Thursday 10 November 2016

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
10  November    2016

Democracy – the Link System

This is not a Maithripala Sirisena or Ranil Wickremesinghe Constitution. This Constitution should be accepted by the people and we will take it to them and win their support” Sri Lankan Prime Minister (Daily News Report - CONSENSUS ON POWER DEVOLUTION)

The perils faced the system of Democracy in Sri Lanka, were confirmed through the Central Bank Bonds issue. As per Reuters report:

[the new system is expected to be "a transparent and predictable system" with a level playing field to all investors with no undue advantage accruing to any market player.
"Those are based on international best practices. The plan is to implement it at least by the end of this year. We have also had consultation with the private sector and market players."
Deputy Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe

Former Central Bank chief Arjuna Mahendran, who ended his tenure in June this year, faced stinging criticism for switching to a new system on February 27 last year without any prior notice.
Mahendran faced probes by parliamentary groups and an anti-graft body as the new system, alleged to have been overseen by a primary dealer connected to his son-in-law, forced the government's borrowing costs up by 200 basis points. Both Mahendran and his son-in-law have rejected any wrongdoing. (Reporting by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)]

If Mr. Mahendran had followed the old ‘due process’ it is highly likely that he would have failed to satisfy the need at that point in time, of the current government. A ‘foreigner’ was needed to break away from the old system. If as per the proposed system,  Mr. Mahendran was not guilty – then any loss of status due to Mr. Mahendran accepting the new position – is the Sri Lankan Government’s, due to its  failure  to be transparent about the gap between the reality within the Central Bank system and what was needed to work the International Money  Mind. The new Government did not have the time nor the corporate wisdom in this to have managed the issue satisfactorily. I am able to identify with this issue through almost identical circumstances at the  University of New South Wales, which resulted in the effective dismissal of the American trained Vice Chancellor , of Australian origin - Professor Rory Hume about whom public reports say:
[Hume's term as vice-chancellor at UNSW was marked by disagreements within the university council over allegations involving medical researcher Professor Bruce Hall, who was accused of serious scientific misconduct.  Hume cited the reason for his departure as 'a breakdown of his relationship with the university Council'.
Hume's handling of the Hall matter was subsequently vindicated by the independent St James Ethics Centre in a report described as 'highly critical of the UNSW council'] Wikipedia

When the University Council recruited Professor Hume, I highlighted through my active communication with the then Chancellor – Dr. John Yu – the apparent lack of  Corporate-wisdom needed by the new Vice Chancellor from America. My advice was as per my own experiences in Public Service, moving from a Cash Dependent system towards a Self-Funded system.  Whilst the Chancellor appreciated my feedback, it was obvious that he could not bring about a less damaging experience for the new Vice Chancellor – the parallel of the new Central Bank Governor Mr. Arjuna Mahendran.

These institutions are strongly influenced by the ghosts of those who knowingly or otherwise abused their authority – especially due to use of subjective power beyond the limits of their position – which affects the Sovereignty of an individual. Change of system often helps to lose that negative heritage. When invoked during active democracy they negate the current merits earned by the new custodians of power. Heritage, even when positive, needs to be valued as an investment and not turned into benefits during the reign of a different system. When negative, they need to be identified as such (the parallel of  feeling remorse) and buried beyond the reach of current custodians of power. To my mind that is what I was doing when I assembled peacefully to share my Corporate wisdom with the new Vice Chancellor (VC) of the University of NSW but was unlawfully arrested. (Appendix 1), through Police who were ‘in waiting’ after I advised the Vice Chancellor that I was going to see him.  That was how lowly I was in their eyes.

To me it is no coincidence that I retrieved this particular part of my recordings – today – the anniversary of  the unlawful arrest by Australian Police which was converted by me into heritage by remaining Australian in heart and mind. The  good thing was that my pain and loss surfaced the parallel of the ghosts in migrants of Chinese origin – who went direct to the media. I admired Dr. John Yu – also a migrant of Chinese origin and I concluded that my admiration worked through him to protect a fellow migrant whose investment in Australian Professional standards was being damaged by a ‘foreigner’.  Professor Hall of the Liverpool Clinical School through whom the problem that dismissed the VC surfaced, and I were both within the same Faculty of Medicine.  The Liverpool Clinical School to Central Administration was like Jaffna was/is to Colombo Government. My predecessors in Financial Management did not ever set foot inside that disenfranchised unit – even though professionally they were less qualified than I. I went frequently – all the way to Liverpool by Public Transport and made up for the past – to bring their financial management standards to be in par with other Schools within the Medical Faculty. Had the new VC listened to me with faith – he would have had access to this corporate wisdom which included the root source of Migrant Resource Management in Australia especially in Public Service. My actions through Due Process – all the way to High Court of Australia – resulted in me freeing myself from the Institutional prison that the University had become – largely due to attachment to past which leads to blindness to present needs of the Institution and eventually the individuals.

