9 August, 2020

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Sleep-Walking Kind: Beware Of Approvers

By Malinda Seneviratne –

Malinda Seneviratne

Transgressions are often accompanied by approval.  Approval comes in the form of justification. It can also take the form of dismissal through trivializing, i.e. of the ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘he was not drunk, he was sleep-walking’ kind.

The magnitude or otherwise should not however warrant dismissal and this is probably why the adage ‘punishment should fit crime’ came about.  Serious transgressions require heavy punishment, petty thievery warrant exaction of minor retribution.

We are talking ‘approval’ here.  It is no secret that false and exaggerated claims, especially in a situation where the claimant’s reputation is suspect, need to be buttressed by approval.  Approval must come from entities that appear to be uncompromised, honorable, ethical and professional.  This is why people who have some kind of ‘scientific’ badge are tagged to claim.

It is no secret that companies pump large sums of money into ‘research’ where compromised ‘scientists’ come up with conclusions that back false claims.  It is also no secret that certain drug companies dress up models with stethoscopes and physicians’ overcoats when peddling medicines.  The laws of the country are either inadequate or lack teeth to counter these unethical tactics of product and brand promotion.  Celebrities are used as models and they are also used as approvers.  For a price.  Kumar Sangakkara’s heart may bleed for those suffering from Osteoporosis, but if that’s the case, he should not accept a cent from Anlene, for example. Maybe he doesn’t.  Other do, though.

Celebrities, in their ignorance, endorsing products is understandable.  When professional bodies play ‘approver’ for a price it is a serious matter.

A few years ago, the Heart Association prostituted its logo on a bran cracker product, claiming it was heart-healthy when there was no scientific evidence to support the contention.

Then we have the Nutrition Society, whose name suggests it is a professional body, actively soliciting and receiving funding from sections of the food industry and thereafter offering apparently neutral views on issues that either endorse products by relevant companies or deflect or dilute criticism of the same.  Rightfully, they should disclose ‘interest’ when expressing their punditry.

Recently, a high-ranking official of the Medical Research Institute, offering voice and designation to a promotional CD put out by the world poultry industry, subtly recommends that chicken be consumed three times a week, after contending that myths about the ill effects of eating chicken contributes to malnourishment among children.  No caveats are offered, for example about alternative sources of protein.  The message is simply ‘give your child chicken or risk stunting’.

It is widely known, also, that infant foods that are not absolutely necessary are prominently branded in hospitals, especially in and around maternity and children’s wards, where unsuspecting mothers are persuaded to purchase the unnecessary.

The truth is that the consumer is ill-equipped to critically assess claims made by corporate racketeers and advertising agencies that really don’t give a damn.  Add the frill that is approval by apparently impeccable authority and the battle is won (by the unethical) and lost (by the consumer).

Whenever an uncompromised professional stands up and says ‘no’ or ‘wrong’ and points finger, it is not the relevant corporate entity that moves to sit him or her down.  It is the approving ‘authority’ that actively moves to pooh-pooh, marginalize and vilify.  That’s necessary because bucks count, one has to conclude.

Let’s put them all together.  We have extremely rich companies eminently positioned to purchase political cover, ‘experts’ and worse ‘expert bodies’ ready to receive sponsorship and therefore ready to compromise, scientists up for purchase, and a consumer that is ill-informed.  The consumer would be like a Kumar Sangakkara suffering from cramps, flu and a cold and carrying a groin injury facing up to Dale Steyn in full cry, or like a flu-ridden, ankle-twisted and wrist-sprained Lasith Malinga hobbling up to bowl to Chris Gayle.  Who would bet on Sangakkara hitting a six? Who would bet on Gayle getting out?

There’s a positive here.  A healthy Sangakkara would negotiate Steyn.  A healthy Malinga can outwit Gayle.  An informed consumer who knows his or her rights would give those in the business of hoodwinking a headache.  A community of such consumers would knock them out.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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    Journalism at its very best . Congrats.

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      Indeed, deceitfully at it’s best propping the Rajapaksa cabal. Sees well the speck in the eyes of others, but not the mole in his own.

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        @gamini
        I simply cannot see the connect between Malingas superb journalstic talent as evidenced by this article and his purported ‘propping the Rajapaksa cabal”, as you see it. Maybe the fault is in me. Hope my google glasses come soon.

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          Ameen:
          Your problem is not your glasses, it is the selective blindness of a shameless Rajapassa pandankaraya (like the man you admire)who is TOTALLY without shame and will do anything to keep earning a living as a rAJAPASSA EMPLOYEE.

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        Today, one can easily check whether the Keheliya^s or any other patient are a sleep walker or not.

