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World Affairs








Squint-correction surgery that put Baby Vidumini to eternal sleep

Vidumini Emarsha: tears for a d augther


More Review Articles...


Police Dept. celebrates 142nd anniversary


The Big Bang


Success through contrasting spheres


Big Bang experiment gets started




By Ranee Mohamed in Panthiya

There is poverty as far as the eye could reach here in this vast greenery called Panthiya, off Dodangoda where there are houses scattered here and there.

The home of Anura Sampath (29) and Sumithra Kumari (29) which is surrounded by water and paddy fields is now in a sea of tears as they look around for their one and a half year old daughter skipping unsteadily towards them.

But with the pitter-patter of her little footsteps stalled and her eyes closed forever, Vidumini Emarsha was laid to rest on Wednesday, September 10 amidst the heartbreak and tears of her parents and mothers and fathers of this whole village.

As we climbed up the hillock leading to their little house, we wondered about the dangers that surrounded the home of this little child. But her careful parents had been protective and caring. So caring as to monitor her every move and every change in the child.

Not giving information

As the winding pathway, which as a safety measure was strewn with paddy husk, took us to the house, the plastic chairs and the white flags told us that this was the house we were looking for.

Getting here was not easy, with the hospital authorities, the police post and the staff at Ward 28 not giving any information with regard to the whereabouts of this young couple in distress.

But The Sunday Leader found the way, and when we reached the peak of the hillock, there sat a lone woman, she was crying — crying uncontrollably and crying alone. She did not notice that she had visitors.

She is no more

"If my baby was ill, then I will accept that she is dead; if she went in for heart surgery then we will try to live with the fact that she is no more," cried Sumithra as we reached her.

Without an introduction she went on calling out to her little daughter…. "Here ….she was here with me by my side, just last week. She was pleading with me for tea and biscuits, and today she is no more," cried this young mother.

Vidumini Imarsha, one and a half years of age had been suffering from problems with her vision due to a squint eye condition.

"From about December 2007 we took her to the eye clinic at the Colombo South General Hospital. She was prescribed special spectacles and however difficult it was, we tried to make her use the spectacles.

"The doctors there however advised us that our child must undergo corrective surgery, which we were told would take only a few minutes. Once the doctor in charge, under anaesthesia conducted an examination of our child’s eyes. They asked us not to give any food and they somehow managed to coax my baby away from me and she was brought back to me after a few minutes.

For surgery

"We were asked to come for the surgery on July 5 and when we took our child to the Colombo South General Hospital we were told that the doctor had gone overseas," recalled Sumithra.

The next date was September 5 and Sumithra and Anura had taken the child to hospital. "We had been asked not to give the baby any food after 2 a.m. and we did not. I was also told not to give the baby any milk after 4 a.m. and I did not. Even though my baby was crying asking for food, milk and biscuits, I did not give any. I am breastfeeding my little girl and I remember her pleas and cries asking for my milk," said this mother in tears.

"When the doctors asked us whether the child is well, we told them that our baby suffered a slight indigestion yesterday. Then they asked us whether the baby is okay now and we said yes. A doctor placed a stethoscope on our baby’s chest and then a nurse came and wrung the crying child out of my arms and took my baby away…" said Sumithra.

"I could hear my baby crying all the way. As she was being taken she reached out to me with her arms and cried Amma Amma," said Sumithra.

As the worried mother waited from 8.30 a.m. panic began to gradually replace the concern as the ‘few minute surgery’ took as long as an hour. Then it had taken two hours.

"At 11. a.m. I asked them where is my child and they told me that the surgery is not yet complete. Then again when I asked they did not say anything," remembered Sumithra.

Thunder and rain reigned that Friday morning and it was in this pouring rain that Anura Sampath and his mother-in-law Biso Menike were making their way on a bicycle to the Colombo South Teaching Hospital.

Drenched to the skin

They had been drenched to the skin, but their main aim was to somehow get to the hospital with the lunch packet that they had brought for the breast feeding mother.

"When I reached the hospital, I saw my wife crying near the operating theatre. She told me that our baby had been wheeled away and that she had tubes all over her face and body and the doctors had told her that our baby was not breathing. I could not believe what I heard and my fears came out in the form of agonised cries," said Anura Sampath.

