16 July, 2019

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Next Presidential Elections; Are The Media Doing Justice By The Nation?

By M.M. Janapriya –

Dr. M.M. Janapriya

A few mornings back I read with amazement and disdain an article titled “Upcoming Presidential Election Yahapalana Challenge”on a morning daily broadsheet of the 24th March 2019. This is clearly an article engineered to boost the chances of a certain individual winning the presidential race. While taking my hats off to a former regime for getting rid of the LTTE cancer that was gradually eating Sri Lanka away, they let the golden opportunity to develop the country and rid the country of corruption that fell on their laps slip away in style. While I congratulate the finishers of the war for cleaning up Colombo and some other big cities and improving the road structure of Sri Lanka, this country graced by Lord Buddha on 3 occasions which is indeed an Aladdin’s cave, became the playground of the corrupt politicians, other powerful people with ill-gotten money and criminals. Sri Lankans are not the best of proactive people in the world but they do suddenly wake up from their long and deep state driven slumber and churn themselves in to action when needed. For them it came to ‘enough is enough’ of this regime and eventually turned tables on the latter in 2015.

During the final stages of the war on terror to re-establish the sovereignty and the unitary nature of the country, everybody in Sri Lanka and outside knew that there were at-least a few civilian casualties. If not, it is logical to assume that there must have been some, as the LTTE used civilians as human shields in the dying stages of the battle. Tactically it was wrong to say the number of civilian casualties was zero. This is exactly what the government of the time maintained which quite understandably the international human rights forums refused to believe. 

The government’s position should have been “We are a developing nation who were fighting the most ruthless and best trained guerilla outfit in the world namely LTTE with no support at all from the developed west or any other militarily powerful western country. We had no sophisticated war weaponry that would have helped us use precision attacks on LTTE strongholds. We had to do our best to delineate terrorists from the civilians and target the former. This was difficult but we did this to the best of our ability to rid the country of much hated terrorism. As such there may have been some collateral damage leading to a small number of civilian casualties about which we are extremely sorry and our thoughts are with the families of those who have so suffered” 

Such an approach I am sure would have gone down very well with the international community and the UNHRC and the ‘witch hunting exercise’ of the diaspora would have died a natural death. Any member of the yester Cabinet of Ministers whose degree of diplomacy lacked sharpness needed to allay international anxiety the way I have suggested fails the acid test of suitability to be President.  

The article also goes on about how the Yahapalanaya Government appointed the TNA as the official opposition in Parliament with only 16 seats overlooking the 55 MPs who stuck with what should have been the true opposition, the vast majority of whom were Singhala Buddhists. The article goes on to blame the Government for being responsible for sidelining the Singhala Buddhists as a consequence. The President and the Yahapalana Government may well have paid scant regard to the constitution of the state and appointed the TNA but this is not the first time this kind of open flouting of the constitution has happened and will not be the last either as long as the politicians at the helm maintain their high degree of insanity. The concerning thing is how this action by the powers that be has been taken up by the author and gone on to sow seeds of racial disharmony  giving credence to divisive politics. Singhala political parties especially the old SLFP and it’s descendant parties have played the Singhala Buddhist card as a vote puller from time immemorial. I am a 100% Singhalese and a practicing Buddhist but I am one of the few who hate divisive politics. There may have been some justification for the above approach of the olden Sinhala Politicians as Tamil political leaders from the very outset were singing from the same separatist hymn sheet. They played a democratic game to try to achieve this while harbouring and nurturing strong nationalist views. As time went by democracy was gradually pushed to the back burner whist the arms struggle took pride of place. Periodic eruption of riots in which a larger number of Tamils and a smaller number of Singhalese got harassed and some killed together with short sighted education policies made this metamorphosis possible and indeed speeded up the process. So I blame both ethnic groups equally for the mess we were in for about 4 decades and for the mutual mistrust that prevails even today.

All the same, I am of the strong view that this country belongs to all of us who have been fortunate enough to have been born here. We are all Sri Lankans by birth and of course in some cases by descent. The political and social atmosphere of the country should be such that all of us should feel equal and should want to make a contribution to the upliftment of the nation. Equally any honest, hardworking suitably qualified  and a motivated citizen independent of that person’s ethnicity, caste creed, gender or indeed sexuality should be able to be the President or the Prime Minister of the country. I strongly feel most of the educated and intelligent people of this country see this point the way I am seeing it. However, the corrupt rulers be it Singhalese or be it Tamil would find it difficult to govern a one nation country the way they are governing now. So who needs to divide and rule? It is the politicians of both sides of the divide.  

