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Australian Celebrity Chef Mark Best Brings Down-Under 'Bistronomy' to Sydney

Australian Celebrity Chef Mark Best Brings Down-Under 'Bistronomy' to Sydney



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At his award-winning Marque in Sydney's Surry Hills neighborhood, chef Mark Best serves a $130 (U.S.) menu that might include such dishes as prawn custard with hinona turnip, fermented shiitakes, and iceplant; bass grouper with tamarillo, verjus, potato paper, fish milk, and roe; and Rangers Valley 10+ wagyu with beet and radicchio kimchee.

In 2012, he opened a more casual place, Pei Modern, in Melbourne, where the menu tended more toward the likes of Sydney rock oysters, burrata with figs and mustard seed, and homemade pasta with chicken dumplings and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Hailed as a homegrown expression of the "bistronomy" movement (in which fine-dining chefs, originally the French, opened casual eateries), It was promptly named the city's Restaurant of the Year.

Last year, Best launched a branch of Pei Modern back in Sydney. It rather awkwardly occupies a kind of lobby lounge space at the city's posh Four Seasons Hotel — it looks like the kind of place that should be serving chicken Caesar salads, burgers, and iced tea, and in fact, the hotel's catering wing sets up a breakfast buffet there each morning before moving out to make room for Best's team — but there's nothing awkward about the solid, bistro-ish, Mediterranean-inflected food.

From simple but perfect oysters, Italian salumi, wood-fired Padrón peppers, and Australian cheeses to bright, hearty plates like roasted salmon tail on the bone with samphire and rouille, Holmbrae chicken (complete with head and feet) with squash and butter beans, and Kurobuta pork cutlet with fermented blueberries, Pei Modern hits all the right notes — and provided one of the best meals we enjoyed on our recent restaurant-hopping tour of this gastronomic capital in New South Wales.


MasterChef Australia 2020: meet the cast

Former MasterChef Australia faces including Poh Ling Yeow, Callum Haan, Hayden Quinn, Reynold Poernomo, Ben Milbourne are all back for its 12th season.

10 unveiled the “Back to Win” cast today at the Masterchef kitchen at Melbourne showgrounds.

24 former contestants have a second shot at the title that eluded them before. They join new judges Jock Zonfrillo, Melissa Leong and Andy Allen (himself a former contestant).

Poh Ling Yeow, said: “I’ve been waiting for this moment for 10 years and now I’m back. I have a little bit of unfinished business.”

Callum Hann, said: “Everyone who’s here is at the top of their game. This is going to be really, really tough. There’s cookbook authors, TV presenters, restaurant owners and those who just missed out.”

Hayden Quinn, said: “MasterChef changed my life. I’m stoked to be going up against the best of the best. I’ve learnt a lot, my skills have improved, I’m here to take it out.”

Reynold Poernomo, said: “When I was eliminated, it was gut wrenching. Absolutely devastating. I’m sacrificing a lot to be here but it’s worth it for the chance to win.”

The Endemol Shine Australia series is due in Q2 on 10.

Amina Elshafei, NSW. Season Four – placed 11th
After winning hearts in season four, Amina Elshafei wasted no time embracing the food world. She published her first cookbook, Amina’s Home Cooking, travelled to different countries promoting food destinations and hosting food events, and hosted pop-ups and food demonstrations around Australia. Now back working as a paediatric nurse, Amina has jumped at the opportunity for a second chance to pursue her dream in the food industry.

Ben Milbourne, Tasmania. Season Four – placed 5th
A Tassie boy born and bred, it was Ben’s love of food and cooking which led to his first foray into MasterChef Australia, competing in the fourth season where he came in fifth place. Following MasterChef, he embarked on a successful media career with his TV show Ben’s Menu which aired on Network 10 for three seasons and went on to feature in the SBS Food Network’s Andy and Ben Eat Australia with friend and now judge, Andy Allen. Ben also owns and operates a modern Australian restaurant in Devonport, CharlotteJack, named after his two children.

Ben Ungermann, Queensland. Season Nine runner-up
After coming in second place in season nine of MasterChef Australia, father of three Ben Ungermann knew he had found his culinary passion. Dubbed the ‘Ice Cream King’ by fans, he soon launched Ungermann Brothers, an ice cream parlour alongside his brother Danny in Ipswich in 2018. The business opened a second parlour on the Gold Coast late last year. This year Ben has expanded his ice cream empire, opening two parlours in Mumbai, and is working on new and exciting ventures in South Africa.

Brendan Pang, Western Australia. Season 10 – placed 9th
Fan favourite Brendan Pang is back in the kitchen, and after being eliminated twice in season 10, he knows what it takes to avoid the feared black apron this time around. Since leaving the competition Brendan hasn’t taken a break, opening his own pop-up dumpling kitchen, Bumplings in Fremantle. He’s run a series of pop ups with fellow MasterChef alumni, run market stalls at local festivals, and hosted cooking classes, demonstrations and regular workshops at food and wine shows across Western Australia, Malaysia and recently the United Kingdom. He’s also found time to pen a highly anticipated cookbook, due for release in May.

Callum Hann, South Australia. Season Two runner-up
Finishing just one spot shy of victory in the MasterChef kitchen in 2010 after cooking Peter Gilmore’s infamous snow egg, Adelaide’s Callum Hann has returned for another chance at winning the ultimate prize. It was a big decision for the chef, author and passionate cooking school owner, who late last year welcomed his first child, daughter Elle with wife Crystal. Following his first appearance in the kitchen, Callum returned home and soon opened Sprout Cooking School. Drawing inspiration from his Barossa Valley heritage and the best produce South Australia has to offer, the interactive cooking school was followed by Sprout Health Studio in 2015, Sprout Training in 2017, and Dietary Hawk in 2018.

Chris Badenoch, Western Australia. Season One – placed 3rd
Give Perth powerhouse Chris Badenoch a cut of meat, and he’ll plate you a meal fit for a King. The talent behind memorable season one dishes including duck neck sausage, roasted pigs head and beeramisu finished in third place, and Chris is thrilled to be returning to the MasterChef kitchen to showcase the hard-earned experience and confidence his cooking has gained. The inaugural season of MasterChef heralded tremendous change for Chris. Not only did it ignite his passion for cooking, but it introduced him to fellow contestant Julia Jenkins, who’s now his wife. Following the show, Chris and Julia opened their own Melbourne restaurant, Josie Bones in November 2010. He also launched his own beer brand, Boneyard Brewing.

Courtney Roulston, NSW. Season Two – placed 5th
Courtney Roulston admits her first turn in the MasterChef kitchen overhauled her life. Previously reserved and shy, she has come a long way since her 2010 appearance, now travelling Australia hosting cooking demonstrations while presenting her own TV show, Farm to Fork on Network 10. Since leaving the competition Courtney has become ensconced in the food industry, and for 10 years has worked as caterer for the AFL’s Sydney Swans and has written two books, The Salad Kitchen and Salads In A Jar.

Dani Venn, Victoria. Season Three – placed 4th
Following her season three appearance, Dani went on to host her own television show Weekend Feast and co-hosted a summer of breakfast radio on Nova FM in Melbourne. She is the director of Eat it Up Creative and the founder of The Wholehearted Cook. Her new venture sees her determined to change the world one bowl at a time with plans for her first bricks and mortar food business, Go Go Bowl, currently in the works. Designed to transform the takeaway industry, she’s excited by the introduction of her healthy fast food company to the market.

Emelia Jackson, Victoria. Season Six – placed 3rd
Sweet Queen Emelia Jackson is back to take glory in the MasterChef kitchen, six years after falling just shy of the ultimate prize. Eliminated on a whipped chocolate ganache, the former marketing co-ordinator from Melbourne’s east left the show with a newfound booming confidence, going on to open her own cake business. She now spends her days preparing decadent bespoke wedding, engagement, birthday, and event cakes.

Harry Foster, Queensland. Season Eight – placed 3rd
While stumbling just shy of the season eight grand finale, third place getter and fan favourite Harry Foster has plenty more to prove. Following his last appearance in the competition, Harry moved to Tasmania where, alongside other adventures, he worked in luxury accommodation, studied plant science, and co-opened a gin distillery. His time in Tasmania strengthened his food focus, which is centered around sustainable fishing practices. Before relocating back to Queensland to pursue his passion for film making and seafood, his weekends were spent free diving off the remote Tasmanian coast, catching abalone and crayfish to incorporate into fresh ocean focused feasts with friends.

Hayden Quinn, NSW. Season Three – placed 6th
One of our most prolific past contestants, Hayden threw himself into the world of food following his first appearance on screens back in 2012. A Bachelor of Science in marine biology graduate, Hayden entered the kitchen as a surfie and professional lifeguard and left with a burgeoning culinary career on the horizon. He has hosted Hayden Quinn South Africa and Surfing the Menu Next Generation on the ABC, but his self-described baby is Taste Of Australia which first aired on Network 10 in February. The author of cookbooks Dish it Up and Surfing the Menu, Hayden credits his mum Jo-Anne, a home economist, with teaching him the early basics, together enjoying home style cooking competitions against each other in their Northern Beaches home.

Jess Liemantara, Victoria. Season 10 – placed 4th
Just 19 years old when she entered the MasterChef kitchen in season 10, dessert powerhouse Jess Liemantara is once again the youngest recruit this season. Happy to have her ability defy her age, Jess has proven she’s the reigning Sweet Queen, recently self- publishing her first cookbook, A Zest of Jess. After leaving the competition in fourth place, Jess knows the skills she’s developed in the time since leaves her in the best position to hone her sights on the MasterChef trophy. She’s worked as a pastry chef at Om Nom Dessert Bar, The Press Club, Nobu Melbourne, and catered several events during a stint at Raffles Hotel, Jakarta.

Khanh Ong, Victoria. Season 10 – placed 3rd
Two years on after falling just short of the grand finale in season 10, Khanh Ong has wasted no time leaving his mark on Melbourne’s culinary landscape, joining The George on Collins. He also co-hosted episodes of My Market Kitchen and has written a cookbook due for release this July. Crediting his first round in the MasterChef kitchen with teaching him new skills, techniques and how to deal with pressure, he says the show also taught him to trust his instincts and think on his feet.

Laura Sharrad, South Australia. Season Six runner-up
After coming in runner-up in season six, Adelaide chef Laura Sharrad knows she only needs to break down one more wall to claim the coveted trophy which eluded her so many years ago. Far from the fresh-faced teenager who battled it out against eventual winner Brent Owens, Laura (known then as Laura Cassai) took the skills and opportunity from the MasterChef kitchen and parlayed them into an enviable food career. After the show she worked as the pastry chef alongside new judge Jock Zonfrillo at his acclaimed hatted restaurant Orana, before moving onto Andres Cucina for three years. She spent time at the award-winning Hently Farm in the Barossa Valley in 2018, before embarking on her own restaurant, Nido Bar and Pasta which she opened last year. The venture was a special one for the now 24- year-old, opening the space alongside her new husband and fellow chef Max Sharrad.

Lynton Tapp, Victoria. Season Five runner-up
It was no mean feat which saw Lynton Tapp fall just short in the season five grand finale. Battling to recreate Ben Shewry’s Plight of the Bees, the 700 layered honeycomb dessert just toppled the then Northern Territory native, but he’s back to reclaim victory and take home the coveted MasterChef trophy. Following the competition and determined to improve on his newfound skills, Lynton trained under chef Matt Germanchis, and in 2016 released his debut cookbook, Outback Pantry. He went on to host two television shows – A Taste of Travel and My Market Kitchen on Network 10, and opened a restaurant with his brother-in-law, Westwood in West Melbourne.

Poh Ling Yeow, South Australia. Season One runner-up
Poh was catapulted into the centre of the Australian food scene in the first season of MasterChef Australia, when the popular South Australian narrowly missed out on taking home the top prize. Weeks after the finale, she was offered her own cooking show, Poh’s Kitchen, which ran for three seasons. In 2015 Poh continued her television career with her series Poh & Co, which ran for two seasons, a fly-on-the-wall look into her chaotic life as a cook, artist and small business owner. In 2010 she fulfilled a lifelong dream of publishing her first cookbook, Poh’s Kitchen – My Cooking Adventures. Four years on Poh’s second cookbook, Same Same But Different was released, and her third cookbook Poh Bakes A Hundred Greats, hit the shelves in 2017. Poh has also run Jamface at the Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Market for five years and is about to open a flagship store at the Adelaide Airport.

Reece Hignell, NSW. Season 10 – placed 6th
Leaving the competition in sixth place, Reece knew he’d achieved something significant, and was buoyed by his newfound confidence. Guilty of often self-doubting his cooking abilities, he realised he was capable of taking risks, and now looks forward to taking out top honours. Now a confident cake baker, this Newcastle native loves making anything sweet, and is back to try his luck again in the MasterChef kitchen following his appearance in 2018 in the show’s 10th season.

Reynold Poernomo, NSW. Season Seven – placed 4th
Since bowing out of the seventh season of MasterChef Australia in fourth place, Sydney’s Reynold Poernomo has gone onto become one of the most successful alumni of the highly competitive show.
Shortly after he finished, he joined forces with his brothers to launch KOI Dessert Bar in 2016. The successful venture featured innovative and creative desserts, and the family has now expanded with KOI Dessert Kitchen, Monkey’s Corner and TiNi Artisan Bakehouse. Alongside his burgeoning businesses, Reynold was also named a finalist in the Gault & Millau Pastry Chef of the Year awards in 2017, was listed in Forbes Asia’s 30 under 30 the same year, appeared on the fifth season of MasterChef Indonesia as a guest judge, and hosted a TEDx talk.

Rose Adam, South Australia. Season Seven – placed 10th
For season seven fan favourite, Rose Adam returning to the MasterChef Australia kitchen where she bowed out in 10th place is all about challenging herself and her skills. Just six weeks following her elimination she achieved her food dream, opening her café, The Middle Store, alongside her siblings in Adelaide. Now she’s back with a clear identity in her food and a goal to take home the top prize.
The third of four children born and raised in Adelaide, Rose’s close-knit Lebanese family bought and ran a deli for many years as a child, and she admits her heritage and family continue to inspire her cooking. Her new goal following this season is to set up a wholesale falafel business with a range of wet and dry spices and rubs.

Sarah Clare, Tasmania. Season 10 – placed 10th
After competing in season 10 of MasterChef Sarah returned to her Tasmanian roots and is now firmly ensconced back home with her young son Elvis. After working in the kitchen at Fat Pig Farm alongside Mathew Evans, Sarah launched a series of pop ups called Wild, featuring beautifully sourced, local ingredients. She now runs her own restaurant, ILHA in Cygnet, which features a modern Australian menu with South American influences.

Sarah Tiong, NSW. Season Nine – placed 6th
Lawyer Sarah Tiong became a fan favourite in season nine, applauded for her vivacious personality and various uses of pork in challenges. After being eliminated in sixth place, it was little surprise she started work as a private chef with her pop-up street food stall, Pork Party. Still working part-time as a lawyer, Sarah now also develops recipes and runs MasterClasses and events for big name local brands. Sarah is currently working on a cookbook to be published this year.

Simon Toohey, Victoria. Season 11 – 3rd
After coming in third place in last year’s season, Victorian vegie King Simon Toohey has just a few hurdles to jump to claim the elusive title this season. After showcasing his love of seasonal vegetables throughout his time on MasterChef Australia, Simon showed where there’s smoke there’s seriously fire, opening a pop-up vegan smokehouse after the grand finale last year. His restaurant opened in Melbourne’s Williamstown to rave reviews, featuring familiar ingredients cooked in creative ways. He’s now launched the Sustainable Earth Network, focussing on driving the idea of utilising whole ingredients and fighting food waste.

Tessa Boersma, Queensland. Season 11 runner-up
Fresh from the season 11 MasterChef kitchen, runner-up Tessa Boersma knows she only has one rung left to climb in the elusive ladder to culinary victory. Committed to the ultimate prize since finishing last year’s season she’s been busy writing recipes and worked alongside former guest chef Alanna Sapwell at Brisbane’s acclaimed ARC Dining.

Tracy Collins, South Australia. Season Six – placed 5th
After finishing fifth in season six when she was bundled out on a lobster with citrus beurre blanc, Tracy returned home and started the highly successful Harvest Kitchen restaurant, which in 2016 was awarded best regional restaurant in South Australia. In the busy years which followed, Tracy released Wermut, an organic botanicals vermouth alongside her winemaker husband Jaysen, hosted pop-ups, spoke at charity events and worked alongside Maggie Beer. However, opting to change direction on the eve of opening a second restaurant, Tracy decided to take a step back to focus on her family, with her children Finella, Harper and Charlie quickly growing up.


An Unpredictable End…Friday Fictioneers.

The end was unscripted. He simply sent her a text, as cold and unfeeling as a Winter wind. Yet, her grief was brutal. A stab to the heart. A kick to the guts. She could even feel his huge mechanic’s hands tighten around her throat, along with that final gasp.

Kate was not above revenge. A crime of passion. Destroying him cell by cell with her own rat cunning. She even thought of phoning Roger.

Yet, a skerrick of reason remained. That, while she couldn’t make it better, she could always make things worse.

Now, she could only face the storm, but with renewed strength, knowing it too would pass.

This was my second go at this week’s prompt and it stretched so far beyond the initial photo prompt that I decided to use a different image. It looks at how we respond when someone does something terrible and unforgivable to us. Do we lose ourselves and our core values in pursuit of revenge? Or, self-destruct unable to recover from the pain?

I remember a bit of a joke from my single days: “If you can’t have the one you love, love the one you’re with. If you can’t love the one you’re with, turn out the light.”

When it really boils down to it, we really have no choice but to plough onwards through the storms of life, but there are things we can possibly do to prevent the storms from building up. Moreover, we can also be better prepared, and in peak condition when they hit. That way, we’re better positioned to be a victor, than a victim and to rise from the ashes of what ever it is that hits us.

Here is the original photo prompt thanks to :

This was another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff Fields


Friday, October 03, 2014

Chicken curry - Filipino style

About three months ago, we went back to Manila to attend a much awaited wedding in the family. The wedding was beautiful and everyone, and I mean every single person, was in tears - (actually bawling-like-a-baby is a better description) as the doors to the church opened and the beautiful bride started her slow walk to the altar. Right then and there, time seemed to have stopped and the march down the aisle happened like in a movie - slow motion and the camera focus is on the bride and the rest are just a hazy background. My girls were part of the entourage as junior bridesmaids, and my oldest was one of the readers in the mass. We knew of the wedding months back, but originally hubby was the only one attending purely for economic reasons. He was booked for months ahead. A week before the wedding, we took out the credit card and booked the whole family. What the heck! Weddings only happen once and family is important and this is a big day! It was a magical day.


Fast forward to the trip, we also booked a few days to HK (Disneyland included) and the girls were thrilled. We don't often get to go on holidays because of hubby's work schedule and it was a welcome energizer to relax and just enjoy the trip. Of course while in Manila, we ate all the food we missed, went to historical places for the girls' benefit, caught with family and friends. A grand time doing simple things.


Don't you love it when spur of the moment decisions become real? Sometimes, we don't need to plan too much. We just go with the ebb and flow of where our emotions take us and trust that everything will turn out magical.


Back to this simple recipe for a Filipino style chicken curry. This is one that we always eat at home. I've brought this to potluck lunches and at work and they are always a hit. Another dish which people ask the recipe for. So here it is.


A Visionary Photographer: Three Day Quote Challenge.

Joao Maia is a visually impaired photographer who covered the Paralympics in Rio.

As a photographer, I was so encouraged that he was still able to take professional quality photographs despite losing muchttp://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/blind-visually-impaired-photographer-joao-maia-paralympics_us_57dabcc3e4b08cb140942178h of his sight.

Of course, any creative or visionary person knows inspiration comes from the heart and while you might get better results with better equipment, that is no substitute for the soul and what your soul perceives through all your senses. Of course, this isn’t some package which randomly arrives in the mail. It needs to be practiced, experienced, lived and breathed each and every single day. Only then can you truly fine-tune your senses enough to adequately sharpen your vision.

If you would like to read more about Joao Maia you can click on the Link.

  1. Three quotes for three days.
  2. Three nominees each day (no repetition).
  3. Thank the person who nominated you.
  4. Inform the nominees.

I hope you go over and check out their blogs and come to appreciate why I love them.

PS You might notice that I had a bit of a breather in between quotes two and three. Whoops!


Australian Celebrity Chef Mark Best Brings Down-Under 'Bistronomy' to Sydney - Recipes

If you would like to have an event promoted in our What's On Guide, please contact us.
Note: Please check details with event organisers before attending.

Copernicus

Set amongst the spectacular 180degrees star-filled skies of the Melbourne Planetarium's SkyDome, Copernicus is a solo physical theatre piece by Melbourne artist Sam Davison, taking audiences on a dreamlike voyage inside the mind of the brilliant, yet shy, Polish renaissance astronomer.

Copernicus is a truly immersive sensory experience, complimented by the raised stage of the Planetarium, reclining 45 degree angled seats, multimedia, special effects and richly layered surround sound.

Week at ACMI

Arthur and Corinne Cantrill's Three-colour Films unclassified 18+
Sat 26 Sep 4pm

Kids Flicks: Smart films for smart kids
Sundays and School Holidays $5

Earth G
Extraordinary camerawork captures a year in the life of our planet, beginning in the Arctic as a polar bear and her cubs emerge from hibernation.

School Holiday Sessions:
Spooky Animated Kids' Flicks Classics G

Birrarung Yarn

Fairy Fanfare

Active Zone

All children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, wear suitable clothing and footwear and bring a hat, water bottle and sunscreen.

Mr Sandman

Paint Our Wo

Men Wot Sing

Kids at Oceanworld

-Reptile Nursery Show: 12:00 noon

-Baby marine animal education talk: 2:30pm

-Pirate treasure hunt: all day long

-Meet our visiting pirates and mermaids: 10:30am & 1:00pm

Eddie Ifft

The annual Santa Parade - featuring Yo Gabba Gabba, Ben 10 and live reindeers!

Wild: Amazing animals in a changing world

The Thinking Pavilion

Thinking Pavilions Type A and Type B: Melbourne Central, 211 Latrobe St (cnr Swanston St), Melbourne
Trading hours: Mon-Thurs, Fri: 10am-9pm, Sat: 10am-6pm, Sun: 10am-5pm

Collect your lucky ticket: Jungle Juice, 20 Centre Pl, Melbourne
Trading hours: Mon-Fri: 7am-6pm, Sat: 8am-6pm, Sun: 8.30am-6pm

Vodafone, Melbourne Central, 211 Latrobe St (cnr Swanston St), Melbourne
Trading hours: Mon-Thurs, Fri: 10am-9pm, Sat: 10am-6pm, Sun: 10am-5pm

Pulling

Donna is going to marry Karl. Or is she?

Wacky Talent Show: What's Your Wacky Talent?

Meet special guest star Miranda Cosgrove!

-Register on the day from 10.30am & you could be selected to perform your wacky talent on stage, Level 2 outside in Homelane next to Villa & Hut.

-Performers must be aged 5-15 years

Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival

Monday 31 August
The New Black
6.30pm - 7.15pm
Session 1:
6.30pm - 7.15pm
Nia's Melancholy (10 mins)
Bourke Boy (10 mins)
The Farm (11 mins)
Aunty Maggie & The Womba Wakgun (11 mins)

Session 2:
7.30pm - 8.15pm
The Party Shoes (11 mins)
Jacob (11 mins)
Ralph (10 mins)

The Australian Ballet School: Fabulous Fairy and Friends Day

'Duets Volume 1' A Collaboration between upcoming and established Urban artists

What's On at Melbourne Museum

Ngarjun and Nakun: Our eyes, our footprints
This exhibition explores the powerful collective story of the Mullet family, a Victorian Aboriginal family. Featuring paintings, textiles and objects from four generations of family members, the exhibition demonstrates the knowledge of culture and family connections that have been instilled through the generations by grandparents Albert and Rachel Mullett.
Date: 10 July to 10 October 2009

NAIDOC WEEK 2009 program
NAIDOC Week is an important calendar event celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In 2009 the week's theme is 'Honouring Our Elders, Nurturing Our Youth'. Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre will be hosting a range of activities to celebrate NAIDOC Week.
Date: 5 to 12 July 2009

Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award Exhibition
This is an annual award-based exhibition showcasing the 10 best Australian contemporary functional designs in lighting, furniture, accessories and homewares. Victorian finalists featured in the exhibition include Bridget Bodenham, Stuart McFarlane and John Hoogendoorn.
Date: 14 August to 25 October 2009

Design Now
Do you ever wonder what the next big thing in design will be? What are the best emerging ideas and trends? See the designs of Australia's young design graduates who have competed with fellow students to exhibit their work in Design Now The group of finalists represent the best and freshest upcoming designers in Australia.
Design Now is an Object Gallery touring exhibition.
Date: 14 August to 25 October 2009

The Kazoos Children's Stage Show

3rd December
Imagination Magic: Caroline Springs Civic Cenre: 193-201 Caroline Springs Blvd (Corner of Lake St)
03 9747 5300

10th December
Imagination Magic Hillside: Banchory Grove Community Centre Banchory Avenue, Hillside
03 9747 7390

17th December
Imagination Magic Melton: Melton Community Hall, High Street Melton.
03 9747 7390

December 18th
Hampton Park Carols, Fordholm Rd Hampton Park
03 9799 9911

20th December
City of Glen Eira Carols by Candlelight, Princes Park, Bambra Rd, Caulfield South
03 9524 3402

21st December
The Kazoos Christmas Show: Gasworks Arts park, Graham St, Albert Park
03 9699 3253

22nd December
The Kazoos Christmas Show: Gasworks Arts park, Graham St, Albert Park
03 9699 3253

23rd December
The Kazoos Christmas Show: The Keysborough Hotel, Crn Cheltenham and Korrigan rd Cheltemham
03 9798 2055

December 31st
Toora Tourist Park NYE Celebrations: Toora Recreation Reserve, South Gippsland
03 5686 2257

Jan 9th 2010
Mornington Peninsula Library: Vancouver st mornington
03 5950 1705

Jan 18th - 22nd 2010
Centro Sunshine

Disney-Pixar Cars Truck Tour

HOOPLA

With something for everyone to enjoy, Hoopla will dazzle all Easter long weekend from 12pm-5pm each day - and best of all it's FREE!

The whole family can delight in amazing aerial acrobatics, side-splitting comedy capers, virtuosic circus stunts, jaw-dropping performances by renowned local and international artists and circus workshops for the kids.

Come and experience the wild carnival atmosphere of Hoopla with exciting new elements including The Hoopla Big Top - a spectacular big top circus tent featuring the highly skilled antics of Rumpel the Jester of Oz, The Rosetski Brothers, The Doogans and The Great Gondos.

After dark the Hoopla Big Top will host Carnival Nights - edgy, quirky live shows by Australia's best street performers. Carnival Nights runs on Saturday and Sunday night from 6:30pm for $10 a pop.

Make your way to The Tiny Top for an amusing and entertaining variety of oddities and fast-moving sideshow acts from around the globe in a vibrant, popcorn-scented atmosphere.

Palm Grove will be transformed into a circus ring with high voltage performances by Team Loko, Kit 'n Kiboodle, Dislocate and Zebastian Hunter.

Team Loko's Monkey Punch is a fresh dose of awesome acrobatic vengeance combining all the most exciting elements of circus and free style acrobatics with urban choreography and street stylings.

It's paw to the floor action at Kit 'n Kiboodle as you watch two old rivals, Kit the glamour puss and Kaboodle the cheese loving mouse, swing, scratch, roll and tumble in comic strip style circus hi-jinx.

The first Australian to be accepted by The National Circus School of Montreal, Zeb Hunter's Cloudswing act is energetic and dangerous featuring acrobatic twists and somersaults.

Circusworks' Hoopla Kidzone at Harbourside Amphitheatre will be a hit with the little ones where they can get a taste of circus life, learning to juggle, spin plates, stilt walk and hula hoop by circus experts, while mum and dad sit back and relax.

