Oscar Fernando




 

Aiding aged with Alzheimer’s – By Oscar E.V.

Alzheimer’s

 

Oscar Fernando

With the advancement of civilization, science and technology, problems of ageing too seem to have advanced! One of the dreaded problems is Alzheimer’s disease (AD). 

Ageing is an unstoppable journey leading to second childhood and eventually infancy. AD has expedited this process for some. But we have on medical advice that with proper health care, timely observation and preventive measures, the aged can be less of a burden to family and society with onset of AD. 

Forgetfulness in old age is common to all humanity. But with AD it is a sickness. 

AD is a frightening and debilitating illness that is characterized by “confusion, memory failure, disorientation, restlessness, amnesia, speech disturbances, inability to carry out purposeful movements, and hallucinations” (‘Mosby’s Medical, Nursing and Allied Heath Dictionary’).

The symptoms can best be exemplified with an excerpt from ‘The 36-Hour Day,’ a book for families and caregivers of people with (AD).

“Often, Mary was afraid, a nameless, shapeless fear. Her impaired mind could not put a name or an explanation to her fear. People came, memories came, and then they slipped away. She could not tell what was real and what was not. The bathroom was not where it was yesterday. Dressing became an insurmountable ordeal….Mary gradually lost the ability to make sense out of what her eyes and ears told her….She worried about her things: a chair, and the china that had belonged to her mother. They said they had told her over and over, but she could not remember where her things had gone. Perhaps someone had stolen them. She had lost so much…. Mary was glad when her family came to visit. Sometimes she remembered their names; more often she did not. She never remembered that they had come last week, so she regularly scolded them for abandoning her….She was glad when they didn’t try to remind her of what she had just said or that they had come last week, or ask her if she remembered this person or that one. She liked it best when they just held her and loved her.”

“Although the risk of AD developing increases with age, in most people symptoms first appear after age 60 and it is found that AD rapidly increases between the ages 65 and 85. Medical science is still in the quest of finding its causes. That AD is not a part of normal aging is concluded with the knowledge that, in the absence of disease, the human brain often can function well into the tenth decade of life,” say medical researchers. 

People today are often puzzled about various terms used in the field of forgetfulness. Dementia is a term used to describe a range of illnesses that affect a person’s ability to think, to reason and to remember. Although AD is the most common form of dementia that can effect elders, it can also effect people in their forties or even younger. The term amnesia has been medically defined as the inability to recall an event which has ended, and the patient thereafter returning to normal self and is said to be common among those who are tensed, anxious and trying to have too many irons in the fire, whatever be the age. 

By taking treatment it is researched that although AD cannot be cured, at least it can be slowed down. 

In the question of life of an AD patient, it may be asked whether it is mere existence, with total custodian care, or with early detection and preventive treatment, a patient’s quality of life is sustained to make it easier for the patient and the care givers who are hard to find in this busy world of hectic activity!

It has been researched that AD is probably the only illness that can truly be described as being the opposite of birth. The brain begins shrinking as the disease progresses and the layers of learning are stripped away in much the same order in which they were laid on from birth. At death, the brain resembles that of a newborn infant. This implies that family members and care givers have to be mindful that up to the point of reaching this stage, the patient responds to love, touch emotion and the care givers’ sympathetic understanding similar to the responses of a new born infant!

With the onset of age should we not be alert to keep our minds occupied to ensure there are no mental and physical atrophies that may trigger such diseases as AD? Should not the family members too make discreet observations for their own sake as well as for the sake of their dear ones?

It is said that caring for an AD patient at home can be very demanding both physically and emotionally – it can make one feel lonely. Each day brings new challenges as the caregiver copes with changing levels of ability and new patterns of behavior. Much compassion, will power, adjustments and adaptations may be necessary in the long run. It implies caring for the patient’s general health, keeping an eye on his/her daily activities, avoiding risk of injuries, preventing infections, drug and recreation management and doing all this with much love and care. As the disease gets worse and caring at home becomes increasingly difficult, family members will face difficult decisions about long-term care. 

Research has found that the worst that can happen to an AD patient is to be put away from the home environment. With no love and attention the disease could be worsened. But on pragmatic terms in a poor country such as ours, family caregivers will be hard to find as they will not be able to cope with the attention needed, and at the same time be gainfully employed and tend to their own families. These are matters that our civil society will have to deal with in addition to providing homes for the aged and other elderly care. 

Would it surprise readers to know that a caregiver must first cultivate loving oneself before being capable of loving and caring for another person, according to a book on instructions to care givers? Does it connote self-esteem? Does it also not echo the Second Commandment given to Moses several millennia ago, “to love thy neighbor as thyself”?

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Panacea for Global Distress by Ancient/Modern writers.- By Oscar E V Fernando

 

