Tuesday 24 December 2013

Niqab; A dress code in troubled waters

Yesterday, on the Christmas eve, someone tagged a post on the topic "Niqab" on my wall in FB. 

Unless, a post is unreasonably sexual oriented, spreading hatred or insulating a community or person, I do not remove it from the wall. 

This post, written in Sinhalese, appears harsh and painful to the target community, but I let it be there. 'Cause, I think that it opened opportunity for people to defend their thoughts and break the defense of the others. Such interaction, in this type of open forums, most often alleviate the tension..... however, there is a chance of things going off hand, as well. 

The reasons for the raging debate in Sri Lanka, on the subject of niqab, the face-veiled robe of Muslim community, is the recent incident at the University of Moratuwa, where a Muslim girl was prevented from entering the university premises with this dress. 

Despite being a sensitive issue, I immediately decided to put my finger into this soup.  In order to view my thoughts in this regard, I browsed through the net looking for the quotations in Al Quran, the holy book of Islam, on women's dress code. 


“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their zeenah (charms, or beauty and ornaments) except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their khimar (veils) over their bosoms and not display their zeenah except to their husbands, their fathers …. and that they should not strike their feet so as to draw attention to their hidden zeenah (ornaments).”  (24:31-32)
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and daughters and the believing women that they should draw over themselves their jilbab (outer garments) (when in public); this will be more conducive to their being recognized (as decent women) and not harassed. But God is indeed oft-forgiving, most merciful.” (33:59)
“And know that women advanced in years, who no longer feel any sexual desire incur no sin if they discard their thiyab (outer garments), provided they do not aim at a showy display of their zeenah (charms or beauty). But it is better for them to abstain (from this); and God is all-hearing, all-knowing.” (24:60)


As a Buddhist, I have been trained to look at any concept rationally. I think, I will not be able to find anything more logical than what the above statements specify on the women's dress code. 

What it simply says is that women should wear in such a way that they should not unnecessarily agitate or arouse the opposite sex with their beauty and charm. Isn't this what we find in Buddhism as well....?      

I live in Malaysia for the last 4 years with my family. I worked in a state university where almost 80% of student and staff population may be Muslim.  I have never felt alienated in this society. So, does my wife as per her true feelings. 

If you ever get a chance to witness a staff or student meeting at this university, I am sure that you will never forget it. What will remain in your memory will be a land of colorful butterflies. Whether men or women, Malay Muslims wear elegantly. Malay ladies cover their hair, not the face. Extremely pleasant and beautiful, but never sexually agitate the opposite gender. 

I think that is exactly what is said in the holy book. Isn't it the same that is preached by Lord Buddha?

Even my wife wear the head cover, when we take our visitors to the elegantly made Putrajaya Mosque. Do you think that she is ugly in that dress...???? hahaha...........

I have witnessed the same picturesque atmosphere when I visit the Universities in Pakistan as well. 

Let's now come back to the topic, the Niqab. It is very clear that the holy book does not make Muslim ladies to wear the niqab compulsorily.   

Is there a need for such dress...?

Has everyone got the right to wear in public what he/she wants ..?

I don't think so.

Do you like a bikini clad or topless lady or a man in underwear in the bus where you travel with your family....? In the society we live today, especially in Asia, such dress-code will not be tolerated.

Similarly, many people will not like to be surrounded by somebody in full body covered dress.

As the one who posted in my wall commented, everyone has the right to know whether the one next to you in public is a gorilla, zombie or human being... if it is the last case whether it is male or female. 

Usually, a decent woman may not mind sitting tightly pressed in a bus with another woman. Will she do the same with a man...? I doubt.  Imagine if the one next to her is in full body cover....!!! Won't she be restless in mind, whether Muslim or non-Muslim..

It is true that in most countries, no one is allowed into public places, shops, banks etc. in full face helmet; even in Malaysia. I think this is a very fair regulation with respect to public security. Isn't this applicable to niqab as well...?

I have never seen anyone in our university wear a niqab in the university premises. Perhaps it is banned within the university (I am not sure). 

As I see, in both Islam and Buddhism, the women's dress code has been formulated to serve two criteria. One is the self dignity of a lady and the other is the prevention of sexual agitation among males (other than the legal partner) which may lead to social chaos. 

Do you think that uncovering the face of a lady will violate any of the above criteria in the society where we live.......?  Perhaps, in a less-civilized tribal society in the far remote desert of Afghanistan or Libya, things may go wrong when women open their face...!!!

This is how I see this issue. It is up to you to decide what is the best for the society..... 

But don't forget that we are an integrated part of the society.... 

We cannot define our norms, isolated from that domain.....

Monday 16 December 2013

Wasantha's Father

වසන්තගේ තාත්තා

වසන්ත, මම තුන් වන ශ්‍රේණියේ ඉගන ගනිද්දී පන්තියේ සිටි තවත් සිසුවෙකි. වසන්තගේ තාත්තා වැඩ කලේ ආමි එකේය. මේ නිසා වසන්ත පන්තියේ හැමෝටම චන්ඩියා විය. ඔහුගේ වැඩිම තාඩන පීඩන වලට ලක් වුනේ පන්තියේ සිටි අන්තිම අහිංසකයා වූ උදිතයි.