Don't miss roving performances by Dislocate - on the street or in the air, Dislocate have spell-bound audiences worldwide with their style of acrobatic aerial theatre.

Roll up Roll up for the best fun this Easter at Hoopla!

Darling Harbour is Sydney's leading entertainment and leisure destination offering an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars, cafes and activities. It's easy to get to Darling Harbour by train, bus or park in one of 6 car parks in the precinct.

Design Now! and the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Awards

Recognised locally and internationally as the most prestigious award in Australian design, the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award aims to both reward and promote excellence in functional design and uncover the most original and inventive minds in the country.

Nick Jr. presents YO GABBA GABBA! Live on Stage

This super-cool live show will tour for the first time ever, heading to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in May, 2009. Nick Jr. presents YO GABBA GABBA! Live On Stage is produced by Entertainment Store Group. Yo Gabba Gabba! premiered on Nick Jr. in August, 2007. In the UK, Yo Gabba Gabba! won a BAFTA for best international children's show in 2008 and ranked as the No. 1 preschool program watched by children under the age of 4 across all Australian free-to-air networks. Yo Gabba Gabba! is a groundbreaking series with broad appeal among preschoolers, parents, teens and adults. The hit show features guest stars like Jack Black, Rhys Darby from Flight of the Conchords and Elijah Wood alongside bands like The Tings Tings, MGMT and The Roots.

YGG! creators Christian Jacobs and Scott Schulz felt Australia was the perfect market to premiere the live version of their TV cult hit. 'Our fans Down Under have been so positive about Yo Gabba Gabba! that we thought Australia was the perfect place for our first tour' says Jacobs. Lance Robertson, who plays DJ Lance Rock, is 'so excited to be touring Australia' and is looking forward to seeing the country with the Gabba-gang.

The live show will feature several top-secret Australian celebrity guests performing their favourite 'Dancey Dance', plus many popular songs from the series, including Party in My Tummy, Get The Sillies Out, and Hugs Are Fun.

In April 2008 Yo Gabba Gabba! first launched in Australia on Nick Jr., the number one preschool channel for 0-4 year olds. Nick Jr. is proud to present the world premiere of YO GABBA GABBA! Live on Stage. Nick Jr. will launch Season 2 of the hit series on Wednesday 1 April at 7:30am and 4pm. Nick Jr. is the first channel in Australia totally dedicated to preschoolers, providing shows that stimulate, educate, involve and excite developing and enquiring minds. ABC 1 & ABC 2 will air season 2 in July this year.

Brisbane:
Fri 22 May & Sat 23 May
Brisbane Convention Centre, Southbank

Melbourne:
Fri 29 May & Sat 30 May
Palais Theatre St Kilda

Autumn School Holidays at Melbourne Aquarium

Everyday throughout the school holidays, watch the penguins huddle together under the snow storm created by a snow-making machine - similar to those used on the Victorian ski fields. Don't miss the opportunity to see the exhibit transforming into a white wonderland right before your eyes!

The Antarctica exhibit at Melbourne Aquarium mimics the light and climate cycle of the Antarctic, creating long days in summer and almost total darkness in winter - making the penguins feel right at home!

Learn about living and working in these extreme conditions in the Aurora Ice Station, where you can dress up as an Australian Antarctic explorer, jump on a real ski-doo and check out how scientists live and work in the coldest, windiest and driest continent on Earth.

What's On at Melbourne Museum

A Salve's Eye View: an introduction to the people and places of Pompeii
Meet the people and see the sights of Pompeii through the eyes of a slave during this 20 minute presentation. Join your slave guide at the Porta Marina, visit the baths, a thermopolium (fast food outlet) and walk along the Via dell'Abbondanza. Along the way encounter people from every strata of Pompeii society and ready yourself for a fine dinner at the slaves residence.
Date: 27 June to 12 July 2009
Time: 10.30am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 1.30pm
Cost: Free entry with A Day in Pompeii exhibition ticket

Lecture: The Archaeology of Pompeii with Dr Patrick Greene
In 2007 and again in 2008 Dr Patrick Greene visited Pompeii as part of the preparations for the A Day in Pompeii exhibition at Melbourne Museum. As an archaeologist he was given full access to sites at Pompeii itself, at Herculaneum, Oplontis and Stabiae that are not normally accessible to the general public. This talk will take the audience 'behind the scenes' of one of the world's greatest archaeological landscapes, with vivid reminders of the Vesuvian destruction of AD79.
Date: Thursday 16 July 2009, 6pm
Cost: $35 adults, $24 concessions and MV members (includes entry to A Day in Pompeii exhibition)

Lecture: Pompeii and Gold-Rich Victoria with Dr Patrick Greene
In late-19th century Victoria, at the height of prosperity that resulted from gold mining, the ancient town of Pompeii held as much fascination as it does today. Dr Patrick Greene uncovers the evidence and reveals Pompeii's continuing legacy in Victoria, with remarkable survivals in Ballarat, Bendigo and Melbourne.
Date: Thursday 23 July 2009
Cost: $35 adults, $24 concessions and MV members (includes entry to A Day in Pompeii exhibition)

Beware the Dog: Mosaic Workshop with David Jack
The theme that often occurs in early Roman works is a mosaic that is a public warning at the entrance of a house. David Jack, Australian mural and mosaic artist, will show you the mosaics of Pompeii and provide a short history of Australia's mosaics. David will give participants an understanding of the steps involved in creating a mosaic, recreating an image from Pompeii and material handling and traditional methods.
Date: Thursday 16 July, 5.30pm to 8.30pm and Saturday 18 July, 2pm to 5.30pm
Cost: $75 (includes entry to A Day in Pompeii exhibition)

The Ornate and Formal Gardens of Pompeii: perfume, water, hedges and porticos Garden Workshop with John Patrick
Decorative and functional water features formed the gardens of Pompeii with elements of air-conditioning and sustainability. The gardens embraced pleasure and purpose with decorative and functional water features such as ponds and fountains. Voluptuous sculptures, ornamental plants, perfumed flowers, herbs, hedges and vegetables were characteristic of gardens both then and today. John Patrick's illustrated lecture will be followed by a project whereby participants can create their own garden in the style of the Pompeian villa. John will discuss colour, texture, size, position, water-wise plants and types of water features. There will be an opportunity for individual and group discussion.
Date: Thursday 23 July, 5.30pm to 8.30pm and Saturday 25 July, 2pm to 5.30pm
Cost: $75 (includes entry to A Day in Pompeii exhibition)

Ngarjun and Nakun: Our eyes, our footprints
This exhibition explores the powerful collective story of the Mullet family, a Victorian Aboriginal family. Featuring paintings, textiles and objects from four generations of family members, the exhibition demonstrates the knowledge of culture and family connections that have been instilled through the generations by grandparents Albert and Rachel Mullett.
Date: 10 July to 10 October 2009

Casting Call for As the Bell Rings

Fans will then be able to visit the Disney Channel website through till June 6 to view the online auditions and select their favourite finalists.


The greatest things in life are cheap, and subscription boxes are no exception. These cheap subscription boxes are some of the greatest offers on the market today if you choose to join the latest monthly shaving club, tasty Blue Bottle Coffee, or even have a couple of.

In recent years, the fight between Android and iPhone has hyped up significantly. It was once said that iPhones were technically better, and the only reason anyone might prefer Android was that they couldn't afford one of Apple's products or had a religious objection.


Bitcoin bloodbath nears levels of dot-com bust many tokens go to zero

Bitcoin's meteoric rise last year had many observers calling it one of the biggest speculative manias in history. The cryptocurrency's 2018 crash may help cement its place in the bubble record books. . Down 70% from its December high after sliding for a fourth straight day Friday, Bitcoin is getting.

Australian Celebrity Chef Mark Best Brings Down-Under 'Bistronomy' to Sydney - Recipes

[caption align="alignright" caption="Speaking up: Frank and open were the discussions where university students aired their views (above and below). Pix by M.A. Pushpa Kumara"][/caption] Not mere platitudes or lip service but concrete action is what the University Grants Commission (UGC) has been dishing out along with its academic content to all of the 15 state universities spread across the country. [caption align="alignright" caption="Rajan Thananayagam: First Ironman challenge still fresh in his memory"][/caption] Rajan Thananayagam cuts a noticeable figure at the busy NCC grounds. Quietly observing the goings-on around him, his near perfect posture and physique (even when he’s seated) is that of an athlete. “My dad did want me to be a sportsman,” he smiles, but all young Rajan wanted to do was run around in his then less urbanized hometown of Wattala and climb ambarella trees. He did dabble in sports from rugger to basketball and karate- which he admittedly had to be dragged to.

IRONMAN 70.3 Colombo concludes today at 1 p.m.

LG polls a reflection of people’s disgust

Don Via email

Puttalam Booruwa can survive on this untapped diet

Your story about donkey extinction (Padma Kumari Kankanamge, “‘Puttalam Booruwa’ on verge of extinction”, February 18 ) reminded me that those on the Kalpitiya peninsula have an alternative source of nutrition. Species of Salicornia and Suaeda, known collectively as Omari Keera (Tamil Umari Keerai), grow extensively in the saline soils close to the lagoon. The booruwas often can be seen eating these succulent plants. Scientists overseas have done extensive research on these halophytes, particularly in reference to their use as sources of food and pharmacological substances. Its oil can be extracted, the residue making for excellent animal fodder. Ferulic acid, found in Salicornia brachiata, can be used to fight leukaemia. Salicornia (known colloquially in English as “Samphire”) is considered a delicacy by European chefs. Its commercial production is in its infancy, which means that Sri Lanka has a good chance. However, government interest in these potential money-spinners has been extremely low. The Kalpitiya peninsula is seen merely as a spot for wind farms and tourist resorts. The powers that be need to understand that “development” does not mean merely large infrastructure projects or super-hotels. Ecological concerns are not necessarily a barrier to development, but should shape the direction taken by development. The Puttalam Booruwa should be thriving on its peculiar diet, not on the verge of extinction.

Vinod Moonesinghe Via email

Get rid of the old and corrupt and bring in young professionals to parliament

Parliament needs a thorough clean-up. All the old and corrupt must be thrown out. Professionally qualified young men and women must be voted into parliament. They should not align with any of the political parties. These young men and women would guide Sri Lanka to its former glory and make right all that has been destroyed by former and present regimes. For nearly 70 years, since we achieved freedom, the ruling political parties have done maximum harm to this country. Once we had a stable economy, a rich culture, excellent system of education, and a law abiding society. Today Parliament has become a breeding ground of the worst type of corruption. People have little or no confidence in them. Of course, they do come together over matters that generate kickbacks-- 99 year leasing of national assets like airports, sea ports, railways, expressways etc. Very soon our national treasures such as the Sinharaja rain forest and Parakrama Samudra and Thisawawe reservoirs too might face this same plight.

Wilson Ambalangoda

No mention of her well known grandparents

I was sad to see that all the newspaper articles about Danielle de Niese fail to mention her grandparents, Estelle and Douglas de Niese. They were well known performers in the music scene here in Sri Lanka in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s. I would think that at least some of Danielle’s talent would have come from this dynamic duo.

Barbara Robbins Rajagiriya

24 February 2018 @ 12:56 pm

The lone crusader for Justice Kandiah Neelakandan When H.L. de Silva, PC, died, S.L. Gunasekera said that the last of the Mohicans had departed. Today, with the greatest sorrow and trepidation we were informed of the death of a very redoubtable warrior that the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has known, from the day of its inauguration. There were great battles won by individuals to ensure that the people enjoyed the freedoms the BASL was there to protect. But, soon after they relinquished their positions as office bearers, they went back to defending people with grievances, and he was the only warrior who relentlessly, for two score years, wielded his armour and his shining sword in the protection of the Judiciary, the BASL and the people. He was sometimes a lone crusader, without the protection of an office, but it did not hinder or deter him of his conviction to ensure justice to the oppressed. His enormous resources, incomparable gift of organizing events, his eye for detail and the consummate manner in which he, against diverse odds undertook various tasks, made whatever he touched turn to gold. The office bearers of the BASL benefitted immensely due to the insurmountable energy and skills with which he acted. The Law Journal stands as an epitome of his indefatigable, human spirit which would last for generations. It is with joy that I recall the pictures of this great warrior sitting besides Chief Justice Shiranee Bandaranayake when she was impeached. Of the thousands of other Attorneys who would readily have been her Instructing Attorney, she chose this great warrior to be her most trusted faithful ‘man in armour’. I came to know of his departure when someone gave me a call. After a number of years, I was emotionally moved. There were even droplets of tears that fell. I was surprised, as there were hundreds of other people who I have witnessed the passing away of, but never have they made me writhe in grief, as when I heard of the unexpected removal from our midst of my friend and a man almost as important as most presidents of BASL he worked with. When I decided to contest for the post of Secretary of the BASL in 1989, he steadfastly supported me and I was able to get 80% of the votes of Jaffna and the Eastern Province. His whisper in the ears of his colleagues and friends in remote Bars in the country was sufficient to get the Bar to gel together and vote for one individual who had been preferred by him. I won the elections with a large majority and made him my Assistant Secretary, which was my prerogative as the Secretary. With him and Desmond Fernando, as the President, we created history in the BASL. The National Law Conference was his idea and he worked tirelessly and remorselessly to ensure that it was the best conference organized by the BASL held up to that date. President Premadasa, who was the Chief Guest, was overjoyed to see the magnificence of the Law Conference that had been staged by my friend, without whom it would have been a total failure. From that day onwards till his death, he was involved in the activities of the BASL and took part in debates and supported the Executive Committee without reservation. When I was the Secretary of the BASL I was identified as an enemy of the Government and was accused as a JVP sympathizer by the PRAA. I received a message from Ossie Abeygunasekera that the PRAA was trying to kill me, and to be careful as they had planned to come to my home to kill me. Immediately, I contacted President Premadasa and my teacher Lalith Athulathmudali, who was the Minister of National Security. They assured me that they did not have any interest in killing anyone least of all the Secretary of the BASL, but said, there was no way in which they could guarantee my safety as there were armed gangs roaming the streets killing with impunity. My crime was that I was instrumental in getting the entire Bar to protest against the killers of Wijedasa Liyanarachchi. I had to leave my residence and stay in safe houses and when I told my predicament to my friend, he took me to a rich Tamil business friend of his and I stayed in that palatial house for four days until I went to Hong Kong to attend the Law Asia conference. This is a secret that my friend had not even told his own family. Kandiah Neelakandan is no more. Even if a Mohican appears in the horizon I do not think a lone warrior of the calibre of Kandiah Neelakandan would be reborn, as he was an individual who would equally, passionately and tirelessly work for the BASL and the legal community without holding any office and sans any publicity, plaudits or laurels. His courage and convictions on important matters like the impeachment of the Chief Justice and when the Judges of the Supreme Courts were beleaguered by continuous Contempt and Scandalization of the Courts, made him to volunteer to be the Instructing Attorney for no fee or reward. Kandiah Neelakandan will remain supreme in my mind and in my heart amongst all those who worked closely with me. Therefore, he should be remembered as a living legacy for generations to come. He has proudly defended the freedom of our motherland and has been involved in many cases in instances where the Executive, with all its power strived to take away the freedoms of the ordinary people.

Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, PC

Your altruistic attitude towards humanity will be your legacy

Dr. A. J. M. J. B. Walalawela

“Nirvana is not the blowing out of the candle. It is the extinguishing of the flame because the day is come” -Rabindranath Tagore Walale as he was known to his friends was a charismatic, soft-spoken young medical student when we first met him at the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry & Veterinary Sciences within the University Campus at Peradeniya on January 18, 1972, the date he referred to as the ‘jour de gloire’ in his editorial for the souvenir published at the Reunion in October 2016. On being awarded his medical degree the young Dr. Walawela was posted to the General Hospital Badulla where he undertook his early training followed by a tenure as a medical officer at Minipe and then at Deltota in the Central Province. Towards the end of 1983 he worked in the Sultanate of Oman for a brief spell. He married Nilani Ratnayake, a school teacher on September 19, 1985. Attracted to the speciality of medical administration he took up the position of Deputy Director at the University Hospital at Peradeniya serving the people of Kandy, his place of birth. He took special responsibility for the education of those professions allied to medicine especially the area of nursing. He was then promoted as the Regional Director of Medical Services for the district. He was a skilful and fair but firm administrator with an affable personality who upheld the ethos contained within the national policy of providing a free medical service to the people of Sri Lanka. He was subsequently appointed by the Health Ministry as the Director of National Quarantine Services taking charge of preventive health with the main focus on the ports of entry playing a vital role at the peak of the Avian A HIN1 flu epidemic. He represented Sri Lanka at the ASEAN conference held in 2009 in the Philippines chairing some of the plenaries addressing the challenges posed by the Avian flu epidemic in the South East Asian region. He was also called in to manage the crisis that followed the scandal in connection with the importation of ‘ digestive’ biscuits from India around the same time. Walale retired from the national health service in 2010 at 60. Being a workaholic he accepted an offer as the company medical director for a private sector establishment, the Ihala Kothmale Plant, based in Talawakelle where he spent the next two years. Failing health at this stage meant that he was unable to continue with this job. He returned to Kandy to spend his remaining days at Katugastota in his family home with his wife and children. Jayananda Bandara Walalawela was born on November 9, 1950 in Kandy to Mr and Mrs Jayasekera, one of six children. Mr Jayasekera was a direct descendant of Dingirirala who living in the village of Walalawela in the Hanguranketha district rebelled along with Puran Appu and Gongale Godabanda fighting the foreign dominance by the British Raj in the mid-18th century. He received his primary education in Kandy at Vidyartha College moving on to St Sylvester’s with academic achievements at both schools. Walale entered the University of Ceylon as it was then called in 1972 to read medicine at the scenic Paradeniya campus. A very modest man of ethical principles focused on simple living, he defied many of his contemporaries during the 1983 civil unrest and the ensuing turmoil, treating the victims of violence with compassion, something his son Niluksha recalls with pride. An avid reader, a linguist with an aptitude for Sinhala, English and French, Walale was a great admirer and follower of the late Prof Ediriweera Sarathchandra, the renowned playwright and dramatist. Gifted with a liberal mind and incisive analytical skills, he was a caring father and loving husband. Daughter Chamalka reminisces how Walale discouraged them from sitting their year 5 scholarship exams for he believed that children should learn but not be compelled to compete at this young age a view that is shared by many contemporary western educationists promoting equality. Walale was a grateful servant of his alma maters actively contributing to the OBA functions. He had an interest in tennis, rugby and cricket volunteering as a sports medical officer to various organisations. He accompanied the SAARC team to India in the early 90s as its medical officer. He wrote to the newspapers in his spare time and also organised several blood donation camps. Although a quiet and unassuming introvert, he was a raconteur of class fondly remembered by his batchmates as the great networker who brought them together to Kandy in October 2016 to celebrate a reunion 40 years since graduation, a remarkable feat given that this batch is now scattered all around the globe. Many of his friends will recall the trouble he took to attend the event with Nilani despite his poor health for he wanted to be among us celebrating the big day. Little did we realise that it was going to be our last meeting in person! A nominal Buddhist but with an altruistic attitude towards humanity, Dr Walalawela’s legacy could be described in the words of Martin Luther King Jr who once said, “The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important”. May his soul rest in peace.

Dr Chandra Abrew, Dr Gamini Jayasekera, Dr Nanda Wahalawatte, Dr Sathi Ariyanayagam

We will always keep your memory alive

Lakshmie De Lanerolle (nee Seneviratne)

It is almost five years since you left us leaving a deep void in our hearts. During these five years there is not a single day that we have not thought of you and reflected on the good times we had with you. No amount of words can describe how much we still miss you. To overcome our grief we have focused on continuing all the good deeds and meritorious activities you had initiated and had been doing all your life. The commemoration of the fifth death anniversary fell in January this year. There was a Pirith ceremony on the night of the 20th followed by a Sangikkadana for 25 monks on the 21st at our residence in Kalutara. It is our fervent hope that the merits gained through these activities could shorten your journey through Sansara and enable you to attain the sublime state of Nirvana.

Your loving Aruni and Devika

24 February 2018 @ 12:39 pm

[caption align="alignright" caption="Presentation of the completed Pattirippuwa: The architect of the Kandyan Kingdom Devendra Mulachari and Sri Wickrema Rajasinha are seen at right"][/caption] She has a long name and a long and successful career dealing in many areas of human interest. A master gemmologist, geologist, jewellery designer, scientist, and publisher Avanti Jasmine Germani Sri Nissanka Karunaratna put all that aside to pursue a career in art.

24 February 2018 @ 12:31 pm

[caption align="alignright" caption="To ward off apala or ill-effects, blessings being called down on people through cloth tied to a bo-tree in a temple. Pic by M.A. Pushpa Kumara"][/caption] The so-called effect of the stars, whether beneficent or maleficent, on mortals has been a fascination as well as a morbid fear that has gripped humankind from time immemorial.
  • In both groups of ‘cases’ and ‘controls’, a majority of the participants were females -- 57% and 54% respectively. They were in the age-group 41-47 years.
  • Less than 1/4th of the participants in both groups had studied only up to Grade 10, while about 1/3rd of the participants had tertiary education.
  • 86.7% of the ‘cases’ and 73.3% of the ‘controls’ were Buddhists
  • There was no significant difference in the socio-demographic details between the two groups.
  • A majority in both groups -- 68% of the ‘cases’ and 61% of the ‘controls’ -- believed in the overall concept of astrology. There was no significant difference between the groups.
  • A majority with depression, 60.1%, readily recalled negative astrological predictions. Of them 54.6% believed they were having a bad astrological period, while 51.7% felt helpless due to astrological effects being the causation for their bad period. However, only a significant minority without a history of depression shared the same memories or beliefs and these differences were statistically significant.
  • Significantly more people with depression sought astrological remedies and believed that those were helpful. The remedies included wearing specified gem stones, making offerings to the temple and to poor people, waking up early in the morning to do certain rituals such as cleaning and going to the temple regularly.
  • More people (25%) who were depressed cast their horoscopes last year than the others (6%).
  • More people (60%) who were depressed recalled negative astrological predictions than the others (16%).
  • More people (47%) who were depressed sought astrological remedies than the others (6%).
  • More people (28%) who were depressed believed those remedies were helpful than the others (3%).
  • Thirty-one depressed participants (22%) believed that their inauspicious period was an obstacle to getting better.
  • More than 1/3rd and 1/5th of patients with depression believed that astrological beliefs should be addressed during psychiatric treatment and being in an inauspicious period was an obstacle to getting better.

24 February 2018 @ 12:22 pm

The Indian poet Malik Muhammad Jayasi chose the ravishing beauty of princess Padmavathi and the political chaos it caused to compose his epic poem Padmavathi in 1540CE. Just fifty years later, in Sri Lanka, there appeared Dona Catherina, a real princess, whose life was crucial in Lankan history but who has been largely ignored in our main historical documentations and unlike Padmavathi, failed to inspire poets.

24 February 2018 @ 12:14 pm

24 February 2018 @ 12:10 pm

24 February 2018 @ 12:07 pm

The Sooriya Village will host the first Sri Lankan to engineer and produce multiple Grammy award winning recordings, Kavichandran Alexander from March 5 to April 4. Kavichandran Alexander (Kavi), has recorded many top international artists including Padmabushan Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhat, V.G. Jog (Guru of Pandit Amaradeva) and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan (son of the guru of Pandit Ravi Shankar) and is the first Asian to both produce and record major symphony orchestras, such as the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, the Saint Petersburg Symphony and the Hungarian National Philharmonic. Music recorded by Kavi’s label have been featured in six Hollywood films including Dead Man Walking (Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon), Angel Eyes (Jennifer Lopez), Meet the Fockers (Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand) and the Bon Jovi documentary ‘The Circle’. Kavi is making it back home after almost 50 years.As his association with music and musicians around the world reflects, Kavi is truly a connoisseur of global classical music. He will be conducting multiple meet and greet sessions and workshops at the Sooriya Village and in selected cities away from Colombo from March 7 where he will share knowledge, expertise and skills gained from his experiences working with world renowned artists, interspersed with interesting life stories and anecdotes. Workshops are ticketed at Rs.1500 and meet and greet sessions are free.

For reservations or more information, contact Sooriya Village on 0112552666.

24 February 2018 @ 12:01 pm

Standing tall amidst the many architectural wonders of Moscow is the Bolshoi Theatre that has gained worldwide acclaim as one of the grand venues for opera and ballet productions alike. The Bolshoi has great historical value to Russia. The architectural structure of the building has been influenced by 18th century styles, after which it faced a considerable amount of reconstruction. Architect, Joseph Bové captured the neoclassical façade of the theatre in 1825, when it was redesigned, rebuilt and reopened following a series of unfortunate events. The Bolshoi has been the birthplace of many a ballet masterpiece and has hosted numerous ballet productions on its stage of brilliant artistry, especially those composed by Tchaikovsky Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker among them. Bolshoi Theatre is also known as a repertory theatre that hosts a collection of productions, mostly ballet, seasonally. It also introduces a number of new productions, both ballet and opera each season. The Bolshoi Theatre has its own orchestra that occasionally tours worldwide while also conducting concerts of symphonic music at the theatre itself. While it holds great cultural importance to Russia, it has had its share of controversy bureaucratic interests, a recent renovation that cost 16 times its estimation, dealings with the mafia and premieres being cancelled. Yet, despite all the turbulence, the Bolshoi Theatre stands tall as one of the best classical ballet companies in the world, constantly competing with the Mariinsky to be the best. Now local ballet fans can see dancers from the Bolshoi and Mariinsky in an evening of ballet, right here in Sri Lanka. The Russian Centre in Colombo invites all readers to join them to witness this rare occasion of “Russian Classical Ballet in Colombo” by the Natalia Permyakova Chamber Ballet Troupe on March 30 and 31 at the Nelum Pokuna Performing Arts Theatre as they perform stunning extracts from world renowned ballets.

The box plan is now open at: Russian Centre in Colombo, 10, Independence Avenue, Colombo 7.

Tel No: 2685429/2685440 (hotline)

+94 77 460 7575 (for text messages only)

Email: [email protected]

24 February 2018 @ 11:57 am

24 February 2018 @ 11:53 am

24 February 2018 @ 11:49 am

Celebrating 70 years of U.S - Sri Lankan partnership (#USASL70), American jazz sensation Wycliffe Gordon, the renowned musician, composer, conductor, and arranger is in Sri Lanka for a series of free performances. Wycliffe Gordon and His International All Stars are touring Sri Lanka from February 24 to 28, staging performances and master classes in Colombo, Galle, and Matara, bringing this truly American music genre from across the sea. Wycliffe Gordon is a veteran member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet and an original member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. The Wall Street Journal named his show “Jazz a la Carte” one of the five best moments in jazz history. He is currently an Artist in Residence at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia. Join the Wycliffe #USASL70 celebrations at any of the free public performances below:

February 26:

12:30 p.m. - Dutch Hospital, opposite World Trade Center, Colombo

4 p.m- Wekanda Road, Colombo 2

February 27:

The Grand Kandyan Hotel hosted 300 plus guests to a High Tea and fashion show on February 3 at their Sky Lounge which has a bird’s- eye view of the Kandy city. [caption align="alignleft" caption="Enjoying traditional Jaffna flavours. Pix by Indika Handuwala"][/caption] A string of lights lit up the pathway to the main buffet area, while several market stores lined up on either side, were selling produce from Jaffna. One of them also contained fresh vegetables from the area. The huts were draped with Palmyrah leaves, while several push bicycles on the side of the trees gave a glimpse of life in Jaffna. Several dummy horse dancers were quick to take to the floor, - with the ‘Nakkappu Gramiya Kalai Kulu’ dance troupe from Jaffna moving in unison to the beat, whilst manoeuvering their replica horses effortlessly. Heading to the food I made my way to the ‘Jaffna Kool’ counter. The soup, as one would call it, packs in a range of complex flavours, all in one sip. Some of its main ingredients include Palmyrah flour, jak, blue swimmer crabs, prawns, boneless fish fillets and different spices etc. It was served in a perfectly clean coconut shell. Then it was over to the buffet. This comprised a variety of dishes (70 to be exact) all of them exclusive to Jaffna prepared by several ladies from Jaffna, using traditional recipes that have been passed down for generations. This type of cooking is only found in homes that still make their own spices etc. The feast included dishes such as spinach pittu, string hoppers, rice, brinjal white curry, onion fenugreek curry, elephant yam curry, thuvaram dhal curry, mullet fish curry, prawn curry, shark mallum, stingray fish curry, beef curry, cuttlefish curry and chicken curry, to name a few, not forgetting the fried prawns, fish and cuttlefish that was sheer temptation. Right next to the main food area, was a hopper action station, comprising milk hoppers and Dosai, and if you were looking for different textures in your plate, this was certainly a go to option. The dessert station was another highlight of the event, including desserts such as Rio Ice cream, Pinatu (which tastes like kavum), laddu, mango and jak. “We’re very proud that we’re able to bring different communities together through food and music, while creating that Jaffna experience right here in Colombo,” Tharika Goonathilake, the head of marketing and communications- city hotels (Cinnamon Hotels) said. As I moved on from the food, a story that inspired me that evening was the one told by the ladies from Punkudutivu Island in Jaffna who ran the market stalls at the festival. Over the years they have overcome several difficulties, particularly owing to the war. Most of them are single parents who have courageouslye gone on with their own ways of making a living to bring up their families, Tharika tells me. Their stalls sold Palmyrah handicrafts and also spices etc. and the hotel does not charge any commission from them. That’s the significance of the festival.