Oscar Fernando

Henry Ford the well-known American business tycoon was asked by Dale Carnegie if he ever worried about business-he replied;
“No. I believe God is managing affairs and he does not need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe that everything will work out for the best in the end” He lived with, and also thrived in business, with this opinion that he firmly believed in!
Cynics and many others would express different opinions: an opinion is defined in the Chamber’s dictionary as a view held as probable: Is a probability worth arguing, quarreling and ending in fisticuffs? Take what is best to live by-express it mildly-but let others live with their own opinion: that is the most acceptable Lifestyle
Catastrophes around the globe, amidst the busy-mess with Inflation, GDP, Cost of Living Index, FD I’s, Deficit Budgets etc., bring to our minds the thoughts of the world’s Greats-Lord Buddha, Prophet Mohamed Christ Jesus, Confucius, Gandhi and other modern writers  such as Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer Eckert Tolle- for wisdom and guidance
A step back from the busy-mess will ease out thinking on these very socially necessary problems: perhaps a Common Prayer room set apart in most International Airports, is evident witness of this stepping back from hopping planes, for these crisis-crossing businessmen-or magnates.
This writer opines on some thoughts of Christ Jesus.
Take the sermon he delivered on a mountain to thousands who followed him at that time-popularly called The Sermon on the Mount.
We see from the life of Christ that he retreated to the mountains and desert for silent meditation to receive guidance for his spirit to redeem Fallen Mankind from the wrath of sin-perhaps a good practice to be adopted by busy modernists!
He revealed Divine Wisdom mostly in parables and left his followers to discern in the silence: his thoughts were later scripted into a book.
He revolutionized a world where the norm was-an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth-much the same as how Lord Buddha transformed society by teaching that hatred will never cease with hatred.
His teachings however were not in the realm of logic to be reasoned out-but to be understood in pure faith-faith that must be stayed upon and pondered, to blossom into a logical belief in the Eternal Truth within us-as creatures in the image and likeness of the Creator
He spoke in parables but yet millions follow his teachings to earn the Kingdom within and without that he revealed
He admonished followers to be poor in spirit-a thought out of the blues in a world that rushes to get richer so as to acquire all the goodies they desire. Did this imply that we should live literally poor all life through? No.
He encouraged followers to use their talents to enrich themselves and thereby share the wealth with needy neighbors who were less talented and are poor. He told the rich man to sell all he has and watched his reaction, to teach the world the correct attitude to wealth-as to whether he possess it in his heart or just own the wealth in paper as a trustee for the Creator. He showed the difference between possession and ownership; the former is idolatry of wealth which he decried at every turn and taught the rich young man that what troubled him was possessiveness of and idolizing his wealth.
Would not, poor in spirit imply-that one must empty self-will and compromise on preconceived notions-not rely only on one’s own judgment, but seek to find other opinions-not be overly proud of one’s academic distinctions-be humble to face ridicule when standing up for rights: these are just a smattering of examples in spiritual poverty!
Thus we see the difference between literal poverty and poverty in spirit-that leads to Peace and Prosperity.
He also taught his followers to mourn, expecting comfort to come in due time and place. This, on face value is a discomforting admonishment, in a world with a rush for happiness and joy, even with drugs and the pill. Isn’t this very same rush that causes a person to mourn followed by depression, stress and anxiety? We thereby bring upon ourselves that mourning and suffering-then throw up hands asking the good and loving Creator why he also created suffering that leads to mourning-forgetting that it came about due to the abuse of Free Will that is the spice of life to earn or not the eternal reward and without which a human is reduced to a mere vegetable.
The so called wise men will go on arguing the pros and cons of this statement but the Wise Teacher taught and showed followers to abide in faith and even wait in mourning for the Resurrection that follows the Crucifixion-an inevitability to be accepted with resignation and contentment.
Yes-he waited with patience and subdued emotion on the cross-subdued to the extent that he looked up and asked his Father in heaven to forgive the enemies who crucified him: it is this same person who said that those who mourn with patience will be comforted at the right time and place and eventually they will be with him in Paradise-obviously a matter of Faith that blossoms to fruition on pondering-not logic to reason out!
He also preached-to be meek to inherit the earth. To be meek is to have a mild and gentle temperament and also it can mean to be submissive-not giving into self-willed pride. Such submissiveness to the Creator and thereby to the rightful worldly authority, will make one inherit the earth: it may imply that with rightful submission one would enjoy the fruits of the earth-meaning all one’s rightful desires.
This meekness is not the crafty act of a Uriah Heep in Dickens’s David Copperfield to be ‘umble with head bent cheekily, to get what he wants sneakily: it is to be meek and submissive like Moses, and through that meek submissiveness to be commissioned to be bold to lead the Israelite s  to the Promised Land!
He called those who hunger and thirst for righteousness-Blessed. This is to search and do what is right and not to give into a wrongful act for an immediate gain-in short not to be lured by a bribe for easy riches and power-but painfully pursue what is Right
He says-Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Mercy is kindness or forgiveness shown when punishment is possible or justified.
Mercy is not throwing a coin when passing a beggar-but to stop and, if needed, tend to his wounds-to assist a man bleeding and struggling for breath after being knocked down by a vehicle-to invite to the table those poor and hungry groveling under the table to eat the fallen crumbs: it is to be moved in heart and just not vainly exhibit wealth and position.
True mercy is a movement of heart and not just hands and feet: to only exhibit a kind act without a kind heart is hypocrisy. To such genuine and sincere mercy the Creator’s mercy will flow.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. His followers know that all mankind is made in the Image and Likeness of God. If in your heart you are in conformity with his will at every choice you have to make, then you will be blessed-the true meaning of the prayer-Thy Will be Done.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God-this echoes the song-Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. With constant communion with Spirit we get into the realm of peace and serenity that dissolves stress and strain-for he said-be like children to experience heavenly bliss-not be bloated up with omnipotence-to think you are all powerful and omniscience-to think you are all knowing
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Persecution for most people is the sacrifice of life for the sake of truth-and it is so. Could it not also be that in our daily choices we persecute ourselves by using our free will to do the right instead of wrong? It may be to refuse ill-gotten money and persecute our inclination to do otherwise!
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. It may be in society you stand up and speak the truth when most others contradict and vilify you and say you are a deranged fanatic-bare it up and you will see unexpected blessings flow into your life!
He goes on with the following admonishments;
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savor, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; nor does it give light unto all that are in the house.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
It is very evident that all the above Pearls of Wisdom that had been buried in the rubble of confusion, is now unearthed by modern and eloquent writers to help the modernists as a panacea  for global illnesses, such as-depression-anxiety-stress and other mental agonies!
Oscar E V Fernando

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Tale of Two Worlds By Oscar Fernando

Oscar Fernando

Sri Lanka is a country caught up between its own two worlds-in constant turmoil but so beautiful to the beholder!

