Splendour that man can never create
(inset) Beautiful flowers: a bouquet of
happiness from nature and White and
green set amidst a blue and white sky
By Risidra Mendis
Some bloom at
night and others during the day. But there are also
those that bloom during a season. During the months of
February and March trees with flowers in a variety of
colours and sizes can be seen along the streets of
Colombo and its suburbs.
It is during this time of the year that some big
trees are known to shed their leaves and in their place
produce clusters of colourful flowers.
However in most cases these flowers do not last long.
One day you may see these big trees with their branches
full of flowers but the next day all that remains would
the green leaves and a tree without flowers.
The dry season in the country is not welcomed by
people. The dry and sweaty atmosphere most often is the
cause for complaints by most of us. However this is one
of the ideal times of the year for many flowers to
bloom. Trees and plants that often rot due to heavy
rains prefer the sun and dry weather to produce flowers.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader Director General
Peradeniya Botanical Gardens Dr. C. Wijesundera said,
"Most of the trees that bloom in February and March are
from South America and Venezuela.
"Tabebuia rosea is a huge tree bearing pink
flowers, and Tabebuia serratifolia is a medium
size tree with yellow flowers. Tabebuia spectabilis
and Tabebuia guayacan are medium size trees that
bear yellow flowers and mauve flowers respectively and
bloom in February and March," Dr. Wijesundera said.
He added that the Jacaranda mimosifolia with
mauve flowers, blooms in March and sometimes in August
"There are vines such as the Doxantha unguis-cati
with yellow flowers which can be seen at the Peradeniya
Gardens and in the Peradeniya University premises, and
shrubs such as the Clerodendrum quadriloculare
known as the Valantine plant or Philippine fire works or
Star dust, and herbs such as the Psederanrtheum
graciflorum with violet flowers also known as the
blue Crossandra or Florida twilight, bloom during this
time of the year," Dr. Wijesundera explained.
South American origin
He went on to say that the Tabebuia rosea is a
tree of South American origin. A variety of other
flowering plants such as euphorbias and cactus are also
known to bloom during the dry season.
"I haven’t noticed any unusual bloomers during
February and March. The Ehela tree blooms in late
February and March but is not an unusual occurrence. The
Tabebuia rosea is not an exotic tree but in
comparison to other trees, it produces more flowers,"
Environment lawyer Jagath Gunewardene said.
Gunewardene went on to say that the Valentine plant
and bougainvilleas are other frequent bloomers during
the dry season. "Some trees such as rubber are known to
defoliate during the dry season," Jagath said.
But irrespective of the kind of plant or tree,
flowers that bloom during the season are of more value
to nature lovers and environmentalists as they can be
seen during a certain period of the year.
Some trees and plants bloom in the night, and these
night bloomers will always be of special interest to
nature lovers as they create a sense of uniqueness due
to their ability to bloom only at night when the sun has
left the skies, and fade before the sun rises the
The kadupul and the pigeon orchid are probably
the most unique of the night bloomers as they bloom at
12 am. The kadupul flower starts opening out in
the night but is in complete bloom by 12 midnight. Among
the other night bloomers are the red water lily which is
the only variety in the lily family that blooms in the
night with trees such as Jamaican Ebony, seven varieties
of Jasmine, Sepalika, Actaria, Queen of the Night
and the Ra Manamali (bride of the night).
A Rose by any other name
ou can call a Rose by any other
name, so we call her Rosie. Rose Bernadiene Ramanayake
whom we know as Rosie Senanayake spent her childhood in
Ampara and Embilipitiya. She went to pre-school in
Ampara and thereafter when her father, a government
servant was transferred to Gal Oya, Rosie had to make
her way to a school in Embilipitiya. She and her three
sisters were also boarded at Ferguson High School in
Ratnapura. While her two brothers went to Ananda
"I enjoyed my days at the boarding
school because my parents would come and visit us during
the weekends. They brought us many goodies," recalled
It was during her childhood
which was spent in the harsh surroundings of
remote areas, that Rosie realised the hardship suffered
by the poor and the underprivileged. "I was moved to
tears by their poverty and suffering, but there was
nothing I could do for them" said Rosie Senanayake.
