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World Affairs








No escape from heartbreak in prison


More Review Articles...

SAARC will send city and
suburbs to sleep

 Sri Lanka's guardian angel
 of the environment

 The golden girls




By Ranee Mohamed

We all have frightening nights. But not so many as Sriyanthi Anne Chandrika who languishes in the Magazine Prison in Borella  on charges of drug dealing. "I have been framed because I have threatened another with a FR case," she alleges.

But that is not her immediate problem. In fact her being in prison had not been a problem at all for she was getting used to the life in there - serene amidst the meditation - consoled among her other distressed inmates. She longed to see her three children and there were moments when she could not stop herself from crying.

Sriyanthi Anne Chandrika's real heartbreak began on February 29. In fact it was more of  bone break than heart break. "My friend who is a Catholic was fasting that day and she was feeling the pangs of hunger. She is weak as we all are, and she could not keep her head straight. I was concerned about her and was heating a packet of milk when two jailors saw me. They were angry when they saw the milk being heated and I told them that I was heating the milk for my friend," Sriyanthi had reportedly said.

Lashed with belts

But the women jailors had been angry, and though Sriyanthi fell on the ground and worshiped them, one of the female jailors had allegedly pulled her belt out of her skirt and begun to whip Sriyanthi.

Another two inmates who were with Sriyanthi had also got the whiplashes from the leather belt but they had been too frightened to complain about it. The incident had occurred around 6.45 p.m.

A battered Sriyanthi, a mother of three, whose husband was also serving a prison sentence was carried to the Prison Hospital where Dr. Christi had reportedly examined her. She had thereafter been referred to another senior physician who had, in the presence of other prison officials examined her bruises and wounds and even measured the swollen blue areas. Sriyanthi meanwhile had been moaning in pain.

Those responsible transferred

The female jailors responsible for this assault had thereafter been transferred.

But Sriyanthi's case did not have a happy ending. In fact it had got bad and is in the process of getting worse. For the transfer order dated July 22,  signed by Commissioner-General of Prisons, Major General Vajira Wijegoonewardene stated that the offending female jailors will be returning to the same premises and taking charge of the over 600 inmates, including Sriyanthi.

"When I complained against these jailors and was going to court, I was not given a glass of water to drink. I was not allowed to visit the toilet. I have encountered much hostility due my complaint against this female jailor who beat me unmercifully," cries Sriyanthi. But there is little or nothing that a prisoner can do.

There is more bad news for Sriyanthi, for her tormentor is coming to be in charge of her, but not alone. She is scheduled to come along with more 'friends' who are also equally or more powerful than their fearful friend - to be in charge of Sriyanthi.

The three other female inmates who had reportedly also been belted did not want any more 'trouble,' and hence had not complained. But the inmates had rallied around Sriyanthi in support so much so that when prison authorities had asked them whether anyone saw Sriyanthi being assaulted with a leather belt by the female jailor, they had all put their hands up in unison.

Meanwhile a prison official speaking to The Sunday Leader said that factionalism has set into the prison premises  "so much so that the Commissioner-General is being fed with all kinds of tales and people are being transferred based on these tales. Hence what we see is people who have been transferred and interdicted on various grounds coming back here," said the official.

This has caused alarm especially among the female inmates who remain helplessly in prison. "What we are asking for is to be treated like human beings, but as human beings we ought not to experience this kind of fear," say some of the inmates who live in fear of reprisals.

Transferred jailors to return

"There is a group which is working against the female jailors and the inmates," alleged some of the officials

Meanwhile, the Welikada Prison is also abuzz with a recent transfer order of 12 hardworking female workers. These workers, they say are to be sent away elsewhere and a 'new batch' is scheduled to walk in and in that batch is also the female jailor,  news of whose arrival causes a shudder in the inmates as much as Sriyanthi.

Officials say that also in this batch is another jailor who is accused of tipping off brothel owners when a female prisoner who has served her sentence for prostitution is being sent out. "There have been several cases of brothel owners taking such women away by force on the day they walk out the prison," allege some officials.