This writer attempts to opine some views on the events that caused a wall separating the two worlds-an opinion being only a view held as probable and probabilities do not warrant fisticuffs, battles nor bloodshed.

This tale is intended especially to politicians of all hues-past present and future-at a time where it appears, our right thinking professional youth are throbbing to play a vital-governing role-to bring back the country to where it was: the tale is of the past and post invasion periods, specifically the post-independence period.

We were a noteworthy country long before the invasions-self-sufficient and apparently peaceful, as was the rest of the world until the boom of the industrial revolution in the west-resulting with the good and the bad.

With this boom and discovery of gun powder, the west indulged in exploring further, both machinery and territories-with a thirst to invade other countries.

With the first invasion of our country begins the tale of two worlds!

The following among many other factors highlights the weaving of the tale;

  • Foreigners, excavating the land presently for various projects, discover tremendous feats of irrigation and construction works of our ancestors about which they are in awe for its scientific and precise accuracies!
  • Records show our astounding pre-invasion administrative, foreign relations and trading skills.
  • Spiritual advancement is seen in the closeness of Buddhist Temples, Flowing Paddy, Flowing Rivers and Contemplative Mountainous Terrain.
  • With all these and with our astounding irrigation works, we exported paddy and was called the Granary of the East by foreigners.
  • People are intrigued by a picture on historical record showing a drawing of an airplane which our writers had named Dandu Monara.
  • It appears no bold studies have been made of this-accept to name the recently built indigenous satellite that was released to space-Ravana.
  • We had smoothly running systems of agriculture and administration called Rajakariya System which absorbed the main labor force.

The above are just a smattering of examples to titillate the mind and show the pre-invasion glory of our country and how it sailed along in the Indian ocean earning the epithet of ‘Pearl’ for its tiny size and perhaps its evident dynamism-on being strategically placed in the Ocean!

It may be said the country was believably peaceful with intermittent battles between royalty and neighboring India; it can also be conjectured that we were achieving gradual advancement with the rest of the world with which we had relations and through which we could have absorbed further studies and researches for improvement-unlike some other tribal colonies dotted in the world map-of which perhaps the original invaders mistakenly believed Ceylon was-at first sight!

This was the pattern in most parts of the world with similar agricultural systems and If we had our own pace of development-to pun a phrase-we would have had our own sized tumbler full of water compared to other bigger tumblers also full; from this position we too would have advanced through mutual research and learnings from these other countries-which were strikingly and incidentally way back, in civilization then, than was Ceylon during the pre-invasion era!!

The systems of economy, education and style of life of the invaders were not palatable to the indigenous peoples who jealously guarded their life styles-with Rajakariya system as opposed to the Mercantile system which was the mainstay of running the economy by the invaders!

The invaders opened up schools to cater to their societal and economic lifestyle, which apparently were loathed by some of the indigenous people. The administrative center and only some other parts of the country accepted these schools with open arms-and those who entered these schools and studied, had plum jobs awaiting them in the Mercantile sector-though there is the much accepted view that it was the policy of invaders to-divide and rule: be that as it may;

The invaders having state control in our country, prompted missionaries to come in and then open up more schools to teach the language and other necessary subjects to suit the state Governors in carrying out businesses and trade in the country: in parallel to this, the missionaries propagated their faith which some would have accepted through conviction and some others for favors received and of course, as some believe, through coercion!  

Mercantile Sector had its sway over plantations, trade, insurance, shipping and many more. The Rajakariya system gradually got dismantled to the deep dismay of the southern rural folk and the prelates who wielded power over the village up to now. This became a Big Patch of the wall that separated peoples over the years.

The attitude towards invaders by of Southerners with their land, high in proportion to the population and therefore were prosperous, was different from that of northerners with a different land/population ratio-that made them more prone to an industrious lifestyle.

Thus it was so patterned-innocently or otherwise, that the Northern Tamils, the Muslims, the Christians, Burghers and Malays that consisted Minor Blocks in the country, held forth in the Mercantile Sector, having the knowledge and life style of the invaders: there would certainly have been resentment that these minor blocks did not go along with the major but thus sailed along enjoying plums on offer.

This Festering Wound burst forth and opened floodgates with granting of independence-for which all communities, both majority and minorities clamored and struggled for!

There were the good, the bad and the ugly during this invasion era.

With independence the scene took on a new change. The Sinhalese majority took over the country’s rule after years of subjugation.

From this point there was turmoil in the country for over three score and ten years due mainly to resentment-revenge-retorts that we of the older generation have seen and the aspiring youth should ponder about.

With an eagerness to get back to the pre-invasion glory, the Mercantile system was dismantled overnight and replaced by Statutory Boards and Corporations to do business displacing those in employment and some of these employees left our shores disgruntled: justification of this can only be conjectured

However, the economy of the country a cynosure of the world at independence is now in deep debt to the world-mainly because these new entities were neither profit motivated nor militaristic for generation of production accept for monopolies that were taken over and which had to be compulsorily profitable.