කෙසඟ සිරුරකින් යුත් අවශ්‍යම දෙයට විතරක් කතා කල උදිත කොපමණ පැත්තකට වී සිටියත් වසන්තගේ ග්‍රහණයට නිරන්තරයෙන් අසුවිය. ශාරීරික වදයක් නොදුන්නත් වසන්තගේ භය කිරීම් උදිතට මහා කරදරයක් වූ බව මට එදත් වැටහුණි. උදිතට නොයෙකුත් වැඩ කරන්න කියා වසන්ත නියම කළේය. කොළ ඇහිඳීම, තමාගේ පොත් මල්ල ගෙන යාම, අනෙක් ළමයින්ට ටොකු ඇනීම ඔහුගේ අණ දීම් අතර විය. මේවා නොකරන්නේ නම්, තමාගේ පියාට කියා උදිතව බාල්කයේ එල්ලා පහර දෙන බවද. උදිතගේ පියා එයට මැදිහත් වුවහොත් ඔහුට තම පියා වෙඩි තියන බවද වසන්ත නිතරම කිවේය. මේ නිසා  උදිත නිතරම සිටියේ බියෙනි. සමහර විටක ඔහුගේ ඇස්වල කඳුළු පිරී තිබෙනු මට මතකය.

වාර අවසානයේදී පන්තියේ සියලුම ළමයින් තම දෙමාපියන් (එක්කෙනෙකු හෝ) සමග පැමිණිය යුතුය. මුල් වාර දෙකේම උදිතගේ අම්මා පැමිණි අතර වසන්තගේ දෙමාපියන් කිසිවෙක් ආවේ නැත. මේ ගැන පන්ති භාර ගුරුතුමිය ඔහුට තදින් අවවාද කලත් ඔහු කියා සිටියේ දෙමාපියන්ට එන්න වෙලාවක් නැති බවයි. ළමයින්ට ඔහු කිවේ තම පියා පැමිණියහොත් ළමයින් මෙන්ම ගුරුතුමියද භය වන බැවින් ඔහු නොපැමිණෙන බවයි.

වසර අවසානයේදී පියා හෝ මව නොපැමිණිය හොත් තමාව ඊළඟ ශ්‍රේණියට සමත් නොකරන බව ගුරුතුමිය වසන්තට දැඩි ස්වරයෙන් දැනුම් දුන්නේය. මෙවර තම පියා පැමිණෙන බවද, එදින බොහෝ විට ඔහු උදිතව අල්ලාගෙන යනු ඇති බවද, එසේ ගෙනියන ළමයින්ට තම පියා බිම වැටෙන තුරු පහර දෙන බවද වසන්ත නිතරම උදිතට කිවේය. උදිත මේ නිසා බොහෝ සෙයින් බිය වී සිටියේය.

දිනය උදාවිය. වසන්තගේ පමණක් නොව උදිතගේ පියාද එදා පැමිණියේය.

දෙදෙනාම ආවේ එක වාහනයේය. එය යුධ හමුදාවට ඒ කාලයේ තිබු හොඳම ජීප් රථයකි. මුලින්ම බැස්සේ වසන්තගේ පියාය. ඒ රියදුරු අසුනේ සිටයි. වාහනය  වටා අනෙක් පසට ගිය ඔහු දොර හැර සීරුවෙන් සිටගෙන සැලියුට් එකක් ගැසුවේය. වාහනයෙන් බැස්සේ උදිතගේ පියාය. ඔහු පිටුපසින් වසන්තගේ පියා දෙකට තුනට නැවී නැවී උදිතගේ පියා අසන දෙයට උත්තර දෙමින් පන්තිය දෙසට පැමිණියේය.

පසුව අපට පන්තියේ ගුරුතුමිය පැවසු පරිදි උදිතගේ පියා කර්නල් වරයෙකි. වසන්තගේ පියා ඔහුගේ රියදුරුය.


මට මේ කතාව මතක් වුනේ, ලංකාවේ දේශපාලකයන් ජාත්‍යන්තර ප්‍රජාවට ගුටි බැට දෙන හැටි ගැන රාජ පාක්ෂික ජනතාව කඩ මන්ඩියේ, දුම්රියේ, බස් රියේ, මුහුණු පොතේ, ආණ්ඩුවේ පත්තර, වෙබ් පිටුවල කොමෙන්ටු තීරුවේ ලියන කියන දේවල ඇසූ දුටු විටය.

Saturday 14 December 2013

What is Buddhism...?

One day two young Buddhist monks, Rev Nang and Rev Dong were walking along a village path, in a deep discussion on sins and merits. 

On their way, they reached  a small stream across which the wooden bridge was broken. A beautiful lady was there, staring at the broken bridge; needs to cross but scared to get into the water. 

Rev Nang, without any hesitation, lifted her, crossed the stream and placed the beauty on the other side. She thanked him and went away. 

For the next 10 miles there was deep silence between the monks. 

Rev. Dong, who was surprised to see that his friend carried the lady, was in a deep thought. 