The move towards a new Constitution would also face similar challenges from the old to the new – not only due to the dependence and complacency of members of the old system but also due to the speed with which new players would show their cleverness. Ms Nirmala de Soyza, who signs off as ‘Your sister of Sri Lankan heritage’, for example, reveals through the following, that she is not  Sinhala-Buddhist and is confused as to which group I belonged to Tamil-Hindu or her own group as per her own description – Sri Lankan:

Your attitudes are as tribal as those of the most chauvinistic among the Sinhala/Buddhist lobby.  Nobody that calls themselves a child of this country should in any way contribute towards widening the existing chasm of an ethnic, cultural and religious divide.  Unless you can prove that two or more wrong (negative) actions or attitudes can give birth to a right (positive) one, I would like to ask you, in the interests of the ordinary citizens of this country, to cease to fan the still glowing embers of disharmony and division.

My question to Ms Nirmala de Soyza is – if  the lady is my sister of Sri Lankan Heritage – then is she my elder sister, younger sister or twin sister? The way I can make a reliable assessment of which category I have been placed in, is the language measure which is attributes status through the Constitution as follows:
Official Language.
18.        (1) The Official Language of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala.
 (2) Tamil shall also be an official language.
(3) English shall be the link language.
(4) Parliament shall by law provide for the implementation of the provisions of this Chapter

Ms Nirmala de Soyza, by her own claim is not in group 1. I am in group 2. I conclude therefore that Ms Nirmala de Soyza is in group 3 – which is the group of those to whom English is first language. Now that I am without any official institutional portfolio, within that group 3, I am likely to be considered the younger sister of Ms Nirmala de Soyza. To be independent of  group 3 – I need to be in group 2 – Tamil extremist. This group affords me access as an insider to those who are ‘seen’ as Tamil and also those who see themselves as Tamil – which reason would include the need to be independent of  Tamils within group 3 who are not likely to appreciate the needs of the younger generation whose reality is Sri Lanka torn by ethnic attachments. As per a recent report by the National Peace Council, forwarded to me by fellow Australian, Mr. Harry de Sayrah, a good proportion of Tamil undergraduates at the University of Jaffna seek an institutional solution as they consider it to be long-term. Ms Nirmala de Soyza states to me about my interpretation of King Soloman legend:
[By the way, you have misunderstood the allegorical meaning of the story of King Soloman and the child claimed by two women.  It was the LTTE that demanded the division of the country, cost what it may in human lives.]

The LTTE wanted isolation so they could rule. But that is different from Division. To legitimately claim division – one ought to be part of the whole. Most of the above University students are likely to be associated with the LTTE era. Hence they would be seen as Group 2. Unless  Ms Nirmala de Soyza was in Group 1 – as per the Constitution – Ms. Nirmala de Soyza would become younger sister to those in Group 1. Likewise Tamil members of the Diaspora in relation to Group 2. That is also our reality.

To merge with their parallels in  groups 1 and 3 – the Tamil undergraduates  would need an institutional pathway – a new pathway of internal development. That is where Democracy would help them escape the influence of the ghosts within the Tamil Community also. They need leaders like myself who can overlook ‘takeover attitude by some’ and diffuse the past or when that is not possible invoke the ghosts through those of our community operating at that level. This may give me the label as a trouble-maker – but it helps me help them escape the prisons of attachment that they would be taken back to unless they have leaders they could Trust and therefore relate to. These leaders cannot be seen to be in group 1 or 3. Nor would they be like Mr. Mahendra who is clever without enough ownership to steady the speed.

The new Constitution needs to cater to majority in terms multiculturalism or be firm in its provisions outlining the entitlements to separation and privacy of minorities by culture – until we realize self-governance. Just this week I had two experiences in Colombo which confirmed the difficulty of treating us under one group:

1.      A taxi driver who spoke Sinhalese and was least attentive to what my cousin and I had to say in terms of directions – was punished right in front of our eyes when the traffic police stopped him for not stopping at the pedestrian crossing. It gave me much satisfaction to note this.  I did not discipline this guy – a Sinhala-Buddhist as per his own revelations – who on a previous occasion, kept blaming me for not giving him proper directions. I did not discipline him because as per my assessment through his weak listening to my instructions – to him – he knew Colombo better than I – a Tamil. On that occasion I got tired of instructing him – so I walked part of the way to meet my friend Pushpa Muthumala – an institutional/professional relation. This week also the guy was listening to music through ear-phones, while driving and missed the turns I kept asking him to take when he said he did not know where Police Park, Havelock Town was. Eventually when I was about to ask him to stop – so we would walk – the police stopped him. The guy was begging with the Policeman who Administratively would be my junior in Public Service. That Policeman filled my heart and mind with satisfaction – that the system of Natural Justice was working.
2.      The Immigration Officer who interviewed me before endorsing my visa questioned me in Sinhalese. I responded in a mix of Sinhalese and English. In Colombo – one must be able to use all three languages and at senior level – English needs to be spoken with foreigners. On some previous occasions  I have noticed some officers who knew English using Sinhalese with me. With this officer – I do not know – because he was courteous – but like the taxi driver this officer was not as focused with me – and I put it down to a known person unrelated to our issue, sitting in the room while the questions were being asked.

If the likes of me are alienated by the likes of  Ms Nirmala de Soyza of Group 3 – the secular parts of the Constitution would need to be specifically classified as Democracy – the Link system of Sri Lanka. That would confirm that we are true to ourselves. Truth would merge us at the destination, even though we may travel through three different pathways.