There was also the switch over of the official language from English to Sinhala only in 24 hours. The project though seemingly justified should have been done over a period of time. Here again instead of learning more languages it was confined to Sinhala only that left non Sinhalese disgruntled-thus contributing to building the wall.

It may be observed that India in similar circumstances sent away the Englishmen but retained English which now is beneficial for the IT world and we in turn are clamoring to learn it for the same reason!

The wall was also concretized by elements such as class-caste-language and ethnicity.

Material that went into building the wall were-animosity-retaliation-revenge-lethargy-jealousy and the likes.

This wall is not of brick and mortar-but an emotional wall that can only be demolished by the heart and not by only the head-then and then only will we go back to the era of the Granary of the East Nay even be the hub in the Indian Ocean for the whole world.

It is a matter to be pondered by those youth aspiring to rule, whether with all grievances, Gandhi or Mandela retaliated and avenged themselves with bloodbaths to get back what was lost: where is India and South Africa, by way of development, compared to us today?

Oscar E V Fernando

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

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A Plea for Good Governance! – By Oscar E V Fernando

Governance has to be guided by an accepted set of rules to be followed by both public and corporate bodies in making decisions and implementing them: it covers a wide range of conduct in public affairs to manage public resources and guarantee the rights of all individuals who are affected by such decisions in a fair and incorrupt manner within norms of natural justice. We have in Sri Lanka a Constitution that has been subjected to several amendments-this is deemed undesirable.
 
The Constitution can be ‘etched’ on a Cold Tablet of Stone-or it can also have a touch of warmth-to turn it to-Good Governance
 
Governance in any society with divergent views can never be a perfect ideal, acceptable to all-hence the concept of Human Rights (HR) to protect individual rights deemed violated by governance-in its various actions.
 
Those governing must endeavor to come near to perfection as far as is practically possible within parameters of an existing society and by recognition of a Moral Code-yes that very vexed and disputed Moral Code-attacked on many fronts and needing a separate and broader discussion by Constitution framers and moral representatives-a matter to be given due priority in view of obvious chaotic conditions in this country as well as globally!   
 
The foremost norm to be adhered to in Good Governance is the concept of Human Rights (HR). Some of its ramifications are highlighted hereunder;
 
  • Human Rights (H R) surveillance agencies both local and international spot violations-though their reports often come to much criticism due to prevailing divergent ideological views that clash-thus contributing to turmoil in a country. This has to be vigilantly watched by civil society groups with the welfare of the broader society in mind.
  • The drama enacted by Sri Lanka’s various groups at the UNHRC in Geneva bears witness to this!
  • HR violations since independence, that have marred good governance in our country are a dime a dozen-commencing with alleged violation of the right of one individual who was denied candidature of premiership, in the fifties-thus opening floodgates for a flow of HR violations.
  • From fifties all governments have been smeared with accusations of communal HR violations marring the image of Good Governance they intended, but was actually thwarted by extremists of various sorts.
  • Some affected communities who were denied rights due to bad governance have borne it valiantly and others have left the shores-disgruntled-but wowing to return with dignity!
  • It is not all who bore violations mildly, as they resented such governance with a vengeance-leading to bloody and drastic results.
  • The result of this dissent by minorities affected by violations was-that no government could bear the epithet of Good Governance-due to violations prompted by extremist groups.
  • All such governments have contributed to warfare-not welfare-inside the country, and also have made the country debt ridden-a subject vociferously discussed and very evident today-with ominous results!
  • It is worth pondering as to how long extremism can hold a forward march of a country at Bay!
 
Looking at the plight of the country, we can see that it is not only communal HR violence that had hit our society but such others as economic, educational, foreign relations, agricultural policies that were changed with each change of government to suit the views and hues of each political party-thus sliding the country down the greasy pole!    
 
Due to non-availability of a farfetched National Policy, managed by a permanent and competent bureaucracy and due to meddlesome politics, nepotism and corruption have taken over the country beyond easy reversibility.
 
Among other steps to be taken for Good Governance, this writer is of the view that the following should be urgently and sincerely addressed by civil society groups and society in general; voters too should urge prospective political candidates to pursue and have the following in their manifesto;
 
  • A National Policy-embedded in the Constitution covering all aspects of our society and nation, to be adhered to by all incoming governing bodies irrespective of political hues.
  • A deep insight into minority HR violations in a broader international perspective-with no historical prejudice or bias-a serious matter that had marred good governance over the past three score and ten years-dragging the country into this present plight-overlooked by those sitting pretty. Whilst in this state of complacency it is worth pondering;
  • That the shadow of a majority falling on minorities is inevitable and also is a matter to be accepted by minorities graciously-but if rights of minorities are denied for whatever cause, the simmering shadow of a revolt, due to their gathering animosity, will fall on such a majority-thus stifling the forward march of the country-as continuously exemplified since the fifties and highlighted even today nationally and/or internationally.
  • Other concepts that contribute to Good Governance are-COPE and Public Accounts Committees now revamped for timely sittings unlike in earlier years where these committees sit a long way after accounts are published and presented to the Auditor general-leaving sufficient time for culprits to make a quick getaway from the shores by the time committee sittings commence: these committees and the Auditor general are also now-given teeth for threatening punishment! 
  • Another development for Good Governance is the availability of the Constitutional Council to appoint all heads of public institutions avoiding appointments by politicians-as far as it goes!!
  • Good Government can also be hampered by a partial media with own agendas-which would therefore need instant counter propaganda.
  • An important aspect of Good Governance is the refined separation of-legislature the parliament-executive the bureaucracy and an Independent Judiciary, which is deemed the Rock Stone of Democracy.

