By Kusal Perera –
All Constitutional Pundits who talked popular politics prior to and during the past presidential elections have been proved quite silly in how they guaranteed the constitutional amendment process for abolition of presidency. Abolition of the Presidency cannot be constitutionally handled in the simple way they said was possible. The SC decided it needs more than the 2/3 majority these pundits said is enough and could be manipulated from within this parliament. It needs people’s endorsement at a Referendum. In fact any structural change to the State and its executive powers has to go before the people for endorsement at a referendum, as the SC decided on the FR petitions it received on the 19th Amendment. I in fact was more ruthless than the SC in accepting this parliament as a legitimate representative body for any reforms proposed and I said so.
Having voted for the amateurish proposals the Opposition campaigned promising change backed by these urban “experts”, the whole country is now in a right royal mess. Parliament has no valid Opposition, a necessity for a healthy democracy. UPFA led by SLFP does not know whether they are in the government or in the Opposition. They want both. To be ministers in the government and lead the Opposition too. The Speaker passes on the responsibility of choosing a “leader of the Opposition” to the very group that created the confusion. The Wickremesinghe government that wasn’t elected, is less than half the majority needed in parliament to govern even a single day. President Sirisena used his executive powers that was promised to be abolished, to honour his private agreement with Wickremesinghe and appointed him as PM with his own cabinet. While stumbling along with a 100 Day programme geared for good governance, SLFP that was thrown to the Opposition joins the cabinet with over dozen portfolios. 93 days gone out of the 100 Days, everything important is yet to be finalised between fighting factions within the government.
The usual conspiracies and manipulations continue with political leaders trying to assert their dominance to stay in power. After defecting from the party to contest as the Common Opposition Candidate wholly backed by the UNP, MS was appointed President of the SLFP and the UPFA after elections. Yet the defeated President MR who was accused of arrogant family rule with mega corruption never seen in post independent Ceylon and then Sri Lanka, still roams the Sinhala society as a popular contender to the post of PM at the next elections. He has gradually encroached the SLFP voter base and the governing organs of the party. MS was thus compelled to sack 05 MPs who were Central Committee members in fear of MR gaining control of the party.
This for the first time has left the whole State apparatus also in a quandary. The usual procession of officials, who after an election sneak back to office after changing ties, wasn’t seen this time. The officials weren’t sure this new “rainbow” government could take control of its own political destiny to pledge their wholehearted co-operation. That is also a reason, why all agitations against corruption still have not got off the ground. This despite the PM establishing a special fraud investigation unit headed by DIG Waidyalankara and the President appointing his own 05 member Commission of inquiry. Nothing has started moving for the society to feel they are being governed by a newly elected President and a new set of ministers with a PM. People are left bewildered over their own fate.
Meanwhile all issues this country has to have answers for, has been reduced to the 19th Amendment and Electoral reforms. Arguments pre and post elections defined all ills in society as solely due to overwhelming powers accrued in a single person as Executive President that had led to arrogant and authoritative rule restricted to a single family with mega corruption. The people were thus told, this country now needs abolition of presidency with electoral reforms to elect a decent parliament. Discussing anything more was labelled as means to defeat this holy crusade for good governance. Self appointed civil society leaders from the NGO community felt important playing ball with political leaders, restricting themselves to high blown very abstract theoretical arguments on democracy, good governance and electoral reforms. With most, they were all about getting power by ousting MR and nothing more. They were like infants in a “Montessori” group fighting for a packet of sweets.