1.    The Police van was waiting for me within the Chancellery compound when I walked into the UNSW around 10 a.m. yesterday. My husband had offered to accompany me, but I declined saying it was ‘family’ affair. My husband said to me later that he had waited outside the UNSW and had seen the Police van leave – and he had followed us to the Maroubra Police station – stayed outside  for a while – and then had gone back home.

2.    I walked in through the Chancellery front doors and the lady at the counter to the right of the entrance asked me where I was going? I said I was going to see the Vice Chancellor. Then a tall gentleman standing  on this side of the counter asked me what my name was. I asked him who he was to ask me that question. He said he was a security officer, but he was not in uniform but showed me his name card. I then gave him my name. I asked him whether he asked EVERYONE who wanted to see the Vice Chancellor,  their names and he said yes. I knew this could not be true – because many walk in and out of the  chancellery building every day. If indeed he spoke the TRUTH, then he  was doing a poor job for it was the lady on the other side that asked me where I was going – which again was the FIRST time it happened to me. I have walked in and out of the UNSW Chancellery building many times over the years including this year and this was the first time it was happening  to me. On a previous occasion the receptionist at that level had given my husband true Public Service – by helping him with a UNSW envelope to carry some papers he was bringing away from the Chancellery building. THAT was SERVICE. THIS is  INTIMIDATION.  I doubt also that the Security Officer had the authority to question every person who sought to see the Vice Chancellor. If indeed he did – that would be bad for UNSW business and therefore would work AGAINST the UNSW – a Higher Education Institution that is required to EDUCATE all others how to assess and act through INTELLECTUAL OBSERVATION and not PHYSICAL INTIMIDATION. The officer then pointed to the reception chairs in the foyer and asked me to take a seat there. I then said that I wanted to see the Vice Chancellor through usual process and  started walking up the stairs.

3.    The officer also started walking up to me and past me. I mentally cringed fearing he would ‘touch’ me physically. But he walked past me up to the Vice Chancellor’s glass partitioned area. I followed him close behind. When he opened the door and walked in I walked in with him. I spoke to the receptionist in front and said that I had come to see the Vice Chancellor. The lady got up and came out – and pointed to the visitor’s chair and asked me to take a seat.  SHE did not tell me I could not see the Vice Chancellor. The lady went inside and I took a seat.  The other receptionist smiled at me and I smiled back.  I was wondering whether she was Kerry – the lady about whom other UNSW staff had spoken highly. When the lady complimented me saying I looked lovely  I thanked her and then asked her what her name was. When she confirmed it was Kerry I communicated what others had told me. She said that  she did what she could to help people and that she wished THIS was not happening. I was touched by that – and said ‘someone had to do it’. The security officer, the receptionist and another gentleman who introduced himself as the Vice Chancellor’s advisor when I first met him on 15 September, came out of the inner office. The advisor said that the Vice Chancellor would not see me and said that if I did not leave it would become a ‘security’ matter. I said I wanted to ‘wait’ for the Vice Chancellor. Then  three police officers walked in the door – a man and  two women. The UNSW security officer then said to me that I had the choice of leaving or getting arrested. I said they were NOT choices as per the law and I asked him what authority he had to have me arrested. He said he was senior security officer. I said what LAW gave him the authority?  Even as he started saying what law – the young male police officer butted in and said I had two choices. I felt that the Policeman was trying to help his fumbling buddy.  I told him not to interrupt whilst I was talking to the UNSW officer and that he could talk to me AFTER I had finished with the security officer. But  the young police officer continued to talk and told me I had two choices – one to leave and the other  to get arrested. Bang!  Bang!!  – to run away like a coward  or to die. I kept repeating that to my mind they were NOT the choices that the LAW directed me to. Then the Policeman and one of the two women Police officers came up to me and stood me up and started walking me to the door. The third took my books away from me.  They were two religious books – One was the Bagawath Geetha – the Hindu Bible by  Sri Sathya Sai Baba – with Baba’s picture on the front cover. Baba is seated on the Throne of Justice. I carry that book when I am going to places where I am being consciously and expressly judged. This way I feel comforted that He knows and that He approves. The other was Ramayana – one of the two great Indian epics. I had promised through an email last week to show this one to the Vice Chancellor’s adviser who wrote to me last week. With the books I carried also an envelope from the Vice Chancellor’s office – when he wrote to my husband regarding Alumni matters.  I carried also the voting paper I had received from the UNSW – to vote in Council elections – even though I was not officially a student or staff  of the UNSW.  I had pictures of Our Lady of Schoenstatt  in the Sydney suburb of Mulgoa and one of  Mother of Perpetual Help – as She appears at Sydney’s St Mary’s Cathedral and one of St Jude – a picture that I found at the Feet  of  Christ on the Cross at  the church of Sacred Heart at Avoca St – Randwick.   Most nights I say prayers using these Pictures / Icons and my prayers include UNSW staff – some specific and others in general. Whatever I did, I did for the WHOLE of UNSW  - and the Icons reminded me of it – so I would not  react emotionally and use my higher personal credits to intimidate others. There was a photocopy of an article in the Reader’s Digest of October ’69, on Gandhi by John E Frazier – which my uncle – my mother’s 92 year old eldest brother who lives in Burma / Myanmar – sent to me earlier this year when I went to Northeastern Sri Lanka to work on a World Bank / UNDP assignment. To my uncle I was following in Gandhi’s footsteps. My uncle’s younger brother was tortured and killed by the Japanese during World War II – when he  worked as a spy for the British. My uncle is very proud that his brother did not divulge the code that the Japanese were after – even though he was tortured. I have had a special connection with this uncle – making me wonder  sometimes whether I am him reborn. In Sri Lanka the Tamils asked me whether I was Gandhi reborn. Reading the article again yesterday when I waited to see the Vice Chancellor, I could appreciate again why they would say this.

