The sound of success
The Revelations in a jubilant mood
By Ranee Mohamed
premier male vocal ensemble, The
Revelations secured first place in the
gospel and spiritual vocal ensemble category
at the World Choir Games in Graz, Austria,
last week. They were crowned champions of
the World Choir Games and also won a gold
medal ahead of choirs from many countries
from around the world.
The special distinction is the fact that
though a multiple gold category may be given
for any choir obtaining over 80 points,
Lanka's very own Revelations obtained not
only a gold, but glimmered brighter by
obtaining the highest mark in that category.
The country's premier female choir Soul
Sounds won a gold medal in the open popular
choral music category and a silver medal in
the open gospel category.
In an interview with The Sunday Leader, The
Revelations' Choral Director and Conductor,
Sanjeev Jayaratnam said "Our approach was -
let us go and do our best. We did not want
the pressure of medals upon us."
And their best they did, and even more, that
they had an audience of over 5000 people
standing up in respect and appreciation of
their talent and ability.
This was a special moment for these people
with music in their hearts, but it became an
even more special happening for us in Sri
Lanka as the whole world witnessed the
hoisting of the Sri Lankan flag - with Sri
Lanka's National Anthem being played and
these Sri Lankans standing there before the
international audience, identifying their
talent with their country.
The Revelations conducted by Sanjeev
Jayaratnam were strong in abiding by the
conditions of the Choir Games - that they be
amateurs. But emerging with gold, their
amateurism has turned into professionalism -
an appreciation by the whole world.
Men of standing
The Revelations comprise Sanjeev Jayaratnam,
with a admirable standing in the Microsoft
and MIT world and for imparting knowledge in
bachelors' and masters' level programmes and
for speed reading programmes; Ishan de
Lanerolle, a director of R and G
Enterprises and managing director of Abacus
Tea Private Limited, Enaksha Fernando, the
general manager of Autodrome, Mahen Pieris
an attorney-at-law and choral director of
the Methodist College Choir, Priyan de
Livera, a lawyer by profession, Rohan de
Lanerolle, a director of several companies,
and Christopher Godridge, project manager
for Millennium Information Technology.
Revelations also comprises of the famous
Willie Godridge, who they say is truly the
luckiest for he has retired (but not from
the world of music), and Srimanthaka
Senanayake, a lawyer at SriLankan Airlines,
Asanka Perera and Charith Pieris who are
both university students who other members
say are the 'babies.'
The Revelations have down the years strongly
felt that they ought to impart the knowledge
they have gathered down the years and it is
this strong sense of goodwill and fellow
feeling that saw The Revelations Academy of
Performing Arts, coming into being at the
Joyce Gunasekera Montessori School at
Lauries Road, Bambalapitiya. Here The
Revelations gave back to others what they
had got in the form of singing, drama and
Moved to tears
"We never dreamt of winning. As we heard Sri
Lankan's National Anthem being played and
flag being hoisted we were moved to tears,"
said The Revelations' Conductor and Director
Sanjeev Jayaratnam, as The Revelations were
preparing on Thursday to take part in
another category on Friday.
They spoke with sadness at Ishan 'losing his
But one always tends to lose the things one
loves most! But Revelations will continue,
with a renewed musical vigour.
"We are Thomians," they said proudly and
spoke with great respect for their choir
master Russel Bartholomeuz. "I am sure he is
proud of us as we are of him," they opined
in a chorus.
"We have always put ourselves in the hands
of God and we have a strong belief in him,"
said The Revelations.
They also promised to have a concert when
they come back "just to show us all what was
appreciated beyond Sri Lankan soil."
Help and support
The Revelations also went on to thank
Deshamanya Dr. Lalith Kotelawala and Dr.
Sicille P.C. Kotelawala for the support they
have given them. "None of this would have
been possible if they had not sponsored us
and if we did not receive their backing. The
cost of travel, entry fees and accommodation
are a huge burden and these have all been
met. We are extremely grateful to Deshamanya
Dr. Lalith Kotelawala and Dr. Sicille P.C.
Kotelawala," said Jayaratnam and added that
their relationship with Seylan Bank will go
The Revelations have not only been around
great music, but also around great friends.
They spoke with great love and feeling for
the German choir with whom they said they
had excellent friendly relations.