According to some prison sources, on July 3 when prisoners Khairunissa, Savithri, Sepalika and Chithra Ranjini were going on seven days leave in two three wheelers along with some of their family members they weresuddenly stopped on a by-road near the Prison Hospital and checked personally by the Commissioner-General.

"Their clothes and undergarments were strewn all over the road and the prisoners were crying. They were embarrassed and ashamed because they had led their family members to believe that they were now rehabilitated and were being sent home because of their good conduct," said prison sources.

Special search

The same sources also went on to say that the Commissioner-General had also looked hard at their bosoms and asked what was inside, to which the flustered and frightened women had said "nothing." The sources alleged the Commissioner-General had been asking the prisoners for the 'diamond necklace and the cash.'

"This happened at about 12.30 p.m and everyone was looking at the crying women. They were very shy women and one of them is disabled," said the prison sources.

The prison source on Thursday evening said that the Commissioner-General had given 'special permission' to a brothel owner to come and visit some foreign ladies in prison. "A special chair was put outside the prison for this man to come and speak to these Russian ladies. This has never happened before and this is a special visit which has been personally directed by the Commissioner-General by telephone," alleged the prison source.

Begun to use perfume

The latest development in the women's section of the Magazine Prison is that male jailors are now allowed to bring in visitors to the female section. "This has never happened in the history of the prison. These male jailors make sure that they are well groomed before each visit, say the female prison authorities and went on to say thatsometimes these jailors are after a 'small' drink and smell of alcohol despite the fact that the male jailors have now begun to use perfume.

Often it is the mother and the sisters of the female prisoner who come to visit them and these male jailors act 'big' with them and show their 'colours' - giving the visiting women, especially the good looking ones, the telephone numbers and asking them to 'give a call.'

Female prison authorities also allege that the male jailors who accompany female visitors to see their female inmates have on many occasions suggested that they (the jailors) can do the inmates special favours if they (the jailors) too are granted special favours in return, which, the female section authorities say, is a suggestion pregnant with insinuation.

There are over 600 inmates in the Magazine Prison and these trapped women and their children are dependent on the authorities for their well being. If the monster of factionalism has entered the prison, these women who have already been sentenced to a confined life will be ripped apart, putting these trapped women into a situation that isworse than the prison sentence itself.

"There is too much corruption in the female section'

Commissioner General of Prisons, Major General Vajira Wijegoonewardene when contacted by The Sunday Leader said that he would not tolerate corruption in the prison and that is what exactly has set in at the female section of the Magazine Prison.

"I checked the three wheeler because I received information that money and a diamond necklace was being taken in the three wheeler and I thereafter received information that a female matron was carrying a bag out of the three wheeler.

"I have been in the army for 30 years and I will not give in to corruption. I have heard about the corruption, and have tolerated  it for the past two years," said Major General Vajira Wijegoonewardene.

"Sometimes the locks of the female wards are not opened till 6 a.m  and on some days the female prisoners themselves have to open their own locks. It is the duty of the chief jailor to come in the morning and open these locks," observed the Commissioner General.

He went on to say that the transfers were to another branch in the same prison and not to another prison. The Commissioner General also said that the female section of the Magazine Prison is a 'gold mine' and that people in there do not want to leave it.

"Ask anyone about me and they will tell you," said the Major General and added that they took 462 prisoners to Anuradhapura recently. "They were very happy and for some of them it was the first visit to Anuradhapura," said the Major General who went on to say "There is no dirty work with me, I have come to clean this place."


SAARC will send city and suburbs to sleep

Colombo's busy streets will come to a standstill during the SAARC Summit

By Shezna Shums

Businessmen, office workers and the public expect very little activity in terms of trade and business in the heart of the city - the Colombo Fort and surrounding areas, with transport too affected from now up to August 3 in view of the SAARC Summit.

Out of bounds

The High Security Zones as well as some areas in the Fort - the commercial capital, have been declared out of bounds to the public.

With the resultant inconvenience the public at large do not view the upcoming summit favourably.

