Clowning around can be serious work
By Ranee Mohamed
At a time when the cost of living is
weighing us down Dinesh Paramanandan (29)
and Mohammed Rizni (17) have to work harder
to make us smile. Paramanandan says that he
began to take part in magic shows from the
age of 12. "My grandfather S. Mayan was the
treasurer of the Sri Lanka Magic Circle. He
was called Mayan, the Marvel and I used to
assist him," recalled Paramanandan.
Today he and his team are at every party in
and around the city of Colombo.
"Clowning around is not easy work," says
clown Rizni. "It is not like being a doctor,
lawyer or an engineer. It is a job in which
one cannot be stressed out. On the contrary
one has to be happy all the time.
Even when my girlfriend died due to a heart
ailment and I was crying in my heart, I had
to jump around and grin. When my grandfather
died, I had to grin, smile and do the
somersaults, even though I was close to him
and loved him very much," pointed out Rizni
on the hassles of the job of a clown.
Mohammed Rizni says that clowning around is
his full time job.
'I love children'
"I have a sister who is six years old. I
love children and my job takes me back to my
childhood. I can blow balloons, I
somersault, I can run with children holding
my falling trouser and I can topple over
chairs and no one will find fault with me
for doing these things. You ought to
experience all this to believe it - it is
wonderful - to be in your childhood again,"
said the 17 year old Rizni.
Dinesh Paramanandan, who runs a whole
entertainment show - organising parties and
performing magic says that this is his
life's work. "Believe me it is not easy - we
have to move from place to place and in
these days when there is so much checking
and huge traffic jams, getting to the party
on time is hard work!" pointed out
Dinesh Paramanandan says he has a hard time
at check points because his magician's box
is always viewed with great suspicion. "But
when they see the hats and the rabbits, they
begin to smile. Some of the security
personnel have asked me to show them some
magic," said Paramanandan.
Man in uniform
Recalling one incident on the
Bridge, Paramanandan said that a man in
uniform had insisted that he leaves behind
his lighter, which he used to light the box
from which the rabbit appeared. "I just
could not give that lighter to him because
there would have been no way in which I
could have popped a rabbit.
His argument was that the lighter resembled
a small gun. Anyway I had to fight for the
sake of my rabbit, besides there was no way
in which I could have obtained a similar
gadget from here because I got it from
Dubai. I made a fuss and said that I will not leave the security
checkpoint without it. At that point an army
officer intervened and said that I ought to
be allowed to take the lighter," said the
magician of his experience with reality.
Dinesh Paramanandan said that when he has to
attend parties these days, he and his clown
have to leave very early, like going to the
airport to take a flight and it upsets their
flight to fantasyland. "We are always
checked and it is always the rabbit that
saves us," he said.
Mohammed Rizni wears his clown suit at the
venue of the event. He said however that
because he arrives at parties dressed in a
shirt and trouser, he has a hard time
explaining to the security forces the reason
why he is carrying so much make up.
"But I never leave the house without my
foundation, lipstick, powder, rouge and
wigs," said Rizni, in no mood to clown
around when it comes to his accessories.
There have been times when Mohammed Rizni
has had to clown around at security check
points to prove his point, which naturally
generates much laughter amidst the security
Paramanandan and Rizni are party animals,
for there is not a single evening in their
lives in which they do not party. "In fact
there is no way in which we can celebrate
our own birthdays, because we have
invariably been booked for another party on
that day," said Paramanandan whose birthday
on April 9 will be celebrated at a party of
a little girl.
"People think that we lead a very carefree
lifestyle but making people laugh is not
easy in these times. Even the rich clients
bargain in these hard times," pointed out
When Dinesh Paramanandan, also called 'Dinesh
the Dynamic' arrives with his company great
fun sets in for the children and absolute
chaos reigns in the lives of the adults.
There are bubbles flying everywhere from
their bubble machine and as Paramanandan
blows and rolls squeaky balloons into
flowers, animals and other shapes, Clown
Rizni falls over chairs and is picked up by
the children who console him and listen to
Children most innocent
"Children are innocent, they are so much
fun. Our motto is never to hurt a child in
any way. We listen to all of them and agree
to what they say. We make them laugh, we
make them happy, we make our meeting with
them memorable," said Paramanandan.