     

     

    This plea is made to politicians of all hues by the writer, an Octogenarian plus, and Former-Chief Internal Auditor Plywood Corporation-Director Finance Sri Lanka Foundation/Human Rights Commission/-Board Member SLF and Member Human Rights Task Force.  

Oscar E V Fernando




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Hatred Or Forgiveness can lead to War Or Peace – By Oscar E V Fernando

The recent carnage in our country can be called a test tube case of hatred and forgiveness-hatred by some and a feat of forgiveness by the victimized, both dead and alive-dead from on high and from the live-forgiveness due to the Faith of their forefathers coming down from the crucified Christ pleading with His Father to Forgive those who nailed Him to the Cross

 For those mentally distressed, physically disabled and loved ones of victims affected by the bloody massacre; and also for the villains of the peace who carried out the carnage, this writer pens a few words to ponder about!

 Hatred-an intense dislike, enmity and ill will towards another: Forgiveness-a decision to stop being angry or to pardon a purported wrong doer-an act easier said than done.

 Psychologists say-a person could lead a happier life with forgiveness and service-especially given to those that need one’s forgiveness: one must also work through hatred and resentment to get to a wider plain of understanding and forgiveness.

In spite of the difficulty to let go of anger or hatred toward those who have hurt us, or we feel have wronged us, one way or the other, the act of forgiveness preached by the Greats is now being increasingly prescribed by psychologists to those suffering from the effects of injustice.

Forgiveness is being increasingly discovered as an alternative therapy to medication for those in mental distress due to resentment and hatred: after treatment with exercises of forgiveness, it has been found that the person treated is able to make a moral response of goodness towards an offender
Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it will singe you says Shakespeare: a police bulletin in the US says—if selfish people try to take advantage of you, cross them off your list, but don’t try to get even. When you try to get even, you hurt yourself more than you hurt the purported wrong doer-and that from a hard core Police Bulletin. 

Hatred could arise in the hearts of victims-as in our case at hand:  hatred also causes villainess acts by others-such as terrorists.

It is easy to renounce hatred if one recognizes the inherent good in all human beings-including the purported wrongdoer. At times it appears that some, purposely retain hatred to make one feel alive-powerful and identifiable in comparison to the one he hates

Hatred so nurtured can develop into societal hatred and eventually effect a society and then a nation-this is now evident in Global Terror!

Modernist thought today has spread fast with denial of a Creator-Universal Truth and Natural Justice; this has made it difficult for today’s youth to know themselves with its shared implications with society-says some psychologists.

This has resulted in a fragile empty sense of self among youth-turning to ugly self-indulgence and vulgar consumerism. Youth are lost making it difficult for them to establish a firm sense of Whiter they come and Whence they go. Hatred of themselves and society is the final outburst.

How can this be overcome?

Psychologists say-an understanding of oneself and the meaning to life can be attained to a great extent by relating to one’s neighbor with a sense of service love and forgiveness; it then fills the void created by removal of anger and hatred harbored so far—by replacing it with a quality of self-worth, namely altruism; that is living a life of service to others. Does it not echo the admonition given by Jesus Christ-to Love thy Neighbor as Thyself?

What does it entail?
Altruistic behavior has been associated with psychological health and wellbeing implying-enhanced social integration-distraction from one’s own problems-increased perception of self-efficacy and competence-enhanced meaningfulness. 

Nations go to war very often through anger and hatred with lack of empathy and altruism that is lacking in the mass of individuals that make up the nation-or part of its community.

Take the US Nine Eleven Terror Attack when the then US leader said-let’s play ball and vowed to bring perpetrators to book’

Have they-even now?And all this to arrest Terrorists with Might!

Can we all not cry to High Heavens for the world leaders to cease hatred for it will never cease with hatred-admonished by Lord Buddha and similarly admonished by another Great-Nelson Mandela?

Forgiveness by no means is a mere an act of passivity but a deep penetration with positivity to bring about justice in a surrendered position!

It is not too late.
Thoughts in this piece are more emphatic in the poem composed by the writer in the aftermath of nine eleven in the US-appended.

Cheek to Cheek
Pa said the son; they talk and talk of peace, just what is this peace?
This illusive peace to war is like chalk is to cheese.
Conflict resolutions they say, but are we all not lost in it.
How come said the son when all human beings yearn for this?

Yes said pa, but we have separate minds and separate wills;
Unlike robots we can create and do what we will.
Then what should we do said the son, to have the peace, we all seek;
Use your will to do what is right; good conscience, do keep. 

Will not shooting and killing be the easier way out said the son.
Where did you learn this asked the surprised father from the son?
This is what we see on television day in and day out;
The bullet and the gun are the only way those in power can shout.

My advice to turn the other cheek as told by Christ—did you follow asked the curious father.
John slapped me and with no show of temper, I turned the other cheek: he rather;
Was surprised and his fury vanished before mine own eyes.
That would be the best way for eventual justice said the father, unable to control tears from his own eyes
They told me father; without greed and craze for power the world will be still.
Yes, that is what rulers of old taught to retain their power and do their will.
What should we do now, if that is what comes down to us from them?
Why let those blind keep us blind; open your eyes, scales will fall off then. 