4.    Frazier says about Gandhi ‘Frail of body, not always sure of himself or of what policy to pursue, he nevertheless rose to become the supreme architect of India’s freedom. To the teeming multitudes of India’s farmers and forgotten ones he brought a message of hope. With his bifocals, cloak, dhoti (loincloth) and sandals, his watch dangling from a cord around his middle, Gandhi was their prophet of the new India – a man of God who without fail would set them free.  He was the bridge over the chasm between the intellectual and the unlettered villager. Unlike them, he was yet one of them. Servant of all, he spoke as India’s poor had rarely heard anyone speak before. He was not a saint; he could get angry and upset, and he would not condone fools. He was not a simple man, but complex and even devious when necessary. Above all, he was tireless in the interests of India. “Almost every day” said his friend G D Birla “new ideas, new ambitions, new visions were unfolded before the eyes of the nation”.’ Reading this yesterday at the reception of the UNSW Vice Chancellor’s office – I wondered how my uncle had connected to my commitment without even knowing that I also wrote practically everyday to the UNSW.  My uncle did not know this but in general he knew that I was fighting for justice.  I feel that by respecting and valuing Gandhi’s work I connect to his mind and hence might seem like him to some  others. The article says further ‘ To Gandhi Satyagraha, or “truth force” was more powerful than war or violent revolution; victory was assured because, in the words of one of India’s elder statesmen “it is resistance to evil, based on God and faith in His ultimate sovereignty” . The opposer must not feel hatred toward the one who wrongs him, and evil must not be returned for evil. Disobedience must be announced in advance, and one must be willing to suffer even death, believing that the truth he stands for is more important than life itself. This is strong medicine. It proved strong enough in Gandhi’s hands, to share the fate of a nation.’  

5.    I paused and thanked Gandhi in my mind for helping me over the past five years – in my work to educate the UNSW staff AND management –by taking the workers’ side as Gandhi took the unlettered villagers’ side. It helped to know that someone had walked that path before I.  I did not set out to consciously follow in Gandhi’s footsteps but when the call came I intuitively followed my mentor in social service – the way the UNSW Security staff and NSW Police followed the UNSW Vice Chancellor.

6.    I asked the Police whether I could  keep my books but was told that I could not. I then said that they had not taken my handbag – as they had done the previous time – but that this time they were taking my religious books away. They said they would take the handbag away at the van. This showed that they were not consistent in the application of the rules. On the way to the van the Police woman said I looked lovely in the outfit and asked me whether I had dressed up for the occasion. I thanked her and said that I was making a statement – just like Gandhi had done. Gandhi wore the villager’s clothes when he worked for the villagers. I was working for the workers through my migrant status. At the van which was parked almost at the spot where my son and daughter and son-in-law who won the UNSW Medal in his class stood and took the group photo just a few years back. My lawyer daughter – who was then still studying at ANU also joined us for that occasion. All that flashed through my mind whilst I was being prepared for the trip to the Police Station. The woman Police Officer removed my two necklaces – but not my ear-rings or my anklet. She then asked me whether I had any pins on me and I showed the one that held my front  saree-fall in place covering my front. She took that off and I had to secure my saree to the hold under the strap of my bra. Then she asked me whether I had any more pins. I said yes one more securing my underskirt. She asked me whether I would get that out for her. I lifted my arms and said ‘You do it – and if I stand naked when the pin comes off – then that is my punishment’. I realised that all these were made to INTIMIDATE me and that they were, NOT  because the police really believed that I would commit suicide on the way. The Police-woman did not have the courage to put me to the test – and asked me to get into the van. Soon we were on our way. I noticed through the divider – that the third officer was reading the paper on Gandhi and it brought back memories of Tiger fighters I had worked with earlier this year.  They were not allowed to openly practise their religion – so they would take me to the temple and church  in their vehicles but would not come inside. Eventually the women officers started coming in – especially when they were not under direct supervision. Likewise the NSW Police women.

