Electoral Reforms In Sri Lanka: Tiny Parties & The Proposed 20th Amendment

By Sujata Gamage

Dr. Sujata Gamage

Dr. Sujata Gamage

We ultimately have some legislative language to start off a discussion on electoral reforms. Kudos to the SLFP for carrying out a draft on the 97th day of the 100-day program. What was the government doing all this time is a very good query, but, for the moment let us feel positively and concentrate on enhancing the draft.

Frustrated by the lack of action by the government half-way into hundred day program, a group of us joined by CaFFEsrilanka.org started a campaign to jump-start electoral reforms using an proof-primarily based approach. The first workshop was held at Nagarodaya, Borella. The workshop was based on what-if simulations of benefits of the previous 4 common elections for which variations of the method proposed in the 2007 interim report of the Parliamentary Pick committee (PSC) on electoral reforms had been applied.

The approach proposed by PSC is what we called the MMM-LK approach. In MMM or Mixed Member Majoritarian systems, the parliament is created up two elements &#8211 the initial-past-the post FPP component and the PR element.

To pick the FPP component, slates of candidates are provided by parties for electorates in 1 or a lot more of the 22 electoral districts. The distinction from the ‘PR with Manape’ familiar to us in Sri Lanka is the fact that a candidate is designated for every single electorate. There are no excess candidates except in the nominations for national-list MPs. Whether there must be a district list is not specified however. At the polling station you would get a single ballot with the candidates for your electorate, say, Borella. You mark your preference with a single “X” and drop the ballot in the ballot box and you are done. The candidate who gets the most votes, even by a margin of 1, gets elected for the FPP element. A variation of this process will apply to multi-member electorates.

Tamil Vote Photo CREDIT- REUTERS:DINUKA LIYANAWATTEThe PR element is typically primarily based on the benefits of a second ballot exactly where you vote for the party of your selection. The Sri Lankan twist in the PSC technique is that we have only 1 ballot (apparently, Taiwan started with 1 ballot prior to moving onto two). The tally of the votes cast in the FPP contest is also utilized to determine the PR component. The elections Commissioner allocates the PR seats to parties in proportion to the remainder votes or the total votes minus the votes of the FPP winners and these who got less than 5% of the vote in any electoral district. Given that these votes are basically votes received by the runners-up, the bulk of the PR seats go the ideal runners-up, with every celebration retaining some.

During previous handful of weeks we also place forward what we called the MMP-LK or a mixed member proportional technique primarily based on the New Zealand electoral system. In MMP, you essentially commence with a PR parliament and then accommodate FPP winners within it. Overhangs are an inevitable part of the MMP systems. Approaches to correct exist but, as we located out, politicians and officials are not comfortable with the overhang idea, even even though MMP will yield a final composition of the parliament which is essentially the same as what we presently have. According to our evaluation the MMM-LK as well offers a outcome close to the one hundred% proportional result thanks to the remainder vote notion, one more twist supplied in the PSC method, and we feel MM-LK is just as very good an option (though purists amongst us could be appalled).

What is the magic formula?

The original PSC formula was 140+70+25 = 225 for a 62% FPP element in a 225- member parliament. The 32% PR component is comprised of 70 District PR members returned on the basis of reminder votes and an additional 15 returned in proportion to the total votes. Tiny parties were not happy with a ratio 62:38. They felt it should 50:50.

The formula offered in the draft amendment is an expanded one particular, with 165 FPP seats, 65 District-PR seats and 25 National List seats for total quantity of members in parliament at 255 (or 165+65+25=255) and an ‘apparent’ FPP:PR ratio of 64:36.

At very first sight, the improve in size is disturbing, but, I believe it is a is excellent compromise contemplating that the percentage of FPP MPs not considerably higher at 64%, and modest parties, especially, those representing geographically dispersed minorities such as Indian-origin Tamils (IOTS), is to be accommodated through multi-member seats and other tools. This will in impact decrease the ‘effective’ FPP:PR ratio.

Modest parties will not be harmed, if the efficient PR percent is enhanced via multi-member electorates.

In MMM, the relative size of the FPP element determines the nature of the parliament. The greater the FPP %, greater is the FPP nature or majoritarian nature of the parliament. A significant complaint about majoritarian systems compared to the present PR method is the fact that small parties can’t get any seats in FPP contest. For example, the 2010 common election yielded a parliament with 144 seats for UPFA, 60 for UNP, 14 for ITAK and 7 for JVP, with the present 90% PR with 10% bonus strategy. All other parties came by means of on the lists place forward by key parties that they had been allied with. Judging by the vote count at every 160 polling divisions in the previous 4 elections, none of the parties except UPFA, UNP and ITAK, and SLMC marginally, would have won initial-past-the-post if they contested alone. In essence, if the proposed reforms are implemented and the voter behavior does not adjust substantially, only the UPFA, UNP and North and East Primarily based Parties (NEBPs) such as ITAK and SLMC would have a displaying in the FPP element, reducing the possibilities for little parties.

What precisely is a small celebration? Many parties or groups are registered with Elections Commissioner and they contest the elections, but, not all parties execute equally. If we take the benefits of four past common election final results and exclude the governing party or alliance and the principal opposition party or alliance, we discover ten ‘small parties’ and one particular independent group securing seats in the parliament. These parties are broadly of three kinds in terms of their voter base.

Two of the much more visible modest parties are the Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) which may well be known as ideological parties. For the duration of the past four elections, JVP secured a maximum of 10 seats and JHU a maximum of 7 seats. Since their voter base is a larger Sinhala-Buddhist constituency, if their ideologies are nonetheless eye-catching, these parties will continue to be represented in Parliament even under the proposed system, although in slightly smaller sized numbers, if past voting patterns persist.

Parties such as the Eelam People&#8217s Democratic Party (EPDP), Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK), Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO), Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress represent geographically defined communities in the North and the East. Even though SLMC also represents geographically dispersed Muslim communities to some extent, in term of its overall performance in the past elections, it has proved itself to be a lot more of an Eastern Province primarily based celebration. These NEBPs collectively account for 20-23 seats out of the 225 seats in parliament or about 10% of the seats, though they acquire a small less than in term of total votes.. This is by virtue of district-wise determination of the number of members returned below the present PR technique. These parties would not be affected unduly by the proposed reforms because they can win a substantial percent of the 20-30 FPP seats in the North and the East (and some of district-PR seats if their candidates drop some seats but do properly as runners-up). NEBPs also would get many national-list seats.