It’s now been clearly proved; we are not into real issues. We are roaming anti clockwise around what dumb and corrupt politicians are after. It says, the whole society is ailing from an intellectual leadership crisis. There are far deeper issues that need a serious social discourse than what is being touted around as reforms. We blame this government for not bringing in right people to right places. Ministry secretaries are blamed for inefficiency and lethargy. Police department is still acting the way it did and the government is unable to turn it around. Change of heads in most places have not changed anything for tangible results. We live with professionals who aren’t professionals respecting professional ethics. Academics that aren’t academics and does not know what sabbatical leave is meant for. Medical doctors who wouldn’t know the difference between profits, perks and privileges and the lives of patience. Accountants who do not want to know the difference between auditing and rampant corruption. Public administrators who can’t live without political stooging for placements, promotions and perks. These cannot be put to right with Independent Commissions and electoral reforms. Reforms are necessary but they are not all in finding answers. For it’s all about developing human resources the right way with dignity and quality.
Though late, it is time to take a serious look into our dilapidated education system that cannot produce the right quality for any service. Erosion in education quality is in every way tied to the much hyped post 56 people’s era. The fault was not in deciding the mother language as the medium of education right up to university education. The fault was in establishing an introvert Sinhala ideology that took over every aspect of social and personal life. Bandaranaike ideology dragged the whole Sinhala society into a selfish pride that rejected everything outside the Sinhala society and in particular, the Western world. For its own strength, this Sinhala ideology went back in history to talk of a 2,500 year old heritage, when we actually had to move forward to the future. Educational content, the curricula and syllabuses thus came to be designed to suit this introvert ideology in the name of national pride (සිය රට දේ – සිරි සැප දේ)
With that introvert ideology we lost on what we could have otherwise gained from global knowledge, science and technology and information the post second world war societies created anew. Closed societies have always lagged behind in human civilisation. It had always been open societies with cultures that were willing to access new knowledge, technology, skills and information and assimilate them to their own advantage that always prospered. It is within such cultures that education could play a positive role in producing its own intelligentsia. It’s own giants in many fields of study and professions. That remains the plain reason why for over 50 years in post ’56 Sri Lanka, the popular Sinhala turn has not been able to produce any who could stand along with pre ’56 political giants like D.S., J.R, N.M, Colvin, G.G Snr., S.J.V, cultural artistes like Chitrasena-Vajira, Panibharatha, Sunil Shantha, Amaradeva, Sarachchandra, Siri Gunasinghe, Lester J. Peiris, trade unionists like Bala Tampoe, D.G.William and Pelis Serasinghe, free thinkers like Kovoor and Adikaram. And even internationally recognised figures like Gamini Corea and Weeramanthry. All who came into these fields after ‘56 as public figures including politicians are mere dwarfs when left beside those old personalities.
Education so made for an introvert political agenda lost depth and quality. Every generation it turned out was like photocopying from a photo copy. Children who entered Grade I got pushed up with no proper education and then we tried to pick the “cream” out of educationally malnourished children for universities. It is these products who came out of universities with a degree certificate who were thereafter taken as graduates, qualified to teach in universities and in schools. What they produced was lesser in quality than them. A dumb education system cannot produce quality youth for a country’s future. So dumb are most present day uni academics, they cannot even create their own new jokes. They keep rattling out jokes their lecturers had told them as heard from their gurus, perhaps 20-30 years ago.
The education system that thus lost its importance could not maintain teaching as an attractive employment opportunity. No urban middle class parent would want their children to be teachers any more. Teaching is preferred in rural society for daughters as a job that suits best for employed mothers. Half a day job with 03 months holiday in a year for school children that gives teachers a holiday too with full pay being the only attraction. There is no interest among teachers to go on further training and knowledge gaining. Not even teacher trade unions demand such career benefits for teachers. This mediocrity can never produce youth for a futuristic society. Having turned out such mediocrity for over 30 years, we are now laden with such, in every department, ministry, corporation, universities and in parliament too.
Unless and until we decide to probe these deficiencies through serious social dialogue, compromised popular reforms will not bring any answers for us to climb out of this abyss of social crisis. Thus it should be the New Year Resolution this time to engage in serious talk on major issues like education and the best to crown the deflated 100 day programme, running out of steam even as a popular slogan.
