Tag Archives: Politics

Publicity, Productivity, Profits, Politics and the Public

Publicity, Productivity, Profits, Politics and the Public

I may be able to write a dissertation on each of the items mentioned above but the intentions are brief and entirely different.
I have made few resolutions after the last general election.
1. One was not to tune in to local TV including not watching Cricket unless of course our one and only Mahela is on song.
2. Two was to stop buying national papers including Sunday Editions.
3. Three was to stop engaged in political discussion of any kind.
4. Take my public profile and publicity to the lowest possible level, down to the email level, where I was only a digital entity with no worth at all and lot of guys/girls except my close friends will delete any electronic message of mine in a flash, without even reading the heading.
Mind you, email has taken even the little privacy we had and with the common courtesy.
5. Five was to increase my productivity leaps and bounds and post a blog everyday if possible related to Linux, its derivatives, utilities, its goodies, baddies and the uglies and if I cannot find a topic in Linux to post some of my bizarre dreams if not some scientific stuff.
Like the five precepts I have not broken any one of them except the number TWO.
My productivity had been exponential and come November even before our short vacation I was on mental vacation preoccupied with the Wonder Budget 2012.
I had only one irritation for the entire year which was uncalled from one of my nasty colleagues (I wonder could I call him a colleague now that this event did happen without any provocation?) and since I was almost on top of the world I could manage that episode with three days of Metta Meditation.
When one has free time bad habits creep in. that was also accidentally.
I want to fix a new Air Pump to the fish tank in which the old one was malfunctioning (thanks to our Electricity Board’s not so constant voltage this was not the only gadget I lost this year). I had everything but two steel nails long enough and strong enough to support the Air Pump.
Mind you I got up at 11.30 A.M. I wanted to make some tea and my wife told me there is no sugar for tea but lunch was almost ready.
Then we had visitors and I jumped into their car and told them if I do not get to his hardware shop by 12 P.M, I have to hold this pump in that position till Monday. He was almost closing and I collected what I wanted except the double sided stickers to stick the telephone splitter on the wall now ready for free fall.
Bought some pastries and walk up to catch a three wheeler and in a flash of bad judgment I walked into the newspaper stall to see a large pile of Sunday English papers, not sold. I bought two publications which I decline to make public here because it will give bad publicity (what I am going to write is bad anyway) to them but suffice is to say not Sunday Observer. I wanted some critical analysis of the budget not some Yes, Sir entries from the Yes Men.
Came home first thing first cup of tea first.
Fixed the air pump and filled the tank with water to the required water pressure to see everything was OK.
Treat for my dog and sat to read the paper.
First the cartoons and Andy Capp, Wizard of Os and the others and then to the pictures of the young lassies and bogged down to reading about the budget.
There were so many advertisement and feature sets or supplements it took half an hour to find the pages with budgetary analysis.
What did I get for 100 Rupees?
Good dose of budgettorrhoeal (new Sri-Lankan word coined by me joining budget and diarrhoea) analysis.
It sickened me.
There were panel discussions and everybody who is somebody is hiding behind another.
It was we go round the mulberry bush scenario.
It was like collective responsibility of the cabinet of ministers.
I was none the wiser.
I can say lot about the budget but that is I am wasting my time.
I raise few question and get into the rel reason for this writing.
1. In the year we had the elections there was no proper budget.
Is it proper?
The common knowledge was that most of the money was spent on irregular activities except paying the salaries.
2. Was there a proper assessment of the budgetary forecast for 2011, objectively?
At least retrospectively did they analyze it before stepping into new budget.
3. Do we need a Central Bank?
4. Do we need a Treasury and a Treasury Secretary?
5. Do we need a huge public service now that like what was done to Central Bank we can streamline or stream role any institution with Executive Power including the Universities?
6. Have anybody analyzed the debt crisis that is slowly creeping into our hand to mouth economy?
7. Do we need to debate this White Paper / White Elephant any length of time in the parliament?
I am not asking this with any bad taste but only with thinking about my grandchildren.
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Real reason I am writing this was to highlight that lot of people depend on the Sunday Paper for lot of publicity and to get their voice heard and get rid of bad goodies and bad debts.
Is the money spent by majority of them is going to the coffers of the paper magnets without any help to the advertiser.
Has anybody done any research on the effectiveness of this mega advertisement strategy?
Is the money well spent?
Can we do it in a better way?
I call it the Amazon Way.
Why not going for digital methods?
The Sunday Paper is thrown away the very next day and it is a huge waste of money and paper (along with rain forest).
The digital stuff remains in the Server.
Are we still carrying the Hana Miti (Bundles of Jute)?
If one has some good, goodies to sell one should go beyond the local boundaries (at least South East Asia) and start selling digitally.
That is my advice.
It might have some teething problems and might have to take “head on’ the initial inertia but given time an cloud computing coming to existence that is the way forward.

