Dare to be different

Ajith P. Perera, Chief Organiser, Bandaragama, UNP – අධිනීතිඥ අජිත් පී. පෙරේරා, ප්‍රධාන සංවිධායක, බණ්ඩාරගම, එක්සත් ජාතික පක්ෂය

Congratulations Eran Wickramaratne and Dr. Harsha De Silva

Posted by Ajith on April 21, 2010

It does not come as a surprise but the news of the appointment of Eran Wickremaratne and Dr. Harsha De Silva to parliament as national list MPs still makes me happy. Professionals becoming law makers is good for the country. It shows the UNP takes governance seriously than the government that appoints Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharans, as if it seriously lacks individuals with real caliber.

I wish the very best for Eran and Harsha. I am happy to be a companion in the political journey you have begun today.

Brief bios for those few who have not yet heard about them.

Eran Wickramaratne
Dr. Harsha De Silva

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පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට තේරී පත්වූ පළමු සිංහල බ්ලොග් රචකයා සිය කෘතඥතාවය පළකරයි

Posted by Ajith on April 11, 2010

මේ සටහන කෙටිය. මම නව දේශපාලන ගමනක් අරඹන්නට සූදානම්ව සිටිමි. මා වෙනුවෙන් ඡන්දය ප්‍රකාශ කළ කළුතර දිස්ත්‍රික් සහෘදයින්ගේ බලාපොරොත්තු මගේ ප්‍රමුඛතාව වනු ඇත්තේය.

බොහෝ දේශපාලඥයෝ වෙබ් අඩවි පවත්වාගෙන යාමට කැමැත්තක් දක්වති. වසර දෙක හමාරකට පමණ පෙර ඉලෙක්ට්‍රොනික පැවැත්මක් තෝරා ගැනීමට අවශ්‍ය වූ මොහොතෙහි පැරණි මිතුරකුගේ උපදෙස් මත මම බ්ලොග් එකක් පවත්වාගෙන යන්නට අදහස් කළෙමි. ඒ වන විට දේශපාලනයට නොපිවිසි නීතිඥයකු පමණක් වූ මට වෙබ් අඩවි පවත්වාගෙන යන්නට තරම් සම්පත් නොතිබිණි. මට අවශ්‍ය වූයේ සරල ඉලෙක්ට්‍රොනික ද්වාරයකි. බ්ලොග් එක ඒ අවශ්‍යතාව ඉටු කළේය.

මට ඉඩ කඩ ඇති ලෙසින් ඔබ හමුවට ආයෙමි. ඔබ මා ලියූ දේ ගැන අදහස් පළ කළේය. අපි දේශපාලනය ගැන පමණක් නොව තවත් බොහෝ දේ ගැන සාකච්ඡා කළෙමු;වාද කළෙමු. ඔබ ලබා දුන් ඒ සහාය මගේ ඉදිරි ගමනට රුකුලක්ම විය. මගේ කෘතඥතාවය ඔබ සැම වෙනුවෙන් පළ කරමි.

මගේ බ්ලොග් එක සින්ඩිකේට් කර වඩා විශාල පිරිසකට විවෘත කිරීම වෙනුවෙන් Kottu.org ට හා සිංහල බ්ලොග් කියවනයටද කෘතඥතාවය පළ කරමි. සිංහල බ්ලොග්කරුවන්ගේ සංසදයේ සමහර පක්ෂග්‍රාහී ක්‍රියා නොවේ නම් මා තවදුරටත් සිංහලෙන් ලියන්නට ඉඩ තිබුණේය. තවමත් මගේ අදහස ඔවුන්ගේ අසමතුලිත දැඩි නීතිරීති වලින් සිංහල බ්ලොග් රචකයින් විශාල පිරිසක් අධෛර්‍යයට පත්වන බවයි. මේ බව ඔවුන් අවබෝධ නොකැර ගැනීම අවාසනාවකි.

