceptable as the average tourist would like to
maximize returns to his/her expenditure in a foreign land! Talking about
transportation, just look at the attention given to the vehicle parking
areas in the capital as well as high volume tourists destinations like
at Negombo! It is pathetic to tell the least!
Just look at the other tourist facilities such as tourist information
centres! Where are they? Are they found only in Colombo? Look at the
standards of maintenance of public toilets in most of the major tourist
All in, â€˜the entire houseâ€™ is in terrible disarray and, consequently,
who wants to visit here though we may want to advertise all over the
world saying that Sri Lanka is a Paradise!
In a strategic sense the future of tourism in Sri Lanka has to
develop on the basis of a sound research programme and certainly not on
an ad hoc basis, lack of any of strategy! Research needed to be focused
on international visitors, national visitors (which is totally neglected
at this stage) and major visitor destinations.
While it is important to profile the general characteristics of the
average visitor, it is also important to measure/assess the general
customer satisfaction through these surveys, so as to focus attention
for further development of facilities which really matters to the
The country needs to establish a fully fledged Tourism Research
Centre (may be named as Tourism Research Lanka TRL).
On February 28, 2007 the Daily News carried a news item about my
visit to Europe with many errors and lapses and I wish to clarify the
R. Srikanthanâ€™s report on February 28 is interesting and it would
have been informative too, if not for the following lapses.
Firstly I have claimed the LTTE to be a liberation movement since its
inception, in spite of its capitalist socio-economic perspective and
terrorist methods of which Comrade Annamalai was a victim. Secondly I am
yet to receive any contribution from the LTTE.
I have accepted all contributions and help from everybody that were
prepared to donate, including my friend President Mahinda Rajapaksa. But
all these were used for my aims and perspectives.
Thirdly, it is true that I spoke in a meeting with two liberal
democratic MPs and a Libdem European Parliament Member, a baroness.
However it is lunacy to maintain the both, that I presented the view
of a ferocious guerrilla organisation and also helped the election
campaign of English liberal barons!
Presentation of a consistent democratic way out for the Tamil and
Muslim people may have helped the liberal campaign. As a Marxist I did
not advocate separation.
On the contrary, I made a strong appeal for unity, based on
substantial autonomy for the Tamil speaking people.
In any case if I am a loony then those who took me seriously and
bestowed awards, such as then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who
presented a certificate with a trophy for distinguished service to the
working masses and also the academics of the universities of Peradeniya
and Cambridge who gave me certificates of distinction, must also be
Finally Srikantha is silent about my campaign against the development
strategy of the Mahinda regime which has made the corrupt rich richer
while the poor has become miserable with inflation beyond 20 per cent,
at the same time all social services are reduced, ecological recourses
are plundered, over 2500 years of both Sinhala and Tamil cultural assets
are destroyed and labour and media have lost their rights.
An agreement on price stability of essential commodities was recently
signed by the Government and the Pettah Wholesale Importersâ€™
Association. We, the consumers are very thankful to Minister Bandula
Gunawardane for initiating the best trade mechanism in the interest of
The Minister should note that the Consumer Affairs Authority has so
far failed to exercise the powers of the Consumer Protection Act and
stabilize the price of bread which is now available in the market at
One should understand that the bakery owners should not be permitted
to bake different types of bread with different taste and maintain their
own price structure.
The clever and money loving bakery owners bake limited amount of
bread to sell at control price for 30 minutes and later they introduce
their profitable bread at higher price.
Concerned authorities should please note that bread is the most
essential commodity that would come on the top of the list, since it is
the national food of poor people of the country.
I fully agree with Vimal Perera whose letter titled â€˜Blaring horns of
busesâ€™. (DN March 01) As a resident close to a very busy bus stand in
Colombo and a victim of these bullhorn menace for a long time, I have
written many letters to the authorities such as Police, Environmental
Authority etc. requesting to take action against these bus drivers who
use such loud bullhorns senselessly.
However, I have not got a single reply up to now and the situation is
getting worse. Therefore I too join with Mr. Perera to request the
authorities concerned to formulate laws on this subject and enforce
these laws without delay, so that poor traffic police officer who is
standing and suffering helplessly will be able to fine these menace