Jurassic Park Tumbler Trembling and Political Tumble

In the midst of World Cup Cricket we have another match.
In this match the winners take it all and sometimes they take our freedom also away for a week prior and week after the election day.

Everything come to a standstill and at least this time we can divert our attention and watch cricket.

The day of the election when these young proteges parade the streets, it reminds me of the tumbler trembling cinematic effect depicted in the film, Jurassic Park.

Some of them bring similar fear to adults leave alone children.
That is how elections are fought in this part of the world.

There are no umpires like in cricket.

The officers who should act as neutral umpires are no more.
They tremble more than the voter when these political guys come near in numbers.
Some of course stooge to the lowest level where they even share free alcohol.
The police who suppose to bring the law and order are outnumbered by drunken supporters.

Alcohol sale is prohibited but they stock alcohol before the ban of sale.

If we have free and fair election, in actual fact it is the candidate who should tremble.

For some bizarre reasons even before the final vote is cast winners are already known and I do not know what this exercise bring to the ordinary citizen, except Tumbler Trembling Fear of Jurassic Park nature.

They are real dinosaurs who drain all public money.

But sometime we get  a kick when some of these corrupt politicians tumble down like Humpty Dumpty.

Full politicization of our Universities

I saw a long narration about my Alma Mater (University) which was probably written in malicious political intention and this is in no way an attempt to engage in a debate with the writer or answer any issues raised. But regret to say without the points I am raising here are not included in that essay, it cannot be taken as an academic exercise. I will leave it to a politically oriented person to address those issue academically. The points I am raising here could be used as a base.

I will put them in concise and precise manner since an average reader has no time to read long essays.

There is a little scientific but not political bias here.

I try to be in chronological order but not in logical order and the reader can assemble in logical order he wishes to.

The bottom line is politicians without vision and education principles are ruining all education including university.

First that come to mind is Monty (Late Monty Gopallawa who was the Governor in Kandy) Affair.

Monty is a good friend of mine and good philosopher and I have no intention of incriminating any malice or disgrace to him, his father or his family except highlighting the wrong decisions made by the then education minister and only he is culpable of the grandiose mistake.

I must state here when I heard about the Monty’s demise I wrote a verse (sent to a paper but they did not publish it) and publish it in the web and it is still there. Only other person I have written a verse is our late Kadhiragarmar. That is to put in perspective the way I admire both personalities.

The story we have heard was that Monty did not have the required marks to enter the university. Then the minister gave orders to lower the marks of entry to accommodate Monty. In that process the candidates up to that point mark had to be taken in to all the universities. The universities did not have the proper infrastructure to accommodate the numbers involved and the race course adjoining the Colombo university was used as temporary shelter.

This was the beginning and I think the year was 1965.

Lot of things happened after that and in 1965 (may be later) police was called in to settle a dispute and police baton charged and one student had serious head injuries and he completed his academic studies with me many years later.

In 1968 Army was stationed in the Gymnasium with political motivation and what followed was nasty and I was there to witness it.

Then in 1974 on wrong (a racial issue) advice the practical examination for science subjects to enter the science streams were stopped.

Then Science Streams were made to be taught in mother tongue (Swabasha) and that was the death knell for outside world of scientific knowledge.

Between 1974 to 1976 (I need to be corrected here-I had left the university by then) another blunder was made by introducing area basis admission scheme but not on merits. This is of cause the violation of the rights of the student who obtained requires marks. They should be compensated in some academically acceptable way for this arbitrary politically motivated penalization.

In 1975 or 1976 we had a death of a student (I was a witness as a doctor in Kandy OPD) shot by police, a single bullet at short range.

We did not have a proper Vice Chancellor it could have been a Competent Authority (politically appointed, I believe) that was running the show.

In 1977 the UGC (and the act) was established leading to full politicization and the Chancellor and Vice chancellor were made on political affiliations.

