Another Dangerous, Pervasive Foreign Item Corrupting Innocent Sri Lankan Minds!

Banyan News Reporters

Banyan News Reporters was pleased to receive this patriotic open letter to the President of Sri Lanka from a group of concerned parents.

An open letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka

28 July 2009

Your Excellency / Your Majesty,

We are a group of parents who address this letter to you after much thought and discussion. We want to bring to your all-encompassing attention a matter of utmost public interest that concerns current and future generations.

First and foremost, we deeply appreciate your personal interest in all matters: nothing seems too small to escape your attention, and nothing appears too large for your intervention. We especially salute your unprecedented and historic efforts to reassert Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity, national identity and cultural heritage. We know these gains were accomplished against so many international and national conspiracies.

We applaud your government’s ban on students taking mobile phones to all schools – may they be government, private or international. The mobile phone is yet another symbol of western consumerist lifestyle that easily corrupts the impressionable young minds of our sons and daughters.

We know how much you care. Soon after become President, Your Majesty saved our children from having to walk to school in the darkness as a result of your predecessor’s ill-advised change to our standard time. We are recently delighted to hear that your government will outlaw the production and exhibition of all movies that are categorised as ‘Adults Only’. We are equally encouraged by another news item saying that your telecom regulator is currently working overtime to block out all pornographic content from websites.

We know that you and your Cabinet of Ministers have our children’s best interests at heart in making such decisions. This is why we would like to bring to your attention the need to strictly regulate, perhaps even restrict or ban, another widely used item that poses a grave social and cultural harm to our people, young and old.

This item is decidedly low tech, ubiquitous and apparently non-threatening. (Beware: looks can be deceptive.) It is relatively cheap (costing no more than a few hundred rupees), and does not require any electricity to operate. It is compact, durable, easy to carry around (and conceal) and, until recently, people even used to send it by post (that is, before postmen became too fond of these items). It is being carried through security check-points raising no suspicions or questions. Yet, it is one of the most dangerous inventions of the western civilization, now in free circulation in Sri Lanka.

There is a whole industry engaged in the manufacture and distribution of this product. Possibly under their commercial influence, successive governments have invested billions of rupees of public funds in promoting this item among Sri Lankans. Little attention has been paid to the dangers to our national security, cultural heritage and independence of thought.

By now, Your Majesty might have guessed what this dangerous and pervasive item is: we are referring to the printed book.

Indeed, more than anything else in our contemporary culture, this item is responsible for the negative influences of our younger generation (and, indeed, of people from all walks of life). Over the past century or so, these have quietly but effectively spread many subversive political thoughts, including anti-establishment sentiments, among our people. They have also peddled morally degrading concepts of romance, sex and questionable (or abnormal) behaviour patterns such as secularism, human rights and democracy.

The paper-based book is as alien to our island heritage as all other western communications tools and products. If we look back at the over 2,500 years of our glorious civilization, we can see that we managed quite well without printed books for much of that period. Our ancient kings published rock inscriptions, while our scholar monks stored knowledge on ola leaves. It was the Dutch colonialists who introduced Gutenberg-style printing and book publishing to our land about three centuries ago. (Of course, they had a sinister agenda in doing so: they wanted to undermine and destroy our local culture and Buddhist heritage. That is why, not surprisingly, the first books to be printed in Sri Lanka were all various versions of the Bible.)

While the Chinese first invented the concept of printing many centuries before Gutenberg, their rulers carefully controlled who was allowed to print, distribute and use books. The Chinese were smart enough to realise the corrupting influence of allowing free flow of books and ideas. We think that ancient Chinese wisdom holds a lesson in public policy for Your Majesty’s government.

Since our political independence over 60 years ago, western aid donors and United Nations agencies such as UNESCO have aggressively lobbied for the promotion of the western notions of book development as part of our policies on education and culture. Our acquiescent governments uncritically accepted these policies, as a result of which this country is teeming with far more books and other printed publications than is necessary or desirable for a population of our size.

It is only a few vigilant and patriotic Sri Lankans who have realized the danger of this ceaseless proliferation of books, publishers, bookstores, libraries and the book reading habit. In a rare (and perhaps unguarded) admission for a western academic, the Swedish economist and Nobel laureate Gunnar Myrdal once remarked: “Books are like time bombs. If the ideas contained in them are of value, they will explode one day. It is hard to predict when that will happen.”

Need we say any more? We are sure Your Majesty, having defeated the most ruthless terrorist group in the world, would not wish to have to deal with more time bombs going off anywhere in Sri Lanka. Our country’s hard-won peace must be safeguarded at all costs. Some sacrifices will need to be made for the greater good.

