19 December, 2018

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Christmas Past, Present & Future

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

The miracle of Christmas is the sparkle in the eyes of a child. I suspect I was born an agnostic because I cannot recall, even at the earliest, taking religious instruction, faith in the Almighty, prayer, chapel, or the exertions of my mother, grandmother and Father Bowyer Yin, as anything but chores to be quickly got out of the way. There were more exciting things to run off and do. At 15 when I stumbled on Marx’s Manifesto and few simpler writings, they fell on fertile soil. Often religion was amusement. Communion service, which was once a month when we lived in Mannar, I impiously christened at the age of 10, to my mother’s bemused protestations, as “Brandy Sunday”.

I must not discount my mother’s influence; she was a choir singing, church going Christian; I still have a maybe 100-year-old Bible annotated by my mother and grandmother. But it was not her formal religiosity, not ‘Churchianity’ that rubbed off. I comprehended later, as an adult, that it was her goodness, caring for others, and concern for waifs and strays in our neighbourhood that must gave coloured me sublimely. I think it lubricated an interest in social fairness, socialism and suspicion of Adam Smith’s invisible hand. If you get what I am driving at, you get it; if you don’t, you won’t.

Call me heathen, nonbeliever, infidel or what you will, but I have always been besotted with Christmas. In childhood it filled me with joy and anticipation; in later life, and still, I adore carols and carol service (I am willing to put up with the sermon and keep awake unless it’s too long); I wallow in family reunions and their warmth, smiles and company. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bombast, eating, drinking and getting slightly pissed. There’s more to it than that, much more, but at the same time it’s not religious fellowship – for others it is. Though I am not religious, Christmas was never Ebenezer’s “humbug” to me. Again, if you get what I am driving at, you get it; I am not poet enough to put it any better. Christmas is the light in the eyes of a child, but “the child is father of the man” quipped Wordsworth. Now do you get it?

The formula Christmas “past”, “present” and future are, of course, pinched from Dickens. A Christmas Carol does not compete for the accolade of his greatest work – that spot belongs to Great Expectations – nor is it his bestselling, which is A Tale of Two Cities. At 200 million copies it is the second bestselling novel of all time – only Don Quixote, which has never been out of print has sold more – but A Christmas Carol with its soft undertones of Tiny Tim’s life-threatening illness, Marley’s ghost and its sentimental ending, is many people’s favourite Dickens.

“What the Dickens Marley!”: Ebenezer Scrooge

So far, I’ve said a word or two about Christmas past and present. That was a feint to steer you to where I want, Christmas future; or to be honest the future of religious movements as social forces. Religious movements, genuine or fake, have always been drivers of social and global change. In the Seventh Century, Islam swept out of the Arabian Peninsula to make, within 100 years, the swiftest territorial conquests seen till then. Three hundred years later Pope Urban II fired off the first crusade to recover the Holy Land and unearth the Holy Grail – the chalice of the Last Supper – and sank Europe and the Near East in two hundred years of chaos and misery with nothing to show at the end. The intellectual stimulus of Luther and the Church of England was indispensable nourishment for the rise of capitalism in the Sixteenth Century. (Henry VIII’s concupiscence was a footnote). And of course, Cortez and Pizzaro led the way into the heart of central and south America with Bible laden men of the cloth in tow in an endeavour which eliminated 200 million people.

Still, I suggest that the impact of religion on social and global affairs is at a peak now. My reason for making this claim is that not one but five religious epidemics are in full flood. The starkest, in modern times, is Islamic jihadism, fundamentalism, ISIS, Taliban, Al Qaeda and cohorts of such forces, dominant from The Maghreb to Kabul to Indonesia. This assortment constitutes the most powerful politico-religious wave today. But there are two localised virulent religious outbreaks as well; Buddhist extremism in Burma and India’s Hindutva mobs. They may be localised to a country but their destructive effects are execrable.

There are two more religious influences gathering momentum. Evangelical Christianity is growing swiftly worldwide and frightening the pants (cassocks) off established churches in many places. Brazil was Catholicism’s reserved patch; now about a quarter of its Christians are card-carrying evangelicals. In South Korea only 40% admit to having a religion, but a half of these are Evangelicals and Born-Agains.

Finally, there is the huge impact of Pope Francis. Readers are familiar with the different way from his recent predecessors that this Pope functions and the special esteem in which he is held within and outside the Church. His is earned, not endowed moral stature. For the purposes of this essay it is sufficient to say that his too is a religious tendency with global impact. (Bishop of Rome my foot!). To sum up, I am canvassing the point that there is a strong up-thrust of faith based influences in society and politics, globally, in the last two or three decades.

Let us note the differences in reaction among Christians to DJT shifting his embassy, and explicitly or implicitly, recognising undivided Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. In the US it was overwhelmingly welcome by Christians – Born-Agains and Evangelicals were ecstatic. The move had bipartisan support; the Jewish Lobby has great influence in the Democratic Party. American Jews were over the moon. But elsewhere in the world Christians disapproved of DJT’s Jerusalem gambit and the Pope expressed his reservations. Jerusalem has a long, complex and unique history associated with overlapping faiths; hence it is common sense to resolve the issue in line with a pluralist multi-faith formula. But instead DJT is playing to America’s backward religious-political culture and toying with bipartisan opportunism.

Paradoxically, a small Jewish community has American Christians by the balls for reasons too long to explain here. But one example: Nowhere in the US will a department store, school or hotel display, or for that matter no seasonal meeting between people exchange, “Happy Christmas” or “Merry Christmas” greetings. It has to be an inane “Happy Holidays”. Why? Christmas, for Jews, is a time of mourning when this chap Jesus turned up and “divided the people”. Not my problem what Jews choose to believe about Turks, Tatars or Christians, but for gentiles to meekly cave-in is ironic. Imagine if Muslims took exception to Vesak and Buddhists docilely switched off Vesak lights to take account of these complaints! Complicated, erratic, inter-religious games are the outcome of the political power of faiths.

