14 December, 2019

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Two Categories Of Presidential Candidates

By Panini Edirisinhe

Panini Edirisinhe

Two Categories of Presidential Candidates: Some with coherent policies; some others who make promises

We have to elect the next president of Sri Lanka on Saturday the 16th of November. More than half a million have already exercised their franchise by post because they are involved in the election process. The rest of us will visit various polling stations and cast our votes on Saturday. Whilst it may be true that most have already made up their minds, there is no logical reason why each of us could not do some re-thinking and change our minds. Theoretically, therefore, I could make the claim that any result is possible.

It strikes me that there are two categories of “serious” candidates. The First have put forward their plans for a better future for this country. The Second have built their campaigns on promises and hand outs.   

In addition, the SLPP candidate, Gotabaya Rajapaksa has been making an appeal to the Sinhalese-Buddhist majority to ensure that the minorities are prevented from determining the way forward for Sri Lanka, which is regarded as the country selected by Gautama Buddha to safeguard his teachings. As such it is the sacred duty of all Sri Lankans to vote for Gotabaya who claims to have won the thirty-year Secessionist War conducted by “the Tamils” (mainly the LTTE led by Veluppillai Prabhakaran).

Both Gotabaya and Sajith Premadasa have promised to hand over free fertilser to all farmers.  Incumbent President, Mathripala Sirisena, seems suddenly to have come to his senses and denounced the move as one which will cause Kidney Diseases to spike again.  What is significant is that neither candidate will use his personal wealth to provide fertiliser or to construct houses, roads and railways. They talk as though that is what they will do, but in fact, what they are doing is promising to priorotise subsidising the most gullible sections of the population at the expense of our entire economy. Those sections of our people will always remain relatively poor and grateful to the politicians who provide these hand outs. There is, by now, a general realisation that those who benefit most are those very politicians who get kick-backs in various ways, which are seen as inevitable.

Both major parties have been doing this, and  to most subaltern Sri Lankan citizens this appears to be what is expected at all times. Sajith Premadasa’s daring in suggesting that free sanitary towels be given to all women fell into this category. That it has led to healthy discussion of the special problems faced by all children born female (more than half of us) and the acknowledgement that such discussion was considered taboo hitherto is true enough, but the solution put forward was not a sustainable one which would lead to real independence. On the contrary, it would force women to be ever grateful to the man whose “generosity” made this possible. Well, it’s not his money that was to be used, was it?  

It is precisely such patronising schemes that have, since Independence, brought our country to this impasse. I’m a retired teacher. Therefore let me give examples from Education, one now, others in later articles, and let readers work out for themselves how unsatisfactory these approaches are.  

Our trade unions make demands such as “Commit 4% to 6% of GDP for education to improve and expand quality.”

Sounds fine, but how does it work? Two weeks ago, I biked to the home of my cobbler for the first time – about four miles away. I had first met the man in a bus about fifteen years previously. His name is Evans, he didn’t know why. His only child, and 64 others from Bandarawela Central College who had got 9 A Grades (the maximum), at the O. Level Exam held in December 2018, had been given a computer each about 3 weeks ago. I noted the model details and looked at this underwhelming review on returning home.

Still, it’s a treasure for the girl, whom I haven’t yet met. I have had two phone chats with her – in Sinhalese, although she has an A for English. That’s the grade that she had got for every one of her subjects. She acknowledged that she couldn’t use the language. The English practice that I could have offered would have been welcome. Saturday is the only day her father stays at home, but the kid has “tuition classes” from 8.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.   

The father hates phones, and had finally allowed himself to accept a hand-me-down basic phone about five weeks ago, and has only two numbers saved on it – mine and that of the donor of the phone.  So, this girl (let me call her Manel) and I had two chats. The operating system was Ubuntu. She and I initially agreed that Windows should be installed. She had turned the computer on. Didn’t know how to connect to the Internet, had heard of pen drives, but had never seen one. 

I checked, then told her to get used to the Ubuntu system since she was starting from scratch. Follow the herd in most things, but spend on nothing except on a device to connect to the Internet.  There’s no need to spend on MS Office 365; one can get free Open Office, or Libre Office. These people just don’t know those things – nor do many of us!