"This is totally against Buddhism. We, monks, are not permitted even to touch a small girl. What he did was totally against the restraints of a Buddhist monk. Is it a right decision to have such a friend. Am I also be dragged into sins by this friendship. Should I follow a different path?"..... The chains of thought were never ending. 

The monk started breathing hoarsely, his heart beat accelerated rapidly, his chick muscles started twitching. Wiping the beads of sweat on the forehead he started muttering to himself, something in anger and disgust. 

Noticing this unusual behaviour of his friend, Rev Nang asked his friend whether he has any problem. 

Rev Dong said that there is nothing. 

As the same behaviour continued for another 5 miles Rev Nang asked the question again and Rev Dong gave the same reply.

After about another 5 miles, as the situation was becoming worse Rev Nang stopped and talked to his friend in a firm voice. "Look, Rev Dong, you will be fainted if we move further like this. Please tell me the problem or pain that you are suffering from".

Then, reluctantly Rev Dong started talking. "Rev Nang, you see, it was a terrible thing. I never expected you to carry a lady in your arms like that. You made me ashamed of myself being a friend of yours". 

Then with a smile on his face, Rev Nang calmly said, "My dear Rev Dong, I left that lady there, but you are carrying her now for 20 miles. I can clearly see how heavy she is, when I look at you".

.....I used to read this short Zen story again and again when I was young. It fascinated me. I knew that there is something deeper than the obvious advice that it gives. 

Last week, as Nelson Mandela passed away, there were many articles about him allover FB and newspapers. A part of the speech given by Mandela in his inauguration ceremony as SA president, to which he has invited the jail guards who harnessed him,  caught my eye more than any other. 

This is the essence of that part of the speech, although the exact wording may be different.

"The day that I stepped out of the prison, I left everything behind. I left my anger, hatred, revengeful-thoughts....... everything. Otherwise, even today I would have been a prisoner... A prisoner of my own thoughts".

With this speech, together with the Zen story, I found the long awaited answer for a question that many people asked me over the years............. 


As I understand, Buddhism is the guidance for giving up the ego..........

First you give up the bad deeds and bad thoughts (evil deeds and thoughts as some of you may refer)
Then you give up the greed for over satisfying the five senses
Then you give up your love for good things as well
Finally you have to give up everything.... even Buddhism 

This may take many many births..... but you can start now

Let's talk about this in detail,  some other time.......


Saturday 7 December 2013

කැසිනෝ ආදරය

Casino is an interesting topic, at least now in Sri Lanka.

The government's push over the Mass Centralized Casino Project has developed unified platforms for several sectors. Buddhists and Muslims are taking hands for protecting their fundamental principles. The segments of opposition that usually cut one another's limbs, even within their own quarters, have flocked together for a common cause.

Here, I am not trying to discuss the philosophical or political good-bad sides of Casino in Sri Lanka. This is to give an economic perspective as I see with my limited knowledge in the subject, in very simple language. 

Any rationally thinking citizen could smell, even if he cannot fully understand, why the casino tycoon James Packer is waving a 400 million USD to get the green light for the project. Perhaps he may already have thrown a few millions in air. It is not that difficult to understand why several politicians and few notorious monks are trying their level best to justify the project.

If you take the world topmost casino destinations such as Las Vegas, Macau, Monte Carlo etc.; you will find them all having one important aspect. The gambling is spread over a large spatial area and the capacity of game spots varies from one dollar bet dungeons to several million chip paradises. A whole spectrum of gamblers are attracted to the city whose sheltering varies from 10 dollar backpacker's dens to 5000 dollars per night 7 stars. 

The gambling city gets income from various sources: the roulette table itself, accommodation, food, prostitution, amenities, porn industry, music, etc. 

Is such income generation suitable for Sri Lanka....? You can debate it for the next few decades.

Now let's look at James Packer's proposal.

He proposes to build a huge hotel with all the facilities in the heart of the capital. All casinos in Sri Lanka will be located only there. The income out of the whole project will be given a couple of decades of tax holiday.

Do you expect any business tycoon to throw 400 million dollars for a gambling based hotel and promote the tourism of the country.....? 

Which casino owner wants to attract a visitor who stays one night at his gambling arena and spends the rest of the visit on sight seeing; Sigiriya, Kandy, Hikkaduwa, Arugam bay..... ...?

A rich tourist who goes to Pathaya beach for a holiday may bet few hundred dollars at a gambling spot in the city. Such tourist and a professional gambler that may come to James Packer's hotel in Colombo are different. 

The essence of gambling business is to suck the pocket of the client at the shortest possible time and kick him out. 

The motto of professional gamblers (those who earn their living from gambling; as a gambler) is to get whatever they can within the shortest possible time and switch to the next gambling point. 

Thus both parties will stick only to their main focus for the total period.

If the visitor wants any alcohol there may be many bars in the hotel; Women..? There may be Indonesian, Russian, Brazilian...whatever they want; Thai Spa or fish therapy to relax their muscles; They will be provided with every amenity within the hotel premises to ensure that they will not be escaped until they dry out. 

The visitor will most often spend all his money and leave the country empty pocket making James Packer even richer while the Sri Lankans will be satisfied with a meatless bone such as an odd job in the hotel. 

James Packer will get his return on investment within 2-3 years, thus the rest will be his pure profit. 