For all these reasons, we appeal to Your Majesty’s visionary and courageous government to strictly control and regulate the writing, printing, publishing, selling and reading of books. To safeguard our impressionable and easily corruptible sons and daughters, we request your Ministry of Education and Ministry of Culture to compile a list of book titles that are deemed as acceptable and permitted for Sri Lankans under 18 years of age to read. By definition, we hope it would soon become illegal for our children and youth to possess, share, carry or read any other book that is not explicitly sanctioned and listed by the state. We as parents will do our part to ensure that our children comply and obey.

If Your Majesty’s government so wishes, it may also draw up an approved list of books for the entire population. We are sure the literate and widely-read Members of Parliament and senior government officials can jointly come up with such a list. If anyone objects to this essential safeguard, we can consider them to be traitors who do not like our motherland to raise its head after centuries of foreign domination.

We thank Your Majesty for your time reading and reflecting on the contents of this letter. We eagerly await a right royal decree that finally ends our three centuries of addiction to printed books.

Yours truly and humbly,

A group of grateful, patriotic parents

  • President Bean

    “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength.”

    LONG LIVE GEORGE ORWELLS 1984 and Mahinda’s ‘CHINTHANAYA!’

  • http://www.groundviews.org Sam Thambipillai

    The democratic process of elections in any country should be free and fair, and the voters should be given the freedom to listen to the views of political parties. Honesty in casting ballots and counting them are important ingredients of democracy.

    African dictators manipulate “elections” to grab power, impress the West to get recognition and receive financial support.

    Sri Lanka(SL) is a new “African country” in Asia. It impressed the West with fake elections in the East. And now, it is venturing to do the same in the North, inspite of about 60 percent of the South, expressing their opinion in survey that it would be too early for the voters to express independent political views. Soldiers in plenty, carrying AK47, escorting ruling party camapigners, are already causing fear.

    The Government of Sri Lanka(GOSL) has appointed a criminal soldier as the governor of the North. He disappeared hundreds of Tamil civilians in the North, yet there is not a single legal charge against him in any court of law. He is sure to be brought to the War Crimes Court in the Hague soon. Now, he is in charge of the election.

    Also, about 60 Sinhala government officials have been imported into the North to conduct elections, although there are thousands of Tamil government officials in the election area. The obvious intent of the GOSL is to defraud elections and announce manipulated results.

    The hidden intent could be even to replace genuine ballot boxes with fake ones as done in African countries. Pre-determined election results as in Iranian presidential election may be forthcoming. Surely, honesty as a plumb line will be missing.

    A big Mafia-style election poster by the ruling party in Jaffna Displays the portraits of Mahinda Rajapakse and a leader of a para-military group. Both have blood in their hands. The poster reads “our president…our country”.

    During the last presidential election none of the Tamils voted for Rajapakse. So, he is not “our president” for the people of North. The North is not “his country”. The de facto state of Tamil Eelam(TE) existed for the past 22 years as a “country” and Tamils are asking for its independence.

    Tamils cherish and practice democracy. They believe in democratic protests and traditions. But, the Sinhalese have a legacy of abusing it for the past 60 years. The ruling party is wired up well for the abuse.

    Tamil voters are being abused to believe that financial crumbs thrown to them, development and transport to the South are replacements for TE.

    The GOSL is hoping to fish its way that way and cheat the West, receive a pat on the back and get financial assistance. It appears that the IMF has already swallowed the bait!

    Devolution of power, the most vital issue, is not being addressed by the ruling alliance. Rajapakse promised during his last presidential election that he would solve the North East problem within six months. During the war, he said that he would solve it immediately after the war and now he says the “solution” will come after his next presidential election.

    Tamils know that it will not come even then. It is a 60 year old scam and will continue unless there is intervention by the UN and the International Community based on the UN conventions.

  • Uncle Johnson

    Are these parents truly mad, or only pretending to be mad? Things are bad enough as they are, and these guys want more government than we already have? Crazzzy!

  • ashok

    Sam u r dreaming. In SL there were no fair elections at all.Even Dudley used thugs against N.M. Perera and the biggest thugs were JR and Premadas after the ruthless killer and thug Velupillai Piriharan.Ponnambalam was one of the biggest racists who atrted early racism in SL when he accused Singhalese of killing Tamil brother Kandasami during hartal where police shoot and also head butted N.M Perera for obstructing police.May be you do not know Tamils in North have nore rights than Singhalese from South.Poorest live in South with most educated but most jobless while unemployment rate was very very low in north.(This was before Eelam killers destroy SL) Thambi take your biased glasses off and look at the world.Most corrupted Parliament is in UK and please dont blame African countries.

  • http://taurus19lk.blogspot.com/ Sigma

    I think we should ban schools too, children should spend more time at the temple, mosque, kovil or church. Schooling should be limited to the son’s and daughters of our elite, our dear leaders who know what is best for us.

    Yeah right…

  • Grim Hope

    I completely agree with these parents.

    Enough is enough! Ban material not suitable for Children. I would say, just like government is taking control of all the media outfit so that nothing escapes them. They can ban all the foreign books and buy all the printing presses in SL and regulate what’s being printed.