Judging from the prevailing atmosphere it is clear that it is not only the Yahapalana that is being challenged. People of this country seem to be sick and tired of 70 years of bad governance. Whilst at a glance, the country seems to be ‘prospering’, the gap between the rich and the poor is widening in leaps and bounds. Even though the official figure below the poverty line is a surprisingly low 15% of the population in 2018 it took me long to discover that the magic figure below which a person is declared poor is Rupees. 4166.66. This is a paltry sum of money even for a single individual and the rulers know it no matter of what colour they are. It is important to keep these sad figures as far away from the people as they can because ‘too much information’ will make people open their eyes and spin themselves in to action. Those who understand economics know that in a capitalist economy (Sri Lanka is euphemistically called a democratic socialist republic) money flows centripetally from the poor and down trodden periphery to the rich and powerful centre. In the developed countries this flow is uniform and the poor are compensated for by a realistic financial hand out from the government in the form of a dole. In primitive countries like ours money doled out such, is a measly amount that cannot realistically supplement any family’s income. As such, people resort to doing practically anything, to `make a quick buck’.

There are around 3 million registered 3 wheelers on the road. Only less than 600,000 of these are privately owned and used for personal and family travel. The rest bite away a significant amount of money from the just about comfortable middle class and may be a little less from the uncomfortable lower middle class and the poor. They are solely responsible for bringing indiscipline on to the roads. They weave in and out of the fabric of traffic compelling other road users unwittingly flout road rules and in some instances meet with serious accidents. You name any section of the Highway Code each 3 wheeler man breaks it many times a day with the greatest impunity. They are also the biggest polluters of air that we breathe. 

The Private buses too, are a threat to life on the road . Whilst they too pollute the atmosphere in no small measure they are amongst the biggest killers on the road. Sri Lanka roads are amongst the most dangerous in the world. With 7 people dying on the roads every single day statisticians say “Sri Lankans today are more likely to meet their end on the country’s roads than falling a prey to a critical illness or a grave crime”. All governments present and past have watched these figures grow helplessly. They are not disciplined themselves and hence are incapable of setting an example. Law enforcement is difficult too as it is on the backs of these three wheeler and bus driver thugs that these governments come to power. I take this opportunity to redefine Abraham Lincoln’s democracy as “government of the people of Sri Lanka, by the people of Sri Lanka for the political elite, for the elitist professions, for those who can plunder few thousand rupees daily no matter how and for those who own and/or run three wheelers and private buses”.

Governments both green and blue have utterly and miserably failed to eradicate a simple but a deadly vector borne disease like Dengue fever from this country’s confines for many decades. Just like in the case of LTTE separatist war that claimed thousands of lives for over 3 decades, what is conspicuous by their absence are the political will and appetite. This is because mosquitoes cannot invade air conditioned rooms, houses and motor vehicles. The usual sufferer and the fatality is a simpleton in a populous village or a congested city. Fidel Castro’s Cuba managed to rid their tropical land of Dengue thanks to a well thought of, well equipped and a well-executed program that is being periodically repeated to keep mosquito numbers at bay. Can Sri Lanka do it? Yes, we can! Before this can happen we’ve got to see the back of these corrupt politicians who have cast a spell on the voters.

As a medical professional these are some of the glaring lapses in governance I have spotted and placed before you for your consideration. There are of course a whole lot of other curses that have befallen Sri Lanka either due to audacious action or frightful inaction of these selfish, greedy and power hungry inhuman beings who are waiting in the wings to be dispatched home sooner than later.

There are groups and individuals chanting anticorruption slogans on social media. Some others seem more organized and seem to have launched realistic campaigns against 7 decades of misrule. People who generally gather after work for small talk now are keener to talk about bad governance and the need to send the two major parties home, on gardening leave. Right now there does not seem to be a single person who can unify this opposition to launch a realistic run for president. This is by and large due to lack of funds. It is said that for anyone to challenge the two established parties which can be described as mighty election machines, he or she will need a colossus of around Rupees 200 million and generating this kind of money is an uphill task for an up and coming leader if he were to emerge from the suffering majority. For a campaign of this kind there will not be any backing from the ‘oligarchy’ of the land. Most donors would be ordinary people with a few hundred or a few thousand rupees to spare with an occasional millionaire not minding to risk a million bucks. Therefore, fund raising will prove to be a protracted process and in the race against time before the next Presidential election, time might well be the winner. 

