18 September, 2018

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The Government Is Clueless How To Serve The Country Better – Politics Religionized & Religion Politisized

By Lacille de Silva –

Lacille de Silva

All men are my children. As for my own children I desire that they may be provided with all the welfare and the happiness of this world and the next, so do I desire for all men as well” -Emperor Asoka. 

Emperor Asoka had embraced Buddhism after a gruesome war. He had undergone a change histrionically and had ruled the country thereafter while adhering to Buddhist principles, wisely and justly. He had encouraged all citizens to  respect the freedom to follow their own beliefs and religions and to refrain from criticism of the viewpoints of others. He had also counselled that everyone should essentially increase the “inner worthiness”. He had adopted a paternalistic view on administration and had considered that it was his duty to serve for their greater good.

He had looked upon the citizens’ welfare and had used state resources for cultivation of medical herbs, digging of wells, rest houses, planting fruit trees along public roads etc. He had ensured as a ruler to guarantee respect for life of humans and flora and fauna. His only aim had been to treat all living beings including nature with compassion, love, understanding, kindness while ensuring peaceful co-existence. He had banned cruelty to animals and hunting certain species of animals. He had reformed the judicial system too, to ensure fairness, to prevent abuse and  extremes. He had also established a Department separately to look after the interests of different religions and for the purpose of encouraging the practicing of religion. 

Our leaders abuse political office for private gain. They think differently and act deviously because they are rotten apples with awful characteristics and preference towards criminal activity. PM a few months ago in Parliament said that his wife gets a higher salary than him and hence he would not hesitate to support the proposals to increase salaries of parliamentarians and provide vehicles to carry out their work in electorates. Media revealed countless examples of politicians with defective morals and penchant for criminal activity. And how they acted contrary to the pledges. They were voted in 2015 to run a responsible government.

In Japan, in 1976, the then PM Tanaka Kakuei had been involved in a corruption scandal. Tanaka was found guilty for accepting cash-stuffed boxes as kick-backs, which had been delivered to his private residence,  for pushing through a deal to purchase a few aircrafts built by Lockheed. Kanaka thereafter was compelled to resign and he had been subsequently convicted. In late 1980s, Prime Minister Takeshita Noboru, who had accepted donations etc., was forced to resign and had been dealt with by the law.

In Sri Lankan context, due to the culture of impunity, politicos who have been accused of massive scandals, murder etc., have not been dealt with by law for decades. There are similar turncoats who have benefited having obtained even ministerial posts too. Such crooks hold on to position shamelessly, refuse to even stepdown unlike in other countries. They even safe-guard their political opponents. The judiciary, police, prosecutors have been rendered powerless. They therefore cannot effectively enforce laws to curb corruption. Politicos continue robbing the State mercilessly and is unstoppable.

They abuse politics, position etc., to remain in power. They have not spared the religion too. Religion has also been exploited, dragged  in and injected deceitfully to divide the people craftily and venomously. They do so to remain in power because they need power at any cost. Religion does not cause any threat at all if they only use the guidelines of religious teachers for ethical and moral governance as in the case of Emperor Dharmashoka. Unscrupulous politicos drag ethnicity and religion to advance their personal political gain. Any religion that promotes murder, mayhem, hatred, violence, duplicity, thievery and harm is not a religion.

In politics too, there are directions that should be strictly observed by the rulers, according to the Buddha. Emperor Asoka unlike the present day politicos observed such rules with altruism.  Similar rulers both in India and Sri Lanka have proved beyond doubt that if you have good rulers you could ensure religious peace, tolerance and love. Machiavellian type of Sri Lankan politicos have thrown the rules in to the deep blue sea. Present political culture therefore has been appallingly polluted by such lowly leaderships over the last few decades. They have miserably failed to honour social and moral obligations as politicians. PM Wickremesinghe is no exception. He had failed to run governance as an altruistic leader. He said in Parliament that 43% live below the poverty line (less than 2 US $ a day) and that bulk of our people live in misery. We need humane political leaders with an iron fist to run governance, who feel the pulses of the citizens.

