Sunday 5 April 2015

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 05 April  2015

Sri Lankan Airlines’ Heritage

Yesterday, a Sinhalese forwarded highlights of  report by the Board of Inquiry into the affairs of Sri Lankan Airlines. It was sickening that the corruption had been as widespread as reported. Airlanka was formed under the leadership of Singapore International Airlines.   The Airlanka that I contributed to was a well-structured and disciplined organization. Singapore Airlines continues to operate on Business basis whereas Airlanka / Sri Lankan Airlines has become part of the political makeup of the country. This makes the staff of Sri Lankan Airlines Government Officers and not the commercial officers they were trained to be. It is interesting that new senior staff have been accused of corruption – at a time when the staff of my generation trained by Singapore Airlines have just retired.

If the People of a nation are alert and conscious of their rights and duties – the Government will not be able to cheat the Public at this scale. In democracy, it is important that the People are as conscious of their duty to self-manage as they are of the government’s duty to serve in areas beyond the direct access of the citizen. The most interesting part of the report in this regard was: ‘The BOI praised two senior pilots — Patrick Fernando and Ranga Amadoru — who had resigned in protest against attempts to lower pass marks of recruit pilots.

I resigned for parallel reasons from my position at the University of New South Wales. But the force of Truth I knew – continued to urge me to contribute to the University system through my Truth. This has helped me immensely in my current work to not only contribute to policies that would support next generation Australians but also to help the needy in Sri Lanka. Some are within Sri Lankan Airlines and they regularly receive counselling in relation to management issues. They were helped to address problems infiltrating into their areas of operation. To me such counselling  prevents the problem from getting  to the roots. Every member of the staff who has worked genuinely for the airline as per her/his duty and beyond is part of the roots. They are the real protecting forces. Even the current Board of Inquiry is politically driven and we need to eliminate the political part  before identifying with management issues within the control of the real part of Sri Lankan Airlines.

Sri Lankan Airlines as well as other Government owned organizations need to strike a balance between being commercial and at the same time – delivering outcomes on behalf of the government.  In politics we have Equal Other side Humans as Opposition. In Business Benefit is the other side of Costs. They include money as well as Human Resources – both divided through Discriminative thinking on the basis of issues and not personal opinions of individuals/subjects. Under the Political system – the internal vertical hierarchy needs to be strong – so that only One side is produced for public consumption. Such strong politics would lead to good business Administration.  Singapore had such a strong leader and hence Singapore International Airlines continues to operate successfully as a Commercial concern. Those who have genuinely invested in Airlanka/Sri Lankan Airlines may feel sad for now but rest assured – their investment in good Management of International standards would support them any time they have a need. Ultimately it is about our own quality of investment.

Below are some personal examples of my ongoing contribution to the wellbeing of Sri Lanka’s National Carrier and the opportunities they bring about:

Jaffna Plane and Global Hawk – Lest we Forget

[…My work with Air Lanka happened after a holy-man from Thiruketheeswaram temple said to me ‘Like Murugan you will go around the globe  on the peacock’.  I felt the greater significance of this  when I learnt later that the logo of  Air Lanka was the peacock. The name of the Air Lanka staff  magazine was named ‘monara’ – meaning peacock. My first overseas job happened due to Air Lanka. I believe that my natural way of attributing credit to elders / seniors within family and at the workplace until I felt that the total of my work through that relationship / position is common – helped me become global through Singaporeans who trained us in Management of Aviation activities at international standards. Mr. Colin Martinus, the best Administrator known to me was part of this team headed by a Tamil Mr. Kulesegaram who honored me by asking Mr. Martinus to second me from Commercial Administration to Financial Administration. Mr. Kulesegaram honored us by worshipping with his family, at the  Ganesh temple (New Kathiresan temple) at the Colombo suburb of  Bambalapitiya. These are natural connections that invoke the invisible forces. They continue to influence me from within to share my current work with the needy at Air Lanka / Sri Lankan Airlines – even today. ]

In 2004 – when I was invited to join Air Lanka’s 25th year celebrations – I took exception to the above mentioned pioneer staff being left out of ‘thanks giving’ services. Like Patrick and Ranga mentioned in the BOI report – I refused to go up on stage and accept the memorial plaque offered by the staff trained by me. I do it all the time even in family when young ones organize events and expect us to just to join in – as if  we were their age. To me we need to show value of our heritage by paying our ‘respects’. Back then itself I sensed the displacement from the root that we had established. Internal respect is needed to raise the output of an organization to the higher standards.