Thirdly, we have parties such as the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), Up Nation People’s Front (UCPF) and Democratic Men and women&#8217s Liberation Front (DPLF) representing geographically dispersed minorities such as Indian-origin Tamils (IOT). SLMC also belongs in this category, presumably representing dispersed Muslims. Judging by the votes received when SLMC contested on its own, the party received its highest percent of votes outdoors the Eastern Province in Harispattuva and Udunuwara electorates in the Mahanuwara District. It had a smaller sized presence in Colombo, Beruwela, Puttalam, Horowpotana, Welimada, and Mawanella electorates in six other electoral districts.

We estimate that the parties representing dispersed communities stand to drop the most beneath the proposed Amendment 20 and therefore need to be provided protection in there by way of multi-member electorates.

Multimember electorates require to be defined far more strongly

Take the case of Indian origin Tamils (IOTs) who are now dispersed across the Central Province and beyond. Beneath the PR technique, leaders of IOT and Muslim communities have been in a position to negotiate with key parties to include their representatives in the candidate lists of these parties. They are able to negotiate due to the fact of their capacity to tap into this district-wide voter base and they get a reasonable representation by way of these negotiations. Beneath the mixed member method, which is largely primarily based on FPP contests in smaller sized electorates, the position of dispersed communities is weakened. An unfortunate outcome of proposed reforms, since dispersed communities, segments of the IOT neighborhood in particular, are amongst the most disadvantaged in our society.

The very best answer for dispersed communities is a sufficiently big and appropriately defined number of electorates returning two or a lot more members. These multi-members electorates are critical for other communities such as Sinhalese who live in majority Tamil or Muslim locations as properly. Caste concerns too may possibly nonetheless be relevant in some areas.

Whilst the larger aim of any sort of reform ought to be the integration of ethnic communities into 1 Sri Lankan neighborhood, the path to integration ought to be marked by respect and concern for differences. Unless a enough number of multi-member electorates are created in Mahanuwara, Kegalle, Badulla and other districts, the IOTs, for example, might shed representation. Therefore, I believe that an improve in the number of FPP units and hence the total quantity of seats in parliament to 255 is justified IF the increase is utilized to accommodate those who may get marginalized under the new technique.

The crucial report for IOT and other dispersed communities is the proposed new insertion in to Section 96Aof the constitution exactly where it says “it is acceptable to generate multi member electorates”, but the cause offered as follows:

“In order to avoid the number of members entitled to be returned to represent any electoral district from becoming excessive, it is appropriate to produce multi member electorates which are entitled to return a lot more than a single Member or the motives that led to the creation of a multi member electorate in the past are nevertheless valid and applicable.”

The multi-member situation is presented in the above section more as a solution to a technical dilemma than a human dilemma. An additional example is the clause which apparently is intended to steer clear of excessive creation of multi-member constituencies:

“Delimitation Commission shall have the energy to create a multi member electorate or multi member electorates, as the case may be. The Delimitation Commission nonetheless, shall make certain that the number of multi member electorates created, shall be kept at a minimum level.”

In contrast the language in the now repealed 14th amendment to create zones is virtually poetic. Beneath the Division of Electoral districts into Zone section in the 14th Amendment, dispersed communities are articulated as follows :

“a substantial concentration of persons united by a community of interest , whether racial, religious or such other like interest but differing in 1 or much more respects from the majority of electors in that electoral district

Inclusion of such language to define the beneficiaries of multi-member constituencies is a have to in the proposed amendment 20A.

The devil is in the details

There are more specifics that need to have to be expanded or clarified in the draft amendment. For instance, how are the district PRs seats to be awarded? What percent of the 65 district PR would go to the ideal runners-up and what percent would go to the parties? Will there be a district list or will there be extra persons in the National List designated for every single electoral district? I hope to address those issues in the next few articles based on our analysis.

Arjuna Mahendran not straight involved in Treasury Bond situation, says committee

The committee appointed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to inquire into the recent Central Bank Treasury Bond problem has stated that Governor Arjuna Mahendran had no direct part in deciding to accept bids over and above the Rs 01 billion stipulated in the 30-year bond tender and accepting up to Rs. 10 billion.

However, the committee has created far reaching recommendations to guarantee transparency and far better governance at the Central Bank of Sri Lanka.

Meanwhile, the Committee states it has noted critical lapses on the part of the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) via which Perpetual Investments, said to belong to Governor Mahendran&#8217s son-in-law, had routed an unusually huge quantity of bids for the 30-year bond.

The Committee observed that the bidding pattern of Perpetual Investments was uncommon and warranted additional investigations.

The media release issued by the Ministry of Policy Preparing and Financial Affairs:

The committee of eminent lawyers which inquired into the 30-year Treasury Bond issuance has produced far reaching recommendations to guarantee transparency and far better governance at the Central Bank.

The 3-member Committee had interviewed a big number of individuals, which includes the governor, officials from the Central Bank, primary dealers and Perpetual Treasuries.

Many deficiencies in the bank&#8217s Public Debt Department (PDD) which handles all matters relating to servicing the domestic and foreign debt of the government of Sri Lanka was observed by the Committee.

&#8220Since the PDD is dealing with the most sensitive information of the government, the committee is of the opinion that a proper supervisory and monitoring mechanism has to be right away implemented with regard to its activities,&#8221 the committee mentioned in its 19-web page report.

However, the committee found that Governor Arjuna Mahendran had no direct role in deciding to accept bids more than and above the one billion rupees stipulated in the 30-year bond tender and accept up to ten billion rupees. The PDD had projected the government&#8217s funding requirement as at 2nd March 2015 at 13.55 billion rupees.

&#8220Even though the minutes of the Monetary Board number 4/2015 specifies to problem a 30-year treasury bond, the amount of the bond has not been decided by the Monetary Board (of which the governor is the chairman).

&#8220This exercising is vested with the PDD as per the Operational Manual of the PDD. The decision to accept the excess amount has been taken by the Tender Board Committee that comprises eight members.

&#8220The governor of Central Bank of Sri Lanka is not a member of the Tender Board Committee.&#8221

The Committee concluded that there was no proof to the impact that the governor had direct participation with regard to the activities of the PDD and the Tender Board Committee.

Nonetheless, the Committee noted critical lapses on the element of the Bank of Ceylon (BOC) by way of whom Perpetual Treasuries had routed an unusually huge amount of bids for the 30-year bond.

The Committee observed that the bidding pattern of Perpetual Treasuries was uncommon and warranted a further investigation.

