Saturday, December 3, 2016
If COLOMBO Gridlock of week ending December 2nd 2016 is anything to go by, then we may as well GIVE UP and move out
The only appeal I will make to the strikers is to completely isolate ALL Parliamentarians within the Diyawanna Island and DO NOT ALLOW THEM OUT for 48+ hours. Finally they will probably understand the plight of the rest of us. Let them debate from today and allow them out on Monday morning.
Lets use jamming technology so that they can then NOT get any of their mobile phones working and also use wi-fi jamming so that they cannot use the internet either. Parliamentarians are notorious for being glued to their smart phones.
When people who live even near the Parliament have now decided to move back into central Colombo, because even they cannot stand the commute into Colombo, it says a lot about the choices people make, and ONLY those with the wherewithal are fortunate, leaving 99% of the others to suffer in silence, until some serious alternative is INACTED.
WHAT ARE THE PRIORITIES?
1 Do something immediately about the traffic gridlock
2 Prevent any protest that takes over public road for one year until some alternative means of protest is found
3 Immediately impose a Rs100 a day on cars and three wheelers entering Colombo.
4 Make it mandatory for MPs to use public transport one day a week say on Friday, so they can see for themselves how the majority of the people commute, otherwise NO immediate action will not be taken.
5 Remove ALL back up vehicles of ALL ministers so no one other than the President and PM have back up vehicles in Sri Lanka. Judges still permitted to have their motorcycle escorts to and from work.
6 All school vans can only come to a central exchange point at entry into the Colombo, where designated buses for schools will take them from that point. This will stop vans coming into Colombo and taking parking space for the whole day, until school is over.
7 Immediately asses how the Government servants come to work within Colombo city limits and except for designated persons, they must use public transport to get to their place of work. Each head of department must consider the productivity of the member of staff who works within Colombo city limits, and seriously look into transferring him or her to another area.
8 Build an alternative capital city far away, as it will be needed sooner rather than later!
Friday, December 2, 2016
Zac Goldsmith, referred to as a billionaire thanks to his late father, the mercurial Sir James Goldsmith, and brother of Jemima Khan, the ex wife of Imran Khan, spectacularly lost the by election held yesterday, 1st December 2016 by less than 2,000 votes, contesting as an Independent candidate, to his Liberal Democratic rival, whilst the Labor Party candidate lost his deposit.
In the 2015 General election when David Cameron created an upset by not just beating the fancied Labor Party, but also obtained sufficient seats to form a majority Government without the previous coalition partner the Liberal Democrats, goes to show how much can change in such a short time in politics, and this certainly is time we in Sri Lanka understand how whimsical the electorate in a democracy can be over the slightest change in temperament!
No wonder the dictators and one party rulers are having a field day lately with Putin the undisputed leader, who can, not just face his detractors at home, but all comers overseas, despite a FAILING economy, and Russians starving in the streets! But have the gall to carry out indiscriminate bombings in Aleppo.
Getting back to yesterdays upheaval, let us be reminded of a few facts. The Liberal Democratic Party was decimated at the last General Election, and to turn a 20,000 + Tory majority, into 2,000 for them is also mind numbing, but expressive of by-election tactical voting! Then Goldsmith promised to leave the Tories if the 3rd Runway in Heathrow was approved, and that is why his resignation and contesting as an Independent (there was NO Conservative Party candidate yesterday vying to be humiliated, or split the vote!) resulted in this.
Then we have Zac who was a Brexiteer in a constituency which voted 70% to stay in the European Community, playing a part, and his Liberal Democrat rival was pro Europe too. So it is a wake-up call to Theresa May that there is a significant voice to soft Brexit or no Brexit in the UK, reflecting the polarized nature of the Country and competitive democracy at work, where people are almost evenly divided on many issue with NO middle ground to reach consensus.
In my opinion the wealthy constituents who probably pop over the continent for a drive if they so wish, now find their pound sterling worth so much less, and voted their disgust at that too, as they don’t have to compete for housing with immigrants, as no one can afford to live there, and immigrants just man the Gas Stations and are the maids in most of the households of Richmond Park.