        So where is the problem ?

        Why should it take that long for the DNA test to reveal the real murder of British tourist case ?

        In a country where people are completely misguided by state media, using even sworn medical and law professionals favor to them- not even considering the greater harm for the respect for such professions – transgressions of law has been their agenda..

        e.g most known published medical source data of Duminda and his seriousness with head injuries.

        So to bringing a polysomnogram on a national TV channel pretending the boy was a sleep walker will be the next step on their top of the agenda.

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        Probably the mole is in the rear, even a mirror couldn’t reflect them to his own eyes.

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      Malinda Seneviratne,

      The word is self-interest.
      Alternative words are Shills and Plants.
      Definition of SHILL

      1
      a : one who acts as a decoy (as for a pitchman or gambler)
      b : one who makes a sales pitch or serves as a promoter

      People are claiming that you a Rajapaksa Shill? Is it True/Not True?

      Are the BBS, Sinhala Ravaya and Sinhala Urumaya Monks shills for Buddhism? Shills of the Govt?

      Below you find a counter to BBS Monk Hegemony and its Exposure.

       Introduction to Buddhism. A violent Religion? Monk Hegemony?

      What is Buddhism?

      In Sri Lanka, they do the same.

      The 4 noble truths.

      Part 1
      Buddhism The Great — Part 1

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNOfTGSADdY

      Buddhism The Great — Part 2

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=clcs2PSze0I

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    The trivial matters concerned could be adopted by the government soon deemed under the GOTA approval.

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    We live in a “feel good” and “look good society”, and the gullible fall easy prey to unethical advertising.

    Just look at the number of Ads promoting ‘skin-whitening creams’, suggesting that only the fair-skinned will get the job or win the hand of the handsome and rich prince.

    Some of these products have potential risks.

    Is there a consumer-protection authority in SL which monitors these Ads?

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    What about journalists who approve government action after receiving laptops and other benefits?

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      Mr Prop Malinda,

      It is good to hear from YOU,That,

      “We are talking ‘approval’ here.
      It is no secret that false and exaggerated claims,
      especially in a situation where the claimant’s reputation is suspect, need to be buttressed by approval.
      Approval must come from entities that appear to be uncompromised, honorable, ethical and professional”

      Your Bosses Governance has got all the Qualities as you claim.
      entities of uncompromised, honorable, ethical and professional.

      All of them are Sleep walking and trying to open others abodes.
      Who cares about malnourishment and consumerism,
      NOW WE HAVE ELECTIONS TO WORRY,
      TRY TO SPEND SOME MONEY AND TIME ON THAT.

      FUTURE IS DEPEND ON THAT.

      HAHAHAHAHAHA.
      see this——-
      London news paper ,walesonline reported.
      First Minister’s aide fined for driving offence
      10 Jul 2013 21:25 Councillor was driving without insurance.

      He did not claim that he was sleepdriving, and what will minister’s aid do if he get caught by trafic POLiOS????.

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      @sulaiman

      Before you rant about journalists receiving laptops, I do hope you open your eyes to the more serious issue concerning the illicit nexus between the medical profession in Sri Lanka and the overseas drugs cartel. It is a well-known fact that mega-bucks flow between the palms of doctors and medical Reps for the promotion of drugs and medicines with bogus certifications.The victims eventually happen to be the hapless patients who pay with their lives for the handsome Santhosam collected by the doctors. This is the point that Malinda has attempted to explore, apart from his sideways jab at “boys being boys” and “sleep-walking sons of Bxxxxxxx s”, which of course is a very welcome topping to his cake of an article.

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        // Before you rant about journalists receiving laptops, I do hope you open your eyes to the more serious issue concerning the illicit nexus between the medical profession in Sri Lanka and the overseas drugs cartel. It is a well-known fact that mega-bucks flow between the palms of doctors and medical Reps for the promotion of drugs and medicines with bogus certifications.The victims eventually happen to be the hapless patients who pay with their lives for the handsome Santhosam collected by the doctors. This is the point that Malinda has attempted to explore// That’s right ! But that’s due to lack of proper systems and a totally messed up economic policy. Blaming ad agencies and doctors will not solve any of these problems.

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          Rifkha @

          “This is the point that Malinda has attempted to explore// That’s right !”

          why does MS seem beating around the bush ? May be he is scared to put the blame directly on the ministry of health ??

          I think if we had an EMA (European Medicine Agency) similar institution to south asia to tackle these problems, our countries could benefit from it. That kind of agencies can give a quality in medical areas mainly to indian subcontinent than to any other countries. Indian baby booming companies have become black marketeers today. I have watched american married couples keep coming to India searching for surrogate mothers to generate their own babies these days. Do we the srilankens have any national level laws in terms of Medical health/Research ?