Sriyani Mangalika / April 13, 2015
I observed there was a serious dialogue on prevailins issues.One major problem was identified as concentration of power. If we say like that earlier we acted according to rules and regulations where did the roght thing. Later we we acted according to the discretion of superior which may not be right.There are serious repurcussions.The right person does not get the appropriate position there by system becomes less effective
Amarasiri / April 13, 2015
Kusal Perera –
RE: Resolution For Sinhala-Tamil New Year; Get To The Bottom Of This Chaos
Resolution For Para- Sinhala- Para-Tamil New Year in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.
Get To The Bottom Of This Chaos created by the Paras, in the Land of Native Veddah Aethho.
sinhala_voice / April 13, 2015
YOU Are absolutely correct.
I am not a chauvanists of ANY kind.
I DO STAND FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE OF ANY COUNTRY BY THEIR RESPECTIVE ELECTED MANAGERS.
Even though the presidential system as it is NOW gives enormous powers to an individual, the process of dismantling it MUST be first discussed and agreed by ALL people in the country..That is UNANIMOUS ALMOST.
To do this the people who propose such change MUST first give viable options to the citizens of Sri Lanka.
Discuss the options out in the open NOT BEHIND CLOSED DOORS (As it seemed to be happening NOW)
Agree on a SYSTEM bearing in MIND the requirements:
* Sri Lanka has many ethnic , religious groups.
* Sri Lanka is coming out of a civil war situation.
* Sri Lanka has tried some form of devolution post 1948, 1972 and 1978. CAN WE BUILD ON THESE EXPERIENCES FOR THE BETTERMENT OF SRI LANKA AND SRI LANKANS WHO LIVE THERE.
*Transparency, Equality, Equity, Responsiblity >>>ALL GOOD WORLD ACKNOWLEDGED MANAGEMENT PRINCIPLES….
Based on these can we come UP with a BETTER UNITARY SYSTEM than what we country have,…
If we are to go federal or united..THEN WE HAVE TO BRAKE PRESENT SYSTEM INTO COMPONENTS >>>>>What is the best way of doing this ????
Is it North+East region and a SOuth+West Region….6 provinces or 9 provinces….
These have to be OPENLY DISCUSSED…..
THIS is not happening NOW…..This is NOT GOOD FOR SRI LANKA and SRI LANKANS in the future…..
PARTICIPATION | PARTICIPATION | PARTICIPATION ::::KEY WORD
rew / April 13, 2015
What options were given with the 18th amendment?
Jim softy / April 13, 2015
There is no Sinhala and Tamil new year.
It is Sinhala and Hindu new year.
Native Vedda / April 13, 2015
“It is Sinhala and Hindu new year.”
Is it so Jimmy the dimwit? Why?
Some Hindus of North India seem to have completely different date as their New Year.
Thamil Nadu Tamils celebrate the day as their New Year.
When did the Sinhala/Buddhists determine this day to be Hindu new year? Why the same day is celebrated differently as Sinhala New year and not as Sinhala/Buddhist or Buddhists new year day?
By the way during Chanrika’s first term in office the idea of introducing Hindu and Sinhala new year first came about. Is this part of denying Tamil existence in this island and expect your stupid historian to claim that those were Sinhala Hindus?
You have a serious problem and let the fellow readers decide what it is.
Various New Year’s Day’s Celebration in Different Regions of India:
Ugadi – Telugu New Year : Ugadi symbolizes beginning of an age, celebrated in the state of Karnataka and Andhra pradesh. This festival fall in the month of March–April (Chaitra month ), date always vary because the Hindu calendar follow a different day every year because the Hindu calendar system. It is the festival of new beginning and time to get new clothes and some good food.
Gudi Padwa – Marathi New Year: Gudi Padwa is celebrated on the first day of Chaitra month and its a New Year day for Maharashtrians and Konkanis. On this day a gudi is found hanging out on the right side of the main entrance of the houses, Gudi is a bright yellow cloth tied to the tip of a long bamboo and copper pot placed in inverted on it along with a sugar garland.
