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Tuesday, 8 May 2012

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Government Gazette

Development, emotional security and promiscuity

A glass of milk a day will help in keeping many a disease at bay and President Mahinda Rajapaksa, by making provision for this among our school-going population, has focused sharply on a principal requirement of development. That is, the empowerment of the person in the truest sense of the term. The useful practice of providing our youngsters with a glass of milk was allowed to die out over the years but there is no denying that milk could go a long way in sustaining the vitality of the human person. Hence, the advisability of resuming this important dietary practice targeted at the younger generation.

Besides the health implications of the glass of milk every day, we are reminded by the revival of this practice that it is the person who should occupy centre stage in the development drive. One could be glad that the authorities have not lost sight of this essential aim. For instance, on the occasion of the launching of the reconstructed ‘Daha Ata Wanguwa’ roadway in the hill country, President Rajapaksa said that the country’s expanding road network would, among other things, help to bring people together and facilitate greater person-to-person interaction, particularly among our citizens of the North and South. That is, the final aim is human development and current infrastructure-building has this as one of its most important ends.

It is important that the polity keeps these objectives clearly in mind. That much spoken of per capita GNP of this country would amount to nothing if it does not translate into greater personal contentment among the citizenry. It is relevant to remember that personal emotional security is an integral part of contentment. If development, as usually understood, does not bring about personal contentment in the true sense, we wonder whether development has indeed been achieved.

Physical infrastructure development must be persisted with, because, in the absence of this factor, we wonder whether the citizenry would be enabled to pursue avenues of employment which would help in their economic sustenance. But this requirement should be balanced against the need to ensure the emotional and inner stability of the people. In other words, without holistic personal development we wonder the ‘development drive’ is yielding substantial results.

For instance, it is all too clear that the more vulnerable groups among us are coming under increasing physical assaults and abuses of numerous kinds. Two such groups are women and children. While this proves that a lot remains to be done in terms of ensuring the security of these groups, we are also reminded that there are quite a few sadists and other offenders out there in the public who need to be treated for emotional instability.

These are issues we cannot hope to turn a blind eye to if we are to forge ahead on the road to human development. If increasing sexual promiscuity among some is helping to spawn who are callously referred to as ‘unwanted children’, then, the conclusion is inescapable that sexual morals are on the decline in some quarters, besides, quite a few individuals, both men and women, not being in a position to effectively handle their emotions. In short, emotional stability is lacking in some sections and they need to be helped.

Unfortunately, the unprecedented exposure of almost the totality of Lankan society to proliferating forms of the mass media is proving to be a factor in increasing sexual promiscuity and emotional instability. It was only yesterday that we front-paged the story of a man in the provinces who made a living off pornographic videos which featured, among other things, schoolgirls, some apparently in their school attire.

Besides such highly harmful material from the viewpoint of sexual morality, the law-abiding public has to also contend against a splurge of videos and kindred devices which glorify violence and brute force but which are legitimized as ‘entertainment’. Needless to say, these influences have a highly deleterious impact on impressionable minds.

We are not making any categorical and definitive statements on these issues. They should be the subject of further inquiry and discussion. Clearly, we cannot be complacent about the harmful impact some forms of the mass media have on the human consciousness. If holistic personal development is what we are seeking, then, we need to think more than awhile on these questions and take appropriate action to remedy the ills in question.

François Hollande: the change France needs

François Hollande won a stunning victory, not just for himself, as a man who spent much of his career in the shadow of others, nor for France, but for the left in Europe, too. With the governing parties who preached austerity under attack from a voter revolt on Sunday – in the Greek elections, where the extreme right was set to win enough votes to enter Parliament; in Schleswig-Holstein, where the vote of Angela Merkel's coalition partners, the Free Democrats, collapsed – the breakthrough of the left in France was a huge achievement and, just maybe, a turning point.

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Reminiscences of Gold

Hitting a high note with Hollywood glitterati

Lakshman Joseph de Saram is the composer of the 2012 Columbia Pictures film ‘Bel Ami,’ and is one of the few South Asians and only Sri Lankan to share the main creative credits for a major Hollywood film starring some of the world’s biggest names. Lakshman was born in Colombo to Sita de Saram and Sooty Banda. His mother was a teacher of music and a sculptor, and his father was a newspaper columnist. The household he grew up in was hardly ‘average.'

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Implementing the Supreme Court Order on ‘Accessibility’

On April 27 last year, the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka paved the way, for a formidable and sustainable national economy and an enhanced human rights image - two imperative needs to take Sri Lanka to the next higher level.

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Consultative Committees for livelihood, awareness and social activity

A further series of Divisional Seceretariat Reconciliation meetings was held in Mannar and Kilinochchi Districts on April 24 and 25. The first two in Madhu and Musali saw participation by a large number of Grama Niladharis, while helpful information and ideas were provided by Education and Health and other officials. A representative of the International Organization for Migration attended one meeting, and a peace educationist the other.

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Sumathi Abeywickrema - a multi-faceted personality and devout Buddhist

Sri Lanka has produced in this century a brilliant band of supermen with a vision, mission and a mandate who have by their sublime thoughts, power-packed words and dazzling deeds attained immortality. To this select group belongs Sumathi Abeywickrema, Attorney-at-Law, Notary Public and former Registrar of Lands and father of Air Force Commander, Air Marshal Harsha Abeywickrema who passed away recently at the age of 87 after a brief illness at his residence in Pepiliyana, Dehiwela.

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