Etched in her heart
But the thin faces and the
emaciated forms were etched in her heart. Subsequently
she took the memories of these kind and simple village
folk to United Kingdom where she went for her higher
She also took these memories to
Harvard Law School where she was last year with a group
of other female politicians.
Some of us have beauty and riches,
yet others have beauty and a successful career. There
are many women in Sri Lanka today who can speak of a
successful life studded with good times, romance,
a rewarding career and financial successes. But Rosie
Senanayake is a rare woman. From Miss Sri Lanka she
climbed up to reach a more beautiful success – Miss Asia
Pacific. Rosie Senanayake had been the only Sri Lanka to
take part in this contest.
like the average woman – she married Athula Senanayake
and had a child. But her beauty did not either wane or
wither, instead it blossomed enough to make her win the
Mrs World title in the U.S.A. Rosie Senanayake surely
did put Sri Lanka on the international map. She not only
caused amazement in the international audience with her
grace and glamour but also sent a new flush of
admiration with the confidence and intelligent analysis
in her answers to the questions flung to determine the
intelligence and I.Q. of the beauty queens. And at an
international pageant in U.S.A, this surely had not been
this while the suffering and the needs of the common Sri
Lankan remained etched in her mind.
international certification of her beauty gave her the
qualification to get the help needed for the poor and
the underprivileged. So Rosie Senanayake strode on in
her missions of mercy.
she went, there were stares and admiration. People
flocked to get her autograph, the admirers were many,
and Rosie acknowledged them all with her beautiful smile
– with the same smile and the serenity with which she
countered the rumours and the gossip mongers.
and her husband who lived in England had come to Sri
Lanka on a short visit. Rosie had been 18 when she went
to England for her higher studies and her husband Athula
too had left the country in his teenage years to go to
Hotel School in England. Having lived for over 6 years
in England, Rosie Senenayake decided to come to Sri
Lanka for a short time.
could not go back. "But we decided to stay on because my
country was in my heart. I just could not go back to
England. However I found that wherever I went the
procedures were different and difficult," she said of
her experience in dealing with government departments.
advent into reaching out to the suffering and
needs of the nation is not an overnight thing.
After I won the Mrs World title, Elena Jayewardene the
wife of the late President J.R. Jayewardene invited me
to the Seva Vanitha Unit. I was a lifetime member and
became more involved.
My achievements helped me to
help. I did much to empower women and worked at the
grassroots level. Thereafter I worked with the late
President Ranasinghe Premadasa and Hema Premadasa. It
was amazing, they went all over the country — the north,
south, east and West and we went with the mobile
Hema Premadasa achieved much.
She was tireless. She ensured self employment and
empowered women in Anuradhapura, Trincomalee and Amparai.
We raised much money for the Seva Vanitha Unit. People
see me in social magazines and say ‘that is Rosie
Senanayake’ but that was not what was important; it was
the work we were doing at grassroots level for the
Hema Premadasa was
determined in her efforts to help the poor, yet at all
times she wore her smile and worked with ease. The work
however was very hard. We were woken up at 4 a.m.
during the Gam Udawa project because the late President
Ranasinghe Premadasa and Hema Premadasa woke up at that
time and from then on we were on the field, we
went to sleep at 2 a.m. the next day. My life was never
easy," said Rosie Senanayake.
People of my country
"I knew there was a calling
for me and I knew that it was to serve the people of my
country. I saw so much misery from my childhood years
that the question on my mind was, why is it that I have
this and not them," recalled Rosie Senanayake.