So the demographic reflected their views, and the 3rd Runway at Heathrow and the resultant noise pollution was a moot point with people there, who have heavy double glazing to keep out both the noise of the planes, but also the cold from their homes, and have an alternative weekend home to escape to as well. Don’t forget there are deer roaming in Richmond Park, and the mix of the outdoors with good access to the City of London for the stockbroker and banker types is a completely different class of Briton from the rural and industrial North.
While this by election is NOT AT ALL representative of the people of the UK as a whole, it is clearly an indication how people can change on a dime anywhere if their personal interests are threatened IN ANY WAY, and so the longer TM(PM) dilly dallies without going for a general election to tighten her grip on power, and hopefully sweep the board in the absence of a credible opposition, this MUST have given the Liberal Democrats false hope that they are in fact the de facto opposition to the Conservatives in the UK. FAT HOPES, but then pigs can fly!
As we saw with the Donald in the US
Who said we live in interesting times? The popularity of a Governing Party plummets almost as soon as they are elected. Let us see how long after the inauguration the Donald Trump’s approval ratings will last. In a funny irony, he is appointing so many far fetched unfathomable people into his cabinet, with news being issued of a new face every day, that in itself will probably carry his star a little longer as it takes to figure out one billionaire from another.
The “bodylicious” appointment of the ex-marine Janes Mattis is causing more of a stir outside the shores of the US, no doubt making the Donald give himself a pat for his audaciousness, as the General will have to change the rules to pass Congress, as one has to have retired 7 years from the forces to be considered for Secretary of Defense, he being out of uniform for barely 4.
Like everything Trump does, he is turning all the rules on its head and this is yet another instance, and the Serving Generals must be cock a hoop on this appointment that NO Democrat dare challenge!
I can’t remember having lived through such an interesting few months beginning with the Brexit vote, and ending with the by Election yesterday, but with the main event being the Donald’s overthrow of the shoe-in Hilary who must still be shoe-less! Of course with Modi and his demonetization at our doorstep causing palpitations over the pond in big old cash crazy India, no one knows what to expect as each day goes by.
As for Sri Lanka, let us just hope that the Government does NOTHING for a while, as we cannot take any more schizophrenic policy turnarounds on a daily basis causing too much grief all around especially to the man in the street!
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Just think about it for a moment!
From Grades 1 to 13 we have got our school age youth used to receiving FREE text books for ALL their subjects. That is SIMPLY crazy! Yes the schools usually insist that the books are covered with brown paper to protect the covers etc. but that is done more as a practice rather than the kids been taught why!
Only when a child before he or she enters grade 1, is taught at pre-school or at home, to look after their things, be they school books, pens pencils, uniform and anything that belongs to them, will they learn how to take care of the school books.
The schools are encouraged to ensure that the books are in a quality where they can be used for over 4 years, but most books are unusable after one year with just one student! Why? There is NO ONE willing to take responsibility to ensure that state property is well maintained, as there is NO incentive given. The schools merely list the number of copies of each book that they require for the next year and submit it to the Education Ministry, on which it determines how many books their printers need to print, and often further reprints are called for from the printers when they get their estimates wrong.
This whole process is completely unacceptable, BUT NO ONE IN AUTHORITY has raised this waste of public resources at ANY LEVEL!
So how about financially incentivizing the children by giving them 30 rupees a book that is returned in re-usable quality. This on average is about 25% of the cost of the reprinting of that book and is bound to save the state money. Of course one has to have faith in the individual school to administer this process fairly. Further, prizes of monetary value can be given to schools based on how much they save the Education Ministry in terms of text books, by NOT ordering for the following year, because they have the needed quality for the next year’s students. This will ensure that both the school and the students using the books collectively make every effort at maintaining the quality of the book and prevent it from being disfigured.
In my opinion, the ideal will be for the school to sell all the text books to the students at the beginning of the school year, and buy them back at the end, at a lower price. Second hand books can be sold at half the price of the new ones, so kids can choose depending on their financial circumstances, how they wish to purchase. Roughly 5 million students at Rs 1000 per student is how the Rs 5B is arrived at in my calculation in case someone was wandering where I got that!
In case the reader doubts the ability of parents to pay for the books, I maintain that considering how much money is spent on children’s pocket money, when they come to school, the monthly payment for the school van or bus to take them to school, the cost of private tuition classes, because the school does not give them adequate teaching to pass exams, and funding for other school activities, this is minuscule, about Rs1,000 per year!