'They supported us and the more they cheered
the more we wanted to do better - and
better. Unfortunately, we could not go to
support them because our performance was one
and a half hours after their's and we could
not go - but in our hearts - we supported
them and wished them all the best," said The
The Revelations have brought pride to Sri
Lanka, more importantly, they have put their
hearts into their sound. What can be greater
than bringing to life a written word - and
moving an audience with a sound hitherto
"They were naughty, baila boys" -
Choir Master, S. Thomas' College
Choir Master Russel Bartholomeuz when
contacted by The Sunday Leader said that
these Thomians behind The Revelations as
children were 'very naughty boys' and
that they were 'not even nice.'
"They were very disrespectful and did
not know what music was. No, at that
time in life I did not think that they
will succeed," said Choir Master
Bartholomeuz who strived to teach these
young children that music was much more
than making a noise.
"I wanted to impart what I had learnt
from my respected Choir Master, the
Reverend Roy Bowyer Win, Chaplain of S.
Thomas' College in the 1950s," said
He spoke of the deterioration that has
set into music due to the influx of TV
and went on to say that church music
today is in the doldrums.
"I have been criticised for teaching old
music. There is no such thing as new
music and old music - maybe good and
bad. But there is no music as old
music.." observed Choir Master
Bartholomeuz who went on to speak about
the psalms, anthems and English hymns
and the vast variety from Russia,
England, America . that was the musical
side of the early life of The
"Understanding what is beyond the notes
is important. I never taught them
techniques - I taught them just to sing
- to make a lovely sound and be aware. I
was very strict about balance and
harmony and I always believed that there
was much more than the printed word -
that it ought to be brought alive.
"They were essentially baila boys and I
think they still love baila."
"I am proud of them, and I am happy that
I lived to see their success," said the
Choir Master who taught The Revelations
their first notes when they began music
as little boys.
Great Soul Sounds
Soundarie David and Jerome I. De Silva
compered larger choirs from the United
States, South Africa, China, Germany,
Austria and Australia, among others.
The fifth World Choir Games was held
from July 9 to 19 and started off with
441 registered choirs from 93 nations
and some 20,000 active participants.
Soul Sounds bagged their medals with a
high score of 81.88 for the gold. They
have been commended for their
versatility, passion and soul.
A landmark event at the zoo
(Inset) Thenew borns
By Risidra Mendis
The National Zoological Gardens in Dehiwela
has once again created history. What was to
be just another Saturday for zoo officials
turned out to be an unforgettable one when a
green anaconda (Eunectes murinus) gave birth
to 23 babies.
This is the first time in the history of the
zoo that an anaconda has given birth to so
many babies. However three of the baby
anacondas died at birth.
The birth of Albino cobras for the first
time at the zoo a few years back was yet
another landmark in the zoo's history.
The peaceful environment at the Dehiwela Zoo
became a hive of activity on July 12 as zoo
officials and keepers prepared to take care
of the new born babies. The first baby
anaconda was born at approximately 5.05 p.m.
However visitors who came to the zoo didn't
have the chance of spotting these new borns
as they were immediately separated from
their mother and put in another cage for
safekeeping by zoo keepers. The new borns -
14 females and six males - were finally put
out for visitors to see on July 16.
From Czech Republic
Speaking to The Sunday Leader Assistant
Curator, Reptilian, P. Premasiri Peiris said
the pair of anacondas was brought from
Pilisan Zoo in the Czech Republic as part
of an exchange programme. The pair was
brought to the zoo on June 11, 2003. The
pair was around two feet long when they
arrived in the country," Peiris said.
"The Dehiwela Zoo gave the Czech Zoo two
Polangas, three star tortoises, a pair of
giant squirrels and a pair of jungle fowls
in exchange for 14 pheasants that included
the crested fireback pheasant, blue eared
pheasant, the golden pheasant, the Lady
Amhearst Pheasant, an African spurred
tortoise and the pair of anacondas," Peiris
According to Peiris the baby anacondas had
to be separated from the mother as she has a
tendency to eat the babies that don't look
active. "When the babies are small we feed
them once in three days with baby mice. When
they get a little bigger they are given baby
chickens. These anacondas can live for 35
years and grow upto 35 feet in length,"
Peiris is no newcomer to the field of
reptiles. For the past 28 years he has taken
care of snakes at great risk to his life. He
was bitten twice by cobras, once by a
Russel's Viper and twice by a Green Pit
Viper. His hands still have the scars of the
snake bites. But that hasn't stopped Peiris
from continuing to look after the snakes at
Belong to Boa family
Green anacondas are found mainly in the
northern part of South America (Amazon and
Orinoco basins) in Venezuela, Colombia,
Brazil, Northern Bolivia, Northeast Peru,
Guyana, and the island of Trinidad and in
New England aquariums.