Just a single hotel with gambling in the city does not make Colombo a gambling city by it's true meaning. However, the investor can give such notorious label to the city by spending a couple more million dollars. Such pseudo publicity will have a serious negative impact on our tourism industry. 

A gambler is not a tourist as we discussed above. Thus a centralized gambling industry cannot promote tourism. 

On the other hand,  the present day statistics clearly show that family tourism has now taken over the bachelor tourism. If you are a regular traveler, you may have noticed that at airports, the sight of white people with kids has a significant increment.

Most often family tourists avoid countries famous for gambling. They prefer countries with scenic beauty or amusement themes (the country may have ample casino industry but not giving prominence to such promotion). Malaysia is a good example of such family tourism. 

Finally my conclusion is that economically viable decentralized gambling is not suitable for Sri Lanka due to its social impact to a nation with rich cultural heritage.

The proposed centralized gambling business is not suitable due to the economic disaster that it will bring to the country.

Thus, simply, the Casino Industry, is not suitable to Sri Lanka. 


Wednesday 27 November 2013

Don't waste food for the sake of manners

Most of us Sri Lankans spend a fair amount of time as parents, elders or teachers teaching good manners to our young ones. Most of these so called good manners (or just manners as most of us say) are willingly adopted practices by us from our colonial masters.

One such good manner that we have been taught repeatedly when we were kids was to show our host (when we visit a relative or friend) that we are satisfied with the quantity of food that has been served. 

This is shown by leaving a small quantity of drinks in your glass / cup or leaving some food in your plate (mostly the former). Some people do this to show their societal highness as well. We used to refer this practice (with a touch of humor) as "leaving manners at the bottom of the glass". 

Apparently a nice behaviour and a way of showing your decency, this practice leads to unnecessary waste of food and also the promotion of food wasting psyche. Unless you cannot totally consume what you have been offered, why should you leave some food on your glass or plate?

Hosts should also get used to serve food in base containers so that visitors can take whatever quantity they want into their own containers, without spoiling a large amount of food..

When ever you take a sip of juice or bite of sandwich don't forget that....

..... as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012. 

Saturday 23 November 2013

The Clock: A Legend from Africa

Few centuries ago, a so called "adventurer" went to explore the inner tribes of Africa. He was carrying a standing clock (now we call them grandfather clocks) with him, which he adored so much, as it was one of the most expensive types at that time. The clock, oak framed with polished brass lining, needed winding every 12 hours. 

On his way to the thick forest, he met a tribesman, Ondonge. Belonged to the Lemba tribe, Ondonge was a stocky, shrewd and cunning person with lots of venom in his inner soul. Ondonge used to roam in the far remote tribes and stole few belongings of those unsuspecting tribes each time. He also earned some living by helping the European expediters to rob the rich African heritage. Thus, he could speak many languages, both African and European.  

The adventurer, not knowing the evil nature of Ondonge, soon developed a close friendship with him.

On their way into the jungle, the adventurer showed him how to wind the clock twice a day and how to oil it, a more complex process, every 6 months. Ondonge learned this operations very quickly. 

As they were moving 100s of miles in the small jungle tracks, Ondonge volunteered to carry the sack of the adventurer and used to follow him few steps back. 

One day as they were crossing a bridge over a deep river, Ondonge, executed his long awaited sinister motive. He pushed the adventurer over the bridge and went away with the adventurer's clock and other stuff. 

Ondonge headed his way into a very remote tribe. The tribe did not even have a name so that we'll call them the x-tribe. 

The people of x-tribe lead a very poor but ultra happy life. They lived in caves or under large trees. They had no chief, no religion and there was nothing to worry. They slept when they are sleepy. They ate when they are hungry. They went on hunting or digging for yam when they do not have anything to eat. They danced and sang around the fire when they are overjoyed; may be when they hunt a kudu or dig out a large yam. They had sex when the hormones are accumulated....... The tribe had no sense of "time" at all. 

Once in a while, Ondonge brought them an old knife or a piece of cloth which were heavenly items for them. Thus, Ondonge was a man of respect among the x-tribe. And this time it was very special. 

Ondonge made a small platform in the middle of the village and placed the clock on the platform. Soon the news fled all over the village. A strange creature.... peculiar looking hands on the face..... The creature waves non stop with both hands in a very awkward manner. The whole tribe was there in few minutes. 

Ondonge addressed them with deep and grave voice. 

"While I was relaxing on the Rock of Gogola (a nearby hill), the Lord Mahra, the super power of jungle, appeared in front of me. He gave me this divine box, where his servant the Goblin of Juju is imprisoned. I will guide you how to treat Juju well and then the Lord Mahra will bring you prosperity. Otherwise, the x-tribe will be wiped out from the earth". 

X-tribe has never heard of such words or concepts. A barrage of questions started shooting out from the gathering. 

"who is Mahra and Juju",
"where were they for all this time"
"why should we treat them well"
"how can they bring us prosperity"
"how can they harm us if we do not treat them well"

Ondonge made a serious face. And with a horse voice he answered. 

"How dare you, black dwarfs, to ask such questions. Lord Mahra hates people like you who show such indecency. Do you want to be wiped off or be prosperous?".