Paramanandan's wife, Lakmini adds colour to
the party painting faces.
Clown Rizni has a dream and that is to
become a music director. "But I will never
forget the days I was a clown. Once a clown,
always a clown. And I do not ever think I
will stop clowning around. My mother loves
me and tells me that I am very good at my
job. I make her laugh too," said Rizni.
All sorts to make a world
Mohammed Rizni says that being a clown will
always come first in his life. "No one will
be able to make me change my present job,"
"What if your life partner will not like
it?" I ask. "Then, I will have to give her
up because for me, clowning around is
priority No. 1," says Mohammed Rizni holding
his extra large, silk, checked, neon
coloured trouser with one hand. He seems
comfortable in his large red nose, his
lovely wig of yellow curls and the pillow
in his stomach. Obviously, there is too much
make up on his face, but no one dares to
tell him, for this is the way he prefers to
There are different kinds of people in
different jobs that make up this little
world of ours. If all of us were to become
doctors, lawyers and engineers - then who
will make us laugh? That is why we need
people like Rizni - and some of our
A shower of unexpected rain
Despite the floods people have
no respite from their daily chores
By Shezna Shums
Humidity levels in Colombo remain high
despite the heavy rains experienced around
Torrential downpours have been reported from
the Eastern Province, while the Central,
Sabaragamuwa and Uva Provinces have also
recorded high rainfall.
The Meteorology Department predicts that the
rains could continue till the end of April.
Department, S.R.Jayasekera told The Sunday
Leader that the current rains have mainly
affected the eastern region but other parts
of the country can expect afternoon or
evening thunder showers.
One of the main factors causing this unusual
climatic change is la nina which is a global
environmental phenomenon that is affecting
the Asian region.
During March and April, Sri Lanka would have
normally experienced light winds. However a
lull over the Pacific Ocean is causing heavy
showers in the east and rain over other
areas as well.
The unexpected thundershowers have also
jeopardised the country's paddy production.
Since the rains set in paddy harvesting has
not been possible causing many problems to
paddy farmers. This situation has resulted
in vast amounts of paddy waiting to be
harvested being discoloured. Once this
happens its quality is considered inferior.
The rains have also damaged many homes
leading to over 300,000 persons being
It has been reported that eight persons have
died due to the heavy rains and earthslips
while six persons have been injured. Roads
and bridges have also been damaged by the
constant thunder showers around the island.
Meanwhile a phenomenon known as 'ice rain'
has been reported in Nuwara Eliya and other
areas in the hill country. This ice rain has
caused damage to potato, leek and cabbage
Police reports from the Nuwara Eliya
District state that due to the heavy showers
many roads in Maturata have been closed.
The Walapane-Kandy road and the
Walapane-Nildandahinna road in Walapane were
also reported as being impassable due to
avalanches. Other roads that were listed as
impassable were the Udamadura road in
Nildandahinna and Teripehe in Walapane.
In the Negombo area heavy rains in Dulupotha,
Daluwakotuwa, Kattuwa and Maha-Hunupitiya
had brought on floods making the roads in
these places inaccessible. Heavy rains were
reported in Kolonne causing avalanches on
the main Deriyaya road in Nedola, Kolonne.
Geologists from the National Building
Research Organisation have issued a
statement advising the public to be vigilant
since a warning may not be given in time for
residents to evacuate to safer locations in
case of an emergency.
The districts that have been affected by the
heavy rains are Badulla, Moneragala,
Gampaha, Trincomalee, Ratnapura, Ampara,
Mannar and Puttalam.
Cool facts about La Nina
La Ni¤a translated from Spanish means
'The Child Girl' and meteorologically is
the opposite of the more well known El
The term La Ni¤a refers to the extensive
cooling of the Central and Eastern
The subsequent changes to the atmosphere
and ocean circulation are as varied and
diverse as those of the earlier El Ni¤o.
Increased sea temperatures on the
western side of the Pacific mean that
here the atmosphere has more energy.