Rushing to the ICU where they were told that their child was being wheeled into, Anura Sampath said that he saw his daughter lying motionless. "There were two tubes inserted into her nostrils, one near the side of her neck and another somewhere near her elbow and wrist. I also saw a heaving sign in her chest but when I told the doctors that she was breathing, they told me that it was just the machine. They said that my daughter’s heart had stopped and that ‘they were doing their best.’" When I walked into the ICU I saw a doctor massage the chest of our baby," recalled Anura Sampath.

Small black eruptions

"I could not help but notice that there were small black eruptions all over my baby’s hands and the soles of her feet. I could not see her palms because they were bandaged, but there were eruptions all over her hands and her stomach seemed so bloated," said Anura Sampath.

"They told me that they were doing their best, as my baby’s heart had stopped. I asked them how they could say they were doing their best, when my baby had died. I wanted to ask them how my baby’s heart stopped in the first place," cried Sumithra Kumari.

The doctors had then asked the heartbroken couple whether they could remove the tubes of the machine from the baby and the agonised young couple had begged them not to. "But they removed the tubes. That was the end of our baby. Later we learnt that her lungs had turned yellow," said Anura Sampath.

"When I asked the doctor in charge what happened and how our baby died he told me that this is a very rare incident that it did not happen even once in 100,000 cases. He also said that he received the news that their baby died after he had performed three other surgeries."

Crying aloud

"My husband was crying aloud and dashing his head on the ground. They asked him to go out of the premises," said Sumithra Kumari but these young parents did not want to leave their little baby with these strangers in this strange place and go out.

"We did our best for our child, and see what our so called ‘best’ has done for our child. They took blood and urine, but I wonder whether they actually tested the baby’s blood and urine because we did not receive these reports. If they told us that they are unable to get these test done for our baby, we would have got it done at a private clinic. Once we did consult a private doctor in Ward Place on their advice by paying Rs.600," said Anura Sampath.

" If they had told us that our child was unwell or that they could not get the tests done, or that they were not sure or were short staffed, then we would certainly have not exposed our precious child to the risk of death, but they did not tell us anything; instead they asked us whether our baby is okay and took her in for surgery," said the young couple.

"We are not doctors, we are not anaesthetists and we are not nurses. As far as we could see, our child was well and healthy when we handed her over to the nurses. In fact our child was asking for food and water. There was nothing wrong with her. They took away a baby who was crying and kicking and gave us back her lifeless body," cried Sumithra.

Pink of health

Anura Sampath’s mother, Chandra Karawita said that young Vidumini Emarsha was a naughty baby and was in the pink of health when she left for the hospital. "I can still recall her sprightly form," said Karawita in tears.

Sumithra Kumari’s mother, Bisso Menike crying uncontrollably said that she wanted to tell the young couple not to take the child for surgery because she believed the baby was too young to undergo surgery. She was such an active child, demanding tea and biscuits from me all through the day," said Bisso Menike.

Losing a child is a nightmare and for this poor couple, this nightmare has come true in the form of alleged medical negligence.

The villagers here in Panthiya now believe that it is far better to stay awake and suffer with their numerous ailments rather than go in search of remedies which they believe could send them to eternal sleep, for every morning they are awoken to the cries of young Sumithra Kumari and Anura Sampath as they go to see their baby, who instead of lying in bed beside them covered with their old bedsheet, now lies in a corner of their backyard, covered by sand and cement — a sad reminder of the muddy depths to which medical negligence in this country has plunged.

The other side

When The Sunday Leader called the Director of the Colombo South Teaching Hospital we were told that the ‘Director is away at the Ministry."

When we asked to speak to the deputy director to get their side of the story, the deputy director said that we will have to speak to the director as regards the case of Baby Vidumini.

When we asked to speak to a doctor associated with the happening, we were told that doctors are not authorised to speak to newspapers without the approval of the director of the hospital.

When we tried to contact the director again, we were told that he is at a meeting at the ministry.


Police Dept. celebrates 142nd anniversary

The Mounted Police

The Police Department entrusted with the arduous task of safeguarding the interests of the general public by maintaining law and order, is stepping into its 142nd year with pride and a sense of satisfaction.