In India, in 1905, the proposal to divide Bengal was vehemently opposed by the people irrespective of their race, religion etc. The campaign was led by Gurudev Rabindranath Thagore, a thinker, spiritual leader and a truth-seeker. He had spelt out eloquently the need of a UNITED COMMUNITY to achieve goals and prevent the divisions. Furthermore, during the reign of Akbar,  peace was guaranteed largely owing to his liberal religious policy in India.  He too had preached tolerance of all religions and had introduced a unique faith called Din-i-Ilahi – to bring all religious groups, particularly Muslims and Hindus, on a common platform. Akbar in his own harem had allowed the Hindu wives to practice Hinduism. It must also be mentioned that all great leaders have always stressed the need to strengthen unity by preserving the most vital ingredient – HUMANISM, the love for all human beings irrespective of the race, religion etc.

The 1978 Constitution, Executive Presidency and proportional representation introduced by the JR government paved the way for deal making coalition governments at national level. They created other endless complications too. They began disregarding accountability and transparency imperatives openly. They also craftily and selfishly introduced the religion into politics having formed parties on ethnic lines. Religion could not have posed any threat at all if selfish politicos did not use religion and ethnicity for petty political gain. It is unfortunate politics has been religionized and religion has been politicized. Modern politicos of all races and religions have replaced undemocratic biased manipulations, pressure and conflict in place of consensus.

Furthermore, ethnicity too has now been politicised. Time has come to bring in laws for banning political parties based on ethnic lines in the interest of the future generation. Our future depends on the quality of our politicians. They are the key players if we need to achieve greatness. It is time for the leaders to put their parties in order by democratizing the election of party leaders too. They should pave the way for young capable leaders to emerge in their parties. The system of electing their party leader democratically should be introduced, without any further delay. Electing the leader  by an executive committee nominated by the leader is highly undemocratic in a so called democratic republican state. RW lost thirty elections and remains the party leader to-date.  Party leaders should be selected by the general membership. And this should apply to the JVP too.

We, the citizens should understand that short-sighted, good-for-nothing politicians are hell-bent to achieve their wicked goals using religion as a tool. Owing to all these, the Nation is caught up in a communal inferno at present. A Singaporean MP, Christopher de Souza had said in Parliament that “political office is both a calling (and a passion). Those who want to serve must have the sense of duty and beyond that passion to the nation, as well as a desire to contribute to the public good of Singapore”.  He had further elaborated – “For MPs, we are in this because we believe in the ethos of sacrifice that public servants entails, listening to them, caring for them, offering encouragement in times of difficulty and mapping out real ways of progress for them and their children – that is fulfilling, that is politics”. He had ended the debate, I quote – “Those who want to serve must have the sense of duty and, beyond that, passion to the Nation, as well as desire to contribute to the public good”. Politics without ethics and morality therefore will not pay good dividends. It could only destroy a Nation. We must therefore say “NO” to politicians who promote senseless communal divisions due to vested political interest for personal gain – CORRUPTION.

I have always maintained the position that our country is poor by choice and design. Our corrupt politicos have ultimately dragged this country to such a low level. They will not contribute towards eradication of the culture of impunity which has engulfed the whole country for their personal benefit. This applies to all the politicos whatever the race or religion. In Singapore, there is zero tolerance for corruption. They are among the highest paid for legislators. PM too had failed to create necessary avenues to uplift productivity and promote growth. They have failed to overcome financial stability due to excessive loans, corruption and top heavy government. They have indubitably jeopardised stability of the country. Nevertheless, he is lavish when it comes to legislators. The standards of politicos from all communities have come down and they should therefore be shown the way out if we need to take this country forward.