In the midst of the city getting a whitewash, residents in some areas being evicted from their homes with hardly any notice, and roads being paved, all in the name of SAARC, the one burning issue is the colossal amount of money being spent to host this summit.

Schools closed

Citing security concerns all schools in Colombo have been instructed to close from July 26 till August 4.

Pavement hawkers and those engaging in small businesses like selling knickknacks out of carts are expected to wind up operations during this period. And it would be these vendors and the like who are going to be badly affected as they depend on their daily earnings to meet their day to day essential needs. Their meagre earnings do not allow for any savings for a rainy day or bleak periods. Thus the time of the SAARC Summit is going to deprive them of the little they have on a daily basis.

Also going to be affected are the daily wage earners - the labourers and the over 10,000 nattamis -  men who are hired to carry heavy gunny bags that are bursting at the seams with perishables and other goods, as a means of conveying them from one point to another. This segment of the workforce is also going to be badly affected with no work and thereby no pay, during the summit.

Business affected

The President, Old Moor Street Traders' Association, K. Palaniandy told The Sunday Leader that when the Fort area is closed all businesses will be affected.

"Nattamis earn for the day and they are unable to save any money as what they earn goes to meet their daily expenses. With businesses not operating they won't get their daily income," he said. It will also be like a time of curfew, Palaniandy added.

Most traders in Pettah have not been informed that they will have to shut down during the SAARC Summit. Some of them are of the view that they can carry on with their businesses albeit on a smaller scale. 

Palaniandy went on to say that not only the nattamis, but also the mudalalis, street hawkers and other businesses will also be affected during the period of the summit.

"Some businesses deal with foreigners as well and we think such transactions too cannot take place at this point in time," Palaniandy said.

Distribution and sales hampered

Distribution and sales of  perishables like onions and potatoes that are unloaded from ships will not be possible as transport is not likely to be available he added. Similarly goods cannot be transported into Colombo from the outstations as all establishments will be closed during this period.

"We were told that the fishermen too are going to feel the crunch as they will not be able to sell their daily catch in the main fish market," Palaniandy said.

Furthermore the Private Bus Owners' Association (PBOA) and the National Transport Commission (NTC) have not been informed of a possible change in routes in the event the government is to impose restrictions on public transport during the period of the SAARC Summit.

PBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne told The Sunday Leader that they have not received any instructions or information from either the Transport Ministry or the police on any changes in bus routes during the SAARC Summit.

Shuttle service

Wijeratne added that they have about 10,000 to 12,000 buses travelling to Colombo and all these would be affected if the government imposed any restrictions.

With some of the roads being closed to the public a shuttle service is being organised to accommodate office workers.

The Transport Ministry will operate a shuttle service from Bambalapitiya to Fort during the period of the SAARC Summit as the southern rail service will be terminated at Bambalapitiya.

Alternate arrangements

Arrangements for an alternative shuttle bus service for the public working in the four High Security Zones (HSZ) - Katunayake, Fort, BMICH (Colombo 7) and Kollupitiya have also been arranged.

Workers in the HSZs will be permitted to enter the area with their company identity card and special pass.

The public will be subject to a thorough security check before entering the areas that come under the High Security Zones and Colombo as a whole.


Sri Lanka's guardian angel of the environment

Iranganie Serasinghe

By Nirmala Kannangara

Though advanced in age she is still vibrant, young at heart and most importantly, wants to preserve the environment. Among her many dreams are to protect nature against degradation and destruction, and to promote tree planting to reverse the destruction that has taken place.

In order to stop forests being devastated Irangani Serasinghe, the much loved and respected glittering star of the silver screen formed Ruk Rekaganno (the Tree Society of Sri Lanka) - a volunteer based non-governmental organisation to protect the environment and wild life, and to gift an ecological-friendly country to the future generation.   

Speaking as to why she initiated the society, Serasinghe told The Sunday Leader that it was mainly due to deforestation in the country. "Having seen how our rain forests were being destroyed  and also noticing how our own wild life was being killed I thought of forming a  wild life society."

