Another TV Network on air for Sri Lankan and Sri Lankan expatriates in other countries
By Quintus Perera
Colombo, 26 January, (Asiantribune.com): The newest television network that goes in the air is Lak Vision – International Satellite Television Broadcaster and its lunch took place at Hotel Colombo Hilton with its Chairman, Nawaz Rajabdeen and host of popular artistes and other guests.
This newest television network aims at the Sri Lankan expatriates spread all over the world, with special attention to those who are in the Middle-East and in the EU countries. While the Network is also accessible by the local clientele the programmes that would be telecast for overseas Sri Lankan viewers would also be in Sinhala.
It is a TV channel with a mission to cater to specific needs of expatriate Sinhala community who may feel lonely in a foreign land. The channel brings wholesome programmes in Sinhala comprising news from Sri Lanka, tele-dramas, musical programmes to entertain and inform.
At the launch Rajabdeen said that both the European Union countries and the Middle-Eastern countries is dynamic and wealthy markets in the world and the purchasing power in those countries are driven by unprecedented economic growth achieved during the past decade. He said that the 27 nation EU has a population of 500 million people which is in excess of the population of both the US and Russia.
These advanced nations attract continuous migration for employment by professionals and in the same manner oil rich Gulf Countries too attract people for employment. He said that Lak Vision aims at that market segment.
He said that the surveys done by Lak Vision has shown that the Sri Lankans resident in those countries are interested to know what is taking place in their country of birth.
He said that Lak Vision is not just another TV Channel but to be service oriented and would focus on specific problems concern the Sri Lankan Community overseas. – problems such as remittances of earnings, provision for obtaining information on relations and friends etc.
"Star Lanka Online" Our NEW Web site And Web TV Channel Launched
the official web site, called
*** Star Lanka Online Dot Com ........................
www.starlankaonline.com will be completed in very near future....
*** Star Lanka Online TV Channel,..................
Just One Click ahead ...
Now you can watch "Star Lanka Online TV" channel broadcasts from Matara, Sri Lanka in most part of the day. Still we are keeping a test transmission also. There is a link right side of your hand to watch our TV channel. You can watch (Click On the Box) live channel on this site without going to another site to watch the TV. and also recorded parts, following the below link.
Place your Own Ad Here
Monday, January 28, 2008
Another TV Network on air for Sri Lankan and Sri Lankan expatriates in other countries
Saturday, January 26, 2008
But look more carefully and there appears to be an extraordinary, ghostly presence among them.
Peeping out between the knees of two of the girls is the face of a child.
The eerie image - clear enough to show a pair of eyes, a nose, a mouth and hair - was captured by 17-year-old Matthew Summers on his mobile phone as he and his friends were preparing to go out.
“I zoomed in to my sister’s mate’s little sister who was crying and I saw a face,”
Matthew said. “You can see all the facial expressions and everything.
However, Ciaran O’Keeffe, a parapsychologist on Living TV’s Most Haunted show, has a more down-to-earth explanation for the “child” in Matthew’s photograph.
Dr O’Keeffe said: “As human beings we’re very good at finding a pattern in randomness and related to that we’re good at finding faces in randomness. The term for this is pareidolia.
“There is no ghost in this picture, just the coincidental effect of pixelation and darkness and light which combine together.”
Friday, January 25, 2008
A child created stamp goes Island Wide !
Madara Madubhashini,A 12 years old student of Sujatha Balika Vidyalaya , Matara, Sri Lanka , has made a Stamp and posted to the government. Then , it has been selected and made 1, 000,000 stamps after that.We are glad to see her with us , at our educa tional Center, T.F.G.E., The Future Global Educational Centerer.
Madara, also very much bright in Maths ( After she has came our TFGE center ), now in grade 8, and lives in Hittatiya east , Matara. We wish all the success in her life !
Posted by Priyantha De Silva at 1:57 PM
A few months ago, I've seen on a blog of TV radio Sri Lanka, a person had insulted me as "What do you know about Media?".I newer gave them an answer and laughed.When my childhood, a music group called "SHA", had came our house to stay about one week. (There was a one who had some relationship with us, in the band). Many singers and songstress like M.S. Fernando, Mariazell Gunathilaka and many others have came our house and had dinner , that my mother had cooked. Those days I was very familiar with singers, specially , with Abewardana Balasuriya.
One day from the SLRC ( Sri Lanka Brodcasting ) had came our house to observe the information that I've posted by a letter.And they came to Matara from Colombo for that reason and got my sign to prove their attendance.They'd erected a antenna to get all the signal from other parts of the island ,in our home garden to search more.
In 1994 , I've posted a letter to The Sunday Times and It has published .The most important thing is, The Father Of Television History" in Sri Lanka,Shan Wikramasinghe (Pinier of ITN and TNL ) , had given me a replay next week.As a very reputed man in Sri Lanka, Shan Wikramasinghe, I'm very much glad to received a replay from him.Specially, that was my first letter I've posted to a newspaper and also it has published. Now you can see the copiers.
After that I've followed a "Media" course in the BMICH, from Mr. Sunanda Mahendra, Palitha Perera, Edvin Ariyadasa, and many more from the media sector.This's the certificate I've received for whole media"
This the 1st place Media certificate Ive won
from the SLBC a long time ago.I've won , got the 1st place from the Island wide
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Canadian Man Survives 96 Hours Trapped Under an ATV
Alberta, Canada — A paramedic who's used to saving the lives of others found himself having to eat rotting beaver meat and fend off snarling animals to ensure his own survival while trapped for 96 hours in Alberta bush country.
Ken Hildebrand of Fort McMurray was riding his all-terrain vehicle as he collected animal traps north about 80 miles southwest of Calgary, on Jan. 8 when the ATV rolled after hitting a rock and trapped him underneath.
Hildebrand, who has a weak leg due to polio, ended up face down on the snowy ground with his machine pinning his strong leg.
"He was stuck there for four days and three nights — almost 96 hours straight," said Troy Linderman, director of Crowsnest Pass emergency medical services said.
Hildebrand's injuries aren't described as life-threatening, but there is a chance his right foot might have to be amputated.
Hildebrand, who wouldn't give his age, said he kept himself alive — albeit sick — by eating the rotting meat of the animals he had collected.
He said he faced constant harassment from coyotes who were growling and fighting each other a few feet away, but was able to keep them at bay by constantly blowing a whistle he had with him.
"It was time to get ready for survival mode," Hildebrand said.
As a paramedic, he knew people start losing heat quickly from their upper body so he took a beaver carcass and set it by his groin to help keep his body warm. He used another beaver as a bit of a windbreak and part of its skin as a makeshift pillow.
With no water or food with him, no snow close by and nothing but dirt around him, he quickly became dehydrated. He pulled some surveyor's tape through his teeth to get a little bit of the dew that dropped onto it.
"I ate a lot of dirt to get a little moisture," he said.
By the second night he was so hungry he started to pick at the beaver bones an hour after the sun went down.
"I tried to eat pieces of that, but it made me sick and I threw up," Hildebrand said.