7.    At the Police Station the Policeman who arrested me locked me up and said that soon someone would read out  my ‘rights’. I then asked him whether he ought  to have done it at the time of arrest – at the UNSW. He said – no – that he had not asked me any questions. The Sergeant later came to read out my rights and then asked me to remove my ear-rings. I said if he wanted to,  for him to remove it. Then the woman officer got irritated and showed it in her body language and fetched a pair  of gloves and  came and removed my ear-rings and said ‘how easy was that’.  I was asked whether I had any other jewelry on and I said an anklet – which also was removed by the lady officer. I am yet to check whether they put it all back in my bag. They got me to SIGN  that I have received them back.  I asked the officer what the purpose was and he said so we would not commit suicide. I said I could strangle myself with my saree.

8.    The Sergeant at one point asked me whether I was a citizen or permanent resident and I said I was a citizen of Australia. He then asked me what my country of origin was and I said Sri Lanka. He then asked me whether I would like to contact the Sri Lankan consulate and I said NO. I then said that I found it INSULTING – because I was an Australian citizen. The Sergeant said that he had to ask as per the questions in the forms he was filling out. But I was not given that option the previous time.
9.    They asked me whether I wanted an interview or wanted to make a statement. I said the previous time also they asked me whether I wanted an interview and even though I had said yes – I did not get one.  Neither did I get to make a statement. So this time I said I would like to make a statement – which is attached. On reading the statement the two women officers expressed surprise that my English was good. I said I had studied  English in school – back in Sri Lanka. One said that my grammar was good and the other said that my handwriting was good. The second officer said not to be offended about the Consulate question about which I have written in the statement – because they were following the rules. I said I understood.  To my mind the rules had to change and cannot be applied UNIFORMLY to all prisoners. If they are to be uniformly applied to all prisoners then the Police must have trained forces who would CONSISTENTLY apply all the applicable rules all the time and not some of the rules some of the times – as per  THEIR convenience. If it is to be as per their cultural convenience – then it is only fair that I also have my own cultural police who would be sensitive to my cultural grooming and who would know from my clothes and conduct that I am a woman of class meaning that I had PRACTISED my culture to carry the dignity of our culture at the highest levels.

10. Before they took me to the room to make the statement they asked me whether I would like to talk to my husband or for them to call him. I first said for them to call him. Then I said I would like to talk to him. They said that they would call him.

11. My husband was allowed to sit with me and talk to me and whilst we were talking the woman police officer came back and asked me for my employment details and whether I had any dependent children. I said no to both. The officer asked me whether my husband was employed and I said yes and that I was dependent on him. Then she promptly asked how much he earned. I said I did not want him involved in this. It was bad enough that I had to for the first time in my life depend on someone other than my parents for my day to day living. My husband has been very supportive but as an academic  he also has conflict of interest which shows up from time to time. My husband was sponsored by the UNSW into Australia because of  his outstanding performance as a Masters student at the UNSW. He now teaches at the UTS.  He therefore needs to respect University Administrators and every move to support me affects his thinking – often subconsciously. He expresses it from time to time – especially when he cannot ‘see’ my pain.  Last night for example when I said to him that if it had been someone influential – the Police would have not been so quick to cut me short – like say if I were John Howard’s sister.  He then said that they did arrest Rene Rivkin. I said they arrested him on the basis of  what those in higher power told them to. He said likewise the Police took instructions from the UNSW Vice Chancellor. I said but they needed to apply the law independent of the UNSW officers especially after the first time the matter was dismissed by the courts. I said now it looks as if the NSW Police are the extension of the UNSW Security  and  their muscle power – so they can label me for all to see and be warned. That was how it all started when I complained to my supervisors that the rules for Grant reporting were being breached and then Mr Chris Lidbury started persecuting me until I resigned and then later when the Medical Faculty  managers employed me he threatened them into terminating my services.
12. I said to my husband that whilst at the Police station I overheard the policeman who arrested me talk to someone on the other side who I thought was a UNSW officer – and the tone was very friendly and accommodating. From the answers on this side – I worked out what the questions were from the other side. In particular the officer said that the RECORD would be in the Police files but if the courts dismissed the matter the records would not be in the court-records. He said also that it was not a criminal offense and that in job applications one did not have to reveal these details. I thought to myself – that was what HE thought as per HIS convenience. Already, leaders from the Australian-Tamil community were critical that I did not tow the line with majority migrants who pleased their Management and the Tiger Leaders. Like at the UNSW I was with the Tiger  workers I interacted with during my World Bank / UNDP assignment earlier this year.  I said to my husband that in a deeply divided community one has to take sides when discussing matters with the physically driven. I said he was therefore on Management side or on workers’ side when it came to rights and wrongs at the rules level. I reminded him as to how,  about a week ago he had  explained to an appealing student that the student was marked wrong because the student had used Two different sets of rules to compare. I said THAT was what he – my husband -  was also doing when he compared Rene Rivkin – a businessman with the Prime Minister or a Public Administrator like myself. I said that in Sri Lanka which is coming out of a long and fierce war – I was not searched like I was yesterday – stripped naked. I said my friend Gwen understood what I would have felt like – because she was a woman.  I said likewise – he understood other personal aspects of me that Gwen did not – especially about how fiercely independent I am and also about how any kind of police record in combination with my label as a Tamil – would go against me at entry points to most Western countries and other countries that  TRUSTED the Australian Judicial system . I said that would go against my job opportunities also. This is what I wrote to Mrs Gwen Harrigan – former Manager of  UNSW Sports Medicine  and wife of  the late  Dr David Garlick  - the founding Director of  UNSW Sports Medicine:

Thank you Gwen. Yes, I would like to come if that still suits your program
on your son's birthday. Thank you for including me.