The festival will serve both lunch and dinner today at Rs. 2,850/ nett per head. Call 011-2497468 for reservations

For more info log on to their Facebook page at- https://www.facebook.com/CinnamonGrandC/

The Ladies VIP Night celebrates International Women’s Week 2018 with an evening of empowerment and eco-vision on March 7 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo. The event will feature several TEDx Colombo speakers in a panel discussion, an eco-chic fashion show, a “Green inspired” dinner and a celebratory bubbly toast. The evening is all about Empowerment, Inspiration and promoting Green Living” event producer Latika Alok said. The panel discussion on “Gender Equality – Fact or Fiction?” will have Selyna Peiris – TEDx Colombo Alumni, and Director of Business Development at Selyn Handlooms, Sarinda Unamboowe – TEDx Colombo Alumni, MD MAS of Linea Aqua and MAS Kreeda Hans Billimoria of The Grassrooted Trust, who works on sexual and reproductive health education and prevention of gender-based and partner violence, including sexual harassment in the work place and Chandi Dharmaratne, Senior HR Director, Virtusa - A global IT services company. The panel will be moderated by Aritha Wickramasinghe, lawyer and founding trustee of the global education initiative Think Equal and the Director of Equality Law at legal pro bono platform iProBono. He is also a TEDx Alumni. Well known thespian Shanuki De Alwis, TEDx Colombo Alumni, will be doing an introduction skit to the panel discussion. Shanuki is the General Manager of Vision1, an international advertising agency. Ajai Vir Singh, founder of Colombo Fashion Week will also be a special guest speaker while Linda Spelde-winde, Entrepreneur Founder of AOD Colombo, Fashionmarket.lk will be invited to toast all women across the world. In collaboration with organic food company, Saaraketha, the Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo will present a unique organic-inspired menu, using native Sri Lankan ingredients and heirloom recipes, interpreted in a contemporary manner. Also supporting this event are electronic media, Lite87, Official TV Partner Hi TV, Creative Partner, Vision One, Ticket Print Partner, APS Logistic. BMW will be promoting their BMW i3 which is the world’s first series production model to be designed for sustainability at every stage. Sand Floral, Design Partners, are creating the green décor for the evening. Ophir will be providing a luxury door gift. Ladies VIP Night will work with Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo to support the Ceylon Fellowship of Service – Prithipura Home. Prithipura ensures a safe place for the special care and rehabilitation of around 70 mentally and physically, differently-abled male and female residents. Limited tickets priced at Rs 6,500 are available so book early by calling 0778591846. Men are most welcome to attend, say the organisers.

For more on the Ladies VIP Night Facebook page, see : ladies.vip.night.colombo

[caption align="alignright" caption="Homely and inviting: Kele’s design combines comfort and practicality"][/caption] Once you get to Kataragama town, take the Sithulpauwa road and turn left at a sign that simply says “Kele”. Follow the signs from there and you will arrive at “Kele”, a jungle retreat, the creation of owners Nishani and Vasantha Wanigasooriya. It comprises three chalets with six rooms and can accommodate three persons in each room. Thoughtfully designed and constructed to minimize impact on the surrounding bush, the chalets are on stilts and allow a through-flow of air and protection from “creepy crawlies”. Nishani and Vasantha being wildlife enthusiasts, wanted a place “far from the madding crowd” and one that could be a haven for wildlife, and the name “Kele” came from their love of the jungles where every opportunity they had, would be spent. Places like Yala and other national parks would be their regular haunt. They tell me the design of the chalets just came to them, whilst dining at a restaurant and was drawn on a serviette. It grew to what is now “Kele”. “Kele” is now very much a jungle and nature-themed hideaway. The jungle around being retained the way it was meant to be, not cleared to be replaced by manicured lawns and exotic plants. The chalets blend well with their surroundings and have every comfort one could want to relax in and look forward to returning to after a safari. The decor is in earthy tones and wood is a prominent feature. All rooms are well proportioned and are equipped with tea / coffee-making facilities, mini bar, A/C, fan and hot and cold water. Stunning wildlife pictures, mostly taken by Vasantha adorn the walls. The bathrooms are large and have a shower that is a highlight - designed to simulate a waterfall! The water pours from one stone spout to a bigger one just below it and cascades over you. What better way to wash away the dust and fatigue of a safari! Laundry facilities are also available. The pool invites you to a dip at all times of the day and takes on a new dimension at night, fitted with 250 fibre optic lights that change colours. With the spangled sky above, you would indeed find it difficult to drag yourself way from the scene! The cuisine at “Kele” is excellent with Nishani personally preparing and supervising the delectable array of dishes western, eastern and typical Sri Lankan cuisine is also on offer. You will therefore be forgiven for skipping a safari to leisurely indulge! Dining here has somewhat of an “Out of Africa” feel! You walk from your room along a kerosene lantern lit gravel path to the dining area. If it is a night for a barbeque, you will see that two-tiered meshed tray contraption suspended over the flames is in full use. The bottom level closest to the flames is to sear and seal the meats and the upper level and the upper level to cook. This suspended barbeque can be tilted and swung for even cooking. The pit is made of “humbas matti” or mud from the termite mounds and coconut shells provide the fuel to complete the job. The result, succulent and well cooked meats! [caption align="alignright" caption="Fancy a dip? The pool at night"][/caption] For those who would like to leave early in the morning and spend a full day at Yala, a picnic breakfast + lunch can be provided on request. Whilst only being opened for a little over two months, Kele has a lot going for it. It is a mere ten minutes from Kataragama and the Kirivehera temple, 20 minutes from Wedihiti Kanda and 30 minutes from Situlpauwa temple. Better still the Katagamuwa entrance to the Yala National Park is only 15 minutes away and is definitely the best way to avoid the rush and crush at the Palatupana main entrance. Having stayed at “Kele” for three nights and visiting the Park every day, I was amazed at the difference - the Katagamuwa entrance had a handful of vehicles entering via that route, resulting in some very good wildlife viewing as both the visitors and animals were less disturbed. On the first day alone, I saw a leopard stretched out on a ledge on Modara Gala. Close up encounters with jackal and elephants including the tusker “Gemunu”, followed by numerous sightings of buffaloes, crocodile, deer and peacock. It is clear that “Kele” is a labour of love by both Nishani and Vasantha. They are wonderful hosts and go out of their way to ensure that their guests have a memorable stay. They are passionate about the product they offer and the glowing tributes on “bookings.com” etc is testimony of this! “Kele” offers the best of both worlds, easy access to civilizations and places of historic interest, whilst offering nature lovers or jaded city dwellers a place to relax, unwind and commune with nature. I am sure you will as I did, find your own sanctuary at “Kele”.

E-mail - [email protected] Web - www.keleyala.com

[caption align="alignright" caption="Pic courtesy Bill Harrop’s Balloon Safaris"][/caption] At some point in our lives many of us dream of grabbing a backpack, getting on an airplane and setting off on an adventure. And what better place to go do that, than in South Africa, which was selected as the No. 1 adventure destination of the year in the VirtusoLuxe Report 2018. From whale watching, hot air balloon rides, to shark cage and croc cage diving, trekking in the forest and much more, this was the world that we were introduced to at the South African Tourism Road Show 2018.

For more information log on to www.southafrica.net

It is celebration time as the silver jubilee of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura draws near. The first batch of students of the Faculty of Medical Sciences who entered when there was nothing structural at the faculty, is preparing for ‘MerrimentZ 2018’ on March 3 from 9.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Waters’ Edge Hotel in Battaramulla. Organized by the first batch or Society of Pioneer Doctors, the objectives of ‘MerrimentZ 2018’ are: To felicitate the pioneer staff, both academic and non-academic of the Faculty of Medical Sciences who faced much hardship at the inception launch a sponsorship for two final-year students, amounting to Rs. 5,000 per month per student and establish the ‘Best Clinical Merit Award’ with the presentation of a gold medal to the best student.

For more details, please contact the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of MerrimentZ 2018, Dr. Bawantha Gamage on Mobile: +94718312897.

17 February 2018 @ 11:54 am

[caption align="alignright" caption="Heartwarming moments: The thunder scene and below right, the VonTrapp family singers. Pix courtesy Cinnamon"][/caption] I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest fan of musicals. Sure, I like a bit of Les Mis now and then. And Phantom’s not too bad either. But, let’s get one thing straight. I LOVE The Sound of Music. It’s curious that the release of the 1961 Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway production, the musical following the life of Maria Von Trapp and her time taking care of seven children during the Second World War was met with less than favourable reviews. But it has stood the test of time with its most famous adaptation being the 1965 film version. Starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, the movie has held a special place in my heart for so long and the music always produces a warm, nostalgic feeling. I have revised the dialogue, memorised all the songs, and once, on a visit to Salzburg I took (read: dragged) my parents to some of the filming locations. Yeah, you get the picture. As part of a partnership between Cinnamon Life and Broadway Asia International, I was more than pleased to see that The Sound of Music would run for four nights in Colombo featuring a mixture of its touring cast and young local actors. Although I appreciate that the cost of producing a show of this magnitude is not at all cheap, I had a slight problem with the price points of the tickets (the most expensive being Rs.20,000 and the cheapest being Rs. 3500). I feel that selling tickets at these rates limits who can come and actually see the musical and is something which should be revised if Cinnamon plans to host more international shows. The arts should be accessible to everybody. Nevertheless, the actual show was pleasant and enjoyable. Without being too grandiose, the stage design did its job of emphasising the main points of the show – a tilted stage and smoke to indicate the expansive hills, or sliding sets giving way to marble staircases, French windows and a chandelier to indicate Maria’s incongruity in the Von Trapp household. [caption align="alignright" caption="Maria and the Lankan children who joined the cast at a rehearsal. Pic by Sameera Weerasekera"][/caption] The Nelum Pokuna hasn’t always been notable for its acoustic capabilities but the sound design for this show was impeccable (man, that thunder!) and it was a joy to hear a full orchestra. Due to various restrictions, local productions haven’t always been able to invest in full orchestras, so this was a treat! It would be nothing, though, without the stellar singing. Particular mention goes to the Mother Abbess’ (Janelle Visagie) rendition of “Climb Every Mountain” which was a noteworthy performance. At the centre of the show is Maria (Carmen Pretorius) whose performance perhaps didn’t stand out as much but was carried out with ease and lightheartedness. There’s a wonderful moment when she sneaks a bite of a sandwich and is happened upon by the devious Baroness Schraeder who begins to ask her questions, much to Maria’s dismay as she comically replies with a mouth full of bread. Maria is a lovable character (at times sickly sweet) but I feel Pretorius really came into her own right towards the end as she displayed wonderful maturity as the new head of the family. [caption align="alignleft" caption="A high note: Janelle Visagie as the Mother Abbess"][/caption] Another integral part of the show were the seven Von Trapp children – high-spirited, vivacious and though the singing wasn’t always note-perfect, it was performed with a lot of heart. I had a particular soft spot for Gretl (Senushki De Silva) who delivered an endearing performance as the youngest Von Trapp. Additionally, due to the nature of her character, Tashiyana Devarajan stood out as the inquisitive, curious, and brutally honest Brigitta. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I was as enamoured of Liesl’s characterisation (Zoe Beavon) which fit into the stereotypical trope of a sixteen-year-old who spends her time either giggling (shrieking?) vociferously as Rolf spins her around the stage, or crying (wailing?) as Rolf leaves her for the Nazis. It was all a bit too much and could have done with a more tender approach. But speaking of Rolf (Michael McMeeking), although he is quite an understated character I enjoyed his performance which displayed shades of charm, cheekiness, but also an impending sense of fear and duty in regards to the Anschluss. My biggest gripe with the show was the pace at which it moved as it came at the expense of several character arcs. No sooner had Maria arrived at the house supposedly full of “difficult” children had she won the approval of all of them. One minute the Baroness Schraeder is engaged to the Captain Von Trapp and the next minute they’re….not engaged? Oh wait, now Maria and the Captain are engaged! The love story was too rushed for its own good, and didn’t invest time in developing some chemistry between the leads making it quite confusing as to how engaging in one dance seems to result in sparks of love. It is a shame because what the movie particularly nailed was the chemistry with the captain’s acerbic wit making for a natural match with Maria who didn’t take herself too seriously - something which I think this stage version lacked. [caption align="alignright" caption="Nicholas Maude and Carmen Pretorius who play Captain Von Trapp and Maria pose for the press"][/caption] The dialogue had the potential to be slightly awkward at moments. For example (I’m paraphrasing here), when Maria offers a helping hand to Liesl after her rainy escapade with Rolf she says something along the lines of “You can put this on and then afterwards we can sit at the edge of my bed and have a chat”. The line is too specific. In the final scene, whilst the family are supposedly trying to escape the Nazis, the Captain stops to reminisce about the mountains “I always saw the mountains as my friends, and now they are my enemies”. While this ruminating is all well and good, the Nazis are in pursuit of him and his family so it might have been wiser to just…go. However, the decision to focus more on the threat of Nazism following the Anschluss was a welcome addition – quite often the Captain would be at variance with his acquaintances about whether to collaborate or resist. In fact, his confusion not only lent itself to the development of his character arc but is also such a timely topic and one I’m sure everyone in the audience could relate to. The duty of any adaptation is to capture the essence of its source material as well as bring something new to the table and I do feel this version of The Sound of Music did a good enough job of executing that. A final note though. According to the President of the Leisure Sector of John Keells Holdings, Krishan Balendra, the aim of the show was to bring world-class entertainment to Sri Lanka in order to increase tourism and attract around five million tourists by 2025. While I think this is certainly an ambitious feat and not unattainable, I do hope that (judging by how many sponsors came through to support this event) they do not forget to fund the local arts scene which in itself has potential to exist as world-class entertainment too. Just a thought.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian’s Really Useful Group’s production of The Sound of Music presented by Cinnamon Life and Broadway Asia International ends tonight at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre. See www.cinnammonboxoffice .com.

17 February 2018 @ 11:41 am

Penny Stork Via email

A Consultant Surgeon Via email

Toilet facilities, a forgotten factor at FGLF I visited the Fairway Galle Literary Festival (January 24-28) for the first time this year. Although I enjoyed attending the two events I had tickets for, I would like to bring to the attention of the organisers, that they had completely overlooked the need to provide proper toilet facilities. There were no signs to direct people to toilets, and one had to ask people where they were. Finally I was directed to a permanent structure which consisted of two toilets (one of the squatting type and one with a commode), with water all over the ground, and a flush that did not work. The wash basin outside had a tap which was shaky. There was a tissue box to wipe your hands, and a small towel - totally inadequate and unacceptable facilities for a person’s natural needs. I see no reason why the organizers could not provide some portable toilets, and provision for washing one’s hands to festival-goers, and a few signs showing people where the toilets were located. When my husband went outside to meet the author Charles Allen, Mr Allen was distracted because no place had been arranged for him to speak to people and autograph his books. The ground outside the Fairway Pavilion was very uneven. Was it not possible to locate the tent used for the literary sessions in a better place? Finally I think the sessions should start on time, as people sometimes have tickets for another event which is scheduled to start soon after.

Janaki Wijewardane Via email

Don’t tax us senior citizens

Senior citizens in Sri Lanka, especially those who are still forced to work due to the spiraling cost of living should, in my view, be exempt from all forms of income tax. We pay tax on our employment income, the annual bonus, and even on unutilised leave which we sacrifice in order to obtain that added ‘extra income’ just to keep our heads above water. I feel that the Government should seriously think of exempting senior citizens, who we cannot label as ‘senior citizens’ or an ‘economic burden’ any longer but have to consider them as a concealed power in Sri Lanka’s overall economy.

Senior Citizen Colombo

17 February 2018 @ 11:32 am

Man of deep learning, absolute honesty, and loyalty to country K. N. Choksy Kairshasp Nariman Choksy, PC, MP (February 7, 1933 – February 5, 2015) the former Minister of Constitutional and State Affairs, former Minister of Finance, and distinguished constitutional lawyer passed on to heavenly courts just two days short of his 82nd birthday. K. N. Choksy was educated at St. Thomas’ Preparatory School, Kollupitiya, shortly after its founding in 1938. He received his secondary education at S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia. He had been raised within the intellectually vibrant legal atmosphere of his father’s law chambers. So, following in his father’s august footsteps, he too attended the Law College in Colombo and, after graduation and apprenticeship, was admitted to the Ceylon Bar as an advocate or attorney-at-law in 1958. During the early years, he travelled from his parents’ home in Kollupitiya to Hulftsdorp . Car, train, and plane took him to courts in Negombo, Kurunegala, Kandy, Trincomalee, and Jaffna, He swiftly established himself as one of Sri Lanka’s leading civil attorneys, practising before the District, Appeals, and Supreme Courts. K. N. Choksy’s acute mind, congenial demeanour, and legal prowess led Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike to place him on the Board of the People’s Bank during the 1970s. In recognition of his contributions to the legal profession, he was appointed as President’s Counsel (PC) in 1981 by President J. R. Jayewardene. Between 1989 and 1992, as senior counsel, he successfully defended the country’s then President Ranasinghe Premadasa against a legal petition to annul the presidential election—that trial lasted 525 days and involved 911 witnesses before five judges of the Sri Lanka Supreme Court. He served as Premadasa’s advisor and confidant until the latter’s assassination in 1993 with the President calling him early each morning to discuss the day ahead. By the 1980s, K. N. Choksy had emerged as Sri Lanka’s pre-eminent constitutional attorney and constitutional thinker. Offered appointment to the Supreme Court, he declined because he “did not want to be removed from the daily action of Sri Lanka.” Instead, he first served as a member of Sri Lanka’s delegation to the United Nations General Assembly in New York, which he addressed in December 1984. Then he became a Member of Parliament (MP) in February 1989, when Premadasa took office as Sri Lanka’s President, and diligently served his country in that capacity for 21 years until 2010 on the national list of the United National Party (UNP). During the political period of his life, K. N. Choksy also accepted appointment as Sri Lanka’s first Minister of Constitutional and State Affairs under President D. B. Wijetunge and in that capacity served to guide implementation of the nation’s constitution from 1992 through 1994. In December 2001, K. N. Choksy was requested by President Chandrika Kumaratunga and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to accept the position of Minister of Finance of Sri Lanka because the country needed “an honest fiscal helmsman.” He acceded to that appointment and served until April 2004. While in that office, K. N. Choksy functioned as a Governor of the World Bank and of the International Monetary Fund as well. A stalwart of the UNP until the end, K. N. Choksy served the party in multiple capacities, guiding its choices of leaders and candidates for many decades. As an adult, like his grandfather and father, K. N. Choksy also diligently served the Parsi Zoroastrian community of Ceylon and Sri Lanka. Passionate about tennis, he played regularly at the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC). Then he took vigorous walks and exercise around the cricket ground there to keep both body and mind alert. Even during his retirement, his mind remained absolutely alert and always interested in the legal and political matters of Sri Lanka and the world. K. N. Choksy was survived by his wife Freny, his three sons, two grandsons and three granddaughters. Their eldest son Jamsheed, a scholar of Zoroastrianism, is Chairman and Professor of the Department of Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University and a presidentially-appointed member of the United States National Council on the Humanities. Their middle son Khursheed is Vice President for Turkey, Middle East and North Africa Affairs in the International Division of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC. Their youngest son Vishtasp is a prominent, highly-respected, attorney in Colombo, Sri Lanka, following in the dignified footsteps of his father and grandfather at St. Thomas’ College and the Sri Lanka Law College, within the legal profession since 1993, and hopes to go into politics shortly. K. N. Choksy believed strongly in the virtues of hard work, thorough preparation, deep learning, absolute honesty, and loyalty to country. Those ideals guided his entire life. He always practised the three precepts of his faith: good thoughts, good words and good deeds. These were his guiding principles throughout his life and in his professional duties and State duties. His faith in God ran as deep as the cosmos. His beloved wife and lifelong partner, Freny, joined him in his heavenly abode on January 19, this year. Now they walk again hand in hand over the Elysian fields of Avalon.

Sirini Choksy

We thank God for having loaned you to us in this lifetime

Deivanayagam Eassuwaren

Deshabandu Deivanayagam Eassuwaren was a unique personality - worthy friend, successful businessman and a deeply religious person who proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he stood tall in every sphere. He was the eldest son of the business icon V .T.V. Deivanayagam Pillai whom he emulated in most ways. Humility to the extreme and showing love and concern for his fellow beings came from father to son. Eassuwaren entertained everyone in his home most times not bothering to venture out to 5 star hotels. He gave out the message that it is the person and not the ambience that counts. Starting off from humble beginnings like most greats, he worked hard to set up his business empire. Together with his brothers he formed the well-known firm Eswaran Brothers. He travelled out to meet his buyers, made strong lasting friendships with them and having won their confidence, he was able to improve his business vastly. After the death of his father, the brothers moved out on their own and Eassuwaren went ahead with his two sons, well educated, dedicated and with plenty of vision. He educated his two daughters too who are now recognized professionals having excelled in their areas of work. Eassuwaren due to his immense capacity for making friends had a wide circle of friends. It is due to his ability to integrate that he was elected president of many organizations. He was blessed with uncanny vision that spelt success for him in many areas. I was blessed to meet him and work along with him from 1983 when the Duty Free Shopping Complex opened in Colombo. He instantly went about making friends with us all and before we knew what was happening, he had turned my home into a club house where all the directors from the many business firms just ate, drank and enjoyed themselves thoroughly almost every weekend. As an alternative we used to meet at his home too. It was such a pleasure to be bonded with this remarkable family and see the children grow into adulthood - intelligent high achievers, mostly influenced by their father to remain humble, to integrate and value friendships and mostly to give back to the country in every way. Eassuwaren unwittingly had embarked on a socializing project within the Duty Free community and succeeded in breaking down barriers thus preventing a cut throat style of business taking place We were trading dollar to dollar under one roof and we could have caused a situation where some of us would have had to close shop and leave – but this friendship and close bonding meant we shared and competed within decent acceptable norms and helped one another too and where we all earned the dollars.Both Eassuwaren and I served as Presidents of the association and our terms were very successful due to the fact that there was so much support and sharing with the sole intent of further developing the duty free trade in Sri Lanka. Eassuwaren had also had sufficient vision to note that after a prolonged war certain things have to be done to win the lost confidence and friendship between the two communities He then took it on himself to construct the tallest Buddha statue in the island at Kurunegala. He brought down craftsmen from India and worked on it for a long time and I am glad he was able to complete it and have the joy of being present at the dedication of this statue. He believed in religious harmony, supported many religious beliefs and he knew that religious harmony is the only means by which we can remain an united Sri Lanka.He proved to be a true son of Sri Lanka regardless of having being born an Indian Tamil. Eassuwaren has left behind many legacies. There are material monuments by which he could be remembered and his family - his devoted wife who was always beside him and four children who will do all they can to emulate their precious father together with the extended family who more than complete this exceptional family. His daughter Lalli who is resident in UK had organized a pilgrimage to St Anthony at Padua and he was over the moon when he returned. St Anthony was so special to him and he made constant devotions to the saint. To a very special friend Eassuwaren I would like to say we miss you so much for your sense of humour and the fun we enjoyed both here and when abroad as the duty free community and for your sincere friendship. You have run the great race of life which was set before you and have completed the course with honour. As stated, for whom much is given much is expected you have given amply from what you received in abundance and I have no doubt whatsoever that you have now won the crown. We celebrate this victory and, we thank God for having loaned you to us in this lifetime. May your soul forever rest in the peace and glory of God.

Christine Fernando

16 February 2018 @ 10:21 pm

[caption align="alignleft" caption="His first sea swim: A triumphant Punchibanda emerges from the water. Pix by Indika Handuwala"][/caption] That Sunday in January was the first time he had ever swum in the sea a completely new experience for the unique competitor who happens to be the only indigenous participant in the event. Thalawarige Punchibanda is a descendant of Veddah Chief Uruwarige Wannila Aththo, originally hailing from Dambana, and later making a home in the Henanigala Veddah re-settlement (in Mahaweli systems off Mahiyangane). His passion for sports began while he was in school, watching one of the senior boys “Upasena” bagging awards for his athletic feats. “I knew I wanted to do that too,” he says. Armed with a positive attitude and his new goal, he tried his hand at all the track and field events, but couldn’t find his niche in any. Chance led him to what would become his forte when he was pushed in as a last minute replacement for a marathon. Having never run such a long distance before “I just went for it.” He won the race. Marathons and other long distance events became his favourites, and he was soon taking part in competitions beyond school level. While doing the marathon (around 21 km) at the Mahaweli Sports Festival, the then 24-year -old caught the eye of trainer Janaka Prasanna Bandara, who has since been his mentor. The 35-year-old athlete has had a good run over the last decade. His prowess in long distance running motivated other younger Veddah athletes to pursue sports in his former school and village. The requirement for a much needed bicycle led to Thalawarige Punchibanda appearing on a segment on Swarnavahini with the help of his trainer Janaka Bandara. Little did he know that his request for help would lead him to another trainer who would widen his sporting horizons and open his life to swimming prowess as well. [caption align="alignright" caption="Julian Bolling"][/caption] “One of my coaches who knew I was involved with (the) Ironman showed me the video,” says Julian Bolling, the celebrated Lankan swimmer and coach who was surprised by Thalawarige Punchibanda’s ability. After tracing the video to a Swarnavahini correspondent, Julian found himself travelling through the jungle in a 4x4 to his house. The humble athlete had never heard of Bolling before. “He told me I was talented,”Punchibanda says and after explaining to him how he came across the video in the first place, Bolling then said the words the Veddah athlete would never forget. “He told me he had a challenge for me,” -the Ironman 70.3 which the ever-optimistic athlete accepted without batting as much as an eyelid. [caption align="alignleft" caption="Ready to take the bus back home: Punchibanda leaving Galle Face after training"][/caption] Although running and cycling were second nature to him, he had never learnt the traditional techniques of swimming, but had grown up with a love for the water, swimming in the lake bordering his village. As a fisherman, balancing his training schedule with his work should have been a challenge, but the positive minded athlete merely combined the two. The 18 km distance between his home and the lake became his track. His strength and endurance training comes from paddling his boat he demonstrates, waving his arms in strong imaginary strokes. On January 21- the day of his first practice swim, he finished the course within the allocated time with his own unique technique. “I was scared to do it, but also determined,” he admits, having waded into the sea twice before on a trip to Kataragama, but never having been more than waist deep in the water. His unusual technique doesn’t bother Julian who instead sees Thalawarige Punchibanda’s style as a micro reflection of Ironman as a whole. “What I’ve learnt about Ironman is that it’s about combining everything,” each athlete pushing on at his own pace. For the illustrious sportsman, the event also brings together the multitude of unique athletes. “We have lost sight of fellowship”- the most important part of any sport for Julian. The chance encounters which brought together coaches like Julian and athletes like Punchibanda and the visually impaired athletes taking part this year have opened new doors of perspective for all, as the Veddah athlete hopes to hang up his sneakers and coach youngsters back home in swimming instead. For Julian the experience “has been a blessing,” he says humbly.