A member of the Boa family,
South America's green anaconda is the largest snake in the world.
Green anacondas can grow to more than 29
feet (8.8 meters), weigh more than 550
pounds (227 kilograms), and measure more
than 12 inches (30 centimeters) in diameter.
The females are significantly larger than
the males. Other anaconda species, such as
the yellow, dark-spotted, and Bolivian
varieties all from
South America are smaller than the green
Anacondas live in swamps, marshes, and
slow-moving streams, mainly in the tropical
rain forests of the Amazon and
Orinoco basins. They are cumbersome on land, but stealthy and
sleek in the water. Their eyes and nasal
openings are on top of their heads, allowing
them to lay in wait for prey while remaining
nearly completely submerged.
They reach their monumental size on a diet
of wild pigs, deer, birds, turtles, monkeys,
fish and even jaguars in the wild. Anacondas
are non venomous constrictors, coiling their
muscular bodies around captured prey and
squeezing until the animal asphyxiates. Jaws
attached by stretchy ligaments allow them to
swallow their prey whole, no matter the
size, and they can go weeks or months
without food after a big meal.
Courtship can last several months
Their mating period usually is from April
to May. Green anacondas reproduce sexually
and have internal fertilisation like all
snakes. Courtship can last over several
months. A group of males will court a
receptive female, competing peacefully to
Anacondas are ovoviviparous, meaning that
they produce eggs which hatch inside the
mother's body and result in live births. The
newborn, which usually number 20-30, are
around 60 centimetres in size and receive no
Baby snakes are about two feet (0.6 metres)
long when they are born and are almost
immediately able to swim and hunt. Should
they survive, they reach sexual maturity in
about three to four years. Their lifespan in
the wild is about 10 years.
Their primary overall colour is an olive
green, with black blotches that run the
length of the body. Their head is narrow
compared to the rest of the body, with most
exhibiting distinctive orange-yellow
striping on either side. Their eyes are set
high on their head so as to allow the snake
to be able to see out of the water without
exposing the rest of its body. However due
to the skin trade and habitat degradation
its numbers have declined in places where
they are not protected.
into their lives
Posing for the camera
By Shezna Shums
The Sunshine Charity is organising a recital
in aid of a puppet theatre workshop for
children, and is being done in partnership
with The American Centre.
The Sunshine Charity initially set up to
assist children affected by the tsunami now
has under its care children affected by
poverty and the ethnic conflict as well.
The Sunshine Day Care Centre is a
post-tsunami project which was established
in 2005 in Sambalthivu, Trincomalee to
look into the needs of the tsunami affected
children. However it soon opened its doors
to other children in need.
Currently the charity has a mandate to look
after 35 children between the ages of two to
six years old.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader one of the
trustees of the charity said that the visit
of a tsunami rescue mission to
led to the starting of the charity.
The trustees of the charity include Angelika
Fernando and her two children, Annika and
Saskia, and Sharadha de Saram and her two
children, Tesalia and Ishviyan.
"We were discussing the possibility of
setting up such a charity on our way back
from Galle. As we approached Colombo we had
decided that our dream could be a reality,"
The trustee said that there is a lot of
skepticism about charities that have started
after the tsunami and the continuation of
their work was in question. But somehow the
Sunshine Day Care Centre continues with its
work todate with a heavy demand for its
The charity during its existence has found
that there is a growing appreciation of its
work and that there were many who were
volunteering to give of their time and
effort to help in the work undertaken by
The charity has access to international and
local assistance and is willing to direct
it to the people who are in need.
Part of civil society
The trustee highlighted that they were not
an NGO but were working as a part of civil
society to help in whatever way they could
to assist the affected people in need in Sri
Lanka since civil society has traditionally
been known to have come to the assistance
of those in need even in a small way.