As for yesterday - yes the strip-search keeps coming up in my memory and I
cringe each time I recall. Thank you for understanding. Param did not
understand as deeply as you did. But he understood from other angles - such
as his firm statement to the Police that I HAD the right to speak to the
Vice Chancellor. He also told them he was concerned that I was hungry -
having not eaten since early morning. The policeman had said he would look
after that part - but did not do anything on my side. The Waverley Policeman
was much more mature and he asked me whether I wanted coffee or tea - and I
declined. I needed to go to the toilet - but did not want to ask. I did not
ask for water either - as that would have made the toilet-urge worse. THIS
is what the Vice Chancellor wanted me to go through and learn NOT to
confront him. It's a lesson for anyone who seeks to know the Truth. Each
time they physically punish me I learn something new. I was finger-printed
and photographed with a number in front of me - as if I were a criminal.
That hurts Gwen. I kept crying after the strip-search. I tried to tell
myself that it was like a doctor exmaining me. But the doctors are trained
to win the patients' mind and they consciously practise the right bed-side
manners. The clinics and hospitals are also clean - but not so the cells in
the Police Station. The room in which they examined me had an unmade bed
with a dirty-looking blanket. I was taken into a similar room at the
Waverley Police Station also - after the court-hearing. The Policeman said
it was larger than the other cell - but the bed was filthy-looking and my
instinct was to stay away from it. But I did not want to offend the Police
Officer who seemed decent and asked me to make myself more comfortable. So,
I found a small space at the end which did not have the dirty mattress
covering it. I sat on that edge. When I see dirt in natural surroundings I
am very accepting of it. For example on Sunday, when we gathered together
with my son's Waverley college and UNSW friends I accidentially toppled the
food I had on my plate on to the grass - whilst I tried to help my little
granddaughter with her food. Param tried to serve fresh food for me - but I
said I would save what I could from the food on the ground - and I was happy
with that. I think it's the dirt that is collected due to man's indifference
and negligence that bothers me and not the natural dirt. On a lighter note -
my two year old granddaugther said to me when I told her to eat what she had
on her plate - 'Don't yell Aanza!!' A little later she said 'Don't scream
Aanza!!' At least SHE knows how to protect herself from authority!!! I had
friends from Canberra and Sri Lanka - all engineers - and they burst out
laughing when they heard Aanza. There was also Nick who was in Pradeep's
class at Waverley college. Nick shouted out loud when a big dog tried to eat
the food that was spread out by us. The owners of the dog were not to be
seen and Nick was the only one who had the VOICE to shout 'where is the
owner of this bloody dog?'. Nick said it with authority and yet I was not
happy that he used the word bloody. Yet yesterday I was exposed to much
worse from the guy in the adjoining cell who become more abusive when the
police were not around. There was also abusive language written on the doors
of the cell which were ugly sights for me. As you know, I do not use such
lanuage even when I am emotional. My children are also particular with their
langauge in my presence. So I don't know where this karma comes from. I
recalled Roy at Government Information Service, who was 'free' with his
language - but when I am around he would do the work to bring out the more
decent expression. For example to say 'brotherly' instead of bloody. Others
would complain that he did not extend that to them and Roy would say 'Gaja
is a lady'. I wonder what Roy would have had to say about me yesterday?

Thank you Gwen. David and you were with me in spirit yesterday also. I
consciously prayed to David before I went to see the VC. When I came back I
knelt in the direction of David's cemetry and thanked him for being there
for me.

Thank you deeply Gwen. I know that you speak for many others at the UNSW -
who do not your courage. YOu have more courage because you have experienced
deeper pain due to their persecution.


13. The Maroubra Police Officers said to me and my husband that I would be able to leave soon. This was after I had made the statement. One of the questions in the statement was whether I had been influenced in any way to say what I had said in the statement. I said ‘no’ – because that was easier for the Police Officers who are required to consistently follow the rules. But in reality the intimidation started back in the UNSW Vice Chancellor’s office when the policeman would not let me finish  talking  to the Security Officer.  Like the UNSW Employment RECORDS – these questions and answers were for the RECORD – to  show what a good job the POLICE were doing. It was not to support JUSTICE in the community. I was asked to sign a statement later – promising that I would not go into the UNSW until the court hearing. I said I would not give them that promise . In fact I was thinking of going to see the Vice Chancellor during the week.  The Sergeant asked me whether I had any other reason to go to the UNSW and I said that there were many reasons – including possible emergency re  my granddaughter whom I minded whilst my daughter-in-law  attended postgraduate classes at the UNSW.  I refused to sign. I was then asked to go back into my cell and was told that I would be taken to courts in a couple of hours. It was after that that I was strip-searched – which was further humiliating for me. Later at home I saw on the news that Prime Minister Howard was honouring the dead in London. I thought to myself how can someone feel so strongly for those who die in war for their country – and at the same time do little about the slow killing during so-called peace times – through intellectual intimidation and suppression – as the Police and the UNSW Chancellery were doing. I said to my husband that part of the problem was that the Federal Government was the money master and the state government did  not feel any responsibility for minding the UNSW. Likewise the UNSW Chancellery and the Faculties.  I was their first victim through the excesses of Division of Powers. I said to my husband that under democracy the Doctrine of Separation of Powers said that at the TANGIBLE level  the  Executive Government and the Judiciary should not influence each other. But often this is stretched to ADMINISTRATION by those who seek least work for most pay. So they stretch the rule to Administration as per their convenience. So no one takes responsibility – leaving it to the individual with commitment and courage to do their dirty work – as I have been without any institutional or legal  support.  My friend Mrs Gwen Harrigan said that it took lot of courage to go back and I said it was very difficult for me but that I tried not to THINK – but just did what I KNEW I had to do to help the UNSW through myself.