It then behoves us to ask on this Christmas Eve why this resurgence of religious influences of different complexions with antagonistic moral, cultural, social and political orientations? It is also a good way to pass Christmas Day tomorrow wondering where it is all leading – my parody of  Dickens’  Stave 4: The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. First look at the political culture of Sri Lanka as a little petri-dish. In Lanka the decline of the left and the increase of influence of religion and reaction (in the correct sense of being anti-modern) coincided; two sides of the same coin.

Now think global. The explosion of fundamentalisms of the religious variety had a spurt after the demise of the Soviet Union. I find it difficult to concede that it was coincidental, that there was no correlation. In the Middle East, Southern Africa and Indo China there was much going on during the Cold War but known as liberation wars. It was couched in terms such as anti-imperialism and national liberation. The cup overflowed with struggle, but religion and fundamentalism did not have a deep stake or dovetailed as liberation-theology. In the lands of the Middle East the Sunni-Shia kettle simmered but did not boil; in Brazil and South Korea alienation did exit but opposition took the form of peasants or workers movements, despair did not drive millions to evangelical escapism.

The leg irons that shackled Jacob Marley’s ghost was his life of cold-hearted insensitivity to his fellow men. Today hundreds of millions are alienated, despised and dispossessed all over the world but their cry does not find an outlet as political radicalism, liberation fire, or class warfare. Lamenting this, Bernie Sanders put it bluntly in an interview with the Guardian on 15 December. When asked about the new tax bill he responded: “This is an effort to make the very rich richer. It is a fraudulent theory of trickle-down economics that never worked, never will work. It is a double blow to working people in that the big increase in the deficit due to tax cuts for the rich will subsequently be used by Republicans to justify an assault on welfare benefits. Paul Ryan, the GOP Speaker of the House, has announced that he intends to trim healthcare and anti-poverty programs next year to reduce spending”.

Narrow extremism and intolerance are the devils which takes possession of the masses when they are alienated in daily life. Liberalism will not exorcise the possessed; the message of goodness, compassion, tolerance and fraternity which it shares with religion has not sold. New Ebenezer was a changed man not only in human caring, but in his material efforts to save the life of Tiny Tim and succour his poor, underpaid, overworked father, clerk Bob Crachit. Hope for Christmases yet-to-come depends on comprehending this allegory and then practicing it in social policy; it will not depend on sloppy sentimentality.

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Latest comments

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    Jim Softy

    Watch this link:

    http://www.tamilwin.com/statements/01/168772?ref=recommended1

    Funeral of Sri Naga Vihara Chief Incumbent Jaffna lawyers’ fail in attempt to stop cremation Magistrate gives green light
    http://www.ceylontoday.lk/print20170401CT20170630.php?id=36920

    Well Jimmy Armed forces are actively looking to create trouble. If permission was not granted for the funeral of Naga Vihara Chief near the place of Hindu worship the police believed/expected trouble.

    I am told the Jaffna library is only few yards away from where his cremation had taken place.

    There are established cemeteries in Jaffna. Why would anyone wants to have the funeral for just another monk in the open?

    The armed forces wants another round of bloodshed.

    I bet SJ will not only justify the cremation in front of the temple but also blame TNA/Sambandan.

    • 3
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      NV you are absolutely correct. Sinhala armed forces and police in Jaffna want to create trouble. Sword wielding gangs are military intelligence collaborators form EPDP and rehabilitated LTTE cadres. This funeral of Buddhist monk was deliberately politicised and the court sensing trouble went with the Sinhala racists. This monk is well known for his anti-Tamil acts in the past and is hated by Tamils. So to give him a state funeral was certainly something not fair. Did you hear in Mutur, Sinhala racists are preventing renovation of an age old Hindu temple with the connivance of police, governor and Sinhala officials. One Sinhala lady had the audacity of going into the temple wearing shoes despite protests by Tamils, where the Police did not take any action to arrest her for this disrespectful behaviour.

      • 0
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        Thank you KD for the well founded allegorical observations in the last para in your X’mas Special.
        Taking a cue from the recent overwhelming vote in the UN on Jerusalem which surprisingly included that of UK’s Conservative PM we can only be hopeful about the silver lining on the dark clouds on the horizon for the coming year.

      • 2
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        Dr. GS – I like reading your posts with one exception. You seem to be hell bent on calling the Sianhalese in general, racists. Well there are both Sinhala racists and Tamil racists; my advice is do not show your sentiments so openly by telling the other readers that you belong to the latter group.

        Racism is a cancer in our society thus please help in eradicating this menace instead of propagating it.

        • 2
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          Demanding legitimate rights is not racism. On the other hand denying legitimate rights is racism. Going by your statement Nelson Mandela is a racist. While there may be a few Tamils denying legitimate rights of Sinhalese, there are vast number of Sinhalese who are denying legitimate rights of Tamils. The best way to eradicate racism is to do justice and treat everyone equally how Singapore does. I am placing the truth about Srilanka past with scientific evidence based on findings by experts on geology, archaeology, linguistics and genetics. According to these the first settlers in Srilanka are Dravidians who spoke Tamil or something similar to Tamil (Elu is proto-Tamil) and the first religion to be practiced was Saivaism. Despite these facts Sinhalese are claiming that they are the sole owners and rulers of entire Srilanka and behaving in a supremacist way imposing their will on Tamils citing the dubious Mahavamsa text. It is now concluded that Sinhalese are immigrants from South India with input from Bengali and Veddha community similar to Tamils. Sinhalese do not have any genetic affinity with Veddhas to claim that they are indigenous. Sinhala language was evolved from Tamil with Sanskrit and Pali input similar to how Malayalam language evolved. Earliest stone inscription in Sinhala found is only 1300 years old while that in Tamils dates to over 2000 years. Since Sinhala has copied Malayalam script, Sinhala originated after Malayalam. With all these to deny Tamils their land and power is rank racism and Tamils demanding this is not racism. Every ethnic group wants to live as first class citizens in dignity and safety in their land ruling themselves, and Tamils cannot be found fault for this. I have always advocated that law should be equal to all and people treated equally on their merits rather than race or religion. I am not asking that Tamils should be treated higher and be given their rights to land at the expense of others.