Hildebrand made several attempts to get out from under the ATV, including using an ax to pry it off, but he didn't have enough leverage to free his leg.
As Hildebrand was entering his fourth day of being trapped, he began to accept the fact he might not be found before the cold, malnourishment or animals claimed him. His saving grace came when a hiker and a dog from Pincher Creek found him.
"He was hiking and he came there because he told me he had this funny intuition and urge to go hiking there even though he'd never been there before," Hildebrand said.
After spending a night in the Crowsnest Pass hospital, he was transferred to Lethbridge, where he has undergone several operations to treat frostbite and injuries to his legs.
"It's amazing that he's alive. I can't believe it," Linderman said. "Ken's as tough as nails."
Despite hypothermia, frostbite, dehydration and leg injuries, Hildebrand's only concern after being rescued was not being able to make his next paramedic shift, Linderman said.
Hildebrand, who works teaching first aid and heavy equipment at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, said he still has property in the Crowsnest Pass and was there seeing if he could help ranchers with the problem of wolves preying on cattle.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Priyantha De Silva writes..his own experience.....
In early days in my life, they gave me a lot of fun than anyone else ! Who are they ?
That's "Sunflowers".The Best Music Band Of the industry so popular.
In early 90's, many of the Sri Lankans, except young and school children, had blamed them without reasons. With their debut album, "Salade", Nonstop , they had make the country rock . The leader of the group was 'Neel Warnakulasuriya', has able to keep his position with many obstacles until now. The heart of the group is 'Nelson Vass', is the leading singer. With them Ivore De Mel(Bass), Earny Peris(guitar), Cristoper(Vocalist), Atula Adikari(Organ), Mahinda Silva (Drum)were others. With the time some of them had to leave the band without quarrels or problems , for their personal purposes.
Now, with Sudath Nawala, Noyel Raj,From Drums, The most telented drummer in the country, Roshan perera, Anton perera(Key Board) and Manjula Gamage, Ruwan,.........( Who are others in The Sunflowers ? If you know You can comment here !) , Nelson and Neel, still making new trend in the Sri Lankan Music world.
When early days of the "Sunflowers", we were children. Now, some of them are keeping in high positions in the TV, Radio Stations and many more. They are giving many chances for our lovely band these days, can't find any one who blame the "Band", these days.
Now, thousand of people has got jobs because of "The Sunflowers" group. Even Singers. Some poor singers in last decades, Have sang to the music of Sun Flowers and in one night, thousands of their CD's have sold and got popular because of The Sunflowers.
I can still remember the day in my school times, About 16 years ago, I think their "Salade" cassettes were much popular era, First I've met them at "New cinema" Matara.When I told some persons that I want to meet them, those people said "NO" , you can't. But, "Sunflowers" leader, Neel ,had seen that incident and told them, "leave them to me", so with Atula Adikari and Nelson Wass.I was able to get their signs for the first time in Matara, and now you can see them for the first time.
The signs of "Sunflower", group !
India win ends Aussie record bid
| Third Test, Perth: India 330 & 294 bt Australia 212 & 340 by 72 runs (day four) |
India denied Australia a record 17th straight victory by dismissing them for 340 to win the third Test by 72 runs.
Resuming on 65-2, chasing 413, the hosts did well to only lose Ricky Ponting (45) on the fourth morning.
But Mike Hussey (46), Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist and Brett Lee fell to make it 243-7 at tea, while Anil Kumble had Michael Clarke (81) stumped.
Mitchell Johnson (50no) shared 73 with Stuart Clark (32) but India persevered to cut their series deficit to 2-1.
It ended the home side's hopes of surpassing the 16 consecutive victories achieved by Steve Waugh's Aussies between 1999-2001.
The defeat was their first since the thriller at Trent Bridge against England in 2005, and their first on home soil since India beat them in Adelaide in 2003.
And the tourists will now fancy their chances of completing their fightback in the finale at the same South Australia venue and emulate the series draw they achieved that time.
That is a remarkable prospect considering the acrimony and soul-searching which followed their controversial defeat in Sydney.
Australia were hoping the Waca pitch, which had shown signs of variable bounce and turn would hold up well in the baking heat.
However, their chances suffered an early blow when captain Ponting was caught by Rahul Dravid at first slip off Ishant Sharma, and the middle order fell away after lunch.
Hussey was trapped lbw by RP Singh and Symonds was leg-before to skipper Kumble although replays showed he had made contact with the bat.
Part-time spinner Sehwag then did further damage by bowling Gilchrist round his legs for 15 and having Lee snapped up at silly mid-off by VVS Laxman.
While Clarke was at the crease the Aussies retained an outside chance of a stunning success.
But his 134-ball defiance ended when he charged down the track to leg-spinner Kumble and was a couple of yards short when Mahendra Dhoni whipped off the bails.
India's celebrations were delayed by an unlikely obstacle in Johnson, who smashed Sehwag over mid-on for six and clubbed three fours in one Kumble over costing 17 runs.
Johnson was bowled off a Kumble no-ball and dropped on the boundary at wide long-on by Sehwag before clubbing a massive six in the same region to bring up the fifty partnership off 47 balls.
The visitors were losing their grip, on the ball and their nerves, as edges and heaves dropped agonisingly short of fielders.
Singh was handed the second new ball at the first opportunity and Clark, who was fed a steady diet of long-hops, promptly pulled him for another maximum to bring the target down to 100.
The tail-enders' confidence was soaring but Pathan found Clark's edge to have him caught behind.
Johnson, who was dropped by Dravid at first slip off Singh, deservedly reached his maiden Test fifty off 80 balls but Singh clean bowled Shaun Tait to seal a momentous Indian triumph.
Test Match Special Blog
Updated: 18 Jan, 14:23 GMT
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Friday, January 11, 2008
'National Treasure: Book of Secrets' (stars Nicolas Cage) -- 1 1/2 stars
By Michael Phillipshttp://www.ushistory.org/libertybell/
The most suspenseful sequence in 'National Treasure: Book of Secrets' has the American treasure hunter played by Nicolas Cage masquerading as a local and haranguing a London bobby in Buckingham Palace. Your breathing becomes very rapid and your knuckles start to pale as you think: How many more lines can Cage keep it up with his idea of a Cockney dialect?
Compare that scene to the big one near the end of this very draggy sequel. Cage, Jon Voight (as his pop), Diane Kruger (as his ex), Justin Bartha (as the Jimmy Olsen of the piece), Helen Mirren!? (as mom) and Ed Harris (as a rival treasure seeker looking for the lost City of Gold) have converged inside Mt. Rushmore, which was of course a massive cover-up designed to conceal the golden temple. The set looks like a pre-Columbian water park straight out of the Wisconsin Dells, and director Jon Turteltaub keeps us in there a long, looooooonng time.
In the first 'National Treasure,' which was a good-sized international success, Cage and associates chased down treasure-hunt clues encoded in the Declaration of Independence and the Liberty Bell. Here the clues lie in the Statue of Liberty (not that one, the other one) and in matching antique desks located in Buckingham Palace and the White House Oval Office. The film slogs all over the map, from Paris to London to Rapid City, S.D., in hopes of recapturing some of the first film's box office appeal. The plot also has to do with missing pages from John Wilkes Booth's diary, and Ben Gates kidnapping the current U.S. president in order to get a look at the super-secret Presidential Book of Secrets.