    Hail Maharajano!

  • Jamal

    I think it would suffice to ban books and publications sponsored by NGOs, aid groups and other Western neo-colonial agents. They should not be allowed to brainwash our children by having any influence on school curricula. The government should continue its campaign of fear against those journalists on the payroll of our enemies in the West. I personally know that several NGOs (including GTZ) has encroached the National Institute of Education in Maharagama where they have their own offices, and their activities are subversive and anti-Sinhalese. Christian evangelical groups should be restricted to religious activities, and should not be allowed to teach our children such things as prayer can cure the ill and that evolution is false.

  • Mokada Ban!

    For nearly 30 years, Sri Lanka was the land of Bang, Bang, Bang. And just as we were getting used to the guns being silent and hoping for peace and prosperity, our Dear Leaders and their unimaginative, bungling crony officials embark on a new course of ban, ban, ban!

    Banning is not only a knee jerk reaction. It’s far easier to ban, outlaw or restrict anything than to understand the root causes and attempt remedial measures.

    Bans are the first refuge of a lazy, incompetent government.

  • Pragmatist

    The govt’s decision to ban the use of cell phones by students does not seem like a sensible approach to solving any problems created by cell phones in schools. Cell phones are helpful for parents to communicate with children. I agree that students using cell phones during school hours might be a big distraction and would also lead to copying during exams via texting to an outside source. There are devices that can be used to block cellular signals in schools – specially in exam halls.

    Would’nt it be better to let the schools handle this issue by enforcing a rule in all schools that would prohibit cell phone use during school times but allow students to use it before the first bell and after the last school bell rings. If a student needs to use a personal cell phone at other times, say for an emergency there could be a designated place in the school for that. Any student seen using a cell phone during school times could have the phone forfeited, to be retrieved by a parent.
    While the government has many more important issues to tackle, taking on legislation for this issue is a bit of a joke.

  • Alexander Pope

    Uncle Johnson,
    This essay is satirical. The writers are mocking the President’s control of Sri Lankans’ intellectual and cultural life. You can tell that it is satirical by the way it provides a long, teasing lead up to this widely-used item, instead of just announcing at the outset that they are referring to the printed book. Also, it makes many mocking references to the President as King, ending with the sarcastic statement that they are waiting for a “right royal decree”. The reference to secularism, human rights and democracy as “abnormal” human behaviour is another clue that it is a satirical article. However, the article should have offered more instances of sarcasm and mockery to make it more clear to readers that it is satire.

  • Musaeus Parent

    I hope the letter to the president is written in jest and will be understood as such by all readers. The immediate incident that provoked this letter was by no means comic.

    I am a very concerned parent who has two teenaged daughters at the leading Colombo school where the suicide happened last week, Musaeus College. I hesitated before writing this, but want to speak up. I remain anonymous to prevent my own children being hounded and harassed by the school.

    From what we have personally gathered (including what the school authorities have done their best to hush up and cover up), this tragic incident had little to do with the mobile phone per se. Even if the girls concerned were caught with any other item that is deemed objectionable by the school authorities, the sequence of events might well have been the same. That banned list is long, and includes teen magazines, musical CDs, DVDs, stickers, posters of musical or movie stars, tatoos…etc.

    This incident has everything to do with the extreme and excessive approach to discipline that Musaeus College principal and many members of staff try to enforce, with little or no regard for student psychology and the modern times we live in. Their aim is to be a Buddhist Convent, and they make no bones about it. They have publicly said, in school events, that they’d rather have students suspended, expelled (and we might now add, dead) than allow any breach of discipline.

    No reasonable parent would argue against discipline as a hallowed principle. But there are sane limits to everythint – as a medical student, we were told that the essential life-giving liquid water can cause death if consumed in excess! Draconian discipline, more fitting to a military boot camp than a girls’ school, is at the root of the misery and tragedy that took place at Musaeus. The teachers and prefects are a law unto themselves, terrorising all and answerable to no one.

    The government, in its typical style of looking for quick fixes that it thinks will make it popular (really?), has banned mobile phones in schools. Banning is always easier than understanding a problem or even acknowledging it. But the mobile phone had no direct link: as I said above, it could easily have been anything else this school objects to.

    The much deeper issue is how our near-feudal schools system, both public AND private, is routinely abusing more than 3 million school kids practically every school day of the year, all in the name of discipline! Things boiled over in Musaeus last week, but this is by no means the only school where unpardonable excesses happen as a matter of routine.

  • President Bean

    Anybody want to join…

    THE ANTI ENTERTAINMENT LEAGUE OF SRI LANKA?

    Join The Crusade To Abolish Entertainment In Sri Lanka!

