Some narrow minded political observers predicted the defeat of the
Government party in the recent provincial election. But, they would have
realised their wrong views of the Government by now.
In fact, the enlightened voters of the Sabaragamuwa and North Central
Provinces were quite aware of the fact that the Government had
implemented their development projects - transport, health, education,
tourism etc. successfully. That was the main cause of the popular
support for the Government party in the election which was held very
systematically sans violence and corruption according to the Election
It is true that there exists an inflationary trend in Sri Lanka. But,
the people have not taken the issue of rising Cost of Living as an
impediment to the implementation of development schemes all over the
country. As a result, employment opportunities have been created by the
Government in public and private sectors. New teachers are appointed to
the remote schools. Administrative sectors are adequately equipped by
trained professionals. There is a remarkable development in Information
Technology which has been provided even to rural schools for the benefit
of village students.
Therefore the Government party is capable of winning even a general
election within three months time as a response to a challenge of the
Poverty alleviation, so far so good; But how long is it going to take
for us to see the end results. That’s the issue today. There is only one
way out. The Government should muster all its resources, make plans and
devices to address the problem of school dropouts and leavers.
These dropouts and leavers should be absorbed to Technical Colleges,
Apprentice Board Training Centres or any other public or private
training centres to give them a training to fix to an employment. It
should be employment or self employment training. From school itself,
they should be directed to the above schemes or training centres. They
should not be allowed to waste time at home and become a burden to
If these school dropouts are given driving training for all kinds of
vehicles, they will have selfconfidence and be able to face society with
courage and motivation. They could at least find employment as
If the authorities continue to address the unemployment problem of
school dropouts and leavers for a period of five to six years
continuously, we will gradually be able to overcome poverty. Though the
issue is whether we are competent, efficient or innovative enough to
find them job opportunities. We must not forget that we need rubber
tappers, toddy tappers, tree climbers, janitorial cleaners, errand boys,
daily wage earners, house builders and various types of hands and
Children should always be encouraged in providing them with
opportunities to write, to do drawings and to do many a creative work.
It’s children who are to take up all the challenges in their lives
and accept leadership in the future world. So, as a teacher of English
I’m immensely happy and satisfied with what the Daily News, one of the
most popular English daily readers in Sri Lanka has done in allocating a
novel page on Thursday specially for the children by giving them a very
valuable chance to develop their writing ability and improve their
global language skill.
I do feel that parents and teachers who read the newspapers should
advise and instruct their school-going children to commence writing on
various topics to this page with their knowledge and ability and keep on
writing a vital habit of language-learning in their life. We, the
teachers know the most difficult task in a language is the writing
skill. Teachers normally and most importantly begin their teaching
process in the very order of listening, speaking, reading and writing.
All these language skills are inter-related and specially parents
must remember that no single skill functions in isolation. For example,
if your child wants or hopes to speak in English he or she definitely
and surely should first listen to some one who talks in English or some
resource or facility which teaches English, and next the learner can try
to utter some English words.
It means listening and speaking are two inter related language
skills. Before writing too, the child is expected to have some
experience of reading materials such as books, newspapers, magazines
etc., to develop their reading skills.
Later Martin Wickremesinghe one of the greatest Sinhala writers whom
we have ever met in the literary world, a popular, skilled talented
writer, only through associating books. He once, said that he had
developed his writing skill only in keeping company with the environment
and books written by various writers. So these good examples make us
think and encourage to comprehend how important the skill of reading is.
Therefore I’m very grateful to the Editor of the Daily News, who thought
of children’s future world in keeping space in your popular newspaper,
and paving the way for children to develop and enrich their writing
ability, with the help of Daily News paper.
By now the public is aware that supermarkets charge for shopping bags
but it appears that the bags are now getting thinner, so that a load
that required two bags now needs three. That comment is by the way.
In one supermarket I saw the following notice on the wall in an
inconspicuous place. It says: Limit the use of polythene bags today for
a better tomorrow. Limit the use of polythene bags. Choose re-usable
shopping bags and help protect our environment.
A message from leading supermarkets and the Central Environmental
Authority. Price list for shopping bags effective from August 1, 2008:
Large Rs.5, Medium Rs.3,
Any shop can raise its prices on any product and charge for shopping
bags. That is OK. They could offer ineffective advice without charging
for shopping bags and that is also OK, but when they offer advice to the
public as if they are children and then charge it, is an insult to the
public. What intrigues me is how the Central Environmental Authority
also ganged up with the supermarkets in this fiasco.
We, the general public do not need any advice from either the
supermarkets or the Central Environmental Authority (CEA). The
supermarkets can charge what they please for anything without offering
us advice while the Central Environmental Authority can legislate
anything provided it can get it through Parliament.
As for the supermarkets, they have the cheek to advise us to be good
citizens while selling date-expired food items using false labels. They
get away with it with impunity. Is our Minister of Health aware of what
is going on in supermarkets?