IRONMAN 70.3 will take off on February 25 and will begin at 6.15 a.m. (rolling start) at the Galle Face Green.

16 February 2018 @ 10:07 pm

[caption align="alignright" caption="The Kanneliya Restoration Site. Pix courtesy Naalin [email protected]"][/caption] It may be a ‘drop’ in the ocean of forest denudation and degradation but it is a unique step in the right direction in battling climate change and its disastrous consequences.
  • Emergent Layer -- Giant trees with huge mushroom-shaped crowns getting the most sunlight but challenged by high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds.
  • Canopy Layer -- Trees with broad and irregular crowns forming a close-knit canopy. These tree branches have a dense covering of other plants such as epiphytes and are intertwined with vines or lianas.
  • Understorey -- Young trees and leafy herbaceous plants living in low sunlight or darkness, as only 2-15% of the sunlight penetrates the canopy.
  • Forest Floor – Hardly anything grows here other than plants which have adapted to very low, less than 2%, sunlight. On the ground is a thin layer of fallen leaves, seeds, fruits and branches that decay and decompose.
[caption align="alignright" caption="A diva through and through: The many expressions of Danielle de Niese on stage in Colombo. Pix by Sameera Weerasekera"][/caption] In celebration of Sri Lanka’s 70 years of independence, internationally acclaimed opera star Danielle de Niese took to the stage together with the Krasna Ensemble to pay homage to the country of her family’s roots. The concert presented by the Colombo Cultural Hub on February 10 at the BMICH saw Danielle’s dedicated fan base of opera and music lovers flocking to see her, in what was only her second appearance in Sri Lanka. [caption align="alignright" caption="Ajai Singh:Making sustainable fashion the new normal"][/caption] When Ajai Vir Singh flew back to Sri Lanka after giving a talk on responsible fashion at the Rajasthan Heritage Week he got home to a bag stamped “Royal Mail”. The curious parcel will take the fashion visionary and President of Colombo Fashion Week to Buckingham Palace this week for a Commonwealth Fashion Exchange Reception hosted by the Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex.

‘Peace is my dream’ a concert presented by former Indian Foreign Secretary and one-time High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Nirupama Menon Rao was enthusiastically received by a select group of invitees at the Indian Cultural Centre in Colombo 7 earlier this month. Ms. Rao was accompanied by well-known musicians Soundarie David Rodrigo and Neranjan de Silva. [caption align="aligncenter" caption="Guests at the event. Pix by Indika Handuwala"][/caption] [caption align="aligncenter" caption="L-r: Neranjan de Silva, Indian HC Taranjit Singh Sandhu, Nirupama Rao, Maithree Wickramasinghe and Soundarie David Pix by Sameera Weerasekera"][/caption]

Emily Dobbs of Weligama-London fame will present her signature hoppers at a pop-up restaurant on February 23 at 7.30 p.m. at Flamingo House courtesy of the Colombo Supper Club. Emily was the first British chef to popularise Sri Lankan hoppers in London through her cool and quirky pop up stall at the Druid Street market. For the Supper Club Emily will serve up a contemporary Sri Llankan dinner with an innovative combination of traditional favourites given her unique twist. Emily launched her first cookbook ‘ Weligama – recipes from Sri Lanka’ at the Fairway Galle Literary Festival last month. The book is a compilation of her favourite Sri Lankan recipes.

For more information, please contact: Naserah on 0772300038.

[caption align="alignright" caption="James Balmond addressing AOD students. Pic by Sameera Weerasekera"][/caption] The most striking thing about James Balmond is his business card a parallelogram. It shows the essence of what James Balmond spoke about, that universal creatives think differently when he addressed a packed room of Academy of Design students and designers earlier this month. Isurumuniya temple in Anuradhapura is best known for two pieces of rock cut sculpture - one is the ‘Isurumuniya Lovers’ and the other is ‘Man and the Horse’. The temple is situated on a picturesque setting - high up on a rock close to Tisa weva. As we approach the temple is a pond with rocks and tall trees forming its backdrop. The temple, however, is not one of the eight places of worship - Atamasthana - in Anuradhapura. [caption align="alignright" caption="Indian High Commissioner Taranjit Singh Sandhu at the Sir Don Baron Jayatilaka commemorative oration by Wickrema Weerasooria on Tuesday. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya was the Chief Guest at the ceremony."][/caption] Sir Don Baron Jayatilaka was born on February 13, 1868 in Waragoda, a village in Kelaniya, the eldest son of Don Daniel and Elisa Jayatilaka (nee Weerasinghe). [caption align="alignright" caption="Dennis, Khalid and Shaki: Training together at Galle Face. Pix by Indika Handuwala"][/caption] There’s hardly a day when the Galle Face Green isn’t peppered with families, power walkers and the smell of isso wade. But if you stopped by the Green over these last two months on a lazy Sunday morning, you would see energetic crowds lining the shoreline, ready to embrace the bracing 6 a.m. sea and the 1.9 km swim they exuberantly take on in preparation for Ironman 70.3 Colombo, to be held later this month.

A fish market more respectable than this motley crowd

Much has been said and written about the shameful behaviour of our politicians in the Parliament. It was shocking that even the usually well behaved gentleman Prime Minister too stooped to shouting slogans in the highest echelon of our nation. This has been going on for ages. But is anything going to be done about it? Why is it so difficult to impart some common sense into the members of Parliament. They are not only setting a bad example to others in country, eg the children, but now, with everything being televised world over, they are shaming our country‘s image. Yet, we the citizens too, watch aghast, but do little to stop it. Surely it is not impossible to pass a ruling in Parliament that if anyone behaves in an unbecoming way that he/she should be expelled by the Speaker? According to Wikipedia “The Speaker presides over the House’s debates, determining which members may speak. The Speaker is also responsible for maintaining order during debate, and may punish members who break the rules of the House”. So Mr. Speaker, why aren’t you doing your duty? Are you afraid to abide by the rules of the country and exert your authority? If you cannot do your duty you must resign and leave the way open for a stronger personality to take over. It is disgusting to watch the Speaker looking on helplessly. And to think that not a single person in that shameful crowd has the guts to speak up to stop the hooliganism. Decent citizens feel the shame in the pit of their stomach that these are the so-called rulers and law-makers of our blessed country. Thumping tables, shouting while another is speaking and getting into fisticuffs – even a fish market is more respectable than this motley crowd.

Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai Dehiwela

A helping hand to policy holders left in the lurch Policy-holders receive very prompt service and attention prior to the issue of the insurance policy. However, when a claim arises it is an entirely different story. Many policy holders have difficulties in properly presenting their claims to their insurance companies and obtaining a fair settlement. Most insurance claims involve technical issues and the claimants encounter serious difficulties in submitting their claims to their insurance companies. As a result, many valid claims are rejected and in some cases legitimate claims are unfairly reduced and the claimants do not receive full compensation. They are then helpless and are unaware how to proceed further and safeguard their interests. In view of the above I commenced an insurance claims consultancy service office in Kandy about two years ago with the assistance of several highly qualified insurance professionals, including Chartered Insurance Practitioners, to fill a large gap in the services provided by insurance companies, brokers and insurance agents to the insuring public. This is to provide a social service to the policy holders who need such assistance, especially those who have been aggrieved and penalised. My consultants and I provide consultations free of charge. This involves perusing the available claim documents and advising the policy holder on the most appropriate course of action to be followed.

Hilmy Sulaiman Kandy

Medi shocker: Raising some questions at issue

I wish to express my views and medico-legal perspective on the questions raised by the writer in the article titled ‘Medi shocker: Brain dead girl’s organs removed whilst still alive’ (the Sunday Times, February 4). This is in no way a criticism of the facts and opinion expressed by the writer but a clarification of some points raised, to prevent any misunderstanding of the facts by the public. The Transplantation of Human Tissues Act of Sri Lanka of 1987 deals with many legal aspects of tissue donation. The Criminal Procedure Code also deals with the legal procedures involved in death investigations and autopsy procedures. However, ethical aspects of organ donations have to be considered seriously as unethical conduct could give rise to serious consequences for all doctors, donors and recipients. I wish to state that I did not contact any person involved in the medical treatment and organ retrieval or transplantation in this case. My view is based on facts stated in various newspapers and my knowledge and expertise on the subject. Better understanding of the circumstances could have been achieved if hospital documents were perused and all individuals involved were interviewed. I am not aware whether the previous writer had the chance to obtain all these details but from the contents of the article it appears that he is unaware about some important information and the law governing tissue transplantation. Question 1: Why was Jeewanthi transferred back? The NHSL has a special neurotrauma unit with the most modern facilities to treat patients with head injury. This brings out two important questions. Is it ethical to transfer the patient back? Is it the correct management in this particular instance? A few newspapers have mentioned that a CT or an MRI scan of the brain was done and irreversible severe brain damage was diagnosed by the doctors at the NHSL. It is very likely that such patients with severe brain injuries need ventilation until they recover or succumb to injuries. Though the NHSL has many Intensive Care Units (ICUs) all ventilators are almost always occupied by patients needing the life support system. The turnover of patients with serious brain injury is very high at NHSL as it functions as a tertiary care hospital and it receives patients from every corner of the island. In some instances, it is very difficult or even impossible to find a vacant ventilator in any of the ICUs at NHSL. So it is logical and ethical to transfer the patient to a unit where a ventilator is available. According to one Sinhala newspaper, the patient had been on ventilator support at the Homagama Base Hospital which means that a ventilator was available there. So isn’t it prudent to transfer the patient there for ventilator support? The writer says that “if there was hope to revive her the hope lay nowhere else but in its (NHSL) wards”. Is it logical and ethical to keep a patient who needs ventilator support in a general ward? If this was done the patient would have died hours earlier. It would also amount to medical negligence due to the fact that necessary action was not being taken to treat her properly. In my opinion, the doctors have done what is logical and ethical by transferring the patient back to Homagama where ventilator support was available. Question 2: Did lack of medical attention during the re-transfer result in irreversible brain damage? This is a difficult question to answer with a certainty. The condition of a patient with severe brain injury can deteriorate at anytime, irrespective of whether medical attention is given or not. However, accepted procedure in transferring a patient is that a nursing officer or a trained para-medical person accompanies the patient. Occasionally, doctors also accompany patients but this is subject to their availability at that moment. On the other hand, the same potential threat would have been there during the initial transfer of the patient to NHSL. But no one will ever question the reason for her transfer to NHSL. CT and MRI scanning facilities are not available at Homagama and there is no option but to transfer the patient to NHSL for further investigations. The actions taken have to be considered together with options available in the best interests of the patient. Isn’t it logical and ethical to transfer back the patient to Homagama for ventilator support rather than keeping her in a general ward without a ventilator and allowing her to die sooner? Question 3: The writer raises the question why the patient was kept on a ventilator without being disconnected. The reason is simple. Once the decision to harvest organs is taken, ventilator support should be continued until such harvesting to prevent putrefaction of organs. This is a genuine technical issue. Question 4: The writer correctly says that there is a thin line dividing the sublime from the ridiculous and the genius from the lunatic. The thin line here means that it is difficult to differentiate between the two conditions. However, it is incorrect to say that there is a thin line between brain death and a coma. In medical practice, the difference of the two is very obvious. Probably what the writer refers to is the usual way of confirming death in a normal ward. This is not the procedure adopted in diagnosing brain death in a patient on ventilator support. The accepted procedure in diagnosing brain death is that it is done by two consultants separately on two occasions – excluding the doctors involved in the tissue transplantation team. Many brain functions are assessed and the tests are repeated after some time. A basic vital function is the presence of spontaneous breathing as in the absence of spontaneous respiration an individual will not be able to survive as the oxygenation process of blood won’t occur and cells would die soon due to lack of oxygen. Question 5: The writer asks whether the doctors at Homagama can declare a patient brain dead when the heart goes on? In medical terminology there is ‘beating heart cadaver’. It means that the patient is dead but the heart is beating. This can happen but not under normal circumstances. The heart has an innate capability of beating on its own. This innate capability of beating on its own lets the heart beat for a very short time after brain death is confirmed. Could it go on for a considerable period? No. Once the brain is dead the capability of having spontaneous respiration is lost and the oxygenation of blood doesn’t happen. This automatically stops the provision of oxygenated blood to body tissues including the heart making them incapable of remaining alive. What actually happens in a ventilated patient is that the machines act as an artificial lung and keep the oxygenation process going on maintaining circulation. This means that it is the machine that keeps the heart going on. Therefore, technically and medically a brain dead patient cannot be considered as being alive. The patient is dead and a dead patient doesn’t have sensations as far as medicine is concerned. Question 6 : Already discussed under Question 3. Question 7: The writer has questioned the validity of the consent obtained. It seems that the writer is unaware about the law pertaining to tissue transplantation which deals with different types of consent. In this case, the husband is dead and her child is a minor. Therefore, the father of the deceased has the legal right to consent. The writer says that no one can give consent to ’medical ghouls to thieve the assets of their beloved….’. I cannot understand why the writer considers this a theft when it is legally permitted and done to save the lives of many others awaiting organ donations. Question 8: I have already answered the issues raised on this question. Question 9: The writer theorizes about what happened after the diagnosis of brain death. I am unaware about what exactly happened or how the message was communicated to the relatives but I also don’t find anything wrong in what the writer has suggested here. Is there a better way of telling them the outcome and getting consent for organ retrieval? What doctors have done in this case is not to play the role of God but it is a simple act of humanity being within the law, ethics and accepted medical practice. The public media should carry the true picture about important events and issues. It is true that legislation and code of ethics do not always ensure rightful acts by all individuals. If someone does something wrong it is an individual issue not a fault of the accepted procedure and system. Laws can take necessary action if someone does anything illegal.

Dr. N.D.N.A. Mendis,

Senior Lecturer and Specialist in Forensic Medicine,

Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo

He was truly a living saint SURIYAKUMARAN WILLIAMS We live in a society that encourages and advocates hedonism in an age that glorifies self interest, ambition and narcissism and amidst an ethic that values ambition, possessions and prestige. It therefore comes as no surprise that rarely are we privileged to encounter an individual whose values and ambitions, whose character and goals, whose priorities and motivations, run counter to the worldview of our time and age. During the many years that I have known him, Suriyakumaran Williams lived out a life that completely rejected the values of this world and instead adopted, adhered to and embraced a counter-ethic of integrity, humility, service, kindness and gentleness. Regardless of the pressures and demands of life, in the face of which most of us fail, our masks become transparent, and we exhibit anger, impatience and frustration, Kumaran as he was known in our family, or Suri as he was called by friends, never seemed to fail. He was to those of us who had the honour to serve and walk alongside him, the best example of a living saint. At a young age Suri felt called to Christian ministry it was a calling that he never turned his back on. In order to prepare himself he proceeded to Bible School in India where he acquired a sound theological grounding that would stand him in good stead during four decades as youth worker and missionary, teacher and counsellor, preacher and pastor. He seemed to instinctively follow in the footsteps of his great great grandfather, the Reverend Benjamin Rice who over a century before Suri, would teach at the Batticotta Seminary (the precursor of Jaffna College) and then serve as a Priest in parishes across the Jaffna peninsula. Suri was undoubtedly influenced by the piety of his grandmother Chinammah and his mother Dulcie. Suri spent most of his adult life in the ministry of Youth For Christ, initially in Colombo, and then in the late seventies in Jaffna. He was sent north to pioneer the work in that city and its environs, as well as to nurture a Tamil language ministry. Ably assisted by Kumar Abraham, theirs was a pioneering missionary endeavour which would go on to reap rich spiritual dividends in the decades to come. Suri, his wife Shanthi and their children Miriam and Naveen, were to live and work in Jaffna through the most violent years of the peninsula. But they were not daunted, they never wavered, they refused to abandon their calling. Suri could remain at his post, and inspire and motivate his family to stand firm in the face of adversity precisely because of his selflessness. Neither then nor later, did he seek recognition or reward, position or power, wealth or comfort. Finally on Saturday, January 13, he went to his glorious reward. His life, his example, his teaching, his counsel and his inspiration remain a living memorial in the lives of those of us who were touched, blessed and enriched by him.

Jayantha Somasundaram

A salute to you Sir, on behalf of many generations of Medical students

DR .T. VARGUNAM The passing away of a veritable colossus in every sense of the word, on Sunday, February 4, brought a sadness to us, his former students, that defies description. A former Professor of Medicine, who together with the likes of Senaka Bibile, he helped to pioneer the fledgling Medical School at Peradeniya to the enviable position it now enjoys. He would have in life, wished no public accolade, that was his nature. He was the Chancellor of the Eastern University, a post he carried with aplomb, grace, dignity and ease , a panache, that seemed almost a birthright. We were from the first batch of medical students at Peradeniya. A motley crowd from various parts of the country, were taught our basics in Medicine by this teacher who was of a new breed, with a conversance of the scientific background to what he was teaching. We lapped up the “pearls of wisdom he cast”, for they were clear expositions of a complex subject. His encouragement in sorting out any puzzlement with focused questions remains even today, the hallmark of this faculty in the hills. Always a pioneer, he together with a physician friend Dr Kolitha Karunaratne and the surgeon Rudra Rasaretnam were responsible for the organisation of the Kandy Society of Medicine, one of the foremost medical organisations in the country. With its scientific programmes it remains a vibrant source of continued medical education to the medical community, doctors and students, in the central regions of this country. His nonchalant demeanour hid an extremely positive nature and we all got used to his “ I say, you guys . ” (succinct words of advice or exhortation followed ) that marked our relationship with him. Never a person to mince words, but always careful as to their choice, not to hurt a soul, he was a free spirit, though heavy with the garb of responsibility. He was a role model to us youngsters then. He always carried the wisdom that we all ‘will one by one, back in the closet lay’. One of the wisest men I have known. He was responsible for the initiation of the WHO sponsored, unit on medical education for the South Asian region in the Faculty of Medicine Peradeniya, and for a time was its very active head, a role he undertook with all his onerous duties. A stint at the WHO in Geneva followed some years later. A keen sportsman, the hooker in Ashley Cader’s 1st Bradby Shield winning team in 1948, he kept his interest in rugger, even turning up for practices for the Kandy team, while a Senior Lecturer teaching us. A regular participant at all the scientific meetings until a few months ago, we were accustomed to his penetrating questions. In the later years he bore his illness with the stoic attitude we were accustomed to expect from him. He leaves his wife Thayalam, three daughters and grandchildren. We salute you, Sir, for having inspired so many generations of medical students. May the turf rest softly.

Dr. Channa Ratnatunga

[caption align="alignright" caption="Bringing colour to their world: Mother and son look at the newly done paintings and right at the Lama-Surekum Ward: The guests and others involved in the project with ‘doer’ Shiromi Masakorala at the far left"][/caption] Trapped are these innocents for no fault of their own. From the time of their birth to the tender age of five, the most formative years of their lives, they have known no other environment but that within the four walls of the Welikada Prison. [caption align="alignright" caption="A grand setting for a grand show. Pix by Indika Handuwala"][/caption] The much awaited production of The Sound of Music hits the Nelum Pokuna stage this week, from February 14 – 18 with five daily shows and two matinee performances. The much loved musical has been brought to Colombo by CinnamonLife in collaboration with David Ian Productions Ltd, Company Onstage Ltd and the Broadway Asia Company LLC. [caption align="alignright" caption="Taking Sri Lanka to the world through Love cake. Pix by Priyantha Wickramaarachchi"][/caption] Valentine’s Day has always been associated with chocolates and roses. But what if there was another way to profess your love, a love at first bite kind of moment. After all, few can say ‘no’ to cake, especially love cake. [caption align="alignright" caption="A saree- clad star: Ashley Judd in Colombo. Pic by Indika Handuwala"][/caption] Dressed in a striking batik saree, Hollywood actress, author, and The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Goodwill Ambassador Ashley Judd addressed the media at Jetwing Colombo on February 7, speaking passionately about her mission’s goals. Joining her at the head table was UNFPA Representative in Sri Lanka Ritsu Nacken. Throughout history and across civilizations flowers have always had a symbolic meaning, usually that of love and lovers. So much so that one cannot think of Valentine’s Day without red roses and flowers in general.

10 February 2018 @ 12:58 pm

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10 February 2018 @ 12:45 pm

[caption align="alignright" caption="A Dutch period building in Galle: Sedgley bought his bottles of water from the ‘little shop tacked on to the front’"][/caption] Robert Sedgley has seen more of Sri Lanka than most Sri Lankans, tramped through forests, trekked to countless religious and historical sites and walked the dusty city streets and alleys, his keen artist eye noting the everyday scenes that we, seldom stop to observe. The British artist is familiar to art lovers in this country he has been visiting since 1998 and has held regular exhibitions. His latest, which runs from February 19, (from 6.p.m.) to Wednesday, February 21, at the Lionel Wendt Gallery features images from his book ‘Travels with a paintbox’ which was launched just last month at the Fairway Galle Literary Festival. The nearly 200 new works on display, watercolours and pencil sketches give some indication of his prodigious output. “Robert Sedgley’s skills as a watercolourist and a topographical draughtsman with an eye for significant detail, capturing so many interesting anecdotal touches, makes this portfolio a memorable visual diary of the Sri Lankan experience,” wrote the late Prof. Ashley Halpe in the foreword to ‘Travels with a paintbox’. The idea for the book, came from Dominic Sansoni when he was having his second exhibition at the Barefoot Gallery many years ago and Sedgley took it to heart. Well-known academic and historian, Dr. K.D. Paranavitana stepped in with the text which gives the background to the cities – Colombo, Kandy, Galle, the historic sites, buildings of old, while Juliet Coombe of Serendipity Publishing undertook the publishing. [caption align="alignleft" caption="Sedgley’s personal favourite : The Asokaramaya monastery"][/caption] It falls within two stones, says Sedgley of the book. “It’s not really a travel guide- it’s not really an autobiography. It’s pictures of my travels, my thoughts, some quite strange, odd things that I see.” It is presented too as an artist’s sketchbook, with the notes written in his hand, offering some insight into his thinking. “A fine avenue of Cook’s Pines runs alongside the river. Some people call them ‘drunken’ on account of their sinuous interleaving ‘s’ shaped trunks but I prefer to call them ‘dancing trees’,” he writes of the famous avenue at Peradeniya Gardens. Describing a clock tower in Jaffna, a city he has visited twice, his note reads, “Built by the British, the rather incongruous clock tower has four clocks donated by Prince Charles each, with a refreshing air of independence keeping a different time.” That he is drawn to architectural composition is clear, though he states emphatically that he doesn’t paint ‘romantic ruins’. What draws him is the form and colour, he sees in the buildings both old and new, where he says he looks for a combination of shapes and colours, unified by the light and underlying grid structure of architecture. [caption align="alignright" caption="Robert Sedgley"][/caption] For Sedgley, art has been his life. As a youngster he went to Junior Art School in Birmingham, where he discovered a fascination for lettering which would later influence his sense of design and space. Initially working as a silk-screen painter and poster writer, he studied at the Birmingham and Exeter Colleges of Art, taking evening classes in life drawing, portraiture and sculpture, before opting to become an art teacher. His wife Jean, who has accompanied him on his travels is one too. In later years, they moved to a little village in Spain which brought a new dimension to his art-a lightening and brightening of his palette. It was on the invitation of a friend living there, Jill, a volunteer nurse that they first visited Sri Lanka in 1998 and what has brought him back so regularly since then, has been the enduring friendships he formed here. The book is dedicated to Ashley Halpe and Lesley Dunuwille – it was at the Dunuwille couple’s guesthouse overlooking the Kandy lake that Sedgley and Jean stayed on their first visit and now “that guest house is like our second home in the world,” he says. [caption align="alignleft" caption="Lawyers’ offices in Kandy"][/caption] On that same trip having seen a poster advertising S.H. Sarath’s exhibition at the Lionel Wendt in Colombo, they decided to drop in and so began another firm friendship as the two artists met. “Now he’s my greatest friend,” Sedgley says as Sarath who has come along to this interview beams in agreement. It was he who invited Sedgley back to Sri Lanka, hosting his first exhibition at his own gallery. Other meetings in unlikely places have been equally serendipitous - Sedgley recalls how they got talking to another English couple at a restaurant in Spain when he was celebrating his birthday some years ago and it turned out, the lady too was celebrating her birthday. She had studied art and design a couple of meetings later, Sedgley had his book designer – Chris de la Nougerede. ‘Travels with a paintbox’ while covering the country’s famed attractions, Anuradhapura, Dambulla, Polonnaruwa, Kandy reveals many places less touristy and one of Sedgley’s personal favourites is the Asokaramaya monastery. “The Buddha, serene and commanding, seated with raised hand has presided in this silent forest domain for a thousand years’ he notes in the book. His sketches also capture a vanishing Lanka beseiged by invading commercialization, Galle being a case in point, much changed since his first visit 20 years ago. A particularly lovely sketch in his book is of a Dutch period house in Hospital Street with a verandah and inner courtyard where French writer Nicholas Bouvier had lived in the ’50s writing a novel about the island in a sparsely furnished room upstairs. He was vastly relieved to find it almost unchanged.. [caption align="alignright" caption="Painted buses in Pettah"][/caption] Back home in Villalonga, the little Spanish village which is home, Sedgley has been working on a large canvas of the goddess Kali- a product of his interest in Eastern religions and Hindu mythology, prompted after reading William Dalrymple’s book on “The Age of Kali’. The goddess of destruction is seen leaping through a blackened landscape with guns blazing, the world blowing up in her hands, stealth bombers coming out of her eyes, religious symbols disintegrating. There are influences of artists like Hieronymus Bosch and Bruegel too, he says, of the work that has been taking shape these past three years. Meanwhile he finds time to teach art history too through a programme where older people come together to share their knowledge and skills: It keeps us young, he smiles. His Colombo exhibition will bring viewers new vistas in the familiar. “A painting needs time to tell its story,” he reminds us. “Paintings in a gallery should be islands of tranquillity they need a quiet mind to allow them to reveal their secrets. I spend many hours with these pictures, allowing them to grow into their maturity – so my hope is that the spectator will spend at least a few minutes with each one.”

-Renuka Sadanandan

10 February 2018 @ 12:39 pm

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[caption align="alignright" caption="Kuchchaveli Rajamahavihara"][/caption] The lifelong ambition of our grandfathers and grandmothers was to do the Buddhist circuit, popularly known as the Watavandanawa.It is said that before they left on pilgrimage they gave over all their movable and immovables to their next of kin. At a time when there were no proper roads and no means of transport it was a hazardous trip and hence, no surprise that they did so.The main mode of transport was the bullock cart.

