Category Archives: Politics

#NewConstLK #lka We must talk about the new constitution

Since there was a big discussion during the last two elections and since there is disappointment people who opposed as well and people who supported the new government, this is really the time to discuss what should be in the constitution to realize the changes people voted for in the year 2015. From creating a Sri Lankan identity to the education qualifications of the MPs as well as Ministers should be included in that discussion. We may not have to agree to all of it but we should agree to disagree and have that discussion.

If you don’t say anything as usual in Sri Lanka, some self proclaimed experts will get what they want included in the constitution and another generation will have to suffer to make the necessary changes again in the future. First step let’s get all the controversial as well as non-controversial opinions out in the open.

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Filed under Constitution, Politics, Society, Sri Lanka

#lka Social Innovation ideas for the Sri Lankan Government Service – Part 1

One of the new trends in Sri Lanka is for many politicians to talk about innovation economy. I always wondered whether they know what they are talking about. Anyway, I still am glad that even not knowing the full context, these two words are being discussed. Innovation economy is a concept where entrepreneurship and innovation are given prominence. In my opinion the Sinhala translation of the word innovation “නවෝත්පාදනය” may not capture the full concept of the word but since I am not an expert of languages, I will stay out of commenting on it any further.

I recently with my team looked at few concepts of innovation. Though they have been doing this for little over two years now, looking back at these concepts helped me to think about these concepts in a different point of view. One of the main concepts of innovation is to think from the customer’s point of view. In other words empathizing with customers. To state simply this is to understand a problem from the people who are facing it and devising solutions for those problems. The word customer has a broader meaning in this case. It is anyone, one is dealing with for example, your boss, your employee, you parents, teachers, friends, etc.

The first idea of this post occurred in my head on the 3rd of April when my Peradeniya University batch mates had a get together. Many of my batch mates specially females are now teaching in schools in Kandy area. When talking to them few of them mentioned a well known issue of closing the road next to the Dalada Maligawa and how it has affected their travelling and travelling time to their respective schools. That same day while driving back to Colombo, I was thinking about this problem. Road closing or opening is a decision of some government agency (regional/national). This agency (I assume attached to either the Ministry of Highways or the Ministry of Internal Transportation) decided to keep the road closed. Let’s leave out the reason for a moment. The customers of this government agency would be the people like my batch mates who has to use that road. Roads might also have safety and environmental issues related to it too. In such a situation those relevant agencies should look at from their customers point of views too. For a person who only read the related issues on news papers (very little is written anyway about this), it seems like this agency is only looking at this problem from the point of view of politicians and religious leaders.

I have been at the receiving end of few fines for minor rules violations while driving. I am not complaining about the tickets but as a customer  who would like to pay the fines on time, the hassle one has to go through for paying fines is something I could not agree to. First you have to go to the Police station to pick up one form, then have to go to the post office to pay for it, then bring the receipt back to the police station to pick up the driving licence. Sometimes to pay a LKR 500 ticket, one has to lose few hours of work and spend nearly LKR 300 of additional money of tuk tuks. Overall economics of paying the fine does not make any sense. As the postal mail is a dying business in the 21st century, coming up with an internet based payment system for all the government related payments happening through post office might help saving the postal service a little bit longer. Additionally, the necessary changes to the law should also accompany, so that the policemen do not have to keep the driving licences. The unpaid fines with interest could be linked to the revenue licence renewal at the end of the year. This will lead to higher collection of fines, less wasting of time of everyone involved, less bribing of Police officers and actually catching the culprits who break the law. In this case all the government agencies and law makers should focus more on their customers (we the general public) but less on balancing each other.

There are many other ideas, will keep on writing if time and life permit. For the moment this will be stopped here as this note is getting too long and boring to read.

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Filed under Colombo, Future, Government Service, Industries of Sri Lanka, Innovation, My experiences, Politics, Science, Science in Sri Lanka, Society, Sri Lanka

#PresPollSL Did people in the North opposed MR? Was MY3 elected by the eelamists?

The former president Mahinda Rajapaksa addressing his supporters said that President Maithripala was elected by the eelamists. So I looked at the numbers. In 2010, when MR was elected for the second time, Northern province casted 72,894 votes for MR and 184,244 to the main challenger Sarath Fonseka. These numbers changed to 108,831 (MR) and 394,991 (MY3) in the 2015 election. More than 35,000 new votes were casted to MR in the 2015 election. This number is about 15% of the total new votes (241,618) casted in the 2015 election. MY3 got 87.2% (yes it adds up beyond 100% due to all the other candidates receiving lesser votes and due to an increase in the rejected votes). Let’s compare the same numbers with the Galle district votes.