For x-tribe, such harsh speaking was very complicated. They started muttering among themselves of what to be done.  

Ondonge sensed the confusion. He raised his voice again.

"You, my friends. Actually Lord Mahra is very kind. He is not bringing you any harm. He is here to give you happiness. The only thing for you to do is to make him happy".

X-tribe couldn't understand that they were already very happy. Thus, no one could ask "why should we get something that we already have, by giving it to someone ..... and someone of whom that we have never heard before". 

Reluctantly, but driven by the curiosity of getting happiness, x-tribe agreed to follow Ondonge's instructions.

When the hands of Goblin Juju shows 6 o' clock in the morning Ondonge strikes a kudu skin drum and every one gather around the platform where the clock is placed. Ondonge trained few selected people in the village to wind the clock. Those selected are the ones whom Lord Mahra has special interests, thus they are the blessed ones. They were also trained to oil the clock once in few months.

Ondonge used this gathering for clock winding, as a meeting where he can instruct the villagers. He instructed what the people should do as Juju the Goblin makes gestures by his hands.

In today's timing system 

at 7 am tribe eats breakfast
at 8 am they go to the jungle to bring timber to build houses
at 12 noon they take lunch
at 2 pm they start building houses and various other things taught by Ondonge
at 5 pm they go to nearby jungle to pick yam and other fruits
at 6 pm gather around clock for winding, during which he ask people about the days work
at 7 pm take the supper
at 9 pm a part of the tribe goes on hunting and others engage with sex
at 11 pm those who are in the village sleep 
at 5 am those who went for hunting returns and others awake 
at 6 am everyone again meets for winding the clock.

The synchronization worked well, although there were few hiccups at the beginning.

Soon every grown up male in the village owned a house. So they separated themselves into families; a new concept for the x-tribe. They had excess of meat and yam, so that they needed store-houses. They no longer have to run into the jungle for hunting when they get hungry. There were no time slot for dancing in Juju's timetable so that the time of joyful dancing and singing around the fire soon faded away from their memories. But x-tribe thought that Lord Mahra has given them happiness. 

As there was a compulsory time slot for sex, the population of the x-tribe started increasing rapidly.

Automatically, Ondonge became the chieftain of the tribe. He told the people that those few that he has selected for winding the clock are the blessed ones, thus others would give them some privileges such as obeying their orders, giving them the best share of meat, and girls that they like etc. The blessed ones, thus, naturally started thinking that they are above the rest; another new concept in the x-tribe. In return, they made sure that Ondonge gets the best out of everything that the x-tribe earns. 

Ondonge got a house built for him by others. He was given the best food. When ever he desires, he could get any girl, even a wife of any one, to his house for whatever the period he wants. He didn't follow the Juju's time table like others, cause he is the supreme blessed one by Lord Mahra. 

A large building was made to keep the clock on top so that the whole tribe could see it from where they are during the day. Ondonge said that it will remind them about the power of Lord Mahra, if they forget such.

Then Ondonge named the tribe after his name; the Ondonge Tribe. he said that the tribesmen should be proud of the name "Ondonge tribe" and they should stand for that wherever it is necessary.

The people in the nearby tribes developed interest in the Ondonge tribe as they posses many assets what the others do not have. One day, few people from a neighbouring tribe sneaked into Ondonge village at night and stole some meat and yam from a store house. They may have thought that it is easier to find their food in this way rather than getting such from the forest. 

For Ondonge tribe stealing was still a strange concept. Baffled with what they have seen in the morning, they went to tell this to Ondonge. 

With quite a serious face Ondonge roared "This is a huge insult to Lord Mahra. These baboons have stolen the happiness given to the Ondonge tribe by Lord Mahra. Next time when they come, will catch them and put them into a painful death".

The tribesmen were bewildered. One elderly man raised his voice "Kill our neighbouring brothers....!!! Just for taking some meat and yam?".

"How dare you to tell such, black dwarf" Ondonge barked at the man. "This is not just taking meat and yam. This is an insult to Lord Mahra and also to me, your chieftain Ondonge. This is an insult to the Ondonge tribe. We should take revenge".  Thus the concept of revenge entered the Ondonge tribe. 

From that day on wards a group of tribesman were assigned for home guard duties from 9 pm to 5 am. they were carrying the spears and bow/arrow that they used to kill kudus. 

After few days the home guards caught three young men from the neighbouring tribe who sneaked in to steal food. Ondonge asked to cut their hands and stone them to death. Many tribesmen were reluctant to do that but few of the young blessed ones accumulated enough courage to carry out the order. 

The first incident shook the whole village. They talked about that for days. But when there were few such incidents, the killing of a neighbour became somewhat ordinary.

One day, two friends of Ondonge tribe started a brawl over a girl and one youth attacked the other with his spear and killed him. Heard about this, Ondonge ordered the blessed ones to kill the other friend as a punishment. Thus, the concept of punishment was unveiled for the tribe. As the population is quite large now, the people did not feel the loss of two youths as they did earlier in such circumstances. 