Lower than normal temperatures across
the Central and Eastern Pacific Ocean
have adverse effects on the weather and
in particular on the amount of rainfall.
Increased sea temperatures on the
western side of the Pacific means that
here the atmosphere has more energy and
the frequency of heavy rain and
thunderstorms is increased.
Places like Northern Australia, Papua
New Guinea and Indonesia will have more
cloud and more rain (the opposite to the
dry weather during El Ni¤o and the
problem with smog and bush fires).
Typically La Ni¤a will last for up to 12
months and will be a generally less
damaging event than the stronger El
Ni¤o. That is not to say that the global
impact will not be as diverse.
Globally La Ni¤a in very general terms,
will mean that those parts of the world
that normally experience dry weather
will be drier and those with wet weather
will be wetter. Broadly speaking, the La
Ni¤a event could give drier conditions
in Central East Africa, SW USA, Northern
Mexico, South America etc.
Wetter conditions could be experienced
in North/North East Australia, South
Africa, Southern Asia (during the
monsoon) and the northern half of South
America, Central America and the
Whilst historically these are the
effects of a La Ni¤a event, as we have
seen with El Ni¤o, nothing is certain
and the global impact is still to be
The ill effects of
The Sinharaja Rain Forest - A World
Heritage Site and (inset) Acres and
acres of forest are destroyed
annually by the illicit felling of
By Risidra Mendis
The destruction caused to the environment is
a much discussed subject these days. From
recent times the serious after-effects
caused due to pollution and destroying of
the environment is visible even to those who
don't really understand the value of
However a topic not widely discussed these
days is the loss of forest cover in the
At the beginning of the last century, Sri
Lanka was a rich country in closed canopy
natural forests which covered about 80% of
the total land area. However this figure has
dwindled to 30% at present which has
increased the awareness of the relevant
authorities and the general public.
Since the forests are organised assemblages
of trees, other plants and animals, in
complex association with each other and
their physical environment, the reduction of
forest cover has directly and indirectly
influenced other sub sectors such as
agriculture, the wood industry and wildlife.
Decline in forest cover
Speaking to The Sunday Leader Conservator
General of Forests, Sarath Fernando said
that in recent times the rate of decline
in forest cover had whittled down
"The Forest Department has managed to retain
the remaining forest cover in the country
even though the quality of the forest cover
is declining. The declining quality of
forest cover is due to climate change and
pollution," Fernando said.
Although Sri Lanka is one of the
geographically small countries in Asia, it
supports the largest bio diversity per unit
area in its natural forests. "The country
has lost its closed canopy forest cover due
to conversion of forests to other types of
land use such as human settlements, clearing
forest areas for plantation crops and
According to statistics, from 1982 to 1992
Ampara, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Batticaloa,
Gampaha, Hambantota, Kandy, Kilinochchi,
Kurunegala, Moneragala, Polonnaruwa,
Trincomalee and Vavuniya have suffered loss
of forest cover while Colombo, Galle, Jaffna,
Kalutara, Kegalle, Mannar, Matara,
Mullaithivu, Puttalam, and Ratnapura
Districts have shown some increase in forest
cover. Most of the remaining forests are dry
monsoon forests, sparse forests and
fragments of tropical rain forests one of
which is the famous Sinharaja rain forest.
Sinharaja rain forest
Declared a World Heritage Site in 1989 the
Sinharaja Rain Forest is known as the last
extensive primary lowland tropical rain
forest in Sri Lanka. The forest covers an
extent of approx. 11,187 hectares and is
about 21 km in length and 4 km in width.
This forest reserve ranges from 200 m to
1300 m in height and is located somewhat
southwest in the low land wet zone.