To raise the much needed funds for their
endeavour a programme titled The Sunshine
Recital 2008 is to be staged in Colombo as
well as in Galle. The recital includes
Mandhira de Saram (violin), Radhika de Saram
(violin) and Eshantha J. Peiris (piano) who
will perform works by Beethoven, Boulanger,
Debussy, Hyde, Grieg, Bartok, Pritchard, and
The Sunshine Recital is to be held on August
1 and 2 at 7 p.m at The British Council and
another recital is to be held at the
Cinnamon Room of the Lighthouse Hotel in
Galle at 6 p.m. on August 3.
One of the factors attributed to the success
of the charity is the commitment of the
local partners without whose support it
could not have achieved all what they have
done since the time it was set up.
Day care centre
The most immediate issue that the charity
was faced with from the start was the
purchase of a block of land to build a
permanent day care centre, explained
"We received great encouragement and support
towards our endeavour when we had an
opportunity of meeting the Director, Grace
Education Care Centre, Pastor Jeyakanth.
"Pastor Jeyakanth's commitment to children
was amazing and the trustees knew that they
needed someone like him for the project. I
would say the Sunshine Charity is truly
fortunate in partnering with The Grace
Education Care Centre," said Sharadha.
The charity hopes that by harnessing the
Asian cultural traditions as well as Sri
Lanka's own philanthropic traditions the
funds needed for this venture could be
raised through local initiatives such as
the Sunshine Recital 2008. This way, the
trustees feel the current as well as
emerging social issues that face children
affected by the ethnic conflict and poverty
could be effectively addressed.
A principal challenge for the charity has
been the question of nurturing and
encouraging philanthropy among locals.
Many of the charities that were set up to
undertake projects for children immediately
after the tsunami had to wind up due to
various constraints. However, the Sunshine
Charity has been able to outlive these
problems as it was fortunate in securing the
partnership and support of supermodel Petra
Nemcova's Happy Hearts Fund at Give2Asia,
USA, which agreed to grant funds to cover
the operational costs of the centre for
"It is not only money that made this
possible, but the understanding and sharing
of one's resources and talents with
vulnerable communities," said the trustees.
The trustees of the Sunshine Charity welcome
local participation especially in the
numerous workshops designed and implemented
for the Sunshine children.
Most recently, the trustees conducted a
three day art camp at the Sunshine Day Care
Centre in Sambalthivu, Trincomalee.
"We had the Sunshine children as well as
children from the Grace Home for Girls and
Boys located next door participating.
"Since it is important that we do not make
our children feel exclusive in the
community, we invite children from the
community for our workshops," said Tesalia.
"The children simply loved the three day
workshop which was funded by the Force of
Nature Aid Foundation, Malaysia.
"Sections of the art murals have been now
produced as blank cards, which will be sold
at the Sunshine Recitals on August 1, 2 and
"Some of the other workshops we have
conducted have focused on puppet making and
"We also brought down the Sunshine children
to Colombo for a workshop. For some of them,
it was their first visit out of their home
town," explained Tesalia.
With funds earned from the 2008 recitals the
trustees plan to conduct a workshop in Kandy,
this time with a puppeteer from the
The children will be taught to make their
own puppets and tell their stories in a mini
performance at the end of the workshop.
"To help our children to regain some aspects
of their childhood, to forget their trauma,
their sadness, and help them have one proper
meal per day and to share our love with them
is what we like to do. Our long cherished
dream has been realised with the
establishment of the Sunshine Day Care
Centre," is how Angelika Fernando explained
the vision and success of the Sunshine
The performers at the Sunshine Charity
Recital will be playing free of charge and
this is one way that Sri Lankans not living
in the country can give something back.
Tickets for the
Colombo recital (7p.m on August 1 and 2) are priced atRs. 1000 and
are available at The British Council and The
Tickets for the
Galle recital (6 p.m on August 3 ) priced at Rs. 5,000 inclusive
of a three course dinner, are available at
The Lighthouse Hotel,
The proceeds of all three recitals are in
aid of the Sunshine Day Care Centre,
Chicken getting dearer
Rising costs have pushed poultry
farmers out of business
By Shezna Shums
The local poultry industry which directly
and indirectly supports the lives of about a
million people is on shaking ground given
the rising cost of production and the threat
of a shortage of maize.
The price of a kilo of chicken was recently
raised to Rs 320, but farmers complain that
even with this price they are only able to
Previously the government did not allow the
price of chicken to be raised. However as
the cost of production was increasing
rapidly and farmers going out of business,
this ceiling price was established.