It noted that the Bank of Ceylon ought to also carry out a forensic audit and seek explanations from its Chief Dealer and other individuals on ad-hoc choices risking a big quantity of BOC funds involved in the 30-year bond transaction.

The 3-member Committee that looked into the 30-year bond concern comprised Gamini Pitipana (Attorney-At-Law) as Chairman and Mahesh Kalugampitiya (Lawyer-At-Law), Chandimal Mendis (Lawyer-At-Law) as committee members.

Source: Ada Derana

Solid Waste Is No Much more Waste To Be Condemned It Is Like Gold

By W.A Wijewardena

Dr. W.A Wijewardena

Dr. W.A Wijewardena

‘Solid waste no more waste but like gold’ says Sri Lankan-born scientist C. Visvanathan

How would we react to a nauseatingly stinking dump of garbage in the vicinity? Stinking of all kinds of foul odours because it is in various stages of natural decomposition? Many of us would wrinkle up our noses and try to walk away from it as fast as possible. That is because for many of us, garbage is a waste, a polluter of environment and a violator of our aesthetic feelings. Hence, in our judgment, garbage is something that should not be there in a decent environment.

When you see a heap of dirt, you must see a beautiful rose

We hold this view, because our vision does not extend beyond our eyesight. However, if we are able to see the whole process of a natural phenomenon, our view on garbage would be different. This was beautifully explained by the Vietnam born Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, in a commentary he wrote on the Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutra, also known as Heart Sutra and said to have been preached by Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, under the title ‘The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra’.

Says Nhat Hanh: “Defiled or immaculate. Dirty or pure. These are concepts we form in our mind. A beautiful rose we have just cut and placed in our vase is immaculate. It smells so good, so pure, so fresh. It supports the idea of immaculateness. The opposite is a garbage can. It smells horrible, and it is filled with rotten things. But that is only when you look on the surface. If you look more deeply you will see that in just five or six days, the rose will become part of the garbage. You do not need to wait five days to see it. If you just look at the rose, and you look deeply, you can see it now. And if you look into the garbage can, you see that in a few months its contents can be transformed into lovely vegetables, and even a rose.

“If you are a good organic gardener and you have the eyes of a bodhisattva, looking at a rose you can see the garbage, and looking at the garbage you can see a rose. Roses and garbage inter-are (or inter-dependent). Without a rose, we cannot have garbage; and without garbage, we cannot have a rose. They need each other very much. The rose and garbage are equal. The garbage is just as precious as the rose. If we look deeply at the concepts of defilement and immaculateness, we return to the notion of inter-being” (p 44)

Professor C. Visvanathan: waste is no more waste but a resource

A Sri Lankan-born scientist, Professor C. Visvanathan, Dean of the School of Environment, Resources and Development at the Asian Institute of Technology or AIT in Bangkok expresses the same view as the Zen Master Nhat Hanh. In an interview with this writer at AIT, Visvanathan boldly declares: “Solid waste is no more waste to be condemned; it is like gold which we could put back to human benefits.”

His academic credentials are from three prestigious institutions of higher learning: A bachelor’s degree in technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, a Master of Engineering from AIT and a doctorate in chemical/environmental engineering from France’s Institut National Polytechnique in Toulouse.

Environmental economists: Waste management a must

Visvanathan, the scientist, speaks like an environmental economist here. To an environmental economist, waste-matter is an undesired by-product that is unavoidably generated in the natural processes of all economic activities. Since it is undesired, it is called a ‘bad’ as against its desired counterpart which is called a ‘good’. However, goods cannot be produced without producing bads. For instance, at a very elementary level, one cannot inhale oxygen, a good, without having to exhale carbon dioxide, the bad. If one is prohibited from exhaling carbon dioxide, one cannot live because he cannot take in the good, oxygen. Hence, both the good and the bad come as a package together.

What has been done so far has been to use the environment as a dumping ground for bads. However, the unplanned dumping of bads into environment has caused, first at the local level, and then at the national level and finally at the global level now, irreversible environmental catastrophes. Hence, environmental economists have recommended the proper management of waste-matter so that it could be converted to a beneficial-matter for mankind’s use.

This issue was brought to public focus by this writer in a previous article in this series relating to the proper management of polythene under the title ‘Banning polythene to green the globe: alternatives are not that green either’. Visvanathan, through research, has come up with the engineering possibilities for producing beneficial matter out of waste-matter so that such possibilities are practical, economical and sustainable.

The ugly side of increased urbanisation

The globe is being increasingly urbanised day by day. But the increased urbanisation also produces increased volumes of solid waste creating gigantic issues for solid waste management by municipal authorities. Says Visvanathan: “Worldwide, about 5.2 million tonnes of municipal waste is being produced a day and out of this, 3.8 million tonnes of solid waste is produced in developing countries.

It has now been projected that by 2025, the global annual solid waste production would be around 2.2 billion tonnes, up from 1.3 billion tonnes in 2012. Of this, urban Asia will account for about 657 million tonnes of solid waste, about a third of solid waste in the whole globe by 2025. Hence, solid waste growth in Asia is inevitable and proper waste management solutions should be put in place right from now if Asia is to avoid a waste catastrophe”

Land-filling is a primitive option for waste disposal

Developing countries use land-filling as the main method of disposing solid waste produced by their growing urban populations. With the limitation of the available land for this purpose, it has become necessary for identifying other methods of solid waste disposal. Visvanathan notes that solid waste disposal options should necessarily change and these options are in fact fast changing worldwide. They have principally changed from land-filling to recycling, energy production and composting. But, these are hampered by four types of constraints: lack of money, technology, proper policy and capacity.

However, the proper policy should be directed from the present concern for waste management to resource management where waste is considered as a valuable asset, like gold. It is an evolutionary process and Visvanathan identifies five stages through which the world has now gone through in this process. He calls them ‘drivers for solid waste modernisation’ that will offer new economic opportunities for the globe.

Countries in the world today have been in different stages of this evolutionary process depending on the state of economic development they have attained. Accordingly, low and lower middle income countries like Sri Lanka have been in the initial stage of the evolutionary process. Higher middle income countries are at the mid-level while the developed countries are at the highest level of evolutionary process.

Public health concerns of solid waste management

At the initial point, the driver for waste management was the concern for public health. This was the main reason for designing public policy on waste management during 1900-1970. Accordingly, governmental regulations were imposed setting out guidelines as to how waste-matter should be disposed by individuals as well as businesses without causing harm to public health. The main method was to collect waste-matter regularly and dispose of it by burning or dumping into waterways or using for land-filling.