"The most serious consequences of
deforestation and forest degradation are
reduction in biodiversity due to the
destruction of fauna and flora habitats and
the loss of soil fertility associated with
soil erosion. The scarcity of fuel wood due
to the cutting of trees in forests and the
contribution of green house gas emissions
will affect the people," Fernando
Poverty has been highlighted as one of the
major causes of forest degradation because
shifting cultivation, illicit felling and
encroachment activities are believed to be
results of poverty. Major development
projects such as the Mahaweli, Kirindi Oya,
Pelawatta Sugarcane plantations and
Sewanagala Sugarcane plantations implemented
in the 1980s had contributed to forest
depletion in a significant manner and
between 1983 and 1992 there had been
deforestation amounting to 37% of the total
Deforestation can also result in irregular
water flow and drying up of natural springs
and reduction in base flow of streams
together with flash floods during rainy
seasons, shortened life spans of irrigation
reservoirs and channels.
"The maintenance of forest cover has become
a must to help watershed management, and
soil conservation to protect the remaining
bio diversity, endemic species, and valuable
and rare trees in the country. When you
enter a forest you feel a difference in
climate. The forest area is much cooler and
comfortable due to the large trees. This
climate in the forest areas helps to uplift
the well being of the people," Fernando
The maintenance of forest cover has become a
must today to continue the productivity in
agriculture and hydropower as well.
Demand for timber
"The country's demand for timber should
also be addressed by utilising the forest
resources. Among the forest products that
are in high demand is fuel wood. Although
there are no proper statistics available on
the non-wood forest product consumption,
most of the population of Sri Lanka uses
these products directly or indirectly,"
According to Sarath Fernando during the last
10 years the Forest Department has not
released large extents of forest cover for
other activities. "If the Moragahakande
project goes through the Forest Department
may have to release some extent of land. We
haven't been told how much land is required
for this project yet," explained Fernando.
Sri Lanka has a long history of forest
planning with identified missions,
objectives and priorities in forestry. The
first priority is to set aside forests for
conservation and secondly to sustainably
manage the remaining forests for meeting the
domestic demand of wood and non wood
Home made technology
Children from rural areas following a
By Nirmala Kannangara
Gaining international recognition for
achievements in the field ofinformation
technology would no doubt be a boost to any
individual or organisation.
Niranjan Meegammana of kaputa.com fame and
also Project Director, Shilpa Sayura which
introduced the e-Learning system for GCE O/L
students in the Sinhala language so as to
empower themselves through the self-learning
system, is the proud recipient of two
international awards for initiating the
national curriculum in Sinhala to help
underprivileged children from remote
villages in the country.
Meegammana bagged the award for Information
Communication Technology for Development (I
4 D) in the educational sector at the
e-India 2007 conference held in New Delhi in
August 2007, and also won the Stockholm
Challenge GKP at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia also
in 2007, which was the first of its kind in
information communication technology (ICT).
"This is a great feat in the ICT sector in
Sri Lanka. Shilpa Sayura deserves these
awards as the e-Learning system for remote
children has helped them immensely to
develop their skills and knowledge. Children
who live in remote areas don't get a sound
education due to lack of teachers in schools
in those localities. That made me work
towards developing the GCE O/L national
curriculum in Sinhala and introduce
self-learning for students from the rural
community," Meegammana told The Sunday
According to Meegammana, the pilot project
of the e-Learning Shilpa Sayura programme
has been implemented in 26 rural nena sala
telecentres in four districts - Matara,
Hambantota, Moneragala and Ratnapura.
"Since the inception we have received a
tremendous response from parents and
students alike which made me want to expand
to every nook and corner in the country.
However, the lack of funds has compelled me
to delay the expansion programme in the last
few months. If the programme receives
assistance from corporate CEOs and NGOs we
could expand e-Learning which opens a new
path and an alternative means for rural
education by creating an opportunity for the
less privileged to reach greater heights,"
Meegammana further said.
The Shilpa Sayura programme could also be
designed on a local network or even at
temples or residences to make it more
accessible. "We want to introduce this in
religious places and in educational centres.
While charging a small fee from the children
for using the computer it could also provide
a service to students from Grades 6-10. Even
with the introduction of the English
language I have been informed that even
elders are now self-learning the language
which has helped to improve their
knowledge," added Meegammana.