Nonetheless many small scale farmers have
moved out of the poultry business and bigger
poultry farmers have drastically scaled down
Chairman, All Island Poultry Association,
Dr. D.D. Wanasinghe told The Sunday Leader
that the biggest problem the poultry
industry is facing is that the main maize
exporting country, India, is stopping all
their exports of maize.
needs about 200,000 metric tonnes of maize
for the poultry industry alone and the
majority of this maize is bought from
produces only about 60,000 metric tonnes of
maize of which the poultry industry gets
about 30 percent and the rest is used by
"If locally more maize can be produced the
poultry industry will guarantee that they
will buy the whole quantity," said Chairman
In order to resolve this problem the
Chairman has spoken with the Ministry of
Livestock Development which has accepted
that the situation was indeed grave.
The Ministry has promised to inform
President Mahinda Rajapakse to urge the
Indian government to make an exception for
Sri Lanka and to export at least a certain
amount of maize without delay.
No Indian maize
The fact that India has now stopped all
exports of maize will severely affect the
local poultry industry and make its
operation very difficult, said Chairman
He also noted that
banning maize exports would directly affect
84,000 poultry farming families in Sri Lanka
who depend on the industry for survival.
The other factor which has contributed to
the high cost of chicken is the cess that is
being charged by the government. If this is
reduced then the poultry farmers would be in
a better position to increase production and
the sluggish poultry industry could be
revived, industry sources point out.
The government did in fact toy with the idea
that chicken could be imported to meet any
shortfall in the country but the Poultry
Association Chairman noted that given the
previous bird flu scares,a health
certificate would have to be obtained before
any importation of poultry is done and this
process could cause complications.
A survey done on the poultry industry has
shown that there were about 85,000 poultry
farmers, and another 100,000 input suppliers
such as the drivers used for transportation,
sales people and others indirectly involved
in the poultry trade.
Dr. Wanasinghe pointed out that there were
about one million people including family
members of those involved in the trade who
benefit from the poultry industry whose
livelihood will be affected if urgent
measures are not taken to revive the
Dr. Wanasinghe said that the All Island
Poultry Association (AIPA) is hoping to
revive the collapsed poultry industry but
was looking to the government to help curb
the surging cost of production.
In the past when poultry farmers were in a
bad way the hatcheries that feed the farms
began destroying the day old chicks that
were not sold.
This situation has however been averted for
the time being as the selling price of a
kilo of chicken was raised to Rs 320 and
many small scale farmers have begun
increasing their output.
However it was highlighted that AIPA was in
fact requesting that the price of a kilo of
chicken be fixed at Rs. 350. However
considering the government's request not to
increase the price too much due to the
economic situation in the country, AIPA
decided to sell a kilo of chicken at Rs.
"With this price increase we will be earning
a marginal profit and can revive the poultry
industry only marginally," said Dr.
Dr. Wanasinghe explained that if they are
allowed to sell a kilo of chicken at Rs.
350, they would be able to stabilise and
revive the poultry industry and also be able
to restart some of the livelihoods of
small-scale poultry farmers.
Usually there is a 10 percent increase in
the poultry industry annually. But since
2007 this expansion has stopped and there
has been a sharp decline.
"Many small scale farmers have ceased
operations, while the large poultry farming
organisations have reduced their operations
by as much as 40 percent. Instead of closing
down, the organisations reduced their
operations to minimise losses and keep their
staff going," explained the Chairman.
The Chairman reiterated that there were
about a million people including family
members who were dependant on the poultry
industry and added that they would be
severely affected in the present economic
scenario if urgent measures were not taken
to revive the industry.
A walk to remember
It is another first by Cinnamon Grand, the
city hotel,.. that asks you "how may we
indulge you?" The Cinnamon Grand Hotel
initiated a special walk and this walk
began from Cinnamon Grand on Thursday at 6
a.m. when General Manager Rohan Karr and his
dedicated team began to take the good news
and their special gift to those afflicted
As the sun gilded the good- hearted walkers
of the Cinnamon Grand, the walk itself
called Spread a little sunshine had a blue
sky as a side dish.