But some say it is cowardly meekness that the world will not condone.
You did try and found what boldness and courage are needed for this alone.
The highest power on earth should try this—even now, with good design;
Though with short victory—vicious cycle’s bound to follow tragedy Eleven Ni

‘Hatred will not cease with hatred’ Lord Buddha.-( Poem First published in 2003)

Oscar E V Fernando

 

 

 




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The Ethnic Issue in Sri Lanka and Fear of Power Devolution – By Oscar E V Fernando

SriLanka

Communities in this country consisting of Singhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers that stood together for the cause of independence in the thirties, became estranged and some of the disgruntled, left out shores.

What put them apart?

History, that is often opinionated with probable views, was the probable cause for parting of ways-and history will not bring rice to the table!

Some say this, pointing out to reams of papers-and some say that, by pointing out another set of papers. We may argue and debate this history till the cows come home-but if both sides stick to their guns, it will only end in fisticuffs-or more likely gun battles-for hate will not cease with hatred-only love and forgiveness will conquer!

Bowing to the majority views, some left the shores peacefully for greener pastures and some have remained to fight another day-and so they fought: they are sure to fight till end times-for hope springs eternal in the human breast!

It can be said that the shadow of a majority inevitably falls on any minority of a country; that is an unstoppable and, unavoidable occurrence.

But jeopardizing the rights of a minority will only increase the animosity of a minority or a set minorities, and the shadow of this animosity will fall upon the majority in more ways than one-as we see now happening-from inside the country and out!

It is possible that a boat load of people, settled in foreign soil, may face onslaughts on their rights-for a limited time. But eventually with increase of the progeny, they get used to birth rights on this soil. It can be conjectured that in this island two sets of peoples began to grow in large numbers on two sides of the divide. One side grew into a majority and the other became a minority.

With reams of disputes both communities claim this island as their motherland-leaving the indigenous Veddhas in apparent slumber!

There were amply coded papers of power devolution pacts, agreed upon by parliament over the years-but we know these papers were torn to pieces in public, due to the influence of extremists, that swayed political voters!

Can the worth of a human being be reduced to a piece of paper? Isn’t their human dignity a point to be considered? Bur however;

It significant to note that there was a call for devolution of power named Tamil Arasakatchu in the good old friendly State Council of the thirties: this call was certainly not due to the grievances subsequent to Euphoria Fifties nor was it due to abrogated power devolution pacts of the fifties sixties and seventies!!

Why then, this call for an Arasakatchu  in the thirties?  Was it not the proximity of Tamil Nadu to our northern shores that spurred such a call?

Was it not a clear prospect for a future demand for a wider Tamil Eelam by the then latent Tamil extremists!?

Is it not this very same proximity that is at the bottom of the southern psyche to fear Power Devolution? A genuine fear that the south will become a Regional Minority!

Without proper discussion of these fears and taking suitable steps to eliminate such fears objectively, aren’t we not just SHADOW BOXING over pieces of paper?  

Yes: there was intense crisscrossing on this patch of sea between our north and TN, during LTTE gunrunning and, in a lighter vei, even before that–with the northerners taking a boat ride of an evening to see a film in TN and returning for a good night’s sleep! However-

We see that countries geographically smaller than ours like, Belgium and Switzerland having Power Devolution: what prevents us from this exercise, other that the fear of being a Regional Minority?

Much waters have flown under the bridge subsequent to such sordid operations down this stretch of the Red Sea, while some southerners were blissfully unaware!

Now the Navy is guarding the island’s border right round. There should be more vigilance over the Red Sea border-adding the Army and Air Force too-and perhaps also get the assistance of New Delhi as in the Indian Peace Force exercise of yore-until the ‘umbilical cord’ over the Red Sea is finally cut; or will it need eternal vigilance for a wider scope for peace?

With this behind us, is it not time to forget the pre-global era Elara battle and also the grievances over the years, to consider cautious power sharing-in a UNITARY STATE-where power once devolved can be revoked by the Central Government, as per this writer’s understanding: it is also conjectured that flimsy revocations may not be feasible under the present global vigilance!

With both political forces in the country now in a common objective, this may be the last chance to open our eyes!

None so blind as those who stubbornly refuse to see-but keep on clasping Ethnic Prejudice-a dangerous game to play in this Global Era!

When will both sides ever learn to shed pride-for;

Nelson Mandela Styled Love and Forgiveness!?

Oscar E V Fernando



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SRI LANKA-OUR OWN- OUR NATIVE LAND? – By Oscar E V Fernando
Sri Lanka Flag

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead,
  Who never to himself hath said,
 This is my own, my native land”
The above lines of Sir Walter Scott may titillate the hearts of some Sri Lankans, especially the so called minorities, who are within and without our shores!

“Minorities” of different communities, with ‘souls so dead’ left our shores not many years ago and some of them still continue to leave or hope to leave-if things continue the way it does in this country: they leave disgruntled!

Of the so called minorities, this writer will pen a few words on the Sinhala Catholics of this country who are dubbed a minority. The other Catholics and ethnic minorities will have their own piece to say.

A religion, that originated in the East and found its way to Europe, was introduced to this country by the Europeans. It followed then that the molding and education of students in Catholic schools were more bent in the European style and form-speaking English language as a compulsion and singing the British anthem before any school activity.

Generations of urban Catholics brought up their progeny to suite the Western Style-some even deploring our own native birth and land: by continuing this lifestyle, these Catholics, to some extent, earned the epithet of being called a minority!