14.  I stopped sharing details with my lawyer daughter because she needs to respect her Legal family. My daughter chose Legal Aid for her year 10 training – and she now works for Women’s Legal Services in Melbourne. I keep telling her that they are now her family. I do not know whether it was that karma – but just before I was taken to courts a lady from legal aid – Ms Alexander came into the Police station and spoke to me and asked me for details. Before I could give her all the details the Police Officer said that we were wanted in the courts. My husband said to me later that the courts had closed the session and that they reopened to hear my matter. My husband said also that the  gentleman who assisted the Magistrate was very helpful – that he had rung the Police station up and had asked as to why  they were delaying and had kept my anxious husband updated. The young lady who appeared for the Police said that I had  repeatedly approached  the Vice Chancellor – and made it sound as if I were a physical threat to the Vice Chancellor – whereas it was THEY who were using their muscle power to intimidate me through their Security and their Police. They enlisted the Police on THEIR side to do this. I certainly did not have equal access to the Police on MERIT basis.. My husband said that they had asked him whether he would bail me out – and my husband had said that I did not want that and that he respected what I wanted. My husband said that  it looked as if they were dividing and ruling – so I would be more easily intimidated.  But in the end the Legal Aid lawyer asked me to accept the conditions of the bail and I could not overrule – because she had already done the WORK to help me. I was tired and I put it down to God’s Will.

15. When we got into the car to go to Waverley Police Station – the woman officer who had taken the front passenger seat got down and opened my door again to check whether the child-proof  lock was on. They said they did not have enough Police vans and hence the car. I thought of all the expensive finger-printing equipment which like the American  PeopleSoft  computer systems must be idling most in most parts and  were being used mainly for the record-keeping. I doubt that they would have used the car to take me from UNSW to the Police Station because the car is not INTIMIDATING. As we passed the Church at Avoca street I turned and prayed expressly to Our Lady carrying Baby Jesus. Soon after that I felt pain in my left chest and I told the police officer who was with me at the back. She asked me whether I had had it previously and I said yes. I get the pain when my mind is low. Once when I was Revenue Manager at South Eastern Sydney Area Health Service I developed strong pain which started at the back and traveled forward. My mind was low then also – after trying to educate some staff.  I eventually lay down on the floor as instructed by the lady deputy manager who called the doctors from Prince of Wales Hospital in. After examining me and after the tests  the doctor said that it was stress related and advised me to take some time off work.  I thanked him but did not take time off. Instead I  communicated my pain to the staff who became more responsive to my education thereafter and  my mind became stronger. Yesterday the Police Officer asked me whether I was on any medication and I said no. I mostly cure myself internally  through my mind strengthened by regular  meditation.

16. But thereafter the Police Officers did not ask me even once how I felt. They need to be told – but they don’t think that WE need to be asked except to fill out the forms. In 1998 a few weeks before I was due to finish up in my position as Senior Accountant at UNSW  – my youngest daughter – now a lawyer – was admitted to be treated through day-procedure  for excessive sweating. Even then I did not take the day off – but just sat with her during the procedure and left her to come home with my husband.  I did some UNSW reading work whilst I waited with my daughter. Back then my lawyer daughter overruled me and traveled to Melbourne by coach that evening – all because the Prince of Wales Hospital staff did not firmly advise her against travel. I carried the anxiety in my mind – but I still worked for the UNSW Faculty of Medicine. On Saturday, a fellow  Australian-Tamil said that Blacktown Hospital authorities would not allow him to go home saying that he was a high risk category as a Sri Lankan – because our arteries are supposed to be narrower. They must have had bad experiences with legal threats for compensation and hence the refusal. But not so the richer hospitals like Prince of Wales with richer connections. Likewise the UNSW.  When I left the Health Service job also I was the last to leave on my last day – and before leaving I typed up personally  my assessment of ALL  staff  (about 50) – with a copy for the staff and the original to Central Office. Likewise in my previous Public Service job too – I was the last one to leave office on the last day of work. My lawyer daughter – then a student –took the word of  someone in AUTHORITY over her own mother’s advice. Yesterday Mrs Gwen Harrigan said to me that her family also tended to be influenced by the ‘label’ she had received from the UNSW. People are influenced by labels – because that is the easier way for those who do not  connect deeply to our pain.  Parents connect more deeply to children than the children connect to parents. Likewise Management and workers and Law enforcers and the ordinary citizen. So whoever feels more deeply is in the higher ownership position.