However, all these methods were just a postponement of a major environmental issue to the future by solving the problem in one place and creating a problem elsewhere.

Management of solid waste to avert environmental problems

The second evolutionary process commenced after 1970s when the whole globe became concerned about the growing environmental problems due to the accumulation of solid waste in the environment. However, waste was still a waste and not a resource. Hence, public policy on waste management was principally directed how waste-matter should be disposed without causing harm to environment. Sri Lanka is still in this stage of the evolution of waste management process.

Waste as a resource

In the third stage, waste-matter is considered as a resource and policies are being formulated to harness their resource value to society. The concern for this has emerged due to two reasons. First, the fast economic growth throughout the world in the last few decades has demanded a higher utilisation of non-renewable natural resources. Second, the finite supply of these non-renewable natural resources has led to their fast depletion.

This issue was first raised by the Club of Rome, an independent think-tank of scientists concerned with emerging global resource issues, in mid 1960s. In a publication in 1972 titled ‘The Limits to Growth’ which soon became an international bestseller attracting millions of fans worldwide, the Club of Rome called for limiting economic growth in order to sustain future economic prosperity. This call has been answered only in after the onset of the second millennium where waste-matter is now considered as a resource that could be used for enhancing the global prosperity.

Waste management and climate change issues

The fourth stage is now emerging with global concerns for climate change as principally pronounced by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change or IPCC. Thus, the waste management issue which was hitherto a national issue has now become a global issue. The political force which has sprung up with concerns about global climate change issues is now emerging as a powerful global lobbying group. As a result, no country today can be oblivious to the need for proper solid waste management.

Holistic waste management a must for sustainability

The fifth stage is the future of the evolutionary process involving the solid waste management, according to Visvanathan. The world is now concerned about the sustainability of its prosperity and sustainability has been defined by the UN Commission on Environment and Development, also known as the Brundtland Commission going by its Chairperson Gro Harem Brundtland, as ‘meeting the requirements of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet theirs’.

Visvanathan says that it is a circular economy from resources to production, from production to consumption, from consumption to waste-matter and from waste-matter to resources once again. When waste-matter was considered a mere waste in the past, this last loop had been broken. It is now time to close the loop and have a holistic solid waste management in which waste-matter will be converted to resources once again and allow the world to go by the circular process. This last thread of the evolutionary process into which the world is now moving has been facilitated by environmental engineers like Visvanathan.

Segregation of solid waste

A holistic waste management does not permit waste to be dumped or used for land-filling without extracting its resource value first. The process starts by segregating it into recyclables, garbage and solid waste. Recyclables, after the primary treatment, will end up as new resources for use in the production of new outputs. For instance, plastic bottles, especially plastic Coca-cola bottles, can be recycled to produce rayon, according to Visvanathan, which is the basic fibre for producing synthetic clothing materials.

The garbage will be used for producing anaerobic composting which can be used as fertiliser in agriculture and cover soil in land-filling of the remaining waste after incineration. The solid waste can be used for incinerating and producing energy. The ash remaining after incineration, non-recyclable parts of recyclables and other inert remains can be used for land-filling. So, Visvanathan says that no waste should be permitted to end up in a land-fill without first using it for the benefit of mankind.

Sri Lanka’s infantile strategy at waste management

Sri Lanka’s Colombo Municipality produces about 1000 tonnes of solid waste a day. The satellite towns around Colombo produce about a further 1500 tonnes of solid waste a day. It has become a gigantic challenge for municipal authorities to safely dispose of these solid wastes. The strategy they currently use is simply to dump them in waste dumps and use for land-filling. Hence, Sri Lanka’s largest waste producers are still in the first and second stages of the evolutionary process of waste management identified by Visvanathan.

As such, they are still infants in a holistic waste management strategy. With proper policy focus, they should grow from infanthood to adulthood in waste management in which waste is no longer a stinking waste, but a resource which can be used for the betterment of the citizens. The team of researchers at AIT, led by Visvanathan, has developed easy to use and cost-effective technology for holistic urban solid waste management. In many parts of Thailand and other East Asian countries, this technology is now being used.

An important breakthrough in this connection has been the development of technology to recover natural gas available abundantly in the places where solid waste has been used for land-filling. The use of such land for any commercial purpose should be done, according to Visvanathan, only after extracting the natural gas remaining trapped beneath such land.

AIT’s offer of a collaborative hand

According to Visvanathan, AIT has been very liberal in sharing its new discoveries and knowledge with anyone who wishes to use them for the furtherance of mankind. It can provide training, give technology support and even develop new technologies to suit individual customers to have better solid waste management systems. It is also willing to develop linkages with other research institutions and universities to have collaborative technology development projects.

Don’t solve your problem by creating problems elsewhere

Attempts have been made in the recent past to make Colombo a clean city, a development about which the Colombo elite has been openly happy. But little have they realised that they have cleaned themselves by dirtying elsewhere and that elsewhere is also within this island. Thus, Colombo has solved its problem by creating environmental issues for others. But Colombo and its satellite urbanites have a better option today in the form of holistic waste management where waste is used as a resource.

This is a public policy which Sri Lanka should adopt as a matter of priority. It is not a difficult task since the required technology is now available in the neighbouring countries. This public policy could be facilitated by private participation by going for a green lending policy by Sri Lankan banks. Visvanathan says he is willing to train Sri Lankan bankers in the art and science of assessing green banking projects.

It is up to Sri Lanka to tap this kind gesture by a world renowned Sri Lanka born scientist.

*W.A Wijewardena, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at [email protected] 

Strong Waste Is No Far more Waste To Be Condemned It Is Like Gold

By W.A Wijewardena

Dr. W.A Wijewardena

Dr. W.A Wijewardena

‘Solid waste no more waste but like gold’ says Sri Lankan-born scientist C. Visvanathan

How would we react to a nauseatingly stinking dump of garbage in the vicinity? Stinking of all kinds of foul odours because it is in various stages of natural decomposition? Many of us would wrinkle up our noses and try to walk away from it as fast as possible. That is because for many of us, garbage is a waste, a polluter of environment and a violator of our aesthetic feelings. Hence, in our judgment, garbage is something that should not be there in a decent environment.

When you see a heap of dirt, you must see a beautiful rose

We hold this view, because our vision does not extend beyond our eyesight. However, if we are able to see the whole process of a natural phenomenon, our view on garbage would be different. This was beautifully explained by the Vietnam born Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, in a commentary he wrote on the Prajnaparamita Hrdaya Sutra, also known as Heart Sutra and said to have been preached by Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, under the title ‘The Heart of Understanding: Commentaries on Prajnaparamita Heart Sutra’.