In a broad sense the police service involves curbing and detecting crime, robberies and corruption, and facilitating the smooth movement of vehicles. Although it is well known that the British established the police service as an organised force in the island of Ceylon there is evidence to indicate that a service, similar to the police, was in existence from the time of our ancient kings.   

During ancient times, the historic testimonies of King Udaya II state that by the order of the king, local councils with administrative powers with special emphasis on maintenance of law and order, were established. The mudliyar was the chief minister with various officers serving under him as divisional government agents — Ratemahaththayas, Mohotties and Korales. These officers rendered a dedicated service comparatively in line with the present day police service.

Police stations introduced

In 1796 after the British captured the coastal areas of Sri Lanka, then Ceylon, the police service was introduced to the country and enforced gradually and systematically. As per the Gazette notification of July 9, 1806 under regulation No.6 tax collectors from different districts were appointed as Police Vidanes’ for the purpose of peace keeping. They were empowered to arrest unscrupulous personnel and inspect suspicious places and were vested with the authority to earn 10% of the value of the stolen items recovered by them.

Furthermore, on August 19, 1806 as per Regulation No.14, under the leadership of a chief police constable, 28 police constables were appointed and deployed in towns and its vicinity. At the inception, police constables were placed in the city of Colombo for security services. Subsequently, the service was extended to Negombo, Galle, Kandy and Trincomalee.  Police powers were further strengthened as per the 1934 Police Order by Act No.3 enacted on May 22, 1934 which replaced Regulation No.14 of 1806.

In 1833, the rank of the Chief Police Officer was changed to Police Superintendent and in 1863 to that of Chief Police Superintendent. In 1867 as per Police Order Act No.16 this rank was confirmed as Inspector General of Police (IGP). 

George William Robinson Campbell had the privilege of being appointed the first Inspector General of Police (IGP) on September 3, 1866, which date is celebrated as Police Day. At that time 47 police stations were functioning manned by 585 officers. At the request of the then Governor, Srimath Hercules Robinson, the services of Campbell from Bombay was secured to restructure the police service in Ceylon.  

He possessed nine years of wide experience, serving as the Chief of the Bombay Rathngherry Rangers Police which was considered an exemplary police station providing an efficient service.

New uniforms and systems

Campbell introduced a new uniform for police officers and implemented systems of submitting official reports, Gazette notifications once in three months, insurance schemes and methods of maintenance of crime rate reports, issue of annual administrative reports and on various other related matters. 

The Police Headquarters and the Police Hospital were built in Maradana in 1869. In 1872 the Police Band was formed and in 1883, a Riot Squad was established at the Kew barracks in Slave Island.

In 1913, M.L. Doubgin aged 33 years was appointed as IGP and did yeomen service for 24 years. He introduced many divisions such as the Crimes Inquiry Division, Police Savings Society, Police Public Relations Division, Police Training School, Photography and Technical Section, Child Welfare Section, etc. 

He also created the post of Deputy Inspector General. This period was recognised as the ‘golden era’ of the police.

In 1947 Sir Richard Aluvihare was honoured by being appointed the first Sri Lankan Inspector General of Police and thereafter this rank was always held by a Sri Lankan. During this time, the police force had a strength of 5,280 personnel. The training school which was situated at Bambalapitiya was relocated at Katukurunda, Kalutara, that same year.

Since then, the police executed their services under the leadership of a Sri Lankan and the force was composed entirely of Sri Lankans. From then the services rendered by the police were considered as a welfare service to the public at large.

In order to control the enormous number of vehicles entering the highways on a daily basis and to prevent accidents and protect property prone to accidents, a separate police contingent was functioning under the direct supervision of a Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG). 

To ensure an uninterrupted, methodical and smooth flow of vehicles a separate unit at each of the police stations, island wide, was incorporated. In addition, all motor vehicle sections under the purview of the police were administered successfully by a Senior Gazetted Officer under the direct supervision of the respective DIG of Police in each district. Further, the police extended their services by educating the general public on various ways and means of proper and safe use of the highway and methods of accident free driving.

Multifarious functions   

A separate section has been set up to prevent, monitor and detect crimes in all police stations. All DIGs are entrusted with the task of minimising the crime rate in every police station. A District Crime Prevention Branch functions under the respective Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) or the Superintendent of Police (SP).

