No escape from heartbreak in prison
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
"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
"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.
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
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
"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
"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
With the resultant inconvenience the public
at large do not view the upcoming summit
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
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.
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,"
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
"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
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
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
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
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
"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,"
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
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.
"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,"
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
"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
"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,"
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
The sounds of joy from the global audience
will always be the sweetest sound for Soul
Sounds - the girls who brought Sri Lanka
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
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
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.
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
"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
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
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
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,"
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
Vacation Special: have your home
Four-poster bed, 101 years old. Perfect for
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
The cashier laughed and said, "You mean to
The robber answered, "Don't change the
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
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.'
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
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