"This is the first time in the history of
the hotel that we have undertaken a charity
walk for such a distance," said the
determined General Manager Rohan Karr, who
went on to say that they will walk the miles
not only to create awareness about cancer,
but to give them a helping hand that will
make a remarkable contribution to cancer
This is the first time that any organisation
walked such a distance to the Cancer
Hospital to give them aid. And General
Manager Rohan Karr, the hotel management
their charity committee also called the
Spread a little sunshine committee and
staff, together with P.R. Manager Tharika
Goonetilleke completed the walk with 400
walkers walking the 16 kilometres with a
determination and a goodwill infused with
The CSR committee which comprises of
members of the hotels department and staff
worked together to raise the Rs.2.9 million
instead of the target of Rs.1.8 million,
once again, exceeding expectations in true
Cinnamon Grand style.
"Cinnamon fire is the song that means a lot
to those at Cinnamon Grand. it is a part
of the inspiration to motivate us and
always help us to achieve beyond what is
expected of us. It is service beyond a
smile. Reaching to people and help them
beyond what they can, and that is the spirit
that burns in every Cinnamon associate that
is why we can perform, care and breathe to
other people, " said the hotel's caring P.R.
Manager Tharika Goonetilleke. .
"Everybody could not go for the walk, of the
thousand associates 800 associates collected
the money, 400 walked and the others stayed
back to serve the customers," said P.R.
Manager Tharika Goonetilleke.
The money raised by the walk will give the
Cancer Hospital a new operating theatre, an
operating theatre lamp, trolleys, beds and
other vital theatre equipment.
- Ranee Mohamed
Hillwood girls dance
their way to Germany
Fourteen Kandyan dancing stu-dents of
Hillwood College, Kandy accompanied by
School Principal, S. K. Hettige and three
other teachers toured Germany recently on a
student exchange tour with St. Agnes
Gymnasium in Stuttgart.
They started the tour with a short stay at
Heisenberg Gymnasium, and the dancing troupe
then proceeded to showcase there Kandy
dancing to appreciative audiences in Neuwied,
Andernach, Worms and Balingen.
According to the teachers, the highlight of
the tour was the visit to the famous Ritter
Sport Chocolate Factory, where the Kandy
girls made their own chocolates and learning
the secrets of making a special German
The also got the opportunity to visit the
Diamler Benz Museum and the Wilhelma Zoo
where they saw the famous baby polar bear
Castle and the fairy tale gardens took the
group back to the nursery with Hansel &
Gretle and all the fairy tales coming back
to life! The ballet Sleeping Beauty at the
opera house was a performance that will not
be forgotten, said the teachers.
Soon it will be the turn of the German
students to sample Sri Lanka as they are
expected here shortly.
Picture shows the
tour party with the exchange partners.
- Hafiz Marikar
five years and still counting bodies
This year will see the 25th anniversary of
Black July. There were some people who
didn't realise this till I pointed it out to
them. At which point I asked myself if I was
the only one who remembered that it had
occurred at all. Why do I remember it?
I remember it because I was born in July in
1983. I remember it because I know what
happened and I think it is important to
remember such things if only so that we
ensure it never happens again.
And no matter what, that's what most people
agree on. They agree that they don't want it
to happen again but then there are some who
are against any sort of violence, some who
are completely jaded and then there are
some who have clearly taken sides and make
it clear that the only outcome they want at
all is one where their side wins.
Are you scared yet? Because I am.
Let me tell you what happened. We were all
for independence. We got it from the
British. Then we proceeded to draw up a
constitution that was frankly very unfair
and left the Tamils out almost completely.
This of course did not sit very well with
them and the next thing you know, the youth
were forming militant groups.
Then in the late '70s the constitution was
re-worked to include Tamils (not entirely
but progress was made) but by then there was
a group known as the LTTE. Prior to the
constitution being amended someone in
parliament had brought forth the point that
if the Tamils were not included in the
constitution they would lose their culture
and therefore it would make more sense for
them to have a separate nation.
The man had a point. Someone took him very
seriously. The LTTE claimed they wanted
their own nation-state within the island.
Did I leave anything important out? Let me
know if I did.
The LTTE decided to ambush 13 soldiers near
Jaffna. Their bodies were brought to the
capital to be buried quietly but word got
out about the ambush and some of the
Sinhalese formed mobs and went on a mad
rampage killing Tamil people. Tamils fled
the country. This was Black July 1983.