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      They’ll continue to approve until the unit fuses away.

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    The father gets drunk and falls off a balcony and the son gets drunk or sleepwalks or gets confused and tries to open an aircraft door in mid-flight; God help us if these two ever travel together!

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      Steward swamp slomps.

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      the apple never falls far from the tree.

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    In Sri Lanka, fresh milk, fresh fruits, fresh vegs and fish and lean meat or even soya, kadala or koupi on a daily basis are affordable only to those who earn high income. Even manioc is quite expensive these days. But nobody talks about that. I have seen some qualified nutritionists, sitting in air conditioned rooms and leading a luxury life say “eat fish, eat veg, eat fruits, eat nuts, drink fresh milk, eat lean meat”, as if everybody can afford. The funniest part is they even go one step further and advise to have 5 servings of fresh veg and fruits and 2 glasses of fresh milk daily. They live in their own world and have no idea about the less privileged. All their advise is nice and fine for those who sit in AC rooms, do high profile jobs and drive their own cars but not for the poor and the vulnerable.

    In countries like India Veg and Fresh Milk are relatively very cheap, even in big cities like in Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Hydrabad etc. Same in other south Asian countries. In SL it’s hard to find naturally ripened good quality fruits. They mostly look like plastic stuff and very expensive too. We destroyed tasty yellow papayas by introducing a a modified variety called ‘red lady’ which is totally tasteless and highly chemicalized. Same with Guava. We can hardly find tiny yellow and green guavas with tasty red/white pulps in SL anymore. It’s been replaced by watery ‘kilo pera’. Locally grown fruits are more expensive than imported fruits. I am employed in Afghanistan and the mangoes here are imported from Pakistan and we get very good quality mangoes at a very cheap rate (even though it is imported) than in Sri Lanka, a country that’s popular for variety of mangoes. That’s the irony. Unless we find better alternatives there’s no way we can get rid of such product mafias and deceiving advertisements. Instead of finding faults it will be good if people find solutions or help find alternative solutions for such problems so that people can have more options. Our priorities are certainly mixed up.

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      dear Rifkha;

      OUR [The F KING’s Governance] Priorities are 10% and Looting Of People’s Money,
      By hook or cby rook.

      when you [ they] improts, there is COMMISSIONS.
      when we grow, there is nothing for them.

      that is the Differance.

      how We can import Ferraris, lomberghanis, and Porshes with out JARAAAWA.

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      I do believe this is why we being out of country feel that the lankens average dont care about any kind of laws or anything similar to that. Focusing the majority folks they are facing a struggle of survival before the sky rocketed prices of the daily needs. Last time, I could not imagine how the average could face their meals, seeing the market prices of a kg of rice, vegs, milk power or many other items. So you are absolutely right here.

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      “Even manioc is quite expensive these days”.

      Yes maniacs are a much sought after commodity in service to the ruling elites. These maniokis are the backbobe of this corrupt regime.

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      It is not right to compare Indian markets with those in srilanka. Lankens should give the priority to local products, at least in agro sector, not importing every genetically modified GUAVA or PAPAYA like products from any other countries. Those genetically modified tomatoes and other vegs are not healthy – health professionals should work on the law amendments pointing out the scientific reasons. In Switzerland, for example important vege and fruits are cheaper than their local products. It is the same with their meat products. How many mio of indians can afford to cover their daily meals. A larger majority is under poverty line. Following info will bring you more about them. Not even 50 mio out of over 1000 mio folks (5%) make up for the software industry. Any tourist enters to india return home with shocking memories having seen the realities of that country.

      – people below poverty line: about 260 million (acc. to AB Vajpayee feb 04)
      – poor living in India: one quarter of the world’s poor [BBC Aug 04]
      – people living on less than 1 Euro per day (50-55 Rs) 2004: about 30 % of population
      – * number of people in India living on less than 50 pence per day: about 300 million
      [BBC News Night, Oct 2006]
      – number of people living in slums: 150 million [BBC 15 sep 2004]
      – people in Mumbai living in shanty towns, open spaces, or on pavements: 50% of
      Mumbai’s population [BBC, Nov 2005]
      – world’s largest slum: located in Mumbai; Dharavi, 432 acres
      – number of inhabited buildings declared as dangerous or dilapidated in Mumbai:
      19,000 [BBC; Sep 2005]
      – number of children in India who die before the age of 5: 63 out of 1000 according
      to UN report [BBC; Sep 2005]
      – children under 3 years of age in Orissa severely malnourished: 21 % (Feb 04, acc to
      National Family Health Survey); or 3.8 % (acc. to data collected by the state)
      – tribal children below the age of six who have died of malnourishment-related causes
      in 15 districts of Maharashtra: 9,000 (between Apr 2003 and May 2004)
      – number of street children in Delhi: 150,000 estimate [BBC; Sep 2005]