Says Nhat Hanh: “Defiled or immaculate. Dirty or pure. These are concepts we form in our mind. A beautiful rose we have just cut and placed in our vase is immaculate. It smells so good, so pure, so fresh. It supports the idea of immaculateness. The opposite is a garbage can. It smells horrible, and it is filled with rotten things. But that is only when you look on the surface. If you look more deeply you will see that in just five or six days, the rose will become part of the garbage. You do not need to wait five days to see it. If you just look at the rose, and you look deeply, you can see it now. And if you look into the garbage can, you see that in a few months its contents can be transformed into lovely vegetables, and even a rose.

“If you are a good organic gardener and you have the eyes of a bodhisattva, looking at a rose you can see the garbage, and looking at the garbage you can see a rose. Roses and garbage inter-are (or inter-dependent). Without a rose, we cannot have garbage; and without garbage, we cannot have a rose. They need each other very much. The rose and garbage are equal. The garbage is just as precious as the rose. If we look deeply at the concepts of defilement and immaculateness, we return to the notion of inter-being” (p 44)

Professor C. Visvanathan: waste is no more waste but a resource

A Sri Lankan-born scientist, Professor C. Visvanathan, Dean of the School of Environment, Resources and Development at the Asian Institute of Technology or AIT in Bangkok expresses the same view as the Zen Master Nhat Hanh. In an interview with this writer at AIT, Visvanathan boldly declares: “Solid waste is no more waste to be condemned; it is like gold which we could put back to human benefits.”

His academic credentials are from three prestigious institutions of higher learning: A bachelor’s degree in technology from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, a Master of Engineering from AIT and a doctorate in chemical/environmental engineering from France’s Institut National Polytechnique in Toulouse.

Environmental economists: Waste management a must

Visvanathan, the scientist, speaks like an environmental economist here. To an environmental economist, waste-matter is an undesired by-product that is unavoidably generated in the natural processes of all economic activities. Since it is undesired, it is called a ‘bad’ as against its desired counterpart which is called a ‘good’. However, goods cannot be produced without producing bads. For instance, at a very elementary level, one cannot inhale oxygen, a good, without having to exhale carbon dioxide, the bad. If one is prohibited from exhaling carbon dioxide, one cannot live because he cannot take in the good, oxygen. Hence, both the good and the bad come as a package together.

What has been done so far has been to use the environment as a dumping ground for bads. However, the unplanned dumping of bads into environment has caused, first at the local level, and then at the national level and finally at the global level now, irreversible environmental catastrophes. Hence, environmental economists have recommended the proper management of waste-matter so that it could be converted to a beneficial-matter for mankind’s use.

This issue was brought to public focus by this writer in a previous article in this series relating to the proper management of polythene under the title ‘Banning polythene to green the globe: alternatives are not that green either’. Visvanathan, through research, has come up with the engineering possibilities for producing beneficial matter out of waste-matter so that such possibilities are practical, economical and sustainable.

The ugly side of increased urbanisation

The globe is being increasingly urbanised day by day. But the increased urbanisation also produces increased volumes of solid waste creating gigantic issues for solid waste management by municipal authorities. Says Visvanathan: “Worldwide, about 5.2 million tonnes of municipal waste is being produced a day and out of this, 3.8 million tonnes of solid waste is produced in developing countries.

It has now been projected that by 2025, the global annual solid waste production would be around 2.2 billion tonnes, up from 1.3 billion tonnes in 2012. Of this, urban Asia will account for about 657 million tonnes of solid waste, about a third of solid waste in the whole globe by 2025. Hence, solid waste growth in Asia is inevitable and proper waste management solutions should be put in place right from now if Asia is to avoid a waste catastrophe”

Land-filling is a primitive option for waste disposal

Developing countries use land-filling as the main method of disposing solid waste produced by their growing urban populations. With the limitation of the available land for this purpose, it has become necessary for identifying other methods of solid waste disposal. Visvanathan notes that solid waste disposal options should necessarily change and these options are in fact fast changing worldwide. They have principally changed from land-filling to recycling, energy production and composting. But, these are hampered by four types of constraints: lack of money, technology, proper policy and capacity.

However, the proper policy should be directed from the present concern for waste management to resource management where waste is considered as a valuable asset, like gold. It is an evolutionary process and Visvanathan identifies five stages through which the world has now gone through in this process. He calls them ‘drivers for solid waste modernisation’ that will offer new economic opportunities for the globe.

Countries in the world today have been in different stages of this evolutionary process depending on the state of economic development they have attained. Accordingly, low and lower middle income countries like Sri Lanka have been in the initial stage of the evolutionary process. Higher middle income countries are at the mid-level while the developed countries are at the highest level of evolutionary process.

Public health concerns of solid waste management

At the initial point, the driver for waste management was the concern for public health. This was the main reason for designing public policy on waste management during 1900-1970. Accordingly, governmental regulations were imposed setting out guidelines as to how waste-matter should be disposed by individuals as well as businesses without causing harm to public health. The main method was to collect waste-matter regularly and dispose of it by burning or dumping into waterways or using for land-filling.

However, all these methods were just a postponement of a major environmental issue to the future by solving the problem in one place and creating a problem elsewhere.

Management of solid waste to avert environmental problems

The second evolutionary process commenced after 1970s when the whole globe became concerned about the growing environmental problems due to the accumulation of solid waste in the environment. However, waste was still a waste and not a resource. Hence, public policy on waste management was principally directed how waste-matter should be disposed without causing harm to environment. Sri Lanka is still in this stage of the evolution of waste management process.

Waste as a resource

In the third stage, waste-matter is considered as a resource and policies are being formulated to harness their resource value to society. The concern for this has emerged due to two reasons. First, the fast economic growth throughout the world in the last few decades has demanded a higher utilisation of non-renewable natural resources. Second, the finite supply of these non-renewable natural resources has led to their fast depletion.

This issue was first raised by the Club of Rome, an independent think-tank of scientists concerned with emerging global resource issues, in mid 1960s. In a publication in 1972 titled ‘The Limits to Growth’ which soon became an international bestseller attracting millions of fans worldwide, the Club of Rome called for limiting economic growth in order to sustain future economic prosperity. This call has been answered only in after the onset of the second millennium where waste-matter is now considered as a resource that could be used for enhancing the global prosperity.