In 2010 Galle district casted 386,971 votes to MR and 211,633 votes to SF. These numbers changed to 377,126 (loss of 9,845 votes) to MR and 293,994 (gain of 82,361 votes) to the main opponent MY3. At the same time total new votes casted in 2015 election in the Galle district is 72,941. Therefore as percentages MS received 113% votes with respect to increased number of votes and MR lost 13.5% votes with respect to the new votes casted in the 2015 election.

It is clear from the above numbers that while MR was gaining ground in the Northern Province (~15%) he was losing ground (~13.5%) in the Galle District.

This trend of opposition candidate gaining grounds is visible in all the districts. I think it is time that the former President start getting help with someone who knows the result of 2 divided by 2 and look at the numbers compiled by the department of elections. There is a clear mandate to MY3 from all over the country. I will work on numbers for other districts and post from time to time.

This was originally posted by me at: https://www.facebook.com/notes/muditha-d-senarath-yapa/did-people-in-the-north-opposed-mr-was-my3-elected-by-the-eelamists/10155065303670453

එක් ප්‍රතිචාරයක්

Filed under Politics, Sri Lanka

Traffic (Colombo, Sri Lanka) – Part 1

I drive and I like driving. It helps me to think, debate with myself, think of new things and driving calm me down. At least it used to. Not anymore. I am not boasting. I drive a Honda Insight; a hybrid car. It tells me my fuel efficiency as I drive. Once I drove from Kadawatha, Sri Lanka to Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka back and forth with one tankful of gasoline. Nearly 700 km. When there is no traffic I can drive to work in 25 minutes and my car does about 22 km per liter of gasoline. With traffic sometimes I have taken 1 hour 40 minutes and 7 km per liter. I only realized this because my car shows those numbers. I will point out (in my opinion) why there is so many traffic jams in Sri Lanka, in this part 1.

I think a lot about how the traffic flow work. I wonder how Physics, Mathematics, Engineering, materials science, chemistry and psychology works during driving. Even for the people who are not well versed with mathematics, their brain will do so many relative speed (velocity) calculations before changing a lane, accelerate or decelerate. Those motor cyclists, do many more like that as they are a dot compared many vehicles in a road. Engineering, Materials Science, Physics and Chemistry, runs the car but psychology actually drives it. Do these three wheeler with the driver’s children’s name on the back of the vehicle, really think about them and the family when they drive like this; my mind wonders. Do these motor cycles with parents and 3 kids riding on them be allowed to endanger their kids like this?

In my opinion many factors contributes to the traffic jams in Sri Lanka. In no particular order they are;

1. Road Condition. Although many roads are being built and resurfaced, there are still many more not good enough to drive smoothly
2. Motor Cycles – not adhering to any road rules. Creating their own lane, riding on the wrong side of the road. All these lead to breaking and slowing down of all the big vehicles. Each of the small delays adds up to a big delay. Most of the time they go to the front of the traffic at a light but they don’t have pick up to drive away fast. This makes few larger vehicles to miss the light and jam to get longer.
3. Three Wheeler – Most of the above comments
4. Smaller cars – Most of the above comments
5. General disregard of the rules – Lots of people use politicians as an example. I agree but just because one does something wrong, we all should not follow it. Do any of the drivers know that there are traffic lanes?
6. Slow drivers on the right most lane – self explanatory
7. Oversize vehicles on narrow roads – self explanatory
8. Bad drivers – self explanatory
9. Leaner drivers – most of the time they come to road in the rush hour
10. Attitude – Even when one driver does something wrong, they talk and act like the other driver is at fault. Most of the people think they can win with words though they are at fault. People say if you can drive in Sri Lanka, you can drive anywhere – that is the dumbest, stupidest thing I have ever heard. Just because one act like an idiot, they will not learn anything.
11. Problem with the Police – there are not enough men on the road. They use archaic methods to issue a fine, which simply takes too much time. Payment of the fine add on to further loss of productivity in the country. They ignore certain offenses thinking they are minor. Generally there is no implementation of the road rules.
12.Pedestrians – sometimes this is related to the road (side walk) conditions. Sometime they cross the road as and when they want. Sometimes they just walk in the middle of the road. Sometimes they intentionally block the road on protests and on other situation like building structures for functions.
13. Politicians – mainly not caring and not setting an example to the public. Not doing anything to solve the problem
14. Technology – distracted drivers, non-functioning traffic lights, etc.