"Although I, together with the other members in the society tried to convince the general public of the importance of preserving nature and wild life the response received was so poor that I finally  thought of forming a society to protect the greenery which would no doubt directly help to protect the wild life in the country," claimed Serasinghe.

The beginning

Reminiscing of her idea to initiate the Ruk Rekaganno (RR) society, Serasinghe said that it all happened in 1975 when she was attached to the Times of Ceylon as a journalist. "At that time I was attached to the Times of Ceylon and when I first broke the news to two of my colleagues - Nihal Fernando and Pat Decker, two famous  wild life photographers - that I was planning to form a society to protect the trees in the country, Pat asked what the name of the society was. When I said that it would be Ruk Rekaganno Pat was amused and requested me to suggest a more appropriate name as he could not understand Sinhalese," said Serasinghe going down memory lane.

 Despite the challenges faced by the members they decided to carry on with their plan, and today, Ruk Rekaganno is an approved charity under the Inland Revenue Act and is also registered as a society with the Registrar of Companies and the Central Environment Authority.

According to Serasinghe grants, donations, membership fees and other revenue generating activities such as sale of publications and greeting cards were put out to find the much needed money to fund the society.

"Our objective is to create awareness among the public  to appreciate the value of the country's forests and the biodiversity they hold. People should remember that when they talk about nature they are not only speaking of trees but also of  sunlight, water, purified air, soil, vegetation, animals etc.

Global warming

"Nothing evolved without the help of each other. If the trees are destroyed, the results could be less rainfall,  less vegetation, diminishing of soil fertility,  reduction in  air quality, and consequently the disappearance of animal life itself. Global warming would be the final result," said Serasinghe.

According to Serasinghe the action plan of RR is to conduct rural and urban tree planting and tree maintenance programmes while raising awareness on environmental issues through publications, seminars and field trips and to build up a membership of enthusiastic and dedicated individuals committed to the conservation of flora and fauna.

"Look at the whole of nature. Although the European countries have conquered land, they have failed to save the environment. What steps have these countries taken to reverse global warming? Unless there is a complete stop to the devastation caused to the rain forests and  stop the emitting of CO2 and promote the emission of O2 nothing could be done to protect  nature. Lovelace predicted this in the late 18th century; but the people then did not want to take this so seriously and called him Mr. Doomsday.

Melting of icebergs

"Now Lovelace's predictions have come true and as a result the lives on Earth be it human, animal or plant will perish in the years to come as a result of global warming, and only those who live in north and south poles will exist. Even life in the north and south poles too is unpredictable due to the melting of icebergs as a result of global warming," claimed Serasinghe.

 RR took over the management of the 34 acre Popham Arboretum in Dambulla in 2005 from the Institute of Fundamental Studies (IFS), which was a gift by Sam Popham which has become a paradise for nature lovers today.

"The Arboretum was established in 1963 and is steeped in both cultural and natural history. To establish the Arboretum, Popham has cleared away the scrub jungle allowing seedlings and seeds found on the grounds to spring up on their own. Through this unique method the semi evergreen monsoon dry forest in Dambulla has been allowed to re-establish itself. In 1989 a further 27 acres were added to the property and it was gifted to the Institute of Fundamental Studies in Kandy to hold in trust for the nation. IFS  appointed RR to manage the property in May 2005," said Serasinghe.

Open to visitors

According to her the Popham Arboretum is now a centre where people of all walks of life could visit and gather information about the trees and also have a clear view of the various species.

"This is a unique concept and an ideal destination for school children to get a first hand experience about the indigenous trees, fauna and flora and also about the different species that are found in the region. Children could acquire a wealth of knowledge and even for the adults this would no doubt be an inspirational venue to think twice before destroying the environment. This is open to visitors on all seven days. A nominal amount is charged as entrance fee and a tracker is provided to guide visitors," added Serasinghe.

This charming and  dedicated lady who had done so much to preserve nature requests the general public - young and old alike - to preserve  nature and  plant a tree or two even in their balconies to put a halt to global warming and the emitting of CO2.