Waste management and climate change issues

The fourth stage is now emerging with global concerns for climate change as principally pronounced by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change or IPCC. Thus, the waste management issue which was hitherto a national issue has now become a global issue. The political force which has sprung up with concerns about global climate change issues is now emerging as a powerful global lobbying group. As a result, no country today can be oblivious to the need for proper solid waste management.

Holistic waste management a must for sustainability

The fifth stage is the future of the evolutionary process involving the solid waste management, according to Visvanathan. The world is now concerned about the sustainability of its prosperity and sustainability has been defined by the UN Commission on Environment and Development, also known as the Brundtland Commission going by its Chairperson Gro Harem Brundtland, as ‘meeting the requirements of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet theirs’.

Visvanathan says that it is a circular economy from resources to production, from production to consumption, from consumption to waste-matter and from waste-matter to resources once again. When waste-matter was considered a mere waste in the past, this last loop had been broken. It is now time to close the loop and have a holistic solid waste management in which waste-matter will be converted to resources once again and allow the world to go by the circular process. This last thread of the evolutionary process into which the world is now moving has been facilitated by environmental engineers like Visvanathan.

Segregation of solid waste

A holistic waste management does not permit waste to be dumped or used for land-filling without extracting its resource value first. The process starts by segregating it into recyclables, garbage and solid waste. Recyclables, after the primary treatment, will end up as new resources for use in the production of new outputs. For instance, plastic bottles, especially plastic Coca-cola bottles, can be recycled to produce rayon, according to Visvanathan, which is the basic fibre for producing synthetic clothing materials.

The garbage will be used for producing anaerobic composting which can be used as fertiliser in agriculture and cover soil in land-filling of the remaining waste after incineration. The solid waste can be used for incinerating and producing energy. The ash remaining after incineration, non-recyclable parts of recyclables and other inert remains can be used for land-filling. So, Visvanathan says that no waste should be permitted to end up in a land-fill without first using it for the benefit of mankind.

Sri Lanka’s infantile strategy at waste management

Sri Lanka’s Colombo Municipality produces about 1000 tonnes of solid waste a day. The satellite towns around Colombo produce about a further 1500 tonnes of solid waste a day. It has become a gigantic challenge for municipal authorities to safely dispose of these solid wastes. The strategy they currently use is simply to dump them in waste dumps and use for land-filling. Hence, Sri Lanka’s largest waste producers are still in the first and second stages of the evolutionary process of waste management identified by Visvanathan.

As such, they are still infants in a holistic waste management strategy. With proper policy focus, they should grow from infanthood to adulthood in waste management in which waste is no longer a stinking waste, but a resource which can be used for the betterment of the citizens. The team of researchers at AIT, led by Visvanathan, has developed easy to use and cost-effective technology for holistic urban solid waste management. In many parts of Thailand and other East Asian countries, this technology is now being used.

An important breakthrough in this connection has been the development of technology to recover natural gas available abundantly in the places where solid waste has been used for land-filling. The use of such land for any commercial purpose should be done, according to Visvanathan, only after extracting the natural gas remaining trapped beneath such land.

AIT’s offer of a collaborative hand

According to Visvanathan, AIT has been very liberal in sharing its new discoveries and knowledge with anyone who wishes to use them for the furtherance of mankind. It can provide training, give technology support and even develop new technologies to suit individual customers to have better solid waste management systems. It is also willing to develop linkages with other research institutions and universities to have collaborative technology development projects.

Don’t solve your problem by creating problems elsewhere

Attempts have been made in the recent past to make Colombo a clean city, a development about which the Colombo elite has been openly happy. But little have they realised that they have cleaned themselves by dirtying elsewhere and that elsewhere is also within this island. Thus, Colombo has solved its problem by creating environmental issues for others. But Colombo and its satellite urbanites have a better option today in the form of holistic waste management where waste is used as a resource.

This is a public policy which Sri Lanka should adopt as a matter of priority. It is not a difficult task since the required technology is now available in the neighbouring countries. This public policy could be facilitated by private participation by going for a green lending policy by Sri Lankan banks. Visvanathan says he is willing to train Sri Lankan bankers in the art and science of assessing green banking projects.

It is up to Sri Lanka to tap this kind gesture by a world renowned Sri Lanka born scientist.

*W.A Wijewardena, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, can be reached at [email protected] 

Needs For Tamil Contribution To Sustainable National Adjust

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

The inability of the government to force via its choices, and the appearance of opposition forces supportive of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa gaining ground, has generated concerns about the government’s longer term stability. The defeat of the government’s income bill in Parliament has highlighted the structural weakness of the government. The difficulty that the government has been experiencing in fulfilling its primary election promises, catching the corrupt and passing the 19th Amendment, has eroded public self-assurance in the government’s strength. At the moment the SLFP has a majority in Parliament with 126 seats while the UNP plays the part of a ‘minority government’ with 41 Parliamentary seats from a total of 225 seats. With no the help of the SLFP, the government is unable to get even a easy majority of votes to implement its plans. If the opposition parliamentarians could have their way it would be former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who would be the Prime Minister.

The anxiousness about the government’s stability is especially articulated in the ethnic minority-dominated North and East. Whether in Jaffna, Mannar or Batticaloa the query that people worry about is regardless of whether former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is about to stage a comeback. Those are the parts of the country that delivered the biggest majorities to President Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential elections held four months ago. The Tamil voters of the North and East in distinct had to contend with boycott calls from within the Tamil polity itself. They also had to overcome the apprehension that the incumbent government would take some action that would prevent them from expressing their will at these elections.   But the voters there were ready to take risks in voting against the incumbent government since they strongly preferred modify.

Those from the Tamil polity who wanted the Rajapaksa government to continue and as a result named for a Tamil boycott of the elections have been basing their advocacy on a certain logic. They could see the Rajapaksa government was antagonising the international community and wanted this to continue till a point was reached when the international community directly intervened against the Sri Lankan government. This logic is in accordance with a belief in sections of the Tamil polity that absolutely nothing constructive can be anticipated from the Sinhalese-dominated Sri Lankan polity with regard to their grievances and aspirations. Consequently, they appear towards the international community and to international intervention as their only hope of receiving what they want.

Rejected boycott

The large voter turnout in the North and East at the presidential election, nevertheless, showed that the Tamil voter did not accept the boycott argument. They had currently noticed the devastating influence of an earlier Tamil boycott that took place in 2005. The LTTE imposed the boycott at the point of the gun, reduced the Tamil vote that would have gone to Ranil Wickremesinghe and successfully assisted Mahinda Rajapaksa to turn out to be the president, a position of concentrated energy he held for ten years till his election defeat. Like the present day promoters of a Tamil boycott, the LTTE as well thought that the international neighborhood would support them against the nationalism of President Rajapaksa. The reality was various and the Tamil population on the ground was at the receiving finish.