In Colombo a SP is in charge of the unit that investigates crimes against women and children. Apart from this, if a person wants to lodge an entry in a police station in Colombo regarding a crime that occurred outstation, then this facility too is available where a woman police constable will attend to the matter maintaining confidentiality, at a safe place, to avoid anything adverse to the complainant while the informant’s anonymity is protected. 

To eradicate the escalating menace of drug addiction, the police has set up a separate Anti Narcotics Division. It is compulsory that every police officer is duty bound to be vigilant in this regard to prevent and take necessary action and save people from this social curse. Any person desiring to give information to the police anonymously, could do so either at the police station or by calling the emergency No.119. 

An informant providing accurate information will be of immense value and would facilitate the prevention and detection of crime. Persons providing information are rewarded as a means of encouragement.

To safeguard the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country in view of the war against terrorism, a Special Task Force (STF) with special training was established in 1983. The expertise of the STF was utilised to provide security to the east, security in Colombo, VIP security, diffusing bombs, etc.

NPC established

As per Act No.17 of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the National Police Commission (NPC) was formed. Recruitment of all officers (other than the IGP), transfers, promotions, disciplinary action and interdictions are the sole responsibility of the NPC which has been bestowed with full autonomy. Due to this, a satisfactory degree of independence was created in the execution of duties by the police.

 Today, the police service is commanded by Jayantha Wickremaratne, the 31st IGP. His focus is to steer the police to be a public friendly and people oriented service in the best interests of the people of the country, in defiance of foreigners’ motive of economic exploitation at the expense of our country. At present the police force consists of approximately 74,000 officers in 39 divisional districts, 411 police stations and 60 active police divisions.

People friendly

The IGP is focusing on ensuring an indispensable, sincere, people friendly and people oriented service as the police is a part of society that cannot be separated from the people. The police and the public are well aware of these sentiments. Any person with a dispute could seek redress from the police. A healthy environment and the right attitude from both parties with diplomacy and understanding will bring about a satisfactory and lasting solution.

The police has an ambitious mission, i.e. to be acclaimed by the public as a dignified police service by end 2009, and intends achieving this mission through public relations and instilling in the minds of people and the police the concept that the ‘public are the police’ and the ‘police are the public.’ All arrangements are being made by the Director, Police Public Relations and his staff to achieve the aspirations of the IGP and to make this concept a reality within the given time frame.   

Today, with the Police Department celebrating its 142nd year, the Regular Police, STF, Civil Security Force Officers and Police Assistant Service Officers are determined to eliminate terrorism and corruption and bring about a peaceful and disciplined era to our motherland. 

We thank all officers for their fullest cooperation rendered at all times. We also remember with respect and gratitude our fellow officers who have sacrificed their precious lives while executing their duties, and while in action to save our motherland from the clutches of our enemy.

— SSP Ranjith Gunesekera

Director, Police Public Relations


The Big Bang

The Big Bang is the cosmological model of the Universe that is best supported by all lines of scientific evidence and observation. The essential idea is that the universe has expanded from a primordial hot and dense initial condition at some finite time in the past and continues to expand to this day. Georges Lemaître proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe, although he called it his ‘hypothesis of the primeval atom.’

The framework for the model relies on Albert Einstein’s General Relativity as formulated by Alexander Friedmann. After Edwin Hubble discovered in 1929 that the distances to far away galaxies were generally proportional to their redshifts, this observation was taken to indicate that all very distant galaxies and clusters have an apparent velocity directly away from our vantage point.

The apparent velocity

The farther away, the higher the apparent velocity. If the distance between galaxy clusters is increasing today, everything must have been closer together in the past. This idea has been considered in detail back in time to extreme densities and temperatures, and large particle accelerators have been built to experiment on and test such conditions, resulting in significant confirmation of the theory. But these accelerators can only probe so far into such high energy regimes.

Without any evidence associated with the earliest instant of the expansion, the Big Bang theory cannot and does not provide any explanation for such an initial condition, rather explaining the general evolution of the Universe since that instant. The observed abundances of the light elements throughout the cosmos closely match the calculated predictions for the formation of these elements from nuclear processes in the rapidly expanding and cooling first minutes of the universe, as logically and quantitatively detailed according to Big Bang nucleosynthesis.

