Controversial Christmas Tree Guinness Dream coming True
Posted on December 19th, 2016
Asoka Weerasinghe Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . K1J 6G1 . Canada
19 December 2016
His Eminence Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith
The Archbishop’s House
Re: Controversial Christmas Tree Guinness Dream coming True
This is my third letter on this subject and the first addressed to you. The other two were addressed to President Maithripala Sirisena and copied to you, which I hope you have read.
“O Christmas Tree…O Christmas Tree…with faithful leaves unchanging,
not only green in summer’s heat, but also winter’s snow
O Christmas Tree…O Christmas Tree…. Sri Lankans
are into risking lives building the tallest one.
saying you represent ‘Religious Harmony’s’ call
and they are a bunch of liars all.
O Christmas Tree….O Christmas Tree….can You
imagine such foolishness”
Yesterday’s (18 Dec,) Ceylon Today news item Controversial Christmas tree Guinness dream coming True bylined by Gagani Weerakoon perhaps reveals how all this came about. I am curious and disappointed with all who are involved in the project other than the Guinness Book Dreamers. And chalk me down as one of the staunch critics and annoyed about it as you are all a bunch of liars.
‘Disappointed’ was because the thematic approach of the Christmas Tree project on Religious Harmony is questionable and a lie to the public. My question is, where the heck does Buddhism and Islam fit in to this evergreen folk tale.
Let me summarize this saga as best as I understand it.
1, Ten prime-mover truck drivers of the Colombo Port had a dream of building the world’s tallest artificial Christmas Tree. I have no qualms about it, as we live in a dreamer’s world and they are entitled to have their dream.
So they picked up a theme to make it a legit reason to be accepted to build this 325 foot tree as an island exhibit, of all places at Galle Face Green, an open space beside the Indian Ocean, exposed to strong gusting winds and cricket test-match abandoning unpredictable torrential rains.
This project leader has ignored the fact that a 50 km wind would snap branches of a tree and 100 km winds would uproot large 30 foot tall trees as it often happens in Ottawa where I live, and other parts of the Province of Ontario.
To overcome this possibility in the tall maple tree in my front garden, I got the branches braced with heavy-duty wire, so that they don’t oscillate when it’s windy and snap and fall on the house.
- It does seem that the lead person responsible for the project is Minister Arjuna Ranatunga who should come out clean and say that this project was purely to accomplish a Guinness Record by 10 Port workers and that he piggy-backed on it, expecting a return in favours of votes from inter-denominational voters on a lie at the next election. The Christmas Tree has nothing do with ‘Religious Harmony’. That is a heap of dried cow dung patties, Minister Ranatunga, and you well know it.
Here is the story about the Christmas tree that you will be interested to know, and understand when I say – The Christmas Tree to bring Religious Harmony is full of Bull.
Centuries before Christ, people who worshipped nature brought evergreens into their homes during festive times as proof of continuing life. The ancient Romans decorated evergreens with gifts and ornaments at Saturnalia, a winter festival to welcome spring and revival of nature’s fruit-bearing season. There you are, Mr. Minister. For Jesus sake don’t try to link Buddhism and Islam into this folk tale, as that is a lie so that you can legitimize spending all that money to build the Christmas Tree which is an exercise to create a record entered in the Guinness Book of World Records.
- The people have been told by the Project Leader Minister Ranatunga as well as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that the project will cost 12 million rupees. And you, Your Grace informed us as that was the sum quoted to you by the Prime Minister, monies contributed by sponsors, and you felt it was OK, then. You were a fool Your Grace. I suppose you realize it now. As I read today (December 19) in CEYLON TODAY headlined “Catholic group flays Galle Face Christmas tree Alleges Cardinal was forced to a re-think.” Ummm….Not good is it?
I challenge all three of you that there is a hidden cost which will go into many more millions of rupees. Such a colossal exhibit needs a maintenance budget? What is it? You all say that the Christmas Tree will be illuminated with 800,000 LED bulbs and decorated with two million pine cones. What you all have not told us is whether the 800,000 bubs will be illuminated by plugging them into blades of grass (for no cost) in Galle Face Green or into electricity power producing generators which will have a cost, and who pays the electricity bills which will cost you all more than two bags of peanuts, a tray of konde kavum, a tray of masala vade and a tray of Eid al-Fitr. If you have a cost then let us know the amount. I am positive that all these costs will not be included within the Rs. 12 Million you all have told the people.
- What you have not told us is whether this risky project was approved by a certified structural engineer having looked into the materials that will be used on this 10 storey high Christmas Tree and approved the design for the anchoring of the Christmas Tree. As a collapse of such a 325 foot structure is possible attributed to poor welding and weakened metal fatigue even if it is standing only for a few days. This metal fatigue will be induced by oscillating lateral forces of strong winds which is very possible in Galle Face Green by the rough wave active Ocean.
And whether the Engineer had recommended the Project leader (Minister Ranatunga) that there is a need for an Insurance to take care if there are claims for injuries and deaths if unfortunately the Tree would collapse and land on workers and “tourists”. Did you all have insurance on this project? Well…let us know the truth.
- On the eventuality of such an unfortunate incident happening (which I pray and hope not), auctioning Minister Arjuna Ranatunga’s 1996 World Cup cricket bat and other World Cup paraphernalia, and the President Maithripala Sirisena’s and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe’s autographed bathing loin cloths would not bring you all enough money to pay for the possible claim(s). As for your contrition if such an unfortunate eventuality, Your Grace, I suppose the rich Vatican will come to your help to get you out if this mess. The 10 Guinness World Record Book Dreamers, should not be holding the buckets to get you all off another Yahapalanaya scandal. It was just a dream of the Port workers and their leader Minister Ranatunga approved it and turned the first sod of soil at Galle Face Green blessed by the clergy of the Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Islam faiths. That was a joke, wasn’t it!
Your Grace, the time has arrived that the Yahapalanaya ‘Good Governance’ politicians stop hoodwinking the masses with their cunning in search of votes in their vindictive politics.
And as for you, Your Grace, stop getting dragged into this Yahapalanaya foolishness. And if you do not wish to get dragged into controversies, it is time that you learn to say “NO” to such foolishness whether the request comes from an MP, or the Prime Minister or the President. This issue has hurt you immensely,
And this is my last request to you, Your Grace, let us pray together each morning until this Christmas Tree is dismantled, that no mishap would occur that would injure, maim or kill someone, during the process of satisfying someone’s ego….someone’s Dream which has nothing to do with Religious Harmony as been promoted by the Yahapalanayoes.!
May you be well, happy and Peaceful.
Asoka Weerasinghe (Mr.)