"And this was why I decided
to enter politics. I wanted to make a change, give them
what they needed and give them what I had," she said as
she sat with a special elegance. The touch of glamour
and the ways of a beauty queen were still fresh around
And there was a fresher
determination — to make a change. "I realised what the
brain drain was doing to Sri Lanka. I saw that people
who had benefited from the system of free education were
seeking greener pastures. I did not want this to happen
to my children. I did not want it happening to all the
children around us," she said.
The right environment
"I was determined to create
the right environment conducive enough for them to come
back. Parents send their children to foreign
universities, but soon find that the climate in Sri
Lanka is conducive for their children to come back. So
they live on, in a foreign country,…." said Rosie
Rosie Senanayake said that
being a mother she knows the pain and heartburn parents
in Sri Lanka have to undergo to make their children
achieve academic excellence.
"From the Year 5 scholarship
to the O/Ls and A/Ls to finding universities, parents
struggle to give a good education in order to ensure a
good future for their offspring and after all this they
find that the climate in Sri Lanka is not conducive for
their children to live safely and achieve greater
success," she observed.
Leave a legacy
" I want to leave a legacy
behind for our children. It is this change that I want
to make. I want to change the lives of average Sri
Lankans. I want to ensure that Provincial Councils
function efficiently and effectively so that the Central
government can concentrate on more involving issues. It
is the Provincial Councils that will ensure that
children get into the Grade One on time. It is an
institution that runs with public money and
is totally detached from the Central Government.
Provincial Councils are a totally separate entity.
"Today, parents cannot admit
a child to the first grade on time, children given their
textbooks in the last term, question papers are not
provided on time and school uniforms are not given on
time, hospitals do not have medicine and we do not have
pethidiene to give our soliders" noted Rosie Senanayake.
"Thus my plea is to vote the UNP and have a better
Provincial Council which will take care of your day to
day needs," she said.
"If anyone thinks I am a
pretty face and a namby pamby, they are mistaken. I have
been told my many people to give up politics for my own
safety. But I will not give up. People say that there
are great risks in taking part in Sri Lankan politics.
But I am determined to go on, I am determined to make
this change for the sake of our future, for the sake of
our children. I know that the protection will come from
above," said Rosie who went on to say that she is
willing to take the risk for the sake of all the
children, "which includes my own three children," she
"I want a nation where
children will be able to live peacefully, can live and
work. I want to stop the brain drain and I want our
children to be able to acknowledge anywhere in the world
the fact that they are Sri Lankans without being
ashamed. I want to eradicate terrorism, bring about a
solution to the ethnic crisis and bring back to Sri
Lanka, all the Sri Lankans who have left this country
and also make them feel proud that they are Sri Lankans,"
"There was an era where we
were a model nation and everyone envied us. We had a
rich heritage and we were self sufficient in every
possible aspect. Our per capita income and that of Japan
in the ’50s had a difference of only one dollar," said
Rosie Senanayake who went on to say that as a true
patriot she could sit back and watch the degeneration.
"I am fighting for a better
tomorrow. When we leave this earth, it is not the
academic qualifications, the fame, the power, the titles
and the riches that we take with us — it is the
good we have done for other human beings and how clear
our conscience is, is what comes into focus," she said.
Rosie Senanayake went on to
say that she has faced much political harassment. "My
character has been assassinated from all quarters
because I was linked with the party. I was initially
distressed but today I have learnt to deal with such
negative experiences and I have come out stronger than
ever," she said.
"People must judge us on the
work we do for them and on no other basis. I will try to
build a truly Sri Lankan identity rather than identities
based on narrow parameters which will hinder our
progress as a nation and as a people," said the beauty
queen who has preferred to step away from the
international limelight to walk to the fore to change
life of the common man in her motherland.
Hints that will help you at the
The cacophony, fresh vegetables
and succulent fruits at the Pola
By Sithara Fernando
Sundays for some are not
complete without a visit to the Pola. In fact it
is the best workout ever. First you do the slow walk,
looking at all the fare laid out, then you gradually
begin your purchases.