It must be stated that the values of citizens too are fast deteriorating. People also think that it is the order of the day for making hay while the sun is shining. The entire society has changed completely. Politicians knowingly or unknowingly causing irreparable damage and destroying this beautiful country. The government is clueless how to serve the country better. I am confident the present government is utterly incompetent and will not take necessary steps to prevent further erosion and destruction.

People too pay endless taxes to maintain a top-heavy government. Reforms in the public sector aimed at improving service delivery have not received due consideration of the President and the Prime Minister. The core objectives should be the delivery of the goods to meet the pledges made by the President and the PM, based on five key strategic enablers; (a) Understand your customer (customer-centricity) (b) Pull down the walls (Connected government) (c) Empower the institution(Build capacity) (d) Realise benefits through appropriate models (Deliver the promises) and (e) Continuously improve (Innovate). The PM does not simply understand the importance of deploying a client-centric approach in public services – a continuous change process.

It is necessary for the President, the Prime Minister, the Cabinet Ministers to  promote proactive “entrepreneurial governance” innovatively for the benefit of the country and citizens. Our leaders also have failed to respond in a free market economy to facilitate growth of the economy in an innovative and a proactive way to improve performance of the public sector. Sri Lanka needs an entrepreneurial leader who knows how  to use the resources to increase effectiveness and productivity.

In the past, we have had enough politicians, who considered their reputation was more important than anything else. They refused to accept anything outside their entitlement. They led humble unassuming lives without unnecessarily burdening the National Treasury. We also now need to restore the dignity of our elected representatives including Parliament. Our country can never prosper unless the politicos stop misusing the religion for personal gain to remain in power immorally. The NATION is in flames due to the culture of impunity, which is a creation of immoral, unethical politicians belonging to all races and religions.

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Latest comments

  • 5
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    “Emperor Asoka had embraced Buddhism”

    Lacille,

    As Buddhist, can you please answer a question that I’ve been grappling with for some time………….


    Who is a Buddhist?

    • 5
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      The person who follows the the teachings knowns as the “Dhamma” taught by the Buddha is a Buddhist.

      • 7
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        “The person who follows the the teachings knowns as the “Dhamma” taught by the Buddha is a Buddhist.”

        Thanks Lacille for your answer.

        If that’s the criteria……..then I put to you, ………… the rational argument, that there aren’t many Buddhists in the world; perhaps none. ……… And certainly not in Lanka!

        So, why not discard this eternal harping back to Buddhism …….. and calling people Buddhists? …….When they are definitely not! …….. Don’t you think, it’s a ludicrous foolish endeavour/task in the modern-age?

        Shouldn’t what we do be based on logic and reason? ……..Why go on calling people Buddhists out of habit? ………Habits, people parrot without examining (ask Old Codger …if he is yet not charred at the stake) ….

        Like I wrote in one of Shaymon’s pieces …………Buddhism is a one-man religion ……….it was born and died with Buddha ……Buddha is the only person who practiced Buddhism! …..That was his thang.

        Is that wrong?

        By the same token, there must be many people – perhaps in places like Scandinavia – who display “Buddha-like” behaviour, who don’t call themselves Buddhists………….and probably would have never even heard of Buddha……….

        What’s in a name? ……….Isn’t the behaviour what matters?

        • 4
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          Dear Mr. Nimal Fernando,

          Well said, hats off to your intellect.

          Asking questions and using rational reasoning to figure out the truth. Fantastic!

          If half of the people in this country had half of your reasoning power, we would be free from all this blood spilling and carnage.

          A typical Sri Lankan never wants to ask questions, talk less of finding the truth. or an answer to something obvious.

          We are brought up like that, brought up to swallow all the bullshit they give us to swallow. Even our mothers would say “Puta anga beragana wadakaranna”.

          So irrespective of all sorts of things that we may not agree with, according to our conscience we choose to choose to play deaf, dumb and blind. We concern ourselves with only what we can directly benefit from even if it means licking someone’s arse no matter how we may hate that person. So selfish and so self centered, asking questions can jeopardize our gain!!! We choose to be enslaved to a system that doesn’t take you anywhere anyway, unless we too are also damn corrupt like the ones in charge.