17. I said to my husband last night that in Sri Lanka – the Law enforcers would have known how to read me. My Professional Labels there  had greater weight  in all aspects of my life – including family. They were earned labels and did not come as birth rights. The Police did not ever treat me the way the police here did. Even the way I dressed would have given them the message. The Tamil living in a remote village in Northern Sri Lanka has very little to do with the Sinhalese living in a remote village down South. It’s the city folks who WORK together that need a Common Police force with a Common set of Rules.  The White-Australian living in a remote farm in country Australia has very little to do with the remote Aborigine living in North or with the migrants living in their own ghettos. It’s people like me who WORK with other cultures who pay the price for ignorance and indifference by those in positions of authority.  I said to my husband this morning that  when I cannot stand the pain any more I would run away to live with Sai Baba in India or with the Aborigines in Northern Australia.

18. The actions by the UNSW Vice Chancellor have further damaged my future job prospects. Most people would have walked away and covered up and found other jobs. That is like running away from battlegrounds because one anticipates failure for one’s side. Our responsibility is to fight the OTHER side  – wherever we may find them acting in breach of the Common Law. On the weekend a lady engineer working for Sydney Water said that once a managing committee is appointed we must not interfere but change the committee through elections. THAT is what some UNSW staff who do not want to do management work also say. It’s easier for them that way. But when the situation gets out of control by  someone else declaring war – as the Tamil Tigers did – and as some migrant staff did against UNSW’s Professor Bruce Hall - they would quickly include themselves as the ‘innocent’ bystanders. They are not innocent – but lazy in a democratic system.  One who cares would contribute through everyday life. The above comment was made about the Managing Committee of the Sydney Murugan Hindu temple at Westmead – over their dismissal  of a young priest  from Sri Lanka. I wrote strongly to the Managing committee and asked them to follow the common laws of Australia. Hence the above statement by the  Sydney Water engineer.  When Management is remote from the workers – workers would tend to pull in different directions and we therefore do not pool our resources as a family / institution / community / country. If the UNSW cannot pool its resources together, it is not entitled to Public Funding out of the Common pool.  We pay the UNSW through the Common Pool – to uphold the Common Laws – especially the EEO Laws. WORK must be the measure and the rules used by the Police Officers who physically exercise the Law – must be based on WORK and not on the word of those in power – such as the Vice Chancellor of  UNSW. The Anti Discrimination Laws help us consciously use the WORK measure and to consciously override our physical observations through which we connect to our subjective memory from old times. There was a big difference between the way the Police Officers treated me  AFTER they found out about my length of stay in Australia – my qualifications, my husband’s qualifications and my children’s qualifications and most of all my clean record. They expressly asked me and I told them.  Next time they arrest a Sri Lankan they would be more respectful from the beginning. I have seen it happen at workplaces also. The blind attitude take by those in power to assume that  most people consciously override their perceptions either through  strict following of rules or through intellectual calculations – is dividing and depressing our society every day. I am an extreme example of a victim who quietly put up and made up for the weaknesses of those in power. Those with disabilities – including migrants – have to work extra  to  enjoy the same level benefits as their ‘normal’ counterparts who manage to get to the top by pleasing those in power. In the first half of our life this is necessary in material life. This is why I keep my children out of my battles against the UNSW Administrators.  I share only to the extent they need to know NOW. I told my son on Sunday when he shared his workplace experiences with me – that he was not  take action against his supervisors until he was 50. I said to always have an opinion as to whether the other person was right or wrong, but to just accumulate until he was 50 what he cannot address through Due Process. I said some of it would be diffused either because he was wrong – or because others made up in different ways. I said by 50 he would know to assess quickly and accurately and by then his children would be independent of him – and dependent on wider society for goodwill. I said until then he ought to have the discipline to wait and express himself within the jurisdiction allowed  by his Supervisor and NOT by the law.  The law only helps us regulate and express in Common Language.  The real challenge is to win the people over – ALL people as per their WORK and sacrifices.

19. Police labels are the indicators at the physical level about my contribution to wider Australian society.  University labels are the indicators at the intellectual level. Both have combined to bring my reputation  down to the lowest level. My great grandfather A.M. Pillai was well known in Burma – especially for his financial support to poorer families towards their educational advancement.  He had a clean record at the tangible level – so even today he is appreciated by his family. The labels that are ‘seen’ by those remote from us due to time and place distances, drive their  thinking. By giving me this ‘criminal’ label – the UNSW Vice Chancellor has robbed me of family and community goodwill that is carried forward vertically  through our birth attachments, in addition to the damages caused by Mr Lidbury and his mates who do not care about the younger generation at the UNSW.  There was a call from some politicians to not allow Muslim women to wear their traditional cloaks because they feared that the women could hide bombs. This is a real threat. Likewise my saree. Once I am charged,  the threat would be perceived to be real by those who do not see the real story but only the labels given by the Authorities. I submit this for the 10 December hearing.

No comments:

Post a Comment