Ondonge sensed that soon there will be eminent attacks from the neighbouring tribe, as the Ondonge tribe now possesses quite a big wealth. He knew the art of making weapons with his previous experience with European expediters. Thus, he ordered the men to make many types of weapons and also trained them in using such...... Killing the enemy. 

One day when the village came for the morning session of clock winding he told them that Lord Mahra has asked him to order the tribe to attack the near by tribal village. "In the name of Lord Mahra, kill all the men, bring all their wealth and women".

Ondonge tribe is now used to kill people. They obeyed the order without any opposition. The neighbouring village was massacred within few hours. They brought whatever the tribe belonged and most importantly their women. 

By the order of Ondonge all women dragged in from the neighbouring village were distributed among the families and the men were asked to produce babies out of the given women at their earliest. 

Ondonge tribe started expanding much faster than it did before.

The time passed by. Now there are frequent attacks and counter attacks between Ondonge tribe and others. There were killing of more human beings than kudus. Ondonge village has now been expanded extensively, both in land area and population.

A quite old man now, Ondonge sensed that it is not that long when the clock will end up its life and stop.  He will be answer-less when people ask whether Juju the Goblin is dead or has gone away. He also knew that sooner or latter the European expediters will reach there. They will explain the people about the clock if they see it.

One day, as the people gathered for clock winding, he told them that Lord Mahra has told him to bury the clock in a well dug grave and build up a closed structure on the grave. He ordered the people to never enter the structure or excavate the grave as Juju may come out and destroy the whole village.

The order of Lord Mahra was carried out within a short period.

Now there is no clock, but the entire village gather around the structure at the same time as they did for several decades. They don't need to look at the position of the clock hands or hear the sound of kudu skin drum to do the sequence of work that they have been doing for all those years. The biological clock within them synchronizes everything. Instead of winding the clock Ondonge asked them to kneel down in front of the structure and shout "Lord Mahra" in one voice, as they gather twice a day.

Ondonge died. Then one by one the blessed ones also died. However, the synchronization continued. Ondonge tribe needed very little thinking capacity as they were afraid to think beyond the process line. Thinking is the most dangerous and sinful act for the Ondonge tribe. 

Ondonge became a legend. Grandmothers used to tell their grandchildren how Chieftain Ondonge brought prosperity to the tribe. How brave he was in sending the tribesmen to kill the evils in the neighbouring villages who were the enemies of Lord Mahra. No body could remember the shape of the clock but they said that Ondonge, the great chieftain, had a divine box given to him by Lord Mahra.

....... And the legend never dies....................

Sunday 17 November 2013

චීනගේ ණය: උගන්ඩාවේ කථාවක්

මේක උගන්ඩාවේ කතාවක් උනාට, පොත පතේ, ඉන්ටර්නෙට් එකේ තිබිල කියවපු දෙයක් වත්, තුන්වෙනි හතරවෙනි පාර්ශවවලින් දැනගත්ත එකක්වත් නෙවෙයි. කෙලින්ම අදාළ උගන්ඩා පාර්ශවයෙන් ටිකක් වැඩිපුර කාල බීල සතුටින් ඉන්න වෙලාවක අහගත්ත කතාවක්. 

උගන්ඩාවට ව්‍යාපෘති යෝජනා (project proposal) කිහිපයක් සකස් කරන්න මට මේ අවුරුද්දේ මුල හරියේ ඒ රටේ කරක් ගහන්න සිද්ධ වුණා. පොඩි දුරක් එහෙම නෙවෙයි, සතියක් විතර තිස්සේ කිලෝ මීටර් දාහක් විතර ඇවිද්දා (ඇවිද්ද කිව්වට ඉතින් වාහනෙකින් හොඳේ). 

රාජ්‍ය ව්‍යාපෘතියක් කිව්වම ඉතින් කට්ටිය වටවෙන්නේ කාක්කෝ වගේ, දන්නවනේ. ඕක ඉතින් කොහෙත් එහෙමයි. පළාත් සභා මන්ත්‍රීලගේ ඉඳල ඇමතිවරුන් දක්වා, එතකොට කොන්ත්‍රාත්කාරයෝ, පරිසරවේදියෝ, සමාජ සේවකයෝ, මිනිස් අයිතිවාසිකම් ගැන කතාකරන රණශුරයෝ ..... ඔය මොන නම් වලින් ආවත් එන්නේ එකම වැඩේට....

ගොඩක් අය මුලින්ම හිතන්නේ මම ණය දෙන්න ආපු කෙනෙක් කියල. මොකද පෙනුම ඉන්දියන්, නමට යටින් තියෙන්නේ රට මැලේසියාව කියල, ආවේ ගියේ රජයේ වාහනයකින්, අර විශාල ජීප් තියෙන්නේ, දිසාපතිලා එහෙම යන එන. අන්න කකින්. හැබැයි ටිකක් වෙලා කතා කරනකොට තේරෙනවා මේ කිසිම වැඩකට නැති, ව්‍යපෘති යෝජනා තනන්නෙක් කියල. ඒක තේරෙන්න කලින් අහගන්න දෙයක් අහගන්න ඕනේ. ඔන්න ඔහොමයි සෙල්ලම. 