"Unless we protect  nature and preserve the greenery, the future would be disastrous. It would  impact on the environment adversely and it would be our future generation that would have to suffer.

"So the only answer to the problem of global warming is to put a stop to the devastation of forests.   A society that merely raises concern over the degradation and destruction of natural forests cannot  stop the devastation. Instead all responsible citizens should rally round to help this cause with the next generation in mind," appealed Serasinghe.


The golden girls

Some members of Soul Sounds
- the girls with the golden voices

By Ranee Mohamed

Music Director Soundarie David, her  25 girls, Christopher Prins (drums) and Neranjan de Silva on the keyboard may have kept away from ice-cream in preparation for the world choir games, but they certainly took the cake with their three golds medals in Austria.

 The  sounds of joy from the global audience will always be the sweetest sound for Soul Sounds - the girls who brought Sri Lanka honour.

Having won two golds in the open categories of gospel/spiritual and popular choral music, competing with more than 25 choirs in each category, Soul Sounds went on to score a perfect three by winning their third gold medal in the Open Folklore Category at the World Choir Games in Graz, Austria last week.

 In this category Soul Sounds had to compete with over 40 choirs from all over the world. A choir's ability and quality are heightened by the magnitude of the competition it faces. In fact, the most competitive and toughest categories to compete in are the open categories, and this is indeed a singularachievement for Soul Sounds and by extension Sri Lanka, to win gold medals in all the three events in which they competed.


With this unprecedented achievement Soul Sounds continues the spectacular run of distinguished performances world-wide, taking the international choir scene by storm. They previously won two silvers at the 2007 Choir Olympics in Xiamen, China

Describing the World Choir Games, Music Director Soundarie David said, "It is modelled after the Olympic sporting event and has different genres of singing - for sacred music, gospel music, jazz and different categories."

Though 120 countries took part, all of them did not necessarily take part in the same categories. "Out of the 28 categories open for entry, Soul Sounds took part in three and for us those three were the most toughest because they are open categories and for open categories anything goes! So our 25- piece choir was competing with mixed choirs, choirs with more than 50 members, some with over 100," elaborated Music Director Soundarie David.

She went on to say that getting a gold in the open category where there are more than 40 different entries was not easy.

Music map

But these girls, many of them from Holy Family Convent, Colombo 4, put Sri Lanka on the music map of the world.

"We were overjoyed with the results. In fact when we got the third gold, we were over the moon. The choir of the United States of America was great, the choir from Africa had solo and rhythm singing. Each country had its own ability. And then came Sri Lanka - a country no one knows of in the field of singing and we had to put our talent out for everyone to see and hear," said the Soul Sounds.

"And given the competition we had to face we had to do our best and more," said David who says that it is her personal view that music can never be a money making exercise. Thus Soundarie David, a lawyer, trains on weekends. David who works as a lawyer during the day, makes money during the day and makes music in the evening. But it is in Austria that Soundarie David and her Soul Sounds made history.

"We have been invited to sing in different countries and we want to be true musical ambassadors," said David whose Soul Sounds have also been captured on an international CD they contributed to in 2005.

The choir was invited to provide a choral contribution to a memorable CD done in England under the flag of the UK Disasters Emergency Committee when the tsunami struck in December 2004. Mike Read, the famous British presenter of popular music donated a song he had written entitled Grief Never Grows Old to the Fund and world renowned artists including Sir Cliff Richard, Russel Watson, Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees, Boy George and Steve Winwood, contributed to the popular music version of the song on the CD.

For tsunami charity

Then Soul Sounds were invited to do a track on the CD and their version alone, of the three versions of the song, was chosen by the world famous Classic FM TV channel in the UK for an extended daily broadcast throughout the whole of 2005. The CD made over 7 million for the tsunami charity and got to Number 4 on the British pop charts. Soul Sounds' beautiful rendition of the song Grief Never Grows Old drew the author's personal praise.