All you want from a movie like this, really, is a little brainless fun, and it keeps holding out on you. Everyone looks fatigued. Even Cage's toupee seems ambivalent about having signed on for a sequel. The script by The Wibberleys keeps spinning the compass, and a line spoken with weary authority by Voight in the first 'National Secrets' haunts this one: 'And another clue leads to another clue ...'
[Click here to read Terry Armour's interview with Nicolas Cage.] firstname.lastname@example.org MPAA rating: PG (for some violence and action).
- - - - - 'National Treasure: Book of Secrets'
1 1/2 stars out of 4 Directed by Jon Turteltaub; screenplay by The Wibberleys; photographed by John Schwartzman and Amir Mokri; edited by William Goldenberg and David Rennie; music by Trevor Rabin; production design by Dominic Watkins; produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Turteltaub. A Walt Disney Pictures release; opens Dec. 21. Running time: 2:10.
Ben Gates ... Nicolas Cage Riley Poole ... Justin Bartha Abigail Chase ... Diane Kruger Patrick Gates ... Jon Voight Emily Appleton ... Helen Mirren Mitch Wilkinson ... Ed Harris
Copyright © 2007 Chicago Tribune, All Rights Reserved.
Now we are going to learn about the ,
Liberty Bell !!!
The Liberty Bell *********************
Tradition tells of a chime that changed the world on July 8, 1776, with the Liberty Bell ringing out from the tower of Independence Hall summoning the citizens of Philadelphia to hear the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence by Colonel John Nixon.
The Pennsylvania Assembly ordered the Bell in 1751 to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of William Penn's 1701 Charter of Privileges, Pennsylvania's original Constitution. It speaks of the rights and freedoms valued by people the world over. Particularly forward thinking were Penn's ideas on religious freedom, his liberal stance on Native American rights, and his inclusion of citizens in enacting laws.
The Liberty Bell gained iconic importance when abolitionists in their efforts to put an end to slavery throughout America adopted it as a symbol.
As the Bell was created to commemorate the golden anniversary of Penn's Charter, the quotation "Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof," from Leviticus 25:10, was particularly apt. For the line in the Bible immediately preceding "proclaim liberty" is, "And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year." What better way to pay homage to Penn and hallow the 50th year than with a bell proclaiming liberty?
Also inscribed on the Bell is the quotation, "By Order of the Assembly of the Province of Pensylvania for the State House in Philada." Note that the spelling of "Pennsylvania" was not at that time universally adopted. In fact, in the original Constitution, the name of the state is also spelled "Pensylvania." If you get a chance to visit the second floor of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, take a moment to look at the original maps on the wall. They, too, have the state name spelled "Pensylvania" (and the Atlantic Ocean called by the name of that day, "The Western Ocean"). The choice of the quotation was made by Quaker Isaac Norris, speaker of the Assembly.
Centered on the front of the Bell are the words, "Pass and Stow / Philada / MDCCLIII." We'll get to Pass and Stow in a bit.
There is widespread disagreement about when the first crack appeared on the Bell. However, it is agreed that the final expansion of the crack which rendered the Bell unringable was on Washington's Birthday in 1846.
The Bell as Icon
The Bell achieved an iconic status when abolitionists adopted the Bell as a symbol for the movement. It was first used in this association as a frontispiece to an 1837 edition of Liberty, published by the New York Anti-Slavery Society.
It was, in fact, the abolitionists who gave it the name "Liberty Bell," in reference to its inscription. It was previously called simply the "State House bell."
In retrospect, it is a remarkably apt metaphor for a country literally cracked and freedom fissured for its black inhabitants. The line following "proclaim liberty" is, "It shall shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family." The Abolitionists understood this passage to mean that the Bible demanded all slaves and prisoners be freed every 50 years.
William Lloyd Garrison's anti-slavery publication The Liberator reprinted a Boston abolitionist pamphlet containing a poem about the Bell, entitled, The Liberty Bell, which represents the first documented use of the name, "Liberty Bell."
The Bell and the Declaration of Independence
In 1847, George Lippard wrote a fictional story for The Saturday Currier which told of an elderly bellman waiting in the State House steeple for the word that Congress had declared Independence. The story continues that privately he began to doubt Congress's resolve. Suddenly the bellman's grandson, who was eavesdropping on the doors of Congress, yelled to him, "Ring, Grandfather! Ring!"
This story so captured the imagination of people throughout the land that the Liberty Bell was forever associated with the Declaration of Independence.
The truth is that the steeple was in bad condition and historians today highly doubt that the Bell actually rang in 1776. However, its association with the Declaration of Independence was fixed in the collective mythology.
Bell as Symbol
After the divisive Civil War, Americans sought a symbol of unity. The flag became one such symbol, and the Liberty Bell another. To help heal the wounds of the war, the Liberty Bell would travel across the country.
Starting in the 1880s, the Bell traveled to cities throughout the land "proclaiming liberty" and inspiring the cause of freedom. We have prepared a photo essay of its 1915 journey to the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.
A replica of the Liberty Bell, forged in 1915, was used to promote women's suffrage. It traveled the country with its clapper chained to its side, silent until women won the right to vote. On September 25, 1920, it was brought to Independence Hall and rung in ceremonies celebrating the ratification of the 19th amendment.
To this day, oppressed groups come to Philadelphia to give voice to their plight, at the Liberty Bell, proclaiming their call for liberty.
History of the Bell
On November 1, 1751, a letter was sent to Robert Charles, the Colonial Agent of the Province of Pennsylvania who was working in London. Signed by Isaac Norris, Thomas Leech, and Edward Warner, it represented the desires of the Assembly to purchase a bell for the State House (now Independence Hall) steeple. The bell was ordered from Whitechapel Foundry, with instructions to inscribe on it the passage from Leviticus.
The bell arrived in Philadelphia on September 1, 1752, but was not hung until March 10, 1753, on which day Isaac Norris wrote, "I had the mortification to hear that it was cracked by a stroke of the clapper without any other viollence [sic] as it was hung up to try the sound."
Two Philadelphia foundry workers named John Pass and John Stow were given the cracked bell to be melted down and recast. They added an ounce and a half of copper to a pound of the old bell in an attempt to make the new bell less brittle. For their labors they charged slightly over 36 Pounds.
The new bell was raised in the belfry on March 29, 1753. "Upon trial, it seems that they have added too much copper. They were so teased with the witticisms of the town that they will very soon make a second essay," wrote Isaac Norris to London agent Robert Charles. Apparently nobody was now pleased with the tone of the bell.
Pass and Stow indeed tried again. They broke up the bell and recast it. On June 11, 1753, the New York Mercury reported, "Last Week was raised and fix'd in the Statehouse Steeple, the new great Bell, cast here by Pass and Stow, weighing 2080 lbs."