As a senior Citizen who served this country at the highest professional level for over 35 years I consider it my bounden duty to educate the public the way they should vote to elect their next Government. Majority of the people know that the politicians are corrupt and their only interest is to feather their own nests. They also know that in an uncontrolled economy the country is ruled by the law of the jungle. Society is creaking under the weight of a financial burden of about Rs 300 million per year per minister for their upkeep. The Provincial Councils, that were propounded by the JR Government to appease but rejected by the LTTE at Thimpu and other multitude of talks, gained a firm foothold and flourished in the rest of the country as tentacles of a totalitarian regime. They serve no useful purpose in good governance and is an unnecessary financial burden. They should be abolished. Whether we like it or not the presidential election is going to precede the parliamentary elections. Hence we got to elect an honest, well educated, knowledgeable and a law abiding person with a landslide majority. His party whatever it is going to be will win the parliament which should be reduced to about 125 seats on a first to pass the post basis; i.e. scrap the preferential system. Most of them will work for a nominal salary and some might even forego their salary. The president and the MPs will do away with all the parliamentary perks thus taking the huge financial burden off the shoulders of the people. They will have people friendly Education, Health, Transport, power and Economic policies well drawn up before the elections which they will deploy soon after election. No one including the President himself will be above the law. All the national policies will have more state involvement. For example, an up to date national railway will be established. The bus service will be nationalized and the state run service will be modernized. Three wheelers will be taken off the roads on a spaced out basis by giving the owners an incentive to upgrade them to proper taxis.   

The major print and electronic media most of which are privately owned are not supporting the anticorruption campaign either, for reasons that are easily discernible. A private TV channel has given some air time to two of the prominent contenders but this is a drop in the ocean compared to what some of the incumbent ruling hierarchy are enjoying and the Government’s modus operande of a daily dose of 30-45 minutes of advertising on national TV. I consider it the bounden duty of all media institutions to help progressive movements which have got governance sans corruption at the top of their manifesto. Singing songs of praise of a weak ruler who has a hands off approach towards governance who sometimes acts very irrationally or of a strongman who rules with an iron fist and indeed of any government that have openly showed they are a corrupt lot, whilst delivering short term benefits to the institution, is doing a great disservice to the country in general. Trying to impart grace on the faces of graceless politicians is the icing on the cake of such selfish exercise. 

Dr. M.M.Janapriya FRCS, FRCSEd., Retired Senior Consultant Surgeon, NHSL, Colombo, Past President GMOA (1983-87 elected uncontested)

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    Dr.MM.JanappriyaFRCS,FRCSEd
    You were, I believe a Surgeon of repute. After having exercised your surgical skills on Patience, after retirement, you have attempted to dissect the political situation of Srilanka which includes the salaries of MP’s.and the prevailing situation of the 3 wheeler owners, its users and various other matters pertinent to welfare of the state and the General public. Your opinion may be acceptable.
    How- ever you have failed to mention anything about the earnings of the Medical Practitioners through private practice, in addition to their government salary. Some of the medical specialist are found at the private hospitals performing operations during the time they should be at the Government hospitals. Being the past president of the GMOA (Uncontested) for about 4 years, you have not made any attempt to criticize their conduct in organizing wild cat strikes and their attempt to prevent the private medical students from completing their studies under various pretexts. It appears that you and other Doctors/ Surgeons have been out of Srilanka to obtain your qualifications and you seem to have done well . Unfortunately your clan’ does not want others who have no financial support to go overseas and qualify or qualify within Srilanka privately due to limited resources. You have also failed to mention the amounts earned by members of the GMOA for their Private consultations.

    Similarly you have only mentioned about the LTTE and its activities. However as a surgeon you have failed to dissect the reason for the birth of the LTTE and the ‘Cesarean operations performed on the Tamils to give birth to the LTTE – that too without anesthesia..

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      Mr Anaga
      Vaduckodai resolution is the father of LTTE. 50/50 is the grandfather and separatist sentiment of Dravidians of India is the great great grandfather. Three inputs from the Sinhalese – Sinhala Only, Jaffna library and 1983 envigorated the process.

      Soma

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        Dear Dr. Janapriya when you say that you are 100% Sinhalese, how sure are you. You will be surprised that if you do your DNA testing, you will find that your core genetic material is south Indian (mainly Tamil). Are you aware that people of Saliyar caste in Tamil Nadu who were textile weavers were brought by Portuguese 500 years ago to work in cinnamon plantation, and their descendants are the people belonging to Salagama caste. In modern day with advanced technology, you cannot hide the truth. Your view that provincial councils should be abolished corroborates with my stand that except for a handful of Sinhalese, the rest do not want to share power or territory with Tamils. Correct action is autonomy to Tamils to rule their lands without Sinhala interference. You seem to be unaware of the term right to self determination. Though there is no support for Tamils to exercise it outright, there is ample support for Tamils to exercise it internally and this is what the international community have asked Sri Lanka to concede. It is ten years since war ended but there is no sight of justice to Tamils. (continued)