 But it is happiness that we are talking about today, and this happiness is not one that is limited to oneself, to one's partner in life or to one's family - it is a happiness to be shared by the whole world.

Over the moon

"Everybody is over the moon. We went in the hope of achieving a gold, but this achievement of three golds is unbelievable and it certainly did not fall into our lap," said Marisa de Silva, a journalist at The Sunday Times and a key figure in Soul Sounds.

Soul Sounds consists not just of singers, these golden girls are all singers and something more - among them are lawyers, teachers, accountants, bankers, and university students. Many of the singers of Soul Sounds began their singing as a member  of the Holy Family Convent Choir but today this one big family consists not only of past pupils of Holy Family Convent but  pupils of Ladies College and St. Bridget's Convent as well.

Many of us are happy with the success in our careers, but Music Director Soundarie David has two successes and three golds to be happy about. As a successful lawyer, Soundarie David who was awarded a Fellowship to Berkeley, California last year is well versed in entertainment law.

Law of the universe

It is the law of the universe that success comes to those who deserve it. And to Soul Sounds it came in the form of three golds in another land amidst global applause.

"Our scores were  very high and the judges after the gospel performance said they were in tears, and  that it moved them. After dinner we just started singing and the choirs of Austria and Serbia immediately came around to sing with us. It brought out the message that music is universal and no matter which country you are from, it brings us all together," said David, almost moved to tears at the depth that music can move to - bringing not only tidings of unity but golden applause as well.

Soundarie David is the only Sri Lankan representative in the Choir Olympic Council and it is her duty to ensure that other choirs come to these competitions to show the world that they are truly talented.

"When we went for the competition I had made up my mind that there will be no other competitions. But now I have realised that it is only at such competitions that we can listen to international choirs and improve our standards," said  David who plans a concert tour of France. "It is my ambition to showcase Sri Lankan talent to the world," said David.

Soul Sounds is thankful to the Sri Lanka Tourism Authority, Deutsche Bank, The Dr. Earl De Fonseka Trust Fund, who were their principal sponsors, and to  Suntel, Asia Capital, Dialog Telekom plc, Alpha Orient Lanka, Janashakthi Insurance and Holcim who were co-sponsors.


Equal rights across the board for everyone

A few months ago I was trying to find out if I was a feminist or not. Now I know that it depends on the definition you use. Never thought of myself growing up as belonging to a particular religious, ethnic or any such other cultural group.

I never thought of myself as having a certain view on ethics or philosophy - I didn't think of myself as a Marxist, a feminist, a conservative, a liberal, an existentialist. I didn't grow up with the idea that I had to belong to a particular group or have a particular identifying label for each part of me that said: "This is my political stance. This is my religious stance." I just didn't grow up with that idea.

Instead I grew up with the idea of knowing about all these things, knowing what they meant or entailed but just being ... well, me. I vote for policies not politicians or parties, I support players not teams, I am happy to be constantly evolving my philosophical and ethical views. And this was primarily my parents' doing.

Be who you are

I don't know what drove this or whether it just happened unintentionally but my parents taught me and my sister that it was okay to be who we were and to do what we want provided that it didn't harm anyone else. They taught us that doing that was okay even if we were ostracised for somehow being different.

 And I was excluded from various social groups at school and at college and even within my own circle of family friends and relatives. For just being me. My parents taught me that being able to be who I am, to express myself freely, to have that freedom to do so was something worth fighting for even when people I did care about did not like it. Some of them still don't.

They also attempted to teach me how to hide my differences under the radar should I need to in order to make life a little bit easier for me. That failed miserably - I have never been able to keep my mouth shut and inevitably almost everything that comes out of it is something different to what people seem to expect me to say. Even now they are concerned about what life throws back at me simply because of who I am.

Thanking parents

Twenty five years on, I'd like to thank my parents not for my birth but for teaching me how to be strong. My mother for teaching me that I can be independent, strong, intelligent and everything else I would ever want in the world even if I was a woman. That my gender does not have to dictate my future or my choices.

My father for encouraging against all better judgement everything that I do that is completely out of the box. Because they do not believe that my gender renders me incapable of achieving anything, I can believe it too.