If you purchase your bananas
first, chances are that they will only be good for a
fruit salad or smoothie when you get back. So make sure
you purchase your bananas last.
The purchase of bananas can
surely drive you bananas if you are not careful. Make
sure you are not fooled by the succulent ones at the
top. If you want to be an ‘intelligent’ buyer, make sure
you tell the seller to turn them upside down. Most often
your investigations will reveal that you were just about
to pay Rs.12 or Rs.15 each for the squashed ones at the
When buying pineapples, make
sure you always compare prices. Cost of pineapples vary
from Rs.40 to Rs.90. If you walk about and look around,
you will not have to pay Rs.80 for a dry worn out fruit.
One question that will baffle you for life is why the
supermarkets have to weigh the pineapple with all its
paraphernalia and charge you close upon Rs.9 per 100
grammes and then break off the leaves, stem and other
parts of the fruit and keep it for themselves before
they actually put the fruit in a bag for you. Is this
allowed? If so why?
Getting back to the Pola.
If you wear your Saturday night’s Batik party shirt to
the Pola just before you wash it, chances are
that you will pay Rs.25 or Rs.30 for your bundle of
mukunuwenna and gotukola.
Jack and Jackfruit seeds will
expose you to great fraud. You may pay Rs.30 for
jackseeds and go home to find some withered seeds which
belonged to a tender jack fruit or a wela fruit.
Make sure you stare at the
jackfruit being put into the silly silly bag
otherwise you will go home and find that you paid Rs.40
not for the succulent parts but for the deformed bits at
Don’t be surprised that your
carrots, ladies fingers and beets are always one or two
short when you weigh them at home. To avoid this you
will have to take your mobile weighing scale to the
Buying mangoes will never be
a sweet exercise at the Pola. When you pay Rs.12
for the Rata amba they may ripen if you are
lucky. If you pay Rs.35 for the Karathkolamban,
they may be watery yet you will have no power to hold
anyone responsible, for that is just the way your luck
turned out to be.
Goraka, ginger, amu
kaha and kurudu pothu are the best buys at
the Pola because you cannot be cheated with these
You will always note that the
vendors are often in a big hurry. They will grab the bag
and stuff it even while you are protesting. Don’t be
afraid to tell them that you have no plane to catch. Do
not be intimidated by vendors in a hurry. It is a ploy
to get their goods off their shelves. There is nothing
to stop you from walking away. There is no rule that you
have to buy what they are trying to sell.
Always beware of vendors
showing off can openers and tin openers and such other
out of the ordinary ware at the Pola. The can
openers will never work and you will never bump into
these vendors in that Pola ever again.
Bags of sponges tied in bags
costing Rs.30 will turn out to be pieces of sponges that
you will have little use for. Always have a look at what
you are buying.
The feeling of being cheated
will depress you. But if you are alert there is little
likelihood that the vendors can cheat you. Honestly is
sometimes not the best policy for them, buying what they
sell need not be a policy for you.
Reach out to Unawatuna
By Kshanika Argent
a troubled child. The Tsunami and slump in tourism left
it reeling - and unlike its resilient neighbour
Hikkaduwa, the small beach town has had a harder time
Not to say
that Hikkaduwa has had it easy. The Tsunami brought the
party central of the south to its knees - but it was
fast in bouncing back to its glory days. The Hikkaduwa
Beach Fest last August gave the town a much-needed
boost. It was a small step that went a long way in
putting Hikkaduwa back on the tourist map. The life and
party of the south was back. This together with the fact
that Hikkaduwa has been an incredibly developed town for
such a rural area, (steak houses, pubs, nightclubs,
start class resorts, and it’s surfer friendly waves)
have made it hard to keep this town down for long.
a special child. It has been for as long as anyone can
remember, a chill out spot for a certain niche market.