          • 1
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            Native Suddha, I only called Sinhalese who insult Tamils and make comments distorting the truth as racists. I never called, Panini Edirisinghe, Lionel Bopage or Vishvamitra as racists. Everyone has a right to express his views which he should be able to substantiate when challenged. Whereas I have correctly called HLDM, Dayan J and Rajeeva J as racists. Even prof Laksiri who claims to be a moderate and follower of middle path, when challenged by me, could not stand up. He said he follows middle path and when I told him to advocate federalism as a middle path between unitary state and independence, he went silence. I told him that as a moderate if he does not agree to north-east merger, support Tamil rule in eastern province, he took offence saying that there is no such thing as Tamil rule. If there is no such thing as Tamil rule how can there be such thing as Sinhala rule encompassing entire island as at present. So do not point your finger at me without analysing the facts. late Izeth Hussain who was a person who made unsubstantiated and unwarranted remarks on Tamils.

          • 0
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            Dr. Gnana,

            So, more lies from you……..
            There are NO genuine Tamils in Sri Lanka. The so called Tamils are actually ‘Malabaris’, it was Sinhalese who gave them ‘ Tamil’ identity, because of the unfortunate closeness of Tamil state – Tamil Nadu and so Sinhalese call anyone from South India; a Tamil. Sambandan, Wigneshwaran, Chelwanayagam, Nandikadal Prabakaran, Ponnambalam(s), etc are Malabaris as well, most of their ancestry is documented. 99% of so called Tamils can’t trace back their ancestry more than 3 generations, and most of the so called Tamils are ‘Kallathonies’.

            Gnana, next time, write lies at least half believable.

            Sinhalese are the soul owners of Sinhalé (Sri Lanka)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • 0
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          Native Sudda,

          as you say you like reading the posts of Dr GS, I would like to say, i love to read yours.

          We should all have to accept that we both parties have racists more or less, else, not a war went on 30years would have been the case right ?
          Even today, among sinhala community we blong to behave so different just becasue they come from colombo while others from rural areas. I see, the kind of divisions are seen in tamil and muslim communties too. They each of the community men treat their own people with different spoons.
          That has been culture of this nation from that day on.

          Today, in todays context, it is time all of us to behave enrichting the steps bieng taken towards – sustainable peace for all in this country.
          If we woul dnot react, our young ones have to face it in the same manner we went through.

          I WISH YOU HAPPY HOLIDAYS ! Peace for all !

          • 1
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            And a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year in 2018 to you, and to all the Sri Lankans !!

            • 1
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              NV, I wish you the same friend. May Christmas and the New Year bring you blessings.

        • 0
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          Native Vedda: Just calm down. Tamil Tribalism is good for Sri lanka. By the way, Do you know that there are christian gods. IF you are not a meat eater and prey enough you see the truth.
          Are you from Vavania ?

      • 1
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        Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam

        ” One Sinhala lady had the audacity of going into the temple wearing shoes despite protests by Tamils, where the Police did not take any action to arrest her for this disrespectful behaviour.”

        This was reported to have happened somewhere in the East not in Jaffna.

        A new myth is being in the process manufacturing.
        The next step in the Sinhala/Buddhist fascist agenda will be to declare the cremation spot as Sacred Places of Worship, then of course the state would be expected to erect another huge unnecessary Vihare. The cost of building such Vihare would be hidden in security budget, and another large contingent of security forces will be placed to protect the Sacred Places of Worship. .

        Historians will become too busy “tracing” the history of this yet to be built Holy Shrine (Another Descentant of Sakiya Muni), myth is to be created surrounding the shrine, free bus loads of tourist are to be brought in as pilgrims, —————– speakers installed, …………… some work for HLD M, Champika, Ratnawle, …………………………. Kamalika Pieris, Shenali Waduge, ……

        Expansion of this Sacred Place of Worship would include renaming the Hindu Temple being the Sinhala/Buddhist Guardian Angel of the North may involve some creative work, Chandre Dharmawardana is the living legend in coining new names, demolition of the Jaffna library,………….. relocating the Fort, …………………..

        The politicians will be too busy competing ……………………………………….

        Taraki, sach, Shenal, ……………………………….. start championing the course.

        • 1
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          NV I have said it correctly that the lady incident happened in Mutur.

      • 2
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        Latest is Sinhalese Buddhist monks have come from the Seruwila temple to the ancient and strategic Tamil village Champoor ot Sampoor in Trincomalle to claim to make a false claim with the encouragement of the Sri Lankan Navy that the ancient Hindu temple Pathala Vairavar Kovil and the strategic hilltop of Mathhala Malai which is surrounded by ponds reservoirs north west of Champoor is an ancient Buddhist site ( nowadays everything important and strategic of fertile land in the north and east are fast becoming ancient Buddhist sites) and have demanded the management of the temple not to construct any structures as the archeological department is going to seize all these lands as well as the ancient Hindu temple. The Sri Lankan navy has already seized all the surrounding paddy lands owned by Tamils. This moves comes after the US Pacific command has started to groom and train the Sri Lankan navy. The Sirisena Colombo regime that was voted in by Tamil speakers has now sent these monks with the intention of Sinhalese Buddhisation of these areas, with fake claims and histories, that even the Rajapakse regime never attempted

      • 0
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        I think you may be no correct here.

        I know even after 70 years, there are american troops in Germany and Okinowa.

        We must not underestimate the brutalities that LTTE led until few years ago. Facist group was recognized as one of the brutal organisation in the world. So, I dont think it is wrong SLGO army to deploy in the nothern soils further protecting innocient people.

        We also know not many were supporters of ltters but they were compelled to be part of them since they were tamils.

        About women that dont care but enter temple premises or church premises with shoes on – the kind of people you will also notice doing so in Kelaniya temple or any other temples across the country.