According to him Shilpa Sayura is the first
domestic Sinhala language digital
self-learning system in compliance with the
Sri Lanka Standard (SLS) 1134. The Sri
Lankan government had officially endorsed
"The project was initiated by e-Fusion and
received a grant of Rs. 5 million from ICTA
e-SDI fund in 2006. This programme addresses
a burning global problem by providing an
innovative digital solution in the Sinhala
context. The contents in the e-learning
curriculum not only include the text but
also photos, animation, audio, video and
interactive exercises. It therefore gives
the child a chance to go far beyond the
national syllabus. This also provides a
platform on which students could interact
with others, and share and exchange
knowledge," Meegammana said.
"We have been selected for the final round
at the Stockholm Challenge in Sweden in May
2008. This award is considered as the
'Oscar' of the ICT industry and it will be
held in the Blue Hall and is sponsored by
the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden.
Now we are among the three finalists and we
are confident of winning the award,"
He added that the Shilpa Sayura programme is
looking at collaboration with CSR
initiatives, NGOs and ICT based education
projects to expand the e-Leaning system
He came from the bosom of the Father to the
bosom of a woman,
He put on humanity, that we might put on
He became the Son of man, that we might be
the sons of God.
He was born contrary to the laws of nature,
Lived in poverty and reared in obscurity;
Only once did He ever cross the boundaries
of His own small country;
He had no wealth, training or education,
In infancy He startled a king;
In boyhood He puzzled the wise;
In manhood He ruled the course of nature.
He healed the multitude without medicine,
And made no charge for His services.
He never wrote a book; yet all the libraries
of the world,
Could not contain all the books that could
be written about Him.
He never wrote a song, and yet,
He has provided the themes for more songs
than all earthly writers combined.
He never practiced medicine,
Yet has healed more broken hearts than the
world has ever taken note of.
He never marched an army, never drafted a
soldier, or fired a gun;
Yet no leader has ever had the volunteers,
Who under His orders made the rebels stack
arms and surrender,
At His command, never firing a shot.
He is the rock of geology; the lamb and lion
The Harmoniser of all discord, and Healer of
Great men have come and gone; He lives on.
Herod could not kill Him; Satan could not
Death could not destroy Him, and the grave
could not hold Him.
He was rich, but for our sake became poor,
that we might be rich.
How poor? Ask Mary! Ask the wise men!
He slept in another's manger; rode another's
beast; was buried in another's tomb.
All others have failed; He never.
The ever perfect One;
THE INCOMPARABLE CHRIST.
Wishing all a blessed Easter as we celebrate
- Rev. Prince Mathiasz
United Pentecostal Church, Sri Lanka
Bathing and its many side shows
Gracious me! I can't afford to keep staring
at the blank screen and then thinking about
what I should write! We are consciously
knocking off all unused appliances or
goodness knows how much the month end bill
will be. Got to think fast!
The house is very quiet since the staff is
on leave, so there is no music and clatter
in the background. This is the time I feel
like having some music blasting out, but
alas, then I cannot concentrate.
I can concentrate on one job at a time. If
I'm reading, there has to be silence; if I'm
listening to music, my mind is full of it;
if I'm sleeping, even the slightest chink of
light or the smallest sound wakes me up. My
family disagrees and says I jolly well sleep
snoring very loudly without the slightest
problem! The two girls are always
threatening to record my snores and play it
back. I'm not keen on listening!
The neighbourhood version of the Roman bath
is in operation outside. It's the weekend,
so there is a steady stream of bathers and
clothes washers. The kids are not at school
and are given their baths first, some of
them squealing at their mum's vigorous
scrubbing, or when the water's too cold, or
soap (not smoke!) gets into their eyes.
Women yell at each other, giving each other
yesterday's news. I think this is the urban
version of women meeting by the river in the
morning - bathing, washing clothes and
exchanging gossip. It must be nice though,
and certainly they are not wasting their
time like us folk, hanging on the phone.
They are doing something useful as well as
The Romans had the very first communal
baths. Even the wealthiest Romans frequented
the baths, because of the superior heating
system and engineering skills that would
have been too complicated and expensive to
emulate in their own homes. Also, it gave
them a chance to meet up with their friends
and business colleagues, as well as
We would refer to this as a sports club
nowadays. Generally mixed bathing was not
acceptable, although it must have been
practiced, since so many emperors banned it!