          Wish you the very best in life.

          Lasith

      • 6
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        continued

        Buffettism/Buffettology is Warren Buffett’s method of investing…………there is a Buddha like following that congregate in Omaha every year……..some want salvation some want wealth; what’s the difference (ask any Mahanayake or politician?) ….. Buffettism was born and will die with Buffett ………anything he did – even the mistakes – are an integral part of his method ……….no one else can practice Buffettism except Buffett ………there aren’t many who have practiced his method into riches …….. Buffettism has a very important assessable criterion inbuilt to measure the “practitioners’ ” success …………i.e. the money in the bank!

        What is the criterion/criteria to measure the success of a practitioner of Buddhism? ……..One just calling oneself a Buddhist? Is that the criterion?


        Sri Lankans are nothing else but first and foremost humans ………..who display human-behaviour ………..behaviour that dates back to primordial dawn of time ………. well disguised camouflage/veneer of, “education,” “religion,” what have you………….. don’t change a thang!

        Shouldn’t we start looking at Lankans as humans ………..and not “Buddhists.” ………and analyse their behaviour as human-behaviour?

      • 4
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        continued

        Well Lacille, ………..too difficult to get tickets to Moulin Rouge at short notice ……….Lido will have to do ………… A Lankan reformer’s life is a long lonely thankless one ……….I don’t want you to die a lonely death ……..There’s a world out there even pristine Buddhists can enjoy :)) ……….. Buddha won’t mind; I spoke to him last night.

        • 1
          6

          Nimal,

          Based on your way of judging there are no Christians, no Muslims in this world. Christians and Muslims are the biggest murderers in this world. Who dropped two atom bombs in Japan and wiped out thousands? Christians. Who killed Buddhists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Maldives? Muslims.

          • 4
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            Eagle Eye,

            “Based on your way of judging there are no Christians, no Muslims in this world.”

            True. …….. Certainly not many people follow the “teachings” ………… People have got into the unthinking habit of calling themselves all sorts of things ……..mostly people are introduced to “things” at birth ……..and just follow out of habit.

            “Religions” always get “evolved”/corrupted into/by “human-traits” …………. Christ instructed his disciples to live simply ……..not even have an extra pair of sandals/footwear ………..And The Pope lives in a palace and sits on a jewel encrusted gold throne! ………..How did things get so far off? ………Any thoughts?

            Please make the distinction that I’m not criticizing any religion/religions……. but the hypocrisy and the bastardization of them …………I have the highest regard for Buddha and am just blown away by his intellect ……for him to have come up with such concepts ……..2500 years ago.

            But by the same token I’m quite underwhelmed by latter-day “Buddhists”

          • 4
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            continued

            Why is it so difficult to judge human-behaviour as just simple human-behaviour?

            “The age of reason” ……………brought “The West” – that we all mimic and admire but reluctant to admit :)) – into the process of rational thought.

            We still attach/infuse an “Eastern” mysticism/spirituality into our thought process. …….and we are left behind and ………we are where we are……………

            I see that some writers like Old Codger try to drag SL kicking and screaming into Lanka’s very own “Age of Reason” ………..but if he is not careful he’ll be flambéed at the stake………….

            I’m safe ………spiritually I’m nothing but charred ashes ………..nothing to catch fire……………. but yet having grown up as an animal without a “religion,” I think I’m a decent man …………even if I have to say so myself :))

            Believe me ……….A simple solitary man ………can find his own way………………..

            • 3
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              Nimal,
              “I see that some writers like Old Codger try to drag SL kicking and screaming into Lanka’s very own “Age of Reason” ………..but if he is not careful he’ll be flambéed at the stake………….”
              At my age, I think anyone who did that would be making a big mistake. An old shoe might taste better after roasting.
              Apart from that I agree there aren’t any Buddhists, Christians, Muslims etc. in the sense of following the teachings of their founders.
              Not even the great Gandasara can claim to be a Buddhist by Lacille’s definition.
              The commentators in this forum should be honest and admit to themselves that they are more tribal than religious.