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        Typo errors:

        Imported veg and other food items

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        Thanks for your response. I am quite aware of the poverty situation in India (I am a person who closely follows the happening in India). India was only one example and I was only comparing the prices of few essential items in affluent cities in India and they are much more cheaper than in Sri Lanka. However, in comparisons to the entire south asian region Sri Lanks is the most expensive place when it comes to basic items, especially food items. We have all the capacity and resources to produce quality stuff and be self sufficient but we do not. Sometime back I read a news that mentioned, milk producers threw gallons of unmarketable milk on the street in view of protesting against government’s reluctance to help them market their products. We have no regulations to monitor the quality of products. My home town is Kalpitiya which is a hub for fish and other sea food. There was a time we used to get sea food 5-10 times lower than the prices in Colombo but nowadays it’s more expensive than in Colombo and we hardly get good stuff in the market.

        Same story with fruits. No system to monitor the quality. They carbonate to ripen the fruits mostly. No action against genetically modified food products which are very harmful. There’s no regulations for proper monitoring. Day by day prices go up and nobody knows who is authorizing these price increases. When the system fails miserably, by default it gives room to product mafias to capture the market and own it. Advertising agencies would go to any extent for their survival, specially when there’s no proper regulating authority. I find lottery ads more harmful and destructive than milk powder ads or any other ads.

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          Thank you too for your comments.
          So you mean there are no such bodies in the country specially to control the prices of the food items today? As I remember we had such systems in the country before early 90ties, that was the reason why we as consumers could buy a kg of sugar for the same fixed price anywhere be it in Matara, Kandy or in Jaffna; I believe all these should have changed completely since the current administration in place. If there is no control in imported food stuffs,you never know whether the foods flow into the country are in compliance with all the food stuff related norms. I have absolutely no idea about their monitoring systems since I have not been in the country for last two decades. But now I can understand why significant numbers of the populations are reported to have unexpected health problems, though the latter should have connected with various factors.

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            There are bodies but they don’t have efficient and effective systems and personnel.Corruption is another factor. And our economic policies are messed up.

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          I wonder why the authorities cant react accordingly specially in such incident like For example when milk farmers throw gallons of unmarketable milk to their closer vicinities, particularly in a country where a significant number of children, according to WHO, are reported to be suffering from malnutrition not having access to a glass of milk for their daily food intake can only be happened in a lawless state only. These farmers could use those milk for production of other milk products such as Cheese for intance – may be lanken farmers dont see it beyond. Some part of Turkey and Morocco, they make their own cheese though those farming folks have no enough facilities. It the mentality of our people – they seem to have lost the respect and dignity of the life today..:( Further to this, even milk farmers in rich Netherlands, Germany, France or the like minded countries would not allow farmers to do so. We can not compare the standards of developed world with those of ours, but what is clearly seen is there is no proper systems in SL. Farmers strike all over the world. That is common to developed and developing countries. Now it is becoming clear to me – why you meant by that lanken priorities are mixed up.. :) I

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            Not that the farmers don’t see beyond, there’s no proper marketing channels developed and the farmers are left helpless. The big fishes gain a lot in various forms through imports and they don’t want to disrupt their income flow, if I were to put it in brief. As in most countries our government is also sponsored by corporates.

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              Are those buddhists monks also against holding dairy farming there ? Milk is also a product from cow and their blood basically.

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          I live out north of Puttalam. The land is not very fertile (chalky/clay) and the tube well water is hard. We got some Divi Neguma seed right about the beginning of the rainy season. Yes we got monkeys, wild boar and at times elephants too. (A mile or two away, the earth is rich and red like in Jaffna)

          Dubai Wattakka (Squash), cucumber, egg plant Divi Neguma seeds did very much better than the seed we normally buy from the agricultural store. We used part of the produce for our own consumption and sold some as well. I think we made about 5K/month from about 1/4 acre we planted. And obviously the monkeys etc too ate and elephants destroyed probably about quarter of the produce and we were still ahead.

          That said I do not know of any villagers who planted the Divi Neguma seeds, even though many are paddy farmer or day laborers on Coconut Estates and paddy fields. I used to at one time live in the south (Pinkanda, Dodanduwa), lush vegetation and plenty of jak trees. Rarely would anyone pick the jack. The women preferred to buy diced and packet-ed jak from the market because they did not want to get “koholla” the sticky sap on their hands.