In November, Norris wrote to Robert Charles that he was still displeased with the bell and requested that Whitechapel cast a new one.
Upon the arrival of the new bell from England, it was agreed that it sounded no better than the Pass and Stow bell. So the "Liberty Bell" remained where it was in the steeple, and the new Whitechapel bell was placed in the cupola on the State House roof and attached to the clock to sound the hours.
The Liberty Bell was rung to call the Assembly together and to summon people together for special announcements and events. The Liberty Bell tolled frequently. Among the more historically important occasions, it tolled when Benjamin Franklin was sent to England to address Colonial grievances, it tolled when King George III ascended to the throne in 1761, and it tolled to call together the people of Philadelphia to discuss the Sugar Act in 1764 and the Stamp Act in 1765.
In 1772 a petition was sent to the Assembly stating that the people in the vicinity of the State House were "incommoded and distressed" by the constant "ringing of the great Bell in the steeple."
But, tradition holds, it continued tolling for the First Continental Congress in 1774, the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775 and its most resonant tolling was on July 8, 1776, when it summoned the citizenry for the reading of the Declaration of Independence produced by the Second Continental Congress. However, the steeple was in bad condition and historians today doubt the likelihood of the story.
In October 1777, the British occupied Philadelphia. Weeks earlier all bells, including the Liberty Bell, were removed from the city. It was well understood that, if left, they would likely be melted down and used for cannon. The Liberty Bell was removed from the city and hidden in the floorboards of the Zion Reformed Church in Allentown, Pennsylvania, which you can still visit today.
Throughout the period from 1790 to 1800, when Philadelphia was the nation's capital, uses of the Bell included calling the state legislature into session, summoning voters to hand in their ballots at the State House window, and tolling to commemorate Washington's birthday and celebrate the Fourth of July.
The Bell Today
The green area seen in the foreground of this photograph was the location of the President's House when Philadelphia was the nation's capital (1790-1800) for Presidents Washington and Adams. The house was demolished in 1832. A commemoration to Washington and the 9 enslaved Africans who toiled there, and Adams and his presidency is being planned. Read more about the President's House.
Read and see more!
- Liberty Bell Timeline
- Liberty Bell Facts
- Liberty Bell Triviata
- Liberty Bell Quotes
- Liberty Bell 1915 Photo Essay
- Liberty Bell Links
Liberty Bell Timelinehttp://www.ushistory.org/libertybell/timeline.html
William Penn issued the Charter of Priviledges, which many historians believe was being celebrated 50 years later with the ordering of what would become the Liberty Bell.
Construction on the state house began (see next).
Construction on the state house is completed. This was Colonial America's grandest public building and would be home to the Liberty Bell. At this time, however, the building had no bell.
The Assembly, "Ordered, That the Superintendents of the State-House, proceed, ... to carry up a Building on the South-side of the said House to contain the Staircase, with a suitable Place thereon for hanging a Bell."
The Pennsylvania Assembly issued an order for the bell.
Isaac Norris, Assembly Speaker and the Chairman of the State House Superintendents asked the Assembly's agent in London, Robert Charles, to buy a bell.
He wrote in his instructions:
Some historians believe that the inscription was meant as a commemoration and celebration of Penn's extraordinary 1701 Charter of Privileges, which put legislative power in the hands of the Assembly and took it from William Penn and the Proprietorship (those supporting the Penn family). So it would make good sense for the Assembly to pay homage to the rights granted fifty years earlier.
Yet other historians pointedly note that Norris himself was known for his opposition to the Penn family (perhaps explaining why Pennsylvania is spelled "Pensylvania" on the bell). If the Bell were intended to celebrate the 50th anniversary why would it specify 1752, instead of 1751 which would have been the 50th anniversary? Perhaps, Norris recognizing that the Bell would not arrive until 1752 thought it would be curious to backdate his inscription. Or, perhaps, the fiftieth anniversary of the Charter was simply a coincidence. The historical record does not provide us an answer.
Either way, agent Robert Charles ordered a bell from London's Whitechapel Foundry. The cost of the bell including insurance and shipping was 150 Pounds 13 shillings 8 pence.
The Bell was sent from England on the ship Hibernia, captained by William Child.
Note: It is in error, though commonly believed that it came on the Myrtilla. Dennis R. Reidenbach, Acting Superintendent Independence National Historical Park, wrote, "According to newspaper accounts of port activity, the Myrtilla docked in Philadelphia at the end of September 1752. However, Pennsylvania's Speaker of the Assembly, Isaac Norris (the man who ordered and oversaw the installation of the bell in the State House), wrote on Sept. 1 that the bell had recently arrived. The only ship from England that docked in Philadelphia during the month of August that year was the Hibernia, captained by William Child. The Hibernia was of modest size, transporting dry goods and passengers regularly between England, the colonies and Ireland. No known records identify the Hibernia's owner either before or at the time it transported the bell." (Philadelphia Inquirer 9/22/02)
The Bell arrived. On September 1, 1752 Norris wrote the following to Assembly Representative Robert Charles: "The Bell is come ashore & in good order." He continued, "we have not yet try'd the sound."
On March 10th Norris again wrote Agent Charles.
I gave Information that our Bell was generally like & appvd of but in a few days after my writing I had the Mortification to hear that it was cracked by a stroke of the clapper without any other violence as it was hung up to try the sound.Norris went on to write that "two Ingenious Work-Men" had been hired to recast the bell. These workmen were named Pass and Stow and their names are today inscribed on the bell.
After adding a dash more copper into the mixture of the Bell, the workmen were ready to try the new casting. It didn't sound good, apparently. Isaac Norris noted that "they were so teized (teased) by the witicisms of the Town that they...will be very soon ready to make a second essay."
It seems they had added too much copper to the detriment of the tone of the bell.
It was reported in the New York Mercury that "Last Week was raised and fix'd in the Statehouse Steeple, the new great Bell, cast here by Pass and Stow, weighing 2080 lbs. The steeple had been built in March of 1753 by Edmund Woolley, a member of Philadelphia's Carpenters' Company, and the master-builder who had overseen the construction of the State House.
Pass and Stow charged slightly over 36 Pounds for their repair job. According to their bill, the Bell weighed 2,081 pounds.
Not everyone was happy with the way the new Bell sounded, however, most significantly Isaac Norris. He wrote yet again to Robert Charles, "We got our Bell new cast here and it has been used some time but tho some are of opinion it will do I Own I do not like it." Norris suggested returning the metal from the Bell to England to be recast.
Agent Robert Charles ordered a new bell from Whitechapel.
The Assembly resolved to pay for the new bell while keeping the Pass and Stow bell.
When the new bell arrived most folks agreed it sounded no better than Pass and Stow's recast Bell. The Pass and Stow Bell remained in the State House steeple. The new Whitechapel bell was hung in a cupola on the State House roof, attached to the State House clocks. It was this bell which rang the time for Philadelphians. The Pass and Stow bell rang for special events.
It tolled for the meeting of the Assembly which would send Benjamin Franklin to England to address Colonial grievances.
