23 October, 2019

Blog

Telecommunications Provided By A Paddy Baron

By Emil van der Poorten

Emil van der Poorten

Those of us in the unenviable position of being at the mercy of our President’s brother in the matter of the provision of telecommunication services can probably generate a great deal more heat stemming from what used to be called “high dudgeon” than I can when the subject of Sri Lanka Telecom’s services are being discussed. However, since no one, up to now, appears to have stated the basic facts about the unbelievably bad service provided, let me take a crack at it.

As a resident of a relatively remote location (by Sri Lankan standards), less that 2 kilometres away from a major highway, the A 10 connecting two provincial capitals, Kandy and Colombo, we have reconciled ourselves to such inconveniences as not having a telephone line to our residence and having, instead, to depend on signals from telecommunication towers for our conversations through the ether.

While the quality of the voice reception leaves something to be desired, we manage by the expedient of taking the telephone from place to place until we receive the best possible reception.

However, our experience with the so-called 4G service provided at significant cost has been more than an inconvenience.  It has proved a monumental disaster, particularly considering that when we lose our voice connection we also lose the use of the internet connection!

It’s bad bad enough that we receive terrible service, but being subject to regular threats of service disconnection under the most unbelievable circumstances really pushes things over the line. To explain:

I pay my phone bill immediatelyon receipt of it.  I make the payment by electronic transfer of funds from my bank account to Sri Lanka Telecom’s, thus ensuring that the vagaries of our postal service are avoided.

Without fail, within a couple of days, I get an sms message telling me that my service will be “interrupted” if my “overdue payment” is not received forthwith.

Attempts to resolve this problem by email communication with SLT and through phone calls were anything but successful and I was informed that I had to visit an SLT centre (in Kandy, 20 kms away) and make an application, in person, so that I could access my account status on the internet to verify the accusations that were being made in the matter of “unpaid charges.”

Having printed out the required forms, I went into Kandy and met the head of Mobitel in their Kandy City Centre office, the part of Sri Lanka Telecom that provides this service.  Prior to my submitting the completed application, I had the subject clerk review the document to ensure that it was in order.  This he confirmed and I was told I would receive a password by email within a couple of days and I could use this to establish a permanent password to access all my account information on line thereafter

I did not receive the communication despite several weeks having passed.

I again visited the Mobitel Centre in Kandy City Centre and was told, essentially, that there was nothing further that could be done by that office.  I was, however, provided with an email address to which to address my grievance.

I should acknowledge here the courteous and very helpful manner in which the manager of the Kandy City Centre office treated me.

I followed instructions.  Nothing has happened despite more than another month having passed.

To reiterate: when our 4G connection “goes down” we not only lose access to the internet but cannot make even a telephone call on that instrument.  Our complaints have to be made on either a Etisalat or Dialog mobile phone.  In other words, in order to draw attention to the fact that we are not receiving a service for which we pay, we have the additional cost of calls through services provided by other phone companies!

There is an old Sinhala saying that is most appropriate in this circumstance.  It loses a great deal in the translation, but refers to “The man who fell from a tree being gored by a bull when he hit the ground.”   (Gahen vatichcha minihaata gona aenna.”) Seeking help from Sri Lanka Telecom/Mobitel, headed by the Paddy Baron (Sand King?) brother of our current President brings to mind that aphorism.

There has been a steady decline in the quality of service provided by our primary and national telecommunications entity and one cannot but surmise that a large part of this problem is because, as that old saying has it, the fish rots from the head.

We are on the brink of a national convulsion and this might provide the opportunity for a clearing of the decks of flotsam and jetsam, related to the politically powerful.  While the finger has been, justifiably, pointed at the Rajapaksa Clan in the matter of establishing a family hegemony in this country, those fattening themselves, their siblings and progeny at the national trough should not be ignored.

Enough is enough. Sri Lankans have exhibited unbelievable patience with those who’ve raped and pillaged what is ours. It is time to deposit them all on the dung-heap of Sri Lankan history.

Let’s start with the brother of the most powerful man in the country. Tomorrow will NOT be soon enough!

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

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      This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

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        Hemantha Yapa:
        I don’t know of one van der Poorten who lived in “Moun Mary” or anywhere in Dematagoda.! You are either totally confused or one of the biggest fabricators in Sri Lanka (and that’s really saying something!)
        Incidentally, while some of the three generations of van der Poortens might have traveled in locomotives driven by your forbears or you yourself, I would be most appreciative if you would mention even ONE who was employed on one. Operating locomotives is noble and productive work but fabricating stories is not!

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          What does it mean when comments by Hemantha Yapa (I read it yesterday) and Athula Mapa have received two likes, and two dislikes before bring removed?
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          It probably means that they were on, responded to, but later removed.
          .
          Hemantha Yapa had described Emil as a “dutch Burgher” – a term reserved for those whose ancestors arrived here before the British took over (when exactly? 1798?) during the Napoleonic Wars.
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          I believe that Emil has part Sinhal/Tamil ancestors, with a “later arrived” male Belgian ancestor from whom he derives his surname. Does all this matter?

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            Sinhala Man:
            I truly cannot believe what can (very politely) be described as “ethno-centrism” that constantly appears in this publication.
            What the hell does it matter who or what one’s ancestors were? You certainly can’t blame them for what you are, can you?
            If someone is that f…ing interested in my bloodlines, they should, perhaps get in touch with me and I’ll provide them with a copy of my birth certificate which provides information as to who my parents and grand-parents were.
            Is this the kind of thing that “2500 Years of Sinhala Buddhist Civilization has produced?
            Adolf Schickelgruber, where are you when your philosophy is so widely expounded in a little south Asian country?!

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            sinhala man

            it was not removed i believe for race.It must be because the guy mentioned that emil’s grandpa was driving trains.Emil says he was not driving,he was sitting in the passenger compartment while it was the hemantha’s grandpa who was driving.now we don’t know who is right who is wrong,sometimes even both could have been driving.In order to avoid a fight between the two descendents as to who had the honour to drive our first locomotives, CT has wisely removed it.

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              @ shankar

              Love the Sane reply you have given. I would say your version seems the best.. Love it

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    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

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    I live in Amunugama off Lewella. My Dialog mobile reception is hopeless. The signal strength shifts from one to two bars, jumps to search mode and to no service. It is more than years since I have been bitterly complaining to Dialog. The last excuse I got from Dialog is that the improvements are in the pipe line and intend to implement the by early next year. Since I am a long time subscriber to Dialog there is a problem for me to switch to another service provider because my number has been widely in circulation with my contacts. The callous attitude of Dialog is most appalling. I got myself fooled by the belief that Dialog is a better corporate player among the rest of the pack. Mr. Poorten you sure have good company.

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      Charles Cooray:
      It’s a question of “six of one and half-a-dozen of another! These telecom (and other large businesses) are given carte blanche by the governments that are supposed to be serving the citizenry. Could it have anything to do with the fact that we simply pay for the service (we do not get) and the others provide pugga?

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        Emil,
        You have articulated it very nicely. Srilankans do not believe or practice the underline duty to guarantee the service they charge the public for. This is daylight robbery.

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