There are many more blunders in our education and one of the biggest is when a wrong decision was made there was no discussion or and no attempt to correct it even when it was realized that the decision was not made on education principles but on political grounds with short sight.

These thing happened not in isolation but with connivance of academics who go for high seats and become stooges of politicians.

Down the ages with political intervention we manged to cancel the University Entrance Examination conducted by the University independently.

University has no choice in selecting the students they wish to have in their various faculties.

It is a game of lottery or lotto which is unprecedented unlike in universities abroad.

For over 60 years we did not have an Education Minister with some distant vision or understanding of real needs and I have a feeling the way we select our representatives we never will have..

There are lot of lapses in this summary of events but I will wind up with a down to earth story.

I had served six years of service and I wanted to go abroad.

For GMC registration I needed my degree certificate. I had applied it five years ago and when I inquired about it the registrar told me that they do not have money to buy the special paper for degree certificate ( imported probably from UK).

I could not wait and I was not bothered about the special paper and told the registrar I need a certificate authenticated by you and the vice chancellor, that is all what I want.

Finally with some persuasion, the vice chancellor agreed to give such certificate pending the original.

My father received the certificate many years later when I was abroad (I may be the only one who has two certificates for the same degree) and he kept it in his safe possession without telling me. He of course fell sick and was ill for a long period of time and his memory was gone. Then many years later after my father’s death my sister who had some of his precious paper belonging dumped them in a garage of my other sister.

One day I was looking for some old memorabilia in the garage, may be my father’s stamp album and some of his photos (one gone missing by that time) and I found my MBBS (Ceylon) Certificate, top part eaten by white ants.and bottom part still legible because of the quality of the print material.

It may be at least 20 years later I saw my original certificate.

Quite and outstanding achievement of mine.

I have two other outstanding achievements.

I decided not to attend any convocation for my life in Ceylon. Our convocation was canceled indefinitely for many years because they could not buy the paper to print certificates. We never had it. Some of my friends mostly Tamil are coming home (they are all over the world) in April for a get together and I need to remind this fact to them.

I never took a photograph with the degree paraphernalia (cloak).

But I still remain as a teacher of young adults who need direction.

Paradox-03

Geopolitics is changing
And especially so
In SriLankan terms
And its demographic
Activities and outcomes

I fail to understand
Why the so called
Political pundits
Educated only in Sinhala
Especially the journalist and media
Have failed to recognize
The fact of life
Of current politics

Nearly 4 million voters
Have not utilized
The franchise
This time around
Which is nearly 30%
Who have no trust
On the system
Or the system has failed
To recognize
Their need to participate
As living souls

If I break this down
Further
1.5 million
Which is 75%
Of the Tamil vote
Disowned
And turned a blind eye
To their aspirations

That is 15%
Of the total population

Nearly 50%
Of the Muslim community
Which add up to
Half a million
Abstained from voting

In other words
Nearly 20%
Of the ethnic minority
Did not engage
In participatory democracy

Why is this indifference
In our 5 Star democracy?

2 millions
Of the Sinhala majority
Especially the young
And the first time voters
For some reason or the other
Have not participated
In this activity
In spite of the
Freedom gained from
The ruthless conflict
Of violence

Abstained
And no true participation!

When we add
The little over 4 million
Who voted against
The ruling majority
Staggering figure
Of 8 million
Which is almost
60% of the total
Have no leader or leaders

This is an aberration
Which the Professor Edward De Bone
Highlights in his new wisdom book
“Think before it is too late”
Meant for the new millennium
Of geopolitics

A lateral thinking
In true practice

The fact of the matter
Of our democracy is
That the 40%
Of the vociferous extremists
Of the ruling elite
Run the show
Disregarding
The silent majority

My guess is that,
Come the Sinhala and Tamil New Year
Another 1 million
Will not vote
Adding the number
Of disenchanted mass
To over 5 million
Of the total electorate
Which is staggering 40%

In actual fact
Over 6 million (43%)
Twice as much
As my forecast
Did not participate
But doing shopping
For the New Year
Instead of polling

Edited on the 10th of April

Paradox-01

In democracy
It is the voter
That matters.

But not so
In our democracy.

It is the elected
That matters.

That also the highest!

The lowest of all
The House of
Not so commoners
Does matter
As mouth pieces
Of democracy
But subservient
To the dictates
Of the party boss