Wigneswaran MahindaHardly anyone in the Tamil polity was willing or capable to oppose the LTTE at that time, when they had been at the peak of their energy and arrogance, shooting dead these who differed from them. Numerous democratic Tamil leaders lost their lives for getting traitors according to the LTTE. One of the couple of Tamil leaders to take a various posture publicly was the Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, who with each other with his fellow Tamil Bishop of Jaffna, Thomas Savundranayagam, opposed the LTTE’s boycott. The moral authority and courage of the two bishops was not sufficient to overcome the fear psychosis that gripped the Tamil neighborhood at the 2005 presidential elections in the face of the LTTE’s military energy and the propaganda of Tamil nationalists both locally and living abroad.

In the course of the run-up to the presidential elections of 2015, when the get in touch with of a Tamil boycott as soon as again reared its head, Bishop Rayappu Joseph stepped forward a second time to oppose the boycott contact. He urged the Tamil individuals that the way forward was by participating in the democratic procedure and becoming portion of the process of change that they wanted. This time around, with no LTTE guns to back up the boycott get in touch with, the Tamil individuals rejected the siren get in touch with to remain separate and uninvolved in the electoral process. As an alternative they heeded the contact of democracy and, with each other with their Sinhalese and Muslim co-voters, participated in bringing about the modify they wanted.

Bridging role

The anxiousness that exists in the North and East of the nation right now is about a possibility of the return of the old order, in which the ethnic minorities are mistrusted and mistreated and ethnic majority nationalism prevails. When Tamil political leaders make extremist and Tamil nationalist statements they will only give a boost to these who market extremist nationalism on all sides. As an alternative, the Tamil leadership demands to reassure the Tamil people and give them, and the rest of the nation, the message that they want to participate in the procedure of bringing constructive alter in the nation together, and not separately with the international community. The try of sections of the Tamil polity to utilise the international neighborhood to attain their ends increases Sinhalese apprehensions, is counterproductive and can bring about the quite scenario that the Tamil neighborhood fears.

There is a need for the Tamil polity to convey to the people in the rest of the country their requirements, fears and aspirations. When I met him not too long ago Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph mentioned that it was his intention to engage in this vocation and that he was gathering a team for this goal. At the very same time it is critical that the Tamil polity ought to learn about the needs, fears and aspirations of the others who live in Sri Lanka. The Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims all need to have to get to know each and every other through dialogue and communication. The government seems determined to function with South Africa on the problem of dealing with the past. It has promised that it will establish a domestic mechanism that will meet international standards. In South Africa, there were numerous who gave leadership to this dialogue, but the particular person who gave the symbolic leadership due to his moral authority was Bishop Desmond Tutu who was appointed Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In African and Asian societies religious clergy continue to get pleasure from a excellent deal of respect, and are also close to the folks.

In Sri Lanka, a single of those who could be a leader in this dialogue of truth and reconciliation is Bishop Rayappu Joseph. A week ago he celebrated his 75th birthday in Mannar at an event that was attended by the Chief Minister of the North, C. V. Wigneswaran who gave recognition to the important part that the Bishop has played in the life of the Northern Tamil neighborhood. He stood in opposition to violence in all its forms and was constantly for a negotiated political solution. He requirements to be recognised for his contribution to supporting democratic institutions when they had been beneath threat. Catholic bishops are required to retire at the age of 75 even though there is provision for extension of service. At a time when Sri Lanka is turning the corner and democratic politics that respects human rights is on the ascendant, it is crucial that a Tamil religious leader of Bishop Joseph’s calibre must remain on in service as an educator and aid to bridge the communal divide by acquiring us to know each other much better.

Introducing Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe

Prime Minister Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe going to Elpitiya in an Air Force Helicopter to inaugurate just one more Free WIFI zone below “Yahapalanaya”.&nbsp

Is this fueled, operated and maintained by water?&nbsp

This would have been OK if not the exact same men and women did not criticize the prior government for making use of helicopters.&nbsp


Additionally, Hon. Ranil Wickramasinghe enjoying a VVIP ride inside the one hundred days.
Hon. Wickramasinghe extensively uses Air Force Helicopters to go to personal areas and short distances as properly. Photographs of chopper rides have been noticed in Kataragama and Homagama.

Flawed 19A Makes it possible for ‘Rajapaksa Judges’ To Continue

By Nagananda Kodituwakku

Nagananda Kodituwakku

Nagananda Kodituwakku

19A: Section 54 is flawed and violates the sovereignty in the men and women

Transitional Provision (Section 54) in the proposed 19th Amendment provides that each individual holding office on the day preceding the date on which it becomes law, as the Chairman or a member of the (a) Parliamentary Council (b) Public Solutions Commission (c) National Police Commission (d) Human Rights Commission (e) Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption or (f) Finance Commission, shall cease to hold such workplace with effect from the date on which the 19th amendment becomes law. Apparently this move has been adopted by the Sirisena Administration for a cause, that the persons holding such offices referred to above certainly is a hindrance to installing of the Rule of Law and Good Governance.

Nevertheless, the mentioned Transitional provision offers that each individual holding office as (a) the Chief Justice (b) Judges of the Supreme Court (c) the President of the Court of Appeal (d) Judges of the Court of Appeal shall continue to hold such offices and shall, continue to physical exercise, execute and discharge the powers, duties and functions of that office, under the same terms and circumstances.

In the light of certain glaring flawed decision makings by the Supreme Court in the recent past under the de facto Chief Justice, Mohan Pieris, causing tremendous harm to the trust and self-assurance placed in the Judiciary by the folks, any concerned citizen might ask whether or not the Judges holding the office in the Supreme Court must be allowed continue to hold office or whether all the judges also shall ceased to hold office, might be with an alternative to reappoint honorable judges.

Just ahead of the Presidential election, folks of Sri Lanka witnessed as to how submissively the Judges in the Supreme Court, responded to the two questions referred to the Supreme Court by the former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who sought the Court’s opinion to contest for a third term. The Supreme Court, de facto Chief Justice, Mr Mohan Peiris P.C., with all other Justices agreeing, expressed it is opinion in really subservient tone and the Court declared that the President Rajapaksa should seek election for re-election for a additional term. It is important to note that the mentioned opinion was declared on a private matter only affecting the President Rajapaksa, getting denied the citizens any chance to express their views on the matter referred to the Court by the President. The concluding paragraph of the stated opinion was recorded in the following words.