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          Dear Dr. Gnana Sankaralingam,
          .
          Relax, man! Don’t you see a need to resolve situations, not to exacerbate tensions? Don’t you remember how four years ago we exchanged insults with each other? I’m deliberately making it sound as though I was partly to blame. I don’t think so. At that time I imagined that you were older than in fact you are. Correct me if I’m wrong : you must now be around 74 years of age.
          .
          You’ve stopped attacking me now because you’ve observed my sheer consistency in fighting against racism. By now you know that I am “one of the handful of Sinhalese” who desires to share this island with other communities. It is more than a handful – it’s just lack of a lingua franca. I think that you know my name to be Panini Edirisinhe. I have clearly stated that my view (without much knowledge of Medicine) is that all of us Sinhalese probably have mostly Dravidian DNA.
          .
          Four years ago, you were so full of your alma mater, Royal College, that I may not have revealed that I did my teacher training practice at Royal in 1970 – six weeks in all. I was only just out of my teens; some students may have been older than me. I observed the teaching of some of your finest teachers, E.F.C. Pereira, John de Saram, and Viji Weerasinghe. The last mentioned was employed, through OBA funding, for at least thirty years after official retirement. I think that they enjoyed my company.

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          PART TWO
          .
          And then I was somehow roped in to help a Mr Kandasamy with some scene from Shakespeare: I think that it was from “The Merchant of Venice”. I also observed Mr Kandasamy teaching “Literature” at around Grade Eight. By then the subject was off the official O. Level curriculum, so this was just an internal arrangement within the school to keep standards up. “Kandos” had by then got himself a London Degree, but he was a joke among the boys. The lesson I observed was the horrible clergyman, Mr Collins, pompously proposing marriage to Elizabeth Bennet. It was a good simplified version of the novel “Pride and Prejudice”, which kept the idiom of the original, that was being used. He read out Collin’s prepared speech retailing his reasons for wanting to marry a poor relation, and then asked the class whether Collins was “violently in love” with Elizabeth. The answer he expected was, “yes”. I myself kept a straight face, but I could see that many of the boys realised that Jane Austen’s controlled irony was lost on irony.
          .
          I’m telling you this now because you had this notion of the superiority of Royal College to all other schools. You ought to realise that my relating this story has nothing to do with Kandos being Tamil. I was quite fond of him, actually. He was so droll.
          .
          Almost every comment on this article has gone off the point; I hope mine also won’t be considered so irrelevant that it will be censored. A much more relevant and disciplined response will follow at the foot of the page.
          .
          There is this point that I am making: we must each discipline himself.

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        (Contd) You are trying to sweep under the carpet atrocities committed by security forces on non-combatant Tamils, by saying that government instead of stating that there was zero casualty they should have said there were some casualty which is expected in a war. This corroborates with my stand that except for a handful of Sinhalese, the rest do not want to admit atrocities committed by security forces which are not accepted internationally in a war. I have been a medico-legal officer in war zone and I am a medical witness to the crimes committed by security forces on non-combatant Tamils which had been going on since April 1984 when war was declared with the appointment of late Lalith Athulathmudali as minister of national security. Mass massacre took place in the last stages of war when all foreigners were asked to leave the area to cover up. Prior to the last onslaught there were nearly 525,000 rapped in the area, and after the war ended only 385,000 people crossed over. What happened to the rest 145,000. Once war was over government reduced two parliamentary seats in Northern province, and this figure corroborates with that loss of people. You are aware that in a war there different types of injuries, seriously wounded, moderately wounded and walking wounded. Only the walking wounded and few moderately wounded who had relatives to carry them crossed over. What happened to the rest of the wounded, who had been left to die without medical attention and in some executed to cover up injuries caused by chemical weapons and cluster bombs. War crimes have been charged with evidence of satellite images showing bombing of hospitals and refugee centers and evidence of purchase of banned weapons and sulphuric acid barrels. This is why Sinhalese are frightened to face an international inquiry.

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      I fully agree with with you as per present GMOA and their lack of self regulation. Our present endeavour is to see the back of corruption at the highest level and absolute power that has brought it on. Hence fighting too many fronts is unwise and strategically incorrect. A strong Government headed by an honest selfless leader can and will take the GMOA on.
      If you read my article carefully you will see that I have touched the topic of the origin of divisive politics which in general lead to mutual mistrust between the two main ethnic groups of Sri Lanka. I purposely left the topic at that point because it would have been counterproductive to go deep at this point of the struggle and find excreta that have been thrown at each other.
      Our endeavour should be to help bring a Government to power that will respect the constitution of the country and uphold the rule of law. The rest will follow. Those who are yearning for justice will get ‘get it delivered to their door step’.