Now ALL books are printed from discs and can therefore be all UPLOADED to the website, which I understand is what the Education Department is about to do to have all books on line for anyone to access! That is a great idea, further preventing the need for the giving of free books, when all the information is freely available on line.
Of course it is a matter of time when students will use TABLETS instead of school books, and if already this information is online, those students who choose to down load their text book to their tablet SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED to do so, with additional helpful teaching and learning guides added for each subject at each grade as an incentive for the students to actually obtain a tablet, just because it will be MORE HELPFUL for their studies than the mere text book they are given or later asked to purchase.
In this way within 5 years ALL students will avail themselves of TABLETS. I have a perfectly good tablet purchased from Dialog for Rs15,000 and that should easily fit the student’s requirement rather than the Govt. which has estimated to spend Rs25,000 per tablet, which I naturally assume to be more than Rs15,000 as a commission to the people pushing the TABLET on the PM who has NO clue that Amazon will actually give him 200,000 tablets FREE as a pilot project as long as they are able to use the publicity of this gift to the GOSL.
The problem is that a commission agent who is the PMs gate keeper is preventing anyone from Amazon from approaching the PM to offer this, as his gravy train is affected, and so the PM is ignorant of this wonderful opportunity.
I would like my readers to think very carefully of my suggestions which are timely and can save the Country Rs5B a year, and perhaps be used to improve the quality of education further by brining the curricula to 2016 and training teachers properly to teach relevant subject to students rather than only offering subjects at schools which will ensure that the student can never get a good job!
The previous blog entry alluded to a classic scandal to override even tender procedures to provide a useless product, at great expense to the Country, all these need to be stopped and better concepts given a hearing.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
(Education Publications Department)
EPD has been instructed that they MUST print these two belowsaid books for the 2017 Academic year on this specialized (plasticised long lasting) paper. These instructions have come supposedly from above meaning from the Cabinet and they are NOT to question its rights or wrongs, the staff have just got to follow orders to the letter and not to question the stupidity of the decisions that smack of gross violations!
The Tender was called for on 21st November for a closing date of 30th November, which in itself is BIZARRE TO SAY THE LEAST, as except for the belowsaid two Printers, no one else can supply a tender, as the Machines worth Rs600M have to be ordered, and even more so the paper has to be ordered which will take months to come from Japan, or Malaysia which have this quality, which then has to be approved by a testing laboratory, as being consistent with the tender, in case it is NOT of the specified quality.
It is NOT possible for the Tender awarding body to give a tender to just two who apply, as that clearly smacks of manipulation, and so all the Printers of EPD were asked to submit a tender. They have to pay Rs20,000 in the first place to get the right to tender for a book they know they cannot print, for which they have NO MACHINES, NO PAPER, NO INK, and NO GUM. Straightaway this RAT will make the Media and cause a stink that no one will want to be near to! So it is imperative that this tender is cancelled and reverted to the original awardee to print before School Term begins on January 2nd 2017.
One book is only an 80 page Geography book that does NOT require perfect binding due to size and can be stapled in the middle, but the tender requires perfect binding, which will further increase the cost!
What is the required result? To give a contract to two specified Printers, to print TWO School Books for the 2017 Academic Year, worth Rs100M each to print a quantity of books, using a special plasticized UV coated paper.
Only two printers in Sri Lanka as of 1st December 2016, have the machines capable of printing with this highly specialized paper. They are Softwave and Printcare. They use this paper for specialized printing needs for durable/washable paper for the textile and related industries.
If the normal paper is used, as is done on ALL books at present, then this job can be done for LESS THAN Rs 10M each. NAPCO a printer owned by Thilanga Sumathipala got the initial tender (as lowest bidder) to print these books with the regular paper, but were later told they will NOT be awarded this as the Cabinet has chosen to award it in a different tender with the use of durable paper, so the books will last in excess of 5 years as the paper is durable.
The Cabinet MUST be aware that Thilanga Sumithipala is likely to blow the whistle on this against the UNP colleagues involved in the scam, if this tender is NOT awarded rightly to NAPCO, and it is advisable to IMMEDIATELY instruct the Commissioner General of the Education Publication Department to drop this Instruction and revert to the original plan.