          • 0
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            What a pity? People could not understand and digest a well written article.

        • 2
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          Nimal Fernando,
          Well said!
          I hope the Sri Lankan humans who read your comments, will at least start thinking outside their ‘religion box’ that they are trapped in, and adopt a rational, scientific approach to problem solving.
          “Religion is an insult to Human dignity.
          With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” – Steven Weinberg.

    • 2
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      Read through the article, and make comments of it’s context, rather than showing your ignorance of spirituality.

      • 2
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        I suppose your comment was directed at me.

        “had ruled the country thereafter while adhering to Buddhist principles, wisely and justly.”

        This is what I was trying to ferret out ………

        Now I’m intrigued ………… Please elaborate what you meant by your comment………..so we can discuss/argue it out …….and perhaps I might learn something about spirituality ……..

        I promise to be civil ……………. :))

      • 4
        0

        Dharshana,
        Spirituality?
        That’s interesting. What exactly is this spirituality?
        Is it IGP Pujitha meditating in the morning?
        Is it the obligatory trip to the Dalada by all leaders?
        Is it the use of the Dalada to allegedly bring rain?
        Is it the use of all TV channels to blast pirith at us (to no effect really)
        I personally think spirituality should be kept at home, neither seen nor heard.
        If you are talking of the spirits which come in bottles, please accept my apologies.

  • 3
    2

    Well, Dr Ranil is not king Asoka…Is he?.

    • 5
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      KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

      Very well, Kalu Albert is not KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera. Is he?

      • 2
        0

        He is Percy

    • 3
      0

      KA Sumanasekaram,
      Not only Dr. Ranil but also King Dr. Mahinda Rajapakse, Kings brother Dr. Gota & Dr Basil Rajapakse, Dr. KA Sumanasekarm, Dr.Wmalasena are also not King Asoka.

    • 3
      1

      Lacille,
      ” They should pave the way for young capable leaders to emerge in their parties. The system of electing their party leader democratically should be introduced, without any further delay. “
      This would work well in a country where voters are not driven by tribal instincts.
      But here we would end up with characters like Mervin Silva or Muthuhettigama as party leaders.

  • 4
    1

    Not even the Buddhist clergy follow the teachings of the Buddha, leave aside the laymen. So Buddhism is just a convenient facade to hide behind all the nefarious activities the low down individuals of this country are doing.
    I am an atheist and believe this world would be a far better place if all of us were such.

  • 3
    0

    Lacille, I don’t think one can find a better word than ” clueless” to describe the present Government. The two leaders simply do not know whether they are coming or going. They boast of 40 – 50 years of political experience, PM is hailed as a strategist and an omniscient individual specially by those in the UNP camp. His strategies have boomeranged, the most recent one being his plan to disintegrate SLFP and get a comfortable win for UNP. This type of deceitful and low level tactics are morally degrading and not becoming of a person aspiring to lead a Nation. All politicians should do well to remember that there is a spiritual dimension to politics, incidentally this is a far cry and like putting water on a duck’s back. As for the President we have to excuse him considering his background and many knew he will bungle and he had no blueprint for the country”s future.He is a classic example of the good old saying” Uneasy lies the head that bears the crown.”As we see President will not retract from his resolute. He will prevent any fraudster from last regime being brought before the Law. He will tighten the grip on the Central Bank Bond issue and it should be so. But at the same vein he must make sure that other perpetrators too are brought to justice. That is his mandate and he must honour the oath of allegiance he has made to the people who gave him the power. As things are irreparable consequences are glaring on our face considering the volatile situation that is already seen in the country. This may be only the tip of the iceberg.

  • 3
    0

    Why should those parliamentarians without even OL be paid a salary higher than auniversity professor Besides they got a lot of monetary privileges and once added far exceeds the salary of a professor It is idiotic politicians like this PM who have taken our country down the drain.