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        Dr. Janapiriya!
        Janpiriya means loved by the people? It is rather lame excuse to have not mentioned about the Doctors whose activities/ actions are being questioned by the public. After all you were a president of the GMOA uncontested . This would mean that you have been held in high esteem and no one dared to challenge you. Hence, as a senior doctor you should have mentioned about their dirty deeds at least in passing. Nevertheless it is your freedom of though. Doctors’ conduct is an ‘important front’ I believe.
        Constitution alone is not the guiding factor. Just because constitution includes Buddhism the Foremost place and Sinhala only as the priority, are you going to accept it as fair and proper.?
        Like wise you failure to mention about Tamil problem is an important matter left out by you. Perhaps you may agree that if the Tamil problem is solved, Srilanka,s Mahavely will flow with milk and honey and the need for the doctors to do private practice may not be necessary. Right now they are having the best of both worlds-earning from the tax payers money and taxing the patients direct without rhyme or reason.
        With mo malice.

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        Yes, Dr Janapriya, I realised that you had written carefully. For that reason (and it may be that we, Sinhalese, didn’t bear the worst of the abuses), I will state that I don’t agree with K.Anaga.
        .
        Dear Anaga,
        .
        Thanks for your many useful inputs. However, please don’t expect all concerns to be dealt with in one article. We’re focussing here on the election of the next President. I’ve been pessimistic on that score, but suggested a realistic course of action in 2020, so that we reap the benefits at least in 2025.
        .
        Most of my life I’ve been a “gambada iskola mahattaya” and still live a simple life. I, therefore, feel that I know the grass-roots situation better than most who contribute to CT. May I know how Dr. J and you react to what I’ve suggested? It took a lot of time for me to marshall my facts and insert the two-part comment below.

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        Dear Dr Janapriya,
        .
        I wonder why you seem to have no legal system to remove the most abusive GMOA members and replace them with unbiased candidates. There are enough good educated unbiased candidates if they would have been given the chance right ?.
        :
        You as former President (Past President GMOA (1983-87 elected uncontested)) could kindly elaborate us with the numerous obstacles not being able to dismiss current members of GMOA.
        :
        We the lankens while living out of country get hurt, more than ones living in the country, not seeing any improvement of the behaviour of GMOA towards the patients# care.
        :
        These few men of GMOA and their speeches are just hurtful to whole lot of people. They have fully forogtten that they were funded by state then. Why cant you guys seem to be in a stalemate situation regarding reforms. If lack of law is the case, I think minister of health should have the authority to do the due by discussiong it with the president of srilanka. Today, GMOA members are seen as caricatures of former President Rajapakshes and their illfated ministers. I thought medical graduates would never be malleable with the perks and other advantages they gain by politicians.

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          Dear Simon De Silva,
          .
          The subject here is the “Next Presidential Elections”, not the GMOA. Why not request this retired doctor to write a separate article on that subject? I don’t think that he will, because he has answered K.Anaga’s question about that, and even I have seconded his response.
          .
          I’m sure that we all mean well, but could you please stick to the subject. I have inserted a two-part response. I’d like to have your views on that, please, since I may have got some details wrong.
          .
          Come to think of it, Prof. S.R.H. Hoole has just posted a comment on his experiences of ragging in an even more recent article:
          .
          https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/dear-shanilka/
          .
          He is one of the Elections Commissioners – one of three. I know that he cannot take sides in this, but why doesn’t he comment on my observations? I may be quite wrong.

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      Dear Dr Janapriya,
      .
      Are the media doing justice ? Media institutions (Derana TV, Hiru TV, Sirsasa TV, Swaranwahin TV, Daily Mirror, Lakbima etc) focus only on their pocket filling leaving the grievances of the people aside, so long people are kept in dark, the hoodwinking and aggrandizement to some politicians work well ( I beleive, PM Ranil W has raised this several times in the parliament, but so long incumbent president and his support are openly given to sinister groups nothing will change palpably for good of the nation)

      Not many would risk to even talk about the grave situation with biased media affair in today ‘s context, but you have the guts to come forward and raise this issue. Thank you for that Sir.
      .
      Media today and how they mislead the nation is even FAR dangerous than the harm being eventually done by drug kinpins to the island nation.

      Those who enjoy their sodomy activiites (Rajapakshe led groups)with so called senior politicians, escape not even being captured by police ambushes or complaints being made against to them . Drug kinpin – Nimal Lanza, former beach boy who then sought GAYsex with visiting tourists to NEGOMBO tourist zone has now become untouchable wealthy man.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kidRti12Q24&t=22s

      At the time BP Lanza s house (one of the houses) were round up, former president abused had the temerity to block the arrest sending the message across ” hey stop guys, he is one of my close men”. Beause of life threatening fears to Rajapakshes killers, POLICE had to keep quiet but giving a green light Drug kinpin to continue ” drug business as usual”:

      No powerful men were ever hearted to see what danger the lanken YOUTH would have beee fallen, how their mothers and their torments would end up… never broke the silent, even if just tip of the iceberg in terms of drug menace is touched today.