Catholics should pause to think that in addition to their being heirs to a rich religious heritage, coming down from the Old Testament Bible-as old as the Hills, or perhaps older, they are also heirs to the rich culture and civilization of their native land, as the forefathers of these Catholics were Sinhala Buddhists!

The fact that a certain section of people at that time embraced a different religion does not follow that overnight they become a minority-in which case those among this majority who have become followers of venerated Sai Baba or even worship Hindu Gods should be dubbed a minority!

Apart from the fact that Catholics themselves earned this epithet of minority, history would show other political reasons for this;
We know that Lourenco de Almeida landed in Ceylon in 1505 and this was followed by Portugal’s invasion of the country. The writer will leave history at that point-but go on to its repercussions. The then citizens of this country obviously resented this invasion. We must not forget that among those that resented would have been forefathers of the present day Catholics, who later embraced the faith through conviction or for favors: this resentment has survived to the present day!

The present progeny of those that converted to Catholicism are therefore termed a minority, with a veneer of politics in it!
During this period of history, the then foreign governments favored English speaking citizens for jobs. This perhaps made more people become Catholics-to win favors of the Powers that Be, or through conviction and Faith.

There was simmering resentment by the major community firstly for the invasion and secondly because those peoples speaking English were among the favored lot at that time. This resentment broke loose after Independence and it was vented on all such minorities-with the Mercantile Sector being nationalized and those who manned these being displaced by Corporation/Statutory Board employees. Corruption and Nepotism soon bred in these establishments and these entities have become White Elephants today-not because of the inefficiency of the then new recruits, but because these government bodies lacked strict profit motivation of the mercantile sector-nor did they have the military coercion of a communist regime!

Thus a thriving economy that was the cynosure of the world, gradually over the years arrived into the present indebtedness to the world!
The nation may now have a second look at its economy: it is also this writer’s opinion that Catholics whilst fully retaining their deep faith and rich religious heritage, must also appreciate more closely their rich native heritage for which they too are heirs-as their forefathers, no doubt were Sinhala Buddhists-which is well evidenced by the Sinhala name they still carry from days of yore, on their registered birth certificate: the writer can only conjecture that the Portuguese nom deplume-also on the birth certificate- was given to the Catholics on embracing the Faith, and leave it at that, as history is an opinionated and a dicey subject-that can be viciously interpreted by the biased !

Though Catholicism with a European flavor entered the country it was later given an Oriental flavor by Fr Gonsalves from Goa who in association with Buddhist Prelates of the Malwatta Chapter in Kandy, learnt the oriental language and culture and influenced the practice of Catholic rituals in many non-urban areas of the country.  Those interested may read more on the internet.

It is also apt to realize that Catholics of this country, who are Asian in origin are well suited to Christianity even more than Europeans who were and are influenced by materialism of the west-consequent upon the industrial revolution!

At a time when a Grand Reconciliation of the major and minor communities is attempted, Catholics must cooperate and also walk the extra mile to appreciate more the culture/civilization of the native land-to which they are heirs.

Thought must be given to those who left the shores with deadened souls, and experiencing travails abroad, and work for their return to this Serendipity-when things get better: feelings of most of those minorities abroad are best described by the remaining lines of Sir Walter Scott;
“High though his titles, proud his name,
Boundless his wealth as wish can claim-
Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
The wretch, concentered all in self,
Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
And, doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, un honored, and unsung”
As long as disgruntled souls of the so called minorities, within and without, roam the globe-wielding world opinion, it would appear that this country will remain stagnant as it has done from the Fifties; this can only change with unity among all Communities both Major and Minor and not just by indulging in the triumphalism of the major!

Oscar E V Fernando
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Quotes from around the World – Compiled and sent by Oscar E V Fernando

Quotes_elanka_motivational_quotes

 

I can imagine no more comfortable frame of mind for the conduct of life than a humorous resignation.

W. Somerset Maugham

 

 “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.” 

Zig Ziglar

 

We do not need more intellectual power, we need more spiritual power. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen. 
Calvin Coolidge

 

Self-love is not selfish; you cannot truly love another until you know how to love yourself.
Quote from Lifehac
It says; Love thy neighbor As Thyself

 

Being a father has been, without a doubt, my greatest source of achievement, pride and inspiration. Fatherhood has taught me about unconditional love, reinforced the importance of giving back and taught me how to be a better person. 
Naveen Jain

 

One doesn’t recognize the really important moments in one’s life until it’s too late.
 Agatha Christie

 

For what it’s worth: It’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over. 

F. Scott Fitzgerald

 

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”
William Faulkner

 

It’s faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living. 
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

 

It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. Mark Twain

 

When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age. 
Victor Hugo

 

Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get. 