So, I went along on November 2nd, about noon, carrying a 4G router and a pen drive. Connected the computer to the electricity for the first time. It had only 9% charge. I did not succeeded in getting into the computer because there was a password. By the time I left, the charge had got up to 100%, but I didn’t know how to turn it off. I said let it be plugged in, but if unused for a long period to bring the charge down to 80%. How? they asked. I told them. I think that I visited them in the nick of time. A few days later, and an exhausted battery may have caused serious damage. 

I hope you get the picture. This girl is doing Bio Science – usual ambition, to be a doctor. Nothing wrong with any of that, but no choices consciously made after evaluation of all options. That they acknowledge.

I met on the 2nd of November, the father, mother and the paternal grandmother, who were all seriously interested in finding out what they could although I had said that I was a teacher of English, not of computing. Perhaps I’ll finally meet her on Election Day,  November 16th 2019.

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Latest comments

  • 12
    6

    Like if you think Sajith will win
    Dislike if you think Gota will win

    • 3
      0

      Dear BukiPaala,
      .
      Thanks. That is a cute suggestion.
      I had included there a review of the computer that had been distributed. CT has, inadvertently obviously, left it out. I’m grateful that they have displayed all this within about three hours of my sending it.
      .
      Let me insert the review here, after your response (there are two others right now), so as to get it as close as possible to the article:
      .
      https://www.laptopmag.com/reviews/laptops/dell-inspiron-15-5000
      .
      As Panini Edirisinhe I have a light green gravatar.
      .
      I usually comment as “Sinhala_Man” and I have a dark pink gravatar. “Thappu” below, and I have exchanged comments below, so I will respond to him, and then not interfere with the comments.
      .
      As for my voting: I will vote not for ad hoc promises, but for those whose records indicate that they can be trusted to implement coherent policies. We’ll have to look for such people among “The Alternative” candidates. Give one of them the FIRST PREFERENCE, but don’t forget a Preference for the less bad of the main candidates.

    • 10
      2

      Every candidate has promised everything under the sun ……. except free sex …….. is that an oversight on their part?

      If I were a candidate that’s what I’ll offer ……….. it’s a sure vote getter!

      There was one Indian joker, a guru, who couldn’t eke out a single square meal a day with his guru-ing in India …….. he landed in America and advocated free sex ……… ended up with a private jet, 31 Rolls Royces (one for each day of the month) and vast swaths of Oregon.

      Sinhalese_Man ……. you’re in the wrong bussiness!

    • 0
      1

      Bukipaala

      You’re a real headache; giving temporary happiness for the stupid.

      Telling you again

      1 dislike = 10000 votes & 1 like = 0.00001 vote as CT doesn’t represent the whole electorate.

    • 0
      2

      Buki

      See the equations carefully & stop useless uttering.

      1 dislike= 10000 votes

      1 like =0.00001 votes.

  • 6
    0

    Some with coherent policies; some others who make promises

    When we look at the history how can we judge example, Maithri was selected from UNP thinking he will do the best and UNP had was not hesitant to choose are opponent to UNP Presiden what did maithri do he found fault of Rajapakse and somersaulted UNP on being in UNP he was supporting to Rajapakshe, See the waste of time if he had initiated a simple able project planting referred to as urban forests, during the three months to topple the parliamentarian some day people will be resting on the shade. he is e like the leaves might change color, but not a roots are same shifting parties for his benifit.

  • 9
    0

    Dear Panini Edirisinhe, I have to question your, ‘Some have put forward their plans for a better future for this country’. You know why I question. How often have we seen our politicians abandoning their plans under one pretext or the other. It is not their plans that ought to be sound, but their come-what-may-determination to execute their plans. Vote for the man!

    • 10
      0

      Dear Thappu,
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe
      is the guy whom you have known as “Sinhala_Man”. As “Panini” I have already submitted a comment indicating the model of the computer distributed. That comment will have a light green gravatar.
      .
      This will come with my usual dark pink gravatar. Yes, I agree that we must vote for the man (or woman – I have met Ajantha Perera, and I think her good. But why so many of these candidates?) who will implement their plan fearlessly.
      .
      Much of what has been stated here appears as comments on this article by Professor Laksiri Fernando, a “stranger” whose encouragement I hereby acknowledge.
      .
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/human-right-to-quality-education-eight-demands-to-all-presidential-candidates/

