Road Tax Logic
— Dr François SW Ip
In last weeks’ edition of the Mauritius Times (issue no 3125), Dr DC West is quite right when he points at the lack of logic in the way motorists are taxed.
A simple way would be to divide all the amount collected under Road Tax (or Road Fund licence as he calls it) by the volume of different fuels (gasoline, diesel) so that the State would still collect the same revenue because the more you use your car and the heavier your vehicle the more you damage the roads. The idea of Road Tax is to constitute a fund for road development and maintenance.
Also such a system would encourage “car-pooling.” For each car running, say, with its 5 seats all occupied, there would be 4 in their garage and off the road.
As for the fine of 50% for non-renewal of Road Tax, one may well ask: is it constitutional?
Dr François SW Ip
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Equality at the heart of fundamental values
— Dev Virahsawmy
Feminists and gender activists often shy away from religious debates. At the level of practice, discriminatory attitudes are regularly condemned but in a half-hearted way. It is because some of us believe that religious doctrines are basically gender biased and sacred books cannot be used to promote gender equality. Yet sacred texts can become useful material in the uphill fight against sexism if properly handled.
Take for example the story of Adam and Eve. This is what is found in Good News Bible published by United Bible Societies. Genesis, ch 2, verses 21-22 (page 5) says: “Then the LORD God made the man fall into a deep sleep, and while he was sleeping, he took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the flesh. He formed a woman out of the rib…” This is often used by male chauvinists to argue against gender equality. Yet some scholars believe that the use of the word ‘rib’ is the result of a mistake in translation. The Hebrew word used in the original is ‘tsela’ which means, according to Wayne Simpson, (‘Adam’s Rib’, 1996, distributed by the Biblical Research Foundation, 629 Lexington Road, Sapulpa, Ok 74066, http://www.jasher.com/Adamsrib.htm ) an entire side or half of Adam’s body.
Moreover there is another word which might have been wrongly translated. In Genesis, ch 2, verse 18 (page 5), we read “… I will make a suitable companion to help him.” (my emphasis). The Hebrew word in the original is “azer” which “means not just assistance, but a significant and substantial kind of help. … Eve was made to be everything Adam was not. She was his complement.” (Wayne Simpson)
This new reading is in line with what we find in Genesis, Ch 5, verse 1: “(When God created human beings, he made them like himself. He made them male and female, blessed them and named them “Humanity”.)
The Koran is explicit on this issue. Sura 4, Aya 1 says the following: “O mankind! Fear your Lord who created you from a single soul. He created its mate from it …” (page 56, The Qur’an, translated by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, GOODWORD BOOKS) A single unit is used to create a pair of humans of both sexes. The text seems to suggest that men and women were made from the same material and at the same time. So they must be equal.
In Hinduism “the Supreme Being contains both masculine and feminine traits. The female part is as important as the male part. One has to consider the feminine aspect of the divine, in order to know the ultimate truth. It is believed that all goddesses of the Hindu pantheon are special forms of the divine mother- Shakti. To recognize the feminine aspect, it is necessary to restore wholeness, completeness and universality.” (http://www.iloveindia.com/spirituality/goddesses/index.html)
With so much evidence in religious literature to support gender equality, why is it that most religions discriminate against women?
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Plus de retenue, svp!
Dans l’interview parue dans votre édition de la semaine dernière, Dev Virahsawmy, en fin observateur de la politique locale et internationale, nous donne son avis sur le comportement récent du Président de notre chère République. Cet avis, que je partage sans réserve, est digne de tout Mauricien qui a, à cœur, l’avenir et le bien-être de tous les citoyens.
Le Président pour lequel j’ai beaucoup de sympathie, quand je le regarde à la télévision au moment de recevoir des visiteurs étrangers en mission, déambule avec difficulté pour leur serrer la main. Compte tenu de son âge, cela se comprend. La sagesse est aussi, dit-on, le privilège de personnes âgées et expérimentées. Plus de retenue dans leurs propos, surtout quand elles occupent un poste au plus haut niveau de l’Etat, serait bienvenue.
Ceci me rappelle l’attitude différente de deux présidents de la République française : le Général de Gaulle et Giscard d’Estaing. En visitant les pays amis, surtout les anciennes colonies, les présidents recevaient en cadeau de gros diamants. Le Général les confiait au Musée National pour y être exposés. On affirme que Valéry Giscard d’Estaing en faisait cadeau à son épouse. Chose que le peuple français n’avait pas apprécié. Résultat: aux élections suivantes, le peuple français l’avait bel et bien sanctionné.
Dr Crooshna Virahsawmy