Maybe this is why the little beach town needs some extra
Not quite the
place that hippies that flock to like Hikks and yet not
quite the Bentota or Galle that attracts the cream of
tourists, there’s something about Unawatuna - you just
can’t put your finger on it – but there’s something.
kilometres south of the World Heritage Site Galle,
Unawatuna is a land in itself - steeped in centuries old
history and myth.
The spot was
a favourite place for what tourism officials call
‘frequent independent travellers’. Year after year they
kept coming back for what was a vast stretch of unspoilt
beach, free of ‘dodge ball characters’ (beach boys) and
the shoestring, back-packer joints that now litter the
it seems, has taken away the charm of the world-renowned
beach - often rated amongst the Top Ten Beaches of the
Yet for all
the changes, Unawatuna still retains some mystic charm,
like its laid back, sleepy feel.
The beach is
Unawatuna’s main focus. Though the Tsunami took away
much of the beach front, the remaining narrow stretch is
rebuilding, many restaurants and accommodation spots
mushroomed. You can sit at a pub on the beach and be
surprised to have the sea come up to your feet!
along the beach, a swim in the calm shallow waters and
sunbathing outside ones room is about all there is to
itself is pretty quiet but thanks to recent festivals in
neighbouring towns, (Hikkaduwa Beach Fest and the Galle
Literary Festival) and parties held by Offshore Life and
CNL, one can find the odd pub/restaurant playing a
compilation of electronic beats.
A boat ride
could be arranged or snorkelling, there’s even a diving
equipment spot right on the bay where you could rent out
goggles and stuff. The other place of interest is the
Buddhist temple on top of the hill at one end of the
It’s a short
and easy climb up some steps. All there is to see is the
imposing white dome but there is also a superb view - of
peaceful Unawatuna bay itself to one side, and the
rather more ferocious sea crashing against the rocky
cliffs to the other.
walk any time of the day but its particularly beautiful
to watch the sunset.
A handful of
visitors clicked with this secluded beach. The select
few who knew exactly what critics were talking about
when Unawatuna was voted amongst the top ten beaches in
Once rated among the top ten
beaches in the world, Unawatuna is still in the midst of
finding its true identity. The world hasn’t been too
The impaired genie
An American goes into a bar and
sits down next to an English guy.
The American notices that the
English guy has a huge BIC Lighter.
The American says, "Wow cool
lighter, where did you get it?"
The english guy says, "A genie
granted me one wish when I rubbed this bottle".
"Wow", says the American, "Can I
have a go?" "Sure", Says the Englishman.
The american rubs the bottle and
the genie comes out, "You have one wish" Says the genie.
The American wishes for a million
bucks, the genie grants the wish.
About 5 minutes later a load of
ducks come into the bar, there are thousands of them.
The American says "I don’t believe
this I wished for a million bucks, not a million ducks".
The englishman says "Well do you
really think i wished for a 12 inch BIC?".
gave advertisement for a good cook to recruit. One cook
has sent one application as follows : "Dear Sir,
I am a good cooker.
If you appoint me, I am sure I will be able to cook you.
When I was working earlier in a hotel
cooked them all."
A priest, a lawyer and an engineer
are about to be guillotined.
T he priest puts his head on the
block, they pull the rope and nothing happens -- he
declares that he’s been saved by divine intervention--
so he’s let go
The lawyer is put on the block, and
again the rope doesn’t release the blade, he claims he
can’t be executed twice for the same crime and he is set
They grab the engineer and shove
his head into the guillotine, he looks up at the release
mechanism and says, "Wait a minute, I see your
Sometime after Sidney died, his
widow, Rachel, was finally able to speak about what a
thoughtful, considerate, and wonderful man her late
husband had been.
"My Sidney thought of everything",
she told them. "Just before he died, he called me to his
bedside. He handed me three envelopes. ‘Rachel’, he told
me. ‘I have put all my last wishes in these three
envelopes. After I am gone, please open them and do
exactly as I have instructed. Knowing you’ll do this, I
can rest in peace’."