      • 4
        0

        Open Office, or Libre Office is not good. Manages RAM badly to slow down Win OS

        • 5
          0

          Dear a.Muslim,
          .
          There is always a possibility that a comment of your type comes from somebody who depends on the sale of computer software! But let me treat you with respect, and not impute mercenary reasons for your comment. The average person is clueless about this sort of thing, and there is a very real need for us to teach young people who start using computers the ethics of needing to pay for services received.
          .
          On the other hand, Open-source Software has been made possible by various groups who feel that digital knowledge should be made available to all; so they give it free, but sometimes ask for voluntary donations. The man who founded the World Wide Web is still with us and active. It is because of him that so many services that we receive are free:
          .
          https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/nov/05/tim-berners-lee-launches-campaign-to-save-the-web-from-abuse
          .
          Some newspapers survive on advertising, some on subscribers, some like The Guardian are determined to be independent, and so ask only for donations. To provide any service, revenue is needed. This gets reduced because some professionals donate many working hours for free. All those who write for Colombo Telegraph do it for free – many with altruistic motives.
          .
          I have a number of computers for my personal use because I spend time in two places. On all of them, I use Open Office. For ten years now I’ve been using legal Open Office, and I’m grateful to those who’ve given it to me. I have not found ir slow – perhaps because I’m not very quick at doing things.
          .
          This is all pretty complicated, and we have a lot to do educating the millions of users of computers. Please elaborate your thoughts.

  • 12
    0

    Computers for education takes huge amounts of money. The hardware, software, educational software and AV-ware need big bucks to install, plus a clear goal on what exactly it will achieve. Doing it half done will be a complete waste of country money.
    *
    Candidates will promise them, but in reality, whoever wins will spend most of the money in treasury and foreign loans on schemes producing more immediate results (within 4 years). Education on the other hand take one or two generations to show success (20—30years).
    *
    US installed in in most of their schools and it was mostly to boost up the computer industry. Yet test scores haven’t increased, but in fact have decreased. https://hechingerreport.org/lower-test-scores-for-students-who-use-computers-frequently-in-school-31-country-study-finds/
    *
    But yes, for students who show potential, there could be a fund to set them up with more advanced computer systems. Yet, won’t that take away resources for good traditional teaching for more students?

    • 1
      5

      Ramona,

      If you have a Virus riddled computer, donate it to a Sri Lankan family and watch the fun.

    • 1
      4

      Ramona,

      We don’t need Anti-Virus software because we don’t visit bad websites. You must be getting a lot viruses from those.

      • 8
        1

        Typically useless jibe.

        • 2
          3

          Ramona,

          It’s not useless jibes. It’s a hitherto unacceptable fact that someone like you are using your computer so much and contributing extensively in forums like these, yet you are paying for your Anti-virus software when there are free open source AV software like Malwarebytes and AVG that costs you nothing.

          • 1
            2

            Rtd. Lt. Reginald Shamal Perera,

            Free AVs, Malwarebytes and AVG are good for you since you don’t have to visit bad sites, and no Viagra or no Tadalafil seems to help you.

            • 7
              1

              Fertiliser is harmful.

              Better have half stomach with good organic food than a full stomach with poisons.

              Sanitary pad should be without asbestos and made with natural organic materials or else women will end up with sicknesses.

              Who needs computers, mobile phones etc when there are plenty of human brains to do the work and plenty of time and energy to visit face to face everyone?

              Leaders, be aware that others will try to dump their rubbish wrapped in gold, buy our freedom and dignity pretending to feel for us!

              • 1
                0

                Dear Anne Hopkins,
                .
                I think that we understand each other perfectly,
                except that I didn’t know that there was an asbestos hazard.
                .
                People like Rtd. Lt. Reginald Shamal Perera want to talk hifalutin stuff, when we ought to be thinking of what we are imposing on the poorest people. I met Manel’s father today – to collect a pair of shoes. By the way, my conjecture is that he had been named after this England wicket-keeper of days of yore:
                .
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godfrey_Evans
                .
                Evans told me that some young guy in the vicinity had turned up, and that the fellow was a computer wizard. So, all should be fine.
                .
                In that context what was needed was not Tech Forums and computing PhDs. I was playing the role of “generalist” – something that is very important. Just being slightly better informed than the kids, but having common sense, and not trying to exploit the unsuspecting innocents.
                .
                Let me say a little more at the bottom of the page.