Hence Your Excellency shall exercise your proper and energy vested in you by virtue of Post 31 (3A) (a) (i) of the Constitution and seek re-election for a additional term and there exists no impediment for Your Excellency to workout the right and powers accorded to you beneath the Constitution to offer yourself for a additional term’.

In the light of the provisions of Write-up 105 of the Constitution, which states inter alia that the Administration of Justice ‘which protect, vindicate and enforce the rights of the people’ shall mainly be the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal of the Republic of Sri Lanka, in my view, any proper considering citizen of this country is entitled to make a case that the functionality of judicial duty in this manner is inappropriate, as such conduct tantamount to compromising of the people’s judicial power the Judges exercise on trust and as a result none of the judges who had ratified De facto Chief Justice Mohan Pieris’s Opinion is deserved to occupy the office as Judges in the Supreme Court.

Therefore, in my forthright view, any citizen of Sri Lanka is entitled to raise their issues that, unless the transitional provision in the 19th amendment bill (Section 54) is duly amended to contain every single Judge holding office in the Supreme Court who had ratified the mentioned opinion expressed by the de facto Chief Justice Mohan Pieris, to seize to hold office, collectively with other judges appointed to the Superior Court Program by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, purely according to his whims and fancies, the 19th Amendment Bill in its present kind is undesirable as it has failed to address the will and want of the men and women of this country for a vibrant and independent judiciary.

Gayesha Perera, Flying Fish Film Trailer

Gayesha Perera, Flying Fish Movie Trailer

Gayesha Perera, Flying Fish Sinhala Movie Trailer , Gayesha Lakmali Perera is a top well-known ‘Multi Faceted artist in Sri Lanka’, who has excelled in several fields in arts , can not be…
Video Rating: three / five

Youngster Education International and Hope For The Silent Voices operate in Galle, Sri Lanka: Sandaru reading on planet cultures, www.ChildEd.org, www.HopefortheSilentVoices.org.

Curse Of The PhD

By Nishthar Idroos

Nishthar Idroos

Nishthar Idroos

The year was 1984 and I had just finished my GCE Sophisticated Level Examinations. My mind was not settled on a particular course of study post GCE Sophisticated Level. Law, Journalism and Advertising attracted me equally. I had roughly four months to make a decision. I had to do some thing during the interim. It was during this period I visited a relative in anticipation of a job. While talking to him he received a phone get in touch with, he excused himself and left momentarily. The radio was on and an eminent Law professor who later became a lot publicised figure in the Sri Lankan political scene was on the air expounding outlandish jargon on jurisprudence. I cannot for confident say no matter whether I totally comprehended all what he mentioned, but how he said it held my interest. The gentleman was from the University of Colombo. He was a PhD and was speaking in impeccable English. I later learnt that the individual was a double PhD. He may have not convinced me to embark on a profession in law but for sure I wanted to speak like him. His vocabulary verbose, syntax correct and impact wholesome. I was galvanised.

Nelson Mandela famously mentioned “Education is the most strong weapon which you can use to modify the globe.” I do not believe any sensible person would disagree with the statement. It’s a reality, a proverbial truism. It have to also be mentioned in the very same breath that education can also be misused when largesse is dangled at people supposedly of incorruptible integrity who in reality succumb like rats to its set trap. Also what’s the goal of education when these with it remain silent when draconian legislation is passed to further strengthen an autocratic ruler.

Namal GL PeirisNot everyone is capable to do a PhD, a Medical professional of Philosophy, abbreviated as PhD. An award provided in many countries as a postgraduate  degree by universities for academic excellence in a selected field. A doctorate of philosophy varies considerably according to the nation yet the social status it produces is fairly unique. The term philosophy does not refer solely to the field of philosophy, but is employed in a broader sense in accordance with its original Greek which means, which is &#8220love of wisdom&#8221.

When I completed my Masters twenty 5 years later I was naturally inclined to embark on my doctorate. Chosen a university, spoke to the professor and submitted my proposal and it was accepted. The aura and euphoria I skilled was indescribable. In three to five years folks will contact me physician and that was cooly cool. It was at this juncture I met an old friend Uncle Raymond a confirmed rationalist and quintessentially anti-establishment. Though he was twice my age each shared a really like or you could get in touch with it hate for regional politics. We were meeting after a prolong hiatus.

Both had been thrilled at the prospect of seeing every single other. We did a wonderful deal of catching up. He then asked me what I was up to. I told him the usual. I was in two minds whether or not to mention my new adventure. Yes I wanted to impress him and I pitched him straight on for about two minutes. He listened to me rather attentively. Uncle Raymond stared at me and remained pensive and then started to speak “So you have created up your mind to turn out to be a “Permanent Head Damaged person” I said what do you mean. “That’s what they are, those blokes with PhD’s

“Oh Shut up Mr Idroos” “As if the hell caused by your species is not enough” I was puzzled at this unexpected outburst by my friend Raymond Goonatilleke. I can sense the fury in the man’s face but couldn’t realize why he was displaying such intense behaviour. Then he unleashed a tirade on me as if I was a pickpocket. “Show me one bugger of your species, of these living now who has left a worthwhile legacy, an individual with moral rectitude, show me, show me, show me” This conversation was taking location in the Dehiwala junction location and I was questioning why the cops have been not diverting targeted traffic because Uncle Raymond was firing left, proper and centre.

“All the rascals are cheaters, deceivers, opportunists and grand scale collaborators” “This is precisely what they are” “If they had fulfilled what society had anticipated of them, at least the ones who joined party politics could have produced Sri Lanka a significantly much better place”. Then he started to mention names of Ministers and MPs and these outdoors with PhD and started to shred them as if chunky meat was getting grounded to make some other by-product. The choice of words was unparliamentary therefore not reproducible. Mr Raymond Goonatilleke was a democratic citizen and he had each and every cause to express his opinion. I certainly would have been relatively milder but all five fingers are not the exact same.

Abruptly a private bus approached almost knocking us down. The conductor on the footboard chewing beetle was at the top of his voice, shouting Moratuwa, Moratuwa. Uncle Raymond looked at me and said “Putha I got to leave” “No difficult feelings putha, I told you the truth. I have greater trust in the guy who brings the gas cylinder house than our PhD rascals”. He embarked the Moratuwa bound bus which disappeared into the site visitors.