10 February 2018 @ 12:22 pm

[caption align="alignright" caption="Inside Sanbo-in temple, Koya-san"][/caption] Off the tourist circuit in Japan, a short train ride from the big city of Osaka, is one of the country’s most magical destinations – Koya-san or Koya Mountain. I had met the Venerable Thera only a few times but those meetings still reverberate in my mind. We mainly discussed writing. Though he has written over a dozen books, both in Sinhala and English, I must confess I have only read a couple. I remember the launch of his book on Buddhist rituals. Venerable Wimalaratana had completed 55 years in robes on that day – February 28, 2013. For several years he commemorated the day with the release of a new book. In the book on Buddhist rituals he had traced the history from the Buddha’s time, the progress, objects of worship and the literature developed in relation to these objects. It was also a study of the Buddhist arts and crafts. Stating that the rituals have undergone many a change over a long period of time, he said he was not attempting to either highlight those or criticise them but his was a mere narrative thus leaving the reader to assess and decide which way these were moving. In the book he released less than a year ago - ‘Buddhagama Handunageneema’ (Get to know Buddhism) Ven. Wimalaratana discusses the different ideologies in Buddhism - Theravada, Mahayana/Zen, and Vajrayana - in a simple, easy to understand way. The average reader can get a broad understanding of these schools. He has not delved into the intricacies of each form thereby not making it purely an academic study. Bellanwila murals Noticing that the paintings in the imposing image house of the Bellanwila temple were deteriorating, Ven Wimalaratna took a bold decision to replace them with a new set of murals. He chose Somabandu Vidyapathi, the multi-faceted artiste to create a new set of murals. To quote Professor Sarath Chandrajiva, the artist has created a new tradition in Sri Lanka’s rich history of the art of wall paintings. “It is the work of an artiste who is not only a painter but a sculptor, a dancer and an expert in stage décor. He is a scholarly artiste with a wide knowledge of many aspects of art. The style he has created should go down in history as the ‘Somabandu Tradition,” he says. The credit goes to Ven. Wimalaratana for picking the right man for the job and for initiating the publication, ‘Bellanwila Murals’ - a valuable book for one’s library. Straight talk Ven. Wimalaratana never dabbled in politics but he was watchful and concerned about where the country was heading. Exactly one year ago he addressed a meeting where the President was present and reminded that much was expected from the government but the anticipated changes had not happened. “I have no politics. I don’t take any sides. I have never sought a favour from any politician. I don’t intend seeking their help. I don’t get involved in toppling governments. I am not interested,” he said. Admitting that it’s not an easy task to achieve what has been promised, he insisted that the President should use his authority and take action and move the country forward. “Why wait for foreign resources. We have enough resources in our soil to go ahead. Make use of them,” he stressed. He said there was no need of a new constitution. “The right place for Buddhism has been declared in the present constitution. So what more is there to be done? Look at the loopholes in the area of the President’s powers and make the necessary adjustments. That’s all.” Academic Ven. Wimalaratana first served as a teacher in the Pirivena Teacher Training College, then as a lecturer at the Sri Jayewardenapura University rising to be the Professor of Pali and Buddhist Studies. He paved the way for hundreds, if not thousands, of students to progress in their lives. It was most fitting that he was appointed Chancellor in the university where he served for nearly two decades. His service to the Sasana won recognition when he was appointed the Anunayaka of the Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha of the Syamopali (Siyam) Maha Nikaya. He was a prominent member of a number of inter-religious groups formed in recent years and his goodwill with all religious leaders - both lay andclergy - is demonstrated by their visits to pay their last respects and the release of messages. The community service activities intitiated by him are administered by the Bellanwila Community Development Foundation of which he was the President. His management skills are well demonstrated the way the Bellanwila temple has developed over the years. It was after Venerable Bellanwila Sri Somaratana Nayaka Thera became the chief incumbent in 1947 that the Bellanwila temple rose to its present glory and grandeur. He was succeeded by his pupil monk, Venerable Bellanwila Dr. Dhammaratana Nayaka Thera who made his brother, Venerable Dr Bellanwila Wimalaratana as deputy head and administrator when he moved over to Singapore to propagate the Dhamma. While the Venerable Thera’s name will be well remembered, we salute him and wish that his path to Nibbana may be smooth and speedy.

D. C. Ranatunga

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka has issued a modified One Thousand Rupee currency note dated 2018-02-04 to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of Independence with the theme “Celebrating Diversity”.

(The writer maintains an educational website on Lankan currency notes at http://notes.lakdiva.org )

[caption align="alignright" caption="Nadija Tambiah (JKH’s head of CSR), Michael Anthonisz (Chairman, GKF) Zamshaya Kaleel (Artist and past participant of Kala Pola), Sanjeewee Senevirathna (Artist and past participant of Kala Pola) and Arun Dias Bandaranaike (Moderator) at the event"][/caption] The Silver Jubilee Edition of Sri Lanka’s renowned open-air art fair - Kala Pola – will be held on February 25 on the sidewalks of Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha in Colombo 7 (former Green Path) from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. A ‘High Tea Talk Show’ was held on February 7at Cinnamon Lakeside to announce the silver jubilee edition of Kala Pola. A commemorative stamp and first day cover celebrating Kala Pola’s success over 25 years was also issued at this event. Kala Pola is presented by the George Keyt Foundation in association with John Keells Holdings PLC and it has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1993. This year’s Kala Pola will see over 300 artists and sculptors from all over the island. The event will also feature music events, open mics, a Kids’ Corner and more entertainment to celebrate the visual and performing arts of Sri Lanka. Kala Pola has become a cultural event, said chairman of George Keyt Foundation Michael Anthonisz while John Keells Holdings CSR head Nadija Tambiah said it is not only an art fair but that it has evolved into a forum for artists to network. This year’s Kala Pola will also recognise some long term artists, said the organisers. They emphasised the importance of Kala Pola being a non-curated event allowing both amateurs and professionals to share their work.

For more information visit www.kalapola.lk.

Positive Living with PD – a support group meeting will be held on February 14 at 6 p.m. at the Methodist Church, Mount-Lavinia (opposite St. Thomas’ College on Hotel Road). Positive Living with PD is a secular, non-profit support group, that hopes to break through the stigma that surrounds Parkinson’s Disease (PD), and uplift the quality of life for all people living with PD, their care-givers and their families. Their monthly meeting is followed by light refreshments and fellowship.

For more information, please call 0777-441420 / 0777-441320, or

[caption align="alignright" caption="A rare photograph of D.S. Senanayake at the Gal Oya site"][/caption] From atop Inginiyagala, he is the master of all he surveys. Spread before him, to his right is the massive ‘Samudraya’ (ocean), with its waters, taking on a golden hue, glistening in the setting sun and to his left are lush paddy-fields in their green glory. Although their numbers are small, they are proud of their heritage as well as being proud Sri Lankans. With the gaining of independence, their fortunes changed due to political upheavals, but every community feels they would not have survived if they hadn’t successfully integrated into society. Here is a glimpse of some of these communities and their lifestyles: [caption align="alignright" caption="Taslim Rahaman"][/caption] Malays Also known as ‘Ja Minissu’, the Malays originated in Java. They are known for their bravery and loyalty - traits which the British greatly valued and rewarded with high positions in the military and other government departments. Malay Association President Taslim Rahaman feels that today most Malays do not actually speak Malay, known officially as Bahasa (Sri Lanka). The association is attempting to teach the younger generation their language - a dialect which is [caption align="alignleft" caption="A Malay delicacy"][/caption] spoken only in Sri Lanka and differs from Bahasa (Indonesia) and Bahasa (Malaysia). The Malays are also famous for their cuisine, which includes Nasi Goreng, Sirikaya (Watalappam), Cheenakueh (cake) - etc. Taslim feels that the economic status of Malays has improved but migration has resulted in dwindling numbers, although there is a still an 80,000 strong Malay community in Sri Lanka at present. Colombo Chetties [caption align="alignright" caption="Taslim Rahaman"][/caption] This community originated in Kodagu, India and came to Sri Lanka many years ago in the time of the ancient Kings of Sri Lanka. Former President of the Colombo Chetty Association Shirley Pulle Tissera estimates that the current population is around 175,000. He says that the exact number cannot be verified because many people identify themselves as Sinhalese or Tamil based on the majority community of the area they live in. He feels that the community suffered greatly with the introduction of the Sinhala Only Act, which forced the Chetties, who mainly spoke English at the time, to study in Sinhala. Mr. Tissera recalls a time when the bride and bridegroom would see each other for the first time only during the marriage ceremony, which was arranged by their parents. The Chetties national costume comprising a shervani, chetti cap, sash and sword is rarely worn today. He feels that the Chettis should be proud of their rich heritage. If you are a peacock you must show your feathers - otherwise they will mistake you for a turkey and cook you,” he says. Sindhis [caption align="alignright" caption="Shirley Pulle Tissera"][/caption] Sindhis originate from the Sindh province in North India (now Pakistan). The province is home to Hindu and Muslim Sindhis, of whom only Hindu Sindhis arrived in Sri Lanka. They are one of the smallest minorities of Sri Lanka, and the Sindhi Association of Sri Lanka estimates that the total population of Sindhis is 500, a decline from the early 1950s when there were about 700. There are only a few people who speak Sindhi or even understand it in Sri Lanka now.“If you’re lucky and your family speaks Sindhi then maybe you might pick it up,” says President of the Association Mahesh Dadlani, who estimates that the language will die out in one or two generations to come. The Sindhis have retained most of the customs they practised in India, although they have changed certain aspects to suit modern times. For example, the funeral rites require that the body be cremated on a pyre. If wood is not available, they now use gas. The Association allows flexibility in choosing certain rituals of marriage and funeral rites etc. with the understanding that certain aspects of the ancient customs are impractical today.

[caption align="alignleft" caption="A shrine room within the association premises"][/caption]

In January 1948, the long evening of colonialism was drawing to a close in that smug little “model Crown Colony” of Ceylon. The dawn of Independence glimmered ever brighter on the horizon. For us, however, freshly released from the bondage of school boyhood on passing the University Entrance exam, what shone even brighter was the prospect of undergradhood. Serendipitously Saldin, Shan and I - Malay, Tamil and Sinhala - had bonded when we joined the school in Race Course Avenue from our earlier schools in Kandy, Jaffna and Ratnapura. We were not very moved by the hosannas to imminent Independence in the daily press. However, as we watched the race horses thunder past Bullers Road we could not help noticing the various preparations going on in the vicinity of the race course for Independence Day, February 4. Preparations A spacious quadrangle had been cleared on the old Spitfire airstrip opposite the former Lunatic Asylum. A towering flagstaff was erected with four clear avenues leading up to it from the cardinal directions. Multi-coloured bunting fluttered from lamp posts. A capacious airport hangar, on the outskirts of the war-time airstrip was being given a new lease of life as the venue of the ceremonial “award” of Independence. An army of humble Kandyan artisans clambered on scaffolding creating rali-palam [ruffled bridges], the traditional temple arches of pleated red and white cloth, whose splendour camouflaged the bilious khaki of the hangar’s corrugated iron roof. Cinnamon Gardens Bloom Meanwhile, in the rarefied environs of Cinnamon Gardens enthusiastic preparations were afoot for the “Pageant of Lanka”. Sinhala matrons and their daughters, rehearsed tableaux depicting the courts of King Dutugemunu and Kasyapa. Their Tamil friends prepared to enact the ladies of Elara’s harem. The good ladies of the D.B.U. rehearsed dancing 17th Century quadrilles and cotillions presumed fashionable in the residences of Dutch Governors. Choirs of elite girls’ schools rehearsed at full throttle wrestling their genteel vocal chords round the unaccustomed Sinhala of the strange new anthem-in-waiting - “Namo, Namo, Matha”. It was a heady period for those who held the reins of power. Cinnamon Gardens and its environs were abustle. So were government offices and newspaper offices, abuzz with the expectation of encountering exotic foreign VIPs, never before seen in Ceylon, except in newsreels. However, Maradana, Kotahena, Dehiwala and other backwaters of the (then) garden city seemed absolutely immune to Freedom Fever and showed no signs of celebratory excitement. The Great Run The great day dawned to banner headlines in the few newspapers then around, and special broadcasts from Radio Ceylon: The three of us stashed our bikes away and mingled with the crowd to infiltrate ourselves into ringside positions. There was a crowd alright but far thinner than the packed throngs in the kovil ground during Vel. We had no difficulty in working ourselves to the front in Torrington Square to admire four charming and self-conscious young ladies facing long cleared avenues headed North, East, South and West. Swarnamali was in Kandyan saree, Siromani draped in Jaffna style, Ayn Sally in the full skirted Muslim garb of those pre-Hijab days, and June in a stylish frock. This salute to multi-ethnicity was further emphasized when, to loud cheers four athletic young men - Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher - ran up with synchronized grace to their respective young ladies and handed over scrolls of solidarity from the four corners of Ceylon - to the yet unaccustomed ululation of conch shells. The Ceremony We next ambled along to the enormous hangar which was venue of the formal ceremony. Its Spartan bareness had been overlaid with an unaccustomed opulence. The floor was carpeted in crimson. Rali Palam arched overhead. The throne of Sri Wickrama, our last king, (on loan from the Museum) occupied the highest pedestal symbolizing our once lost sovereignty about to be regained. Ornate chairs, framed by an arch of massive tusks, seated the main protagonists. The elite of colonial Ceylon filled the hall with a riot of colour. Kandyan chieftains stole the show in their regalia of gold brocade and tricorne headgear, leading Tamils favoured turbans and long sherwanis draped with shawls, leaders of the Moors wore red velvet fezzes and Malays in batik caps. The ladies outdid everybody in a riot of colour and fantasy. In stiff dignity for their last hurrah, there was a sprinkling of English ladies in white gloves and wide-brimmed hats. No elaborate security barred the curious, so we had no difficulty in trickling into the hall and lining its wall to watch history in the making. The rather bumbling Duke of Gloucester stood in for his brother King George VI. Sir Henry Monck Mason Moore the Governor, and the Duke, were in full colonial rig of gold braided white with plumed solar helmets. Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake stood burly in a well-filled cutaway coat and sensibly handed over the main oration to Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. In striking contrast to all the surrounding colonial flummery his slight figure was dressed in simple white Ariya Sinhala. When he spoke we were transfixed by his impassioned and impeccable oratory - absolutely appropriate to that historic occasion. The Union Jack was lowered for the last time with the time honoured solemnity that Brits are so good at. The rampant Lion Flag of now independent Ceylon was proudly run up the flagstaff, for the very first time, to the yet unfamiliar blowing of conch shells, the roll of “magul bera” and massed school choirs singing the new national anthem “Namo, Namo, Matha”. That night Cinnamon Gardens recaptured the limelight with its long-rehearsed “Pageant of Lanka” performed on a huge open air stage, where Independence Hall now stands. Statuesque matrons and their nubile daughters, in a rainbow cavalcade of “ancient” costumes, re-enacted dramatic scenes from olden times. Gallant police officers, bare-chested and begirt with swords and period pantaloons pranced on stage with their Police horses. Humble constables carrying spears and swords provided background colour. We were treated to dances galore - Kandyan, Manipuri, Bharata Natyam, Minuets and quadrilles - from various periods of our history. The revels ended at last and we strolled back home, not (I confess) adequately appreciative that we had been eye witnesses to history in the making.

(Extracts from the writer’s book ‘ A Fiery Finale’)

[caption align="alignright" caption="Laboratory work in the days of yore"][/caption] Hundreds of students, clutching files or with bags slung over a shoulder troop into the lecture halls of the Hardy Advanced Technological Institute in the bustling town of Ampara each weekday morning.

[caption align="alignright" caption="Independence Hall under construction"][/caption] “Four smart white clad relay runners from the ends of Lanka bearing scroll messages of hope and goodwill for the future entered the Independence Square sharp at 4.15 p.m. yesterday to complete the last act of Ceylon’s first anniversary celebrations of independence. It was a magnificent effort of co-ordination. The four scrolls were handed over to four girls representing the womanhood of the nation. The girls then turned towards the Premier and read the messages in Sinhalese, Arabic, English and Tamil….. The Prime Minister proceeded to lay the foundation stone of the Independence Column and immediately after a large number of pigeons were released. This was followed by Prime Minister’s address.” Thus records the Ceylon Observer of February 5, 1949. The report further provides a detailed description of the ‘kap’ planting ceremony at the site chosen for the Independence Monument. “Ancient Sinhalese ceremonial was observed when at 10.35 a.m. yesterday the auspicious time, Sir John Kotelawala, Minister of Transport and Works, deputising for the Prime Minister performed the ‘kap’ planting ceremony. Earlier pooja ceremonies under E.A. Delgoda, the Basnayake Nilame were performed by the kapuralas. Milk was boiled at the Northern end of the octagon and coconuts were broken.” Independence Memorial Hall, is indeed “one of the most outstanding sights of Colombo and one which, once seen, will not be forgotten,” true to the words of its principal architect T.N. Wynne Jones. More than a monument celebrating the country’s emancipation from colonial rule, this iconic edifice had been privy to occasions of national significance both ceremonial and sombre, Parliament assemblies and civic receptions since its opening in late 1953. The Hall stands on the site of the temporary assembly hall, where the first Parliament was inaugurated on February 10, 1948 by the Duke of Gloucester. [caption align="alignleft" caption="Dr. Justin Samarasekera"][/caption] Signing the decisive Kandyan Convention in the Magul Maduwa or the Audience Hall in Kandy in 1815 was the final blow to our national sovereignty. In a twist of destiny, the Magul Maduwa, replica now stands as a symbol of Independence. Interestingly, the design had however, been ‘unpremeditated’, according to Dr. Justin Samarasekera, a celebrated first generation local architect honed in the best of both the vernacular tradition and that of the West. Dr. Samarasekera was among the Lankan architects who collaborated with Wynne Jones, on the Independence Memorial Hall. Citing her communication with Dr. Samarasekera in her work, ‘Architecture and Nationalism in Sri Lanka- the trouser under the cloth’, Dr. Anoma Pieris notes: ‘D.S. Senanayake, the first Prime Minister, who had once been a draughtsman at the PWD (Public Works Department), initially volunteered the design services of a friend in the Survey Department. He produced a design for a colonial saluting platform- a form wholly inappropriate for a nascent nation-state. H.J. Billimoria of the PWD, a pragmatic soul, suggested a hospital. Sir John Kotelawala, a minister- later to be Prime Minister called up Wynne-Jones and said, “I say, why don’t you build something like that audience hall in Kandy?” PWD architects were asked to sign a ‘no protest’ form to this recommendation.’ [caption align="alignright" caption="T.N. Wynne Jones"][/caption] Fashioned on the Magul Maduwa, the Independence Hall takes the form of a long narrow open-sided structure with a two-pitched Kandyan roof. The Hall constitutes four corner towers and 48 pillars, based on the typical Kandyan design, with their elaborate pekadas. The ridge of the roof is modelled to the outline of the balustrades of the Temple of the Tooth Relic. Immediately above the column capitals and as viewed from inside the Hall, there will be a series of 28 vertical panels each of which is adorned with a pictorial design depicting an incident from our folklore. Below the hall is a large chamber of the same plan-dimension with 21 alcoves which was envisaged by the designers, to be a museum dedicated to the country’s history. The lower terrace with three tiers to the ground level includes a range of modelled ‘lions’ to all four sides. The hall is mounted on a raised tiered terrace, enabling any person standing anywhere on the floor to be fully visible ‘from quite a short distance up to half a mile or so from the long sides’, as the principal architect of the project, Wynne Jones in his report ‘The Independence Commemoration Hall’ in CEYLON Today (the journal of the Ceylon Government Information Department) of September 1953 notes. While drawing inspiration from the Magul Maduwa- the creative labour of the royal architect, Devendra Mulachari, the architects were conscious of its adaptability to a modern age. “It has been fully realized that this is the modern age, centuries later than the originals, and that the scheme is in a different location for a different purpose and again, that the scale and materials and viewing angles are all entirely different,” documents Wynne Jones. The structure is completely free of wood work and even the ‘reepers’ are of precast concrete making the roof ‘completely weather-tight’. Thus “there is thus nothing to decay and nothing that can burn.” Pure white quartz obtained from a source discovered near Opanayaka gives the edifice its ‘scintillating whiteness.’ Remarking that, ‘it would be both incorrect and unwise to insist upon slavish copying of earlier examples it is indeed most desirable that there should be a spontaneity of enthusiastic co-operation and contribution by the craftsmen,’ Wynne Jones further records that the best craftsmen from the country were selected for the purpose. [caption align="alignleft" caption="Queen Elizabeth II accompanied by Premier Sir John Kotelawala for the ceremonial opening of the third session of the second parliament in 1954"][/caption] Speaking to the Sunday Times, eminent chartered architect and archaeologist Dr. Roland Silva notes that the choice of the design for the independence monument “couldn’t have been better”. Recalling the celebration he saw as a 15-year-old youngster, Dr. Silva chuckles: “the most vivid memory of mine is the blocking of the roads on the day the first Parliament was inaugurated! I travelled with my father from Giriulla for almost half-a-day to witness the celebrations at the temporary Assembly Hall.” Dr. Silva endorses that all professionals and craftsmen involved in the making of Independence Hall “were well groomed” for a “neat job” done. The location chosen for the Hall, he points out had one time been an aerodrome. “During the World War the airstrip used to go from the Thurstan Road up to the present Independence Square where there was a hangar. The Independence Hall now stands where the runaway was.” The Independence Hall had been declared a ‘Protected Monument’ during Dr. Silva’s tenure as Archaeological Commissioner and Director General of the Central Cultural Fund. “This was an exception to the 100-year requirement for a monument to be declared a protected one. It was done under very special approval.” He feels that today the character of the monument should be preserved at least within a radius of half a mile from it. “There should not be any developments done in this area which would hinder the environment the monument enables,” he adds. Independence Hall which had been completed in late 1953 became the chosen site for the ceremonial opening of the third session of the second Parliament in 1954 graced by Queen Elizabeth 11. As ‘The Royal Visit’ published in the May-June, 1954 edition of CEYLON Today journal records, ‘Her Majesty wore her coronation robes for the occasion.’ Under the bold banner ‘Break with tradition not with the past’ the Ceylon Daily News of February 5th, 1957 records that ‘In Colombo the scene then shifted to the Independence Square not Galle Face Green as in the past, where 2500 school children from over 30 schools delighted the ‘largest ever’ Independence gathering with a march past, gymnastics and a physical drill display.’ Among the guests who graced the first ever Independence Day celebrations to be held at the Independence Hall, were the Governor General Sir Oliver Goonetilleke, Premier S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and the Chinese Premier Chou En-lai and his entourage. The report says that the folk dances and the mass physical display by 700 school girls ‘moved the distinguished Chinese visitor to lean forward in his chair’. If the Hall could talk, it would hold testimony to the ‘one sea of heads’ that the Independence Square was on February 4, 1957 to witness the spectacle on a new stage. The heavy rains which had fallen just a few minutes after the Independence Day public meeting began, could not dampen the spirits of the crowds. Instead, the Chinese Premier Chou En-lai who ‘brushed aside repeated offers of an umbrella’ and ‘chose to stand bareheaded in the rain’ sent ripples among them and as newspaper accounts of the day record, the Premier’s ‘example was infectious.’ As the umbrellas came down ‘the crowd stayed on to applaud almost every sentence of his speech.’ Truly a monument to ‘freedom’, this striking edifice marrying simplicity with architectural and artistic mastery rooted in a rich tradition, enables any visitor to be riveted in the tranquility it exudes. The Hall will continue to be a living embodiment of the prophetic words of Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake who reflected after laying its foundation stone: ‘Let us follow the truth, seek justice and work hard. There will then be enough for all in this fair island of ours. I trust that the monument which will arise here will inspire us all to more intense effort.’

(Pix courtesy Ceylon Observer, Ceylon Daily News, CEYLON Today Journal, the Architect 50 (1957-2007 Commemorative Volume of The Sri Lanka Institute of Architects))

[caption align="alignright" caption="From L to r: Dushyanthi Perera, Tamara Holsinger, Sharmini Wettimuny, Nirupama Rao and Soundarie David Rodrigo"][/caption] Celebrating 70 years of Independence, on Wednesday February 7, at the Ladies’ College Hall, musicians from Sri Lanka and India will perform at the highly anticipated concert, “Music Beyond Borders”, spearheaded by the Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka (SOSL).

Music Beyond Borders will take place on February 7 at the Ladies’ College Hall from 7 p.m..

[caption align="alignright" caption="Cutting the anniversary cake: Raffles MD Tony Bohoran is seen second from right and (inset) his book. Pix by Ranjith Perera"][/caption] Raffles Residence, in the heart of Nugegoda marked its 18th anniversary with an elegant evening celebration last Sunday at the Grand Ballroom. The evening was paired with the launch of a recipe book by the man behind the venture itself, Tony Bohoran, Raffles Managing Director.

Dumping Colombo’s garbage in Arawakkadu: A disaster in the making?

Kiyaz Deen Colombo 7

A plea to bring back our ‘lost’ bus stands

The people of Kesbewa are thankful to the authorities for finally putting up a bus shelter, two weeks ago, on the Horana Road (on the side of the temple), at the Kesbewa main junction, after two years of agitation for it. But, it is a matter for regret that authorities have turned a blind eye on the Kesbewa lake side, on the same road, at the same junction. There were two bus halts (one with a shelter) at the lake side of the 120 bus route but they were removed, like the clock tower, during an expansion project. These two bus halts were never rebuilt neither was the clock tower, which authorities promised would be brought to the city centre, as was the original plan. For the past two years the people made many representations (including some library members and myself) to the RDA, the Kesbewa TC and the Transport Ministry to instal these two bus halts as bus drivers stop according to their own whims and fancies, specially favouring the younger women. “Can we have these two bus halts back” is the plea of the people of Kesbewa as many government institutions such as the Ayurveda Clinic , Maternity Clinic, the Post Office, the Public Library, and the walking path are all situated on the lake side.

Sumith de Silva Kesbewa

Citizen Silva, your comment on Mr. Kumarasinghe is unfair

Dear Citizen Silva, I appreciate the forthrightness and good sense of your articles. But your comment on P.G. Kumarasinghe, President Maithripala Sirisena’s brother, in the Sunday Times of January 7, was not fair. You cannot equate the appointment of P.G. Kumarasinghe as Chairman SLT, with that of Nishantha Wickremasinghe, President Rajapaksha’s brother-in-law. In all fairness, Mr. Kumarasinghe is a qualified and experienced professional administrator with two MBAs. An MBA is a qualifier for promotion in the public sector and the private sector. Mr. Wickremasinghe has no qualification for a high executive position whatsoever. Is it a fair comparison? I am non-partisan between these two factions. I am for objectivity and fair-mindedness. One must remember that P.G. Kumarasinghe was previously deprived of a promotion just because he was President Sirisena’s brother. You are old enough to remember what Sir John Kotelawala once said when he was criticised for appointing his nephew Dixon as Director, Civil Aviation: “ He shouldn’t be deprived of his appointment because he is my nephew.” Mr. Kumarasinghe is a grassroots man. I am too and I presume you are too since you are Citizen Silva

Patrick Jayasuriya Maharagama

Thoughts on passing a parking meter Ambling along on the pavement on Galle Road, Wellawatte, I paused to study the new parking meters that are being installed. Here’s what I saw: Exact Change- No Refunds- Charge for cars Rs 30 per hour. There are no place to insert coins on the meter. Now how is one to deposit Rs 30 without a ten rupee coin? There are no ten Rupee notes any more. Or is one to deposit Rs 40 and forfeit Rs 10 on every occasion?