This was supposed to be a pilot project to test if the books in fact last 5 years, but as the cost is more than 500% of the tender for normal paper and therefore NO amendments to the book can be made for at least 5 years, for revisions or corrections, it is NOT an economically justifiable project to undertake. It is important to further understand that the supply of tabs to all students could be done in less time than that, which does away with printing in the first place.
It is also worthy of note that a different Govt. could take a different stand on this printing effort, negating any benefits, that the pilot project expects to achieve to test out.
Accordingly this whole pilot project which is NOT in keeping with proper tender procedures, smacks of some collusion, and Softwave and Printcare could be accused of underhand dealing to get this contract outside of tender procedures, and if we look into backgrounds of the INK and Paper suppliers, there may be more culpability of interested parties, that puts the CBSL Bond Scam in the pale in comparison, leading to a possible fall of the Government.
It is regrettable that the Jokers in the Cabinet get used to approving something out side of their remit of understanding, who through collective responsibility, can be held accountable for fraud caused in collusion with other parties.
These are examples of crooked deals, policy inconsistencies, overriding Good Governance Tender procedures, the people being taken for a ride, all to line a few people’s pockets.
If we as citizens of Sri Lanka don’t stand up for what is right! We are left to ponder why the people who we have sadly elected to HIGH OFFICE have completely fooled us. They ONLY achieve their personal objectives in life, WHICH IS TO ENRICH THEMSELVES at the expense of the General Public from whom they are actually stealing, as the TAXPAYER of Sri Lanka continues to pay for these mistakes, daylight robbery, and poor decision making, completely oblivious to what is going on under their own noses.
It is time to do the ONLY thing that will ensure that the people will NOT be robbed by lifetime politicians, and that is TO ONLY HAVE ONE TERM in office for any elected office throughout their life. What a relief would that make? NO MORE LIFERS WHO DIE IN OFFICE!
Wednesday, November 23, 2016
The perfect storm is rolling on and on, more like a storm in a tea cup, with no real news, just manufactured!
Isn’t it interesting that the Media, in order to create news out of nothing has resorted to inform the curious public (made only curious because of the media manufacture of news) of every detail of comings and goings of almost every human being to and from Trump Tower, then his Bedminster Golf Course in New Jersey and now the pack of hounds have moved to Palm Beach to his Mar-a-lago compound, almost like an excuse for a jolly good time! After all the Thanksgiving Weekend starts today, and what better way to celebrate the Trump win than have the whole extended family on vacation in sunny Florida, except for the intrusion of drones, secret service agents, paparazzi to spoil the show, but as an excuse to report on every person who comes and goes.
Surely it should be time out for at least a week for the lesser mortals like us to take breather from the Media frenzy, that is created to make news, sensationalize, get audience get ratings, and finally to make money out of the whole deal, all the while confronting the bellicose Trump, who has been unable to wean himself out of the TWEETING that has been a hallmark of his campaign and threatens to make light of his unpredictable stances on issues of the day, especially those he espoused during the campaign which need correction now that he is President elect.
The trouble is the plea to leave Trump news out of a week will not work as the answer is NOT to watch TV news, if you are fed up. I believe the last few days of the Obama Administration must be put on center stage, to record the closing chapters of his final days in office, lest we forget. We have four more years of photo ops and media frenzy contend with which after that time, I am sure people will be so fed up, of his tweets, the media pontification thereof and the following of every member of his family for no good reason, but that people like to know, being the real deal alternative to a Royal Family that the US does not have, but which Trump provides all the glamour and glitz to make up for!
I have now decided to switch off from watching the same old speculation of pundits who are trying to second guess every member of his administration and then comment on why that person is NOT suitable for the job, without many opining on the suitability of the candidate, which is the more positive statement, especially if they are finally to get the job, without the press baggage like a noose around their necks from day one as damaged goods, without giving them a chance to show their true mettle and suitability for the task they have been set.
By the way there are two more Trump National Golf Courses just in the State of New Jersey, at Colts Neck and Pine Hill, just for good measure~
Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Trumps method of transitioning!
As if to throw chili into their eyes for their inaccurate reporting, Trump had summoned a gaggle of Media to Trump Tower, don’t know if it was to his office conference room, or the one in his private apartments, but effective @ his space, with his personal staff, wife, daughter and son-in-law at hand, and being blasted like pick pockets, is in itself a made for TV movie.