The Pennsylvania Gazette reported that the Bell was rung upon the arrival of Lord Loudon from New York.
It tolled in honor of King George III ascending the throne.
The Assembly permitted nearby St. Paul's Church to use the bell to announce worship until their church building was completed and their own bell installed.
It tolled upon the repeal of the Sugar Act.
The Bell was rung to call the Assembly in which Benjamin Franklin was to be sent to England to address Colonial grievances.
The Bell was "muffled" and rung when ships carrying tax stamps sailed up the Delaware River.
The Bell was rung to summon citizens to a public meeting to discuss the Stamp Act.
After the ringing of the Bell, merchants of Philadelphia held a gripe session condemning regressive Parliamentary measures which included a prohibition on the manufacture of steel in the Province of Pennsylvania as well as a ban on hat making.
It tolled after a resolution claiming that Parliament's latest taxation schemes were subversive of Pennsylvanian's constitutional rights.
It was rung to call the Assembly together to petition the King for a repeal of tea duties.
People living in the vicinity of State House petitioned the Assembly to stop ringing the bell so often, complaining that they were "incommoded and distressed" by the constant "ringing of the great Bell in the Steeple."
Dec. 25, 1773
Shortly after the Boston Tea Party (12/16/1773), the Bell rung the news that the ship Polly was bringing "monopoly" tea into Philadelphia. At this time the Assembly resolved that Captain Ayres of the Polly would neither be allowed to land nor bring his tea to the custom house.
It was noted that the steeple in the State House was in need of repair.
A muffled tolling announced the Intolerable Acts which included the closure of the Port of Boston.
It tolled for a town meting whrein the citizens of Philadelphia pledged over 4,000 pounds in aid for the suffering residents of Boston.
It pealed to announce the Battle of Lexington and Concord.
July 4 1776
The Liberty Bell did not ring on July 4, 1776 for the Declaration of Independence. The reason? The Declaration is dated July 4, 1776, but on that day, the Declaration was sent to the printer. See next.
July 8 1776
The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. Bells tolled throughout the city on that day. Tradition holds that the Liberty Bell rang out this day. However, the steeple was in bad condition and historians today doubt the likelihood of the story.
War came to the Philadelphia region. The British had won the Battle of Brandywine on September 11 and were poised to move into Philadelphia. Philadelphians tried to remove anything the British could make use of, including bells. Bells could be melted down and recast into cannon. On September 23, the State House Bell was taken down and shipped inland. A member of the Carpenters' Company was put in charge of the physical removal. The bell was hidden in the basement of the Zion Reformed Church in Allentown (where you can visit today). On its journey, the Bell was guarded by Colonel Thomas Polk of North Carolina who was in command of 200 North Carolina and Virginia militiaman.
June 27 1778
The Bell was brought back to Philadelphia but not rehung. The rotten steeple didn't allow it. The Bell was put into storage for seven years. Some believe the Bell was stored in one of the munitions sheds that flanked the State House.
The State House steeple was torn down.
The Bell was rehung in the rebuilt State House steeple.
The Bell was rung upon ratification of the Constitution.
It was rung throughout the year to call students of the University of Pennsylvania to classes at nearby Philosophical Hall.
Tolled at death of Franklin.
Rung during the inauguration of John Adams.
Tolled at the death of Washington.
Pennsylvania's state capital moved to Lancaster. The Bell remained in Philadelphia and was used to call voters, to celebrate patriotic occasions, and to toll on the deaths of famous Americans.
Tolled at the death of Hamilton.
The state of Pennsylvania announced its intention of selling the State House and yard. When it was learned that the yard was going to be subdivided for building lots, the city of Philadelphia was scandalized. It responded by purchasing the building and yard from the state for $70,000.
Philadelphia City Councils (there were two at the time) bought a new bell to be used for the clocks on the State House. The Liberty Bell would remain on the fourth floor of the brick part of the tower.
Bell rung for Lafayette's triumphant return to Philadelphia.
A letter to the Philadelphia Public Ledger on May 4, 1915 (nearly 100 years after the event) claimed that the Bell cracked on this occasion. There was no mention in the contemporary press that the bell cracked at that time, however.
Tolled at the deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (both of whom died on July 4).
Philadelphia decided to reconstruct the State House steeple. Council also decided to replace the State House clock with a new one in the steeple. It was decided the new clock should have a new bell.
A foundry owner named John Wilbank cast a 4,000 pound bell. In December, Wilbank's bell took the place of the old State House Bell, and the Liberty Bell was moved to a different part of the new tower. The bell that was installed as a clock bell in 1821 disappeared -- It's assumed that Wilbank took it as part of his payment. Wilbank was also supposed to haul away the Liberty Bell at that time.
The city sued Wilbank for breach of contract -- because he did not take the Liberty Bell with him. Wilbank argued that draying (hauling) costs exceeded the $400 the Bell was assessed at. They haggled in court before a judge ordered a compromise: Wilbank would pay court costs; the City had to keep the Bell, which was technically considered "on loan" from Wilbank.
Over the years, Wilbank's heirs have agitated the city of Philadelphia to give them the Bell which they considered rightfully theirs. In a 1915 agreement, the family agreed to keep the bell on loan as long as it hung in Independence Hall.
In 1984, an heir of Wilbank named James McCloskey claimed the Bell for himself, noting that it had moved to a pavilion a block north of Independence Hall. He claimed that he wanted to display it in his hometown of Baltimore, or barring that, melt the Bell down "and make seven million rings -- all cracked -- and sell them for $39.95 each."
Rung to celebrate the Catholic Emancipation Act. A newspaper article from 1914 claims the Bell cracked on this occasion. Again, the story was written nearly 100 years after the event. There was no mention in the comtemporary press that the bell cracked at that time, however.
City Councils agree to let the youths of the city ring "the old State House Bell" on July 4th.
Rang for the Centennial birthday celebration for George Washington.
Tolled at the death of Lafayette
In an interview in the Sunday New York Times of July 16, 1911, one Emmanuel Rauch claims that when he was a boy of 10, he was walking through the State House Square on Washington's Birthday when the steeple-keeper, Major Jack Downing, called him over. Rauch, along with several other boys were asked whether they wanted to ring the Bell in honor of Washington's Birthday. The boys started the ringing, and after the clapper had struck about a dozen times, both the lads and Major Downing noticed a change in the Bell's tone. Upon examining the Bell, they discovered a hairline crack, over a foot long. Major Downing sent the boys on their way.
July 8, 1835
Long-believed to have cracked while tolling for John Marshall, who had died while in Philadelphia. However, this is historically questionable.
The Bell was used as a frontispiece to an 1837 edition of Liberty, published by the New York Anti-Slavery Society.
William Lloyd Garrison's anti-slavery publication The Liberator reprinted a Boston abolitionist pamphlet containing a poem about the Bell, entitled, The Liberty Bell, which represents the first documented use of the name, "Liberty Bell."
Muffled and rung upon the death of William Henry Harrison.
The most famous crack in history, the zig-zag fracture occurs while the Liberty Bell is being rung for Washington's birthday.