Nihal Ratnayake Dehiwala

She brightened our lives with her care, inspiration and music Daphne Kulasekere My beloved sister Daphne Kulasekere was called to eternal rest on January 22, 2017, a year ago, leaving a void in the lives of all her loved ones. Born on January 18, 1953, Daphne had her education at Princess of Wales College, Moratuwa. She followed a career in music (pianoforte) and obtained professional qualifications from Trinity and Royal College of Music, London. She started teaching music at the very young age of 19 years for around 15 students. She was actively involved in church work and was the organist of the Methodist Church Suduwella, Moratuwa and a dedicated Sunday school teacher. She migrated to Canada in 1977 and lived a peaceful life with her family. She was married to Felix (Rohantha) and was blessed with two sons, Travis and Troy. She was a well known and much loved music teacher in Calgary and had the privilege of teaching many for more than three decades. She was attached to the Alberta School of Ballet and as appreciation for her dedicated services, the school held its annual concert in memory of her. She was also the organist at the St. Augustine’s Anglican Church and the United Church in Calgary. The Funeral service was held at Christ Church Elbow Park, Calgary. I wish to share some of the vivid, wonderful and nostalgic memories of her. We were very close to each other in a wonderful family atmosphere and lived happily under the guidance of caring parents and God Almighty. When she started earning, she never failed to give me pocket money. It was she who dropped me off to the University hostel in 1975 with words of encouragement to study hard. She taught me how to ride a bicycle and to drive a car. My memory recalls, the fun we had during Christmas singing Christmas Carols with family and friends, with my sister on the piano. My sister never lost the common touch and was devoted to her family members, especially to relations and friends in need. She was constantly in touch with her family and visited us regularly. The annual Christmas card from her was much awaited by all the relations. Throughout her life she epitomized kindness, love and compassion for the needy. I am told by my sons who visited her in Calgary recently, how excited she was to have them at her home. In 2015, she spent Christmas with my family in Sri Lanka along with Travis her eldest son, and had a wonderful holiday. We had a family and friends get-together and as usual she was on the piano entertaining us all with Christmas hymns, songs and golden oldies that brought back fond memories. I was really moved by her very friendly approach towards my little grand-daughters who still talk highly of Daphne Achcha. In spite of her own declining health condition, she had played the piano, one last time, at the cancer hospital during the Christmas of 2016, entertaining the patients and staff. Though we were apart, we never felt it, as we were constantly in touch with each other. My several visits to her home in Calgary too brought us much closer. Her love, affection and dedication to the family was admirable and exceptional. A thanksgiving service in her memory was held on April 1, 2017 at the Suduwella Methodist church with a large gathering and an inspirational message was delivered by our cousin Ivor Poobalan. I take this opportunity to thank all those who attended the service. She was a loving daughter to our parents late Justin and Charlotte, a caring sister to both me and my brother Bernel (deceased) and a very loving and affectionate mother to her sons Travis and Troy - she truly was an “inspiration”. We all miss her so very much! I thank God for her life and it is my belief that we will meet each other again on that “beautiful shore”.

Denver Brian Coorey

You are now safe on the golden shore

ASHLEY HERMON WIJESINHA

Ashley, a cousin of my late husband, died on January 15 this year, incidentally, his wife Sria’s (nee Salgado) birthday. He was 84. An old boy of Trinity College, Kandy and Wesley College, Colombo, Ashley after retiring from the Sri Lanka Tea Board, worked as a journalist at the Sunday Times and the Daily Mirror. That he had a nose for news, with journalism running in his veins, is no surprise as his talent for writing was seen right throughout his career. Journalism was close to his heart so he was very much drawn to working in the newspapers like the Daily News, the Sunday Times and the Daily Mirror. He was also Assistant Editor in the Hansard Reporting Department of Parliament at one time. He had a pleasant personality that was liked by all, much loved and respected by his peers, supervisors and subordinates. He treated people equally, expressing that every human being is a child of God. I remember at the time he retired he initiated and organised a pensioner’s (boys only) pound and pint monthly get-together among the cousins. This continued for some years until one by one, the members fell ill. Ashley was sociable and one event he attended with much enthusiasm was the Salgado family union meetings and picnics. He was instrumental in arranging entertainment items and attended to this task very well. He was a man of method and managed his work and home affairs meticulously and with order. Bill payments, pension documentation, medical records of himself and his wife were always handled and maintained personally by him in a neat and orderly manner. In lighter vein, not only did he have a ‘nose for news’ but could ‘smell’ a pick-pocket from far. I recall how he was in the habit of informing the police of such persons in the buses and bus stops. On one occasion a pickpocket had got off the bus and threatened him in sign language. After that incident, as our house was close to the bus stand, he would come there and call the police to give details of the pickpocket waiting for his prey. It used to be hilarious for us, but because of his public spirited nature, many a pickpocket was rounded up. It was sad to see his health deteriorating due to Parkinson’s disease and he then started going to work at Sunday Times only on Saturdays. He looked forward to this day and told me that he forgot his sickness and felt happy when he went to work even once a week. Of late, I visited him more often and felt he enjoyed my visits. I remember on one occasion when I prayed over him he was so happy that he kept talking about it for weeks. Many times he asked Sria to dial my number and requested me to come over. His cousins, relatives, friends and colleagues, especially those at the Tea Board, the Sunday Times, the Daily Mirror and the Daily News, will miss him much as he was a pleasure to be around with. His wife Sria and son Dhinuk spared no pains to see that he got the best of care and endeavoured to keep him happy and comfortable to the best of their ability. I am sure his demise leaves a void in their lives and an empty space in their home. No more clouds in the sky, no more tears to dim the eye. All is peace forevermore as in glory bright unclouded, he is safe on the golden shore.

Mary Anne Perera

Amma, I will love you endlessly

Sangeetha Hemanthi Dharmakeerthie

My mother was determined to give us things that she thought a normal kid should have, in order that we should not be considered different. Ironically, it’s also what I felt when I was offered a position in a university, which I had hoped to enrol in. I was overwhelmed by happiness, however another part of me thought otherwise. As my friends were sharing how their parents reacted to their offers, their mothers in tears, some with smiles, some with hugs and kisses, expressing how proud their parents were of them, it reminded me of the part of me that I was missing my amma. Whilst my friends were blessed with the privilege of kissing their mothers, I only had her photograph to look at. No sources of comfort, no way of hearing her telling me the sweet phrase I desired to hear the most “I’m so proud of you”. The more I stared at her photograph, the more I realised, that she wasn’t there to see me become the woman that she wanted to see me become. All there was left was a photo with a fixed smile, which still managed to somehow comfort me with silence, when I needed her the most. I was disappointed that she wasn’t there to hug me and tell me she cared. Disappointed, that she could no longer crack her sarcastic jokes, which in her opinion were “top-notch”. Disappointed, that I couldn’t tell her how much she meant to me when I had the chance to. Disappointed, that I couldn’t share my small milestones in life with her. On February 8, it’ll be five years since she eft us without notice. Since then, I’ve heard many people say to me, “Don’t worry, time will heal”. But, I’m still waiting on time to do its duty of healing. As each year passes, I accomplish bigger things, better things, but not having my amma by my side always restricts me from feeling the full extent of happiness. The reality of a photograph being the closest I can get to her, leaves me restless. Words simply cannot explain how much I desire to be held by her, to have her gentle hands stroke my hair like she used to or even to have her tell me stories from her childhood, that would leave me breathless from laughter. Words cannot explain how jealous I have become of my own friends for being able to do the exact things that I yearn to do at least one more time. Words cannot explain how much I’m affected by her absence. But I know and I understand, that no matter how far she may be from me physically, she’s always with me in thought. She’s the woman that made me who I am, the woman I aspire to become and the woman I love endlessly my Amma.

Anarkaie Manel Dharmakeerthie

A memory so fond and true

M.K. De Silva

It’s been a whole year since my grandmother took that last breath and closed her eyes forever. I still find it difficult to convince myself that she is no longer with us. Her soul was fierce, her heart was brave and her mind was strong. She was kind and sweet. I remember like it was yesterday, her waiting for me patiently at the gate whenever I came home from school. Her smile was priceless as joy was the only emotion that swept her heart when she saw me running towards her wide open arms. She was my guardian angel. She always made sure that I was at my best whenever she was around. Fear was just a word, her embraces and tender words were enough to convince me that the world could be a beautiful paradise to survive in. Most of all, her love was unconditional. She was gentle and kind, A beautiful memory she left behind. Three little words “forget me not” Don’t seem much but mean a lot. A memory so fond and true, To show, dear Achchi, we think of you.

Loving Granddaughter - Shavini

[caption align="alignright" caption="Dharmasena Pathiraja"][/caption] I had just finished reading the article by Rajitha Weerakoon in the Sunday Times last week on a felicitation to Dharmasena Pathiraja (‘Pathi’ as we always called him). My friend Buddhi Galappatti had just then had a cleverly drafted message on his Facebook in Sinhala. Translated into English it read: ‘Pathi, you are now on your own in the distant skies. Thousands of stars will keep you company. Good night, Pathi.’ (The reference to the distant skies was about Pathi’s cinematic creation ‘Ahas Gawwa’, his first feature film). Pathi had said goodbye.

D.C. Ranatunga

Next Saturday, February 10, the BMICH will see an international star take the stage when soprano Danielle de Niese performs for a local audience, her concert ‘Celebrating 70 Years of Independence with Danielle De Niese’ perfectly timed to resonate with this milestone occasion. She has only been here once before but her Burgher parents had their roots here and though she herself was born in Australia, local fans have been following her prowess on the international stage with great pride and interest. The sultry star who began singing at the age of three, trained initially by her mother Beverley soon caught the public eye. Much in demand, her recent appearance in Opera Australia’s production of Lehar’s Merry Widow attracted rave reviews. “The night belonged, however, to returning Australian soprano Danielle de Niese as Hanna Glawari who exuded a telling joie de vivre from beginning till the final curtain. With a swag of international successes in major opera houses, de Niese looked brilliant throughout and displayed outstanding stagecraft skills which convincingly set the tone for the production’s flirtatious high spirits. De Niese’s famous show-stopping aria Vilja was poignantly sentimental and nostalgic,” said the reviewer from the Performing Arts Hub (November 2017). Her Colombo concert is presented by the Colombo Cultural Hub Trust headed by Mano Chanmugam, in collaboration with Dilmah and Qatar Airlines on Saturday, February 10 at the BMICH at 7.30 p.m. The concert is sponsored by the Wijeya Group, Colombo Jewellery Stores, First Capital, Coffee Bean, Sri Lankan Airlines, East India Holdings, Publicis, Jetwing Travels and the Hilton Colombo

Tickets are moving fast. The box office is at the Lionel Wendt theatre with tickets priced at Rs 7500, 5000, 3000, 2000, 1500 and 750.

[caption align="alignright" caption="Prince Edward and his wife Countess Sophie at Third Space and (right) a picture with the staff. Pix by M.A. Pushpa Kumara"][/caption] Arriving on a quintessentially humid day in Colombo on January 31 at the Bellatrix Building of Orion City, Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip and the Countess of Wessex, received a warm welcome.

H.K.Krishantha Chandana Gunasekara, 44, was diagnosed with non- alcoholic cirrhosis five years ago. Medical specialists at Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Ragama have recommended an urgent liver transplant as the disease has reached a critical stage. The surgery needs to be done in Gleneagles Global Hospitals, Chennai, India and would cost around Rs. 7,365,000. Krishantha is a science teacher at a government school and the only breadwinner in his family of six. As his family is unable to bear the medical expenses due to financial difficulties, they seek the support of generous donors to save his life. They also seek a possible donor of O+ or O- blood types (18-45 years) who is willing to donate a part of the liver to Krishantha as his wife is not a suitable donor. Any donations could be deposited to Account No. 81649500 at the Bank of Ceylon, Minuwangoda. Name of the account holder - H.K.K.C. Gunasekara

Contact 0775302304/ 0773416208 for further information.

Waters Edge together with the Japanese Embassy presents the 3rd Annual Japanese Fair on Sunday, February 11 from 4 p.m. onwards at the Grand Lawn. This year’s fair will feature the Aikido Association, the Kyodo Club of Archery, Origami Folders Association, Sri Lanka Bonsai Association, Ikebana International, Shi-En Ikebana and Floral Art Society, Cos-Play Group, the Taiko Drummers, the Sumo Federation and the Japan National Tourism Organization (JNTO). Ambassador of Japan in Sri Lanka Kenichi Suganuma will be the chief guest.

For more information please call Waters Edge on 0112 863863.

[caption align="alignright" caption="David Puttnam: An undiminished love for learning. Pic by Indika Handuwala"][/caption] With 10 Oscars, 25 BAFTAs and the Palme d’Or at Cannes among his innumerable accolades (and these are only for film) Lord David Puttnam can cut an intimidating figure in one’s imagination. Then one could add classic films such as ‘Chariots of Fire’, ‘Local Hero’, ‘The Killing Fields’ and ‘Bugsy Malone’ to his resume in addition to the 45 honorary degrees he holds from universities around the world and the work he has championed in areas of climate change, education and policy development. But when we meet the 76-year-old film maker, he waves to us with a floppy hat, his easy conversation much like his lectures and presentations – simple, practical and heartfelt, putting us at ease. “The good thing about being old,” he divulges, are the years spent travelling, meeting people and doing what he loves best- learning. [caption align="alignright" caption="A proper display: Paintings hung up on the new shelter.Pix by Athula Devapriya"][/caption] It is an unmistakable roadside attraction in the heart of Colombo, a display of paintings in vivid colours on diverse themes. Green Path has for many years been a hub for local artists who in the absence of a gallery to exhibit their work, display them on the sidewalk in the hope that passers-by attracted by the sight, will stop to take a closer look and perhaps decide to buy their creations. [caption align="alignright" caption="The imposter, Dam-manel, showing off its hybrid glory"][/caption] The battle is not yet won and the warriors, covered in mud, are not ready to concede defeat……for it is all to do with the rightful National Flower being upstaged by another.

Win- win solution for all parties without additional costs In the Sunday Times last week, there was a news item highlighting the difficulties faced by a community of fishermen because of the operations of the Lakvijaya coal power plant off Puttalam. From the report it appears that ships carrying coal to the power plant sometimes arrive off schedule and off track, thereby causing damage and destruction to fishing nets of the fishermen of the area who had laid their fishing nets in the path of the ships , because they had not known the changes in schedules. Destruction of a fishing net must be a devastating loss to the fishermen and their families because replacing the net requires a considerable investment and is a burden to those families in their struggle to make ends meet. After reading the article I felt that there are many solutions to this problem that do not require any investment except for some initiative on the part of the state agency responsible for preventing this kind of situation. The steps that can be implemented by the authorities: 1. Obtain a monthly schedule of coal ship arrivals and distribute it through Grama Niladari and fishermen unions etc to the fishermen. This can be verified continuously through ship movement websites like https://www.marinetraffic.com too. 2. Coordinate with shipping companies and Lakvijaya and obtain details of changes if the schedule is changed. 3. Obtain mobile numbers of fishermen engaged in fishing in this area and create a group. 4. When an unexpected change is taking place in the schedule send out text messages to the group. Since ship movements are not changed suddenly unless there is an emergency, any change can easily be notified with ample prior notice by the shipper/Lakvijaya to the state agency and in turn the agency can release a group SMS to the fishermen. 5. Fishermen having received the prior notice can take off the nets, if they have laid them in the danger area and allow the ship to pass without their fishing nets being damaged or destroyed. None of these activities requires any investment other than the cost for the text messages. And if there are 200 such fishermen and a schedule change occurs once a month the total cost for the service would be 200x.25 that is Rs 50. In the case of ships that are off track, the state agency can demarcate a clear approaching corridor for the ships coming to Lakvijaya and promulgate it. They can also inform shipping companies that ships that violate these corridor boundaries will have a large fine imposed on them because of the danger they pose to the fishing gear and the lives of fishermen. Ship captains now have two compelling reasons to avoid transgressing the safe corridor a fine and the additional cost they incur in clearing propellers of remnants of fishing net if they overrun one of them. It’s a win- win situation for everybody, ships , fishermen and Lakvijaya without any capital investment and very little recurrent expenses.

Rear Admiral Lakshman T. B. Illangakoon Kandy

Unruly estate youth are at fault not leopards

[caption align="alignright" caption="Hunting for the leopard after the apparent attack"][/caption] I refer to an article in your January 14 issue, on the apparent leopard attack in Hatton. I live on a private estate near the Katabool water falls, close to Hatton, where there are many sightings of leopards. This is in the vicinity of the area where a woman died in an “apparent” attack by a leopard. Most often the leopards are harassed by the estate youth. Last year a leopard with two cubs was sighted above our property and the men tried to capture the cubs with nets and poles. But fortunately the mother was able to move the cubs before the mob returned to capture them. The youth every year set fire around the caves and dry areas around our property, and this causes distress to the leopards. During the dry season from January to end March fires rage in the tea plantations, but there is no way to catch the culprits who start the fires. Even now as I write this, intoxicated estate youth are setting fires all around, the JEDB estate. Women pluckers who have unwittingly disturbed leopards resting under tea bushes have through fear fallen and injured themselves, but never been attacked by these peaceful animals. The leopards have plenty of food, domestic dogs, goats, deer and wildboar to eat. So they are not that desperate to kill human beings, unless provoked. My husband and I have lived in this area for 30 years and the maximum harm the leopards have done is take away domestic dogs, and leave carcasses of deer and wild boar in the fields. The men talk boldly about killing a leopard and taking its claws and teeth for charms and burying the carcass. In another instance, a leopard had walked through the field, whilst the women were plucking the tea, picked up a domestic dog that had frozen on the spot through fear and walked away with it, without attacking any of the women. Sending teams to educate the estate youth on how to live peacefully with these animals is essential and perhaps a reward system to inform on any perpetrators with a phone number to call, with a reliable person at the other end to answer and take action, may be the way forward.

Mrs. P. Stork Via email

Good calibre members a must for our so-called august assembly I read the article that appeared in the letters to the Editor section of the Sunday Times of November 12 written by Edward Gunawardena under the topic ‘Why not a few clauses for a better Parliament in the new Constitution?’ He mentions that “if some of the good and better people fill the seats of this august assembly, parliamentary behaviour and language will be better, absenteeism will be less, and debates will be constructive, livelier and interesting.” I cannot agree with him more. I wish to refer to a statement made by an MP in Parliament a few weeks ago when a heart transplant anaesthetist was referred to as a “Yakshaniyak” mentioning even her name. Anaesthesia is a highly skilled job performed by qualified trained personnel with the highest qualifications obtained from the UK, Australia etc. Anaesthetists have the right to decide whom and when to anaesthetise depending on the physical status of the patient, type of surgery and many other factors. Therefore a layman has no right or knowledge to make such remarks. Has this remark brought anything good or useful? Probably not. In fact it has demoralised many doctors who work under trying conditions in this country. At an inquiry held a few days later by the Ministry of Health there was no proof for evidence of negligence by any party. I hope if and when a new constitution is drafted, steps will be taken to allow members of good calibre to be selected.

Dr. M.M.Rajapakse Via email

In spite of her difficulties she shone bright touching all our lives Dinusha Fernando Our youngest daughter Dinusha was a gift from God on January 13, 1987 to both of us, my wife Roshani and I and to her elder sister Hirusha and brother Hirushke. Dinu’s earthly journey was only 10,606 days as she was called back to her eternal home two years ago on January 15, 2016 just one night after her 29th birthday. Her life journey is a story of amazing faith, endurance and love. She had incurable Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) to begin with and later on her kidneys failed and then her main heart valve was damaged. She felt the worst was behind her. It seems she was wrong. Following the heart surgery, Dinu had a stroke. As if everything Dinu was bearing wasn’t enough, she contracted swine flu and then pneumonia. The last thing she needed was to find a lump in her breast, but that’s exactly what happened. Yet throughout Dinu’s earthly journey she knew that God was her rock and only He could heal her of pain. This young, beautiful soldier of God was in so much pain. But she never uttered a cross word to any of us. She only let her love for her family show. It was as if she knew she would only be here a short time longer and she wanted her family to have no doubt that she loved them. Her love for God was always evident and shone through like a bright light in those dark days. Just 22 months after Dinu was born we as a family went through turmoil, however our faith in God was strengthened by the spiritual support of the Methodist church we attended regularly and the divine ministry of Dev Suwa Sevawa. Dinu was a happy baby who touched the hearts of everyone with joy and love. When Dinu walked into a room and smiled, it truly seemed as though the room lit up and was instantly filled with warmth. Little Dinusha continued to grow and thrive under our watchful care. It was 1991 and it was time for Dinu to join school. We already had two elder children in prestigious schools and the fees were definitely heavy for us at the time. I worked every job I could find to make sure our youngest little girl, who was as bright as a button, was able to join her sister at Ladies’ College. Dinu was a studious, beautiful young girl, but she still never lost that fun-loving spirit she was born with. In 2006 she completed her Advanced Level exams and received great results which got her a good job in a leading travel company. She loved her work and her workmates. But in March 2009, Dinu’s trial period at her job was supposed to be completed and she received a letter that stated, “Services are no longer required.” It crushed Dinu. She was sad and distraught. Four months after Dinu survived the blow of losing her job, Dinu started complaining of pain throughout her joints. In August 2009, she was diagnosed with incurable SLE Lupus disease. Although she was incredibly sick, she was also a very brave young girl with a strong will and a mind of her own. She began praying and was able to find her another job which would help support the family and help pay for her medical expenses. Dinusha caught Chamara’s eye while working in this place. Dinu, however was totally honest with him. She told him about her Lupus which was in remission at the time. On December 17, 2012, as she walked down the aisle holding my arm, she sang the words, “How can I say thanks for the things you have done.” Things were looking good for the young couple until May 9, 2014. Dinu returned from work that day complaining of pain in her abdomen and spine. Tragedy struck the family when we learned that both her kidneys had failed. In March 2015, we were told she needed to have a kidney transplant. Dinu had developed a theme of life. It was, “The circumstances of your life don’t and shouldn’t describe or dictate the quality of your personality.” Dinu didn’t let these new and trying circumstances change any aspect of her character or her life. Though she herself was sick and in pain, she still took time to visit if a friend or relative was sick. Though she was in need, she was always there to help others when needed. She always had time to talk to her friends. Dinu’s Bible theme verse was Col 4:2 “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” Dinu carried her cross with dignity. Through times of severe suffering, she still found ways to enjoy life. Though she was a young girl of 28, she was able to show the way for both the young and the old. Her beautiful life showed the example of how to live and glorify God… I learned a great deal from my daughter of how not to let the circumstances of my life dictate the quality of my life. By January 9, Dinu felt the Lord had sent her a message calling her home. When Rev Asiri Perera, President/Bishop of the Methodist Church, visited Dinu that day, she told him clearly and with perfect sense that she wanted to go to God’s house…she had been called home. The following morning, we all gathered around her bedside. Roshani and I, her loving husband Chamara, her brother and sister, and her brother/sister-in-law. This was part of the preparation for her journey home to God where she bid “goodbye” to all of us. God gave us one last birthday with our loving daughter on January 13, 2016.( I couldn’t help but remember that January 13th of 1987 when she was born) . On the night of the 14th, Dinu was surprised by being able to listen to her favourite artist, Keerthi Pasquel singing to her by her bedside. No one realized, except maybe Dinu, that it was her last night on earth. Dinu thanked all her doctors, especially Dr. Surjit Somiah who had looked after her so well. Each one had done everything they knew how to do to help her. That night Dinu uttered these words to her family gathered around her bedside, “Jesus is coming tomorrow morning…beautiful…I am waiting for a message…I am watching…it—it is beautiful.” Just as she said to us, the Lord came in the early hours of the 15th and took her home. My little angel is now a heavenly angel at the Lord’s side. Dinu touched the lives and hearts of many souls across the world. The spirit of my loving daughter, a brave soldier of God, will live on through every act of kindness she ever performed and her thoughtfulness. Her bright loving smile will never dim in the memories of those lives she touched.

Premakumar Fernando

She faced any challenge with aplomb

NIRMALA DEVI RAMACHANDRAN

The first Lady Commissioner General of Inland Revenue, is no more, ‘Cause, this sprightly 81 plus year old has been summoned before, The Universe’s creator, To be assigned a place in the abode of the maker. The news of her demise, Came as a surprise, After a private funeral - cremation, To many a friend and relation. In the salubrious environs of Ward Place, she was born and bred, And lived there - performing on the world’s stage, till she was pronounced dead. Born in 1935, on the 23rd of November Died in 2017, on the 21st of September. The only girl in a family of four, Her father: The Late Dr. Vairamutthu Kathirgamatamby predeceased her by 70+ years or more, Though deprived of a father’s love and care at a tender age The values of honesty, justice and fair-play, she imbued from her mother (Chellam) and Alma Mater - enabled her to face any challenging task on the world’s stage. At Ladies College she had her primary & secondary education, And read for a Physical Science degree of the London University - from Aquinas College, a Private Institution, And secured a Hons Class degree, That paved the way to join the prestigious Inland Revenue fraternity. In 1960, Dr. Surendra married Nirmala Devi. In 1962, they brought forth Sudarshan their progeny, Who has soared over his father’s medical renown, By bagging two professorial medical gowns. Dr. Surendra and Nimo acted as the wind under the other’s wings, To soar to great heights despite envious stings. The husband was bestowed the much coveted - Deshamanya National Award, The wife as the First Lady Commissioner General in the field of Inland Revenue a record. During her watch as Commissioner General, The Revenue Collection reached a very high level. The Collection for the period 94 -95 being 20% of G.D.P. The highest in the last one and a half decades of the 20th century. Nimo was a voracious reader, And also a great traveller, Hence, she put pen and photography to paper, To publish three volumes of Hindu Heritage to enrich Hindu culture. To the Ramakrishna Mission Trust Fund treasury She assigned the Book’s Royalty, To be used for charity, To alleviate poverty. Friends and relations please note, Nimo’s favourite quote, Culled from the verse ‘Farewell my Friend’ by Rabindranath Tagore A plea by those who we will, on planet earth, see no more “Farewell, farewell My friends I smile and bid you Goodbye. No, shed no tears For I need them not All I need is your smile” It is difficult to say goodbye with a smile, dear friend Cause your life on earth has come to an end. But Sudarshan, Sanju, Shanath, Pravinath, Harishnath and those near & dear to you will you miss, While you enjoy eternal bliss.

The well known interpreter who did yeoman service Sellaiah Kumarasamy Sellaiah Kumarasamy English/Tamil and Tamil/English Parliament interpreter passed away, recently in his village Alaveddy. He joined Parliament senate as an interpreter in 1961 . He worked in some Ministries also as an English/Tamil, Tamil/English interpreter. After retiring having served 40 years in Parliament, he served as a relief interpreter from 1997 to 2012. He was honoured by the previous Speaker Chamal Rajapakse in 2012. At a Farewell for Mr. Kumarasamy, Former Secretary General of Parliament B.D.Dasanayake said SK had performed a long and dedicated service to Parliament. During his career Mr. Kumarasamy earned the respect and commendation of political leaders, members of Parliament and the Secretary-General whom he had the privilege to work with. Another feather in Mr. Kumarsamy’s cap was his involvement in translating the trilingual manual of the standing orders in the Senate. SK also attended many International conferences assisting political leaders in their deliberations. Mr. Kumarasamy had a London matriculation certificate in English, Latin and Tamil when he joined the Senate, coming first in the examination for interpreters to the Senate. SK was the official interpreter at various conferences including the long drawn- out All Party Conference sessions, the Law Reforms Commission, the Inquiries on the Ceasefire Monitoring Commission and the International Islamic Conference. He was commended for his remarkable performance at the historic Thimpu talks in Bhutan in 1985. In July 1969 when the historic moon landing was relayed over the Voice Of America (VOA), Radio Ceylon had engaged him to relay to Tamil listeners the VOA commentaries.

N.Parameswaran

[caption align="alignright" caption="Anuk in Colombo last week. Pic by Priyantha Wickramaarachchi"][/caption] He may have won the 2017 DSC prize for South Asian Literature, but Anuk Arudpragasam seems fairly unfazed by all the fuss. “You can’t take these prizes too seriously because different people read and write for different reasons,” he says, pausing to add that he is appreciative of the recognition and money he received. Another reason he takes his achievement in his stride is because he prefers constructive criticism to praise. “What can you do with praise? It’s embarrassing to listen to sometimes,” he says firmly. He also cites the subject matter of his book as another reason why he doesn’t want to be celebrated too much.