    Radio, Television, IPods, Mobile Phones, Internet and Movie Theaters are ruining our great nation by encouraging us to escape from the stark realities of life!
    Too much time and money is wasted on such useless pastimes. We must wake up before it is too late and use this time and money for something really worthwhile, or face the ultimate destruction of our 2500 year old culture!

    Participate In Our Many Important Activities!

    * Join “Send Hip Hop Artists To The Moon” campaign!

    * Fire bomb record stores that sell CDs of popular rap stars!

    * Bomb transformers so that electricity will be cut off and viewers wont be able to watch their favourite ‘Mega Tele drama’ programmes!

    * Write, SMS or call your local radio stations and demand that they broadcast 24 hour banna programmes, 365 days a year!

    * Abduct famous tele drama stars so that they won’t be able to complete future episodes!

    * Picket mobile phone sales centres and call for a ban on the sale of phones with music and video facilities!

    * Hide your teenagers IPod and destroy his/her phone charger!

    * Protest outside movie theaters and detonate parcel bombs in ‘Internet Cafes!’

    * Intimidate musicians and tele drama actors whenever you see them, making life so unbearable for them, that they leave the country!

    Join THE ANTI ENTERTAINMENT LEAGUE OF SRI LANKA today and fight against modern entertainment where ever you find it!

    OUR MOTTO: “DOWN WITH HIP HOP! LONG LIVE JANA GEE!”

  • GM

    Your Majesty ? Are these fools mad to refer to Mahinda Rajapaksa as ‘Your Majesty’? Lunacy has no limits I guess……………

  • Moon Watcher

    @Jamal,

    If we extend your logic to exclude ALL foreign influences, we must then ban all books promoting Buddhism, Islam, Christianity and Hinduism because they all originated outside Sri Lanka, and therefore are foreign.

    Those who clamour for (and glorify) indigenous wisdom and knowledge can go in search of whatever the Veddahs have to offer, for they are the ONLY truly indigenous people with a really native heritage.

    By the way, GTZ is a technical cooperation of the German government, which operates in Sri Lanka through a bilateral (government to government) agreement with the Sri Lankan government. And in case you don’t know, the government of Sri Lanka is a fee-paying member of the United Nations system, which is an inter-governmental body and not an NGO! If only you read a bit more, you won’t be making such basic mistakes.

    But then, where would you find such books?

  • kitchen sink

    Dear Uncle Johnson,

    This letter is tongue in cheek and meant to be sarcastic. Hear hear!! What next is in store fr us?

  • Golden Mahataya

    Dear Parents,

    Great idea! Why not just for the heck of it ban the Internet, ola leaves and rock inscriptions as well. What the Hell!

    But Parents you forgot something. Why not print free copies of Mahinda Chintenaya on all toilet rolls and leave tham at . . . well you know where.

    GM

  • Deshiya Chap

    Well banning books is one thing, but we will never halt this Western menace as long as these neo-colonial elements and their corrupting influences continue to set foot in our motherland. I say we should ban these tourists. It was with great concern that I followed the recent increased interest in the motherland by these tourists (or should I say NGO backpacker types?) after our patriotic forces eradicated the menace of terrorism. Now there will be even more of these fellows loitering around in their bandanas and baggy fishermen’s pants (though I have noticed some of them trying to blend with us patriots by wearing batik sarong – can’t fool me).

    What is more worrying is this tourism ministry trying to promote this neo-colonisation with these gimmicks and what not. For instance, the Hikkaduwa beach festival in my opinion should be strictly for locals – promote domestic tourism I say. One positive though is I think HM has seen through the thinly veiled efforts by these neo-colonists and has appointed a fellow patriot Nandana Gunatilake as Minister of Tourism to clean up this mess. Clearly that Moragoda chap was an American spy. Mr. Gunatilake we are with you – please eradicate these Western tourists (I think we can have a few Chinese and Libyans to come over for some clean fun – our friends no?) and promote our deshiya aarthikaya by boosting domestic tourism.

    Jaya vewa!

  • KaluSudda

    Jamal,

    In a free society we don’t ban the communication of ideas; we communicate our own ideas (if we have any) to ‘put the other side’ to the audience. We train the public to make choices.

  • Idealist?

    A very interesting read – thank you!

  • Amelie

    Hilarious, well written. The invasion of the private sphere by the public one is frightening. I agree with the Museaus Parent. Our schools (which i am familiar with as an educational researcher) do not encourage critical thinking or independence but instead are extremely regimented and draconian. George Orwell’s 1984 comes, depressingly, to mind. Now that the matter of ‘war’ has been dealt with and ‘Peace’ has arrived (hallelujah) the focus is on the morals of the people. I wonder whether the sons (and daughters) of the authorities ever access such websites or use(d) cell phones at school. Of course not, I mean, they must have been so pure.