‘Big Bang’

Fred Hoyle is credited with coining the phrase ‘Big Bang’ during a 1949 radio broadcast, as a derisive reference to a theory he did not subscribe to. Hoyle later helped considerably in the effort to figure out the nuclear pathway for building certain heavier elements from lighter ones. After the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation in 1964, and especially when its collective frequencies sketched out a blackbody curve, most scientists were fairly convinced by the evidence that some Big Bang scenario must have occurred.

Largest experiment in history

Laura MacInnis Scientists said they simply didn’t know what surprises might emerge when they started up the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s biggest and most complex machine which until Wednesday lay benignly in its underground home on the outskirts of Geneva. 

Perhaps crashing together millions of particles at close to the speed of light would replicate the conditions just after the Big Bang that created the Universe.           

Perhaps the high-energy collisions, which will generate temperatures more than 100,000 times than the heart of the sun, would lay to rest an unproven theory of physics.

And maybe, just maybe, the largest scientific experiment in human history would produce some anti-matter, or miniature black holes that would quickly disappear

"The most exciting result would be something we don’t expect," British physicist Stephen Hawking said on the eve of the tightly sealed machine’s start-up, echoing his scientific peers who bubbled over with enthusiasm about the prospect of finally cracking more of the universe’s mysteries once data starts spewing from the physics playground at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.  

But not everyone likes surprises.                                 

For non-scientists, the scale and ambition of the 10-billion Swiss franc ($9 billion) project seem unnerving.  The possibility of creating black holes simply sound scary.   

Many people allow themselves to ask, are there limits to what science should seek to find out?  Will this experiment result in the end of the world as we know it, or even bring about the end of the world?   

Millions of people were first introduced to CERN reading "Angels and Demons," the prequel to The Da Vinci Code, in which bad guys try to steal anti-matter from the ultra-modern research centre to destroy the Vatican. 

But the start-up of the Large Hadron Collider on Wednesday proceeded without the drama or adrenaline of a Dan Brown novel.  Project director Lyn Evans even wore jeans and running shoes  for the occasion.  

So without a Big Bang of a start, we all may have to sit back with another book and wait to see what mysteries particle physics eventually beholds.


Big Bang experiment gets started

Physicists around the world, in Geneva, some in pajamas and others with champagne, celebrated the first tests last Wednesday of a huge particle-smashing machine they hope will simulate the "Big Bang" that created the Universe.

Experiments using the underground Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, the biggest and most complex machine ever made, could revamp modern physics and unlock secrets about the universe and its origins.

Staff in the control room on the border of Switzerland and France clapped as two beams of particles were sent silently, first one way and then the other around the LHC’s 17-mile (27-km) underground chamber.

"Things can go wrong at any time," said project leader Lyn Evans, who wore jeans and running shoes for the LHC’s debut.

Great start

"But this morning we had a great start."

It will be weeks or months before two particles ever crash together in the giant tube, and even longer before scientists can interpret results, said Jos Engelen, chief scientific officer of CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research.

"Anything between a year and four years, depending on how difficult this new physics is to find," Engelen said.

Pajama-clad scientists calling themselves "Nerds in Nightshirts" partied at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois as they waited late into the night for the first signals from the 10 billion Swiss franc (9 billion dollar) machine. 

The first blip came soon after the LHC was switched on at 9.30 a.m. CERN time, 1.30 a.m. in Batavia, home of the Tevatron, which still lays claim to being the highest energy particle collider until the LHC starts colliding protons.

The world didn’t end

Physicists brushed off suggestions that the experiment could create tiny black holes that could suck in the planet.

"The worries that scientists had were nothing to do with being swallowed up by black holes and everything to do with technical hitches or electronic failure," said Jim al-Khalili, a physicist at Britain’s University of Surrey.

"Now, after a collective sigh of relief, the real fun starts," al-Khalili said. "No matter what we find, we will be unlocking the secrets of the Universe."

The LHC will send beams of subatomic particles called protons whizzing around the tube at just under the speed of light.

The hope is they will smash into one another and explode in a burst of new and previously unseen types of particles — recreating on a miniature scale the heat and energy of the Big Bang that gave birth to the Universe 13.7 billion years ago.