Now I understand how this would not make
Tamil people feel particularly safe. I can
understand why the Sinhalese were enraged. I
can also understand how this can make the
Tamils want to hate Sinhalese people and any
other group. And I can understand how and
why they want to be patriotic and protect
themselves and their culture and so on. And
I can |understand how this would apply to
any other ethnicity.
Solving the problem
But supporting anymore violence just because
you hate an ethnicity or feel a certain way
is not going to solve any problems whether
you are Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim or any
other ethnic group. If you feel this way go
ahead, support whichever side you want,
encourage them to fight, let more people be
killed - does that sound like it is solving
anything to you? It just perpetuates this
Not all Sinhalese support the Sri Lankan
government. Not all Tamils support the LTTE.
People from different ethnicities can get
along. And it is shameful that thousands
have died during this civil war on both
sides. It is shameful and stupid.
By being scared of the other side enough to
want to have a nation-state exclusive to
people just like you and people like you
alone, you are just giving in to a history
of paranoia about ethnicities and so on.
About people who are somehow different from
us. Because they speak different languages,
do different things - are you really that
scared of that sort of thing? Why? |
And so now we continue in this state of
affairs - where one side must be ready to
retaliate in case the other attacks. Why do
we do this? Haven't enough people died
already for no real reason other than an
idea some people hold to be dear to them? So
many people have managed to live together,
get along together, civil war or no civil
war. Why must we perpetuate this idiocy of
'they did this, so we must do that?' Or the
'we must do this so that they cannot do
In the end, I want to live in a country
where I can raise my kids and have them play
with the neighbours' kids regardless of any
ethnic differences and so on. Because
honestly ethnicity, race or religion have
never been a big deal to me or most people
my age that I have met.
We manage to mix well with each other - we
don't even think about it and no one seems
afraid or judges anyone by such things. Are
we paying a price because people older than
us believe in perpetuating this conflict? Or
because they are too jaded to believe that
they can somehow help to change things?
I am quite happy to coexist with people of
different ethnicities. I am anti-war. I am
against choosing a side. I am against people
dying when the next generation in my limited
experience does not seem to have any issue
with people of different races, religions or
ethnicities. I just want it to stop even
though I have no idea or solution to offer
in order for that to happen.
But there are people who cannot forget. And
there are people who cannot forgive
themselves or others. And there are people
who cannot see that there is no collective
reason to fight any more.
I remember Black July with regret that it
had to occur at all. I have no answers for
you. You have to find them out for yourself.
- Marisa Wikramanayake
Full wardrobe but "nothing to wear"
Something that any female never has anything
enough of are items of clothing. Although
our wardrobes are full to bursting point, we
still have "Nothing to Wear!" This strange
phenomenon has been going on for centuries.
I forcibly cleared and 'weeded' the girls'
wardrobes recently. The method I employed
was simple. Dump everything on their beds
and they are forced to go through them.
After asking them dozens of times and
getting the answer, "Yeah, yeah, mum,
later!" I took this course of action. I had
to compromise by saying I would help to put
them away, because you see, they are on
holiday and can't be bothered with such
Some of the comments were, "Oh, I had
forgotten I had this!" or, "I've never seen
this before!" or "Gosh, how ghastly! Get rid
of this." After all, they had been away for
six months! Several items were with their
price tags still attached to them. I
instantly made up my mind never to buy them
any clothes after this, but rather leave the
choice to them.
Buy a new outfit
Mounds of perfectly good clothing were cast
aside. Now, only a few days later, Dancing
Doll is going to buy a new outfit for this
dance she's doing with her best friend.
Apparently, they have to be identically
clad! One outer tee shirt is going to be
slashed and cut in places, to show the
fancier, glittery one underneath. Imagine
hacking away at a perfectly new garment, I
can almost hear it shrieking in protest
along with me!
To quote Kahlil Gibran, "And though you seek
in garments the freedom of privacy you may
find in them a harness and a chain.
"Would that you could meet the sun and the
wind with more of your skin and less of your
He would be happy indeed to see some of the
young folk who frequent the nightclubs here.
Some of them look like they have forgotten
to wear half of their clothes. You know, tee
shirts without pants or skirts, some in what
suspiciously looks like only their underwear
(the shorts are sooo short, the tops are
like bras, the skirts are slit so high you
wonder if the stitches have accidentally
torn!). Maybe they as well as their parents
are all followers of Gibran's philosophies!