        Please Dr GS, dont try to sharpen the picture and spread hatreds. I know some get hurt for their own reasons, but we know there are racists, extremists among both sinhalese and tamils.

        I have met both sorts in Europe. We also have some sinhalese racists in this forum too.
        I dont need to tell you that.. Edwin Rodrigo ( a man in his mid 60ties) would hurt any tamils not thinking twice today. But we the sinhalese would NEVER tolerate him and his views each time his posts abuse this forum.

        You would attack me now to have said above, but I think we should protect srilankens from LTTERs or JVPs if they would restart their fierce nature again.

    • 1
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      All right thinking Lankans would support the stand taken by the lawyers in Jaffna to prevent the politicised cremation of the Naga Vihare Buddhist monk.The valid reasons for that was spelled out by Mr.Manivannan in his TV interview.
      The court was forced to grant permission for the cremation to avoid the Sinhala dominated army and police going berserk.
      The President and PM of the so called Yahapalanaya government should understand that this is not the right way to sincerely initiate the reconciliation process between the different racial communities in a time when the local government elections are to take place.

      • 0
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        Uthungan

        If you carefully look at the state of affairs, the armed forces have already bargained and positioned themselves as important shareholders/power brokers of this “great nation”. Pancha Maha Balavegaya which initially defined to include the sangha, veda, guru, govi and kamkaru now needs to include members of armed forces, crooks, …………………………. excluding the good/honest people of this island.

        Lets see if we can replicate Pakistan, North Korea, ………………………. in the new year.

    • 0
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      Dumb native Vedda: some where in CT, it says SJV is a CIA agent. Read the article about MCC.
      with respect to Tamils getting hurt their feelings because of the cremation of this took place near the,library, just ask Tamils their “EKA PUDGALA SAnna” is too strong and to shake it off.
      Yapanaya is not Tamil capital. It is wellawaththa. I heard Tamils want to relocate it some where else wellawaththa is full of muslims now.

  • 1
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    In the name of Christmas environmental disasters .how many millions of chrismas trees have been cut off ..
    How many children builds and lights are burned out for a month world over the world.
    How many millions of wines and alchol bottles are used ?.
    How many thousands people die accidents during these days due to drink and drive..
    Yet; is it a day of Jesus Christ birth day?
    Did he ever tell these to.do ?.
    Is he son; father and holy spirit.
    One in three and three in one?
    What complicated theological dogma is this ?
    Why all this ?..
    Just because Jewish people killed him at cross.
    We are living in this world of more complication and complexity in religions and Faith..
    When will humanity come one again.

  • 3
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    I don’t know if K. David has ever lived in Europe. There is something called a winter solstice. Staring on December 21 until march 21 . For four months and in some places far longer this is associated with death and resurrection. . The leaves fall of trees and do not appear until spring. Before the invention of electricity – one wonders how any one survived. People were freezing to death. Food had to be stored for these 4 or 5 months. The death of the sun or heat was celebrated with revelry and gift giving. When the southern European Roman Empire ( 5th – 9th Ad ) – which did not have harsh winters – conquered the Germanic tribes ( German, Poland, Sweden, etc ) they incorporated this ritual into the newly emerging story about Jesus, ” the Son Of God ”

    Surely David must be aware that The middle- east where Jesus was supposed to have been born. Does not have Christmas trees or framing.

    The Christmas Tree –
    James Hewitt – 2007 –
    The Christmas tree originated in Northern Europe from the pre-Christian Pagan cultures

    Did Jesus Exist?
    George Albert Wells – 1975
    Professor Wells argues that there was no historical Jesus, and in thus arguing he deals with the many recent writers who have interpreted the historical Jesus as some kind of political figure in the struggle against Rome,

    Freeing the Buddha:
    Brian Ruhe – 2005 –
    The Portuguese Catholics were much more zealous than the later Dutch Catholics, in regards to converting the natives to their Catholic faith. Here we go again. Many Buddhists that refused to convert to Catholicism were killed. Fathers were thrown to alligators. Mothers would be killed after they watched Catholic priests insert their babies between large millstones, crushing them to death.

    • 0
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      Niro

      “Surely David must be aware that The middle- east where Jesus was supposed to have been born. Does not have Christmas trees or framing.”

      Assgirias, Malawattus, and millions of Buddhists in this island are aware of the fact that Lumbini, Nepal where the awakened one was born in 563 BC didn’t manufacture nor use Mercedes Benz, Nokia, ……………………..

      • 0
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        ATTN : Native Vedda

        From Stone to Flesh: A Short History of the Buddha –
        Donald S. Lopez Jr. – 2013 –
        The Buddha that we know was not born in India in the fifth century BCE.

        Oriental Historical Manuscripts in the Tamil Language, Volume 1 1830

        It appears, however, that the Budhist priests of Ceylon deny any relation of their founder to the Buddha of the Hindus: the two words, as spellt by the two classes of religionists, differ also somewhat, it would appear, in the orthography. It is further to be noted, that a part only of the Hindus admit Buddha to be an incarnation of Vishnu.

        Christianity in Ceylon, Its Introduction and Progress Under the Portuguese (1850)
        Sir James Emerson Tennent
        The Rev. Mr. Gogerly, the most accomplished student of Buddhism in Ceylon says its sacred books expressly demonstrate that its doctrines had been preached by the twenty-four Buddhas who had lived in succession prior to Gotama or Sakya, in periods incredibly remote, but that they had entirely disappeared at the time of Gotama’s birth, so that he re-discovered the whole, and revived an extinguished or nearly extinct school of philosophy.

        Ceylon: A General Description of the Island, Historical, Physical,
        Horatio John Suckling – 1876
        Still more fabulous is the statement in the ” Buddhawanso,” that the first Buddha of the present dispensation (b.c. 3101), visited Adam’s Peak when the island was called Oja Dipa, and the peak Dewa Kuta; also by Konagama Buddha (b.c. 2100), when it was named Saman Kuta, and Wara Dipa.