At full speed the LHC will engineer 600 million collisions every second. Data will be transmitted via a network called ‘The Grid’ to scientists at 170 institutions in 33 countries.

A theoretical particle

"It is sort of a virtual United Nations," said Michael Tuts, a physics professor at Columbia University in New York and programme manager for 400 U.S. physicists working on one LHC project.

The experiments could confirm the existence of the Higgs Boson, a theoretical particle named after Peter Higgs, who first proposed it in 1964.

Also referred to as the "God Particle," the Higgs Boson could help explain how matter has mass. "I think it’s pretty likely" that it will be found, Higgs told reporters at the University of Edinburgh, where he is a retired professor of physics.

Scientists halted the particle beam’s counter-clockwise spin temporarily on Wednesday afternoon after problems with the machine’s magnets caused its temperature to warm slightly.

CERN officials said such minor glitches were to be expected given the intricacy of the machine, which is cooled to minus 271.3 degrees Celsius (minus 456.3 degrees Fahrenheit).

— Robert Evans


Success through contrasting spheres

Otara Gunewardene

By Risidra Mendis

She is an animal lover who someday wanted to be a veterinary surgeon and treat sick and wounded animals. During her youth she kept thinking of the future and her role as a veterinary surgeon — helping and saving the lives of many innocent animals. However her plans to become a veterinary surgeon changed somewhere down the line and she ended up as a successful businesswoman.

Odel Unlimited CEO, Otara Gunewardene is synonymous with fashion, designer wear, modelling and elegance. She has succeeded in becoming one of the most successful businesswomen in Sri Lanka while her shop Odel is frequented by both locals and foreigners.

Having started Odel on a small scale many years ago, Gunewardene has today succeeded in expanding her outlets and its products to meet the growing demands of customers.

But despite her passion to further develop her business she has not forgotten the love she had for animals from her young days. Despite her busy schedule of running a successful business Gunewardene has found the time to help out with animal welfare activities while working with animal rights groups. A special section at Odel is dedicated to animals and animal lovers, selling products with the ‘Embark’ trade mark and the profits from the sales of these products are utilised for animal welfare.

For her contribution toward bettering the lives of animals through Embark, Gunewardene was appointed ambassador for Sri Lanka for World Animal Day 2008.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader she said from the time she was two or three years old she could remember having many animals in her home. "We had guinea pigs, birds, rabbits, ducks and of course dogs. I was interested in wildlife and even worked at the zoo as a volunteer at the age of 15 for two years. My job was to handle the pets at the pet corner for children," she said.

Change of plans

Commenting on her earlier plans to be a veterinary surgeon Gunewardene said she went to the US and obtained a degree in biology. "While studying for my degree I modelled in the US for six months. When I returned to Sri Lanka I continued with modelling and at the same time started my own business. But as the business developed I realised that I couldn’t handle modelling and the business. So I gave up modelling and continued to develop the business," she explained.

From the day Odel was opened 11 years ago Gunewardene had a counter where T-shirts on wildlife were sold. All proceeds from those sales went to the Wildlife Trust Fund. "I was also involved in environment protection programmes such as beach clean ups, projects concerning leopards and the Bundala National Park cleaning programme where weeds were removed among other activities," she said.

Explaining the purpose of Embark Gunewardene said it was better to stay focused on one project and improve that instead of getting involved in many projects at the same time and losing focus.

The launch

Embark was launched in March 2007 and has worked with the community in helping to curb the threat of rabies and the ever increasing stray dog population in the country.

Embark believes that the only way to reduce cruelty faced by stray dogs is by controlling the growth of their population. Embark has so far conducted four sterilisation campaigns for stray and community dogs and has managed to spay and neuter 1350 stray dogs within Colombo. The standards of these mobile clinics are in line with the World Health Organisation’s protocols through which the method used — CNVR — Catch, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release is approved, she explained.

These campaigns are made possible through sales of Embark merchandise at Odel stores. Embark that started on a small scale with T-shirts, caps and a few dog accessories has developed today into a wide range of products such as dog bowls, cloth bags, soft toys, dog accessories and a new line of stationery.


Gunewardene’s latest work on animal welfare includes coming to the rescue of two dogs — Suddhi and Browny. While driving on Balapokuna Road after a visit to the Odel outlet in Kohuwela she came across Browny, 12 years old, who had a fracture on his front leg. He was infected with mange and had wounds on his body.