Earliest known clothing
Historians tell us that the earliest known
clothing was made of fur, animal hide,
leaves or grass, either wrapped, tied or
draped around the body. I'm sure females in
that era too would have wanted to look their
best and harassed the males to bring them
the more exotic and original looking
Just imagine the woman telling the man, "Go
and kill me an animal with black and brown
fur and bring me some purple coloured
leaves." Or else, she could simply go get it
herself I suppose! And the very best thing
is, there was no cost involved here. Free
Imagine throwing out and replacing your
outfits every week - what bliss! Imagine
waking up in the morning and thinking, "Ah,
today's New Outfits Day."
Even today, some garments are merely draped
around the body, using lengths of fabric.
Examples of these are the dhoti, saree,
kilt, sarong and lungi. The advantage here
is, you can be almost any size and still fit
into these garments. So even if your weight
fluctuates, you can still fit into it.
Obviously if you don't get too huge!
The only problem is it has to be firmly
fastened onto your person, or else the end
result will be disastrous! So this same
ancient theory of draping or tying a length
of something on is followed even today. It
certainly simplifies matters! On the other
hand, you don't have to waste time draping
and fastening clothes that are sewn.
I detest sewing, a most dreary and loathsome
task. There is ample evidence to support
this, since my mending basket has now become
a large plastic bin. Clothes have been lying
there for about a year. I pass by it every
day and think, "Must do this lot sometime."
On the days I do start, all my friends know
that I'm most delighted to be interrupted at
any time for any triviality. So they keep
asking me, "So, have you finished the
mending yet?" And then they laugh their
heads off at my excuses. So, this is why I
thank the Good Lord above for affordable
clothing and also for the existence of
Honky Tonk Woman
Bill Gates vs General Motors
At a recent computer expo, Bill Gates
reportedly compared the computer industry
with the auto industry and stated, "If GM
had kept up with technology like the
computer industry has, we would all be
driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to
In response to Bill's comments, General
Motors issued a press release stating: If GM
had developed technology like Microsoft, we
would all be driving cars with the following
1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would
crash twice a day.
2. Every time they repainted the lines in
the road, you would have to buy a new car.
3. Occasionally your car would die on the
freeway for no reason. You would have to
pull to the side of the road, close all of
the windows, shut off the car, restart it,
and reopen the windows before you could
continue. For some reason you would simply
4. Occasionally, executing a manoeuvre such
as a left turn would cause your car to shut
down and refuse to restart, in which case
you would have to reinstall the engine.
5. Macintosh would make a car that was
powered by the sun, was reliable, five times
as fast and twice as easy to drive - but
would run on only five percent of the roads.
6. The oil, water temperature, and
alternator warning lights would all be
replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed
An Illegal Operation" warning light.
7. The airbag system would ask "Are you
sure?" before deploying.
8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever,
your car would lock you out and refuse to
let you in until you simultaneously lifted
the door handle, turned the key and grabbed
hold of the radio antenna.
9. Every time a new car was introduced car
buyers would have to learn how to drive all
over again because none of the controls
would operate in the same manner as the old
10. You'd have to press the "Start" button
to turn the engine off.
A husband and wife were shopping when the
wife said, 'Darling, its my mother's
birthday tomorrow. What shall we buy for
'She would like something electric.'
The husband replied, 'How about a chair?'
A girl has brought her fiance home for
dinner. After dinner, the fiance and the
girl's father go into the study for a man to
'So, what are you doing right now?' asks the
'I am a theology scholar,' replies the
'Do you have any plans of employment?'
'I will study and God will provide.'
'What about the children?' asks the man.
'God will provide.'
'And your house and car?'
'Again, God will provide,' says the fiance.
After the talk, the girl's mother asks the
father, 'So what did you two talk about?'
The man replies, 'He has no plans of
employment, but on the other hand, he thinks
Wake up pill
John had this problem of getting up late in
the morning and was always late for work.
His boss was mad at him and threatened to
fire him if he didn't do something about it.
So John went to his doctor who gave him a
pill and told him to take it before he went
John slept well and in fact beat the alarm
in the morning. He had a leisurely breakfast
and drove cheerfully to work. 'Boss,' he
said, 'The pill actually worked!'
'That's all fine' said the boss, 'But where
were you yesterday?'