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World Affairs








What the... LIFE WITH EVE  Now What Do I Do?

A Fish Called Kami

Kamiís Barb, a new species of
fish endemic to Sri Lanka: a specimen from the Attidiya wetland, illustrated
by Kelum Manamendra-Arachchi

A new endemic fish has been named after the Late Dr.
Kamalika Abeyeratne. Speaking at the launching of the biography of the late Dr. Kamalika Abeyeratne last year, the biodiversity scientist Rohan Pethiyagoda observed, "In the course of my career I have spoken about fish, frogs, lizards, mice and various other forms of life. Today, however, it is my privilege to speak about a yet more remarkable life-form ó the life of an angel."

Pethiyagoda is one of the authors of a paper published last week in the prestigious international journal Zootaxa, describing a new species of freshwater fish endemic to Sri Lanka, with the scientific name Puntius kamalika, named in honour of Deshamanya Kamalika Abeyeratne.

While the scientific name is fixed by international scientific convention, the authors recommend in the paper that in English the fish should be known by the common name ĎKamiís Barb.í

"Anjana Silva and Kalana Maduwage, the two lead authors of the paper," Pethiyagoda told The Sunday Leader, "are both young doctors with a deep interest in zoology. They had both read Dr. Abeyeratneís biography, A life In The Round (published in 2007) and saw her as an inspiration to medical professionals in Sri Lanka. Her life was beautiful, yet tragic, and the naming of Puntius kamalika for her is a small tribute to show, albeit too late, that someone, somewhere, appreciates her life and her example."

An outstanding aquarist

According to Pethiyagoda, an additional reason for associating Deshamanya Kamalika with this species is that her husband, paediatric surgeon Dr. Michael Abeyeratne, has himself been an outstanding aquarist for many years, having been an expert keeper and breeder of freshwater fish and a close associate of Rodney Jonklaas, who pioneered the popularisation of Sri Lankan fishes worldwide.

Kamiís Barb is a small fish that grows no larger than about two and a half inches in length. The somewhat drab silvery-white fish is found in freshwater streams and marshes through much of the wet zone, including the Kelani, Kalu, Bentara and Gin river basins, especially in the lowlands. The species is "not uncommon" according to Pethiyagoda, whose attention was first drawn to the species in 1993 by the naturalist Kelum Manamendra-Arachchi, who found several specimens among the catch of a fisherman on the road beside the Bellanwila-Attidiya marsh just south of Colombo, one of which is reproduced here in the drawing Manamendra-Arachchi made at the time.

"Sadly," according to Pethiyagoda, "the fish appears no longer to be common in Attidiya, possibly because of pollution and the number of alien species that have become established there. Thankfully it is still quite common in several other places."

Misidentified species

Looking through old records the authors found that the fish was first recorded in Sri Lanka from Vakwella, near Galle, in 1912 by the German ichthyologist Georg Duncker who, however, misidentified the species. The specimen Duncker collected almost a century ago is, according to the authors, still in a perfect state of preservation in the Zoological Museum of Hamburg.

Now What Do I Do?

Q. How do you handle the friendís husband who greets you with a big, wet kiss on the lips or inappropriate behaviour. It doesnít seem to bother my friend, but it sure bothers me.

A: Honestly, I donít understand why anyone tolerates this. Thatís not being friendly; itís a cheap assault, thinly disguised. Tell him in private that the next time he tries it, youíre going to embarrass him, and tell your friend, too.

A: Breeze right past his pucker with determination and give him a hug. If all else fails, then every time you see him, pull the "Oh-you donít want to get too close; Iím sick." Thatís not a lie. You are sick of his wet ones.

A: Start wearing bright red lipstick.

Q. I was recently on a full airplane flight, and I put my seat back to get some sleep. The guy behind me was 6í5" and asked me to keep the seat up, but I was exhausted and didnít. Did I do the right thing?

A: Taller people canít expect other passengers to sacrifice comfort, but it would be nice to show consideration, so donít put your seat back as far as it can go. And isnít that a great rule for getting along in life in general?

Q. My sister collects handbags, some of which cost thousands of dollars. I think of the charities that could benefit from this money ó it drives me nuts. Do I open my mouth?

Unnecessary extravagances are in the mind of the beholder. Might she ask you how much you spend on your Netflix rotation of Beverly Hills 90210 episodes? Your self-righteous censure wonít encourage your sister to donate to charity. Put your money where your judgment is: For her next birthday, donate to Dress for Success in her honour.

A: There are some who have the financial capability to purchase handbags and give to causes. Unless you have intimate knowledge of your sisterís finances, donít judge her. Lead by example.

Q. A friend occasionally e-mails my husband. She recently mentioned a grudge she has against me ó from 10 years ago. He told me, I confronted her, and now sheís angry at him. Honestly, isnít it unrealistic to expect spouses to keep secrets from each other?

A: Itís not only unrealistic, itís wrong. Marriages are grounded in trust. Asking one partner to keep secrets from the other threatens that trust. Your husband did the right thing (but first he should have told your friend he was going to do it).

Courtesy O Magazine

A little fun and frolic

"Haa Haa Haa good one machang," I heard one of my friends laughing diabolically in the lounge as I carried forth yet another basket of deep fried hendella into the room. "What, what," I said a tad excitedly, "what has happened?" As if I didnít know. This lot usually had nothing better to do than laugh raucously over some lame joke of which the female of the species was the recipient of.