    • 0
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      Sorry to point out a mistake in your comment. Please do not be offended. Winter solstice is just one day on which the day is the shortest and the night longest. Astronomically, it is the day on which the maximum elevation of the sun in the sky as seen from Earth is at its minimum during the year. The tilt of earth’s rotational axis relative to the plane of its orbit and the precision of the same decides the day on which this occurs.

      I found that the BBC documentary ‘ORBIT’ explains this very nicely. It is available in the BBC site or you can by this DVD. It is well worth the price for the inquisitive mind.

      Prof David got his MSc and PhD in UK. So he has lived there at least 3 years.

      • 0
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        Correction: ‘precession’ not precision. This is the same as the slow circular movement that you see in a fast rotating top.

  • 2
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    Dear Gnana,

    What you say corresponds with what I myself believe is true. There is such unnecessary provocation by the Sinhalese. Why on earth can’t we mind our own business?

    Four comments as of now. Native Vedda has tried to forestall Jim softy – not a bad thing. I looked at the link he’d given, found it all in Tamil, which I don’t know, but some of the videos had Sinhalese, and of course, I understood from the photographs. I didn’t spend long looking. Surely we all have better things to do.

    Kumar David’s article was good, and represents the attitude of most guys like me who have had “Christian Education” but don’t take all these myths seriously, while appreciating the SPIRIT of Christmas, which “Singhalese pundit” has not. “Sp” is a man I’ve begun to respect, but the point is that all humans need occasionally to let their hair down, and celebrate SOMETHING in a rather wasteful way. so many guys take liquor – I don’t, but that sort of thing is not a problem to me.

    Niro has told us about the pagan origins of Christmas – all of which I know. Sadly, I know also that what he says about Portuguese Catholics is true, but he’s blundered in a way understandable to me about the Dutch, who were Calvinistic Christians.

    Calvin had nasty streaks in him. Dear “Singhalese pundit”, just read up about Michael Servetus. See for yourself how Servetus tried to simplify Christian dogma in ways which wouldn’t have mattered a jot, but would have taken away misunderstandings about The Trinity. I understand the concepts of Christianity very well indeed, but like Kumar David, I’m agnostic. However, I lack the erudition of Kumar David – and on such a variety of subjects. Both Niro and “Singhalese pandit” underestimate Kumar D.’s knowledge – and even mine.

    • 0
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      Tony Bushby (Bible Fraud)“ the ‘original’ Greek text was not written until around the mid-Fourth Century and was a revised edition of writings compiled decades earlier in Aramaic and Hebrew. Those earlier documents no longer exist and the Bibles we have today are five linguistic removes from the first Bibles written. What was written in the ‘original originals’ is quite unknown”

      Kersey Graves (Bible of Bibles)
      .“The Roman-Catholic Bible differs essentially from that of the Protestants, having fourteen more books. The Bible of the Greek Church differs from both. The Campbellites have a translation of their own. The Samaritan Bible contains only the five book of Moses. The Unitarians, having found 24,000 errors in the popular translation, made another translation containing still many thousands errors. The American Christian Union, having found many thousands of errors in the King James Translation, are now engaged in a new translation. How many more are we to have, god only knows. Martin Luther condemned eleven books of the Bible…and thus made a Bible for himself. Paul’s Epistles to the Hebrews he denounced in strong terms…Dr. Lardner and John Calvin each condemned five or six books, and had a Bible peculiar to themselves. Grotius places the heel of condemnation on several books of the Bible. Bishop Baxter voted down eight books as uninspired, and unworthy of confidence.

  • 0
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    I read Kumar’s article with interest. In his own development he mentions his mother’s influence towards his interest in social concerns and fairness to the underdog. What is missing is the revolutionary zeal I associated with him in our student days. Absent from his list of movements that changed the world is the Communist era that was viewed with intense sympathy or disdain during much of the 20th Century. Is it such a write-off? It certainly lives with those of my age whom it challenged, often for the better. I am sure people would go back to it with interest as they have to the French Revolution, which too brought forth much nobility as well as pretentiousness and brutality.

    • 1
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      Kumar’s mother’s influence may haven good because the father although a lawyer was busy running a tavern.

  • 1
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    Wish you all a happy Christmas.!
    I haven’t read the article. but on the issue of cremation of the Jaffna Naga viharai tells something about the real status of the nation building, uniting the people and the role of Naga Vihara in bringing the gap between Tamils and Sinhalese. We all expect the Buddhist Monks can greater role in helping the poor people around its surrounding but I have never heard anything like that in Jaffna. I only can remember that the most important factor for 1958, 1977 and 1983 riots are the lies spread by the Monks in the South. What can I say about the current status. It is up to Lord Buddha!

  • 2
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    After reading this piece by Prof: AKD on Christmas[Quite distinct from his usual essays on a wide spectrum of men and matters] I tend to think that,with age, he has evolved into a RELUCTANT AGNOSTIC.

    Perhaps, the Mathematics taught by Rev: Father Bowyer Yin attracted him more than the Preaching!
    But ,anyway taking a walk along the corridors of History he remembers the Preaching in the Chapel.
    Is Prof:David mellowing?

    Getting back about the last rites of the Buddhist Monk in Jaffna is the fact that there is now an additional force apart from the Buddhist Clergy. The Armed Forces! in the Politics of the country.
    A perfect recipe for disaster!. Governments will be rendered Impotent in the foreseeable future with this unholy alliance.

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    Nowhere in the US will a department store, school or hotel display, or for that matter no seasonal meeting between people exchange, “Happy Christmas” or “Merry Christmas” greetings. It has to be an inane “Happy Holidays”….
    …………..
    …………..
    Imagine if Muslims took exception to Vesak and Buddhists docilely switched off Vesak lights to take account of these complaints!