Baisakhi – Punjabi New Year: The biggest harvest festival celebrated across North Indian states, especially in the land of Five river’s Punjab. Usually Baisakhi falls on 13th April, and some time on 14th and also celebrated as the day of the formation of the Sikh Khalsa. The main celebration takes place at the birth place of the Khalsa and at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, at Talwandi Sabo and can be seen in United States, Canada and United Kingdom.
Puthandu – Tamil New Year: The traditional tamil new year starts on mid-April either on 13 or 14 April, or first day of Tamil month Chithirai. People wish each other “Puthandu Vazthukal” which means Happy New Year and Chitterai Thiruvizha is celebrated in the Meenakshi Temple Madurai. The main food of this festival is Mangai Pachadi, made of raw mangoes, jaggery and neem flowers.
Bohag Bihu – Assamese New Year: The spring festival “Bohag Bihu” celebrated in the middle of April as the beginning season of agriculture. The Assamese new year festival bihu is the most important festival of Assam,celebrated by fun and abundance, faith and belief. There are three bihu festivals in Assam, other two are Maagh and Kaati.
Pohela Boishakh – Bengali New Year: The Nabo Barsho of Bengal is celebrated with great deal of enthusiasm and energy during the mid of April. This is the day of cultural programs, shopping, prayers and also considered as auspicious time for marriages. Pohela Boishakh celebrated by tribal people in hilly areas of Tripura and also in cities of other countries.
Bestu Varas – Gujarati New Year: Bestu Varas mark the beginning of the harvest season in Gujrat and therefore is observed with great enthusiasm. It is celebrated as Gujarati New Year on the day after Diwali along with religious rituals and traditions. Marwaris of Rajasthan celebrate Diwali as a new year, the most auspicious day to start new things.
Vishu – Malayalam New Year: Vishu is similar to the New Year festivals observed elsewhere in India, usually on April 14 of the Gregorian calendar. The most important event of the festival is “Vishukkani” means The first object viewed in the morning. It is one of the most popular traditional celebration festival followed by people of Kerala
Losoong – Sikkimese New Year: The Losoong is one of the most popular and old age festival of Sikkim, celebrated on month of December. It marks as the end of harvesting season and the New Year for people of Sikkim. Losoong is also known as ‘Sonam Losar’ the farmer’s new year, Chham dance is one of the major attraction of festival.
Navreh – Kashmiri New Year: Navreh the lunar new year is celebrated as new year in Kashmir with great enthusiasm and sanctity. It’s fall on first day of Chaitra Navratri and is regarded as sacred in Kashmir as the Shivratri. It is observed as the New Year’s day in other part of India such as Gaudi Parva,Ugadi and cheti Chand the new year day of Sindhi people.
Hijri – Islamic New Year: The Islamic year start on the first day of Muharram, Islamic calendar does not align with the Gregorian calendar so the date for Islamic New Year or muharram vary as per lunar calendar. The New Year is celebrated with long standing customs & traditions for incoming spring.
Cheti Chand – Sindhi New Year: Cheti Chand the sindhi new year is celebrated on the second day of the Chaitra month. It is one of the very auspicious day in Sindhi community as they celebrates the festival to honor of the birth of “Jhulelal”.
Don Quixote / April 13, 2015
Now we have a liberal chorus. Earlier it was a yapping chorus, this lot are dyed in the wool liberals who spend their time complaining and whinging but have no solutions to offer.
This actually makes one wonder if what they said about Rajapaksa was real or not !
Ebahtog / April 13, 2015
Good resolution. The one that caught my eye was regarding education. No wonder, most of the parliamentarian today had gone through this education and we see the results. A good example is the Maharaj MR’s family.
Uthungan / April 13, 2015
Thank you very much Kusal.
PI am fully in accord with all what you have said in your brief essay.
But life has to go on and we cannot bring back all those illustrious people who you have mentioned during the pre 1956 era.
But why have you not mentioned the fact that the whole problem we are faced with today is because of the opportunistic tactic utilised by one of those leaders of the1956 era whom you have mentioned.?