  • http://taurus19lk.blogspot.com/ Sigma

    Dang yes, we should ban those tourists too… only allow clergy and holy men – not that SL is short of those either. Further more we should make taking religious order compulsory for six months per person. But not women. they must stay at home and cook and clean. Exception to the rule of course family members of politicians.

  • holey traitor

    worst part is i read the Your Majesty part down to the last para before i even realized it was there.

  • myil selvan

    I don’t know why but those who talk about patriotism always seem to link Buddhism and Sinhalese as the patriots. This is not surprising as the Mahavamsa from which SL’s early history is derived tries to give sinhala – buddhists the title of people of this land. SInce a buddhist monk, Mahanama Thero, wrote the Mahavamsa it is not surprising that his sinhala-buddhist fabrication has become part of SL history.

    Even before the coming of Prince Vijaya there were people inhabiting this island. Who were these people?? The Mahavamsa mentions these people as Nagas and Yakkshas. Who were the Nagas and the Yakkshas? Evidence shows the Nagas and Yakkshas were not an Indo-Aryan people. Nagas worshipped the King Cobra as do the Saivites. Saivism is very popular and some what unique to Tamils. Hence it is very probable that the Nagas were Tamils. There is more but for brevity’s sake I’ll stop with this piece of evidence.

    Prince Vijaya and those who accompanied him would have inter-married with these people and when buddhism came to SL they would have converted. So it is very probable that these Nagas or Tamils would have become buddhists and adopted the coming language influenced by buddhism’s pali texts. Hence there is likely Sinhala-Buddhists who were actually Tamils who later converted and adotpted the new language.

    King Parakramabahu I, had Tamil ancestry just like Chandrika Bandaranayake and others who have Nayake endings on their surnames like Ratnayake, Senanayake,etc. And the last four kings of Kandy were Tamils. To consider Tamils as foreign is simply wrong! Chauvinistic racists have propagated the sinhala-buddhist lie to keep their prominent positions and possessions. This is the main reason for the ethnic conflict in SL.

    I write the above not to give Tamils prominence nor to ask anybody to leave this land. I write it because the WHOLE TRUTH needs to come out. I believe in historical accuracy and the whole truth. Because I’ve seen the same happening in other countries to promote one ethnic group’s claims over others, which has led very sadly to many atrocities. The Sinhala governments and a segment of Sinhalese have a problem with the Truth. If the whole truth can be accepted this country can truly progress. Progress to me is not mentioned only in terms of economics and high rise buildings and flyovers but in the development of the human being and broad mindedness.

    So stop thinking that only sinhala-buddhists are patriots. Besides what is patriotism? That’s for another discussion.
    Thank you

  • Bandara

    As a fourteen years old student in a remote mixed school three decades ago, my first experience in sex related printed material was a booklet in Sinhala. A student brought this book in to the class, let circulate it among others. Few years later in the university, one day some students were rushing to watch a ‘blue film’ which was a rare material then.

    A small percentage of student population probably less intelligent than educated, who has access to such materials and technology tempted to expose every classmate to what they have experienced. Restriction on any harmful materials in to school could prevent large scale damage to student society. The ministry should advise school administration (as part of new rule) to counsel the students in breach without punishing them in public. Appropriate controls on publishing and importing of books, magazines and newspapers would definitely contribute towards a disciplined society. The pornographic websites access should be fully blocked following other countries which have already done same.

  • Ranil

    “Bans are the first refuge of a lazy, incompetent government.”

    ditto that and thanks for an excellent read :)

    gotta say this is yet again another ill planned stupid move…
    if you read most of the sinhala daily papers that tend to carry sexual abuse oriented stories quite often…most of these has happened in rural areas where internet really hasn’t “penetrated” into…
    There is no argument that minors have to be protected at all costs from certain things that are more adult oriented but i’m sure this is not the way to do it…
    all those people who had the refuge of access to adult sites and slowly get on with their lives will now have to look for alternatives don’t they…
    good business for pimps and hookers :)

    another classic example of playing to the gallery and making the wrong move…

    and on topic…
    yep…books should be banned unless of course they are authored by dr.mervyn…
    folks should only be allowed to poop once in 3 days so they will better utilize the food they eat…
    no more listening to foreign music cos things like rap and rock music also ruins our cultural heritage…
    let’s continue all the political thuggery, initmidation etc etc cos all those are excelllent sri lankan traits that we should preserve…
    a land like no other indeed…..too bad tourism folks ditched that line

  • Kari Appa

    “Bans are the first refuge of a lazy, incompetent government.”

    Well, if you don’t cease and desist this unpatriotic criticism of state action in the greater interests of our people, your website will be the next to be banned. You have been warned.

  • Heresch

    I guess after all the’baning’ there still could be the great Mother of all ‘bans’.
    The “White Vans’ ban!
    Over to the next episode.