Women were, most unfairly I think, charged
more than men. They were supposed to
frequent the baths in the mornings and leave
it free for the men in the evening. The
wealthier women (and men) took slaves along
with them to help them bathe and keep their
Usually men and some women would first
exercise to clear their pores of impurities,
by sweating it out. Then oil would be
applied, with masseurs available if one
wanted it. After that, the oil would be
scraped off (ouch!) with a special curved
This was supposed to clean all the dirt off.
Then one would immerse in a tepid water
bath. After that they would proceed to a
very hot bath and a steam room, like a sauna
of today. Finally, they would rinse off in a
cold bath. Apparently, at one time, it was
in fashion for men to have hairless bodies,
so there would be a chap to pluck hair off
their bodies. I wonder what modern women
have to say on that topic!
This was a very important part of their
lives, since they could socialise, catch up
with news, meet friends as well as discuss
business. This is what Cavemen says he's
doing at the Golf Club for hours! Hmmm!
There were loads of food vendors by the
baths, so they would eat and drink there as
I guess the wives were either at home or
with friends, since apparently very little
cooking was done in individual houses. It
was much cheaper to eat out, and I think
that's a major chore taken care of! Wow!
What a life! So the beautiful ladies would
be all perfumed and rested and not tired a
whit when their husbands returned.
The upgraded version of this is our modern
day spa. Now it is quite the 'in' thing to
go for spa treatments. All my friends who
visit from overseas are quite amazed that I
haven't had a single treatment. "My
goodness, I thought you all must be visiting
all the time!" Then they entreat me to find
out which is the best one going and run
along and come back apparently totally
revived, relaxed and energised and ready to
face the world again, the poor stressed-out
- Honky Tonk Woman
The not quite glasshouse menagerie
Growing up, we always had animals in the
house. Mostly cats and then eventually a
couple of dogs got added into the mix. It
has always seemed like a relatively easy
thing to keep a pet. A very easy thing to
love a pet, perhaps on a certain level, much
easier to love a pet than another human.
Pets love you back unconditionally. Except
for cats, with whom you have to pretend that
they do but generally they do such a good
job of playing cute with you, it's very easy
to delude yourself.
The thing is that for the past month or so,
I have become the part owner of a cat. An
Australian cat. A tabby - not a specialised
breed or anything but definitely a
completely different experience from tabbies
Home and away
My cat in Colombo rules the roost and the
neighbourhood by sheer force of personality.
She is a tomboy by nature preferring to get
into fights with other cats rather than try
to nurture her own though she does have a
soft spot for kittens.
But she is intelligent and can read the time
and at seven on the spot every night she
sits in the kitchen waiting to be fed. She
knows when I come home for the holidays as
she invariably turns up, gives me the cold
shoulder for abandoning her and then worms
or yowls her way into my bedroom for
company. The point is that cats back home
are generally very independent save for when
food is around, unless they are able to jump
up onto a counter.
However, I now have an Australian cat and it
is different. They are less independent. In
some parts of the country you aren't allowed
to keep cats because they hunt the native
wildlife. They usually have to be
registered, vaccinated and collared or
microchipped. Ichigo came to us because her
former owner had to move and couldn't take
her with her to her new rental unit. We had
to get special permission from the owner of
our unit to keep her and we had to sign a
contract and fork over a small amount of
money as a pet bond as insurance against her
possibly wrecking some fixture in the
Back home cats just turn up because they
found we are a source of food or because
more likely my mother can't live another day
without a cat in the house. Perhaps growing
up, I was a step removed from the actual
official and legal processes involving
keeping pets, perhaps there were none.
But Ichigo has to be an indoor cat. Were she
to run out into the street in Fremantle, she
would get confused and scared, and get
either run over or end up on a ship with
sheep heading out of the Fremantle Harbour
to the Middle East. She also loves to hunt
and were I to let her out, there would be
pigeon and seagull carcasses on my doorstep
every morning. Cats here aren't used to
being given a lot of freedom to roam usually
and therefore most of them are pretty
terrified of the usual urban noises once
outside the boundaries of their usual
Having said that, I have seen quite a few
cats roaming around Fremantle, their owners
happy enough to give them room to wander,
though someone once confided to me that he
had to train his cat as a kitten on how to
cross the street before he would let her out
on her own.