The consequence of that, is the introvert cockeyed educational system we are saddled with which has promoted a myopic political system which has resulted in the present political chaos.
Mallaiyuran / April 13, 2015
In the west popular, the popular new year resolutions are weight loss, organizing office and home,… The end is always same. that is thinking of the next New Years’ resolution. But the weight catch up more and more and the MacDonald jokes pick up.
From 1948 There is no short of resolution. GG had a solution for Sinhala Intellectuals to turn around them. But he was bought with a cup of coffee.
The resolutions were there for public consumption.The intention behind them was always capture power and fool the people.
JVP could have stayed out of the CC game and went ahead with it’s original plan of educating voters. This might had deter the TNA further digging into that.
By now, there might have been real resolution how to fix the country. This now, “saved the parrot from kite and gate it to cat”. It is going to take about 20-030 years for the Sinhala Mahajan to realize the Common Candidate mistake.
justice / April 13, 2015
“The fault was in not deciding the mother tongue as medium of instruction……………………………………………”
The fault was actually in not deciding that English – a world language and the portal to knowledge – should be the medium of instruction.
The very fact that we are discussing matters in english here, is proof of the indispensability of English education.
Every Lankan parent yearns for English proficiency & education in English for our children.
Only the affluent can now afford it and enjoy this privilege, in sri lanka or abroad.
The mother tongue could be an optional second language.
Also, the teaching and learning of religion is a time & money wasting exercise.
Kautilya / April 14, 2015
The output of intellectuals – scientists and doctors, writers, dramatists and journalists have actually been an order of magnitude larger than in the full English medium days, and Kusal P would have found out if he had done a quantitative analysis as well as an impact analysis, after including the many people who have immigrated out of the country.
The country couldn’t retain its educated people; also, the continual spirals of violence generated by the competition between the goons of nationalism on both sides of the language divide, aided and abetted by the deliberate development of militant behaviour created by the left that sought a revolutionary Bolshevik or Che Guverist approach to power lead to increasing erosion in respect for law and order, justice etc. J.R.Jaywardene was a man educated in the old tradition but it was he who began to stone the houses of Senior Justices.
It was not the adoption of Swabasha, but the violence of leftism and communalism that reduced the country to what it is. However, we have been spared the horrors of leftistism that cambodia, China, Korea, Russia and Eastern Europe have had to face. But, if we are not careful, we will become reduced to a banana republic under the control of the US and we will become like Haiti undr Papa Doc, or Cuba under the US puppet Bastita. We have just come out of the tunnel after 30 years of blood and smoke.
So, I am afraid that Kusal Perera’s article, while valid in its criticisms of the “single-issue common candidate” phenomenon, fails badly in exposing the socio-political causes behind the present debacle. He wouldn’t have made these mistakes if he tried to put some numbers and statistics against each of his contentions.
J Ocker / April 15, 2015
If you can go to any of our universities and talk to some of the final year students of any of the humanities courses, you will – if you can understand anything besides numbers – get an idea of whether kusal p is right or wrong about the quality of university education here now.
It is not the mere introduction of swabhasha – arguably a positive change on educational grounds at least during certain levels of a child’s development. It was the mindset that was let loose, that led to the belief and practice that it was no longer necessary to have the means of access to knowledge besides half digested third and fourth generation notes.
Looking at the almost universal avarice of the medical practitioners and the goings on of their ‘professional’ bodies, I suspect that the other faculties may not be much better. And when you read the opinions of these worthies on matters of public interest, my suspicions seem validated.
I f u open your eyes and look outside your haze of numbers, you will realise that the state of education today is a greater peril to the future and present to this country than VP and MR ever were.
Have you ever wondered why the superficial slogans of what you call “leftism and communalism that reduced the country to what it is” found such a fertile field here?
“quantitative analysis as well as an impact analysis” indeed!!!! Continue to wear them tightly around your eyes. You will be happy.