    • 4
      0

      Thanks, Ramona T.F.,
      .
      Yours is a serious comment.
      I. read it carefully almost as soon as it appeared. I clicked on the link, read through it, and appreciated the points made there.
      .
      One of our best CT bloggers sent me this message:
      .
      Read your piece carefully.
      .
      A few comments

      a) I am glad you intervened in the Manel issue and are trying to help her.
      b) Grade-A in English and can’t speak it!
      My god is it like this in other subjects too – Sciences, History/Geography and horror of horrors Maths!!!
      c) I don’t read the Comments but did so in this case. You would have observed that
      .
      About a third are irrelevant to your piece and are made by people engaging in useless arguments with each other
      .
      About a third are relevant – irrespective of whether one agrees with the comment or not
      .
      The remaining one third are hard to classify.

      You will see why I try to focus on the quality of the article and hardly ever focus on the comments.

      Keep it up but don’t feel you have to respond to every comment.
      Intelligent Comment readers can see through stupid comments without your having to point them out.

  • 5
    1

    Mr Edirisinghe,

    You need to call MS Technical support for the issues with your charger. Or join an online Tech forum and ask your questions.

    I think you’ve come to the wrong forum.

    • 3
      0

      I think this ballige putha from Canada only wants to insult good writer Mr Edirisinghe.
      :
      Why not you become the condom of Gotabaya and leave us in peace RLRSM ? You may have been and another alleged criminal to have committed high crimes during your days in lanken forces right ?

  • 3
    2

    What is the meaning of this article?

    It makes no sense at all related to the topic

    • 5
      0

      BukiPaala,
      .
      There is justification for your carping about the mismatch between the content of this article, and the topic that I set out on.
      .
      However, all that I have said here has a serious intent, and is meant to be constructive. It was finally put together two nights ago in Maharagama largely from some comments that I had made about a week earlier, but I had set out promising a far more sophisticated comparison of the positive features of the coherent policies of some of “The Alternative Candidates”.
      .
      However, there are some very important points that I will be able to make later today (it’s just after midnight in Bandarawela). The snide and sneering remarks made by some of you will actually help me to pin-point some very significant points which will help sincere and genuine planners in helping the poorer people in our country, something that most of our stereotypical politicians claim is the only impulse that keeps them alive.
      .
      The more sincere comments by Ramona T.F., rbh, Thappu, and a.Muslim are gratefuly acknowledged. nimal’s wit is always appreciated.

    • 3
      0

      Bukipala,
      .
      as a blind man would not see it right, you guys would continue it. If you cant get it, leasve it , there are enough reeaders to respect the kind of articles.
      :

  • 5
    0

    May be you should stick to English teaching and stay away from the child learning computers . for a child like that using ubuntu linux will be very useful .

    Lets get this clear. your cobblers daughter is going places.

    Dont ruin her chances. Get her in touch with a proper computers teacher,

    • 3
      1

      “child like that using ubuntu linux will be very useful” – It is only a SL trend to think Ubuntu is useful. When it comes it IT, SL institutes including Unis teach free software and say that is the future when the tech advanced countries hire more and more Windows guys. Our universities produce a lot of software developers who are good in PHP, but have no idea about latest tech stacks.

  • 5
    0

    More important than the two categories of candidates in my view are the three different categories of voters. We have : (1) the “unconditionals” who will vote blindly for candidate A or B whatever their candidate may have done in the past, promise now and do in the future (positive voters). We have (2) those who will basically vote against candidate A or B because they hate him (negative voters). In most countries where democratic elections take place today positive and negative voters jointly represent usually between 70 to 80% of the electorate, but this results in the absence of a clear majority for any of the two main blocks. We have (3) the remaining 20 to 30% who are constituted by hesitant voters, smaller parties and minority candidates. The consequence of this situation in Sri Lanka (but also elsewhere) is that the third category of voters is getting a disproportionate importance not only at the elections, but also during the ensuing negotiations when political compromises have to be worked to form a government. The best for the superior good of the country and its citizens, would be to accept cheerfully the verdict of the nation and find an honourable agreement between the two main winners of the presidential election. Sri Lanka is wonderful country, which an impressive past going back thousands of years, a wonderful diversity of cultures and an exceptional potential for general prosperity. During last 50 years of its history the unfortunate reality is that its growth been crippled by most unnecessary conflicts and a terrible civil war. My dream is to see this presidential election becomimg the first step for Sri Lanka, setting aside its artificially created divisions and moving forward with determination for a reconciled and truly unified future

  • 4
    1

    Just imagine AKD winning by chance..