ඉස්සර අපට පිටරට ණයක් කිව්ව ගමන් ඔලුවට එන්නේ එක්කෝ ලෝක බැංකුව එහෙම නැත්නම් ජාත්‍යන්තර මුල්‍ය අරමුදල (සිංහලෙන් කියනවනම් IMF එක). කවදත්, විපක්ෂයේ ඉන්න අයට (අර කොමාව හරි වැදගත් හොඳේ) ඔය දෙක තරම් රටට ද්‍රෝහී, සමාජ විරෝධී ආයතන ලෝකේ වෙන නැහැ. සමහරු ප්ලග් ගලවන්නත් කතා කලේ විපක්ෂෙ ඉන්නකොට නේ. 

කථාව ඔන්න වෙන පැත්තකට ගියා. මම අර උගන්ඩාවේ ඇමති තුමාලගෙන් ඔය ආයතන දෙකෙන් දෙන ලෝන් ගැන ඇහුවම ඒගොල්ලන්ගේ මුණු ටිකක් හපුටු වුනා. ව්‍යපෘති යෝජනා, ප්‍රගති වාර්තා, ගිණුම් වාර්තා, වැඩ බැරි වුනාට හේතු සාධක, අරව මේව කෝටියක් ලියකියවිලි හදන්න ඕනෙලු. මාස තුනෙන් තුනට කට්ටිය ඇවිල්ල බලනවලු ප්‍රගතිය කොහොමද කියල. ඒ මදිවට රටේ මානුෂික අයිතිවාසිකම්, රට පාලනය කරන හැටි, ඒවා මේවා හැම එකටම ඇගිල්ල ගහන්න එනවලු. මේ නිසා දැන් පස්සෙන් ඇවිත් දුන්නත් IMF, WB ලෝන් ගන්න එක ගැන දෙතුන් පාරක් හිතනවලු. 

පල්ලෙහා මට්ටමේ නිලධාරීන් නම් කිව්වේ ටිකක් වෙනස් කථාවක්. අර ආයතන දෙකේම නොලියවුණු ප්‍රතිපත්තියලු රටේ කට්ටියගේ ගතමනාවට  වැඩිම වුනොත් ව්‍යපෘති මුදලෙන් 10% ට වඩා නොයන විදියට වැඩේ කෙරෙන්න ඇහැ ගහගෙන ඉන්න එක. ඉස්සර මහා ජලාශ ව්‍යපෘති එහෙම කෙරෙද්දී රටේ කට්ටිය මේ ගණනෙන් සැහීමකට පත් වුනාලු. මොකද,  අපේ, ඔයගොල්ලන්ගේ මාසේ අදායම බැලුවොත් ඔය 10% කියන්නෙත් ඒවගේ ලක්ෂ ගුණයකට වඩා වැඩි ප්‍රමාණයක්. 

ඔන්න දැන් තමයි පින්තුරේට චීනගේ මුණ වැටෙන්නේ. චීන බැංකුවකින් (ආණ්ඩුවෙන් කියල ණය දෙන්නේ බැංකුවකින්) ආධාර ඉල්ලුවහම ඔය කිසිම කරදරයක් නැහැල්ලු (ආධාර කිව්වට පොලියට ණය හොඳේ). 

පොඩි ව්‍යපෘති යෝජනාවක් හදල ආධාර ඉල්ලුම්පත එක්ක දැම්මහම මාස තුනකින් විතර කට්ටියක් එනවලු වැඩේ ගැන හොයල බලන්න. ඔන්න ඔතනදි තමයි රසවත්ම හරිය එන්නේ. 

ඔය එන කට්ටිය (චීන්නු හොඳේ) අරහේ මෙහෙ ඇවිදලා හොඳට සැප ගන්න අතරේ කියනවලු, මේ වැඩේට යන්නේ ඩොලර් මිලියන 100 යි කියල (අපි එහෙම ගානක් හිතමුකෝ). චීනා කියන්නේ අර වැඩේට යන හරිම ගානලු (ඕනනම් 10% විතර අඩු වැඩි වෙන්න). එතකොට උගන්ඩාවේ මේ වැඩේට පත් කරපු ලොක්ක කියනවලු "බොස් ඕකට ඩොලර් මිලියන 200 ක් පාස් කරන්න, අපිත් ඉතින් කන බොන මිනිස්සුනේකියල. 

එතකොට චීන කියනවලු "ඔව් ලොකු බොස්, ඔයගොල්ලෝ විතරක් යෑ අපිත් කන බොන මිනිස්සුනේ. අපි එහෙනම් ඕකට ඩොලර් මිලියන 400 ක්  දාමු කියල". 

මිලියන 100 ක් වැඩේට, 100 ක් ලොකු බොස්ලට (ඕක ඉතින් ටිකක් බෙදිලා යනවා හොඳේ), 200 ක් චීන සෙට් එකට. 

රටේ මිනිස්සුන්ට හරි සන්තෝසයි... හයිවේ හදල රූං ගාලා වාහනෙන් යනවා....ආයිෂ් අම්ම ගුණ්ඩු.

ලොකු බොස්ටයි වටේම ඉන්න කට්ටියටයි හරිම සන්තෝසයි..... නිකං යෑ ඩොලර් මිලියන සීයක් කිව්වම....