Browny was not a stray. He had an owner who couldn’t afford the medical bills. On the instructions of Gunewardene, Embark personnel, on June 10, rescued Browny and took him to a veterinarian after informing his owner.

Browny was released after treatment for mange, his left front leg fracture and three lump surgeries on August 5. Embark spent nearly Rs.42,000 to treat Browny. Browny’s owners were advised on responsible pet ownership prior to the dog being handed over. Browny was given a new lease of life thanks to Embark and Otara Gunewardene’s love of animals.

Suddhi is a three legged dog. When Embark personnel found her, she was barely alive, clinging to life under an abandoned car. With a festering wound on her right forepaw, helpless and unable to move, her long, sad face depicted the agony she was undergoing. "It was obvious she had not eaten for a few days as we could see her bones jutting through the thin layer of skin. She looked as if she’d given up all hopes of survival," Embark personnel said.

"It was around 8.30 pm when a kind hearted lady customer of Odel called to inform us about this injured dog. Ironically she was lying beneath a car in a garage near the Odel Head Office in Rajagiriya. We realised that the accident must have happened a few days ago as her condition had worsened," another Embark staffer explained.

They had immediately called a mobile pet service in Colombo. The stench of decomposing flesh emanating from the injured dog was difficult to bear but the unpleasant odour was overlooked as she was rushed to the vet clinic. However her crushed front paw and leg had to be amputated. She also underwent further treatment for multiple conditions, Embark personnel said.

They added that the lack of food and liquid during her days of immobility had weakened her considerably and had made her recovery painstakingly slow. Kept under constant professional care, her condition gradually improved and Embark had spent Rs.69,000 on her treatment. Her shiny, white coat resulted in her being named Suddhi.

Yeomen service

Although Embark does not have a transit home or a sanctuary for homeless animals, it has proved its purpose when it comes to helping animals in distress.

Today, Suddhi — the three-legged dog has fully recovered and is happily adapting to her new life, thanks to everyone who has contributed toward Embark. The three months of care by Embark has made her strong and given her a new lease of life. "We are sure she is saying ‘Thank you Embark,’ in her own doggy woof, woof language," Embark personnel said.

Embark has implemented this concept of inducting young, enthusiastic animal lovers, through its own volunteer circle. This circle comprises more than 100 volunteers and has been part of the success of Embark’s campaign. Throughout the past months, the volunteer circle has made a tremendous effort toward raising funds for future campaigns.

Embark will continue to focus on the reduction of the stray dog population, making rabies a thing of the past, treating injured animals and educating the public. Future plans of Embark include media campaigns to create awareness on the wellbeing of animals.


Farewells and back to boredom

Kahlil Gibran wrote, "My house says to me, ‘Do not leave me, for
here dwells your past.’ And the road says to me, ‘Come and follow me, for I am your future.’ And I say both to my house and the road, ‘I have no past, nor have I a future. If I stay here, there is a going in my staying; and if I go, there is a staying in my going.’"  Clever chappie, he’s got it all figured out.

The kids have left after tearful farewells, and I’m trying to console myself that it is what’s best for them. It does make sense though, doesn’t it? If they stay, they are letting go of their future in a sense, and although they go, they leave a large part of them behind and it stays on forever.

 So, this house is gonna reverberate, rattle and throb since I’m going to put on my favourite rock and jazz CDs and fill it with lots of noisy, but tuneful sound! So far, the neighbours haven’t complained. I do like silence, peace and quiet, but now it seems really oppressive!

The weather suits my mood, grey, gloomy and chilly. Ain’t no sunshine when they’re gone! Enough of moaning now, a funny thing happened. The day before they left, we bumped into this very humorous gentleman. So he asked if they were all ready to get back. I said, yes, but they are a bit overweight (referring to their luggage).

Gales of laughter

"Aaah, yes, I know when you are on holiday here, you tend to eat more than usual and put on weight and get bigger." We all stared at him in puzzlement for a moment, and then it dawned on us what he was getting at.

We burst into gales of laughter and explained about their bags. He proceeded to put his whole foot into his mouth and said, "No, no you don’t look fat at all!" That made us laugh even harder, and he quickly mumbled something about an emergency at home and beat a hasty retreat!