The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) should have passed
legislation to prohibit plastic shopping bags that are not
bio-degradable without offering us advice on a stupid idea of limited
use of plastic bags.
In any case who is this Central Environmental Authority that sees
nothing wrong with raw sewage in Municipal and other drains and accepts
it as normal city living? They also see nothing wrong about the sewage
that is being discharged into the sea from a Municipal drain near
Galadari Hotel and all the other drains that pollute the sea all the way
down to the Mount Lavinia Hotel.
Has it ever occurred to them to test the sea water in this stretch of
beach whether it is safe for bathing and will they post up notices
warning sea bathers if the water is polluted?
There are many more things I can say about this Authority but there
is no space for it in this letter. I do not think they know their job
otherwise they would never have recommended the limited use of plastic
I refer to the replies to my article entitled ‘Misconceptions about
slaughtering of animals in Islam’ during the past few days.
According to one of the articles sometime back, it was said:
(a) It is a bounden duty for Muslims to slaughter animals and feed
the poor during Haj, and even at other times, it is considered a highly
meritorious act to feed the poor with meat.”
(b) ‘All Muslims will eat meat’. All correspondents, particularly
should be cautious and weigh their words carefully when they write
articles to esteemed newspapers which are read by a large number of
educated readers. When a medical doctor writes such articles he or she
should be scientific and should not mislead the reading public as all
medical doctors are scientists. The expression ‘bounden duty for all
Muslims to slaughter animals’ gives the impression to the reading public
that the slaughter of animals has been decreed to be compulsory for
Muslims and that all Muslims or a large number of them are slaughterers
of animals during Haj.
As far as I am aware only a very few Muslims slaughter animals during
Haj. (Please correct me if I am wrong). I have been treating a large
number of Muslims during the past 44 years and many of them happen to be
rich Muslims. I have associated with a significant number of rich
Muslims and I have not yet come across a single Muslim gentlemen or a
Muslim lady, or any of Muslim patients who to my knowledge are
slaughterers of animals.
I know of a significant number of Muslims who do not consume meat. I
have also come across a few Muslims who are vegetarians. A large number
of my Muslim patients do not eat red meat, but majority of them eat
chicken and fish. Majority of my Muslim patients are semi-vegetarians.
One of the past Presidents of India who was a Muslim was said to be a
For health reasons, I advise all my patients and others not to eat
red meat (beef, mutton, lamb and pork). A significant number of my
patients happen to be vegetarians. I am very happy to say that most of
my cardiac patients who have shown a marked improvement in their
cardiovascular condition and this has been confirmed by repeating their
exercise ECG (Stress Tests) before and after the patients changed over
to vegetarian diet. The anti-anginal drug dosage could be reduced and
some of these vegetarian patients are free of angina and as a result I
could avoid cardiac surgery in a quite a lot of them. I refer only a
very few of my angina patients for PTCA (Angioplasty) or Coronary artery
bypass surgery (CABG) thanks to changing their diet and making other
Curing heart disease by changing the diet and making other life-style
changes is now adopted in many parts of the world. The world famous
cardiologist Dr. Dean Ormish MD, who is the personal physician to
President Clinton and who was also the advisor on Nutrition to White
House has published what the New York Times described as a best seller
entitled ‘Reversing Heart Disease’. His original work has appeared in
all, the famous medical journals such as ‘The Lancet’, ‘Circulation’,
‘Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) and ‘American
Journal of Cardiology’.
Dr. Dean Ormish subjected all his heart patients to coronary
angiography before making them vegetarians and repeated the angiograms
about one year after the change in diet and lifestyle and proved to the
medical world that the coronary artery blocks were less serious and the
blocks due to atheroma had disappeared in some of them. All the coronary
angiograms has improved without the use of Cardiac drugs.
Dear Muslim brothers and sisters, I respect all religions and I treat
all my patients equally irrespective of what religion they profess. Who
am I to stop anybody from eating beef or any other meat?
We cardiologists are there to prevent as well as cure heart disease.
All readers I am sure will agree with me that it is useless trying to
put out fires after they have started.
It has been proved beyond doubt that by changing over to a vegetarian
diet, it is possible to reduce the incidence of heart disease (heart
attacks) hypertension, most of the cancers, kidney disease, diabetes,
strokes, obesity, hyperlipidaemia (high cholesterol states), some of the
viral and bacterial infections especially food poisoning, certain
diseases due to stress as far as I am aware.
Nobody has developed any incurable diseases and nobody has died by
avoiding beef, mutton or any other meat. Man can live longer and in good
health on vegetarian diets and according to the World Health
Organisation (WHO) absence of animal products from the diet is the most
effective way to reduce heart disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke.
In conclusion, I would emphasise that all Muslims are not meat eaters
and only few of them are slaughterers of animals. I fully agree with the
Muslim lady doctor that feeding the poor is a highly meritorious deed
and this is so according to all the world religions.