Monday, April 29, 2013

Sri Lanka People's Movement Against Increasing the Electricity Bill

Sri Lanka People's Movement Against Increasing the Electricity Bill has called for a series of actions against the government decision to amend the power tariff.

As an initial step, the movement has sent a letter to the President Mahinda Rajapaksa stating that people are not responsible for the wastes by the government and demanding to minimize waste and grant relief to the ailing Ceylon Electricity Board.

The movement has planned awareness campaigns on April 30, May 03 and May 06 ahead of a protest march scheduled for May 09th.

The People's Movement Against Increasing the Electricity Bill comprises of a number of trade unions and other civil society organizations including Health Services Trade Union Alliance, Ceylon Teachers' Union, Ceylon Bank Employees' Union, Federation of University Teachers' Associations, Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya, Railway Services Trade Union Joint Front, Telecom Trade Union Collective, Transparency International, CAFFE etc.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sri Lanka MP Duminda Silva back in politics to lead lumpen

What is ahead?
Duminda Silva is out released on bail. Looks sound and vows to be back in active politics.

His lawyer Hemantha Warnakulasuriya might be further clever to prove what he told to courts about MP Duminda Silva's health.

Government needs him. He is a promising man who can mobilize Colombo lumpen better than Thilanga Sumathipala or Mahinda Kahandagamage.

These lumpen when summon to streets may help the government to sabotage the struggles of the working masses.

Be careful! Duminda is out!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

‘Me loves she’ type Sinhala grammar

This is a banner I picked from Facebook. This type of sentences are often written in newspapers and we can hear them in radio very often.

Many Sinhalese do not worry a bit about this blatant seduction of basic grammar in Sinhala.

This type of sentences are similar to an English sentence like this.

Me loves she.

Subject  verb and object are grammatically wrong.

How much the Sinhalese would worry if this type of sentence is seen in English!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sweet pineapple; market place specially for the fruit in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka Ministry of Economic Development has decided to establish a pineapple market in Gampaha district.

The Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa revealed this as he met the pineapple traders on Colombo - Kandy road.

On this road, pineapple shops spread in a two kilometer stretch from Balummahara junction towards Kandy. Many of these shops are to be removed from the present places with the highway development.

Gampaha is the major pineapple growing district of Sri Lanka where the cultivation is spread in 1,998 hectares. The second major cultivator of pineapple is Kurunegala district. Sri Lanka has cultivated pineapple in 5211 hectares.

In 2012, Sri Lanka exported 476 metric tons of pineapple worth of Rs. 193 million, the Minister said.

Featured posts by Ajith Parakum Jayasinghe

Rice production and consumption gone up in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's Anuradhapura Post Harvest Technology Institute points out that the per capita rice consumption has increased.

D.P.C. Swarnasiri, the Additional Director Research and Technology Promotion of the Post Harvest Technology Institute pointed out that the per capita annual consumption of rice was 86.80 kilos by 1973. By 2010, the annual per capita rice consumption has increased to 116 kilos.

The rice production has also increased during the period considered. In 1973, the rice production in the country was at 1.315 million metric tons.

By 2010, the country's rice production increased upto 4.301 million metric tons.

The official said that the rice production in 2012 was 4,200,000 metric tons and it exceeded the domestic consumption by 13%.

Featured posts by Ajith Parakum Jayasinghe

Heart diseases on the increase in Sri Lanka; a heart rending issue

Sri Lanka Ministry of Health says that the island is experiencing a severe increase of heart diseases.

The Ministry pointed out in its communique that an average of 7440 patients die annually due to heart diseases.

Each day 600 patients with heart problems are admitted in hospitals and of them 20 die everyday.
223,200 patients are treated annually by government hospitals every year.

eavy consumption of liquor, smoking, wrong food habits and lack of exercises have been identified as the major causes for the heart diseases.

Featured posts by Ajith Parakum Jayasinghe

Another 'Humanitarian Operation' Proposed for Sri Lankan Expat Employee Heroes Stranded in Jeddah

(an old photo)
Sri Lanka government calls them Rata Viruwo in Sinhala language meaning Expatriate Heroes or more meaningfully Foreign Employee Heroes. True, the government must worship them in the morning and in the evening because they are the primary donors for the politicians' extravagances. They are the major foreign exchange source of the island economy. The Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion Dilan Perera says in the Ministry website, having received about US $ 4.1 billion in 2010, "remittance income is by far the highest foreign exchange earner for Sri Lanka, providing 33% of her foreign exchange. Remittance income is 8% of Sri Lanka’s GDP, gained from Sri Lanka’s work force abroad. This work force is about 17% of Sri Lanka’s total labor force."