Dale Carnegie

 

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Nature is the one song of praise that never stops singing. 
Richard Rohr

 

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. 
John Lubbock
“A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”
CS LEWIS

 

If we will be quiet and ready enough, we shall find compensation in every disappointment.
Henry David Thoreau

 

Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness, of hatred, of jealousy, and, most easily of all, the gate of fear. Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

 

Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again. 
Og Mandino

 

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. 
Mark Twain

 

Genius is the ability to put into effect what is on your mind. 
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never break me.
Children’s Ry me 

 

Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.
Ernest Hemingway

 

“Follow your heart but take your brain with you.”
Alfred Adler

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
Anthony J. D’Angelo
.
The one who cannot restrain their anger will wish undone, what their temper and irritation prompted them to do.
Horac

How is it they live in such harmony the billions of stars – when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds about someone they know. Thomas Aquinas

The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.Albert Einstein

  “Never let the things you want make you forget the things you have.Anonymous

And, indeed, though they differ concerning other things, yet all agree in this: that they think there is one Supreme Being that made and governs the world, whom they call, in the language of their country, Mithras.Thomas More

 

If you take everything personally and to heart, it will tear you apart. Take criticism, learn, adjust, and move on.Johnny Iuzzini

 

The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.Samuel Johnson

 

Good advice is always certain to be ignored, but that’s no reason not to give it.Agatha Christie

To bear with patience wrongs done to oneself is a mark of perfection, but to bear with patience wrongs done to someone else is a mark of imperfection and even of actual sin.Thomas Aquinas

There is a difference between happiness and wisdom: he that thinks himself the happiest man is really so; but he that thinks himself the wisest is generally the greatest fool.Francis Bacon

There must be must be a first mover existing above all – and this we call God.Thomas Aquinas

 

When things begin accelerating wildly out of control, sometimes patience is the only answer. Press pause.Douglas Rushkoff.

 

One who gains strength by overcoming obstacles possesses the only strength which can overcome adversity. Albert Schweitze

Together with a culture of work, there must be a culture of leisure as gratification. To put it another way: people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play a sport.Pope Francis

O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive!Walter Scott

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.Ernest Hemingway

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.C. S. Lewis

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.” Dale Carnegie

I believe forgiveness is the best form of love in any relationship. It takes a strong person to say they’re sorry and an even stronger person to forgive. Yolanda Hadid

Simplicity in character, in manners, in style; in all things the supreme excellence is simplicity. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

God always has patiencePope Francis

Life is a long lesson in humility. James M. Barrie

I’m just going to say it: I’m pro-guilt. Guilt is good. Guilt helps us stay on track because it’s about our behavior. It occurs when we compare something we’ve done – or failed to do – with our personal values. Brene Brown

Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar. William Wordsworth




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Unconditional Love – By Oscar E V Fernando

Love it is that flows from gentle nature.

Love it was that made us in God’s own Stature.

Love was God’s plan when he made man-

With will so free-to use discreetly- and live His Designed Plan

 

Mankind ruptured this Divine Love-abusing free will they sinned in greed-

When lured by the tempter-Like God you will be if you eat this seed.

Mankind created by Him to enjoy Paradise designed by Him-

Forfeited chance to earn eternal reward of heaven by disobedience and sin.

 

Revealing that true love is pure and unconditional-

Sent His Son to deliver mankind-from damnation of His Divine Wrath Eternal.

We now can hope for Everlasting Glory of Paradise Lost-

With foretaste of it on earth through forgiveness taught on the cross in the Divine Blast.

 

Unconditional love portrayed in Prodigal Son, who despised family warmth and love.

Father yearning to see his return-ran, clasped, hugged the son with unconditional love.

World today needs love unconditionally for peace and war to avoid.

Hatred does not cease with hatred: Love your enemies said they to fill the void.

 

Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Mandela to name a few in history-

Taught that same unconditional love as a lesson for posterity.

Embrace the murderer in prison with Love Unconditional-

Love, buried within through cruelty, will blossom forth overflowing and Unconditional.

Oscar E V Fernando.

May 2018

 

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Poems by Oscar  E V Fernando

Meditation

Be still and know that I AM God, said He.
Seek me first for you and I are Eternity.
Seek within-you will find me in stillness.
Then you know you are well within wholeness.
You will not clasp Him-till death you depart.
But nearer the clasp, you feel well in your heart
You saw Him-and came from Him, to your mother’s womb
You will search for Him till you rest in your tomb.
That’s what the sculptor, painter, artist the singer does.
Searching the Perfect with talents they possess.
Search till you are no more-for then, Him you will see.
Yes, all will see Him-the good the bad and the ugly.
Choose at all times the right thing in life to do.
For only then, after life, you see Glory through and through.
If the wrong thing is willed and done in this life,
Being damned, you see no more of Beauty even in strife.
Seeing Him for ever in death is what is called heaven
For ‘tis the design when you first came down from heaven.
Not seeing Perfect Beauty forever-is that you are damned.
Hell the reward as with sin, this life you have shammed.
In meditation and seeking deep within,
His spark you will see-the Kingdom of God therein.
More you seek the spark the closer to divine you become.
Till you are a wonder to the world around.
Meditation! ‘tis no selfish exercise!
For that spark of the Divine will make you clever and wise.
What and where is this wisdom thy lament?
Seek God within-call Him what you will-to wisdom you relent.
Divine Intelligence within makes you love neighbor as self.
For wisdom speaks loud to go to your neighbors help.
Wisdom will dawn to him that dwells within.
In meditation you will hear Wisdom’s voice ringing.
In wisdom you know the reality of self.
Why you are on earth you will know in stealth.
For one purpose alone you are here on earth behold,
And that is to know to love and to serve God we are told.
Serving God is to serve your neighbor.
The void of life is filled when you do your neighbor’s labor.
Love your neighbor as thyself-said He.
Wisdom prompts to love self and then feel free.
Meditate to get closer to God and be still.
For then you will know that which He wills.
That you do in concert with your will.
Do this-Lo and behold your needs will be filled.

Oscar E V Fernando

 

 

Talent

Talent! The special skill, aptitude or ability,
That can touch the conscience: may end in eventual vanity.
Vanity caused human race to fall from paradise.
Vanity it is that dulls man’s talent in so sudden a surprise.

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