      Tobe contd.

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      Dear Dr Janapriya,
      .
      I THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR ARTICLE; EVEN IF YOU SEEM TO HAVE ADDRESSED IT VERY CAREFULLY.
      .
      One of our friends, CT commenter has raised this with SINHALA man begging him to bring an article of this nature. This should indeed be subjected to people’s open discussions. So long nobody would have the balls to name MEDIA institutions even if PM Wickramasinghe has raised it several times sofar in the parliament, incument president just stay as if his mouth is shut for any good work. Media should rather take the side of the people not of any POLITICAL goons that think they should be the only power to rule this nation filled with whole lot of gulliable people. Over 90% of lanken people regardless of their education levels go after astrology and sorcery tricks.
      You may be well aware of the facts that cancer patients of the day would rather go to alternative healers that twist their mindset and block their healing processes. What western medicine could not find it, being done by those native medical docs or witchery masters according to them. They dont care about the probability of the scietific methods and their outcome, but go on brain washing the gullible on and on.
      :
      Unfortunatley, our so called popular politicians take the lead of visiting those WITCH docs and the grass eaters jus tfolllow them.
      :
      ctd.

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        Dear Bunjappu,
        .
        Thanks for the nice things that you often say about me, yet I have no illusions about my prowess as a writer of blogs. I have already inserted a two-part comment in this blog by this good doctor of medicine.
        .
        The man who must give us authoritative accounts of some aspects of the system of electing the next President of Sri Lanka is Prof. Jeevan Hoole. The man may be a Professor of Computing (and of Ethics as some of his detractors tell us), with DSc in something, but he ought to know more Mathematics than I do, and, after all, he’s paid a (paltry) allowance to get elections conducted properly.
        .
        As for my ineffectiveness as a writer of blogs, see what a mess I made of this, until K. Pillai and you salvaged something from the good topic that I had:
        .
        https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-maldivian-parliamentary-elections-2019-where-a-happy-result-can-be-predicted/
        .
        There were some unresolved questions about Prof. Hoole there. Never mind; our country is more important to us. Could he please tell us something about our peculiar system, please?

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    Dear Dr.Janapriya,
    .
    You are undoubtedly a good man, with heart in the right place. Your analysis is good, and the examples you have selected – three million tuk-tuks, politicians playing religious cards etc. are all right; but as an analysis of the ills of our society what you have written is not penetrative.
    .
    Quite rightly you have suggested solutions. A key section is this:
    .
    “Hence we got to elect an honest, well educated, knowledgeable and a law abiding person with a landslide majority.” That, in an article with a specific title: The Next Presidential Elections.
    .
    “We should” – says you. How? I disagree. It is impossible. We are in such a mess that we’d better think in terms of getting somebody decent elected in 2025. How? Do you know the system for electing a President – that prevails only in Sri Lanka?
    .
    http://aceproject.org/ace-en/topics/es/ese/ese01/ese01c
    .
    That blog is a bit old, so there aren’t recent examples. But it is sound and thorough, in examining almost every system that prevails. Since you have taken immense pains to get your long article word-perfect, I’ll leave it to you to work out the sections that matter to us. We must focus on our system – the only country to have adopted it, but the London mayoral contest is on similar lines.
    .
    Sri Lanka has not had a single Presidential Election where the distinctive features of of our method have been tried to the full:
    .
    http://elections.gov.lk/web/en/elections/elections-results/presidential-elections-results/
    .
    Too many details there. You could find something more manageable by browsing.

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    PART TWO
    .
    The only other place where a somewhat similar system is used to produce one winner is the election for the Mayor of London.
    .
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_mayoral_elections
    .
    Five elections held under this system. No once has a winner emerged after a count of the First Preferences.
    .
    The average Sri Lankan voter will not even listen if told how this system is designed to work. There is only one way to make them realise it, and this is the right year to teach them, although the conclusion is almost foregone. It’ll probably be the Rajapaksa candidate, with an outside chance for the UNP guy. We are fed up with both.
    .
    However, let us hope that a sufficiently large number of us will cast first preferences for some of the other candidates who will undoubtedly contest. The average number of candidates seems to be around fifteen. Let us not advise others on whom to vote, but it should not be one of the two front runners. On post-election night with virtually all families in the country gathered around the TV, let the announcement be made that with no candidate having crossed the threshold of 50% the SECOND and THIRD Preferences are to be counted. In a million households, citizens will incredulously ask what Preference system there is for the Presidential Election.
    .
    The result will be a much more sophisticated race in 2025.
    .
    You want a landslide victory? The only person capable of winning like that will be a Sinhala-Buddhist demagogue who has roused communal passions to the maximum. That is the reality; yours is noble airy-fairy good intentions which will lead to dictatorship.