But a part of these heroes sleep in an open space under a bridge in Jeddah city tonight also since they are considered by Saudi kingdom as illegal migrants who must be repatriated. The number is well over 750 including more than 60 women, sources say.

The fate is similar for a number of other migrant workers from countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Bangladesh. Jeddah is a hub of present day slave trade and the issue of the stranded migrants is also part and parcel of the city.

United National Party (UNP) MP Ajith P. Perera says that they are needed to be brought back immediately. He said that some of these employees have migrated to Saudi Arabia via foreign employment agencies and they have failed to secure employment due to regulations of Saudi government. Other sources say that the bulk of these Lankans had travel led to Saudi Arabia on short-term visas and later over-stayed with the intention of securing employment. There are also those who had entered Saudi Arabia on religious pilgrimages and later stayed behind. There are others who have fled from the workplaces violating the service agreements mostly due to inhuman treatment. Most of them have registered in the Sri Lankan Embassy in Saudi Arabia and awaiting expatriation.

The UNP MP proposed the government to bring them back home in a chartered plane considering the pathetic situation they are facing. A good campaign. This is what the government of Sri Lanka wants to shun. The government preferably awaits until the kith and kin of the bereaved migrant employees collect money and send them to bring them home. Saudi police may have already informed the Sri Lanka embassy to take action to repatriate them.

Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau said last week that the government of Saudi Arabia had agreed to provide temporary jobs for 5,000 Sri Lankan expatriate workers who were staying in the Kingdom illegally. Perhaps this may help them to fetch some money to buy their air ticket.

Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau says that the government of Sri Lanka is facing difficulty in bringing back them to the home country. However, 30 to 35 of these expatriate workers are brought home, the Bureau says.

Over 600,000 Sri Lankans are employed in Saudi Arabia. The majority of them are housemaids and other domestic aide.

Minister Basil Rajapaksa said on March 12 addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Rata Viru Piyasa programme of building houses for Sri Lankan expatriate workers at the Galagedara that it was the foreign exchange earned by expatriate workers which enabled the country to purchase much needed weaponry and aircraft for the successful conclusion of the humanitarian operation which liberated the country from terrorism.

Then why don't the heroes about whom we speak here deserve a humanitarian operation? It will be an actual humanitarian operation after all.

- Ajith Parakum Jayasinghe

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mahinda picking Muslims individually while Gota helping to genaralize hatred against Muslims

President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his tour of Kataragama visited the mosque situated in the Kataragama Sacred City on April 15. Having been welcomed by the Moulavi of the mosque, the President participated in religious observations and received his blessings. Uva Chief Minister Shasheendra Rajapaksa, Indigenous Medicine Minister Salinda Dissanayake and Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa accompanied the President during his visit.
Picture by Nalin Hewapathirana (Daily News)

This happens in a time the President's all powerful defense secretary brother is openly supporting the Buddhist extremist Bodu Bala Sena (BBS).

The BBS succeeded in forcing Muslims to stop issue of Halal certificates for the benefit of devout Islam followers. Halal protest was against charging money from all consumers for a certification which was only  for a section of the society.

Can anybody protest any such certificate issued free of charge displayed on products for the benefit of Muslims? One can refrain from buying such products based on personal dislike to it and to Muslims. But no one has ethical or moral right to protest it.

But, see what is happening now. I found this banner and a link to a related blog post in Facebook where hate campaigns freely go on with no control of BBS or whatever. One may perceive this as the online stuff is spilling to society but what actually happens is the reversal.

How can we understand what the government  is doing in ethnic front, in this backdrop? The government is generalizing hatred against Muslims and Islam while individually picking up Muslim leaders before media cameras. Personal relationships of the Muslim leaders with the President prevents them leading the masses against the injustices caused against them.

This approach not only marginalizes Muslims in Lankan society but also liquidates their protests and weakens their efforts to stand as equal citizens. This further appeases the Muslim countries that may worry about the fate of the Muslims in the country. Remember, the government also summoned the Colombo diplomats of the Muslim countries with the hope of continuing their support in the following day the above photograph was taken.