How do you train a cat to cross or not cross
a street? In my experience cats generally do
what they want to do and you just have to
organise your day and time around it rather
than it around you.
Ichigo now understands the words for 'food'
and 'no' as spoken by me. That doesn't stop
her from coming running every time she hears
a can being opened or something metallic.
She will sit at my feet and yowl if I am
eating something straight out of the can
because she thinks I am robbing her of her
sustenance. Being fed twice a day at set
times does not stop her from opening the
bedroom door, jumping onto the bed and
purring loudly in your ear till you wake up
at six or seven in the morning to give her,
For me, growing up with cats has made me
immune to incessant yowling demands and
purring connivances. My flatmate however is
a sucker for such things. Guess who Ichigo
approaches first for food?
The oddest thing to get used to however is
the concept of the litter box. Cats back
home took care of that themselves, you only
had to yell at them a few times to get it
into their head and they merely went
outside. Ichigo was trained as a kitten by
her very first (and very lazy) owner to use
newspaper. Guess how fast we learnt not to
leave newspaper lying around? The litter box
however raised all sorts of questions.
How far do you fill it? How often do you
change it? What kind of kitty litter is
best? How many trays or boxes do you need
per cat or is it dependent on the cat? Where
is the best place in the house to keep it?
The only person at all experienced with this
sort of thing was my flatmate who was quick
to come to a deal of sorts: "You do the
litter tray, I'll do the garbage." And you
learn fairly quickly with an indoor cat, to
either get the right litter/tray/depth soon
or to by sheer intimidation freak your cat
out into using what's available because else
you come home to ... well, things you don't
want to find.
Another thing was the diet. Ichigo is a year
old and I am her third owner. The behaviours
she learnt as a kitten are important because
they are hard to change later on. I don't
like feeding her canned food but I have to
because she throws up anything else, not
being used to it. And I try not to overfeed
her. Cats here can be worn as mink stoles,
the rate at which they feed them. Why do
they feed them so much? Is it a declaration
of how much they love them? It certainly
cannot be very healthy for the cat.
But she is healthy and she is intelligent.
She can open bathroom and bedroom doors. She
stalks your feet as you walk down the
corridor or wiggle them under the blankets
in bed. She routinely disembowels
cockroaches for fun and proudly shows you
the carcasses. And one day she'll be the
death of me because I found her, halfway up
the mesh of the flyscreen door, all four
claws latched on, trying to bat away at the
handle to open the door so she could get
Her nickname now is "Trouble." Just today
she climbed into the sink to lick the empty
interior of a plastic container that
formerly contained home made chilli con
carne. Trouble as a name is not good
So far this seems to be working. After seven
years of living overseas more or less
permanently throughout the year, I finally
have a cat that I can be around for most of
the time rather than just during holiday
periods. Because when your parents tell you
stories of how as a toddler you used to talk
your baby talk to one of the cats and feed
the other all your tiny pieces of cut up
sausages, you suddenly realise that like it
or not, you were meant to die with at least
a cat around somewhere. Seven years without
a pet is a very scary thing. Life is less
stressful, less scary and more therapeutic
when you can hear a kitty purr. Even if it's
in your ear at six in the morning.
- Marisa Wikramanayake
There was this guy at a bar, just look-ing
at his drink. He stays like that for half an
hour. Then, this big trouble-making truck
driver steps next to him, takes the drink
from the guy, and just drinks it all down.
The poor man starts crying. The truck driver
says, "Come on man, I was just joking. Here,
I'll buy you another drink. I just can't
stand to see a man cry." "No, it's not that.
This day is the worst of my life. First, I
fall asleep, and I go late to my office. My
boss, outrageous, fires me. When I leave the
building, to my car, I found out it was
stolen. The police said that they can do
nothing. I get a cab to return home, and
when I leave it, I remember I left my wallet
and credit cards there. The cab driver just
drives away. I go home, and when I get
there, I find my wife in bed with the
gardener. I leave home, and come to this
bar. And just when I was thinking about
putting an end to my life, you show up and
drink my poison!"