The Philadelphia Public Ledger takes up the story in its February 26, 1846 publication: "The old Independence Bell rang its last clear note on Monday last in honor of the birthday of Washington and now hangs in the great city steeple irreparably cracked and dumb. It had been cracked before but was set in order of that day by having the edges of the fracture filed so as not to vibrate against each other ... It gave out clear notes and loud, and appeared to be in excellent condition until noon, when it received a sort of compound fracture in a zig-zag direction through one of its sides which put it completely out of tune and left it a mere wreck of what it was."
Some historians believe that a squabble over money led to this final crack. Christ Church claimed an exclusive priviledge of ringing the bells on Washington's Birthday, as that was the church Washington was affiliated with while he lived in Philadelphia. The city paid the church a $30 bell-ringing fee for "service to the illustrious dead."
However, in 1846, it seems other churches wanted in on the action. Why should Christ Church get all the money and glory? The debate was played out in the newspapers. Ultimately it was decided to press the Liberty Bell into service and discontinue paying for patriotism.
The Bell was brought down from the steeple and placed in "Declaration Chamber" of Independence Hall.
Displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia
Bell traveled by train to New Orleans for a World Industrial and Cotton Exposition and to help foster national unity.
Bell traveled to Chicago for World's Fair.
Bell traveled to Atlanta for the Cotton States and Atlantic Exposition Exposition.
Bell traveled to Charleston for the Interstate and West Indian Exposition. On its way there, it was involved in a train wreck.
Bell traveled to Boston to take part in a celebration of the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Bell traveled to St. Louis for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.
Procession through the streets of Philadelphia to celebrate Founders Week.
Bell traveled to San Francisco for the Panama-Pacific Exposition (see our Photo Essay)
City officials were initially reluctant to send the Bell on this trip because they thought all the recent traveling and handling had damaged the Bell. Newspaper editorials across the country weighed in on the pros and cons about moving the Bell. Ultimately a petition signed by several hundred thousand school children helped sway Philadelphia officials to allow the Bell to travel.
The Bell traveled over 10,000 miles on the San Francisco trip, stopping in many towns and cities along the way. Vibrant, patriotic crowds greeted the Bell waving flags, blowing whistles, with brass bands, and gun salutes.
Enthusiastic Philadelphians welcomed the Bell back upon its return to Philadelphia. It was the Bell's final rail journey.
Justice Bell (today at the Washington Memorial Chapel, Valley Forge) is a 2000-pound replica of the Liberty Bell, forged in 1915 to promote women's suffrage. It traveled the country with its clapper chained to its side, silent until women won the right to vote. On September 25, 1920, it was brought to Independence Hall and rung in ceremonies celebrating the ratification of the 19th amendment.
Mounted on a truck and driven through the streets of Philadelphia for a WWI Liberty Bond sale.
Dec. 31 1926
To help celebrate the 150th anniversary of Independence, it was decided that the Liberty Bell should help usher in the New Year with a ceremonial tap. Microphones were placed round the Bell, and at midnight it was struck with a specially designed mallet by the mayor's wife.
D-Day: The Bell tapped with rubber mallet twelve times by Philadlephia Mayor Bernard Samuel during a national radio program to symbolize "Independence." At the show's end the Bell was tapped seven times to symbolize "Liberty."
Tapped on the first anniversary of the Berlin Wall to show solidarity with East Germans.
12:01 A.M. To help celebrate America's Bicentennial, the Liberty Bell was moved from Independence Hall to a pavilion across the street on Independence Mall. The Pavilion which allows visitors to view the Bell at any time during the day was designed by Mitchell/Giurgola and Associates.
The National Park Service instituted a "fee demonstration program" at three less-visited locations in Philadelphia. It is speculated by people in the know that the ultimate plan is to impose visitor fees at the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
Plans are being considered for development of the mall area, which includes moving the Liberty Bell closer to Independence Hall. Read the details from the NPS.
Apr. 6 2001
Tourist attacks Liberty Bell with hammer
Mar. 24 2002
The new Liberty Bell Center (see 2 above) comes under a blistering attack when it is revealed that the President's House in Philadelphia, used by Washington and Adams from 1790-1800, had slave quarters right where the entrance to the new Liberty Bell Center would be in the redesign.
May 13 2002
Historians meet to discuss the proposed Liberty Bell Center, the President's House, and the issue of slavery at the site.
Jan. 15 2003
The Park Service held a public meeting to unveil the preliminary site design for its treatment of the President's House, adjoining the Liberty Bell center, in Philadelphia.
Feb. 15 2003
About 10,000 people (according to the Philadelphia police) participated in an Anti-war rally at the Liberty Bell.
Oct. 9 2003
Avenge The Ancestors Coalition protests prior to the opening of the new Liberty Bell Center, demanding a marking in the pavement 5 feet from the entranceway the location of slave quarters President Washington had built.
Oct. 9 2003
The new Liberty Bell Center, costing $12.6 million, is opened to the public.
June 6, 2004
To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy (see June 1944), the Normandy Liberty Bell was cast. It is a reproduction of the Liberty Bell, made from precision measurements — without the crack. Now, we can hear how the bell was intended to sound! The project was a collaborative effort, using the best technology available, with the cooperation of the National Park Service. READ MORE
"National Treasure" , Now you can watch on, Zee Studio
Thursday, January 10, 2008
The No. 1 search engine is "Google". After that "yahoo". Some time ago, we were able to search from both search engines at once on the same screen. "GahooYoogle.Com" was the web address.
Now, the address has been changed to "http://www.polycola.com" , according to them, Now we can search from two engines at once , choosing any of two search engines, available on the site.
Now, you can enjoy using the below link,
Monday, January 7, 2008
|Indigenous knowledge in traditional medicine |
|By Dr. Danister L. Perera|
Indigenous knowledge (IK) is practical common sense based on technologies and experiences passed on from generation to generation. This knowledge is more or less verbally and empirically transcended. Very few documented sources are available and these manuscripts are primitive, rudimentary and symbolic literatures. It is, knowing the country: it covers knowledge of environment and relationship between things. It is holistic — it cannot be compartmentalised and cannot be separated from the people who hold it. It is rooted in the spiritual health, culture and language of the people. This knowledge is entirely bound to the culture, territory and the natural resources. It is a way of life. It is an authority system. It sets out the rules of governing the use of resources. This knowledge accepts, recognises believes, and respects the nature and its powers. It has an obligation to share. It is dynamic, cumulative and stable. It is the truth which is secret, subjective, sacred and secular as well as spiritual. It can be called a system of knowledge. It is a wisdom which is integrated with all other sources of knowledge related to any life event. It is a way of life — wisdom of using knowledge in good ways. It is using the heart and the head together. It comes from the spirit in order to survive. It gives credibility to people. This knowledge is collective. Various researchers all over the world are interested in 1K but have not given an etymological explanation for this word
A pattern of social
Traditional Medicine is a pattern of social intuitions and cultural traditions that evolves from deliberate behaviour to enhance health. In the context of modern medicine traditional medicine is most of the time termed as ancestral medicine or primitive medicine which belongs to medical-anthropology. It is called Ethnomedicine that means those beliefs and practices relating to disease which are the products of indigenous cultural development and are not explicitly derived from the conceptual framework of modern medicine. In that sense the medicine man that played a major role in the primeval society in health care, was the origin of all aspects of health. The medicine man of the primitive society could not be regarded as the ancestor of the modern physician. He held a more important position than the physician of the modern society. He was the priest, sorcerer, physician, judge, policeman, soldier, more often the chief of the tribe and bard of the group since he knew stories about the tribe, songs, incantations, etc. thus he was the ancestor of most qf our professions. This medicine man or the healer of primitive societies held the wisdom of the nature. It is a time-tested and traditionally trusted knowledge. A traditional healer is a person who is recognised by the community in which he lives as competent to provide health care by using vegetable, animal and mineral substances and certain other methods based on the social, cultural and religious background as well as on the knowledge, attitude and beliefs that are prevalent in the community regarding physical, mental and social wellbeing and the causation of disease and disability.
