Friday, May 20, 2016

Foresight & Innovation Summit – just a HOME & HOME affair!

Whilst not trying to be overly critical of a concept that is timely, isn’t it IRONIC that the Tamasha on 24th and 25th of May is being held at the Diyawanna Edge, aka Waters Edge, all of which has been created out of dredging and filling up, Colombo’s swamp, which was the flood plain that prevented places like Lake Drive from flooding, and a lack of FORESIGHT!

If there was FORESIGHT, then all of Battaramulla would have been in a massive green belt around Colombo, that could have ben called Marshlands National Park, that would have been a huge tourist attraction, for bird life on the Outskirts of Colombo.

In the same vein, with FORESIGHT, the Capital would now be in Polonnaruwa relieving the unnecessary stress on Colombo, which would have developed into a model, Commercial Capital of Sri Lanka, with designated areas of Condominium development, separate areas for low income housing, another for single family dwellings, all connected by an excellent public transportation system. It is not too late if we can put greed aside. If this had been done, soon after 1977 opening of the Economy, a chance that will not return, Colombo would probably be the most live-able city on Earth, and we would not have lost our Best to overseas Countries, retaining them to develop Sri Lanka.

Now Condominium complexes can go up anywhere, blighting once beautiful neighborhoods, all in the name of someone’s greed, to make more millions! In short, this is an example of the price we have already paid for the lack of FORESIGHT, to say nothing, of traffic congestion, and Urban Decay in the most salubrious of neighborhoods that are now taking place, making even Horton Place one of the most undesirable streets to live on despite its ridiculous land costs.

I would like to point out the particular fascination that Columbians, (Who in this audience does not live within 25km of this location?) have with Seminars, Summits, Workshops, and Teach-ins on Work Time! All paid out of funds that don’t come out of any of the participants post tax income, so none of you today have a real stake in this Summit. In short you are enjoying a junket at someone else’s expense.

I believe that there are those who wish to contribute positively to this debate who should be included, with perhaps half the participants here present being mere deadweights. (would be better off dead!) They are willing to pay 50% of the cost of the fee, as they are NOT wealthy. They will however have to forego their main meal for a month, in order to participate, believing in their value.

THE UNDP bless their souls, has NO chance of finding them at present, as they do not venture outside their IVORY TOWER on Baudhaloka Mawatha, the Beverly Hills of Colombo. The UN civil servants on the job will not even work at the UN if they were not pensionable and did not get the perks of the job, and so have NO personal motivation, that is greater than the task they have organized to help them in their rise up the INGO ladder if nothing else.

With such a prognostication, it is hardly surprising that NO ONE wants the Summit to be anything but a networking event, and make more contacts for personal rather than professional reasons of achieving lofty goal of “FORESIGHT & INNOVATION”.

This leads me to the cynical conclusion that this event is a mere Home and Home show of likeminded intellectuals who form a comfort zone in their theoretical mirages of life, and business men looking to profit from participation, without the intention of coming up with a workable solution to the Country’s pressing problems.

Ironically only the Prime Minister has this true vision, devoid of personal agendas, that wish to see Sri Lanka achieve its true potential, but cannot harness, sufficient likeminded and capable people to carry out this vision.

I have the freedom to express myself here, as I don’t expect anything (credit or monetary gain) from anyone in return, and have NO personal goals left to fulfill, as I will be dead before these lofty goals ever come to fruition. I am only committed during the rest of my days, to do what is necessary to ensure that in 50 years, the inhabitants of this Island, under whatever name they choose to call it then, will have a livable environment, something I am afraid is NOT going to happen if current policies continue.

I believe the priority then MUST be to do whatever is possible NOW so that by then, there is NO debate that these three most important of aspects to a good quality of life are an inalienable right of its inhabitants, namely the right to breathe the cleanest air possible, eat the purest food in that the human digestive system will be unharmed, and be able to drink clean water devoid of impurities that cause illness. It goes without saying that to ensure this, environmental pollution has to be reduced drastically if not eliminated, with recyclability of everything being paramount. Everything we posses becomes meaningless, if we cannot achieve these basic needs of human existence.

To that goal, I wish that this summit directs its focus. Everything else is matter of fact and subsidiary to the three basic needs outlined above. Then Sri Lanka can hold its head higher than any nation in sustainability of LIFE.  

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