    Not very provocative, but very narrowly thought out sentences, if cannot be discounted as Childish. Probably Prof Kumar may have been influenced by the Thero de Silva’s writing.
    Prof Kumar is digging lot of senses for adult readers of CT from Christmas Carole. I really don’t understand what Prof. Kumar wants to say. So he might be right when he says “If you get what I am driving at, you get it; if you don’t, you won’t.”. But Christmas Carol is kids’ bedtime story. Like in Prof. Kumar’s writing, I failed to make any deep sense out of it. In structure and style, it is highly disciplined and well behaved story, almost in line with Medieval Avai’s Venpas for kids. In fact, beyond the mastery English, artistic heart touching description, meticulously synthesized scripts, all Dickens Novel lacks deep sense. All are kids’ bedtime stories. It is well understood Dickens only reflecting the kids’ wish in Christmas Carol. But in the depth of message the story expected bring out is standing only at the Cocola’s Santa – i.e “ You better not cry; Santa Clause Is coming”; a mountain and valley difference between Avai and Dickens. Seeing the Lankawe vote hunting techniques, we have learned a lot about the complicity of the average human being’s ability to learn and act civilized drawing from that lessons. This gives us clues why even after 2000, 2500 year of Jesus or Buddha’s birth, why the wandering herd still could not be brought into the path.

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    This why though the shepherds like Mohamed were busy swing the whips, but ended up handing over that relay baton to Marx or Lenin to carry it further. In my predecessor commentator Rajan Hoole’s words “I am sure people would go back to it with interest as they have to the French Revolution” . He ( Rajan Hoole) has clearly rested the religious sense (or importance) attached to those ideas (Of the lefts), but counting only on pure intellectual contents out of them. Certainly, after seeing the current civilization the human society has achieved unattached or beyond to their past preaching, a new Buddha or Jesus will be true enlightened and be more specific on their solutions for the civilians.
    My attempt is not going drain out every chaff sunken into this hasty theory of Prof. Kumar. We cannot get into pundits’ analysis of the common subject, why the religions, which came to crate peace and serenity is polluting and bringing war. Not simply out of scope, inappropriate too. The only cure for the poison the religions are spraying under name of pest control is mainly “hope” and putting hope behind the freedom to think, freedom to express and the democracy to govern. Defect on labeling these as left or right or naming in another dimension is only making another religion in along the line of Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, and Islam.. …..Further poisoning, further polluting, further wars….. The lesson Lankaweyans had have learned by now is neither Chitanta nor Yahapalanaya have produced any results. So labelling and dragging “Happy Holidays” and “Happy Christmas” into left-right war can only defeat the unity that is being attempted.

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    Prof. Kumar is misunderstanding the Americans greeting with Happy Holidays. American, with all their heavy heads and plutocratic arrogance, are one of the real democratic animals wandering on the earth at this time of history. As the only still left out Tamil left, this is a hard to swallow Butter Fish story for Prof. Kumar. American brings in President Trump. They dispose President Bush. They never worship any Don, Solomon or Percy or even Jesus (in real sense). For them, Washington, Lincoln, Franklin all is great leaders. It is only that much. Period. It is the Republican Party opposed Trump coming to power. But American Citizens voted for President Trump. In Lankawe, it is the opponent party leader Ranil accommodated, excused, exonerated and installed the hero worship on Old King. But Lankawe citizens, though Modayas by nature, rejected him and discarded him. Yankees are highly arrogant (attitude) so only way they can live together in a country is by means of democracy. The vice versa, Yankees are highly democratic, so they have naturally turned into heavy headed arrogant. Normally, in the wide world, it is the Federal Governments, who are in better situation to balance among many Multi-dimensional divisions, undertake to impose Human rights, equality across ethnic divisions. President Trump wants to deport some minorities. But anybody travels in New York MTA knows that the State Government advertises to residences to call State Government for help, if anyone is deprived of their rights to stay. This is across many States and towns. This is where the natural mentality of the Yankee is lime lighted. So the point here is, Americans discourage them to great with “Happy Christmas” is not to deprive Christianity and make it equal to other religions, But to uplift others to the level of Christianity. The true multi religious sense- Not anti- Christianity sense.

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    Happy holiday is used only at the yearend season. It is the 1). Birth of Christ –The Christmas –& 2). Birth of Christian New Year –calendar year are celebrated. It is a season for Christians to enjoy. If one has watched Trump or Obama or Trudeau wishing for Tamils- Hindu Holidays or Buddhist holidays, they specifically say Happy Pongal, Happy Diwali, Happy Vesak but not “happy holidays”. In all other seasons, all the majorities wish only a small minority. So they are specific. In the year end, the American minorities are not just wishing the Christians. But the entire country joins with Christians. All religious kids dream for that season and are entertained by the arrival of that season. So these naturally arrogant or naturally democratic animals share their happiness with all others as “Happy holidays”. All other religious people join with Christians “With Happy Holidays” on those days instead of being left out by “Happy Christmas or Happy Hanukkah”

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      Mallaiyuran, Your comments are so long winded and boring that I do not read all of the contents, only a cursory glance. But Complements of the Season to you. I respect you, because unlike the pack of EU refugees you do not try to hide your identity. You are a Tamil and proud to be so, I suppose. That should be the spirit.

      The temperatures in UK are unusually low, I hear. take care and A Happy New Year.

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    Dr.KD,

    You are wrong in assuming that in the US people can’t say ‘Merry Christmas!’ because of the influence of the Jewish people. What happens is that in a multi-religious society, public or mass greetings for one religion raises ‘political correctness’ issues. So, say when a university president wants to send out greetings to the university community, he would carefully say ‘Happy Holidays!’

    But at the individual level, with fellow employees who are known Christians, people have no hesitation in saying ‘Merry Christmas!’ So this is not really due to Jewish influence, but is a result of modern politics of secularism.

    As an Agnostic/Atheist, it doesn’t bother me if people just want to say Merry Christmas even to me.
    But as the Pope himself would say, I have always found the rampant commercialization of Christmas disgusting.