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    Well done K..Anga.

    A few Doctors have teamed up to become killers of people not saviors.

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    The Rajapaksa government didn’t say there was zero civilian casualties. What they said was they maintain a zero civilian casualty policy. Those are two things

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      Gotabaya Rajapaksa did say so, and Sirisena has gone along with that. Let the amazing Amarasiri add chapter and verse.
      .
      Further, the armed forces have been expanded after the war, and almost no effort has been made to bring about reconcilliation with the Tamil community.
      .
      Sach, many of us, Sinhalese, also could get on with our lives if you didn’t regularly come up with distortions and the shifting of goal-posts.

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    M.M. Janapriya
    10 Comments
    Next Presidential Elections; Are The Media Doing Justice By The Nation?

    Sri Lankans are not the best of proactive people in the world but they do suddenly wake up from their long and deep state driven slumber and churn themselves in to action when needed. For them it came to ‘enough is enough’ of this regime and eventually turned tables on the latter in 2015.

    Dr M M Janapriya says “…….Sri Lankans are not the best of proactive people in the world but they do suddenly wake up from their long and deep state driven slumber and churn themselves in to action when needed. For them it came to ‘enough is enough’ of this regime and eventually turned tables on the latter in 2015….”.
    There was something waiting for layLankans. The post-08January2015 GoSL was not much different to the previous regime.
    .
    Credit to the present GoSL for relaxing ‘Media Freedom’.
    Dr M M Janapriya asks “Are The Media Doing Justice By The Nation?”
    The answer is “No”.
    Some have gone into the safety-first mode of self-censoring. Some are into paid-news.
    .
    Dr M M J is now retired. We suggest he researches a bit more on why the civil war started, how it ended.

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      Panini, I try not to comment on some of these topics but will do so since you have explicitly asked me to.

      Dr. Janapriya might be well-intentioned, but is not sufficiently thoughtful, so much so I would categorize his goody-goodines as dangerous. For example, in saying
      “While taking my hats off to a former regime for getting rid of the LTTE cancer that was gradually eating Sri Lanka away, …”
      he is endorsing the mass murder that occurred during the war. It is by the mass murder of noncombatants and the heartless destruction of everything in the way of the marching army that the war was concluded. In that process we ceased to be a lawful society.
      The previous governments prior to 2005 did not do that except for lapses here and there. They too could have easily won the war if they had been prepared to set aside our democratic values. The post 2005 regime won the war by breaking our laws. Any savage can do that. They turned our army into a band of savage barbarians rather than defenders of our constitutional governance.
      The doctor in taking his hat off to those who conclded the war, it seems to me, has taken off his cool headed head also with it.

      On the matter of presidential elections, it is a complicated process as Panini says and can be used to make the next elections more meaningful. I urge greater study and more voter education.

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    Dear Dr. M.M. Janapriya,
    .
    From what I know of Prof. Jeevan Hoole, he’s a well-intentioned guy, but I feel that he ought not to have damned your article with faint praise.
    .
    I’m sure that you do not “endorse the mass murder that occurred during the war.” For all his DSc in Engineering and his fellowship of the IEEE, I think that you know more about sticking to the point and not flying off at a tangent than he does. I’m sorry that the solid bit of writing that you have done has not been fully appreciated by him.
    .
    He himself, like Hamlet, has often been subjected to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. So let me hope that you will, undaunted, ” take Arms against this Sea of troubles”. Tell me, what do you think of publicising the strategy that I have outlined, and which he doesn’t condemn outright.
    .
    Our best efforts often come to naught, as his did some months ago, shocking me profoundly:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/the-maldivian-parliamentary-elections-2019-where-a-happy-result-can-be-predicted/
    .
    You have an incisive mind, Dr Janapriya. Would it be possible for you to tell me how Prof. Hoole himself got derailed there?
    .
    Ultimately, we are all fallible humans, although often capable of rising above the circumstances of our accidental births, as this story, which too few looked at, tells us:
    .
    https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/ven-rahulas-sathyodaya-truth-awakening-may-the-buddha-sasana-glow/
    .