And it's because of that fact that I have a soapbox to stand on and something to yell rather loudly about till somebody somewhere sits up and takes notice. It's because of that that I can say that I support equal rights across the board for everyone regardless of economic status, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, gender, political and lifestyle choice.

It's why I say that there is no point waiting for a superhero to swoop down from the sky to save the situation. Instead if you believe you have a voice and you use it, you will then have a voice. If you don't  believe in your own individual power to change a situation for the better, no one else will believe in it for you, nothing will ever get done and you will get neck strain from staring at the sky. 

I believe in there being a choice for everyone. I believe in equal rights for everyone. I believe that because I have the ability to make some noise and protest about what I think is wrong, that I should do it. I believe I should have the freedom to do it. I believe others can do that too.

Twenty five years on, there is no Superman, no Batman, no Spiderman. There is no one to be the next Mandela, the next Gandhi, the next Martin Luther King. Twenty five years, there is just me and more importantly there is just you. All of you. Each of you. Every single one of you.

And that's okay, because that's all we need.

- Marisa Wikramanayake


Vive le cocktail!

There are lots of theories as to how the cocktail originated. One interesting version is that a creative Irish-American innkeeper decorated her concoctions with colourful feathers from fighting cocks. So a French customer liked this delicious and unusual looking drink so much that he raised his glass in a toast, exclaiming, "Vive le cocktail!" The cocktail reached its peak in popularity in the 1920s when the Prohibition was on in America. Of course they found a way of smuggling and disguising illicit alcohol! Thus cocktails became a way of life.

A perfect cocktail looks good, smells wonderful and tastes divine. A cleverly placed garnish can enhance the appearance of the cocktail and make it look inviting. This is what Shakespeare had to say about alcohol in his play Othello; "Oh God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains!" There is less danger of this happening if they stick to cocktails, though some of them can be quite potent.

This is so true

I agree with Shakespeare wholeheartedly, generally speaking this is so true. To quote the writer Robert Benchley; "Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with that it's compounding a felony." Clever, and I bet you he wasn't drunk when he wrote that!

As humorist George Ade wrote; "It's no time for mirth and laughter, the cold grey dawn of the morning after." The cocktails to cure a hangover aren't exciting.

These recipes end quite hilariously. Pick-Me-Up Gently says, "Sip very quietly. Avoid human contact." The Polynesian Pick-Me-Up ends with, "Drink in a single, shuddering gulp!" The Prairie Oyster which seems the most disgusting since it has an unbroken, raw egg yolk says, "Traditionally, this concoction should be downed in a single, brave gulp. You're welcome to try it." Another point of view, proffered by the writer Robert Benchley, was " The only cure for a real hangover is death." Right!

Many a lady

The writer Finley Peter Dunne says, "Drink has caused many a lady to be loved that otherwise might have died single." Another gem from Robert Benchley, "You say alcohol is slow poison? So, who's in a hurry?" W.C. Fields said, "I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast."

Another of my favourites from Fields is, "A woman drove me to drink and I didn't even have the courtesy to thank her." The singer Dean Martin said, "You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." The cocktail - The Sidecar was supposed to be named after an eccentric military gentleman who travelled to his favourite waterhole in Paris in the sidecar of his chauffeur-driven motorcycle! The man who sailed round the world, Sir Francis Chichester claims that Pink Gins helped to keep him in high spirits during his voyage.

El Burro or The Donkey, has quite a kick to it, and though quite delightful, should be imbibed in moderation, or else you'll make quite an ass of yourself! Apparently the Harvey Wallbanger got its name from this guy called Harvey, a surfer in California.

Since he was knocked out of the competition in a championship, he headed straight for a bar (typical!) and then proceeded to drink a very large quantity of vodka and Galliano. Then the drunken fool started banging his head against a wall. This is now a hot favourite the world over.

