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A Permanent Commission for pensioners

The pensioners in Sri Lanka, a very significant segment of its population, have been spending the twilight of their lives in oblivion and frustration with no recognition being given to the invaluable services rendered by them to their Motherland.

On October 8, 2008 at a meeting of the general membership of the constituent members of the Sri Lanka State Banks’ Pensioners’ Federation held at the New Town Hall, Colombo, a resolution was passed unanimously calling upon the Government to declare October 8 as the National Pensioners’ Day.

October 8 had for some time been celebrated as the Pensioners’ Day, but up to that time it had not been officially declared as such by the Government. We are therefore most grateful to the President and the Government for the recent official declaration of October 8 as the National Pensioners’ Day.

Although the declaration of a National Pensioners’ Day has given immense satisfaction to pensioners, in that the Government has finally recorded the country’s gratitude towards them for services rendered, there does not exist at present an effective mechanism for addressing issues concerning the welfare of pensioners and for taking meaningful and timely action regarding such issues.

We have therefore submitted our request to the President to consider the setting up of a Permanent Commission to look in to the welfare of pensioners on a continuing basis and to which pensioners and their respective organizations could make representations.

We are confident that in keeping with the Government’s policy of supporting the weaker sections in society. President would consider our request favourably and would ensure its early implementation.


Weight of school bags

Redesigning schoolbags and schoolbooks is a step forward in reducing the physical burden on schoolchildren.

However teachers must also take responsibility. Subjects are subdivided into sub units and each has a textbook and note book (English and Sinhala is divided into Reading / Writing / Comprehension / poetry etc.) even if there is only one period a day, teachers frequently ask students to bring all the books without deciding beforehand what section to cover.

When there are even two or three subjects like this an enormous unnecessary weight of unused books are carried by the students.

Principals and teachers should be aware and take necessary steps to solve this problem.


Hats off to staff of ‘The Buddhist Channel’

The dire need of spreading the message of the Buddha was then fulfilled by the Buddhist clergy, who devoted so much of time and effort on this task. We as Buddhists are so grateful for it.

Since the inception of ‘The Buddhist Channel’ just two years ago, it has taken over the massive task of inculcating the ‘Buddhist Spirit’ in an extremely inspiring manner. We as viewers are so fortunate now because it has been brought to our doorstep. The nature of the program presented through this channel is remarkable. Quite contrary to the conventional type presented earlier this channel presents programs of novelty and variety thus changing the spiritual level of the viewers dramatically.

With much humbleness we Buddhists should venerate the Chief Founder of this channel Venerable Daranagama Kusaladhamma Thera for his dedication in initiating a Mission of this nature. The viewers are much enlightened and grateful because these programs bring guidance to our lives.

In an era where money reigns supreme its so heartening to realize that the programs are presented with no monetary gains.

A word of appreciation should be made regarding the ‘Dhamma Discussions’. These discussions are an eye-opener for us who have been so far ignorant of the important principles of Buddhism. The nature of the discussions is so amazing that through sheer understanding and applying them to our daily life we are able to lead somewhat a balanced life.

The most recent feature appearing on the Satara - Poya days - “The Saddharma Warsha” is very meaningful. The chanting of the Sutta by a group of monks brings much solace and the analysis adds to our Dhamma knowledge.

Finally let me mention a word of thanks to everybody involved in this noble task, whose ingenuity and careful planning out has brought so much in paving the way to make the vision successful.


Family doctors

Sri Lankans maintain a culture of having services of professionals for the family. i.e. Family doctor, lawyer, etc. This culture improves the cordial relationship between both parties. In the case of medical service it has to be admitted that cordial relationship better understanding etc. are important.

At present we have adequate qualified medical practitioners available in every area and we should patronize them by appointing suitable person as family doctor. Unfortunately, high-class society prefers specialists and nursing homes as against family doctor and the dispensary thought it may be at a closer proximity.

Strictly speaking people do not realize the importance of family doctors and I quote below the following benefits:

Affordable fees and other expenses

More time is spent on the patient

Long awaited appointments are avoided

Immediate or early attention

Telephone advices are possible

Specialists are for a particular type of treatment whereas family doctors are for general treatment. Since he is aware of family history early detection and consequent advices are possible. With his vast experience he could recommend suitable specialist. His reports are useful to the specialist for early understanding More care could be exercised in the case of major operations. Monitoring after major operations is simplified Services are available all over Sri Lanka.

In England I understand that no patient could consult a specialist without being chanelled through his family doctor. This is statutory recognition of the services of the family doctor.


Remembering

Let me recall my brief association with the late R. E. Jayatilake, the suave, nattily dressed with a handsome profile in characteristic European style. He was also a Minister in the late W. Dahanayake’s caretaker government for a short period. He was also the brother-in- law of the late Edmund Samarakkody, the Trotskyite politician.

In 1960, he interviewed me for a position at the Ceylon Chamber of Industries where he was the Chairman. It was housed in Hemas Building in the Fort. The Chamber was publishing a journal called ‘Industry’.

He took me as a reporter and a canvasser to obtain advertisements from industrialists for the Annual that was in preparation. That was my first break in active practical journalism. He paid me Rs. 300 per month with travelling allowances for the first month. That was a respectable remuneration in the 1960s.

Having assured of my talents - whatever they were - he increased the payment to Rs. 350. I was grateful to him and still is. He was extremely civilized and kind.

In 1961, I had to leave the CI to accept a position as a Thamil Translator on the now defunct Office of the Local Government Service Commission which was housed in Gafoor Buildings in the Fort. It was a surprise to me to read that the noted actress on the Sinhala screen is a grand daughter of the lanky REJ.

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