One for the road
At 3 a.m. the hotel desk clerk gets a call
from a man asking what time the bar opens.
"It opens at noon, sir" answers the clerk,
they hang up.
About an hour later he gets a call from the
same guy, and this time the man's speech is
a little slurred. "What time does the bar
open?" he asks, again.
"Well, sir, the same time as before - noon,"
replies the clerk.
Another hour passes and the phone rings
again, and this time the man is clearly
drunk. "Winjoo shay thee bar opins at?"
The clerk answers, "Sir, the bar opens at
noon. You cannot get into the bar before
that time. I suggest you call room service
if this is a problem."
"No... Well... I don wanna git in... Ah
wanna git out!"
A friend indeed
Are you tired of all those mushy
"friendship" poems that always sound good
but never actually come close to reality?
Well, here is a 'friendship' poem that
really speaks to true friendship and truth
When you are sad, I will get you drunk and
help you plot revenge against the sorry
bas....d who made you sad.
When you are blue, I'll try to dislodge
whatever is choking you.
When you smile, I'll know you finally got
When you are scared, I will rag you about it
every chance I get.
When you are worried, I will tell you
horrible stories about how much worse it
could be and to quit whining.
When you are confused, I will use little
words to explain it to your dumb ass.
When you are sick, stay away from me until
you're well again.
When you fall, I will point and laugh at
your clumsy ass.
This is my oath, I pledge 'til the end.
Why you may ask? Because you're my friend.
Send this poem to 10 of your closest friends
and get depressed because you realise you
only have two friends, and one of them is
not speaking to you right now anyway.
PS. A friend will help you move.
A really good friend will help you move a
One day, this man, Tony, died. When he was
sent to be judged, he was told that he had
committed a sin, and that he could not go to
heaven right away. He asked what he did and
God told him that he cheated on his income
taxes, and that the only way he could get
into heaven would be to sleep with a 500
pound, stupid, butt-ugly woman for the next
five years and enjoy it.
Tony decided that this was a small price to
pay for an eternity in heaven. So off he
went with this enormous woman, pretending to
be happy. As he was walking along, he saw
his friend Carlos up ahead. Carlos was with
an even bigger, uglier woman than the one he
was with. When he approached Carlos he asked
him what was going on, and Carlos replied "I
cheated on my income taxes and scammed the
government out of a lot of money... even
more than you did."
They both shook their heads in understanding
and figured that as long as they have to be
with these women, they might as well hang
out together to help pass the time. Now
Tony, Carlos, and their two beastly women
were walking along, minding their own
business when Tony and Carlos could have
sworn that they saw their friend Mike up
ahead, only this man was with an absolutely
drop dead, gorgeous supermodel.
Stunned, Tony and Carlos approached the man
and in fact it was their friend Mike. They
asked him how is it that he was with this
unbelievable goddess, while they were stuck
with the awful women.
Mike replied, "I have no idea, and I'm
definitely not complaining. This has been
absolutely the best time of my life (and I'm
dead!) and I have five years of the best
love making any man could hope for to look
forward to. There is only one thing that I
can't seem to understand. After every time
we make love, she rolls over and murmurs to
herself, 'Damned income taxes'!"
Jim and Mary were both patients in a mental
hospital. One day while they were walking
past the hospital swimming pool, Jim
suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sunk
to the bottom of the pool and stayed there.
Mary promptly jumped in to save him. She
swam to the bottom and pulled Jim out.
When the medical director became aware of
Mary's heroic act he immediately ordered her
to be discharged from the hospital, as he
now considered her to be mentally stable.
When he went to tell Mary the news he said
"Mary, I have good news and bad news. The
good news is you're being discharged because
since you were able to jump in and save the
life of another patient, I think you've
regained your senses. The bad news is, Jim,
the patient you saved, hung himself with his
bathrobe belt in the bathroom. I am so
sorry, but he's dead."
Mary replied "He didn't hang himself, I put
him there to dry."