Development in the South
Over the centuries, the countries of the South have developed their own ways of treating illness. These systems are known to international agencies as “traditional medicine.” In the past, these methods were often denigrated or ignored by medical profession in the north. Too often they were not considered worthy of notice because they were not based on the same scientific concepts as “modem medicine’ Sometimes their practitioners were referred to slightingly as “witch doctors” About 20 years ago, attitudes in the North began to change. During the 1970s, WHO, for example, set up a Working Group on Traditional Medicine. Writing in a special 1977 issue of the WHO magazine, World Health, the Director General, Dr. Halfdan Mahler said: “For far too long, traditional systems of medicine and “modern” medicine have gone their separate ways in mutual antipathy. Yet are their goals not identical - to improve the health of mankind and thereby the quality of life? Only the blinker mind would wish that each has nothing to learn from the other. WHO recognised traditional medicine because most of the world depends on it for primary health care, and its practitioners constitute a potentiality important resource for health-care delivery. In addition, medicinal plants used in traditional systems are very important to human health.
Turn-around to the roots
In the era of medical miracles such as antibiotics, telemedicine, genetic engineering, xenograft etc. we have a turn-around to roots again. The Twenty-ninth World Health Assembly recommended action to encourage the development of health teams trained to meet the health needs of the population.including health workers for primary health care, taking into account where appropriate the man power reserve constituted by those practising traditional medicine. (WHA29.72)6 In 1991, WHO defined traditional medicine “as comprising therapeutic practices that have been in existence, often for hundreds of years, before the development and spread of modem scientific medicine, and are still in use today. These practices vary widely, in keeping with social and cultural heritage of different countries. For the new millennium that definition became broader and more comprehensive. It says, the sum of total of the knowledge, skills and practices based on the theories, beliefs and experiences indigenous to different cultures, whether explicable or not used in the maintenance of health as well as in the prevention, diagnosis, improvement or treatment of physical and mental illness.
Palm leaf tradition
An eminent anthropologist, who conducted a research on health care system in Sri Lanka, commented on the traditional system of medicine. “Traditional healers in Sri Lanka — parampara vedamahattayo - preserve a medical knowledge, which is passed on from a teacher and is based on tradition of palm leave manuscripts. But the relationships between the traditional healers and their patients and the medicine prescribed preserve not only a medical knowledge, but also a knowledge and a wisdom, which is of a cosmological order. The Sri Lankan system of traditional medicine has been influenced and reinforced specially by the North Indian system of Ayurveda from ancient time as most of our socio cultural heritages. But the history and the tradition have explicitly revealed that existence of our own system of knowledge inherited by the people originated in this territory. At present it is too intricate to differentiate the genuine 1K from traditional Ayurvedic knowledge. The legal definition of the term “Ayurveda” in the Ayurveda Act No. 31 of 1961 includes the indigenous system of medicine (Deshiya Chikitsa).10
This knowledge is considered to be the wisdom of a tradition which is sometimes claimed to be having a supra-mundane and para-human origin. It is common to any oriental tradition to entertain celestial sources of their own sciences, arts, literature, religion etc. This creates the sacredness which ensures acceptability and respectability through authenticity, validity, authority and legitimacy of the derivation. The erudite sagacious intellectuals called Rishis who secularise this divine discourse, were the linkage between extraterrestrial authors and earthly acquirers. All the holders of this kind of knowledge are treated as greater persons or leaders of the community as they are perceived to be useful and powerful. Also they traditionally live morally good lives reputed by the society. Therefore the learner or the student is expected to be having moral qualities accepted by the teacher or the holder of wisdom. In the process of acquisition of knowledge, this learner becomes an acolyte while the teacher holds his guardianship.
Traditional medicine has its own system of Epistemology and Ontology on nature and universe. That is called the theory of Macrocosm and Microcosm in which the universe represents the human and the human represents the universe. It expands hypothetical correlation between cosmological form of human biology and anthropomorphism of nature. The traditional system of indigenous medicine is neither merely a system of medicine nor a system of health care.
It covers a broader area of life. Therefore it can be called a system of living or a way of life. It is not confined to diseases, ailments, illnesses, maladies, impairments, disorders or dysfunctions of the body or mind. It deals with religion, culture, rituals, environment, cuisine, agriculture, customs, norms, values, ethics, morals etc. This ranges from the inner seed of soul to outer boundary of universe.
The WHO definition of health says, “Health is a complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” The English word health literally means “wholeness,” and to heal means to make whole. (Both words go back to the Old English hal and the Old German heil, as does the English word “whole.”) To be whole is to be healthy and to be healthy is to be whole. Ancient Greek has two etymologically distinct words translatable as “health,” hygeia and euexia. Hygeia, the source of our word “hygiene,” apparently stands for the Indo-European ‘sugwiges’, which means “living well,” or more precisely, a “well way of living.” Euexia means, literally, “well habitness,” and in this context, “good habit of body.” The most appropriate term for the concept of healthy organism is homeostasis. It is explained as the constant conditions which are maintained in the body and might be termed equilibria.
That word, however, has come to have fairly exact meaning as applied to relatively simple physio-chemical states in the organism which are so complex and so peculiar to living beings involving, as they may the brain, the nerves, the heart, the lungs, the kidneys and the spleen, all working cooperatively - that I have suggested a special designation for these states, namely, homeostasis.’
STILL THE PEARL OF THE INDIAN OCEAN?
This is our life in paradise
By Dr. B.J.C.Perera
Fancy terminology such as “The Pearl of the Indian ocean”, “Paradise isle”, “A land like no other”, “A terrain of unparalleled scenic beauty” and “A haven for tourists” are just some of the superlatives used to describe our much adored motherland. It is generally portrayed as something quite splendid and very special with a cultural heritage going back well over 2500 years. Sandy beaches, smiling people, traditional hospitality and a whole host of other virtues are bandied about quite brazenly to reinforce the claim that this land is singularly unique.