    Are they going to do job posting in Sunday Observer for Finance Minister, Foreign Minister, Health Minister, and other important ministries?

    There are too many people who can talk better than AKD in rallies, are they capable when it comes to ruling a country?

    • 6
      0

      Nasty “Rtd. Lt. Reginald Shamal Perera” tells me that this is the wrong forum for me to be talking about the computer problems faced by villagers. No, this is emphatically the right forum for some aspects of it. Not to get technical advice, but to know what options to recommend for small-time educational use.

      I’m worried that some of the serious comments that Fahim Knight has submitted on this article have not got published. Fahim Knight has got some screenshots of the comments across to me. So many callous comments get through on CT, but these are comments which show genuine concern for the poorer sections of the pupils.
      .
      I hope that you will look into this and allow in some comments which are of great value in cutting down on corruption, although my main concern has been to stop our country as a whole, and our students in particular, from being exploited by people ranging from the giant Microsoft Corporation (where persons like Bill Gates who have genuine philanthropic urges may not realise the situation on the ground, knowing that in Third World Countries when efforts are made to help, it is not the poorest of the poor who benefit. Remember Tsunami Relief!)
      .
      I have made the point that there is absolutely no reason for anybody to use hacked copies of MS Office. For “MS Office 365” one has to pay something like Rs 9,000 every year. That, I’m sure is not an unfair amount to charge a rich American – or a Belgian! You see, my neighbour in Bandarawela is a Belgian who uses Apple Computers.
      What he tells me is that the Apple OS will run on a Dell computer, but it is illegal to do so.

      • 6
        0

        Mr SM, AKA Panni E,
        please dont take it to your hearts.
        :
        This guy self proclaimed former Army man is now an asylum seeker in Canada. These are guys are kept in such camps and seem to have no better things to do than throwing anyhting on to any meaningful discourses. That is btw the nature of some ill fated buggers of that nature.
        Now with idiots being back ot power in SL, this guy too would have a good job and join hand with JUNTA men, that would bring human flesh in to local super markets, making it too a consumer eatables.
        Anyways, I am so shocked yet today the way, how BALLIGEPUTHAs are given a chance again by the most corrupted majority people in our poor country.
        :
        Now the bugger has to face it, with the payment of huge huge sum of DEBTs to CHINA in 2020, making lankens eternally indebted again.
        No doubt grass eaters dominated srilanka will digest it.
        :
        SRILANKA is not a country for us but for the idiots FROM yestreday on.

  • 3
    0

    @Mr.Panini Edirisinghe
    For some reason I do not see my comments on this and my reply to.mohd .

    • 1
      0

      I wonder whether Colombo Telegraph could clarify this.
      .
      Fahim Knight has sent me screenshots of what he has posted.

  • 0
    0

    @Sinhala Man ,
    How come Your village had the lowest turnout of voters

  • 1
    0

    @Sinhala Man ,
    How come Your village had the lowest turnout of voters

    • 4
      0

      Dear Fahim Knight,
      .
      My sister, next door, was not too well, and so didn’t go down the hill to vote.
      .
      No, that won’t suffice as a proper response to your question. How on earth do you expect me to answer such a question? You could have told me what the turnout was. You surely don’t expect me to go hunting for the information, do you?
      .
      A turnout of 65% would be considered high anywhere else in the world. Our problem is that all our citizens are so keen on voting, whether they understand what’s going on, or not. At my Polling Station, which happens to be the school in which I was born many decades ago, I spent a good fifteen minutes looking at all the “Election Posters” displayed by the Commission. I beckoned to others.
      .
      A pretty young policewoman was one of the three who responded. I drew their special attention to this year’s notorious 26-inch ballot paper. The policewoman and I agreed that it was very important for all to think, and work out carefully what the possibilities were, before joining the queue. I was careful not to mention whom I was voting for, unless she had been following my eye movements.
      .
      Had I stated whom I was voting for, however flattered the gal was to have an old man flirting with her, she’d have had no option but to have me arrested.
      .
      It is terribly important to set about important assignments in a relaxed frame of mind. Ask questions, but not zany ones like this, please.
      .
      I’ve noticed that you’re getting obsessed with Constitutions, like Nagananda was.. All obsessions are dangerous.
      .
      I absent-mindedly typed in this comment, then checked what the topic had been. Why did you ask that question here?