Hilarious statements

An old Greek saying goes, "I fear the man who drinks water, as he remembers this morning what the rest of us said last night." Well, I certainly don't drink water, but I do remember lots of hilarious statements from the night before. And if you want to listen to nonsense, try drinking Everything But, that contains whiskey, gin and apricot brandy along with other ingredients. Dangerous but will provide much entertainment! To quote Compton Mackenzie, "Love makes the world go round. Whiskey makes it go round twice as fast." Whoo hoo!

Apparently nobody knows who Margarita was, but she lives on still in this popular cocktail, one of my personal favourites. One cocktail I've always wanted to try is the Cactus Flower. In the recipe though, it says, "And here's a drink for the macho man." They obviously don't know that Tabasco sauce diluted with tequila would be similar to an everyday meal for a Sri Lankan woman too!

Non-alcoholic cocktails are available too, which I think are absolutely boring, the name of this one says it all - Safe Sex on the Beach. Vive le cocktail!

- Honky Tonk Woman



Real newspaper advertisements

         Toaster: A gift that every member of the family appreciates. Automatically burns toast

         Vacation Special: have your home exterminated.

         Four-poster bed, 101 years old. Perfect for antique lover.

         Wanted: 50 girls for stripping machine operators in factory.

         Wanted: Unmarried girls to pick fresh fruit and produce at night.

         Now is your chance to have your ears pierced. Get an extra pair to take home.

         For Sale. Three canaries of undermined sex.

         Sytle - our name says it all

            (See small ad opposite)

         Lost: small apricot poodle. Reward. Neutered. Like one of the family.

         For Sale - Eight puppies from a German Shepherd and an Alaskan Hussy.

         We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.

         Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it.

Geography lesson for bank robber

First thing one Monday morning, a robber broke into the bank, and pointed his gun at the cashier and said;

"Give me all your money, or you'll be GEOGRAPHY!"

The cashier laughed and said, "You mean to say 'HISTORY.'"

The robber answered, "Don't change the subject."

From The Atlanta Daily:

SINGLE BLACK FEMALE seeks male companionship, ethnicity unimportant. I'm a very good looking girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting, camping and fishing trips, cosy winter nights lying by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hand. Rub me the right way and watch me respond. I'll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me. Kiss me and I'm yours. Call (404) 875-6420 and ask for Daisy.

Over 15,000 men found themselves talking to the Atlanta Humane Society about an eight-week old black Labrador Retriever.

Men are so easy....

From The Guardian Newspaper

Concerning a sign seen in a police canteen in Christchurch, New Zealand:

'Will the person who took a slice of cake from the Commissioner's Office return it immediately. It is needed as evidence in a poisoning case.'

From The Derby Abbey Community News:

'We apologise for the error in the last edition, in which we stated that 'Mr. Fred Nicolme is a Defective in the Police Force.' This was a typographical error. We meant of course that Mr. Nicolme is a Detective in the Police Farce.'

Difficult landing

The airline had a policy that required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a - 'Thanks for flying XYZ airline.'

An airline pilot on this particular flight hammered his plane into the runway really hard. In light of his bad landing, he had difficulty looking the passengers in the eye, all the time he thought that a passenger would have a smart comment. However, it seemed that all the passengers were too shell shocked to say anything.

Finally, everyone had gotten off except for this little old lady walking with a cane. She said, 'Sonny, mind if I ask you a question?' Why no Ma'am,' said the pilot, 'What is it,' the little old lady said, 'Did we land or were we shot down?'

 A father's dilemma

A man is in a queue at the supermarket when he notices that the rather dishy blonde behind him has just raised her hand and is giving him a big 'hello.'

He is rather taken aback that such a looker would be waving to him, and although her face is vaguely familiar, he  can't place where he might know her from, so he says, 'Sorry, do you know me?'

She replies, 'I may be mistaken, but I thought you might be the father of one of my children.'

The man's  mind shoots back to the one and only time he has been unfaithful, 'Blimey!' he says, 'Did we meet at the stag do in Newport? He  continued, 'When I got out of the police station and got back to the hotel room you had gone.'

"No," she replies, "I'm your son's English Teacher."     


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