අවසාන වශයෙන් මහජන ඡන්දයෙන් පාර්ලිමේන්තුවට තේරී පත්වූ පළමු සිංහල බ්ලොග් රචකයා වීම ගැන මම සතුටු වෙමි.

අජිත් පී. පෙරේරා,
පාර්ලිමේන්තු මන්ත්‍රී (තේරී පත් වූ)
කළුතර දිස්ත්‍රික්කය

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Thanks for sending a BLOGGER to the Parliament

Posted by Ajith on April 11, 2010

This is a short note and you know why. As an elected Member of Parliament, I am about start a new journey. Responsibilities bestowed upon me by the people of Kalutara district are my prime concern now.

About two and half years ago, while analyzing different electronic options, a former classmate suggested a blog. This was a novel idea. Typically politicians like web sites. I was then only a lawyer, holding no political office and thus hardly known to anyone outside my clientele. I had to make my voice heard. I didn’t have money to run a web site. So I selected doing a blog. A low tech and risky approach. All my content was with WordPress. Had they collapsed in the world economic crisis, I would have been history. Fortunately, they didn’t.

The secret of surviving on-line, I was advised, was to update, update and update. A blog has to be a hearth; always warm. Though I do not claim having done a perfect job, I was able to maintain a constant pace. I was slow during elections, perhaps when one may think it was needed most. It was a compromise. Overall, I am happy about what I did. On the last count there was over 343,000 page loads. For twenty seven months that was not small.

To all my readers: You came, you read and you commented. We have come a long way together. I am grateful for you all. I am also grateful to the syndicators Kottu.org and Sinhala Blog Reader too. A special thank for Indi, for comments/suggestions online and offline, and giving me a larger audience through Sunday Leader.

Finally, I am happy to the first Sri Lankan blogger to make to the Parliament.

Ajith P. Perera,
Member of Parliament (elected),
Kalutara District

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Why I blame Sirasa/Maharaja.

Posted by Ajith on March 24, 2010

Everyone else blames Merv the perv for the recent Dawson Street incident. I blame Sirasa/Maharaja.

Not that I approve Merv’s dirty job. We know him. I wonder whether this Rastapopoulos ever did an honorable thing in his life. Why mince words condemning him when that makes no difference? Why upset the master by complaining about his ‘above the punishment’ favorite? Let him appoint another ‘special inquiry’ and then go to hell. Should I care?

Instead I blame Sirasa/Maharaja. Not that I have scores to settle. On the contrary, I am an ardent fan of Sirasa. When the vandals smashed its ultra modern studio at Depanama, I created the FaceBook group “Sirasa we are with you, whatever happens”. I have friends at all layers at Maharaja, from top to bottom. From very top to very bottom. One former Maharaja driver now drives me home everyday. The short address book in my mobile starts with a Sirasa employee (Asoka) and ends with a Sirasa employee. (Yasarath). Period.

I blame Sirasa/Maharaja because I believe they still can and should learn. I know its long term objective is to be the best broadcaster in South Asia. An ambitious dream. Still I like to see them achieving it. Any distractions, naturally upset me.
Sirasa/MTV/Shakthi’s achievements within a short period of their existence are momentous. Kingsley redefined radio when it was almost dead. Buddhika turned a new page in political debates. Sirasa news team was always the first in delivery, and when they weren’t CID questioned why. Nilendra created the icons of Shihan Mihiranga and the rest of the super stars. Within just four days of tsunami, Sirasa even beat the government by collecting enough relief material to fill twenty trucks. I can go on, but will stop there.

The sad truth is despite all this, Sirasa faces a serious credibility issue. Sadder that it got into this mess by being independent. But let us face the reality. When the society moves with the singular objective of destroying the terrorist menace of three long decades, any slight distraction is taken with fury. Sirasa/Maharaja paid enough I guess, before realising its mistake. Not that I loved to see the only independent channel being another trumpet for the state. But these are small prices to be paid for a serious long term goal.