      • 3
        0

        No offence meant ,
        —‘zzxzzx
        Your comment about my obsession with The Constitution, I had mentioned that too below this article and also sent you a screenshot. .
        The problem is I.am as usual always misunderstood.

        My call for Constition reforms has always been portrayed as a call for separatism and totall fedralism.

        Just for once let me clear my stance .

        I always said it should be
        1) home grown formula

        2)Should bring all the heads representing especially Provinces under one parliament accountable and also will help cut the unwanted election costs and others.

        I do.understand well We Sri Lankans are not politically matured enough to go for a full federal constitution , more than separatism there will crop up uncontrollable issues, I only suggested countries with power sharing systems as examples and to look for ideas , but from.day one , I always insisted on a home grown solution

        I will.never ever promote even an atom of separatism.
        Cheers

  • 3
    0

    Dear Colombo Telegraph,
    .
    Nasty “Rtd. Lt. Reginald Shamal Perera” tells me that this is the wrong forum for me to be talking about the computer problems faced by villagers. No, this is emphatically the right forum for some aspects of it. Not to get technical advice, but to know what options to recommend for small-time educational use.

    I’m worried that some of the serious comments that Fahim Knight has submitted on this article have not got published. Fahim Knight has got some screenshots of the comments across to me. So many callous comments get through on CT, but these are comments which show genuine concern for the poorer sections of the pupils.
    .
    I hope that you will look into this and allow in some comments which are of great value in cutting down on corruption, although my main concern has been to stop our country as a whole, and our students in particular, from being exploited by people ranging from the giant Microsoft Corporation (where persons like Bill Gates who have genuine philanthropic urges may not realise the situation on the ground, knowing that in Third World Countries when efforts are made to help, it is not the poorest of the poor who benefit. Remember Tsunami Relief!)
    .
    I have made the point that there is absolutely no reason for anybody to use hacked copies of MS Office. For “MS Office 365” one has to pay something like Rs 9,000 every year. That, I’m sure is not an unfair amount to charge a rich American – or a Belgian! You see, my neighbour in Bandarawela is a Belgian who uses Apple Computers. What he tells me is that the Apple OS will run on a Dell computer, but it is illegal to do so.

  • 3
    0

    PART TWO
    .
    The Belgian introduced me to Open Source Software; he actually runs LibreOffice on his Apple Computers. As is clear to most readers, I live in two places: in Bandarawela I have this perfectly decent HP Computer where the CPU was reconditioned and the OS is a cracked copy of Windows 7. I’m too old to master Ubuntu which I recommend for people like Manel. I’m not trying to sell them anything, or pretending that I am an authority on the subject, but what I am doing is making them aware of the options, and giving them the chance to act honestly.
    .
    Collecting obsolete machines in Developed Counties and selling them in our countries is now big business. Last week a shop in Bandarawela was selling a 10 inch Note Book computer for Rs 15,000/=. It will have a cracked copy of Windows 7, and all other software also is pirated, including Office. The software companies don’t want to see unscrupulous dealers minting money at their expense and now insist that the hard disks of all used computers are stripped of software before shipping.
    .
    I have, here, an Acer Aspire 1825 PT Model ZE 8, ten-inch Note Book computer, which my computer maintenance guy from Padukka got for me. He bought one for himself as well, since it has all the ports, etc. They cost Rs 20,000/= each 4 years ago, and work well. Earlier used in New Zealand. Mine has the original Microsoft sticker, and with that, he was able to persuade Microsoft to send us updates – in fact, two came in yesterday. Are we cheating Microsoft? It is a subject worth discussing. I don’t think Bill Gates would really mind, if he sees the use I make of it.