ĎHey Eve do you know theyíve released another Grimmís fairy tale? It was so good I memorised it,í Kay said. ĎOkay Iím listeningí, I said as we girls got ready to indulge in the vapid games of the males present.

"One day, long, long ago.......

there lived a woman who did not whine, nag or b***h.

But this was a long time ago.......

and it was just that one day.

The End."

Kay recited and then the males broke out into peels of laughter and bouts of knee slapping.

"Machang, Machan I know another one"ÖÖand this from Dee who most often doesnít even know his own name let alone Ďanother one,í on account of the fact he is more often found outside of a glass of Vodka Orange than inside of an office.

And believe you me or believe you me not as I munched a well done hendella and sipped a green tea Ė having totally ditched the stuff that cheers for the nonce, I told this repellent male as much. He merely laughed the laugh of the jaunty and joyful and continued on his merry way with his tale.

Machang you know why men prefer guns over women he said. And while we looked disapprovingly on he listed a number of reasons that went like this if memory serves me right.

"(1) You can trade an old 44 for a new 22.

(2) You can keep one gun at home and have another for when youíre on the road.

(3) If you admire a friendís gun and tell him so, he will probably let you try it out a few times.

(4) Your primary gun doesnít mind if you keep another gun for a back-up.

(5) Your gun will stay with you even if you run out of ammo.

(6) A gun doesnít take up a lot of closet space.

(7) Guns function normally every day of the month.

(8) A gun doesnít ask, "Do these new grips make me look fat?"

(9) A gun doesnít mind if you go to sleep after you use it.

"And the number one reason a gun is favoured over a woman...." and he giggled like a school girl as he said;


Looking at the perfectly sound marriages these friends of mine were enjoying despite the light banter and humour a little fun and frolic of this nature is healthy me thinks. It is often better off to have a laugh over these perennial stereotypical issues rather than fight over it all week.

And while all this was going on amidst glasses of vodka and cous cous wraps I recalled a rather clever email I had received from a friend titled "Before and after Marriage." Much like those before and after pictures in beauty product advertisements. Only this time Before looks much better than After. Read on.

Before marriage.....

He: Yes. At last. It was so hard to wait.

She: Do you want me to leave?

He: No! Donít even think about it.

She: Do you love me?

He: Of course! Over and over!

She: Have you ever cheated on me?

He: No! Why are you even asking?

She: Will you kiss me?

He: Every chance I get.

She: Will you hit me?

He: Are you crazy! Iím not that kind of person!

She: Can I trust you?

He: Yes.

She: Darling!

After marriage....

Simply read from bottom to top.

See you next week.

What the...

The new Sri Lankan alphabet

A is for Abductions that take place daily, usually blamed on aliens.

B is for Benz Bhikkus who live in the lap of luxury.

C is for Censorship of TV programmes showing scenes of alcohol and tobacco.

D is for Doctor Delipihiya, patron saint of mayhem.

E is for Elections which are neither free nor fair.

F is for Freedom of abduction, harassment and imprisonment under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

G is for Gullible majority who have been hoodwinked since 1948.

H is for Human rights abuses that allegedly occur 365 days of the year.

I is for Independence also known as the Ď60 Year Curse.í

J is for Jayasuriya, who will probably play until the 2043 World Cup or until he gets his EPF?

K is for Kassipu. (A bottle a day keeps the liver awake.)

L is for Lies, damned lies and statistics that the government media saturates us with each day.

M is for Mahinda Chinthanaya. (Who needs the Bible, Koran and Tripitaka when we have the ĎChinthanaya

N is for Nepotism or favoritism to relatives. (Also check R)

O is for the 17 Patriotic Opposition MPs who crossed over to the government to save the country.

P is for Pillayan, who became chief minister of the east using the Ďbulletí to get the Ďballot.í

Q is for Question mark? When will the war end? When pigs fly or when hell freezes over?

R is for Rajapakse poshanaya of Mahinda, Basil, Goatabaya and Chamal.

T is for Terrorism. Both the LTTE kind and the state sponsored kind.

U is for Underestimate. What the government always does of the LTTE.

V is for Velupillai Pirapaharan the terrorist who is alive and kicking.

W is for Wickremesinghe (Ranil). The greatest president that never governed Sri Lanka.

X is for Xenophobia or the island mentality. The dislike of all things foreign.

Y is for Yearning for yesterday. The national pastime of living in the past.

Z is for Zero casualties for the armed forces and 500,000 killed for the LTTE.

Body and Soul

I believe that a healthy soul should inhabit a healthy body. To the extent, therefore, that the soul grows into health and freedom from passion, to that extent the body also grows into that state. This does not mean that a healthy body should be necessarily strong in flesh. A brave soul often inhabits a lean body. After a certain stage, flesh diminishes in proportion to the growth of the soul.

A perfectly healthy body may be very fleshless. A muscular body is often heir to many an ill. Even if it is apparently free from disease, it is not immune from infections, contagions and the like. A perfectly healthy body, on the contrary, is proof against all these. Incorruptible blood has the inherent virtue of resisting all infections. Such an equipoise is, indeed, difficult of attainment. Otherwise I should have reached it, because my soul is witness to the fact that I would spare no pains to attain this perfect state. No outward obstacle can stand between me and that state.


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