    Moreover, I have always asserted a more fundamental point: if religions have any truth, then people should be able to follow scriptures in both letter and spirit. But given the internal contradictions of religions, they are incompatible with life, and therefore people only ‘selectively’ follow scriptures, whenever it is convenient to them. Such selectivity encourages dishonesty and lack of integrity on a mass scale. In other words, religious people inevitably–unwittingly or wittingly– lack integrity. This is a major stumbling block to solving many of the problems of the world.

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    Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.
    One thing that baffles me is why Tamil correspondents to this site avoid labelling themselves as Tamils. Are they shamed of themselves and their culture? Only he of the virtuous lingam Sakkaralingam identifies himself as a Tamil and full credit to him. I can’t help but observe that a virtuous lingam is an unused lingam. What the hell does he do with it??
    This Kumar who people refer to is probably the columnist to the Sunday Island. I remember him just for one piece of wisdom- how to fill the grounds at a Yahalapana rally. In other words how to put up an artificial show of strength. If that kind of stupidity is his claim for excellence, I can only sympathise with those who seem to be blown off their feet by his supposed erudition.

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    The Editor, CT
    You probably imposed the ‘cut-and-paste’ ban to bridle irrelevant postings. Obviously this is not working!

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    Nano Sookara Lingam, PhD alias Hora dostharaya, I am shocked at some of the comments posted above. Allow me to express my opinion in Malayalee/English, which is very close in pronunciation and grammar to Tamil/English. Normally, Dafren Dafren people have Dafren Dafren ideas. But in the case of Tamils Dafren Dafren Tamils have only one idea. Why? Because they have evolved that way. It is a problem of genetics.

    Here, my Guru Prof Kumar David is trying to spread the word of peace and harmony that Jesus Christ had given out to the world, while all that Tamils like Sookara Lingam can write about is, Tamil rights, how they have been mistreated and so on without any mention of Tamil responsibilities and the favors they enjoyed.

    While comfortably and safely seated in some country, doing a cleaner’s job, you want to have an Eelam in Mother Lanka? No way – Hose! Over my horizontal body under the bed, I will say. You will not have an inch of Sri Lanka as a separate land. Throughout history, you have tried to get that and did you succeed? No! Why not? Because the 4 fold Devas protect Lanka and Buddhism. I advise you to take AKD as an example and be a part of the Sri Lankan society.

    The Sinhala are not pious or religious people. How can we be? We have Ravana blood. Beware!
    Now the Tamil Refugee pack in Germany will enter the fray. I can hear the baying and barking. They always do so at this stage of any

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      Edwin,

      please read your own English – that can guide you becoming more sensible.

      You cirtiicise everyone s English but you abuse your wording in every second comment you ve been adding why ?

      Edwin, please grow up ! As a man in his mid sixties, having lived on the ME you should have learnt at least bit more good things.

      Even if a dog s tail would not be straightened even if it would have been kept in a bamboo sheath… is what reminded me not. balu waligee dhiga arinna baehaemayi, eya unu purukee dhaemmath. බලු වලිගේ දිග අරින්න බැහැමයි, එය උනු පුරුකේ දැම්මත්.அது ஒரு மூங்கில் கம்பத்தில் வைத்திருந்தால் கூட ஒரு நாய்களின் வால் நேராக்கப்படாவிட்டாலும் கூட

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        Fine Reelawathie. Ignore the typos and then you will see a master writer. Don’t just advise without knowing what you say.

        Take your last para. Only one sentence in it. But I can see many grammatical mistakes and unnecessary words which makes the reader almost vomit in disgust. Why not write in Tamil and then go for a automatic translation. It will not be perfect. Not even the world’s best software can make your Demala/English perfect. Yours are not typos but Demala Vikara. Or Andara Demala. (Tamil of Andhra Pradesh)

        Aha! And the dhiga and dhammath reveal your Demala origins.

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        This is litterally the truth in terms of the estranged behaviour of the EDWIN the vermin.

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      Not insulting lanken wild boars, we just want you Edwin to behave civlized. Please resepect the comments of others. You ve been the one who seems to know nothing but your kind of attacks to anyone who belongs to tamil origin: That proves your racial energies.
      Besides, dont abuse the reputation of Dr KD. We have the least proof to see that you have been produced by Dr KD. He would not attack anyone but joins with her intelligent articles. Yours is provably like a square peg in a round hole. Not knowing to add your thoughts not attacking any other commenters. Please start it from Kindergarten that can help us the CT readership. Thanks. God bless.

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        Leela and Bump Singho, I do not know why I bother to address 2 names when I know it is the same person. But, try to make deafren dafren comments rather than the same copy and paste.

        1) Please grow up,
        2) Please be reasonable
        3) Please do not insult

        All of sudden the pack of canines are unleashed the moment I make a comment. They want to keep me out because they cannot counter my arguments, my detective ablities, my superior humour, my good English, and of course my highly superior intelligence. I am a loner and the whole pack cannot counter that. They only resort to insults and appeals.

        You had better tell CT to ban me. That is the only way to stop this train. Otherwise just admit that you are being paid by Tamil International Something for your worthless and foolish comments. Then I will not bother you.

        I am a dog lover. I do not want todo anything against any dogs.

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          No we just need you or the like jokers to take our stress away.

          But please not distracting us from our discussion rounds. Whenever you the like buggers who has no real blood in their vessels, permanently stand on our way is really not acceptable. I know you have been suffering from your kind of own psycho problems. As mentioned above you have not found your identity yet. Just trying your best to be association of Dr KD. I have not seen any comments added by Dr KD praising yours.
          That is why you need to see it beyond. Besides, you yourself added that you would not read the articles but comments. It was just becuase your RODRIGO mathugama English would be sufficient you to get them.

          I wonder why we can NOT unite on one thing as ones coming from a country which is not even bigger than Germany’s Bavaria. The reason has been you the rotten social scum has been destroying anything and everything. You are incorrible by your nature.

          I dont need to ask CT but they will act accordingly. But I would not want to waste my two cts worth for yours from next own. Better to go for a walk with my dog instead.