"What was in the envelopes?" her
"The first envelope contained
$5,000 with a note, ‘Please use this money to buy a nice
casket’. So I bought a beautiful mahogany casket with
such a comfortable lining that I know Sidney is resting
"The second envelope contained
$10,000 with a note, ‘Please use this for a nice
funeral’. I made Sidney a very dignified funeral and
bought all his favorite foods."
"And the third envelope?" asked her
"The third envelope contained
$25,000 with a note, ‘Please use this to buy a nice
At that point, Rachel held up her
hand and pointed to her ring finger, on which was a
gorgeous ten carat diamond ring.
"So?", said Rachel "you like my
A man goes into his doctors office
for an annual physical. After a while, the doctor comes
out and says, "I’m sorry Bill, but we have discovered
you have a condition which only allows you another 6
weeks to live."
"But Doctor," Bill replied, "I feel
great! I haven’t felt better in years. This just can’t
be true. Isn’t there anything I can do?"
After a moment the doctor said,
"Well, you might start going down the street to that new
health spa and take a mud bath every day."
Excitedly Bill asked, "And that
will cure me?"
Replied the doctor, "but it will get you used to the
Good parenting helps children to
Dinner table — a place to learn values
It is one of those essential facts
of life that raising good chil-
dren—children of character—
demands time and attention. While having children may be
"doing what comes naturally," being a good parent is
much more complicated. Here are ten tips to help your
children build sturdy characters:
1. Put parenting first. This is hard to do in a
world with so many competing demands. Good parents
consciously plan and devote time to parenting. They
make developing their children’s character their top
2. Review how you spend the
hours and days of your week. Think about the amount of
time your children spend with you. Plan how you can
weave your children into your social life and knit
yourself into their lives.
3. Be a good example. Face
it: human beings learn primarily through modelling. In
fact, you can’t avoid being an example to your
children, whether good or bad. Being a good example,
then, is probably your most important job.
4. Develop an ear and an
eye for what your children are absorbing. Children are
like sponges. Much of what they take in has to do with
moral values and character. Books, songs, TV, the
Internet, and films are continually delivering
messages-moral and immoral-to our children. As parents
we must control the flow of ideas and images that are
influencing our children.
5. Use the language of
character. Children cannot develop a moral compass,
unless people around them use the clear, sharp
language of right and wrong.
6. Punish with a loving
heart. Today, punishment has a bad reputation. The
results are guilt-ridden parents and self-indulgent,
out-of-control children. Children need limits. They
will ignore these limits on occasion. Reasonable
punishment is one of the ways human beings have always
learned. Children must understand what punishment is
for and know that its source is parental love.
7. Learn to listen to your
children. It is easy for us to tune out the talk of
our children. One of the greatest things we can do for
them is to take them seriously and set aside time to
8. Get deeply involved in
your child’s school life. School is the main event in
the lives of our children. Their experience there is a
mixed bag of triumphs and disappointments. How they
deal with them will influence the course of their
lives. Helping our children become good students is
another name for helping them acquire strong
9. Make a big deal out of
the family meal. One of the most dangerous trends in
America is the dying of the family meal. The dinner
table is not only a place of sustenance and family
business but also a place for the teaching and passing
on of our values. Manners and rules are subtly
absorbed over the table. Family mealtime should
communicate and sustain ideals that children will draw
on throughout their lives.
10. Do not reduce character
education to words alone. We gain virtue through
practice. Parents should help children by promoting
moral action through self-discipline, good work
habits, kind and considerate behaviour to others, and
community service. The bottom line in character
development is behaviour—their behaviour.
As parents, we want our
children to be the architects of their own character
crafting, while we accept the responsibility to be
architects of the environment-physical and moral. We
need to create an environment in which our children can
develop habits of honesty, generosity, and a sense of
justice. For most of us, the greatest opportunity we
personally have to deepen our own character is through
the daily blood, sweat and tears of struggling to be