  • http://taurus19lk.blogspot.com/ Sigma

    When I posted my previous comment it was certainly with tongue in cheek but now – http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=56285

    LOL

  • Bakaero

    It seems that these parents live in 19th century. I don’t mind if this article was written in Sinhala. How can people who read and write English be so backward? These people live in a box and never want to come out and see the real world. If President MR is a true leader as you think why does he tolerate a person like Mervin Silva ?

  • KaluSudda

    Bakaero, I can’t believe what I read! Are you suggesting that people who cannot read and write English are less intelligent?

    I too think there should be a total ban on foreign porn. Our own struggling Sri Lankan porn industry needs a boost badly. Many couples, and I know a few, watch porn to enrich their conjugal activities. Indeed, whilst our religious teachings are silent on the matter, these audio-visual productions should be made compulsory viewing for anyone proposing to marry. We weren’t taught these skills in school in my day. What’s wrong with wanting to be the best at what we do? Don’t we learn other skills from video learning? We learned a lot of Chemisty in school but I don’t need to use that knowledge on a day to day basis. But conjugal activity we’re required to perform for most of our lives, if we’re married – for the country, even more so now that we have a duty to maintain our majority in numbers. The government can’t have it both ways (I have friends who do have it both ways, but that’s another subject. And still an offence in SL I understand). At least, if foreign porn is allowed they should by law have Sinhalese subtitles.

    Banning mobile phones? I hear even Buddhist monks have mobile phones these days! Why does one need a mobile phone to devote one’s life to meditation and quiet contemplation? As a monk the only communication you need is with one’s inner self, and I don’t think you need to go through the cell network for that.

    Musaeus Parent – thank you for filling us in on the background. In SL we tend to make policy decisions through our backsides – (I wrote on another thread about the Poya Day calendar of 1966-71. A lot of people who were born later do not know about that, and cannot believe it). Mobile phones help protect our school children, they must be quite an outcry about the ban over there.

    Myil Selvan, I like your piece, but I think you’re in the wrong discussion thread. I don’t think anyone cares about ‘The Truth’. The truth is whatever helps achieve the objective, and the objective is to manipulate the masses and get to play ‘President’ or King or whatever the present title is. The Truth falls on deaf ears. As Jack Nicholson said in ‘A Few Good Men’ – “The truth? You can’t handle the truth”! (apologies to those who have not seen the movie)

    Didn’t Mrs. Bandaranayke ban the song ‘Baby Elephant Walk’ on the Radio thinking the song was about her?

  • Atheist

    To The Banyan People -

    Your satire – which rivals Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” – may enjoy a little more notoriety with my humble addition below:

    No! No! A Big no on the reading list for kids: Nietzsche, Walt Whitman, Herman Hesse , Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung just to name a few. The biggest no would be the Kalama Sutra (not to be confused with the Kama sutra); even Nietzsche was not that rebellious. He couldn’t pack such a big punch!

    These writings will turn our children into rebellious, free thinkers. No, Mr. President, this is the last thing we would want our children to become. If we let them go unchecked they will end up questioning our cherished middle class aspirations and, perhaps, reject organized religion altogether. Sir, this will spell double trouble for us.

    One excellent book for young children I can think of is John Bunyan’s “The Pilgrims Progress”. However, with this book, I suggest that it must not be read as an allegory, but as a literal work that teaches kids morality and reverence for authority.

    Now, Mr. Prime-Minister, in spite of you recruiting one thousand young boys of elementary school going age for monkhood, it seems Bible thumpers are mushrooming with ever growing speed due to their far superior public relations campaigns. Please Mr. Prime-Minister, pronto! pronto! there are lots of starving kids, go get them. While you are at it please change your tactics: go as “Crusaders for Buddha” and distribute pamphlets outlining a short cut to Nirvana.

    Finally, the government should allocate more money to the ‘thought police’ in order to oversee that all ideas conform to the creation of wealth.

    Ciao!

    From a curry munching old woman who does not give two hoots for conventional morality and religion.

  • kichchi

    It is the system of education that has to be changed – changed for the better. More emphasis must be given on moral values than on economic values.

    A seven year old student must not be made to dream about becoming as a doctor, lawyer, engineer or any other profession with the idea of ‘making huge sums of money” but the student must be taught to dream about becoming social conscious good citizens of the country. Parents and teaches alike should place great emphasis on molding the moral character of the students so that they become civil conscious good citizens of the country who is after the well being of the country and be a patriot of the country respecting his/her teaches and elders and loving fellow citizens be aware of the evils of bribery, corruption, discrimination and injustice and NOT be taught to go after money as if money is the ONLY NEED in life. He/she must be taught that money is a small part of life and that it is not life. The laying of the foundation for building character as an essential part of life should be started in the kinder-garden level itself and continued upto the end of Junior school and thereafter vocational training in various skill has to be introduced unto Senior school. There after the students must be allowed to take up higher studies according to the aptitude of the students. Students must be taught that all professions are equally good and essential to life and has to be respected. We must NOT COMMERCIALIZE LIFE. Life is for decent living with happiness respecting all and sundry.

