We get some things right!


By Rajitha Ratwatte

A huge debate is going on at the moment in Aotearoa about if we should charge returning Kiwis or not for quarantine costs. At the moment they are put up in star class hotels in the inner city. Besides the fact that costs involved in accommodation like this is high, it also makes it tempting for the smaller-minded individuals to "escapes" and create panic and mayhem in the places they escape to!

In the Pearl we got it right eh! We put them in remote army camps, that’s what they get for free. Escape is impossible and even if they succeed it will be into wild animal filled jungles. Anything ‘better’ they jolly well pay for! Well done, great decision. However, you remove another point for debate and distraction at a time of a general election. Sometimes the masterminds at work in Aotearoa may think that putting the obvious solution in front of the public could be construed as naivety. It is better to play around with people and distract them with rubbish debates or is it?

Putting the armed forces in charge of enforcing quarantine. Another early and good decision taken in the Pearl. It has now been done in Aotearoa but only after a few ‘escapes’ and the resulting chaos and dramas, not to mention more ‘work’ for the media and a few ministerial casualties thrown in.

Deciding to go ahead with the election in the Pearl, is so WRONG that it leaves me gasping. The ramifications are horrendous …. Remember referendums and extensions of terms carried out by governments who were doing well up to that point, led to or could be construed to be reasons for insurgencies. JVP insurgencies have some root in such activities. Desperation that builds up during semi autocratic and seemingly uncaring rule, leads to the more radical elements of society turning to violence and the taking up of arms. This election would have been a foregone conclusion anyway with the Rajapaksa cohorts winning, but if it is conducted like this, when the country is not ready for it due to Covid-19, it will make the opposition forces desperate and lay a foundation for possible dissention in the future. Possible armed dissention and consequent decimation of an already partially destroyed economy.

As you know, we have an election in two months’ time, here in Aotearoa. Whilst the main purpose is to elect a new government, we also have two referendum questions which the populace will vote on. The first being if cannabis (ganja) is to be legalised and the sale and distribution of same is to be controlled by the government. The second is if, end of life by choice, is to be legalised. Coming from the straight laced and orthodox Buddhist background of the Pearl, my initial reaction is to say NO.

However, on second thoughts Cannabis being banned in NZ has resulted in a huge underground market, largely fuelled by Maori growers and gangs. As is the case with most of these "bans" the product is relatively freely available and anyone who really wants it can get it. Furthermore, the medicinal uses that Cannabis is being put to, especially for the relief of pain, is providing a lucrative and very profitable market for a special type, of the plant. American growers are already here, doing their research and earmarking properties. The illegal growers from the Maori community may find a legal way to make a living. The gangs who thrive by distributing the product and probably providing protection to growers and distributors, whilst creating a culture of violence and even murder, may cease to exist. I think I will vote aye.

The end of life choice is a bit harder for someone who follows the path of the Buddha. Are we not taught that one has to life the full lifespan that one brings into this world? Any suffering that we may undergo is based on the law of cause and effect. One is cancelling out the sins of past births and cleaning the slate, so to speak for the next life. However, when one sees the absolute vegetative state that some people are reduced to, and the many years that they simply exist, sometime in acute pain and discomfort, one wonders. To vote AYE on this one will be harder, but the jury is still out as far as I am concerned. I feel that the average citizen of Aotearoa will vote in the affirmative as putting animals out of their misery, if injured or sick, is par for the course in this country. Also, since almost everything is now reduced to profit and loss, it costs huge amounts of money to keep these terminally ill patients alive.

To digress for a moment before I conclude. I listened to a speech by Sco Mo (Scott Morrison the Australian PM) saying that he doesn’t plan to try to eradicate Covid19 in his country. He says the reason is that those countries that have attempted this measure (eradication) have suffered untold economic damage and loss of jobs. Of course, this is a rather clumsy attempt to take a swat at the success (so far), enjoyed by New Zealand. How can a leader of a country, let alone an elected leader, place human life and safety below economic gain? Is this how far civilization has fallen?

This great human civilization, built largely on economic theory. Economic theory that is mostly unrealistic, not practical, far from ‘real’ and exists only in text books and the stock exchange. By the way did you know that Alfred Nobel, left awards for most disciplines in his will, EXCEPT for economics! A set of rules and values that is enforced by "financial management" policed by accountants. If this is the full depth of what we have, we surely have reached the end of this delusion?

I am told the Kandy Daladha Perehera is being conducted sans any devotees and spectators. This must be the first time in the entire History of our civilization? Or is it? Or is our "CIVILIZATION" already over…


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