 Dancing Doll just called and informed me that she’s left her computer cable behind. Lovely! I’ll have to devise a method of getting it across to her, pronto. Apparently the dogs were waiting in the garden after we drove of to the airport and had to be bodily carried off to bed.

Intimate gifts!

I secretly think that is the maid’s imagination working overtime; apparently she understands what they are thinking and saying! So evidently, they knew the kids had left.

One thing I’ve noticed is their guy pals give them very interesting and most intimate gifts! In our time, we were asked specifically not to accept gifts from guys unless it was a birthday gift. Apparently it sent the wrong signals and was not the Done Thing.

Nowadays there are no such inhibitions, I’m glad to say. Most of it is in fun and to make them laugh, anyway. So the thought behind it is kind, though some of it is very saucy!

 When I was complaining that it was going to be really dreary without them, Dancing Doll said, "What are you grumbling about men? You’re living here in the lap of luxury with maids and drivers etc.!" As if! Still it will be dreary!

Clearing the mess

So now, whilst we are stripping their beds and clearing the mess they left behind, they are clearing over there. Apparently they left too soon after their exams to be able to tidy up. So their rooms are in a total mess! Just now, they both were doing their laundry. Thank God for modern communication and technology or else I would really have gone totally bonkers!

Last night, it was horrible to drive in and see their rooms in darkness. Normally, they both come in and question me how my evening was and catch up with all the juicy gossip. Now it’s too late when I come in to text them.

 Luckily, they have friends there and so are having a jolly time reuniting with them. I could hear lots of shrieking and gales of laughter in the background when I called, and I’m glad.

I have planned to do lots of things, but strangely, when they return on holiday, I still haven’t done half of it! I wonder why? I can’t help it, can I, if people find me so fascinating and keep calling me to go out with them or just chatting to them. I’m glad I have good friends!

- Honky Tonk Woman



Real English notices from around the world

. In a Bucharest hotel lobby:

The lift is being fixed for the next day. During that time we

regret that you will be unbearable.

. In a Leipzig elevator:

Do not enter the lift backwards, and only when lit up.

. In a Belgrade hotel elevator:

To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.

. In a Paris hotel elevator:

Please leave your values at the front desk.

. In a hotel in Athens:

Visitors are expected to complain at the office between the

hours of 9 and 11 am daily.

. In a Yugoslavian hotel:

The flattening of underwear with pleasure is the job of the


. In a Japanese hotel:

You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.

. In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:

You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.

. On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:

Our wines leave you nothing to hope for.

. On the menu of a Polish hotel:

Salad a firm’s own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy

dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose;

beef rashers beaten up in the country people’s fashion.

. Outside a Hong Kong tailor shop:

Ladies may have a fit upstairs.

. In a Bangkok dry cleaner’s:

Drop your trousers here for best results.

. Outside a Paris dress shop:

Dresses for street walking.

. In a Rhodes tailor shop:

Order your summer’s suit. Because is big rush we will execute customers in strict rotation.

. A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest:

It is strictly forbidden on our Black Forest camping site that people of different sex, for instance men and women, live together in one tent unless they are married with each other for that purpose.

. In a Zurich hotel:

Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.

. In an advertisement by a Hong Kong dentist:

Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists.

. In a Rome laundry:

Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time.

. In a Czechoslovakian tourist agency:

Take one of our horse-driven city tours — we guarantee no miscarriages.

. In a Swiss mountain inn:

Special today — no ice cream.

. In a Bangkok temple:

It is forbidden to enter a woman, even a foreigner if dressed as a man.

. In a Tokyo bar:

Special cocktails for the ladies with nuts.

. In a Copenhagen airline ticket office:

We take your bags and send them in all directions.

. On the door of a Moscow hotel room:

If this is your first visit to the USSR, you are welcome to it.

. In a Norwegian cocktail lounge:

Ladies are requested not to have children in the bar.

. In a Budapest zoo:

Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.

. In the office of a Roman doctor:

Specialist in women and other diseases.

. In an Acapulco hotel:

The manager has personally passed all the water served here.

. In a Tokyo shop:

Our nylons cost more than common, but you’ll find they are best in the long run.

. From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air


Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself.      


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