Yet for all that, at least for us the native inhabitants, this tear-drop shaped island has had a chequered past, an acrimonious present and quite an indecisive future. Political turmoil, unprecedented corruption, an unwanted war and virtual dependence on foreign powers for almost everything, are just some of the more important vagaries of these times. Add to this cauldron, the apathy, selfishness and lack of patriotism of many of the populace and one finds a definitive recipe for many of our social catastrophes.
The key elements that have undoubtedly helped to fire the essential element of progress in more developed countries in the Western hemisphere and indeed even the more fortunate areas of our own Asian region are pride in one’s own country and unmitigated patriotism. Those people absolutely love their countries of birth and are extremely proud of their own languages. Just look at Japan, China, Korea and even India for confirmation of this undeniable truth. In contrast, what happens over here? Given half a chance, many of our people would elect to leave this land and be domiciled and become even second-class citizens of an alien country. They call it leaving for greener pastures and securing opportunities. Many of our intellectuals have deserted this land in the hour of its greatest need. Yet, it is so infuriating that some of them are the very same people who are ostensibly “honoured” by the authorities of our own land for internationally acclaimed “achievements”. The honest men and women who have stayed put in Sri Lanka and strived through a lifetime to bear the unenviable burden of trying to uplift this land are generally forgotten. Those who have toiled silently over many decades in the crucible of general deficiencies to do their little thing for the land of their birth would in all probability be allowed to fade away and die silently as well. At least in this country, the axiom is that a prophet is never honoured in his or her own land. In fact, a proud nation worth its salt should consider those who have left the country for good as non-citizens.
Furthermore, we tend to look down on our own beautiful languages. If one were to go into a shop or a hotel and speak in Sinhala, they would look at you as if it is something the cat brought in. It is very slightly and marginally better if one goes into a Tamil or Muslim enterprise and speaks in Tamil. Every single one of these enterprises would bend over backwards and sing hosannas if one speaks in the Queen’s English and for that matter, even disjointed and “broken” English would do. You will generally be treated like royalty and virtually as direct descendents of the British Royal family. Our two wonderful and colourful languages, Sinhala and Tamil are perhaps only for the “yakkos”. The adopted descendents of our colonial masters, the brown sahibs, must speak only in English, just to be understood by all and sundry.
This is not to say that English is not necessary. It is definitely essential for progress and development of our land. It is a fantastic international link language and is spoken in most parts of the globe. Some of the greatest mistakes made by the rulers of this land were the futile attempts made to virtually get rid of it from the legislature. However, our obeisance to English should not be at the expense of our own distinctive languages. The need of the hour is to teach our children all three languages in common usage in Sri Lanka. Children are extremely good at picking up any language and the powers that be should make an extra effort to harness this asset. Proficiency in all three languages would in all probability get rid of the misgivings and suspicion that is inherent in our culture and go a long way towards settling most of our conflicts.
Education in disarray
Another primary need for advancement of any country is its system of education. This is the key that will unlock most closed doors and open up vistas of unlimited opportunities for the people of any land. Lo and behold, what have we got here? In paradise, it is in complete disarray. Interference, political and otherwise, has pervaded the system to the extent that it would need a major overhaul for it to become even moderately functional. Parents would lie through their back teeth and get up to all kinds of tricks to get their children into the so called reputed schools. That hallowed profession of teaching has now been degraded to the level of a spectacle of commercialism. Countless numbers of young people who qualify for higher education cannot enter the universities as the slots available are so very limited and totally inadequate to satisfy the needs of the country. However, those who have been fortunate enough to enter the universities are the very same people who cry foul when even feeble attempts are made to provide higher seats of learning in private institutions to accommodate the less fortunate ones. There you have selfishness at its very zenith and depravity at an absolute nadir. The commonly used argument that it would only help the rich is not at all tenable as steps could be taken by the state to help those who qualify but cannot afford it.
Selfishness is evident even on our roads. The general chaos on our roads must be seen to be believed. The very same lack of discipline in the day-to-day life has pervaded into the roads as well. We are a nation of horn tooters going nowhere. They are all in a hurry, cutting across traffic lanes, steam-rolling all else and just getting there no matter how. Even the most rational and sedate individuals are sometimes transformed into demons when they are put behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Corruption in practically every sphere of life is a blight that has pervaded the social structure to the extent that it is almost considered to be the norm. Even to get a file moved from one desk to another in a public enterprise, palms have to be oiled. It has permeated through and through from the highest levels to the lesser mortals. The original “10% commission” has now reportedly gone up to as much as 40% in certain instances. This is also a manifestation of selfishness and self-preservation. Make hay while the sun shines seems to be the order of the day. Sadly enough there are stories of its spread even to the epitomes of integrity such as the police, armed forces and even the departments that are supposed to mete out justice.
This is indeed a strange country. Generally speaking, the powers that be are hell bent on getting work done but are there rewards for doing something well or productive hard work ? If at all, they are very few and far between. Many people accuse our white rulers of yore of many a sin but the work ethic in our country has changed perceptibly from those colonial times when substantial rewards for diligence and efficiency were the norm. As a result what is operative in our land is the much quoted clich‚ “more work means more trouble, less work means less trouble and no work means no trouble”. To many authorities, the word “reward” is an alien one. A worker who has diligently performed his or her duties for a period of 35 to 40 continuous years gets very little by way of rewards at the end of it all at retirement. That person does not even get a duty-free permit to import a car while a parliamentarian who has put in just a few years would get one to import a super luxury vehicle. It is a curious feature that this situation is initiated and perpetuated from childhood onwards. A child in this paradise isle is often forced to do something well, with the threat of punishment at the end of it all if the task is not undertaken properly. How often do we see a child being rewarded, even just by a gesture, a hug or a word of praise for doing something unusually well ?. Child psychologists would rave and rant about the undesirable elements of coercive behaviour patterns but to no avail. Many people prefer to remain deaf to such pontifications.
Hard working people
It is indeed a great pity that this state of affairs is prevalent in our society. We have our own fair share of potential world beaters. Undoubtedly, there are hard working, diligent and brilliant men and women in our land. Yet, no human being is likely to work for nothing. The prospect of ambitious advancement and rewards at the end of the tunnel would be the factor that could spur individuals on to go through that tunnel and accomplish unbelievable achievements. It is one of several motivating factors such as monetary rewards, career advancement or just plain prestige that would keep one going. These facts are probably a scathing indictment on all of us as a nation Facts have to be faced, however unpalatable they really are. Most of us, especially the politicians, would rave and rant about our heritage that is centuries old but such sentiments alone will not in any way be sufficient to spur development and advancement. The need of the hour is for someone to take this country by the scruff of its neck, shake it into shape and put some sense into the populace. Rogues and scoundrels must be rounded up and punished, public and private sector enterprises cleaned up, merit and reward schemes set up, education streamlined and patriotism rekindled. We will all have to tighten our belts for a few years but it will not kill any of us. We will have to put the shoulder to the wheel and collectively take this country to the far distant Promised Land. Such a manoeuvre would definitely keep our closest competitors in the region just standing in the race for development and survival. Then, and only then, would we be entitled to be happy and contented with our much bandied notion of a proud history and a three century old heritage.