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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 920

Lessons from Royal Park Murder for Sri Lankan Society

By Shenali Waduge

The Royal Park murder has a multitude of lessons for Sri Lanka and reminders to society of the significance of life – our own and that of others. It also gave a message that there are limits to what money can do and limits to the level of influence any rich and influential persons can make upon the justice system.

The sentence given in 2006 by the High Court for the murder committed in 2005 would have remained 12 years imprisonment and Rs.50,000 fine had not the accused decided to file an appeal against the ruling with the Court of Appeal. Having spent 6 years of the 12 in prison, the accused finds him now issued with a death penalty. An ironic turn of events when not only the accused but the Attorney General himself filing a parallel appeal citing the 2006 sentence being too lenient for the crime committed.

It is natural as in all instances to begin the blame game a little too late and in this particular case like most others had parents of both sides been a little involved and aware of the behavioral patterns and habits of their children most of the sordid stories making the headlines today would be saved from appearing.

Society today has certainly deteriorated into one that is all about competition – doing things better than the Perera’s has become the norm of the day. It has reached such appalling levels that both child and adult have fallen victims to a fictitious race created only in the mind.

How many of Sri Lanka’s children have fallen victims to drugs – how many types are they consuming on a daily basis. How many parents have sought remedy or rehabilitation and are such facilities available. Instead of treating the ailment what is being done to uproot the cause of such a plethora of drugs coming into the country and who are bringing these to destroy the youth and minds of our own children?

Was the accused of the Royal Park not such a victim of drugs himself, but that certainly does not justify the murder he has committed nor excuse the horrendous crime thought out but it does depict the fact that parents have made themselves accountable for the waywardness of their own children. Is it so difficult for parents to identify if their children are going on the wrong path? Do parents not listen to or watch the signals – when their children sleep till noon and makes it a habit to go clubbing returning at wee hours of the morning on a routinely basis do parents not wonder what their children are upto. Does ignoring such behavior not equate to mean that they do not mind what their children are doing and the children themselves take it to mean so? Is this supposed to be the “in” thing in society that all parents whether they like it or not must succumb to?

Is it not a parents right to be more aware of what their children wear and how they wear it. Must all our children expose our bodies like Kim Kardhashian? Just look around the malls or places youth hang out - is this modern fashion? Are parents watching their children leave the home as they do and do these parents buy such clothes for their children to wear and do mums have to also dress to compete with their daughters?

It is not difficult to see how the demand has created an ugly supply. Count the number of cabana’s that has sprung up all along the coast. Count the number of “rest houses” that are all providing rented rooms often on a hourly basis just to relieve sexual pleasures wherein children as young as 14 are accompanied by men old enough to be their fathers. Are we not seeing a rise in prostitution with innovative methods adopted to service the clients. While clienteles are increasing so too are the numbers of prostitutes or anyone offering sex for money. It does not make a difference whether these girls come from humble homes or belong to the ultra rich. They are both involved in the same trade though they often scoff at each other in view of the “superiority” mentality. Even the products for such exploits are increasing with promises of making men in the 80s act as young as 20!

The electronic media is now highlighting a number of rape cases – whether it has been under-exposed previously is something the media will only know but from some of the incidents that have taken place we can only conclude what a pitiful state of affairs we as a country with such a cultural heritage now have to deal with. What type of a society do we live in when both father and son together rape a girl as young as 14 or young girls and mothers drink booze together or even share the same male?

Have schools not had to put a dress code on how mothers should come to school because mothers have found it a trend to appear in revealing clothes and how many adulterous affairs have started just by coming to pick up their children!

Who is the guilty party then? It is the race for money and the fictitious belief in a “trend” that must equate to feeling that one’s family belongs into a certain social strata. Most parents today are too involved in making money that they have little time to watch what their children are upto. The lack of time to give attention is often balanced with the doling out of money and the green light to their children. Unfortunately, not many children know to use the freedom given to them as a carte blanche. They often end up gullible to “friends” who turn innocence along a wrong a path only to lead to destruction. Is it not because of this that computers have been misused and instead of learning from the internet it is used for illicit purposes leading to authorities having to curtail or ban unwanted sites. Even mobile phones given with good intentions have led to an unprecedented number of illicit happenings in a ring of unsavory happenings taking place. It is not just in urban areas but happening in rural Sri Lanka too.

Thus, while a crime has been committed and justice has been meted out – the messages from this and so many other incidents taking place are many. Whether parents realize their error or whether they choose to ignore the state of affairs in their own home is left to the parents themselves to solve but it is a shame to have to watch Sri Lanka’s future generation fall unnecessarily and the present state of affairs is nothing that the police or authorities can stop alone – parents and family need to be very much involved as well.

- Asian Tribune -

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