චීන සෙට් එකට පුදුම ආතල් එකක්... උගන්ඩාවට ආව, සැප ගත්ත, ඩොලර් මිලියන දෙසීයක් සාක්කුවේ.

චීන බැංකුවට සතුටු සාගරයයි... ඩොලර් හාරසීයක පොලියත් එක්ක වාරිකය ..... 6.8% පොලියට නොවැ. අර IMF එකේ වගේ 0.5% හිඟන පොලියට යෑ.

උගන්ඩාවේ කට්ටිය මට ඔය කථාව කිව්වේ බොහොම උජාරුවෙන්. එයාලට හරිම ආඩම්බරයි එයාලගේ නුවණක්කාර කම ගැන. 

ඒගොල්ලෝ චීන්නුන්ව රවට්ටන්නේ ඔන්න ඔහොමලු.........!!!!!!!


පසු කාලීනව මම උගන්ඩාවට අමතරව සැම්බියාව, නැමීබියාව, බොට්ස්වානා ආදී අප්‍රිකානු රටවල් කිහිපයකටම මගේ සේවය ලබා දුනිමි. මෙහිදී මා දුටු චීන ණය ගනුදෙනුවල විශේෂත්වය නම් සෑම රටකම, සෑම ව්‍යාපෘතියකම එකම ක්‍රියා රටාවක් පැවතීමය. මෙය එසේම දකුණු ඇමරිකාවේද සිදුවන බව කොලොම්බියාවෙදී මම දුටුවෙමි.

එම ක්‍රියාන්විතය සැකැවින් මෙසේය.

සංවර්ධන ව්‍යාපෘති සඳහා ණය ලබාදීමට සමීක්ෂණයක් කරන මුවාවෙන් ඔවුන් තෝරා ගන්නා රටවල, චීනයට අනාගතයේ අවශ්‍යවන සම්පත් හෝ භූගෝලීය පිහිටීම් පිළිබඳව තීව්‍ර ගවේෂණයක් කරයි. මේ සඳහා අදාළ රටවල පර්යේෂණ තලයන්හි සිටින උගතුන්වද සහභාගී කරවා ගනියි. මෙම උගත්තු වැඩි පිරිසක් නොදැනුවත්වම මෙම ක්‍රියාවලියට විශාල දායකත්වයක් ලබා දෙති. 

ඉන් පසු ඔවුන් දූෂිත දේශපාලකයන් හරහා තෝරා ගන්නා ව්‍යාපෘති වලට එම ව්‍යාපෘතියට වැය වන ප්‍රමාණය මෙන් කිහිප ගුණයක මුදලක් ණය වශයෙන් ලබා දෙයි. මෙහිදී අතරමැදියන් ගණනාවක් අතර කොමිස් මුදල් බෙදී යයි. චීනය මෙහිදී තදින්ම අනුගමනය කරන පිළිවෙත නම් ගනුදෙනුවේ කොටස් කරුවන් අතරට අදාළ රටේ සියළුම පක්ෂවල ක්‍රියාකාරීන් ඇතුළත් කරගැනීමයි.

ව්‍යාපෘතිය සඳහා ලබා දුන් ණය මුදලින් වැඩි ප්‍රමාණයක් යථා හෝ අයථා ආකාරයෙන් නැවතත් චීනයටම ඇදී එන ලෙස වැඩ කටයුතු සැලසීම මෙහි තවත් සුක්‍ෂම ක්‍රමවේදයකි.

පොළියට ණය දෙනවා පමණක් නොව පොළිය සමග ණය වාරික ගෙවීමට පොළියට ණය දීමද චීනයේ සිරිතයි.

ඕනෑම ව්‍යාපෘතියක එක් අවස්ථාවකදී අදාළ රටට ණය වාරික ගෙවා ගත නොහැකි තත්වයක් පැන නගින බව ඔවුන්ගේ විශ්ලේෂකයන් පැහැදිලිවම හඳුනා ගනියි. එම අවස්ථාව පැමිණෙන වකවානුව පිළිබඳව ආසන්න මාසයටම නිවැරදිව අනාවැකි ඵල කල හැකි බව වරක් මගේ සැම්බියානු මිතුරකු පැවසීය. ඔහු චීන-සැම්බියා ව්‍යාපෘතියක ඉහල නිලයක් දරයි.

අදාළ තත්වය පැමිණි වහාම රටේ දුෂණයට සම්බන්ධ සියළුම පාර්ශව වල එකගත්වයෙන් ව්‍යාපෘතිය චීනයට පවරා ගැනෙයි. මෙහිදී ජනතාවගේ අවධානය වෙනතකට යොමු කිරීමට සෑම පක්ෂයකම නායකයන් එකතු වී තිර නාටකයක් රචනය කර රඟ දක්වයි. එය උගන්ඩාවේ මෙන්ම සැම්බියාවේද සිදු වනු මම දැක ඇත්තෙමි.

මට සුනිල් පෙරේරාගේ සිංදුවක කොටසක් මතකයට නැගෙයි......

"ඒ රටවල එහෙම වුනත් ලංකාවේ එහෙම වෙන්නේ නෑ..... අපේ ලොක්කෝ පගා ගහන් නෑ........"