    The present system of education was started by the colonial masters to train people to become their servants to run their administration. Let us not continue it. Let us change it in keeping with our moral and religious values.

    THE COUNTRY WILL PROSPER with all-round harmony without the need for any “BANS” including “white vans”

  • http://janusis.wordpress.com janusis

    Priceless!

    I can’t believe how many people thought this piece was in earnest.. When all else fails, satire brings a laugh.

  • President Bean

    kichchi said, “A seven year old student must not be made to dream about becoming as a doctor, lawyer, engineer or any other profession with the idea of ‘making huge sums of money”

    I say they should be taught to dream of becoming politicians, owners of credit card companies, sakvithis’ and Generals in the army! Better still…if the kid is a boy, and has three other brothers, he can dream of becoming President and the whole family can rule the country like their own personal feifdom!

  • chinthana

    Satire babe, this is satire! And let me tell the Group of Concerned Parents ( aka Group of Concerned Tamils…), a child committing suicide is no laughing matter! Obviously, You are not parents. To have a basic idea what parenting is, read The Chalk Cirlce. And write your piece again.
    Oh! You are so so smart. a….s!

  • KaluSudda

    Chinthana, often humour succeeds in showing up the stupidity of our so-called leaders, particularly if the subject is sensitive as this one is.

    It would appear, from the knee-jerk reaction of His Majesty, that he condones the school’s bullying tactics (by making it countrywide) and further makes out that the pupil is at fault. Dreadful. It sends out wrong messages, or maybe this is the future He has planned for Sri Lanka? I hope the second coming of the Buddha (another 2,500 years?) is brought forward – perhaps His Venerableness will tell His Majesty where to get off?

  • Atheist

    To Kalu Sudda and Bakaero

    Kalu sudda writes: Didn’t Mrs. Bandaranayke ban the song ‘Baby Elephant Walk’ on the Radio thinking the song was about her?

    Kalu sudda this is real news to us baby boomers. Please post the lyrics for Baby Elephant Walk, as we have never heard the “song” version. We have listened only to the tune, which came in the movie Hatari.

    The song, which was supposed to have been banned, was PISTOL PACKIN MAMA sung by Bing Crosby. Oh another song, before it slips my mind, was ‘kumatada sobaniya’ which came in Naribana. Sihnala, being the “servants’ language”, is probably unfamiliar terrain to you and your buddies; therefore, you can ask your chauffer Banda or housemaid Manika about the Sinhala song.

    Bakaero: Your comment is the Joke of the day ha! ha! ha! We, the uncouth Sinhala/Tamil speaking people, know from the title alone that what we have here is a satire. Even a person with a functional knowledge of the English language could have figured that out by just a cursory reading. I know, I know, Bakaero, you are just testing us, eh? Naughty! Naughty!

    We ain’t stupid……we ain’t stupid we just look that way!

    Yo Kalu Sudda and gang:

    A PISTOL PACKIN MAMA wins hands down any day over a double talking porno addict who relies on visual aids for his daily jumpstart!

    Hasta La Vista

  • TryAd

    The motto for all progressive people in our Land Like No Other should be: Give us any book as long as it’s a copy of Mahinda Chinthana!

    I mean, just think about it. Has there ever been any comparable document encompassing so much vision into so few words? We must make it mandatory for every citizen to carry a copy of the MC, in suitably compact form, and people should be asked to produce it along with the NIC at security check-points. There should also be random, surprise quizzes to check that people not only carry it, but also read and have memorized every word and sentence.

    If two generations of Chinese could carry the Little Red Book of Mao (some still do), why not the little MC book for us who aspire to be like China? After all, I am sure the Chinese government might finance the entire cost of printing and distributing 20 million copies of MC. We can then ask the leading ad agency in the country to mount a mega-campaign that reminds every citizen of their civic duty to carry the hallowed MC at all times: Never leave home without it….or else!

    Give us any book as long as it’s a copy of Mahinda Chinthana!

  • Budu Ammo!!!

    Let me make an original proposal for the serious consideration of His Majesty the President. Now that you have secured control over the entire landmass of our island, and will soon be asserting authority over all the territorial waters of sea too, how about renaming the country to be more consistent with the indigenous roots and your own identity?

    We remember how you ridiculed Premadasa’s ill-advised move to mis-spell the country’s name in English as Shri Lanka, allegedly on astrological advice. He was a bungling amateur compared to Your Majesty, who has class and style and mass support among the asses (sorry, masses).

    So here’s the proposed new name for our Land Like No Other:
    MEEEE LANKA!!!!

  • S.Sivanandan

    One has to pull wires to get admission to posh schools, after securing admission o’gosh pull all the wires from sockets of TV, Hi-Fi equipments to make them study, now the wireless mobile, next the internet cafes their menus and servers, a prelude to transformation from Yahoo to Yakka era??
    Sivanandan

  • http://dontwannabecool.blogspot.com half n half

    I guess, whatever said and done discipline needs to be upheld to protect the children themselves.