As it was off the record, all reports are based on strict confidentiality of names, and I would have loved to be a fly on the wall, as Trump a businessman knowing the value of Media even though they may have gone against him, which ironically lead to him being elected had the audacity, emboldened by being President-elect to read the riot act in a Country with First Amendment Rights, guaranteeing free speech and free media NOT constrained by any strictures!
It is clear this gruff approach to you “to tell my story the way I want it”, rather than how you see it, which is very different to what it really is, leaves the Media moguls wondering how best to play this game.
They want to have access to the President, so they have a story from which they make money (the media in the US is there to profit, and not be merely a mouthpiece of a mogul willing to throw money down the drain) and be able to give the LIBERAL SLANT that is their want, as most media today, representing the middle ground of decency and fair play, with equal rights for all, where as to Trump some are more equal than others! Namely the rich, the racist, the right wing, and red necks who form the base of his support, even though he may not represent them fully in their views!!
We are treading new ground in this experiment as we have never had a President who is so well known in business, rich, and can command personal space, that rivals the White House, as he has SO MANY places that he can summon them to and harangue and intimidate these titans of bombasticity!
We ain’t seen nothing yet in his relationship with the media, but I believe the media will not complain as they have more than enough opportunity to make more money by the resulting viewership than they would have under a Hilary C Administration of more BOREDOM! What we the General Public must realize is that we should NOT be manipulated by these media hacks who create news from nothing, like the unending speculation about the pros and cons of Melania staying at Trump Tower to take Baron to school!
What a waste of our time!
Of course the speculation of how Trump is going to avoid being labeled as benefiting from his position as President to increase his business empire, will have pundits in the media flogging this horse for all the time slots there are when there is NO OTHER MORE INTERESTING NEWS TO REPORT ON.
Is that going to be the filler story of the media for the next 4 years and speculation if he will be impeached for breaching the rules, law or call it what you will? May God help us to prevent being dragged by the media in their own self created sinkhole of CRAP!
Tuesday, November 8, 2016
Establishment and much of the same in “Stronger Together” which is Hilary’s and “Lets Make America Great Again” is Donald’s. What resonates with disenfranchised as in CHEESED off voters? Surely it is Donald’s as the people of the US, the great majority of them, just don’t feel good about themselves, or their Country, and no matter how you measure them, they are for the most part, those who have rarely voted, feel the odds are stacked against them, and have NO person who listens or represents them.
Finally and IRONICALLY they have found in their search a SOUL MATE called Donald Trump, and they are willing to go out and VOTE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THEIR LIVES for a man they know is full of faults, shoots his mouth off, and will shoot his gun off if he had it in his holster, and they like that earthy man, no matter how he cheated the world to make it to the TOP.
Its all about first time older voters stupid, and that is good for democracy. At least they can say they voted.
He took advantage of every tax break imaginable available to him, used bankruptcy to his advantage, and took self promotion to another level, to become famous. Why he took the Reality TV Show apprentice to sky high ratings was beyond me, but he did the unthinkable. Most Billionaires want to stay under the Radar, and the guts he had NOT to disclose his tax returns, DO NOT EVEN SEEM TO HAVE AFFECTED HIS POLL NUMBERS ADVERSELY which has confounded the opposition as they soon dropped that line, when they know it had NO traction.
The Americans Go to the Polls today to vote for the person they hate the least. When someone 4 years from now at the next Election reads this blog entry, will only be able to verify, that it was a remarkable time on 8th November 2016, never before and never again, and that America is Great again because of this election, and because of the bottom of the barrel their politics took them to realize what was needed to “make this Country Great Again!”
No one has actually predicted the post election psyche of the people. It will be relief, cold turkey that they don’t see that mop of hair and Hilary’s tiresome voice. For what it is worth, whatever comes out of Donald’s mouth is crazy or worth laughing about. Hilary’s pronouncements don’t present a wry smile or a cheer either! Why? BORING.
I would have not called her crooked Hilary, I would just have said too boring to be President. Boring people may be rocks and stable, but nothing will come out of their term, positive or negative. We have lived long enough to know that we need some catalyst for change, and that is the ONLY way to energize people to action, and that sadly can only come from TRUMP!