2)      Later on 08 January 2008, I wrote to Mr. Tim Clark – then the Managing Director of Sri Lankan Airlines about my feelings which included the following:

[Management of SriLankan Airlines

I refer to the public confirmation that Emirates would soon cease to manage SriLankan Airlines. I welcome this move. I am very appreciative that Emirates under your leadership has decided to hold on to its cash investment in SriLankan.

It is my discovery that work produces outcomes at three levels - Cash, Goodwill & Ownership - body, mind and soul. Likewise any investment.

When I, as a pioneer of AirLanka, attended the 25th Anniversary celebrations in 2004, I 'picked up' ownership trouble. My feeling of ownership in AirLanka comes through my deeper connections to the People of AirLanka and my own 'unpaid' work for AirLanka. These happen automatically through the system of Natural Justice which is beyond the control of the material world. I was very unhappy about the 'mental absence' of our leaders such as Colin Martinus, Kula Kulasekeram and Capt. Rakitha Wickemanayke, at the conference. I attributed that ‘mental absence’ to the new foreign leadership. That absence indicated the 'loss' of real value of their work.

SriLankan Airlines is the National carrier of Sri Lanka. It therefore represents the People of Sri Lanka. Until therefore, the people of Sri Lanka are self sufficient in terms of money, it would be a lie to state that SriLankan is a national carrier. If SriLankan was more financially independent than the average Sri Lankan - then to that extent it is a commercial carrier. This is the real conflict for SriLankan - national or commercial/international? This is also the conflict for the country.

3. In 2008, when the position of CEO was advertised I applied for the position and the opening paragraph was as follows:


I write in response to your invitation to apply for the position of Chief Executive Officer. I am very interested in the position of Chief Executive Officer of SriLankan Airlines for many reasons. Most important of them is the strong feeling of ownership I experience with the country and the airline. I especially experienced this when I spent time with workers and management of the Airlines in October 2004, when I was included in the team of pioneers to celebrate the Airline s twenty fifth anniversary. Due to my strong feeling of ownership I picked up some deep needs by staff and helped resolve some of the Human Resource problems that were being experienced. Since my return to Australia, I have continued to involve myself anyway I could, to help the Airline. Attached letters dated 04 February 2005 & 08 January 2008, to former CEO, and the Managing Director respectively of SriLankan Airlines confirm this.

4. During that stay in Sri Lanka  in October 2004  I  responded also to Justice Weeramantry’s article entitled ‘The relevance of Ahimsa’ in honor of Gandhi. My response was published by Daily News on 01 November 2004 – the day when I was sent by the Australian Judicial system  to Prince of Wales hospital for a mental health assessment. Dr. Peter Waux – the Senior Registrar declared that I was following in the path of Gandhi. To me this was confirmation of the Lord’s path – that the investment made in October 2004 through my belief in the Natural Path – manifested Itself on 01 November 2004 to assure me that   I was being supported by my own Truth.

The Truth manifests Itself immediately from within the person to support that person who believes in Truth. If all those who genuinely invested in Air Lanka/Sri Lanka invoke their investments – the National Carrier would be healed of its temporary ailments. Likewise Ceylon/Sri Lanka if it continues to respect the value of  genuine International investment in Ceylon/Sri Lanka.

Our true investment in Nationalism will continue to protect the organizations we have invested in. To the extent we feel ownership – our investment would support us in one form or the other. 

No comments:

Post a Comment