          Even though the village is near forest and scrub the village it self has not enough vegetation for firewood. So the women need to walk a mile or so to get firewood. However the few houses that I have visited I have yet to see the two pot single piece clay stove (about LKR200) being used. We however use two because it uses very little firewood.

          So all the while complaining about high prices of veggie, most dont bother to take a few simple steps to reduce their cost of living. Thats Sri Lanka.

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            Good to know that you are from Puttalam area :)

            Dubai wattakka is planted by a number of farmers down Palaviya-Kalpitiya road and I personally know a couple of farmers who plant them (some of my school mates are into farming). Palaviya to Kalpitiya area is quite fertile for small onions, chilies, papaya, guava, dubai wattakka,normal wattakka etc. I must say the ‘Agriculture Department’ based in Palakudawa can do a lot more than what they are doing to help the farmers, if they appoint qualified people.

            With regard jack fruit, most of the times we have had bad experience when we happened to purchase a whole jack fruit, because they are mostly carbonated for ripening and people have lost faith in those sellers. That’s the main reason why people prefer packeted ones so that to some extent you can be sure of what you are buying. But I agree some people go for it for convenience.

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            And what ever I have mentioned here is not done with the intention of fault finding. I am only venting out :( We can do a LOT better if people in power implement proper systems and make them corruption free.

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    malinda,stop pimp-journalism,stop trivializing your masters daily transgressions

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    Why do people use abusive and obscene words in their comments and come up with personal attacks instead of addressing the content of the article? It really spoils the flow of having a decent discussion.

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      It is because sometimes the truth stings them, they are unable to come out with a suitable response and address the contents of the article, when intellectually they cannot comprehend a far superior narrative of a situation, and their lame comments are senseless, then all they can resort to is name calling, insults, and as you can see, attacking the writer.
      Pathetic lot.

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        I agree !

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      I also notice this in today^s srilanka. Not only on this platforms, but read day life in SRILANKA is seen abusive to me whenever I pay my visits to my aged parents once or twice a year. Some 25years ago, locals were very polite – we treated our elders, family one, buddhist monks and other religious counterparts with a great respect, but today the youth have no respect at all towards anyone. Asked why the volume of the loudspeakers unbearably high in pvt buses, was answered, that they dont care. For me, it was unbearable to see things stay in that way. This was the same within and on the entrances of the supermarkets or textile shops. Here in Europe, if one would neglect the sound of the radio, the neighboring family has the right to call police and go against that. Today evolutionized telecommunication world wide has almost paralyzed the other social values almost every country. This is the reason why I believe, we need law amendments to the prevailing laws in the country. So long, there are no active authorities in such bodies, we wnt see any changes of the system. Saddly, lankens have the potentials that the Indian average dont have -but no better systems to guide them has been the case with us.
      You are talking about the priorities being mixed up, I see that lankens have no priorities, unfortunately that is obvious

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        Typo error: NOT evolutionized instead revolutionized.

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      Because you yourself is sufficient to address the pros and cons of Malinjourn’lism.

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    A Professor of Economics lecturing to students four decades ago said that advertisements exploit peoples’ vanity, fear and ignorance.

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      Life itself is a vanity fair and sanity is a bliss when it comes to approvals.

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    This is how suspected sleep walker^s father has responded to the media today.

    We do it Premadasa’s way
    By Ravi Ladduwahetty

    Government Spokesman and Media Minister, Keheliya Rambukwella, yesterday defended the government decision to have only its members in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on the 13th Amendment, citing an example of the PSCs during the Ranasinghe Premadasa Presidency.

    He said President Premadasa also had a system of having PSCs, which had representation of political parties according to the percentages of MPs represented in the House. He also said the government had given the option to the opposition members to provide recommendations to the PSC. “Otherwise, people like the United National Party (UNP) Leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, will run to Geneva claiming they have been discriminated,” he said.

    Rambukwella also said the UNP Leader, who was hooted when he went to see the families of the fishermen in Beruwala, who died due to a recent thunderstorm, said he would be going to Geneva. “So, we will have an open mind regarding the amendments as well.”

    He said there was nothing wrong in saying that Sri Lanka was giving an internal solution for the national question, as the Indo – Lanka Accord was not necessarily the blueprint for the solution. “That Accord was not something that was engraved in stone and it was thrust on Sri Lanka, a fact, which was conveyed by Minister Basil Rajapaksa to the Indian leaders, he said.

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      @samson

      Now the son is also soon going to end up blaming Premadasa for his foolish mistake. He is soon going to issue a statement saying ” and I ALSO did it the Premadasa way” , meaning opening wrong doors.

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