    However this banning of mobile phones in schools is comparative to banning vehicles around the accident ward.

    I beleive that what’s needed is for parents and children to have a much better understanding. I know through my own experience, this is terribly difficult.

    All the more reason we need to make it a national priority, as it is in the case of singapore.

    Society needs to match its levels of dsicipline, with its levels of support.

    I believe all parents need to take the blame for causing fear in this child for doing things everyone of them and us probably would have done at her age.

  • President Bean

    Keep the phones and ….BAN THE GOVERNMENT!

  • mercator

    Silly, infantile and petulant article

  • Siribiris

    President Bean, Bravo! BAN GOVERNMENT! That’s a great idea…

    Governments like this one should come with a health warning: elect them at your peril – they are positively hazardous to your health.

    If we can’t legally and technically outlaw government (since they make all the laws), there is something we CAN do: we can BOYCOTT the government. That means we don’t allow any more government in our lives than we absolutely need to. If a good enough number of people stop pandering to the whims of politicians – both ruling and opposition – and if we stop inviting them for every private and public function, they would become isolated and unwanted.

    I have never been able to understand why so many of our people want some jackass of a politician to be the witness at family weddings. And why we solicit and engage MPs, ministers, Pala Babas (i.e. provincial councillors) and even podi-yen paradeshiya saba chaps at funerals and other functions.

    BOYCOTT the whole lot of them — it doesn’t matter whether blue, green, red or yellow. If enough of us ignore and avoid them, what are they going to do? Jail millions of us?

  • KaluSudda

    Siribiris,

    Great idea BUT …

    Most people in SL regard politicians as Gods. And monks as Gods too. They feels they can get an advantage in this life, and the next, if they suck up to them. They feel that having one of them present authenticates whatever they are doing. And makes them look good to their friends.

    Politcians and monks are ordinary people. Many of them are there to take advantage of the delusions of the masses. Spread the word.

  • Emperor

    This is irony isn’t is ?

  • http://www.youtube.com/NoEalamInSL NoEalamInSL

    Good vs Bad: Parents who are over protective of their children, produce unhealthy adults to the society. Children who never seen “bad” dont know how to seprate “good” from “bad”.

    Adults Only:Those senior citizens (includin MR) who proposed P*RN BAN are over 60years of age and have no right to make a deision on behalf of youths of a country. They deliberately did that because they at 60 are impotent and no use of P*rn.

    Questions I asked from His Majesty on p*rn/mobile/all ban:

    1. Can artists of over 60years of age decide adults only films harm the social & cultural values of a society?
    2. Any research/opinion/survey/debate/discussion done on the subject and proved the assumption of senior citizens are correct?
    3. Any representaion of the younger generation obove 18 years of age represented in the p*rn ban discussions?
    4. Can one group (seniors above 60yrs )decide the criteria of film adult film censorship?
    5. Have we given space for development of adults’ sexuality/psychology?
    6. Should buddhists refrain from active/passive sex or be sexless?
    7. Is p*rn ban realistic with modern day technology?
    8. Are there any evidence that p*rn ban has reduced sexual crimes except by Talibans?
    9. Who decides norms and values of a culture? President? Senior citizens (above 60)?
    10. Dont you think p*rn ban, alcohol ban, smoke ban encourage people to do same illegally? (making millions of people to be dishonest, guilty, in a buddhist country?)
    11. Dont you think better to control than baning p*rn?( access only to adults fine who violate the law? )
    12 Dont you think the younger generation must participate country’s decision making discussions/process?
    13. Dont you think if you cant make a right decision, it is time to set up think tank or discussions(tv,meida,website) for government policy makers to enable government to know how rest of the citizens think about il-policies or listen to different perspectives before making decisions?
    14. Arent we repeating same odd, blunt mistakes in Mahinda Chinthana road map?
    15. Dont you think the government must be held accountable for safety of children since parents cant reach the children on the way because of Mobile phone ban?

    Long Live Our King but No Taliban Laws In Sri Lanka
    Demilitarization, Development, Democratization.
    We are Buddhists but not Extreme Buddhists!

  • ConKing

    Why bother with bans and risk legal challenges in court when the White Van solution can take care of all irritations for this regime? Ban it, White Van it, or can they still call it Tiger, Tiger? Wasn’t the Internet vilified for a long time as a LTTE propaganda medium?

    It was the UNP crony Manikdiwela (JRJ’s private secretary) who got the first mobile license in Sri Lanka (with which his family started Celltel, today’s Tigo). So this mobile phone thingy is a UNP conspiracy to undermine the people’s government of Mahinda Rajapaksa. Ban it, and tell mobile companies to go do something else.