  • 2
    0

    PART TWO
    .
    The Belgian introduced me to Open Source Software; he actually runs LibreOffice on his Apple Computers. As is clear to most readers, I live in two places: in Bandarawela I have this perfectly decent HP Computer where the CPU was reconditioned and the OS is a cracked copy of Windows 7. I’m too old to master Ubuntu which I recommend for people like Manel. I’m not trying to sell them anything, or pretending that I am an authority on the subject, but what I am doing is making them aware of the options, and giving them the chance to act honestly.
    .
    Collecting obsolete machines in Developed Counties and selling them in our countries is now big business. Last week a shop in Bandarawela was selling a 10 inch Note Book computer for Rs 15,000/=. It will have a cracked copy of Windows 7, and all other software also is pirated, including Office. The software companies don’t want to see unscrupulous dealers minting money at their expense and now insist that the hard disks of all used computers are stripped of software before shipping.
    .
    I have, here, an Acer Aspire 1825 PT Model ZE 8, ten inch Note Book computer, which my computer maintenance guy from Padukka got for me. He bought one for himself as well, since it has all the ports, etc. They cost Rs 20,000/= each 4 years ago, and work well. Earlier used in New Zealand. Mine has the original Microsoft sticker, and with that he was able to persuade Microsoft to send us updates – in fact two came in yesterday. Are we cheating Microsoft? It is a subject worth discussing. I don’t think Bill Gates would really mind, if he sees the use I make of it.

  • 3
    0

    No, dear Fahim Knight,
    .
    I realise myself the importance of a Constitution
    better than what we now have. Agitation for that is not something that I have ever linked to separatism and whatever else. It is just that talking about such abstract concepts will never will elections. Not even 5% of the people will be interested.
    .
    These last Presidential elections were a tragedy.
    The entire country is sick of corrupt politicians. But we are forced to vote for those whose names are recognised. The average citizen will never take the trouble to identify decent new faces. I think most citizens knew something of the three candidates at the top of the poll, but of none of the others. We keep writing on imagining that Colombo Telegraph represents Sri Lanka. Rubbish. 97% of the people don’t know what it is.
    .
    This is the only election in which there was a possibility of casting a vote for a newcomer while having a say in the final outcome. Less than 5% (subject to correction by anyone who knows and bothers to) voted for candidates other than from the SLPP and the UNP. Bring some common sense into this. It was not in the interest of the SLPP to have people casting Preferential Votes, unless they had an abstract interest in developing the awareness of citizens.
    .
    tbc

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      @Sinhala_man
      Agreed👍

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    PART TWO
    .
    Two people
    at very different levels of society tried hard to educate the public. Professor Kumar David and me. We have both been teachers, and we both have a desire to educate, to get people to think. That is what a teacher ought to do. Don’t kid yourself. Most teachers try either to brain-wash or to elevate the importance of syllabi and examinations, at the expense of the effective use of intelligence.
    .
    It would have been in the interest of the UNP and all the other parties to have educated the electorate about the possibility of Preferential Voting. Since there was no point casting Preference Votes, starting with First Preference for Gota or Sajith, we can assume that almost none of those had Preferences. With none of the 35 candidates calling upon the people to cast Preferences, it is safe to assume that only about a quarter of the half-million voters who voted otherwise would have cast Preferences. That is to say, a hundred thousand Preferential Votes would have been cast. Nobody will know, even vaguely. Please save us from panegyrics about “literate voters”!
    .
    The people to blame were the JVP and all the other candidates. Had the UNP faced up to the fact that they were never the favourites and set about educating people, there is a fair chance that many of those who voted for Gota would have started asking more questions, identifying honest people, and thus realised the need to first encourage honest, youngish people of both sexes. I think that Gota would still have won easily – but only after Preferences were counted.
    .
    A wry joke: where else would a 52-year-old be termed youthful; right age, yes.
    .
    By the way, thanks, Fahim Knight.
    .
    tbc

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    Concluding with PART THREE:
    .
    Now what happens? Even I will probably go back to voting for one of the two big parties. There is Preference Voting (manapa) at all elections. To pick the better people from the two leading parties. I’ll probably get back to doing that. Mahesh Senananyake and Ajith Colonne are now talking about contesting the Parliamentary Elections, SEPARATELY!. Forget it. Do you remember FM Sarath Fonseka launching a Third Party – with the Swan symbol, to contest a General election? People began to say that he wasn’t popular at the end of the experiment because the figures were ruinous. In fact he is now very respected.
    .
    If you want to get anywhere in any election, now get on to the list of one of the major parties and try to form an honest group within that Party. We’ve got into a super mess because of inebriation with notions of our own importance.

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