Sad that Sirasa/Maharaja had to lock horns with Merv too. In retrospective I see all pre planned. Merv, who could not get even 2,000 votes representing one of the biggest electorate, wanted publicity. He might have preferred good publicity, but even bad publicity is never too bad for a politician. Sirasa News team fell for the trap. It was the vehicle Merv used for creating his image. This totally unnecessary tussle did nothing good to Sirasa. In fact it did irreparable damage.

Few months before its Depanama studios were demolished I suggested Sirasa/Maharaja should try an image rebuilding exercise. I gave even a vague guideline. (Frankly, I never thought things were that bad.) I was listened to but no serious action was taken. I don’t say an image rebuilding would have prevented the attack, but at least Sirasa would have received public sympathy. It wasn’t just Sinhalese extremists complained Sirasa burned their own studio to claim insurance.

Now to Akon. I do not know who initiated, but Maharaja Management to was naïve to endorse the event. I am no pop music fan and I don’t know him from Adam. I have never heard him sing. Still I know bringing him to Sri Lanka is plain stupid. Whether we like it or not ours is a predominantly Sinhalese Buddhist, xenophobic society. It is easy to provoke this society. Merv the perv knows that. It just needs a spark to create a bushfire. I am baffled that Sirasa/Maharaja management never thought about the possibility of a backfire. Can they so easily forget the Shahrukh Khan incident?

Mr.Rajamahendran is one of the nicest men I have ever met in my life. He is a professional with several decades of business experience, but never having been part of the Sinhalese Buddhist society he may find it difficult to understand how narrowly and stupidly it sometimes behaves. Post 2003 era is so unpredictable, that things often surprises even me.

Sirasa/Management should have been educated about these pit falls. I am sure Maharaja has enough middle managers capable of doing this. Sadly I do not see that happening.

I still say Sirasa/Maharaja needs a serious image rebuilding exercise. Sirasa/Maharaja needs to win the trust of the majority Sinhalese Buddhists. That will not happen just by employing 99% Sinhalese. The majority should see Sirasa/Maharaja as a friend not foe. This does not mean they have act like extremists. Understanding what masses and offering them few of their choices is more than enough. There is no need to air eulogies six times a day. Adding few carefully planned serious cultural programs would do. They need to win the respect of the viewers to the extent the latter see the value of safeguarding the channel. Otherwise they will not make a voice even Merv brought down the building flat.

I love to see the day Sirasa becomes the best broadcaster in South Asia. Maharaja should focus on this long term business priority instead of fighting with petty politicians on petty issues.

___________________________________________________________________________
(NB: I use the term ‘Sirasa’ as it is closer to my heart, but I mean the gamut of brands Maharaja/MBC/MTV/Shakthi.)

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Who is this “notorious Deputy Minister” to attack Sirasa?

Posted by Ajith on March 22, 2010

An armed group believed to be associated with a notorious Deputy Minister attacked the MTV/MBC office at Braybrooke Place a short while ago severely damaging the place, an MBC official told Daily Mirror online.

When asked if the Minister was also present at the scene, the official said that the Minister was not to be seen at the time of the incident.

He also said that the MTV staff members were attacked by stones and the staff had retaliated by throwing the same stones at the gang afterwhich the gang fled the scene.

Police who arrived at the scene made ateleast 16 arrests.

Government and Opposition members also rushed to the scene to see the extent of damage and hold discussions with the MTV/MBC management.

Members of the Special Task Force and the police have been deployed outside the premises.

(Daily Mirror online)

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Appeal for funds – Ajith P.Perera, Chief Organiser UNP, Bandaragama, Candidate No. 1 – Kalutara District in Parliamentary Elections

Posted by Ajith on March 15, 2010

This is an open request for all those who believe in a united and prosperous Sri Lankan nation. Be you a Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim or any other I am sure you know United National Party (UNP) is the only party that can make that dream happen without prejudice to any community or individual.

I, S. Ajith Padmakantha Perera, stand for the Parliamentary Elections 2010. Now I am the organiser of the Bandaragama electorate, the most populous in Kalutara District. I became first in Kalutara District UNP list at the Western Provincial Council Elections, last year.