[caption align="alignright" caption="Johann addressing the media and (below left) the Prime Minister buying the first pin."][/caption] After months of gruelling training, time and effort, the summit of Mount Everest looms ahead of you - just 450m away. Suddenly, your oxygen mask malfunctions. The bodies of those who tried to achieve this feat just a little too hard lie behind you, and yet the object of your dreams lies just ahead - a mere 450m away. What would you do? This impossibly difficult decision was what mountaineer Johann Peiris faced, and unlike many of those who died trying, he made the correct decision and turned back. That was 2016. Now he is planning to try again. The recently launched ‘Climb with Johann’ campaign is set to help him reach the summit this time. The journey costs USD 58600 (9.1 million LKR) and the campaign will raise the amount 100 rupees at a time. Anyone who wishes to donate can buy a pin for Rs. 100 which will represent one step in his journey. The cost includes everything needed for a successful climb: logistical support, food, oxygen and many other amenities which will be provided by International Mountain Guiders - a company which has conducted many successful expeditions to Mount Everest. Jayanthi Kuru Utumpala, the first Sri Lankan to climb Mount Everest explained the harsh realities of the climb. “Camp Four, the highest camp on Earth, is located at the death zone. This is called the death zone for a very real reason because at this height your body begins to die due to the very low pressure in the air. Just one mistake can cost you your life. It is during this final journey that anything can go wrong, and sometimes they do go wrong, and so it was for Johann in 2016, when his oxygen mask began to malfunction. “With only 450m to the top of Mount Everest, Johann had so much courage to make the right decision. For me Johann is a hero because he had the courage to turn back when his life was in danger,” she says. Johann Peries explained his desire to try again. “People kept asking me why did you go back? I think people who are passionate about doing things always want to achieve their goal and finish what they started, and that’s what it is for me. I know that I am ready,” he says. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who purchased the first pin, asked people to support this venture. “I call on everyone in Sri Lanka to help support this bid for the second Sri Lankan to get on Mount Everest,” he said.

Those who wish to support Johann can donate by visiting his website at http://www.johanneverest2018.com/

[caption align="alignright" caption="‘Utterly delectable’: Danielle De Niese"][/caption] Sensational singing star Danielle De Niese will be at a concert celebrating Sri Lanka’s 70 years of Independence, presented by the Colombo Cultural Hub Trust in collaboration with DILMAH. Five years after her Asian debut in Colombo and two months into her Australian premiere in Melbourne and seven days after a phenomenally successful month at the Sydney Opera House as ‘Hanna’ in the Merry Widow produced by Opera Australia, Danielle De Niese will once again enthrall her Sri Lankan fans with her captivating stage presence and beautiful Soprano voice on Saturday, February 10 at the BMICH. Danielle, born to Sri Lankan parents Chris and Beverly De Niese, is more than just the most magnetic presence on the operatic stage, with her singing described by the New York Times as ‘utterly delectable … sheer joie de vivre and mastery come spilling across to the eyes as well of the ears’. Describing her passion for performing, Danielle says: “it means communicating to the audience not only through the voice but through the natural human canvas,….. when you share your interpretation of music you are baring your soul to the audience, transporting them to a different place and time. You give people a part of yourself.” Danielle has been on her unstoppable path since the age of eight, winning the Emmy Award as TV host at 16, an irresistible fireball with her own beguiling way of approaching her art. Her first appearance at the Grand MET in New York was as ‘Barbarina’ in the Marriage of Figaro at a mere 19 years before she became the star of Glyndebourne, followed by Despina in Cossi Fan Tutte again at the Grand MET, Adina in L’Elisir d’ amore, Norina in Don Pasquale at the San Diego Opera. Her many collaborators include the New York Philharmonic, the London Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. With her ‘studio debut’ in 2007, Decca / Universal Records releasing Handel’s Arias, Danielle instantly rose to recording stardom and continues with her 4 th studio album ‘Beauty of the Baroque’. Staring as Poppea in Handel’s Agrippina, at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu in 2014, she was reunited with producer David McVicar, in whose award winning production of Handel’s Giulio Cesare as Cleopatra, she catapulted to world fame at Glyndebourne in 2005. Away from her opera, Danielle thrilled the 25 Million British TV audience as star of the Closing of the Proms on September 12, 2015 at the Royal Albert Hall with simulcast televising of this performance at the leading parks including Hyde Park in London, Singleton Park in Swansea, Titanic Slipways in Belfast and Glasgow Green getting them to joyously join the largest ever nationwide sing along.

-Mano Chanmugam

The Donald Trunk book launch at Jetwing Lighthouse on Wednesday January 24 at tea time promises to be an extraordinary event with a cake by chef Nihal that lives up to the size and character of Trunk himself, a fun theatrical book reading and many other treasures and treats.

Popular singer, songwriter Rukshan Perera will take the stage tonight at the Bishop’s College auditorium at 7 p.m. for the 8th consecutive year. Rukshan is joined by the powerful voices of De Lanerolle Brothers, the talented Soundarie David Rodrigo on piano, the fun entertainer Clifford Richards, Choro Calibre, the classic Colombo Brass Ensemble, combining with violins, flutes, percussion…and others. The Ladies College Intermediate Choir will perform with Rukshan’s composition that won the Gold at the Asia Pacific Choir Games. Rukshan’s concerts are always for a deserving charity and this year it is in aid of Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan to help eight children’s projects: Lama Piyasa - a home for abused children, SithSevena - a home for mentally challenged children, a vocational programme to teach English, IT and oriental/ballet dance, Child Friendly Police Station - building a new facility for children to give evidence at the police station, Sunshine Games – bringing 1000 differently abled children for a day of sports activity, community concerns – to help needy children and supporting the Wasgamuwa Pre-School with their needs. The Rotary Club of Colombo Metropolitan funds more than a dozen projects every year.

Tickets are available at the Bishop’s College Auditorium from 10 a.m. For more information please call 0773057220 or 0770073684.

[caption align="alignright" caption="Eye-catching and flavourful icecream"][/caption] The Galle Fort has always offered tourists and locals alike a microcosmic world of whimsy, culture and relaxed fun for the whole family. With events such as the Fairway Galle Literary Festival next week, Suranjan and Shalini Perera are serving visitors one of the Fort’s newer, hidden gems. “Isle of Gelato” opened its doors just last month and has already earned a fan base of tourists who keep coming back for their quirky, artisanal gelato. They will reach out to Colombo’s icecream-a-holics by next week when they open in Colombo 7. Their confectionery dream was born when the couple got engaged in Italy three years ago. Both Shalini and Suranjan were working in finance- she a financial analyst and he a stockbroker. The idea to try their hand at a dairy project once they got married was always at the back of their minds. While Italy is obviously a place close to their hearts, the pair light up as they talk about the endless amounts of gelato they tried there. “I honestly didn’t know the difference between ice cream and gelato,”Shalini admits, and the idea to replicate their gastronomic experience back home was born. The more intense, luxury version of their fluffier, icier cousin Sri Lanka’s gelato lovers may have come across traditional gelato favourites such as “hazelnut”, “biscuit ” and “pistachio”. “We thought there was a gap in the market here,” Suranjan says their end goal had a millennial outlook. After experimenting at home and reaching out to over fifty gelaterias in Italy, Shalini found herself returning to Italy, to Bologna’s Carpigiani Gelato University the world’s first university dedicated to ice cream. Following a two and a half month course, she returned and Isle of Gelato slowly started taking shape. “It’s about using the freshest ingredients,” she says, which she noted, Italian confectioners prefer to get locally. “We have the best raw materials here in Sri Lanka” from milk and vanilla to seasonal fruit. Combining the traditional techniques of making gelato courtesy of Italy’s rich culinary history, their kitchens are stocked high with equipment brought down from Italy as well as endless ideas for flavours Isle of Gelato has already shaped up to be more than just the new kid on the dessert block. [caption align="alignright" caption="From Italy to Sri Lanka: Suranjan and Shalini bring home their passion for gelato"][/caption] Most Italians stick to their traditional recipes, they observe. In addition to their own pistachio and other classic flavours, the duo also serve up gelato closer to home. “We wanted to make something new,” they say, serving up a tamarind-coconut milk sorbet. Sweet, tangy and underlined with a familiar milkiness, the sorbet along with the lemon curd (with buffalo milk) flavour were surprising favourites even with their younger customers. “We make everything from scratch,” they add, which is why the fruity flavours keep changing depending on the season. Last month has seen hordes of tourists returning to their outlet for a taste of something different. Beyond the Galle Fort, Isle of Gelato has also catered for weddings and events with a vintage ice cream cart/ cabinet to match. These days, they’re also serving up Banoffee pie, orange & cardamom and salted caramel-chocolate among their constantly growing menu of gelatos and sorbets including the customer favourite- caramel with crunchy Puttlam salt. For Isle of Gelato- quality is everything, with no added flavours or essence. From the milky base, to the caramel sauce and salted popcorn- every bite of gelato is handcrafted by their busy team. From Rs. 400 upwards, a scoop from Isle of Gelato makes for a pricey dessert, but is worth the abundance of flavour and level of care that hits you with every bite.“It’s like our baby,” the passionate entrepreneurs add.

The Isle of Gelato is located at 60A Pedlar Street, Galle. Opening hours from 10 a.m. -10 p.m. They will also launch their counter in Colombo next week at No. 38 Ward Place, Colombo 7 (inside the Caramel Pumpkin Cafe).

With 42 restaurants in over 16 cities, Mainland China - South Asia’s leading Pan Asian restaurant chain opened in Colombo serving an array of hot and cold authentic Asian dishes. The flagship brand of Speciality Restaurants Ltd, Mainland China is a venture in partnership with Cusino Ltd. Specialty Restaurants, a Bombay Stock Exchange and National Stock Exchange listed award-winning international restaurant group that currently has 123 outlets presenting a variety of cuisines. The aroma of authentic Chinese cooking wafted into the hall of the restaurant on Flower Road, Colombo 3 as invitees waited to sample the delicacies the restaurant had to offer. The interior of the building pays homage to the general perception of Chinese decor – with black, red and gold appearing predominant. Tastefully furnished the restaurant makes maximum use of space with comfortable seating and the subdued lighting making for an overall elegant setting. What was noteworthy was the availability of partitioned seating areas, making a cosy space for intimate occasions. As for the food, we were treated to the palate-tickling flavours of the Sichuan province, Guangdong province, Hunan and even the spices of Fukien. The meal began with a fresh bowl of Lemon and Coriander Soup. A pleasing combination of lemon juice and fresh coriander leaves, the soup will warm up any soul - a hearty meal on its own. Following this, we were offered two variations of Dim Sum – the “Red Curry Prawn Dumplings” and “Chicken Siu Mai with Straw Mushrooms”. Both bite sized portions of dumplings came filled with succulent meat! The Red Curry Prawn Dumpling leveling a pleasing subtle burn and a slight salty edge with every soft bite. The Chicken Siu Mai with Straw Mushrooms, a steamed chicken dumpling of sorts, was a delicate morsel of ground chicken and straw mushrooms wrapped in what we can only assume was a wonton skin wrapper. Highly popular in Chinatowns worldwide, the dainty dumpling was a burst of fresh, juicy goodness! For our mains we were served “Roast Chicken Fried Rice” and “Egg Hakka Noodles Szechuan Style”. The noodles were a tantalizing blend of spicy and sweet – complemented by the aromatic blend of sauces and the soft Egg Noodles. To accompany the rice and noodles came warm dishes of “Spicy Hunan Prawns”, “Chicken Taipei” and “Baked Sea Bass”. [caption align="alignright" caption="A wide array of Chinese dishes. Pix by Priyantha Wickramaarachci"][/caption] Hunan Cuisine known for being one of the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine, has aggressive heat in flavours. The Spicy Hunan Prawns were a true representation of this giving us an explosion of flavour and spice. The Chicken Taipei was a crunchy, soft rendition of the Taiwanese style delicacy – coupled with subtle flavouring - a finger licking dish on its own. The Baked Sea Bass literally fell off the cutlery with each bite – the softness of the fish proudly showcased the hints of ginger and spices. Two simple yet refreshingly light desserts rounded off the meal – the “Mango Pudding with Mint” and “Steamed Coconut Dumpling”. Predominantly gracing the menus of many Indian restaurants we were pleasantly surprised to see a “coconut dumpling” on the menu. The somewhat sticky dumpling was light and tantalizingly sweet forcing us to close our eyes for one third of a second to avoid succumbing to a slight sugar buzz. Although the coconut dumpling had us wanting more it was the “Mango Pudding with Mint” that levelled a smooth finish to the evening meal. The delicate pudding was a fruity-fresh finale with rich mango custard and allusions of fresh mint combining in a symphony of flavour.

For more information of Mainland China check out their Facebook and Instagram pages or visit the restaurant at No.8, Flower Road, Colombo 7

Celebrating their students who toured Los Angeles, USA and their performance in Disneyland, in April 2017, Danceworld held an evening reception at the House of Wine on Flower Road, Colombo 3 with Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera presenting certificates to the young stars.

[caption align="alignright" caption="Jonny Bowles, Associate Choreographer with the children: Similar to vocals, choreography plays a big role in the musical"][/caption] Over 375 young theatre enthusiasts, ranging from ages to 5-15, signed up for the auditions to play the parts of the von Trapp children in South Asia’s first international theatre performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Ian’s West End production of The Sound of Music. Presented by Cinnamon Life, the well loved musical will be staged in Colombo from February 14-18 at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre.

The year 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the Gratiaen Prize. The prize was founded in 1993 by the writer Michael Ondaatje, with the winnings from his own Booker Prize for The English Patient. Administered by the Gratiaen Trust and adjudicated by an independent panel each year, the Gratiaen Prize celebrates the best work of creative writing in English, submitted to the prize by writers and publishers. The Gratiaen shortlist is hosted by the British Council and the annual prize event is sponsored by Sarasavi, the Bookshop. In this 25th year, the Gratiaen Trust is planning a number of special events, both to reflect critically on the prize and to further its commitment to writers in Sri Lanka. [caption align="alignleft" caption="2016 Gratiaen shortlisted writers reading their work"][/caption] One of these activities will be the convening of a special writers’ workshop, in partnership with Commonwealth Writers, aimed at offering sustained support to a group of prose writers over the course of a year. The workshop will comprise two segments – one taking place May 11-14 and the next, with the same group of writers, October18-21. At the workshop writers will have a chance to work in detail on their own manuscripts with two experienced practitioners,―one local and one visiting ― enjoying both one-to-one attention and work as a group. After the session in May, writers will have five months to progress their work on their own before returning for further mentoring in October. Michael Ondaatje, the Gratiaen founder, says: ‘I am thrilled that the Gratiaen Trust is doing this. It feels to me that this series of workshops for writers in Sri Lanka can be invaluable and essential. This is what the community of a culture depends on’. Behind these workshops is the belief that writing is a matter of dedication, rigour and revision as much as it is of inspiration or natural talent.Over a number of years, the question has been raised both within the Trust and by judges, friends and critics of the Gratiaen Prize, whether prizes are the form of support most needed by writers in Sri Lanka. The Gratiaen Trust celebrates all efforts made for writers in Sri Lanka, believing there is a role both for encouragement and critical rigour. While the Trust is only mandated to administer the Prize, it is fortunate to have forged a partnership with Commonwealth Writers to deliver this year’s workshop. Commonwealth Writers, the cultural initiative of the Commonwealth Foundation, has many years experience of delivering creative writing workshops, developed and run in partnership with local organisations and responsive to the specific needs of different regions.This year, as well as supporting the Gratiaen Trust workshops, Commonwealth Writers will be delivering workshops in Africa and the Caribbean as part of further craft development work focused around the Commonwealth Short Story Prize. As Janet Steel, Programme Manager, Commonwealth Writers says: ‘Writing is predominately a solitary craft. Bringing writers together with experienced workshop leaders provides a safe space for them to share their work, knowledge and concerns. The workshop focuses on the development of the participants’ manuscripts, both current and future, and organically creates a local writing support network.’ To the workshop in Colombo,Common-wealth Writers contributes both financial support and expertise bringing a visiting practitioner to design and lead each workshop in partnership with the Gratiaen Trust the first to take up the role will be the writer and editor, Jacob Ross. The Gratiaen Trust necessarily plays its part in kind: Sunila Galappatti, one of its Trustees will coordinate and co-lead the workshop on a voluntary basis, with other Trustees undertaking personally to support aspects of its delivery. The workshop is kindly hosted by the Post-Graduate Institute of English of the Open University of Sri Lanka.Professor Walter Perera, Chairman of the Gratiaen Trust, says: ‘this workshop follows in a long tradition of connections between the English literary community in Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth Foundation. We are grateful that Commonwealth Writers is joining the Trust to deliver one of its long-held plans’. Jacob Ross is a novelist, short story writer, editor and creative writing tutor, born in Grenada and based in the UK. His latest book, The Bone Readers, marks a new departure into crime fiction, and won the inaugural Jhalak Prize in 2017. His literary novel Pynter Bender was published to much critical literary acclaim and was shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers Regional Prize and chosen as one of the British Authors Club’s top three Best First Novels. Jacob is also the author of three short story collections, Song for Simone, A Way to Catch the Dust, Tell No-One About This, and the editor of Closure, Contemporary Black British short stories. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has been a judge of the V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize, the Olive Cook, Scott Moncrieff and Tom-Gallon Literary Awards. He was a judge of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2017. Jacob is Associate Fiction Editor at Peepal Tree Press. Sunila Galappatti has worked with other people to tell their stories as a dramaturg, theatre director, editor and writer. She began her working life in the theatre, at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Live Theatre, Newcastle: commissioning and advising professional playwrights, working as a production dramaturg and later developing and directing documentary theatre pieces. Sunila has designed writer-development programmes and run writers’ workshops for the last fifteen years, including for Commonwealth Writers, Kali Theatre and (on behalf of the RSC) at Soho Theatre, Columbia University and Cambridge University. Sunila was non-fiction editor of www.addastories.org for its first year. In Sri Lanka, Sunila has been a Director of the Galle Literary Festival (2009 & 2010), worked with Raking Leaves on its Open Edit project and was a Fulbright Visiting Fellow from Sri Lanka to Brown University. Currently, Sunila is a Visiting Lecturer at the Open University of Sri Lanka and is a judge of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2018. She is the author of A Long Watch, retelling the memoir of a prisoner of war. While the Gratiaen is a multi-genre prize, this particular workshop will focus on prose writing and be open to writers of both fiction and non-fiction including writers of short stories, novels, essays and memoir. With a limited number of places available on the workshop, entrants will be selected through an open call for submissions on www.commonwealthwriters.org. While places will also be offered to any prose writers among the Gratiaen shortlist of 2018, this workshop remains entirely independent of the submission and judging process for the Gratiaen Prize. It is open to any Sri Lankan writer resident in Sri Lanka, whether or not they have ever submitted to the Gratiaen Prize.The deadline for applying to join the workshop is 5 p.m. on February 28.

For more information contact Sunila Galappatti 0722589489 or [email protected]

[caption align="alignright" caption="For the January 1 dane: Entering the Sri Dalada Maligawa with the rice"][/caption] Every year, the Sri Dalada Maligawa performs four main cultural events: the Aluth Sahal Mangalya on Duruthu Poya in January, Aluth Avurudu Mangalya (Sinhala New Year) in April, Esala Perahera (July/August) and the Kartika Mangalya in November. This year as Duruthu Full Moon Poya fell on January 1, the Alut Sahal Mangalya rituals were conducted from December 28 onwards, by the Sri Dalada Maligawa. A top a small hill in Pitipana, Homagama, off the Thalagala Road set amidst a lush 50-acre block is a building, the sight of which stops the visitors in their tracks. It looks like a space station but a closer view makes it crystal clear that it is all to do with science and technology.

Nation in a hurry: The travails of driving here

Increasingly driving on our roads has become a seriously life-threatening experience. The roads have virtually become a playground for ill-disciplined, inconsiderate and inhuman human beings who are a disgrace to civilized society. We as a nation have fallen to the doldrums of indecency and intolerance when driving.

Rohan Jayasinghe Malabe

Are the ministers a law unto themselves? In recent months there have been a number of instances, where our ministers have simply shot their mouths off or acted in the most undignified manner or not discharged their responsibilities causing massive losses to this country, bringing the government to disrepute and seriously undermining the principles and policies of good governance which we were made to believe are the foundation on which this government has been established. Take the case of the minister whose shocking outburst as to how he was going to deal with his party’s opponents in the forthcoming elections was widely reported in all media. What about our Sports Minister ordering our cricketers who had already emplaned to proceed to India, out of the aircraft? He may have his problems with those who are responsible for administering this sport in this country but can he be allowed to humiliate our national cricketers in this manner? He obviously doesn’t know the fundamentals of good management. What about our Agriculture Minister? The building rented out for five years by the Ministry nearly three years ago is still vacant. The rent is Rs.21 Mn a month and two years rent amounting to Rs. 504 Mn has been paid in advance. The third year’s rent has also probably been. The building remains unoccupied. Surely ‘heads must roll’ for this kind of neglect and waste. What about the fertilizer shortage? There can be no excuses. Let’s not talk of the former Finance Minister? The Bond Commission report is just out. What ordinary people saw as a bribe, our Mr. Clean PM did not see, or refused to see. Of course he is not a minister now but was regularly seen with the PM at UNP functions. Can these ministers speak and act in this manner? If and when they do, they must be dealt with by the President or the Prime Minister, and the people must know that they have been ‘pulled up’. Some must be asked to step down. The President and PM ignore such acts only at the cost of people losing faith in this government and the promises it gave the people.

Eksith Fernando Dehiwela

Rein in this ‘unholy’ mess

Ever since this Government came to power strikes, protests, road blocks, work to rule and fast-unto-death campaigns etc. seem to be part and parcel of everyday life.

Ironically the GMOA whose members are the best paid public officers with numerous perks, facilities and allowances spearhead many campaigns. The problem for which the trade unions are striking existed well before the present administration took over the reins. The GMOA is flexing its muscle again over the same SAITM issue and extra allowances. There is no law and order in the country. Even court orders are flouted to the hilt. The Government should act fast and put an end to these unholy trends. Sooner the better.

K. J. Silva Matale

A rare gentleman politician and close friend Dr. Ranjit Atapattu The news of Ranjit’s sudden passing reached us and one had to accept it with immense sadness. My association with him spans over 75 years beginning from the time we both joined Royal Primary School at the tender age of five. Since then our friendship continued and grew stronger over the last many years. I deeply cherish a photograph of us, with Ranjit in the front row all bedecked in feathers and braids, as he played a major role in the play Hiawatha by H. W. Longfellow staged by the Royal Primary School. Seated by him are his close school friends Nihal Senaratne, Hema de Zoysa, Major General C.H. Fernando, Geevaka de Zoysa, Lalith Jayawardane and I. This close bonding continued when all of us joined Royal College proper in 1945 under the able stewardship of Principal E. L. Bradby. Even today the so-called 45 Alumni Group meets regularly, but in sadly more and more depleted numbers. At Royal, Ranjit played rugger for the first fifteen and participated in the well known Bradby Match as scrum half against Trinity College. After Royal he entered Medical College and passed out as a doctor. Our paths went different ways after I entered the Law Faculty in Peradeniya, but still our bonding continued. Ranjit Kaniska Parakrama Atapattu was born on April 29, 1933. He hailed from a very well known family in Tangalle with his father, Don Peter Atapattu, serving as a Member of Parliament from March 1960 to March 1970. Atapattu Snr. who lived in his traditional, ancestral stately home in Tangalle, served as Parliamentary Secretary to the then Minister of State, J. R. Jayewardene. With his father in active politics, it was no surprise that Ranjit had imbibed the art of politics from a very early age. Having passed out as a doctor, he wasted no time working in Government Service but got back to his roots and set up practice in his ancestral home. Large crowds thronged his dispensary and I for one know that most of his patients from a less privileged background were treated absolutely free of charge. His reputation and popularity as ‘apey dostara mahattaya’ grew so much that after his father’s demise, when he contested the Beliatta seat in July 1977 he was elected without difficulty. Ranjit continued to serve in Parliament in the Second National State Assembly and in the First and Second Parliaments under the Republican Constitution until 1990 for a period of over 12 years. In the Second National State Assembly he was a non-cabinet minister but in September 1978 he was appointed as Minister of the Colombo Group of Hospitals. Four years later in May 1982 he was appointed as Minister of Health in the cabinet and seven years later appointed Minister of Labour and Social Welfare. During the 70s and 80s this country was fortunate to have two very distinguished, committed and scrupulously honest Ministers of Health - Gamini Jayasuriya, Member for Homagama and soon after Ranjit Atapattu, Member for Beliatta. Both these politicians served with utmost dedication, integrity and honesty – a very rare phenomenon in these troubled days. Cupid struck an arrow and soon Ranjit married Dreda de Silva who had her education in the UK and graduated with a BA degree. They were truly blessed with an only son, Druvi, who following his father footsteps passed out as a doctor and now works dedicatedly as a Director of Oasis Hospital. Druvi followed his father to Royal College where he became Head Prefect. During the last one or two years, Ranjit was immensely worried and concerned about his dear wife’s illness and Druvi and his wife, Himali, both doctors, persuaded Ranjit and Dreda to give up their Bagatelle Road apartment and live with them at their Buller’s Road home. Ranjit was very happy with this arrangement knowing well that with two in-house doctors his wife was in the best hands. I recall a few incidents regarding Ranjit’s political life. Twenty years ago when he was Minister of Health he suffered a heart attack and was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the General Hospital. Prime Minister Premadasa who was very fond of Ranjit knew that Ranjit and I were close friends. He summoned me to his office and said he had made arrangement for a top cardiologist of Lankan descent from the US then visiting Sri Lanka, to see Ranjit. He wanted me to make the necessary arrangements. He also said that if necessary, he would help to ensure that Ranjit was flown to UK to receive treatment. This came to pass when Ranjit and Dreda flew to the UK. Mr. Premadasa was so close to Ranjit that when the UNICEF Director James Grant offered Ranjith a posting in New York, he said he would normally not permit his Minister of Health to resign and accept an overseas assignment, but would agree in this instance because it was Ranjit. So Ranjit and Dreda went to New York for two or three years for Ranjit to work with UNICEF. This made it possible for Druvi to follow and complete his medical studies abroad with his father financing him. During the last six months Ranjit was becoming rather frail and I was happy to have helped him to meet some old friends at a luncheon for parliamentarians and staff hosted by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya to which I too was invited. Ranjit, no longer being an MP, had not been asked. I told the Speaker this would be a good chance for Ranjit to meet old friends and Mr. Jayasuriya urged me to bring him along. Ranjit was overjoyed to meet and greet over 100 of his old friends on that occasion. The other occasion was when I asked Ranjit if he would like to attend an oration in memory of my late brother, Prof. Nissanka Seneviratne, a former professor of physiology at the Colombo Medical Faculty, who had taught Ranjit as a second year medical student. My brother had always told me that he was a good student. Ranjit happily agreed and I took him to his old haunts in the Medical College and to a new Auditorium. He was delighted to meet so many of his old doctor friends and professor and lecturers in the physiology dept. I have nostalgic and fond memories of our close friendship. I recall how at every Royal College old boys function, one could not stop Ranjit from getting on stage to sing the good old songs and bailas. He was indeed such a kindly honest person. My heartfelt sympathies to Dreda, Druvi, Himali and their two lovely grand children. Ranjit adored his grandchildren, 12-year-old twins, a Royalist and a Visakhian, who made him immensely happy. May he attain the supreme bliss of Nibbana.