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    Dr. Janapriya, your write up though belated is an eye opener,specially to those so called intellectuals some of who are also hypocrites. We also observe with concern the sentiments expressed by K. Anaga regarding the illegal conduct of a section of GMOA. It is a test case of contravention of the oath of allegiance, I think to this day it is continuing unabated, and the political masters are no better as they themselves are master crooks. That is why we cannot stem this rotten system which has infiltrated into the entire fabric of society. I for one am encouraged that there is at least one person who has the courage to challenge the present Govt. and the past regime with new set of proposals based on Law and Justice which of course is an anathema to the Politician. I earnestly request Dr. Janapriya to come to the forefront and contribute your knowledge and position to usher in a era of peace and prosperity to our beleaguered people.

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    Gracias, Prof. Hoole. You have said:
    .
    “The Presidential Elections are a complicated process and can be used to make the next elections more meaningful. I urge greater study and more voter education.
    .
    I’m glad to note that great Professor seems to think that I have identified a crucial area where work ought to be done, but he has made no promise that Mr Mahinda Deshapriya will explain all this abstruse stuff to the huge number of voters who know only Sinhala. One of my erstwhile English-teaching colleagues, Mrs K. Chandra Hemalatha remembers Mahinda as an inspiring teacher of Chemistry at Dharmashoka Vidyalaya, Ambalangoda, which was his alma mater as well. Many love to hear him speak on TV. because of his sardonic sense of humour.
    .
    Now that Prof. Hoole has identified the material that I have presented as being vitally important for voters to express their precise wishes without allowing demagogues to distort the process, it is surely incumbent upon Mr Deshapriya to explain all this to simple rural folk with all his customary wit and verve.
    .
    I’m sure that Prof. Hoole can explain all this to the Tamil and English speaking voters in this country. After all, Prof. Hoole has explained so many things to us readers of Colombo Telegraph. But really, these Elections Commissioners should not just write articles, they ought to perform live on T.V. at Peak Hours. The process of selecting candidates has already commenced. Most of those who understand the issues agree that having a number of worthy candidates would “make the next election more meaningful.”
    .
    One of the commentators above has used those very words to describe the possibility, I can’t remember whether it was Bunjappu, Rarityminds, or K. Pillai. Perhaps Prof. Hoole can remember whom he plagiarised!

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    PART TWO
    .
    But wait! Don’t we have a third Commissioner, one who can bring to bear all the gravitas that is required? I have never met Mr Nalin Abeysekera, but he had been one of my father’s star pupils, when in the Primary School. My father was pretty good at instilling the skills of oratory and acting to the little boys who were in his care. The gravitas that Mr Abeysekera displays he must have inherited from his own father, Stanley Abeysekera, MBE of Badulla. To get that honour, he must actually have met the Queen.
    .
    Nalin, like me, had half a dozen sisters. After Nalin got to Mt Lavinia, he used to visit his half dozen in their boarding school, but try as they might, my sisters could not attract the attention of this fair handsome boy. Every Christmas I remember a card coming to my home from Dum, Dil, and Dakshi. I never found out their full names.
    .
    Prof. Hoole is likely to come back here to see how his comment is faring. Mostly appreciated, I’m sure; I hope that he will then convey this message to the entire Elections Commission, quorum of three. Strange. Even stranger how they manage to deliver well-conducted elections, mostly with disappointing results.
    .
    Anyway, I hope that these three will have a plenary session on T.V. when the system of voting is discussed. We may be better able to appreciate a disappointing result (and I fear it will be that in 2020). By 2025, most of us may be pushing up the daisies, but at least our children may be able to elect a leader worthy of the noble heritage of this land.

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    Dear Dr. M.M. Janapriya,
    .
    I’m sure that this article of yours deserved many more positive responses than you have received. It is imperative that we have a long-term strategy for ensuring good political leadership in our country.
    .
    In commenting on other blogs, I have urged people to look at your article, and note particularly my comments as Sinhala_Man / on April 19, 2019. I’m disappointed to note that nobody else has commented after Henry Fernando / April 22, 2019.
    .
    I’ve had a chat with Prof. Hoole. He thinks that you’re a “goody-goody” guy – in other words a decent person without any great grasp of what happens at grass-roots level. I totally disagree with what he and some others have been saying about your needing to say specific things about the War. The others want the GMOA discussed. Why can’t these people stick to one specific subject?
    .
    One problem that I see with what you have said is that you have prescribed (habit of doctors!) certain criteria to be met by the next government, but you have not told us what to do if the medicines are not available in the pharmacies. Prof. Hoole, on the other hand, thinks that an ignorant guy like me should write an article on the voting system. Perhaps I could. But only in English. Although genuinely living as a villager, my Sinhala is not good enough to publish an article in a language other than English.Expect Presidential Elections by October.
    .
    He thinks that educating the public will go some way towards ensuring “Good Governance”, but will not suffice by itself. Obviously!
    .
    Thanks for your article, Doctor! My name is Panini Edirisinhe.

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