  • 2
    0

    Successive GoSL served themselves and their band of sycophants. Recently this has become the main purpose of governing – amassing personal wealth. This has become insatiable.
    It will be very charitable to suggest that “The Government Is Clueless How To Serve The Country Better……………..”.

  • 3
    0

    Lacille, do you think MS is innocent? He is the cause for all the misery faced by the minorities. MS is not a Buddhist. He is just an economic pimp like MR.

    • 1
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      In my view, both President and PM are responsible. Both have jointly failed to take appropriate action to ensure safety of people, property and their lives.

  • 0
    0

    This on going Ruling class that bunch of Old and New leaders UNPs of regime is not wise and politics are irrational . The rigged political system of governance and rule of law by President ,Primer and CBK are even weaker than those that our economic system put into disorder been really unfair.
    The voice of right thinking citizens and economic inequalities of rural and urban poor which believe that their demands is not being heard by UNP leadership. President and Primer remain in power not take into account any of grivriences local council elections result without consideration by their political impudicity.
    2018 February 11 result of election has shown widespread opposed expressed public movement that bears testimony to these concern. .

    Believe it or not that ours political democracy and economic development is shifted unfair path by weakening three-in-one by President of New UNP , Primer of OLD UNP and CBK of SLFP!
    Hence the most immediate symptom of ours moribund democracy is disillusionment of leading to a undermined political process by RW of UNP’s the lack of transpiration.
    The majority voters who are trustees of sovergerity a worry about which UNP+SLFP jointly working with anti-establishment of political out-let of TNA and JVP; while attracted extremist who attack democratic establishment will be created authoritarian of rule of governances in Sri lanka!
    The UNP=SLFP and TNA & JVP who make unrealistic promised changes 2015 January 9th has been evaporated last 38 months.

    Last 38 months UNP regime has creation of politically that distrust and disillusion of “good governances and rule of law” by upside down UNP of ‘rules of governances’. It tools of Executive, legislative and Judiciary undermined by UNP Premier of Republic. While UNP not only that trust of democracy and development there is no fairness of our political and economic system.
    Further not that give correct information and provided about our of political economic and social order…. to the public.

  • 0
    0

    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/

  • 0
    0

    Dear Lacille – A very beautiful story “where we should be” and “where we are now” and “why”. Salute you Lacille.
    – First 2-3 paragraphs captures the vision/mindset our ancestors had to sustain human dignity then….. If we carry on the way we are now I wonder what will our next few generations will have to write about us……..a scary thought indeed.
    -You have summed up observation on southern parties perhaps?
    -I read an article https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/track-record-of-tna-a-sad-saga/
    and the author made a case “why the ITAK paid a heavy penalty for cohabiting with the UNP. At the May 1970 Parliamentary Elections ITAK heavyweights, Dr.E.M.V. Naganathan (Nallur) Amirthalingam (Vaddukoddai), S.M. Rasamanickam (Paddiruppu) suffered defeat at the hands of nondescripts”>>>it is interesting the author having known Mr Amirthalingham’s history and Mr Thiagarajah’s history and made an observation a “nondescript” such Mr Thiagarajah was elected by an “uneducated Tamil crowd”. The fact the public needed their day to day needs/economics/infrastructure/development work addressed as suppose to an imaginary “national question” created by the same for the 20 years since independence then…..we could still be analysing events in this manner specially after the same were killed/assassinated begs a different question about our thinking process??.
    -It is very concerning how we can continue to argue a case in year 2018 (such as the above mentioned article) without factoring in the mistakes/observation/lessons learned even after few hundred thousand of our nations children have died?? The point here is not the Buddhism, Sinhalese nor the Tamils are failing the nation but the fact politicians from both sides have created a battle ground/made a living from in which they drew the unsuspecting/helpless public to do the battles for them either via democratic means or through thuggery or bit of both in the name of religion and language ever since independence.

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