Muslims should be very careful about this racist approach of the government.

-Ajith Parakum Jayasinghe

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Massive problem of to be expatriated Sri Lankan employees in Saudi

Parents of Sri Lankan housemaid Rizana who was executed in Saudi Arabia for a criminal offense she was accused of committing while being an under-aged girl who migrated to Saudi Arabia due to poverty of the family by way of a forged passport
Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau (SLFEB) sources say that 70 Sri Lankans are in a jail in Damam for offenses like overstaying. Some of them have been granted permission to leave the country.

SLFEB further says that the government of Saudi Arabia has agreed to provide temporary jobs for 5000 Sri Lankan expatriate worker until they are duly expatriated. These workers have left their workplaces on various reasons violating their service agreements. They have been registered in the Sri Lankan embassy in Saudi Arabia and awaiting expatriation.

Sri Lanka Foreign Employment Bureau says that the government of Sri Lanka is facing difficulty in bringing back them to the home country. However, 30 to 35 of these expatriate workers are brought home, the bureau says.

Over 600,000 Sri Lankans are employed in Saudi Arabia. The majority of them are housemaids. Remittances from two million strong expatriate workers are one the major sources of foreign earnings of the island nation.

Simon Sashawa of Sinhala Caucasian Chalk Circle passed away

Sri Lankan stage actor Santin Gunawardane passed away yesterday (April 15), two days after he celebrated his 75th birthday.

Santin became popular as Simon Sashawa, a role he acted in Henry Jayasena's 'Hunuwataye Kathawa' drama. It was an adaptation of Bertold Brecht's Caucasian Chalk Circle. Hunuwataye Kathawa was a prescribed text for G.C.E. (Advanced Level) examination for many years and the drama was shown all over the island.

Santin acted in Hunuwataye Kathawa for 28 years in 3000 shows. He set foot on the stage in 1962 in Henry Jayasena's Janelaya (The Window) and acted in many stage dramas, a few tele dramas and films.

This handsome guys romantic acting was one of the pillars of the success of Hunuwataye Kathawa. It was first staged on March 08, 1967 in Lumbini theater, Colombo.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Happy New Year!

A New Year
Good for a new begining
Let us restart the struggle
For a better world
A better land
A better home

Let us unite
To fight with might 
For our right
Now you see the light

-Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Restricting the powers of the Sri Lankan civil administrators on land rights

Philip Gunawardane, a name goes with land reforms
Land is a highly sensitive issue in the tiny island of Sri Lanka. The cause behind the three decade civil war was also the land ownership. The Tamil minority political movements claimed Northern and Eastern parts of the island their Homeland. Later, a map of a separate Ealam state was also drawn and bloody war was fought to win it and to defeat it.

Even in Southern parts of the island also, the government of Sri Lanka has effected several land reforms. One in late 1950s was aimed at strengthening the land rights of the tenant farmers. three quarters of the profit should go to the tenant farmer who cultivates the field, whereas the owner of the agricultural land gets one quarter of the profit according to the Paddy Lands Act No I of 1958. However, even more than 50 years later, there are around 250,000 tenant farmers in Sri Lanka where the government figures point to the availability of 1.8 million acres of agricultural land.

Interestingly, the Federal Party, the predecessor of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) voted against the 1958 bill with the United National Party (UNP). LTTE later fought a bloody civil war for the land rights of Tamils.

Later, 1972 Land Reforms Act restricted the individual land ownership to 50 acres.
Bandu de Silva wrote to The Island in 2008, "In the Eastern Province, especially in the Batticaloa and Ampara districts, one does not meet any problems in getting possession of state land or other owner’s lands transferred in one’s names through fraudulent transfers. There are expert Notaries Public who would prepare you a deed for any extent of land one wants and see that they are registered and go through without any hassle even in courts. A former Government Agent in Batticaloa confirmed that this was absolutely true. So today one speaks of land belonging to this community and that community but the truth could be something else!"

This idea can be mixed with a bit of racism but it unveils a sad reality that prevails not only in certain parts of the island.It is true that mass scale corruption takes place at the Divisional Secretariats pertaining to land. People obtain licences for the state land and later sell them at lucrative prices. I once met a man who was trying to sell such land in Matugama town at Rs. 70,000 per perches. I asked how the buyer can get the transfer done. He promised to get it done for the buyer.