Nihal Seneviratne

She leaves behind a legacy made up of all facets of her life

Rowena Ahlip

A shining light has gone out of the Malay Community in Sri Lanka with the passing away of the doyen of the Padang Triumvirate (the Colombo Malay Cricket Club, the Sri Lanka Malay Association and the Sri Lanka Malay Association Rupee Fund), aunty Rowena Ahlip in September 2017, just two months short of her 101st birthday. It was only in November last year that she turned a glorious hundred years, when past and present spread across the globe, from Down Under to Up Yonder, counting four generations, gathered at her Mount Lavinia residence to celebrate the life of this remarkable lady and rejoice in her hundredth birthday. While not wanting to mourn her death, let us rejoice in Aunty Rowena’s life. In doing so, I wish to go back in time and provide some insight for people who may not remember that there was a world before the advent of facebook, world wide web and the internet. The eldest progeny of that great Malay statesman and cabinet minister in then Ceylon’s first post independence government, the late Dr. T.B. Jayah, I have known Aunty Rowena for well over 50 years, which is more than two thirds of my lifetime. In 1972, as Assistant General Secretary of the Colombo Malay Cricket Club, which is the oldest Ceylonese cricket club, it was my privilege to have been in the committee organising its centenary celebrations and the Golden Jubilee of the Sri Lanka Malay Association alongside many stalwarts of the Club including Aunty Rowena. Playing a pivotal role, I greatly benefitted in enhancing my organisational skills, thanks to aunty Rowena’s counsel. Whatever she embarked on, she did it with great finesse and it was indeed a pleasure to have her on board the continuing committee. For everyone who has known Aunty Rowena, especially her dear children, she was a loving matriarch devoted to family and friends. For her six children and their spouses, nine grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren, she was not only a repository of memories from every family and holiday occasion or party — but someone who was always vibrant. To her children who grew up in her warm and loving home, she was more than a mother – she was an inspiration. She leaves behind a legacy made up of all facets of her life. To my mind, a portrayal of her time in this world is that she chose to LIVE until death without spending the time dying until death occurred.

May her journey through the gardens of Jennah be devoid of all obstacles and in the fullness of time may Allah SWT grant her the bliss of Jennathul Firdouse. Branu Rahim

An amazing mentor, teacher and friend to all of us C.G. Weeramantry I first met Judge C.G. Weeramantry, or Judge (as we called him) in December 2007, when by luck, I received the opportunity to intern at the Weeramantry International Centre for Peace Education and Research (WICPER). I had read and heard many stories about the great Judge Weeramantry and his contribution to the legal world, and was truly intimidated prior to meeting him. To my surprise, I was introduced to a humble and kind gentleman, who would always have a beautiful smile on his face. It was hard to imagine that this gentleman was the former Vice President of the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Subsequently, I had the privilege to work for his organisation for about four years, and got to know this wonderful human being quite intimately. Judge’s greatest strength and driving force was his wife, Rosemary (Madam). A strong willed lady with a jovial spirit, Madam ran the “show”, enabling Judge to focus on his legal writings. Judge was also blessed with five wonderful children, and eleven grand-kids, all of whom treated us like we were part of the family. Judge was a wealth of knowledge on various topics such as history, religion, law and the environment he was gracious enough to impart this knowledge to professionals and students alike. His constant message to the world was that we should utilise our resources sparingly, protect the environment and fulfil our duties and responsibilities towards future generations. Judge was a rare human being generous and nurturing in spirit, with a heart full of love for all humanity. He was an amazing mentor, teacher and friend to all of us. The gift of legal teachings he presented to the world and his work towards the abolishment of nuclear weapons will inspire generations to come. Dearest Judge, thank you for all you did for each and every one of us. It is one of the greatest honours of my life to have known a gentleman such as you. Heaven is blessed and richer now, with your presence. May you be blessed always!

Janani Wijetunge Palihakkara

[caption align="alignright" caption="Fitting a pen between the big toe and third, Dulanjali writes beautifully"][/caption] Doni, they call out from downstairs, and suddenly, down the ramp whizzes a young woman, all-smiles, navigating and manoeuvring expertly past chairs and tables to come to a halt right in front of us. [caption align="alignright" caption="Dramatic moments: Chris Glynn (piano) accompanying Grant Doyle and Kishani Jayasinghe. Pix by Priyantha Wickramaarachchi"][/caption] 2018 began on a high note for Kishani Jayasinghe. On January 8, the well known soprano thrilled close to a full house at the Lionel Wendt with “Kishani Sings with Friends from the Royal Opera House”. Despite being a Monday, music lovers braved the rush-hour traffic to catch the artiste in action together with her guest performers and obvious friends- Grammy award-winning pianist and accompanist Christopher Glynn and Australian baritone Grant Doyle. [caption align="alignright" caption="Pix by Sameera Weerasekera"][/caption] The legendary tale of ‘Dasis Ravana’ (Ten-Headed Ravana) unfolded as the first ever Sinhala operatic ballet performed by a local university was staged at the Nelum Pokuna on January 5.

This January internationally acclaimed culinary and F&B teams at the Waters Edge are putting together an array of food promotions dedicated to some of the culinary favourites from around the world and closer to home. A Pizza Double Deal The food adventure begins with a dive into hand-tossed, wood fire oven roasted pizzas at Pranzo. The authentic Italian restaurant will be serving up delicious, mouth-watering Margherita, BBQ Chicken, Spicy Veg and Hawaiian Sausage Pizzas throughout January. Any two of the selection will be available for take-away and dine-in at just Rs 1,900 nett while those who wish to take a break from a hard day at work can order in and pair up your favourite pizza with two selected beverages for just Rs 2,990 nett. The promo will be on from 3- 6 p.m. daily. Lunch like the Japanese If Sushi, Sashimi and Nigiri are on your list of “Favourite things”, then the Japanese lunch at Waters Edge is surely for you. The extravagant Lunch Buffet will be spread out on Sunday the 21st from 12 noon – 3 p.m. and will feature some of the most unique dishes from the Land of the Rising Sun. High Tea in the Garden From 3 – 6 p.m. on the 21st Waters Edge will also have a garden tea party as they move their popular Sunday High Tea out on to the Pranzo Lawn with a grand high tea spread with savouries and sweets from around the world. Kottu Nights at the Night Kade For the night owls the “Night Kade” is offering a special Seafood Kottu Promotion on the weekend of January 19-21. Your favourite street food will be made to order while you wait with a hefty portion of fish, prawn, cuttlefish or succulent crab. The promo will be on from midnight to 5 a.m. Strudels and Tea On January 21, the Tea Lounge at the Edge will also curate an exclusive “Strudel and Tea Pairing” where piping hot Earl’s Grey or refreshingly cold French Vanilla tea will be paired with Broccoli and Feta, Chicken and Mushroom or Peach and Butterscotch with Salted Caramel Ice Cream and Apple Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream straight out of the oven. If you prefer to take the strudels home and enjoy it with the family, Colombo’s only drive-through bakery will also have portions available for take-away. Crabs and Crabs Perhaps the highlight of the food extravaganza will be the Crab Promotion at Thuna Paha, Waters Edge’s dedicated Sri Lankan restaurant. There’ll be traditional Sri Lankan Crab Curry, Devilled Crab, Jaffna Kool and Black Pepper Crab, and a display of the day’s catch and live cooking demonstration. The Crab Promotion will take place from January 26 – 28. Bavarian Night & Knuckles Simultaneously, the Bavarian Garden will have a Bavarian Night on the 25th featuring one of their hot favourites the “Bavarian Crispy Pork Knuckle” on promotion throughout the month. The hotel will also continue their Sunday Brunch and High Tea which have become crowd pleasers over the years for the extensive array of food and beverages.

For more information and reservations please contact Waters

Edge on 0112 863863 or 0773587419

Colombo Supper Club is well into its second year of operation, having featured an amazing variety of celebrity chefs throughout 2017. Cuisines featured ranged from Spanish to South American, to heritage Singaporean and even Korean fusion. Several of the chefs featured have since been awarded Michelin stars and Diners Club awards. 2018 commences with one of the finest restaurants in India - The Table. Most recently voted by a 100 member jury as the #1 restaurant in India for Sustainable Practices in Dining and #3 overall in India at the Conde Nast Traveller India Top Restaurant Awards 2017, The Table has earned its place in the heart of food and drink lovers. It was also acknowledged as the Best European/Global Cuisine in the Times Good Food Awards 2017, 2016, 2015, 2013 and 2012, Best European Standalone in Mumbai at the Eazydiner Foodies Awards 2017 and 2016, listed in the Miele Guide to Asia’s 500 Best Restaurants, and the best Restaurant in India (Critics’ Choice) by Time Out Food Awards 2014. The Table is a casual fine dining restaurant which offers a unique cooking style with global accents and nuances. Their ingredient-driven cuisine focuses on simplicity and purity of flavour, a philosophy inspired by San Francisco. The dinner and brunch will be helmed by Chef Divesh Aswani, Chef de Cuisine. The team from The Table will be flown in by SriLankan Airlines. For the first time Colombo Supper Club will feature both a dinner and a brunch. The dinner is on February 8 and brunch on February 10. Both events are at the California Grill, Galadari Hotel, with beverages by Wineworld.

Please contact Naserah Tyebally on 0772300038 for further details.

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Delight your senses in this gastronomic celebration of all things chocolate at the Hilton Colombo from January 15 – 20 where an array of chocolate treats await you at Café Kai, L.A.B., Il Ponte and Graze Kitchen. Café Kai will be stocking up their shelves with decadent cakes, handmade chocolates, French pastries, macaroons, and chocolate drinks. What’s more, you can dip into the chocolate fountain between 2-3 p.m! You can also share the love with an afternoon tea of chocolatey goodness made for two at L.A.B. from 3 – 6 p.m. A special hot chocolate menu will be available from 11a.m. to 9 p.m. too. At Il Ponte, savour a unique chocolate inspired menu which includes a yummy chocolate pizza with fresh fruit available at lunch and dinner time and on Saturday, January 20, the Endless High Tea buffet goes all chocolate. Two sittings 12.30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

For further details and reservations please contact the hotel on 2492492 or log into

www.hiltoncolombo1.com.

[caption align="alignright" caption="A man pays homage at Kaiyuan Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples in the country"][/caption] For centuries, a network of ancient trade routes that would later become collectively known as the “Silk Road” connected vast stretches of the world’s Eastern and Western regions. According to historians, the term “Silk Road” derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk carried out along it, beginning from China’s Han dynasty (206 BC –220 AD). The routes didn’t just facilitate trade between East and West. They ensured the movement and mixing of populations helping to bring about the transmission of knowledge, ideas, cultures and religious beliefs.

(The writer’s visit was sponsored by the Chinese Embassy as part of celebrations to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of China-Sri Lanka diplomatic relations)

[caption align="alignright" caption="From nearly 2000 years ago: A petrified figure in Pompeii"][/caption] The Pompeii railway station was crowded with tourists. As we walked, in the scorching sun I was thinking, history is all around us, but, nowhere more than in the spaces where people had lived. We can only begin to understand the shape of lives in the past from what they have left us. Sometimes entire narratives can be sparked by the most insignificant of details a dandelion pushing itself up between two cobblestones, a cartwheel mark on the stone-paved road or a faint square or a triangle mark on a wall where a fresco had been painted centuries ago. When Dame Maggie Smith heard about the possibility of a Downton Abbey film, she thought it should start with a funeral – her own.

This book is an interesting collection of the writings of Charitha Ratwatte on topics ranging from politics and economics to education and even the nature of happiness. While the essays mostly have a Sri Lankan flavour, the author is well acquainted with many other parts of the world, such as China, Russia and the Western Europe. The book starts with a series of essays on politics, in which Ratwatte analyses the concept of democracy in some detail. It is hard to argue with his conclusion, which is repeated in relation to several different contexts, that democracy is only viable subject to a series of checks and balances. He stresses the importance of the rule of law and avoidance of nepotism, again views which are difficult to dispute. The range of examples and evidence from around the world to support his reasonable conclusions in this area is impressive. The second section of the book is a collection of essays on economics. Once again, Ratwatte takes a moderate view with examples from a wide range of economies around the world, arguing that Sri Lanka has to adapt to globalised norms to prosper. [caption align="alignleft" caption="Charitha Ratwatte"][/caption] There are fewer essays on education and here Ratwatte raises questions but appears less certain than on politics and economics. Some ideas raised here are more difficult to agree with, in particular the suggestion that state education has outgrown its usefulness. The encouragement for businesses to invest in education, while admitting that private education is unregulated, is potentially problematic. The answer to this is to regulate by having minimum standards and quality assessment for international schools and private degree-awarding institutes and at the same time improve facilities in state schools. Ratwatte also delves into the problems of youth unrest and the skills gap in Sri Lanka, issues that remain relevant today. However, causes are explored more than solutions. At the end of the book, there are two essays under the heading ‘Other’. The first of these deals with the concept of happiness, which is an interesting break from the rest of the book. Ratwatte again shows his knowledge of the Chinese context by sharing the little-known concern of China’s leaders with the happiness of their people. Overall, this is a collection that represents a confident, moderate thinker with wide-ranging interests and a global outlook.

(The writer is Retd. Attorney General, Legal Consultant CFC Project)

On a rainy evening, some children are seated in a circle, on the ground at the Independence memorial hall, clutching their favourite books, excitedly discussing the wonderful places, amazing characters and remarkable stories hidden among those pages. This is a meeting of the BookBees Colombo, the children’s book club founded by Maria Nugara Jayakody (Queen Bee of the club). This particular meeting is on “Magic and Mayhem”, the weather creating the ideal atmosphere to talk about the magical stories and mystical settings in the books. The discussion is followed by lots of fun filled activities and games especially designed by Maria to expand the imaginative skills of the kids. [caption align="alignleft" caption="Queen Bee Maria (inset) and the magic unfolds. Pix by M.A. Pushpa Kumara"][/caption] BookBees Colombo is all about encouraging children aged 7-12 years to read and to develop a passion for books. An avid reader from a very young age, Maria’s biggest inspiration was her aunt Caryl. She used to listen to the Shakespeare plays narrated by her aunt and would try to read them on her own skipping the difficult words when she was just 7-8 years old. Later Maria noticed another such reader in her own family. “I saw the excitement and the passion that my niece had for reading. It really pushed me to start this club in which I wanted to grow the excitement and enthusiasm in reading in other children as well,” Maria explains The meetings are held once a month on the Independence Square green and the Independence memorial hall. Every session is filled with discussions, book reviews followed by snacks along with activities and games based on the books read by the kids. “For three meetings at a stretch I recommend books for the kids. So everyone reads the same book and shares the same base in analysing it. For the fourth meeting, they are free to read whatever book they like. When I choose a common theme, I always look for stories which are interesting and appealing to everybody,” Maria explains. The membership fee is Rs. 1000, and fee per meeting (held once a month) – Rs. 500. For non-members the fee is Rs. 700 per meeting. “I wish to become a reading advocate and want to show that reading English books is achievable to everybody if they are given a proper grounding and encouragement.” As a next step, Maria hopes to start up a creative writing circle for children where she would teach the techniques to write creatively and tips on how to put a story together.

Follow BookBees Colombo on Facebook: @BookBeesColombo

Find BookBees Colombo on bookbeescolombo.wordpress.com

She is indeed born to sing! Internationally-acclaimed soprano Danielle de Niese born to Burgher parents has been captivating audiences across the world from childhood. This singing sensation will thrill local audiences once again when she performs at the concert presented by the Colombo Cultural Hub Trust headed by Mano Chanmugam, titled ‘Celebrating 70 Years of Independence with Danielle de Niese’ on Saturday, February 10, at 7.30 p.m. at the BMICH. The concert is presented in collaboration with Dilmah and Qatar Airlines. Danielle’s success story started at the age of three, when mother Beverly began training her to sing. Possessed with a vibrant stage presence and eye-catching beauty, she is always the toast of the evening. Hypnotic eyes gleaming, theatrically expressive, she came five years ago, she sang, she conquered! Danielle’s Sri Lanka debut was a great success. Moving effortlessly from Handel to Mozart, then in lighthearted vein to Gershwin and Cole Porter she held her audience entranced. The applause, when it finally came, was spontaneous and deafening. It shook the hall reverberating from the walls. They were no longer just her audience. She had conquered them one and all – they were her admirers. She did not disappoint them as she happily gave them one encore after another. The sponsors for the February 7 concert include the Wijeya Group, Colombo Jewellery Stores, First Capital, Coffee Bean, Sri Lankan Airlines, East India Holdings, Publicis, Jetwing Travels and the Hilton Colombo.

Tickets and box plan are now available at the Lionel Wendt. Tickets are priced at Rs 7500, 5000, 3000, 2000, 1500 and 750.

30 December 2017 @ 11:45 am

[caption align="alignright" caption="A popular festival pastime: Browsing through the books on offer and left and below guests at the opening reception"][/caption] The ninth Fairway Galle Literary Festival began in relaxed style on the evening of Wednesday, January 24 with a reception for authors, organizers and sponsors at the Fairway Pavilion. The internationally acclaimed Bangladeshi band Chirkutt, here at the festival courtesy the High Commission for Bangladesh entertained with their lively music.

A fount of knowledge and fun Ashley Wijesinha Ashley Wijesinha who livened up the Sunday Times Subs Desk, especially on deadline-frenzied Saturdays, for a long time, passed away on January 15. He was 84 years old. Ashley was laid to rest at the cemetery of the beautiful and imposing Holy Emmanuel Church in Moratuwa, at sunset, after a grand send-off with the Dead March being played in church and his cortege being led by two flag bearers, one carrying the Salgado family flag (his wife belongs to the well known Salgado clan in Moratuwa) a fitting tribute to a man who was loved by one and all. I could imagine Ashley watching it all from a side with that impish smile of his. Ashley was one of the older generation fountains of wisdom at the Subs Desk, especially when it came to historical facts, geography and place names. Instead of referring the imposing Survey Dept. map of Sri Lanka, that stood tall at the Subs Desk, the younger subs would holler out to Ashley for clarification of place names. A meticulous and hard working sub editor, Ashley was one you could always rely on. With an eye for spotting many a printers’ devil, he was unofficially the ‘obit man’ too, as he would make it a point to carefully scan the obituary notices before they went into print to see that all was in order, sometimes going that extra mile of calling the household of the deceased to clarify a name, address etc. Aside from being the committed and knowledgeable journalist that he was, Ashley’s small frame and knack of blithely making utterances, that were invariably given a twist by some of his colleagues, made him an easy target for bullying all done in harmless jest, of course. I would be the school ma’am pulling them up asking them to show respect for Ashley’s age and seniority, but he seemed to enjoy the banter, and fooling around that brought out the kid in him. His mop of hair and agile ways belied his age and he was a great believer in the difference between a person’s biological and chronological age. He enjoyed hopping a bus from Moratuwa to office until ill health forced him to come by cab to work. These trips by bus were not without their share of excitement and he would invariably regale us with stories made up of his observations on fellow commuters in addition to zeroing-in on pickpockets. He loved to take an occasional trip down memory lane, and one of his favourite stories of growing up in Kandy, during World War 11, was how he and his siblings would take a peek at big-made Afro-American soldiers bathing butt-naked at a neighbourhood well. He would recall this incident on and off with childlike glee and a chuckle. And I would say, “I’ve heard that story so many times Ashley.” Another was of fond memories of his days in Pattipola, when his father was stationed there as Station Master. For a long time Ashley’s office desktop image was one of a mist-covered Pattipola railway station. An aficionado of old classic films and one with an eye for beauty, Ashley had a few on screen and off-screen ‘goddesses’too. Dear old Ashley, although you had to stop working due to ill health more than six months ago we would still keep in touch with an occasional telephone call. Now, you are no more and all of us will cherish those happy memories when you were an integral part of the Subs Desk. Rest in peace, dear Ashley.

-A colleague

Dearest friend, reviver of the Malay language

B.D.K. SALDIN Years ago, my dearest and oldest friend BDK and I had a tacit understanding that the survivor would sound the last trump after the other crossed the river of no return. I now fulfil my sad duty as “Time’s winged chariot” has carried him away. It was 72 years ago, in 1946, that we first met, slightly nervously, at Royal College where we had just been selected to sit the University Entrance. He came from Kandy’s Kingswood College while I was from Ratnapura’s Sivali Vidyalaya. The strange chemistry that bonded us together from that first meeting – lasted till a few weeks ago when fate snapped the thread that had bound us for so long. It was fortunate that both of us lived in Maradana and could walk together to the “Aes Waattuwa” bus stand that took us to Royal. We had a lot to talk about – adjusting to our new school, its sophisticated ‘true-blue’ Royalist classmates (unlike us provincials) , the ‘three bread and parippu’ lunch at the Tuck, clumsily drilling with the ‘awkward squad’ of the non-athletic and our always interesting teachers. The most interesting was the handsomely Mephistophelian Dicky Attygalle who taught us English so memorably that his unforgettable reading of poems long resonated in our memories and sprinkled the verses we later regaled each other for many decades. On February 4, 1948 both of us stood together by the decorated old hangar, crowded with VIPs, and watched the solemn final lowering of the Union Jack and the proud hosting of Ceylon’s Lion flag to the throbbing of ‘magul bera’ . A few weeks later we joined the first cohort of undergrads of Independent Ceylon, stepping into the ‘campus’ of Thurstan Road that embraced us for the next few years. BDK joined the University’s Union Hostel on Guildford Crescent. It was only much later, when I read his memoir ‘Portrait of a Sri Lankan Malay’, that I realized the trauma he underwent when he left the comfort zone of a traditional Malay home for the irreverent and raucous camaraderie of a University hostel. Our first two years were fun – new friends and the raucous revelry of Society elections. But we were extraordinarily fortunate. Professor Ludowyk picked both of us from his English students to act in his latest DramSoc play. The DramSoc was much envied as a venue for chatting up girls, as fellow actors or ‘camp followers’.While I had a minor role, BDK landed a plum role, opposite legendary Jeanne Pinto and Osmund Jayaratne, as a rapacious Chinese landlord in Brecht’s “The Good Woman of Setzuan”. It was a colourful production with magnificent costuming and sets designed by producer Ludowyk’s wife, Edith. BDK was most imposing as he spouted his lines clad in a glorious brocade robe and drooping moustache. Fortune smiled on BDK in 1950 when lovely Sheila Drahaman stepped out from ‘Merdeka’, her uncle Dr. Drahaman’s home – on the same road where stood Union Hostel.It did not take long for my friend to saunter alongside her on their way to ‘Varsity. The romance thus begun lasted almost 60 happy years. BDK’s father T.R Saldin, the first Malay in the prestigious Ceylon Civil Service sadly did not live to savour the success of his first-born son.After graduation he worked briefly at a few jobs. One was at the Indonesian Embassy where he learnt the culture and language of his distant forbears. When Sheila graduated they lost no time in getting married – and I had the honour of driving the groom to the ceremony. He soon realized the need for professional qualifications and decided to head for the discipline of Accountancy which he had briefly studied in the University. This meant full-time study – a tough task for a married mature student. Sheila ‘man’fully rose to the occasion. She was a graduate teacher and became the breadwinner of the household till her spouse qualified as a Chartered Accountant. His steady rise to the top rungs in the mercantile sector is too well known for me to write about. Around this time he lost his only sister, tragically young, after a brief but happy marriage and motherhood. BDK and Tuna, his younger brother, were now the last of the tribe. Tuna was in the first batch of undergrads who entered the new University at Peradeniya. My brother Somasiri was also among these freshers and his friendship with Tuna cemented our link with the Saldin clan, that spanned generations and has lasted to this day. BDK’s and Sheila’s first home was an annexe in the sprawling mansion ‘Taprobane’ built in Lunawa by the prominent Malay citizen of yesteryear, M.K.Saldin,to house his descendants in happy harmony. I thus came to know many Malay families – the Drahamans, Lyes, Sallys. Cuttilans, Raheems, Laksanas and others. They now became parents of Reemu and their home was a friendly place I visited off and on, especially for the feast of Ramazan. Meanwhile, I had joined government service that moved me to many towns. Before long I followed the Saldins into happy matrimony and parenthood. Perhaps the best period of this life was when I was Government Agent of Trincomalee and the Saldin family came on holiday. We sailed in a friend’s yacht to Pigeon Island and had sing-songs round a bonfire in The Residency garden. Our life in the provinces now ended and we moved to Mount Lavinia. The Saldins had built their fine home in Ratmalana, not very far from us. And our friendship flourished as our children grew up as ‘born friends’. We went on joint holidays to Diyatalawa and Yala. It was then that BDK and I began writing light verse to each other on our birthdays. Not all of them are on record but I’ve managed to retrieve a few. Neither of us claimed greatness .Thus, in my poem “To a Friend of Fifty Years” I described ourselves – “Lives of middling celebrity Attendant lords, supporting actors Watching in the wings while great dramas unfolded centre stage” Thus we greeted each other on our birth anniversaries, with wistful melancholy, as we sensed the shadows gathering ever nearer after we lost dear Sheila a few years ago. Retirement inspired BDK into a study of the culture and language of the Sri Lankan Malay community. He embarked on research in a discipline far removed from the Economics of his University studies. He shared his knowledge in his writings. His “A Guide to Malay” is a Government approved text book. His other publication “Sri Lankan Malays and their Language” was a fine introduction to the general reader. At my urging BDK rose to the occasion and wrote his fascinating “Portrait of a Sri Lankan Malay”. He became an internationally recognized scholar of Malay studies in Malay Language Conferences and the International Council of Malay, Kuala Lumpur where he presented many papers. He also collaborated with Dr.Lisa Lim in producing the “Concise Sri Lanka Malay Dictionary”’. BDK also played a leading role in Malay social and cultural life. He held many positions in the Sri Lanka Malay Association. He participated in radio and TV programmes to popularize the Malay language and conducted a project in teaching adults to read, write and speak Malay. His hands-on contribution to the revival of the Malay language has been unparalleled. He was always proud of being a Malay and of his Sri Lankan identity. Proof is found in his last publication the scholarly “Sri Lanka Malay-Sinhala Dictionary’’ , a joint effort with famed Professor of Sinhalese Dr.Vini Vitharana. It was launched shortly before the 90th birthday he just missed. He was also awarded a plaque of recognition for his achievements by the Alumni Association of the University of Colombo. I conclude this tribute with lines from the last ‘poem’ I wrote to my dearest friend “..so to us this ode is sung Of our seventy years of a race well run As we totter towards the setting sun”

- Tissa Devendra

She was a model of patience FORTUNE VIRGINIA GAUDER My wife Virginia (Ginny) passed away on November 18, 2017, a victim of the dreaded cancer. She was operated for stage 3 ovarian cancer in October 2016, and we did everything we could to no avail. she passed away at the Maharagama Cancer Hospital and was interred at the family burial grounds at Madampitiya on the 20th. We had celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary on the 11th of June 2017. I met my wife in 1980. We got to know each other and fell in love.My parents vehemently opposed this liason, which only strengthened my will to continue. I visited her home often, and being a hotelier, she was advised not to associate with me.I don’t blame them. Despite all the adversity, she stood by me through thick and thin. We were married in June 1983, had our first child in May 1987 (a daughter Ashanti), and our second (a son,Wiranga) in Dec 1991. I’m a stickler for being methodical: if a pen, eraser, or whatever is taken in the home, it has to be returned to its original position.In most instances it did not happen, and I would blow a fuse.Through all these tantrums she would keep her cool, not uttering a word, until I realized how stupid I had been. Long after the dust had settled, she would tell me very politely, ‘You could’ve said it in a more subtle way’. Patience is a virtue with which she was gifted in abundance. The children are now 30 and 26, our daughter is now a mother of a seven-year-old daughter – which made us proud grandparents. My wife and I had been down the long and winding road,through thick and thin,trial and error and weathered many a storm together these past 35 years. She was the model mother instilling / inculcating in our children values, which have stood them in good stead.. May she rest in eternal peace. We miss you so very very much darling Ginny / Mama. Till we meet again

Wasanthakumar Perera

[caption align="alignright" caption="Richard Flanagan"][/caption] It seems inevitable now that Richard Flanagan would come to know Siegfried Heidl better than John Friedrich. Heidl is a work of fiction, but he is Flanagan’s creation Friedrich on the other hand, when all is said and done, was a man Flanagan spent just three weeks with, some 30 years ago.


Watch the video: Cooking Demo by Celebrity Chefs Sam and Forest Leong (August 2022).