Professionally I am a lawyer. More information on me can be obtained from the blog I run for the last one year at http://www.bandaragama.wordpress.com. This was the only political site that communicated the news in the aftermath of Sirasa TV vandalism and the murder of Lasantha Wickramatunge in the backdrop of all mass media being indirectly silenced by the government. You may also remember my activism through the Face Book groups ‘Our tribute to Lasantha Wickramatunga’ and ‘Sirasa, whatever happens we are always with you’.

Knowing that you would always give a hand to a professional I humbly request your assistance for my campaign.

I will be grateful if you can make your contributions to the following account:

Account Holder’s name: S. A. P. Perera

Bank: Peoples’ Bank, Panadura Branch

Account Number: 148200141399190

There is no limit. Even a contribution of USD 10 matters. My intention is to have a large number contributing in small chunks rather than expect higher amount.

If you need to contact, please free to call me on my mobile number 0777-668993 (if calling from Sri Lanka) or 94-777-668993 (if from outside).

The extract from a blog post I have done sometime before will give you an overview of my political stance.

Thanking you in advance, I remain.

Yours Truly,

Ajith Padmakantha Perera,

Chief Organiser of UNP, Bandaragama

Candidate in the Parliamentary Elections,

No. 1, Kalutara District

Change UNP; Change the nation

A large section seems to think that UNP should blindly support Kurakkan uncle’s war agenda to earn its popularity. I vehemently disagree.

Firstly, why UNP, the only political party with a clear stance on the ethnic issue follow others’ formulae? UNP fervently opposes terrorism of any kind, but simultaneously believes the long term solution to ethnic issue can only be political. ‘Military solution’ is an oxymoron. War victories by the current regime will only be meaningful if supplemented with corrective measures to age old Tamil grievances. Otherwise, terrorism will soon raise its ugly head behind another acronym. Elimination of JVP in 1971 in a genocidal manner did not prevent Sinhala youth taking arms two decades later. Why should that change for Tamil youth? As long as breeding grounds exist, procreate the mosquitoes.

Secondly, the extended intentions of war agenda are dangerous and damaging to the nation in the long run. The war is not just to eliminate LTTE (if so, UNP finds no problem backing it) but also a long list that includes human rights of the Tamils in North and East; Tamil political parties first and the entire opposition later; any dissent voices including those of journalists and eventually the very foundation of democracy. All what Kurakkan uncle wants it to create Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe type dictatorship and continue the legacy of feudal rulers.

Sorry, No. Whatever the name, UNP has no intention of blindly supporting such a feudal dictatorship. We stand for democracy and not feudalism.

The policies of United National Party are crystal clear. They remain largely unchanged from the D. S. Senanayake days and will not change in the foreseeable future. Let me repeat in a nutshell and as I understand.

1. Unity and Equality: United National Party, as its name rightly suggests, is the party of united nationalistic political forces. UNP believes in equality. We do not think one’s ethnicity, race, gender, religion or any other attribute should stand in the way him/her enjoying citizens’ rights and privileges. We believe the country belongs to all Sri Lankans, and not to one ethnic or religious group.

2. Devolution of Power: UNP believes in an undivided (Eksath) Lanka; but not necessarily a system that concentrates power in Colombo. We have seen the flaws of such Colombo-centric governance and introduced Provincial Councils as a solution, which SLFP and JVP initially rejected, but now faithfully follow. We believe in devolving power, not only to Tamils in North but to Sinhalese in Hambanthota as well, instead of accumulating it in the hands of dictators. We believe empowering people not only at regional level but every stratum.

3. Economy: We believe in free markets; liberalization and globalization. We do not espouse unrealistic socialist dreams. We trust the private sector for its abilities. We do not equate suppressing the private sector to nation building. Economy has always thrived under previous UNP governments and there is no doubt it will continue to do so under a future UNP government.