This news story which I wrote to Colombo Page should be considered in this backdrop.

Sri Lanka government has decided to restrict the powers of the Divisional Secretaries over state land.
The Ministry of Land and Land Development says that the decision was taken due to the corruption suspected to take place in Divisional Secretariats.
The Ministry says that it has received a large number of complaints related to the corruption in transfer of land rights and distribution of government land to people.
Accordingly, the government has decided to create a new position of Additional Land Officer in each Divisional Secretariat. The position is to be held by an officer who has an expert knowledge on land issues.
Sources say that the President has also approved the proposal of the Minister of Land and Land Development Janaka Bandara Thennakoon regarding the measure, Ministry sources said.
I don't know what the Sri Lankan civil servants who are continuously losing their colonial time charisma think about this.

P.S.: Bandu Silva has written two articles on former Minister Philip Gunawardane with lot of information on 1958 Paddy Lands Act Read them:
A peep into the Paddy Lands Act, 1958 - 1
A peep into the Paddy Lands Act, 1958 -2

-Ajith Parakum Jayasinghe .

Why was Sri Lanka's Buddhist terrorists and their government so afraid of the anonymous Facebook group that came to streets

A a peaceful candlelit vigil was planned to be held on Friday 12 April at 7 p.m. before the Sambuddhathva Jayanthi Mandiraya, a Buddhist center built with the funds raised from the peaceful Buddhists and later converted to the de facto headquarters of the violence mongering Budhist terrorist group Bodu Bala Sena (BBS).

This seems the first political campaign organized by a Facebook Group in Sri Lanka. The breakthrough event organized and participated by the anonymous, middle class looking Colombo people was disrupted by the violent mobs of the BBS who were supported by the police.

Arguments of BBS spokesman Dilantha Vithanage and others in the mob who came out of the Sambuddhathva Jayanthi Mandiraya was extremely ridiculous.

Vithanage said he had not seen any of the peaceful protestors in temples and therefore they cannot be Buddhists. They also asked the peaceful activists to light coconut oil lamps instead of candles if they are Buddhists. They wanted the anonymous demonstrators be arrested by police since no leader appeared.

A similar set of sugar coated ridiculous arguments against the vigil could be seen published by the The Nation editor-in-chief Malinga Seneviratne. 

The arguments though appeared foolish reflected the real causes that shook the racists and their regime. People have begun to use new technology and methodology in resistance that out pours from cyberspace to streets. The racists may not be afraid to the Sri Lankan orgin NGO and Diaspora campaigners in foreign soil that make their living through their protests. Yet, these are the Lankans that struggle to make this country a better place for all communities to live in peace. That is why they are hated so much. They are trying to curb this potential challenge at the roots.

Police+BBS led disruption of the event was not actually a defeat. Comrades, you have marked a new beginning of struggles for justice in this island.

Here's their community - A place to discuss the Bodu Bala Sena's actions, techniques, motives, and goals, and question whether they are in line with the Dhamma.May more such groups be created and make right people courageous to come to street to fight against the rising wave of hatred.
- Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe 

BBS terror group spokesman Dilantha Vithanage

Police manhandling peaceful protestors
Two interesting articles on the topic can be read from these links.

The BBS ‘Buddhists’, ‘Nightclub Buddhists’ And The ‘Vigil’ That I Saw by Malinda Seneviratne and a reply to him by Dayan Jayatilake Anti-BBS Vigil: A Critique Of The Critique


Commonwealth Legal Information Institute; Free access to Commonwealth and Common Law

I found this website when digging into some old acts of Sri Lanka. The site appears containing lot of valuable information.

Commonwealth Legal Information Institute website declares that it has 981 databases from 59 Commonwealth and common law jurisdictions via 8 Legal Information Institutes.

 This is the direct link to the Sri Lanka page.

It seems so easy to handle and look at this page from where you can access, I believe, all numbered parliamentary acts from 1956 to 2006.

Here is the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

It has lot of links to websites of Sri Lankan origin but some I tested did not download.

White handkerchief marks protest against forcible cremation by the government of Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan civil society is silently but strongly marking their protest against the government's inhuman  forcible  cremation of a 20-da...