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          Please Edwin, name of god, let others to decide what you bring through comments are good or bad.

          As I got to read on this platform, almost everyone reacts allergic to your kind of posts. It is high time you to think twice. Thinking is a hard work…. !

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            Another Hora Dostharaya?

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      CT,

      please check the content of above comment added by Edwin.

      Why him to allow tamils to be attacked just because they are tamils.

      That is number one racism.

      This man should be learnt a lession if not today when ?

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    Yes Buramphi, may be arabs have abused Edwin in many ways. He himself added that he has been doing his job to ME countries for the last 30 yearrs. If he would have been the chance to live on the west, surely, the man could learn to be civilized. Let s forget him for a moment. That can give us peace particularly when the entire world is celebrating their seasonal holidays. I simply believe, Edwin would remain so until he would disspear as was the case with IH. He himself dares to say, his tongue is humorous, but we all know how his comments have been. He should finally see him in a mirror – subhuman behaviours of the kind of men, almost kill everything.

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      Hi Samson, so the pack called you because with dozens and dozens of members being called in from Xmas leave, they cannot overpower one single Edwin. You think you can achieve what other canines could not do – Getting rid of Edwin? No way, Samson. Me and CT decide when I should come in and when I should go out. That being the case, you lowly canines think you can decide. Here in this forum CT is the God and they decide what happens.

      The magic mirror? Samson, what did you see when you peeped in to the mirror? A canine? Do not write drivel like ‘sub human behaviors of the kind of men, almost kill everything’. Why almost? You either kill or you do not. Go through the whole comment and rewrite. Don’t come to class without doing that.

      Just because you cannot write a good sentence do not write drivel, OK?

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        Edwin, you have been badly brought up due to your family background. I do not think you would have attended a decent school but a third grade one. Also your life among Arabs have made you to show your back to human sensitivity.

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        What an idiot who seems to know nothing but to hang on words. I really dont know how this man surivived in arabs dominated part of the world ?
        Better not to add my two cts worth and mind up for something else.
        CT will have to isolate you in the days to come if you would continue behaving this way. Good luck.

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          Let CT do its job. No need for you to advise them. It will be like the Booruwa trying to do the Balla’s work. What happened to the Booruwa may happen to you too. Oh, sorry Sam. You are a real Booruwa not one of the imaginary Booruwa in stories like that.

          Good, you know that your comments have been as cheap as two cents. ‘mind up for something else’? I told you before also. Try writing in your mother tongue and do a web translation. It makes it easy on me as the reader and easy on you as the writer.

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        Be decent Edwin, WHICH many think is not an easy task for you.

        That can give us all peace on this platform. I have nothing against you, but I cant digest your gibberish anymore. I have no doubt, I am not alone with the opinion.

        Nevertheless, I wish you all the best, I dont think want to read your self proclaimed texts again.

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          [Edited out] We welcome debate and dissent, but persistent trolling will not be tolerated. The key to maintaining the website as an inviting space is to focus on intelligent discussion of topics. For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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    Signor Bumpy , Do you know what that the Tamil refugees in Germany would soon be arrested and put in jail. The German secret police (Gestapo) is even now shadowing you wherever you go. It is easy to do that because you guys smell a mile away. No need to have any blood hounds.

    You call me a bugger. Have I ever buggered you? Or have I called anyone in this forum a bugger. If you prove that I have done that I will not bother to comment again. With your Thala Thel stink, I would not ever even dream of buggering a you. You think by using such bad words, you are showing your skills in English? No. You are only demonstrating how wide the decency gap is between you and me.

    AKD is not the type of person who would do a thing like what you have suggested. Nor am I the type of person who would want him to do it. Your idea sucks the way all your ideas suck. In other words, Bumpy, you are a sucker – nothing but a sucker – and a full option sucker.

    How can we even think of living in harmony with lousy suckers like you Bumpy?

    I have faith in CT. Sometimes they slip by allowing such bad words and even insults against someone’s mother. But they are doing a great job by providing this platform for us to air our thoughts.

    Your dog is waiting to take you for a walk. Go ahead. Okay, doggy, Bumpy is on a leash. You may take him for a walk. But don’t let him poop in public.

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      Wait and see how many more days you would have been with us CT readers ?

      I have no doubt, CT will not digest you any more. You ve been a self-proclaimed idiot. Yours cant be compared with that of a doctorate holder. Please leave Dr KD in peace. He deserves to stay calm and quiet in his later day life. I have no doubt even IH found you disgusting in his last days.

      YOu know nothing but boasting of self-profile as usual attacking anyone who would rise up against your comment contents.

      I really dont want to waste my valauble time for a dimwit (Gonmeeharakek- we know your real profile who could not even get through your last exam at the Uni). Better to do some good work thanusing my pen for a grand idiot.

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        Look Signor Bumpy, CT is an arena where verbal duels take place. It is something like a American wrestling ring. Not a Poya day forum. However, one cannot say anything one wants to because CT has set certain rules. Just like the rules in a Wrestling Ring we have to follow them. When you called me a Ballige Putha in one of your comments, I did not like it. But I accepted it because CT thought it fit to publish that. I did not call you a Ballige Putha in retaliation, though, in my opinion, you are one and not a very respectable Ballige Putha at that, even by Balu standards. But there are more than one way skinning a cat, if you know what I mean? You will see how nicely I skinned the cat in my reply comment.

        Due to my family upbringing I cannot call you a Ballige Putha directly. That is why I did it in that round about way. Now you are going mad and want to ban me from CT. Why are you worried about AKD. Do you think he has time to read our stupid comments? I don’t think so.

        Even if he has, he will read my comments and laugh because he has a good sense of humour. Perhaps your problem is just what you said, A case of indigestion. Like the Kala Veddah who are Ati Kehel your exhaust pipe is blocked by something and that makes you super irritable. That is not my problem as long as you do not vent it out without warning. If that happens,then it will be the problem of everyone within a one km radius..

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