Continual student agitations cripple the state higher education sector
People in this country are unrelentingly exposed every day to a ceaseless media spectacle on alleged mega frauds involving well known personalities running in to millions of US Dollars. Those often hog headlines relate to gigantic scams on abuse of public funds. Sri Lanka has lived on borrowed money for years. Astronomical scale of borrowings resorted to by successive regimes have led to a draconian debt-trap, a proverbial Sword of Damocles being held on the common masses. US$ is going up rapidly as stock market is dropping. It presages that things are not alright as claimed.
Colossal public accusations made against leading figures manifest the gravity of political chicanery, mismanagement and screw ups persisted for long. Seemingly they involve reprehensible abuse and squander of public funds on sinister self-serving schemes at the expense of pressing public needs for which such funds are earmarked. Whilst misuse and extravagance of public money lead to severe economic woes on poor, distress and agony further exacerbate when such funds mostly represent borrowings carrying exorbitant rates of interest. This causes economic woes to further compound by greater margins.
People thus end up having to cough up more out of meager incomes to pay multitude of taxes and levies to finance mounting debt burdens occasioned by financial sins committed by political masters, who not so long ago had been entrusted with the sacred duty of prudently managing public purse conforming to best practices of financial discipline and accountability. It is a cruel irony that poorest of the poor unable to make ends meet are made to pay taxes through the nose to make up for the fiscal adversities caused by acts of skulduggery on the part of those ascended to power through gullible poor man’s vote. Whilst poor man is made to pay taxes those accused of swindling are able to indulge in a host of state funded tax free benefits and luxuries ultimately paid by the poorest of poor.
This phenomenon is alleged to have persisted in varying degree under different degrees. However fact remains despite the gravity of the scale of the alleged abuses and violations, precious little has in fact been done to bring real culprits to book. It points to painful delays and glitches inherent in the Sri Lankan legal system susceptible to exploitation by corrupt elements wielding financial and political clout. Moreover such delays could also be attributable to possible unpardonable offences of complicity and betrayal of public trust on the part of those ruling the roost. Anti corruption action targeting big fish except few exceptions has largely been confined to empty rhetoric burst out to steal limelight and hoodwink the electorate majority of whom still remains naive uninformed and easily gullible.
Big or small many politicians stand accused in common man’s court having failed to uphold high standard of morals and financial integrity expected of public roles for which they have been ensconced in seats of power. The body politic has become a stinking quagmire with fingers pointed by rivals groups at one another in accusations and counter-accusations. Whilst some are accused of colossal wheeler dealing and crafty machinations, others are also accused of protecting traffickers and offenders.
"A general decline in the standard of discipline across the society with noble human traits like morality, empathy, camaraderie that have kept people closely knit for centuries seem to be fading away"
There is media frenzy of an unprecedented scale. It is seemingly driven inter alia by crass commercialism and populism with political undertones. Hyped up star craze is engulfing people from very young to old and not even toddlers are spared. Tender age ones are made to perform gyrating acts of dancing to the tunes of ghetto blasters in spectacular display of jitterbugs and jigs mostly emulating Indian tinsel world dance sequences. Night time prime slots are hogged by mega tele serials depicting soap operas followed by “near bed time” political talk shows of clashing personalities washing dirty linen in limelight spewing acrimony hostility and repugnant venom.
TV news bulletins are quite often replete with vivid portrayal of heinous acts of criminality involving murder, rape, shooting, looting, commotions, theft etc which sometimes are supported by graphic CCTV footage. There is hardly any news that does not report fatal road accidents causing destruction and claiming innocent lives, a menace fast becoming one of the dominant causes of mortality in Sri Lanka. Newspapers devote mammoth space to delve on the agendas of leading personalities vying to grab power. There is extensive reporting on various acts of mala fide committed by many in and an out of the body politic aspiring to reach pinnacle of political office, that goes counter to the principles of good governance and rule of law. There are allegations and counter allegations and finger-pointing smacking of wheeling and dealing. Obviously there is much more than what meets the common man’s eyes, as he is mostly kept in the dark on closed door machinations.
How much of space time and effort are devoted by media on matters of substance that enrich the lives of people is no-brainer. Have institutions of media become selectively partisan in approach, or if media are serving with discrimination as mouthpieces of a coterie of powerful shelving core responsibility to be the voice of the voiceless is a question raise.
"People have to cough up more out of meager incomes to pay multitude of taxes and levies to finance mounting debt burdens occasioned by financial sins committed by political masters"
There is general decline in the standard of discipline across the society with noble human traits like morality, empathy, camaraderie that have kept people closely knit for centuries seem to be fading away, whilst lack of tolerance, empathy and fellow feeling are witnessing an unprecedented rise. There is a marked propensity towards brutalization of human conduct as witnessed in everyday occurrences involving harmful acts. Any unintentional misstep, slip, or oversight due to whatever reason seldom passes without evoking disproportionately harsher rebuke irrespective of what causes it.
For example, behaviour of motorists particularly three-wheeler drivers is a case in point. There is absolute no discipline on the part of motorists particularly omnibus and three-wheeler drivers. This is only the tip of the iceberg. This country is seeing growing political turmoil and break-down and issues in multitude of sectors from educations, law enforcement and energy to health.
There is agitation all over and everyone is demanding his/her pound of flesh. Everyone from public sector employees, professionals like Doctors, University Lecturers, and School Teachers to young undergraduates is agitating. They often end up in clashes and violent demonstrations disrupting the day to day lives and resulting in severe economic losses. The phenomenon of escalating non-tolerance is noticeable in a whole gamut of sectors and spheres.
There is fishing in troubled waters by opportunists in the garbs of body politic to derive mileage wherever possible. They spew venom as they please for their own benefits. The ultimate goal being grabbing power at any cost that paves the way to achieve other selfish ends in an endless cycle of events.