4. Poverty Alleviation: Nobody understands the necessity of poverty alleviation than the UNP. We do not think poverty can be eliminated by redistributing public wealth. UNP had once spearheaded the most effective poverty alleviation program in Sri Lanka, under President Premadasa. What we look for is that. Beat poverty by creating more and more employment opportunities. Let poor stand on their own feet.

5. Employment Generation: UNP strongly believes more and more employment opportunities are the only way towards prosperity. It plans to achieve full employment by developing the private sector and not fattening the already overloaded government structure. To stimulate private sector growth UNP will also give utmost importance to infrastructure building. These may not be the highest priorities in populist agendas but we think in long term and not just the next six years.

I guess all UNP lovers should be proud that in spite of the immense pressure that we still stick to our original principles. We have no intention of changing these policies to enter the populist game.

Barack Obama could make that Change within a period of one year. What made the ‘One woman race’ to end with a first American-African in White House was his sheer determination and organization. I see the same happening in the UNP now.

We are ready to Change the nation. Join hands with us.

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Rajapaksa camp attempts election malpractices in North

Posted by Ajith on January 26, 2010

We know Rajapaksa. We are not stupid to assume him willingly giving up powers respecting the public opinion. To stay in power for the additional second is his will. So incidents of rigging, threats, blocking voters etc will happen throughout the day. We will try to pass this information on malpractices. Our international readers please note.

Two reports from Daily Mirror online:

Explosion sounds heard in Jaffna

At least 4 explosion sounds were heard in Jaffna over the past half an hour early this morning, residents in Jaffna told Daily Mirror online. Sources said they believe the sounds emanated from devices used to create a large noise but not cause any damage.

Vijitha Herath detained in Vavuniya

JVP MP Vijitha Herath was detained in Vavuniya this morning while he was on his way to Kilinochchi, the JVP media unit said. He was detained together with former Presidential candidate Channa Gamage who is supporting General Sarath Fonseka.

When contacted by Daily Mirror online Mr. Herath confirmed that he was at the Vavuniya police station.

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Appeal to Public: Help finding missing (abducted?) journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda

Posted by Ajith on January 25, 2010

Reported Daily Mirror Onilne (Jan 25):

A journalist attached to the Lanka e news website was reported missing since last night. Prageeth Eknaligoda was on his way home from work late last night at the time he went missing. The Editor of Lanka e news speaking to Daily Mirror online said that a police complaint has been lodged.

More information at: http://www.lankaenews.com/English/news.php?id=9007

Appeal:

Current PA regime has a negative reputation for media freedom. This was not the first journalist to face a similar fate. During the last four years abducted journalists either found dead (eg. Dharmeratnam Sivaram aka Taraki) or ruthlessly tortured. (eg. Keith Noyahr) Not to mention the murder of Lasantha Wickramatunga, editor The Sunday Leader and murder attempt of Upali Tennekoon, editor, Rivira.

I appeal to all international journalists, bloggers and readers to expose this event using whatever the channels you have. (email, web, blogs, Facebook) That will be the only way perhaps to save his life in this critical juncture.

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ELECTION VIOLENCE: Presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka’s supporter killed

Posted by Ajith on January 12, 2010

 

A group of supporters of Presidential candidate General Sarath Fonseka were shot at while they were traveling in a bus at Tangalle this afternoon killing one and injuring at least 10 others, the media unit of General Fonseka told Daily Mirror online.

When contacted the police said the gunmen who opened fire on the bus were traveling on a motorbike. The police also said they could not confirm the motive behind the shooting.

The lady who was killed was identified as Kusumawathi Kurrupuarachi (58), a mother of 5 and a resident of Bimbaduyaya, Vutharandeniya. They were on their way to a political rally organised by UNP MP Sajith Premadasa when the incident took place.

http://www.dailymirror.lk

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LIVE BROADCAST ONLINE: Listen to Next President Gen. Sarath Fonseka at Bandaragama today (11th) from 3 pm

Posted by Ajith on January 11, 2010

Try: www.tharunaya.com or www.tharunaya.info for the live broadcast.

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