Next time I will try to write something about solutions I wonder about while driving. In the meantime we could do our part. To save fuel, to save the environment, to increase the productivity, to decrease the stress and related illnesses, to be better citizens of humanity, be considerate while driving.

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Filed under Colombo, My experiences, Politics, Society, Sri Lanka, Sri Lankan Police, Traffic

When will you wake up?

I think it is mostly a Sri Lankan thing. Most of us live in denial. In made up worlds. Fake realities. I know lots of people in my life do that. I wonder why. I try to live with my feet on the ground in the hard cold reality. I think that is the wrong way to live.

I realized this recently while watching a NCIS episode. Agent DiNozzo was talking about how he has given a veggie to a kid in in high school only to realize later that he was the one who receive it.

I know lots of people in my life (parents, siblings, friends both male and female, relatives) who live in made up realities. As it is known by everyone if one is telling a made up story enough times, it become a reality in their minds as well as the people who heard it. Is it lying? May be or may be not. As the video clip states, it may be making things easier. Running away from our own lives is the easiest way yo live. What if (YES WHAT IF)…everyone lives in reality instead.

It is not only in the personal lives, we Sri Lankan live obliviously in our own made up realities specially in social and public lives. When will you wake up??

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Filed under My experiences, Politics, Society

Law of the Jungle..

The Law of the Jungle (From The Jungle Book) by Rudyard Kipling

Now this is the Law of the Jungle —
as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper,
but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk
the Law runneth forward and back —
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf,
and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

Wash daily from nose-tip
to tail-tip;drink deeply, but never too deep;
And remember the night is for hunting,
and forget not the day is for sleep.

The Jackal may follow the Tiger,
but, Cub, when thy whiskers are grown,
Remember the Wolf is a Hunter —
go forth and get food of thine own.

Keep peace withe Lords of the Jungle —
the Tiger, the Panther, and Bear.
And trouble not Hathi the Silent,
and mock not the Boar in his lair.

When Pack meets with Pack in the Jungle,
and neither will go from the trail,
Lie down till the leaders have spoken —
it may be fair words shall prevail.

When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack,
ye must fight him alone and afar,
Lest others take part in the quarrel,
and the Pack be diminished by war.

The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge,
and where he has made him his home,
Not even the Head Wolf may enter,
not even the Council may come.

The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge,
but where he has digged it too plain,
The Council shall send him a message,
and so he shall change it again.

If ye kill before midnight, be silent,
and wake not the woods with your bay,
Lest ye frighten the deer from the crop,
and your brothers go empty away.

Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates,
and your cubs as they need, and ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing,
and seven times never kill Man!

If ye plunder his Kill from a weaker,
devour not all in thy pride;
Pack-Right is the right of the meanest;
so leave him the head and the hide.

The Kill of the Pack is the meat of the Pack.
Ye must eat where it lies;
And no one may carry away of that meat to his lair,
or he dies.

The Kill of the Wolf is the meat of the Wolf.
He may do what he will;
But, till he has given permission,
the Pack may not eat of that Kill.

Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling.
From all of his Pack he may claim
Full-gorge when the killer has eaten;
and none may refuse him the same.

Lair-Right is the right of the Mother.
From all of her year she may claim
One haunch of each kill for her litter,
and none may deny her the same.

Cave-Right is the right of the Father —
to hunt by himself for his own:
He is freed of all calls to the Pack;
he is judged by the Council alone.

Because of his age and his cunning,
because of his gripe and his paw,
In all that the Law leaveth open,
the word of your Head Wolf is Law.

Now these are the Laws of the Jungle,
and many and mighty are they;
But the head and the hoof of the Law
and the haunch and the hump is — Obey!

http://www.facebook.com/notes/muditha-d-senarath-yapa/the-law-of-the-jungle-from-the-jungle-book-by-rudyard-kipling/10152413483410453

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Filed under දේශපාලනික, සමාජීය, Politics, Society

2000 words

Picture is worth thousand words..so here are two pictures.

I did not make them or take them.. simply downloaded them from a Facebook page called the “The Idealist“. So here they are….

The word American should be changed to Sri Lankan in my case…

This is how most countries are and the two countries I have lived in….

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Filed under My experiences, Politics, Religious, Society